Interview with Steven W. Johnson!

Long Tales & Short Shorts

Bio
I served 3 tours in Viet Nam. And my love of history, the English language, and voracious reading habits have enabled me to develop a voice that is descriptive without being overly verbose. I am a former president of the Oasis Writers Guild, Pahrump, NV and a member of the both the National and Southern Nevada Chapter of Sisters in Crime. I was a computer programmer for fifteen years and moved into website design (learning HTML in two weeks). I have also edited and published a current events magazine before turning to writing full time.

My first novel, Not Much of a Crime, was written in four months. A sequel is in the works.

My latest book is Need A Job? Publish A Book! with OpenOffice. This work illustrates how anyone can become a published author and national distribution for under $100.

I am also a firm believer in bringing back to life important works from the past. These include James R. McConnell’s Flying For France – With the American Escadrille at Verdun, a true story of an American pilot in World War I The Secret Witness by George Fort Gibbs, and “Bring Me His Ears” by Clarence Mulford. Others are on the way.

Bio provided by author’s site
We felt extremely honored to have Steve ask us to interview him. He is such a great help with all of us who are new to sites like Kindle Direct Publishing authors community and CreateSpace authors community. Steve has helped many a novice with his charm, wit and wisdom. Steve was one of the first to ask to be interviewed but I held off on posting his until we had worked out all the bugs of posting interviews. We wanted to be just right! It is with great honor that we introduce to you, Steve. Sit back and enjoy~
1. Where does your inspiration come from?
Strange as it seems, I listen to the voices in my head. My muses are anything from dreams, to dialogue at home or on TV, to random thoughts that rattle around in my head at odd hours of the day or night. I also find that if I am attempting to make my characters do something THEY don’t want to do, I end up with writer’s block. Then it is time to sit down and sort out the voices until the character comes to the front again and tells me what I should be writing.
2. Are you an organized writer?
Not likely.   
3. Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters?
No. They tell me what is going on.
4. Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
See my answers above. I spend more time with my eyes closed listening to my characters than I do pounding the keyboard.
5. What is your normal writing day like?
That depends on the honey-do list, my mother’s honey-do list, MY gotta get it done today list, and reruns on TV. There is no “normal” routine when it comes to writing, other than a couple hours here and there.

6.  Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule? The voices are somewhat capricious. I have actually stopped weeding to spend an hour or two writing and then they evaporate and I am back to doing whatever I was doing before.

7. Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?
There are several and all in different genres – Tolkien for epic fantasy, Piers Anthony for humorous fantasy, WEB Griffin for fictional history, Sheila Lowe for modern mystery, L’Amour and Clarence Mulford for Westerns, Lindsey Davis for her Falco, her ancient Roman detective character. And too many more to list, but each for their own genres. Oh, and of course JK Rowling for her young fiction.
8. It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
Believe it or not, I miss the big city. I would rather be marketing in a metro area than in a rural area as I am in now. Other than that, not really.
9. Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?
I am reading all the time. Right now I am working on a marketing book, a Kinky Friedman trilogy, and another author’s first draft. Sometimes I am in as many as six books, other times it is down to one.
10. It looks like you have a variety of writing styles, What influences the story? Is there personal life experience in the writing?
It is the characters that influences the most. In The Curious Misadventures of Tubby Wexler, Private Investigator, I have limited him to doing nothing of any significant social value, still he bumbles along solving what he believes are important cases. He’s always looking for that one big case that will push him into the big time, but it will never come. I am well into his second book of short stories, Hard Times and Soft Soled Shoes.

Allison King, the former porn star in Not Much of a Crime, is a straight forward cross between a thriller and a detective novel. Someone is trying to kill her and she needs to find out who and why. The twist at the end of the novel has had people stop me on the street and want to know how I came up with it. All I can tell them is “I listen to the voices in my head.”

11. Your books have been published with CreateSpace, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?
Yes and no. Yes, there will be more books published this way in the future, but one has to remember that ebooks are just now coming into their own and that will begin to cut down on print books, I believe. As for Createspace vs more traditional publishers, if an author can market his CS books well enough he can and will be picked up by a traditional publisher. I tend to look at CS as the minor leagues or college football, the cream will rise to the top and get a publishing contract from one of the major publishers. However, I also believe that CS offers writers an opportunity to get their work into print immediately and this will help both the author and the reading public determine if there is a market for the author’s work.
12. Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
Not really. My website, www.stevenwjohnson.com, is an online store and I would prefer to sell my work than give it away for free. But, it just might be a good idea to add a section where people can at least read a chapter or two of a book to help them decide to buy it. Oh, one other thing, when people buy from my website, each book is inscribed by me to the purchaser or to someone they are buying it for.
13. Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?
As stated earlier, I am working on Baffled as well as several others. Not including Baffled and Hard Times and Soft Soled Shoes, I have three others in various stages of completion. I suppose if I wanted to listen to one character who ends up dead (he is trying to keep me from finalizing his demise) I could finish that book in a couple weeks. But I don’t really have a good title for that book and until that comes along, it sits on the shelf.
14. Who would be your first choice to play the Hopalong Cassidy of your book Bar-20 Three?
Actually, that is a public domain book by Clarence Mulford that I republished, and Mulford’s character is vastly different than the one played by William Boyd on the silver screen, so being true to Mulford’s character I would think someone like Sam Shepard. It has to be someone who looks as if he has lived the life Hoppy would have lived.
15. If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
Hmmm. So many possibilities but I guess I would have to ask someone from the future how well my stories have held up. I don’t expect to be a Shakespeare, but I would like to be remembered for some of what I have written.
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