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Author Interview: EDC Johnson

Today, I get to interview the cool, and awesome author, EDC Johnson. You may remember her from last week’s guest post about the love triangle. Her YA novel, Moonflower is available at Amazon and Barnes & Nobel.

RwF: Are you willing to share what the EDC stands for, or is that part of your secret identity?

EDC: My first name is Elizabeth, I’m not trying to keep that a secret, but in an effort to protect what fragment of my identity I can I will keep the rest to myself.

(I did some digging for my fans. The other initials stand for Desire Chaistain. Or was it Donald Charles? No… Oh, yeah: Depak Chopra! No, that would be insulting. That’s right: Deborah Chinning.)

R.w.F: Okay, then. How would you prefer to be addressed by your crazed, stalkery – Wait, I mean, your adoring, polite fans?

EDC: You have to keep your stalker fans in line you know .  I prefer to be addressed as EDC Johnson or Ms. Johnson.  Some times I get asked or teased about having the three initial but in my defense there are quite a number of Johnson’s out there.  (You have no idea how badly I wanted to say “…that’s Dr. Jones, to you toots.”)

R.w.F: <chuckles> Without giving too much away, can you tell us what your book is about?

EDC: Beyond the synopsis I would have to say it is a real coming of age story.  The heroine, Josie Woods, has a lot of personal growth going on through the novel.  It addresses issues that range from coming to terms with death, falling in love and self-awareness.  Josie’s adventure isn’t limited to a journey to a strange world, but the journey of becoming a young adult.

R.w.F: How long did it take you to write this book?

EDC: I was writing the book for about 3 years in my free time. When it was complete I went through the editing process with my writing group and the publishing process for approximately another year on top of that.

R.w.F: What was your inspiration to write this book?
EDC: It may seem cliché, but it came to me in a day-dream. Right before I was about to fall asleep I imagined this scenario and it began to play like a movie in my mind. Then I incorporated my favorite necklace into the idea. It is made of moonstone. This then made me wonder if there was an actual moonflower, and, well, the rest is history.

R.w.F: Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
EDC: Moonflower is a novel that has something for readers of all ages: action, drama, romance and has debuted to positive reviews.

R.w.F: Which of the so-called rules of writing did you hear the most as you wrote?

EDC: When I began writing I had a tendency to use passive voice too often.

R.w.F: What is your opinion of it?

EDC: Passive voice isn’t totally a bad thing but when it is overused in your writing it will weaken your story.   I avoid this problem by trying to use an active voice often so when a passive phrase sneaks in it isn’t so bad.

R.w.F: Are you an outliner, or a seat-of-the-pants writer?

EDC: I am mostly a seat-of-my-pants kind of writer.  I have distinct moments plotted in my mind and I definitely know how I want the book to end. In essence I will start at moment A and the characters play out action toward their goals to reach moment B.  On occasion I will imagine a new plot point that adds action or meaning to the story and I will work that in unexpectedly.

R.w.F: Why pantsing?

EDC: As an artist, creativity tends to be a very kinetic thing.  I understand the use of an outline and can appreciate those that use them but I have never enjoyed them myself.  For some reason I find it to be busy work, yet it can be very useful.  It is simply how I work—to each their own and all that.

R.w.F: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

EDC: Well, it was really a two-part process. It started by reading Twilight with my husband at a friend’s recommendation. If I am completely honest, at the risk of upsetting Twilighters, it became a running joke with my husband how many times Stephenie Meyer used the word “dazzling.” I still enjoyed the book and read the rest of the series, but I came to the conclusion that it was a good entertaining book without Pulitzer Prize winning writing. I thought to myself I can do that!

As the Twilight craze continued I noticed a few of my students were reading the book. During discussion with a group of girls some had admitted that they would wait for the movie rather than read the thick YA novel. Later that week I saw a girl thumbing through a book she was debating to read. She decided to check it out of the library when she saw the illustrations. This made me decide that I wanted to write a book that would be appealing to young readers yet still challenge them as budding readers. As an art teacher my artistic skills would be put to good use in drawing my own chapter header illustrations. It was my hope that young readers would be less intimidated to read novels while growing their vocabulary and ability for sustained reading.

R.w.F: What is your take on the “rule” to write what you know?

EDC: There is a truth in it. Obviously fiction writers are creating their own worlds and scenarios but to bring a character to life a writer must breathe life into him. The best way to make a character is to understand his/her emotions through your own experiences. How can you write love, hate or sadness if you have never felt it yourself?

R.w.F: Good point. Do you have any writing projects you are working on?

EDC: I am working on the sequel to Moonflower of which I’m not willing to give away too many details. I’ll save the title for a future blog reveal, but I want you to relish in the idea that our characters will meet again—with a few new friends.
I have another series I am working on that will shy away from the period era setting and stretch the idea of fantasy. This project is a long way off as I work on the Moonflower series.

This interview will continue on Wednesday. 

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