Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fibers by Jennifer-Crystal Johnson @goddessfish @brokenpoet






AUTHOR INTERVIEW

First, I’d like to say thank you so much for interviewing me on your blog! I hope you and your readers find my interview as well as my novel, Fibers (Infiltration, #1), interesting =).

It’s great to have you!!  Thanks so much for this chance to find out a little more about you and your books!!  How did you start your writing career?

I’ve been writing for fun since I was about eight, but didn’t actually get paid to write until I was 13. I’ve always been entrepreneurial, so I was doing things like babysitting, car detailing, cleaning houses, and so on from childhood. I saved enough money to record a demo CD when I was 14 as well as buy my own car at 16, and part of that was due to being paid to write from age 13-14 by contributing to an online magazine specifically for teens. The site is no longer there, but it was a great experience and really encouraged me to keep writing no matter what.

What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?

Well, I don’t have a significant other right now – haven’t for going on four years – but my kids, parents, friends, and extended family are all very supportive. My parents especially have always been supportive of me following my dreams, whether those revolved around music or writing. My first novella was published when I was 19, and I’ve had quite a journey of learning since then as well, including continuous efforts to improve my writing style. I started freelancing, too, with the attitude that I can write anything, which landed me my first clients and allowed me to build up to offering editing and full-service self-publishing packages.

I’m sure that if I had a significant other, he would be very supportive and encouraging about my work =). I’ve been doing my own thing full-time as a freelancer since late 2007 and have always managed to stay afloat financially even with three kids and four pets. Some months and years have been pretty lean, but my parents help me when needed, too, because they believe in me and my work. I’m committed to following my dreams for life, so hopefully at least some of them will come true ;).

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

I have two people in particular whom I can count on to give me detailed, specific feedback through comments within a manuscript. One of them gave me feedback this way for Fibers, while my other friend and I talked, brainstormed, and did plot and character troubleshooting over the phone. Both of them were crucial in my process of making this book awesome, so I am eternally grateful =).

Plotter or Pantser? Why?

I’m definitely a plotter, but with pantser tendencies! Plotter because I really like to know what’s supposed to be happening when so I have a sort of map to follow, but sometimes you just have to let go and write. Drafts are awesome because you can go back and change them to fit your needs later; nothing is set in stone =). Sometimes you just need to zone out and write a few thousand words.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

I’ve actually had a few of those (shootings, car accidents, someone trying to break in, etc.), but by far the scariest was when my ex-husband had a loaded .45 pressed to my face. I thought for sure he would kill me that night, and I was pregnant with my younger daughter, so he would have killed both of us had he pulled the trigger. I mentioned earlier that I haven’t had a significant other in about four years (my ex-husband wasn’t my last relationship, though, just to clarify); it’s very difficult for me to get into a serious relationship without being friends and having a solid connection first, usually based on in-depth, intelligent conversations for hours at a time. I make friends easily and always have, but I can’t allow myself to jump into something like that quickly. That was how I wound up with my ex-husband to begin with (by being young and stupid), so... lesson learned, right?

Fortunately, because of his abuse, manipulation, coercion, and fear tactics, I was able to learn a great deal from a psychological standpoint. The experience also inspired me to create the Soul Vomit anthology to help raise awareness and inspire victims and survivors of domestic violence to leave and to remember their strength after they do. Submissions are open, by the way: www.SoulVomit.com. The current theme is Domestic Violence Reversed, focusing on female abusers and non-physical abuse. Of course other works are also welcome, but that’s the main theme for this volume.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a musician =). I began keyboard (electronic piano) lessons when I was eight in CO and absolutely fell in love with music. A few months after I started I composed my first instrumental song. Because the instrument was electronic, I could record tracks and bring all of the necessary elements together myself by adding drums, bass, and various instrumental parts. I’d always been involved in the church choir, too, so my singing voice developed fairly quickly and it wasn’t long before I tediously taught myself how to sing and play at the same time. The song I used for that was Smile (“Smile though your heart is aching, smile even though it’s breaking,” etc.). It wasn’t unusual to find me playing the keyboard with my headphones on until 3:00 or 4:00 AM, trying to perfect the recording of a specific track for a new song I’d written.

Once I began writing song lyrics, I also started writing poetry and fiction took a bit of a back seat in my teen years (because I was a brooding, angst-filled teen poet! Lol), but everything comes full circle ;).

What do you do to unwind and relax?

There are a few things I like to do to unwind and relax. When the kids get home from school, if I’ve been working all day already, I take a break to cook them dinner, usually something with salad or meat/fish & veggies. I like to enjoy a glass of wine while I’m cooking, and once dinner is finished we all like to sit down together for our meal, maybe with some music on in the background. I absolutely love cooking and love trying new recipes I find online; most of the time, it turns out awesome. There have been a handful of flops along the way over the years, but 95% of the time it turns out awesome and my kids thank me for cooking =).

If I’m stressed out or overwhelmed with computer-related work or client projects, or if my body hurts from sitting and I need a change of pace, I get up and do some cleaning with loud dubstep either on my phone with headphones or on the computer in our front room. Dishes are never-ending, laundry is never-ending, and it never hurts to vacuum or clean the counters in the kitchen. If my house is too cluttered or messy, I tend to become lazy because of feeling overwhelmed, so I try to keep it as clean as I can and make the kids pick up several times a week to maintain things.

The puppy helps when I need a good laugh =). His name is Thor, and he’s hilarious... my bestie recorded this video of him in our kitchen:

Last but not least, if I’ve been sitting there editing or staring at words on a screen all day, I like to sit back and either play a hidden object game from Big Fish or binge-watch a few episodes of a TV show on Netflix; something that doesn’t require me to think or concentrate too much. Some of my all-time favorite shows are Fringe and Supernatural, and recently I finished The Following and started Bates Motel. I also enjoy shows like Revenge, Once Upon a Time, Arrow, House, Bones, and Desperate Housewives.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

If you love to write, then write! Write what you like to write and what you would like to read. Enjoy the process. If you get to a point where you’re no longer enjoying it, make something crazy happen to your characters =). Or do a writing prompt or writing exercise. You can find books full of them (like The 3:00 AM Epiphany or The Pocket Muse) or look some up online.

Read books in your genre but also in other genres... read books about writing if you want to learn more, but mostly, it’s just about writing.

Also, don’t be afraid of research... researching is easier than ever with the internet, so enjoy learning about things you may need for your story.

Laurie, thank you again so much for having me! I appreciate you allowing me to visit your blog and share some of my thoughts, processes, and little bits of my reality with you and your readers =). I hope you enjoy your week!


- Jen

ABOUT THE BOOK

Fibers
by Jennifer-Crystal Johnson





GENRE: Science Fiction


BLURB:

Anna Reynolds is caught up in the middle of a secret interdimensional government agreement... and she doesn't even know it.

There's a medical anomaly loosely dubbed Morgellons disease afflicting a number of people. Symptoms include open sores that produce colorful string-like fibers, fatigue, and nightmarish visions of shadowy figures. No one knows where it came from. No one knows what causes it. There is no cure.

When Anna begins having nightmares and waking hallucinations of the shadow people, her uneasiness about her condition grows. Enlisting the help of her doctor and some friends, Anna is determined to find out what's really going on and why Morgellons is such a mystery.

With her health declining and doubts about whom she can trust, is Anna doomed to become a slave to her condition? Or will she and her unlikely group of would-be heroes come through, saving her... and, ultimately, the world?


EXCERPT

As Anna walked home through the glistening streets of Deeplake, Washington, she adjusted her scarf and wrapped her coat around herself tightly, her breath fogging up the air in front of her. After a brief glance over her shoulder, she quickened her pace, her bag of groceries teetering in her arms momentarily as she readjusted her grip.

She’d been feeling like someone was watching or following her for weeks. At first she just shrugged it off as her own overactive imagination, but the other day, she could’ve sworn she saw a shadow out of the corner of her eye. When she looked, there was nothing there. That wasn’t the first time she had seen shadows. They were always there, just out of sight, their existence never confirmed by a direct glance. But every time it happened, she got goosebumps and the hair on the back of her neck stood on end like it does when you know someone is watching you.

Her left eye began to feel itchy and grainy as she walked, and she cursed herself for not driving. She blinked several times, but after a few moments her eye felt like it had sand in it again. This was accompanied by an unpleasant tickling sensation, which became annoying very quickly.

Her thoughts wandered as her eye got worse. She felt guilty but justified for not mentioning her problems to Casey, who had more than enough on her plate already. She also didn’t want to come across as crazy; Anna was certain she wasn’t. Some of the recent events in her life were crazy, but she was definitely sane.

Do crazy people think they’re sane?


AUTHOR Bio and Links:


Jennifer-Crystal Johnson is originally from Germany, but was raised an Army brat. She has published one novella under her former last name, The Outside Girl: Perception is Reality (Publish America, 2005 - out of print as of 2013), a poetry book, Napkin Poetry (Broken Publications, 2010), and a collection of poetry, art, and prose called Strangers with Familiar Faces (Broken Publications, 2011). 

She's also published a collection of short creature horror stories called If You're Human Don't Open the Door (Broken Publications, 2012), a personal development book called The Ten Pillars of a Happy Relationship (Broken Publications, 2014), and a collection of more horror stories (no creatures this time, just people) called Our Capacity for Evil (Broken Publications, 2015). 

She has several poems and short stories published on Every Writer's Resource and has recently published a science fiction novel called Fibers, the first book in the Infiltration Trilogy. Jen owns and operates Broken Publications (www.BrokenPublications.com) and publishes an annual anthology to raise awareness about domestic violence called Soul Vomit (www.SoulVomit.com). 

When she isn't writing or editing, she enjoys playing games with her three kids, watching crime shows on Netflix, or reading. She lives in WA State with her three children, three cats, and a crazy puppy named Thor. You can connect with her at www.JenniferCrystalJohnson.com, @brokenpoet, or www.Facebook.com/JenniferCrystalJohnson.




GIVEAWAY


The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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