I am so excited to have Jean Johnson here on my blog today to discuss her newest release 'Shifting Plains'. She has been one of my favorite authors since I first picked up 'The Sword', the first book in her Sons of Destiny Series; I was completely addicted, and I know I am not the only one. So here is a bit about Jean Johnson:
On to the interview:
(BBB) Please tell us a bit about Shifting Plains....
(JJ) All her life, Tava grew up believing the Shifterai were cruel, based on what happened to her mother long ago. But her life among the Mornai isn’t much better. When her father dies and the village elders try to take away her inheritance, she’s rescued by the very people she fears. The truth of life on the Shifting Plains is far different than she imagines, however, and it’s up to Kodan and the other shifters to show her the life she should be living. Along the way, there are mysteries, danger, romance, and grass logs. Yes, grass logs. (You have to read the book to get the joke hidden in that last one.)
(BBB) What made you interested in writing romance? or fantasy? or both...
(JJ) For the romance part, I blame Priscilla, my mother’s best friend. She slipped me a Harlequin Romance when I was 15, behind my mother’s back. It was a very tame romance (not unexpected, given the imprint), but I was hooked. For the fantasy…I suppose we could blame fairy tales and such. I’ve always read fantasy and science-fiction, even when I was very little.
(BBB) What is your favorite food?
(JJ) Candy: Dark chocolate, specifically Michel Cluizel’s 85% Grand Noir. Restaurant dessert: It’s a tossup between a Maple Nut Blondie from Applebee’s, and Chocolate Suicide from Grazie: Ristorante Italiano. Fix-it-yourself: Either homemade Mac’n’Cheese with at least 4 kinds of cheese, or Chicken Satay, also from scratch. Oddball food: Avocados in maple syrup. (Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!)
(BBB) Which of the Sons of Destiny is your favorite? (mine is Rydan)
(JJ) *headdesk* Everyone asks me this question… I like them all! Honestly, I like them all!
(BBB) Do you write any other genres or do you dream about it? if so which one(s)?
(JJ) Science-fiction, Fantasy, Romance, or some combination thereof. I might mix in some sub-genres, like action/adventure, mystery, comedy (lots of comedy)…but those are the big 3. I usually don’t do straight contemporary romances, though. I’m quirky and I like my stories quirky, or at least with a cool twist.
(BBB) Do you have any writing rituals?
(JJ) Nothing really specific to writing…unless you count scribbling stuff down on sticky notes. My desk looks like a demented mutant daisy. I organize my character notes on sticky notes, keep track of names of places and people, descriptions, so on and so forth, usually fixed back-to-back, but sometimes just stuck around my desk and monitor.
(BBB) Will we see more offshoots like Shifting Plains? Can you reveal any future endeavors?
(JJ) SHIFTING PLAINS (pardon the all-caps, my editor trained me to do this) is technically a stand-alone book…but there are at least 2 cute guys I could follow in additional stories. And there’s still a bit of a mystery at the end of the book I could clear up, even if it’s a couple decades old. Right now, I’m working on a fantasy-romance anthology set in the Sons of Destiny universe…and no, we don’t return to the Isle of Nightfall. Instead, we’ll get to explore new lands.
(BBB) Do you have any pets?
(JJ) Not really. I currently live with a cat, but she’s not mine. I’ll be moving into a new place soon, and at that point the plan is to go to the local pet shelter and hold auditions for the role of Author’s Cat. I’d like a mature actor/actress for the roll (kittens don’t take directions well, are lousy about learning their lines, and keep trying to direct from in front of the camera), but other than that, I have no specific type in mind. Longhaired or short, big or small, noisy or quiet…so long as it’s a cat and we get along from the start, I’ll be happy.
(BBB) Were you a bit sad after writing The Mage?
(JJ) Lol, as much relieved as sad. It was a big series to write, and there were times I wondered if I could pull it off. But just before THE MAGE went to print, I reread the whole series from beginning to end, and found it very satisfactory by the end. All the plot-threads tidied up. I’m very proud of myself about that. (I also don’t recommend reading all 8 books in less than a week. Your head will just about explode from Too Much Plot, lol…or at least mine wanted to.)
(BBB) Do you have any vices?
(JJ) Chocolate. Gooooood dark chocolate. I’m also really getting into webcomics. Bear in mind that many of these have mature themes, PG-13-ish or so, but…I can strongly recommend Girl Genius, Two Lumps, A Girl And Her Fed, Erfworld, Order of the Stick, xkcd, Goblins, The Challenges of Zona, Looking For Group, and Sandusky. Be warned that many of these are well-written and highly addictive.
(BBB) Which book, that you have written, if your favorite?
(JJ) Oh, geez, another one of these questions…I like them all. Really. To be completely honest, if I didn’t like them, I’d have written something else. I got into this writing thing as a reader, because I wanted to read certain really good stories that just weren’t getting written, so I set out to write them myself. I’ll always approach writing from the standpoint of a reader. Now, if you asked me which book of the ones I intend to write in the future would be my favorite, that I could answer. It’s a science-fiction trilogy…well, technically two trilogies…that I’m working on in my spare time. Big story. Really big. The kind I’m hoping I can pull off just right.
(BBB) Which book of any book ever is you favorite, as a reader?
(JJ) Not so much one book, as a 7 book series, The Gandalara Cycle by Randall Garett and Vicki Ann Heydron. I waited over a decade for the final book to come out, and it was worth the wait. The entire series is amazingly well-written, with great plot twists even I didn’t see coming. As for individual books…it’s so hard to decide. So many good stories…so very little time. *whimper* The sucky thing about writing books is that I had to give up most of my leisure-reading time for research-reading instead…but then I’d have to confess I’m an information geek, so it’s not quite that big of a hardship, lol.
(BBB) How many emails do you get a day from fans? or fan mail...I am just curious how much mail a famous author receives. If you get a ton how do you have time to go through it all?
(JJ) Not nearly as many as you’d think. I get a couple emails a week, and a couple letters a month, on average.
(BBB) Did you know who Morg would end up with from the beginning?
(JJ) Yup.Plotted from day 1. There are things in THE SWORD, book 1, that are important in THE MAGE, book 8. In fact, the only character I didn’t have a strong sense for from the start was Danau, heroine of book 7, THE FLAME. She didn’t coalesce as a tangible character until she strode into view in book 6, THE STORM. I sort-of knew what she’d be like before that point, but when she came into the scene in the sixth book, that’s when I knew her for sure.
(BBB)If you could have dinner with any one of your characters which one would you pick?
(JJ) Probably Morganen. He’s very intelligent, widely read, has viewed a large number of universes through his mirror scryings, and has a great sense of humor. Being a romance writer kind of sucks, though; all of my heroes are taken, claimed by their heroines…so it’d be a platonic dinner, not a romantic one. I’m quite sure Hope would noogie me fiercely if I tried anything.
Jean Johnson had graciously provided a signed copy of 'Shifting Plains' to give away here to my readers...so go 'here' to enter and to read my review of shifting plains.
Check out Jean Johnson's Webpage, there are some short stories and synopses of all her novels located there.
To purchase, click the picture: