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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Please Welcome Author...Reese Johnson!!

Thank you for taking the time to interview with us! Reese’s newest release is Soul Searchers. His paranormal, interracial novella became available in e-book in June 2008!

Reese’s Sites are:
I really was lucky there. My sister-in-law is an author and coached me on how to submit to publishers and my first novella, Sex & Chocolate was published. I did have to go through the same submission steps, editing and everything else that all the others went through.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
I’m a big Stephen King fan. I read James Patterson, L. Ron Hubbard, Dan Brown, and a lot of others.

Many authors are doing strictly e-books, do you think this is just a trend, or does it spell the end of real books?
Neither. I think print books will always be popular and I can’t imagine reading Of Mice & Men any other way, but e-books are designed for the busy life people lead today. With many people commuting by either bus or train is a long haul, so pdf readers are an easy way for them to catch up on their reading. E-books are definitely here to stay.

How long does it take for you to write books?
I’ve only written novellas so far. Sex & Chocolate took about a week for the first draft, and Soul Searchers took about three weeks for the first draft. Now the new coming out soon, A Purrrfect Mating took about six weeks because I started out writing one thing and then it turned into something completely different, which was a new aspect of writing for me. I’m not sure I ever sit down thinking “I’m going to write a book.” It’s more like the stories just form in my mind and I write down what I see there.

Is there any character in your books that you can really relate to?
Well, I would have to say the black men since I am a black man, but I don’t necessarily write from self-experience, I write mostly from the things and people I’ve seen in the past.

Do you see yourself writing in the same genre in 10 years? If not then what?
LOL If I’m still alive in ten years, I hope I’m writing something substantial and not just for entertainment purposes.

Where do your story ideas come from?
Do you use people you know as characters sometimes or even sometimes a certain event from real life happenings? Actually, I spent many, many years in prison. In 1966, Oklahoma was a very racial state and I was a young, black kid, stupid and hard headed and got into trouble for robbing a white motel clerk. I was convicted of robbery and sentenced to ninety-nine years in prison. I saw a lot of things in the years I was there, and I met a lot of people I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. Prison is the most basic lifestyle a person can live. You have the bare necessities and anything extra is guarded like your last breath. Survival instincts are the only thing that determines the type of life you will live while inside, and because of that you get to see the worst in human beings. Occasionally you also see the very best, but these are the experiences I draw on when I write.

What is your favorite part of writing?
The finished work! Seriously, have that completed manuscript polished and ready for publication is a great feeling.

Do you have any projects you are currently working on?
Yes, I’m getting ready for the edits on A Purrrfect Mating, and I’ve got another little something I’m working on that’s not quite finished playing out in my head yet!

Do you write your stories out with pencil and paper first or do you work straight on the computer?
I’m a pen and paper man. I’m just learning the key board, so it’s difficult to write straight to the computer with my hunt and peck style, so I write my stories out on paper and then I have a little help with the typing.

You just recently were published. How does it make you feel?
I’ve had two books published this year with a third coming out soon—it feels unreal. Completely unreal like did I really do this?

Getting back to your books coming out soon. Tell us a little about what to expect from them.
A Purrrfect Mating is a novella about two shape shifters. One is a black man in his mortal form, and he’s a black panther in his cat form. The female is white woman in her human form and a cougar in her cat form. This is a humorous little cat fight that is really a good excuse for hot sex!

When and where can we purchase your books?
Sex & Chocolate, and Soul Searchers are both available from Noble Romance Publishing at, and A Purrrfect Mating will be available from Noble as well, but there is no release date at the moment.

How do you feel about fans doing fan fiction and/or roleplaying on the web based on your or other author's works?
This is a new one on me, but I’ve heard imitation is the finest form of flattery!

What are you reading right now?
The Second Virgin Birth by Tommy Thompson.

Are there any authors (living or dead) that you would name as influences?
James Patterson, Stephen King, John Steinbeck, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and others.

Favorite films?
The Boondock Saints, It’s A Wonderful Life, but I like most sci-fi movies.

Favorite music?
I love the blues. Nina Simone, John Lee Hooker, Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Frankie Beverly and Maze are some of my favorites.

If you had a book club, what would it be reading — and why?
Probably one of the classics like The Great Gatsby because I think those are important writings that say something about our way of life that never really changes. Books like Of Mice and Men, The Hotel New Hampshire, The Old Patagonian Express, One Hundred Years of Solitude are all more than just books, they are piece of who we used to be and who we are now.

What else do you want your readers to know?
My family is the light of my life. I love going to the lake with them, having barbeques, and just spending time with all of them. We ride motorcycles, go 4-wheeling, and I like weeding the garden and taking care of all the dogs.

When did you first realize that you were a writer?
Ha! Still waiting on that epiphany!

What will the role of the Internet play in the future of publishing?
The Internet is huge and for authors, that’s a wonderful thing. There are so many ways to get your name and titles out there to the public that just wasn’t available prior to the advent of home computers.

Why did you choose your genre?
The m/m erotic romance genre chose me. As I said, I spent time in prison and same sex relationships are quite common. I have a sci-fi mind so for Soul Searchers I put the two together, gay werewolves and it worked. Also, I knew a lot of people who were HIV positive or died from AIDS, so that played into the writing of Sex & Chocolate.

How do you create your characters? What determines their characteristics and names?
They are all basically based on people I’ve known, but the names are changed. How that happens, I really don’t know, they just come to me as I’m thinking of how I’m going to make a character fit the plot.

What do you think is the future of writing and publishing?
This is an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds, especially the e-book publishers. I recently read that print books sales had decreased 3.9% but e-book sales were up more than 160%. So I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say we’ll be around a while.

If you could choose one thing to be remembered by, what would it be?
That I learned from my mistakes and that the people I love know without a doubt they are the most important part of my life and I wouldn’t trade what I have right now for anything in the world.

Do you use a pseudonym? More than one? Why?
Sort of. Reese is my nickname and it’s what my family calls me, so I decided I may as well use it when I started writing.

Many writers have had success writing in different genres. Do you think it is difficult to switch over to another genre?
I don’t pay much attention to things like genres. My sister-in-law told me to “just write” and don’t worry about anything else, so that’s what I do and so far, so good!

Would you share a few thoughts on what the writing life is to you?
I learned really fast that the writing part is the least of it! Once you find a publisher and have been through editing, it’s like “why did I want to do this?” But the biggest part of writing is selling yourself, because you have to be able to sell yourself in order to sell your work, and that’s difficult for me. Promotions is the biggest part of writing.

What advice would you give writers looking to get published?
Start promoting yourself before you’re ready to be published, join groups, get a web page, even if it’s only on My Space. Start a blog, and get your name out there.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
All writers love hearing from their readers, so drop me a line, ask questions, or tell me what you think about my books.

Do you ever look back and think, "I wish I had written this differently?"
Oh no. That would be defeatist, but I do look back and think, “what can I do differently next time that will improve my writing.”

How long does it take you to complete a book, from the time the idea for the book is conceived, to when you submit it to your editor?
That depends on the book, but so far I’ve not written a full-length novel, so my time has been pretty short. I know for some authors it can take months or even years, and that’s probably why I haven’t attempted a full-length just yet.

Where can aspiring writers go to learn about the business?
I would recommend joining groups, either Yahoo or critique groups, or both. Also, thoroughly read submission guidelines on publisher sites. Some of the guidelines seem lengthy and ridiculous, but if you can’t follow submission guidelines, how are you ever going to follow editorial suggestions and changes? Also, chat with authors, ask questions, and join writing blogs. The Internet offers a plethora of resources for writers.


Thanks so much for joining us today, Reese! It was an honor and a pleasure getting to know you!

1 Moonbeams (comments):

Molly Daniels said...

Great interview, Reece:) I'm also a fan of James Patterson and some Stephen King.