Author Interview: Tristan Johnson

(I’m leaving the interview up, but please be advised, as of May 2016, I cannot find Mr. Johnson anywhere.)

 

Welcome everyone.  Today, Tristan has come in from Dallas, TX to visit with us.  I’d suggest giving a warm pukah welcome, but I’ve had to hide the glitter.  The pukah are a little too fond of it I’m afraid.  Hope you don’t mind Tristan.

However, while I’m bringing in refreshments, will you get us started with a little about yourself, and where you are from?

  • I’m from rural Oklahoma, grew up way out in the country. I have degrees in History and Philosophy from Oklahoma State University. I was lucky to have a very close family growing up. I lost my brother to a car accident when I was eleven years old, and I think that was perhaps the most formative experience of my life.

I can well imagine.  Thank you for starting while I retrieved the drinks and snacks.  ::Sets down a pitcher of tea, and the tray of fixings to go with.  Also make sure the plate of finger foods is close at hand as well.::  Do you remember what started you on your writer’s journey?

  • Living in rural Oklahoma growing up was a solitary existence. I read a lot to pass the time, and those worlds I read about gave me an escape to a more exciting place.
  • I’ve been writing on and off since high school. I have always had a passion for it, but I was always too scared to actually follow through.
  • One day I simply decided that I had to do something bigger with my life. I want something to survive me, something I can leave behind that has some kind of impact on people. That’s what makes it so important to me.
  • I suppose I first considered myself an actual “writer” when I devoted myself to finishing my first novel. Since then, it’s been consuming a large part of my life. It’s definitely been a change for me.

I know how that goes, very well.  Almost as if overnight, your writing decides to claim all of your spare time.  Are you at a point you can share information about your work, or some of your plans for the near future?

  • I’m currently working on my first novel, titled The Mannequins Will Sleep. It’s part of a larger series about a revolution in our Solar System, taking place over several colonies and moons. It’s also about man and his wife dealing with the fallout of their failed marriage. She devotes herself to the revolution and to overthrowing the current social order. He is devoted to stopping her. Will he be able to do it when the time comes? Read and find out!
  • The Mannequins Will Sleep is the only project I have at the current time.
  • In the near future, I’ll be posting excerpts on my website. Stay tuned!

Let me know when it comes out, and I’ll add the update information to the interview post.  Sounds exciting.  How did you come up with your title?  Was it something from the story, or did you have help?

  • I heard it in a song called Revolution, by the band Kamelot. I heard the song shortly after coming up with the idea for the novel, and it really had the tone I was aiming for.

I love how much is such an inspiration to so many different writers.  Speaking of inspiration, do you have any books or authors that have inspired, or helped influence you as you started your writer’s journey?

  • There are so many, but if I had to pick, they would be Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick, A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr., and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I’m also currently reading Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins, which has been an extremely powerful novel.
  • Philip K. Dick is my favorite, by far. He deals a lot in philosophy and metaphysics. What is real and what isn’t? What is the nature of the human mind? I’m awed by some of the stories he has come up with

Do you have any new-to-you authors who turn your head with interest for their stories?

  • Hugh Howey is probably the newest author I’ve read. He exploded on the scene with Wool, and I have really enjoyed the whole series. He’s a great example of success in self-publishing.

Are you reading any of these authors now, or has someone else claimed the top honor in your reading stack?

  • I’m currently about halfway through Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins. It has really impacted me, and by the end of the first one hundred pages, I’ve laughed and cried both. At one point I had to put the book down and really absorb the information. He is a writer unlike any I’ve read, and I look forward to reading some of his other work.

That’s a strong recommendation.  Will have to look his work up.  In the mean time, do you consider any of these authors to be a mentor figure, even if you’ve never met them, or does someone else fill that role for you?

  • I started going to a writer’s group on meetup.com a few months ago, where I met Amber Norrgard. She has been extremely helpful in getting me started, and thinking about the longer term.

That’s what a good mentor does, as well as help you through when you hit a rough patch.  Do you have any others outside the family who have come to support your writing efforts?

  • I owe a lot to all of my friends and coworkers that helped me brainstorm and talk out my ideas.

Sounds like a wonderful bunch to keep in touch with.  Since you talk through your story ideas with coworkers, does that mean you weave realism and personal experiences into your story?

  • The book is science-fiction, but it is somewhat based on reality. It’s not a fantastic tale along the lines of Star Wars or Star Trek.
  • I think the axiom stands that you write what you know, so a lot of the book will have my experiences in it. I predict that it’ll be very much a product of what is inside of me.

::chuckles::  I don’t mind having a good science fiction story, even one set in the near future.  As for what to write, I might dispute that slightly.  Though, that may just be because I wander very deeply into the realms of fantasy.  I’d say “write what you love”, but that’s me.

Since you are writing true science fiction, do you ever weave messages into your writing for the readers to find?

  • Definitely! The female character is strong, and she will change the face of the world as we know it. I want her to be an inspiration for women everywhere, and also to show everyone that female characters don’t have to conform to gender norms as we know them.

Does that affect your writing style, portraying such a strong female lead?

  • I don’t know that I’ve developed a specific “voice” yet. My influences include Philip K. Dick, Haruki Murakami, and R.A. Salvatore. If I was compared to those authors, I’d be very honored.

I’m sure given time, you’ll have a style that is as comfortable for you as a pair of well broken in shoes.  Though, you do have some powerful influences to guide you.  Do you see writing as a possible career going forward?

  • I certainly hope to! But at the time, I’m still keeping my day job.

To paraphrase Spok:  “That is logical”.  (Sorry, the reference to Star Trek brought out my ornery side.)  Realistically speaking, since this is your first book, can you share any of the challenges and lessons you’ve encountered along the way and overcome?

  • The fear of failure really keeps me from writing some days. I look at what I’ve done that day and it disgusts me. I’ve only recently overcome some of that, enough to sit down and actually put in the work.
  • I have a hard time with description and setting. Dialogue comes easier to me. So essentially in my rewrite I add all the sensory images and make it more real for the reader.
  • I learned that I can actually write, and some of it isn’t so bad!

Those are some wonderful accomplishments, indeed.  Have you encountered the dilemma about what to do for your cover yet:  to make it yourself, or working with someone else to have it made?

  • No cover, yet.

When you get there, if they’re taking on new work, I’d strongly advise looking up the Book Cover Shop on Facebook.  They do fantastic work.  And, they are great to work with.  In the mean time, I’ll go ahead and ask you about advice.  Being a brand new author, what would you like to pass on to others who are just starting out?

  • Keep going, keep going, keep going! Don’t stop! And make sure you make a little progress each day. Writing ten words is better than writing none.

So very, very true.  Tristan, as we wrap up, do you have any final words for your future readers?

  • I’m very excited to publish my first work, and I hope it makes an impact. Any feedback and reviews will be much appreciated!

They’ll come.  It may be slow at first, but with determination, and patience, they’ll come.  Tristan, I won’t hold you any longer.  It was a pleasure having up today to visit, and I wish you the best of luck as you launch your first of many books.

 

If you enjoyed the interview, and wish to connect with Tristan, you can find him on Facebook,  his personal Website , on Twitter , and he also accepts email at tristangjohnson1 @ gmail  .com (Yes, I added spaces to keep the crawler spam bots from flooding his email.)

 

If you enjoyed the interview, and wish for me to host one for you, please stop by my Offered Services page, and fill out the simple submission form.  I will get back to you soonest to discuss details.

 

And, mark your calendars, next week we will have Mark Royston in to visit with us.  Until then, happy reading!

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