This is the last interview in the Emerging Writer Interview Series. I can't believe that I have talked to so many amazing debut authors! I really enjoyed talking to each one of them and making connections with them. Without further ado here is my interview with the talented Michelle Johnson, author of the novel Truth. I hope you will support this new self-published author!
Why don’t you first tell us a little about yourself?
From a very early age, I was always drawn to stories of mythical creatures and all things paranormal. The scarier something was, the more it intrigued me. I became obsessed with shows like Tales from the Cryptkeeper and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, along with authors like R.L Stine and Christopher Pike.
Drawing became my passion in my teens, which led me to pursue a career in graphic design and marketing so that I could always use my creativity to the fullest. I’ve now been in the industry for over seven years and love being able to bring the thoughts in my head to life on paper.
Over the past five years, I’ve rekindled my love for writing, which has now brought me here to this moment!
Did you always possess a passion for writing? When did you have the epiphany that you actually wanted to publish your work?
I used to write constantly as a kid, coming up with crazy short stories about vampires and werewolves - my parents used to think I was so weird HAHA - I still have them to this day! Writing (alongside drawing) was an outlet for me, using it as a tool to release stress or whenever I felt creative.
The idea to publish my work popped into my head when I was about eighty percent done writing Oleah Chronicles. I was so in love with the story, but I was scared to share it. Scared to open my thoughts and imagination to the world in fear of judgement. Once I finished it, I forced myself to get out of my comfort zone and share it with a couple of really close friends and fellow avid readers. They basically told me, I’d be making a huge mistake not putting my story out there. That’s when the research began!
What draws you to write fantasy? Will this be your chosen genre or do you want to write in others?
I’m obsessed with the notion that anything can be brought to life with just a thought when it comes to the world of fantasy. If I think up a two headed peacock, that’s half mermaid and call it a Merpea, it can be done! Anything goes!
I will totally stick to this genre, it’s where my mind feels at home. I do however, love romance as well, so combining the two genres is more than likely an avenue I’ll stay in.
Truth is about the journey the main character, Angel, takes to find out her truth. Everything that she’s been led to believe as truth in her life is a lie. The official synopsis is:
Sixteen-year-old Angel Seriki must face overwhelming truths about her family when she meets Zander Black, a new student to her high school who is smart, charming and devastatingly beautiful. The revelations he uncovers to her about her family's past changes everything, and as her relationship and feelings for Zander deepen, so do the risks involved. She must now accept her fate and face the true reality of who and what she is. Even if that means giving up everything, including being human.
Where did this idea come from? I love the idea of becoming an animal! I always wished I could do that haha.
To be honest with you, this wasn’t planned. It just happened, and it completely consumed me. I sat down one day at the computer and began to write. Next thing I knew, this story took shape and I was three chapters in completely consumed with this world and these characters I had created.
What kind of research did you do for your book?
I can’t really say there was much research; I had to think back to what I was like as a teen and all the things that I used to do. I did however, find myself re-reading old diaries from when I was thirteen (yes, I still have them) to get into character and draw inspiration from.
Who are your favourite characters and why?
I love Angel. She reminds me so much of myself when I was teen. She’s socially awkward, but knows what she likes and what she doesn’t like. Her emotions are all over the place and even though she’s flawed, she’s not to be underestimated.
What is you favourite scene and why?
I have sooooo many favourite scenes! If I really had to pick one though, I’d have to say it’s in the seventh chapter when Angel has finally found out the truth. All she wants to do is go home and introvert and makes up a story so she can get out school. Zander ends up confronting her and the interaction between the two of them was so much fun to write. There’s so much tension when they’re around each other I found it hilarious.
Betrayal and consequences are all a part of finding out the truth in Oleah Chronicles. I’m really looking forward to exploring them further with the second and third installment.
How did you go about writing your book? What is your planning process (if you have one)
Once I finally decided to see this through to the end, I brainstormed a LOT on where this story could go and how I could get there. Everyday that I’d sit down to write, I’d map out where I wanted to take the story that day. The story took me five years to complete. The first year I was engulfed in it, then went through one too many trials in my personal life that left me uninspired. I was in a very dark place, and I never wrote for three full years until I came across the story again while sorting through some documents. After rereading up to the point I had gotten to, something came back to life inside me and I was motivated to write once more. Determined to not allow myself to give up on Oleah Chronicles again, I forced myself to write everyday - whether I was feeling inspired or not - I wrote. It got me back in the groove and on a schedule which helped me finish the remainder of the book in three months.
You have self- published, why did you go down this road and what advice to do you have for other writers?
I decided to pursue self publishing because at first I wanted the book to just be for friends and family. Signing up to Lulu opened my eyes to so many possibilities and provided me with so much information on how their distribution channels worked. The more research I did, the more compelled I felt to take on the challenge and see where it took me.
Being a newbie to this world is such a learning process! I’m continuously learning new things everyday. What I would tell anyone looking to get into self publishing is to join as many writing support groups as you can. There are so many other authors out there that know the struggle and are willing to help! I’ve gotten so much insight, tips and connections from other writers after joining support groups and I’m so grateful for it. The writing world does not have shortcuts. You have to be willing to put in the work, be consistent and put on your comfy shoes because the road ahead is long. The prize that awaits at the end of that road, however, is definitely worth the journey.
Are you working on the other books in the chronicles yet? If so, could we get a little preview?
I am currently writing the second installment to the Oleah Chronicles series. The only preview I can share for now is the name. It will be called Oleah Chronicles: Justice.
Justice is quite different than Truth. There’s much more action and it will definitely pull on your heart strings. I’m looking to get it released the beginning of 2016. The evolution of this story is one definitely worth following. I can’t wait to share it!
Thank you so much for doing this interview with me! I think that your book sounds really interesting and the premise of it is really enticing. I love stories like this and I think many others out there like it too. Good luck with the remainder of the series!
If you want to remain up to date on Michelle’s writing adventures you can follow her on her other accounts: