Behind the written word…Author Phoenix Johnson of NNP

This week my publisher made a different kind of request. She wanted each of us to choose a fellow Naughty Nights Press author and do a blog post about them, shed some light as to what makes each of us tick. I’ve literally seen hundreds of author interviews on blogs over the years and I thought to myself, well haven’t we already done this? But then I had to admit to myself that the interview questions and answer sections, were repetitive and safe. It was merely another promotional vehicle for authors to sling new releases. Yes we all love to write but what emotions, are we sharing with our readers? We take them into parallel worlds to our own and we drag them through the mud from Once Upon a Time, to The End. So I thought to myself what kinds of questions would really cross that boundary-line between comfort and truly getting a our reader’s attention and really showing us what makes an author tick inside.

This was my interview with NNP Author Phoenix Johnson.

1.  Why do you write?

I’ve always been a reader, and loved the written word. During school, I enjoyed assignments of writing fictional stories, and even creating book covers for Book Week contests (bragging a little here, but I won both years we had that contest!). I wrote on and off during my childhood, but eventually lost the drive for it until I was encouraged to take it up again in 2009, and I haven’t looked back. It’s part of who I am. I couldn’t stop writing now as much as I couldn’t stop loving chocolate 😉
2. What struggles do you face in everyday life that make it hard to write on some days? 
Studying for my university degree definitely limits my time, concentration and willingness to do anything at times. It can be pretty draining. Having a 5 year old is just as draining at times. However she’s getting pretty good with reading, so happily reads to herself sometimes, and is at school Monday to Friday, so that helps quite a bit. The worst thing, though, is a muse that is as fickle as you can get. I can plan all I want that *today* will be the day I get writing done. And I might be lucky to get 100 words, or I could smash out 7000 words. She’s highly unpredictable and there is no taming her. I’ve tried!
3. What one moment in your life made you want to be a writer.
One moment… Well it’s not a moment, so much as a book. I was reading Stephen King’s “Eyes of the Dragon” in grade 8 for a major assignment in my advanced class (aka “Nerd Class”). The power behind his words, the magic of the story, had me yearning to take up writing again. I started writing a story, and was progressing fairly well, albeit slowly due to school commitments and being tired by the time I got home and finished my homework. I did give up again lately, but that is always the “moment”, so to speak, that sticks with me. 
4. What was the worst day of your life and have you used writing to help deal?  
Easily the worst day was the day we found out that our son had died, not even two weeks before he was due to be born. I don’t think anything could compare to that. It felt as though my heart was being ripped out piece by piece, and I still get anxiety attacks over a year later. For those who have seen LOTR, and know the scene where King Theoden is speaking to Gandalf after buring his son, is one of the most painful things for me to watch now, because I know how badly it hurts, and his words are exactly right: no parent should have to bury their child. 
Although my muse is still fleeting still, writing has helped a little. I’ve written a little piece on losing our boy, though at this point I’ve only shared it with friends. The pain has also helped the darker side of some of my stories. I get into this really dark mood and it comes through in my WIPs like The Coven, The Crypt and The Lost Youth of Cedar Hill. They’re slow going stories, a little heavy, very dark and long. But I don’t think I could create the necessary darkness for them without the pain I feel every single day now. Don’t get me wrong; I would give those stories to have my boy. But I’m thankful I have something productive and positive to channel that pain, when my muse wants to work with me.
5. Which author inspired you most, to become a writer yourself? 
Originally it was Stephen King (not counting my writing as a younger child). But since I’d given up again for a few years, Anne Bishop helped me come back to it. Not just in reading her Black Jewels novels, but I emailed her on the off-chance of receiving some advice. I was stoked when I got a reply, and any time I consider for a second that writing is too much, I’m not cut out for it, I remember that she took the time to email me advice. Surely I can keep at it, and show her that I was worth helping. 
6. What have you written, where can we find it? 
So far I have two titles out, both through Naughty Nights Press: The Wolf in the Neighborhood is book one in my Wolf Smitten erotic romance trilogy of novellas. The Return of Their Master is a peek at a new world of vampires, and looks at Angie, her sisters and their fight to survive their Creator, their Master, Vitalis, driven insane by a blood sickness contracted from one of his victims. That one has been quite fun, creating a new world and a new look at vampires. 
Both titles can be found at Naughty Nights Press directly (where you can get them in the correct format for your ereaders), All Romance eBooks, Amazon, Amazon UK and Aus, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.
7. What hopes do you have for your future as a writer?
My biggest goal is to get my own novel in print on my own book shelf. A small goal, maybe, yet it would mean the world to me. Though I’d also love to build a fan base that would be eager for me to go to conventions not only in Australia, but also in the US and UK. I’d love to be able to travel once a year to a convention or two overseas and meet fans, fellow authors and enjoy the atmosphere of the publishing world in person. Both of those would make it all seem real. 
Thanks for the opportunity, and for the interesting questions. Hopefully they show something new to people,. 🙂

One response to “Behind the written word…Author Phoenix Johnson of NNP

  1. Thanks for the interview, Kara, it was quite interesting. Certainly different to other interviews I’ve had! I hope this sheds some light for readers as to the real life behind at least one author at a time!

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