Interview with C. S. Johnson

What's the story behind your latest book?
I'm currently working on "Kingdom of Ash & Soot," which is an alternative historical spy adventure set in 1870s Prague. I was inspired to write it because my father's family is originally from that area of Eastern Europe, and I wanted to write something to pay homage to that as well as my love of fairy tales and romantic adventures. My main character, Eleanora Svodovoba, is a nineteen year old girl living as a servant in her own household when her maternal grandmother arrives and calls on Eleanora and her brother, Ben, to help her stop an assassination attempt on the deposed king of Bohemia, Ferdinand V. Along with learning how to fight, and why she should fight, Eleanora interacts with the high socalites of Prague, the members of the League of Ungentlemanly Warfare, and a number of her mother's friends from a long time ago -- and a prince in disguise. It's a fun, coming of age novel that grows into a heroine's adventure.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I am too impatient to be a traditionally published author. I like experimenting with POV and going off-beat, and I like having full control of my content as well as my publishing. I'm very grateful for the chance to share my work with others, and one day I hope to make a successful living off of it. In the meantime, people matter more than pennies. I'll keep writing as much as I can.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I really love the added exposure that Smashwords gives my work. I also love how easy it was to figure things out and upload my work.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I've always been shy as a person, so writing is a way for me to say things I would stumble on in person. I don't think I would make a great famous person, because even though I have a lot of things to say -- and a lot of questions I'd like to ask -- I still struggle with finding the right words when I am speaking in person. My greatest joy in writing is that it is like an ongoing conversation I am having with God and myself, and other people are allowed to join and ask questions, too.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans are great! I do really love them, and I enjoy writing emails and hanging out with them on social media. Some days their kindness makes all the difference, and I cannot thank them enough for it.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on writing more! It's hard to choose a particular genre to stick with, so I do tend to jump around. I'd really like to finishing my Kingdom series, finish up another sci-fi adventure, and work on a few fantasy series I have in mind. I also want to try my hand at darker fantasy and horror, and a rom-com or two. When you are writing just to write, you can do anything you want.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are so many it is hard to name just a few. I like C. S. Lewis, for all sides of his work, and T. S. Eliot is my favorite poet. I enjoy complicated fiction, so I like Amy Tan, George Orwell, and Andrew Klavan. I also enjoy writers such as Ravi Zacharias, Nabeel Qureshi, Max Lucado, and others that offer more insights to the soul. All of the writers I have read and loved, I have kept close in my heart. Much of their influence in my work can be seen at interchanging intervals.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I keep busy with my family -- and trying to keep up with housework and laundry. I am what I call a "Stay at Home Sex Goddess," because I can barely cook and I hardly clean, but I do know I have to actually try to do my chores! My children are young, and much of what I write is written in hopes that they will one day read them. They will likely recognize "mom's humor."
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
My mom is still my greatest influence, and occaisonally I will read books that are recommended by school lists. I find it amusing that I write fiction, because I really like memoirs and history books. I think most of my work is a blending of those two things -- I walk the line between "real" and "true," in order to help people see what is real and what is true.
How do you approach cover design?
I pay people good money to make me happy, and sometimes to make me see that their view of happiness is better. I am befuddled by a lot of computer work, so I pay the experts to do their jobs and enhance my own output. I do love my cover artists, and my challenge many times is to make sure my stories are as good as the covers themselves.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing when I was really young; I've always had a passion for stories and language, and that is why I became a teacher. I started writing as a full time job at the end of 2016. My goal is to make enough money off my books that I can raise my kids and make a living, so I don't have to go back to teaching. It was a real drain on my emotional and mental facilities.
Published 2017-12-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Beauty's Gift
Series: Once Upon A Princess Saga. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 53,610. Language: English. Published: January 5, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales
Finally back home in Rhone, Rose attends to matters of state and family while she prepares for the battle of her life.
Beauty's Kiss
Series: Once Upon A Princess Saga. Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 55,650. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales
Headed once more for home, Rose must face the reality of her fears -- and her secret longing. Will she allow her heart to break before she breaks it first?
Beauty's Quest
Series: Once Upon A Princess Saga. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 58,960. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales
Along with her friends, Princess Rose sets out in search of Dragon's Blood in order to break her curse. With delays and dangerous quests along the way, Rose has to face her greatest fear -- one that includes the secret longing inside of her heart.
Beauty's Curse
Series: Once Upon A Princess Saga. Price: Free! Words: 44,050. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Fairy tales
In this historical fantasy fairy tale retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Princess Aurora of Rhone -- Rose to her friends -- knows the truth of her curse, and she sets out with her friends to find a way to break it. But when the king calls her back home, she finds herself faced with a harrowing ultimatum: Abdicate the throne, or get married.
The Heights of Perdition (Book 1 of the Divine Space Pirates)
Series: The Divine Space Pirates. Price: Free! Words: 87,060. Language: English. Published: December 20, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Sci-fi, Fiction » Science fiction » Utopias & dystopias
Aerie St. Cloud is determined to earn her father's love, her family unit's acceptance, and her nation's respect, but her plans quickly fall apart when she realizes she is falling in love with the one man who wants to destroy them all.
Slumbering (Book 1 of the Starlight Chronicles)
Series: The Starlight Chronicles, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 62,980. Language: English. Published: December 17, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
A narcissistic teenager is reluctant to save his city from evil after learning he is a fallen Star with superpowers. With demons, dragons, and all the fun and terror of high school, Slumbering is the first book in the epic fantasy adventure series from C. S. Johnson.
Searching (A Prequel to the Starlight Chronicles)
Series: The Starlight Chronicles, Book 0. Price: Free! Words: 61,540. Language: English. Published: December 31, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Coming of age
Long before she took up the title of Starry Knight, Raiya Cole was born to fight demons -- starting with her own.