Interview with John Usher

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
It was a short paragraph about a ghost, the Spirit of Wisdom, protecting a loved one from a storm by keeping her in the eye. It was short and to the point in order to fit into an sms. I sent it to my then girlfriend, and it started a whole new career for me.

Ok. So maybe not a story. But it was the first thing I wrote. My first complete book is the Dragon and the Slayer.
What is your writing process?
I love words! I will play with them in my mind and in my mouth for a while as I explore them meaning and context for its use. That usualy sparks a story ending or theme. From there its like building a puzzle. I search for pieces that would fit, words, scenes, scenarios or concepts that I have played with before. Sometimes I make new pieces. I know I like it when I drool. If a story makes me drool, to me ... its a winner!
How do you approach cover design?
Hmmm, I am not great with cover design. Well, not yet. I like graphics or pictures that are symbolic. I like the graphics to represent a deeper meaning in the story. Maybe thats the problem, I dont always successfully connect graphic and symbolism. Note to self: Explore simpler cover designs
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I am David - Anne Holm. It was a somber experience with sparkling highlights. I first discovered how a story could move people's emotions.
Angels and Demons - Dan Brown. Thought provoking, cleverly combining real facts with the authors imagination.
Animal Farm - George Orwell. It was part of school reading list. The first time I read it it made no sense. The second time I read it I thought the author was insane. I liked the was he fused the political views with creative and symbolic ideals. Delicious.
Circles in the Forest - Dalene Matthee. Multi-layered story with complex character developments around a valuable cause (even by todays standards - maybe more so), written so simply, so beautifully.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams. Zaney. Original. Silly. Not so well written as so captivating for someone with an overactive imagination.
What do you read for pleasure?
Hmmm, anything by Terry Pratchett, (uh hem! That would be Sir to you!)
Describe your desk
Haha Really? Ok. Computer screen. Wireless keyboard, note book and pencil, empty 2l coke bottles and empty salt and vinegar chip packets. I can never remember eating or drinking, but there always seems to be empties...!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Middelburg, Mpumalanga, South Africa. Brrr... bad influlence. Poor schooling has led me to fail at basic language skills. I spend a lot of time researching things I think most would writers would take for granted.
When did you first start writing?
In the army. Yup. I was in the army. It was compulsary conscript when I was a youngster. I was a medic and had a bit of freedom in my daily duties. I scribbled when I could.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Oh i love it all. I love the research and planning at the start. I love the first draft, and re-working it to be effecient with words but elaborate in concepts. Oooh I love to watch people read my work (always wonder if the rollercoaster ride is the same for them reading as it was for me writting it.) And feedback. Well.... sometimes.
What do your fans mean to you?
I have....?
What are you working on next?
Two books at the same time. Stories. One an adventure, mystery thing. Krugers Treasure is the title. The book explores the legend of mission gold.... (can you feel the tension?)
Life Inconvenient. A story of a young girl that goes in search of her father and the truth of her strange life. (Did I get the tension right this time?)
Who are your favorite authors?
So many. Books are like meals, to be enjoyed in the moment. I learn from each one and like each author for a season. I like (Sir) Terry Prachett for relax time. Ernest Hemmingway (Duh! Obviously), Lydia Davis, J.K Rowling (Flip it - she is beautiful, rich and famous, with titles and imagination!). Don Passos. But, I like to explore the unknows too - you know - support my peers in the hope we all get "discovered".
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I love morning. Its a new day. A fresh start. A clean canvas. I get up stirred, ready to stirr. I am a tea spoon, you know!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
With a camera. With a friend (nudge nudge, wink wink) Lecturing. On the internet. Running. Camping. Phfff - working.
Published 2015-10-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Ghost Talk
Price: Free! Words: 14,450. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Short stories, Fiction » Inspirational
Ghost Talk is a collection of short stories. The stories are about interactions between an ordinary man and a ghost. The spirit is a whimsical character of charm and adventure. He loves animals and people. The ghost is the spirit of Wisdom. He openly shares his wit, wisdom and life lessons. The man in the stories isn't always ready to learn the lessons the spirit of Wisdom has to offer.
The Dragon and The Slayer
Price: Free! Words: 18,060. Language: English (South African dialect). Published: October 18, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / General, Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / General
This book has a dual personality. Firstly, It is a self-development introduction to the power of values and beliefs. Secondly, woven into the non-fictional fibre, is a fantasy story about Osram, a Slayer that seeks to rescue a Princess from the dragon that stole her. The story shadows the non-fictional content and exercises given in the book, providing an example of possible practical application.