Interview with Phoenix Johnson

When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I'm currently almost finished my Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Writing and Publishing, so that keeps me pretty busy. Other than that, I'm usually relaxing with my fiance of 10 years, our daughter and our pets, watching a movie or nerding it up with gaming.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Usually I find ones I like through friends (most of them other authors!) sharing their books, or books that they've liked. I used to prefer to find my own books, and still do in regards to print, but with ebooks, I like to see what others are reading, and check those books out myself.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Well that depends on how far back we want to go haha! Going right back to primary school, I vaguely remember writing one about unicorns when I was about 8 years old, I believe. The first one that I was serious about, though, was one I started when I was 13. That one still isn't finished, but I do intend to go back to it one day and finish it. I had just read Stephen King's Eyes of the Dragon, and I will admit that it is inspired just a little by that story, yet vastly different.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
Oh this is hard. I think I'm going to have to broaden it to series/authors in some cases.
1. Anne Bishop. I absolutely love the dance of power in her stories. Both genders are powerful in their own ways, and she really shows that a person can be strong no matter what class they're born into, what gender they are. And she also shows that the scariest monsters are often people just like us.
2. The Book of The Dunn Cow. I can't remember the author right now, but, in all its absurdity, that one was just stuck with me since I started reading it when I was 13.
3. Stephen King's Eyes of the Dragon. Another that just stuck with me. I might have even been 12 when I read it, to be honest. I can't quite remember. The mystery, the struggle of the underdog, the magic and the evil, it all spoke to a young mind intrigued by the paranormal, horror, the unknown.
4. James Clemens' The Banned and The Banished. I'll admit I had a little crush on Er'ril, the strong, steadfast guardian from the Standi Plains, with his grey eyes and strength that went beyond the physical. The chemistry between him and Elena is just electric!
5. There are so many I could choose... But I think, to finish out this list, it would have to be a tie between End of Dreams by Kim Faulks and Red Fire by Cassandre Dayne. Both ladies are masters at writing about the darkness. They make darkness their slaves, bend it to their will and use it as ink to write their stories. Both are absolutely brilliant women, and I'm thrilled and honoured to call them both friends!
What do you read for pleasure?
I read pretty much what I write: Paranormal. Subgenres don't matter much. Erotic, romance, erotic romance, horror, thriller, you name it, if it's paranormal I will give it a try!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a rural town, and spent much of my time out of school in my own little world, imagining that I was friends with dragons and unicorns, witches and wizards and all the sort. The vastness of the country has always spoken to me of hidden fairy dens, questing heros and wandering magic folk. It always inspired my imagination. Now that I'm living back out this way, I feel at home again. I loved living near the beach, didn't mind the city... but the country will always be my true home.
When did you first start writing?
I've really been writing all my life. I just took momentary breaks from time to time. However I've been trying to make a life out of it since 2009, approximately. It took me a while to regain my balance, but I think that I am definitely beginning to hit my stride as I close in on 3 years published.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The greatest joy would have to be watching the characters tell their tale. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely thrill to see readers enjoying my books, but I do it for the characters. Watching them grow, suffer, bend and not break against whatever is thrown at them inspires me in my own life. Yes, they're only fiction... but to me, my characters are real. They are a part of me.
What do your fans mean to you?
While I write for my characters, I publish for my fans. They are a huge part of why I am able to believe in myself enough to keep writing and putting my stories out there. I'd be writing no matter what, I'm sure, but it all makes it worth while to see people get so excited about a story that I have put so much effort into creating. Their excitement makes me excited.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The latest one published is a paranormal anthology that I wrote with a few author friends. 8 authors, 12 stories (and a micro story!). So there are quite a few stories behind that one.
But the next one to be published, Persephone... She's an interesting tale. A friend of mine put out a writing challenge. Pick 3 pictures out of the many random ones she shared, and write a short story. Well I saw that one image, and the story just took off. I wrote the short piece in no time, and was encouraged to write a full story. So that short piece became the introduction. NaNoWriMo was coming up, and I thought that I'd take that chance to get Persephone underway. Now, a few years later (it only took a month to write the bulk of it, but months more to write the final 5k!), she's finally about to be published and I am so incredibly excited and nervous. This is one that made me cry several times in writing. It made my beta reader cry. So I truly hope that the emotions I felt writing it are felt by the reader. Persephone ripped my heart out, and stole a little piece of me. She's truly, to me, my best piece yet. She is my Mona Lisa.
Published 2015-06-26.
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