Interview with Robert Johnson, MD

When did you first start writing?
I had been writing poetry for many years, until, at age 48 in 1980 I was approached by a local newspaper to write a weekly medical advice column. It was so popular at the time, that I was soon writing regular articles for several national magazines; including a number of in-flight magazines, TOTAL FITNESS, WOMAN'S WORLD and OUTDOOR LIFE.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I and my wife Betty, an RN, have been blessed to have lived an exceptionally challenging and adventuresome life, and for years a number of my children, friends and co-workers had implored me to write my memoirs one day recording many of these adventures. Once began, it occurred to me that much of what had transpired in my personal history, even as a child and teenager, could---indeed, should---serve as an inspiration to my own children, and their children and even my great-grandchildren. It was at that point that my narrative became focused on the spiritual path upon which I found myself, and how my covenant made with God effected all that occurred to me---to us---afterwards. It has now become my hope that my book will provide both courage and reassurance to anyone struggling along a difficult or discouraging path.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
At age 83, and no longer in the best of physical health, I'm fully aware that each new day is truly a gift from God, and that I had no idea of how much time I had left. I felt I simply could not afford to go through all the drawn-out and often disheartening (not to mention time-consuming) prospects of being discovered by a traditional publishing house, then waiting the many months to even years it might take before my manuscript could be published.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
It has provided my book with almost instant visibilty and availability on numerous world-wide publishing venues.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Sitting before the keyboard of a word-processor and pouring out my life story since infancy has brought many tears to my eyes; not just tears of sadness, but more often than not, tears of deep joy as well. I found the overall experience so enjoyable, I'm now looking forward to sharing much more of my poetry in a future volume, and even resurrecting and updating a medical self-help book I had published many years ago.
What do your fans mean to you?
I so deeply appreciate anyone who allows me to enter their individual literary space, and I have contemplated the type of reader my book would hold any appeal for. I sincerely hope it will attract the attention of many young readers, but there are a lot of oldsters out there who I think would find quite a few nostalgic memories stirred up by many of my narratives. I'm sure of one thing: anyone with a love of history or with a compassion for those less fortunate among us will be moved deeply by some of its pages, as will many born-again Christians.
What part(s) of your book gave you the most pleasure in writing?
No contest. It would be the section on our work in Haiti tied closely for first place with the part on our sailing adventures, both of which have thrilled and delighted us as well as scaring us out of our minds at times.
Who are your favorite authors?
I'm a hopeless lover of poetry (as well as a poet), and most of the romantic poets of the 19th century rank way up there, and I must be sure to include such Americans as Robert Frost, and Walt Whitman. My favorite authors of fiction include Hemingway, Maugham, Joyce James, Dostoyevsky...and in today's writers: Moriarty, Child, Carmack McCarthy, and a host of others.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
At my age, simply the exciting prospect of still being alive, able to be "up and about and take nourishment." (If I ever stop appreciating good books, good food and great cuisine, just roll up the pine box and shove me in).
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love getting in nine holes of golf every few days, casting a fly rod, or just puttering about in my yard or garage. (I tie flies as well as fish with them). What I enjoy most of all is just still being in the same house with the girl of my dreams and easing back on the chaise on my back porch with a good book and a cup of hot coffee.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Word of mouth, mostly. My neighbors (mostly retirees) and I spend a lot of time talkng about the books we read.
What is your writing process?
I spend the early hours of the day reading; then after breakfast and the news on TV, I get on my computer, read and answer my email, check out facebook (about once weekly) then begin to write. I might write for ten minutes or two hours, saving plenty of time for exercise, golf, or fishing.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer," and you know, I've led pretty much a Hucklebery Finn existence every since.
What do you read for pleasure?
I love a good murder mystery, historical novel, an action-thriller, or novel based on WW II or even the Civil War.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I like my Kindle e-reader, and have never tried another.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I'm rather new at it, so you'd best ask me that after a few months. I'm giving to certain infuencers a free copy of my book, and asking them to give it a review if they'd like, or, if they enjoy it, to share it with their facebook/twitter friends. Please note: that is NOT a condition, merely a suggestion...and only if they wish to.
Describe your desk
It's an old Louis XVI reproduction, and is totally covered with papers, post-its and junk.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent most of my youth in Owensboro, Ky. My most memorable childhood events occurred on one of my grandparents' farms in Kentucky, but my love for books and writing was centered around a beautiful old library in Owensboro, where I spent many hours each week; until I ran away to join the Air Force at age 15 (which required lying about my age, of course.
Published 2017-05-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

THE CALLING - A Kentucky Country Doctor and his Registered Nurse Wife Become Medical Missionaries To Haiti
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 134,830. Language: English. Published: May 16, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » History » War
The compelling story of a troubled teen who found his manhood and his calling treating the wounds of those who fell in the killing fields of Korea. After years of medical practice in rural Kentucky, he and his RN wife find spiritual growth and redemption in serving the poor of Haiti while founding MISSIONS OF LOVE, Inc, an international mission in partnership with the Haitian government.