Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Author Interview: Richard Johnson

This week, I have the pleasure of bringing you an interview with Richard Johnson. This is his breakout first novel, DEAD DRUNK:  SURVIVING THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE ... ONE BEER AT A TIME. Enjoy!!!

[JD] Can you tell me a little about yourself?

[RJ] I am a bit of an odd duck, who can be very shy one moment and outgoing the next. I like to think that I have a great sense of humor and I love animals of all kinds. I have an amazing wife and adorable twin boys.

[JD] When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

[RJ] I have been a bit of a story teller and daydreamer my whole life. The two pretty much go together. When I was younger, I read every fantasy book I could get my hands on.

[JD] What inspired you to write your first book?

[RJ] I watch almost every zombie movie that comes out and most of them are horrible. I definitely enjoy them, but still, they suck. So I decided I could write a better zombie story, from a different perspective, than what was out there. I knew I had the ideas, I just had to get them down. This was my first real attempt, and five years later, here we are.

[JD] Tell us a little about DEAD DRUNK?

[RJ] Dead Drunk follows the story of a group of old friends that meet up for a rowdy bachelor party in Chicago, and find themselves in the midst of a zombie apocalypse the next morning. It is a different take from your average zombie book, with a huge focus on character development and believable dialogue. The character are not always likable and oftentimes despicable, but they are true to form. There are definitely funny moments but also serious ones, and there are adult themes bubbling under the surface that one might not expect given the title and subject matter.

[JD] What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your book?

[RJ] I learned that I could actually set my mind to do something huge and follow through.

[JD] Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

[RJ] The challenges were epic. Thousands of hours writing the book. Hundreds of hours editing. Finding a professional editor (Manuscript Magic, they did a great job) and graphic artist was next. Then approving the new edits and rewriting certain parts. Then came getting it into eBook form and doing the book launch. Seriously, writing the book was 60% of the work.

[JD] How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for you so far?

[RJ] Facebook, twitter, online forums, word of mouth etc ... I just finished a free promotion with Amazon that gave away almost 4,500 kindle copies of my book, so that got it out to a lot of readers. I think the balanced approach works best, but if you have money, paid promotion would probably work wonders.

[JD] Who designed the covers?

[RJ] Derek Murphy of Creativeindie Covers did the cover for me. He did an amazing job and the end result is not only eye-catching but conveys the very heart and soul of the book. He made about ten different versions but I knew this was the one right when I saw it.

[JD] Can you tell us about any projects that you are currently working on?

[RJ] I have the sequel to Dead Drunk plotted out but the going is sloooow. Being a stay at home dad leaves me with very little time to write, but I am always thinking about the next scene.

[JD] Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

[RJ] I haven't read much lately but am starting to network in the zombie community, so I think that will be changing soon.

[JD] Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

[RJ] Never stop thinking about your book, even if you are grocery shopping, watching television, on the phone, whatever. It needs to become  a living, breathing part of your life. And don't be afraid of going overboard on a character or an idea. Just let loose and see what happens. The world has enough safe and boring characters so even if something seems over the top, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Most importantly, if you like to write, do it.

[JD] Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

[RJ] Thanks to everyone that has picked up a copy of my book and gotten some pleasure out of it. I was never a person that thought I would have fans, and so it is really humbling to hear from people that have enjoyed my work.

[JD] Where can readers find your books and any news about you or your work?

[RJ] Dead Drunk: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse ... One Beer at a Time can be found on Amazon in kindle and paperback forms.