Monday, November 21, 2011

Interview with William Brian Johnson

Today I am pleased to host William Brian Johnson, author of "Hell to Pay" from Hellfire Publishing.  Brian recently finished his Coffin Hop blog tour during the Halloween season and has taken time from his Thanksgiving preparations to talk to us about this supernatural horror thriller.

DAB:     Thanks for stopping by.  So tell us a bit about "Hell to Pay".

WBJ:     A man who thinks he's losing his soul, meets a man who has.  Detective Michael Bailey is an ex-alcoholic police detective investigating a series of murders, where the main suspect may be possessed.

DAB:     What prompted the novel's premise?

WBJ:     A drunken night of bad puns.

DAB:     Seriously?

WBJ:     Seriously.

DAB:     Okay, so then which character in "Hell to Pay" do you most identify with, if any, and why?

WBJ:     I think as a writer you tend to identify with all of them.  The characters themselves are bits of my personality mixed with other friends' personalities and traits.  I hate to say it, but the time I wrote it, I identified with Bailey the most.

DAB:     Why do you hate to say Bailey?  He is your protagonist, after all.

WBJ:     Bailey is a redemptive character, so he starts off with the entire world bearing down on his shoulders and isn't always the nicest individual.

DAB:     I see.  So were there any characters you found difficult to write?

WBJ:     Isabella.

DAB:     Bailey's girlfriend - why Isabella?  Was it just the aspect of writing from a woman's perspective?

WBJ:     Not only was it difficult to write from the woman's perspective, but I think the personalities I combined for Isabella's character clashed in a couple of instances and required a little rewriting and reinventing.

DAB:     How long did it take to craft this novel?

WBJ:     Too long.  Writing took about 2.5 years.

DAB:     But was that 2.5 years editing, editing, and more editing included?  Obviously it worked - you succeeded in securing a publishing contract, which can be difficult to do in today's ever changing market.

WBJ:     Nope, took me 2.5 years to write.  Editing took six years around sick parents, children being born, job changes, moving, in other  A couple of the topics in the book came to pass, a sick parent on their deathbed, the economy going to Hell, and I found the light at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.  I'm not denying happy endings exist, but as a close friend will tell you, sun shines on a dog's ass occasionally.

DAB:     I think most of us can understand that.  Let's talk more about the writing process.  There's always debate over whether or not to outline when starting to write a novel.  What typically works best for you?

WBJ:     I write pivotal scenes, then write the back roads to each.  I usually don't outline but will have notes.

DAB:     I'm a notes person myself as well.  Do you have any other writing pointers for our audience?

WBJ:     Listen to your inner editor but don't stop writing.  I've had bad critiques before, get over it and keep doing it.  Keep trying, keep writing, and someday you too might have a book you're proud of.

DAB:     Thanks so much for stopping by.  Please give us the final plug for "Hell to Pay".

WBJ:     "Hell to Pay" is a haunting story about the loss of one's life, redemption, and personal sacrifice.  This supernatural thriller is strongly based on Joseph Campbell's epic storytelling and mythology.  Buy my book.  It will scare the hell out of your Christmas.  Now available in e-reader format and coming November 23rd, "Hell to Pay" rises from the ashes in paper.  See for more details.

There you have it, dear readers!  If you'd like to have a nightmare before Christmas, pick up your eBook copy today or pre-order the paperback coming out this week.  Have a fabulous and filling Thanksgiving!

1 comment:

  1. Good insights on how a writer puts a book together. Very nice interview.