Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Interview with inspirational writer Philip Johnsey

Today I have an interview with the author of Climb that Fence and Take that Leap - Philip Johnsey. The book falls into the pets/body, mind & spirit/inspiration, and personal growth categories.

Philip will be awarding a $50 Amazon gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. To be entered for a chance to win, leave a comment below. And to increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit other tour stops and leave comments there, too!

Raised on a farm and having been a volunteer at different animal rescues, it’s no surprise that Phil’s book is about animals and the connections we share.

From Phil’s first high school job to present, he’s spent his career working with clients, explaining complex ideas in an easy to understand manner. Phil enjoys using his talents to make a positive difference and sharing all the things he learns along the way.

You’ll often find Phil outdoors exploring and sharing his experiences via writing, photography, or videography. Phil’s credits include, multiple I.T. certifications, Reiki master, photographer, author of two blogs, author of the Backyard Tourist column, contributor to Bucketlistpublications.com and whatever else he can get into.

Welcome, Phil. Please tell us about your current release.
The book is a compilation of my personal animal stories and the insights I learned from watching them. Pet lovers can attest that each animal has its distinct personality and mannerism, so its easy to appreciate the diversity of the stories. I wrote it to be easy to read, almost conversational and nothing too heavy. Just a good read that encourages readers to make positive changes and also pay more attention to their furry friends.

People often think the book is entirely about cats because of the cover photo. There are three stories that involve cats and two about turtles so it’s an entertaining mix. After publishing the book, I thought of even more stories. Maybe that’ll be the sequel.

What inspired you to write this book?
It was actually a combination of things. As a volunteer I saw heart wrenching animal stories both happy and sad. Each time I volunteered, I kept thinking I really wanted to bring more awareness to the animals but in a positive manner and not in an extreme way. Itt was one of those ideas that got lost in the far reaches of my brain.

At the same time, I was writing a lot of stories about my personal life insights and realized that most of them involved animals. Well it wasn’t long before it hit me that I could put my stories in a book, which could inspire others as well as bring positive awareness to animals. So I took the leap….

Ever since I took Keiko to the park that day and let her out every evening, she was wired. Every morning she was under foot, walking around the kitchen and living room. I’d be upstairs getting dressed and here would come this spindly, almost wobbly cat blasting up the stairs. At times, it was really annoying to hear the constant meowing, so I’d pick her up. “What is your problem?” I’d ask. I thought she might be in pain.

As soon as I picked her up, all I heard was the familiar sound of contentment: purring.
What had changed with her? I had not given her any different medicine, and she had become skinnier by the day. But something was obviously different.

Let’s see, she went from just hanging around the house and receiving whatever “leftover” attention I had to being the first to receive attention. She received my attention first and foremost, and we spent quality time together.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Currently what’s taking up most of my writing time is travel blogging. It’s a place where I can combine my writing, photography/videography, and showcase great places local and far. My laptop has folders with book ideas ranging from my experience hiking the Grand Canyon, my dad, and other diverse story lines. I seriously could write for weeks and not get through it all.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Ironically, I’m still getting used to that term. I’ve been writing off/on for several years, but never thought I would get published. Then it happened, without any effort or fanfare; I posted a story online about an event at a state park where I volunteered. I wrote the article as if I was talking and didn’t think much about it. I figured it’d be another online post that would get lost in the cyberspace.

About a week later, a friend called and asked “have you seen the paper”. “I don’t get the paper, why do you ask?” I responded. She laughed and said you’ll see at when you visit the park. I went to visit the state park and the ranger excitedly took me to a room and pointed to the wall. I just stared in disbelief; it was my article published in the local paper.
I was stunned at how easily it happened. I really didn’t put that much effort into the story; I just wrote what I felt. (I’ve since learned those make the best stories!)
It only takes that one someone or event to give you that much needed boost. That article was the turning point. I began submitting more stories, became a regular in the paper and just kept writing from there.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Officially, I work in systems administration and information security. However, I really enjoy being creative so I also write a column titled Backyard Tourist that highlights local places to explore. These articles are published on our website and in a local online magazine. Where I work, we have our own T.V. station, and each month I find a positive story to write, interview and host.

In my “spare” time I write a weekly article for the travel blog, bucketlistpublications.com and for my own blog, theworldaccording2phil.com. By the time I get home, cook dinner, and exercise, it’s close to 9pm.

To squeeze it all in, I schedule certain evenings where all I do is write. I’ll pick something simple for dinner like leftovers so I can just come home and get to it. I have a list of articles that I work from so I always know what I need to complete. If I didn’t do that, I’d never get it all done.
Currently I have enough things to write that I could literally spend all day writing so I’m deciding how to focus more on writing and less on work.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I usually start an article with a question as if we’re having a conversation. I really like to have the reader feel like we’re talking to each other.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a teacher or an engineer and ironically I’m doing a little bit of both now via the technical and writing. I really enjoy working with people and knowing how things work so those two paths work well together.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
First off; thank you for following my blogs and reading my book. It’s really fun to hear other people’s stories and connect with them. I bump into a lot of people who want to write a book and I enjoy sharing my experiences. One thing I often forget to explain is that writing a book will change you in a lot of positive ways. For example, I really wanted my writing to be more soulful and several life changing experiences brought that out. I wouldn’t change what I’ve learned, continue to learn and the great people I’ve met along the way for anything. 


Thank you, Phil!


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

MomJane said...

I really enjoyed your comments. I know that my animals have feelings. I try to understand them.

Andra Lyn said...

I'm not surprised that many authors wanted to be teachers as children. It seems like that may easily go hand in hand!

andralynn7 AT gmail DOT com

Mary Preston said...

There is a lot we can learn from animals.


Rita said...

Nice excerpt, thank you.


Eva Millien said...

Thanks for sharing the interview and the giveaway. Sounds like a cute book. evamillien at gmail dot com

bn100 said...

Nice compilation of stoires

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Natasha said...

Great interview!
Thanks for the chance to win!
Sounds like a really good read!!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Karen H in NC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Karen H in NC said...

Thanks for the interview and excerpt.

kareninnc at gmail dot com