Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Interview with novelist Jennifer-Crystal Johnson

My interview guest today is Jennifer-Crystal Johnson. She’s chatting with me about her new sci-fi novel Fibers (Infiltration Trilogy book 1).

During her virtual book tour, Jennifer will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) gift card to a lucky randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops and enter there, too!

Jennifer-Crystal Johnson is originally from Germany, but was raised an Army brat. She has published one novella under her former last name, The Outside Girl: Perception is Reality (Publish America, 2005 - out of print as of 2013), a poetry book, Napkin Poetry (Broken Publications, 2010), and a collection of poetry, art, and prose called Strangers with Familiar Faces (Broken Publications, 2011). She's also published a collection of short creature horror stories called If You're Human Don't Open the Door (Broken Publications, 2012), a personal development book called The Ten Pillars of a Happy Relationship (Broken Publications, 2014), and a collection of more horror stories (no creatures this time, just people) called Our Capacity for Evil (Broken Publications, 2015). She has several poems and short stories published on Every Writer's Resource and has recently published a science fiction novel called Fibers, the first book in the Infiltration Trilogy.

Jen owns and operates Broken Publications and publishes an annual anthology to raise awareness about domestic violence called Soul Vomit. When she isn't writing or editing, she enjoys playing games with her three kids, watching crime shows on Netflix, or reading. She lives in WA State with her three children, three cats, and a crazy puppy named Thor.

Welcome, Jennifer. Please share a little bit about your current release.
Fibers is the story of Anna Reynolds, an ordinary woman who begins having symptoms of a little-known disease called Morgellons. Because this disease is so strange and incurable, it is often misunderstood, and therefore misdiagnosed.

However, Anna soon learns that it’s much more than just an illness. Of course she feels like she’s going crazy half the time, but that’s how they get to you... your mind is slowly but surely suppressed via advanced technology from another dimension, and you become a conduit for data collection... among other things.

This first novel in the series introduces you to Anna and how her life goes from normal to creepy, her health from average to declining, and her world from ordinary to threatened and overrun with strange occurrences, mysterious medical symptoms, and shadow people.

I hope you enjoy it!

What inspired you to write this book?
I learned about Morgellons disease online when I was researching creatures and cryptozoology on YouTube. Something came up about “alien fibers,” so I watched the clip. Once I learned about this disease, I dove into more research and a story idea began to take shape as I learned. Though this is a real disease and strange enough in reality, I thought it was perfect fodder for a science fiction novel and knew I had to write it.

An excerpt from Fibers:
The twinkling sound of the wind chimes gave an eerie undertone to the night, the wind blowing through the trees and the darkness seeming more intense than usual. Anna wrapped her coat tightly around herself, walking briskly back toward home. She usually didn’t walk anywhere, especially at night, but she’d decided to get some fresh air and needed time to think. Walking was always good for that, even if it was a little cold and getting dark so much earlier.

Reaching into her pocket for her keys, she approached the front door. The porch light was out – she must’ve forgotten to turn it on before she left. Trying to work through feeling alone and fending off paranoia, she rummaged in her purse for her keys and retrieved them just as her foot hit something on her front porch. Of course she couldn’t see, but it sounded and felt like a box of some kind.

She pulled her cell phone out of her purse and turned on the flashlight app to see what was happening. Shining the light on her porch, she saw that it was, indeed, a box. A mystery box, she thought. As if my life couldn’t get any stranger.

She unlocked the front door and flipped the light switch, but nothing happened. Trying to juggle her phone and the box at the same time, she walked into the house, set the box down, and went into the living room to try the light there. Also nothing. Shaking her head and doing her best to quiet her thoughts, she made her way into the garage with her phone and found the breaker box. She flipped the switch and the lights came on without a problem.

Things are getting entirely too weird around here, she thought, cautiously making her way back upstairs to her entry where the box sat. She switched off her flashlight app and stood still for a few moments, listening to see if she could hear anything to indicate that someone was in the house. She didn’t think so because her door had been locked, but she was so scared she could hear her heartbeat pounding in her ears. Everything else was silent.

Satisfied that no one was in her house, she picked up the box and took it into her kitchen. She set it on the counter and inspected it. There was a note taped to the top of it. She unfolded it and read aloud, “Trust no one.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
To be honest, I have all sorts of crazy story ideas in my head! After this series, I have an idea for another series as well as another novel, which may or may not turn into a series. For now, I’m going to focus on finishing the Infiltration Trilogy, and I plan to begin work on book two more intensively this summer. Everything is in flux right now because of certain situations going on in my life, but I’m adjusting to things and will be working more as time wears on (I recently began working outside the home for the first time in almost 10 years because the paychecks for freelancing were too sporadic).

Book two is going to be epic... I’ve already begun drafting and outlining as well as making sure my ideas are always written down, and what I can tell you is that things are going to get very personal between a number of the characters (crazy drama will ensue) as the entire world falls apart and all hell breaks loose. Readers can look forward to learning more about James and why he’s such a jerk, not to mention learning more about Sophia and getting to know Jake better.

Because Anna and Andrew did so much research and learned a lot about Morgellons in the first book, this second book will be pretty fast-paced... even more so than the first ;). LOTS will be happening in Numbers, book 2 of the Infiltration Trilogy =).

As far as other ideas go, I have one about the spirit world (not ghosts... it’s not what you might initially think) which is the next series I want to work on. I have another idea about the splitting of the universe into two distinct dimensions (for a very specific reason, which many may find controversial so this one is not a priority yet as it needs more development), and an idea for a short story series (although I might be able to lengthen it) about time travel via astral projection and solving serial murders.

There are a lot of different concepts floating around in my brain, so hopefully I will have the honor of working on them with the care, love, and attention they deserve =).

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
It started when I decided to write my first “novel” in about fourth grade.... I never finished it, but have recently been considering revisiting the idea after a few tweaks. What cemented my “officially” being a writer was when I was approached by the owner/operator of an online magazine/forum for teens to help with the publication. It was only online, but I was able to write short stories, articles, whatever I wanted... and help moderate the forums. I got this job when I was 13 and worked there for a year for $100/issue. Even though it was only a quarterly publication, the money I earned there along with money from babysitting allowed me to save up the $300 I needed to record a three-song demo CD in a studio in Gig Harbor, WA when I was 14. Then I wrote an article about that.

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?
I wish! Up until recently I was working from home full-time for the last almost 10 years. Unfortunately, life has thrown me and my family a few curveballs in the last year or so, with the craziest one being most recent. I decided to follow through with an opportunity that presented itself to work part-time as a home care aide for a friend of a friend who is in a wheelchair. I work roughly four hours a day, get done in time to make it back to town to get the kids from school, work on something from home for 2-3 hours (unless I have errands to run, in which case I do that), cook a healthy meal for all of us, try to get some cleaning or at least folding laundry done as the kids finish up whatever they have to do, then we all head to bed and do it all over again the next day.

As far as making time to write, I do what I can. As a single mom I have a lot of responsibilities resting on my shoulders, one of the main concerns being money, which you need for pretty much everything. When there’s money, there’s no time, and when I have time, there’s no money so everything is stressful lol. Of course when readers buy my book, some of that concern is alleviated and I know simultaneously that they’re entertained for a few hours. It’s a win-win =).

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
It’s funny that you should ask that, actually... I used to go to Denny’s to drink coffee, write poetry, and smoke cigarettes (before they banned smoking indoors here in WA), and in order to really get to some good writing from the depths of my soul, I had to have specific conditions.

Eventually, someone pointed out to me that my writing is my writing no matter whether the planets are aligned or the moon is full or it’s the last Tuesday of the month. It really doesn’t matter where I write or what tools I use; it will still be MY writing.

So I made a conscious effort to curb the OCD and focus on what’s important: the writing itself. Now, although I prefer using my computer for longer works and my journal for poetry and other thoughts, I also recently got a laptop that I will be using to work on whatever I can when I’m away from home. I can write anywhere ;).

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A musician/songwriter/singer and an author. I always knew what I love =). Now it’s just a matter of my dreams making me a good living.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend checking out Fibers, book 1 in the Infiltration Trilogy. I know every author says that about their book, but go look at the product page and read the blurb and some of the reviews... it’s a unique book that intertwines fiction with aspects of reality and will continue to do so throughout the series. Book 1 focuses on Morgellons disease, the condition that starts it all.... It contains vital information to understanding the interdimensional beings and their intentions, how Morgellons is involved, and what each side’s intentions are versus what ends up happening. I’m really excited to write the second book!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog! I appreciate it. I hope everyone reading this has an awesome week from here on out, and don’t forget to read a good book this weekend!


Thank you for being a guest on my blog!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thank you for hosting

Mai T. said...

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

Unknown said...

Love the excerpt!

Jen said...

Thanks for your comment! Something surprising about me is that I might just be one of the only women in the world who doesn't love chocolate lol. I might have a piece once or twice a year, but that's about it :).

Jen said...

Thank you for reading! :)

Victoria Alexander said...

Really great post - thanks for sharing the excerpt!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an awesome read.

Jen said...

Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

Jen said...

Yay! I hope you enjoy it :).

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a great read.

James Robert said...

Happy Wednesday and thanks so much for the opportunity to win

Sherry said...

What is the hardest part of writing a book for you?

Jen said...

I hope you enjoy it :). Thanks!

Jen said...

Happy Wednesday to you, too :).

Jen said...

Thanks for stopping by, and awesome question! I'd have to say that the hardest part of writing a book for me is trying to stick to a schedule. Between two jobs, three kids, four pets, and a house, my life is usually a ball of chaos and craziness lol. That's probably why the first book took five years.... Book two has a semi-strict deadline :)

I hope you love the book :).

James Robert said...

Terrific giveaway and I want to thank you for the opportunity to win it.

Ally Swanson said...

I have added this book to my TBR list and look forward to reading this book!

Ally Swanson said...

Hope you are having a fabulous weekend! Looking forward to reading this book!

Karla S said...

Sounds great,thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

looks like a good book to add to my collection!

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