This weekend I’m talking to E. L. Johnson, a member of the Hertford Writers’ Circle and won the Sci-Fi London Film Festival’s 2014 48 hour Flash Fiction challenge. When not penning stories she is an avid reader of fiction, a decent epeé fencer, and lives with her husband and cat Arya, named after the Game of Thrones character. E.L. Johnson also runs a chatty book club in London and is the lead singer of the gothic progressive metal band Orpheum.
Ok, easy one to start that requires only silly answers to break the ice, what is your favourite Jane Austen character?
I’m a huge Jane Austen fan. I’ll re-read at least one of her novels every summer, depending on which heroine I most identify with at the time. I love reading about the social graces of the day. It’s so common it’s almost a cliche, but my favourite character is either Elizabeth Bennett or Mr Darcy. Her because I can relate to being a bookworm, and Darcy because I adore his dark brooding personality and sense of duty. To be so caring for one’s family, yet to have that sense of honour misinterpreted as haughtiness and arrogance, I think it’s something everyone can relate to.
What is your current WIP and what excites you the most about it?
My current WIP is the sequel to my historical fantasy novel Wolf’s Blood, that came out this March. My WIP is the second novel featuring the adventures of Harold Eastman, an atheist witch hunter in medieval England. This time he investigates a murder that lands him deep in the brothels of London. I like the idea of having characters that tread the line between magic and historical fiction. Could it be plausible or no? That’s what I like to do in my novels, and explore different concepts within a historical context. Medieval witches, blood and prostitutes, that’s what this novel is about.
What do you do when you get writers block?
I take a break. Breaks are important. I have months where I do nothing but read, ones where I write, and ones where I get twitchy because I want to be writing. Currently I’m in a writing month, but when it happens that I can’t think of anything to say, I do something else. Take a walk, do a jigsaw puzzle, anything that will let my mind relax and drift whilst I’m doing something simple.
What’s been the most challenging thing about being a writer, and the most rewarding?
There’s so many different stages a writer can be at in their craft. I’m at the stage where I’m just starting out and my writing is improving, but getting the word out is tough. I think letting potential audiences know there’s a really cool book out they should read is a major challenge. I wish there were marketing classes for authors, as I think a lot us could make use of it. The way the publishing industry is changing, publishing houses are asking more of their authors to do marketing, and having some knowledge on how to do that will only help.
The most rewarding is when people message you and tell you how much they enjoyed the book, or the characters. It’s a lovely thing. Reviews are so helpful; people either review a book because they loved or hated it. A positive review can really make the author’s day.
What advice would you give to writers out there?
You can find E.L. Johnson on Twitter.