Release Day Interview: With CS Johnson @C_S_Johnson13 #RRBookTours1

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Should I go to College? What About Student Loan Debt?

Genre: Non-Fiction

Publication Date: March 14th, 2019

If you’re a high school student, chances are you’ve been thinking about where you will go to college. Or if you will go to college at all.
I’ve been there. And as a former teacher, I’ve seen thousands of students there, too. So I wrote this book to help you.
This book offers sound advice about deciding whether or not you want to go to college, and, if you decide to go, how you can save time and money along the way.

“This is the book about college I wish I had read when I was younger.” – My 30-year-old self

SHOULD I GO TO COLLEGE? WHAT ABOUT STUDENT LOAN DEBT?
•Describes what college is
•Promotes thoughtful self-reflection
•Outlines your options post-high school
•Offers tragically hilarious truths about teaching
•Reaffirms the code of personal responsibility
•Likens student loans to dragons that need to be slain

ALL PROCEEDS OF THIS BOOK GO TOWARD 
HELPING STUDENTS PAY OFF THEIR 
STUDENT LOAN DEBT.

Hello nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?

Hi there! Thank you for having me! I always appreciate the time people take in getting to know me.

I am C. S. Johnson, and I write in a variety of genres, mostly fantasy or science fiction. I started writing largely as a way to cope with reality, and I found out that it really helped and I enjoyed it a lot. Since then, I’ve been working to keep at it. There are a lot of other benefits to writing I’ve noticed, and meeting new people and getting to talk about interesting ideas are just some of them.

For my own favorite types of books to read, I enjoy a variety, just as I enjoy writing. I think in a lot of my own books that there are several other books that lend their influence. I do have to laugh, because my favorite books are usually memoirs or biographies, but I write fantasy and speculative fiction.

Who is your favourite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?

I have a large variety of favorite authors, and I am sure I haven’t read some of them yet. If I had one go-to author, I would pick C. S. Lewis; I have never read anything of his I haven’t loved, needed, or deeply appreciated in some way. As for inspiration, my mother is my first spark among the fires of my heart. She was the one who taught me to read, and she is the one who is still out-reading me every week. I love writing books I know she will enjoy, even if she is not as much of a fantasy reader.

So you’ve published a series, what is the series about?

I’ve published a couple of series now, and I’m working through the last book of one more. The first series I wrote was the Starlight Chronicles; it is my epic superhero fantasy adventure, about an egotistical teenager who, after finding out he is a fallen star with supernatural power, is reluctant to save his city from evil. It’s a very dry, sarcastic sort of series, alternatively cynical and poignant, as my protagonist faces off the trials and tribulations of high school life and growing up. So far, my other series are a little softer in tone and subtler at the satire.

What was it like creating back to back stories that link?

For me, it’s like watching a heartbeat on an EKG; book one sputters some, and then shoots up, fast and hard; book two dips down lower, almost in a needed recovery, before striking back; and then the rest of the series books’ start the entire process over again, offering a persistent rhythm that becomes the heart song of a story.

Kim: 🙂 I love that !! Haha, very good way to describe it.

What has been your most proud moment as an author?

My author career has been marked with a lot of proud moments—I’ve had a Hollywood producer tell me my series is wonderful and she’s rooting for it to be picked up by a studio (Please, Dear God, please, haha!), I’ve had a very famous movie star compare it to Harry Potter and Tolkien, and I’ve had a lot of great readers turn into friends as we’ve gotten to know each other. I have a whole list of people in that group that I’ve designated my “Almost Famous Readers,” since I jokingly say that as an author, I’ll be famous for being almost famous one day. I even had one of them make me an award plaque and send it to me, and I cherish it.

If I had to pick one moment, I’d say it has to be the day when my young son, who does not like to read that much, told me he wanted to write a book. I actually opened a document for him to work on my computer, and he wrote out a small book’s worth of a story. I was absolutely amazed and profoundly proud of him.

Kim: Ohhhhhh my  heart just melted, that is so sweet. I hope he continues. I love it when children get involved, especially boys who are less likely to read. My son thankful has learned to love to read, whether he’ll write is another story as he hates it, then again he’s only five. He would rather do colouring-in.

Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?

Yes. It happens almost every week, like swirly, sporadic clockwork.

Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?

I think every author has a punctuation thing they either love or hate. I am a huge semicolon lover; give me a long sentence where it will list detailed, specific things, offering up new insights while solidifying the foundational logic as it rambles on. It is glorious to watch such beauty grow and unfold.

If I have a thing to hate about commas, it is when people use them wrongfully. Uncoincidentally, this usually happens when the comma is actually supposed to be a semicolon.

What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?

Since I have written a lot of books, I do get asked a lot of questions about how to write a better story. I actually wrote a book for them, and it just came out this year. The book is “Good Writing is Like Good Sex: Sort of Sexy Thoughts on Writing” and it’s a quick, provocative overview of what makes a “sexy” book. So to answer this question honestly, I’d say, “Buy my book, read my book, and then try to use what I say in the book.” But I feel like that might be a little too pushy, haha.

Kim: Girl… you just said it 🙂

What are you working on now? What will you release next?

Right now, I am juggling a few projects. I have two books I am working on this month. I mentioned it before, but I am finishing up The Order of the Crystal Daggers, my Cinderella meets Mission: Impossible historical fiction set in 1870s Prague. In this final book of the series, Eleanora, my protagonist, has to rescue a kidnapped prince and save the Emperor from assassination, all while working to repair her relationship with her brother and uncover the hidden truth about her mother’s past. Luckily, she’s got quite a few people to help her, although plenty of them are juggling their own problems and facing the consequences of their own secrets. The series has been so fun and wonderfully received, so I am sad to see it end, but I am also nervous about sending it off with the seriousness and the level of diligence it’s due.

The second novel I am working on my science fantasy story, Till Human Voices Wake Us. It’s toeing the literary fiction line, but it’s about a college student who finds out the hard way that his uncle’s stories about being held hostage by mermaids who don’t believe in humans are all true. It’s a book about questions of reality, insanity, hope, and meaning, and what it means to be human. I am hoping to have it out for summer.

I also have a few short stories I’m working on for publication later this year and early next year.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

I think pride is rightfully the most deadly of sins, and partially because it is something that must be closely monitored. Confidence as a writer will help; arrogance will only lead to harm.

If you have a lot of confidence as a writer, I think you also have to have a lot of humility to make it work. I think I am more likely to err on the side of hesitation as a writer just because I know my limitations as a writer very well. My husband works in healthcare and it is my apparently favorite joke ever to tell people he goes into work to save real lives, and I stay home and ruin fake ones.

My stories are icing on a cake, but in order to have the cake, we need people who know how to bake and people who can build things in which those things are baked. I offer stories to entertain, to get people to think, to reframe a perspective. They are part of my heart, but my heart was not made for everyone. Sometimes, it was not made for a particular person right now, either. I was utterly appalled the first time I read 1984 in high school. The second time I read it, after a few more years passed, I loved it. There is very little point in offering someone icing if they are looking for someone to give them bread.

I have had a few people recognize me off the street, and I am more dumbfounded than anything else when they do. I honestly never expect that reaction to change.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

 

I am tremendously thankful to my readers for the time they spend inside one of my books. I know, as a writer, and as a mother, there is so little time in the world when one is attempting to read. When I get a book review, I am always grateful; but I am considerably, and understandably much more happy when I find that the reviewer has either enjoyed my books, or they found my books to be good despite the unmet expectations in my characters, plot, or presentation.

I know there are plenty of talented writers who write books that are more fun, more fantastical, or just more of what is expected than I do. While I do try to make it fun, and keep it fun, I write books that make you smile, make you think, make you laugh. I tell people that I don’t write “Candy bar books,” but I don’t write “full-course meal books,” either. Maybe a good meal replacement bar would be a good analogy for my work, or we can get the icing analogy back out and put it on some carrots (which, thanks to some of my pregnancy moments, I know is better than it sounds.)

Either way, I rejoice with the good reviews, and I call my mom over the bad ones. She knows I have a soft heart, even if I have to hide it from the rest of the world.

What was your hardest scene to write?

I feel bad for admitting this one, but when you’ve had a lot of “last battles,” sometimes it’s hard to just write out the fight scenes and the “save-the-world” moments without feeling repetitive or a case of oncoming “writer-ex-machina,” where convivence and coincidence just collide too much for the writing to be good. As I was finishing up my steampunk book, One Flew Through the Dragon Heart, I told some of my readers I was ready just to nuke everything and be done with it.

I had one of my snarky reader friends tell me that nukes aren’t steampunk-approved, and we had a good laugh about that, and that made it easier to go back and try again.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It always depends on the book, but six to eight weeks is my average lately. I have some novellas which are shorter, and seriously, those don’t take nearly as long. I have some longer books which don’t ever seem to take that long at all, but it depends on the size more than anything else. Life interrupts me a lot along the way, too. I am a wife and a stay at home mom with two young kids; I like making my house more of a home, and there are other things I love that require my attentions, and I have been trying to be better about making sure social media especially is more of a back-burner thing of late.

What’s your favourite book and why?

My most consistently favorite book is Till We Have Faces, by C. S. Lewis. I try to read it every year and every time I do, I get something different out of it. It was a book I first read during a tumultuous time in my life, and I have never forgotten the magic of the first readthrough. This past year I read it and felt more drawn than ever to Revidal, the main character Orual’s other sister, and I like books that make great use of their secondary characters like that. The sudden loss of her sister’s favouritism and their unity must have been devastating to her, and her growing loneliness and desperation as Orual took the throne seemed much more relatable to me as an adult.

 

Thank you for joining is this month, I wish the author well with her release, and you can connect with her below!

Goodreads

About the Author

C. S. Johnson is the award-winning, genre-hopping author of several novels, including young adult sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me

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