Book Nerd Interview
Brian Johnson is a storm photographer, writer, teacher, adventurer. He's kind of an evil version of Robert Fulghum.
I am underway in a new dark fantasy novel and plan to write the majority of it over summer. A possible trilogy in the Hell to Pay universe is also creeping in the back of my mind.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Evil Robert Fulghum
You’re an author and a storm photographer; that’s a curious combination. How did that come about?
My love of storms came from being trapped in a tornado at the age of seven. I was fearful of storms and my father took me outside and forced me to see it. I was immediately hooked and learned to . Photography ended up being a happy side effect. As for the writing part, I always told fantastical stories and adventures as a youngster. I happened to take a creative writing class in college, sat in on my first critique session, and was also hooked. Now I just need one more insane hobby to make my life complete.
What made you take the plunge and start writing?
What made you take the plunge and start writing?
A teacher told me I needed to write a story for a contest. Let that be a lesson to you, always listen to your teachers.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Gordon Kessler, a fellow Kansas writer earns that title. I met him in a class he hosted in a local community college and has done a lot for Kansas authors. If it wasn’t for him, this book would never have seen daylight. If this is more of a “who would you rather fight, Abe Lincoln or Einstein” type question, I’d have to choose Charles Bukowski. I didn’t find my voice until I read a couple of his books.
For those who are unfamiliar with your Novel; Hell to Pay, how would you introduce it?
A man who thinks he’s losing his soul, meets a man who has. It’s an investigation on how far some people will fall.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Yes, I’m in process on a Dark Fantasy call “Aristid”, it’s about a half-demon child raised by the church as a super weapon. As for “Hell to Pay” there may be a trilogy at some point.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about Michael?
He’s an ass, but when the chips are down, he’s a good guy that would take a bullet for anyone.
If you could introduce George to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Travis from Christopher Moore’s “Practical Demonkeeping”. That interaction with a splash of comedy would be priceless.
What fiction most influenced your childhood, and what effect did those stories have on your writing?
I read a lot of mythology and the stories of the gods whether Greek, Egyptian, or Norse were incredible. I did a lot of comic book reading as well, X-men, Batman, Justice League were all pretty common back then and l cut my vocabulary teeth on them. I think that’s why I like the fantastical and the epic. I used a lot of Joseph Campbell/Christopher Vogler “Hero with a Thousand Faces” epic storytelling in this.
If you could leave your readers with one legacy, what would you want it to be?
When they put down the book a little scared and maybe heartbroken to have a moment when it all makes sense, and if they are at a dark time in their lives to let them know the sun will shine again one day.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
What scares you?
What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?
What’s the huge pun in the book?
What chapter was the most memorable to write and why?
Meeting Big Don. It’s the scene I had in my head for many years. It took some rewrites, but I’m happy with it.
What’s the worst job you’ve had?
I had a job once where I would bump into dead people by accident. It was an omen that I would have a bad day.
Favorite places to travel?
Somewhere with mountains.
What is your favorite food?
Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, not always in that order.
What do you normally eat for breakfast?
Cardboard and nails. It keeps the cholesterol down.
Where can readers stalk you?
Writerly adventures: http://fatherthunder.blogspot.com
Storm chasing: www.ruminationofthunder.com
A man who thinks he’s losing his soul, meets a man who has. Detective Michael Bailey is a seasoned homicide detective who can’t escape the deaths of twin girls that happened on his watch. Over the years, it had slashed at his sanity and sobriety, and now he stands at the crossroads of his life. The murder investigation of a young woman sends him over the edge. George Graham is an antique store owner who has fallen for the wrong woman. When rejected and berated in public, George runs home to find a strange old man with an antique box wanting to make a deal. George buys the box and inside finds a matted scalp, a relic of untold power. “Hell to Pay” is a haunting story about the loss of one’s life, redemption, and personal sacrifice. This supernatural thriller is strongly based in Joseph Campbell’s epic storytelling and mythology.
William Brian Johnson’s Hell to Pay is a fun read that is impossible to set down. Johnson’s spills his amazing imagination in this book that is full of wicked twists and plots. It is the perfect blend of detective story and paranormal frolic.
Bailey is the main character who is a homicide detective. Failing to save two young twin girls on an earlier case, their murders heavily affected him and he hasn’t been the same. His marriage failed and fell victim to alcohol abuse to deal with his pain. The story begins with Bailey sober, he is determined to get his life back on track and you can’t help but cheer for the guy.
George, on the other hand, is a normal guy that runs an antique shop. He comes to a box with a scalp in it and things just go from normal to weird. While he is a suspect for homicide, his body is also transforming. The point of view of George was remarkably done and you feel the exact things he was going through.
The book is very captivating and simply grabs you by the wrist and leads you throughout the story. Johnson’s choice of words and how they flow was excellent. The rate of the plot ran at a good pace. This is a great book for people who enjoy reading about cops and murder investigations with a paranormal twist.
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