This was an interview conducted by Undiscovered Publishing blogger Thomas Neil with Author of the unpublished novel Isaiah, Serah Johnson.
Neil: Tell me about yourself? And what made you want to be a writer?
Johnson: According to my sixth grade Language Arts teacher, I “have a way with words”. She was convinced that I was destined to be an author. I started writing a book several years ago and threw it in the garbage after completing only a few chapters. However, the need to write stayed with me. I put that energy towards poems and songs. But, after a friend asked me to join a writer’s group, I realized that I needed to write a book. With encouragement from all of the wonderful authors in that group, I began writing my book “Isaiah”.
Neil: What attracted you to the particular genre you are involved in? And do you stick with it consistently or do you change it up?
Johnson: “Isaiah” is YA romance. I believe I chose that genre for my first book because that is what I read the most as a teen. I enjoy reading YA and love the possibilities it leaves open. I plan to make my main characters, Kalice and Isaiah, age as the series progresses. I am open to writing other genres as well. And I am working on a much different genre at the moment.
Neil: What is your writing process like? And how important is research to you when writing a book?
Johnson: I sit down for at least one hour before bedtime and write in my current work in progress. I believe research can be very important, as you want to have certain facts in your work. However, I also believe an author should let their imagination run wild and make their world unique.
Neil: Have you ever experienced “Writer’s Block”? And do you have any tips you would like to share to overcome it?
Johnson: While writing “Isaiah” I suffered from writer’s block for two weeks. I was desperate to start writing again, but the words would not come. Finally, I made myself sit down and read the chapters I already had written. I did my best to let the story play out in my head and really get into the minds of the characters. That was my cure for writer’s block. It may not work for everyone, but it was magic for me.
Neil: So tell me about what you’ve written, and has it been published?
Johnson: I have completed one novel and it is currently being edited. I plan to begin querying this summer.
Neil: If you’ve had your writing published, how has it been received?
Johnson: Unfortunately, it hasn’t been published yet. But several people have read my work and have thoroughly enjoyed my book.
Neil: Is there anything you’d change or do differently now that it is published?
Johnson: I’ll have to get back to you on that one. I’m sure I will learn a lot of lessons when I am going through the process.
Neil: Speaking of publishing, how did you go about getting you book(s) published, and what was your publishing journey like?
Johnson: I haven’t taken that journey yet. But, I plan to do as any other author and query as much as possible until someone takes an interest in my book.
Neil: Where can potential fans find your book(s)?
Johnson: My books are currently only in the hands of myself and my partner as we are editing daily. However, when my books become available I will happily share the link for everyone.
Neil: Did you do your own artwork for the book cover etc, and if not how did you go about getting it done?
Johnson: I have completed a temporary piece of artwork for my book. However, I am sure it will change when it is published.
Neil: Have you taken on board anything from a review (good or bad) that you’ve later incorporated into your writing?
Johnson: The only reviews I have had so far are from beta readers. Many of them have given me great tips and I have tried to incorporate them into my work without losing my unique writing style. I hope they are all pleased when they read the final draft.
Neil: Are you working on something new at the moment? And can you tell us anything about your current projects?
Johnson: Yes! I am currently collaborating with Michael Brightside (@mibrightside on Twitter). Michael has amazing ideas that constantly shock me. I don’t want to give away too much at the moment, but I believe readers will be blown away by the story we are building.
Neil: How active are you on social media? And if you have social media as an author/for your books then please share links?
Johnson: Twitter is my only social media presence at the moment. I am very active on there. You can find me on Twitter at @serahjauthor.
Neil: Tell me about some writers you really like and/or admire?
Johnson: The big names such as Nicholas Sparks, JK Rowling, and John Grisham are a few of my favorites. However, I have found many hidden jewels including AR Pearson, Peter James Martin, Michael Gallagher, Matthew Whiteside, my partner Michael Brightside, and many others.
Neil: What advice would you like to give writers who are struggling with their first novels?
Johnson: Keep going! Do not allow yourself to stop. You are going to make errors and chances are you will leave massive plot holes, but all of that can be fixed. Get the story out before you worry about anything else.
Neil: And let’s end with something a little different…Which of your character(s) would you take with you to spend the night in a haunted house? Why?
Johnson: Isaiah, definitely! He is a tough character that does not scare easily. I know he would protect me.