Sharon Lee Johnson writes horror, and I do love me a good bit of horror on the odd occasion. Her books fit that bill incredibly well. So much so, that I have wanted to ask her if she would show me how to write a horror novel. Sharon, if you read this, would you?
She has kept her answers short and sharp – much like her writing style. So here is Sharon Lee Johnson.
What genre would you like to write a book in (that you haven’t yet)?
I would like to write a time travel novel. I already have an idea for one.
Where do your ideas come from? Do you have a standard formula for plots or do stories come to you as a whole construct?
Ideas are everywhere and ideas just come to me. I have never had a problem coming up with ideas. My problem is that I start one story and I get another idea for another. It is hard for me to stick with the story and finish it. My Characters talk to me, I am lucky that I have a job where I don’t have to think much so I can think about my story at work and jot down ideas.
When you start a new story, do you have a title for it? Does that trigger the story?
I am not good with titles, but I do have a working title, cause when I visualize the cover, it helps me keep the tone of the book. Whether the book is light, funny or dark.
Do you see the future of fantasy and science fiction as bright? If so, which authors are driving it?
I think the future of fantasy and science fiction is stronger and brighter than ever. I am not sure what authors are driving it. With indie authors we will see other stories and new authors will emerge.
What themes are being overused?
Themes that are being over used I think would be the world being destroyed, blown up and then the planet is saved.
Do you see ebooks threatening traditional publishing?
I probably shouldn’t say this, but I gave up on traditional publishing. I tried and was rejected and that was okay, cause it made me stronger and more determined. I don’t think e-books are threatening the publishing world, I feel that I want to write my books, my way and have more control over them. I can write fast if I want to. So I can publish what and when I want.
Do you prefer to read established authors or debut authors? How do you choose which ones to read?
I scan the bookstores and amazon.com to see what to buy. I am very open to read new authors. It also depends what mood I am in when I am shopping depends on what types of books I buy.
What is it about fantasy that appeals to you?
I am amazed what other authors come up with. I sometimes think I am the only one with different thought and weird ideas. In fantasy, I realize that there are others out there that think the same way I do.
Can I get an autographed book? (lol)
If someone buys a print copy of my book and mails it to me. I will sign it and mail it back. Believe it or not. I have had readers send me their book and I signed it and sent it back to them. I also included a bookmark or magnet, whatever I have as a bonus.
Do you have a group of people that you show a new story to? How much impact can they have on the whole story?
I wish I had a group of people to read my story and hear what they think, but the people around me like family do not want to read what I write. I am on my own. I have to say that my Husband did read Welcome to Zombie Zoo and let me know what he thought. I did have to keep asking him if he was just being nice. He liked the story. I would love to have someone to read my work. I am not a people person and it is hard to find people to support my writing. So I go with my gut. I write what I want to write.
Do you set yourself a word limit for each book?
I do set a word limit on by book before beginning. Welcome to Zombie Zoo is 6 short stories. I had a word count for each story. The book I am working on down, is 90.000 to 100,000 word. That helps me with plotting and the number of chapters I am going to need.
Do you have a target each day?
I do have a target each day if you are talking about word count. I want to write 1,000 words a day at least and on my days off I want to write 5,000 words
Do you write constantly or have breaks between books?
I do not have breaks between books. While I was finishing up Welcome To Zombie Zoo I was plotting out the next book. I write everyday no matter what.
Do you have characters running around your head? Do they dictate events and their histories to you?
I do have characters in my head and they do talk to me. I carry a notebook with me everywhere I go, even at work and jot down ideas. They do dictate events and tell me what to do next sometimes. I know that sounds crazy but my characters talk to me all the time, even when the story is finished.
After so many books, how do you keep them unique?
I think the characters make the story unique. That is what you are going to remember about the story is the character. Make the character real, unique and your story will be unique.
What is your biggest (self-imposed) time waster?
My biggest time waster is television. I start watching a show and then have to see what happens next week. So when I write, I write in a room with no television.
Do you remember the first time you saw your book in a shop?
The first time I saw my book in a store was last week. I put Welcome to Zombie Zoo at a local store. I also have a book in a store in Texas but never went there and saw it, though I sold copies of my book there.
Do you read other people’s writing?
I have been a Beta Reader, but I don’t think the writer liked my honest comments. It was a historical romance and I found the flow of the story a bit off and told her. I had no idea what year it took place etc. I am honest, and never heard from her after that. When I read as a Beta Reader, I am reading the story and looking for the good and the bad. I feel that is what I would want. I wouldn’t want someone to say. Love it. That doesn’t help me as a writer.
Would you read mine?
I would read yours, if you are not going to be upset by me being honest.
Here is a list of bits and bobs for Sharon:
My latest book is Welcome To Zombie Zoo at www.amazon.com/dp/B008Y5D2DA
Welcome To Zombie Zoo Print and E-Book www.amazon.com/dp/B008Y5D2DA
Follow her on Twitter @dogbone61