Thursday, August 25, 2011

Q&A Interview and Giveaway with Jean Johnson

Hello everyone!  LITERAL ADDICTION and Book Monster Reviews are VERY happy to welcome Jean Johnson to our sites today!  
Jean currently lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest, has played in the SCA for over 20 years, sings a lot, and is currently writing hard for her living. She loves flirting, sewing, cats (though not necessarily flirting with cats who can sew), cooking (but not cooking cats), and has a distinct sense of humor (hmmm we couldn’t tell! LOL). At the moment, she’s managed to secure a tiny castle of her own to live in, small but nice, with zone heating and internet service.

Jean is the author of the incredible SONS OF DESTINY series, and her new, THEIRS NOT TO REASON WHY, military Sci-Fi series.

The SONS OF DESTINY series is a romantic tale of magic, superstition and love that transcends dimensions.  Eight brothers (1 book for each brother – “The Sword”, “The Wolf”, “The Master”, “The Song”, “The Cat”, “The Storm”, “The Flame” and “The Mage”), born in four sets of twins, two years apart to the day—they fulfill the Curse of Eight Prophecy.  To avoid tempting their destiny, the brothers are exiled to Nightfall Island, a land where women are strictly forbidden.  But, when the youngest of the mage-brothers rescues a woman from another universe, their world is forever altered!

Jean’s newest release, “Theirs Not To Reason Why:  A Soldier’s Duty” is the start of a four-book series, published by Ace books, that Jean has been wanting to tell for half of her life, and she is beyond proud to see it on bookstore shelves.  Besides telling an amazing story, her other goal with these books was to prove that she can write great military science fiction just as well as she writes national bestselling fantasy romance.  The next book of the series, “An Officer’s Duty”  is due out in August of 2012, and the following two,“Hellfire” and “Damnation” will be along shortly after.

Here’s a short synopsis of “Theirs Not To Reason Why:  A Soldier’s Duty”:
Ia is a precog, tormented by visions of the future where her home galaxy has been devastated. To prevent this vision from coming true, Ia enlists in the Terran United Planets military with a plan to become a soldier who will inspire generations for the next three hundred years - a soldier history will call Bloody Mary.

Intrigued?  We know we are!  So, let’s help Jean celebrate this awesome accomplishment of not only being published, but of also proving that she can cross genres and still write just as well, and get to know about her and the books a little bit better.
 
LITERAL ADDICTION/Book Monster Reviews:  Hi Jean!  We’re so happy to have you with us today!  Congratulations on hooking up with Ace and on the release of ”A Soldier’s Duty”!  We’re HUGE fans of your SONS OF DESTINY series, so we can’t wait to see where you take us with THEIRS NOT TO REASON WHY. 
Jean:  Well, I’m glad to have the chance to say hi to everyone here, and have a nice chat.

LITERAL ADDICTION/Book Monster Reviews:  We like to start out by getting to know our guest author a bit more, and then we’ll dig into the books. 
Q1): Can you tell us 3 things about yourself that we can't find out on the internet?
Jean:  Hrm…I’m actually pretty boring.  Let’s see…the smell of dogs gives me asthma, my cat has a tube-thing on her cat tree that she loves jumping through when chasing the feathers on her fishing pole toy, and I like playing Mario Kart on my Wii with my mother.

Q2):  What are 3 things that never fail to make you smile?
Jean:  Someone else smiling at me, hearing from my readers (it’s an honest thrill, considering they think it’s important enough to take time out of their busy lives to chat with me, so that makes me smile), and my kitty doing that twisty-onto-her-back thing.  Unlike most cats, she loves belleh rubbins, and I cannot resist.
Q3):   If you’re having a bad day, what do you do to cheer yourself up?
Jean:  Listen to good music usually lifts me up.  Also, making someone else laugh usually cheers me up.

Q4):  Do you like to cook?   If so, what’s your favorite dish to make?
Jean:  I do indeed like to cook, but cooking for one person sucks.  My favorite dish is usually something with cheese, but I also occasionally indulge in chicken satay from scratch.
Q5):  If you could sum up your life to date in 1 word, what would it be?
Jean:  Storyteller.
Q6):  Did anyone or anything specific inspire you to become an author?
Jean:  I didn’t like the ending of some book when I was around 8 years old, and decided to write my own ending.  It was crap—and I knew it was crap—but I enjoyed it so much, I kept doing it.
Q7):  If you could have 1 superpower, what would you want it to be and why?
Jean:  …Just one?  *siiighhh*  Okay, fiiine.  Tactile holokinesis, the ability to create solid illusions.  For the first reason why, I’d shape myself a cool looking alien-esque car-airplane thing and fly everywhere, saving on gas, getting places faster, and giving me the freedom to go anywhere in the world at any point in time for free…barring only having to check in with Customs officials and such.  For the second reason, I’d put together a stage act that would absolutely blow David Copperfield, et al, completely out of the water, allowing me to rake in massive amounts of money (and pay off my—ouch—mortgage payment) by only having to work one, maybe two nights a week…and thus still have oodles of time to focus on the love of my life, my writing.
Q8):  Even with the SONS OF DESTINY you had touches of Sci-Fi.  What intrigues you most about it, and how did you become interested in it?
Jean:  I suppose you could blame my father for getting me interested in Sci-Fi.  We regularly watched Star Trek when I was a kid, and he took my sister and me to downtown Seattle for the premiere of Star Wars (Ep. IV) in the 70mm version—not the 35mm version everyone else saw when it first came out, but the 70mm version.  The thing you have to understand about that, is that in the widely distributed 35mm versions, all of them, the scene with the human Jabba the Hutt was cut out…but NOT in the rare few 70mm versions of the movie.
I love the whole genre because it allows us as writers to imagine possibilities for the future—it is truly speculative fiction, emphasis on the speculation…and when we imagine it, we can influence people into trying to achieve it.  I actually own a flip-open cellphone the size of Captain Kirk’s communicator.  The iPad and other similar items we’re now starting to see everywhere, those come straight out of the datapads seen on The Next Generation series.
I love writing Sci-Fi because it gives me a chance to hope and speculate on things I myself wouldn’t mind seeing in the future…well, for the happy things.  For the not so happy things, I’d hope it gets us speculating on ways to avoid such things.  Like the thought of robots with Artificial Intelligences trying to take over the world?  We’ve speculated on that, and because we’ve considered the worst-case scenarios, I’m thinking we’ll be getting ready for handling that, should something like that ever become an actual, potential concern.
Q9): What are some of your favorite television shows and movies?
Jean:  I kinda stopped watching television after they cancelled the Firefly series, so I’m not up to date on any of the stuff since then, unless you count the little bit of t.v. viewing I do when I’m traveling, lol.  I like educational shows that show you and teach you stuff; I like speculative shows with science fiction, fantasy, or superhero elements, and I like comedy.  I absolutely loved the Babylon 5 series, most of the Star Trek stuff, the Lord of the Rings movies, and most of whatever Pixar has produced.  Except Cars, but I didn’t bother to go watch that one because I just wasn’t interested in the topic.
Q10):  What are the best and hardest parts of writing for you?
Jean:  The hardest part is easy:  I hate writing synopses and back cover copy.  Trying to condense down and encapsulate an entire book into a few short paragraphs is not my favorite part.  I’ve written or rewritten/edited the back cover copy for every book in the Sons of Destiny series, and about half of it for A Soldier’s Duty, and tried my best to make it sound as exciting as the actual stories inside, but I’d rather write the stories themselves.

As for the part I love the most…  Getting inspired by a really wicked, cool idea, the kind that makes me break out spontaneously in evil laughter.  It might startle my cat, but I love it when that happens—by nature, I’m a very nice person, but I’ve worked hard on my evil mad scientist-y laugh, and I’m delighted whenever I get a chance to express myself with it.  Particularly when its triggered spontaneously.
LITERAL ADDICTION/Book Monster Reviews:  O.K, now let’s find out some more about this amazing new series, and get you to tell new readers a bit about The Sons…
Q11):  What is it about this new series that made you feel that you just HAD to tell the story?
Jean:  A lot of civilians just don’t understand why soldiers do what they do.  They’re literally exposing themselves to danger, violence, pain, and the risk of death…and for what?  It’s not the crappy pay, so why would they do that?  Why would anyone do it?  I just got an email from a Staff Sergeant serving in Germany on an American base, and he said I captured the psychology, the sense of duty, the reasons WHY they do it to a tee…and that means I did my job right.
Q12):  Do you have military experience, or were you around military that made writing this easier, or was it just a lot of research and imagination?
Jean:  For the record, I have never served in the military.  I did consider it at a few points in my life, but I knew I didn’t have the stamina for it.  That, and I’d really rather write than do anything else.  But I have always been interested in general psychology—why we do the things we do, and why we make those choices.   I’ve always been interested in military strategy, and I’ve had several cousins and friends serve in various branches of the armed forces over the years.  In fact, they’ve been gracious enough to let me ask them all manner of questions.
Q13):  The Synopses never really do justice.  Can you tell us about this 4 part series a little bit more in your own words and let us know what we have to look forward to?
Jean:  Well, the short version I pitch for the entire series is this:  What if you could see the future in all its vast and varied possibilities?  And what if, in foreseeing that future, you realized your galaxy was going to be invaded three hundred years down the road?  What would you do to stop it, what would you risk, and what would you give up, to prevent the destruction of your entire galaxy long after you were dead and gone?
Ia, the main character in the series, is faced with this exact conundrum.  She can SEE the problem, and see a possible solution to it, but she’s only one person.  Even in the late 25th century, Humans only live to be about 100 years old.  She won’t be around when the excrement hits the ventilation unit...but she can foresee a path of hope that can prevent the invasion and subsequent destruction of the Milky Way.  If she can get enough people to help her reshape the galaxy, that is.  In order to do that, she has to change her life and shape herself into a legend that others will look up to and be willing to follow:  the legend of Bloody Mary.
(…On a quick side-note, “Bloody Mary” isn’t just an alcoholic drink; it also refers to several people throughout history.  Historians tend to agree that the most prominent of these was Queen Mary of England, half-sister to Queen Elizabeth I.  She earned her nickname by persecuting Protestants and other non-Catholics with increasing brutality, particularly during the latter part of her reign.)
Q14):  Do you have a favorite brother from the SONS OF DESTINY?  Why do you think they’re your favorite?
Jean:  I love them all.  Each one has a quality which I admire, and each one is sexy in his own way.  Don’t ask me which one I’d marry; the sucky thing about writing romance novels is that I already know who the heroes end up with, and I have this moral code thing where I don’t poach, even if it’s just a character in a story…so I never get to date any of the men I write about, even in my daydreams.  *sigh*
…I suppose, if it was just having a nice chat with one of them, I’d probably pick Morganen.  He’s smart, funny, and widely read, so he’s bound to be a great conversationalist.  Other than that, they’re all fantastic men.
Q15):  We think that the Sons would make an amazing mini-series on Sci-Fi or AMC, etc.  Have you ever thought of going that route?
Jean:  Yes, I have.  Certain things would have to be very carefully written for an acceptable audience rating level, particularly since some of the storylines not only involve lovemaking, the plot actually depends upon it, but I think it would be cool.  I did get an interested nibble a few years back, but the conversation dried up when they went looking for investors, and I haven’t heard back from them.  I will say that I do own all movie, musical, theatrical, and lyrical production rights to all my stories, so if anyone else wants to consider it, feel free to contact me.
Q16):  Do you share any personality traits with Ia?  Is there anything that is completely opposite between the two of you?
Jean:  I do believe in trying to do the right thing to make the world a better place for the vast majority of people, the same as Ia, and I honor every member of the military services I run across, thanking them for their efforts.  I’m just a total slug-a-bed when it comes to actual exercise though, lol.  I’m very glad I’m not stuck in her position, and if I had a choice, I’d rather not be, personally.  Other than that, my characters are their own entities.  I don’t feel comfortable putting myself into a book as a character.  Said characters might have a few traits from myself, a few traits from my friends, a little bit from here, a little bit from there…but then we all share a mix of traits with other people around the world.  No one particular person has inspired more than ten percent of any of my characters.  They just are.
Q17):  What do you feel is the most important trait for a hero or heroine to have?
Jean:  The willingness to try and make the world a better place, even if it’s just by a little bit, tucked in their own little corner of that world.
Q18): What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview but have never been asked, and how would you answer that question?
Jean:  …bwuh?  I honestly don’t know, lol.  I know the one question I (and most other authors) roll our eyes when we’re given it (“Where do you get your ideas?”  Oy…)  but I can’t think of any questions at the moment.  Mainly because I’m happy to answer just about anything anyone asks me.  In fact, I could probably answer the question “Why is the sky blue?” …but nobody asks that one anymore, even in jest.
Q19):  What’s up next for Jean Johnson?  Can you give us any teasers about what we might have to look forward to after the conclusion of THEIRS NOT TO REASON WHY?
Jean:  Directly after finishing book 4, Theirs Not To Reason Why: Damnation, I’m hoping to get started on a new fantasy-romance series; I’ll be chatting with my edtior about that in just a few months, in fact.  I enjoy writing fantasy romances, and fully intend to continue doing that as well as the science fiction stuff.
Speaking the Sci-Fi side of things, if the Theirs Not series continues to do well—and I give you my word I’ll be putting the same high level of quality and attention into the rest of the series as I have all the books already available—then I’m hoping to get a 3 book contract with Ace to tell the story of what does happen three hundred or so years down the road, when the fecal matter does indeed hit the ventilation unit and the galaxy needs saving.  There are also several other books in that universe which I’d like to explore.  I also have other science fiction and fantasy universes with stories of their own to explore.
I have a lot of stories, period, just waiting to be told.  My deepest wish is to be able to share them with others, writing them to the best of my ability.
Q20):  Is there anything specific you would like to say to your readers while we have you here today?
Jean:  Authors truly, honestly, do NOT get paid what most people assume we get paid.  We get maybe a tenth of that assumption, so every single booksale counts.  If you borrow a book from the library or from a friend and liked it, buy your own copy to help support that author, so they can afford to keep writing good stories for you.  And if you do love an author’s stories, go out and encourage other people to buy them.
This goes for other authors, not just myself.  If you love it, spread the word.  Tell everybody, and keep telling them.  If you don’t love it…eh, just keep yer mouth shut and just let it die a quiet death, lol.  Somebody else might still like it, so let them spread the word themselves.  But really, if you like it, encourage others to give it a try.  Most of us readers are dying for a good new book to read, so let everyone know which ones you yourself recommend.
LITERAL ADDICTION/Book Monster Reviews:  Thank you so much Jean!  We’ve loved having you with us today, and are excited for the chat later on this evening!  We’re sincerely hoping that we’ve tuned some new readers into your amazing work, and we can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next.  We would love it if we could have you back for the release of “An Officer’s Duty” next year if you’re interested.  J
Jean:  Ooh, please, do invite me back!  I loved the questions I’ve been asked, and I’d be happy to answer more.
To find out more about Jean and her incredible books, please visit her at the following sites:
********************************************************************************
CONTEST:
Jean is graciously offering up a copy each of A SOLDIER’S DUTY to a winner from Book Monster Reviews. 
To Enter: Make sure you are a follower of the BMR Blog and then post a comment on the interview and make sure you leave a valid email address. Any comments without an email address will NOT be entered into drawing. You must also be a follower of the BMR blog. GOOD LUCK!!!!
Don't forget to drop by the LITERAL ADDICTION website (http://www.literaladdiction.com/) and follow the directions and links to enter their contest for an extra chance to win!!!

23 comments:

Linda said...

Love fantasy romance, looking forward to your new series (what will it be called?)

Love the covers of your books!

thumbelinda03@yahoo.com

Cath said...

Those have got to be some of the most gorgeous covers around, lucky you Jean ♥

cbcowley@gmail.com

soteria wallace said...

wow!!! I haven't read any of Jean's books yet but after reading her interview they're next on my wishlist...!!!

hina92@libero.it

Michelle said...

Great interview! You've made me want to go back & re-read the Sons of Destiny series. I did giggle a lot at Queen Kelly! :)

mmcmichael79(at)googlemail(dot)com

Victoria said...

Sound like great reads. The covers are excellent too.

vsloboda(at)gmail(dot)com

Spav said...

I really liked the Sons of Destiny series and can't wait to read A Soldier's Duty.

spav05(at)gmail(dot)com

Lori in Philly said...

Thanks for the interview I notice you wrote a childrens book I loved reading to children when I ran a library yrs ago. Wonder if its just as hard. Think I'll start with the sons of destiny and son with Theirs not to reason I think he might enjoy it. Thanks for all you do.
Lilcrowgifts@aol.com

Jean said...

Lori in Philly...actually, I didn't write any children's books. There are a few other authors out there with identical names. One did the children's book, and one did some books on accounting or economics or something. The complete list of all my published works can be found at my website, www.JeanJohnson.net.

Jean said...

...If by children's book, you meant "Bedtime Stories", that one is NOT what you think it is, lol. It's an anthology of erotically revised fairy tales, and is therefore definitely meant for adults to read, not kids.

Na said...

Hi Jean, I just discovered your books today and they look great. I can see why writing the back cover is no easy task, it's telling telling a story without telling a story if that makes sense. The blurb is also important to me as a reader.

Cambonified(at)yahoo(dot)com

Amberia said...

Military romance fiction has always been interesting to me. Great interview. Would love to read the book.

a_daulton86@yahoo.com

roro said...

Those have got to be some of the most gorgeous covers around,Love fantasy romance. Great interview!

rogcaprino [at]hotmail[dot]com

SdyLion said...

Your series looks fresh and interesting. I love the covers and thank you for the interview. sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com

Patti said...

These sound great and the covers are amazing!

musicalfrog at comcast.net

Chrisbails said...

Love fantasy romance and these books look great. great interview and would love to win. thanks for the giveaway and the chance to win. you are a new author for me and would love to check out your books.
christinebails@yahoo.com

k2sgal said...

Thank you so much for your interview would so love to win y our book.

k2sgal@aol.com

Laurie said...

Another great interview. You always have the best questions...I get to learn so much about the authors here. Jean, your covers just rock! And your stories are so great.

Thanks!

goaliemom00@cox.net

Emily Tardy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Emily Tardy said...

Wonderful interview, and really nice covers! I'll be adding your books to my WishList.

emilytardy@yahoo.com

LIESA said...

Awesome interview!!


liesa008@comcast.net

Christina said...

I love your book covers! Thank you for the interview! I'm looking forward to reading your books.

crevels_fairywings@yahoo.com

hstreible said...

great interview!

hstreible@gmail.com

*yadkny* said...

Thanks for all of the lovely male-torso coverage on your covers:)

*follower of the BMR Blog
yadkny@hotmail.com