Thursday, April 2, 2015
Johnny Worthen Interview
|Johnny Worthen, Author|
Hi Johnny! How’s life? Poison any nice authors lately?
I’m trying to snare more victims into the Blog Mansion, but since you escaped, I’ve been concentrating on personal promotion with my new book coming out.
That's probably smart. So you have a new book out . (Lucky date, by the way). Can you tell us about it?
THE BRAND DEMAND is a mystery inspired in part by Edward Abbey’s MONKEY WRENCH GANG which inspired me back in the day. The spooks in my story are of the government type instead of the supernatural. It’s political insofar as the protagonist is motivated by his political views to use blackmail to deal justice and become something of a Robin Hood, taking from the rich and hypocritical and giving to the needy, which happens to include him and his gang. It’s based in Utah with a bit of social commentary and a tour of some of the cooler places around here. There is romance and action, twists and turns, huge stakes and personal growth and a climax that is at once rewarding and tragic.
Sounds intriguing. So far you’ve focused mostly on fantasy and the paranormal. Why the change of genre?
I don’t have a single genre. I haven’t been assigned one by a publisher or an agent, so I live by my motto: “I write what I like to read. This guarantees me at least one fan.” I read lots of things and thus write in lots of genres. My debut BEATRYSEL is a horror/love story. ELEANOR, THE UNSEEN is a Young Adult paranormal character study. THE BRAND DEMAND is a political mystery and later this year, THE FINGER TRAP will be released by Jolly Fish Press. It’s a comedy detective noire. I’m working on a science fiction now.
One day I might have to specialize, but I haven’t yet. I write stories I need to write and don’t worry about genre until late in the game unless it’s obvious - my new work needs spaceships, so Sci-Fi is clear. What matters most is the story - theme, characters, scenes and payoffs. Genre is just a term meaning the shelf where the bookstore will put a title.
Not specializing in a single can be a problem though. I know that fans of ELEANOR, might not appreciate a radical thriller like THE BRAND DEMAND, and BEATRYSEL is so far afield from both of them, based on modern occult practices, that I’ve been told that if my name weren’t on the covers, readers wouldn’t have guessed the same person had written them. I go where the art takes me, fulfilling the desires of my one true fan (me), while hopefully pulling in others as I may. So far so good.
I feel ya. I'm the same way, not sticking to just one genre. I think it's something more authors are branching out to do these days. Why should your current readers pick up The Brand Demand? What will they get out of it?
In THE BRAND DEMAND, my protagonist, Galen Reed, is a social warrior. I wrote it when I was feeling powerless and used the book to work through some demons. I think people will relate to Galen and his gang, understand their motivations if not necessarily agreeing with their radicalism and then be pulled along in the by the danger and adventure of a caper gone wrong and new love coloring old beliefs. It’s really cool.
It is however an adult book so probably not appropriate for my younger readers. There’s sex, violence and adult themes. It’s a story of social resistance and personal growth. It is controversial and has the potential to make people uncomfortable. Such is writing; such is art. It’s a good story.
Sounds fantastic! I'm excited to read it. Back to Eleanor, it became an Amazon Best-Seller back in October. Any advice for authors on helping their books reach those heights?
Keep trying and write another book.
That’s the only advice that’s ever worked for me. A professional writer is just an amateur writer who didn’t give up.
A successful author once told me that the way to get a best selling book was to write a lot of books. This, I believe, is true. The only power a writer has is in their writing, that’s why it’s important to keep at it. Don’t get so attached to a single project that it ruins you. Rejections and bad contracts, crap editors and poor sales can eat at your mind. You have to move on. Write another book. I’m particularly keen on this because I feel I found my calling late in life and am making up for lost time. As such, I have written now twelve novels, beginning number thirteen and selling them all.
Wow! Congrats on having so many so quickly. Sounds like you have your calling well in hand. Can you tell us about upcoming plans? You know, upcoming events, more books coming out, new death plots for your fellow authors?
Last year was my break out year. ELEANOR, THE UNSEEN won The Gold Quill for Best Utah Young Adult Novel from the League of Utah Writers who I was also named Writer of the Year. So, that’s really cool.
This year, I have a hat-trick: three of my novels will come to print.
THE BRAND DEMAND (political mystery, Cherokee McGhee - )
CELESTE, THE UNSEEN BOOK 2 (young adult paranormal, Jolly Fish Press - )
THE FINGER TRAP (comedy detective noir, Jolly Fish Press - Fall 2015)
How cool is that?!
In the meantime, I’m trying to give back everywhere I can. I’m attending as many writing conferences as I can get to - as presenter and attendee. I’ll be at Comic Con in September the League of Utah Writers Fall Conference in August.
Check out my events page to catch up with me:
I'm sure they'll be fantastic events. Because of your contribution, of course. :D Anything else you want your readers (let’s face it, my readers) to know? Here’s your chance to plug!
I would like to encourage everyone to buy all my books and read them. I’m sure you’ll find something you like!
You can find out more about me here:
Thanks so much for talking to us, Johnny! Good luck with everything! Our best wishes for your new book!
Everyone make sure and check out my post from yesterday where I reviewed Johnny's best-seller, Eleanor, the Unseen. (Preview: it was AWESOME!!!)
Which of Johnny's books appeal to you?