Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Introducing Nancy LaRonda Johnson
Nancy LaRonda Johnson is an African-American woman who has written short stories, poetry and personal journals most of her life. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a Juris Doctorate, and works as a deputy probation officer. She maintains the blog “Writer’s Mark – Christian and other fiction, poetry, and ideas” at www.nancylarondajohnson.blogspot.com, and is working on several projects, including a sequel to Anticipation of the Penitent. Anticipation of the Penitent was a front-runner in the Indie Publishing Contest sponsored by the San Francisco Writers Conference 2012.
Please tell me about your novel. Who or what was your inspiration behind it?
The main characters of Anticipation of the Penitent are Alezea and Thomas, mother and son. The mother was taken over by Satan and she bares him a son, Thomas, whom the devil raises to be a serial killer. The first half of the book provides a glimpse into their lives, and is mainly about Alezea, her struggles, and her transformation after finding God. In the second half of the book, you learn more about Thomas, after he has met Rachel, his mate.
The story has a lot of dark elements, which people tend to call horror. It is, nonetheless, literary and Christian. My initial questions when writing this were, why is there evil in the world, and can a sociopath be saved? There is no end to the evilness people allow themselves to inflict on someone else. Luckily, all the answers I needed to explain this behavior is in the Bible. I no longer had to research evil behaviors, of which I have great examples through my job trainings and my job in general.
Which is your favorite character in your book and why?
Thomas! I’m in love with Thomas, as my brother teases me about. Can’t answer why ‘til you read the book. Dawson is a close second.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
That my book wouldn’t sell because people who like horror wouldn’t like the Christian aspects, and those who like Christian wouldn’t like the horror. But the Christian speculative fiction genre is growing rapidly.
What was the biggest compliment?
That my characters draw you in and carry you through, and that my descriptions are very visceral.
Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?
They boosted my confidence that what I like, others will like also.
What has been your favorite part of being an author?
Seeing the story develop and seem to not have no choice but to go where it’s going. And when the characters seem so much a part of my life, like friends or relatives.
What has been your least favorite?
Not knowing if the plot will develop, and having to work instead of trying to write.
What has been the strangest thing that a reader has asked you?
Who would want to read a story about a woman who’s been physically destroyed and is in a cage? I didn’t answer him that I would.
What is your favorite junk food vice?
Can’t talk about it now while I’m doing the Atkins diet! Okay, Snickers Ice Cream Bars, and popcorn at the movies with lots of butter.
Did you have any teacher in school that encouraged you to write? Did you take their advice?
In elementary school, after I wrote this horrible story about a lost dog, my teacher said I was very prolific. She told me to look the word up, which I did, but didn’t understand the meaning until I got older. It still encouraged me.
We all have our little things when it comes to reading, is there anything that bugs you when you read a novel? What is it?
Yes, bad grammar and style. I know that especially with self-published writers, mistakes will remain. But if the book is full of poor grammar or bad style, it’s so off-putting, it’s hard for me to continue reading, even if the topic is interesting. Bad style, for example, is when the author puts in her input as the writer, instead of the character, or uses multiple punctuations, like ?!, and continues to do it a lot.
What genre are you most looking forward to exploring during your writing career? Why?
Sci-fi. I have started a sci-fi novella, but it’s on hold because I’m writing the sequel to Anticipation of the Penitent. The sci-fi novella started as a writing prompt, but I like the character a lot. I don’t read too much sci-fi, so the thought scares me, just like the book I’m trying to write for NaNoWriMo. That’s the National Novel Writing Month challenge, to write 50K words from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30. It’s my first time doing it and I’m behind. I’m new to writing about the book topic I’m writing for this challenge as well.
Is there anything else that you would like to share or say to those who will read this interview?
Lots of questions come up while you read the book, from the beginning to the end, but most all of the questions are answered throughout and by the end of it. That was very important to me.
Readers can connect with Nancy on her blog "Writer's Mark - Christian and other fiction, poetry, and ideas."
You can purchase her book here: Amazon Smashwords
Thank you Nancy for sharing with us today. I wish you the best in your writing endeavors.