Welcome to my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, scriptwriters, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with general / urban fiction novelist KF Johnson. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Morgen: Hello, KF. Please tell us something about yourself, where you’re based, and how you came to be a writer.
KF: I am from Queens, New York but I’ve lived in Atlanta, Georgia since I enrolled at Spelman College which is a liberal arts school. I graduated with a BA in Psychology and I have a Master’s Degree in Business, but I’ve always been involved in the arts. I modelled, was a rapper, danced (not as a stripper! LOL), acted in movie shorts, music videos and local commercials as well in my 20’s. I think I got the writing bug when I won a New York State wide poetry writing contest in the 6th grade. My 2 older siblings are 7 and 10 years older than me so I had a lot of time to play with Barbie dolls, cabbage patch kids and let my imagination roam. Eventually I put those ideas down on paper (mostly while I was on punishment though). Now, although I’m a mother and mate with a fulltime job as an Accountant, I couldn’t let my passion for writing die. I was writing my new book BEHIND CLOSED DOORS on and off for about 10 years before I published it in July 2012.
Morgen: What genre do you generally write and have you considered other genres?
KF: This book falls under general fiction / urban fiction because of some of the types of characters involved and the situations that cover everything from relationships and steamy sex scenes, to murder and mystery for 2 upper middle class siblings. I love many genres though so it possible I may write horror, mystery or even erotic material in the future.
Morgen: What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
KF: BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is my first published book, so that is what I’m promoting at the moment. My full name is Kiyeta F. Johnson and since most people have a difficult time pronouncing my name. For that reason, I’ve chosen to write under my first initials, K.F. Johnson.
Morgen: You’ve self-published, what lead to you going your own way?
KF: I chose that route because I felt that the book’s storyline and the way I wrote it were good enough to stand on its own and I would rather let readers judge than publishers. If I hadn’t gotten the great response that I’ve been getting, even those waiting on the sequel, I might have rethought that decision, but I’m glad I did it!
Morgen: Are your books available as eBooks? Do you read eBooks or is it paper all the way?
KF: Yes my books are available on Amazon.com on kindle and in paperback as well as through Createspace.com in paperback form. It will be available in other bookstores shortly. I read ebooks and paperbacks and I also have recently fell in love with audiobooks. In fact, I’m working on the audiobook version of my book now.
Morgen: Audiobooks are my favourite format because I can multi-task. 🙂 Do you have a favourite of your books or characters? If any of your book were to be made into a film, whom would you have as the leading actor/s?
KF: I think Brian is my favourite character because he’s the one most people love to hate and he was the most fun to write. The two main characters in the book at Brian and Brenda. I’d have Michael Ealy play Brian and Sanaa Lathan play Brenda.
Morgen: Not names I recognised but having Googled them I did recognise their faces. Which authors would you compare your writing to?
KF: I’d compare my writing to a combination of Eric Jerome Dickey, Omar Tyree and Terry McMillian; but some of my readers have also made comparisons to Zane.
Morgen: Did you choose the title / cover of your book? How important do you think they are?
KF: I had 100% control over everything and I created my book cover myself. One decision I wish I’d made differently however; was the title of the book, I wish I’d stuck with one of the more unique titles. Once I published and looked for it on Amazon, I was shocked at the amount of books with the same title. LOL. At any rate, the title fits the content.
Morgen: Which is what it should do. What are you working on at the moment / next?
KF: I’m starting to write the follow up to BEHIND CLOSED DOORS at the request of many of my readers. The cliffhangers at the end of the book seems to have inspired an interest in a sequel; which I’m EXTREMELY grateful and excited about.
Morgen: Congratulations. Do you manage to write every day, or ever suffer from writer’s block?
KF: Do I? I wrote on and off from 2002-2012 because life occurrences like the birth of my son, going back to get my Master’s Degree, and a number of other things squelched my creative fire at times. When I get the feeling back though, it’s all I can think of.
Morgen: Me too. Do you plot your stories or do you just get an idea and run with it?
KF: I originally plotted the storyline for my book, but as I began writing and the years changed, there were a number of changes in it.
Morgen: Do you have a method for creating your characters, their names and what do you think makes them believable?
KF: I try to envision what they look like in my head and what kind of person they are going to be. Then I write about them like I know them.
Morgen: Do you do a lot of editing or do you find that as time goes on your writing is more fully-formed?
KF: This time around, a lot of editing was needed because it was my first book and I was developing my writing technique while I was learning / researching what was required to publish a book. I think next time it will be a much smoother process.
Morgen: Like most things in life, it’s all about practice. Do you have to do much research?
KF: I did some research because there were injuries and medications referenced in the storyline that I felt required accuracy to be believable. Other than that, my imagination and memories of character references was research enough.
Morgen: What point of view do you find most to your liking?
KF: I wrote this one in the first person for the two main characters and I think I find it the most comfortable because I can speak as the character about what they’re thinking.
Morgen: Do you write any poetry, non-fiction or short stories?
KF: I have written poetry and a couple of short stories. None that I’ve published outside of college magazines but I may in the future.
Morgen: Do you have pieces of work that you think will never see light of day?
KF: Yes. I wrote a story when I was 13 about marrying the lead singer Ralph Tresvant, of the group New Edition. Nobody is gonna see that published!
Morgen: <laughs> Have you had any rejections? If so, how do you deal with them?
KF: None so far, so I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Morgen: Let’s hope you don’t have to. What advice would you give aspiring writers?
KF: Research the format to write in the genre you’re interested in so that you don’t have to do a lot of revisions, and GO FOR IT!
Morgen: Are you on any forums or networking sites? If so, how valuable do you find them?
KF: Yes I’m on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kf.johnson.7 which was a HUGE tool that helped jumpstart my readership. I am also on twitter @kfjohnsonbooks and I’m on linked in under http://www.linkedin.com/in/jproperties
Morgen: What do you think the future holds for a writer?
KF: I think the possibilities are endless. Sequels, movies, and television movies are always within reach if the material is good.
Morgen: “the material is good” – that’s what really matters. Where can we find out about you and your writing?
Morgen: Good choice (but then I’m WordPress biased). Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
KF: I’d love for anyone who has an interest in the genre I write for to read my book and provide feedback. I’m just as interested in knowing what the general reader thinks about my work as my peers and the powers that be.
Morgen: Feedback is so important and a lot of writers don’t have that so I set up http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/feedback which is ticking over nicely. Thank you, Kiyeta.
I then invited KF to include an extract of her writing…
“Okay so like I was saying. Eventually, no matter how good or fly the car you have was when you first bought it, it’s gonna get old. It’s gonna start showing defects, needing extra attention it didn’t need in the beginning, and soon the thrill of having it wears off. In most cases, it ends up costing you more to keep it, than to just trade up for a newer and better model for probably half the drama. Now replace the cars in my analogy with females. You will get the same results; hence, it’s better to lease, not buy,” I grinned. “If you never committed to keeping it in the first place, you have less drama when it comes to replacing it.”
“Well I don’t think that’s true. Some cars hold up forever, like vintage cars. Some women never lose their shine,” he stated.
“Believe me my man. Once they start getting comfortable they start trippin’ about things they didn’t trip about before. Nagging, getting fat, they stop doing their hair and nails, and lastly…but most importantly…they stop givin’ up the ass on a regular basis. At the end of the day, you’re never gonna get your money’s worth so the better option is to lease. If you don’t already have a fleet of chicks, when one trick starts messing up, trade up. Plain and simple.”
And a synopsis…
Brian & Brenda Andrews are siblings striving for success and indulging in the dating scene & games of Atlanta’s abundant singles setting. Brian, a handsome, narcissistic playboy, manipulates women out of their panties regularly with no intention on stopping. Brenda, serial date’s in hopes that her true love and on-again, off-again boyfriend will eventually propose. When their often abusive, alcoholic & philandering father mysteriously drowns in the pool at their parent’s home, they begin to question the circumstances of his untimely death. Soon, as the skeletons of their family secrets begin falling out of the closet, they’re forced to face some truths of their own and pay the consequences. KF Johnson’s BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, takes you on a funny, maniacal and sexy journey inside the relationships of two siblings who haven’t got a clue and need one before they lose everything!
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