Interview with Kelly B. Johnson, author of “Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation”

What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?

Science fiction is THE genre of make-believe, to which every child is familiar. Those who grow up and still have their inner-child as to have retained the magic of imagination, and are able to expound on and convey some fantastical, unbelievable “what if” in a relatively logical, plausible yet creative way, then that’s what makes the genre of sci-fi special.

Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?

Honestly, I do not read as much as I should—at least not with fiction, as my reading is generally limited to non-fiction, for the purpose of learning or acquiring knowledge. Thus, I don’t have a favorite author.

Have you ever designed your own book cover?

Yes, I’ve designed my own book cover twice now, having self-published two books (albeit the later is a revision of the first.) Even so, I am seeing an evolution with doing so. I have a vision the book cover for my next book, which I will hope its execution will be better than the last.

How would you feel if no one showed up at your book signing?

[Laughs.] Now wouldn’t that be a sign that I was not meant to be writer.

Does a bad review affect your writing?

Let me rephrase and say no, a bad review would not affect my writing. Constructive criticism is constructive criticism. It benefits a writer serious about being a writer as to hone his craft. Destructive criticism, on the other hand, is another thing.

Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?

My advice to aspiring writers would be to 1) take time to layout and develop a road map, before or after you complete a project, BUT before you set out to have it published. One has to know and see where they are going and how to get there; and 2) never give up, especially if deep down, one knows a story is worth telling.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

[Smiles.] If it is a matter of time, money and energy, then a lot.

How realistic are your books?

If I have developed solid, believable characters in equally solid and believable settings, then my books are realistic. Then too, as the genre of sci-fi is generally of the future, the subject or themes of my books are a reflection of today’s times and humanity, which lend them to be realistic.

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

When I was young, I did not see writing as a career or a full-time profession only because I caught up in my own imaginations, eager to given them some tangible existence in reality. Writing as a profession evolved over time as I realized it to be a medium with which I could create.

People believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

[Laughs.] I guess it depends on one’s success with being a published author. I will say this though, being a published author does give one certain level of respect and credibility. It’s as though people become mindful as to be or not to be written about. [Laughs.]

Do you think you still have a story to tell to the readers?

I will always have a story to tell readers. [Smiles.]

How critical are you in your evaluation when you are reviewing someone’s work?

Given the level of tenacity for perfection I give toward my own work, I am equally critical with my evaluation when reviewing someone else’s work. Granted, I keep an objective and open mind toward another writer’s intent, but on technical level, execution has to be tight.

Does it get frustrating if you are unable to recall an idea you had in your mind some time earlier?

[Laughs.] Boy, don’t you know it!

Have you ever destroyed any of your drafts?

Yes, I recall an instance when I was young where a story became so frustrating that I took the script outside and burned it. [Smiles.] Then I started over.

If you were to rate your best work, how would you rate it?

I can’t rate my best work. I can only look at it as a form of art that I have created and either feel good that it can stand on its own or not. If it can’t stand on its own, then obviously it is not ready to be shared with readers. As it is being shared and sold, I am confident that it can.

Have you ever written a character based on the real you in some part?

[Smiles.] I haven’t consciously based a character on my real self, though I may have done so subconsciously—at least with how the main character reads in the draft for the next book. I’ll have to be mindful of this as move that project along.

Are you working on something new at the moment?

Yes, I am working on my next project, Dream Synthesis (working title). It’s the follow up to the anthology, Skies Over Tomorrow: Constellation.

How big of a part does music play in creating your “zone”?

Music plays an instrumental part in creating my zone, usually helping inspire a “soundtrack” to help a story or scene along.

Do you have specific culture you like to write about?

I don’t write about specific cultures per se, but rather my writings are influenced by the eastern cultures of Japan and China and countries of Africa’s antiquity.

How often do you aim to send a specific message through your book and get 100% success?

I don’t aim to send a specific message through my book, but rather I may introduce an observation of the world in which I live, passing it off as part of the reality of the story. Rather or not that observation is realized and received well will depend entirely on the reader. If I view my book as an art form, then it is intended to stimulate a reader to perhaps view his or her world in a different way—if not better it in some way.

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