Monday, July 18, 2011

The Same Six Questions - Ty Johnston

Hi, and welcome to the inaugural edition of “The Same Six Questions”! Today, we have author Ty Johnston.

Before we begin with the “official” questions, Ty, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Thanks, Andy! Born in Kentucky, I now spend my time traveling with my wife. Much of our time, of late, has been spent in the South of the U.S. I was a newspaper editor for 20 years, but upon losing my job like so many others of the last few years, I have been fortunate enough to turn my hobby of writing fiction into my profession. My main interests are writing and reading, though I am also somewhat of a connoisseur of fine beers. I love to study history, philosophy, religion and literary theory. Renaissance fairs are a favorite pursuit of mine. When not involved with all that, I like walking my beagle or spending time with our two house rabbits.


Thanks! Now, the hard part. Here’s The Same Six Questions


1.            Have you published a book yet?

Not in print, but in e-book formats I have self-published seven novels, six short story collections, one non-fiction book and two screenplays. I also have short stories available in various venues throughout the Web and in print. As of yet, none of my longer works are in print, but hopefully that will change soon; I have worked with two different print publishers over the last couple of years, but for reasons mainly having to do with the economy and changes in the publishing industry, we’ve not been able to bring out my novels in print. That being said, I am excited with some recent behind-the-scenes action and hopefully I’ll be able to announce something in the next month or so.

I write mainly epic fantasy and horror, with my “City of Rogues” novel probably being my best known work. The story in that novel involves my Kron Darkbow character who returns to his home city after being away for 15 years, seeking vengeance for the deaths of loved ones. Unfortunately for him, he quickly discovers that revenge can be complicated, especially when innocent people become involved.


2.            When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I have always wanted to be a writer. I cannot remember a time, even when very young when I did not have some aspirations to be a professional fiction writer. Even when I was five and six years old, I would spend days upon days writing and drawing my own comic books. My drawing and painting talents, however, have floundered with time and lack of practice, so nowadays I mostly stick to writing. I wrote my first novel in fifth grade, what today would be considered fan fiction about the James Bond character, though back in themid-70’s I don’t believe too many people had heard of fan fiction, at least not outside of hardcore genre and convention fans.

I eventually became a newspaper journalist because I thought it would pay the bills while I worked on my fiction, but it turned out to be the other way around. Journalism kept me too busy to work on my fiction at a consistent level, and it was only after I left the business that I began to find any success with my novels and short stories.
3.            What was your first lengthy piece of fiction? What was it about? When did you write it?   Do you still have it?

Well, I mentioned that James Bond novel I wrote in fifth grade, but that was probably only about 20,000 words, to be honest. The first long piece of fiction I ever tried my hand at was a horror novel called “The Storm” I started when I was 19 years old. I wrote about 70,000 words, but then I got into college and have never gotten back to it. I hope to someday, but it has yet to be high on my priority list because I realize I would probably have to start from scratch and don’t really look forward to that. Yes, I still have my copy of that novel stuffed away in a file. It was about a small town in Kentucky where an ominous other-worldly figure tries to kidnap a child for its own ends, but the child is a telekinetic and has friends and neighbors who help combat this horror. Of course, it’s more complicated than that, but I don’t want to give too much away in case I ever get this thing written. I still think it has a workable plot and interesting characters.

4.            When was your first indication, "I can do this (write)"?

I’ve always felt like I could write. I’ve always known I had to work on my craft, and there are still mistakes I make today, but I know I can write. I have no delusions about being a great writer, however. I am a decent writer, one who can entertain enough people to make a living doing this. I think journalism helped some in this regard because I was always writing in that business, even when I was an editor, and you have to write quickly and on deadline and you have to write decently, at the least.
5.            If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which would it be?

I’ve seen similar questions put to other authors before, but I’m not sure I’d want to meet any of them. My nicer characters tend to have bad things happen to them, and I wouldn’t want to be around that. On the other hand, my rougher characters probably wouldn’t like me or tolerate me for long and I’d end up with a dagger stuck in my back. If I had to meet any of my characters, I would probably pick Walt from my literary novel, More Than Kin, but again, bad things happen to Walt, who is a pretty nice guy.
6.            It's a dark and stormy night...you're alone in the house...there's a knock at the door...you open it, look out, and proceed to scream like a little girl/boy (they kinda scream the same anyway). What's on the doorstep?

Probably a big, twisted demonic beastie that looks like something from the John Carpenter movie “The Thing.” I’d try to slam the door shut and grab something as a weapon, but I think it would all be over within a matter of seconds. I’d hope I’d have time to scream for the wife to run or something. And don’t give me looks. You asked, alright? And I write horror, so you know it would have to be something nasty out there.

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Thanks so much for stopping by Ty! For more of Ty’s work, or to find him online, check out the following links:


Don’t forget to come back on Thursday (7/21), when we’ll hear from author Stephen Martin!