What inspired you to become an author?
Does desperation count as inspiration? Two years ago, I was combing through schedules trying to juggle my part-time work with the kids’ activities and the hub’s travel schedule. Panic set in. What was I going to do when all the kids were in school and I had to go back to the lab where I’d have very little wiggle room in my schedule?
It didn’t matter that I had four years before it was a concern, but I have a lot of kids!
Thanks to a news clip on self-publishing, the idea had been planted. How many more years was I going to comment about writing a book one day? Who was I going to hurt if I wrote a book and it stunk? That day I decided to become a writer and I went into writing with a loose, mental business plan and it’s developing nicely. Writing has become me. What do I do for work? Write. What are my hobbies? Writing, reading, and judging writing contests. I live, breath, and daydream writing. Beware if you ask me how writing’s going. I will go on, and on, and on…
Do you write in different genres?
I read and write predominantly paranormal, but I enjoy contemporary, too. It was natural to begin writing paranormal, and for me it’s easier. There’s always action and it’s easy to rely on it to propel a story. It took a while to get comfortable spending time with my characters and building the story through conversations and “normal” activities.
If yes which is your favorite genre to write?
The world is mine to do anything with in paranormal stories. I feel like there’s a lot more research involved in contemporary stories. I have two Navy Fleet Week novellas that I’m re-releasing this fall and tracking down a Sailor who has the time to answer, you know, eight-hundred questions or so has been really hard. Finding a Sailor when I live in the middle of the country is even more challenging.
What books/authors have influenced your life?
I read The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley when I was really young. Blew. My Mind. Strong heroine, hot hero, slow burn of infatuation, chaste kiss at the end. Titillating. I wanted more. At the time, I wanted more women with swords. As I got older and noticed I cruised fantasies, only choosing ones with significant romance tropes, did I finally switch to romance. Helllllo vampires!
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
For my first series, I realized the editor I had hired wasn’t what my work needed so I turned to The Killion Group. Jennifer Bray-Weber, also an author, edited the first book of my second series and taught me to use variety in my words, infuse emotions into the characters, and write in deep POV like I meant to. She basically taught me the mechanics of writing a sentence to tell a story. So I dumped my first series on her and the poor girl tackled the project of reediting it all. I feel so much better after I’ve had her go through my work.
What book are you reading now?
At rummage sales, I have low expectations of finding anything to fit my reading interests. Then I hit this one sale, wandered by the book selection, and screeched to a halt. The lineup was Sherilyn Kenyon, Larissa Ione, Alexandra Ivy, Elisabeth Naughton, Gena Showalter, etc… And get this: a quarter each!! I scooped up a ton. Right now, I’m reading Born in Blood from Alexandra Ivy’s Sentinals series and I’m really enjoying it.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Ancient Ties, book 2 in Pale Moonlight is my work in progress. I love this series because there is no series arc. Each book stands on its own in the same world as the other series, and follows wolf-shifter characters we’ve already met.
Excerpt (from rough draft):
With a fortifying breath, she faced the tall male with deep bronze skin and glittering brown eyes. He looked every inch the Native American warrior he claimed to be descended from, down to the long braid trailing down his back.
She flipped her own braid over her shoulder and crossed her arms. “No matter what the guys around here say, grains and vegetables are good for shifters, too. Just because you’ve all devoured meat with a side of meat for decades doesn’t mean it’s good for you.”
His upper lip rose in a sneer. “Spoken like a human.”
Oh, the guy crawled under skin and pricked at her. “Yeah, it is. But like it or not, I’m still a shifter even if I was raised human.”
He rolled his eyes and plucked a piece of bacon off the platter she’d set aside to drain. She lunged to swat his hand, but he popped it into his mouth and chewed with a shit-eating grin.
Add another offense to his growing list. She chopped the bacon into the quinoa to coerce the baconphiles she lived with to broaden their food horizon. She’d cooked five pounds and no matter how much Chayton extolled the benefits of fish, he’d eat half of it in minutes. He’d done it to her before.
She slid the platter away from him.
He flashed a grin that bared a hint of fang. Her stomach flipped. She ignored that, too, like she always dismissed her body’s reactions around Chayton.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
JR Ward and her voice. That epic voice. Few people can tell a story like her. The wit and humor and contemporary references she puts in her work, I love it. Her work used to intimidate me. If I couldn’t write as well as her, I didn’t want to write. My husband kept urging me, saying all writers have to start somewhere and he’s right. Writing’s an art, a craft. No one comes out of the gate creating masterpieces.
Who designed the cover of your latest book?
P and N Graphics has designed every cover. Sahara Kelly is such a support with all things writing since she’s an author, too. She will tediously lighten, darken, manscape, add trees, less skin, more skin until I’m happy. She will nail my vision, and if I don’t have one, she works her magic and comes up with something I love.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just for fun questions
If you could have one paranormal ability, what would it be?
Running. Wait, paranormal ability? Knees that don’t deteriorate so I can run again. That still doesn’t fit. Speaking telepathically to my kids. They can forget their phone, run the battery down, or “not hear it” but at least they should always have their head on them.
If you could keep a mythical/ paranormal creature as a pet, what would you have?
Anything that cleans up its own poop.
^ Wouldn't that be nice^
New Vampire Disorder
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: Sep. 30, 2016
Number of pages: 220
Word Count: 62500
Cover Artist: P and N Graphics
Grace Otto was a vampire child adopted by humans and raised in a secluded but loving environment. When she stumbles across their murders, she comes face to face with Rourke, the male who’s haunted her nightmares, who might have killed her birth family. It’s not long before she realizes the mysterious male is not the one responsible for her parents’ demise, but their pasts are irrevocably linked and she’s forced to leave the human world to find out how.
Around Grace, Rourke dares to think of a better future, one that can overwrite his traumatic history. Until she unwittingly commits an act of betrayal that threatens her and their entire species. To save Grace, Rourke will need to hunt down the demons of their past.
Involuntarily, she shivered. That voice! His smell! Coupled with his looks—he was dangerous on so many levels.
She flashed again, two more miles up the trail. Her logical mind informed her that he’d followed her twice already. She hadn’t even known it was possible.
He appeared in front of her, an eyebrow arched. “Did you have something to do with the humans’ deaths?”
At the mention of her parents, she went wild.
For all the good it did.
She punched, she kicked, she kneed. All easily deflected. He clasped her arms to pull her toward him and spin her around. Both of her legs pumped and flailed, trying to kick back into his shins or loosen his grip, but he restrained her like it was something he did every day.
From his domineering presence and grim demeanor, maybe he did.
He jolted her so hard her teeth clattered. It stunned her into momentary stillness. When she tensed to start all over again, he repeated the movement—harder. Her breath whooshed out like she’d been heimliched.
She struggled to inhale against his vice-like grip. He was an immobile wall at her back. Humiliatingly enough, she wanted to seek comfort in that wall.
Tears pricked her eyes. She sniffled.
His grip loosened, then tightened again. “Don’t think that’ll work on me,” he sneered into her ear.
The dam broke and sob after sob escaped her.
About the Author:
Marie Johnston lives in the upper-Midwest with her husband, four kids, and an old cat. Deciding to trade in her lab coat for a laptop, she’s writing down all the tales she’s been making up in her head for years. An avid reader of paranormal romance, these are the stories hanging out and waiting to be told, between the demands of work, home, and the endless chauffeuring that comes with children.