Today, I’d like to welcome Bryan Johnson to the Author Interviewees’ chair. Bryan is the author of Yield, Book 1 of the Armageddia Series which is doing rather well in the US at the moment
According to Amazon “Ex-fire chief Devin Bane rises above the thick clouds for an interview in Seattle and the promise of a better life. Packing up his carry-on items for their descent into the city, Devin is blinded by a distant flash, followed by the screams and chaos of a crash landing. Outside the plane’s wreckage, a new nightmare surrounds him. Seattle’s iconic skyline is gone. Searching for answers as he flees through the ruins, Devin and a handful of survivors are surrounded by the most primitive side of human nature. Plunged into the darkness of a broken society, their tattered souls are each tested by the horrors they face. Even if Devin can escape the city, a far worse danger now blocks his path back home . . . Back to his family and the dawning of a changed world.”
Hi Bryan and welcome to the interview. My first question is always ‘What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
People don’t generally know that I’m creative in ways other than writing. I love to draw, paint, play the guitar, and enjoy creating 3D animations and motion graphics. I’ve been in the graphic design and broadcast industries my entire professional career, so writing is actually the hobby that I’ve had to work the hardest at to improve.
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
The Senior Reviewer at the MidWest Book Review had a fantastic review of Yield. She gave it 5 out of 5 stars, calling Yield a “scary good read.” She went on to say, “This is a remarkable story, one that will touch the very core of your fears.” That was really nice to hear right out of the gates when I released Yield. As a new writer, I think we’re all a little fearful about what other people will think of our work. For me, it was a very self-conscious and revealing feeling, like being naked in front of someone for the very first time.
What did the worst review you ever had say about you and your work? Thankfully, Yield has been really well received so far. The worst review I did receive basically accused all of the other 5-star reviews as being wrong and biased. He was so negatively-focused for some reason that he just couldn’t believe that the other readers could have enjoyed Yield as much as they did. I’ve come to realize that you’ll never be able to please everyone. The majority of readers you hope will love your work, but there will always be some that the material just doesn’t connect with.
How did you choose a title for your book?
Titles are tricky. If you’re thinking from a multi-platform perspective, you have to consider other books, websites, movies, TV shows—even comic books and video game titles. Great stories get translated across a variety of mediums, so finding something unique isn’t always easy. Originally, I titled the story Dark Horizon. I thought that name had an interesting and suggestive ring to it. But a movie came out with the same title a couple of years after I began the project. Even though it was a very different genre, my story was just a screenplay at that time, so I decided to go ahead and change it. I went back and forth on quite a few before finally settling on Yield. I liked that one because it wasn’t immediately obvious, but had several meanings intrinsically relevant to the story. As a measurement of nuclear dispersion, it has the power to destroy our entire way of life. And as a question of personal strength, it evokes a question as to whether our characters and nation will crumble under almost impossible circumstances.
Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?
I think creativity is one of those things that can easily cross over into other mediums. I sketched out many of my novel’s characters and even some backdrops for Yield. Putting Yield‘s characters down on paper before writing helped me get a better feel for their personalities. You can check some of them out at: http://www.armageddia.com/Artwork.html At one point in high school, I actually wanted to be a comic book artist but just didn’t have the speed for it.
What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
Time. It’s the most ubiquitous and scarcest resource known to man. Time is the one thing you can never buy more of and never seem to have enough of. It took me six years to complete and publish Yield, and time always felt like the villain lurking in the shadows. At first, I thought the concept made for a very visual type of story, so I initially fleshed out Yield in a traditional screenplay format. That alone took me a couple of years because I was working on it after long days at work and time with my family. Putting it together as a screenplay did help me quite a bit while writing to better visualize the scenes, structure the story, and tighten up my dialogue. But screenplays have to be so concise and heavily formatted that it really limited the emotion of the story. I received a lot of feedback from prospective agents and production companies that the screenplay was overwritten and just too literary. So I took a deep breath and jumped in with both feet to expand Yield out into a novel. It took a few more years, but was extremely liberating to be able to flesh out how my characters felt and thought—how the fear inside them was palpable and crippling. It allowed me to explore my own style of writing and create a much deeper story.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
It sounds obvious, but make sure your writing is polished and professional. Edit it until your fingers bleed and you’re positive that it just couldn’t possibly be improved. Then . . . edit it again. I know it sounds painful, but to be taken seriously and to have a chance inside this competitive industry, the work has to stand its ground against an army of financially-backed juggernauts with legions of professional editors in tow. In order for a publisher or agent to take a chance on you, the material can’t just center around a good idea. It has to be well executed cover to cover. Tighten it up. Make sure it is as perfect and captivating as you can make it. Then read it again.
How do you remain sane while working?
Who says I’m sane? I think that train left the station a long time ago! Listening to loud music when I write helps me for some reason. The steady electronic beats flip a switch in my brain. No vocals. Just instrumental music of varying paces and tones. There’s something specifically in electronica music that blocks out the world and allows me to focus. Dark symphonic music and movie themes also help evoke different moods and channel my thoughts in various directions. It’s amazing how music can actually inspire different ideas when writing.
Tea, Coffee, Water, Juice, Wine or Beer … which do you prefer when writing?
One part coffee, one part wine. Equal amounts, both dark.
Where to buy the book and find out more about Bryan Johnson
You can meet Bryan on his website at armageddia.com, he can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/Armageddia, on Goodreads at goodreads.com/author/show/6424210.Bryan_K_Johnson and on Twitter at twitter.com/armageddia
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/