I’d like to welcome to Amber L. Johnson, author of the upcoming novella, Where We Fell. I had the opportunity to interview Ms. Johnson about her debut novella and her writing journey. Be sure to check out my review of Where We Fell, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway before you go!
Tell us a bit about what inspired you to write Where We Fell. Did the story turn out exactly as you envisioned at the beginning, and if not, how did things change?
I was inspired to write the story for many reasons. I support Stand Up to Cancer, and have been participating in cancer compilations for charity for a few years. Initially, I’d been asked to participate in a compilation and started writing the story as a very (very) short 5,000 word piece.
As I began to write it, it felt like it needed to be longer and I asked a few friends to look it over and they unanimously said to go with it. That said; the story is directly inspired by my cousin’s lymphoma diagnosis and subsequent treatments when she was 16. I didn’t want to tell her story exactly, because it’s not my story to tell. But I wanted to honor her in the novella, so I placed it in her hometown of Perry, Ga. Then I made the protagonist a boy.
The only thing that really changed was the ending. We originally had an image that we wanted to use for the cover that reflected the ending I had wanted to write – but we didn’t get it. So I changed the epilogue.
Where We Fell touches on some emotionally charged subject matter—from what it feels like to receive a cancer diagnosis to how it affects the people around the patient. What research went into writing the story and how did writing it affect you?
I think cancer touches all of us at one point in our lives, and the reactions we have to it are what fascinates me the most. A couple of years ago, I had a doctor tell me that she thought I had a brain tumor. I remember thinking that I wasn’t one of those types of people that you see on the internet that are like “I’m a fighter!” I felt numb and disassociated with it. And then I saw my mother law go through thyroid cancer – she called on a Wednesday and said she’d be in surgery on Friday and “I’ll call ya later.” The scope of reactions to the same disease are what compelled me to delve deeper.
I had two nurses reading along as I wrote, and (aside from knowing what my cousin endured) I found the blog of a guy in his twenties who had lymphoma and followed his treatments, and the time frame of how long it took him to recover.
The only time I became overly affected was thinking of how my family members and close friends would react to how I had presented the subject matter. I didn’t, in any way, want to exploit their pain – our pain – or the pain that anyone experiences during such a hard time in life.
Describe your journey to becoming an author.
I don’t think it’s a secret that I wrote fanfiction for three years. In that time, I wrote 16 complete stories – over 10 of them were novel length. I began writing ‘books’ when I was little. My mom still has the first one that I wrote, “There’s a Demon in My Room.” It’s a bunch of stapled together post-it-notes that I illustrated as well. By the time I was nine, I had started five novels – inspired by my love of R.L. Stine and his Goosebumps series. I kept diaries and journals, wrote poetry through my teenage years, and then when I fell in love at seventeen, The Boy became my main focal point and I kind of let it fall by the wayside. It wasn’t until I started writing again a few years ago that I realized how damn much I missed it.
What’s been your biggest challenge as an author, and how have you overcome it?
About a year and a half ago, I experienced an avalanche of bad things happening in my life. Added to all of the personal things, I was receiving some bad … attention … on social media. I reacted badly to it, and it affected me in ways I didn’t think were possible. It definitely made writing hard – I can usually crank out 180,000 words in about 3 months. But I struggled to get even 20,000 in 6 months time. I felt I wasn’t good or didn’t have the talent. With the help of a close handful of friends, I pushed through and took a chance. I chose to believe in myself.
What projects do you have on the horizon?
I currently have another novella that I’m hoping to finish within the next few months, and I have started three complete novels that I have the first three chapters of (or more) each. I’m outlining more. So, I don’t think I’ll be stopping any time soon.
Tell us something fun or quirky about you most people wouldn’t know.
I’m allergic to sleeves. Like, sleeves on clothes. Honest to God, I can’t wear them without breaking out into hives!
Sorry to hear about the rough patch you went through, but I’m glad you were able to push past it. You’re a talented author, and I look forward to reading your future offerings.
Amber L. Johnson’s WHERE WE FELL is COMING SOON!
“It may be short story, but definitely a powerful one.” -Lucia @ Reading is My Breathing
AVAILABLE ON AMAZON OCTOBER 28th
Blog Tour Schedule:
Monday October 21
Reading is My Breathing – REVIEW
Reading My Escape – BOOK SPOTLIGHT
Tuesday October 22
A Country Girl’s Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Wednesday October 23
Italian Brat’s Obsessions – BOOK SPOTLIGHT
Sarah Aisling – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Thursday October 24
First Page to the Last – BOOK SPOTLIGHT
Mystical Lit Lounge – AUTHOR GUEST POST – Self Publishing and Plagiarism
Friday October 25
Lisa Bilbrey – REVIEW
Lindsey Gray – REVIEW
Saturday October 26
FicWishes – PLAYLIST
TM Franklin – BOOK SPOTLIGHT
Sunday October 27
Fandom Fanatic – AUTHOR GUEST POST – Writing from a male point of view
The Blonde Mark – REVIEW
Monday October 28 – Release Day
Sydney Logan – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
FicWishes – EXCERPT
Fandom Fanatic – EXCERPT
First Page to the Last – EXCERPT
Don’t forget the Giveaway: