We are very pleased to have Anne E. Johnson with us today to share her book
Where do you currently live?
Tell us a little bit about your life.
I worked for sixteen years as a professor of music history and theory. I recently resigned from teaching in order to write full-time. I’m married to a playwright, Ken Munch, who is the most wonderful friend and supportive spouse you can imagine. All in all, I’m ridiculously fortunate.
When did you first start writing?
I’ve been writing one thing or another all my life. My father is a journalist, so writing was a normal thing in my household. My third-grade teacher assigned us to write short stories, which was a real eye-opener. My first professional writing was non-fiction. I wrote some feature articles about music for the New York Times and some non-fiction books for kids for the Rosen Group.
What was your very first story about?
Can’t remember the stories from third grade. The first short story I wrote as an adult was a kids’ sci fi about some three-legged, swamp-dwelling aliens whose swamp is blocked off by a giant boulder. They have to band together as a community to move the rock. It was published under the title “Big Rock in the Big Slime River” in Knowonder! e-zine.
Have you written anything that you were too afraid to let anyone read?
Oh, by all means. After I die, somebody will go through my papers and say, “What the heck is this??”
Did you experience anything you've written yourself?
There are embellishments, details, that I take from my real life. But so far I’ve never been drawn to writing truly autobiographical fiction.
Who are several of your greatest literary inspirations?
It’s such a long list. But at the top of it are Anthony Burgess, Ursula K. LeGuin, Raymond Chandler, Kurt Vonnegut
What kind of education have you received, and how has that affected your writing?
My education has absolutely everything to do with my writing. My undergrad degree is in Greek and Latin languages. My masters is in music history. Having a broad liberal education and a comfort with all sorts of literature (and with libraries!) has made all the difference to me.
How much research time customarily goes into your projects?
That depends what I’m writing. For science fiction, very little. For historical fiction, of course, several weeks’ worth of research before I can even do much plotting.
Who is your favorite literary character?
Mr. F. X. Enderby, of Anthony Burgess’ Enderby novels. He’s a poet. Although I’m nothing like him (he’s a horrid slob, a loner, and a true misanthrope), something deep inside me relates rather desperately to his passion for writing, which blocks out the rest of the world.
Who is your favorite character of your own creation?
I love Webrid, the main character in Green Light Delivery. He’s got a bit of Enderby in him, insofar as he’s a slob with some social issues, but he’s certainly no poet. Yet he has perseverance and loyalty, despite his bad attitude. And I identify with how lost life makes him feel sometimes.
If you were ever to write an autobiography, what would its title be?
A Thousand Words a Day
Tell us about your featured book.
Green Light Delivery is a humorous science fiction novel, with a sort of noir feel. My publisher coined the term “spacepulp” to describe it.
It’s the story of Webrid, who works in the city of Bargival on the planet Bexilla, carting items here and there for clients. At the beginning, he’s attacked by a robot, who inserts a laser light into his forehead. Webrid learns that this is a special delivery job. It takes a lot of traveling and investigating to figure out who ordered this laser, what it is, and where it’s supposed to be delivered.
Why did you write that?
I’ve loved science fiction since I was a teen. And in college, I became a bit obsessed with classic pulp detective stories. Green Light Delivery is an attempt to pay homage to science fiction, but with a pulp sense of humor.
Is there anything special you would like your potential readers to know?
I love to write. Although I’ve published fiction in many genres, and for both kids and adults, I love it all equally. And I’m honored that you’re willing to read my work.
What's a negative trait about other people that you most notice, or that bothers you the most?
Fear of thinking for themselves.
Do you ever notice it in yourself?
No, but I have plenty of other faults.
If you were forced to give something you adore up for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I suppose I could live without Oreos. But I wouldn’t be happy about it.
Do you own any kind of art collection?
No, but when I was a kid I collected the stickers that come on bananas. You wouldn’t believe how many different designs there are.
What is the hardest thing about growing up?
Being weird and brainy.
Was it worth it?
Yes, because I get to be weird and brainy!
What is the biggest lie you've ever heard?
The more education you have, the more money you’re likely to make.
What is something you absolutely must have in your kitchen?
A cherry pitter. I only use it once a year for a huge batch, but there is no substitute gadget if you need to pit cherries.
What is pain to you?
A sensation I prefer to avoid. I do not find it to be a motivator.
What is your dream house?
A three-bedroom condo in Manhattan’s West Village.
Where would you want this house located in our wide world?
See above. The location is part of the point of having the condo.
You've been forced under various circumstances to choose a personal motto. What is it?
If you don’t write it today, somebody else may write it tomorrow.
You're pitching a television pilot to a network. Describe it.
A pair of aliens, of two different species, try to keep a bed and breakfast going when their planet is opened to intergalactic tourists.
Have you ever received a present you really hated? If so, what was it?
A panda cookie jar. Now, I love pandas and I love cookies, but this ceramic was so poorly rendered that it looked like Zombie Panda. Terrifying.
What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten? Would you have it again?
When I was little, my friends and I used to bite off the base of clover petals while lying on our backs, looking at the clouds. I wouldn’t do it today because I’d be afraid of what might have trod on those clovers!
What's the first thing you would do if you could become invisible?
Put on a trench coat and fedora.
Do you ever have recurring dreams? What is your most common one about?
No. I dream a lot, but it’s haphazard.
What is the kindest thing that anyone has ever done for you?
Encouraged me to believe in myself.
Our very special thanks go out to Anne for being with us. More information can be found on her website: http://www.AnneEJohnson.com
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