How long have you been writing for?
I started writing when I was in first grade. We had a project and the blank booklet I got was covered in butterflies of all things. So my book was titled Attack of the Butterfly People, and featured my school being torn apart by bloodthirsty insects. Some might say it was my best work.
How many rejections did you receive before you first became published and how did you stay motivated?
I did my research into the traditional publishing world and realized without a lot of spare cash and connections, it wasn’t going to work out so hot for me. I also have a fear of rejection and I think getting too many crappy letters would have made me scratch the whole thing. So I formed my own publishing group, and started from scratch. No deadlines, nobody to answer to, and nobody to share the profits with.
Favorite Author and book when you were a child?
Fantasy was my genre as a kid which meant Tolkien and the Hobbit are still my all time favorites. I devoured basically anything with magic and dragons, including Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft etc…
What music do you listen to when you write?
Phil Collins. Just kidding. I tried listening to different types of music but my ADD (my wife says that’s what it is) was getting in the way. A box fan going for some white noise seems to help me focus on the task at hand and relaxes me. I do my best writing in my head while daydreaming, so things like mowing the yard and taking a shower often lead to plot twists and new dialogue.
Any superstitious rituals that you go through when beginning a new story?
No superstitions but for Dead Drunk: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse… One Beer at a Time, I did plenty of “research” at bars and bachelor parties. All strictly business of course.
Favorite book released in the last year?
With the addition of twin boys to my family, I haven’t really had much time to read lately. I have been getting more connected with the zombie community as of late, and have several zombie books lined up to read in the near future.
Favorite book released in the last 10 years?
I would be lying if I didn’t say my own, as cheesy as it is.
Favorite quote from a book that is not your own?
“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”
Favorite quote from one of your own works?
The first line of Dead Drunk: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse… One Beer at a Time, spoken by the main character, Charlie Campbell. “Hope you like sitting through first grade again, motherfucker.”
Advice for new writers who are struggling with character creation?
Never stop thinking about your book, even if you are grocery shopping, watching television, on the phone, whatever. It needs to become a living, breathing part of your life. And don’t be afraid of going overboard on a character. Just let loose and see what happens. The world has enough safe and boring characters so even if something seems over the top, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
E-Reader or Physical copy?
I can read both but to really enjoy a book, I like to hold it in my hands.
What first inspired you to become a writer?
I watch pretty much every zombie movie that comes out and honestly 90% blow. I definitely enjoy them, but still, they suck. So I decided I could write a better zombie story, from a different perspective, than what was out there. This was my first real attempt, and five years later (there is that ADD again) here we are.
Tell us your favorite joke.
“I’ll tell ya, my wife and I, we don’t think alike. She donates money to the homeless, and I donate money to the topless!” Rodney Dangerfield
Richard Johnson is the author of Dead Drunk: Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse One Beer At A Time.
You can find that book here : http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Drunk-Surviving-Zombie-Apocalypse/dp/0615764827
You can find him on twitter through @Dead__Drunk