Interview with South African author, Johan Thompson (part 2)

…on our way to the river…

Q.  Where/when do you first discover your characters?

JT. It can happen anywhere or anytime. In our business we meet a lot of people, so I take a note of the strange and crazy ones. The characters in my stories are never a carbon copy of someone I’ve met or read about. I take the interesting bits and create my character, almost like Frankenstein. Sometimes a good story pops into my head, then I work on the character to fit. Or a unique character pops in my head and I think of a situation to put him or her through. I then start adding the meat.  

Q. What first inspired you to write your stories? 

JT. My love for stories. Before I started writing, as a kid, I would get into bed and think of a story. It would be like a mini-series, every night I would continue with the story. I know, weird. I’m still doing it, but now in daytime as well. The only difference is, I put it on paper.   

Q. What comes first to you?  The Characters or the Situation?

JT. It’s a difficult one. What was first, the chicken or the egg? Do you develop a plot around a character or a character around the plot? With The Clone, I started with the plot and then created the characters to fit. The plot, in the beginning is very basic, but then, as you add the characters, it starts to grow, twists develop, characters develop. I do have some idea of how the story will end, but I’m in the hands of my characters. You cannot force a story into the direction you want to, in the end the characters steer the ship. You have to stay true to your characters, otherwise the reader will disconnect.  

Q.  Do you ‘get lost’ in your writing?

JT. A lot. It’s a part of the writing process. You need to keep at it until – BAM! – you get that plot twist or beacon that gets you back on course. That’s one of the most exciting times for me. Actually, I’m lost with the story I’m developing now. But every morning I wake up, make my cup of coffee and start writing. I’m trying my best to get my stubborn protagonist to see the beacon, but she won’t bite. I’m at the point where I want to send in a tsunami.

Q. Who or what is your “Muse” at the moment?

JT. My fingers, just kidding. I think it will always be my wife. She is the first one that reads the beginning of my draft, so I push myself to create a unique story, thereby pushing the limits of my creativity.

Q. Do you have a new book coming out soon? If so tell us about it.

JT. I’ve recently completed a sci-fi novel that is set in the not too distant future. Burnt Brethren confronts the burning issues of global warming and immigration which divides our nations. That is why I love to write science fiction; I magnify social issues, and create a world and story that portray a worst case scenario. I’m also currently working on a time travel novel. The basic premise of the story is that if you could go back in time and prevent a bad experience, would you do it. Sometimes from a bad experience, a good experience will flow. So if you prevent the bad experience…

I met my wife of twenty years, because my father died of cancer and my mom installed a new kitchen from his life insurance money. My wife was the kitchen designer. Life is truly stranger than fiction. So the question is, would you go back? I would, in a heartbeat, but I will also go back and give my parents the money for a new kitchen.

Q.  When did you begin to write seriously? 

JT. Approximately eight years ago.

Q. How long after that were you published?

JT. I finished my first novel five years ago, but didn’t submit. Instead, I started with my next manuscript… and then my next…

I only really made an effort two years ago, sending in my first manuscript. It took me about six months to find a publisher. Don’t ask me why it took me so long to submit – maybe it was the fear of rejection.

Q. What makes a writer great?

Did you miss Part I of this Interview?


MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    February’s author was Sheryl Steines.
Johan Thompson (South African author) will join us in April.  May’s author will be Cheryl Hollon and in June: Mehreen Ahmed
Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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