Interview with South African author, Johan Thompson (part 3)

Q. What makes a writer great?

JT. O boy… I’ll ask one when I see one, but will try and answer the question. It must be your passion in life as it will reflect in your writing.

Persistent writing, in order to create your unique writing style. The talent to envision and write that special story. When other writers read it and say, “Why the hell didn’t I think of that?” My exact words when reading George R. R. Martin’s work. Like Gary Player once said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” 

Q. and the all important:  What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book” look like for you?  

JT. In the beginning I feel like a sculptor, standing in front of a big rock, visualizing an image. I don’t know exactly how the sculpture will look but I have a rough idea. Then, I start chipping away, starting at the feet, laying the foundation. The most exciting time for me is that first few pages, the opening scene. I set the bar as high as possible in order for the momentum/story to carry me to the end. The moment I get bored writing, I know the reader will also get bored. So I write what I love, and I think with any writer it reflects in his work. It keeps the story alive, and it also helps with your rhythm and routine. It’s not that hard then to get your ass in the chair and start with the next chapter. I’m not one of those writers that pushes themselves to write a certain number of words each day. I work on a scene, maybe for two or three days until I’m satisfied.

It could be 500 words or 2000 words a day. For me creativity can’t be rushed. As my story unfolds, I make notes on discrepancies, plot twists I need to change in the beginning of the story etc. After I’m done with the first draft, I start from scratch, applying my notes and fix grammar mistakes. ONLY THEN do I give it to an editor friend to read and give feedback on. I never let anyone see it until I’m done with the story. Another rewrite follows. After that the sculpture is still far from done though. Next it’s the publishers turn: Usually three edits – continuity, content and grammar. Douglas Owen from DA Owen Publications is a brilliant editor and picks up on things that I’ve never thought about. So taking a book from “no book” to “finished book” takes bloody hard work, but when you hold that “finished book” in your hands… it’s all worth it.

Q. How has your life experiences influenced your writing?

JT. When writing an emotional scene, I draw from my own experiences. You have to in order to create an authentic character. With regards to storyline and plot twists, not much… my life, luckily, is not that chaotic. 

Q. Have you or do you want to write in another genre`?  

JT. I will definitely give it a go, but as soon as I get bored writing it, I will drop it. The reader will realize, because it will reflect in my writing.

Q.  Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

JT. I’m not going to go away, so they might as well start reading my books. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

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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