Wednesday 17 August 2011


Phillip J Johns writes steampunk and wrote Liberator's Ruin.

1.       What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
My name is Phillip Johns, I was born in Coventry, and I now live in Leicester with my partner, Heather.

2.       What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Liberator’s Ruin. In 20 words or less: a Steampunk Fantasy, following the adventures of an airship captain as he unwittingly gets involved in a world war.

3.       Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
I’m currently working on my next book, a sci fi thriller called Serial Psyence. It’s a standalone novel, though I do have plans to write a few more books with the crew of the Storm Brother from Liberator’s Ruin.

4.       How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write?
Professionally: 3 years. But the very first story I put to paper was back in year 6, at the age of 10, so I’ve been writing for about 20 years. I can’t remember quite what inspired me to start writing; I just had too many ideas in my head and I had to put them somewhere. Paper seemed like a good place.

5.       Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
I do. How else am I going to get reviews?

6.       How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
Hmm, I’ll answer this in reverse order. I designed the cover to Liberator’s Ruin myself (I’m a bit too short on resources to hire a professional cover designer at the moment). As to how I came up with the cover, flash of inspiration. It suddenly hit me on a drive back to Heather’s parent’s house, and I knew exactly how it looked. As soon as we got back, the laptop was opened, and I started designing it. The white lines depict some of the glyphs found on an ancient artefact. I would like to hire a cover art designer for Serial Psyence, and perhaps at some point get someone to redesign the cover for Liberator’s Ruin. 
As for the title, well, that took a little longer. It was actually Heather (my partner) who came up with the idea for that one, based on one of the main characters.

7.       Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
I suppose subconsciously, I do draw on people I know, though generally, the characters form themselves somewhere in the deep recesses of my brain. I can’t say that I’ve actively gone out to base characters on people, though I’ve been tempted with a few people I dislike ...
As for events - I wish I got to fly an airship! But sadly, no.

8.       Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
No, not really. I’ve never read another author’s work and though, oh I should try writing too. I think when I was much younger, in my teens, I used to copy another author’s style, but I stopped when I started to find my own.

9.       Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
At the moment, paperback (hardback’s are solid, but damned heavy). However, I’ve just had to whittle down my large collection of books due to moving house, so I’m looking at getting a Kindle, at which point my favourite format may change!

10.   What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
That would be the Reality Dysfunction (along with the rest of the Night’s Dawn Trilogy) by Peter F. Hamilton. It’s a brilliantly complex space opera with some of my favourite depictions of fast and brutal space battles, engaging characters and terrifying villains. I’ve read it so much that my copy is falling apart.

11.   Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is your favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
I guess it depends on the book and who’s dealing with the conversion. If they’re treated with respect, and the screenplay writer understands what’s most important, then absolutely. My favourite book to movie transfer is the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (extended).

12.   What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it? (ebook, hardback or paperback)
Leviathan Wakes by James Corey. It’s very good, and it’s an ebook - sample, admittedly, but so good that I think it’ll be the first book I buy with the Kindle!

13.   Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn’t finish?
Dan Brown’s Da’Vinci Code. I tried reading Angels and Demons, but his writing style really puts me off. It’s written as if he planned for the book to be turned into a movie, but that style doesn’t really work for me. Oddly enjoyed the movie though.

14.   Are there any New Authors you are interested in for us to watch out for? And Why should we watch out for them?
Heather Hurst. I’m biased, being her partner, but she’s working on an intriguing take on Arthurian Legend.

15.   Is there anything in your book/books you would change now if you could and what would it be?
Like a lot of authors, I’m never entirely happy with the finished piece, but if I continuously went back to it to ‘tweak’ it, then I’d never get anything published. The only things I would go back to change are spelling mistakes that still crop up. It’s as if the damn things breed like rabbits.

16.   What do you think about book trailers?
I haven’t seen many book trailers (they’re quite rare in the UK), but I find them a little crass, to be honest. Advert banners? They’re quite good, and if I could afford the advertising, I would pay for some.

17.   What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
Write what you enjoy, and write whenever you can. Find your own style and use it. Personally, I’m a planner. I have to complete the structure of a story before I can even start writing it. But that won’t work for everyone. David Gemmell, for example, started with an idea and just rolled with it until he had a finished novel.

18.   Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
Yes. I write fantasy under P. J. Johns, and sci fi under Phillip J. Johns.

Where can readers follow you?

Your blog details?
Your website?
Your facebook page?
Your Goodreads author page?
Your Twitter details?!/PhillipJ_Johns

And any other information you wish to supply?
Monkeys. They rule the world.

Thank you for taking time out from youe schedule to do this interview.

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