- an epic fantasy writer from New Zealand. A former high school teacher, he’s interested in ancient civilizations and exploring the idea of immortality and human potential.
Readers, let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!
Mark Johnson lives with his coffee machine, his wife, and two children in Auckland, New Zealand. He studied, traveled, then taught high school, before venturing into writing and publishing.
He’s fascinated with ancient places and objects, old stories, and the origins of the world’s religions. He writes fantasy because it’s the easiest way of telling the truth, without telling the truth.
Mark, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
A bit different from what you’re asking, but I’d be interested in one of the drones from Iain M Banks’ Culture series. An assistant/mentor that’s smarter than me and looking forward to subliming. I used to have a dog as a kid, but I always felt bad that I couldn’t give her enough time with other dogs.
What a cool choice! Upgradable and longer lifespan, too.
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I used to write conversations between people who have secrets or want something out of the other, set in fantasy worlds. Then as I started to write more seriously, I added in more details about the world.
Sounds like conversation is your writing strength.
What do you like to read?
I’m interested in alternative history, epic fantasy, and science fiction. I find that non-fiction books I used to write conversations between people who have secrets or want something out of the other, set in fantasy worlds. Then as I started to write more seriously, I added in more details about the world.
I have a feeling your bookshelves look similar to mine!
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you.
Keep a daily word count
I’ve tried and I’ve tried, but I just can’t. I’ll have a good rhythm and then I’ll hit a brick wall, and then I’ll have to go back and change my plan or rewrite something or real life will intervene. It’s… frustrating.
I can do it for NaNoWriMo, but it’s unsustainable for me, too
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that they can pry out of your cold, dead hands.
Use the 3-act structure
This one’s really simple. Stick to the three-act structure as you’re prepping. The story and structure will automatically fall into place as you write if you accept the structure.
Super handy for structure and pacing, although it’s hard to
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
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The Renegade Within (Book 1)
Seeker Terese Saarg uncovers an inexplicable massacre hidden from her god’s sight. Suspecting the Darkness at work, she hunts the massacre’s survivors for answers. Horrified at the survivors’ impossible new powers, she fears her god’s ancient foe has begun its return.
Desperate for answers and trusting none, Terese is staggered to discover a trail pointing back at society’s most trusted defenders. With her squad’s sanity cracking and their lives at risk, she plunges into a covert race against the Darkness, desperate to prevent a transformed, malevolent weapon re-emerging from the forgotten past.
And the massacre’s survivors may be the only hope of protecting her god and people. Can their unstable powers be trusted?
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