Interview with YA author C. S. Johnson

YA author C. S. Johnson is here today to talk about herself
and the first book in her Starlight series, The
Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering.
Let’s get to it.
Bio:
C. S. Johnson was born in
western Pennsylvania, but considers world travel a top priority. Her novel,
The Starlight Chronicles:
Slumbering
won 2nd place in the 2012
Munch Writing Contest. It is the first in an epic young adult series. She
writes in a variety of genres, including young adult, fantasy/sci-fi, and
spiritual/apologetic fiction. She currently lives in Atlanta with her family,
cats, and caffeine addiction.
Welcome,
C.S. Please tell us about your current release.
The
Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering
is the first book in an epic young
adult series. It is set in high school, focusing on the life of Hamilton
Dinger. Hamilton is a narcissistic, charismatic show-off, who is the leader of
his group of friends. He is very cynical about life in general, but when he is
confronted with a supernatural incident, he finds out he is a fallen star, and
capable of superhero abilities. He is then faced with the choice to fight the
supernatural evil which slowly begins to exert its power over his city, or do
nothing. Along the way, prompting him to step up, are his ‘mentor,’ Elysian (a
judgmental changeling dragon), and his ‘co-defender,’ Starry Knight, another
superhero who definitely knows what she is doing. All together it makes a very
fun, funny story with eternal implications.
What
inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired largely to write the book because of
Hamilton’s superhero name (given to him by the media in his story), which is
Wingdinger. I thought the name was brilliant (I thought of this in high school,
so give me a break) and I really wanted to bring him to life, with “Dinger” as
his last name. “Hamilton,” was a name which lent itself some character, but
also allowed me to define his character on his own terms. The name means
“beautiful mountain” according to Babycenter, anyway, and I thought it would be
a fun play on scenarios to have faith move a mountain.
Excerpt:
(This is the excerpt from the first time Hamilton meets
Starry Knight, with whom he will share a complicated connection. It is a
cornerstone moment in the series, which will build on itself over and over
throughout the rest of their story.)
            It was then that I heard
it. The lulling tune of a harp poured out from out of nowhere. My familiar
melody. I stilled. It was the song from my dreams. 
            Maia heard it, too, and seethed. “I
know that melody…” she whispered. “Show yourself!” she commanded.
            The tune became louder as I looked
all around. “There!” I cried out, as I saw her.
            There’s a girl, if she could be
called a girl, on the roof of the school building behind us. She was standing
tall, playing the harp next to her. Her long brownish-red hair gave her an
element of gracefulness even as the rigidity of her armor lent her strength.
            Gwen saw her and gasped. “She’s
lovely!”
            I felt like saying the same. The
girl was no ordinary girl. She had wings – white wings, like an angel. A
smaller pair of wings fluttered out of her head, while a pair of glimmering
silver chains draped over her forehead were pulled into the half-bun at the
back of her head. A long, bright red feather dangled in her hair, contrasting
pointedly with the blue and violet of her leather tunic.
            She finished the last line of her
pretty piece and then snapped her eyes open.
            I felt a twinge inside me. Even from
this far away, I knew her eyes were a captivating shade of violet, speckled
with starlight.
            “Who are you?” I couldn’t resist the
urge to ask.
            She didn’t answer me, but turned her
full attention to Maia. She held up a half-gloved hand and reached into the
sky. A second later, a bright arrow appeared in her hand, and her harp
transformed itself into a bow.

What
exciting story are you working on next?
I’m working on a variety of stories, mainly book 2 of the
Starlight series, tentatively entitled, Calling,
where more supernatural adventures await Hamilton and his friends, and also on
my adult fiction debut with Soul Descent,
which is a social critique/social response on a number of my favorite and least
favorite topics.
When
did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t think I ever thought of myself as a writer, truly,
consciously, until I was in high school working on my first pieces of longer
fiction. But as a child, I would write a lot in school. The teachers had to let
me write on the adult notepad program in the computer lab because the
child-level one let me write in large print a LONG story which turned out to be
over 28 pages. This was quite a bit more, considering most people were writing
somewhere around 5. My academic rival, Tommy Baer, wrote about 10. Probably the
idea dawned on me in close to 5th grade, when my reading
teacher, Mrs. Johnson (coincidence, not-related) read my creative writing essay
aloud in class because I was writing on a much higher level than everyone else.
But I know it never occurred to me that I could make a living doing it,
although that has become my most ardent dream of late.
Do
you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do
other than write and how do you find time to write?
I work as a teacher and an online tutor. I am also a wife,
mother, and first-time homeowner. It is very hard to find time to write between
everything, but writing has to be a priority. I dream of the day when
everything is working like it is supposed to, everything is done and clean, and
everyone is happy, content, and accomplished. But it will probably never
happen, so life goes on.
What
would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
In terms of words-writing, I use a lot of parentheses (a
LOT of parentheses). It’s a good attention-getter, a good signal to keep
reading.
For story-writing, I talk aloud like my characters would. I
tell people all the time I would’ve made a great actress if I could only get
past the idea that I look stupid when I’m not myself. And my performance
anxiety.
As
a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
There were lots of things, but I wanted to be a missionary
most of all. I always wanted to travel, and I have had the chance to go on
missions trips all over the world, so I thought it would be a good fit. I’m not
really in mobile mode at the moment, so in most of my writing I tend to bring
in the question of God or the supernatural somewhere. That was really my
biggest problem with The Hunger Games.
Where did religion go? Religion has never, historically, completely disappeared
from a culture.
Anything
additional you want to share with the readers?
It’s funny how you can look at someone or something and see
something completely different from somebody else. We see people, and things,
but do we actually look at them? I don’t know. But the book is the embodiment
of my hopes and my attempts to live “the dream,” and I hope you find that same
affirmation in your own dreams that I find within its pages and characters.
Plus it is hilarious. Need I say more?
Ways to connect and find the book:
People can find the book here:
The Starlight Chronicles: Slumbering (Book 1 of the Starlight series) can be found at Amazon.com, BN.com, Booksamillion.com, and Westbowpress.com.

Thanks for stopping by today, C.S. and letting us get to know you a little bit. Happy writing!

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