Author Interview: Christine Johnson

June 8, 2010
Christine Johnson is the author of the wonderful novel, Claire de Lune. Even though it’s her first novel, she clearly has a talent for creating memorable characters and a supernatural world real enough to be believable. I am very thrilled to present this interview with her and I hope everyone enjoys it!

Who or what inspired you to become a writer?

I loved reading so much as a kid – that’s what really started it all. First off, the coolest thing I could imagine was having a book of my own on the bookcase – adding something to my favorite things on earth. Secondly, there came a time when I couldn’t find the exact book I wanted to read, and *that* made me want to write such a book.

What’s your favorite part about being an author?

There’s a moment that comes sometimes, at the end of a scene, or a chapter, when the writing was hard but good and it came out just right . . . and there’s this elated, exhausted, fulfilled feeling that sort of washes in as the last of the day’s words wash out. When that happens, nothing can spoil my mood for the rest of the day. Those are the moments I’m chasing, always.

How has your writing changed over the years?

Dear God, I hope it’s gotten better. Seriously. I think about the achingly bad poetry I wrote in high school, and the sad early attempts I made at writing novels . . . I believe in writing as a craft, more than an art. I think years of doing it doggedly, over and over and over again, have helped me figure out what I’m good at in writing and how to be better at the rest of it.

What do you hope to accomplish as an author?

I want to make someone’s mother irritated after they’ve been called down to dinner three times without responding because they were so wrapped up in a book I wrote that they didn’t hear the “Spaghetti’s ready!” announcement. If I can get someone that involved in my story, I’d be a happy, happy author.

Where did the idea for Claire de Lune originate?

“What-if-ing.” It’s what I do best. Those little random thoughts that zip through your head all day long? I try to pay attention to them. Sometimes they’re interesting. Like – “Hey! Book about a girl werewolf!” Then I grab it and run. “What if the girl werewolf were dating a human guy?” “What if she were dating him because there were no male werewolves?” And on and on until I have something resembling a plot. Long walks and hot showers are very conducive to What-if-ing.

Was it hard creating the mythology of the werewolves?

It was FUN. I did a lot of research, and then turned a lot of that on its head. I really enjoyed coming up with the nuances of the mythology – the reasons and rationalizations for all of it.

What was the writing process like for Claire de Lune?

I wrote most of Claire while my son was napping. I hadn’t had my daughter yet, so there was just the one kid to wrangle, and when he’d nap, I’d grab the computer and write as fast as I could. The initial draft took a long time – six months worth of naps, probably. Then I did major revisions over a couple of months, then a more minor revision over a month, then copy edits and proof reading and voila! A book.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Keep writing. See above re: craft rather than art. If you wait for some gossamer-swathed muse to tap you on the shoulder with a perfect novel – or even a perfect sentence – it’ll never happen. You just try and then try again and then try again until it’s as perfect as you can make it. Then you give it to your critique group and start the process all over. Butt in chair. Words on paper. Repeat.

What are three things your readers may not know about you?

Ooooh – okay. Um, I don’t like bananas (I love banana bread, pudding, etc. – just not fresh ones. It’s a texture thing.) I can recite the opening soliloquy from Henry V from memory. I’m happier when it’s 95 degrees outside than than I am when it’s 65, and 45 makes me downright miserable.

Thanks so much for having me over for an interview! It’s been so much fun!

Visit these website for more information on Christine Johnson and her writing!

Official Website

(Author photo provided by Christine Johnson and book cover from Barnes and Noble’s website)

  • Reply
    June 8, 2010 at 4:43 am

    I can’t wait to read Claire de Lune. I won a copy so hopefully it’s on it’s way to me. I don’t like bananas either and it’s also a texture thing, although I love banana pudding and banana nut bread. Yum!!

  • Reply
    June 8, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Love, love, love the interview! The banana comment had me nodding my head in agreement and I think the nap/writing time was cute, ya gotta go what ya gotta do right?

  • Reply
    June 8, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Ditto on the can’t wait to read front (and one of my students asks me every day if my copy has arrived yet–she can’t wait to read it either!). This was a nifty interview–thanks, DJ!

    Cry God for Harry, England and St. George! And furthermore, ah-woooooo!

  • Reply
    Heidi Ayarbe
    June 8, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    Great interview. And I only like greenish bananas — when they have a strip of green on yellow. It seems like bananas tend to be icky for many!


  • Reply
    June 10, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    What a great interview!!! Congrats to both of you. Have read the book (two times) and know it is written for teenagers, but I really liked reading it even if I am an old grandma. Thanks, Christine. (Christine is my granddaughter).

    Grandma Schroeder

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