Meet the Author: David A Johnson
I'm delighted to introduce you to the author, David A. Johnson whose first children's book has recently been published. Stephen Discovers Treasures of America is an educational book , inspired by his son.
Hi David, welcome to Books, Life and Everything.
Hi David, welcome to Books, Life and Everything.
Would you like to start by telling us a little about yourself and how you started as a writer?
I grew up all around the United States because my dad was in the Air Force. That alone would have given me my appreciation for America, but father also had a college degree in history, and my mom was from Boston, a “hotbed of rebel activity” leading up to the American Revolutionary War. My father lived just west of Boston in the town of Concord, and his old house was one of the locations where the revolutionaries stored their firearms. Thus, on that famous day when Paul Revere was riding through the towns and villages, “The Redcoats are coming”, they were marching on my father’s house (of course he didn’t live it in back then). My parents would take my brother, my sister, and me to lots of historical locations throughout the United States. Because of this, we too gained a great love for history and America.
I actually had a difficult time learning to read when I was younger and I had to take extra reading classes and I came to love stories. In Sixth Grade, my teacher, Mrs. Carson, gave us an assignment to write a story and try to get it published. While my little story wasn’t chosen to be published, one of the girls in my class had her story purchased by a publishing company. I was hooked and I started writing short and longer stories on my free time! In junior high school, my English teacher would have us write stories and, although my spelling was atrocious at the time, he gave me high marks for content. This encouraged me to both continue writing and to work on my spelling. I didn’t intentionally start writing children’s stories until I became a father and I started learning from my own children.
If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?
I do have to work. I run a year-round youth camp in Utah.
What are you interests apart from writing?
Exploring new trails and roads and national parks with my wife and family.
What is your favorite childhood book?
Well childhood is full of many different stages. I had fun learn-to-count and A-B-C books as a small child, but as I got a little older, I loved the fairy tales in a large Reader’s Digest volume that my grandmother had given to me. Older still, as a pre-teenager, I loved the book, “The Witches’ Bridge”, and as a teenager, I consumed the Hardy Boys books. I used to receive those from my parents as payment for babysitting my brother and sister and in the summer when I was out of school, I could read 2-3 of those Hardy Boys books in a day.
Tell us about your latest book without giving the plot away.
“Stephen Discovers Treasures of America” is a story about my son, Stephen, who receives a metal detector as a gift, but as he uses it, his detector doesn’t simply find coins and bits of metal, it leads him on a discovery of some of America’s moments in history that had a deep impact on the country, and in some cases, the world.
How many hours a day do you write?
My books are inspired by dreams as well as real-life events, places, and people. When I get a flash of inspiration on a story line or how to improve a book, I immediately stop what I’m doing and madly dash out my thoughts on either a scrap of paper or my computer if it is handy. This can lead to marathon bouts of writing. While I’ve written some good pieces on demand, I’ve enjoyed the freedom of writing when I’m inspired, not desperate.
Do you or have you ever considered writing under a pseudonym?
Yes, I did. I considered using some arrangement of my full name but placing the names in different order.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Let your imagination be your guide, and be patient, which I never was, and still am not to some degree.
Can you give any hints about any upcoming books you have planned?
My next book that I’ve finished writing, and Rebecca Wood is in process of illustrating, is “A Bright Black Bear Learns a Life Lesson”, which is a fun book that uses alliterations and has a good moral at the end of the story. Because Stephen is so imaginative, his fantasies make a great vehicle to teach children so expect other Stephen books in the future, including a visit to the U.K. and Europe. I’ve visited Great Britain two times and I love it there and look forward to returning to the lands of my ancestors.
Do you have any unfinished or unpublished books hidden away?
Sure, tons. My mother keeps asking me to finish some of my longer novels, but I just don’t have time to work on them while I am running this youth camp. When I retire I may go back and look through my files and work on some of those longer stories more.
Thanks so much for those great insights, David. I will be reviewing Stephen Discovers Treasures of America shortly, over on Cat and Mouse Reading... but that's all for now.