John: Hi Ionia I’m so glad to be able to sit with you for this interview.
Ionia:Urm, John could you hold on a moment. I need to make a basic introduction. John W. Howell has a blog he calls Fiction Favorites [http://johnwhowell.com] It’s there he holds court from a small barrier island off the southern Texas coast. He has published his first novel titled My GRL [http://www.amazon.com/My-GRL-John-W-Howell/dp/1625530595/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1388558903&sr=1-1&keywords=My+GRL ]and has submitted the sequel to his publisher Martin Sisters Publishing. John completed a career in business and began writing full time when his youngest graduated from college. Now John you may go ahead.
John: Good thanks for that intro. Although it is all true it still sounds like a fantasy when it comes from your lips.
Ionia: How so.
John: First there is the lovely Kings English accent which could turn reading a McDonalds menu into a thing of beauty. Second the information sounds a bit odd when you think of it.
Ionia: Odd? How do you mean?
John: Think of some old coot busting his butt in a business career and then turning to a writing career. It sounds like an old coot has a self-destructive tendency.
Ionia: Perhaps it is not a destructive tendency, but more a productive tendency.
John: See when you say things they come out so well.
Ionia: Tell us then what made you decide to write a novel?
John: I tried to write about ten years ago and had to give it up. I was working full time and trying to write at night. It just didn’t work. My manuscript still sits holding the laundry room door open. I have to admit it was pretty bad. I quit the writing with a promise I would return when I could devote myself fully.
Ionia: So you published My GRL and have finished the sequel. What’s next?
John: I have started the last of the trilogy and am about 20,000 words into it. The second book is titled His Revenge and pretty much describes how the protagonist John Cannon is worked over by Billionaire Matt Jacobs who wants retribution for John messing up his terrorist activities in My GRL. The last book is called Our Justice and details how John develops the evidence to put Matt away for a long time.
Ionia: So when do we get to read the second and third.
John: Good question. The release dates are determined by the publisher so I hope His Revenge will be out by year’s end and Our Justice in 2015.
Ionia: What about after these are done?
John: By the way forgive me. I brought a thermos filled with margaritas. Would you care for one and if not do you mind if I go ahead?
Ionia: Yes I would love one.
John: Here you are. Would you like some crisps as well?
Ionia: Um I think I will pass on the crisps. Have to watch my girlish figure.
John: If you want to go ahead with the crisps I’ll watch your figure for you.
Ionia: *laughs* Okay sounds like a deal. Now tell us what else you are working on?
John: I have a collection of short stories that I am editing right now. I think I’m going to publish these stories myself.
Ionia: Why don’t you submit them to Martin Sisters?
John: I really don’t think they will be of interest to them. The stories are somewhat different and cannot be categorized easily. Some are thriller type stories and some more literary. I would be very comfortable just calling them a collection and see what happens.
Ionia: I have heard your stories have a reoccurring character named Frank. Tell us about that.
John: Yes Frank shows up in almost all my short stories. Frank is a despicable character who is self-absorbed and, as a result, stumbles into the oddest circumstances. I can say right now, nothing ever goes well for Frank. He is a symbol and representative of all the nasty people who think they have the power over individuals simply because they are the boss in the work environment. Personally Frank is the fictional personification of a boss I once had.
Ionia: Sounds like you did not like him much.
John: The sad fact I liked him, but he took advantage of a friendship and cost me an immense amount of stress.
Ionia: Do you ever talk or see him?
John: No. Thank heaven. I never want to see him again. I have created a way to work off what could have become self-destructive hatred and it feels good when Frank is on the suffering end of the story. The beauty of the arrangement is there is no bloodshed and justice is served.
Ionia: I’m glad you found a way to turn something negative into a positive. How about free time. What do you do?
John: I read mostly. I have a TBR pile that would choke a horse. I also write short stories to relax.
Ionia: The last time we talked you were working on an old FJ 40 Toyota. Still doing that?
John: No. I found a young man who was crazy for her so I sold her. I simply didn’t have the time to continue my restoration project. The young man is a firefighter and has days in a row off. He will do her justice.
Ionia: it is almost time to wrap up. Any advice for writers?
John: Yup. Keep writing. Don’t listen to those who say you should do things a certain way. Those folks really don’t know what you are attempting to accomplish and are really giving advice from their point of view. Also don’t show your work to anyone until it is complete. The biggest barrier to finishing work is creeping self-doubt. Once somebody says something in your work sucks, it is almost impossible not to be affected. Best alternative is that someone tells you something sucks after it is done.
Ionia: Thank you John it was nice having you stop by. Thanks for the drink and crisps
John: My pleasure totally
* On a personal note, John Howell–You do a better job being me than I do. I’d like my voice to come out of your head more often.
On a second personal note, John Howell is one of the true blue. He is definitely one of the most dedicated and hard working authors I know. His first novel rather blew me away, and as far as people go, you just can’t find any better than him. Check out his work, or drop by and say hello to him at his blog. He will enrich your life just by knowing him. Thanks, John–for the interview and for making my life brighter.