Julie Johnson - Writing as A Form of Therapy
Julie Johnson is a twenty-something Boston native who, self-reportedly, suffers from an extreme case of Peter Pan Syndrome. She also drinks an inhuman amount of coffee in a single day, which helps her to get to writing, formating, marketing and designing the covers for her books. As our Author of the Day, Johnson talks about her writing habits, how writing provides a form of therapy and gives us insights in the inspiration behind her book, Faithless.
Please give us a short introduction to what Faithless is about.
Faithless is the story of a young woman studying abroad in Europe, who begins working for a company that – unbeknownst to her – is actually the front for a terror cell. When Wes, an undercover CIA agent, targets her in order to infiltrate the organization, Faith falls head over heels… until she learns the man she’s given her heart to isn’t quite what he seems. It’s a steamy contemporary romance with plenty of drama, intrigue, and suspense, ideal for romance readers who enjoy both action and angst!
Tell us more about Faith - what makes her tick?
At the beginning of the story, Faith is an idealistic dreamer. She believes in true love and Prince Charming and happily-ever-afters. One of my favorite parts of the story is her development as a character, after those rose-colored glasses come off and some of her naivety is swept away.
Why do you think do Faith and Wes make such a great couple?
Wes and Faith are great because they’re so flawed, both as individuals and as a couple. Throughout the story, they struggle and grow and strive to be better. Ultimately I think their imperfections are what make them so perfect for each other. I’ve always believed the most epic love stories are the ones characters have to fight for, regardless of the odds stacked against them.
You chose to tell your story in dual POV - why did you take this approach?
Faithless is actually my only novel told in dual POV, and it’s entirely due to the male protagonist, Wes. He is more complex than your standard alpha male “hero” – in fact, I’d describe him as more of an anti-hero. As a CIA operative, he lives his life in the gray area and doesn't always adhere to a strict moral compass. When I sat down to write this novel, I felt readers could only understand his character if they were privy to his innermost thoughts and motivations.
How has your background in psychology and communications influenced your writing?
I like to think my degrees come into equal play, albeit in very different ways. I definitely use my communications/PR skills for day-to-day marketing, whereas my psychology degree is better served for helping to develop my characters and plot out their motivations. I like to consider what makes a character tick before I put my fingers on the keyboard.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I can drink an inhuman amount of coffee in a single day! I also do all the cover design, marketing, and formatting for each of my books. When I’m not parked in front of my laptop, I enjoy sailing, skiing, and photography.
Is there something that compels you to write? And do you find that writing helps you achieve a clarity about yourself or ideas you've been struggling with?
Writing is my favorite way to work through issues with family, friends, relationships, etc. Fictional or not, it’s my own form of therapy.
Do reviews and reader feedback shape your work? Or do you feel like it's better to avoid the feedback—both positive and negative—so that it won't interfere with your vision?
I love feedback. I love reviews – even the bad ones. (Maybe especially the bad ones.) When I started writing professionally, I was only twenty-two years old. I certainly had some growing to do as a storyteller. Without feedback or critique, self-improvement is virtually impossible.
What are you working on right now?
I have a few new titles coming out that I’m very excited about. I’ll be announcing my next project in a few days, in fact! Look for it in early 2018.