Author interview: Eric Johannsen

How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

When I was twelve, a childhood friend moved back into my neighborhood and introduced me to a wondrous thing called Dungeons & Dragons. Through him, I realized every one of us has the potential to be a storyteller, and so I became one. I became the Dungeon Master for my role playing group, entertaining my friends for years with stories of imprisoned goddesses, redeemed vampires and epic battles that rage through the multiverse over millennia. Writers, though… well they were a special breed – something apart, a status unattainable. Shortly before celebrating my half-century here on Earth, a story blossomed in my mind that had to be told to an audience much larger than my friends and friends of friends. It was time to become a writer.

 

Who are your favorite authors? (Please limit your answer to five or ten.)

JRR Tolkien and Arthur C. Clarke were the literary gods of my childhood. They shaped and inspired me. As a young adult, Michael Crichton brought science into literature in an entertaining way that didn’t offend my sensibilities as a physicist by training or software engineer by trade. Today, as an author vividly aware of such things as character arc, plot structure, and descriptive language, my hands-down favorite is Brandon Sanderson.

 

What are your greatest sources of inspiration?

I write today because of a story that refused to let go of me. That story is born of frustration about where humanity is today, given the tremendous potential our species holds. Where we could empower one another to reach new heights, we too often divide into camps, and spend our energy bringing each other down. Whether in current American politics, global relations, or our local communities, we can be far better. Then there’s Artificial Intelligence. AI holds the potential to serve humanity and lift us all but also to accelerate the division of rich and poor. If mishandled, it is capable of destroying us. These facts inspire my writing and are the threads that hold together the action-packed story I tell in The Gods We Make.

 

What genre(s) do you write?

My debut project is a four-part science fiction series: The Gods We Make, The Gods We Seek, The Gods We Find, and The Gods We Are. TGWM is available now, with TGWS due out this year. I’m a huge fan of fantasy and look forward to exploring that genre as well.

 

Do you have any current or future projects?

I’m well into the first draft of The Gods We Seek, which features a vastly superior intelligence doing… something… on Earth. Part of the fun of that book is understanding exactly what such an advanced entity wants with us.

 

Do you have an author website?

Sure do! I have a website dedicated to The Gods series, The Gods We Make, where you can learn more about the characters and the world. I post research that informs my writing on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Do you have any blogs?

No, but I’m a member of Scribophile and active in major Facebook author groups.

 

Where can people find your work?  (to purchase or just to read)

Goodreads is the best launching point. You can get to Amazon’s free preview from there.

 

If you could feature just one title, what would it be?

The Gods We Make. No doubt about it.

 

Do you have any pseudonyms?

No.

 

Do you have any other hobbies besides writing?

I’m a pilot, a SCUBA diver, and an avid softball player.

 

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

One of my relatives, P.V.H. Weems, taught navigation to Charles Lindberg and Fred Noonan (Emilia Earhart’s navigator) and was a pioneer of space navigation. One of the characters in The Gods We Make is a fictional member of that branch of the family tree.

 

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I hope that my writing entertains while inspiring readers to think about the world we live in and seek ways to bring us all closer together.

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