BY CYRENE RENEE
I have the fortunate opportunity to meet incredible authors of all different genres. Most of the time, I meet them at author expos, book fairs and other literary events. Every now and again, I conduct interviews on those that I have met along the way. It was June of 2017, while participating in my first expo since publishing my first book is where I was introduced to Author KF Johnson. We met at the author’s meet and greet dinner the night before the book signing. We got along great and had all kinds of hearty giggles throughout the weekend. Since then, we have stayed in contact following and supporting each other via social media and other platforms. I thought it would be a great to catch up with her for a 20-question conversation to see what she is up to and how her authorship journey has been so far.
What or who inspired you to become a writer?
I was on punishment a lot, so it became one of the things I did in my pass time in addition to reading and drawing.
When did you realize that words had power? Other than books how do you express your freedom?
I think I’ve always known that. I’ve loved reading since childhood, and I learned a lot from it.
I’m a natural extrovert. So, I’m adventurous and I’m constantly exploring different ways to enjoy life whenever I can with my friends and family.
What was your journey when publishing your first book?
I self-published on Amazon as a way for my FB friends and family to read a book I was writing for over a decade. I didn’t initially intend for the masses to read it, nor did I think they would, or would want to. The reception was overwhelmingly positive and that started my road to researching how to become a professional author who published quality books.
Some people don’t believe in writer’s block. They feel the words either flow freely or they don’t. Do you think writer’s block exists? If so, what do you do to overcome it?
Most definitely! I experience it regularly, which is one of the reasons why it takes me so long to publish books.
I don’t know that I have a remedy to overcome it. I just continue to read books by authors I admire, and eventually, the juices get flowing again to try to match the talent of their imagination.
When writing your books, do you find it draining or energizing?
It depends on where I am in the writing process. If I’m getting close to the end, it’s usually energizing. But when I feel like I’m way past the deadline of when I should have put out a new product, it’s draining and I’m anxiety ridden.
Has your writing style changed since your first book or has it stayed the same?
I think my writing style has evolved, but I don’t think I write with the same free spirit I started with. Mainly because I know I have an audience now.
If you were stuck on an island and could have one book, which would you choose? (You can’t choose one of yours)
I would hate that. Maybe I’m strange as a reader, but I don’t reread books unless I’ve forgot I read it before or what I read in it. If I HAD to choose one, I would choose Stephen King’s Misery. I loved that book.
How many books have you written? Which is your most favorite book and why?
5 to date.
I usually answer, What I’d Do for Love, since it’s my most critically acclaimed. But lately, I’m starting to respect the nuances that are in my first published book, Behind Closed Doors. I think I’m going to make that my new favorite.
So far, of all the books you have written, which character is your favorite? How does he or she relate to you?
Greer Patterson is my favorite, because she was the most troubled and the most dangerous of them all.
She doesn’t relate to me in most aspects, except the experience of being called a “White girl” growing up at time by some browner people in my own ethnic group since I’m so light skin. I absolutely HATED that.
What steps do you take to juggle your writing schedule when it comes to work life and family time?
That’s my biggest problem. I have a hard time juggling it, which is another reason why it takes me so long to publish books. I have a hectic work and family life. I’m often not in a creative mind set after a long day.
How do you think social media has changed or enhanced an author’s platforms? How does social media impact your brand?
I think now, the ability to be physically obscure is not an option. Readers now want to know who they’re reading. And they may choose to read based on whether they like, or dislike you as a person, before giving your book a chance. That wasn’t the case in the published authors of old. At the same time, I’m able to get my product out and noticed by people who my books would never have reached otherwise without social media.
I’m more cautious on my social media with what I say or expose publicly under platforms where my name is out there, because readers can be fickle, and you can be at the top of your game today, and at the bottom tomorrow or vice versa.
Paperback, e-book or audiobook, which do you prefer when you are reading? What options do you offer your readers?
I prefer audiobooks because I love to hear the characters come to life and I rarely have time to read with my eyes since I’m so busy. When I don’t get audiobooks, I have my kindle read e-books to me.
All my books are published in e-book, paperback and audiobook.
Describe your writing space? Where do you prefer to create?
Big display screen, keyboard, mouse, desk with my laptop hooked up to it. I hate writing directly from my laptop.
Usually write better at work than anywhere else. I recently discovered that it’s the way my desk and screens are arranged that makes all the difference, and for that reason, I’ve changed my writing space at home to match it.
Have you read any good books lately?
I read good books all the time. I recently read “The Family Business 5” by Carl Weber. I’m a huge fan of his books.
If you could sit down and have a conversation with any author, past or present, who would it be?
Carl Weber. I hope he would be the type of author to help a lesser popular author get their foot in the door.
What is something quirky about you that we wouldn’t know by reading your books?
I used to rap when I was in college and almost got signed by a major rap label. I’m not as cookie cutter as I may seem, if I seem that way.
Would you rather an endless summer or endless winter?
Summer! I only like winter for the clothes. Otherwise, I hate cold weather.
What do we have to look forward to for the future from you?
I’m working on the sequel to What I’d Do for Love, and hopefully, I’ll have a book make the small or big screen one day.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers and authors?
Never be afraid to expound on your craft and do your best to improve your talent whenever you can.
How do you hope to be remembered?
I hope I’ll be remembered as an entertaining and dynamic author, and a fun, intelligent and worthwhile human being.
For more information about KF and her books, feel free to follow her on social media.