Eric Johnston, Thanks for joining Spotlight, how are you today, you may want to tell us about the things we know about you and the things we don't, so everybody gets a feeling of you as a person please?
Eric Johnston I am the author of three novels that are currently available through World Castle publishing. I write primarily science fiction and fantasy, usually with dark, horror elements added. In addition to writing, I am also an editor as well as a teacher of English and Social Studies.
Shah Fazli What is the title of your book, and how does the story begin?
Eric Johnston My most recent release is called A Light in the Dark, which is the sequel to my novel An Inner Darkness. It starts 18 years after An Inner Darkness. That book left off with a really nasty cliff-hanger, but A Light in the Dark starts off 18 years later, and you end up finding out much of the story, what had happened in the presceding 18 years, in almost a reverse order. It's really interesting the way I have it presented. Keeps the readers on the edge of their seat.
Shah Fazli Talking about the reader, why do you think your reader will enjoy this book, tell us about it as a reader of your own book please?
Eric Johnston My reader would enjoy this book because the character are developed in a way that they feel like they could be real people. My main character in A Light in the Dark, Julian, has all the flaws and insecurities of your average person, but he is thrust into this situation where he has to question everything he had ever known, including his religion, who his parents are, whether or not they are even still alive...these things may differ for the everyday person in specifics, but the average reader will be able to identify with the feeling of being unsure about his or her place or purpose. In addition to that, the reader will find a combination of events and characters that will keep them on edge--from the truly horrifying scenes with zombies, werewolves, and other creatures--to travelling into other time periods. There is a lot going on. In addition, there is a villain that everyone will love to hate. All that being said, the ending is an exact mirror image of the beginning of the first book, something I'm sure readers will love.
Shah Fazli What do your readers say about this book?
Eric Johnston To quote a review from amazon.com: "A Light in the Dark is the most intense sequel out there. Most sequels drag on and on about the first book, where this one picks up from the end of An Inner Darkness. The characters are just as vivid and life like as the first and never dulls in any of the chapters. This is a book that could be enjoyed by the teenagers or the busiest of mothers. I read this book in 2 days, I cannot wait till the next one! HIGHLY RECOMMEND!"
Shah Fazli Tell us about the dark side, werewolves, zombies, please?
Eric Johnston One of the plot points of the two novels together features a collection of entities called "The Darkness" or "The Chaos" depending on who is referring to them. This novel takes place an unspecified amount of time in the future in the aftermath of a war with these dark creatures. Humanity is devastated, but there is a savior among the humans, a man named Ragas who leads whats left of humanity to victory. He forms a place called Noremway Parish, which is where humanity happens to survive and thrive....but after a few thousand years of relative peace, the darkness has returned. In addition to just being horrible creatures, these things have the ability to transforms humans into a variety of monsters from wolves, werewolves and zombies. In A Light in the Dark, the rats in the parish become infected with the darkness, and anyone they bite becomes a zombies. There is a seen that is an all out zombie riot that the main characters have to survive.
Shah Fazli Describe a scene of your book in a way as if we are watching the movie, any scene please?
Eric Johnston Thousands upon thousands of dark creatures, from raving wolves, to giant humanoid pigs are marching toward a hill, on top of which a man holding a sword is fighting off anything that comes near him. As you get a closer look at him, you see who that he isn't who he appeared to be at all. And as he dies upon that hill, he feels a combination of satisfaction and betrayal [fade to black] This scene is one of the more interesting scenes, and it is described in far more detail in the book, obviously, but one of the points of it is a big reveal of one of the major things that is really going on.
Shah Fazli Thanks, I might be asking hard questions, can you imagine us in your story and make us feel horrified by a scene please?
Eric Johnston You're standing in Peyton's Pub, the local tavern, drinking a hard cider called Morgan's Delight. It's really the greatest drink there is. The piano is playing a familiar tune, people are dancing, having fun, even the pregnant woman, who looks like she could be giving birth any day now. It has rained today for the first time in five years, and it was a good rain, something great, something to celebrate. Then, without warning, you the laughter and singing turns to screams, and the piano stops. The pregnant woman is now lying on the floor, blood everywhere, her child has ripped itself out of her uterous and looks like a gremlin of some sort that is eating its mother's body. You don't know what to do. There is no way out without passing dangerously close to it. What do you do? Then it turns, stares you in the eyes and comes for you, biting at your ankles with teeth it shouldn't have...and then you find all your sense of self dissapearing as you begin to hunger for human flesh.
Shah Fazli Thanks, read from your book for us please?
Eric Johnston It had been eighteen years since Tomias Waterman and his wife, Lynn, were killed by wolves in the field outside the Mayor’s Residence, a large, antiquated “Gothic Revival.” Those were days long gone, and the current mayor, Franz Phoenix, did what he could to ensure that nobody missed the former leader and his wife.
As part of a nightly ritual, a game of Texas Hold ‘em was underway. After the river card was dealt—the last card in the hand—Franz flipped his pocket cards to reveal. “Royal flush,” he said. He swept the large pile of chips toward him. There were five others playing the hand in the Mayor’s Residence, including Chancellor Joe Carne, Sheriff Brian Forbes, and the future friar, Julian Morgan.
Julian flipped his cards. “Quad aces,” he cried with a mixture of joy and frustration. The rest of the table laughed. “The only time I’ve ever gotten four-of-a-kind aces, the mayor has to get a royal flush!” He was indeed frustrated, but he quickly joined his companions in laughing about the bad run of good luck.
“I think I’m going to go,” Julian said, standing up. The rest of the group was still laughing and didn’t notice him standing, nor did they hear him, so he just walked away and headed to the door. He was nervous about tomorrow, when he would officially become Noremway Parish’s newest friar. It was something his mother, Rita Morgan, had encouraged him to do all his life. “Good men must come and lead. You are a good man, Julian,” she had said.
His long, red hair flowed over his shoulders almost like a woman’s, but he didn’t mind the comparison, or the jokes. He was secure in who he was, but the one thing that did bother him was that he was, and had been, on a road to becoming the friar and supreme religious leader of all of Noremway Parish, but didn’t know a damn thing about the religion they practiced. He received lessons in the holy word from his mother, but where did she get her information? Some of the things she taught him couldn’t possibly be more than sheer fantasy.
“Hey, Morgan, where you going?” Franz called. “The night’s only just begun.”
“Nah, I should get home. Hit the sack, you know? Big day tomorrow.” He continued to the door.
“Friar Julian Morgan. Brother Julian. I kind of like that, don’t you guys?” Brian Forbes said, holding up a glass of beer—an apple concoction sometimes referred to as “Morgan’s Delight.” The others around the table raised their glasses too and let out a loud shout. Despite the good cheer, Julian detected a hint of mockery in Brian’s voice, as was to be expected, he supposed. Brian’s girlfriend, Nora Plague, was absolutely in love with Julian, but since he was to be friar they couldn’t be together. No man liked being the backup plan. No man liked his girl loving someone else, either.
Despite the accolades—fake or not—he wasn’t happy about becoming the next friar. Preaching a gospel he’d never read first-hand seemed to him a precarious circumstance, but not one that anyone else in Noremway Parish seemed at all concerned about. Why was this? The Book of Ragas, he had been told, was not to be read. “It is too sacred,” Rita Morgan had told him. How would they know if they had never read it themselves?
Shah Fazli Thanks, if you were book was to be adopted as a movie, how it would come out you think, any thoughts on that please?
Eric Johnston Of course I would love any movie adaptation that would increase sales and bring in money...but I worry that most of the main ideas, the real thoughtful aspects of the story, such as the character's motivations, the statements about life in a small village, etc--would be lost in a gory bloodbath of a typical B-horror flick. Do I think there is potential for a good movie here? Definitely, but I worry that the more commercial aspects will overshadow the quality of the story if adapted into a movie.
Shah Fazli Thanks, what else do you want to say about your book for us please?
Eric Johnston The two novels--An Inner Darkness and A Light in the Dark--form a story in themselves, but the way I write, all of my work takes place in the same universe, and this is a HUGE story in that universe...so all novels I am working on now, and have plans for in the future, will touch on this story in one way or another. Whether it's the inclusion of "The Darkness," a brief mention of a character here or there, or a visit to that place of hope, Noremway Parish, the setting of these books.
Shah Fazli Give us a few tips on writing please?
Eric Johnston The best tip I can give is to write a lot and read a lot. Like anything, you need to do it to get good at it. And if you read a lot you get familiar with language rules and how stories are constructed, as well as getting a clear idea of what type of thing you want to write about. Don't get discouraged if you can't hammer out a beautiful line of prose like your favorite writer. It will come with practice...just keep at it.
Shah Fazli Thank you so much Eric, we enjoyed every minute. Hope to see you again soon.
Shah Fazli Visit: http://shahsightshop.blogspot.de/2012/10/a-light-in-dark-eric-r-johnston.html
ShahSight Literary Book Shop: A Light in the Dark - Eric R Johnstonshahsightshop.blogspot.com
Eric Johnston Thanks for having me.
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