by Jennifer-Crystal Johnson
ROOM WITH BOOKS encourages our readers to follow the tour and please leave comments!
GENRE: Science Fiction
Anna Reynolds is caught up in the middle of a secret interdimensional government agreement… and she doesn’t even know it. There’s a medical anomaly loosely dubbed Morgellons disease afflicting a number of people. Symptoms include open sores that produce colorful string-like fibers, fatigue, and nightmarish visions of shadowy figures. No one knows where it came from. No one knows what causes it. There is no cure. When Anna begins having nightmares and waking hallucinations of the shadow people, her uneasiness about her condition grows. Enlisting the help of her doctor and some friends, Anna is determined to find out what’s really going on and why Morgellons is such a mystery. With her health declining and doubts about whom she can trust, is Anna doomed to become a slave to her condition? Or will she and her unlikely group of would-be heroes come through, saving her… and, ultimately, the world?
Standing slowly with her palm pressed to her eye, she spotted a tiny clump on the counter not far from the tweezers. It looked like balled up blue and red string wrapped in eye goo. But when she touched it gingerly with her fingertip, it felt hard, similar to rock or crystals. She turned off the water.
Not wanting to leave this cluster of strange unattended, she picked up the tweezers again and pinched the whole mess between the tips. Cupping her left hand underneath, she took it to a kitchen counter and turned on the overhead light.
Squinting her hazel eyes, she poked at the tiny mass with the tip of the tweezers, suddenly wishing she had another pair.
“What the hell are you…?” she muttered under her breath, trying to keep her breathing shallow so she wouldn’t accidentally exhale it away and lose it. She noted that her eye felt perfectly fine. A little sore, but not bad. She decided to get a toothpick from the silverware drawer and pinched the balled up fibers in the tips of the tweezers again. Just in case.
As she loosened the tweezers and brought the toothpick closer to the tear duct excretion, she watched the blue string she had pulled on stretch itself slowly toward the wood.
“No way,” she muttered, moving the wooden toothpick closer. She moved it left, then right… each time she moved it, the tiny string followed. She saw the red one poking out from the tangled mass, too, and she dropped the tweezers and the toothpick, stepping back and taking a deep breath as she cupped her hand over her mouth.
What is that?
It is my pleasure to welcome Jennifer-Crystal Johnson, author of Fibers, to Room With Books!
And it’s my pleasure to be here! Thank you so much for interviewing me on your blog; I look forward to your questions. 🙂
Please tell us about yourself.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I’ve wanted to be two things my entire life: a writer and a musician. Although music still plays a large part in my life and I look forward to composing and playing the piano again regularly at some point, right now I’m very focused on writing fiction and am hoping to earn enough money with my books to immerse myself in music again in the future.
How long have you been writing and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing since I can remember and it always just came naturally. I have always loved reading, too, which is probably part of what inspired me to write, but I have a massive imagination and people have always told me that I’m good with words, so writing is one of my oldest and truest friends.
Do you do a job in addition to writing and would you tell us more about it?
I have two jobs, actually; three if you count being a single mother of three. My job outside the home is one I just recently began (I hadn’t worked outside the home for almost 10 years) and is only part time. I work as a home care aide for a really awesome quadriplegic man, helping him get things done that he can’t do on his own. On top of this, I’m still a freelance writer, editor, and publisher, helping authors and business owners self-publish their books for a fee. Then of course there’s being a single mom of three wonderful kiddos and everything that entails: taking care of a household, cooking, cleaning, helping with homework, delegating chores, and being there for my kids when they have a problem or need some advice. 🙂
How would you summarize this book in less than 20 words?
Anna battles Morgellons disease and, inadvertently, an interdimensional conspiracy, wreaking havoc on her life… and our world.
Now, let’s talk about writing and how you came to be a published author. When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I considered myself a writer in about third or fourth grade because that was when I started having ideas for original stories and writing them. When I was 12, I added journaling to my daily routine and I got my first freelance writing job online when I was 13. At that point, it wasn’t just me considering myself a writer – it was also an employer, which made it official. 😉
How long did it take to get your first book published?
My first book didn’t take long to get published at all, but I went with a publishing company that was on the Writer Beware list, which I didn’t find out until years later. It wasn’t a horrible experience for me, but it was discouraging and a bit disappointing, especially when I found out that it essentially wasn’t the real deal. After I left an abusive marriage around the same time the book was published, I didn’t give up – it just took me a few years to get back to seeing writing as a business and finish a sort of memoir about my experience with domestic violence (this is unpublished; it was more for therapy than anything else).
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to “The End”?
That all depends on how much time I can devote to writing and what type of book it is. Nonfiction such as personal development is fairly easy because I simply write my thoughts down – the outlining process is simple, factual, and practical. Poetry was always easy for me because it was simply another way of journaling (I don’t write poetry very often anymore, unfortunately, but I think that’s partially because I don’t journal enough), so I would go through my journals and see what I was comfortable publishing and what I wasn’t. Poetry is very personal to me… my soul on paper, that sort of thing. Fiction tends to be a little more difficult for me because I worry about forgetting an important detail or accidentally leaving holes in the plot, so I tend to do a number of revisions and re-evaluating of the draft before I feel comfortable even sending it to beta readers. Fibers took me five years; I’m hoping that the second book in the trilogy, Numbers, will only take me about a year or a year and a half. That’s the goal, anyway. 🙂
What can we expect from you in the future?
You can definitely expect more sci-fi conspiracy thrillers! Once I finish writing and publishing this trilogy, I already have another series in mind that was inspired by a dream I had. As a general rule, you can expect very unique, intelligent, and well-researched novels from me. 🙂
Who is your favorite character from your books and why are they your favorite?
I absolutely love a strong female lead character, especially if they have to grow into their strength. However, in the Infiltration Trilogy, I’m not entirely certain who my favorite is yet because the story isn’t finished. We’ll see how everything turns out after the final book and then I’ll know which character I consider my favorite. 🙂
What is your routine for writing?
Right now I don’t have a set routine, and I generally don’t work well under strict scheduling (which is why I was never able to keep a job outside the home for longer than nine months or so). Let’s just say that the words, “free spirit,” tend to be used to describe me a lot, and this could be perceived as a wonderful or detrimental quality depending on whom you talk to about it. I tend to go through phases, so while I may write every single day for two or three hours for a few months, I may only write for clients for weeks or months after that. It all depends on what my client workload is, what I have going on with my family and other job, and whether I have the energy to write fiction or not. Sometimes not writing has opened doors for opportunities and knowledge that wouldn’t have been there if the timing hadn’t been perfect, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. 🙂
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I tend to choose a title first that encompasses the premise or idea; then I start writing various different aspects of the idea down and working on the draft as I can. Nothing is set in stone, so things can always be changed or adjusted to fit the completed work; I’m open to that. However, I tend to have ideas and then the titles come to me, and oftentimes the titles themselves are key to remembering the premise of the whole story, at least in the outlining and drafting phase.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books?
Of course! What better way to illustrate a message than by telling a story as opposed to just stating an opinion? That doesn’t always mean that people will draw the same conclusions or even notice or understand the message, but it is there for those who like to get into discussions and conversations about various books and their concepts and ideas… as well as whether other people see things the same way or not.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I personally prefer paperback to any other type of book. The reasons are simple… paperbacks give you a physical, solid overview of what’s there and I can mark and dog-ear pages for whatever purpose, highlight important parts, and write notes in margins fairly easily. When I really, fully read a book, I tend to be completely immersed and people to discuss certain parts of it may come to mind, so I like to be able to mark my place(s) and jot down ideas. I know there are many people who would consider this an abuse of books, but as someone who has used and abused and studied my own journals for emotional healing and therapy, I like to absolutely know that the book has served its purpose for me, whether that be entertainment, learning, or otherwise. Besides… a few “scars” and coffee stains add character. 😉 My books wind up perfectly imperfect and proudly damaged, just like me. Nobody can say that those books haven’t lived a full life.
What is your favorite book and why is it your favorite? How many times would you estimate you’ve read it?
I cannot say that I have a single favorite book; however, there are two that rank at the very top and have for a long time: Phantom by Susan Kay and Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite. I’ve read both of these books at least three or four times, and they’re my favorites because they’re very interesting to me. Phantom is the life story of the incredible man behind the mask (Phantom of the Opera) from birth to death and all of the adversity and hardship he had to endure and overcome before becoming the Phantom of the Opera. Lost Souls has many characters whose stories are sad but adventurous and breathtaking, and I love being reminded that, despite whatever cruelties life may throw at you, it’s still beautiful and worth living to the fullest, even if your choices aren’t always perfect or you go through a period of pain.
Do you read all the reviews of your books?
Absolutely! They’ve all been positive for Fibers, but if readers say anything negative – especially if it’s said by more than one – I take it into consideration for future books if I can. No one is perfect, and if I can use what I’m told to learn from it and improve my writing, then I consider it an honest gift from readers. Unfortunately, this isn’t easy to do at first, so I had to learn to take criticism gracefully… but I’m not one to be ashamed of little mistakes. 😉
That’s enough of the serious business. How about a handful of fun questions?
Sounds awesome; let’s do it. 🙂
What is your favorite food? Oh, I love a lot of different kinds of food… sushi is definitely in my top five, along with salade nicoise with either tuna or salmon, teriyaki, and grilled tri-tip steak, shrimp, schnitzel, and corn on the cob. 🙂 Cooking is a very therapeutic hobby for me and it’s also productive, so I love making great food for my family.
Who is your favorite singer or group? I definitely can’t choose just one here, either, because I go through phases and adore a lot of different types of music… I will say that NIN helped me through a lot of struggles in life when I was younger, so Trent Reznor will always have a special place in my heart. I also absolutely love Imogen Heap and have been following her music since I was about 12 or 13. Currently, I like listening to Rob Thomas, Imogen Heap, Celldweller, Ellie Goulding, Mumford & Sons, Skrillex, and a few others. I have a couple of Pandora stations that get a LOT of play, and all of these artists are included. 🙂
What is your favorite color? Purple. Burgundy comes in at a very close second, but pretty much any shade of purple is a purple I love.
What is your ideal getaway dream vacation? Anywhere with water… oceans, lakes, rivers, I just adore water. Can’t swim well at all, but I love the water!
What final words would you offer to our readers?
Thank you so much for taking the time to check out my sci-fi conspiracy thriller series, buying & reading it, and showing such awesome support for authors! It is absolutely appreciated, and I hope to see you again next week at the next tour stop. 🙂
Thank you for spending time with us at Room With Books. I appreciate your time and wish you the best with your book. I hope you will come back again!
Jennifer-Crystal Johnson is originally from Germany, but was raised an Army brat. She has published one novella under her former last name, The Outside Girl: Perception is Reality (Publish America, 2005 – out of print as of 2013), a poetry book, Napkin Poetry (Broken Publications, 2010), and a collection of poetry, art, and prose called Strangers with Familiar Faces (Broken Publications, 2011). She’s also published a collection of short creature horror stories called If You’re Human Don’t Open the Door (Broken Publications, 2012), a personal development book called The Ten Pillars of a Happy Relationship (Broken Publications, 2014), and a collection of more horror stories (no creatures this time, just people) called Our Capacity for Evil (Broken Publications, 2015). She has several poems and short stories published on Every Writer’s Resource and has recently published a science fiction novel called Fibers, the first book in the Infiltration Trilogy. Jen owns and operates Broken Publications (http://www.brokenpublications.com/) and publishes an annual anthology to raise awareness about domestic violence called Soul Vomit (www.SoulVomit.com). When she isn’t writing or editing, she enjoys playing games with her three kids, watching crime shows on Netflix, or reading. She lives in WA State with her three children, three cats, and a crazy puppy named Thor.
Video excerpts – watch the author read!
The author will be awarding a $10 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.