I’ve known John Foxjohn for a lot of years and have had the pleasure of working with him on occasion. His work, like that of so many others, is often under-recognized so I hope that this interview will bring him a little more recognition. His books are really good!
PJ: How long have you been writing?
John: I’ve been writing eight years.
PJ: At what point did you reach a place where you felt successful as a writer?
John: I have not reached that point and hope I never do.
PJ: Is the writing life what you expected when you started out? If not, how is it different?
John: I personally don’t think the writing life is ever what anyone thinks it is unless they grew up with someone who had experienced it and knew what to expect. I didn’t think it would take as much self-discipline that it takes to just sit down and write. Most do it because they love it as I do—never realized how hard it is.
PJ: The general public seems to think authors are relatively wealthy. Without prying too much, has your writing income lived up to expectations?
John: It’s beginning to, but I think no one has much success monetarily at first.
PJ: Early on, so much focus is given to getting published. Now that you’re published, how has your focus changed?
John: Before I became published I went to a conference and heard a writer speaking on self-promotions. She said there were two kinds of published authors: those who sit back and hope their books sell, or those who help them sell. This made a lot of sense to me.
Later, I went to a Donald Maass seminar and he said something to that affect, too. He said it isn’t the first book that is the hardest to publish—it’s the second. Before the first one all anyone knows is the writing ability—after that, they know if the writing will sell.
My focus switched from getting published to becoming a better writer and helping my books sell.
PJ: How long did it take you to get published the first time?
John: About a year.
PJ: Would you do anything differently if you had it to do over again?
John: Yeah, I would actually make sure the manuscript was ready before I started submitting.
PJ: Writing new material, rewriting, submitting new work, waiting, promoting published work…the list is large. How do you manage to divvy up your time to give adequate attention to all needed areas?
John: In the beginning, I had priorities and schedules and it wasn’t always easy—but I had to keep pretty much to them or I would never have gotten anything done. I’m fortunate now because I have an administrative assistant who really helps me. I receive in the neighborhood of a 500 e-mails a day and she helps with this and is fantastic with my scheduling so I don’t have to worry about it. I can concentrate on the important parts rather than the mundane that distracts.
PJ: What is the single most exciting thing that’s happened to you as a writer?
John: Wow! That’s hard to say. I have been so fortunate. Maybe it was when I was voted author of the year, or making the first best-seller list. Getting an agent and that first call is at the top, too.
However, some of the people, writers and readers that I have met over the years have to rank right up there, too.
PJ: What is the single most disappointing thing that happened to you as a writer?
John: I guess rejections that everyone goes through, but in the end, I don’t think I have any disappointing moments.
PJ: What’s the most memorable thing (good or bad) that’s happened to you while promoting your work?
John: I have never had one single bad thing happen while promoting my work. The most memorable thing that pops into my mind is the six thousand books that I have sold at IHOP.
PJ: With more books being released each month now than ever before, what do you believe sets your work apart from the others?
John: That’s difficult to speak of without everyone thinking I am an egoistical idiot. I will say this, a lot of readers like the way I tell a story.
PJ: What would you like to share with writers who haven’t reached the point of publication yet?
John: It’s not what story you are telling—it’s whose story you are telling. Characterization is the key to writing fiction. Learn all you can, and be patient.
PJ: What do you feel is your most effective tool for promoting your published work?
John: I am enthusiastic about my characters’ stories and I think that enthusiasm shows when I talk to people about it. Think about this, if the author isn’t excited about the story, who is going to be?
PJ: What area of book promotion is the most challenging to you?
John: None—I love to promote.
PJ: Do you have a local independent bookseller you’d like to mention?
John: No, the only one we had was a Walton’s bookstore and it closed.
PJ: Give us a list of your published titles in chronological or series order:
Journey of the Spirit
Color of Murder
Dead and Breakfast
and coming soon, Paradox
and in 2013 Lethal Injection—the true story of a female serial killer.
PJ: Share with us an elevator pitch (no more than 30 seconds) of your latest title:
Kayla Nugent, a Houston criminal defense attorney, knows money can buy many things, but it can’t buy love or friendship, and it shouldn’t buy justice. When a best-selling romance author is murdered, the politically motivated D.A. charges Kayla’s former best friend with the murder. The decision forces Kayla to face a past that ripped her life to shreds, and defend the one person she’d rather see in jail.
The stress of the high profile trial and a client she doesn’t trust hinders Kayla’s developing relationship with Darren Duval, a private detective hired to help her. The people close to Kayla try to convince her not to take the case. Only one insists she drop it—the person trying to kill her.
PJ: Where can we buy it?
Where ever books are sold
What last thing would you like to share with us that nobody knows about you and your work?
I am the luckiest man alive—check out my web site: www.johnfoxjhnhome.com
John, I believe you may be right. Can’t wait to see the new books! Everyone stop over and take a look, but before you go, stay and chat awhile!