Writer’s Desk with JJ Johnson
JJ Johnson is an award-winning author who loves comic books, coffee, and writing fun adventure stories for kids who are reluctant readers. He and his wife live in Edmond, OK with their two boys, a hyperactive dog, a cat who hates JJ, and a rabbit that nibbles.
More about Iggy & Oz: The Living Snot
What if your snot came to life?
Iggy Risner is back with another laugh-out-loud neighborhood adventure. However, this time the stakes have grown. The discovery of a set of strange handkerchiefs is about to turn the neighborhood upside down. Not only did they come from Mr. Chesterson’s estate sale, but everyone who blows their nose on them discovers their snot coming to life.
When the snot ball continues to grow and starts covering their entire neighborhood, Iggy and the gang find themselves in a battle they never would have imagined.
Will they keep the community from being overrun by a giant blob of snot? Or will they find themselves losing a battle that could cause every kid to live in terror?
Iggy & Oz: The Living Snot will make your child’s imagination soar and make the hair behind their necks stand on end as they read on. Full of twist and turns, this is perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The Last Kids on Earth.
Enter to win one of two copies of book one — Iggy & Oz: The Plastic Dinos of Doom.
*Due to shipping costs, the winner must have a US mailing address.
Don’t Miss the Live with JJ Johnson in the Avid Readers of Christian Fiction Community
Q&A with JJ Johnson
ARCF: Everyone always asks for an interesting fact, we’re going to flip the question. What is one boring fact about yourself?
JJJ: I like gardening. To some people that may seem boring and weird, to others that is cool. But I obsess and geek out about different types of tomatoes.
ARCF: Where did you get the inspiration for Iggy & Oz: The Living Snot?
JJJ: Well, the series started when I wanted to write a book for my kids. I was struggling to find an idea. So, I did what every writer shouldn’t do. I tried to force an idea into existence. After about an hour of sitting in the living room with wads of yellow legal tablet sheets collecting at my feet, I was ready to give up.
My kids were three and six at the time, and they were playing in the living room with their toy dinosaurs. There were literally hundreds of them spread out over the floor. I asked a simple question to the kids. I said, “What if your dinosaurs came to life and started tearing up the house?”
Immediately, they pretended it was happening.
After about twenty minutes of playing, I sat down and wrote out a sentence. A 12 year-old-boy discovers that his dinosaurs have come to life, and he and his friends need to find a way to stop them.
With The Living Snot, it was sort of gross but it was the same thing. My son had a runny nose and blew it, and looked at me and said: “What if my snot came alive and wiggled off the tissue and started growing.” I knew I had to write that story.
ARCF: Do you have any habits or rituals as a writer?
JJJ: I like chaos. I can’t handle music when writing, or anything. For me, I like to go to a coffee shop, surround myself with a wall of noise, and just tune it out. But I always start with a quick word of prayer. It’s a reminder to one be thankful I get to tell stories, and two to keep my ego in check.
ARCF: What habits would you encourage others to take up to be a more productive writer?
JJJ: Habit one if you’re writing with small kids, learn to write in uncomfortable places. You can’t always wait for the perfect mood to be set. I’ve written on my phone waiting for a haircut, at the school pickup line. . . learn to just write and practice writing in off places. Habit two is weird but learn to recognize and respect your voice. Some authors have prose that flows like water off the page. I’m a pulp writer for boys. My prose attacks the page like a meat cleaver attacking a tough piece of steak. But it’s my voice, and it’s what I’m good at.
ARCF: What do you snack on or drink while writing?
JJJ: Coffee and I love Salt and Vinegar Pringles.
ARCF: How do you overcome writer’s block?
JJJ: I read some non-fiction or go on a walk and try and dictate. Sometimes it’s just a change in environment.
ARCF: Are you an “edit-as-you-go” writer or do you wait until the very end before you do any editing?
JJJ: No, that would drive me nuts.
ARCF: What would you say is the most common mistake new writers make?
JJJ: Trying too hard to sound like someone else like their favorite author. Again back to voice, too many authors ignore their own voice and edit themselves to sound like someone else.
ARCF: What is coming up next for you?
JJJ: I just published book 4 in the Iggy & Oz series: The Great Ice Cream Truck Heist. But the next book coming up is Interstice Undone. It’s a collaboration project between myself and award-winning authors Steve Rasza and Jason C Joyner. We basically took our characters from our series and did a big crossover event.
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