Interview With Author/Sports Journalist John Coon

John Coon lives for adventure whether it be through writing or hiking through his favorite mountainside. John is a sports journalist who has turned his pen to fiction novels. His first novel, Pandora Reborn, debuted in 2018.

A native of Utah, John finds peace in nature and believes “life without creativity and imagination is hollow.”

Now that I’ve introduced you to John let’s get to know him a little better.

Hello, John, welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

What inspired you to be a writer?

I’ve loved creating stories ever since I was a kid. I always had an active imagination. When I was in elementary school, for example, I daydreamed about being an actor starring in my own movies.

I had movie titles figured out and knew what each movie was about.  Some characters and fictional worlds I’ve created as an adult author can trace their roots back to this early time in my life.

Is writing your full-time profession?

Only if you include journalism into the mix. Reporting on pro sports and college sports remains my day job at the moment.

Fiction writing is a part-time pursuit for now. I hope to change that in the not-too-distant future.

How long have you been writing?

My first novel was published in June 2018, but I’ve been writing for three decades. I started writing my earliest stories when I was 12 years old. My parents owned an old manual typewriter and had set it up on a table in the back of the kitchen.

An older sister of mine wrote some short stories, and I decided one day I could write stories too. I grabbed some orange typing paper and started typing up stories on the typewriter.

Those early stories were about a litter of mischievous kittens based on some pet cats our family owned at the time. I eventually wrote nine connected stories about the kittens by the time I got into high school. Since that time, I have continued to write fiction and poetry.

Can you tell us about your experiences as a sports reporter?

When someone finds out I work as a sports reporter, their reaction is something like: “That must be so exciting getting paid to watch sports! You have a dream job.”

It surprises them when I reply it’s like any other job. Some days you enjoy it. Other days you can’t stand it. I’ve had tons of fun experiences in my 15 years of writing about sports.

I’ve ridden in a race car at 160 miles per hour. I’ve been able to witness athletes set world records. I’ve covered March Madness (the NCAA men’s basketball tournament) on several occasions.

I’ve also endured more stressful deadlines and sleepless nights than I care to remember. It can take a toll. Covering sports such as football or basketball creates a demanding day-to-day schedule, especially with social media basically demanding fresh content around the clock.

How has being a sports reporter influenced your work?

Being a reporter has helped me strengthen my observation skills. I see how people act, talk, and react in a wide variety of situations. I see how different personalities mesh with one another.

It has proven useful in crafting characters and dialogue that feel drawn from the real world. One of my primary goals in creating stories is to build a world populated with characters and settings that feel authentic. What I’ve observed and learned as a reporter helps me to better achieve such a goal.

Photo courtesy of: John Coon

How many books have you written?

I’ve published one novel so far and I’m currently working on my second one. Pandora Reborn, my debut novel, was released in June 2018.

Which genres do you write?

I write in multiple genres because I have ideas for stories and characters I want to develop that fit into different genres. Sometimes, I blend multiple genres within the same story. 

Pandora Reborn is primarily a young adult horror story that also blends elements from fantasy, mystery, and thriller genres. My upcoming novel will primarily be a science fiction thriller, but could also include a few horror elements because of the characters and the setting.

Honestly, it’s fun to not limit yourself to a single genre as a writer. It allows more flexibility and creativity in telling the story you want told.

What do you find most challenging writing for these genres?

For me, the one challenge in every story is making sure it feels authentic. I want to make these fictional worlds feel real, even when fantastic elements are involved.

Every fictional world is the real world to the characters who live in it. For that reason, I want their actions, reactions, and interactions to feel true to life.

Nothing bothers me more in genre fiction than plot armor. Forcing characters to say and do things simply because the plot tells them that’s what they’re supposed to do. It makes for uninteresting stories.

Drama and suspense build organically when characters feel like real people. You become emotionally invested in their journey and their fate ultimately matters to you.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently writing my second novel, the aforementioned science fiction thriller. I plan to publish it later this spring.

The story will follow four college students who are confronted with the results of alien genetic experimentation after being trapped in an isolated Texas town during a spring break road trip. It’s a re-imagining of a short story I wrote in college.

I expanded the narrative and added some characters and subplots to help flesh it out to novel length. Beyond that story, I have other science fiction novels in the works and a pair of sequels to Pandora Reborn in development.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

My characters are a melting pot of various personalities I’ve encountered and interacted with throughout my life. Like I mentioned earlier, I always pay attention to how other people act, interact, and react in situations, so my characters feel like real people.

Still, I don’t intentionally base any character on a single individual for obvious reasons. Many people would not react favorably to encountering a fictionalized version of themselves within a story.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work? 

Honestly, it has been a thrill to see so many people enjoy Pandora Reborn. I’ve received more favorable reviews and positive feedback than I ever anticipated. I love seeing other people embrace characters and stories that kicked around in my head for years.  It has given me tons of confidence while working on my second novel.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Find your own voice. I often see advice to new authors that tells them to mimic what popular authors are doing or tells them to figure out which genre sells and dive in head first. That’s terrible advice, in my opinion.

The best thing you can do as an author is be true to yourself. Tell a story you want to tell. Then take plenty of time to craft it so that it is told in the best way possible. You will find an audience eventually and they will appreciate something that is authentic and well-written.

What readers don’t appreciate are slapdash by-the-numbers stories that are transparently designed to make a quick buck.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

I’m the type of person who tries to make the world around me a better place. Life is so much better when we all choose to be good people.

We can bring happiness into our lives and other people’s lives by being kind, honest, and caring. I strive to live each day with this philosophy guiding me.

Photo courtesy of: John Coon

What message are you sharing in your books?

It really depends on the book. I don’t set out to impose a specific message on a novel. It just evolves organically as the story unfolds.

With Pandora Reborn, for example, a key message that emerges is the danger of being isolated. You look at all the major characters and they are all isolated to one degree or another when the story begins.

Ron Olson illustrates this perfectly. He is in a new town cut off from his old friends and his dad. Ron wants nothing to do with Deer Falls. As the story progresses, he learns in a real way that he can’t live isolated.

He is forced to find allies when a terrifying ancient witch begins wreaking havoc. It also forces Ron to repair his relationship with his mother to ensure her survival. The overall message, in a way, is that life’s battles are not meant to be fought alone and cannot be won alone.

What are your favorite books/authors?

Growing up, my favorite authors were Jack London, C.S. Lewis, H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, and Edgar Allan Poe. I love the way they could build a world and make each character feel so real and alive — even in the most extreme or fantastic circumstances.

As an adult, I have also enjoyed fiction from authors like Michael Crichton, Stephen King, John Grisham, and Phillip K. Dick. My all-time favorite books are The Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve read every book in that series cover to cover multiple times.

Photo courtesy of: John Coon

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?

I have always loved Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s the perfect adventure movie with so many fun, iconic moments and memorable characters.

The original Star Wars trilogy ranks among my all-time favorites as well. My brother and I watched Star Wars so much as kids, we had memorized the dialogue from A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi word-for-word at one point.

The Simpsons is my no. 1 favorite TV show. Anyone who is around me long enough will hear me start dropping random quotes from episodes of The Simpsons into conversations. Sometimes, on Twitter, I’ll tweet out a quote of the day when I’m catching a first-run episode or a rerun.

Photo courtesy of: John Coon

When you’re not writing where can we find you?

If I’m not in front of my laptop, I’m most likely on a mountain conquering a new hiking trail or off finding something fun or interesting to capture in a photograph.

I grew up in a rural part of Utah, so I love the outdoors. I feel at peace when I can get away from the noise and lights of the city.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

My main author website can be found at johncoon.net. I have a blog up there where I share my experiences, offer useful writing tips, and spotlight books I’ve enjoyed from other indie authors.

Readers can also connect with me in the following places:

Facebook (www.facebook.com/jcoon)

Instagram (www.instagram.com/jcoon312)

Twitter (www.twitter.com/johncoonsports)

Goodreads (www.goodreads.com/author/show/18159853.John_Coon)

Amazon (www.amazon.com/author/johncoon)

Where can we find your books?

Pandora Reborn is available to purchase as an ebook or a paperback at most major online booksellers around the world.

Amazon –

ebook: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DVRVG31

paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732487111

Barnes and Noble –

ebook: https://bit.ly/2KbaaNn

paperback: https://bit.ly/2R9WxhJ

Kobo –

ebook: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/pandora-reborn

Google Books –

ebook: https://bit.ly/2TxIofB

Apple Books –

ebook:  https://apple.co/2SqhgSo

Wal-Mart –

ebook: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Pandora-Reborn-eBook/973880190

paperback: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Pandora-Reborn/528186889

BAM! (Books-a-Million) –

paperback: https://tinyurl.com/y9fp4au4

Indiebound –

paperback: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781732487116

Thank you, John, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Photo courtesy of: John Coon

Rosemary Johns: Vampire God Release!

VAMPIRE GOD is a new full-length novel in the addictive USA Today bestselling urban fantasy/paranormal romance series REBEL ANGELS by award-winning author Rosemary A Johns. It contains epic battles, steamy love scenes, magic, vampires, angels, shifters, and a badass heroine. Dive into the action-packed magical ride with irresistible vampire and angel lovers and a supernatural world like you’ve never seen it before…
Pre-order VAMPIRE GOD now: http://viewbook.at/VampireGod
Want to know where it all started? Discover the REBEL ANGELS world here: http://Viewbook.at/VampireHuntress
BLURB
In the realm of the gods, the final game for the Crown has begun.
Violet is running out of time. In a court of godly Seraphim, the only way to survive the trickery and secrets of The Burning Temple is to seduce the despotic Emperor’s sultry shifter son. Yet is he as much a prisoner as her in his Gilded Cage?
Violet must undertake the Test by Monster to become a bodyguard to the Emperor: a Fae Knight of the Seraphim. If she fails, her vampire and angel lovers will be tossed into the Abyss. At last, Violet meets her creator, and the dangerous truth is revealed…
When the Emperor threatens to wipe out every world and start a new Eden, time is up. In the final battle, Violet could lose everything.
Pre-order VAMPIRE GOD now: http://viewbook.at/VampireGod

Story Starter!

Who lives here?

My answer:

Who is asking such a silly question? I live here of course. Mr. Shirley Tims, Keeper and Composer of the Maps of the Great Realms, at your service.

A wonderful little spot isn’t it? Don’t you love how the great roots keep groping forward? They grow about two feet every year. It’s widely rumored in Fawnwood that my tree house has the best roots in the forest. They’re perfect for storing my favorite ale and other valuables that I’d rather not mention.

How long have I lived here did you ask? Oh, about 200 years now. Wonderful neighborhood. Not much changes around here, except for the leaves on my roof.

I hate to dash off in the middle of our conversation. You seem like the perfect conversationalist but my dear nephew Simpson is on his way. He and his friends are off on a merry adventure to search for The Fountain of Fair Fortune. And I have the map he requires to get there.

Do drop by anytime. I adore company. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to find that map before he arrives.

The Curious Lyle Lunarman

Lyle Lunarman was a curious child. He had a curious mind, read curious books, and played curious games. But, the most curious thing about him was how he came to sit upon the milky sliver of moon each night.

When passers floated by and asked him how he got there his answer was always the same. He’d shrug in that lackadaisical way only eight-year-old boys can then cast his long silvery line into the endless ocean of space.

“Search me,” he’d say, “but it’s the best spot in the whole galaxy to catch starfish.”

Who do you think this boy is?

Interview With Author Rosemary A. Johns

Everyone loves a rebel, most especially Rosemary A. Johns. A self-proclaimed rebel, Rosemary’s best-selling and multi-award winning fantasy novels are chock full of rabble-rousers, villains, and anti-heroes who fight in epic battles.

Rosemary lives in Oxford, where she enjoys listening to music, reading and cultivating her inner rebel.

Now that I’ve introduced you to Rosemary let’s get to know her a little better.

Pin Me Please!

Hello, Rosemary, and welcome.

What inspired you to be a writer?

First, thanks for having me on Ellwyn!

I’ve always loved reading, and Oxford (where I live) has a rich history of fantasy writing. My parents allowed me to read their fantasy and science fiction books as well as explore our local libraries from a young age.

Yet I call it being compelled to write: I have a world inside my head that plays out – I see my stories like films and it’s a compulsion to write them down. I was a playwright before, as well as an actor and director, so writing has always been a part of me.

Is writing your full-time profession?

Yes—as well as being my passion!

How long have you been writing?

When I was eight years old, I wrote my first novel. My first short story was published when I was fourteen. I then wrote plays and owned a theatre company before turning to novels. 

Photo courtesy of: Rosemary A. Johns

Have you won any awards?

Yes, and I’m always honoured, whether they’re from the industry or voted for by readers. In theatre, you have immediate feedback (I loved acting in comedies for the buzz of making people laugh!), but when you write you only have awards or reviews to get that response, which is why they’re precious.

Recent awards include: Silver Award in the National Wishing Shelf Book Awards. Finalist in the IAN Book of the Year Awards. Runner-up in the Best Fantasy Book of the Year, Reality Bites Book Awards. Shortlisted in the International Rubery Book Awards.

Photo courtesy of: Rosemary A. Johns

How many books have you written?

An award-winning trilogy called REBEL VAMPIRES, which is a twist on vampire mythology with a sexy British vampire anti-hero at its heart.

Two novellas in USA Today Bestselling boxed sets.

Also, a USA Today Bestselling five book series called REBEL ANGELS, which is about an epic war between angels and vampires, with an unexpected heroine at its heart. It’s a sort of Buffy meets Lucifer, where vampires and angels are locked in a deadly war. Half vampire/half angel but raised by humans, Violet is caught between both sides… who want her back.

Photo courtesy of: Rosemary A. Johns

Which genres do you write? 

My genres are fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal normal romance and dark fantasy.

What do you find most challenging writing for these genres(s)?

Writing is about truth and emotion: it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about angels or the breakup of a marriage in 1950s America.

The trick is to find the universals and how it connects to the reader by putting all of yourself into the book—even the dark places—and shining a light on emotions, so that the reader sees themselves.

So, when I write fantasy, it’s magical and thrilling… but it’s also about trust, abandonment, fathers and daughters, love and what home means.

It’s not challenging, but it’s my one fundamental rule: where’s the truth. This probably comes from being an actress!

Photo courtesy of: Rosemary A. Johns

What are you working on now?

The fourth book in the REBEL ANGELS series is about to release on the 8th January: VAMPIRE MAGE. When three wishes offer Violet’s deepest desires, she should know better than to trust them. But can her shifter, vampire, and angel lovers save her from the dangerous magic unfurling inside her, or is LOVE the most dangerous magic of all…?

VAMPIRE MAGE: http://Viewbook.at/VampireMage

 I’m just starting to work on the fifth book in the series and it will be epic…

Photo courtesy of: Rosemary A. Johns

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

Light, in REBEL VAMPIRES, is a savant vampire who remembers everything as he lives over the centuries, and this is both a blessing and a curse.

http://viewbook.at/BloodDragons

The idea was inspired by my son who’s an autistic savant. Another character within the book is an autistic vampire, and one thing I always do within my books is reflect society across all spectrums—and as the heroes. Yet apart from his savant ability, Light’s voice sprang complete into my head.

Maybe because of my theatre background, voices usually come to me first, then I work on the character: how will they move? What clothes would they wear? What music would they listen to?

In REBEL ANGELS, Rebel, my punk Irish angel, sprang alive as soon as I knew these background details.

Photo courtesy of: Rosemary A. Johns

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work? 

My Rebels! I have a fan group and street team called the Rebels, and they’ve been an incredible support, especially at more difficult times that all writers face, such as being trolled.

I receive messages and fan art around both series and hearing how much a book means to someone or has helped them is massively rewarding.

Light in particular has made a difference to people who have felt alone, a misfit, or the outsider (which is all of us at one time or another!), but he’s become the hero despite it and so he’s helped them through dark times. Books and characters have done that for me. I love Light and Violet, and my hope is that readers will as well!

You can apply to join Rosemary’s Rebels here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/698811356958470

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

Only write what you’re truly passionate about. Publishing is a difficult business, but if you start from the point of truly caring about what you write, then it’ll see you through.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

You can sign up to my *VIP* newsletter here with news of my releases, promotions, and the free novella ALL THE TIN SOLDIERS: https://mailchi.mp/rosemaryajohns/subscribe-rebel-newsletter

This is where you can follow me or drop me a line!

Website: https://rosemaryajohns.com

Bookbub:https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rosemary-a-johns

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RosemaryAnnJohns

Twitter: @RosemaryAJohns

What message are you sharing in your books?

I’m a subversive artist—this means I challenge society’s lies: disabled people can’t be successful, money makes you happy, or men must be more dominant than women.

At the heart of my Rebel books are the themes of freedom, choice, and diversity. But it’s not a message, rather it’s themes: a reader can make up their own minds.

What are your favorite books/authors?

I have SO many… I read every day!

My favourite book is The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice. I was a teenager when I read it for the first time.

It had a major impact because I realized you could write a beautiful monster who knew he was a monster. But have the reader still love him and be unable to put the book down. It inspired my love for the antihero. When I’m compared to Anne Rice, therefore, it’s extra special!

What are your favorite movies, TV shows?

Movies are a big inspiration for me: acting, writing, and directing… they’re all crafts. I love studying what works (or doesn’t!) and why.

I’m also into bingeing on boxed sets. There are incredible TV shows in fantasy, paranormal, and sci-fi: Buffy was my original love!

Thor: Ragnarok and the Guardians of the Galaxy films probably come the closest to my sense of humour..!

Christ Church, Oxford, UK: Photo courtesy of: Wikimediahttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Christ_Church_Cathedral_Interior_2,_Oxford,_UK_-_Diliff.jpg

When you’re not writing where can we find you?

I’m a British author. I went to Christ Church, which is the college where they filmed Harry Potter, and I still do events and readings sometimes in Oxford. I also do events online, so you can find me wherever you are in the world!

Where can we find your books?

You can find them on Amazon: on Kindle, paperback, and audio book. You can also download them for FREE if you have Kindle Unlimited!

Here are the links:

BOOKS IN THE REBEL VERSE by ROSEMARY A JOHNS:

REBEL ANGELS:

VAMPIRE HUNTRESS: viewbook.at/VampireHuntress

VAMPIRE PRINCESS: viewbook.at/VampirePrincess

VAMPIRE DEVIL: http://Viewbook.at/VampireDevil

VAMPIRE MAGE: http://Viewbook.at/VampireMage

REBEL VAMPIRES TRILOGY:

http://viewbook.at/BloodDragons
http://viewbook.at/BloodShackles
http://viewbook.at/BloodRenegades

Thanks, this has been awesome!

You’re welcome. Thank you, Rosemary, for taking the time to share your story with us. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Photo courtesy of: Rosemary A. Johns