Friday, December 27, 2013

INTERVIEW: AZRIEL JOHNSON


Name? Azriel Johnson

Age? (Feel free to ignore this question completely) Depends on when you read this. I’m 31 at the time of answering this question. When you read it is not under my control. I’ll let you decide what age I am. ;)

Location? In YO FACE! Just kidding. My job is in Stark County, Ohio. My career is up in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. U.S.A.

How long have you been writing? Wrote my first poem when I was five. I was also writing every other daily diary entries about my invisible friend Joey around the same time.

Do you have a specific writing style? Depends entirely upon what I’m writing. When I’m writing freelance my stuff is less substantive. If I’m writing poetry (lately) my work can be fairly dense. I would like to think my fiction has some soul to it and people tend to like it more than my poetry. I write with realism in mind, even when I write fantasy.

Do you write as a career? Sort of. I write freelance articles in order to sponsor my publishing press, which I would consider my career.

Do you write full-time? No, but I gotta sleep sometime.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment as a writer? Not killing myself when I was a teenager. Writing helped keep me out of the morgue.

What is your ultimate goal as a writer? I’d love to be poet laureate of the United States one day. That is less of a goal and more of a dream. Goal… I’d like to be able to say “I support myself (and family) with my writing and/or publishing.

What is your greatest challenge as a writer? Staying relevant. I hardly ever write about politics, but I would like my work to stay relevant even as years go by.

What projects of yours have been recently published? Writing Knights Press recently published a chapbook of mine “don’t buy this”. It’s a book of poems that have been previously sold to clients through my freelancing, so I cannot sell them. The book is offered for donation only.

What are you currently working on and what inspired this work? I am currently working on the second book of my novel series about “The Supremacy War”. The Supremacy War started in 1956 when there was a reported coal mine fire in Marcinelle, Belgium which in fact was a Dragon attack. This book is about the mother to my main character. The series is inspired by things in my life… it’s probably something I would be better off explaining in its own interview.

Where can we find your work? Some of it is on azrieljohnson.com. You can get a copy of my formerly chap-now-e-book “Hellfire, Heavensent” through Writing Knights Press (writingknights.com).

How often do you write? Every day. Just depends on what I’m writing and where I’m at when I’m writing it.

How do you react to rejections? I usually try to find out why something was rejected so I can make it better. If that isn’t possible I try to take a step back from it and look at it to see if I find any errors. Oftentimes I do not find the errors so instead I chalk it up to a difference in taste and move on. Life is too short to worry about rejection.

How do you react when one of your submissions is accepted for publication? I’m pretty damn giddy actually. It is a great confidence booster.

What is your best piece of advice on how to stay sane as a writer? Don’t be sane. You have to be a little crazy to be a writer. If you want to avoid writer’s block though, I recommend writing stuff you don’t want to write just as much as writing the stuff you DO want to write. It’ll keep your words flowing and avoid vocabulary distress.

What is your favorite book? Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz.

Who is your favorite author? Koontz. John Burroughs (not the dead one, the one I’m talking about is a Cleveland poet). Skylark Bruce has some good stuff and I’m not just saying that because she’s my girlfriend.

If you could have dinner with one fictional character, who would it be and why? The main character from my novel. I mostly want to know if I got it right. I’m writing him as a reliable narrator so I want to know if I’m right in that he is truly a reliable narrator or a rotten lying bastard.

What is the greatest occupational hazard for a writer? Self censorship.

What is your favorite word? There are so many. It’s easier to tell you what my least favorite words are: purple and turtle.

What makes you laugh? Irreverent humor. George Carlin, Daniel Tosh, Patton Oswalt, Richard Pryor to a lesser degree.

What makes you cry? Not much. I don’t think I can cry anymore. If I could I probably would have to be committed because I wouldn’t stop.

What is your preferred drink while you write? Water or Dr. Pepper. Sometimes flavored Smirnoff.

Beach or Mountains? The beach next to a mountain.

Cats or Dogs? Yes please. Bury me in kittens and puppies (not the little yappy dogs though, punt those fuckers).

The Beatles or The Rolling Stones? The Beatles, but I do not hate the Stones. The Beatles have curiously confusing lyrics which excite me. The Rolling Stones are kind of a copy of the Beatles, though to their credit they lasted longer.

Jimi Hendrix or Frank Sinatra? Huh? I get the first three comparisons, but I would never even think of comparing these two. Anyway, give me Jim Morrison any day. ;)

Shakespeare or Bukowski? Shakespeare, or whoever wrote his shit.

Please provide as much or as little of the following information as you’d like.

Personal website/blog: azrieljohnson.com (azrieljohnsonauthor.blogspot.com)

Facebook profile or page: https://www.facebook.com/azrieljohnsonauthor

Twitter profile: twitter.com/azrieljohnson

Other page(s) or profile(s): Don’t forget about Writing Knights Press (writingknights.com, facebook.com/writingknights) and my publicity director WK Pressman (facebook.com/wkpressman). We are always looking for new chapbooks and performers. Writing Knights has over 60 different releases of chapbooks, full length books, e-books, anthologies and fourplays.

Anything you’d like to share about your country, its people, or native animals? I see America as a bundle of potential energy and I see it squandered. I love America. I know we are losing our freedoms, but we are still freer than many other countries around the world. I think we could be the best country in the world if we took our thumbs out of our asses, turned off the reality TV, got our noses out of our cell phones and started paying attention to what the government is doing to us.
      

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