An Interview with Terdell Lee Johnson

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How do you schedule your life when you’re writing?

I take a strategic approach to assure movement in the story. Previously, I used Google calendar to pick the days that I’m going to write and block out about two hours. Currently, I have a white board and I write the day of the week and the number of words that I want to write that day. Usually, it rangers between one thousand to two thousand words on the weekends and about five hundred words on the weekdays. When I set this goal, I keep it. That the best way to finish a book—set a goal and keep it.

Where did you get your information or idea for your book?

Since I write fiction, I have been inspired by multiple places. The first is always from God Himself. Every idea of creativity comes from Him. It’s humbling to have the ability to create environments and characters and I want to make sure to honor God for that—without Him I can do nothing. Secondly, movies also give me some creative sparks. I have a habit of playing my favorite movie scenes with my back turned. I imagine certain characters in that scene—odd, but it works for me. Finally, reading great writers aids the creative juices too. Read. Read. Read.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

When I’m not writing, I’m reading. If I’m not reading, I’m working on digital drawings and paintings of my characters. I find digital painting peaceful; almost therapeutic. In the stillness, it’s just me and the canvas. Painting is another way of expressing myself and its fun too! When it comes to reading, I stay withing my genres of Middle Grade and the classics. Recently, I re-read the Lord of The Rings and the classic, Pinocchio, is on my reading list next. Other than that, I’m attending church, playing board games with friends and learning some business techniques on the side.

What was one of the most surprising thing you learned in creating your book?

Writing a book is fun, but I learned that it takes rewriting to perfect it completely. The Hapless Hero took four rewrites before I was happy with it. Then I joined a critique group with a writing coach and discovered that I had more fine tuning to do. Even when you think your story is done, have someone (other than your friends and family) to read it. I discovered that I had to fix plot holes, work on character arches, and delete unnecessary scenes that I thought were working. The effort it takes to write a story is hard work.

How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?

To be honest, it takes me awhile to process. In this era of social media, people are cruel and sometimes no reason at all. However, the best practice is not to respond. The second practice is to understand that everyone will not like my story. My story is inspired by Christianity and many people are put off by it. I’m not ashamed of this; I have to turn the other cheek as Jesus commands. People have the right to their opinions—even if I disagree with them. Striking back is unwise and doesn’t do any good in the long run.


Book title: The Judges Chronicles: The Hapless Hero

Author Name: Terdell Lee Johnson

Pub Date: Sept 28, 2020

ISBN: 9781666283372

Book Category/Genre:  Middle Grade/ Young Adult

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Barnes and Noble/ Kobo/ Apple Books

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