The Time for Teasers

radar

Today’s a short post just to put something on your radar. I’m writing a series of Narrator teasers. There are three scenes that take place before the events of the novel, and will introduce you to all of the main characters.

This collection will be available free to people who sign up for my email list, Author’s Notes. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s how you can receive bonus content on Narrator while you wait for me to finish it! There’s some good stuff ahead, I promise. And it’s free, so you have no reason not to sign up!

Here are short summaries of the teasers:

Hero: Prince Calder tries to help a lost little girl and gets more than he bargained for.

A Queen for a King: When Princess Arianna’s home is attacked, she and her brother try to escape.

Broken Promise: Saydie’s wait to jump into action is finally over when the narrator shows up.


Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.

Self-Published Since Age 10

In fifth grade, my school had a program where each student could write and illustrate a published book. It was fantastic! Best project ever for a budding writer.

Out of curiosity, I just looked up Studentreasures, the publisher that ran the program, and they seem to be doing well. I was half-afraid they’d be out of business or something considering it’s been 16 years. But they’ve “helped over 6 million students publish a book” — quite impressive!

Below are the books I published in fifth and sixth grade:

Change Independence

Change Independence, written when I was ten, has two short stories about time travel and the dangers of changing history. Heck yeah.

The first story is shamelessly based on the musical 1776, where John ends up in the body of Pennsylvania delegate James Wilson. Unlike the musical, John votes against independence and ruins the entire revolution.

The second story was added just because I needed to fill the rest of the book’s pages. Nikki ends up in the body of Mary Todd Lincoln on the fateful day her husband was shot at Ford’s Theatre. Knowing what would happen, she tries to push Lincoln out of the way and ends up getting shot instead.

Blood-Soiled Collars

Blood-Soiled Collars, written when I was eleven, is a short story about animal rights. Connie and her family fight to save animals from an evil corporation. When a mission goes wrong, she adopts an orphaned otter. Then her brother betrays her and sells the otter to the corporation. And yes, it includes an illustration of a dead otter in a pool of blood. I was a special child.

So there you have it. That’s how I’ve been published since the age of ten. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized that my first experience with publishing was actually self-publishing.

And now, sixteen years later, I have a short story in another self-published anthology, an essay in an upcoming self-published book, and plans to self-publish more short stories as ebooks while I finish revising my novel. I still want to shop that around to traditional publishers first. I’d love to balance indie and traditional publishing.

But it’s fun to think how I’m continuing down a path I started in elementary school.


Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.

1984, Big Brother, and Narrator

1984-cover

With a member of my writing group submitting a novel based on 1984, I thought it was a good time to read the original. It’s been on my To Read list for years, but never a high priority.

I started reading, and was immediately struck by the similarities between 1984 and my novel-in-progress, The Narrator. There are clear parallels between Big Brother and my eponymous antagonist, and between Winston and my protagonist. Who knew?

It was inevitable, I suppose. 1984 explores a theme that crops up in most of my own work: the line between fantasy and reality.

If you’re not familiar with the book, Big Brother constantly alters records to bring them in line with the present. If they’re allied with one country against another, then that’s how it’s always been. If they make a prediction and it doesn’t come true, the predictions are altered to match what really happened. People can be “vanished,” or killed and erased from every record. With the past and present always under revision, Winston has trouble keeping everything straight.

Similarly, the narrator re-writes my protagonist’s history, and he has trouble recognizing which events go with which timeline. He has brothers in one timeline, but otherwise they’re similar enough that he can’t differentiate. Add the fact that the narrator told him he’s a fictional character, and you have a real mess. Which parts of his world are real, and which are the narrator’s creation?

Which life is his real life? Or does he not have a real life at all?


Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.

A Reflection of Frozen’s Elsa

Elsa

For those unlucky people who haven’t seen Frozen yet, “Let it Go” is amazing and arguably the best part of the movie. It’s the moment when Elsa, cursed since birth with ice powers, realizes that she doesn’t have to hide that part of herself anymore.

Now, this isn’t one of those posts about her ice powers as a metaphor. I want to talk instead about how Elsa and “Let it Go” inspired one of the characters in my Shadows, Echoes, and Reflections series.

Some background: there are three characters that are “reflections” of the main character. Like clones, but each has an emphasis on a different facet of the original’s personality. If you’ve ever seen/read a situation with a character getting split in two, it’s like that.

I’ve always had trouble nailing down those reflections’ personalities. I knew one of them would be aloof and learn magic, maybe mirror magic from the evil queen in Snow White or something. But I never managed more than that.

Until Elsa sang “Let it Go.”

After the movie, I looked up the original Snow Queen fairy tale. I was slightly disappointed not to find the story of two sisters like in the Disney version. I was even more disappointed that the Snow Queen barely did anything. What I did love? The mirror shards that lodge themselves in people’s eyes and hearts and affecting how they see and feel things.

So, like Disney, I will probably create my own version of the Snow Queen so that my character will have something more interesting to do. And she will probably share some characteristics with Elsa.

She’ll be a reflection not only of the main character, but of Elsa as well.


Jennifer A. Johnson is a newly published fantasy writer thanks to The Adventure of Creation anthology. She's still revising her first novel, but you can sign up for her free newsletter to pass the time.