Sheila M Johnson is a lifelong writer of genre fiction, creating extraordinary tales of the human condition since the age of twelve. She has studied English Literature and Creative Writing at both Macomb Community College and Oakland University. Sheila spent several years living in central Texas as well as on the beautiful island of Okinawa, Japan, but currently resides in her home state of Michigan – braving the harsh winters with her husband, three hyperactive children, and mischievous cat, Fishy. Her debut novel is a paranormal fantasy about angels and demons, love and war, and finding the strength within yourself to do what is necessary, no matter the consequences.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I love reading. My favorite author is Tami Hoag. I also enjoy scrapbooking and recently taught myself how to sew, and have made so many things, including clothing!
What makes you/your stories different from other writers?
My stories, though fiction, are grounded in reality. They have characters that are different races, genders, sexual orientations. Characters that suffer from mental illness, addiction, or abuse. Characters that have mundane, everyday problems they deal with as well as fantastical, other-worldly problems. And sex. Most of my writing contains at least one sex scene, either glossed over or explicit. Sex is a part of life; many of my stories have romantic subplots, and people in romantic relationships have sex (unless you’re asexual, in which case, this rant isn’t for you!). I get so irritated whenever I hear a writer say they write “clean” romance (or whatever genre). I find that damaging. When people use words like “clean” to describe their writing, they are creating shame in readers who enjoy that. Sex is NOT dirty. I am NOT dirty. There is nothing wrong with enjoying life, and that includes consensual sex.
What are your goals as a writer?
Gosh, there are so many. I have a tier of goals, from IMMEDIATE to END GAME. I’d like to be able to support myself and my family with my writing. I want to be entertaining to readers. As I said before, my characters come from all walks of life: LGBTQ, disabled, mentally ill, etc. In writing about such things in the scope of genre fiction I hope that I can make a difference to someone someday; that my writing can help them in some way.
When did you first realise writing was something you wanted to do?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I’ve written stories as a hobby since I was about 12. In my early college years I sent out my writing to literary journals, and in 2016 I began writing fanfiction as a way to hone my craft. You can find my stories on Ao3 (archiveofourown.org) under the name LoverAwakened. It wasn’t until recently – this past January, in fact – that I decided I was going to turn my writing into a career. I’ve always loved writing, so why not make a living doing it?
What’s your WIP/book about?
My debut novel – working title: The Fallen – is an adult fantasy that begins in the city of Detroit, eventually crossing over to the angel realm of Anahera. I’ll be seeking beta readers at the end of this year, and I’ll have a Google form for those interested to sign up when the time comes.
A Virtue must convince a warrior Seraph retired to Earth to come back with him to Anahera to prevent a war from breaking out in the angel realm, possibly spilling over to Earth.Summary of ‘The Fallen’
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Writing allows me the rare opportunity to be a sort of god of my own kingdom; I create worlds and characters and decide their fate. It’s fun. I’ve always been a sucker for a happy ending, but that doesn’t mean I’m not gonna drag you through Hell on the way there… sometimes literally. 😉
What are you reading at the moment?
Right now, I’m in the middle of Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. Since it’s summer vacation, my kids take precedence over my writing, and my writing – since I’ve decided to turn it into a career – comes before my reading, so I haven’t read as much this year as I have in previous years. I can knock out a really good book in a day or two, given the time to sit and read. I plan on bringing Warbreaker with me on my vacation in two weeks and finishing it up in the quiet cabin settled in the Tennessee mountains.
If you could only eat one breakfast food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Hm, that’s a tough one! I think if it was a ‘breakfast food’ I would say eggs – that way I could use those eggs in a variety of ways with different foods that technically are not breakfast food, so I wouldn’t get bored! LOL!
Describe yourself in three words!
Crafty. Loyal. Mama-bear.
You can find more from Sheila at https://authorsmjohnson.com/.