Name: Jaime Johnesee
Where are you from: Michigan
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect
Jaime: I am a zoologist and former zoo keeper. I have two young boys, a husband, and a small zoo happening in our home.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Jaime: I have two drastically different novels awaiting responses from publishers and I’m working on a sequel novella to ‘Bob The Zombie’ as well as the novelization of a former book of mine, ‘Shifters.’
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Jaime: I began writing in second grade when my teacher gave us these cloth books and gave us the assignment of writing a story. Mine was about a superhero pig that rescues a St Bernard.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Jaime: I’ve always thought of myself as a writer because I’ve always written. I first thought of myself as an author when I had my first short story accepted by a publisher for an anthology.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Jaime: I wrote my first book as a one year wedding anniversary gift for my husband. The traditional gift for one year is paper so I thought this would be a fun way to put my own twist on it.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Jaime: I write first person for the most part. I love getting into my character’s head and feel it makes for a more interesting and realistic story.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
Jaime: I try to pick titles that are easy to remember and fit well with the overall theme of the story.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Jaime: I’d like to think there is a message in every book I write but they definitely vary. One recurring message would probably be that life isn’t always fair but it’s how you deal with the unfairness that makes the biggest difference in the sort of person you are.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic?
Jaime: For my upcoming novel ‘The Pool House’ it’s pretty realistic. I did a lot of research into anatomy and torture techniques to breathe life into my nameless serial killer. For my urban fantasies ‘Shifters’, ‘Bob The Zombie’, and my upcoming novel ‘Holly Andrews’ the characters all contain large pieces of myself and thus are realistic in the respect they’re fairly believable. Well, believable for a were-jaguar, comedic zombie, and super witch.
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Jaime: I always put a bit of myself in every character I create because I put myself in their shoes. I like writing from their point of view and I do include several scenes from my own life. Some funny, some very sad.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Jaime: The original Nancy Drew series from when I was a kid, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series, The Cask of Amontillado by Poe, and The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Jaime: I’m lucky enough to have several but if I had to choose it would be a tie between Armand Rosamilia, Kat Yares, and Lisa Lane.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Jaime: Currently I am re-reading ‘Apocryphia of the Apocalypse’ by Suzi M, James Glass, and Xircon. Next up on my kindle is Chantal Nordeloos’ brilliant steampunk western ‘Coyote’. I am also looking forward to a book called ‘Four Ghosts’ by Christine Sutton, Paula Ashe, William Cook, and Murphy Edwards.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Jaime: My favorites are Christine Sutton, Chantal Nordeloos, Suzi M, CW LaSart, Kat Yares, Lori R Lopez, Lisa Lane, and Apple Ardent Scott, Armand Rosamilia, Robert Shane Wilson, Aiden James, Scott Nicholson, Patrick Greene, and Vincent Hobbes.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Jaime: Currently I am working on expanding my novella ‘Shifters’ to novel length, working on a sequel novella to ‘Bob The Zombie’, polishing up an old manuscript about an assassin that specializes in vengeance, and coauthoring a dystopian novel with Christine Sutton.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Jaime: Just one? I don’t think I can pick only one person. I’ve been lucky enough to have found a great group of fellow authors that support and encourage me constantly.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Jaime: Absolutely. This truly is my career and I am careful to treat it as such.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Jaime: That’s the greatest thing about ebooks and self publishing. If I want to change something, I can! Mostly, I’d like to hire a professional editor to go back and clean up my work.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Jaime: With that teacher in second grade but even earlier than that was my love of reading. I truly believe that a love of reading is what drives us authors to want to write.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Jaime: Absolutely! Here is a piece from Bob The Zombie: I lead a very Griswoldian life. If you’ve ever seen those ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ movies, you know what I mean. Even my death was hysterically funny. I was a twenty five year old college dropout and was living at home with my parents. In fact I had been hanging out, relaxing in their garden, when I decided to prune my mom’s roses. I was cutting a stem near the house and turned to respond to a neighbor who hollered a hello. It’s at that point the stepstool I was using tipped and I impaled myself, jugular first, on the pruning shears when I fell to the ground. Sure, at the time it was horrifying, but now I can look back, see the vague similarity to a Chevy Chase character, and laugh.
My mom was distraught at my demise and she hired a witch who specialized in necromancy to bring me back. The spell went a little funny and instead of being brought forth from the ground in a geyser of dirt, I awoke in my casket and had to dig my way out. Luckily, Mom waited for me and gave me a nice mug of hot chocolate after I dug myself out of the fetid earth. Unluckily, my body was dead and the hot chocolate really messed with my stomach and I threw up all over mom’s shoes. She forgave me. It took some time to learn how to eat food again. Not to mention having to learn which foods I could tolerate better than others. Chicken nuggets are fine, but beets lead to Exorcist style vomit.
It wasn’t long before I had to leave home. The rotting began and it creeped my family out when large chunks of me fell off. The necromancer had told my mom it would happen, and had suggested I invest in a ton of cheap staples and a good stapler. The iron in the staples bonds with the magic that animates me and voila; whatever has been reattached looks just like it did before it sloughed off. Not that it makes me good as new, what with the constant greenish hue and festering wounds, but it’s nice to know that I won’t have to worry about leaving pieces of myself behind.
The clouding of my eyes bothered my mom (and me, really) the most. I have the eyes of a corpse now, mostly because…hello, Undead American over here! Now, don’t get me confused with the ghouls. No, we zombies are sentient, and able to talk. We’re the same people we were before our death and raising, it’s just that now we need a steady diet of meat. Sometimes, we can tolerate other foods…and nonfood items. As for me, I like cake.
Sadly, I don’t get cake often. There’s oddly not a lot of supernatural bakeries around, and it’s not as if I can go into the town bakery up the road and ask for a quarter sheet cake without setting off warning bells. Most of the world has no clue supernatural creatures exist. The humans that need to know about it, already do, but everyone else is kept in the dark. I imagine if I did hike on up to the bakery the conversation would go something like this:
“Hello Ma’am I’d like a…”
“ZOMBIE!!!!” Then out comes the shotgun and off goes my head. Nope, I think I’ll stick around with the other supernatural critters and stay away from humans. Even though these days when people do spot me they tend to think I’m just some special effects genius with a hard on for zombie fiction. I’m a much more complicated guy than that, really.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Jaime: Comma splices. Seriously though, I think it’s probably just finding the time to write. With two kids under six, several animals to take care of and an historic house that needs restoration, it’s amazing I find the time to write at all.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Jaime: My all time favorite authors have to be Poe and Conan Doyle. They don’t just tell a story, they pull you into it and keep you there.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Jaime: So far not a whole lot of travel, just conventions and such. I am looking forward to book tours in the future, however.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Jaime: Most of my covers were designed by Jeffrey Kosh. The guy is a genius with graphics. Bob The Zombie was done by the amazing Matthew Riggenbach. He really captured the character of Bob.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Jaime: Finding the time to write it, followed closely by the self editing. I go through each book four or more times to try and polish it the best I can for flow.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Jaime: I have learned that professional editors and beta readers are a must and can change a book from great to amazing with a flick of the red pen.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Jaime: Get a good beta reader who will point out your book’s flaws. Make sure you read your work out loud as you edit, you’ll catch things you didn’t see until you read them aloud. Also, surround yourself with people who will speak the truth to you about your work so that you aren’t just slinging out subpar books because your friends are too scared to tell you that those stories aren’t good enough. And most importantly; don’t give up. Don’t quit just because you don’t find fame and fortune immediately. Very few do. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes years to build up a reader base and the sales to match.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Jaime: Thank you so much for choosing my work to read. There are so many great authors out there and I am honored you like and continue to read my work. Oh, and stay tuned because there is so much more to come.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies
Jaime: I love to bake, garden, and do some restoration projects around our old house. I also love reading. I especially love reading to my kids and making up our own stories.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching
Jaime: I love true crime shows and old movies. My favorite movies are those in ‘The Thin Man’ series. Powell and Loy are just hilarious together. My favorite TV show right now is Face Off on the SyFy Channel. It’s a great reality show/contest about special effects make up. It always amazes me to see these fantastic creations the contestants breathe life into.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Jaime: In order: cupcakes/blue, green, and all the combinations of both/ Classic rock and blues.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done ?
Jaime: I wouldn’t mind still being a zookeeper. I really loved that job.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?
Jaime: You can find me at http://www.JaimeJohnesee.com and on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads all under the name Jaime Johnesee.