Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age? Fiona: Where are you from?
Gday My name is Robert Lee Johnston, I was raised on the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland. I’m a 1972 model leaving me the wrong side of 40.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I currently own a farm not far from where i was bought up, My farm is small 30 acres but full of animals, some domesticated, some not so very much. Being the north of Australia I have resident crocodiles and countless species of wild life. I recently built the house i live in and scratched out the farm.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I have completed two works, my debut is called Tribute, this is a very confronting, thrilling novel that moves quickly and is highly emotive. My second is a dark comedic novel that tackles, with originality, a very over used cliched topic. I added an Australian flavour and it’s humour, to create something universal and sweetly addictive. I have recently gained management in the United States and am leaving a mark on readers there as well as at home in Australia. Luckily my work has been reviewed wonderfully by National Radio here and a world wide distributed thriller/horror magazine. The glossary in my novels seems to garner a lot of attention as they describe my countries unique English language and slang.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
When and why i write… I never planned on being a writer, for some reason I kept stories and saying locked away in my head, to reflect on and think about later. I started to write those stories down before my memory faded, That was twelve years ago. I was badly injured and had a lot of time to think and write, then, i had many stories and finally enough for a book. I guess i tried to make the most of a bad situation.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still don’t consider myself to be a writer. I like what I write and that’s the only confirmation I require. I still feel doubt about my writing skills. That’s why i think i write well, because i push to be original and never get complacent.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
My friends lives and our time together is why I wrote and what inspired my debut. My farm reminds me how cruel nature can be and shows me how we are not so very removed from wildlife and savagery.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title was made so because it is my Tribute to all that caught my attention and heart.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I am badly educated, was held in custody and in boys homes as a child, then prison as a young adult. I am not well read. Meaning any recipe or map to writing success were blind to me, creating a new style that’s both raw and delicate, brutal but beautiful. Some of my writing is not out to make nice or friends. I am that wild Mustang or Brumby that you want to capture, But how do you tame something so wild, without loosing that which attracted you to it firstly? Read my work and you will soon see. The reality and graphic nature of my style is the hardest to write, because it hurts.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
A terrifying amount of my work are people I loved, hated, knew, A terrifying amount of those characters loved, hated, knew me. In my debut only the names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I traveled Australia for a decade so I quiet often fall back on those memories to help with capturing a moment. I now am a traveler of the world and have been exploring it with great energy.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Robert Scholten designed my covers. He made excellent drawn art for me.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My message is that we become blind to things that are tough to hear, we need to hear tough things now and then, we need to listen harder. My work shows what happens if we don’t.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Henry Lawson is my favourite writer. He, like Mark Twain can capture moments of time we can still relate to. Henry Lawson is a beautifully artistic writer and reflects perfectly a young, epic, struggling Australia.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My best mate Vaughan, we promised to write a book together. He never got to.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
A career? Ummmmmm yes i very much want that. Though what I want and what i get are two completely different matters.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I have a few regrets yes. i sacrificed perhaps to much, nevertheless i would change nothing.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
I think so, I learned that I could do it twice.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
For the role of Syd i would want the lead actor from an Australian movie called Wolf Creek. He’s a horrific bad ass..
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Just keep writing and exercise your imagination, it is like any other muscle in your body.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I would tell my readers to be brave readers.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
James A Mitchener Chesapeake.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I read my first chosen book in prison, Steven King it.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
People that think completely the opposite to me make me laugh. People that think completely opposite to me make me cry as well. Women being hurt and animals being hurt in front of me will make me most upset.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d love to meet Tom Waits. His brain and use of language appeals to me.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I ride dirt bikes and am a drummer
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Love Tarintino, War Horse is a great story. For mind blowing results Bad Boy Bubby is truly remarkable..Once Were Warriors is a New Zealand film that never gets enough attention.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Any thing from the 70’s i will listen happily to, Being a drummer I adore all styles of music. Black and purple for colours and nothing can beat a steak for me.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I would farm and be a hermit.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
I would spend that 24 hours eating and indulging in every substance and available woman known to mankind. Surround me with beauty and sinful amounts of decadence please.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
On my headstone. He’s dead now. Or I told you i was sick…
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Yes i have twitter and instagram all can be found at robertleejohnston.com
Thank you so much Ms Fiona..
Robert Lee Johnston
Author of “Tribute” and “Lucifer on Leave”.
Join me at Farouk’s Olive in Thornbury on Weds 29th Aug from 8pm.