Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Interview with John G Hartness

Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

I’m a lifelong comic book fan, so the idea of writing a super-team book has always appealed to me. In the YA fantasy genre, I have to come up with some reason for people to have super powers, so the apocalypse seemed like as good an idea as any. So I blew up the world (metaphorically) and when the dust settled, people had magical powers!

What is it about the paranormal that fascinates you so much?

I love the idea of magic, of people being able to do things outside the norm, and I always wanted to be one of the X-Men.

Please tell us about your latest release.

Genesis is the first book of the Return to Eden trilogy. It stars Christin and Matt Kinsey, a pair of high school siblings who realize that the end of the world as they know it is upon them and get out of town with a couple of other folks. As they are hiding in the hills, they develop magical powers tied to the elements of nature. Then they run afoul of local authorities and have to leave, so they begin a search for their parents.

Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?

Having never been a teenage girl, there were some challenges to getting into Christy’s head. I consulted my nieces a lot.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

I really enjoyed writing Bob Freeman. He’s kind the wise old gypsy character, a crotchety old mountain man. He, and particularly his dialogue, was a lot of fun to write.

Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?

I get a rough idea of their basic character traits and they tell me the rest as I write them.

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

The training scene is probably my favorite. I’ve always loved those montages in movies where the hero is training, so getting to write one of those scenes was a real kick.

“Try again.” Ashley’s voice cracked like a whip through the chilly mid-morning air. “Ground and center.”

“I am centered, you granola-covered drill sergeant!” Dave growled back from the middle of the river. The lanky boy was sprawled on his butt in the creek, ice cold water rushing up the legs of his shorts and making his teeth chatter.

“If you were centered, you wouldn’t have gotten shocked.”

“Or wet,” giggled Angie from her spot a few feet away. The pretty blonde was standing on a perfectly flat disc of water, made solid as pavement by her power. She was barefoot to give her better contact with her element, with cutoff jeans and a borrowed bikini top showing off her curves to a distracting advantage.

“Come on, Davey, you’re not gonna get beat by a girl, are you?” Christin mocked from her spot beside Ashley.

“Maybe if there wasn’t so much distraction around, you could concentrate better.” Ashley suggested, tossing the soaked boy a bandana. “Put this over your eyes.”

“What?” Dave protested as the girls fell into more peals of laughter.

“You can’t decide which girl to stare at, much less concentrate on protecting yourself. Cover up, Skywalker.” Dave stood, tied the rag across his eyes, and reached out to the water. He let his consciousness dive inward, finding the very center of himself, the calm heart of Dave that was always there, no matter what. Once he had locked onto his center, he spun his awareness out to the world, reaching fingers of himself out for the water that flowed all around him. He felt it, smooth and tumbling, giddy with speed and light dazzling through it as it rolled over the rocks of the stream. He grabbed hold of the water and quickly and surely built his own platform, rising up out of the water to stand next to Angie.

With the book being part of a series, are there any character or story arcs, that readers jumping in somewhere other than the first book, need to be aware of? Can these books be read as stand alones?

This is the first book in a series, and it’s intended to be read in order. The characters that are introduced in this book will only be outlined in future books, and relationships that begin will be picked right up in Book 2, so these can’t really stand alone as well as some of my other series.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? How do you deal with it?

Writer’s Block is a myth that we writers use to explain being lazy. When I get stuck, it’s because I screwed something up and I need to go back and fix it.

Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?

I need to have music while I write, and I tailor to music to the scenes I’m writing.

Do you write in different genres?

Yes. I write urban fantasy, YA fantasy, I’m working on a thriller with no paranormal elements, I’ve just started a paranormal YA romance series. I also write poetry, memoirs and short literary fiction.

Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?

No. I have a lot of stories in me and they don’t all go bump in the night.

When did you consider yourself a writer?

It’s hard to say. There are milestones, like when I cashed the first check, when my writing income first surpassed my “day job” income, when I got my first contract, my first advance. But I guess I considered myself a writer when I autographed the first copy of one of my books.

What are your guilty pleasures in life?

I don’t believe in guilt, so I revel in all my bad taste and vices J. But I’m a huge Glee fan if that’s what you mean.

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

I’ve been in theatre for twenty years as an actor, director and designer, so that certainly counts. I love comics as well, and I enjoy riding my bike.

By John Hartness

The end of the world was just the beginning.

Now they have to stay alive.

17-year-old Christin Kinsey started the day with nothing more pressing than an English exam. But when an EMP attack knocked out all technology across the globe, she found herself in the mountains of Georgia trying to stay alive in a world suddenly thrown back in time a hundred years or more.

And when she starts shooting lightning bolts out of her hands, things get really weird. Christin, her younger brother Matt, and Matt’s cute friend Dave have to figure out what this new world is about, why they suddenly have super powers, and what happened to their mom in this apocalyptic fantasy novel geared for audiences 16 and up.

Mad Max meets X-Men: First Class in the first book of the Return to Eden trilogy by the best-selling author of The Black Knight Chronicles.


John G. Hartness is a recovering theatre geek who likes loud music, fried pickles and cold beer. John is an award-winning poet, lighting designer and theatre producer, with a theatre career spanning three decades.

His first novel, The Chosen, is an urban fantasy about saving the world, snotty archangels, gambling, tattooed street preachers, immortals with family issues, bar brawls and the consequences of our decisions.

He followed up The Chosen with Hard Day’s Knight, a new twist on the vampire detective novel and the first book in the highly successful series The Black Knight Chronicles. The second book of The Black Knight Chronicles, Back in Black, landed in March 2011 and enjoyed immediate success. Knight Moves, the third Black Knight book, was released in August 2011.

John has been called “the Kevin Smith of Charlotte,” and fans of Joss Whedon and Jim Butcher should enjoy his snarky slant on the fantasy genre.

He can be found online at and spends too much time on Twitter, especially after a few drinks.


No comments: