Home Author Interview Interview: ELEANOR by Johnny Worthen

Interview: ELEANOR by Johnny Worthen

It was a gamble for Eleanor to rejoin humanity, but she was driven to it. She’d been too successful forgetting. The last vestiges of her family hung by a thread in her transformed brain and drove her to be reckless. Ten years later, Eleanor hides in plain sight. She is an average girl getting average grades in a small Wyoming town: poor but happy, lonely but loved. Her mother, Tabitha, is there for her and that’s all she’s ever needed. But now her mother is sick and David has returned. The only friend she’d ever had, the only other person who knows her secret, is back. And Eleanor again becomes reckless. Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.
Where are you from? Tell us a little about yourself!
I am from Salt Lake City, Utah, born and raised in the high desert mountains, equally comfortable in three feet of snow and hundred degree smog. I spent some time in Europe, lived a decade in Oregon but because we’re pulled back to the ground from where we came, I’m back in Utah now. My people are here.
I studied humanities in college, got a BA in English with a minor in Classic (yes I speak some Latin) and then went on to get a Master’s Degree in American Studies so I could Deconstruct the world around me.
I married my Junior Prom date and together we made two boys.
Right now, I’m working on my eleventh novel now. Of my previous ten, five have been picked up by publishers. My debut is BEATRYSEL is an adult occult thriller and came out last fall. A companion piece, DR. STUART’S HEART came out last month. I have a story called THE POINT appearing in an anthology called in an anthology called LITTLE VISIBLE DELIGHT.
ELEANOR will begin my UNSEEN Young Adult Series with Jolly Fish Press who also have the rights to my comedy mystery THE FINGER TRAP (2015). 
ELEANOR is a standalone book but there are two books that follow it and carry on the story: CELESTE and DAVID respectively. ELEANOR is a deeply personal book different from my dark fiction, gentle and loving, but not wholly without shadow.
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
I remember the moment. Driving around the north shore of Eagle Nest Lake east of Taos, New Mexico with my family I first conceived of Eleanor, The Unseen. I was thinking about young adults and their need to conform socially while going through huge emotional and physical changes. That was the nexus of the character and the story. Throw in a love of the paranormal, a literary background, a nudge from Tony Hillerman and a recent reading ofWatership Down, gentle Eleanor, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, fixed but malleable, came into being.
What inspires and what got your started in writing?
I’ve always loved to write. I think on paper. Every job I’ve had, from actuary to baker, land developer to book store clerk had me finding ways to include writing in the task. Usually these were totally off project, newsletters, comics and poems for fun. Sometimes it was right on, marketing materials, letters to peers and the like. And always on the side I wrote journals, games, blogs letters and graffiti if I had to. Writing was the common thread through all my endeavors. I finally recognized it and decided I’d get on with it. I took it seriously and became a full time writer about three years ago. It’s been hard, but now I can call myself an author. It’s the fulfillment of a life’s dream.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I write every day. No exceptions. Distractions are my bane. I tend to write in the morning with a cup of coffee because my muse likes it. Most often this is in my house, the kids in school, the wife doing nursing stuff. Usually I can cut out the distractions enough to produce. When I can’t, I have a favorite dark coffee shop down the street. That’s where I go when I need to get serious. Nothing to do there but write and drink coffee. I do both and get some good words out of it.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Everyone’s got a book in them, maybe two. But that’s it unless they intentionally seek out new experiences and perceptions. That’s why successful writers are readers, they’re getting input.
I am never without some method of taking notes. I prefer paper, but my phone will do. I’m always on the hunt for random moments and record them as they come. Sometimes they suggest a character or a scene, other times a complete novel. I always ask friends and strangers questions, learning from their insight. I’m a pain on the train, chatting up strangers, challenging old friends to tell me about their lives, “their journey so far.” If I hear an interesting story it’ll probably find its way into one of mine.
What do you like to read?
Based on my favorite contemporary authors, Elmore Leonard and Tim Dorsey I’d have to conclude I like crime stuff, but I read everything and anything. My diverse tastes have made me into a multi-genre author because I write what I like to read – lots of different stuff. I write thrillers, young adults, paranormal, comedy, mystery and horror. I’ve got an historical novel on the horizon and just now I’m knee deep in a crime story, a la Elmore Leonard. One day I’ll start on my sci-fi. It’s been in pre-writing for two years now. But it’s low on the list. Stay tuned.
What would your advice to be for authors or aspiring in regards to writing?
Rejection sucks. It never gets easy. My cure for it is to send out five new queries whenever I get a single rejection. It’s a numbers game. Keep at it.
Anything else you’d like to share?
You can find me at the following places on the net. Let’s hook up. I’m a helluva nice guy.
twitter: @JohnnyWorthen


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