Author Interview: John Coon

Author Interview: John Coon
Author John Coon

J.R.: Today I am talking with Sci-Fi Author John Coon. Author of the Alien People Chronicles.

Hey John! How are you doing tonight? You have an upcoming release any day now, isn’t that correct?

John:

Life is good right now. So excited for this week. Dark Metamorphosis, the second book in my Alien People Chronicles, will be released on Tuesday.

J.R.:

That is super exciting! I’ll be sure to catch Dark Metamorphosis on release day. So let me ask you about your first book in the series, Alien People. How would you describe your first book from your own point of view as an author?

John:

Alien People is a first contact story with Earth told from the point of view of the aliens. You always see first contact stories from the perspective of Earth-based characters. I thought it would be fun to look at that scenario from the opposite angle. The events of Alien People are set in motion when Calandra Menankar, an astronomer on the planet Lathos, discovers a probe from Earth in her home solar system. She is able to organize an expedition to Earth led by Xttra Oogan – a master pilot in the Stellar Guard and Calandra’s boyfriend. What they encounter on Earth is at odds with what is portrayed in a peaceful message accompanying the probe.

J.R.: That sounds like so much fun to both have written and to read. I love the concept of forest contact from a non-Terran point of view! That’s really inventive. Let’s get personal for a minute. If you could tell your readers a couple fun or quirky facts about yourself that most readers wouldn’t know, just to get to know you better, what would you tell them?

John:

Here’s a couple of quirky facts about me: I possess a really good memory. I have almost instant recall on trivia covering a wide variety of subjects. When I was in third grade, for example, I could name off all the US presidents, the order in which they served in office, and the years they served. I watched the original Star Wars trilogy over 100 times as a kid and could recite the dialogue from all three movies word for word at one point in time. My left hand was surgically reattached when I was a year old. A can lid partially severed the hand when I slipped on the kitchen tile and stuck my hand inside a garbage bin while trying to grab onto something to keep from falling. It left me with some permanent nerve and tendon damage in the hand. I struggled to learn how to type because of the injury. I was such a slow typist at one point, that my 8th grade typing teacher told me I better find a job that didn’t require using computers.

J.R.:

It sounds like you have an eidetic memory! How cool is that? As for your hand, that’s incredible. Talk about perseverance! And now you are writing full length novels! I’m really impressed with your dedication to your craft! Those are both some really great insights! Thank you!

As a writer of science fiction, you must be a fan of the genre as well? I mean you did watch Star Wars often enough to recite the films. (Smiles) What were some of your major influences for the Alien People Chronicles?

John:

I definitely love science fiction. Star Wars and Stargate SG-1 are among my favorites as far as movies and TV shows go. I also love the Indiana Jones movies. You can see how these cinematic tastes influence the adventure and suspense that fill my stories. As far as my influences for the Alien People Chronicles, I try to model my approach to science fiction after authors like Michael Crichton, Phillip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, and Issac Asimov. My goal is to create stories that make readers think about the story long after they close the book. I want them to examine familiar ideas from a new perspective. I love how readers embraced a central idea in Alien People that humans on Earth might be turn out to be the mysterious, dangerous, and violent aliens when explorers from another planet make first contact.

J.R.:

I’m just in awe of your creativity. Seriously. Talk about studying the greats of a genre. I’m really looking forward to reading your books and seeing those influences come through. A lot of authors either have music they like writing with or they prefer absolute silence when they work. Which way do you write or do you fall somewhere in the middle?

John:

I usually listen to music to relax or blast the clutter out of my mind if I’m battling writer’s block. When I write, I try to eliminate outside noise as much as possible so I can lose myself inside my story. One exception is that I will listen to ambient noise sometimes, like rain falling, on YouTube if it is relevant to a particular scene I’m visualizing within my story.

J.R.:

I would never have thought of using ambient sounds for significant scene work. That’s nifty. I might have to steal that idea from you. I hope you don’t mind. (Grins) Your second book in the series is being released on the 13th! Which is fantastic, by the way. I love it when authors finish new books in a series. It just gives me such pleasure in knowing that the story continues to build. How many books do you have planned for this series? Do you have any other books or series lined up for future writing?

John:

Dark Metamorphosis is a second part of a planned trilogy, with Alien People being the first part of course. My goal is to release the third part of the trilogy in August or September 2022. I’ve done extensive notes on characters and have already outlined about a third of the chapters so far. This third book will have a definite “Indiana Jones in space” vibe to it. I do have other ideas outlined for other potential stories in the Alien People Chronicles. I could extend it to 6 or 9 books eventually. Beyond that series, I am working on a pair of sequels to my horror novel Pandora Reborn – my debut novel published in 2018. Both stories are set five years after the original story. I have designs on writing and publishing them in late 2021 or 2022. The fun thing about all of my stories is that they have shared universes. All of my science fiction stories are set in the same fictional universe. And all of my horror stories are all set in another shared fictional universe. It’s a bit of an MCU-style approach to my writing, but it has a fun influence on world building and character development to see how events in one story impact events in another story set elsewhere in the same universe.

J.R.:

That sounds like a lot of intense world building! That’s really awesome. I hope we get to see more of your interuniversal stories in the coming years. They sound like quite the adventure(s). I’m sure fans of the MCU will greatly appreciate your approach to world building as well. What would you say are your favorite and least liked parts of writing?

John:

I love world-building. It’s so fun to create people, history, culture, geography, animals, and other elements from scratch. I feel like I’m building my own personal Wikipedia at times. Only a small percentage of that backstory material I create makes it into the final draft of a story, but those elements give the whole setting a real world feel and make the characters feel more alive and real as well. I’m not a huge fan of marketing. I grew up shy and always feel a bit uncomfortable going on social media and telling people to buy my book. If there were a way to generate a steady downpour of sales without marketing, I’d sign up for it today.

J.R.:

I think a lot of us in the writing community are right there with you on the marketing aspect. I know it’s always hard for me to put myself out there and be all, “Look at me! LOOK AT MY BOOK!” All right, time for one last question and this is the one I ask everyone because everyone has different insights… If you could give new writers a solid piece of advice on writing and being published what would you say?

John:

New writers should never be afraid to discover their own voice. Find your voice and share the story you are meant to share. Writing is most rewarding when you create stories you are passionate about telling. I cringe whenever I see self-appointed writing experts tell aspiring authors to “write to market” and follow these tropes over here or check those boxes over there on their way to creating a story. The best authors breakdown boxes and reinvent tropes. When a writer focuses on crafting an engaging story with dynamic realistic characters, they will find an audience eventually. More importantly, they will discover the ideas and characters who drive them to write in the first place.

J.R.:

That’s some really spot on advice! Thank you so much!  And thank you for talking with me today. I know I and my readers will be excited to read your work and upcoming work as well. It was such a pleasure talking with you. Thank you again and have a great night!

To follow or find John Coon and his books on social media and other outlets please check out the following link:

Www.JohnCoon.Net

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