This week we are pleased to bring you a Q&A with author E.Van Johnson.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I went to Naval College and graduated as a Navigation Officer in 1955 and went to sea for 7 years.
I came ashore and joined the London set of Jazz and musicians playing around many clubs and bars. My agent got me an FAA pass and I did film and TV extra work during the day. I also became a stunt man and worked on many TV series including Z Cars and Ghost Squad.
Summers I used to head for a beach and worked as a lifeguard or sailed and raced yachts.
I took my Commercial Master Divers exam in 1964 and for the next 35 years worked all over the world as a commercial diver, doing saturation dives to depths of over 800 feet.
During one 35 day stint in a decompression chamber, and having read every book on the rig I decided to write my own. It was a load of rubbish so I joined the Katherine Cookson northern writers group and the following year sold three plays for TV.
Divorce and work overseas put a stop to me sending work out but I continued to write for fun.
I retired to Mallorca in 2012 and hosted a writers group. The enthusiasm of my members made me look again at some of my past work.
Can you give us a brief description of your first book?
My first novel dead men was based around some of the events and places I have lived in the middle east and published under a grant from the Arts Council UK. Unfortunately, the company handling went bust and simply published the raw first draft with all errors and typos.
Since then I have self published 10 novels and a book of writing tips.
What does your writing schedule look like?
I work every morning for at least two hours and do my promotion work for 2 hours in the afternoons.
For relaxation, I sail and swim most days and play guitar and sing in several bars in the evenings.
I have recently decided to look for an agent as I am spending too much time on promotion when I could be writing.
Where do your ideas for your books come from?
My ideas come from such a wide variety of sources it is hard to pin down specifics, but my series Lost to the sea came about when I lost my own brother John at sea. His body was never found and we held a memorial service in the local church and the local lifeboat laid a wreath in Cullercoats Bay where I used to live. Just across the road was a memorial fountain with a dedication to a young nephew of the duke of Northumberland who’s ship was lost with all hands off Singapore in 1888. A year later a message in a bottle was picked up in Devon saying HMS Wasp going down all hands September 1888.
I then discovered that half the people of the village were lost trying to launch their fishing boats in a storm in the early 1700’s, all of which convinced me to write a book dedicated to my brother John.
The books are written in pairs, one following immediately after the first.
Transported comes from a true story of a young serving girl from Durham who was hanged for stealing a yard of ribbon only to find put when he returned from France that it was gift from her boyfriend.
Terror beset is a retelling of the Lost Franklin expedition of 1850 which was lost trying to find the North West passage. I first heard about it from a song Lady Franklin’s Lament in the early 1960’s
I could go on, but as you see, I do get my ideas from some strange places.
Many thanks to E.Van Johnson for answering our questions.
His books can be found on amazon at the link below:
Amazon E.Van Johnson