Today I had a chat with John Coon, author of several science fiction and horror books.
Hi, John! Thanks for talking with me today. Tell us about your books.
My latest novel, Dark Metamorphosis, is the second book in the Alien People Chronicles and the direct sequel to Alien People. It picks up the story of my main protagonists, Calandra Menankar and Xttra Oogan, one year after the events of Alien People.
What’s the first book you ever remember reading?
I’ve read so many books in my life that I honestly don’t recall the first one I read. One of the earliest I remember was Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. I enjoyed his offbeat humor and imagery in his poems.
That’s great; reading is important. What inspired you to start writing?
My sister wrote some stories when I was 12 years old and I decided I wanted to write some stories too. One day, I took out some typing paper and stuck it in a manual typewriter in the kitchen of my family’s house. I started typing out stories about five kittens who go on crazy adventures. The main characters were based on pet cats we had at the time. I wrote nine stories total and it awakened a love of writing within me. I realized it was a perfect outlet for my imagination and desire to tell stories.
Wow, it sounds like the talent runs in the family! Who is your main inspiration?
My mom serves as a huge inspiration to me in my writing pursuits. She was my no. 1 fan when she was alive and read every story I wrote. Sadly, she passed away before seeing me become a published author. Mom told other people she believed I would write the next great American novel. She believed in me and my novel, Alien People, is dedicated to her.
She sounds like an amazing woman; I’m so sorry she didn’t live to see your novel published, but I bet she’s proud of you. Aside from writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy hiking. One of my favorite activities is to find a random trail and take photos of the landscape and wildlife. It’s so relaxing. I feel at peace when I’m outdoors in nature.
Awesome! Tell me about your writing space. Where do you usually write?
I have a small writing desk in my room. I do most of my writing there, although I will occasionally go to a local library or coffee shop if I’m having trouble concentrating, so I can get a change of scenery.
Are you a morning or night person? What time of day do you prefer to sit and write?
Night owl. I’m a sports journalist as well as a fiction author, so I work lots of evenings and weekends. I basically write all the time, but I seem to have more energy for writing in the evenings than the mornings.
Do you plan out your stories or are you a pantser (making it up as you go along)?
Working as a sports journalist forces me to plan out stories before I write a rough draft, so I can stay organized and fit in fiction writing during my spare time. I start with a working title and brief paragraph-long plot summary. From there, I sketch out biographies of my main characters and secondary characters. Then, I create a chapter outline, highlighting key plot and character beats for each chapter. I often deviate quite a bit from initial outline when I write my rough draft and subsequent drafts, but all that work on the backstory beforehand helps me create an engaging detailed story in the end.
That’s excellent; no wonder you’re doing so well! What’s your favourite book genre? Do you write in that genre?
Science fiction is my favorite genre. I love the endless possibilities sci-fi presents. Evidence of my love for the genre is shown by the fact I’ve written three sci-fi novels now and have many more planned. Horror is a close second, because I like exploring fears, myths, and legends. I have two published stories in that genre so far, with others planned for the future.
Tell me your top three favourite books of all time.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (that’s seven books, but I love that series!), Call of the Wild by Jack London, and Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.
Have you ever read a book that changed your life? How did it change your life?
One book I read that had a lasting impact on me was Fast Food Nation. It inspired me to eat less fast food after learning what that food actually does to your body over time.
Wow, great answer! There’s never any harm in being more healthy. Who is your favourite book character who you’ve created?
It’s a tie between Calandra Menankar and Xttra Oogan. They are my protagonists in the Alien People Chronicles sci-fi series. Calandra and Xttra possess personality traits that I work to cultivate in myself. I like Calandra’s optimism and persistence. I like Xttra’s bravery and loyalty. Both characters have a good sense of humor and high intelligence as well. Telling their story is so fun and natural for me.
What’s your latest book about? If you don’t have any books out yet, tell us about your WIP.
Dark Metamorphosis is the sequel to Alien People. It picks up the story one year after Calandra and Xttra go on a disastrous first contact mission to Earth. They become embroiled in a dark conspiracy targeting the survivors of that expedition after Xttra is abducted while on a mission to a moon called Fengar that orbits their home planet of Lathos. Calandra is thrown into a desperate search for him while Xttra searches for a way to flee his captors and return home.
Sounds exciting! OK, something unrelated to writing! If you could go on a date with any celebrity, living or dead, who would it be and why?
I always had a bit of a celebrity crush on Rachel McAdams. It would be fun to spend an evening with her and get to know her better.
Excellent choice, she’s an amazing actress and beautiful, too! Where can we find out more about you?
My author website is johncoon.net and that’s the place where you can get purchase links to all my books and news related to my fiction.
You can follow me on various social media channels such as Twitter (@johncoonsports) or Instagram (@jcoon312). I also have a Facebook page. I also have author pages on Goodreads, BookBub, and Amazon. My website is JohnCoon.net.
Excellent interview, John, thank you!