Author Interview: John Coon

John Coon

  1. We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.

I’m preparing my novel, Dark Metamorphosis, for publication this summer. It is the second book in the Alien People Chronicles. I published the first book in the series, Alien People, in September, 2020.

2. In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.

Creating Alien People was a labor of love for me. The story centers on aliens making first contact with Earth after discovering an Earth probe on the outskirts of their home solar system. I wrote the original rough draft for Alien People over the summer following my high school graduation. It is a fun fictional world filled with compelling characters close to my heart. Calandra Menankar and Xttra Oogan are probably my favorite characters among all the ones I’ve created. Dark Metamorphosis continues their story, picking up 1 ½ years after the events of Alien People.

3. As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)

I’m not a big fan of the beta reading process. It serves a valuable purpose and I have a couple of reliable beta readers now. But I’ve had multiple beta readers in the past who flaked out on me and either gave limited feedback or didn’t bother to read the book at all. That can be frustrating for an author when they’re looking at where they need to focus in terms of story development before publishing a final draft.

4. Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?

I love creating backstory for my characters and settings. World building is so much fun. It opens a door for me to dive in and learn more about my characters and discover what shapes them into what readers eventually see on the page. With Alien People, for example, I’ve written dozens and dozens of pages on a range of topics ranging from planetary histories to alien animal species that inform my fictional world. These backstory elements have helped me to give my stories a lived-in realistic feel even with action taking place in out-of-this-world settings.

5. If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)

I’ve always admired the ability of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis to take mythology and history and use it as a springboard for epic stories. That’s something I try to emulate in a subtle way with my own stories. My horror novel, Pandora Reborn, draws some inspiration from Pandora’s Box and Cassandra in Greek mythology in setting up the central conflict that moves the plot forward.

6. Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

Yeah, I don’t think Calandra or Xttra would feel thrilled about any explanation I offered up. I’d do my best to explain what they’ve endured brought them closer together and gave them the strength and courage to be leaders in battling a tyrant. I’m pretty sure they would want nothing to do with me, regardless of how I framed their struggles.

7. You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Calandra wins without question. She’s clever and knows how to read the room. She has a knack for getting her own way in the end. Xttra is a bit prone to taking unnecessary risks. I’m good at poker, but I’d probably fall for Calandra’s bluffing one too many times to win enough hands.

8. Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)

With science fiction and horror, the most important thing an author can do is to create realistic characters who make believe decisions based on the information available to them. When I read a sci-fi story or a horror story filled with stock one-dimensional characters, it drives me nuts. I don’t want to see characters do things because the plot forces them to do that particular thing. I want to see a story grow out what characters do when they are placed in a specific situation. Their personalities and behavior should drive where the plot goes. That’s what makes a story fun and exciting.

  1. Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

Look for Dark Metamorphosis to be released in July. It will be available to pre-order soon on Amazon and other retailers. You can order the first book in the series, Alien People, at all major booksellers worldwide. It is available as an ebook and in paperback.

Anyone who wants to connect with me on social media can follow me on Twitter (@johncoonsports), Instagram (@jcoon312), and on Facebook (@jcoon). I have an Amazon author page and author pages on BookBub and Goodreads.

I also have an author website (johncoon.net) where you can get news and updates about my stories.