K. F. Johnson, born Kiyeta F. Johnson, developed a vivid imagination and an aptitude for creative writing, drawing and anything else entertaining at a very young age. Her first glimpse of writing success came in the sixth grade when she won a New York City statewide poetry writing contest. Her first book, Behind Closed Doors, was published in July 2012.
Kiyeta: I am from Queens, New York, but I’ve lived in Atlanta, Georgia, since I enrolled at Spelman College, a liberal arts school. I graduated with a BA in psychology and I have a Master’s Degree in business, but I’ve always been involved in the arts. In my twenties, I modeled, was a rapper, danced, acted in movie shorts, music videos and local commercials. Although I’m a mother and partner with a full-time job as an accountant, I couldn’t let my passion for writing die. I worked on my book Behind Closed Doors on and off for about ten years before it was published.
When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?
Kiyeta: I think I got the writing bug when I won a New York State wide poetry writing contest in the sixth grade. My two older siblings are seven and ten years older than me so I had a lot of time to play with Barbie dolls, cabbage patch kids and let my imagination roam. Eventually I put those ideas down on paper (mostly while I was on punishment).
Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?
Kiyeta: Two adult siblings, who manipulate their way through the dating world, discover that their often abusive, alcoholic and philandering father mysteriously drowns in the pool at their parent’s home, and begin to question his untimely death. Soon, as the skeletons of their family secrets begin falling out of the closet, they’re forced to face some truths of their own and pay the consequences of their actions. Behind Closed Doors is a sometimes funny, maniacal and sexy journey inside the relationships of two siblings, who haven’t got a clue and need one before they lose everything!
How do you develop characters? Setting?
Kiyeta: I try to envision what they look like in my head and what kind of person they are going to be. Then I write about them like I know them. The setting is in Atlanta where I live, but I also pull from New York City, where I grew up.
Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?
Kiyeta: Brian is the most unusual character because he rarely considers other people’s needs or feelings before tending to his own. He’s also the one most readers have said they love to hate, and the one they talk about the most. Coincidentally, he was the most fun to write.
Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?
Kiyeta: I use Ywriter5, which is a free writing software I used to help keep my storyline, scenes, characters and chapters organized. It allows me to have outlines, describe my characters, locations and scenes in detail and have them auto populate into each chapter as I write.
Do you have a specific writing style? Preferred POV?
Kiyeta: I wrote this one in the first person for the two main characters and I think I find it the most comfortable because I can speak as the character about what they’re thinking.
How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?
Kiyeta: I come from a middle class family, but I attended a prestigious college and have experience in the entertainment world, which allowed me to have a front row seat to many things a lot of people would not. For that reason, I think my experiences, and that of people I know, have influenced the way I’m able to develop characters to think in ways I’m completely against.
Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.
Kiyeta: Recently, a reader, who is a Facebook acquaintance, told me that his wife was reading the book, and she’d asked him to please ask me if the characters were based on real people. Apparently, she was getting so involved in some of the antics of the characters that she felt the need to know if I really knew them. I was extremely flattered that she found my writing so believable that she would even feel the need to ask.
What are your current projects?
Kiyeta: I’m mostly promoting my new book Behind Closed Doors, but I have begun writing a little of the sequel at the request of many of my readers. The cliffhangers at the end of the book seem to have inspired an interest in a sequel, which I’m extremely grateful and excited about.
Where can folks learn more about your books and events?
Kiyeta: I have my own website at www.kfjohnsonbooks.com/ and I blog at wordpress at www.kfjohnson.wordpress.com. I’m on facebook at www.facebook.com/kf.johnson.7 which was a huge tool that helped jumpstart my readership. I am also on twitter @kfjohnsonbooks and I’m on linked http://www.linkedin.com/in/jproperties
Thanks for joining us today, Kiyeta
Kiyeta: Thank you very much for your time and consideration in including me in your author blog interviews.