Meet the Author: Debbie Johansson
Happy Friday Eve Everyone!
I hope your week is ending up nicely and that you’re ready for a long weekend if you get Monday off for Memorial Day. I just got back to work, but I won’t object, haha!
It’s been a while since I’ve had an interview with a fellow author, and I’m happy to say that that’s what today’s post is all about.
Today I’m having a little digital sit down with Debbie Johansson, Gothic fiction and paranormal author.
Fun fact, I met Debbie shortly after joining WordPress back in April 2019. My memory’s a little hazy, but it was either a random search for fellow authors or my friend Priscilla that helped us get acquainted. Regardless, we’ve become good friends on here, and I couldn’t be happier to interview her!
Alright, let’s get this thing started!
Debbie Johansson is an author of Gothic Fiction and the paranormal. Growing up with an appreciation for film, her stories are influenced by Alfred Hitchcock and Peter Weir’s Picnic at Hanging Rock. Debbie writes stories of the paranormal set in her native Australia. She is the author of short stories, including ‘The Ghost at Willow Creek’ and a short story collection ‘Legacy and Other Short Stories’.
Hi Debbie, thanks so much for stopping by. To keep things interesting, I like to ask my interviewees a random question to get the blood flowing. Here’s yours!
You’re in an amusement park. Which ride do you get on?
It would have to be the roller-coaster, I love them! I haven’t been on one for years now, but I would always make sure I sat up at the very front. Being the first one to go downhill was great fun. At the end of the ride, I’d usually line up for another go.
Yes, you’re just like me!
Back in the day me and my friends would race to the best rollercoaster as soon as the park opened, then we’d ride it like five or six times before moving on.
The crazier the rollercoaster the better I say.
Debbie and the Writing Process
What genre is your favourite to write in? Why?
The Gothic genre because it has a bit of everything that I like in it – horror, mystery, suspense, and romance. For a long time, I couldn’t work out exactly which genre I wrote in, but I’ve always been drawn to the dark side. I grew up on horror, so it was a natural fit. The Gothic genre overlaps with other genres, so it’s great for an author to experiment with and expand their writing.
I’m glad you found your niche. I like to write in multiple genres too and plan on writing anything from fantasy to scifi, mystery, suspense and beyond.
Not including family, who supported your efforts to become a published author?
The writing community. I was in a writing group some years back and they were always encouraging. They helped me to keep going. For the past ten years, I’ve become more involved in the online writing community through various platforms, and I’ve found blogging a great way to get feedback as well as putting my work out. A couple of years ago I joined the Romance Writer’s of Australia and found them to be one of the best organisations I’ve come across. So, the writing community (as well as my husband), have been my biggest supporters.
Wow, that’s really great! I couldn’t agree with you more. The online community has been a pillar of support for me since I started approaching writing seriously eight years ago.
I started on Scribophile, but ultimately found writer/author friends on other social platforms like Facebook, GoodReads, and WordPress. All around the board, the kindness and generosity of others has been invaluable, and I think as a community we do a really good job of lifting each other up.
Fun Facts About Debbie
What’s your favourite place you’ve travelled to?
The Great Barrier Reef. I could have stayed in the water for hours! I’ve flown over it as well and it’s an amazing place, the colours seem so much brighter up close. I’ve been up there a couple of times and would love to go back one day, but sadly I can’t imagine it would look anything like it used to.
Oh wow, that’s amazing! I’m so jealous right now. I can’t imagine that it would look the same now depending on how long ago that was, but you’ve definitely got me beat. I’m foregoing travel this year due to COVID to pay off my student loans earlier.
Still, I have to say I’m missing Dallas right now, so I’d go there if there wasn’t any health risk right now. It’s my second home and I miss all my friends.
What are your favourite tv shows and movies?
My favourite movies are Picnic at Hanging Rock, Aliens and Gone with the Wind. Yes, I know, three completely different genres, but each one of them has their place. As for television shows, that’s a tough one as there are so many good ones out there. But here are a few: – the BBC versions of Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre, the original Poldark series, the 1985 version of Anne of Green Gables, Life on Mars (UK version), X-Files and Murdoch Mysteries. We could be here for a while, but we don’t have that much time! 😉
Yeah, those are some great eclectic picks. You’re not alone at all. Some of my favorites have been Moulin Rouge (I love doing the songs karaoke), Kill Bill, Donnie Darko, and anything classic horror.
Some of my recent faves in series have been NOS4A2 and Hollywood.
What is your favourite genre to read? Why?
Apart from Gothic Fiction, which we’ve already discussed, I really enjoy reading crime/mystery. It really gets the grey matter working trying to solve the mystery, and I love the suspense. These are the kinds of books I can really get into.
Mysteries can really hit the spot sometimes. I love me some puzzles!
I pretty much stick to fantasy/scifi/horror, but here and there I branch out a bit more, like with LGBT pieces. So long as there’s not a ton of romance I’ll basically try anything if I’m interested enough.
If you could take a vacation anywhere, where would you go?
I’d love to visit the U.K., mainly Scotland, because my father was Scottish, and it’s a beautiful looking place. I’d love to visit the Tower of London, go on a Jack the Ripper tour and visit as many castles and stately homes as possible. I love the history and would really get into all the ghost stories that goes along with it. Staying in haunted locations would be great too!
Oooh yes! Can I go with you? Pretty please?
I agree with you on Scotland and basically anywhere outside of the US. After this whole COVID thing I want to get as far away as possible, and I would love to go to New Zealand for the nature or somewhere I have heritage like Scotland or Ireland (I’m the best of both world, hehe).
Star Wars or Star Trek? Or Doctor Who?
Definitely Star Trek. I grew up on the original and have seen every spin off there is, except for Enterprise. I’ve also watched some Doctor Who. I never watched it as a kid, but a few years ago I watched the more recent series of Doctors. David Tennant as the 10th Doctor is my favourite. I stopped watching it at the 12th Doctor; he just didn’t do it for me.
Yes! I was raised by Trekkies. My fave is The Next Generation. I can never rewatch it enough. It’s always good. My mom is obsessed with Lt. Yar, but my favorite is either Troi or Ryker.
Wow, are we the same person? David Tennant is the only doctor in my eyes. Timey wimey!
What did you read as a kid? What stuck with you the most?
I didn’t do a lot of reading when I was a kid. But when I was about ten, I discovered the novel Dragonwyck by Anya Seton. I absolutely devoured it and have read it numerous times since, it’s one of my favourites. Even though I already enjoyed horror through film, this novel introduced me to Gothic Fiction.
Hey, that’s okay. We all have our own paths in life. There really is something about re-reading your favorites when the time comes around. I’ve read the first few Sookie Stackhouse novels maybe three times, and I just love it every time.
You probably already know that I read Animorphs and Goosebumps as a kid, but those were really my go tos before I moved on to Anne Rice in high school. Now that is a series I’ve got to re-read!
What has been your most bizarre life experience?
The weirdest thing would have to be something that happened when I was a kid. During a visit to some relations, I wasn’t participating in the conversation (as kids do when adults get together). I guess I zoned out a bit because I randomly wondered what would happen if we had a blackout. No sooner had I thought this, all the lights went out. Was this a freak coincidence or did I channel some psychic ability? Of-course, nothing like that has happened since, but it made me wonder, and become all the more interested in such things.
Oh wow, that’s such an interesting experience. I’ve always been a believer so you know I’m leaning towards psychic ability. There is something neverendingly intriguing about the metaphysical. I’ve always been extremely interested, and it has shaped what I read in general.
I’ve had many a strange occurrence, but the one that takes the cake is the time I woke up to a shadow person at the foot of my bed. I couldn’t move, and I felt this intense pressure against my temple like someone was trying to get inside my head.
It was so bizarre, and what’s worse is that my roommate saw another shadow figure the following week!
What would you choose as your spirit animal?
A deer. I remember seeing ‘Bambi’ when I was a kid and fell in love with them. They’re such beautiful, gentle creatures. I’d be happy to have one as a spirit animal.
Oh, I really love that. Deer are so majestic.
I’d love to have a panther as a spirit animal. They’re just so smart and calculating. Plus they look like a big version of my kitty Ajax, and I love him to pieces!
Debbie and Her Works
Tell us about your new book.
My short story, ‘The Ghost at Willow Creek’, is set in Australia during the 1880s. It’s the story of one woman’s grief after the death of her young son. She questions her own sanity as she hears noises in the middle of the night, causing friction with her husband.
Nice, that sounds riveting. I can’t wait to check it out!
What inspired you to write this book in particular?
While visiting relations in the country, I found the grave of a young child on their property. The young boy had died during a flood. At first, this sparked the idea for a bush poem, but to really give the idea justice, I needed to write more, so I ended up writing a short story instead.
It’s funny how images can strike us so vividly, creating a well of inspiration. I love that you were inspired by this. Sometimes I feel like I could be inspired by paint drying on the wall.
What did you find was the hardest part about writing this book?
Getting myself into the protagonist’s head. Being a mother myself, I found it very emotional. I think of that writing quote that says one has to bleed upon the page, and I certainly felt that way with this story.
Right, grief is never easy, and you must’ve really had to tap into that to write this.
What kind of research went into writing your book?
I researched into the Victorian era, mainly focusing on asylums and women’s hysteria. I also did some research into the setting around Sydney during that time, as well as asylums in and around the area. I was fortunate I already had some personal experience with the paranormal and living in a rural area at the time.
It’s always nice when you don’t have to research absolutely everything, and I’m glad you got to use your experience with the paranormal and rural life.
Alright, looks like our time is up. Before we go, what other projects do you have in store for the world to see in the future? Anything you can share with us?
I’m currently working on a series of novellas, which I hope to have published towards the end of 2020. The series is set in The Blue Mountains here in New South Wales, during the Victorian era, involving a haunted house.
Oh my gosh, yes! This is great news! You know I love me a haunted house. Definitely keep me posted on things. I’d love to check it out when all is said and done!
That’s a Wrap!
All righty book worms, that wraps up my interview with Debbie. I always have a great time chatting it up with her, and I hope you enjoyed the experience too!
If you’d like to learn more about Debbie and her work, she can be reached at the social media links provided below.
Thank you for stopping by, and have a great day!
Social Media Links
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