#YourNextBeachRead is a way to introduce you to a new author and their works in the hopes that you’ll find the next book you want to take with you to the beach, the pool, or the comforts of air conditioning.
Today’s featured author is Ken Johnson, author of A Quick Guide to Archetype & Allegory.
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Ken Johnson and I am from Northwest Florida, about a 20 minute drive east of America’s first city, Pensacola.
How long have you been writing? How did you start?
Professionally, I have been writing for over 20 years now. I first started writing in middle school. My parents bought me a Brother AX-25 typewriter which I used to enter, and win, many paid writing contests. After high school, I started writing columns. In 2014, I transitioned over to writing books.
Who are some of your influences?
I am a nonfiction writer and so I am motivated by need. All of my writing talks about one or more topics concerning issues of culture, conflict, commerce, and/or conservation.
What is your book about?
A Quick Guide to Archetype & Allegory is a short nonfiction book intended to help fiction writers to create better characters and craft stories that’ll resonate with a targeted audience. The book uses Jungian psychology to explain how audiences respond to different character types and what hidden messages these characters might contain.
Where did you get the idea?
I am the president of the Johnson Institute, Inc. Part of our services involves authorpreneurship consulting. After seeing scores of poorly contrived manuscripts, many having absolutely no understanding of the elements of character creation and usage, I decided to write a concise reference book so writers of all types and backgrounds would have a handy resource to better hone their craft.
How long did it take you to finish it?
The book only took me a matter of a couple of weeks to draft. Naturally, the publishing processes of editing, proofreading, attaining PCIP/MARC block data, obtaining a LCCN, etc. took me much longer.
Is this your first book, or have you written more than one?
This is not my first book. I have written two other books prior to this one. These other books, both award-winning, dealt with Restorative Justice and the school system. I also have a companion book, to A Quick Guide to Archetype & Allegory, coming out that’ll be titled A Quick Guide to Plots & Plotlines. Another forthcoming book, now in the editing stages, is A. Scrooge’s Christmas Compendium.
We all like to write about people we know, even if we never name them. Who are some people who inspired characters or situations?
As a nonfiction writer, life itself inspires me. Being an award-winning author, I have had the opportunity to get to know, and even interview, some pretty amazing individuals. So, while I draw from many historic and contemporary works, I do bring in some talent I personally know who are doing great things and may, for various reasons, may not be on the radar of many readers.
What’s your favorite scene in the book?
Again, I am a nonfiction author, so there are really no scenes in my book. However, there are topics covered that I am more interested, or intrigued, about than others. For example, the notion of the acari archetype fascinates me. In the same vein, and dealing with the same chapter, I had another award-winning author message me the other day saying she was fascinated with the non-humanoid vs. humanoid archetype argument. I loved talking about how some archetypes are almost interchangeable with their allegories. There was a fascinating interview I did where a television network executive had a script changed from fascists to aliens in order to garner more favorable public perception. And, I really loved showcasing how allegories have morphed over the years for given archetypes.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you ever got?
I think it is a toss-up. Stephanie Osborn, a fantastically talented author and former NASA scientist, once urged me to become an author and write a book about my passion. Just that push was fantastic that there are times when you just have to “jump” and seize what you want in life. The other came from my former publisher, Terri Gerrell, where she told me to be a professional first and an author second. Just as it is as important as it is to seize your dreams, nonfiction authors have a duty to their readers to be an expert in the field they are discussing. Making sure my CV merits my writings allows for readers to develop a trust in the quality and care of my writing. These two ladies really helped to steer me on a pathway to success.
What’s the worst?
I really haven’t received any bad advice. Early on, I was fortunate enough to associate myself with the Florida Authors and Publishers Association. Shortly thereafter, I was invited to take a position on their board of directors. Since that time, I have been blessed to meet major movers and shakers in the indie publishing world.
Where can we buy your book?
You can buy my books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, BAM, Powell’s, Walmart, or wherever fine books are sold. So, no matter where you are in the world, just cue up your favorite bookstore’s website and my book will most likely be there.
Ken Johnson is a culturalist (a.k.a., Social Scientist), conflict specialist, business consultant, artist, and a multiple award-winning author. He routinely writes and lectures on issues of culture and conflict. When not writing and lecturing, Ken loves attending cultural events, cooking, outdoor sports, and feather painting. He also serves on numerous non-profit and professional boards. In 2005, the Governor of Kentucky commissioned Ken as a Colonel. Later, in 2018, the Florida Authors and Publishers Association honored him with their most prestigious award possible, the Founders Award. Presently, Ken Johnson lives in Northwest Florida with his wife, Toshana. They have three little dogs which Ken calls his “editors” for their propensity to mess with his keyboard when wanting his attention.