I’m pleased to have author Erin Johnson from Tempe Arizona here to speak about her writing and new release, Full Moons and Macaroons that is on blog tour with Escape with Dollycas into a Good Book.
Welcome, Erin. Please tell us how long you’ve been published and what titles and/or series you write.
I’ve indie published the Spells & Caramels Series which has five books out. They are my first books and I launched the first one in October of last year(2017).
Five books in a year, very nice. Tell us a little bit about them.
Seashells, Spells & Caramels is a cozy witch mystery series filled with baking, magic and murder. There are magical kingdoms hidden within our own world, and Imogen discovers them when she enters an enchanted baking contest. The books follow Imogen and her ragtag group of friends who are quirky, funny and make me wish they were real so I could hang out with them. There’s always a mystery to solve and some big overarching storylines that carry throughout the books, including some fun romances. My next book, Airships, Crypts and Chocolate Chips will be out at the end of June (June 23rd tentatively).
A cozy series about witches, very interesting.
Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
I plan to keep writing, four books a year for now, though I may adjust that in the future. I hope to start a new cozy witch mystery series at the end of the year and to celebrate wrapping up Seashells, Spells & Caramels fairly soon. Though I may extend the series, I’m thinking the seventh book will be the last for now.
What type of reader are you hoping to attract? Who do you believe would be most interested in reading your books?
I think anyone who enjoys fantasy will love these, but even those who aren’t big into magic can appreciate the murder mystery and adventure aspects, I think. If you enjoy fun, fast-paced reads, where you come to really care about the characters I think these are for you. Also, I think they’re pretty funny (I make myself laugh) so a sense of humor is good, too.
It sounds like your books have a wide audience.
What advice would you give other authors or those still trying to get published?
Just get out there and start learning. Connect with other authors—Twitter has been a great place for me to do that, and I learned so much just even from observing what others were doing. I went the self-publishing route, so if you’re interested in that, I just do whatever Chris Fox says. Haha! But seriously, he’s the best, and I also learned so much from Joanna Penn, and especially love her Creative Penn podcast.
Yes. I don’t self publish, but I’ve heard of Joanna Penn — not Chris Fox. I’ll have to check him out.
What particular challenges and struggles did you face before first becoming published?
Feeling lost and confused and intimidated by the whole process. It’s been my dream since I was little and I was pretty convinced I couldn’t do it, so that was depressing. That’s why I think connecting with others, and that can just mean learning from them, reading their books and blogs, was so helpful for me. It gave me a path and inspiration from people who were doing what I wanted to be doing.
That’s very true.
Do you belong to any writing groups? Which ones?
I’m not active in any currently, but that’s something I’d like to change.
I’m sure you’ll find the right group when you’re ready.
What are your hobbies and interests besides writing?
I love animals and have three dogs. I spend time with friends and family, and love B-movies. I teach and do Pilates. Lately I’ve been on a big Youtube kick. I enjoy going on there to learn random new things, from organizing a capsule wardrobe to using less plastic.
It’s amazing what can be found on Youtube, right? I also love animals, but I’m more a cat person.
What do you like most and least about being an author? What is your toughest challenge?
I just love doing it and running my own business. I have a lot to learn but it’s fun to pour my energy into growing something I love doing. I think my biggest challenge right now is getting myself to spend more time on the business side of writing, in addition to the creative side.
I think that’s a challenge for most authors.
What do you like about writing cozy mysteries?
I love that they always turn out well in the end and that I get to write a fun ensemble of characters. I love the puzzle aspect of solving a cozy and mixing that with magic is just the ideal genre.
I agree. Fun and quirky characters are a big part of cozies.
Can you share a short excerpt from your latest title or upcoming release?
This is from Book 5, Full Moons, Dunes & Macaroons:
After we met the other five Fire bakers, Wool gave us an orientation. Recessed shelves lined one entire white plaster wall. Wool gestured at various bottles, translating the labels for us.
“We’ll cast a translation spell, of course,” he assured Maple, and the little line between her brows relaxed.
She pressed a hand to her chest. “Thank goodness—I was feeling a bit worried I’d use long pepper.” She gestured at one glass jar. “When I meant to use regular black pepper.” She nodded at another.
Wool chuckled. “No worries, Maple.” He placed a hand on her shoulder and guided us on to the next wall. Beside me, Wiley sucked in a deep, loud breath through his nose and blew it out. Again, and again. I gave him a side-eye look.
“You okay there?”
He lifted a brow. “Hm? Oh, yeah.” He sniffed in again as we shuffled past one of the large tiled islands that occupied the center of the kitchen.
“Really? Because you seem like you’re about to hyperventilate and pass out.”
He shook his head and blew out a stream of air with an open mouth. “Nah. Just this breathing technique I’ve been reading about. It’s supposed to help with relaxation.”
“Well, you’re not doing it right, because it’s stressing me out.”
He rolled his eyes, but muttered, “Sorry. It’s just this guy—”
“Yeah, whatever. It’s like he thinks he knows everything. I’ve been baking for plenty of years, buddy, thank you very much, am I right?”
I lifted a brow and blew my bangs out of my eyes. “I had no idea what any of those spices were.”
Wiley’s eyes fell to his shoes. “Yeah. Me neither.”
Wool pointed out the stove, where they kept the pans and baking sheets in the various black cupboards that matched the black-and-white-patterned floor tiles, and showed us to the recessed ovens that they’d cleared to make room for our flames. I spent a few minutes placing Iggy in one and getting him settled in with a supply of split logs. Wool and Maple moved to a corner to speak more.
Iggy looked past my shoulder toward him. “You think he liked my joke? He smiled and I think he chuckled a little.”
I stacked some logs to the side of the oven and lifted a brow. “Who?”
The little flame rolled his eyes. “Wool, of course. Who else?”
I tugged my lips to the side and tried to suppress my smile. “Well, of course, how silly of me. What joke again?”
Iggy grabbed a log and pulled it closer, absentmindedly munching on the end of it. A tendril of steam rose from the wood. “You know, just a minute ago. Someone mentioned the toasts from last night and I said, ‘I make toasts every morning—for the king’s breakfast. He likes his with butter and grape jelly.’ You didn’t hear?”
I chuckled. “Right, that joke. Hilarious.”
Iggy sniffed. “You’re just jealous that Wool likes me better.”
I opened my mouth in an exaggerated O. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say somebody had a crush.”
Iggy dropped the log and looked offended. “Oh, because I can’t just appreciate a suave and cultured man who appreciates me as a friend? Way to act real insecure Imogen, real insecure.”
I placed the last logs inside the oven and raised my palms. “My apologies. I’ll attempt to be less threatened.”
Great excerpt. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you or your books?
They’re quick and fun and I hope you give them a chance. Let me know what you think!
I hope you get lots of reader feedback.
Please list your social media links, website, blog, etc. so readers can connect with you.
Thanks so much for the interview, Erin, and best of luck with your books and blog tour.