Author Interview – Johnny Armstrong – Shadowshine: An Animal Adventure
Tell me a bit about who you are.
My wife and I live on a Nature Conservancy protected conservation easement consisting of an old-growth woodland and forest in north Louisiana. It’s beautiful. We don’t mess with our favorable luck in having nature surrounding us. In this regard, I should also mention that I am a proponent of biodiversity and constantly live in fear of what our species is doing to our biosphere and our future generations. Karen and I have two kids and three grandkids, so you can see we have a genuine stake in this.
Shadowshine is basically an allegorical environmental fantasy with animal characters and forest-folk who have an important message for readers.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I’ve never really wanted to write a book, which may seem odd. However, it was probably about 25 years ago that I had the urge to write “something.” As I formed the “anything that it was,” I fired thinking of a few creature characters — a possum, raccoons, mastodons, wildcats, a skunk and others. Here, something startling occurred: the creatures began talking and showing me their own exceptional characters. I began to like these creature characters and they before long became something on the request for fanciful companions, and without a doubt they actually are today. Karen and I will frequently consider a statement from one of these timberland people characters like Elbon, the skunk, or Moksoos or Swrogah, and so on., that could apply to some regular circumstance in our lives. For this reason I frequently consider creative mind having a power to some degree similar to an intuition. It permits one to float into a world that doesn’t appear to be proposed to us through our ordinary five detects.
When I was thinking about those animal characters, I felt compelled to care for them as they traveled through the story and give them each a happy ending. Thus, I thought, indeed, I should compose a brief tale. Be that as it may, those woodland people’s expectations and objectives couldn’t be cleaned up in a brief tale. A novella would not be sufficient. And sure enough, their tale ended up being the novel Shadowshine: A Creature Experience.
I keep thinking about whether my experience would sound natural to Richard Adams when he recorded Watership On paper. Did his hares lead him around by the nose like my timberland people got done for me?
When did you take a step to start writing?
My first attempt at writing was in the mode of basic rhymes designed for humor — a piece like gibberish rhyme. That probably been near — might I venture to say it? — quite a while back. How did this time travel occur? As spoken by one of Shadowshine’s mastodon characters, Sir Sark, “the cost we pay for valuable time is to turn into its casualty.”
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
North of 20 years. It presumably required around at least three years to assemble the story into a harsh, and extremely chaotic, structure. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I tried to find a publisher or an agent as a first-time novelist. Consequently I invested a mind blowing measure of energy (years) in submitting book recommendations and letters to the purported “top specialists,” and distributers who might publicize that they would take a gander at un-agented proposition for fiction. The reactions went from sensible to absolutely discourteous. I recollect one distributer, a Penguin auxiliary I think, who requested a proposition and sections with one year restrictiveness. That was presently near a long time back and I won’t ever hear back. That is silly and indefensible way of behaving, yet it’s a genuine illustration of how troublesome it is for a beginner attempting to get distributed.
However, as it ended up, the time truly wasn’t squandered. It allowed me to step away from the story for months at a time, allowing me to do serious editing when I returned with a fresh perspective. Editing is actually my favorite part of writing. The lengthy timespan slip by and all my altering truly helped my story in significant ways.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Shadowshine?
It is said by certain scholars that the actual characters compose the story. I believe that was to a great extent obvious for my situation, as I was continuously attempting to keep my folks out of mischief and give them significance in their experience. By and by, there was generally that cold and evil clear PC screen hanging tight for me to make — I gazing at it. It gazing back at me. It’s scaring.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
In Shadowshine, my hero is a possum. In point of fact, the story could also be referred to as Shadowshine: An Odyssey of a Lost Possum. The story’s possum-hero is a fairly unconventional person whose name is Zak, a delicate, laid back self-broadcasted writer who’s keen on way of thinking, yet doesn’t actually have a ton of information regarding the matter. Because of reasons portrayed in the book, he lives in a gentle mess and meanders and blunders about, for the most part waiting be cared for. Yet, he’s fortunate in that he’s entirely well known and has numerous astounding companions. Zak turned out to be my age at the opportunity I concocted his personality, he’s entranced with every one of the locations of nature around him and he attempts to think of rather senseless little rhymes. At the point when my significant other read the original copy she said that she saw me in Zak. I can’t deny the similitude, despite the fact that it was not my plan to be personal.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
Zak’s main antagonist is a human named Mungo who I wrote to be as big and powerful and vicious as I could, which led to a certain amount of violent and gory writing in Shadowshine.
What is the inciting incident of Shadowshine?
In Shadowshine, a despicable family drove by Mungo was meandering the wide open setting fires when the backwoods was encountering a serious, delayed and inquisitively bewildering dry spell. As one of the characters put it, “the sky has become disagreeable.” At the point when the news arrived at the individuals from the woodland people, a board meeting was called, consequently making way for Zak, the primary person of the story, to go on an excursion alone into the wild to look for help for his local area, and become derailed. That is the point at which Zak’s odyssey started.
What is the main conflict of Shadowshine?
It’s the old cliché, but good vs evil.
Did you plot Shadowshine in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
It may be the case that the backwoods people were plotting a procedure while I was resting in light of the fact that everything I could do was to attempt to stay aware of those folks so I could keep them from hurt and inspire them to make their commitment to the story. They might have been dragging me by my pants’ back.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Shadowshine need?
On the off chance that I walk to a drumbeat, it goes this way: edit! edit! edit! Besides the fact that it totally expected for is my composition, I appreciate it. I truly don’t have the foggiest idea what it means to over alter or to have an excessive number of editors check my work out. It’s additionally great to require the investment to set the work to the side and return to it days or weeks after the fact. Compose nothing and send it that very day. I positively wouldn’t do that for this composed meeting. As I would see it, decent composing is very significant. At the point when individuals read our texts relating to nearly anything, they are legitimately making decisions about our thought process, how cautious we impart, and eventually, the amount to truly take us.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
To begin, refer to the response to the previous question.
I want to offer wise guidance on innovative craftsmanship. Despite the crazy fact that I wrote a novel, I don’t think I know how to create. I don’t have any idea how I composed Shadowshine. I was sufficiently fortunate to have concocted a few creature characters that I turned out to be genuinely joined to, I delighted in spending time with, and I felt like I owed them their story. Do I require therapy?
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I’m finishing Rescuing Biodiversity: A Student’s Journal of the Protection and Restoration of an Ecosystem.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
I’m most certainly cheerful and pleased with the manner in which Shadowshine ended up and that it was distributed by Guernica World Versions (a Toronto distributer). It has gotten a few great surveys that are tracked down on the site, which, obviously, is the good to beat all. I think the backwoods society are blissful. Their overseer surely is.
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you
Shadowshine’s website: shadowshinebook.com
Facebook – Shadowshine page: facebook.com/JAforestfolk
Facebook – Johnny’s personal feed
LinkedIn – Johnny’s profile:
Twitter – Johnny’s feed