Saturday, April 11, 2020

Inside the Mind: Topshee Johnston

Welcome to Inside the Mind where we here at The Faerie Review interview authors and creators.
Our guest today is Topshee Johnston, the author behind Hard Luck Girl.

Lily:  Thank you so much for agreeing to this interview Topshee I greatly enjoyed reading Hard Luck Girl. Your narrator has a rather controversial profession – what made you decide to set Rose’s background like that?
Topshee:  I worked in an area where prostitution was prevalent, something I’d see every day. Over time it had an effect on me.
Lily:  I can imagine it would, especially with the societal taboo surrounding it. What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Topshee:  The hardest part was not getting too dark. The earlier versions were even grittier and grimmer. I didn’t want to leave the reader depressed. There had to be some redemption in it. 
Lily:  It can be pretty dark at times, but I think that's part of what makes the brighter parts so much better. Is there anything you hope readers take away from this book?

Topshee:  I set out to make it something that moved quickly and kept the reader interested. I didn’t want to hammer home some righteous message as if I had some moral high ground. If there is anything I’d like people to take away from it, I guess it would be to keep an open mind toward sex-workers. They are human and in situations that aren’t as easy to walk away from as it may appear from the outside. 
Lily:  I think you definitely succeeded there. Is there another book in the works?
Topshee:  Not for this character currently, but I do have the odd idea about her from time to time so it isn’t out of the question. I’m currently writing a detective thriller.
Lily:  I'd love to read it when it's finished. Now we’d like to talk about you as a writer. What’s your preferred time of day to write?
Topshee:  I like to write from around nine in the morning to about noon. I’m freshest then and can put my best effort in. I wrote the first draft book, however, earlier in the morning. I set my alarm at 3:55 and had to get to my computer by four. I’d write before my wife woke up, then we’d have breakfast and go to work.
Lily:  Sounds like a great writing routine to have. Do you have a drink or snack that you always have when you write?
Topshee: If there’s coffee leftover from breakfast, which is rare, I’ll have that. Otherwise, the odd cup of tea or nothing.
Lily:  We never have leftover coffee here hehe. What do you do when you get writers block?
Topshee:  I’ve had writer’s block before and what it tells me is that I don’t have a good enough handle on my characters. I’ll dig deeper into their personalities and that usually opens a door into them and the story.  
Lily:  I think that's a great way to get past it. Let’s finish up with some fun questions and get inside your mind. What’s your favorite band or singer?
Topshee:  I’ve always been a big fan of the band Dinosaur Jr. The lead singer is J Mascis who has done a lot of solo work as well, amongst other projects.
Lily:  I'll have to check them out! What’s your favorite binge-worthy TV show?
Topshee:  I like Narcos not just because of the crazy subject matter but because it is half Spanish and in interesting locales. 
Lily:  Narcos has been on my watch list for awhile, it definitely looked interesting. Toilet paper: over, under, or not on a dispenser?
Topshee:  Under
Lily:  That would make me crazy! Although it's one of my favorite questions to ask. Would you rather be covered in fur, scales, or spines, and why?
Topshee:  Fur. I don’t like to be cold.
Lily:  The cold is probably my least favorite part of winter, I'm always bundled up. What are five places you’d like to visit before you die?
Topshee:  The Negro League hall of fame in Kansas City, The Churchill war rooms in London, Sanctuary Wood WW1 Museum Belgium, National Museum of American History in Washington D.C., and Kluane National Park and Reserve in the Yukon.
Lily:  Sounds like you're a history buff! What’s your favorite cheesy pick-up line?
Topshee:  Ass, Grass, or Gas, nobody rides for free!
Lily:  I just spit out my coffee* that's definitely in my top three. How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Topshee: Check out any of the links below:

* Don't worry dear readers, my laptop is spill resistant!

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