Today’s Illuminating Author post spotlights K.N. Johnson, author of the short story “Dead Head Mile.” This tale riveted me from beginning to end and I think K.N. Johnson has a real talent for scaring the pants off folks like me. I can’t wait to read more of her stories. “Dead Head Mile” can be found in the travel-themed anthology, A Journey of Words, by Scout Media, along with my story “Loose Ends.” A Journey of Words is available from your favorite bookseller.
Title of your AJOW story:
Dead Head Mile
Brief synopsis of your AJOW story:
A postman skis his route in a remote, snowy region only to discover someone or something arrived before him.
What inspired you to write this story?
I came across the true story of Snowshoe Thompson, the legendary skiing mailman, as well as folk legends of the Loup Garou and Sidehill Gouger. I’m intrigued by how stories, both true and legend, morph with time. I think many folk legends grew out of people trying to understand the world around them with the limited knowledge they had. When someone is experiencing pure fear, imaginary creatures may seem very possible, very real.
How long have you been writing?
Since childhood. I remember a Halloween where I cried to be a princess, but we had nothing of that sort in the house. My mom dressed me in my dad’s shirt with pens in the pocket, popped a men’s fedora on my head with a paper proclaiming “PRESS”. She handed me a clipboard and said, “Well, you’re the writer in the family.” She was right, of course. I’d create little newspapers about family events, miniature magazines for Barbie dolls, children’s books in scribble pads, and even tiny, folded notes for my mother denouncing her for not buying me enough books. My room was consumed with my writings and paper creations. My poor mother!
What genre do you usually write in and why?
In general, I write horror. Or let’s say, those are the stories I seem to complete. For many reasons, I was a fearful child plagued by nightmares and this led to a strange pursuit of everything paranormal, haunting, or reality-bending. I’d like to think writing in this genre works out my own fears, but I still have the nightmares. Now I just write them down.
What else are you working on writing at the moment?
I’m revising my debut novel, tentatively titled “The Birthling”. I’m easily distracted with other ideas, though, and am also working on stories about an Amberola that foretells the future and a couple so obsessed with digging for treasure, they risk their most important treasure of all.
What advice do you have to give to new writers?
Read writers you love and try to figure out why you love their stories. Then, make time to write. Write absolute rubbish just to get your story down. You can’t be a writer if you don’t write, write, write.