We sat down with author B.M.B. Johnson about the Melody Jackson series
Author Overlord: Please tell me a little about your Book/Writing...
B.M.B. Johnson: Let's see....I've been writing on and off for hundreds of years, or at least it feels like it. I guess it's closer to 40, although, arguably "writing well" for the past 10. I started with submitting bizarre, read terrible short stories in the late 80s to every magazine in the world. Got a few stories published -- actually two -- and for one of these the magazine folded before the story could be printed. I've gotten rejection notices from the great luminaries of the time, including about fifteen handwritten rejections from Marion Zimmer Bradley when she was running her publication way back when (these are my favorite). I'm sorry what was the question again?
AO: Moving on...what makes your Book/Characters unique?
BMB: Well, all my characters are a little quirky and don't take life too seriously. I think the main difference, speaking specifically of the Jackson family here is I'm doing what really don't see ANYWHERE else in fiction. Melody, the main character, a twelve year old has her adventures with own parents who are also main characters in the story. Her father Bernie and mother Lonnie are arguably just as crucial to the story as Melody herself. They're not just parents who exist in the background as an impediment to Melody's life (Like, sorry you can't go out with your friends tonight, you're grounded, lady!!!) So then we have that scene where Melody has to creatively sneak out of the house and go fight the monster with her other teen friends. This is not a scene you will see in the Melody Jackson books. Whether she always likes it or not, Melody has her parents as permanent tag-along cronies in the mysteries.
AO: Have you been able to make a living of it?
BMB: Wait, are other writers able to make a living at this? I thought even Stephen King was still working at his old job at the Circle K? No? A thousand times, no. But now I want to. How can I make this happen?
AO: Tell us about a memorable moment that inspired a scene/chapter/entire book.
BMB: I think my favorite scene at the moment, is one in the newest book (which is currently being published on our site chapter by chapter, called The Creeping Terror. The Jacksons are at a pizza place (this is a real pizza joint in our real town of Portland Oregon). They happen to arrive on the night that "free entertainments" are being offered....in the form of a clown. Bernie is terrified of clowns, and Melody isn't that fond of them, either. Lonnie, however, thinks they're both being stupid. I mean, I don't want to spoil it, but it's funny.
AO: What/Who are your influences?
BMB: I guess historically, my influences are Lewis Carroll and H.P. Lovecraft, and a touch of John Sladek and Terry Brookes. My books are probably a combination of any of these at any given time.
AO: What struggles have you found when trying to advertise your book? [Have you gone to conventions, done other interviews, book signings/readings, etc?]
BMB: The main problem, since the revolution of easy self-publishing, is that getting your book and name out there is frankly nearly impossible. There's about a billion and a half new books releasing every year. Advertising is sort of trial and error -- mostly error, and it all falls to the author to figure this out. I still haven't narrowed down the best way for anything. I've tried first book free sometimes, and now, currently, the first book is set to free ALWAYS. Although, polls done on our twitter account say that people just collect these free ebooks books, and may or may not ever read them. We're also publishing all of my books on www.lafayettestreetbooks.com. All for free, with the ebook versions on sale for 99 cents each, as a more convenient way to read it. We also have a patreon page for donations. Sorry, the question was about advertising. No, haven't yet been able to hit on a good formula for that either. I mean, we get quite a few new followers on our twitter account daily (about 50), not trying to brag, but this isn't exactly translating into book sales, either. I think keeping thinking/hoping/counting in my hand that the main way to succeed is just to stick with it. But how long that can be before success finds you, no one can say.
AO: What good/bad/ridiculous feedback have you received that particularly sticks out in your mind?
BMB: As far as complaints, I've been accused of rambling...I don't see where that's even coming from <laughs>. But the great majority of reviews have been good and supportive of the family structure.
AO: What are you currently working on?
BMB: At the moment, we have a daily (well, semi-daily) twitter exclusive story, called Bernie's Tales of Youngdom. These are basically 280 character posts in which Bernie has promised to tell his life story. I gotta say that it's a real challenge to come up with a complete thought in under 280 characters. I think I like it. It's a tighter form of writing, although, I think I do a bit of rambling here as well. But that's really my writing style, I suppose. This, of course, is in addition to finished up Season One of Melody Jackson books, and various other spin-offs.
AO: Do you believe in Bigfoot?
BMB: Of course, I do, and they even come into it in the first story of Season 2. Thankfully, you didn't ask me what I think Bigfoot is.
AO: Well, what DO you think ....
BMB: ...Thankfully you didn't ask me that.
AO: Okay, fine. Thanks B.M.B. Is that what I call you? You can pick up the Melody Jackson books below direct from Smashwords, and elsewhere. All come in eBook format. And also on their webpage: www.lafayettestreetbooks.com Enjoy!
It all began with a blood-curdling scream in the middle of the night. This spurs on an investigation by Melody Jackson and her family which leads all over Portland. Enlisting the help of Lonnie's friends, Chazz and Malika, the group looks to resolve the mystery of not only the woman in white, but of two mysterious men in a van, and the dreaded Bardo!
eBook: Free on Smashwords / iTunes / etc.
In the follow up to "the Woman in White", Melody Jackson and her family is back with the second Episode of Season One's "It Happened on Lafayette Street". In this second installment, Melody and her family are confronted not only with an annoying babysitting gig, but also a horrific beast from the netherworld?
“Wait,” Bernie said. “Tell me. I can take it.” He realized then that the words weren't so much coming out of his mouth as they were emerging from his brain. He shook his head. Why was he trying to extract information that he was nearly one hundred percent positive that he didn't want to know. Especially from whatever entity lived down in this hole.
“Okay,” the voice said. “Then I'll tell you, though I must warn you that you might go mad. Are you sure?”