Friday, August 5, 2022

Tyrell Johnson

Tyrell Johnson is a father, writer, and editor. His postapocalyptic novel The Wolves of Winter was an Indie Next pick and garnered praise from Entertainment Weekly, PopSugar, Vogue, and many others.

Johnson's new novel is The Lost Kings.

My Q&A with the author:

How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

The book actually started as simply the name of the main character, Jeanie King, and had a few different iterations before we settled on The Lost Kings. I think the title, like a lot of good titles, works well because A.) it just sorta sounds cool, and B.) it raises immediate questions, which hopefully sends the reader to the text for answers.

What's in a name?

Names are really important. I tend to come up with character names pretty quickly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t put a lot of thought into the decision. A name has to convey a certain feel to it that works well for the character. To me, Jeanie King has a powerful quality to it that I liked, but also leaves room for some vulnerability.

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your new novel?

These are good questions! My teenage self would think my new novels are pretty cool. He would, however, be wondering where all the dragons are.

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

Both! I think it might be exactly equal. I tinker with both obsessively. The beginning has a lot of pressure to not only entice the reader, but it has to set up the character and tone of the entire novel. A sloppy beginning can do so much damage to a story. On the flip side, the ending carries so much weight because it has the entirety of the novel on its shoulders—it’s the final note you leave ringing in your readers’ ears. So I’m gonna be lame and not pick either one to prioritize.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

I see myself in all my characters. And they’ve told me they see themselves in me too.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

Definitely movies/television. I love stories on any format. I’d just watched Fleabag before writing The Lost Kings, so I think a little bit of Phoebe Waller Bridge’s character seeped into Jeanie King in her dark humor and independence. Jeanie might be a bit darker though.
Visit Tyrell Johnson's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost Kings.

--Marshal Zeringue