K.F. Johnson Interview - Murderous Tendencies
K.F. Johnson gave me a copy of her book, What I'd Do For Love, to review. I enjoyed it and wanted to get to know her a little more - here's her interview.
Sam Hunter: Your book, What I'd Do For Love, let's talk about that real quick.
K.F. Johnson: Sure, that's my most recent book, which details the journey of a woman who killed her cheating husband and framed his mistress for his murder.
Sam: And the main character is quite full on. I said to you earlier that my journey getting to know her was one where I liked her to begin with. I was happy to overlook what she does right at the start of the book because she seemed to be getting it together. But soon I felt she was off the rails and I was kind of happy with the idea that she may get caught. Is that the usual reader reaction you get to this character?
KF: Judging by the votes from my readers for more in this series, it's possible my mainly women readers enjoyed her murderous tendencies more than you did.
Sam: Oh, I enjoyed her murderous tendencies but what got me was seeing how her true nature seemed to come through the more I got into the story. And I had to change my opinion of her. But she was still an enjoyable character. Can you explain a bit more about her?
KF: Greer Patterson is the product of an interracial relationship, and the illegitimate child of an affair. Consequently, she’s suffered a lot of bullying and has insecurities growing up in a household with her half siblings and step mother. She puts all of her trust and love into her father and husband, but the discovery of her cheating spouse sends her into a manic spiral she’s never experienced before. Once she’s sought revenge on her husband for his indiscretions, she’s determined to refrain from ever being anyone’s victim again. By any means necessary. It's a unique twist on a woman scorned.
Sam: What were you aiming for with Greer's charter and this book in general?
KF: My goal was to deliver a psychotic, intriguing and unique read that surpassed my other works. I don’t know if I fully achieved that goal, but I am happy with the majority of the feedback I received from readers. If nothing else, Greer Patterson is a memorable character.
Sam: I wouldn't hesitate to agree. Which were the most memorable, possibly the strangest things you had to research for the book?
KF: Probably the effects of Visine in alcohol and superstitious thoughts about a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Sam: Okay, some near spoilers there for potential readers. We'll leave the rest to their imagination at this point, and let me ask you how you came up with the ideas for this book?
KF: I was seeing a lot of social media posts about hypothetical situations where a cheated on spouse would have the opportunity to take in the child of the affair. I didn’t really believe most of the PC answers, and decided to write a book about the damage that may be done to a child in that situation by a woman who wasn’t okay with taking in a child created from an affair.
Sam: It's interesting you call it an opportunity. That sounds positive and yet it was so hard for Greer's step mother to deal with her husband's infidelity. Why do you think that was?
KF: Greer was a constant reminder, especially because of her looks, that her husband strayed to a woman completely different than her. Greer's mother had something Stephanie couldn’t go to the salon or the gym to fix or improve to compete with. Then the fact that Greer stuck out like a sore thumb in public and made it obvious to outsiders that this dark skin woman didn’t birth this nearly white, green-eyed girl, made it humiliating in Stephanie’s mind.
Sam: Do you think Greer's experience is in anyway common?
KF: I have heard and witnessed discriminative treatment towards bi-racial children and adults.
Sam: Was there a message for readers in all of this?
KF: Hopefully, after reading this book, people will think twice before disrespecting their own marital vows or commitments. You never know how someone will react to being betrayed, and it might not be pretty. And, I don’t think that people generally think about the issues bi-racial children go through, or that children created in adulterous affairs suffer. A lot of adults think about the carnal pleasures and not the long term effects of their behavior on the children.
Sam: And I have to ask, are your characters based on real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
KF: Sometimes, they are a combination of various people I know or have seen, with a sprinkle of myself included. The majority of them are birthed from my imagination though.
Sam: With the way your book ended, and your request for people to vote on whether they wanted to see more of Greer, I got the impression you had gone through a couple of ideas at least for the ending.
KF: Yes, I changed the ending several times but settled on the one I published.
Sam: If someone is brand new to your work, which book do you think they should start with?
KF: I would suggest starting with BEHIND CLOSED DOORS if you want to go from the book that started it all. Many of those characters from that book are sprinkled in some of my later works.
Sam: For those readers who don't know you, can you give us a flavor of who you are?
KF: I’m a native New Yorker from Queens, but I’ve been living in Atlanta, GA for most of my adult life.
Sam: And what about you influences your writing?
KF: My exposure to a multitude of cultures living in New York, and experiencing life in various environments. I grew up in a two parent household in a black, lower middle class neighborhood, but I was bused to predominantly white schools for elementary and junior high. It's all influenced my ability to adapt, analyze and view things from more than one angle, which is what I try to include in my character development.
Sam: As a reader, which bookshelf do you find yourself at in the library?
KF: I’m an eclectic reader, so I read Urban Fiction, Thrillers, Horror, Romance, Women’s Lit, Suspense and True Crime.
Sam: Favorite authors?
KF: Stephen King, Carl Weber, B.M. Hardin and Omar Tyree, who I had the pleasure of meeting once. He was complimentary, supportive and encouraging of my books. Since he’s one of my favorites, his kindness and accolades meant a lot to me.
Sam: And which authors can you recommend right now?
KF: I’ve recently discovered books by author Diamond Johnson. She’s written “From The Pole To The Palace” and “Brokenhearted Girl.” I was fully engulfed in her books and she’s got a new fan.
Sam: I feel like we've talked mostly about your book, so will you do another interview in the near future and we can get into a bunch of other stuff?
KF: Happy to.
Sam: And talking of the future, what projects have you got in the works?
KF: WHEN I’M BAD I’M BETTER 2 and INFLUENCED: EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF. They are next on my list to complete and publish.
Sam: What about a follow up for Greer Patterson?
KF: Given the responses from the majority of readers, WHAT I’D DO FOR LOVE 2 may be in the future as well.
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