The League of Scribes: Interview With Johan Twiss

Each week, The L. Palmer Chronicles uses the Super Ring of Powerful Awesomeness to bring you a member of The League of Scribes.

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The League of Scribes is a legendary group of authors who write grand adventures in the realms of science fiction and fantasy. They are able to write rich, compelling stories while keeping content in the PG –PG-13 range.

If you have been on a quest to find clean sci-fi and fantasy novels, you have reached the right place.

This week, we present:

Johan Twiss

Author Johan Twiss - John Burger

Otherwise known by his Code Name: Spidergoose

Spidergoose from author Johan Twiss:

Named after one of my favorite mixed-species animals in my series, I Am Sleepless.

About the Author:

My name is Johan Twiss. It’s a pleasure to meet you and thank you for your interest in my books. Besides being an author, I’m also a husband, a father, a church volunteer, and a business owner. As such, I am sleepless– along with much of the human race.

I am passionate about writing clean science fiction and fantasy stories that are not only exciting, but suitable for tweens, teens and adults alike.

Currently, I live outside Dallas, Texas with my sweetheart and our 5 crazy kids. We enjoy playing games, watching movies, having jam sessions on a variety of instruments and throwing the gauntlet down for Family Fight Night. Yes, you read that correctly– Family Fight Night. We suit up in the sparring gear and my kids attack me, practicing their blocks and strikes from martial arts class. Basically, they get to beat-up dad and have a great time.

Johan Twiss’s Work

I Am Sleepless by Johan Twiss:

Excerpt:

While the others slept, Aidan spent hours each night running sim after sim. Although he was only a twelve-year cadet, he had completed more simulations than any prime— ever.

“You are setting history,” General Estrago told him. “No one has ever made it to the current simulation you are attempting. The other Masters and I are eager to see what comes next.” 

So was Aidan.

Synopsis:

The planet Ethos is at war with a mysterious enemy known as the Splicers. Their only successful defense is the Prime Initiative. All newborns with the compatible genetic code are taken from their families and injected with the Prime Stimulus. Each child that survives the stimulus develops an extraordinary ability and is conscripted into the military for training.

After turning twelve, Aidan is moved to the upper-class at the Mount Fegorio training complex. His special gifts allow him unprecedented success in the virtual training simulations, advancing him further than any prime cadet in history. No one knows what lies after sim 299, not even Director Tuskin, the ruthless and reclusive ruler of their planet. But something, or someone, has been guiding Aidan there. If he can pass the final tests, he may discover the key to ending the Splicer War.

Interview

Who would love your books?

Though many adults have enjoyed I Am Sleepless, the response from kids age 10-15 has been amazing. I have parents telling me how much their kids, who according to them never read books, picked up my book and devoured it. I love getting feedback like that.

What was the inspiration for your latest book/series?

The idea for I Am Sleepless came after I dreamt about kids with super powers, but they all had physical handicaps. I wanted to write about kids with handicaps and how they overcame them. Even though my characters have super powers, the kids I have met in real life who deal with various disabilities show just as much ingenuity, determination and ability as the main characters in my books.

Around the same time I had this dream, I was also thinking a lot about how much I could accomplish in life if I never had to sleep. Like how many books I could write and stories I could tell if I were able to stay up all night and write. Mash those two ideas together and the story for I Am Sleepless sprang to life.

If a movie of your book were made, what movie(s) would it be most similar too?

Ender’s Game, X-Men, and Star Wars all mixed up together in a castle with Dragleons.

Do you use music while writing? If so, what music do you use? Is there a theme song for your book?

I have a hard time writing without music, but I can only listen to music without vocals when writing. If someone is singing, the words in the music distract me as I write. I have a “Writing Shuffle” on Pandora with instrumental music ranging from Miles Davis, Piano Guys, Hans Zimmer Soundtracks, Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, Herb Albert & the Tijuana Brass and much more.

What authors or books inspire you most?

A More Perfect Union

Brandon Sanderson, C.S. Lewis, Dean Hughes and Ron Carter

Would you rather ride a galactic unicorn or a space dinosaur? Why?

Velociraptor in Space

Space Velociraptor. The unicorn spires create the worst blindspots when riding them. You always have this long horn right in the middle of your view. Super annoying.

If you were conquering the world, what fantasy or sci-fi creature/race/entity would you build your army out of? Why?

The Hulk. You can’t go wrong with an army of angry hulks. Especially if they are riding Space Velociraptors.

When did you decide to be a professional writer?

My writing journey started when I became involved with Anti-Human Trafficking non-profit groups. (You can learn how I that came to be at my other blog, www.abolitionistjb.blogspot.com). As I learned about modern slavery and met former slaves, I realized I wanted to tell these stories so others knew this was a reality in our world today. But some of the stories and accounts of modern slavery are so raw and unnervingly sad that they can be hard to read about without spiraling into self-depression.

I set out with the goal to write a fictional story that gave the facts regarding different aspects of human trafficking, but gave hope to the reader through a hero who fought back. I wanted to make learning about these tragedies palpable so readers didn’t just dive into a fit of depression as they heard these stories, but came out of it with a basic knowledge of modern slavery in the world, what’s being done to combat it, and how they can get involved.

This was the basis for my first story, FREEDOM (http://www.johantwiss.com/freedom.html). It became a 90,000 word, action adventure/crime novel. The process of writing this first book hooked me for life and I knew I wanted to make writing a profession. This first book was my education in writing, along with the Writing Excuses podcast, which I listened to religiously while writing FREEDOM. Through this experience I found my style, my voice, and my process as an author. Since the original 90,000 word novel needed a total overhaul, I decided not to rewrite the book completely (wanting to keep myself moving forward as a writer instead of getting stuck on the same story), and I instead turned it into a novella that I plan to release in the Dec of 2016.

Are you a planner, a discovery writer, or a hybrid?

Hybrid. I have a growing list with dozens of book ideas. As the ideas stew in my mind and plots begin to formulate, I will make bare-bone outlines for them—like my outline has 12 bullet points for the whole book. The rest is done via discovery writing. That act of discovery and imagination is the drug that keeps me writing.

What is your number one piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Write every day. That’s the answer everyone gives, but it’s number one. Number two on my list is to listen to the Writing Excuses podcast. Listening to that podcast has been the equivalent of me taking a few college level courses on writing.

Where do your books fall on the Rating Scale of PG to PG-13 Content (1 = How To Train Your Dragon, 8 = The Dark Knight, 10 = Borderline-R-Rating).

PG. There are no scenes in my books with sex, drugs, graphic violence or typical “earth” swearing. There are numerous fight scenes and action sequences where people are injured and/or die, but it is not graphic and most of it takes place in a virtual simulation where everyone is okay when the exit the sim. Swear words are fitting to the fictional world of Ethos, such asTuskin’s Fury, Batmonkeys, Holy Hippophants, etc… There are budding romances with kissing involved. There are suspenseful situations with monster alien creatures, fitting of the science fiction genre, and an overall thematic undertone of good v. evil that is suitable for tweens, teens and young adults.

To explore the worlds Johan Twiss has created, check out the books below:

To Interact with Johan Twiss, check out the links below:

Readers:

  • Do you have any more questions for Johan Twiss?
  • What is your favorite super power?
  • What would you name your pet space velociraptor?

If you would like to join the League of Scribes, please e-mail lpalmer@lpalmerchronicles.com

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