Intimate Conversation with Lloyd Johnson
Lloyd Johnson was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although he has dabbled in the creative arts since elementary school, he rediscovered his passion for writing in 2004, and has been working on his craft ever since.
Lloyd has traveled both domestically and abroad, having visited 14 countries. Besides the relaxation traveling has afforded him, he has found much of his creative inspiration. An avid reader, he enjoys African-American fiction and biographies. Lloyd Johnson is currently working on his third novel. He lives in New England.
BPM: How did you get to be where you are in your life today? Who or what motivated you?
I think just experiencing life has brought me through to where I am today. I like to think that my 20s were the time to mess up in the world; my 30s was intended to learn from my 20s; and my 40s allows me to hit the reset button and take all the lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn and move forward.
BPM: Who does your body of literary work speak to? Do you consider authors as role models?
I consider E.Lynn Harris a role model. He defined a genre. He had a very simple, unpretentious style of writing. I have secretly coveted his demographic: 60% women; 20% gay men; 20% other, all within the 18-49 age brackets. I’ll be happy if I can crack those demographics.
BPM: What inspired you to sit down and actually start writing this book? Why now?
I saw the movie “Precious” and subsequently read the book, “Push” by Sapphire. I was blown away and decided to write a book with a female protagonist who encounters adversity, but manages to come out on the other side. Why now? Why not now?
BPM: What did you enjoy most about writing this book, The Dog Catcher?
I enjoyed two things: The art of creating and secondly, writing the story was very cathartic for me. I was able to get a lot of anger out.
BPM: Could you tell us something about your recent work, The Dog Catcher?
The Dog Catcher is the story about Cheryl Greene’s choices in men, and how those choices dismantle her life. She’s someone to root for because her intentions are good. She doesn’t dive into drama just for drama’s sake. There is a lot of growth in her arc. It takes her time, but she gets there eventually.
Plez Jackson is evil personified, though that isn’t what we see when we meet him. But he is beguiling enough to make this woman lose herself to him. He has a method to stripping Cheryl down. Plus, his brutality, anger and unpredictability keeps the reader on edge. I had fun writing this villain because he’s one that many women have known. He stays with you.
BPM: Are there under-represented groups or ideas featured in your book? If so, discuss them.
Sexuality is addressed in this book. Cheryl has two gay friends. Her dealings with them inform her views on homosexuality when the issue hits close to home.
BPM: How does your book relate to your present situation, education, spiritual practice or journey?
One thing I’m proud of is Cheryl’s spiritual arc. When we meet her, she is completely turned off to religion and spirituality because her mother is very hardcore. But as Cheryl moves through the story, she develops her own relationship with God, and calls upon that faith throughout her journey. But she does so in what I think is a realistic way. She doesn’t go from zero to ten, but does the best she can.
BPM: Did you learn anything personal from writing your book, The Dog Catcher?
I learned that I held a lot of stuff inside and the emotions connected were still very raw. For example, much of what transpires between Cheryl and her eldest son, Lawrence, is based from events that happened to me. To draw from those memories and create fiction was painful at times.
BPM: Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?
I think the characters in the book are composites of people I’ve known in my life. People I went to school with and worked alongside with.
BPM: What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?
I had three objectives, really. First was to write in a consistent female voice. I think I accomplished that. Secondly, I wanted to write a good book that would allow people to get lost in the characters. I think I did well on that also. Thirdly, I wanted to bring awareness to domestic violence. People still behave as though this is something that happens every day, but with other people. Especially in light of Chris Brown and Ray Rice who have sort of become the poster boys for men who like to beat up women . But I think that if people really stopped and paid attention they could find people close to them. In fact, some people need only hold a mirror up.
BPM: What projects are you working on at the present?
I have a computer filled with files of things I could work on. Some things I work on more diligently than others. I have a story called, “The Broken Dolls Club” which I’m debating whether to leave it as a novella or if I could legitimately stretch it into a full novel.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
This is the best part. I enjoy interacting with the readers. They can go to my webpage, www.lloydljohnson.net; author Lloyd Johnson on Facebook; and my Twitter handle is @lloydjohnson19.
Purchase The Dog Catcher by Lloyd Johnson