Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Q&A and novel showcase with debut author A.G.S. Johnson

About A.G.S. Johnson

A.G.S. Johnson always intended to be a writer. But raised in a Midwestern family of five girls and no boys, she embarked on a career in the corporate world that would allow her to explore why men were treated differently than women. Armed with a business degree, for over 20 years she was a banker, most often working with international currencies.

Still, writing remained a dream, so she returned to school, earned a masters degree in fiction writing from the University of Southern California and proceeded to pursue her lifelong ambition. Her debut novel The Sausage Maker’s Daughters, 12 years in the making, releases Feb. 7, 2012.

In addition to her passion for reading, traveling and all things French, Johnson serves on the Board of the Council of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, and is a founding board member of The World is Just a Book Away. Proceeds from The Sausage Maker’s Daughters benefit this relatively young charity that builds libraries in developing countries.

Since the late 70’s Johnson has made her home first in Northern California, now in Los Angeles, where the author lives with her husband of 20 years and their menagerie of cats and dogs. She is currently working on her second novel, a medical murder mystery based on a true story of discovery and deceit.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this novel will be donated toThe World is Just a Book Away, a charity that builds libraries for children in developing countries, changing their lives forever through access to books.

Should you wish more information please go to: justabookaway.org.



Q.  What inspires your writing?

A. I suppose at the base of it all is my need to make sense of things, to understand.  Life is so ironic, complex, and surprising, and full of critical lessons, I suspect, if one pays attention. 

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?

A. I deeply appreciate the luxury of spending time delving into those ironies and analyzing those life lessons.  A hopeful result would be personal growth. 

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?

A.  It’s a very hard business in every sense -- the writing itself, editing, publishing, marketing and selling.  You have to want to do this so badly that you cannot walk away, no matter how hard you try (and I have, just never succeeded).  Come to think of it, the writing may have been the easiest of those challenges.

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?

A. I’ve only confessed my secret ambition to my husband, and now you: I would love to be a professional dancer.  It’s quite laughable really.  

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?

A.  Even the Bad TimesAre Good.  After all, the ups and downs got me here, and it has certainly never been dull.

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A.  That is a hard question to answer since there are a number of pivotal books and authors in my life, but the one that made me a reader was Michener’sHawaii in my early teens.  Beryl Markam’s West with the Night was inspirational to a young woman.  But that’s two....sorry.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A. My favorite characters are never like me, which is why they inspire and challenge me to grow and change.  Scarlett O’Hara, Katniss Everdeen, Beryl Markham as herself, Lisbeth Salander, Mariko San, Sophie … this could go on and on.

Q.  What character from all of your book are you most like?

A. I’d like to say Phil(omena), the lady lawyer, but she’s way more adult, graceful, and smart.  But maybe some day.  

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A.  I always loved Fall best when I lived in Wisconsin, the crisp air and dazzling light, the color of the leaves turning.  I obviously miss it.

Q.  What inspired your book cover?

A.  The cover says Wisconsin to me in a glance, and the barren winter scene also hints at the tale within.  The colors are soothing to me.  Plus, I love cows, always have.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.

A. I blogged about a humbling experience I recently endured.  I did a book event at a downtownbookstore that was not only a second-hand store so hardly a fit to start with, but it was impossible to get to due to traffic and scheduled an hour later than I’d been told.  Despite the ubiquitous empty seats, I was asked to stand on a raised dais and speak from a podium through a microphone to an audience of three with a few folks wandering in and out throughout.  It was all I could do not to laugh at my voice booming over three people in a sea of unnecessary chairs.  Humbling.

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A. I’m spending most of my time now touring, doing festivals, and getting The Sausage Maker’s Daughters out into the world.  But yes, I have a novel I’m polishing for publication that involves another female protagonist very different from Kip Czermanski, and another murder mystery based on a true story of a doctor murdered to keep his discoveries from coming to light. 

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  I thank you so much, all of you, for your interest and support of my work.  It has been my privilege to receive your comments and enthusiasm for it.  I intend to work hard to merit your continued following.  And do follow me on Facebook (A.G.S.Johnson, the periods are essential), Twitter, LinkedIn, and my blog! 
And something else I do talk about at book events: support your local bookstores if you wish to have such things in your neighborhoods in the future!

The Sausage Maker's Daughters: A Novel

Book Description

February 7, 2012
The sausage maker's youngest daughter is heading for the fight of her battle-scarred life. It's the era of the counterculture and Vietnam. But twenty-four-year-old Kip Czermanksi is nowhere near her home in California. She's in a jail cell in her hometown in Wisconsin awaiting a court appearance in the mysterious death of her ex-lover, who happened to be her brother-in-law. Given her father is the small town's leading citizen; Kip isn't overly worried, at first. But the personal grudge the DA holds for all the Czermanskis is about to find a foil. Kip. What follows is a wild ride through Kip's present predicament and her past. She'll come to regret leaving her life in LA, regardless of the good reason for which she returned, when family dynamics and sibling rivalries, magnified by her counterculture attitudes and feminist beliefs, lay Kip's life bare before the courtroom. Distrusting her legal team, her rebellious history well known, things both personal and legal spiral out-of-control. It doesn't look good for Kip Czermanski.


Book Tour: Book signings/appearances

Printer’s Row Lit Fest  
Sat. - Sun., June 9 - 10
New! Appearance is confirmed for Saturday, June 9th. More details to follow.

Beaverdale Books 
Mon., June 11, 6:30 PM
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
2629 Beaver Ave.
Suite 1
Des Moines, IA 50310
phone: 515-279-5400

The Book Case of Wayzata
Wed., June 13, 7 PM
7pm - 8:30pm
607 East Lake Street.
Wayzata, MN 55391
phone: 952-473-8341

Booked for Murder | Thurs., June 14, 6 PM
2701 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53705
phone: 608-238-2701

Mystery One Bookstore
Fri., June 15 6 PM
2109 N. Prospect Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53202
phone: 404-347-4077
Contact: Richard Katz; mystery1@wi.rr.com

The Book Cellar
Wed., June 20
Local Author Night with authors Gillian Flynn & Bryan Gruley
4736-38 North Lincoln Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
phone: 773-293-2665

Mysterious Galaxy
Sat., June 23, 2 PM
Local Author Meet & Greet
2810 Artesia Blvd.
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
Phone: 310.542.6000

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