Johnson, Jean 1972-
Johnson, Jean 1972-
Born 1972. Education: Earned degrees.
Home—Mill Creek, WA.
Writer. Has been a homemaker and freelance editor.
(With Erin McCarthy, Maggie Shayne, and Nalini Singh) An Enchanted Season, Berkley Sensation (New York, NY), 2007.
(With Carol Berg, Sharon Shinn, and Rebecca York) The Song, Berkley Sensation (New York, NY), 2007.
"THE SONS OF DESTINY" SERIES
The Sword, Berkley Sensation (New York, NY), 2007.
The Wolf, Berkley Sensation (New York, NY), 2007.
The Master, Berkley Sensation (New York, NY), 2007.
The Song, Berkley Sensation (New York, NY), 2008.
Contributor of short stories to various Web sites.
Jean Johnson began to write romance and fantasy novels while helping to take care of her ill father. In 2007 Johnson published the first three novels of "The Sons of Destiny" series in a four-novel contract she negotiated with Berkley Sensation.
The first novel in the series, The Sword, is set on both the Earth and the fantasy world of Nightfall Island, where eight brothers, four sets of twins, have been exiled to prevent them from falling in love with a woman. If they fall in love, the Curse of Eight Prophecy will bring disaster to their lands. Morganen, one of the younger brothers, reaches across worlds with his magical powers to help Kelly Doyle, an Earth woman accused of witchcraft who is trapped in her own burning house. Eventually Saber, the eldest brother, falls in love with her and the island is invaded after their wedding. With help from various objects from Earth, they defeat the invaders. Nina C. Davis, writing in Booklist, described the fantasy world as "a whimsical treat" and added that the eight "brothers are a joy to behold." Paula Myers, writing in Fresh Fiction, stated: "Once the characters and the distinctiveness of their world were sorted out, I found the story quite entertaining." Writing in the Midwest Book Review, Harriet Klausner noted that "the story line is humorous and magical."
The second book in the series, The Wolf, centers around Wolfer, Saber's twin, and his childhood love interest, Alys. She longs for him throughout his exile but is tormented by her uncle, Lord Broger. Broger has been sending monsters to Nightfall Island to try and kill the brothers and claim their lands for himself. Kathy Boswell, writing in Best Reviews, stated: "I thoroughly enjoyed Wolfer and Alys's story. Now I have to wait impatiently to see what is in store for the next brother in line for his destiny." Klausner, reviewing the novel in Best Reviews, concluded that "Ms. Johnson provides another winner." A reviewer on the CK2S Kwips and Kritiques Web site commented that "The Wolf is a beautifully written tale that should please fans of fantasy romance," adding that "once again, Jean Johnson has penned a fabulous fantasy romance."
Johnson told CA: "Back when I was eight or nine, I read a book with an ending I didn't like and decided I should rewrite that ending into what I thought should happen. It wasn't the world's best writing by any stretch of the imagination—I was only a kid—but it was so much fun, I just kept doing it and eventually moved on to inventing my own stories.
"I'd say my greatest influence is keeping an open mind to story possibilities in everything I see and do."
When asked to describe her writing process, Johnson said: "Sticky notes. Fragments of half-remembered dreams. A toothy plot-bunny of an idea that nibbles on me. Writing down a phrase or two on a sticky note that captures the essence of the story-idea, or a particular plot point I'll need to remember later on. Rolling dice for character descriptions and letters of names. Wadding up sticky notes with lousy character descriptions on them. Using more sticky notes. Listening to a lot of music while all of this is happening. A plot-bunny idea bites particularly hard, and then I write. Did I mention the sticky notes?"
When asked the most surprising thing she has learned as a writer, she answered: "The diversity of my readership. Genre fiction is a niche market, and yet I've had people telling me they enjoyed my works when they would otherwise not go near fantasy-romance. I particularly like the ones who say they got into it because someone forced the books on them, telling me I've converted them in spite of their natural resistance to such things. I've also had people say they really liked character X and hated character Y, and other people say they loved Y but loathed X … and both felt that way for the exact same reasons.
"I hope that my books entertain people, and that they will be the kind a reader comes back to again and again. But I also hope they inspire people in some way.
"Someone contacted me about The Wolf, praising me for having the courage to write about a character who had suffered from incest and abuse in her life. This woman, who had suffered from similar abuse in her own youth, was very pleased with how cleverly the character Alys had foiled her would-be assailant, and hoped others stuck in that sort of situation in their own lives would find what I wrote helpful. I had held a vague hope that people would get the point of that part of the story, but to have someone tell me so directly was very encouraging and gratifying."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2007, Nina C. Davis, review of The Sword, p. 67.
Midwest Book Review, February, 2007, Harriet Klausner, review of The Wolf.
Best Reviews,http://thebestreviews.com/ (January 30, 2007), Kathy Boswell, review of The Sword; (March 27, 2007), Kathy Boswell, review of The Wolf; (May 27, 2007), Harriet Klausner, review of The Wolf.
CK2S Kwips and Kritiques,http://www.ck2skwipsandkritiques.com/ (August 20, 2007), reviews of The Sword and The Wolf.
Fresh Fiction,http://freshfiction.com/ (January 15, 2007), Paula Myers, review of The Sword.
Jean Johnson Home Page,http://www.jeanjohnson.net (August 20, 2007), author biography.
Romance Reader,http://www.theromancereader.com/ (March 31, 2007), Cathy Sova, author interview.
Romantic Times,http://www.romantictimes.com/ (August 20, 2007), Jill M. Smith, reviews of The Sword and The Wolf.
Time Travel Romance Writers,http://timetravelromancewriters.com/ (August 20, 2007), review of The Sword.