I am so happy to be hosting the stop on my author friend Joshua Johnson's blog tour for his debut book, Bones on the Surface. Below is an inside look on his inspiration and writing process.
Bones On The Surface is my debut book. Released Saturday, this post kicks off the blog tour! So, first of all, a massive thank you to Zara for having me on her blog— I can’t wait for your own debut novel to be released! I’m looking forward to reading it. :)
This is the first of three blog posts for this blog tour. This first post will discuss ‘The Idea And The Writing’ behind the book. The second one will discuss ‘The World And The Characters’, the third and final post will discuss ‘The Future And The Potential’.
So, the idea. Bones On The Surface wasn’t the first book that I had attempted to write. From early on in my childhood, I had always written— I would often be that person in class when asked to turn in a page of creative writing, I would turn in a full sixteen pages. I used to say to great-grandparents, name my five things and I’ll make a story out of it, and then when I would reach the end of the story and read it out to them, I would start all over again with a new idea. At one point in my childhood, I used to write a daily ‘family newspaper’, and print it out and get my family members to buy copies!
At the start of 2012, I began to take more notice of books, or rather, how they were published. Still, I didn’t think that I would end up releasing a book, and so I just continued to write stories. In Spring 2012, I began writing a series of children’s books— they were set in a garden that was perfect and neat and tidy, and each book would follow a different character and their story. I wrote the first two, and then realized that whilst I liked my idea, the writing just wasn’t very good— still, it had helped me to outline, and it had taught me to stick with a book until I had reached the end, and so it was a learning curve. As the saying goes, ‘when you’re writing, you’re practicing for the next piece.’
In the middle of July, I re-visited an old outline for a YA (young adult) fantasy series. I began writing the first book, and I stuck with it. I told myself I would write a certain number of words per day, and that I would follow my outline— and I did. I continued writing it through the summer, on a flight, by a pool, and then back home again. It wasn’t until I got home, and read back through what I had done, that I realized that my idea just wasn’t good enough.
And then Bones happened. The idea just came to me. Two skeletons. An adventure. A lively room under a graveyard, with coffins lining the walls— but in a cozy way, not a scary way— that the skeletons could slid in and out of whenever they liked, all by using a library-style ladder that slid along the walls. Each skeleton would be named something fun— in the book, we now have Bones, Rattles, Ribs, Kneecaps, and Sockets, just to name a few— and they would live in this room— the Death Room. This would be the opposite of a Living Room that we have in our houses. To us, a room called the Living Room is normal. To Bones and Rattles and the rest of the crew, a Death Room is normal.
The only thing— skeletons aren’t allowed onto the surface of the Earth. So, naturally, Bones and his best friend, Rattles, wanted to escape. I loved this idea, I loved the world, and I loved the characters. But I was unsure whether to write it or not… because I didn’t want to ruin it.
It wasn’t until I mentioned it to a close friend on a bus as we were heading out one day that I shared my idea, just in casual conversation as we were discussing books. I mentioned Bones and the world of which I had created, and she said that I should write it— it was unique.
And so I wrote the book. The words spilled out, and as soon as I finished the first draft in October 2012, it was obvious that they had. I printed it off, and read back through it. I was still in love with the idea, but the book was too long and the writing was too simple. I either needed to turn this idea into a book for an older audience, and make the book suitable to the word count, or I needed to shorten it and make it more suited to the age group. As I was writing the book, I didn’t have an age group in mind. I was just writing for me. But I begun researching the book market once again, and that’s when I knew— if I was serious about this book— it would need to be changed.
In early November, I showed the draft to my family and friends— immediately, they were supportive. I changed the book, and cut it’s length dramatically. Now, into December/January 2013, I was happy with the book, I was happy with the length, and it felt done.
Since then, we’ve been counting down the months, the weeks, the days, the hours, and the minutes— and now the book is here. Bones On The Surface is finally here and Bones and Rattles have been let into the wild. Now, my characters are our characters. My world is our world. My book is our book.
And I hope that you love it just as much as I do, and that you enjoy reading it just as much as I enjoyed writing it.
BUY Bones on the Surface on paperback (US | UK) and on eBook (US | UK)
Joshua J. Johnson is an author who lives on the East Coast of England. He began writing books after he learned that they don’t just randomly appear on the shelf, but rather people actually sit down and write them. When he isn’t working on his next novel, he enjoys reading, watching How To Train Your Dragon, and drinking milkshakes. He is also the author of BONES ON THE SURFACE, as well as the upcoming YA novels SOULLESS, THE SWEET LIFE, and THEIR TIME TO GO.
Follow Joshua on Twitter and on his Blog
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I'm a self-published author— because being a college student wasn't hard enough! I write YA multi-genre fiction for young adults or the young at heart. I love This Is Us, NCIS, BBC's Sherlock,
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