Kasper Interviews Author Chris Johnson

Dead Cell (Revenant Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition Book Cover Dead Cell (Revenant Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition
Revenant Chronicles
Chris Johnson
Paranormal Action Thriller
Chris Johnson
November 2016

Road fatalities in Statton have jumped in a week to nearly half of Queensland's annual figures, and the authorities are concerned. They believe them to be accidents caused by driver carelessness and bad luck, but when his adopted daughter is killed, psychic investigator Craig Ramsey believes the causes are supernatural. He and his spirit companion Emily Fraser join forces with skeptic Detective-sergeant Brianna Cogan to catch the killer – but how do you catch a killer who is already dead?


The woman who had held Ramsey's hand earlier in the circle cried out, "They're after Thomas. Why would they be after him?"

  Possessed Angel's voice boomed. "Thomas, your victims have named you and is time to take your punishment."

  A fierce gusting wind came from nowhere, blowing with the speed of a hurricane, and pushed at Thomas. His long blonde hair, exposing itself as a fake hairpiece, blew away like a dead creature's skin, landed on a woman's head, and she screamed. Picture frames, furniture, and any other loose object flew towards Thomas. He did his best to fend the flying articles away with his hands and arms, with little effect, as the children continued crowding about him and chanting their names.

  At last, it became too much and Thomas ran, pushing past the living and running through the intangible spirits. Everyone else stayed where they were, watching Thomas flee like a madman, except Angel whose features reverted to his normal tanned flawless self as he fell into a heap. Ramsey noted the spirit form that left Angel's body at that moment. It resembled a man he had seen somewhere before but he was not sure of when or where.

  The spirit wore a leather jacket over a t-shirt and casual jeans with a brown Calvin Klein belt, its CK insignia visible in the leatherwork, and Nike shoes. Whoever the spirit was, he could not have died over ten years earlier, but Ramsey felt it was more recent. The spirit moved past Ramsey, appearing to ignore him, save for an eye movement that acknowledged his presence but showed no recognition. Ramsey felt the being's energy and interpreted it to be angry by its reddish tinge, but it was also a good spirit. It was not evil, just driven and vengeful, and it enjoyed scaring the living daylights from its targets.

  Emily appeared beside Ramsey, speaking in her Scottish brogue to him. "Does he look pissed to you?"

  Ramsey replied, "Just a tad. I'm going after him."

  "I don't think you will stop him," Emily called after him.

  Ramsey followed the avenging spirit, which was flying after Thomas who was trying to get to his Mitsubishi Pajero. The children's spirits milled about the adult spirit as though he was the pied piper, cheering on their avenger who followed Thomas without distraction. Ramsey had heard something about this thing before but could not place what it was.

  Thomas reached his vehicle and fumbled in his pocket for the remote. At last, he found it, just as the avenging ghost reached him and grabbed his neck from behind. He screamed in terror as the spirit pushed him hard, so hard, that his face hit the car's window with a sickening thud. Astral fists crashed into Thomas' body and he felt the wind knocked out of him. Somehow, he ducked another fist and dashed off down the street, throwing the remote to the side as he ran.

  "Wait!" Ramsey called to the male spirit. "Who are you?"

  It paused a moment to regard Ramsey, sizing him up to see if he was a foe or not, and bellowed back at him. "My name is not important to anyone but him right now." In a blink, it seemed to fade into a wispy cloud before it gained mass and rushed off after Thomas who was halfway down the street.

  Ramsey made ready to chase when he noticed that the children spirits were vandalising Thomas' Pajero. Random scrawling and graffiti appeared as though done by invisible spray paint cans on the vehicle's once pristine exterior. One of them, appearing to be a teenaged boy, manifested a large knife in its astral form and stabbed the tyres until it deflated.

  Ramsey snorted, pulling a helpless smile, before chasing after Thomas and his pursuer. He couldn't see them by this time, but Thomas' screaming was a dead giveaway leading Ramsey straight to a playground. Ramsey huffed down the street, approaching the park where a single streetlight illuminated the scene enough for him to see what was going on. The avenging spirit had caught up to Thomas and was now proceeding to rip the clothes off him as though they were paper. Garments and pieces of cloth flew about in all directions, ripped and torn. The leg of Thomas' jeans landed just in front of Ramsey as he stopped to take in the scene in disbelief.

  "Holy shit," he whispered.

  The spirit now had Thomas pinned face down to a playground roundabout and Ramsey wondered what it was doing to him. A smell of burning flesh reached Ramsey's nostrils, almost making him gag, and Thomas screamed louder. As he approached them, Ramsey felt an invisible force holding him back and all he could do was watch and wince at the smell of burning flesh.

  At that moment, Emily appeared beside Ramsey. Distracted, he looked at her. "Can't you stop it?"

  Emily shook her head. "No, that would not be my place to do. That gentleman has unfinished business with him."

***  Author Bio  ***


Chris Johnson is an Australian author who was born and raised in Rockhampton, Queensland. He now lives with his wife in Brisbane, where he works as a stage mentalist when he is not writing. He also has a background in sales and marketing, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology.

***  Author Interview  with Chris Johnson  ***


Kasper: Hi Chris, it’s great to have you above our FSFNet interview space shuttle.  Let’s fire up the warp drive and see what exciting places we go.

Do you have a pen name and why? I don’t have a pen name, but I have considered it for some works I plan to release in the future. The obvious benefit of a pen name is the anonymity, but it’s also a good way to check how people like your writing if you decide to write a different genre. For the time being, I am happy using my own name for my writing.

What was the defining event that made you start writing? I think the first time I every considered writing something longer than a short story was in seventh grade. I wanted to write something as fantastic as The Wizard of Oz. The exercise book I wrote the first eight chapters in disappeared some years ago. Then in eleventh grade, as part of an imaginative essay I wrote, I decided to take that character and write a novel with him. I ended up writing five of them, and a sixth with another character from the series. They are still unpublished, but one day they will meet more readers.

Wow, you’re sitting on a lot of novels there Chris.  I hope they see the light of day soon.

What other writing have you done? I have also written poems. My first one, Poker Queen, was a gambler who lost a card game to the woman of his dreams and married her. I was seventeen, and it felt good to see it published in The Morning Bulletin. I’ve since lost the original version of it, and I hope my mother saved a copy. The other poems are unpublished, being more private but just as whimsical.

What makes your writing unique compared to others in the genre? My style is laid back, and I try to imagine that I’m telling the story around a fireplace. The funny thing is one of my readers described the same feeling to me after reading my book Twelve Strokes of Midnight.

It sounds like you have conveyed the tone perfectly.

So, what made you choose this genre? I’m not sure if I chose the genre or if it chose me, but it seems to come naturally for me. It’s like choosing a genre that one loves to read. If it feels like a comfortable glove and you know it’s going to take you to great places, do it.

What’s the story behind your book title? “Twelve Strokes of Midnight” was chosen because there are a number of short stories; instead of each being called a chapter, I called them a stroke. In the case of my latest novel, “Dead Cell”, it’s a play on words around mobile phones (cell phones). It was either that or I could call it “Black Spot”. I had trouble deciding, so I put it to the members of my Facebook page at ChrisJohnsonAuthor, and “Dead Cell” won the vote.

What’s the basic plot of your “Dead Cell” book? “Dead Cell” is the first of a series revolving around Craig Ramsey (a psychic detective), Emily Fraser (a Scottish woman’s spirit from the Jacobite era only Craig can see), and Brianna Cogan (a detective-sergeant with the Queensland Police). Craig’s adopted daughter is killed in a traffic incident that is being written off as an accident by the police. But from a surviving witness’ words, Craig believes it was murder by a third party. The police don’t believe him because the whole incident was caught on the city’s camera network, and they could see no one else there. Brianna is the skeptical cop who believes he’s a grieving father off his rocker, but then they are forced together to form an alliance to find the killers.

Ooh…a psychic murder mystery.  Sounds intriguing.

Which scene from your book do you like best and why? There are a number of scenes I like a lot, but I don’t like to create spoilers. But, from my beta-readers, the characters are made believable through their shared conflict and growing tensions. There are also a few light comedic parts thanks to the medical examiner who seems to be missing a sandwich from his picnic…

Which is your favourite character and why?

I never thought I had a favourite character from “Dead Cell”, but if I had to have one, I would say Emily Fraser. Although she’s a spirit, she can still interact with Craig Ramsey, and she often makes sassy or smart comments to him while he’s talking with people who can’t see her. It makes him seem lost and causes him some embarrassment when he is trying to converse with Detective-Sergeant Cogan who is attractive to him. Emily latches onto that, and I think she knows more about the connection than they do.

Haha.  a cheeky ghost.  I like that idea.

What are you working on now?

After “Dead Cell”, I’m taking a short break because my wife and I are expecting our first baby in early 2017. But my next project will be to finish a book related to my work as a mentalist and psychic entertainer. That’s probably the time I wish I had a pen name as this one is going to be non-fiction, and I don’t want it confused.

That’s exciting news for the new year.  Best of luck with everything.

What do you do when you have writers’ block?

Take a break. If my muse needs a break, so do I. We all operate better when we are relaxed both mentally and physically, and I believe that goes for everything in life. Keep a balance.

How did you go about developing your cover artwork?

With a lot of hard work, persistence, and vision. Plus I use GIMP. Paintshop Pro used to be my tool of choice in design, but I find GIMP is a great tool, even if it is free.

Where do you see the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network in 5 years?

I believe the Fantasy Sci-Fi Network will be a good thing when it reaches its capacity. What I mean is: it needs everyone working together in co-operation to make it a real powerhouse of productive and creative talent. Participation is key, and those who fail to make excuses in supporting the network will succeed better than those who successfully create excuses.


Author Chris Johnson

***  Author Quick Quiz  ***

Favourite food: I enjoy Italian food, chicken, and fish and chips.

Silliest saying: He who lives by the sword gets shot

Best holiday spot: Byron Bay

Favourite song at the moment: My favourite song at the moment is “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. Tomorrow, it might be something of The Beatles or even something classical with a modern beat. I have no particular favourite, but I am partial to Queen, The Corrs, and some 80’s music.

With writing, are you a plotter or (seat-of-your) pantser? Both.

Star Wars or Lord of the Rings: Both.

Best superpower: It’s a secret

Number one thing to do on your bucket list: Live to see my first-born finish high school and, hopefully, attend university; she will be born in April 2017.

Well thank you, Chris.  It’s been a pleasure probing your mind today.  It’ll be interesting to see what you get up to next.  Best wishes.

Interviewed by Kasper Beaumont, author of the Hunters of Reloria fantasy series. www.huntersofreloria.weebly.com

***  Chris Johnson’s Author Links  ***

Website: www.thementalist.com.au

Blog: http://ChrisJohnsonAuthor.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ChrisJohnsonAuthor

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7200607.Chris_Johnson

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/aus_mentalist

Book trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTziOKmue_U

Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/chris-johnson

Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/ausmentalist

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  • Sally Ember, Ed.D.

    I would love to read and review your book, “Dead Cell,” with the psychic detective in it, Chris. Sounds fascinating; I like those kinds of stories (unless it’s very gory; in which case, pass). I have a Kindle and you can reach me at sallyember AT yahoo DOT com

    Mazel Tov on the new arrival next year, also!

    Best to you!

  • What a great premise! Awesome excerpt and interview, and congrats on the new arrival. As a new dad myself, I can see why you’re taking a break from writing. At the same time, there are times when writing may be the only thing keeping you sane, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself back on the laptop every now and then 🙂