Interview with Branden Johnson

Interview with Branden Johnson

Tell us about your latest book.
Heaven’s Forgotten is a story about fallen angels in Chicago in the 90s. It follows Moira Ley, a woman who had a love affair with an angel and gave birth to a child. Half-human, half-angel, the little girl has powers that no one fullly understands, but which the Fallen desire to use to further their own ends. When Moira’s daughter is taken by her former lover, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back.

What formats is the book available in?
It’s available in softcover, as well as for Kindle and Nook e-readers.

Who are your favourite authors?
I’ve always loved Neil Gaiman, and over the past few years I’ve really taken a liking to Stephen King. I had always assumed King was simply a horror author, but he writes such a variety of stories, and all with such a strong and compelling voice. Recently, I’ve also been enjoying the works of Margaret Atwood. Writing the things she did, when she did, you could almost say she was predicting our future.

What advice do you have for other writers?
Interview with Branden Johnson
It’s probably a cliché at this point, but: Don’t give up. I spent close to eight years working on various novels and short stories without getting much attention from the publishing world. If I hadn’t so frequently given up and gone on “hiatus,” who knows what things might look like today?

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
Joshua Wolf Shenk said this, and it’s been my mantra: “Get through a draft as quickly as possible. Hard to know the shape of the thing until you have a draft. Literally, when I wrote the last page of my first draft of “Lincoln’s Melancholy” I thought, Oh, shit, now I get the shape of this. But I had wasted years, literally years, writing and re-writing the first third to first half. The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly.”

Who designed the cover?
My wife actually designed the feather on the cover. When I first looked at it, I thought it was a photograph. I can’t imagine being able to draw at all, let alone like she does.

Where can a reader purchase your book?
It’s available on Amazon,, and others, as well as directly from the publisher at

Interview with Branden Johnson
Branden Johnson
What is your work in progress? Tell us about it.
My next book is about monsters—the kinds that parents used to warn their children about. “Behave yourself or the [fill in the blank] will come and take you away in the night.” What if one of those monster’s was real, and what if you made a deal with it to save your own life? What repurcussions would that have on you as you grew up?

What are your thoughts on self-publishing verses traditional publishing?
Several years ago, when self-publishing first showed up on the scene, I think I felt like a lot of writers felt: that it was the easy way out, and that, without anyone to separate the crappy writing from the good, we would be inundated with terrible fiction. However, in the years since, it’s become clear that, while it is certainly possible for bad writing to be published via self-publishing, there are actually quite a lot of bonafide gems out there. I think it’s a perfectly valid route to take if you so choose.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I play piano and acoustic guitar in a post-rock band called These Guys These Guys ( We play shows around Chicago as often as we can (though each of us is balancing at least one full time job, so it’s not as often as we’d like).


  1. I am reading this interview and wondering how young and enthusiastic this man is! It sometimes makes sense to speak with such writers to understand and feel what they feel, to see the world with their eyes. I like his idea about monsters that can wait for us in our own bedroom. He said what if it was true and one of those creatures we’re told being children was real. What if… It is intriguing! My friend who likes to use rushessay discounts for his paper to be written said he would read Haven’s Forgotten by Branden Johnson.


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