Q1: What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
The psychology, especially when it relates to a military way of life. All of my male characters are immersed in the army, or working with Special Forces, or part of the intelligence-gathering apparatus. It sets them apart from civilian life and brings about a fiercely tribal loyalty accompanied by a suspicion and wariness of giving away secrets when it comes to meeting people outside the military services. Before I began writing the Starbirth series I knew nothing about soldiers, the world of Special Forces and intelligence operatives, or the kind of mind-set that draws people towards the armed forces. My knowledge of men in general was confined to the more gentle type, so it has been a fascinating experience to learn about the different facets of male psychology.
Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Yes, just for fun. My simple secrets would be known to people who study the intelligence organisations of the UK. I’m not giving away any state secrets – I don’t know any – because what I have included is all in the public domain, if people know where to look. A bit of internet research would uncover them easily.
What superpower would you like to develop and why?
It would be great to fly, which is odd for someone who has a fear of heights. A lot of people wish to have the ability to fly, and that’s why wingsuits are such a brilliant invention, allowing humans to fly in a way that closely mimics the birds we envy. The adrenalin rush must be tremendous. Imagine not needing a wingsuit or any external power to keep yourself aloft, floating on thermals like eagles, cruising around the sides of mountains. For me, just a few feet off the ground would be a good start, hovering above fields and then trees.
I think the longing to fly is related to the feeling that comes from being able to control the previously uncontrollable. But forget the psychological analysis, the freedom to fly would be a blast.
J M (Jackie) Johnson is a freelance writer and e-book author based in the United Kingdom (Britain). She has published three books in the Starbirth science fiction and fantasy series:
Starbirth Assignment Shifter (updated 2016)
The Shifter Dimension (updated 2016)
Shadow Team GB (2015, updated 2016)
She is writing the fourth and final book in the Starbirth series. She is a member of several online writing groups. Follow the series on Facebook or the Starbirth Website.
J M previously worked in a professional capacity as a podiatrist in the National Health Service. She belonged to a spiritual group for eight years, following a particular spiritual lifestyle and making three pilgrimage trips to India. Her involvement fostered a lifelong fascination with powers of the mind. Two decades later she had the opportunity to join a group run by British ex-Special Forces and was a civilian member for six years. During that time she did extensive research into the military and intelligence worlds. These background experiences helped in the creation of her books.