An Interview with Author Craytus Jones aka Bob Johnson

It’s rare to find someone being their authentic self on social media. Craytus Jones might be the exception. Naturally, I had to begin with the following question:

Sam: If you could upload your consciousness to the cloud and inhabit a robot body, would you?

Craytus: No. I wouldn’t trap my consciousness in this place any longer than life deems necessary. I believe it has a Next Place to get to when this adventure ends.

For the record, I agree. Likewise for cryogenic storage.

Yep. I have a lot of thoughts on that front.

I know this body is just a vehicle. It can do many wondrous things. But, when it finally breaks down, I will get out and walk Home.

That’s quite beautiful. You’ve been candid about your experiences with cancer and facing your own mortality. Has it impacted your idea of success with your creative pursuits? If so, how?

Yes. It reminded me that I’m mortal and that my time on Earth is limited. So, I’d better get some shit done before I have to leave. Success is a silly word. I suppose if I had to define it, I’d say it’s shedding one’s identity and living in one’s true essence.

I agree wholeheartedly. Do you plan ahead? Are the next five or ten years mapped out?

In business matters, yes…to a point. Mostly to make others who depend on me feel happier and more secure. Everything else: I try to live in the moment. I fail often, but my failures are fucking spectacular!

Wanna hear something funny? I grew up the youngest of six. We were broke. When I was really young, living space was limited. So, I read and wrote lying prostrate on the concrete floor of the garage. To this day, I write best lying in my belly on the floor. I have been seen many times lying on the floor of an office or Writing room in a 3 piece suit tapping away at my laptop as it sits on the floor in front of me.

That’s fantastic!

My partners hate it, but they know it will bring out the goodies.

You’re prolific in the Twitter writing community. Are there any other writing groups you’re apart of? How do they support your process?

I’ve had the same Writing partner for 26 years. I guess we’re a “group.” I do writing exercises daily. I hate to throw them away, so … Twitter. They seem to inspire others to do them as well. I like that for some reason.

Do you write everything major with your writing partner?

Yes. He is my best friend, and he went through the riotous mayhem of my youth with me. Plus, we’re opposites in many ways.

Do you both participate in all parts of the process, or do you divide responsibilities?

Depends. It’s fluid. We’re giant children. To explain our methods would confuse anyone but us.

How many projects do you think you’ve worked on?

Wow. I don’t know. High hundreds to low thousands. A lot. I’ll put it this way: I have to learn to work with any other writer or group. It’s always a major adjustment. Writing with John is not work; it’s as natural as having a conversation that breaks into a singalong.

That’s great. What are you guys working on right now? Can you tell us?

Several things. The main project is an IP called Head Wounds. We are in negotiations with a company about the story, world, and media possibilities…so, I can’t say much until it’s all worked out. Other than that: Samurai and aliens, alternative reality Western/ Horrors, a thriller/crime film/drama….lots of crazy stuff. We built a steampunk pirate world… LoL. It’s endless. But, this is just what we’ve always done. One world after another. One story after another. We create things.

I just tweeted the truth about me: I write 27 plot points, make a bunch of scene, character, and story circles, do an intricate outline, write backstories, create world rules and factions. Then, I forget all that shit and write like I’m possessed.

Do you usually build for the screen? Do you ever write novels? And speaking of creating, what else do you create besides stories?

Everything. Everything. Everything. LoL.

I draw poorly. I carve wood. I build doors. I like chalks and pastels. I write everything and share little. I build… like houses and stuff. I also like bushcraft. I could go on and show pics but it’s annoying. Annoying to others… not me. I make stuff. I like to talk about it.

Hah! Not annoying at all. How do you find the time and energy?

I get these feelings. They well up into these bursts of creativity. I become possessed, create a ton of stuff, then rest. Then, it happens again. I literally can’t help it. I do things I’ve never learned or thought about how to do. It’s just this thing inside that insists on coming out. If I don’t let it out, then I turn into a raving jackass. If I do, I remain very cool and calm.

I don’t even care how “good” or “bad” people think my stuff is. It simply must happen. There is nothing else. I probably obsess over my writing too much. Definitely more than I do the other stuff. I blame that personality flaw on education. I’m thankful for it, but I despise it all at once. Right now, I’m locked in a room writing a string of loosely connected short stories. Horror/psych/thriller. I have no idea what it is for, but I can’t stop writing it. Probably end up for sale on my website.

Shockingly, the eBook is selling.

That’s great! It doesn’t surprise me.

Thanks. I never know what people will want.

No one really does, although being a futurist would be a very cool job. Or maybe really stressful for someone like me, who tends to think the worst of the future (dystopian sci-fi lover since birth).

Now is always better. Seriously. It’s always been right now. Everything else is either dead or hasn’t been born yet. There’s just Now.

What three stories would you take to the ends of the earth with you? Or a deserted island or the like?

Sorry, I need 5. The book of Exodus, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas The Island of the Sequined Love Nun, The Hobbit, and Dune. Moses, Hunter S. Thompson, Christopher Moore, Tolkien, and Frank Herbert. That’ll work. Might have to smuggle in some poetry, too.

Solid choices. If you could push a button and learn everything there is to know about humanity, as impossible as that may seem, would you?

No. I’d rather learn the hard way. That way I can feel it; not just know it.

Knowledge without passion, truth, adventure, love, and rage is nothing. I’d rather eat ice cream than read about what it feels like to eat ice cream. I want scent, texture, flavor, temperature and brain freeze to all be things I’m experiencing with my own senses for the first time. Then, they become a part of me. Anything you get too easily is cheap and boring. It falls away. That for which you struggle and adapt becomes part of your DNA.

What is your stance on talking politics on social media, and why?


One side: This is the only solution!

Other side: No! This the only solution!

One side: Will you compromise?

Other side: No! Will you?

One side: No! I’d much rather keep yelling back and forth while nothing gets done!

Other side: Me, too!

It seems like more and more people realize this. So why do we still see so much of it in our feed?

I’d rather talk about real people than issues. And, I’d rather hear about solutions than blame.

We can’t agree on what the problems are, let alone the solutions.

Because it’s fashionable to be extremist and uncompromising. It’s what I think Rome must’ve been like right before it burned.

That’s comforting. Last question for now: what do you think of the current state of indie and small press publishing?

It’s a big damn mess. I, like you, have had the blessings and curses of seeing it from both sides of the fence. I think the Mythology that has sprung up around it is amusing. The writers see the publishers as some dragon they must slay to reach their goal. The publishers and agents see the writers as a horde of zombies that relentlessly encroach without ceasing. We’ve all forgotten that these are just other people. Not an enemy or a rabid beast.

All markets are flooded. So, the writers are desperate for attention and help. The publishers are swamped and tired. The whole thing is a big damn mess. The key that I’ve found to selling my work in a similar market is to treat people like people. Like they matter because they do. We are friends helping one another to solve a problem. We are not enemies trying to get one over on the other side every chance we get.

I think that until people begin to see one another as we truly are, and not as emotional mobs and frozen-hearted gatekeepers we’ve come to believe, that the shenanigans will continue and the infection will spread. And, the only true victim is good art. I don’t know if you can extract anything sensible from that, but that’s how I feel.

Everybody just wants to matter.

Find Craytus’ book of writing tips on his website and follow him on Twitter.

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