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Look who stopped by for a chat

T:  Good Morning Sharon and Elias thanks for joining me this morning. I hope your drink /coffee (choose if drink what would it be) is strong enough?

S: I usually drink bottled water.

E: Good Morning Teresa! I would like a cup of Black coffee please and a glass of water with lemon.

T: I promise for this set of questions I’m going to keep things fun and light (well, light for me) so let’s get started.

T: Elias tell us a little about the Live Poetry Slams you did in Hollywood?

E: It’s live poetry in the raw. Just you and the audience. Sometimes you freestyle the poetry (creating it on the fly). Other times you would pick different poems that you have written and challenge each other on the stage to one up  each other. It was a very liberating experience and helped hone and shape my creative skills.

T: Does it now feel like you’ve known each other longer than a year?

S: Actually Teresa, it does. It seems like Elias has been a part of my life forever. Right from the start, there was an instant connection. With both of us being authors and poets, that was something that brought us together. But as time has gone on, we’ve found so many more things we have in common. We never run out of things to talk about. Elias is one of the most intellectually stimulating people I know, as well as funny and real. One minute Elias and I are talking about our book, the Live Writes, our kids, how our day has gone, telling stupid jokes, football and then all of a sudden, he’ll read a gorgeous poem he’s written or I’ll share something of mine. I’m very blessed to have Elias as one of my very best friends.

E: I feel like we’ve been friends for years and years. During the course of this novel, I think our friendship has grown tremendously.

T: When you guys decompress after a Live Write is it just analyzing the flow of the writing or do you let loose and laugh etc.?

S: Elias and I used to talk about our Live Writes in the beginning. What worked and what we thought we might improve upon. But now, we know each other so well that we’re like excited little kids after our writes. Julie, my PA and great friend always chooses a great pic for us. The last time we wrote together the pic was of a guy on top of a girl in the back seat of his car. There was nowhere to go, but straight to some pretty hot sex. I told him it was the most cybersex he and I have ever had. We both started cracking up. Lol Most of our pics are more romantic and there’s lots of anticipation.

E: We actually do that during the write. We normally will PM each other and joke and tease each other. Not so much to discuss the flow, but have fun with it while we are in the middle of creation.

T: What things have you guys improved on as you’ve been writing these nine months?

S: The further we’ve gotten into this project, the more depth we’ve been able to bring to it. I’ve always been an emotional writer, but writing for all my characters, is very different from feeding off of another writer’s point of view. Elias, has brought an aspect to Jacob, that’s obviously different than Belle’s. Whereas, Jacob, is talking a lot more about what’s happening with the war, as well as his love for Bell. Belle, is talking more about what’s happening on the home front and her great love for Jacob.

E: Our writing has definitely synchronized with each other. I love the banter between writing passages when we are egging the other on to top that. It really is a lot of fun and Sharon has been a joy to write with and teach as well. I think that place of humility that we both come from, where we want the best from each other, has really been front and center. A gentle suggestion on phrasings, to not go into the gutter so quick, but to parlay our words into something satisfying and beautiful.

T: Is it hard for you guys not to go into the gutter to quick?

S: Not really. There’s an occasional phrase where we’re like, really? Did we just say that? But for the most part because we were having to focus on what Jacob and belle would’ve said, we’ve kept our sentences and phrases pretty clean lol

E: I always try to take the reader on the journey first. Hook them emotionally to the write before going into the more intimate details as the story unfolds.

T: Have you talked about taking your Live Writes and creating longer stories from them like you did with Letters?

S: Not at this time. Between Elias’ various projects and mine, as well as, we both have our hands pretty full. But I do like the idea of that. Mr. Raven (I love calling him that sometimes lol) and I might just have to sit down at some point and talk about doing it. We certainly do have a lot to work with, after so many months of writing together.

E: We do have our hands pretty full. Maybe at some point we can transition one of the stories over into a Novella or Novel or perhaps work on a book of short stories.

T: You guys have your hands full? Can you tell us what a bit about why that is?

S: After ‘Letters Away’ is released, I have another poetry book I’ll be releasing with my friend and fellow poet Ryan Baird, called ‘Partners in Rhyme’. I also have a book called DJ’s Blogs (the prequel to my first novel ‘The Chat Room) Elias and Elias and I will also be releasing a book of all of our Live Writes from 2016. I have a few other projects in the works and I’ll be doing my first author signing in New Orleans (NOLA) in May. There’s another soon to be announced project people that will be announced the beginning of Feb. Needless to say, next year I have no plans on slowing down.

E: I can only speak for myself. Between the movie/trailer/music studio, story and poem creation and recording readings as well as working full time, etc… it can be a bit of a juggle.

T: What made you decide to write a more historical story?

S: I thought of writing a story of two high school sweethearts separated by a war, when Jacob was drafted into the army, after graduation. My dad was in the Korean war and as it turns out, so was Elias’ dad too, so that was the easy choice for the time period.  Elias enthusiasm for our book, has become positively infectious and I can’t imagine partnering up with anyone else for a project like this.

E: I loved Sharon’s idea and ran with it. I remember mentioning Hemmingway’s “ A Farewell To Arms” or Tom Brokaw’s Flags Of Our Fathers. As we worked on the framework together, we were able to write.

About the Authors:

image_8802Sharon Johnson

From the time Sharon Johnson learned to write, she had one dream, to become a writer and author. Writing has always been the one constant through every moment, both good and bad, in her life. She started with basic Haiku and rhyming poems; then later, she started writing simple one to two page stories. She’s always kept journals documenting her life and those of her children. Through every poem, story and journaled event, she never stopped looking for what she calls her ‘Charmed’ book. Year after year the book never came, until the summer of 2013, when a two to three page idea max, turned into ten then twenty pages and kept growing from there. It became clear within a very short time, her characters had much more to say and their story was far from over. And that’s how ‘The Chat Room’ was born. Eighteen months and a lifetime later, her dream finally became a reality in August 2015. There’s a saying she’s created as a part of her daily mantra; “Never stop looking for your happy ending, because your story isn’t finished yet…

Coffee House Poets. Live Write Page / Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

Elias Raven 10711189_217042408645375_1847165269_n

Elias Raven was born and raised in Los Angeles. He’s an avid reader with a lifelong passion for writing. He’s a storyteller, a poet and a talented musician with an amazing voice. Oh, and let’s not forget an amazing cook!

As a young boy he spent many summers reading classics such as “The Adventures of Sherlock Homes” and “The White Company” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. His creativity was constantly being pushed as he learned more and more about the world around him. His taste in literature spanned from classics to science fiction/fantasy. He expanded his taste devouring everything from William Blake to Milton, Dante, Baudelaire, Arthur Rimbaud, T.S. Elliot, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Khalil Gibran, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, Paul Verlaine, Walt Whitman, Alan Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Carl Sandburg, Dylan Thomas, and Jim Morrison. These inspirations and his sheer love for reading had him take pen to paper around the age of 20.

Did I mention he’s a Musician? …You can often find him playing his guitars (both electric and acoustic) and keyboards and singing (4 octave ranges) in his home studio. He’s a classically trained music aficionado -trained early on by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Hayden, Liszt, as well as Big Band, Jazz and Rag Time. Spending time with his father at the Los Angeles Philharmonic; experiencing his first orchestra concert at the age of 9.

Elias the Gourmet Cook…Oh My!…His Japanese mother and grandmother trained him very well in fine culinary skills both in cooking and food appreciation from all over the world such as Italian, Indian, Moroccan, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Hawaiian, Pilipino, Greek, and Polish.

When Elias is not reading, writing, composing music or cooking…he can be found listening to music, playing games, hanging out with his kids. He enjoys going to concerts, going on culinary adventures, sightseeing, spending the day at the beach or in the mountains…just doing something adventurous!

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