Author Interview: Justine Johnston Hemmestad

I’d like to welcome author Justine Johnston Hemmestad to my blog. Want to learn more about her? Read on! 
  1. What is your name and where do you call home? Justine Johnston Hemmestad, from central Iowa
  2. Do you have a pen name? Nope, the same as my legal name.
  3. What is the name of your most recent book and if you had to sum it up in 20 or fewer words, what would you say? “Visions of a Dream” focuses on the spiritual fire that ignites Alexander the Great’s actions as he learns from the other cultures he comes into contact with. His closest relationships vie for his love but they also provide the steel he needs to be sharpened spiritually and emotionally, for before he conquers the world he must first conquer his own mind.
  4. Is the above book part of a series? No
  5. What or who inspired you to start writing? I became interested in Alexander the Great’s story in the mid ’90s after watching a documentary about him and admiring his persistence and perseverance. In 1990 (I was 19) my car was hit by a city bus – I sustained a severe brain injury, was in a coma, paralyzed, and the doctors thought I wouldn’t recover (my story is in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Recovering from Traumatic Brain Injuries). Within a few months I was walking again and my husband and I moved to Iowa where we started our family of seven kids, and I began writing to cope with severe PTSD. I began college part-time in the mid-2000s, as I continued to research and write Visions of a Dream. I’ve earned my BLS from The University of Iowa, and I’m now working on a Master’s Degree in Literature through Northern Arizona University.  And how long have you been writing? 27 years.
  6. How did you come up with the cover? My son, Bradley Hemmestad, conceived of the idea for my cover art after reading the book. Who designed the cover of your book(s)? Bradley Hemmestad of Max Graphics
  7. Did you listen to any particular songs while writing your book(s)? I remember listening to “Voodoo” by Godsmack when I wrote the part about Alexander entering Babylon.
  8. How did you come up with the title for your book(s)? It occurred to me in a dream.
  9. Do you have a book trailer? If so where can we watch it? Yes! My son Bradley Hemmestad created it and it’s symbolic of a spiritual romance in the midst of war.
  10. Do you prefer e-books, paperbacks, hard-covers or audio-books? paperbacks
  11. Are you a self-published/Indie author? I’m published by Turtle Shell Publishing, which is a very very small publisher.
  12. Have you ever read a book more than once? And if so what was it? Yes, the Bible
  13. What is your opinion of novellas? My first book was a novella: which was a great format for me to tell my story very symbolically.
  14. Have you ever read a book just based on its cover? I hope that people are enticed by the covers my son creates for me – I would read based on his covers.
  15. What is your favorite film based on a book? Wwithering Heights
  16. What is your favorite book genre at the moment? History
  17. What books have made it onto your wish list recently? And why? Historical research materials.
  18. What book are you reading at the moment? And in what format? I’m just working hard on marketing my book and writing a few more historical ones I have started.If you could invite any four (4) celebrities (alive or dead) to your dinner party, who would you invite and why? James Dean, John Steinbeck, Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe
  19. What’s the best advice that you have been given when it comes to writing? Use as few words to get your point across as possible, The University of Iowa, and also a quote from Ezra Pound
  20. Do you have any hobbies that aren’t related to reading & writing? Raising my 7 kids (though three are grown 🙂 )
  21. Where can your readers follow you?

1 thought on “Author Interview: Justine Johnston Hemmestad

  1. Pingback: Artist Interview with Novelist Justine Johnston Hemmestad – TreeHouse Arts

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