We had the good fortune of connecting with Jonathan Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jonathan, why did you pursue a creative career?
I didn’t pursue an artistic or creative career, the career actually chose me. Due to circumstances of life ranging from finding out that I was adopted to experiencing kidney failure and a kidney transplant…twice. There were a few things that persuaded me to write. I was in need of an outlet to clear my mind while I was dealing with kidney failure and adoption while in high school. During that time, I turned to writing my thoughts out in a journal that my parents bought for me. Years later, those thoughts turned into books. As I decided to further my writing career, I eventually married and had kids. While seeking out books to read to my children, I realized the lack of representation of characters that looked like my children and many others. Due to the positive response of my books, parents bringing their children to meet me at book signings, and parents sending me pictures and videos of their children reading my books with joy has kept my fire for writing burning bright.
Please tell us more about your career. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
What sets my writing apart is that I write with not only the child in mind, but also the parents too. The goal of my writings is to spark up conversation within the family. This is done by creating context that allows for the child to ask questions and for the parents to elaborate on the answers. Part of my process with engaging family discussions is adding quiz questions in the back of select books. The process of getting to where I am currently has not been easy. There have been a few obstacles that I had to overcome including my second kidney transplant. I overcame those challenges by using my waiting and recovery time to write. I used time that most would consider a trial. As I dealt with dialysis and recovered from transplant surgery I turned that time into writings that others have been able to enjoy. The biggest lesson that I’ve learned along the way is if you have a dream or goal, go ahead and do it, time does not wait. I’ve also learned how to lean on others for help when I need it. Everybody needs a team, you can’t do it alone. And last, I’ve learned to enjoy the process and journey. The relationship building along with the early mornings and late nights are worth it, there is not like seeing the excitement on a child’s face from reading one of your books.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Funny thing is, I am a home body at heart. But when I do get out and about, you can find me at Klye Warren Park, Trinity Groves, or the Improve comedy clubs.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to give a big shoutout to God of course. Also A big shoutout goes to my beautiful wife Brittanee, my sons Landon and Gary who push me to be a better husband and father each day. Major shoutout to my parents who molded me into the man that I am today. To my father and mother in-law, and my biological mother, I really appreciate everything that you guys have done. And most importantly, to my readers. Thank you guys so much for supporting me, I couldn’t do this without you guys!!