Phil Johnston at New Moon Comics Recap
On Friday August First, members of the SFSNNJ met up at New Moon Comics for an
intimate chat with literary author Philip James Johnston. It was a wonderfully
relaxed and pleasant evening with lots of questions and discussion about topics
ranging from publishing to box office draws and comics. Phil arrived around 7:45 and
sat with Barry, Craig, Chris, Rob, and I discussing a number of truly earth-shattering
issues (like whether Titanic's record would fall to Dark Knight). Much of the discussion
was centered around the role of comics in cinema, and there was a great discussion
of why Comic Book movies have taken so long to become a larger part of the media.
The positions taken ranged from lack of effects ability to strange perceptions by
Hollywood executives and public prejudices against comics in the 1950's. In addition,
we all got a laugh talking about Galactus and his intergalactic burger joint uniform.
When I stated that I always thought he should be asking people if they wanted fries
with their order, Barry replied "I am here to consume your world, would you like fries
with that?" The jokes devolved from there.
We began truly diving into the subject matter after our side discussions tied off, and
Rob (host, owner of New Moon Comics, and all around great guy) formally introduced
Phil and talked a bit about the book. Phil told us what it was like writing for the
Barnes & Noble imprint and doing events at the B&N in NYC. Rob explained his
passion for the book, and Phil went on to talk about the challenges of publishing in
today's market, his writing process, and more. Mike Piazza had some questions about
shopping the book around, and what it takes to get it in print, which spawned some
great conversation about the publishing business itself. We moved on to the specifics
of the book, which centers around the bar culture in New Jersey. Phil relayed an
anecdote about how one editor thought that there should be more female characters
in the story, to which Phil replied, "It's a story about a group of guys who hang out in
bars and drink much more than is good for them." I, personally, agreed and said,
"Most women are smarter than that, and the ones who aren't are generally kind of
scary." The Philadelphia trip in the book was mentioned, and Phil then talked a bit
about how he structured the book and outlined. By the way (so those of us who care
can rest easy) he listens to rock music when he writes in order to generate white
noise and allow him to concentrate.
By the end of the night, we were all cheered immeasurably Phil was a truly engaging
conversationalist and kept the talk lively without making it seem forced. For those of
you who couldn't make it, I recommend picking up Last Call as it seems like a
fantastic book. It is also the 2nd place winner of the Independent Publisher Book
Philip James Johnston
August 1, 2008, 7:30pm
New Moon Comics
463 Main Street
Little Falls, NJ 07424
Join us for this Special Activity event with guest Philip James Johnston at New
Moon Comics. Mr. Johnston is the author of the literary novel The Last Call. He is
also a good friend of Rob at New Moon Comics, and a fan of comics! Looks like
another interesting, fun SFSNNJ night out!
Philip James Johnston was raised in Harrison and Kearny, New Jersey. He
currently resides in North Caldwell, New Jersey.
About the book
In this engaging novel, a man must come to terms with his dysfunctional life through
a new romantic relationship.
“Shannon, I don’t understand. What do you want me to be?”
“See James, that’s the point. You’re life is not about what everyone else wants you
to be. It’s about what you want to be, about finding out what makes you happy.”
The Last Call is the story of James Patrick Cameron, a man in his late twenties who
grows unhappy with his dysfunctional life—a life he is desperate to change but feels
powerless to do so.
James lives and works in the same blue-collar town where he was raised. He hangs
out with his two high school friends at the neighborhood bar. He works for his
alcoholic father, James Patrick “Booby” Cameron Sr., the owner of a local
contracting company, and is terrorized by his father’s vice president, Mike Munro,
who has a raging drug addiction.
James moves aimlessly through life, drinking too much and caring too little. When
he meets Shannon O’Rourke, a woman who motivates him to put his life in order, he
knows he must make some changes. He starts working out, avoids his nightly
appointments at the bar, and becomes more active in his father’s business. But an
escalating series of unfortunate events culminates in a decision that will change his
life forever ...
Special Activity -- Phil Johnston -- August 1, 2008