Player Profile: Nicholas J. Johnson, author of Chasing the Ace

Nick-JohnsonjpgNicholas J. Johnson, author of Chasing the Ace

Tell us about your latest creation:

Joel Fitch has watched every twist-happy movie there is about con men, and he thinks he knows it all. He thinks he is going to be a master con artist.

Richard Mordecai is a real-life swindler. But, at the end of a long career of lies and betrayal, Richard is tired and jaded. He’s ready to retire.

Until he meets Joel.

They form an uneasy partnership and Joel soon finds himself thrust into a world of bottom dealers and fraudsters.

And when the pair accidentally scam the wrong mark, they have to draw on every last trick to get themselves free and walk away with the money … and hopefully their dignity.

9781925030181Where are you from / where do you call home?:

Originally from Canberra (the natural home of all good Australian con artists) I moved to Melbourne in 2007.

When you were a kid, what did you want to become?  An author?:

When I was a child I wanted, more than anything else, to be a dog. My parents did not support my dream but were very encouraging of my goal to become a professional magician.

What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:

Chasing The Ace is my first novel and, by default, my best. I hope to top it soon with the sequel, Fast & Loose.

Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:

 I love writing in cafes. There is just enough distraction to stop me going insane and steady source of good food and
quality caffeine to keep me focused.

There are half a dozen Melbourne cafes that see me as a ‘regular’. If only they knew how I cheated on them.

When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:

I read a lot of older books. I love Lawrence Block, particularly his early work. I also have a large library of books on
con artists, card cheats and swindlers. If you want to commit fraud, I’m the guy to see.

What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:

What A Mess. The adventures of that mutt made me realise it is ok to be messy, disorganised and scatterbrained. Even when everyone else around has got it together.

If you were a literary character, who would you be?:

 I wouldn’t be a literary character. Their lives are at the whims of authors who are, as well all know, terrible people.

Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:

 Magic. I love magic. Card tricks, mentalism, kid’s magic. I love it all. Pick a card, any card…

What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:

BBQ Chicken, avocado, cheese and lettuce on a toasted pide with a lemonade.

Who is your hero? Why?:

I’m not one for heroes. I’m fair too cynical.

Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:

The biggest challenge is decline in quality. More and more people can write and get their work out there thanks to self-publishing and the internet. However, that also means that we now have poorly edited books selling thousands of copies filled with clunky writing, bad speling and grammar incorrectly.

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