Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Welsh fantasy author Johannes T. Evans. Johannes wrote a great introduction to himself and his writing:
My name is Johannes T. Evans (pronouns he/him/his), and I’m a Welsh author living on the West Coast of Ireland. I’m a gay trans man and I’m also neurodivergent, which is a big contributor to a lot of the themes and characters I work with in all my fiction, including Heart of Stone. Heart of Stone was my first novel, but my second novel, Powder and Feathers, will be coming out later this year, and I also write a lot of short form fiction.
Johannes, where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Heart of Stone?
Heart of Stone is a slowburn period romance, set on a fantasy Earth, with a heavy emphasis on slice-of-life – it is purely about the relationship two men have with themselves and with one another. It emphasises intimacy, duty, and differences in styles of communication and affection: it is a book, in short, where absolutely nothing happens, except that two men fall in love.
Heart of Stone also has vampires and the use of magic as part of the narrative, and is the first of many stories to come. The vast majority of the stories I write are within the same universe – Heart of Stone is the first novel of many planned within the same established world, Magic Beholden, and as well as other novels and extended narratives, there are a lot of short stories that tie into the broader universe.
What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?
Henry Coffey was an absolute delight to write – it’s rare that I see depictions of characters with ADHD where they’re not used wholly as comic relief, and on the occasions where they are treated more seriously, it’s still uncommon that I see their POV and their narrative. ADHD is so often defined by the inconvenience it causes to those around us as opposed to by our experiences from the inside, what with how loud or inconsistent or difficult we are to work with, and writing from Henry’s perspective was something of a balm for the soul.
What draws you to the particular genre or style that you write? What do you think draws readers to these kinds of books?
Across different books and stories, I write a mix of genres, especially romance, horror, and slice-of-life, ordinarily all within a fantasy framework. It’s extremely rewarding to build an extended universe and an extended, interconnected cast of characters – especially as someone who really enjoys the wide-ranging worlds and universes that are common to comic and videogame universes, it’s a real challenge and a real delight to emulate that feeling of depth and equivalent reality through prose and fiction.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
I’m extremely into macro photography, especially of insects and arachnids, and I really enjoy fishing – less so with a rod and line, more so with nets and traps. I also really love videogames, worldbuilding in different contexts – Discworld is one of my favourite book series – and I’m also a pretty big LEGO enthusiast and build a lot in my free time. I confess I’m not great at taking days off, but I always try to put time aside in my day to relax and chill out.
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
A lot! There are two parts of my universe I’m building on most in the near future in short stories – one is centred around a magical hospital in Bristol, with most of the stories being a drama/comedy mix, and the other is centred around a fictional smuggling town called Lashton, which is going to be a lot of fantasy crime centred on conflict between magical gangs and between them and the Crown. The first story in this narrative is readable on Medium, Gellert’s New Job, like Heart of Stone, is about a man taking a secretarial position under a vampire, although the narrative is extremely different to Heart of Stone, is a lot darker and grittier, and I would advise taking note of the content warnings!
My next book, Powder and Feathers, will be coming out later this year, and it’s quite unlike Heart of Stone – it’s a modern day dark romance between a Fallen angel and a depressed, alcoholic artist, and it deals primarily with themes of abuse and identity recovery, mental illness, and the importance of community and found family. It’s quite a gritty and complex narrative with a good deal of unreliable narration and interpersonal disputes, but as much as it’s been a challenge to write, it’s also been tremendously cathartic, and I can’t wait to get it out to readers.
Like Gellert’s New Job, Powder and Feathers is set in the same universe as Heart of Stone – the angelic protagonist, Jean-Pierre Delacroix, actually studied at medical school under the father of Tholo Dufresne from Heart of Stone, and later on in Magic Beholden, there will be some narratives about Henry and Theophilus and Jean-Pierre and his family meeting and working together.
And that these two narratives are a bit heavier isn’t at all to say I won’t still be writing more romance and sweeter slice-of-life – variety is the spice of life, as they say, and my work is at my best when I swap between heavier and more light-hearted narratives. Keeps me fresh and keeps it fun!
Thanks, Johannes, for answering our questions for us!