Keith Lee Johnson

Keith Lee Johnson
Little Girl Lost

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
December 19, 2002

1. Who is Keith Lee Johnson?

Keith Lee Johnson is an ordinary guy who accidentally discovered he had a talent for telling stories.

2. What inspired you to write the novel LITTLE GIRL LOST?

Little Girl Lost was inspired by the first book I wrote entitled "Life Choices."

3. How did you come about the title LITTLE GIRL LOST?

The Little Girl Lost title came from the main character and the things that happen to her and the subsequent decisions she makes.

4. How long did it take you to write LITTLE GIRL LOST?

In actual writing time, it took me about 2 months.

5. How did you come about Johnnie’s character?

Johnnie’s character came from one scene in another book I wrote (Life Choices). In that book, Johnnie was about 60 year-old in that book. I found her to be compelling and women who had read the things she had to say in that book, inspired me to tell her story.

6. How did you come about Marguerite's character?

I needed a reason for Johnnie’s choices. Marguerites was the catalyst.

7. How did you come about Earl, Lucas and Napoleon characters?

Earl Shamus and Napoleon Bentley were typical white men who enjoyed having sex with black women. In the current climate, blacks and whites alike think that black men are after white women because of the forbidden fruit concept, which is something Lucas had to deal with. However, history shows that white men have always been after black women. That particular truth is manifested in Little Girl Lost. Johnnie, being a teenager, needed a boyfriend. Generally, I let the characters be who they are.

8. How long have you been writing?

I've been writing on and off for about 6 years. In actual writing time, I'd say about 3 years.

9. Why did you choose to write about prostitutions, riots and racism?

The prostitution concept came by accident. But riots and racism were necessary ingredients to show that one, black folk, prior to the civil rights movement could live together, and have businesses of their own. And two, that in spite of racism, and segregation, we thrived. This book is designed to subtly show this.

10. Are there any of your personality traits in any of your characters?

Sure. Anger, impatience, intelligence, vision, and others.

11. What type of atmosphere do you require to write?

Depends on what's happening in the chapter I'm writing. For example, if something romantic is happening, I like to listen to romantic songs. But most of the time, I listen to classical music.

12. Are you currently working on another novel?

I'm currently working on several ideas for novels. But I'm about to rewrite Life Choices. I think people will want to read that book because all the books I've written thus far come from that book.

13. What message would you like readers to receive from reading LITTLE GIRL LOST?

The message I want readers to get is that black folk can do whatever they choose to do, whether it be good or bad. I prefer we choose the former.