Small Gods Interview with Johanna Rothman on “When Harry Really Met Aggy”

Johanna Rothman’s “When Harry Really Met Aggy” appears in Small Gods, book 6 in the Blaze Ward Presents anthology series.


Satisfied, Aggy Pink leaned back in her black ergonomic chair, checking her left and right large monitors.

She picked her hands up off her black ergonomic keyboard. She, the Security God, had struck again! Her script found that pesky hacker and cut him off at the proverbial knees. She picked her white mug with the words, Security Guard God, and took a sip of her now-tepid tea. She shuddered. Hot tea was good. Hot or iced coffee was good. Tepid tea was not just not good—it was downright bad.

Definitely nothing that a Security God would drink.

—from “When Harry Really Met Aggy” by Johanna Rothman

The Interview

Which god(s) did you write about in your story, and why?

I wrote about “Security Gods” as in the technical people who keep corporate folks safe from external and bad-guy hackers.

From my perspective, there’s not much difference between the “good” hackers and the “bad” hackers—except for their choice of employers. I don’t even mean that in a cynical way. But, I continue to explore what makes people decide to work with the system and against the system.

People are just so interesting!

What are you working on now, and what’s fun about what you’re writing?

For fiction, I’m working on some capers, a form of a fun heist mystery. I wrote several stories for a workshop and they weren’t quite right. Now that I learned the form of this kind of story, I plan to redraft them this week. Maybe into next week.

For nonfiction, I’m finishing the Successful Independent Consulting book.

But here’s what’s fun. Since I want to keep writing fiction along with my nonfiction, I have a challenge that works for me: How many days this week can I write 1000 words each of fiction and nonfiction? I’m good at choosing one or the other. I want to be able to choose both. And I think differently with fiction vs. nonfiction, so that’s fun!

How do you integrate storytelling into your non-fiction books, and why?

I use a ton of stories in my nonfiction. First, because people like to read about other people. Second, because the story creates the context. People can read about that context and ask themselves what’s different and what’s similar? What can I, as a reader, do with this information?

But even more important, writing these stories tells me what I learned. Nonfiction writers think and learn as they write. In my fiction, I cycle back in the story to place a piece of equipment or a person where I need it. In nonfiction, I cycle on the ideas so I clarify what I learned to me first, and then to my reader.

Anything you’d like to share with the readers, promotional or otherwise?

I have a short nonfiction book coming out soon: Free Your Inner Nonfiction Writer. That’s a book about how to write nonfiction so you edit last, not as you go. I’m working on the cover, so “soon.”

About Johanna Rothman

Johanna Rothman writes about smart people. Sometimes, those people seek out trouble. Sometimes, trouble finds them. Regardless of how trouble arrives, these characters find solutions. In addition to her short story collections, she has published short stories in Blaze Ward Presents, Pulphouse Fiction Magazine, Fiction River, and Heart’s Kiss.

Johanna has published nineteen nonfiction books about many forms of management. Because managers need a sense of humor, Johanna incorporates humor—not just practicality—into her nonfiction.

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