1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?
I had always wanted to write, but so many things got in the way – family, kids, work, career. I did try though, but never found a project that excited me that gave me an incentive to keep going. After I retired, two of my kids asked me to put together a timeline of my youth. They just meant dates for – starting different schools, dropping out, moving to Haight-Ashbury, meeting their mother, etc. But it finally hit me – the project I could sink my teeth in was right in front of me. The sixties were a crucible for me. They were also one of the most intense periods in American History. Lenin said, “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen.” Well, in the 60s we had lots of weeks where decades happened. So, between my own crucible and the events happening all around me back then I had plenty or material to draw on for the book.
2) What inspired you to write your book?
After I had the idea of a book about the 60s, I looked at many of the books already out there about the sixties, and I thought two elements were missing. Most of the books were by or about famous people from those days, they didn’t give a picture of what it was like for 95% of the people, the non-celebrities. Last and most important, the sixties were a time of incredible energy and movement. And I didn’t read a single book that had pace, that conveyed the velocity of the times. So, I was inspired to make my contribution to sixties literature by creating a work with pace and where the characters were not celebrities, but regular denizens of the times.
3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
The message of the book is simple – Here is a vivid portrait of the sixties and the counterculture.
4) What drew you into this particular genre?
Coming-of-age was a natural fit for a story that drew heavily on my experience as a youth.
5) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?
I’ll have to defer on that question for a few months until my experience gives me an answer.
6) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?
The best answer I can give is a quote by James Baldwin: “Talent is insignificant. I know a lot of talented ruins. Beyond talent lie all the usual words: discipline, love, luck, but, most of all, endurance.” I would just stress endurance. I started my novel in 2013 and it’s coming out late in 2022.
7) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?
I’m continuing to write, and I have a project that motivates me. It’s a novel about a family dealing with the dementia of a loved one. It’s personal.
About the Author
Paul Justison dropped out of high school in 1966 and fled to Haight-Ashbury, spending most of the next two years there and in Marin County engaging in all the pleasures and follies that magical time had to offer. After the sixties ended, he went to college, started a career, and raised a family. He has been published in The Rumpus, The Gambler Mag, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Fiction on the Web. Lost and Found in the 60s is his first novel.