THE FOREVER SEA author Joshua Phillip Johnson discusses the writing & development process for his debut Fantasy novel. We talk about the unique & challenging world-building, and adding in a narrative framing device late in the book's drafts.

Fictitious interview with author Joshua Phillip Johnson

I’m joined in this episode by Joshua Phillip Johnson, author of THE FOREVER SEA. This startlingly unique fantasy novel takes place in a water-scarce world completely covered by endless vegetation, where—instead of oceans—magically powered ships sail seas of miles-tall prairie grass.

Kindred Greyreach is a sailor and young apprentice hearthfire keeper, using fire and bone fueled magic to power a harvesting vessel. But Kindred’s deep understanding of the fire’s own mystic language is unique among keepers—as is her creative, impulsive, and sometimes dangerous approach to solving problems.

Kindred learns that her estranged grandmother—a venerable ship’s captain and hearthkeeper—willingly stepped off her own boat and disappeared into the vast sea. But she learns that what appears to be suicide may have been her grandmother’s quest to discover something hidden in the depths below.

Chasing her grandmother’s cryptic legacy forces Kindred to the center of a cultural water war, pushes her past safe seas to a mythic pirate city, and drives her to battle with great beasts of the deep. But will the answers she seek be worth the sacrifice of everything she loves — her ship, her found family, a life sailing under the sun — or does madness await in the endless dark depths?

THE FOREVER SEA is a debut fantasy novel and first in a series of the same name, available January 19th from DAW Books:

» Some of these links are affiliate links. Whenever possible, I strongly encourage you to look for and purchase these books from your local & independent bookstores. That said, I earn a small commission if you click to and buy a product. That supports the channel and helps me out, at no additional cost to you! Use your best judgment and purchase wisely.

About Joshua Phillip Johnson

Joshua Phillip Johnson lives in a little green house on what used to be the prairie with his partner and their child. His work has appeared in Syntax & Salt, The Future Fire, and Metaphorosis Magazine, among others. He teaches at a small liberal arts university. The Forever Sea is his first novel.

Follow Joshua Phillip Johnson

Book Cover: THE FOREVER SEA by Joshua Phillip Johnson


The first book in a new environmental epic fantasy series set in a world where ships kept afloat by magical hearthfires sail an endless grass sea.

On the never-ending, miles-high expanse of prairie grasses known as the Forever Sea, Kindred Greyreach, hearthfire keeper and sailor aboard harvesting vessel The Errant, is just beginning to fit in with the crew of her new ship when she receives devastating news. Her grandmother—The Marchess, legendary captain and hearthfire keeper—has stepped from her vessel and disappeared into the sea.

But the note she leaves Kindred suggests this was not an act of suicide. Something waits in the depths, and the Marchess has set out to find it.

To follow in her grandmother’s footsteps, Kindred must embroil herself in conflicts bigger than she could imagine: a water war simmering below the surface of two cultures; the politics of a mythic pirate city floating beyond the edges of safe seas; battles against beasts of the deep, driven to the brink of madness; and the elusive promise of a world below the waves.

Kindred finds that she will sacrifice almost everything—ship, crew, and a life sailing in the sun—to discover the truth of the darkness that waits below the Forever Sea.

1 comment



FICTITIOUS is a YouTube show and podcast that delves into the craft of Science Fiction & Fantasy storytelling through interviews with authors and other professional writers. Hosted & produced by Adron Buske.

Subscribe on YouTube

Listen on Apple Podcasts