Creative Life

Interview with James “JD” De Leon

Interview with James “JD” De Leon

By Jessica Johnson Artist James “J.D.” De Leon’s Santa Cruz roots run deep. His grandfather made guitars and ran a music store on the ocean side of 41st Avenue, stoking the De Leon family’s cross-generational love of music. His father went on to work for Columbia Records and his mother once had a Billboard Top […]






Interview with Amber Coverdale Sumrall

Interview with Amber Coverdale Sumrall

By Jessica Johnson Amber Coverdale Sumrall was originally introduced to me over a decade ago through a friend whose mother had been attending Amber’s writer’s workshops for years. Knowing I wanted to develop my writing and begin to share it, she suggested I check out Amber. This was a pivotal point in my writing journey. […]






Interview with Gabriella DeNike

Interview with Gabriella DeNike

By Jessica Johnson Oftentimes, along with a new year comes a new perspective. As you flip through the pages of a pristine new calendar, the clean, blank pages offer hope and a renewed outlook on life. This month’s column brings you something similar. For January, I am happy to introduce you to a young voice, […]






Interview with Jessica Johnson

Interview with Jessica Johnson

By Jessica Johnson With Thanksgiving having just passed, I have been thinking about what I am most grateful for. I have to say I am very thankful to the Aptos Times for giving me the opportunity to write The Creative Life each month. One year ago I approached the editor, Noel Smith, with the idea […]






Talking With Kaia Roman

Talking With Kaia Roman

By Jessica Johnson Although Kaia Roman wasn’t born in California, she is the quintessential Santa Cruz writer. She teaches mindfulness to school children when she is not working on final edits for her book, The Joy Plan (coming out next summer), writing regularly for mindbodygreen.com, or traveling the world with her family of four. In […]






Interview with Cara Black

Interview with Cara Black

By Jessica Johnson Best-selling author Cara Black writes one of my favorite mystery series featuring the stylish French-American heroine Aimée Leduc. Black’s first book, Murder in the Marais, came out in 1999 and she has published one book every year since 2003. Each book is set in a different arrondissement of Paris, and with the […]






Interview with Leslie Thompson

Interview with Leslie Thompson

By Jessica Johnson As is often the case, a time of ending can also be a time of beginning. So it was for local artist Leslie Thompson. After her mother’s passing, Leslie was given the opportunity to leave her career in the medical field to go back to school and study her lifelong passion – […]






Interview with Gero Heine

Interview with Gero Heine

By Jessica Johnson I have known Gero Heine since the mid-80s when he was a new student at Aptos High School. With his quick wit, good looks, and thick accent he was hard to miss. Gero didn’t miss a beat and quickly became a true Mariner as he took up the sport of surfing and […]






Interview with Roy Johnson

Interview with Roy Johnson

By Jessica Johnson If you have spent much time in Santa Cruz, chances are good you have seen one of Roy Johnson’s lighting pieces. His handiwork can be seen in local restaurants such as the Shadowbrook, the Crow’s Nest, and Severino’s. He also has stunning begonia-inspired light pieces in the Best Western on 41st Avenue. […]






Fostering The Creative Life

Fostering The Creative Life

By Jessica Johnson My first column for The Creative Life was published in January. Here we are, six months later, and I hope you enjoy reading the column as much as I enjoy meeting and interviewing local makers and creatives for it. One of the things I have learned over the past six months is […]