Learning from other writers is always an excellent way to hone in on your skills. I love it when authors share their experiences and me become a better writer. Visiting this week is Karen Johnston author of two wonderful books for middle grade readers. She is sharing with us the craft of writing and some great tips too.
Neophyte Writer Interview:
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing for about ten years.
Have you always written for children?
I started writing freelance by writing articles for magazines. My background was advertising back in the UK (London, Covent Garden) where I would sometimes be required to write copy, so the natural progression was to write non-fiction. I’ve published a wide variety of articles from in publications from Metro Kids, Kid Zone Magazine to Succeed. Then after having my three children, and spending every evening reading children’s books aloud to them at bedtime, I decided to have a go at writing one myself. So I wrote my first children’s book, The Witness Tree and the Shadow of the Noose, a civil war ghost mystery.
What drives and motivates you?
At the risk of sounding batty, I’d have to say the characters in my head, who are constantly partying, have so many things to tell me. And whenever I get an invite, I write their stories down as quick as I can. I have no choice, I have to write their stories.
What advice do you have for new writers?
Persevere. All published writers were unpublished first. Write every day. And eat lots of chocolate.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’d like to continue adding to my middle grade children’s collection, and I would like to branch out into young adult and women’s fiction.
What’s your next project?
I just started a young adult novel about a teenage girl who finds out her crush has a short list for invites to the upcoming prom–she’s fourth on the list. Not a happy chappy. I’m at the early stages of the novel, my favorite part, when I start to get to know the teenagers I’m about to spend the next nine months with. I love the drama, the passion, the raw excitement, the hope, the utter despair and the incredible depth of emotion my characters share with me. Give me a teenager any day.
Karen E. M. Johnston, a British author, was born in Gibraltar, studied Business and International Marketing in the UK, and worked in advertising and marketing in London’s Covent Garden before moving to the US. She is widely published in children’s, parent, and business magazines.
Karen’s debut children’s middle grade novel THE WITNESS TREE AND THE SHADOW OF THE NOOSE, a Civil War ghost mystery, came out in 2009, and her second children’s novel BIG BOYS DON’T SPY hit the shelves November 2010.
Karen also writes Women’s Fiction and Young Adult novels.
Ms. Johnston lives in Chantilly, Virginia, on the outskirts of Washington D.C. with her British husband and three American sons who have not the slightest trace of a British accent.
Thanks so much Karen for stopping by and sharing your story. To learn more about Karen visit her at:
Facebook: Karen E. M. Johnston
She is also featured at Kristi’s Book Nook. Be sure to stop by for a chance to win her novel “Big Boys Don’t Spy.”