Interview with M J Johnson

Describe your desk
I work in quite a small area by the window in the room that is really our dining-room.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in South Wales. I was fortunate enough to pass the 11-plus when I was a child and go on to a Grammar School in a village called Gowerton. I had not enjoyed my schooling up until this point. At Gowerton Grammar School many of the teachers were truly inspiring. I had two wonderful English teachers, Gilbert Bennett and Terry King. I had always been a reader but these two men introduced me to the wonder that is the English language.
When did you first start writing?
Just before the Millennium.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is the follow-on to 'Niedermayer & Hart'. I hesitate to use the word sequel because it was always my plan to write it, if I felt the feedback was good enough from 'N & H'. So, if you haven't read N & H yet, I suggest you catch up! Tee hee hee!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I had a very painful experience with a big publishing house who took me to lunch etc. and told me they were "Very interested in my book". One of their senior executives even went as far as to say, "Trust me, it's going to happen" (i.e. get published). By the time they changed their mind, about eighteen months had passed. I didn't write for almost six years after that because the ordeal was pretty devastating. When I put pen to paper again and completed another book, I decided I wasn't going to put myself through that misery again! I'd love to be published, simply because it would be far easier to reach a wider audience, but the only way it's going to happen is if THEY approach me. Okay, unlikely I suppose but that's how it is! I'd far rather do what I'm doing than go through that misery again.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I really like dealing with Smashwords and I don't like one-horse races!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When you keep working an errant sentence/passage until you finally KNOW you've got it right!
What do your fans mean to you?
The supporters of my writing have been incredibly loyal, and I'm very grateful to them for their continuing encouragement. I try to respond swiftly when they contact me. I love hearing from them!
Who are your favorite authors?
Dickens, Shakespeare, Steinbeck, Tolkien, C S Lewis, Dylan Thomas, Ursula Le Guin, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, George Bernard Shaw, Daphne Du Maurier, Arthur Miller, Charles Portis, Michelle Paver (Wolf Brother series), James Clavell, Patricia Highsmith, Cormac McCarthy. There are more ...
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love walking and I really like to paint with oils but don't get to do this much!
How do you approach cover design?
My son Tom Johnson is a very good artist. His main area of expertise is probably portraiture but he did the wonderful cover designs for my books. He also made the fun animation series starting with 'Niedermayer & Hart - A Gripping Tail' - don't look for any deep meaning in them, just enjoy! You can find them all on You Tube. Incidentally, he was cameraman on the film of the prologue for 'Niedermayer & Hart' which you can find on the N & H page on Smashwords.
Published 2015-08-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.