Master Koda would like to welcome Vickie Johnstone to our site!
Describe yourself in one word –
What super power would you like to have?
The ability to fly like a bird, of course. Or time travel. But then invincibility would be cool too. Can I have all three?
Q: When you read, what is your favorite genre?
I don’t really have a favourite. I read everything, but not much horror or romance and no erotica. I like books that are character-driven or quirky. At the moment I’m reading The Time Thief and it’s wonderful. I like stories that are full of layers and surprises. I guess the genre I mainly read is contemporary fiction. I like books that make me think and are well written with well-developed characters and a gripping plot of which I can’t guess the ending.
Lately, I haven’t been reading so much as I’ve been editing self-published books from home. In 2011, I read and reviewed a lot of indie books. At the moment I’m trying to find time for reading as I’m always writing in my spare time… or marketing! I recently read a book by holocaust survivor Halina Birenbaum, Hope is the Last to Die – shattering with the most brilliant ending.
My favourite authors include John Keats, Jane Austen (P&P especially), Paulo Coehlo (The Alchemist), Angela Carter (The Magic Toyshop and Nights at the Circus), Margaret Atwood (The Handmaiden’s Tale), Douglas Copeland (Miss Wyoming), Stephen King (The Shining), Cormac McCarthy (The Road and No Country for Old Men) and Terry Pratchett.
What do you do to keep yourself going when you aren’t motivated?
Do something else. I normally do some book stuff so that I don’t feel guilty, like marketing, doing a feature for someone, writing a poem or posting an interview with an indie author. Otherwise I’ll just do something different – go out, read, watch a film; something like that. But most of my free time is spent on book stuff.
Which comes first the chicken or the egg… I mean the plot or the characters?
The characters, always.
When you set your characters do you use character bios/ sketches or do your characters just land on the page?
They just land there with a big splat or meow. I don’t write bios or sketches, or plot outlines either. The characters start in my head and grow in my imagination. Then I imagine them doing stuff as I write. Usually, I don’t know what they’re going to say or do next. I often know what they’ll do last, but then I have to get them there.
How old were you when you finished your first book?
That was when I was at school. I was 14. It was an assignment and I wrote a thriller. I was obsessed with mysteries, Agatha Christie and Ed McBain books. So I wrote about this detective who investigates some killings by a murderer who leaves some playing cards behind. I wish I still had it. I’ve no idea what happened to it.
How long did it take you to write it?
Not long because it was homework at school. I used to just sit and write endlessly. That stopped when I went to University and life took over. I didn’t finish another book until 2002.
If you could do everything over (writing your book, or publishing, etc.) would you change anything?
Yes! Back in 2002, when I got rejected by one publisher, I would have kept on sending it, over and over and over to everyone! Until I had a mountain of rejections! Ha ha!
Thank you, Vickie, for being such a wonderful guest! Please give us the links where readers can find your books and more about you!
Kiwi in Cat City
Have you ever wished your cat could talk or wondered where he/she goes when you are not around? Kiwi in Cat City is the first book in a series, of which there are six fun adventures so far. They are set in various animal-inhabited worlds, along with the human one, of course.
Kiwi seems like a typical moggie, content to nap in the sun and chase shadows, but she has a secret. She is a magical cat from a place called Cat City. With her two humans, James and Amy, Kiwi finds mysteries and adventures, dealing with catnappings, jewel thieves, giant rats, time travel, haunted houses, Father Christmas, pyramids and more. The fun stories contain positive messages about loyalty, friendship, honesty, bullying and the power of standing together.
Kiwi in Cat City opens on one dark night. Amy cannot sleep and she looks out of the window into the garden to see her cat, Kiwi, transfixed by the moon, which is glowing brightly like a cat’s claw. Waking her brother, James, Amy suggests they follow Kiwi to see where she goes… whether it involves a hunt for mice or something else. Little do they know that with a flick of her tail, Kiwi is going to magically change the children into kittens and lead them on the adventure of their lives to a land they never knew existed in their wildest dreams. In the blue-lit world of Cat City, the budding detectives help Inspector Furrball to investigate the mysterious catnapping of Mr Katz and find out what happened to Madame Purrfect.
The books contain illustrations by the talented Nikki McBroom. Furry fun for ages 9-99.
Vickie Johnstone lives in London, UK, where she works as a freelance layout sub-editor on magazines and as an editor on indie books. She has a thing about fluffy cats and also loves reading, writing, films, the sea, rock music, art, nature, Milky Bar, Baileys and travelling. If sleeping was an Olympic sport, she’d be a contender. Vickie has self-published the following books: Kaleidoscope (poetry); Travelling Light (poetry); Life’s Rhythms (haiku); 3 Heads and a Tail (comedy romance); Kiwi in Cat City (magical cat series for middle grade readers); Kiwi and the Missing Magic; Kiwi and the Living Nightmare; Kiwi and the Serpent of the Isle; Kiwi in the Realm of Ra; Kiwi’s Christmas Tail; Day of the Living Pizza (comedy detective series for middle grade readers), and Day of the Pesky Shadow. Vickie is currently working on a fantasy with a female central character called The Sea Inside.
Kiwi Series website: Kiwiincatcity.com
FB author page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorVickieJohnstone
FB Kiwi page: http://www.facebook.com/KiwiinCatCity
FB poetry page: http://www.facebook.com/KaleidoscopePoetry
FB editing page: http://www.facebook.com/VickieJohnstoneEditing
Amazon US author page:
Amazon UK author page:
Smashwords author page: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/vixie