Sue Barnard - novelist, editor, poet, RNA member, lady of letters. Believes that an immaculate house is a sign of a wasted life.
With the exception of guest posts, all work on this blog remains the copyright of the author. And, quite frankly, it's very noble of her to take the blame for it.
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Monday, 22 May 2017
THE SOUND OF SILENCE - an interview with Katy Johnson
Today I'm joined by fellow-author Katy Johnson, whose latest novel The Silence is published by Crooked Cat Books on 8 June 2017.
Welcome, Katy! What prompted you to first start
writing? What was the first thing you wrote?
My grandmother encouraged me to
write. My first book was a collection of stories about a naughty chimp, written
in Biro. I saved up my pocket money to buy a red plastic typewriter to write
the next volume.
Can you summarise your latest work in
just a few words?
Psychological, coming-of-age drama
What was the inspiration for this
I love stories where people are taken
out of their comfort zone and coming-of-age stories where the main character
makes a life-changing decision that will affect their adult life.
Did you do any research for the
I didn’t have to do much as it’s not
a procedural crime story but I did have it read by a speech therapist and GP
and discussed a section with a firearms expert to make sure it was plausible.
There are very few foreign words in there but I checked these with a native
Italian speaker to make sure it was accurate in a colloquial way.
What does a typical writing day
involve for you?
I don’t really have a typical day but
once I've seen the children off to school, checked my social media and walked
the dog I try and get non-fiction work done first and then reward myself with
some fiction writing time.
How do you decide on the names for
I tried to choose names that weren’t
too similar and didn’t start with the same letter as that can be confusing for
the reader. The main challenge was choosing the name for the villa, which is an
important character in the story. I wanted an old-fashioned girl’s name that
was distinctive but easy to pronounce but not one that had too many
associations for most people. I'd hate any of our Italian neighbour's to think
it was about their house! After producing various shortlists I chose Villa
Do you plot your novels in advance,
or allow them to develop as you write?
I wrote the first draft without
knowing how it would end but then plotted the later drafts to develop the story
arc, include foreshadowing etc.
Which writers have influenced your
It's probably best not to say in case
it raises people's expectations and then disappoints!
What has been the best part of the
writing process…and the worst?
Best – the alchemy of seeing it come
together. Worst – getting all those plot points in place while making sure the
details are consistent can be like wrestling an octopus.
Now that the book is on the point of being published, how do you feel?
Excited – and a bit terrified. a bit like I felt when
sending my children off to school on their first day.
I still think of myself as a new
writer, so it’s probably a bit early for me to give advice, but I’d say first
of all just write the book. Don’t worry about getting the first draft perfect.
When you’ve got to the end you’ll have a clearer idea what the book is about
and then you can sort out the story arc, flesh out the characters and develop
the key scenes.
What can we expect from you in the
I’m writing a second book about Villa
Leonida – a different secret, different time, different people – although there
is a link.
The Silence is published on 8th June.
You can buy it by clicking here.