Sue Johnson was born in Kent and has had a variety of jobs during her working life, including training administrator, vicar’s secretary, cinema usherette, supermarket janitor and running her own patchwork quilt-making business. Sue is published as a poet, short story writer and novelist. Her first novel Fable’s Fortune was published by Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2011. Her first full collection of poetry Tasting Words, Hearing Colours will be published by them in 2014. Many of her poems are inspired by the stunning Worcestershire countryside where she now lives. Sue’s short stories have been published in Woman, My Weekly, Woman’s Weekly, Take a Break, The People’s Friend and That’s Life – Australia. She is a Writers’ News Home Study Tutor and also runs her own brand of writing workshops. Sue has published several books aimed at helping other writers. Details of these can be found on her website: http://www.writers-toolkit.co.uk
1. What got you into writing? I’ve written ever since I could write! When I was eight I told my teacher that when I grew up I wanted to draw pictures and write stories. She told me it wasn’t a proper job!
2. What is a usual writing day like for you? My writing day varies according to whether I’ve got a workshop to run – but I aim to write an absolute minimum of 500 words a day + since January 2013 I’ve written a poem a day, every day. Some of these have developed into stories and novellas.
3. Do you get writers block? If so, how do you overcome it? I don’t get writer’s block because I always have several projects on the go. If I get stuck on one I switch to something else.
4. Are you a plotter/planner when it comes to writing a story? I nearly always have to write my way into a story by scribbling some random ideas first. Planning comes in after the idea has had a chance to run free for a while.
5. What was the publishing process like for you, and any advice to aspiring authors? My first publication success came with magazine fiction, but I always wanted to be published as a novelist. My first novel ‘Fable’s Fortune’ was rejected a number of times. I began by targeting agents. The quickest rejection was 59 seconds – and the agent responded with ‘after careful consideration of your manuscript…’ The first publisher I tried was Indigo Dreams and after an extremely rigorous selection process they said yes. My best advice to any writer is – if you’ve got a story you feel passionate about, keep going until you get the result you want.
6. What has been your highlight since becoming a published author? There was something very special about holding my first novel! I kept a copy by my bed for weeks.
7. Can you share a little of your most recent book with us? And any other books of yours, if you wish. Two months after ‘Fable’ was published, ‘Creative Alchemy: 12 steps from inspiration to finished novel’ was published by HotHive Books. This was followed by ‘Surfing the Rainbow: visualization and chakra balancing for writers’ (Compass Books). Both are aimed at helping other writers. In the last year, I’ve co-written three books (also aimed at helping writers) with Val Andrews. The first of these ‘Unlock Your Creativity: a 21 day sensory workout for writers’ is published by Compass Books next month. I am also looking forward to the publication of my second novel ‘The Yellow Silk Dress’ – with Indigo Dreams Publishing. The novel is set in Cornwall, London and Paris and is the story of a young girl from a poor background who dreams of becoming an actress.
8. Apart from writing, what do you do in your spare time? In my spare time I enjoy reading, walking and yoga. I also attend a weekly Italian class.
9. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not famous, living or dead, real or fictional, who would it be & why? I’m having so much fun at the moment and meeting so many lovely people that I wouldn’t want to trade places with anyone.
10. Do you have anything that you want to say to your readers? I’d like to thank my readers for their support and interest. I am always happy to help new writers.