Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the three hundred and forty-ninth, is of women’s novelist Margaret K Johnson. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Margaret’s novel The Goddess Workshop is a roller-coaster comedy about a mismatched group of women with a common aim – becoming confident, sensual beings. Her second women’s fiction novel, The Dare Club, is about a group of people who meet on a Divorced and Separated course. They decide to challenge each other to do daring things as part of their discovery process. But is saying how you really feel the most daring thing of all?
Margaret’s readers for people learning to speak English are published by Cambridge English Readers, Cambridge Discovery Readers and Cengage Learning. They are in lots of different genres including Fantasy, Romance, Human Interest, Thriller, Fact Book and Adapted Short Stories.
As well as fiction, Margaret has written plays and screen plays. Her comedy Goddess was performed at Cambridge Drama Centre to rave reviews.
Margaret has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.
And now from the author herself:
A Year of Living Dangerously
2013 has been a year of living dangerously for me. Well, if not living dangerously exactly, then a year of challenging myself.
It all started last November, when I began writing my novel The Dare Club, which has just been published. The Dare Club is about a group of four very different people, who meet on a course for the newly divorced and separated. At first they don’t all get on, but as the group begins to gel, they decide to challenge each other to do scary things as part of their recovery process. It was easy for me to use my imagination to write about some of these activities – gate-crashing a stranger’s party, for example. But other things needed to be researched – and not just by using Google. They had to feel authentic, and for that, I needed to experience them myself.
First off, was the Tree Top Challenge at Go Ape in Thetford Forest. For those of you who don’t know, this is a kind of assault course undertaken several metres off the ground. It’s absolutely the type of thing I wouldn’t normally dream of doing. Why would I? I was a wimp at PE at school, I’m not in the habit of going to the gym, and what’s more, I’m very happy on the ground, thank you very much! However, my characters had decided this would be an excellent challenge for them, and I knew it would be an effective way to show not only their individual characters, but also the relationships between them all. So, Go Ape it was.
My highlights of the day included: walking from one moving piece of wood to another piece of moving wood, twenty times over high up in the sky. Dragging inelegantly along on my behind through wood chippings, at the end of the longest zip wire in the history of zip wires. Leaping from a platform towards a Tarzan net and plummeting towards what felt like my certain death. Oh, and then discovering that it actually took a great deal of upper body strength to climb up the net to the next platform – strength I wasn’t 100% sure I had… All ridiculous activities for non-sporty, skinny me. But after I’d finished the course, and hadn’t chickened out at anything, I felt AMAZING. So, thank you, The Dare Club characters – I would never have tried it without you.
Another thing I probably would never have tried without them was stand-up comedy. Colette, one of my characters, was determined to give it a go, so I had to as well. Like her, I did a weekend stand-up comedy course in London, and like her, I returned later to give a three-minute performance at the Up The Creek Comedy Club in Greenwich. It was very scary, but fantastic! People actually laughed, and in the right way too. Did it go as well for Colette? Ah, that would be telling…
By now, I had developed a taste for doing scary things, so recently I volunteered to be a model in a charity fashion show. The event was a sell-out, with hundreds of women eager for a taste of the clothes they might want to buy. With our hair and make-up done and our outfits chosen for us by Sarah Morgan, the image consultant organiser, we took it in turns to launch ourselves out into the crowd. Walk, smile, count to seven; don’t forget the people in the gallery. More smiles; walk again, repeat three times. I didn’t fall over, my smile wasn’t too wobbly, and I was introduced as Margaret K Johnson, a famous writer. OK, that was a bit of an exaggeration, but I could hardly cry out, “Sarah, you’re exaggerating!” could I? I was busy modelling.
So, what’s next? Well, later this month, a friend and I are going to give Norwich Speaker’s Club a try… Oooh, help!
You can find more about Margaret and her writing via…
- Website: http://www.margaretkjohnson.co.uk
- Blog: http://www.margaretkajohnson.wordpress.com
- Facebook Page: Margaret K Johnson Author
- Twitter: @margaretkaj
- The Dare Club is out now on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Dare-Club-Margaret-Johnson-ebook/dp/B00GQYQB6G / http://www.amazon.com/The-Dare-Club-Margaret-Johnson-ebook/dp/B00GQYQB6G
- Margaret’s previous novel, The Goddess Workshop is available from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Goddess-Workshop-Margaret-K-Johnson/dp/1483985946 / http://www.amazon.com/Goddess-Workshop-Margaret-K-Johnson/dp/1483985946
- Link to see Margaret performing at Up the Creek Comedy Club in Greenwich: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc3t–LZcsc
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As I post a spotlight or interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t unfortunately review books but I have a list of those who do. If there’s anything you’d like to take part in, take a look at Opportunities on this blog.
I welcome items for critique directly (see Editing & Critique) or for posting on the online writing groups listed below:
Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Poetry Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group
Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group
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