Interview with Polly Johnson   Leave a comment

Displaying F_DSC_0124 - Copy.JPGWelcome back to Writing Wednesday. Today I am visiting with Polly Johnson, the writer of Stones, a novel of grief, loss, acceptance and friendship.

Tell us something about yourself, Polly.
I’m married to David and have two grownup girls who are great friends. I live about twenty minutes from London, which is handy to pop in and out to events, but I also have some nice countryside around me. I work in a secondary school with special needs students of all kinds, but I dropped a day last year to concentrate more on writing.
When did you first start writing?
I’ve always written. I have ‘books’ and illustrated stories and poems the earliest of which was done when I was seven. Apparently I’d disappear upstairs for hours to draw and write and read books.
We know each other from Authonomy, Harper-Collin’s slush-pile site where writers can interact with one another for critique and cross-pollination. Two things — I know you as Cariad, which means “beloved” in Welsh, I believe. Why is that your screen name?
I am half Welsh and spent a lot of time there through my life, so when I was choosing a name to use on Authonomy, that one just popped up. Perhaps it reminded me of the country and my dad, who isn’t here anymore.
Second, what has the Authonomy experience done for you and your writing?
Well, apart from Stones being picked up by Harper Collins, I think the main thing has been talking to other people who write, because it can be such a solitary experience. I do have a writing group (we met on an Arvon course about six years ago) where we crit. our writing very honestly, but the comments and friendship you get on Authonomy is the main reason I’m still there.
In Stones, the main character, Coo, is a teenager dealing with the untimely death of her brother from alcoholism. What inspired that theme?

I suspect, me. I wrote it after a period when I’d written nothing and was stuck because I became fixated with thinking about audience and theme and what was popular. I realised I’d forgotten about writing for ‘fun’. I decided to go upstairs and just write without even thinking, like I used to do, and Stones came out of that. I didn’t intend it to bear any relation to real life, but the fact is that I also had an alcoholic brother who wrecked the family, and a lot of unresolved issues like Coo has, so I suppose that surfaced in the book.

What are your plans for the future with regard to writing? Stones has been published by Harper-Collins. Will there be more books to follow?

I have finished a second one, which I’m sending out to agents because I don’t have one still, and I’d like to be in paperback and not just e-book if possible. It is speculative fiction and aimed at adults. I’ve also just started a third, which is aimed at a YA audience. There’s also a picture book idea knocking around, when I have time.

Polly, this is where I let you talk about whatever you want to talk about.

Not sure I have much to add. I’m not brilliant talking about myself. I do have a bit of a bee about e-books and Kindles! I don’t happen to think that anyone’s book should be on sale for 99p for instance. It is often years of work, and it is a unique product. I think books and writing are devalued by a price that is less than you pay for a cake in Starbucks.  I’ve also just discovered that there is a site offering my book for free download – along with whoever else that doesn’t know about it, and that annoys me too. E-pubbing has led to a culture where people think they should just be able to get a book (or piece of music) for nothing, and I think that’s wrong.
I totally agree with you. That’s a needed rant that I hope resonates with other writers and readers.
Links to your book(s) and an author pic and if you have an author website would also be good.
Here’s a tiny url to my book on Amazon:
You can reach Polly at the following: my wordpress blog (very dull)

And Twitter:

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