Friday, 22 July 2016

Summer Suns are continuing with...Katharine Johnson

Today my summer writing theme continues.

I'm joined this time by a new visitor to the blog- Katharine Johnson- a new author with Crooked Cat Publishing. Her novel Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings was published last week. I didn't manage to the launch but I now have a copy of her novel on my kindle and I look forward to reading it!

Welcome, Katharine. It's lovely to have a new guest that we can get to know a little better. In the spirit of my current theme, have a seat and tell us how your writing is affected by the onset of summer? 

Get set for summer writing

Hello Nancy and thank you for inviting me onto your blog. 

Well, the sun is shining today so perhaps summer has finally arrived! We’re nearly at the end of term – a particularly exciting one in our family as it’s been my eldest child’s last term at school (assuming the A Levels have gone well) and my youngest’s last at primary school.

And me? I’ve just launched my debut novel, Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings. A bit like handing your child over at the school gates for the first time, a part of you wants to keep hold of it but there comes a point when you just have to let go.

But I’m at the very pleasant stage now when I can look towards my next project.

With exams and Sat tests out of the way, anticipation for our summer holiday is high. But with the freedom from routine comes a certain anxiety. How easy will it be to get any writing done?

Combining writing with a family holiday is always going to be a balancing act - but what I’ve found over the last few years is that time spent differently is not time wasted.

When our children were very small, my husband and I (both freelance) took the decision that trying to work through the summer holiday was pointless. While the pay for freelance work is low and sporadic, and childcare costs for three children prohibitive, the advantage is that your time is flexible.
We bought a cottage in Italy (blog coming soon) and we spend a month there in the summer, taking a different route each time, stopping off in different countries. Getting a glimpse of life in other cities gives me ideas for writing.

Katharine in Portofino- courtesy of Katharine Johnson
Travel frees your mind and opens you up to new experiences. Sometimes we need to get out of our familiar surroundings in order to get inspiration. 
Sometimes we’ve travelled by train – I was bitten by the Inter-rail bug as a student and never quite shook it off – other times we’ve driven all the way. Last year we drove across Spain and then the French Riviera.

We’re lucky in that the children have never minded long journeys – in fact sometimes they’re so absorbed in a DVD it’s a struggle to get them out to admire the wonders of a beautiful town - but we all have our favourite places we’d like to return to.

Travelling is also great for catching up on reading (not when I’m at the wheel!) I have a stack of books I’m itching to get through this summer.
When we arrive at the house in Italy there are invariably problems to deal with. One year trees brought down by a hurricane had snapped the electricity cable, leaving us with no power, another year there was no water. And yet there is also peace in which to work without the usual distractions and I wrote quite a lot of my novel there.

I’ve found it’s best to set manageable goals.

If you set out to write a whole novel in a week or a month you probably won’t achieve it (or if you do it won’t be worth reading).

But if you set a series of small tasks that can be done between trips to the pool/beach/theme park/town - like editing one chapter, improving the dialogue in one section or creating a new scene, you’re more likely to accomplish it and feel time has been well spent.

I’m currently researching a novel set in Italy so what better way to do it than be there, absorbing the atmosphere, observing the customs and hearing people’s stories?

Nancy says: Many wise words there, Katharine. I agree that time spent differently isn't always lost- you're right that at some later date something may surface.  

A little more about Katharine: she was born in Bristol and now lives in Berkshire. After studying History at Cambridge she trained as a journalist. She has been a magazine editor and now works freelance predominantly for home and lifestyle magazines. She has had short stories published in Take A Break Fiction Feast, The Journeyman and Writers’ Forum.

Find Katharine at:

It’s 1931. 

Nothing much has gone right for Jack since he graduated last year. His career has failed to take off, his fiancĂ©e has ditched him for someone with better prospects and now he’s received an invitation to their wedding. He dreads going to the wedding alone, surrounded by his high-achieving friends, so when he meets a beautiful girl who offers to accompany him he jumps at the chance. 

But by accepting her invitation he finds himself drawn into a world of intrigue and murder.

Get book from Amazon HERE

Congratulations and thank you for coming today, Katharine. Best wishes with your writing- present and future! 


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