HarperImpulse author talking about her new book 'Cold Feet At Christmas' which was published 6th November and writing.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes! From being very small – I had a slightly crazy childhood, and reading, then writing, was the best possible form of escape. I was always telling stories – first about puppies, then about men I fancied as a teenager, then about many other things as I (technically) grew up! I worked as a journalist for a long time though, which was an awesome job – so much fun, really hard work but such a blast, great social life (for that, read: going to the pub!). Partly the style of writing you use as a journalist, and partly that great social life, meant that writing fiction was put on hold for over a decade. It was only when I left the industry I was able to tap into that part of my brain again.
Did you manage to get the first book you wrote published, or is it tucked in a drawer somewhere?
Long, torturous story…I’ve written 6 books. One – an urban fantasy called Dark Vision – was published in spring, with the sequel out in March 2015. This book for HarperImpulse – Cold Feet At Christmas – and another for them. Plus two that have yet to see the light of published day, despite them being the first two I ever wrote, and despite one of them winning a big competition (the Harry Bowling Prize). Irons are in fires, however. I write fantasy, and romance, and crime, and am considering a Western or a spy novel to complete my set!
What’s so special about your heroine that makes your hero fall in love with her?
Leah, the heroine, is incredibly special. In fact, I’m kind of in love with her myself! She has had some truly crappy situations to deal with in life – the death of her parents, finding out her hubbie was cheating on her with the bridesmaid on the day of her wedding, falling for our hero and seeing her whole world fall apart as a result…but she always, always, stays bright. Optimistic. Sees the funny side, and celebrates her glass being half full. I wish I was more like her! She’s also incredibly loyal, lusty, caring and foul-mouthed. All qualities I admire in a woman!
What do you read while you write, or don’t you?
I read all the time, and the mix is ridiculous – I love crime fiction, dystopian, fantasy, espionage, horror, romance. But I do try to avoid reading a genre which I am at that time writing in – it only results in author envy where you see other writers doing it so much better than you feel you are!
What do you do with a paperback once you’ve read it?
My house is a book avalanche waiting to happen. They are piled up everywhere. I think I may have lost one of my kids behind my Charlaine Harris collection, in fact! So, new policy I try and stick to – if it’s a book I really love, or an author I really love, I find a space for it. If not, it gets taken to the charity shop or passed on to a friend. It’s always hard to part with them though…
What’s the best bit of writing advice you’ve ever received or read?
To put your first draft away in a drawer (or the electronic version) for a couple of weeks after you’ve written. Your eyes really do see different things once you’ve taken a break from it! Also, re: edits – this is always a hard part of the job, but if you are even THINKING your book could possibly live without a scene, then cut it!
What things inspire you to write? Location, music, film or even in a book?
Location, very much so. Liverpool is wonderful for that – the waterfront, the coastline, the culture, the architecture, the characters you see! I travelled to New York last year to ‘research’ my second fantasy novel, Dark Touch, which is partly set there. And straight after a holiday to Cornwall, I wrote my second HarpreImpulse romance.I’m like an atmosphere junkie: I soak everything I see and hear and smell and feel, like a human-shaped sponge! I was also a pop writer on my local paper for 10 years, so music is important.
How would your best friend describe you in 140 characters?
‘Funny, loyal, hard working, and often drunk!’
Do I need to check if that's 140 characters? Sounds just like me :) Thanks for visiting my blog and good luck with your book, Debbie. It sounds fun!
Cold Feet At Christmas Blurb:
About Debbie Johnson:
After spending many years working as a journalist, I decided to stop telling other people’s stories, and start making up my own! I work from home in a very messy house near the beach, and write in between pouring bowls of Coco Pops for my three children and my dog (only kidding – he prefers Frosties!). I’m married to a man who is both a librarian and a musician – the perfect combination – and love to write pure, escapist fun. As well as romance, I’m also a published author in fantasy, and am working hard on crime as well. Or writing about it, at least.