| Milly Johnson|
Milly Johnson was born, raised and still lives in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. As well as being an author of 13 published novels, 2 short story books and 2 novellas, she is also a copywriter for the greetings card industry, a joke-writer, a columnist, after dinner speaker, poet, BBC newspaper reviewer, and a sometimes BBC radio presenter.
She won the RoNA for Best Romantic Comedy Novel of 2014 and 2016 and the Yorkshire Society award for Arts and Culture 2015.
She writes about love, life, friendships and that little bit of the magic that sometimes crops up in real life. She likes owls, cats, meringues, handbags and literary gifts – but hates marzipan. She is very short.
Milly’s website is http://www.millyjohnson.co.uk. She is on Twitter @millyjohnson and has a Facebook page (just google Book Page of Milly Johnson). She also has a monthly newsletter http://www.millyjohnson.co.uk/newsletter with exclusive, news, offers and competitions.
| Interview |
- What book from your childhood still has a place in your heart today?
The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton. I thought it was absolutely magical and I was desperate to climb up the Faraway Tree. I still want to live in the countryside near a wood and find some magic. I was a little girl who loved fairies and pixies and the lands which visited the top of the tree were fantastic.
- Which fictional character stayed with you long after you finished the book?
Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre. He blew me away with his tender and flawed masculinity. I was fascinated by him, but then I did first encounter him when I was coming into puberty and I think he imprinted on my awakening adult self. I can see why Jane adored him.
- Can you tell us a little about your journey with your new release?
Well it’s been totally fascinating for me because it’s my first official hardback. Very exciting – because it means the publishers have confidence in me to sell in this format, but it’s still a gamble and you are NEVER assured of how you will sell in shops. I loved writing this story and I did hope that my readers would stay loyal, but they tend to like paperbacks. Even if the hardback is priced reasonably, the die-hard fans like to see their paperbacks all lined up and a hardback sticks out. Plus they are too big to fit in your suitcase if you are going on holiday. So, I was totally flabberghasted at what happened.
We have no bookshop in our town presently and I had to hold the launch in our local Tesco. I was sitting outside the store worried sick that the 100 books they’d ordered in wouldn’t sell. I genuinely thought I would have egg on my face. I couldn’t believe the queues when I got inside. So many people turned away without a book – there was a near riot. We could only apologise and try again a fortnight later. Cue more anxiety – people wouldn’t want it not hot from the press, I thought. I walked in – the queue was snaked around the shop waiting, and that was nearly an hour before I was due to start signing. Nearly 400 books sold in one night, people waiting 2 hours in the queue. I could have cried with gratitude. It boded well and I’ve had some really magnificent reviews for this book. Of course some think it’s far-fetched (even if it is fiction J) but it’s actually based on a real privately owned village that came up for sale a couple of years ago and if it hadn’t been for finding that story, I’m not sure I would have tackled the book as it DID seem very far-fetched. But then truth is often stranger than fiction.
Tomorrow I have the paperback release in the same Tesco and once again I am totally worried about people not turning up, because that anxiety never leaves you – though it does keep you grounded. Each of my books is a celebration and a chance to meet my readers and let them share in my big day. I prefer these launches to a swanky exclusive party where the champagne flows as I write for readers, so I want my readers to be there at its ‘christening’. We shall be celebrating with lots and lots of cheesecakes made by the local company who inspired the cheesecake element of the book. I think it’s always worked for me sending a book out into the world with the good-feeling of the readers acting as the wind in its sails. It’s a formula I am not loathe to change for the foreseeable future.
- Do you get an emotional connection to your characters?
All the flipping time. They become too real to you. That’s why I started bringing them back and plopping them into other books because I couldn’t bear to let them go. Not enough to write a sequel because then I’d have to unsettle their happy lives and throw them into some peril, but I wanted to assure my readers – as well as myself – that they were still happy and doing fine. It’s quite often the minor characters that become much bigger than you ever intended them to be.
In my November release ‘The Mother of All Christmases’ a LOAD of characters from other books make an appearance, like a huge Christmas party for them all. It wasn’t forced. It’s as if they have been waiting in my head for this chance to all get together again. It’s spooky but lovely to feel they are THAT real.
- Can you please, share a photo with us that tells a story.
Of all the days out I’ve spent with my family – which have cost us a fortune – probably the nicest were walks by a river on the Pennine Moors. We picked a sunny day and I packed a picnic basket and my other half, my sons and my lovely old late dog just played in the water, dried out whilst eating picnic fare and drinking pop and made the best of memories that we will all remember fondly. This pic has been my screensaver on my PC and my phone for years. When I look at it I get a strong flood of emotion.
- What was your favourite read of 2017?
I hate to be boring and go with the masses but I thought Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman was exquisite. I couldn’t put it down. It was so quirky and wonderful.
- If your book came with a theme song what would it be?
‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’ by Yes.
- Is the genre you write your favourite to read?
No – I like a good, dark crime. Especially psychological crime, not necessarily police-based. I’ve always been interested in how people’s brains tick and the differences between us all.
- If you could ask your readers anything, what would you want to know?
Which book was it that made you first think, ‘Oh I really like this author’ and why. I couldn’t ask in real life as I’d sound too up myself.
- What are you working on now?
Well, I’m building up to the release of The Mother of All Christmases and writing my 16th novel as well, due end of August which has put me in the lofty world of politics – not my natural habitat, so I’m having to learn about spin-doctors and Westminstery things. And vicars!
The Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson is published in paperback on 12th July by Simon and Schuster.
| Buy Links |
Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she ‘meets’ an old lady on a baking chatroom and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change.
Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie finds discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales, which has been passed down through generations. And when Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, so she thinks.
But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory! But everyone has imperfections, as Marnie comes to realise, and that is not such a bad thing – after all, your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you.
The Perfectly Imperfect Woman is the heart-warming and hilarious new novel from the queen of feel-good fiction – a novel of family, secrets, love and redemption … and broken hearts mended and made all the stronger for it.
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