My Writing and Me by guest author Katharine Johnson

I am delighted that one of my favourite authors, Katharine Johnson, has made time to visit my blog today to discuss her writing journey and the novels she has had published. Thank you so much for your time, Katharine, over to you!Katharine Johnson

I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first book when I was nine – a collection of stories about a naughty chimp – and have been writing ever since.

I had a go at getting published in my teens and early 20s but concluded it was too difficult and expensive – this was back in the days where manuscripts had to be sent by snail mail and weighed a tonne.

Working as a journalist satisfied the need to be a published writer but for many years I carried on writing fiction as a secret hobby although not usually getting beyond the first draft stage.panzanella.JPG

When a friend of mine got published a few years ago I realised it wasn’t an impossible dream after all and was inspired to give it another shot. I admitted to myself that not having a novel published would be my one regret in life so I enrolled on a fiction writing course and started a new novel.

I was thrilled when Crooked Cat Books accepted Lies Mistakes and Misunderstandings which was published in 2016. Last year they also published The Silence, a story about a dark secret held by a beautiful Tuscan house, Villa Leonida.the secret

And this Friday June 1st is publication day for my third novel – The Secret.

The Secret reveals another dark secret harboured by Villa Leonida, and there is a connection between the two stories but The Secret is a standalone so can be read in isolation.

I love old buildings with many layers of history and multiple stories to tell. I was inspired by many of the small villages in Tuscany and the incredibly difficult situation in which Italian civilians found themselves during WW2, with the Allies, Nazis, partisans and Italian fascist army all demanding their support.

I wrote quite a lot of the book in a garden near Lucca. Being surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells helped me to create the settings.

Online launch invitation

I’m holding an online launch party on Facebook this Friday 1 st June, 2018, to celebrate Publication Day – hope you can come!

The theme will be Secrets – so there will be lots of revelations! You can drop in and out at any time during the day to learn secrets about me, my writing, the book and Italy. There will be visits from awesome authors –  including Val –  fun competitions and prizes including something to drink, something to wear, something to read and some gorgeous artwork. If you click this link and select Going you’ll get a reminder on the day.

the secret banner

The Secret

Two girls growing up in Mussolini’s Italy share a secret that has devastating consequences. Against a backdrop of fear, poverty and confusion during the Second World War, friendship is tested and loyalties divided until a chance encounter changes everything.

The girls’ lives diverge when beautiful, daring Martina marries and moves into Villa Leonida, the most prestigious house in the village while plain, studious Irena trains to be a teacher.

But neither marriage nor life at Villa Leonida are as Martina imagined. And as other people’s lives take on a new purpose Irena finds herself left behind.

Decades later a tragedy at the villa coincides with the discovery of an abandoned baby, whose identity threatens to re-open old wounds and blow the secret wide open. Irena’s son is determined to find out the truth about the village’s past while Martina’s daughter is desperate to keep it hidden.

Bagni Caldi

The Secret costs £6.99 in paperback and £1.99 as an ebook. You can buy it here

 You can contact Katharine here:


Twitter @kjohnsonwrites


Goodreads author page


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