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Jo Johnson, Author of the Month!


This week I interviewed Jo about her debut book and what she has coming up! Please read on to find out more about this wonderful new Author!


Let's start with what books have you published so far?

Surviving Me

Now we know about your book, we'd like to know about you, tell us about yourself Jo, we're all curious!

I live in a little village in West Sussex, I have four children ranging from 17 to 27. I love my job as a clinical psychologist. Every person’s story is different. We don’t have any pets although my daughter would rather have a dog than three brothers. I love reading, cinema, walking on the South Downs Way and eating nice food.​ I love chatting, that’s my area of expertise. In my local area, I spend heaps of time in the local cafe. I’ve met so many interesting people by butting into conversations without invitation.


I can't blame your daughter at all! What got you into writing?

I really don’t know! At school I hated English and my first university tutor asked me if I’d been educated overseas as my reports were so poor. When I became self-employed 10 years ago I found writing was a way to clear my head in between hearing distressing stories.

What’s the main thing you love and hate about writing?

I love escaping into my own world and creating different paths for my characters. My favourite part of writing is completing the first draft, writing freely until a story comes together. I don’t enjoy editing my writing very much. For the second draft, I rely heavily on my husband who labels each chapter as either garbage or brilliant. He doesn’t seem to have a description for something in between the two.

I think we all hate editing Jo! Who is the worst villain you’ve ever written, and why?

I have never written a character as all bad. As a clinical psychologist, I believe people are more complex than novels imply. We all have light and dark sides, I don’t believe anyone is all good or all bad. My first job was at Broadmoor secure hospital where I spent time with the worst of offenders, usually, they were polite and kind to me and others.


What is next on your list to write/publish?

I’m working on a sequel to “Surviving Me”, my debut. I’m trying to make it a standalone novel with the same characters as the first one. I think it will be called “Surviving Us” I’m also writing a chapter for an academic book on using a psychological model called acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) with female partners of someone with a brain injury.

Who is your favourite author, and why?

My favourite author at the moment is JoJo Moyes. I aspire to write like her. When I’m reading one of her books, I burn the toast and stay in the bath until it’s cold because I can’t wait to find out what happens next. I also like the fact that she writes about very relatable subjects.

I can relate to staying in the bath reading! Who encouraged you the most to write?

Mostly people discourage me from writing. When I get into writing a new novel, my professional work drops off so my family moan I’m not earning any money. My colleagues moan that my reports are even later than usual. Since I’ve published my first novel, lots of people have been asking for a sequel because they enjoyed it so much, that’s very encouraging

Fans are amazing. Are you as avid a reader as a writer?

I go through phases with reading. I usually have a book on the go. When I’m on holiday I read several books a day whereas when life gets busy it can take me weeks to finish one chapter. At those times I tend to write more than I read. I can write when I have a full head but I can’t read when I’m stressed.

What’s your favourite genre?

Women’s fictional/ commercial fiction. I like to read things that could happen in life, not science fiction.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what type? Or can’t you stand background noise when writing?

Often I write standing in queues and other random places or think about ideas in the car so I don’t usually listen to music.

If you could interview any famous author who would it be and why?

CS Lewis, I find his books to be unique and inspirational. I also like the fact that he infuses his work with spiritual themes.

The lion, witch and the wardrobe is a favourite book of mine.  Tell us a secret that none of your fans know!

My family complain I overshare so most people know most things about me. I go to church twice every Sunday which lots of people find shocking

Tell me what your main character would say about you!

I would like to think that Tom Cleary would say I am compassionate and slow to judge. He and I would get on well as we are both overthinkers who put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

Finally, any words of advice?

Write what you like thinking about, don’t try and imitate others. As my teenage daughter says “you do you”


To keep up to date with Jo, please find her on the following!​Email: neuropsychology@talktalk.net

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/48660416-surviving-me

Facebook: https://en-gb.facebook.com/shrinkingthesmirch/

Twitter: @jojohns90285041


Thank you, Jo! We wish you well in your work and hope to see more of you soon!

Disclaimer. The opinions and views expressed in the article are the interviewees and may differ from the interviewer/general public. The works and images published here may be subject to the Authors copyright, please do not copy the images or claim them as your own.

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