Interview with Author Johanna Nield

Today I’m super excited to have author Johanna Nield back again! See what’s new and exciting with her!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m Welsh, a long way over 21 but very young at heart, happily married. I have a wide and very diverse circle of friends both local and abroad, and a close but entertainingly dysfunctional family.

What do you do when you are not writing? Do you have a day job as well?
I work for a British children’s charity, as a Business Support Officer. It’s challenging and demanding, and often emotionally draining, but I love it. My hobbies include writing, reading, photography, web design, online social networking, and collecting ‘Doctor Who’ merchandise.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve been writing for my own pleasure since the age of ten, when I won two ‘Creative Writing’ competitions in school. At that time, I wrote short stories and poems, and during my teens I also wrote what would today be recognised as fanfic.
I wrote my first novel in my late twenties, attempted another in my thirties whilst continuing to write short stories and poems, and rediscovered fanfic in my forties. For the last three years, I’ve concentrated almost exclusively on my current project, a fictional trilogy.

How did you choose the genre you write in?
I didn’t plan on writing romance, but I seem to have ended up here! I never set out to write a particular genre of story: the characters and their journey are far more important to me, particularly at the beginning.

Where do you get your ideas?
With this particular story, the twist of fate was inspired by real events, all but one of the locations are real places, and a lot of the background incidents are based on real life, but the crux of the story came from my imagination. I spent a lot of time researching certain aspects of the story, to ensure accuracy.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I suppose I do, but I don’t acknowledge it as such: I simply see it as taking a break from writing, because I can usually find something else to do and it’s often while doing other things that my inspiration will return.
At the start of a project, I write whatever comes into my head. Once I have an idea of where it’s going, I will write an outline but it’s not set in stone and I don’t fret if the characters take me in a different direction.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I’ve been passionate about reading all my life, but I can’t say that any one book has influenced me in any way.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
I’m not yet published in the traditional way, so the challenges keep coming!
Last year I won the monthly poll at Night Reading; that resulted in my being offered a publishing contract for ‘New Beginnings’which they have now published via Amazon.
In the meantime, I’m still pursuing publication via the traditional publishing houses, and looking for an agent. I began by researching agents and publishers online, and selected those that had worked with similar books and would accept online queries. I then bought The Writers Handbook and went through the same selection process before sending out written queries; I’m about half-way through both lists. I’ve revised my pitch several times, and I feel that it’s an ongoing learning process.
I’ve also self-published my book in digital format via Amazon Kindle, and in paperback via Lulu, and I’ve found both processes extremely simple.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I’m old-fashioned and wish that I’d found an agent, and then a traditional publisher, before going down the self-publication route, but I’ll be very happy to go about it the other way around!

How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I make the most of the popular social networking sites and have profiles on Twitter and Facebook, as well as my own website and blog, and writing sites such as Night Reading, Goodreads, etc

Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
My first novel, “Loved and Lost”, will always be dear to my heart, but I’m not sure that I’ll ever have the time to update and rewrite/edit it – or to type it out from the long-hand original – in order to present it to a publisher for consideration.

Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
‘New Beginnings’ began as a temporary title for part one of the trilogy, but it seems to have stuck!
The story is presented in blog form, from the point of view of Tasha, a young woman in her thirties who has a crush on her married boss. A twist of fate brings them together, but there’s no ‘happily ever after’ because of the circumstances.
Books two and three chart their relationship through a series of further life changes, and both are complete. Ideally, I’d love to publish the whole story in one volume but at over 270000 words, I recognise that that would be a very heavy book!
I’m working on three other projects at the moment. Two are linked to the trilogy – one is the same story from a different point of view, the other is a sequel – and the third is a totally new story, probably a short.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
The twist of fate was inspired by real events, all but one of the locations are real places, and a lot of the background incidents are based on real life, but the crux of the story came from my imagination. I spent a lot of time researching certain aspects of the story, to ensure accuracy.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
The middle of book one, because everything changed and it was interesting to take the characters on that journey.

How did you come up with the title?
It was suggested by a reader, in the early days while I was still editing it, although at that time it was only ever intended as a temporary working title. The trilogy now has three titles, which link to each other.

What project are you working on now? Will you have a new book coming out soon?
I’ve just finished editing and fine-tuning books two and three.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
Yes: the ideas for books three and four came from my reluctance to leave those characters behind. I really miss them when I’m not writing about them, and they don’t seem to want to get out of my head!

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
I’ve been extremely fortunate in that I’ve only received lovely comments and compliments so far. The closest I’ve had to criticism was from someone who didn’t understand the blog format, but I didn’t take that as criticism per se.

Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Keep writing. Have faith in yourself and your story. Be prepared for disappointment and a very long wait. Listen to advice and constructive criticism. Don’t give up the day job!

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you for your encouragement and support – it is very much appreciated

Chocolate or Vanilla?

The light side or the dark side?

If you were a superhero (or villain!) what would your power be? Would you wear a cape?
I’d want the ability to fix life’s problems for people. The cape would be optional.

Do you have deep dark secret? How about a shallow grey one?
I have a dark grey one that has haunted me for over 25 years and will never go away.

What does your main character think about you? Are you best buds or have you tortured them so much you’d run if you actually ever met?
I like to think that Tasha would see me as an older cousin, or aunt, but I think she’d be mortified if she realised how much I know about what goes on inside her head

What sort of coffee would you order? Simple coffee, complicated soy-non-fat-extra-espresso-half-caff-nightmare?
Black, no sugar, or cappuccino (no sugar, but with chocolate on top)

Is there any food you refuse to eat?

Drink of choice?
I drink a lot of hot water, but also like black coffee or very weak black tea

If you could live off of chocolate would you? What kind?
Yes – anything from the Cadbury range

What pets have graced your life? Which was your least favorite? What do you think the coolest pet to have would be?
As a child, I shared my secrets with two dogs, countless goldfish, rabbits and guinea pigs, a couple of mice, and a hamster. As an adult, I’ve shared my home with a dog, and now a cat. My least favourite were the goldfish: they were very aloof and not great conversationalists. My idea of a cool pet would be an axolotl which I hope to have one day

If you could visit any world ever written about, where would you go?

Want to know more?

Short author bio

 Web links (website, blog etc)

Buy links (where book(s) are available for purchase)



About jlwylie

Stay at home mom of 2 boys, avid reader and writer. Published by Untold Press

5 thoughts on “Interview with Author Johanna Nield

  1. You are one productive author! Do you ever struggle with revision process?

  2. johannanield says:

    I struggle a lot with the revision process, because I’m forever wondering if there’s a better way to describe something. How do you manage it?

  3. I pick at the words until it sounds right. It’s agonizing but I know that if I keep breaking down a paragraph, I can build it back up better. I’m not quite convinced it’s the most efficient method.

    • johannanield says:

      I sometimes feel that, in striving for perfection, it’s possible to edit too much, and that can often lead to the ‘soul’ of the story getting lost. That’s why I like someone to critique my revisions, to make sure that I’m not just editing for the sake of it.

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