Margaret has settled herself, for the time being, in Norwich. She has an MA in Creative Writing (Script Writing) from the University of East Anglia and this particular novel started life as a stage play produced and performed at Cambridge Drama Centre. It made its debut as a novel early this year. Margaret is working on a second novel called The Dare Club.
I didn’t quite know what to expect when I started reading The Goddess Workshop. The opening paragraphs were not what I expected at all until it all became clear that this was a deliberate ruse to surprise me when I realised the true subject of the story. In fact, I thought it was all about women learning to experience an orgasm for the first time; but what came across loud and clear was that this wasn’t just a novel about those less than intimate moments between two consenting adults; instead it was a glorious look at the human psyche. Reading this novel gave me insight into what goes on behind the closed doors of both relationships and minds and it’s laugh out loud funny too. It is rich with both wit and wisdom and very well rounded too.
The Margaret K Johnson Interview
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
I can make an Elvis sneer. In fact, I can make a double Elvis sneer, using both sides of my mouth. It’s not an attractive look, so I haven’t supplied photographic evidence.
What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
The Goddess Workshop started life as a stage play, but the characters didn’t want me to finish with them, so I wrote it as a screenplay. But they still hadn’t had enough of me, so I wrote it as a novel, including many more characters and events. Then I had my son and became immersed in becoming a mother, so the novel stayed as a file on the computer. But every so often the characters popped up in my mind, waving at me and refusing to listen when I explained that not only was I a mother, but that I’d been contracted to write lots of other books for people learning to speak English. Finally, I listened to them and got back to work on the novel. So I suppose the biggest challenge was the amount of time I’ve devoted to one story in all its various forms.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I am very interested in groups of people who have nothing in common who get thrown together and have to get along. It’s something I revisit in my writing time and time again. It might stem from my experience as an adult education tutor, although I don’t base any of my characters on my ex-students. In The Goddess Workshop, the group are attending an orgasm workshop. In The Dare Club, which I’m writing now, it’s a divorced and separated course. But it’s always the relationships between the group members that interests me – the way they argue and misunderstand each other before they ultimately bond together and offer each other support.
Are there any habits you wish you didn’t have?
When I’m reading, I’m guilty of skipping chunks of books to find out what happens. It’s the story I’m interested in every time. But I do sometimes feel guilty, because I know how hard the writer has worked on every part of their book.
Have you had to learn new skills and tricks or attempted impossible feats to get a book finished?
For The Dare Club, I have undertaken some scary challenges in the name of research – I completed the Tree Top Challenge at Go Ape, and just recently, I did a weekend course to learn to do Stand-up Comedy then returned to deliver a 3-minute stand-up comedy performance at a comedy club in London. It’s been amazing, and now I’m wondering what exciting things I can write into my books in the future!
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
If any writing opportunities come along, say ‘yes’ to them and work out how you’ll achieve them afterwards. And do your best to make these opportunities happen! In 2000 I had a chance meeting with someone who wrote fiction for people learning to speak English. He was a qualified EFL teacher, which I am not, but nevertheless, I asked him if he’d ask his editors if I could have a go. They agreed to look at a sample chapter, and now I’ve had 16 of these books published, with another 4 due to be published in the next year. This provides me with an income so I don’t have to have any other job. Hurrah!
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
Often, when I’m forced to break off from my writing to go on the school run, I’m still mentally in my book. It’s very difficult to switch from an orgasm workshop or a comedy club to indulge in playground chat. I imagine people think I’m weird.
Tea, Coffee, Water Juice, Wine or Beer…which do you prefer when writing?
In the days when I had a full-time job, I would come home, have my tea then fuel myself up with a combination of wine and strong coffee. This would let me write for 2 hours in the evening. Nowadays I never drink alcohol when I’m writing. I start the day with 1 strong coffee then progress to water. In the afternoon I drink something called Caro which is an alternative to coffee from the health food shop, but cancel out the healthy effects with a slab of chocolate or cake.
Where can you find out more about Margaret and Buy The Goddess Workshop
You can also meet Margaret online in various locations including:
- Her Facebook Page is found at facebook.com/pages/Margaret-K-Johnson-Author
- On Twitter with the handle @margaretkaj
- On her own website at margaretkjohnson.co.uk
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/