Author Interview

6Ws with Author Katharine Johnson

Katharine Johnson is the next Crooked Cat Books author featured in this series. She has two books out: Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings and The Silence. Her next is The Secret.

By the way, I am in the middle of  Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings. I am hooked.

I like this quote from her: “I write books about ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations usually down to a questionable decision they make that alters the course of their future.”

Here are Katharine’s responses to my 6Ws — who, what, when, where, how, and why. (How does end with a W.)

Who is author Katharine Johnson?

I’m a writer, reader, spaniel-owner, room guide and mum of three not-so-small children, two of whom are still at school, one at university. I’ve written non-fiction for many years as a magazine journalist but am quite new to fiction. I studied History for my degree and am currently writing a history book about extraordinary image4women in my local town of Windsor.

I grew up in Bristol in a story-telling family. My parents were both teachers so the house was full of books. I wrote my first book aged nine — a collection of stories about a naughty chimp (I think he was imaginatively called Chimp), followed by a highly implausible spy thriller and a very pretentious literary novel I’m too embarrassed to even describe! Becoming a novelist was one of those childhood dreams I thought I’d left behind many years ago but when my three children were all at school I started sneaking some creative writing into my day and became hooked again. I did a creative writing course with theWriters Bureau, wrote some short stories and gradually worked up to completing a novel.

I write a blog called Katy’s Writing Coffee Shop where I review books, talk about writing and interview authors. Drop in for a chat at

What does she write?

I write books about ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations usually down to a questionable decision they make that alters the course of their future. My first novel published in 2016 Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings is set in England in the 1930s and 1940s. It’s about a disgruntled and disadvantaged young man’s obsessive search for a girl whose disappearance leads to his arrest for murder. My second, The Silence, published in image22017, is a psychological thriller about a woman whose perfect life is threatened by a secret from her past that stretches back to a holiday she spent in Tuscany as a teenager in 1992. I’m really excited that my third novel, The Secret, will be published this summer and is set in the same Tuscan Villa as The Silence but is about a wartime secret.

How does she write?

I carry a notebook about with me for scribbling down observations, things I hear in conversation or on the radio etc that spark an idea. I generally research on my iPad and write my books on my laptop.

Where does she write?

I have an office but it can get a bit overrun by other members of the family playing the piano, doing their homework or playing computer games so I sometimes escape to the bedroom to write.

When does she write?

When I can. I don’t impose a daily word count on myself but I do write on most days. As a busy mum I’ve got used to squeezing the writing into little pockets of time. Most of my first book was written in a sports centre cafe during my daughters’ dance lessons. Much of my second was sketched out on train journeys and on holiday in Italy.

Why does she write?

That’s an interesting question. It’s something I’ve always done in one form or another – it’s the thing that comes easiest to me although I admit there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

More: The Secret will be published by Crooked Cat Books summer 2018.

The story follows the friendship, love and rivalry between two girls growing up in Mussolini’s Italy. Their paths diverge when beautiful, aspirational Martina marries into the wealthiest family in the village and moves into prestigious Villa Leonida while plain, studious Irena trains to be a teacher. But Martina finds life at Villa Leonida very different from the one she’s dreamed of and an encounter with a stranger leads to a secret that will have devastating consequences.

If you’d like to receive advance news, excerpts and giveaways by email please sign up for my free (and very infrequent) newsletter

Other works:

Katharine Johnson on social media:



Amazon author page