Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN ABOUT WRITING?
Andrea Johns: Never give up on your dreams.
Romelia: HOW MANY HOURS A DAY DO YOU WRITE?
Andrea Johns: It has taken me over 30 years from the time I started to jot down my memories on trains and busses, to and from work. Then another 12 years to bring it to publication.
Romelia: WHEN YOU ARE WRITING AN EMOTIONAL OR DIFFICULT SCENE, HOW DO YOU SET THE MOOD?
Andrea Johns: Some of my memories I wrote about were very emotional for me. Bringing those memories to life in my book was very hard. I would drop everything, go make myself a coffee, go for a walk in my garden and then come back and continue.
Romelia: WHOM DO YOU TRUST FOR OBJECTIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM OF YOUR WORK?
Andrea Johns: My daughter, because without her I would never have finished this book. She kept me focused, and kept me going on the many occasions I was ready to give up.
Romelia: HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED WITH THE SUBJECT OR THEME OF YOUR BOOK?
Andrea Johns: I lived through it all, and wear the scars to prove it.
Romelia: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WRITE IN YOUR PARTICULAR FIELD OR GENRE? IF YOU WRITE MORE THAN ONE, HOW DO YOU BALANCE THEM?
Andrea Johns: My story is based on a true story… my story, so it was an easy field to fall into.
Romelia: WHAT CULTURAL VALUE DO YOU SEE IN WRITING?
Andrea Johns: In my case, you get to express yourself and create a great story from your own life experiences and culture.
Romelia: HOW DOES YOUR BOOK RELATE TO YOUR SPIRITUAL PRACTICE OR OTHER LIFE PATH?
Andrea Johns: I came from a very religious mother and a warlock/medium/psychic father. I have always been a very spiritual person. From a very young age, I would hear and see things, but I would never speak about them, as my mother would say… it was all the devil’s work.
Romelia: WHAT WERE YOUR GOALS AND INTENTIONS IN THIS BOOK, AND HOW WELL DO YOU FEEL YOU ACHIEVED THEM?
Andrea Johns: My goal in this book was to tell the world my very unusual story. I think I have achieved this. I have also left a legacy for my grandchildren. I have been told by many that have read my book that it would make a great film. Fingers crossed that a film producer will pick it up one day! You can only hope, right?
Romelia: CAN YOU SHARE SOME STORIES ABOUT PEOPLE YOU MET WHILE RESEARCHING THIS BOOK?
Andrea Johns: Ha, ha, too many to mention. You will have to read my book.
Romelia: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE REFERENCES THAT YOU USED WHILE RESEARCHING THIS BOOK?
Andrea Johns: Mostly from my memories I jotted down many years ago, Google and family.
Romelia: WHAT DO YOU THINK MOST CHARACTERIZES YOUR WRITING?
Andrea Johns: My extraordinary ability to tell my recount my stories and unbelievable experiences as a child and an adult.
Romelia: WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART OF WRITING THIS BOOK?
Andrea Johns: My lack of education. I didn’t start school until I was seven. I was then pulled out of school just before I turned thirteen. In my mere five years of primary education I lost count after eight of how many schools I changed. It is a miracle, I even learnt to read and write.
Romelia: ARE THERE VOCABULARY WORDS OR CONCEPTS IN YOUR BOOK THAT MAY BE NEW TO READERS? DEFINE SOME OF THOSE.
Andrea Johns: I am from Australia. Some of the words I have used may be strange to people from other countries. For instance words like…
BLOODY OATH – yes, BLUDGER – someone who is lazy, doesn’t like to work. BATHERS – swimsuit, MATE – a friend, RECKON – for sure. These are just a few, lol.
Romelia: ARE THERE UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS OR IDEAS FEATURED IN YOUR BOOK? IF SO, DISCUSS THEM.
Andrea Johns: No, I don’t think so.
Romelia: ARE THERE MISCONCEPTIONS THAT PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT YOUR BOOK? IF SO, EXPLAIN.
Andrea Johns: No, I don’t think so. Some people may be shocked, or find it hard to believe what I have written to be true, or that the things that happened to me, actually happened.
Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOUR SUBJECT/GENRE, THAT THEY NEED TO KNOW?
Andrea Johns: That everything I wrote about was based around true events.
Romelia: WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
Andrea Johns: A lot of things inspire me. My biggest inspiration is seeing my book in it’s forever home. A lot of my readers send me photos of my book in their own homes. I love and cherish every single photo. I feel I have done something I never thought possible for me to achieve, in my wildest dreams.
Romelia: HOW DID YOU GET TO BE WHERE YOU ARE IN YOUR LIFE TODAY?
Andrea Johns: A lot of hard work, never giving up on my dreams, the support of my family and fixing something that is broken, instead of throwing it away.
Romelia: WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS THAT YOU FEEL WERE INFLUENTIAL IN YOUR WORK? WHAT IMPACT HAVE THEY HAD ON YOUR WRITING?
Andrea Johns: Unfortunately, I never had a lot of time to read many books. Years ago my favorite author was Dennis Wheatley. I did read quite a few of his books.
Romelia: WHAT DID YOU FIND MOST USEFUL IN LEARNING TO WRITE? WHAT WAS LEAST USEFUL OR MOST DESTRUCTIVE?
Andrea Johns: My determination to write my story. Never giving up on my dream to one day hold my book in my hand. It may have taken me over 30 years to achieve this, but, I DID IT !!!
Romelia: ARE YOU A FULL-TIME OR PART-TIME WRITER? HOW DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR WRITING?
Andrea Johns: I am a full time, wife, grandmother and volunteer. I have only written one book.
Romelia: WHAT ARE SOME DAY JOBS THAT YOU HAVE HELD? IF ANY OF THEM IMPACTED YOUR WRITING, SHARE AN EXAMPLE.
Andrea Johns: I have had many, many jobs over the years. I worked in my father’s Cafe’s, restaurants and fish and chip shops since I was five years old. Worked in many shops, department store, factories, owned and managed a snack bar, hotel and soft furnishing business. They have all contributed in one way or another to my life’s journey in my book.
Romelia: HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT EBOOKS VS PRINT BOOKS AND ALTERNATIVE VS CONVENTIONAL PUBLISHING?
Andrea Johns: Personally, I love printed books. I like to physically hold, touch and smell them. However, I do believe that ebooks and audiobooks are the way of the future.
Romelia: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE FUTURE OF READING/WRITING?
Andrea Johns: The future of reading and writing will be audiobooks and speech to text technology. People will no longer have time to physically read or write books. Sad but true!
Romelia: WHAT MAKES YOUR BOOK STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD?
Andrea Johns: It is based on a very unusual true story!
Romelia: DO YOU WRITE MORE BY LOGIC OR INTUITION, OR SOME COMBINATION OF THE TWO? SUMMARIZE YOUR WRITING PROCESS.
Andrea Johns: I wrote purely from my memories that I jotted down in countless notepads. I then put them away and told myself that I couldn’t do this, I am not educated enough to write a book. They surfaced again years later when I was given a second-hand computer. I transferred all my notes to a word document. I knew nothing about saving my work. My computer died and I lost it all. Lucky I still had my notes. I purchased a new laptop and started all over again. 12 years late and many hours of hard work, frustrating moments, many hours with my beautiful daughter over skype, I achieved what I thought was impossible. I had a manuscript that I could produce into a book.
Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR ROLE IN THE WRITING COMMUNITY?
Andrea Johns: To give people a story they will remember years from now. And maybe mention an old lady who never gave up on her dreams!
Romelia: WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE PRESENT? WHAT DO YOUR PLANS FOR FUTURE PROJECTS INCLUDE?
Andrea Johns: I don’t have any started project at the moment. I do however have one in my head. Maybe a second book based on my paranormal experiences… maybe!
Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.
Andrea Johns: I love life, family, animals, nature, the sea, the mystical, the unexplained and the paranormal.
HATE is a very strong word. I don’t like to use the word hate, but if I must, then these are the things I hate.
I hate the hate that is consuming our beautiful world right now.
I hate wars that kill innocent people.
I hate the fact that people are sleeping on our streets , hungry, lonely and cold.
I hate that every day innocent children are being abused sexually and physically.
I hate that a lot of women and men can’t escape from an abusive relationship. I hate the many diseases that rob family and friends of their loved ones way too early and leave them heartbroken.