Hello to everyone here! I’m Catherine Johnson, some of you might know my historical novels, like Sawbones and Nest of Vipers, or my contemporary stories like Brave New Girl. Or you might not know me at all. I have one of those very boring very ordinary names, and actually if you google me you’ll find loads of us. And there are writers too, one hugely successful playwright (Mama Mia anyone?) an Animal Behaviour expert (yes! she writes fascinating books with Temple Grandin) a TV expert and a couple of poets. But they are not me.
I did once think about changing my name and even though I hated it when I was at school (Don’t call me Cathy!) I feel like I have grown into it.
Anyway I was thrilled when the anthology that’s out for Valentines Day LOVE HURTS edited by Malorie Blackman, came out and saw my lovely boring name on the cover. Look! Next to Philip Pullman (I am hoping some of his superness rubs off on me).
I loved writing my story The Liar’s Girl. It’s set in 1829 in London, and – always a good sign – made me cry a bit when I was writing it (and not with frustration!).
It was set off by three things; re-reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and thinking about prison hulks, great filthy rotten ships moored in the River Thames in London as kind of overflowing prisons. A notice in the Newgate trial records from the early 1800s about a man shipped to London for trail from the Caribbean and charged with sorcery – voodoo really (I know!).And finally old British Ballads, the equivalent of pop songs crossed with newspapers.
The anthology is brilliant. There are extracts and some complete new stories from James Dawson, Susie Day, Laura Dockrill and Malorie herself, and extracts from some favourite authors, including Gayle Forman, Patrick Ness, Matt Haig, and E Lockhart.
It is a whopper of a book and it can be yours if you can answer this question and send the answer to my website.
Q: Ezra McAdam in SAWBONES is an apprentice what?
answers to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
See you next month!