Milly Johnson was born, raised and still lives in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. As well as being an author of 8 published novels, she is also a copywriter for the greetings card industry, a joke-writer, a columnist, after dinner speaker, poet and a BBC radio presenter. Her novels are about the universal issues of friendship, family, betrayal, babies, rather nice food and a little bit of that magic in life sometimes visits the unsuspecting. ‘It’s Raining Men’ is her ninth book.
- Your latest story â€œItâ€™s Raining Menâ€ tells the story of three best friends who are desperate for some time away. They set off to a spa, but when they arrive at their destination, theyâ€™ve not booked what they thought they had â€“ what inspired you to write a book like this
I do love the sea and I wanted to write a book about a seaside town and move the action away from Barnsley for a breath of fresh air. There was a storyline which I wanted to explore (I canâ€™t say as itâ€™s a spoiler) and I couldnâ€™t do that anywhere other than the seaside. I think I got so wrapped up in a world I had created in A Winter Flame, I wanted to â€˜buildâ€™ a village this time. Us authors get very wrapped up in our work, but the more I lose myself in my fictional world, the better I can describe it for my readers.
- To the readers of the website that may not be familiar with your writing, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into writing?
I canâ€™t remember a time before I didnâ€™t want to write. I love stories and books, always have done. I just didnâ€™t think that â€˜ordinary girlsâ€™ like me made the big time so I stifled my own ambitions. Luckily for me they were too strong to be ignored. When I submitted manuscripts agents kept telling me that my writing was publishable but my plots were rubbish. I didnâ€™t really know what to write about, that was the problem. It was only when I became pregnant with my best friends that I had a lightbulb moment and knew that I should be writing about the things I knew â€“ Yorkshire, friends, jobs, relationships… the stuff of every day life but with a bit of magic thrown in that sometimes happens to lucky people. As for me â€“ I always say that if you donâ€™t like â€˜meâ€™ then you wonâ€™t like my books because theyâ€™re almost manifestations of my personality. Iâ€™m a proud Yorkshire-woman with a big laugh and I never quite grew up. Iâ€™d love to be a â€˜ladyâ€™ but I think itâ€™s much too late now.
- Youâ€™ve already talked on your website about who the men may be based on. If â€œItâ€™s Raining Menâ€ was to be adapted for screen, who do you imagine would play your leading ladies?
One of the characters was based on Sebastien Chabal, the very hairy number 8 for France rugby team. Not a typical clean-shaven hero, but I think there are enough of those about. If I couldnâ€™t have him, Iâ€™d have to insist on Hugh Jackman. Or Joe Manganiello. Complete with Wolverine beard. The younger brother I see as being played by Aidan Gillen who is very twinkly-eyed and handsome. As for the other â€“ the farmerâ€¦ Well, Russell Crowe would do nicely. Oh for a casting couch!
- Which authors do you admire?
I am a great fan of crime writers â€“ I would love to write like Sophie Hannah who always keeps me guessing until the last pages what is going on. I love my fellow Barnsley-ite Joanne Harrisâ€™s work, her descriptive passages leave me open-mouthed with admiration. Louise Douglas writes so beautifully. And Lynda La Plante has me turning pages like there is no tomorrow.
- You are a huge fan of the Bronte sisters. Who is your favourite literary hero that you wish could whisk you off your feet?
Itâ€™s a toss up between Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre and Captain Wentworth in Jane Austenâ€™s Persuasion. Either would be very welcome in my love-life.
- What part of the writing process do you least enjoy?
The last edit before it goes to typeset. I always worry that there is something that Iâ€™ve missed and the book will be typeset with mistakes.
- If you werenâ€™t an author, what do you imagine yourself doing?
I would have liked to own my own tea-room. I always wanted to run a small old-fashioned cafÃ© with huge home-made cakes and lots of dainty china.
- What are the most memorable lines from any book?
â€˜Reader I married him.â€™ I still get goosebumps when I read those lines from Jane Eyre.
- If you were stranded on a desert island, which three books would you bring with you to pass the time?
‘My Family and Other Animals’, by Gerald Durrell. It still makes me laugh after umpteen readings. ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne du Maurier â€“ haunting and wonderful. And ‘Jane Eyre’ of course.
- What area do you suggest a budding writer should concentrate on to further their abilities?
Making every word count. Rip out all the fluff and superfluous descriptions. Thinking back to my fledgling days, I was convinced that flowery descriptive passages would impress. In fact the opposite is true.
- When sitting down to write, what is the one item you need beside you?
A very strong cup of coffee.
- And finally, Milly, do you have any projects or releases on the horizon which you would like to share with the readers of the website?
Iâ€™ve started book 10 and Iâ€™m indulging my passion for coffee shops. Also I have an ebook release next year about a cruise. Itâ€™sâ€¦ shhh, donâ€™t tell anyoneâ€¦ called â€˜Here Come The Boys.â€™(You didnâ€™t hear it from me) xxx