Welcome

Hello I am Sheila Johnson and welcome to my website and blog. If you want to learn more about me visit the About Me page.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Radio Mearns FM

Thanks to Wendy H Jones https://www.wendyhjones.com and her fortnightly 'Book Buzz' show on Mearns FM, a Scottish Community Radio station near Stonehaven in Scotland, I can post a link to her interview of me and my books. It is here below in its abriged version.



In the show, I talked not only about my books but also selected five songs which mean a lot to me. The programme seemed a bit like the BBC's Desert Island Discs, where well-known people talk about themselves and their work and choose a number of their favourite songs. I would like to post a link to a couple of these songs, as when I write a book, I always choose a song that my characters can sing to each other. It is in effect, their cover song.

For Waireka that song is - You Raise me up sang by Daniel O' Donnell.  https://youtu.be/agYOOtk2B90 This is the song that I feel Eliza would sing to Robert because he raises her out of her difficult situation and gives her renewed hope.

For my first book, Alpha Male, that song is - Draw me close to you by Hillsong https://youtu.be/IdJBYyNsQd0  This is the song that I believe Craig, the hero of my novella would sing to the heroine, Amy.

So I hope you will not only take the time to hear a bit more about my two books but also to listen to my music choices to connect a bit more with me and my characters. Thank you.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Waireka: An audio podcast

I would like to take this opportunity to remind my followers of my book, Waireka, which is my historical novel set in nineteenth century New Zealand. Although there are many books set in the same period in Britain or America, I don't believe there are that many set in the same period in New Zealand when the early pioneers arrived. This, I believe, makes my book unique. I would therefore like to share a podcast with you which I made today which tells you a little about the story and the story's background. I am also going to read a couple of extracts from the book to give you a bit of a taster.



This recording is no more than a ten minutes long. I would really appreciate you giving it a moment of your valuable time. If I have then given you an appetite for more please go to amazon to purchase a copy either in paperback or kindle. The link is -  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1620206145  Or if you live in America the amazon link is -  https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=waireka Or the link to my publisher, Ambassador International is -  http://store.ambassador-international.com/item/wairekaPlease read and review. Thanks. 

Next I will be making a video of myself and the book. Watch this space

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

New birth, new beginnings

The start of a new year is always a time for new beginnings, clearing out the old garbage out of our homes, lives and minds. It is also the time for new birth and new opportunities. 2019 is particularly the year of new birth for me as my husband Angus and I become great aunt and great uncle for the first time with the birth of my nephew's lovely first baby boy.
Isn't he lovely!


But a new year can also be a time for new beginnings with our writing. I have a couple of courses booked to improve my powers of description and my short story writing. 

However well we write there is always room for improvement. I have booked a whole week away in the summer to concentrate on my writing for the first time. Time is the road to improvement for sure. So, at the start of this new year lets concentrate on dusting down our old ideas and old skills - we need to conserve what we have already learnt and succeeded in - but to also learn new ideas, new ways of doing things or doing them better. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Christmas is coming...

Christmas is coming and a lot sooner than many of us would like! But amid all the commercialism, and excess drinking, eating and partying, it's good to remind ourselves of the true Christmas message. The Association of Christian Writers have produced a great anthology of Christmas thoughts, poems and meditations on Christmas and the message of that first Christmas birth so long ago. I think it's an excellent collection and that's not just because I'm in it! The anthology features a lot of really talented writers and is edited by a formidable team of writers headed up by Wendy Jones, Amy Robinson and Jane Clamp.

But don't take my word for it. Order a copy for yourselves. Advent, the perfect start time is just days away. The book can be purchased on Amazon.co.uk  under the link https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_17?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=merry+christmas+everyone+book&sprefix=Merry+Christmas+e%2Caps%2C138&crid= 
But you'll have to be quick, Advent starts on Saturday! Then if you've enjoyed it and the writing of the people included you might decide to take out a membership to the Association of Christian Writers www.christianwriters.org.uk That's one decision I've never regretted in my writing, although there have been others. But that's another story. 

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Cheltenham Literature Festival features New Zealand

This year's Cheltenham Literature Festival featured the theme 'East versus West'. As various countries and their writers across the globe were covered, New Zealand also got its chance to shine with a couple of New Zealand writers - Kirsty Gunn and Sarah Laing sharing their thoughts on the short stories of New Zealand writer, Katherine Mansfield.

 Sarah Laing showcased her book, a graphic memoir entitled 'Mansfield and Me'.

Mansfield's stories maybe a little hard for the modern reader to digest but, a member of the famous Bloomsbury set of the early twentieth century she has been called one of the most significant of New Zealand's writers. Literary giant,Virginia Woolf said of her - "I was jealous of her writing - the only writing I have ever been jealous of".

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Celebrations

September and October are months of celebration for my family with the birthdays of my nephew, his partner, my mother-in-law my two sons and their aunt Kate. Quite a list!

However, what fun to go out and celebrate big birthdays. It was my mother-in-law's 88th birthday last Saturday, a real occasion. Where better to celebrate than Cheltenham's iconic Art Deco restaurant, a former cinema?  Even the original motion picture projector is still there! After a quick tour of the place we had a lovely luncheon complete with brass band which even played 'Happy Birthday' to my mother-in-law, Ruby.


Great time, great food.

My characters in Waireka also have a number of celebrations across the years from weddings to the opening of new barns at the dairy. Why don't you read the book to find out how people celebrated in the nineteenth century? Their clothes were certainly not as comfortable as ours today and probably more like the ones below.


Monday, 6 August 2018

The history of Waireka

On a recent trip to Scotland I was fortunate enough to see a number of artefacts that help to enhance the reader's enjoyment of my recent book, Waireka.

At the beginning of the novel, Eliza hears about the possibility of her New Zealand visit when at her local church with her sister, Kitty. They lived on the Stair Parish Estate and the local village would have been Kincardine in Fifeshire, a Presbyterian Church we visited.



Later when Eliza arrived in Wellington, the Manse of the Reids was grand enough to furnish a stove for cooking rather than the simple fire that most of the settlers would have to content themselves with. That stove might have looked something like the one in my picture below, although probably a little more primitive but it does give some idea of what it might have been like.


When Eliza, Alister, Robert and Mary and families travel from Taita near Wellington to Frampton in the Wairarapa, they have a long journey which necessitates camping overnight in the bush. While there, Eliza and Robert spot a Huia bird, a bird which would have been visible in New Zealand at that particular time but was later to become extinct. I found out more about this bird when visiting a museum in Glasgow recently.

The above plague explains a little more about this exotic bird.

And here he is in all his glory, or should I say, she, as she has a hooked beak which Robert explains in the story denotes that she is the female of the species. What a shame such a magnificent bird died out because of the dictates of fashion!

Well I hope these images will encourage you to pick up and read a copy of Waireka and post a review about it. Thank you in anticipation.