By AK Dale
LONDON, U.K. – All she needed was an occasional respite, somewhere to escape for moments in time.
A young Vickie Johnstone sought out books as a refuge, an oasis to massage a creative mind.
“I always had my nose in a book from when I was small, and I especially liked the escapism of fantasy tales with mermaids, magic, witches, elves or talking animals,” Johnstone said. “I started writing stories from a young age. I started writing poetry at about 16. I like writing fantasy because you can try to create something unique that takes the reader somewhere new, immersing them in a world unlike their own that they can ‘see’ – I don’t really write my own experiences and even my poetry does not relate to my own life.”
Johnstone grew and eventually matured into a permanent role in the literary world. She worked full time through this past March as a sub-editor on business magazines doing layout, designing, editing, picture research and writing headlines/captions/standfirsts, while also dipping into writing stories and poems around that gig.
“I have gone freelance now, so I am taking on magazine sub editing and book editing,” she said. “I am also hoping to have more time write. I’ll see if the freelancing puts bread on the table.”
The change in schedule could be a huge respite for Johnstone.
“I always wrote around my job, but my job involved reading a computer screen all day, so by the time I got home I’d be too tired to write, and my busy social life had priority,” she said. “This changed at the start of 2011, when I self-published two books that I’d written earlier (Kiwi 1 and poetry) and this egged me on to write four books last year. Now it’s all I want to do. I left by job in March because of stress and where I live is cheap, so I thought I’ll freelance and try to get some part-time work while writing. I hope it goes okay.”
Like many artists, Johnstone had plenty of detractors trying to slow her down.
“I’ve had a friend tell me that all indie books are ‘crap’ and another said I didn’t write ‘real books’ because they were ebooks,” Johnstone said. “After I wrote Kiwi in Cat City in 2002, I sent three chapters and a synopsis to a big six publisher, and I received a rejection letter, saying they were not taking on any more children’s books because they had been inundated following the success of Harry Potter. The book went into a drawer and I never sent it anywhere again, no one read it, and it didn’t see the light of day until my boyfriend heard about Kindle publishing and I published it in March 2011.”
Johnstone’s new writing career has a mixed bag of success coming for various sources.
“I’ve always enjoyed being a sub editor because it is creative,” she said. “You lay out pages, think up how to illustrate features, think up headlines and standfirsts, choose images, edit the copy to make it readable and correct, and you can do a lot of design work too. The downside is if you end up working for a bad company, which was my most recent experience, but that has only happened once. I’m hoping that freelancing will give me time to write more novels and poetry, as writing is now my priority. I’m also editing self-published books, which is very enjoyable.”
Johnstone admits to needing silence to write unless, “I’m writing poetry and then I listen to music as it doesn’t ‘invade’ so much. As long as I’m comfortable all is ok. I’m usually sitting on the sofa with my laptop, being huddled by my cat. I find nature inspiring.”
When she can find time Johnstone enjoys reading, writing, going to art exhibitions, watching films, listening to music, going to gigs, love travelling, nature, yoga, and sleeping.
And her future seems anything but go, go, go.
“Perhaps I’ll write about the Feminist movement – equal rights for women are still something that we do not have in certain parts of the world and yet it’s 2012,” Johnstone said
FOR MORE INFORMATION on VICKIE JOHNSTONE and her WORKS,
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