Thursday 29 September 2022

A Slice of Cake With... Lynn Johnson

Today I am delighted to have a slice of cake with author Lynn Johnson. 

Lynn was born and raised in The Potteries. She went to school in Burslem, the setting for her novels, and left with no qualifications. Like Ginnie, she had ambitions. In her own time she obtained a BA Hons in Humanities with Literature from the Open University, and a Diploma in Management Studies from Staffordshire Polytechnic and became a Human Resources Manager with a large County Council.

She began to research her family tree and it inspired her to write short stories, one of which became the basis for her debut novel, The Girl from the Workhouse, the first of The Potteries Girls series. The second book in the series, Wartime with the Tram Girls was published in March 2021. Lynn is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.

Although Lynn still has a close affinity to The Potteries, she now lives in Orkney with her husband and six beautiful cats. 

What kind of books do you write?

I write about family relationships during the 20th Century, concentrating on the period of World War 1. Rather than looking at the people who have gone to war, I concentrate on the lives of those left behind, the men and women on the Home Front and how their lives were changed by the events that happened. They carried on with their lives as best they could but with the dread of war never too far away. 

Can you describe your writing why?

My first book, The Girl from the Workhouse, was inspired by my grandma’s story. She was the same age as Ginnie and spent time in the local workhouse. I got into writing in 2005 and one of the first short stories I wrote became the prologue to the book. I started writing the novel just after I had finished working on our family tree. As I wrote, the characters became real to me and I discovered I had so much more to say about them. Wartime with the Tram Girls followed twelve months later. I’m proud to say that Book 3 The Potteries Girls on the Home Front was published 11 August 2022 – so it’s hot off the press as we speak. I can’t believe that I have three books under my belt already. It’s amazing!

I write because I like to see the stories unfolding in front of me. They grow organically. I write an outline but, as the story grows, the outline changes. For me, it is the characters who are in charge. I love to edit too. It’s a great feeling to see the improvements the edits are making. I find it all so fascinating.

Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most

I chose this paragraph because. Connie’s life changes considerably during the course of the novel and becoming a suffragette plays a big part in to. 

Wartime with the Tram Girls: Constance as a suffragette is imprisoned for throwing a brick through a window.

Now she knew Alice was safe, Constance’s only thought was to get out of prison and take the girl home. She owed it to her. She’d heard whispers about women being force-fed. They would last four days of abstinence and the sound of the trolley could be heard wheeling its way insidiously along the corridor. The sounds that followed were terrible and frightening: women’s voices getting louder, a man’s voice cursing because a wardress wasn’t holding a prisoner tight enough to avoid her flailing arms. She heard screams and the sounds of choking until she had to cover her ears to blot out their anguish from the pain of having a tube forced through their captive mouths or noses. It didn’t always go in the first time and was forced repeatedly until the woman had no strength left. The women told her, out in the yard – and every time she heard the sound, she gagged until she was sick.

Tell us about your latest project

I am currently working on Book 4 of my Potteries Girls sagas – all set in Stoke-on-Trent where I was raised. The series takes place before and during the Great War and can be read as a standalone. However, if the reader is thinking of reading all the books it is best to read them in order. They are about a group of strong women who meet and become friends through the situations in which they are placed and who have their lives changed by the war. Book 4, the last in the series will be published in August 2023 and all are available in ebook, paperback and audio. They will also be published in large print next year.

What is your favourite cake?

My favourite cake is anything that ends in the word cake – chocolate cake, carrot cake, Christmas cake!

You can connect with Lynn on Twitter: @lynnjohnsonjots, on Facebook: lynnjohnsonauthor and at her website

Join me next week when I will be having a slice of cake with Wendy Noble. 

If you would like to take part in A Slice of Cake With... please fill in the form found here. I'd be delighted to have you.

You can also support my writing endeavours on Kofi with a small donation towards tea & cake - it's what makes the world go round!

Claire Buss is a multi-genre author and poet, completely addicted to cake. Find out more about her books on her website Join the discussion in her Facebook group Buss's Book Stop. Never miss out on future posts by following me

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