This week I am delighted to be having a slice of cake with fellow indie author Johanna Aldridge.
Jo has secretly enjoyed writing fiction and non-fiction stories, as well as the odd poem, for her own amusement for a long time. Her guilty pleasure is writing fan fiction stories for the Supernatural fandom, but mostly she uses creative writing as self-directed therapy when life becomes too overwhelming. After ten years of writing fan fiction, her long-suffering husband eventually told her it was about time she had something published.
What kind of books do you write?
I published a book of short stories set in a magical forest realm, called Tales from the Forest, where all the animals can speak our language. The forest is a place of safety that can only be entered by those in need, such as the lost, the homeless and the heartbroken, and those who don’t really fit into ‘normal’ society. It is a realm where adventure waits around every corner, and friends are considered to be family.
One of the main characters is Anita the Forest Witch; she is sort of the ‘care-taker’ of the forest and based on one of my oldest, closest friends. Most of the stories usually feature her in some capacity in either a major or minor role.
One of the heroes is based on my black Labrador Nelson but we also have otters, bears, owls, rabbits, elves and even friendly werewolves. Friendly vegetarian werewolves… Oy! Stop laughing! 😉
As you’ve probably worked out, the book is aimed at youngsters but I hope that adults will enjoy reading it too.
Can you describe your writing why?
As well as having a very wild and vivid imagination, I find writing to be a useful form of self-directed therapy. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and when life becomes a bit overwhelming, returning to the Forest Realm helps me through it. Yes, I know. I’m a bit weird! LOL!
But I also love dogs. My boy Nelson has helped me through some of the most darkest times in my life. He doesn’t judge or get angry at me when I’m having a bad day, and he loves unconditionally. So dogs are my main motivation to write, because in addition to writing I also hope to raise enough money from the book sales to set up a forever home sanctuary for stray, elderly and abandoned dogs. They are amazing animals and we owe them our love, respect and protection.
And yes, I have a scoop, a large bucket, wellington boots, and am fully prepared to pick up their little… jobbies!
Share with us your favourite passage from the book you enjoyed writing the most.
To be honest, I’ve enjoyed writing all of it but if I have to choose then I really loved writing the scene of magical mayhem in the very last story Rumbles in the Jungle:
…Unfortunately, Partson and his troop of elves chose that moment to gate crash Devlin’s precious scene, shouting and flinging silver peony gel at anyone who so much as moved a muscle. Or, in the case of the more nervous elves, anything that moved a leaf.
Careening out of control, and spurred on by the tension and heightened panic, magic flashed and spun around the jungle, crackling loudly, nearly blinding and deafening everyone in its wake. Devlin and Partson shouted themselves hoarse trying to get everyone to “cease fire before we all get zapped like Reggie!”
… Partson ranted at his panicking troops, who were running about screaming “it must be the end of the world!” and other such hilarities.
…An elf ran by, yelling hysterically and patting at his head where his hair had been caught alight by a stray spell….
…Two elves, trying to put out a spell that had gone rogue, suddenly disappeared in a puff of magic smoke. In their place were two annoyed looking toads with pink stripes and silvery glitter.
“Well,” said one, with an angry huff. “Thanks a lot! What am I going to tell the wife now, eh? It’s our anniversary next week!”
“It wasn’t my fault!” the other argued and rounded on his friend. “I told you not to let go of the gel when you did! You know how volatile that stuff is if you don’t treat it right!”
“Now look ‘ere!” said the first one, squaring up to the other, but he didn’t get to finish.
“Cor, blimey!” said a familiar voice, and suddenly the noise abated, the magic calmed, and everyone looked up from what they were doing. “You see, Sophia? This is what happens when amateurs get hold of magic.”
Tell us about your latest project.
In between writing the odd ‘Songspell’ for posting on Twitter and Facebook (Songspell is the Forest Realm term for poetry used by Anita in her spells), I am also working on the next book in the series Secrets From the Forest. This time the stories won’t be quite so short and will delve into what makes the forest tick.
I might also write a Recipes from the Forest at some point to showcase some of Anita’s cooking, though I might have to replace some of the ingredients with more readily available ones in our world! Last thing people want is to have their poo glow in the dark like one of the poor werewolf pups did!
What is your favourite cake?
Hmm. As Victoria Sponge is already taken (great taste by the way, Claire!) next in line would have to be a toss-up between cherry cheesecake (made the English way. No offence to the United States but I find the baked New York style a bit heavy) or dark mint chocolate torte on a chocolate hobnob base. Both served with fresh single or clotted cream. Naughty, yes, but oh so nice!