Who am I?
Johanna Nield is my pseudonym; as a child I promised myself that if I’m ever fortunate enough to have my work published, then that is the name by which my readers will know me.
In real life, I’m a fifty-something wife, mother, sister, daughter, grandmother. I work for a national children’s charity; it’s a challenging and sometimes heartbreaking job, but I love it. I also love writing, reading, Doctor Who, photography, and chocolate (not necessarily in that order). My love for my husband and family comes before all else.
I was born in St Asaph and have lived for most of my life in Rhyl, a seaside resort surrounded by hills on the North Wales coast. I attended Ysgol Emmanuel primary school and Rhyl High school, where the English teachers in particular were hugely supportive and influential. They nurtured my love of reading and writing, and I credit them with passing on their passion for Shakespeare, Chaucer, and many other inspirational authors.
I began writing for pleasure around the age of ten, when a beloved teacher introduced us to the concept of Creative Writing, which was added to the school curriculum at that time. By my early teens I was spending most evenings writing at the dining room table while the rest of my family watched TV. I wrote short pieces of prose, poetry, short stories, and what would today be recognised as fanfiction, but I never shared my work with anyone other than a school-friend with an interest in one of my ‘Bonanza’ stories.
I began writing my first novel in my mid-twenties. My battered typewriter – a mid-teen birthday present – was in storage at that time, so I wrote it long-hand in a series of cheap exercise books. After I’d finished it, I made several attempts to type it out, and to edit it, and much later to update it as well, but for the most part it has languished in a box file marked ‘Novel’ ever since. It has a title – “Loved and Lost” – and I’m still quite proud of having written it, but I doubt it will see the light of day again.
I’ve started several other projects in recent years, but they remain incomplete. Life has a tendency to get in the way, and my life has provided enough interruptions and distractions to provide material for a novel in itself.
More recently I’ve turned my hand back to fanfiction (not ‘Bonanza’!) and have shared those stories online, with very positive results: people enjoyed them. My fanfiction muse is currently AWOL but it’s a genre I hope to continue writing for once the inspiration returns.
In September 2008, I began sketching an idea for what was originally going to be a short story; by mid-October 2008 I had the outline for a novel, and by the following year I had written over 270000 words! I feel that the overall story, entitled “Mine, Yours, Ours”, is too long to expect anyone to publish in one volume, so I’ve split it into three separate books.
The idea for “Mine, Yours, Ours” came out of nowhere. Tasha just seemed to take over my mind and wrote herself, and her blog, through me. Once we’d written a few entries of her blog, I sent her off shopping and sat down and thought about this new world that she’d opened up to me, and I wrote out a time-line and plan for the whole story. Somewhere around the middle of part two, Tasha wrenched control from me and the story ended up in a completely different place from that which I’d envisaged. I wasn’t at all happy, but I feel it makes better material for a novel.
In March 2010, after encouragement from friends who had read it, I finally went public with the first part of the story and uploaded it to Authonomy, a Harper Collins site for aspiring authors. Under its then temporary title “New Beginnings” it attracted a lot of positive comments and support, and some very useful critical feedback.
I also posted the first ‘chapter’ of “New Beginnings” on the indie publishing site, Night Reading, where it won the monthly poll in August 2010. This resulted in my being offered a publishing contract, and in 2011 “New Beginnings” was published by Night Reading via Amazon.com.
I also self-published “New Beginnings” in paperback and digital formats, via Lulu.com. The second title in the trilogy – “New Beginnings: Moving On” – has recently been added to my Lulu portfolio, and should soon appear on Amazon.
Because I’m still unhappy with the way that “Mine, Yours, Ours” ended, I have started work on parts four and five. One is a sequel, the other is more or less the same story but from a different point of view. These people just won’t get out of my head!
I’ve also recently started work on a completely different story, with a new pair of characters who suddenly appeared in my head along with an almost complete back-story, and gave me an opening line of dialogue. The story has now been time-lined and I’m filling in the character details. I suspect it will be a short story rather than a novel, but I’m intrigued about the path that that will take.
Writing is, and always has been, a joy. Even if no-one reads my work, even if no-one enjoys it, I still enjoy the process and the escapism of emerging myself in new worlds and following these people – the people that I’ve created – along their paths. I hope you do, too.