British Author Megan Johns visits with Manic Readers

Megan, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today.

It’s a pleasure. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to connect with your readers.

Please tell us a bit about your latest release, THE PATH OF INNOCENCE.

The Path of Innocence
Format: ebook Genre: Contemporary romance Length: 270 pages Author: MEGAN JOHNS

Firstly, I would like to say that The Path of Innocence is my debut romantic novel and I am very proud to have been awarded 5 and 4 star reviews.
I particularly wanted to write a book for women who understand that life is not clear-cut and The Path of Innocence is more than just a contemporary romance. It is also a deeply emotional story about the complexity of love and its contradictions.

It is based in the UK and the main characters are Fiona and Roger, two young and naive adolescents from very different class backgrounds, who are travelling precariously towards adulthood along a path of self discovery, love and sexual awakening.

The book explores the challenges they face, following their ups and downs and the pain they suffer as a result of betrayal though misplaced trust. Along the path, they eventually meet and fall in love and, although it takes a huge leap of faith for Roger to let Fiona into his affections, they seem to finally find the happiness that has, so far, eluded them both.

Yet, they are unaware of the powerful struggle Debbie, Fiona’s mother, has with her own conflicting desires and which threatens to bring their happiness crashing down.

Debbie’s journey is an important theme and the book explores her inner turmoil as she wrestles between the contradictory emotions of wanting to care for an invalid husband, whilst also nurturing a burning sexual desire.

The dramatic consequence of Fiona and Roger finding out her dark secret threatens to shatter their beliefs in everything and the question of whether their love can survive a cruel twist of fate hangs in the balance to the final page.

Reviews:  ‘ A MUST read’ euroreviews
‘This novel shows readers that when love is strong between
two people that nothing , not even the cruel hands that fate delivers us
can stand in the way and destroy what is there.’ bkwalkerbooks

Who controls the story, you or the characters?

For me, it is always the characters who lead the way and the plot tends to evolve from the way in which they develop and interact, both with each other and their environment. When developing characters I try to let them grow, almost organically. I put them in a setting with which I feel a strong emotional attachment and then let them respond to the culture, the surroundings and each other.

On the first draft, I will have a loose plot, which I treat as a flexible guide, but I don’t write to a strict plan. I think that I would find writing to a detailed plot quite restrictive creatively and I can see how authors might get involved in battles with their characters when they won’t do as required in order to achieve a tightly defined outcome. Dilemmas and conflict should occur through characters behaving naturally.

My strategy is to keep writing until the initial draft is complete, then to go back to revise and tighten up afterwards.

What did you do prior to becoming an author and how has it helped you to be a better writer?

Prior to becoming an author, I was a college lecturer. The demands of the job did not free up much time for fiction writing, although I always enjoyed academic writing, preparing and researching papers; a discipline that has subsequently been invaluable to me. It was only when life slowed down that I discovered my creative streak. Suddenly, it was as if I found a tap inside my head to unleash all the accumulation of experiences stored inside. We are such complex characters, moulded by our unique life experiences, that once you start to delve inside there is no telling what you might find!

Why contemporary romance?

I prefer to write contemporary romance as it enables me to bring current issues/ modern dilemmas into my work. Romance is such a broad genre that it gives a writer plenty of scope to pursue so many different avenues.

How do you write, planned time or when the mood strikes?

When I am writing, I work to a schedule. I write in the mornings and set myself a daily target. Inevitably, some writing days are more productive than others, but when I am working on a project I always endeavour to write something every day, even if I know it isn’t quite right. That way, I can go back when I am feeling fresher and reappraise it.  The point is to keep writing something. I firmly believe that no effort is wasted.

Is there anything special you require to help the creative juices flow, tea, chocolate, music?

The main thing I require to help me write is silence – absolute silence- and gallons of tea and coffee.  That said, I do find that my mind will frequently drift off into creative mode when listening to music – ideas can occur spontaneously or problems might be clarified when you aren’t even trying.
Chocolate is my guilty pleasure rather than a creative stimulant, but only 80% dark chocolate taken in copious quantities in the evenings.

Of course, it’s medicinal and very good for you!

What was your favorite book as a child, teen, and adult?

It is hard to pinpoint one favourite book when there are so many… As a child in the 50s, I remember being enthralled by Enid Blyton’s adventure books. She has subsequently been lampooned for her restrictive vocabulary and for being non pc. However, the stories themselves are guaranteed to stimulate a child’s imagination. I started my own daughter’s reading habits through Enid Blyton and it really harnessed a long-term love of books. As for a favourite teenage book, one that readily springs to mind is ‘My family and other Animals’ by Gerald Durrell. I find him such a humorous author.  As an adult, however, there are too many to mention and I have quite eclectic reading tastes, anyway.

Are you currently reading anything?

Sadly, no. I am far too busy writing my wip currently. However, I am determined to make time soon to read ‘The Other Family’ , Joanna Trollope’s latest release.

Do you have a favorite historical period?  Figure?

The Regency period is one of my favourite historical times and I love Jane Austen’s works.

I love Jane Austen too…

Where would you like to see yourself in 3 years?

In three years time, I would like to have several more published works to my name, hopefully with great reviews and equally great sales!

Is there anything you’ve always wanted to do, accomplish or see that you haven’t yet?

Professionally, I would like to continue doing more of what I am doing. On a personal level, I would like to broaden my travel experiences to include more of the USA/Canada. I tended to focus my long haul trips on the Far East when I was younger and subsequent family holidays were in Europe. However, my student daughter recently took a trip to Vancouver which reinforced my own aspirations to go there and journey all down the west coast.

What can we look forward to from you in the near future?

My next project is a romance based in Italy. I love everything about Italy, so I find the setting very stimulating. It is a story about a holiday resort representative who befriends her leading hotelier’s younger sister, but soon finds herself drawn into a host of unforeseen complications, made even more complex by her increasing attraction towards Giovani, the enigmatic hotelier. Needless to say, the path towards love will be strewn with hurdles and setbacks with plenty of tension, some serious issues will be raised and there will be a diverse cast of supporting characters.

Thank you again Megan for being with Manic Readers today.  I’ve enjoyed having you.

Thank you, Ivy. It’s been great being here!

OK Y’all, Megan would like our help with a survey she’s conducting…Her question is:

What do you consider to be the essentials of a romance novel?

Please go to her website to see the results so far.  She’d also appreciate answers emailed to her at:

Here’s a chance to voice your opinion so go for it and be heard…

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