Kiwi in Cat City by Vickie Johnstone
1- When did you start to write, formally?
Hi, I started writing when I was young, probably in junior school. I remember that our class was reading Miss Pepperpot’s adventures and our homework was to write a similar story. I wrote one starring my classmates, and the teacher read it out and the kids liked it. That’s my first memory of writing something. I always wrote stuff, especially poetry, although it wasn’t autobiographical. The first book I actually finished was Kiwi in Cat City, so I think of that as my first real book. I wrote it in 2002, but I didn’t publish it until 2011, when I discovered KDP and Smashwords. Since then, I’ve been writing in earnest and really enjoying it. Last year I realised it’s what I really want to do.
2- Would the Kiwi Series be considered children's books?
Yes, I hope so! I wrote them for younger readers aged 10 up. I was reading from the age of three and just hoovered up books as a kid. I was reading books that were ‘too old’ for me, so I guess even younger kids may enjoy Kiwi. Around that age, I found books magical. I loved stories into which I could escape, where the real world didn’t exist. These worlds were more colourful, bigger, full of adventure and kids relied on themselves. I also loved animals. Worlds with magic and talking animals were my favourites. I loved them. Most of my Kiwi reviewers have been adults though, so I guess Kiwi is crossing over the age categories. And we’re all big kids really!
3- Do you have other artistic talents?
I wish! If only I could play anything or sing – my cousin and uncle are great singers. But, alas, I would only scare off the neighbourhood cats... or attract them, maybe. I used to be good at painting and drawing, but it’s a hobby that I stopped doing in my 20s. I’m not sure if I could still do it! Maybe I’d be doing matchstick cats and dogs! I like dancing, although it’s more for the pure freedom and fun of it than anything artistic! I probably resemble a living Pollock painting. I enjoy cooking. I like mixing and matching things, and making up combinations. My nan was a brilliant cook. To this day, I’ve never tasted pastry better than hers! Now my mouth is watering! And I love looking at art – paintings, sculpture, drawings. I love galleries.