Monday, August 8, 2011

Interview with Nicky Johnston- Author of Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts & Happythoughts are Everywhere

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Nicky Johnston. I am a mum of four boys, a primary teacher and an artist. In my spare time, I am a 1st Dan Black Belt in Ishinryu Karate – with four boys I think this is a qualification really worth having!!

Why do you write?

I love stories, whether they are spoken, acted, illustrated or written - the value of passing on these stories helps create a sense of family community, passed on through generations. I love being able to contribute to this cycle!

What was your inspiration for writing Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts & Happythoughts are Everywhere?

Both of my books are based on my eldest son’s battle with anxiety. Young children who worry are often missed, overlooked or just told ‘not to worry’. If they learn tools and strategies to manage their worry thoughts, they will be equipped with these skills for life.  My books have not only helped my own son, but thousands of other children.

What advice do you have for others on writing for children?

Make your writing meaningful and simple. Writing simply is sometimes the hardest! I am also the illustrator of my books and I use literal and visual tools to tell my stories, simply but with great meaning.

What else do you love to do, other than write books?

I LOVE drawing and painting. The illustrations were so important to me as they too tell every bit of the story as the written words – my inspiration is the world around me….you will find drawing pads all over my house, where I sketch away anytime I am sitting still!
6.  What is your idea of a perfect day? 
The perfect day is one where time doesn’t matter, talking, reading, playing with my children! I count my blessings everyday!

What were some of your favorite books as a child?

I still have my childhood books that now my own children treasure (Old Hat, New Hat – Dr Seuss series). I also loved “The Wishing Chairs” series and “Folk of the Faraway Tree” series by Enid Blyton. When I read these books to my boys, I can still visualize the same images that I used to imagine as a child.

What is the best thing about writing books for children?

My books strike a chord with children who suffer from anxiety, and I love it when they honestly believe I have written the books about them. I think the best thing about writing my books are the letters and messages from parents who express their delight in discovering my books, sharing with me how the books have changed their lives by helping their little worriers take control of their worry thoughts.

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

I used to make books all the time when I was little. I wrote a story about a blended family (with step brothers, aunts and uncles) and I made it into a ‘lift the flap’ book. I only made one book and I still have it! When I visit schools and talk to children I show them my first book, the drafts of my new books, hoping to inspire them to keep on writing. I believe all children have a story to tell!

Describe yourself in five words.
Creative, Caring, Perfectionist, Sharing and always Learning!

What are you working on now?

My first book “Go Away, Mr Worrythoughts!” has recently been adapted into a professional theatrical production which is touring primary schools in Australia.  I have been very busy working on all of this, but I also have another children’s book I have written, I just have to complete the illustrations! Saving the best part until last!

What do you love most about your new book?

Change your thoughts to change your feelings” is the concept of “Happythoughts are Everywhere…” and I just love how kids who read my book just ‘get it’! Taking control of your thoughts is such a powerful tool. I love it when children adapt my story into their own ‘happy thoughts’ story, it means they take ownership of their thoughts.

Anything else you want to share?

I just love reading, and I love that my children love reading too. My favorite quote that I truly live by is “Reach for the stars and you just might touch the moon”.  That is exactly what I have done!

Do you have a website and/or fan page? Where can we find your books to buy? 

My books are available from, where I have a range of other helpful resources and links for parents of ‘little worriers’.  I also have a Facebook Fan Page where people can join in chats and catch up on all the latest news!

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