What If? by Caroline Johnston

There’s a scene early on in Caroline Johnston’s Young Adult novel What If? that made me realise this story has more to it than I’d expected.

Featuring what looks like a teenage girl daydreaming on the cover, I was expecting a story about relationships and maybe some romance and if that’s what you’re looking for then you won’t be disapointed.

I have a confession to make, back in the 1970’s, after moving from the big city to the Shetland Isles, having no TV and a hyperactive imagination, I read everything I could get my hands on. Everything. I snatched Bunty magazine off my sister, read several terms at Malory Towers and would happily have read Mills & Boon if I’d known it existed.

Over the years my reading habits became somewhat filtered until now my default easy read is a Lee Child. But that does sometimes get a bit boring…

I’m sharing the stage with Caroline Johnston at Cumbernauld Library in September and thought it was only polite to find out a bit more about her and what better way to find out about an author than to read their book!

The heroine of the story: Rachel Anderson (Love that last name 😉 ) is encouraged to audition for the school play and it was as I read her initial lines that I got a sense of something powerful in the story. It’s such a simple premise: What if we asked: what if?

I love “what if” questions. What if we could solve world hunger? What if we could develop faster than light travel? What if we could travel in time… Okay, maybe I’m heading way off genre here.

It took me a little while to find my teenage girl groove, but once I did the story sucked me in and I got caught up in what was a pretty funny comedy of errors.

If you don’t enjoy young adult stories heavy on relationships and with a hint of romance then What If? probably isn’t for you. But if you do, then I recommend it.

What If? can be bought as paperback through Caroline Johnston’s website where you can also find out more about the author. Also available on Amazon in paperback and ebook:

Finally, if you’d like to meet Caroline in person, book your free ticket to Murder, Mystery and More on 16th September at Culture NL’s website.

The importance of relevance

Everything we say and do (and write) will only matter to someone else if it is relevant to them.

I’ve seen this before with my writing. My original blog used to get the odd hit every other day, often from Eastern European countries or Russia giving the impression that only bots were landing there. Every now and then though, I’d post something and manage to share it with the right people and see a huge spike in hits.

I found this happen again this weekend. Two weeks into this new blog, daily hits averaging around seven a day and then I post my notes from Amazon Academy…

250 hits in one day. All because I posted useful notes for writers and shared that post with other writers…

This other screenshot is also encouraging. I wanted to reach out to English speaking writers and saw the greatest hits from UK, US, Canada and Australia:

Whatever we do in life, relevance to others is vitally important. As a writer, I want to sell books to readers who will enjoy what I write. That means I need to identify how to reach those readers, what sort of books they are already buying and work out what they need to hear to encourage them to try my books.

But the same principles can be applied to whatever we do. In your day job, working out who your main customers/stakeholders are (hint: your boss will be number one!) is vital. Learning what they want and trying to improve on that is a way to get noticed and make your customers happy.

I can also see this applying to my relationships. How can I be more relevant to the people that matter in my life? Are my words and actions meeting their needs?

How about you? Can you see ways to be more relevant?