Last week Fiona Johnson stopped by the blog to tell us about her love of reading, how our own imagination can bring things to life, and what inspired her to write the short stories that are contained in her latest short story collection, Peat Smoke and Primroses. Today I'll talk a little bit about her short story collections.
I remember when I first met @McDroll (Fiona Johnson) on Twitter a few months ago when she was just starting to share her short stories on her personal blog. And now, here she is with not just one published short story collection, but three.
The first collection is Kick It by McDroll, and contains five emotionally charged short stories, with the combination being a perfect bundle for a debut collection. Three of the five short stories are about one of my favorite female tough-girl characters, Gemma Dixon. Gemma is a female cop working her way up in a man's world and proving she's got more balls than some of the men she works with. She's sharp, witty, not afraid to get dirty, and has no problem holding her own when things get rough. In A Pot of Christmas Soup, Gemma learns what the real ingredients are in a tasty dish served up by a female inmate. Then in The Red Glove, Gemma and her team find the remains of a young girl, and Gemma gets a note with startling information. The third story featuring Gemma Dixon, and the one that always brings a smile to my face, showcases Gemma dressed undercover in six inch heels and working a street corner as a whore in It Takes Years of Training. The two other stories in the collection feature a sperm donor meeting his daughter in Number 74, and a school teacher bringing a dramatic end to a difficult day in Drowning.
We get another helping of emotionally charged stories in Kick It Again by McDroll. This time the stories showcase a fairly wide range of characters, from a couple of shady guys getting a beat down in A Straight Game, to a mother with no place to go but down in No More Choices. My two favorite stories are told in The Return Journey, a haunting tale of a daughter returning to her abusive past to finally take her mother's hand, and The Trip, the disastrous story of a family road trip. Perhaps the most emotional story for me was Unrest. In this story we read about the terror of war and the fear of being found by the enemy... "all hope of rescue was now gone." Absolutely chilling.
Next you'll find Fiona telling stories of love in Peat Smoke and Primroses, all welcome after reading the first two collections. It might be the smallest collection of the three, but the stories are just as powerful. Peat Smoke and Primroses contains a story of lost love in Together, a man's love for his VW Golf van and the marriage that becomes possible when it finally breaks down in Love of My Life, and the possibility of buried treasure in Whiskey Island. With the details of the landscape so beautifully written by Fiona, you'll easily see yourself on a beach one minute, and driving down a single track-road near Glasgow on a windy autumn day the next.
Fiona might be writing under two different names, but don't think for a second that the writing style changes when the name does. Her style... is solid.
Fiona Johnson lives in Argyll, Scotland, easily one of the most beautiful places in the world, steeped in history from prehistoric standing stones to Celtic crosses with castles and countless lochs and glens. She sits at night, laptop on knees, and writes about romance or murders depending on what mood she is in…well, what else would she do? Fiona has had stories published in Shotgun Honey and The Flash Fiction Offensive. KICK IT and KICK IT AGAIN her collections of crime/noir short stories have been published by Trestle Press. Fiona is one of the contributors in OFF THE RECORD and THE LOST CHILDREN, both charity anthologies. Her most recent collection of short stories PEAT SMOKE AND PRIMROSES is also published by Trestle Press.
Fiona also writes under the names McDroll and F.G. Johnson.
Her books are available here:
KICK IT by McDroll
KICK IT AGAIN by McDroll
PEAT SMOKE AND PRIMROSES by F.G. Johnson
THE LOST CHILDREN: A CHARITY ANTHOLOGY
OFF THE RECORD