in conversation with megan johnston...
Megan Johnston is a freelance book editor living in Sydney's inner west.
Some of her favourite books include; I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons, The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Jerusalem the Golden by Margaret Drabble, The Secret History by Donna Tartt and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I had an idyllic childhood, growing up on a sheep farm in Central Western New South Wales, and now live in Sydney's inner west (there seems to be a western theme here) and work as a freelance book editor - mainly on cookbooks. You may have heard of some of the authors whose books I've worked on: Pete Evans, Justine Schofield, Matt Preston, Will and Steve, Karen Martini...
How did you decide what you wanted to do?
Hmmm, I didn't really! Still deciding what I want to do when I grow up. How did I get into publishing? It was never a conscious decision. I did an Arts degree at university and was incredibly lucky to get a part-time job at a publisher while finishing my studies. I then worked my way up to being a Senior Editor.
If you could only wear one colour for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Black! 'I'm in mourning for my life.' (I love saying that. It's a quote from Chekhov's The Seagull.)
Do you have a fun fact that our readers may not know?
Theo LeSieg (author of Come Over to My House - one of the best kids' books ever) is a pseudonym of Theodor Geisel, aka Dr Seuss.
If you are searching for inspiration, what do you reach for, what do you do, where do you go?
I go for a walk. It's a brilliant way to slow things down and focus the mind.
Do you have a favourite quote from an author/influencer?
'...we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.' [- Oscar Wilde]
What are some of the strangest books you have read?
The unsolicited manuscripts we received at the publishing house. Some of them were enjoyable - and very entertaining - but not perhaps in the way the author intended.
You could write a book in any genre. What would it be and why?
I have written a book! It's a political thriller with a paranormal twist for young adults. I wrote it to help my niece survive her final year at boarding school.
What author should everyone read at least once in his or her lifetime?