I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading Johnny Nothing! I giggled, laughed out loud, chuckled the entire book through. and still I felt sad, and touched in others. If you loved Lemony Snickett-type stories then please, I beg you read this book.
I even read some of it out loud to my fiance and he snorted with laughter too. I wish there were more books like this when I was a kid!
It was snarky, funny, oddly realistic at times, and it didn’t promise the most perfect ending ever but the bad guys got their just desserts and the good guys came out smelling like roses. I still want to adopt poor Johnny though!!
If there is a print copy I think I know my niece and nephews are totally getting one come birthday pressie time!!!
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The first ten readers who answer the following question will also receive a signed print of one of the book’s illustrations.
Q: What is the tattoo on Ben’s arm?
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Ian Probert has been scribbling down words ever since he learned to spell the phrase: ‘Once upon a time…’. He is the author of Internet Spy, Rope Burns and a bunch of other titles. Internet Spy was a bestseller in the US and made into a TV film. Rope Burns is a book about why books shouldn’t be written about boxing. Ian has also written things for a shed load of newspapers and magazines. When Ian was a student he used to write lots of letters to the bank manager.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
1-In less than 30 words, tell us about your book
Johnny Nothing’s psychopathic mother is stealing his inheritance. Learn why solicitors like handbags, why dead people are windier than the North Sea and what happens to you after you die.
2-How long did it take you to write it?
It took about four months. One month to actually write it and three to correct all the spelling mistakes. I’m a pretty fast writer. Years ago I locked myself away for a month and produced a 120,000 word novel. I didn’t leave the house and smoked millions of roll-ups. Of course, fast doesn’t necessarily indicate good. Neither does slow.
3-why did you write it? or better yet where did the plot idea come from?
It’s a long story. I was ill for probably 15 years and lost the ability to… Um… What’s the word? Concentrate. That’s it. Concentrate. I stopped writing and got very depressed and starting thinking a lot about death and the nature of the universe. Eventually people noticed I wasn’t myself and I found a doctor who was able to work out what was wrong with me. So after years of inactivity I was suddenly brimming with ideas. I wrote Johnny Nothing to amuse my 10-year-old daughter. I wanted to create someone that you could care about while still being able to laugh about his predicament. He’s probably me. Everybody I write about is probably me.
4-If you won the lottery, what is the first thing you would do?
After the drugs and debauchery I’d probably buy several million copies of Johnny Nothing to get it into an unassailable position in the Amazon charts. A bit like Charles Saatchi tried to do with his book. Allegedly. You have to say allegedly a lot these days whenever you write about anyone else online. I’d also hire an expensive lawyer so that I could make a certain person’s life a misery (you know who you are, you noxious little creep).
5-When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer professionally
My road to Damascus moment came during a hiking holiday in Damascus. Not really. It was a slow process. I wrote a lot at school and then after art college I became a sports and music journalist, as you do. I began to write longer and longer articles until eventually I realised they had grown into books. I’m afraid that everything came to me ridiculously easy: I got an agent straight away, a publisher came soon afterwards. It’s only as I’ve gotten older that I’ve realised how lucky I was. I think the older you get the harder it is to achieve any degree of success.
6-How did you come up with the title?
Do you know, I really have no idea whatsoever. I can’t even put my memory loss down to drugs or alcohol as I’m a completely clean bunny these days. Let’s say it came in a fit of perspiration.
7- Where can fans contact you/Are you on facebook or twitter?/Do you have a website?
I’m a good boy. I do everything they tell you to do. I have a website. I have a WordPress blog. I tweet. I Facebook. I (occasionally) Instagram. I Pin. I’m all over the shop, me. Although I never answer the phone and I don’t do selfies. I’m far too ugly.
8-If you could only pick two people, living or dead, famous or not, to read your book, who would they be and why?
Probably my dad. He died last year and as far as I know he never read anything I wrote, even though he gets a couple of chapters to himself in ‘Rope Burns’. We didn’t get on but for all his imperfections he had a staggeringly impressive persona. I’m like everyone else. I’m a middle-aged man who still wants to impress his dad. Except I never will now, which makes me immensely sad. I can’t tell you how much. The other person would have to be the devil. If you can make the devil laugh then you must be doing something right.
9- In one sentence, what advice would you give to an aspiring author?
Its ideas not words that make a good writer.
10-What would you name the autobiography of your life?
I’ve already written it! Rope Burns. (http://amzn.to/1zpTNkR – buy it now kids!). I was 37 when I wrote it. How arrogant is that? The autobiography of a guy who has done literally nothing whatsoever with his life.