Thursday 21 April 2011

Interview and contest: Kate Johnson - The Untied Kingdom

Today I welcome Kate Johnson to my blog. She has a new book out, The UnTied kingdom, and it was a good one (my review). At the bottom of this interview there is a contest where you can win it :D

Welcome to Mur-y-Castell!

Tell me something about yourself, so my readers can get to know you better.

Well, I live in the south east of England and I’m a devoted cat slave. I’d love to tell you something exciting about my past as a daredevil treasure-seeking archaologist, international espionage agent or platinum-selling rockstar, but I’d probably have to kill you. I’d also be lying, since the closest I’ve got to any of those is being a check-in agent on international flights, who occasionally sings a bit and likes shiny things.

Your newest book is called The Untied Kingdom; can you tell me what it is about?

It’s about Britain...but a different Britain. One which has never won a war, run an empire, or developed an industrial revolution. While the rest of Europe is as modern and high-tech as we’d recognise it, England is like a medieval country, whose only industry is war. During the fourth civil war my hero, Major Harker, is trying to keep himself and his men alive, when an alien drops out of the sky and into the Thames. Only it’s not an alien, it’s a paraglider called Eve, and she seems to have come from a different world. Ours, in fact.

The book is sure a mix of genres. What would you like to call it?
Um. I think we’re going for ‘paranormal romance’ but I’ve also defined it as ‘alternate universe’ or ‘alternate history’. ‘Alternate universe romance’ perhaps, in lieu of anything slicker!

Do you have any plans on going back to this parallel world?
Well, sort of. People keep asking me for a sequel, and I do like thinking about what happens next for Eve and Harker. But right now the plot details elude me, so it might be a while!

Where did you get the inspiration for this so familiar, yet still so unfamiliar world?
It was a series of ’what ifs’. My American friend Amy and I were joking about Britain being a third-world country, and I sat back and wondered how, exactly, this damp little island on the edge of the world managed to become a world power in the first place. I concluded we’d just been very lucky and punched above our weight—and then I took away all of the things we’d done right and ended up with this dark, bloody, muddy sepia-toned world, and thought, ”I’ve got to write about that!”

If a movie was made (BBC look here), then who would you cast in the main rolls?
Ooh I love this game. I’d have Richard Armitage for Harker—you know, when he’s not busy filming superhero movies or Tolkien epics. I’ve got such a crush on him! And it took me a while, but then I saw the Weeping Angels episode of Doctor Who and realised Carey Mulligan would make a perfect Eve. You know, when she’s not busy being Oscar-nominated. Emma Watson or Keira Knightley for Tallulah, and Burn Gorman for Daz. Saskia would have to be someone cool and poised, like Kristen Scott-Thomas or Rachel Weisz, and General Wheeler would be Judi Dench.

Are you working on something new and exciting right now?
I’m just finishing up my next book for Choc Lit, Run Rabbit Run. It’s a chick-noir story in my Sophie Green Mysteries series, in which Sophie is accused of murder and goes on the run while her MI6 agent boyfriend tries desperately to clear her name. After that, I’ve got a whole book to write, this time back in a fantasy universe, about a unique class of people with magical powers, a fearsome warlord, and a terrified slave.

Any advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t give up. If you do, you’ll never get published. If you keep trying, you might get published. I know ‘might’ isn’t as good as ‘will’, but it’s better than ‘never’.


1. Open worldwide
2. Ends April 28th
3. Go ahead and enter.
If you want you can ask a question, comment on the interview, or perhaps tell us if you would like to live in this parallel world.

You can choose when you win if you want a printcopy or an e-book

Have fun!

The UnTied Kingdom by Kate Johnson - OUT NOW
When Eve Carpenter lands with a splash in the Thames, it's not the London or England she's used to. No one has a telephone or knows what a computer is. England's a third world country and Princess Di is still alive. But worst of all, everyone thinks Eve's a spy.

Including Major Harker who has his own problems. His sworn enemy is looking for a promotion. The general wants him to undertake some ridiculous mission to capture a computer, which Harker vaguely envisions running wild somewhere in Yorkshire.

Turns out the best person to help him is Eve. She claims to be a popstar. Harker doesn't know what a popstar is, although he suspects it's a fancy foreign word for 'spy'. Eve knows all about computers, and electricity. Eve is dangerous. There's every possibility she's mad.

And Harker is falling in love with her.


  1. Thanks for a great interview :) The Untied Kingdom is now on my wishlist too!
    greetings, Ina

    inale87 at gmx dot at

  2. Great interview and I must say I like the premise! A world with no phones alone would be worth a book (I think) ;-) !

    danaan at gmx dot at

  3. Really enjoyed this interview. I love reading how authors get the idea for their books.

    I'd love to be entered. Thanks!

  4. Great interview! I like the fact that the book is a mix of so many genres.
    I love the author's choice of actors!
    Richard Armitage = Swoon-worthy! :D

  5. Of course I am entering. This blog is the only place where I am actually able to win anything from time to time.

    Dear Kate, if your book was adapted for tv/cinema and they were introducing changes (as they always do) what character you would hate to see changed?

  6. Thank you for the interview Kate :)

    And what more can I say than Swooon. I hope they make a movie, and I hope Armitage is in it because I just love him :D

  7. Sounds like a very interesting book!

    Would love to win a copy!

    pocokat AT gmail DOT com

  8. Great interview - I love the 'cast list' for the book! I'm also a cat slave so I know what you mean Kate!

    I already have the UnTied Kingdom on my towering pile of books - I couldn't resist an alternative England story so don't enter me in the competition - but hopefully I'll be able to start reading it soon! :-)

  9. Fantastic interview -- this looks like such a great book -- I love the stories that spring from 'what if' -- good thing Kate wrote it all down! ;)

    unabridgedchick at

  10. I'm intrigued… Very intrigued!

  11. This sounds like a fun book, reminds me a little of The outlander series. I'd love to be entered in the giveaway for it.

  12. Ummmm... Richard Armitage already stars in my dreams, who wouldn't want him in a movie. LOL

    Please enter me!
    missie at

  13. Sounds fascinating...but not the parallel world I'd want to be tossed into.

    mk261274 at gmail dot com

  14. Lovely interview! This book looks very interesting. :)

  15. Wonderful interview. Plus, great actor pics. Anything with Judi Dench I want to see!

    books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

  16. I am not sure, I don't really like alternate history. I hate steampunk. But I do love some urban fantasy. Yes, strange, I know. I think I would like the other book you described, the world with magic users, better.

  17. A world with no phone is a dream for me. Privacy and time alone with my thoughts. lisapeters at yahoo dot com print please

  18. I believe I never read a book with quite many genres in a book. Sounds fantastic!

    darlyn225 at gmail dot com

  19. Excellent interview! I'd love to be entered.


  20. The Untied Kingdom sounds exciting, I would love to read it! What a unique universe Kate Johnsoön has created! And what a gorgeous cover, it looks so mysterious, my curiosity is definitely piqued! I would love to take a peek at this alternate universe :-)

    Thank you for the chance!

    Have a nice weekend, Happy Easter!

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  21. Talli
    Thank you :)

    It was a wonderful and cool book.

    No phones, how did people even manage ;) Lol, how did I manage when I was a kid

    It's fun to see how the ideas start to emerge

    She has me at Armitage too, I mean *melts into a puddle of drool*

    What, my place? Well then I am glad that this place brings you luck :D


    I am a sucker for alternate timelines. They are just so utterly fascinating

    I feel all inspired to write a what if story :D

    Hi there Ms Bookjunkie :) It was a very cool book, gotta love a weird world

    Hm, really? Sadly no Scots ;)

    Hihi, I can't swoon enough over him!

    It sure was a bleak world, so I am with you on that one


    She would be so cool in it

    Lol, we can't all like all genres
    I am glad you think so, it was sure a different world

    Poor England, they sure suffered in this one

    It was a lovely mix, i had sure a hard time setting a genre


  22. Great interview! No need to enter me though.

  23. this books sound interesting, the interview was really good !!

  24. Looks like a great book! Would love to win!


  25. I watch too much Dr. Who. No parallel universes for me! Great concept.

  26. Dystopian London? I haven't read very many of that yet so this should be interesting :)

  27. The book sounds good, nice interview ladies!
    Alternate universe romance sounds interesting!

  28. Great interview, I'd love to eneter :)

  29. Sounds fascinating!
    (not an entry)
    Great post!

  30. Very interesting how she came up with the world. Intersting description..Sephia world

  31. goodness! this sounds like a fun one! you know, i plan on watching the dr who series from the start. i've only seen bits and pieces of it. have know idea how some of the other dr who actors rate.

    vvb32 at

  32. Thank you all for stopping by :D

  33. I like your casting!! Great interview!! Thank you for the contest!

    inthehammockblog at gmail dot com

  34. i'm looking forward to reading this..
    thanks for the awesome giveawway!!!

    justjanhvi at gmail dot com

  35. Great interview..

    I would kinda like to live in this parallel world.It would be interesting...

  36. How have I missed this! I love the idea of this book. :)

    Lovely interview also!

    *fingers crossed*

  37. WINNER




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