Where is that pounding coming from?

Monday, August 15, 2011

We are putting a new roof on our old, old, old house. This is no longer a choice. Hammering is going to happen all too soon. There will be no reading except at night. There will be no writing except at night. There will be no thinking except at night. That leaves eating and worrying about the work I'm not doing. My novel and I are looking for asylum.

National Gerontological Nursing Association

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Through the generosity of my publisher, HarperCollins, copies of The Sweet By and By were given to 200 attendees of the 2010 National Gerontological Nursing Association Convention held earlier this month in Palm Springs. Included below is my letter to the delegates. I share it for the sake of the thousands of nurses who were not in attendance.

October 12, 2010

Dear Nurses,

Please accept my warmest greetings on the cusp of the 2010 National Gerontological Nurses Association Convention. Thanks to the generosity of my publisher, HarperCollins, I’m delighted to share with you my recent novel THE SWEET BY AND BY.

As I indicated in a special Author’s Note included in the paperback edition, while the novel is not autobiographical, it is at its core a love letter to my two grandmothers. From the time I was a toddler growing up in North Carolina, my grandmothers were an intimate and integral part of my life. Toward the end of their lives, both spent time in nursing homes, one when she was in well into her nineties, and the other as a much younger woman in her sixties, when she was unfortunately riddled with illness to the extent that she was simply no longer able to live alone.

When I visited them in their respective elder care facilities, which I did often, I found that I wanted to make notes about things they said and did. I had no thought of ever writing a work of fiction, but rather wanted to collect private reflections about two women whom I loved deeply. Of course, part of that experience also entailed getting to know personally many of the extraordinary caregivers in whose hands my grandmothers found themselves. I have many memories of those days, some heartwarming, some painful, others -- many in fact -- hilarious.

My hope in writing THE SWEET BY AND BY was to give the most authentic voices I could to a group of women whose stories are rarely heard and whose actions are invisible but whose lives are nonetheless vibrant. I have received hundreds of letters from family members of aging loved ones as well as RNs, LPNs, and CNAs all over America who most often thank me for simply “seeing” them. This is a gift I never could have imagined, and a sampling of these letters is included at the end of the book. If I have in any way honored the selfless commitment of nurses such as yourselves, then I am rewarded beyond measure as an author.

If you’d like to share thoughts or stories of your own after reading the book, please do write to me at: Todd@ToddJohnsonBooks.com. I’d love to hear from you.

All best wishes to you for a successful convention along with my thanks for your service. I believe that our nation’s elderly belong to all of us, and your dedication is an inspiration when it comes to protecting and celebrating the treasure that they are.

Kindest regards,

Todd Johnson

AudioFile review of "The Sweet By and By"

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hats off to Lois Smith, Adriane Lenox, Becky Ann Baker, and Robin Miles! These women brought more than I could have ever imagined to Margaret, Bernice, Lorraine, Rhonda, and April. Read the review here.

Last week of summer...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Everything slows down in the summer, including (for me) blogging.

Spent the whole gorgeous (and occasionally REALLY hot) summer at home in NW Connecticut except for two trips -- one to Greenwood, Mississippi to the movie set for "The Help" (it's going to be wonderful) and the other to stunning Dewees Island, SC. Dewees is a special place - the bulk of the island is a nature preserve so it has the (long-lost) look of the barrier islands of forty years ago. No cars or paved roads. Ate the best fried shrimp of my life at The Wreck, an unmarked restaurant on Isle of Palms (not so easy to find in the dark without a GPS, I might add). Also, took part in a loggerhead inventory on the beach three days after a nest had hatched. There was one hatchling still in the nest, and watching that little one determinedly make its way into the crashing waves made me vow never to say that writing a novel is hard work.

Also, plenty of slow days for books. Here are a few of my summer reads: "Shadow Country," by Peter Matthiessen (spent a week canoeing in the Everglades this past spring so this one had special resonance for me); "Ferris Beach," by Jill McCorkle (a favorite author's lovely story of a young girl's coming of age in the 70s); "The Writings of a Savage" (letters of Paul Gauguin); "The Heaven of Mercury," by Brad Watson (a Southern writer's beautiful first novel, set in Mississippi); "The Nashville Sound," by Paul Hemphill (research for my own novel-in-progress); and "The Farther Reaches of Human Nature," by A.H. Maslow (just because).

Enjoy what's left of the warm days, and eat tomatoes every chance you get.

A SIBA Best Seller in Week One!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Thanks to SIBA (Southern Indie Booksellers) for making "The Sweet By and By" a paperback best seller in its first week! Look forward to seeing many of you next week when I start my tour!

Watch the new video!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Right on time for the release of "The Sweet By and By" in paperback, there's a brand new video!
It includes a few of the incredible letters I've received from readers. Enjoy!

A National "Best Reads" Pick

Monday, February 8, 2010

"The Sweet By and By" was selected as one of four "Best Reads" by syndicated columnist Sharon Randall of Scripps Howard News Service in Washington, D.C. Her weekly column is distributed to some 400 newspapers and an estimated 6 million readers nationwide.

"The Sweet By and By" by Todd Johnson: "Hilarious and heartrending...If I live long enough, I want Lorraine to be my nurse, April to handle my affairs, Margaret and Bernice as my bunkmates, and I surely hope Rhonda can do my hair. Also, if my life were a book, I'd want Todd Johnson to write it." - Sharon Randall, Scripps Howard News Service