Norwich author swaps selling books for writing them

Waterstones book seller Mitch Johnson with his first novel, Kick. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Waterstones book seller Mitch Johnson with his first novel, Kick. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A Norwich author has swapped selling books for writing them as he releases his first novel.

Waterstones book seller Mitch Johnson with his first novel, Kick. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Waterstones book seller Mitch Johnson with his first novel, Kick. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Mitch Johnson, 27, has released his first book titled Kick, after working on it for more than four years.

Kick follows the story of Budi, a poverty-bound boy working ten hours a day in a backstreet sweatshop making football boots in Jakarta, who dreams of following his idol, Kieran Wakefield, the superstar Real Madrid footballer and play along side him.

Mr Johnson said: ''I was working in a sport shop when the idea came to me. I went to get a pair of football boots for a customer in the stock room. I was checking the sizes when I came across a crumpled energy gel sachet.

'It got me thinking about how the boots have been made and who had made them because energy gels are normally used by endurance athletes but to me it suggested inadequate breaks and harsh conditions as workers are pushed to their limits and I started working on the story from there.'

Waterstones book seller Mitch Johnson with his first novel, Kick. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Waterstones book seller Mitch Johnson with his first novel, Kick. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017


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The UEA graduate started the book as a short story while studying creative writing before expanding it into a novel.

Mr Johnson works as a book seller in Waterstones, split between the stores in Castle Meadow, Norwich and on the UEA campus.

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He described going from selling books to having one published as 'very peculiar'.

'I had the launch party in the store which was a very similar work setting,' he added, 'normally I am there seeing other authors doing their tours but it was very strange to be the person who was being interviewed. It was really special as I had a lot of my colleagues supporting me.'

The book has been endorsed by Amnesty International UK.

'One thing I hope to happen is for young people to read it and be introduced to other people's way of living, which will hopefully make a difference to the way we think about products and consume things.'

'It has been a very long process as I have been writing for about 10 years but it is very satisfying to finally have a published novel.'

Authors who have swapped the day job for the writing world

Mitch Johnson has gone from selling books to writing them.

Like many famous authors he has come from humble beginnings to being published.

Here are some other authors who have swapped their day job for the writing world.

At the age of 19, George Orwell enlisted into the Indian Imperial Police and served as a policeman in Burma. It was not until five years later he moved back to England due to illness and became a writer.

Harry Potter author J.K Rowling was not always the magical master of the Potter works we know her for today. Seven years after graduating from university she found herself jobless, having to sign up to welfare benefits while working on the first Potter book.

Writing genius Charles Dickens started his working life in a boot polish factory. Long before his acclaimed work as a journalist he was busy sticking labels onto the pots of the polish.

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