The Shift with Sam Baker

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Milly Johnson on grafting, greetings cards and life in the "sandwich" zone

Season 10, Ep. 106

My guest today is the dose of salts that is Milly Johnson. Milly started writing books in her late 30s when the birth of her first son showed her the direction she’d been struggling to find. Now on her 20th novel, Together, Again, self-described northern bird Milly has sold over 2 and a half million books and won the Romantic Novelists association Outstanding achievement award. 


But you’d never know it, because Milly - along with hundreds of other highly successful women - writes books that are considered fluff, lesser, not serious and consequently the literary establishment turns its nose up at her. And her readers.


Well, as you will hear, “the queen of feelgood fiction” is not putting up with any of that nonsense. Or anything else for that matter!


Milly joined me from her home in Barnsley, where she’s lived her whole life, to talk about being a single mum, life as a sandwich woman and the benefits(ish) of having been ‘kicked around the ring a few times!” We also discussed grafting, how writing greetings cards shaped her approach to fiction, the importance of making readers feel seen and why a comfort zone is just a cosy prison.


* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including Together, Again and The Woman In The Middle by Milly Johnson and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!


* And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please consider joining The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/


The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.

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1/31/2023

Cariad Lloyd on what she's learnt from 25 years in The Grief Club

Season 11, Ep. 118
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1/24/2023

Clover Stroud on sex, sisterhood & looking forward to menopause - THE SHIFT REVISITED

Season 10, Ep. 117
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1/17/2023

Kit de Waal on race, class – and her exceedingly cool hair! - THE SHIFT REVISITED

Season 10, Ep. 116
Over the Christmas period and into January I'm going to be replaying some of my quiet favourite episodes of 2022. This week is the brilliantly outspoken author Kit de Waal. This episode first aired in July.---Today’s guest is the award-winning writer, Kit De Waal. Until she was 21, Kit had never read a book voluntarily. But once she started there was no stopping her. Kit started writing in her mid-40s and published her award-winning debut, My Name Is Leon, at 56. Since then she has used her success to work tirelessly to promote the voices of working class writers. Using some of her advance to set up the Kit de Waal Creative Writing Fellowship (aka the Fat Chance scholarship!) and editing Common People, an anthology of working class writing.Now she’s turned her attention to her own childhood. Her memoir, Without Warning And Only Sometimes, is the story of growing up in poverty, one of five children with a Black father and Irish mother who brought them up Jehovah’s Witness…Kit joined me from possibly the most envy-inducing workroom I’ve ever ogled via zoom (and I’ve ogled a few!) to talk being single and reclaiming your own space at 60. We discussed race, class, privilege, the impact of a childhood spent not stepping on the cracks and why she hates that “fucking overused word resilience”. Plus why she’s not interested in a man on the downward slide, being a Tuesday friend and her exceedingly cool hair* You can buy all the books mentioned in this podcast at Bookshop.org, including Without Warning And Only Sometimes by Kit de Waal and the book that inspired this podcast, The Shift: how I lost and found myself after 40 - and you can too, by me!* And if you'd like to support the work that goes into making this podcast and get a weekly newsletter plus loads more content including transcripts of the podcast, please join The Shift community. Find out more at https://steadyhq.com/en/theshift/• The Shift (on life after 40) with Sam Baker is created and hosted by Sam Baker and edited by Emily Sandford. If you enjoyed this podcast, please rate/review/follow as it really does help other people find us. And let me know what you think on twitter @sambaker or instagram @theothersambaker.