Quintette of Questions: Stephen Johnson

Today I’m asking Stephen Johnson 5 questions about his latest book!

1. What’s the name of your latest book – and how hard was it to pick a title?

Tugga’s Mob was adopted as the title by Chapter 10. They were the wild, Kiwi party animals who turned Judy Williams’ European adventure into a nightmare. The Mob’s leader, Tugga Tancred, was her nemesis.  

2. If you could choose anyone from any time period, who would you cast as the leads in your latest book?

New Zealand actress Anna Hutchison would be ideal in the lead role of Judy Williams. She can portray that girl-next-door quality which is the essence of the Waikato farm girl.

If I could stretch Russell Crowe by 20 cm, slap an extra 40 kilos on his frame, but trim 30 years, he has the sinister acting range to make an impressive Tugga Tancred.

But if Hollywood wants to cast Tom Cruise as Tugga Tancred, I would resist. Until the money became too ridiculous to ignore!

3. What five words best describe your story?

A bloody good page turner.

4. Who is your favourite fictional team/couple?

How can a crime writer go past Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson?

5. What song reflects a theme, character, relationship or scene in your book?

Cliff Richard at the wheel of a double decker bus is so apt for my diarist Judy Williams in Tugga’s Mob. Judy set off with the same dreams for summer adventures in Europe. It’s incredibly cheesy, but I still love the spirit that song evokes. Driving a double decker bus full of young travellers through Europe was the coolest gig in the world.

About Tugga’s Mob

Tugga’s Mob is a story about a crime that wouldn’t stay buried. New Zealander Judy Williams worked hard for her Big OE: London, Paris, Rome, Gallipoli. All the adventures were hand-written in in her diary, which also recorded how an obsessive Tugga Tancred and his Kiwi mates turned Judy’s dream trip into a nightmare. The sexual harassment goes unnoticed; or was ignored by other passengers. Tugga’s fixation ultimately leads to murder; a crime that went unpunished for 30 years. Few things remain hidden forever. The rediscovery of Judy’s diary sparks a trail of revenge that the original perpetrators never see coming. It creates a bloody trail that might have gone unnoticed if not for curious journalists at a Melbourne TV station.

Buy Tugga’s Mob

About Stephen Johnson

Stephen Johnson is an Australian-born television news and sports producer who has swapped the TV studio for a writer’s garret overlooking the Tamaki River in Auckland. He calls himself an “accidental author,” returning from a long-awaited empty nest tour of Europe with a thousand photos and a debut novel.

Tugga’s Mob was crafted in a seven-metre motorhome nicknamed Kwozzimoto for the Kiwi navigator and Australian pilot. The story was pounded out on a battered laptop over33,000 kilometres through a dozen countries and almost 150 campsites. The plot’s inspiration came from Stephen’s three years working as a tour guide and driver on double-decker buses in the ‘80s. Those adventures with Top Deck Travel, and 40 years as a journalist, provided rich-pickings for novel locations, events and characters.

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So many book launches and author talks have had to be cancelled, I’ve decided to run as many Quintettes as I can to share some great upcoming work – and let you stock up on things to read while we’re all self-isolating.