Yes, Mimi Johnson is working on a sequel to Gathering String

Good news for Gathering String fans who’ve been asking for a sequel:


The book averages 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon, with 8 of 12 reviews giving Gathering String 5 stars. The most recent review, by S. Evans, gives 5 stars:

The plot moves from romance to action and keeps you turning the “pages” of the Kindle. …This is a great read, and comes with a warning: You will be nostalgic for the days when journalists actually uncovered real stories, and sometimes braved public scorn and even loss of prestige to bring us the truth.

Gathering String reviews: ‘I couldn’t put it down;’ ‘exciting tale’

Five-star reviews continue to come in for Gathering String.

John Robinson, retired editor of the Greeensboro News & Record, got so engrossed in Mimi Johnson‘s novel that he neglected his personal health:

I sat on the beach with “Gathering String” and risked third-degree sunburn because I couldn’t put it down. It’s a romance, it’s a thriller, it’s a crime whodunit. A wonderful first novel. I hope she’s writing a sequel.



Novelist Richard Hine, author of Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch, also reviewed the book:

You don’t have to care about the future of news or the machinations of election-year politics to enjoy “Gathering String’ by Mimi Johnson. But if you happen to be a news or politics junkie, you’ll take special delight in this gripping tale of love, adventure and one big secret that, if uncovered, could change the fate of the Presidential election. … This exciting tale builds to a powerful and satisfying conclusion.


The book is $5.99 at the Kindle Store. You don’t need a Kindle to read it. You can use the Kindle app for iPad, iPhone or computer.

Gathering String tops Amazon political fiction list

Mimi Johnson’s Gathering String ranks No. 1 in free political fiction on Amazon right now, 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 19, a promotional free day. The novel also ranks No. 7 among free contemporary fiction offerings and No. 23 among all free books on Amazon. The price goes back up to $5.99 tomorrow.

Gathering String is beating considerable competition in all 3 categories: 21 offerings altogether in political fiction and more than 100 in both contemporary and all books (the rankings just show the top 100).

If you have read Gathering String, especially if you’ve taken advantage of a free day, the author/publisher would appreciate a review or at least a like.

In addition, Gathering String is the selection for an Iowa book club:

And another happy reader tweets:

Gathering String likened to Primary Colors & Grisham novels

Recent reaction to Mimi Johnson’s Gathering String likens the novel to Joe Klein‘s Primary Colors (originally published as by Anonymous) and to John Grisham‘s legal thrillers.

Matt DeRienzo has provided the latest 5-star Amazon review for Gathering String, under a headline saying “If you liked ‘Primary Colors,’ you’ll love this book”:

There was a tipping point for me somewhere around half-way through the book, when it becomes clear how flawed and human the characters are, when I felt like I had to keep reading despite my draining iPad battery and the work emails that were piling up.

On Twitter, Menachem Wecker provided the Grisham comparison:

Tim McGuire: Gathering String is a ‘delightful read’

Tim McGuire describes Mimi Johnson’s novel, Gathering String, as “a delightful read” in his blog, McGuire on Media.

“The book engaged me, intrigued me and rewarded me,” wrote McGuire, Frank Russell Chair for the business of journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

The blog post was about self-publishing, reacting to author Jon Talton’s decision not to appear in a panel discussion with a writer who was self-published. McGuire, a friend of Talton, criticized the author’s dismissal of self-published writers, citing Mimi Johnson as a author he was glad had self-published. McGuire describes her as a “world-champion tweeter,” one of the few people his wife, Jean, follows on Twitter.

McGuire’s observations about Johnson and her writing:

When I first met Mimi she said she was a writer. I will admit I viewed her as a bit of a dilettante because she couldn’t point to anything she had written.


A few months ago that changed with the debut of Gathering String, a book published by the self-publishing arm of Amazon. In my mind that made Mimi a real, live writer.


I found Gathering String a delightful read. It’s part political intrigue, part paean to an emerging journalism world and part mystery-thriller. It has a little whiff of romance novel to it and sometimes I feared melodrama was just around the corner. Yet, the book engaged me, intrigued me and rewarded me. It had enough surprises to keep me in the game.


After some discussion of Talton’s criticism of self-publishing, McGuire added:

I am incredibly happy Mimi Johnson got her words in print. It would have been shameful if her work got blocked by an overworked, arbitrary and capricious decision-maker in a publishing house. 

To clarify, Gathering String is not actually in print. It was published as an ebook (though a print edition is a possibility).

Joining McGuire in recent praise for Gathering String is Amazon reviewer Kjohnson:

Gathering String was a great way to kick-off to my summer reading. From the prologue I was hooked … I love the way the author writes about each of the characters. She made me believe in them. Be they sympathetic, likable, or detestable, they kept me coming back for more.


Gathering String is a story with a lot of energy and pace – think news deadlines, has a great cast of characters, and is a mystery that will keep you hanging until the very end.


Goodreads reviews give Gathering String 5 stars

Iowa writer Carla Offenburger wrote the first of two 5-star Goodreads reviews of Mimi Johnson’s Gathering String:

Loved this book! Every page was worth it. I miss the characters and hope I get to see them again in a future sequel.

Chris Hubbs, an Iowa engineer, wrote in the second review:

Johnson has an ear for dialogue and an eye for authentic detail.

Hubbs also reviewed Gathering String on Amazon:

She writes characters that you feel like you know, and puts them in a story that will keep you turning pages until you reach the end.

Hubbs tweeted his enthusiasm for the book:


Gathering String: ‘You mourn reaching the end of it’

High praise for Mimi Johnson’s Gathering String in this tweet:


Another review for Gathering String posted on Amazon by Iowa native “DocRoc7”:

There are many Iowa locations and descriptions that endeared this story to me, such as the Tall Corn Inn, Jay’s Drug Store, the Iowa Governor who is running for President, Swede Erickson (Mimi is from Essex a small town with a large Swedish heritage), Farragut Admirals girls basketball team and so many other little insights that most won’t recognize. With each new chapter I anticipated another mention of familiar spots that had be cleverly woven into the story, not unlike “easter eggs” that are often found in video games. It’s paced well with flashbacks, foreshadowing, romance and intrigue. … Now the challenge is to re-read the novel again through the eyes of a non-Iowan and focus more on the characters and less on the settings. As a first novel “Gathering String” shows a depth of creativity with promise of greater things to come.


Buffy Andrews asks Q’s & Mimi Johnson gives A’s

Buffy’s write zone features a Q&A with Mimi Johnson, author of Gathering String:

Gathering String coverFinish these sentences:


If I knew… How much fun I’d be having in my 50s, I wouldn’t have minded how fast my 40s flew by.


I like writing because… I just can’t seem to stop. I think it was Dorothy Parker who said, “I hate writing. I love having written.” Writing is hard and I’m basically a lazy person. But damn, I love seeing a character come to life. It’s worth all the effort.

Rebecca Granshaw featured the Q&A as the lead story in Becky’s Sparkly Digital Daily for today, too.

And readers continue to praise Gathering String on Twitter:









Buffy will have to wait a while for that sequel, but Mimi Johnson is working on several projects, one of them another novel about Sam Waterman. Lex Alexander elaborated on Gathering String in an Amazon review:

“It was the perfect read to start my grad-school semester break: plot, characterization and dialogue realistic enough to draw you in and keep you there without going down any thematic or plot rabbit holes.”




Gathering String blamed for neglected housework, dead battery, ‘zero work’

Gathering String coverReaders of Mimi Johnson‘s novel, Gathering String, like to blame it for things that happen in their lives.

“My house will probably stay uncleaned this weekend,” Marda Willeman Walters admitted in a Facebook post. The reason: “I’m enjoying ‘Gathering String‘ by Mimi Johnson.”

Elaine Clisham also blamed Gathering String in a tweet for her lack of productivity:

Tiffany Bridge actually blamed the book for her physical discomfort:


What is it about this novel that compels people to such sloth and discomfort? Perhaps “Meg4cy” explains in her 5-star Amazon review, headlined: “Great read with fantastic characters!”

Gathering String weaves an intriguing story that takes readers on a ride through the changing relationship between politics and journalism and the flawed but determined individuals in the middle. Spanning from the vulgar and charged newsrooms of DC to the sleepy small-town Iowa communities, Johnson crafts an intricate and fascinating tale – revealing details of the story layer by layer. While the characters are far from perfect, each has enough charm and appeal to keep you rooting for them while trying to determine your allegiance to “Team Jack” or “Team Sam.” Gathering String was an easy read that will have you trying to piece together the puzzle and thinking of the characters long after you finish.

Novelist Richard Hine praised Gathering String on Twitter:

Four enthusiastic readers praised the book on one Facebook discussion thread:

  • Bryan Cantley: “According to Kindle, I am at 31% and I am really enjoying this book. The plane crash episode was fabulous.”
  • Matt DeRienzo: “I’m about 30% of the way through, too. Really enjoying it.”
  • Kim Johnson: “Loving the book! Just starting Chapter 11.”
  • Marda Willeman Walters: “I just started Chapter 11, too. Wish I still lived in the old house I grew up in so I could go out on the sleeping porch to continue reading!”

If you’d like to join these enthusiastic readers and others who have praised Gathering String, you can buy the book from the Kindle Store for $5.99 (you can read on the Kindle app on an iPad or computer). You can read the prologue free on this site.

But charge your Kindle first. And don’t start it on a weekend when you have important work to do.

Praise for Gathering String

Mimi Johnson’s debut novel, Gathering String, available from the Kindle Store for $5.99, is already getting enthusiastic attention:

Gathering String coverDon Fry, author of Writing Your Way, offered this review on Amazon:

This debut novel comes at a time of great stress for journalists looking for new ways to perform old roles. All the old rules and many of the traditional techniques and assumptions are in flux, and much may be lost, and soon. Mimi Johnson’s novel introduces us to Sam Waterman, a swashbuckling reporter familiar from TV depictions of the press; actually, most newsrooms have at least one. Sam works for a website, Politifix, but still resists changes to his profession as he hunts for another killer story. Jack Westphal, athlete turned editor of a small-town paper, embraces the future as the killer story develops in his own backyard, involving Swede Erickson, the governor of Iowa. Tess Benedict, Waterman’s former love and Westphal’s new one, complicates all the relationships. This is the kind of novel I love to read, the kind that engrosses you in the action while making you want to yell at the characters.

In a Facebook comment, Fry elaborated:

It was easy to review because it’s such a compelling story. Journalists will recognize themselves in it.

On an excellent free promotional day March 31, Gathering String rose to #2 in free political fiction at Amazon:

Amazon political fiction best sellers

Gathering String, No. 2 in political fiction, March 31, 2012

At, media critic Andrew Beaujon speculated about how much of the novel was based in fact:

In the six years it took Mimi Johnson to finish her debut novel, “Gathering String,” she moved one of the protagonists from a job at a prestigious but money-losing daily newspaper in Washington, D.C., to a Washington-area website that aggressively covers politics. “No good comes from forcing Politifix to suck hind tit,” an editor tells Sam Waterman, a reluctant refugee from print, before forcing him out to the boondocks to cover an Iowa governor who gave the story of his presidential announcement to The Lindsborg Journal.

Steve Buttry, the author’s journalist-husband, discussed writing lessons from Mimi Johnson’s experience writing Gathering String:

Pursue your dreams. Writing is hard work. Mimi has dreamed for years about being an author. She has three other novels in various stages of writing. She had a contract for doing a non-fiction book on which she had done considerable work, but it fell through because of circumstances beyond her control. She didn’t give up. She kept working until she published her book.

In another Facebook comment, Renee Dietrich told Molly Rossiter:

Assuming the author was a friend of yours when I saw the post on FB the other day, I downloaded “Gathering String” from Kindle on my iPad. … I just finished it. Great read! Tell your friend congrats and good job. I definitely saw a lot of familiar sights and people from my news days.

As the comment above notes, you don’t need a Kindle to read Gathering String, though it is available initially only through Amazon. You can download the Kindle app for your iPad or other tablet or even to your laptop computer. Add your comments about Gathering String below, or in a review at

On Google+, author Buffy Andrews told the Washington Post: “‘Gathering String’ by Mimi Johnson … was a really good read. Journos would love it.”

Tim McGuire tweeted about reading the book:



For occasional quotes from or news about Gathering String, follow @WaterPhal on Twitter: