Mimi Johnson headed for Ohio after successful Gathering String tour in Iowa and more good reviews

Recent reviews praise Gathering String for its memorable characters and relevance.

Nathasha wrote the 15th five-star Amazon review (of 21 overall reviews):

Gathering String is a great political journalism thriller, with good character development and pacing. I also enjoyed how the novel makes references to digital and social media and the changing journalism industry. It’s a very relevant and timely novel, and overall great read.  

North Dakota journalist Francis Materi wrote the sixth four-star Amazon review:

This is a book with memorable characters and an engaging story, timely and well told. Finishing “Gathering String” made me want to read another chapter; made me want to know what happens next. That’s about the best compliment I can pay to a work of fiction.

After a successful book tour in Iowa, author Mimi Johnson heads to Dublin, Ohio, this week to discuss Gathering String with a book club.

The Iowa tour also included a book club visit as well as public readings at Beaverdale Books in Des Moines and the Shenandoah Public Library.

If you’d like to schedule a visit to a bookstore, library or book club in the Washington area, you may contact the author at mimi (dot) johnson (at) me (dot) com.

Author Mimi Johnson to discuss Gathering String in Iowa book tour

Mimi Johnson will be discussing her novel Gathering String in three Iowa cities next week.

The Iowa book tour starts with a private appearance in Jefferson on Tuesday, Oct. 2, with a Greene County book club, invited by blogger Carla Offenburger, whose goodreads review is a cover blurb on the Gathering String print edition.

The first public appearance of the tour will be at Beaverdale Books, where Johnson will read from the novel and answer questions Wednesday, Oct. 3, at 6:30 p.m.

She will read again Thursday, Oct. 4, at 6:30 p.m. in the first public event at the renovated auditorium at the Shenandoah Public Library. In advance of that appearance, she will be a guest this Friday at 9:45 Eastern time, 8:45 a.m. Central, on Dean and Don on KMA radio.

Iowa bookstores, libraries or book clubs interested in scheduling other events or journalists interested in interviews may contact the author at mimi (dot) johnson (at) me (dot) com.

Johnson is an Iowa native who grew up in Essex and lived in Des Moines for seven years and Cedar Rapids for two years. Much of Gathering String is set in Iowa and three of the four main characters are Iowans.

The book is available from the Kindle Store (including the Kindle app for iPad, computer or phone) for $5.99 and as a paperback for $16.



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 Poynter.org, 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 Amazon.com.

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: