Stephen Johnson is an Australian-born television news and sports producer who has swapped the studio for a writer’s garret overlooking the Tamaki Estuary in Auckland. His debut novel Tugga’s Mob was inspired by three seasons working as a tour guide on double decker buses around Europe in the 80s. What happens on tour doesn’t always stay on tour!
The journalism career started with a cadetship at the Geelong News in 1978. It progressed to the ABC as a reporter, producer and director before the first midlife crisis. The nomadic spirit remained strong during the family years with three daughters and took him to similar duties at Channel 7, TVNZ, TV 3, Touchdown Productions, Sky Sport and the New Zealand Racing Board. His inductee videos for the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame were displayed at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Rashly Stephen convinced wife Catherine to sell their empty nest in 2016 to buy Kwozzimoto – a seven-metre motorhome in London. Tugga’s Mob was her annoying companion through a dozen countries, 33,000 kilometres and a hundred campsites. The keyboard pounding was banished to the awning for the rewrites.
The freedom and fun of fiction was a revelation after 40 years in journalism. The power to deal with evil and injustice – in a literary sense – was intoxicating. The manuscript ideas flowed. A new nest was purchased. The body count on Steve's battered laptop in the attic is climbing.
And it starts with Stephen Johnson's Tugga's Mob.