Here’s the obligatory third-person bio that accompanies most of my published work:

Carole Johnstone is an award-winning writer from Scotland, whose short stories have been published all over the world. Her debut novel, Mirrorland, is a psychological suspense with a gothic twist, set in Edinburgh. Her second novel, The Blackhouse, is a very unusual murder-mystery set on a fictional island off the west coast of the Isle of Lewis.

Having grown up in Lanarkshire, she now lives in Glencoe in the Highlands of Scotland, although her heart belongs to the wild islands of the Outer Hebrides.

And because my books deserve one too:

A mystery inside a mystery, Mirrorland is the story of two estranged twin sisters, the man they both love, the house that has always haunted them, and the dark but wonderful childhood that they can’t leave behind.

The Blackhouse, a whodunnit with a difference, features Maggie, plagued for years by her certainty as a child that someone on an island she had never visited had murdered a local man called Robert. And in 1994, Robert’s secretive life starts to implode as the clock ticks down to his mysterious and untimely death.

I love novels full of atmosphere and passion; mystery and suspense; twists and surprises. I like to write about both the wonderful and terrible things we do for love. And the incredible power of secrets—the ways in which they can both protect and destroy us. My influences include Agatha Christie, Gillian Flynn, Toni Morrison, Daphne Du Maurier,  Shirley Jackson, Ruth Ware, Jane Harper, Sophie Hannah, Alexandre Dumas, and Stephen King.

When I read a book, I want to escape somewhere else for a while. I want to feel excited, thrilled, outraged, moved, anxious, shocked, surprised, deliciously afraid. I want to feel knackered the next day because I stayed up too late just-one-more-chaptering. And spend the whole of that day looking forward to the moment I can do it again. I want an unexpected yet satisfying ending that stays with me for a long time. And I always want to find a book I love so much that I wish I could discover it all over again for the first time.

And—for anyone who might be interested—a brief potted history!:

From graphic novels about murderous Care Bears and my first whodunnit series featuring a grumpy, alcoholic, Glaswegian detective investigating very unlikely murder plots, to teenage angst-ridden epics about doomed love and brave heroines (that may or may not also have been about vampires), I’ve been writing stories ever since I’ve been reading them.

When I decided that becoming a writer was as likely—and sensible—a career goal as becoming a rock star, I chose to study science instead. After graduating from the Caledonian University in Glasgow, I moved south to Essex, England, to become first a radiographer and then a medical physics dosimetrist in the NHS.

My first published short story, The Morning After, appeared in Black Static magazine in 2007. Ten years and some fifty short stories and novellas later, I realised that no one really enjoys being sensible. So in 2018, I took a fourteen-month sabbatical, moved to the Greek island of Cyprus, blew all of my savings, and wrote Mirrorland.


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