An author among us — columnist publishes first book
Readers of the Register may remember a story about Susan Peterson Johnson. Her husband, Stan, has built two wooden cars in his shop in Blue Earth.
The story also contained some information about Susan, and how she and Stan had known each other in first grade in Vernon Center, then went to high school in Garden City.
Both went their separate ways – for 40 years – but when they lost their spouses to illness, they got back together, married in 2006, and settled into a nice home in Blue Earth.
Lost in the story was the fact that Susan Peterson Johnson has been a columnist for the Land magazine in Mankato since 1978.
“I started writing on a ‘trial basis,’ and I am still doing it,” she says. “I have had four editors over that time, and got along with all of them, except one,” she adds with a chuckle.
After 30 years of writing columns, there have been some great ones. Susan recently decided to compile them into a book and self-publish.
The book carries the same title as her column has all these years – ‘The Yield.’
It contains an intro from her current Land editor, Kevin Schultz (not the one she didn’t get along with), and also some family photos.
But the majority of the book is her columns from the Land magazine.
“I’ve always loved to write,” she says. “I write about things that interest me, and I guess they interest a lot of people.”
She was raised on a farm and married a farmer, so her columns have been ag-related. She also has a deep faith in God, so her columns reflect that also.
“I quote scripture and I tell about how God has been an influence in my life,” she says. Her audience is conservative, so no one has ever told her to quit being herself in her writings.
She and her first husband, Larry, raised two kids on a farm near Amboy. After his death, she sold the farm after she married Stan. It was the money from the sale that paid for publishing her book.
“It wasn’t cheap,” she says. “It cost about $20,000 to self publish it.”
She used the publishing house Beaver’s Pond Press. The book was recently completed and she and Stan had to quickly run to a warehouse in Minneapolis to see the first copy.
“I couldn’t wait,” she says. “It was so exciting to actually see it.”
Now, like any new author, Johnson has scheduled a series of book signings in the local area.
She will be at the Vernon Center Fourth of July parade, Blue Earth for Giant Days, Winnebago Moto Fest on Aug. 8, Amboy Arts Festival on Sept. 12 and the Kiester Farming of Yesteryear on Sept. 13.
There are other signings out of the area as well.
In Blue Earth, on Giant Days, the book signing will be 9-11 a.m. on July 11 at Michele’s Sales and Service downtown.
Now, you may wonder why a book signing would be held at a sewing, quilt store. I sure did.
Johnson says she went into Michele’s store several months ago looking for fabric to make a quilt. She found a piece she loved so much she took a picture of it, and it is the cover of her new book.
“I had to get permission from the woman who designed the material,” Johnson says. “She was happy to let me use it.”
Johnson now feels that Michele’s is the perfect place to have her book signing.
She also wants to remind everyone that she will not be selling copies of her book at the book signing. They must be purchased ahead of time.
Currently the books are available at the Good News Book Store in Fairmont and the Lighthouse Book Store in Mankato.
Or online at www.bookhousefulfillment.com or call
Does Susan Johnson expect to get rich with her book publishing venture? Her husband Stan shakes his head no, and says that would be difficult as she is selling the books for less than they cost.
“It was a labor of love, not a profit venture,” she says with a smile.