Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson

The Witcher Keys

Also writes as

I R Johnson
Booking enquiry
Ian Johnson - author tools

Available for

Workshop, Talk, Reading, Interview


Age 11 to 14, Age 14 to 16, Age 16 to 18+, Further Education, University, Adult


Adventure, Fantasy, Fiction, Folklore

Book types

Fiction for young-adults


  • The Rubery International Book award - long listed.



I live in North Yorkshire, close to the North York Moors, where the novel is set during winter. As well as writing, I am a civil engineer with a passion for ancient buildings, inventing and country life. I have 16 years experience as a school governor, 3 lovely grown-up daughters, enhanced DBS clearance with a live update facility, and carry £10M of public liability insurance.

I am willing to travel anywhere, although I must charge for travelling expenses if the event is not close to me, I'm afraid. I have been right around the world many times already, having lived in Australia and New Zealand, so am well used to packing suitcases!

My daily fee is in line with that recommended by the Society of Authors, of which I am a proud member (as was Thomas Hardy), but please contact me for further details. A typical full working day at a school would involve at least 3 sessions and perhaps the opportunity to sign a few books for any students or your school library. I always give out free, signed bookmarks to my audiences, too.

I have taken part in many half hour, live interviews for local BBC radio stations, including York, Oxford, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Leeds and Humberside, with the latter having a 150,000 regular listeners. These exciting events sometimes even prompted immediate responses from listeners with personal experience of elementals (elf-like beings) which were always fascinating, as you can imagine! I have signed books at 45 W H Smith and Waterstones events, as well as other special places like Blackwells bookshop in Oxford and the Eagle and Child pub nearby, Tolkein's and Lewis Carroll's regular Tuesday evening haunt.

Due to the subject matter of The Witcher Keys and its incredible back story (real events on the North York Moors from 2003), I invariably find that audiences are quickly captivated by the story, whatever their age, and enjoy hearing excerpts read out to them. The story also wraps in most of the local folklore and has a full appendix, so that much can be learned about the various beings in the book, be they good, bad, mortal or otherwise. Indeed, this is an epic tale of good against evil (or so the Rubery award judges assured me), and a coming-of-age story too, in which a couple of brave 15 year olds are forced to grow up very quickly, in adverse conditions and up against fearful odds, in an attempt to save the life of a baby girl. Hold on tight and prepare to be amazed!

I love to see eyes open wider and wider as I read parts of the book to a teenage audience, or describe the common appearance of a dark elf (5 ft tall!) or perhaps a tiny but equally dangerous spriggan to them. With a lively and informative discussion about creative writing plus the qualities required to complete the task and the horrors of getting published, there is never enough time to cover everything. I do know, however, that many youngsters go home feeling motivated enough to start trying to write creatively for themselves, armed with some useful guidelines and soon experiencing the joy of unleashing their powerful imaginations.

The Witcher Keys is in-range at W H Smith, Waterstones and Amazon, where reviews average 4.6/5 

Respected journalist and fan, Sue Wilkinson wrote:

'Heart-breaking, heart-stopping and breathless, frightening

and funny. It plunges readers into danger and darkness...

I don't know if it's the next Tolkein, J K Rowling,

Philip Pullman or Derek Landy. I do know this

is a fantastic, phantasmagorical read'


Books by Ian Johnson

An incredible tale involving elves, goblins and 2 teenagers, with 5000+ copies sold and growing interest from Hollywood. Inspired by real events of 2003. "Victoria Featherstone is still mourning the mysterious death of her mother when tragedy strikes again and a failed kidnap attempt leaves her baby sister Elspeth in a coma. But these are no ordinary intruders.....What have they done to her sister? What is the meaning of the strange dagger they left behind? Why did they take one of her mother's old keys? Mark Walker, her childhood friend, seems to be the only person brave enough to help her unravel the mystery. In a desperate bid to save Elspeth's life, the two 15 year olds are drawn into an epic struggle between opposing forces in an 'unseen world'. There, they meet allies and foes, coming face to face with light and dark elves, spriggans and hobgoblins, and an evil terror that stalks the Moors. Their friendship and courage will be tested and they must learn to fight - quickly!
The Witcher Keys

The Witcher Keys

A startling fantasy adventure inspired by real events from 2003. Packed with goblins and dark elves, set on the North York Moors in mid-winter, this is an epic tale of good against evil as teenage friends, Victoria and Mark, bravely attempt to save the life of a baby girl. Reader age 11-99  

Photos and videos

Ian Johnson - first image
Ian Johnson - first image
Ian Johnson - first image