About me

I write books. To be specific, I have written two and published none (yet). My writing blends horror and dark fantasy with elements of mystery, sci-fi, folklore and mythology. While fond of anti-heroes, I find nothing beats a good anti-villain and I love stories with a vicious streak.

I grew up in western Norway with its rough weather and cold seas, and spent my holidays in my mother's childhood home in the arctic north. This has influenced my forays into horror. Having lived in Oxford since 2003, I recently relocated to Sheffield - the Steel City - where I enjoy my day job working with magnets and poking at brains. M.H.Johnsen is a pseudonym to keep the creative and science writing apart.

Reading

I like horror. I also like fantasy, mystery, science fiction, science non-fiction, non-science non-fiction, and a host of other genres. Favourite titles include Dark Matter (Michelle Paver), Good Omens (Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman), Rebecca (Daphne De Maurier), The Stormlight Archive series (Brandon Sanderson) and the excellent On Writing (Stephen King). Feel free to find me on Goodreads to talk books. I also have a blog on books and genre literature called 'Oh, the horror...' Please visit it to read my latest book reviews or mini-essays on storytelling, and feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Snippets from my recent posts are listed below.

Worldbuilding
This week's episode of the Writing Excuses podcast is on a highly interesting topic: how to insert worldbuilding into character viewpoint, and why is this a good idea. Essentially, we are talking about worldbuilding that happens without it being explained directly on the page. The approach is great because it avoids blocks of explanatory text and permits detail that would otherwise not be easily included. ... Continue reading
(Feb 4, 2019)

Toil and Trouble
Out of all of Shakespeare's works, Macbeth is my undisputed favourite. With its gloomy themes of madness and murder, it is pretty unbeatable for those of us who favour the tragic plays over the comedies. That said, the reason I love Macbeth over the other tragedies, excellent though they may be (I have a particularly soft spot for Antony and Cleopatra), is Lady Macbeth. ... Continue reading
(Jan 3, 2019)

Reading challenge 2019
It's that time of the year again - time to reset the reading challenge. The challenge is mostly to remind myself to keep turning the pages in between all the other things life throws at me, making sure it is not postponed for holidays, drowned in work or forgotten amidst other tasks. ... Continue reading
(Jan 2, 2019)

Science/fiction: 10%?
"It is estimated that most human beings only use 10% of their brain's capacity," says Morgan Freeman's character from a lectern in Lucy. It is a widely-believed myth, oft repeated, both in science fiction and in self-help literature. ... Continue reading
(Nov 13, 2018)

Writing

I have completed two novels, am working on two more, and have recently published two creative pieces in the Journal of Imaginary Research (2017 & 2018, links to come). Click on the images below for a bit more information about my projects.

   

Get in touch!

           

Email: johnsenmh(at)gmail.com

Images: oxford new college, mansfield road(m.herigstad); oil rig(o.herigstad).