Gail's Book Nook

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Looking Out the Window: Sherri Wilson Johnson Talks about her Writing. She'll Give Away a Copy of Song of the Meadowlark.

To enter to win Sherri's e-book leave a comment and an email address.

Welcome Sherri! Let's talk about your writing. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I want to uplift readers and share with them the wonderful goodness that God has allowed me to see. I want readers to feel hope and to know that there’s always an answer to their troubles. I also want to entertain them, make them laugh, make them think, and make them swoon.

I am also passionate about purity and sexual integrity. I have been married for almost twenty-five years. In those twenty-five years, we’ve seen many friends experience failed marriages due to infidelity. We have two children who we’ve raised to value their purity and to save it for the spouse God has for them. I’ve worked with the youth ministry at church on and off for ten years and seen the devastation that comes when kids choose not to wait. And more recently I’ve become aware of the sex trafficking industry that plagues our world. These young people are trapped and do not have a choice in keeping their purity. All of these things combined, plus knowing the Lord commands us to value our purity and to stay faithful to the one we marry, makes me passionate about doing whatever I can do to help others see the value in having sexual integrity whether they are single or married. Right now, writing Christian Romance is one way I accomplish that mission.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The happiest day of my life has to be the day I married my sweetheart in 1988. Twenty-five years later I am still happy I did it.

Clearly your faith is important to you. Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)  

Since I was a young girl, John 14:1-3 has been my favorite scripture. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” It has always comforted me to know that there is a place for me and that Jesus is waiting for me. No matter how bad this life gets, God is coming back to get me.

I agree. Tell us about the publishing world. How has being published changed your life?

Being published has allowed me to speak to audiences (in person and through blogging/interviewing) that I never would have been able to. I’ve enjoyed meeting fellow authors, bloggers, and readers and have loved hearing their feedback on how my stories have influenced them. It’s really a dream come true.

What is your current work in progress?

My current fiction WIP, After the Raging Storm, is part of my New Hope Series, set in drought-stricken Georgia in 1894. Annabelle is engaged to the son of the town's copper supplier but feels uneasy about the whole thing. She's searching for the meaning of her life apart from this relationship. When she runs into an old friend and compares him to her fiancé, she begins to doubt her chosen path in life even more. As the storm rages inside her heart, a storm of a natural kind threatens to destroy her family home and the neighboring farms. What will it take to calm the raging storm inside Annabelle?

How do you choose your settings for each book?

I usually pick places that are familiar to me or places that bring me inspiration. My first novel, To Dance Once More, is set in Panama City Beach, Florida where my family frequently vacations. Song of the Meadowlark is set in South Georgia but briefly visits Florida. The currently unpublished sequel to To Dance Once More is set in Atlanta, Georgia. After the Raging Storm is set in a real town Northwest of Atlanta.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

Thickening the plot is definitely quite challenging for me. Usually I have to write the basic story and then take my time and go back through the manuscript with a fine tooth comb to add all the depth and the twists and turns. Until the main idea is out of my head and into my computer, I can’t get down to the nitty gritty.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Don’t ever give up. Keep writing and practicing. Read books on the craft and take classes if you can. Read well-written books in the genre you write. If you receive a rejection (which you probably will) pick yourself up, polish your story, and submit again. Always back up your work in several locations. As I have learned the hard way, computers fail us and sometimes I hit delete (or empty the recycle bin) before I realize what I’ve done. And NEVER destroy your work, as I did my first novel (burned it in the fireplace). Oh, and don’t forget to pray A LOT and seek God’s will for your story.

Tell us about the featured book.

Song of the Meadowlark is a Contemporary Inspirational Romance full of hope, forgiveness, and second chances at life and love set in South Georgia on a ranch with an ornery cowboy.
When trusting others only leads to pain and rejection, and loving ends only in loss, what will it take to restore hope again? Shunned by the uncovered truth about her missing husband’s secret life, Cora Buchanan sets out on a road trip for home to mend her broken relationship with her parents. When her car breaks down, she’s stranded in a small Georgia town. While staying at the struggling Southern Hope Ranch, she meets little Susie O’Reilly, who unexpectedly fills a void in Cora’s heart. But Rex, Susie’s rugged cowboy father who lost his wife a year earlier, seems to go out of his way to either confront or avoid Cora. It doesn’t help her comfort level that the news continues to report missing and murdered women in the area. Cora has no idea just how close to home the crimes will hit…or how much the sweet sound of the meadowlark’s song at the ranch will impact her future.

Sneak a peek at the first chapter!

Sherri Wilson Johnson lives in Georgia with her husband and two children. She is represented by Les Stobbe, is a member of the ACFW, a graduate of the Christian Writers Guild writing course, an active blogger, and a former homeschooling mom. She loves to dream of romantic places and romance in general–good, clean romance. She is a bird-watcher, loves the ocean, roller coasters, ice cream, her family and her Chihuahua, who faithfully sits by her side every day when she writes. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once More (OakTara) and Song of the Meadowlark (OakTara).

How can readers find you on the Internet?!/pages/Author-Sherri-Wilson-Johnson/138396456193536!/swj_thewriter


Connie Almony said...

I love that "Oh, and don't forget to pray!" Such an important part of the mix. Your stories sound wonderful!!

Danielle Thorne said...

We need more authors and artists in the world today willing to stand up for what's right. I applaud your integrity and your mission to make purity the focus of our lives and marriages. It's wonderful to meet other clean writers who celebrate storytelling in an uplifting way. Best of luck!

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Wow! Love set in South Georgia on a ranch with an ornery cowboy! This story sounds awesome. I love clean love stories.

Miss Mae said...

Hi Sherri,

I love your book cover, it's awesome! And I so applaud what you're trying to do with convincing young people to wait for marriage. It really is what works best. :)

Your plots sound intriguing, and I love stories set in the south.

Sherri Wilson Johnson said...

Thanks, Gail, for hosting me today! And thanks so much for all the encouraging comments. I feel blessed to know there are readers out there who stand for purity!

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Sherri,

Having you is my pleasure!

June Foster said...

Sherri, John 14: 1-4 is a verse filled with hope. And so are your stories. I love the titles of your books. Each makes me want to pick them up.

Sherri Wilson Johnson said...

Thank you so much, June!

Gina said...

Hi Sherri, it's great to meet you! I love your uplifting message and I can't wait to read your book. Best of luck to you!

Gail, your blog is fabulous!

Scribbler said...

Your comment about "thickening the plot" describes perfectly the task I have to do after getting the bones of the story.

Ann Gaylia O'Barr

Sherri Wilson Johnson said...

Great to meet you, Gina. I think I've seen you around the web.

Ann, isn't that the fun part? Haha!

Janice said...

Thank you for sharing from your experience. Your point of view is so helpful for those following behind you in learning to write.

I would love to win your book. I live in Georgia so that makes me interested in your writing not only for the good story, but also to see how the location is described in your words.

Blessings, Janice

Anonymous said...

Wow what an awesome interview!

Gretab said...

I love the summary of the book, and the excerpt really pulls you in and made me want to run out and get the book so I could finish it. I enjoyed hearing your point of view on what you put into your books. I hope I win!

Ada Brownell said...

I'd love to have a copy of your book. I don't read many contemporaries, but you are an author I know I'd enjoy reading. I love your commitment in your writing. My brother just put a book aside because the characters weren't righteous. I know we have wicked folks in most books, but there has to be at least one totally committed to God who knows right from wrong, believes it and practices it.

Sherri Wilson Johnson said...

Everyone has been so kind to leave such encouraging comments and to express their desire and interest in my book! I am so blown away at God's goodness!

tickmenot said...

This book has such an interesting sounding plot. I want to know what happened to her husband and what happens with her own family!

beckie said...

I can't believe you burned your first novel? What was it about?

Sherri Wilson Johnson said...

Becky, yes, I did!! It was a teen novel. About three friends and their boyfriends. There truly was no plot. It was more like a diary of what troubles they got into. You really can't have a book without a plot. :)