Sunday, December 21, 2014
Looking Out the Window: Sherri Wilson Johnson Loving The Book Tour - To Laugh Once More
Hi Sherri, thanks for bringing your tour to Peering Through Life's Window. First, tell us a little about yourself.
Besides being a writer, I'm also a speaker and I freelance as a virtual assistant for two clients. I love to read and write and spend time with my family. I love to go to church, and I love to make people laugh. My favorite vacation spot is the beach, and whenever I get the opportunity, I go to theme parks and ride roller coasters.
Tell us about your latest book
To Laugh Once More is the sequel to my first novel, To Dance Once More (which re-released December 12th). It is set in Florida and Georgia in 1895. In this novel, Lydia and Hamilton have been married for several years, and things aren't going quite like Lydia had hoped. She loves Hamilton, but she's bored with being a keeper of the home. They go through some major trials which seem quite insurmountable. They struggle to keep their marriage intact, and sometimes, you have to wonder if they will ever be happy again.
What inspired you to write this particular book?
Readers inspired me, I guess you could say. I had a lot of requests for a sequel and I felt like there was so much more of Lydia and Hamilton’s story that needed to be told. In fact, there will definitely be a Book Three in the series and maybe even more.
We'll look forward to it. What do you love about this book?
I love the love story between Lydia and Hamilton because it’s an ongoing uphill battle some days to make things work and I think that’s a lot like real life. Most romances deal only with unmarried heroines, but I believe that the romance doesn’t stop there.
And what do you hope readers will tell others about this book? I hope readers will tell their friends that this book is an inspiration to all young women, married or not. In To Laugh Once More, Lydia is struggling to find her purpose in life, in addition to being a wife and hopefully a mother one day. She knows there’s more that she needs to be doing. I want women everywhere to see that even if they are home with children, that’s just for a season. We all need to be preparing ourselves for the work God has for us to do and wives/mothers need to prepare for the day when we’re empty-nesters.
Where do you get ideas for your books?
They come from all over the place. TV, movies, real life. Everywhere I go, every conversation I have with someone, usually prompts an idea for a romance in my mind.
In three words describe your style of writing.
Emotional roller coaster.
How do you get to know your characters?
I get to know my characters by spending time with them. Sometimes, they start out kind of flat, but by the time I’m finished writing the book (or the series) they’ve developed into quite the complex being. Some people have said that Lydia is a lot like Scarlett O’Hara and that she deserves a spanking. That’s true. But she grows and changes and begins to see her selfish ways. She’s probably always going to deal with pride and stubbornness, but that’s what makes Lydia Lydia.
What themes do you write about?
I write about romance, forgiveness, starting over, second chances, faith, hope.
Does your faith affect your writing?
It’s in everything I write and in everything I do. I don’t write books that are heavy with my faith, but there’s always a faith element in them. What I mean is that I’m not a preacher. Don’t plan to be one. But everything I write comes from the perspective of a Christian. I can’t imagine writing anything that didn’t at least have some evidence of who I am on the inside and of WHO I belong to.
Introduce us to the main character in your new book.
Lydia Barrington Scarbrough. She’s a brat sometimes. She’s been married for five years and is bored with life on the plantation. She wants to get out and travel and see the world. She’s frustrated with her husband, Hamilton, because he gets to do just that. And he won’t take her with him. It’s not that he doesn’t want to. It’s just that you can’t often take your wife on business trips. Also, Lydia has been unable to have children. So she’s not only stuck on the plantation, she’s stuck there with little to do and no one to care for while Hamilton is away. She pretty much questions everything her life is about. This story takes Lydia on a journey of discovering her purpose in life.
Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I want to entertain and inspire readers, but mainly, I write them because that’s what flows out of me. 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 make them laugh, make them think, and make them swoon.
The War may be over but the battles still rage.
A dissatisfied wife. A misunderstood husband. Three tragedies will alter their path forever. Will their choices tear them apart, or will they allow them To Laugh Once More?
Three years after her marriage to Hamilton, former debutante Lydia Barrington Scarbrough is dissatisfied with life. She has yet to have children, and she spends most of her days sitting in a circle of women chatting about homemaking. She thought life would be more than what it's turned out to be. Hamilton travels on business and never takes her with him. What's a lonely wife to do when she has no children to raise? She longs for adventure and romance, and really, she longs for the fulfillment of her purpose in life. A purpose beyond being a wife and raising children.
Lydia faces a series of hardships that stretch her faith beyond capacity. Leaving her childhood home in Florida for Georgia proves to be more difficult than she ever imagined, and her marriage may not survive the trials. Lydia’s own personal battles drive a wedge between them. What will it take to make Hamilton attempt to save their marriage and draw Lydia back to him?
As Lydia strives to etch out a place for herself in a new world full of unfamiliar prejudice and attempts to overcome her private battles, she must help Hamilton understand her deepest longings and learn the true meaning of joy. Will she surrender her will in order to find her purpose? Will her future hold a happier marriage, motherhood, and a calling greater than she could ever have imagined?
Enjoy an Excerpt
The following morning, Lydia descended the oak staircase, ten-feet-wide and slightly curved, and headed for the sweet-smelling breakfast room. She'd reach for a cup of Isabel Ann's strong coffee before sinking her teeth into a biscuit or ham after the night she'd had. She'd slept little because of the ache in her side from her bull encounter and in her heart from missing Hamilton.
Each step closer to the bottom reminded her of the days before her marriage when she'd all but floated down the stairs in her ball gowns, ready for a chance to meet fascinating people who'd traveled to places she'd likely never go. Those days seemed like forever ago.
Since her run-in with the bull, Lydia's heart had raced. What was wrong with her that she preferred a confrontation with a beast to the customary responsibilities of running a home? She struggled to stay afloat on the sea of debilitating disenchantment and regret that crept throughout her body. What grieved her more? Was it the argument with Mother and her sisters, or was it the root of the argument—the dissatisfaction with normalcy?
"Lydia, will you come in here, please?" Papa called from his office.
"Of course, Papa." She changed her path and headed toward the front of the house, her heavy skirts swishing behind her on the wood floors.
Sunlight poured into the room. Leather-bound books towered up the walls on oak shelves. Papa puffed his pipe from his chair in front of a boisterous fire, and his dark eyes never left Lydia's face. "Did you get settled?"
"Yes, sir, as settled as a married woman can be in her childhood bed." She tugged at the hem of her sleeve.
"Your mother said you had a bit of a fit yesterday. And when I called to you, you didn't respond."
Buy To Laugh Once More here
Sherri Wilson Johnson is an Inspirational Romance novelist, a speaker, and a former homeschooling mom who’d rather have laugh lines under her eyes than worry lines across her forehead. She lives in Georgia with her husband, her two children and her Chihuahua, Posey. Her favorite thing to do when she’s not with her family is to curl up with a good book or work on her current work-in-progress. She loves to dream of visiting romantic places and is passionate about the Lord, motherhood, homeschooling, and writing. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once More, Song of the Meadowlark, and To Laugh Once More. She is a columnist with Habits for a Happy Home and Choose NOW Ministries.
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