Monday, December 05, 2011

TO DANCE ONCE MORE - Sherri Wilson Johnson - Free Book

Welcome, Sherri. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
There is a part of me in every one of my heroines and maybe even a little bit in my heroes, too. My heroines strive to live a life of purity, no matter what time period. This is something I am passionate about.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I put a bark collar on my throat and barked to see if it would work because my Labrador would not stop barking. I was convinced something was broken with the device. I quickly discovered it was not broken.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was about eight years old I began to enjoy creative writing class in school. All throughout high school I devoured the assigned novels and wanted to write stories like them.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love romances, legal mysteries, suspense, the Bible, of course. I prefer to read Christian fiction but I do enjoy non-Christian literature as long as it is appropriate.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I spend time praying and studying my Bible. I stay up late at night and read or write when the house is quiet. That keeps my mind feeling balanced. I turn down invitations if I’m too tired or overwhelmed and I put time with my family before time with others. I do not over-commit myself.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Some character names just come to me. Many of them, however, are the result of much research. I try to find names that have meanings similar to the personalities of my characters.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Besides becoming a published author, I am most proud of the family I have. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. I have been married since 1988 and have two children who are seeking God’s will for their lives. What more could I ask for?

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
If I could be any animal, I suppose I would be a dolphin. I love the ocean. I love to swim in it and to play in it. However, I am a bit afraid of sharks. Being a dolphin would allow me to play all day and swim around and to never have to fear sharks.

What is your favorite food?
Pizza, hands down.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
The greatest problem I encountered in writing was coming up with a plot that was strong enough to carry the reader through to the end. My first novel did not even have a plot by the time I completed it—the first time. I overcame the problem by writing and rewriting and also by reading lots of good books.

Tell us about the featured book?
When Victorian debutante, Lydia Barrington, accidentally discovers that her father has promised her to the son of an unscrupulous businessman in payment for his own debts, she must make the biggest decision of her life…to concede or to fight. To Dance Once More explores the possibilities for a young woman, who longs to find God’s will for her life, yet is faced with a decision that will change her life forever. If she follows her heart, she disobeys her father; if she abides by her father’s wishes, she betrays herself.

To Dance Once More is a special project originating from my love of pure romance, and inspired by the love stories of my ancestors. It sets out hoping to prove that true love still exists. I candidly speak of the purity of not only the heroine, but also the hero, and wholeheartedly desire to point others to Jesus through my words. It is set in Victorian Florida, which is a combination of two of my favorite things—the beach and Victorian times. Of course, there has to be more to a novel than just the romance and so there is betrayal, sacrifice and a bitter enemy that Lydia must overcome.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Chapter One
April 6, 1886

The warm sun beamed through the lace curtains covering the whitewashed windows of Lydia Jane Barrington’s bedchamber. Her home at Live Oaks Plantation sat on the outskirts of Gulf Resort, Florida, a modern, bustling port. Outside, the mourning doves cooed, and the bushy-tailed squirrels scampered about the lawn. Chickens clucked while they pecked at the ground eagerly gathering corn kernels. In the distance, cows mooed, waiting for the farm hand to milk them, unaware that summer waited patiently for its chance to scorch the land.

A salty breeze blew across Lydia’s porcelain face and called her from her deep slumber. Her curtains rose with the breeze and jerked down quickly, slamming back against the windowsill. She stretched with a yawn, and as morning nudged her, languorously she opened her eyes. She slid from her bed, cast the covers onto the floor, and sauntered across the sun-drenched room. Her crystal blue eyes sparkled like the sun on the ocean in the morning. Her hair, an auburn-colored cascading waterfall, was a gift from her mother’s side of the family. She went to the window and, pushing back the curtains, looked out at the plantation. The moss-draped live oaks and the towering cypress trees painted shadow puppets on the ground. The sun shone on the land as far as Lydia could see.

Lydia put on the pastel-blue cotton dress her Aunt Rebecca had made for her, then gazed out her window and drank in the scenery. As a child, she had stared out this same window and dreamed, like most young girls, about being the lady of her own manor with many children. However, over the past year, during moments like this, she wondered what else the world had to offer beyond what her eyes could see, away from this vast estate. She did not want to be like all the women she knew who seemingly disappeared in the shadows of their husbands. She feared most of all a betrothal to someone whom her father chose for her; forced into a loveless relationship simply to increase her father’s money pouch. To her, that was nothing more than slavery, and slavery no longer existed, thanks to the Civil War.

She wanted to travel and see the entire world, not simply entertain guests who had come from exotic locations around the world. She knew in her heart that there must be a higher purpose for her life. Therefore, she vowed that she would find her way in this world, like the women about whom the new governess, Kathryn, had taught her.

Soon she descended the oak staircase, ten-feet-wide and slightly curved, and headed for the sweet-smelling breakfast room, where her family gathered for the morning meal. Isabel Ann, the cook, with a delightful smile across her dark, round face, placed the steaming food on the twelve-foot-long oak table, hewed from one of Live Oak’s old trees.

Lydia found her seat next to Kathryn. As usual, she reached for a nibble of biscuit and instantly received a scolding from Isabel Ann as her father, Archibald, began his prayer of thanks. This mirrored almost every other morning Lydia had experienced, except that this morning marked her sixteenth birthday.
“You and Nathan have a good day in the fields, Archibald. Eliza and I are going to prepare the house for tonight’s birthday festivities. Josie, Alexa, and Lydia, you young ladies get off to school now,” Rosalyn, Lydia’s mother, said as she gracefully rose from her seat at the table.

“Oh, Mother, do I have to go today? It is my birthday after all,” Lydia protested, twisting sideways in her chair to face her mother.

“Yes, of course you do. Nathan is working today, and so will you. Now run along,” Rosalyn said, dismissing her with a wave of her delicate hand. Her eyes sparkled with love for her animated daughter.

Lydia’s father looked on in reserved silence. His dark eyes, in contrast to Rosalyn’s, seemed like coal dust. “A good education is something to be appreciated, Lydia,” Archibald chastised in his firm but loving way.

“Yes, Father.” Lydia stood up from her chair and excused herself.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Sherri, for this peek into your life and your book. I love your cover and your story premise.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
To Dance Once More

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Joanne Bischof said...

So happy for you, Sherri, on the release of your new book! Having your children pursue God is definitely something to be proud of. Love that!
Joanne, California

Wendy Newcomb said...

Thank you for doing this interview. It is so sad to think that in some cultures the practice of "arranged" marriages still take place for a variety of reasons. I am so glad that I didn't have to marry a man that my parents picked out or chose to use me as a payment of debt of his.

They make good stories, but most of the time you really have to feel sorry for the couple, usually the woman.

I live in FL.

wfnren at aol dot com

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a fantastic read!
lanapacker at me dot com

Anonymous said...

Excited to read!
Jennifer C.,
Holland, Michigan

Katelyn Shear said...

Congrats Sherri! We met on Facebook and talked a little about your book. If you don't mind, I'd like to interview you. I read the first chapter, and fell in love with it. I now am dying to read the whole thing. It's like torture! Katelyn Shear, Grimesland, North Carolina.

42 Clark Court, Grimesland NC 27837

apple blossom said...

this sounds like a wonderful book thanks for the interview and chance to win it.
I live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Anonymous said...

I literally laughed out loud at Sherri's response to the quirkiest thing she's ever done :) Too funny!!
To Dance Once More sounds wonderful. Can't wait to read it!

from Michigan

Unknown said...

Book sounds great! I live in Tennessee.

Sherri Wilson Johnson said...

Thank you so much everyone for the feedback. I hope you enjoy reading the book!

Aizess said...

Such descriptive writing! Please enter me in this giveaway!

I live in New York

Mary Preston said...

I'm still laughing abut the bark collar. I enjoyed the excerpt thank you.

Mary P.


Diana Flowers said...

I enjoyed the interview and would feel very blessed to win this book! Such a beautiful cover!

Diana in SC


Unknown said...

So are you still using the bark collar (on your lab) or did you abandon it after you tried it? your choice of novels sounds like my list. Thanks Sherri and Lena for the post and giveaway.

mitzi[underscore]wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com from Arizona

Patty said...

Looking forward to reading this book! I love historical fiction!

Patty in SC

Unknown said...

A story inspired by your ancestry sounds very thought provoking. I am interested. I enjoy doing genealogy research.

Happy Holidays

Sherri Wilson Johnson said...

I do not still use the bark collar. Once was definitely enough for me. :)

Sarah said...

This looks good! I can't wait to find out what Lydia decides to do and the struggles that come with it. :)

Sarah from Ohio

Faith said...

Sounds like a lovely book. Wonderful interview :) Thanks!

Faye, SD

Ann Cooper McCauley said...

Great interview, Sherri. I am eager to read your book! And, if I win it, I promise to enjoy it. Best wishes for great sales.

Ann McCauley-Arkansas

Ingrid said...

Thank you for the Interview, looks like I found a new Author and can't wait to read your books.
"To Dance once more" sounds like a great read, please enter me in your Contest.
Blessings to you and all.

I live in S.Illinois


Marissa said...

Wonderful interview!!

Jo said...

Great interview. Really enjoyed learning about you. This sounds like such a great read and I love reading books from that period. It is just so hard to imagine a arranged marriage.

Jo from Southern Arizona

Sherri Wilson Johnson said...

I am so encouraged by all the comments! Ladies, you make me feel so happy to be an author!

Ginger Solomon said...

What an intriguing book. Thanks for sharing.

Ginger in AL

misskallie2000 said...

Hi Sherri, I love this book just from the excerpt. I enjoy reading books where the heroine does not give in to pressure to marry who her parents choose but wants a life with a man she chooses and for love. Thank you for stopping by to chat and share with us.
Thanks for the opportunity to enter giveaway.

I live in Georgia

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

Faith's Grandma/OH said...

Sounds like a great the dog collar really worked eh ? This was so funny.....

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Looks very interesting!!
Please enter me in the drawing.
God Bless,
Sarah Richmond

Abigail Mitchell said...

Enter me!
Blanch, N.C.

Katie Marie said...

Ohh, that book cover is SO pretty!! Please count me in!

Katie from Florida

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me I would love to win a copy of this book it sounds like a great story! Thanks and God bless.
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Bakersdozen said...

I would love to read this. And, I also agree that it is wonderful when our children pursue God. I live in S. CA.

rubynreba said...

Beautiful cover! Nice interview and I know I'd enjoy this.
I'm from Iowa.

Consultoria RH said...
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Consultoria RH said...
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