Dear Readers, I’ve known
Johnson through ACFW for a long time. I’m thrilled to share her new release
with you. Myra
. Why do you write
the kind of books you do? Myra
Wow, ask the hardest questions first! All I know is that I have to write the stories that tug at my heart. Historical or contemporary, romance or women’s fiction, if I’m not emotionally connected to the characters and their issues in some tangible way, I can’t make them believable for my readers. Since I’m (mostly) a seat-of-the-pants writer, I do a lot of listening to my characters. As they tell me who they are and what they want most in life, their stories take shape on the page. Honestly, how it all happens, this thing we call “writing a book,” is a mystery to me, and I relish every minute of the discovery process!
That is so true of us SOTP writers. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Another hard question, with too many possible answers! I’m just going to say the day I married my husband. We’ll soon celebrate 45 years of marriage, and though it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, our commitment to each other is solid. He’s my confidant, my #1 cheerleader, and my very best friend.
How has being published changed your life?
The simple answer is that I’m no longer writing only for my own pleasure or when I feel inspired. Now I have an obligation to meet deadlines while attempting to keep both editors and readers happy. I have to be much more disciplined about keeping to a daily writing schedule. And it’s no longer just about writing. I have to allot time for doing research, crafting proposals, completing edits and revisions, etc. Then there are all the related marketing and promotion activities, including guest blog interviews like this one, blogging with my Seekerville clan, and staying active on social media.
What are you reading right now?
Not sure what I’m going to pick up next, but I just finished reading Charles Martin’s latest, Long Way Gone. I like to read in a variety of genres, something a little different each time. I always lean toward stories with intriguing characters and emotional depth.
What is your current work in progress?
I recently sent my editor the next book in the Flowers of Eden series, which will be Rose’s story. I’m now working on a contemporary women’s fiction manuscript about estranged sisters healing from difficult family issues.
What would be your dream vacation?
Anything tropical, but with all the amenities.
Sandy beaches lapped by
crystal-blue waves, a plush hotel room with a great view, no crowds, plenty of
time to relax and enjoy.
Sounds wonderful. How do you choose your settings for each book?
I prefer to write about settings I have some familiarity with, which is one reason my Flowers of Eden historical romance series, as well as the previous series, Till We Meet Again, are both set in Arkansas. We’ve vacationed in the
area for many years, and the more we visited, the more my interest in the local
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
It wouldn’t be just one person, but my two wonderful daughters. They’re both busy moms now, and it’s very rare that we have some quality time for adult conversation. I miss those moments!
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I’m not really a “hobby” person, as the business of writing takes up a huge chunk of each day. I do enjoy singing in our church choir, and I love spending time with my grandkids. I love animals, especially our two very pampered rescue dogs. For a break from writing, sometimes I open up PhotoShop and get creative with photo images.
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
I’m such a private person that the hardest thing for me is promotion. In fact, I’m sure there are a number of people in the wider circle of my acquaintances who haven’t yet discovered I’m a writer. In many ways, social media has made it easier for introverts like me to be more open and engaging. I can coax out my “inner extrovert” much more comfortably online than in face-to-face conversations.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Write something every day. Study the craft, especially books like Stanley Williams’s The Moral Premise and Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer, along with any of James Scott Bell’s books on the writing craft. And don’t neglect grammar and spelling, because first impressions count and writers should have a level of mastery over the most basic tools of our trade. I’d also extend a standing invitation to visit Seekerville, where we cover a writing-related topic at least five days a week, and the archives are filled with posts on the basics of writing.
Tell us about the featured book.
Castles in the Clouds. Larkspur Linwood, the second of the Linwood sisters introduced in The Sweetest Rain, is a young woman who yearns to become a teacher. Young and impressionable, Lark mistakes a college professor’s interest for romantic love. When he offers her the chance to join his efforts serving at a mission a school in
she pictures herself bringing the light of knowledge to hundreds of African
children eager to learn. But the menial tasks she’s assigned at the school
aren’t so different from life on the Arkansas
tenant farm where she grew up. Worse, her fragile heart is broken when she
realizes her feelings for the charismatic professor are not returned. Miserable
and deflated, she gives up and returns home.
Professor Anson Schafer is partially blinded from an eye infection he contracted while serving at the Kenyan mission school and must leave
Africa. He visits Lark’s college to
recruit teachers for the founding of schools here in the U.S. for those
struggling through the Depression. Still stinging from her experience in Kenya, Lark is
reluctant to risk more disappointment, but she is drawn to Anson’s cause and
soon joins him in his efforts. As they work side by side, Lark begins to
realize that the deepest satisfaction comes not so much from what you do, or
where you do it, but from the attitude of your heart. She also slowly realizes
that the gentle, determined Anson is the true love of her life.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Henderson State Teachers College
A bad case of jitters had Larkspur Linwood by the scruff of the neck. She’d passed all her exams, hadn’t she? With flying colors, every one. Then why this curt summons to Professor Keene’s office?
She halted outside his closed door, a stack of library books due back today clutched firmly against her chest. Professor Keene hadn’t specified a time, only that she must see him this afternoon at her earliest convenience.
Perhaps she should deliver the books first and come back later. Much later, when he’d likely be anxious to get home to his supper and wouldn’t lecture her overly long about...whatever this was about!
The bald truth was the man both enchanted and terrified her. His smile could change in an instant from warm invitation to a sanctimonious smirk. In her two years at
, Lark had been the unwitting victim of
Eyes squeezed shut, mouth in a twist, she prepared for a hasty escape.
The door swung open.
“Miss Linwood. Please come in.”
He would look so fine today, dark hair slicked back and shiny, broad shoulders tugging against the fabric of his starched white shirt. With a gentlemanly sweep of his arm, Professor Keene motioned Lark into the office. He relieved her of the library books and plopped them on a low bookshelf by the door, then held a chair while she sat.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Twitter: @MyraJohnson and @TheGrammarQueen
Pinterest: mjwritesSeekerville: www.seekerville.blogspot.com
Thank you, Myra, for sharing this story with me and my readers. (Just a side note, I attended a few classes at Henderston State Teachers College when I was a student at Ouachita Baptist College across the highway.)
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Castles in the Clouds - Christianbook,com
Castles in the Clouds (Flowers of Eden) - Amazon.com paperback
Castles in the Clouds (Flowers of Eden Book 2) - Kindle
Castles in the Clouds: Flowers of Eden, Book 2 - Audio
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