Here in PA we are getting a break from the hot temperatures, which I'm loving. My kind of summer is cool weather with low humidity. And day is a great time to get to know a new author.
Today I'd like to welcome, Johnnie Alexander. Hello, Johnnie. How did you develop a 'love of story'?
This is such a great question, and I don’t think anyone has ever asked it before. I’ve always loved to read, but I think the real answer is found in a childhood ritual. Convinced that a monster lived beneath my bed, I used to make a flying leap from the doorway to the bed because I was safe once under the covers. If I stood by the bed, though, the monster most assuredly would bite my toes. Safe and secure, I imagined stories with me as the courageous heroine until I fell asleep. (Though apparently I was never brave enough to actually stand beside the bed at night.) Except the fear wasn’t really fear. It was that delightful tingliness that turns fear into fun. I outwitted the monster every night, and I loved making that flying leap onto my mattress. I outgrew my fear of that monster, but not my nightly rendezvous with imagination.
Chuckle. I loved hearing your description of how you came up with stories. What is your most difficult writing challenge?
Right now it’s the distraction of an extended road trip to visit family in three different states. I’m having a hard time concentrating on writing when there are places to go and people to see! As for the writing process itself, though, my most difficult challenge is the opening chapter. The first several pages of my novels are written, revised, tossed out, rewritten, and revised more than any other section of the story. A solid opening provides a solid foundation, and I’ll come back to it several times before I have it “just right.”
That would be difficult indeed. Hope you enjoy that precious time with family. What is your passion as a writer?
I love to sit very still in the quiet moments of a story and imagine myself as the point of view character. What do I see, smell, hear? Then I try to capture that moment with vivid and precise words. That’s my passion for the art of writing.
In a larger sense, my characters are complicated individuals with strong ties—for good or ill—to their family legacies. My contemporary stories are deeply rooted in past events, such as the loves and jealousies of grandparents or the courage of others further back on the family tree. I love to explore those legacies.
Sounds interesting. Who are your favorite authors?
Ann Tatlock, who wrote Once Beyond a Time, is one of my favorites. She has a unique and solid voice, and her stories are memorable. Patricia Bradley, who writes romantic suspense, is not only one of my favorite authors but also a very good friend. We’ve been critique partners since way before either of us were published. In the general market, I’m a fan of Daniel Silva and John Grisham. We can’t forget the classics! Jane Austen and Charles Dickens are favorites, and I read The Silmarillion by Tolkien about every other year.
You have quite an assortment there. :) Tell us about your new book.
What Hope Remembers is the third novel in the Misty Willow Series. Amy Somers, who appeared in the previous two stories as a vindictive and selfish trouble-maker, is the heroine. She has to make amends for the trouble she’s caused if she’s ever going to find true contentment. Gabe Kendall, our handsome hero, is at loose ends after being released from prison. He thinks his reputation is in tatters because he’s an ex-con. Both characters are on their own faith journey, and God uses the love they once had for one another to open their hearts more fully to Him.
This is from a promotional blurb: Sometimes prison bars are real; sometimes they’re traps we create in our own lives. Amy and Gabe each search for a way to forgive the past and find a second chance at love.
You have me intrigued. What do you want readers to come away with after reading your books?
Each of my stories, even the contemporaries, are steeped in history and family legacy. The past strongly influences our present but we don’t have to be defined by it. We can always make different choices. Both Amy and Gabe, the protagonists of What Hope Remembers, feel trapped by their pasts. Amy’s life is a mess because of her own choices. Gabe’s trying to start over after serving an unfair prison sentence. The past doesn’t have to define them, and it doesn’t have to define who we are, either. God’s grace and mercy allow us second chances (and a third and a fourth . . .) Like Amy and Gabe, we make the choices—today—that define our future.
I love that take away. Do you have a way for readers to keep in contact with you?
Social Media Links
Facebook Author Page
Amazon Author Page
Purchase: Link to Online Retailers
What Hope Remembers
Back Cover Blurb
When Amy Somers loses her job as a lobbyist, she moves to Misty Willow, well aware that she’s crossing bridges she’d burned years before. With all the mistakes she’s made and the uncaring things she’s done–even to her own family–she can hardly believe that happiness will find her, especially when Gabe Kendall, her first crush and her first kiss, rides back into her life atop a buckskin mare.
A former Marine, Gabe is at loose ends after serving a prison sentence for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He sees beyond Amy’s hard exterior to the girl he once knew and loved, and he longs to see her open her heart. Yet with his vision clouded by shame for his past and fears about the future, he finds it difficult to see the path ahead.
But the memory of that long-ago kiss just may have the power to reignite a romance that brings out the best in both of them.