I am so excited to have author Johnnie Alexander visiting with us today at Interviews & Reviews. Johnnie is the award-winning author of Where Treasure Hides and Where She Belongs. She is an accomplished essayist and poet whose work has appeared in the Guideposts anthology A Cup of Christmas Cheer. In addition to writing, Johnnie enjoys reading, spending time with her grandchildren, and taking road trips. She lives near Memphis, Tennessee.
Johnnie, welcome to Interviews & Reviews!
You've written so many books. What is the hardest thing about writing for you?
Trying to figure out what happens after the “Once upon a time . . .” opening. Not that my stories begin with that line, but the initial idea sparks an overwhelming number of questions that need answers. As the story gets written and the characters take on lives of their own, the questions get easier to answer.
What inspired you to write this book?
What Hope Remembers, the third in the Misty Willow Series, was inspired by fans who wanted to know more about Amy Somers. She appears in the first two books as an unkind and vengeful person. At first, I wasn’t sure I could write her story, but I discovered that Amy’s bristly personality hides a wounded heart. Her story needed to be told.
Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?
Both Amy and Gabe, the story’s hero, 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 us.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Three things: 1) Participate in a critique group for the support and learning; 2) Attend a writers conference for the education and the networking; and 3) Enter a reputable writing contest for the feedback.
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I had the awesome experience of drying a newborn alpaca and seeing her take her first steps. I’ve also had the not-so-fun experience of giving shots to an alpaca who absolutely did not want to be stuck with a needle.
Oh, my! What are your favourite types of movies?
I love epic movies such as Lord of the Rings, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and a few of the Marvel movies. You know, the ones you just have to see on a big screen. I also love well done adaptations of the classics such as Les Miserables (with Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway) and the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice. And I’m a big fan of the Bourne movies.
Do you talk to your characters?
Every chance I get! True story: I was so frustrated by a heroine because “she won’t talk to me” that I finally changed her name. She immediately said, “Hey, there! What’s up?” “You tell me,” I said. And she did. (Shelby is the heroine of Where She Belongs, the first Misty Willow Series novel.)
What is your favourite Scripture verse and why?
I have several, but a tiny phrase in Isaiah 30:15 was my mantra as I wrote What Hope Remembers. It’s simply this promise from God: “in trust and quietness is your strength.” The phrase became important to the story, too.
Thank you for stopping by today Johnnie. I really appreciate it. If you want to begin at the start of this series, click on the pictures below!