Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tennessee Author Liz Johnson

Hi Liz! Welcome to the Book Loft. Is there a story behind Stolen Memories?

A little over a year ago, I received a call from my literary agent. The editors at Love Inspired Suspense were putting together a continuity series featuring books from six of their authors, and I had been invited to participate. Was I interested? Of course. I jumped at the chance to work with talented authors like Shirlee McCoy, Margaret Daley, and the others. We were each assigned a book in the Witness Protection series and worked together to keep the overall story arc flowing smoothly between books about the different characters. It was a brand new writing format for me. I’d never collaborated with other authors like this, and, while there were some unique challenges to keeping all the story lines and secrets in place, I really enjoyed the camaraderie and encouragement of working together.

What started you on your writing journey?

I wrote my first story when I was seven and signed my first book contract at twenty-seven, and I wrote a whole lot of words in between. I’ve always loved stories—even if I usually fell asleep when my mom read to my brother, my sister, and me while we were growing up. Those early books—like the historical romance I wrote when I was twelve—were really terrible and will never see the light of day. But they helped me grow and gave me a lot of practice. It wasn’t until I already had my dream job in book publishing that I decided to pursue publication, and then I really needed the support of my friend Kelly, who encouraged me to finish my manuscript. That story became my first book with Love Inspired Suspense, The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn. The encouragement of my friends and family along the way was so important.

Let's have some fun. If you were a style of music, what style would you be?

I have a feeling I’d be a folksy, Southern rock kind of tune. Needtobreathe is one of my favorite bands, and I often find myself writing to the rhythm of their music, even when it’s not playing. I’m a transplant to the South, but I like the easy pace and genuine grace of the people here that infuses the music, too.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

When I was a sophomore in college, I participated in the Walt Disney World College Program. It was an opportunity to live in Florida and work at the Magic Kingdom and earn college credit for it. I couldn’t pass that up! While I was there, I did all sorts of strange things like riding the Tower of Terror ride four times in a row. Or the time I saw John Elway (former QB of the Denver Broncos) and his family getting onto a ride and promptly lost my cool. :) It was a great semester of growing up and learning more about what it meant to walk with God in any circumstance.

Sounds like a great experience. What is your favorite season of the year? 

I enjoy spring, but autumn in Nashville is my favorite. Growing up in the desert of Arizona, I didn’t get to see the leaves change or sit around fire pits that keep you just warm enough. Having four seasons is great, but if I could only have one, I’d definitely want it to be September and October all year long.

Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?

I was thrilled when I found out that Stolen Memories needed to be set in Minneapolis. I had just visited Minneapolis and St. Paul on a work trip, and while I hadn’t had a lot of time to explore the area, I loved what I saw. I stayed at the Saint Paul Hotel, which makes an appearance in the book and is the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever seen. My one regret of that trip is that I didn’t get to eat at Mickey’s Diner, which also plays a part in the book. I was just thankful that I could put a few of those real touches into the fictional tale.

Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?

I’m very much a homebody, but last Thanksgiving I rented a little cabin on a lake south of Nashville and spent the long weekend there in quiet reflection. Morning scriptures on the patio with my breakfast. Re-reading favorite books all day. Cross-stitching at night. It was the most refreshing, relaxing getaway I’ve ever had, and I can’t wait to go back! Quiet, alone time is a requirement for recharging my batteries, and I left there filled with joy and wonder, reminded of what a great God we serve.
Could you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?
Hebrews 8:10b – “I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
As I wrote about a character with amnesia, this verse reminded me time and again that God puts his laws and love in our hearts and minds. It’s a sweet promise for those of us, who can be forgetful.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

My next book is the third book in my Men of Valor miniseries from Love Inspired Suspense. It doesn’t have a title yet, but I’m thrilled to return to the men of SEAL Team FIFTEEN. I can’t wait to share Will’s story with you all. Right now the book is scheduled to release late in 2014.

So glad you stopped by, Liz!
Thanks so much for having me!

Connect with Liz Johnson at:

Liz Johnson is giving away a copy of Stolen Memories. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.


Cindi Coleman said...

Hey!! Love Liz Johnson's writings. Cannot wait to read her next book.

Cindi Coleman,

Jennifer said...

Hi Liz! I loved your book The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorne! It was so good and very captivating!
I'm glad you never gave up on your writing and had great encouragement from family and friends.
Seems all authors have that one story that is locked away forever. :)
jennydtipton at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like an interesting story that I would enjoy reading.

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

joye said...

I am always looking for new authors to read. You write the kinds of books i enjoy. Thanks for the giveaway

joye said...

I am always looking for new authors to read. You write the kinds of books i enjoy. Thanks for the giveaway

Anonymous said...

Hi Liz. Loved the interview. You started writing at a very young age. Would like to read that stories. It is always fun to read stuff from Children's stories they write. Always make me smile. Bet you did enjoy your time in Disney World. And, your weekend in that cabin sounds delightful to me. Glad you had that time to relax. I've not read any of your books, but would love to. I have been seeing this book and have wanted to read it. Maybe I can be lucky and win this one.
Thanks Karen for having Liz here. Maxie

Emma said...

Stolen Memories sounds wonderful. Please enter me in contest. Thank you for the opportunity to win.I enjoy reading your books.Have a wonderful week.

Merry said...

What a cool way to earn a college credit at Disney World! Stolen Memories sounds like a terrific suspense story.
worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

cjajsmommy said...

You got me at the mention of Disney. How wonderful you did the college program. I've read some blogs by those who have done it in the last few years and I have to say it sounds like a wonderful program. Please enter me to win a copy of your book. cjajsmommy (at) gmail (dot) com

Anonymous said...

how exciting!

Melissa Oldaker said...

Sounds Ike a great read! Thanks!


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