Since meeting Johnnie Alexander at the Ridgecrest Novelist Retreat in 2014, I’ve wanted to introduce this author to others. Her writing is worth the read, and the person behind the words is a joy. Writing is certainly where she belongs.
Johnnie, please introduce yourself to our guests.
Diane, thanks so much for having me as your guest. I loved meeting you at the retreat and hope our paths cross again in the real world and not just online. Though it wasn’t intentional, I’m breaking the conventional “stick-with-one-genre-until-you’re-established” rule. My first novel, Where Treasure Hides, is a World War II story about a Dutch-American artist who learns to trust God with her future while protecting those she loves. However, my next three novels are contemporary romances set in central Ohio where I grew up. I’m very glad to have Tamela Hancock Murray as my agent. She is supportive and encouraging, two things every author needs.
Where do you get your inspiration or catalyst for your projects?
My next novel, Where She Belongs, was a long-ago NaNoWriMo project. (National Novel Writing Month is when authors write 50,000 unedited words during November.) It’s a story of my heart because it’s about an extraordinary house I lived in as a teen. Built in the mid-1800s, it’s huge and brick and has an air of mystery about it—perhaps because of the secret room we discovered beneath the study. After my family moved, the house sat vacant for several years. I often dreamed of making it my home again. Shelby Lassiter Kincaid, the heroine of Where She Belongs, has similar dreams about her grandparents’ neglected house. But fulfilling her dream doesn’t completely fill the hole in her heart. The novel releases in January from Revell as Book #1 in the Misty Willow Series. I’ve gotten a sneak peek at the cover and can’t wait to share it with the world.
What’s your writing strength? Toughest writing challenge?
I think I have several strengths. My vocabulary is fairly good which helps my word choice precision. Readers say they appreciate my imagery. Interestingly, those strengths are also challenges. First, because I want to be precise, I am a slow writer, but deadlines loom. Second, I tend to get carried away with description. The balance of setting the scene and getting bogged down can be tricky.
What do you tell new writers?
- Join a critique group of writers who are serious about their writing.
- Attend writers conferences to network, learn the nitty-gritty of the industry, and pitch to editors and agents.
- Enter reputable writing contests for the feedback.
What are your writing goals for 2015?
- Polish and submit book #2 in the Misty Willow series by the end of July.
- Promote the print release of Where Treasure Hides in August.
- Write book #3 in the Misty Willow series.
- Seek out speaking opportunities at writers groups and conferences.
Five years? Wow! That’s exciting to think about.
By then, I hope to have another series with Revell in the works; to have published the sequel to Where Treasure Hides and another related World War II story; and to be teaching and mentoring other writers.
Though it’s tricky to make plans since we never know what paths God has prepared for us, like my heroine in Where Treasure Hides, I hold on to Proverbs 31:26, “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.”
Connect with Johnnie: Website