Myra Johnson’s interview

» Posted on Nov 3, 2009 in Blog | Comments Off on Myra Johnson’s interview

This week I’m hosting Myra Johnson with One Imperfect Christmas and Julie Lessman with A Passion Denied. If you want to enter the drawing for the book, please leave a comment on one of the post during the week with your email address. I will not enter you without an email address (my way to contact you if you win). If you don’t want to leave an email address, another way you can enter is to email me at The drawings end Sunday (Nov. 8th) evening.

1. What made you start writing?

No idea! Writing has always been a part of who I am. However, I didn’t seriously pursue writing as a profession until 1983, when I came across a magazine ad for the Institute of Children’s Literature and decided to see if I had what it takes.

2. How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?

My first memory of story writing was probably in second grade, but I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t making up stories, either in my head or on paper. Partway through the ICL course, I sold one of my story assignments to a Sunday school publication, and the magazine sales continued fairly steadily after that. I eventually went on to teach for ICL for nine years. However, despite numerous “positive” rejections, I didn’t sell my first book manuscript until August 2008!!!

3. How do you handle rejections?

Rejections have always hit me pretty hard. There’s the initial shock of disappointment, then the questions, the self-doubt. Ultimately determination kicks in. I dive back in and make the submission even stronger and try again somewhere else.

4. Why do you write?

To get the stories out of my head, I suppose—LOL! Truthfully, I think I write to make sense of life. Stories can be a cathartic way of sifting through various events and the accompanying emotions. As a Christian writer, just as Jesus taught with parables, I hope to reflect God’s mercy, love, and grace through my fiction.

5. What would you be doing with your free time if you weren’t writing?

Probably reading more, seeking fulfillment in volunteer opportunities, or maybe traveling. Definitely not cooking or housecleaning!

6. What are you working on right now?

I’m working through revisions on a couple of novel manuscripts that my agent has high hopes for, both of which are stories of love, family, and reconciliation but with very different plots and settings.

7. Do you put yourself into your books/characters?

I think that’s unavoidable since I am the only person I know that well! But if I put too much of myself into my story characters, I’m afraid they’d get boring pretty fast. I’m sure that in many ways my characters are composites of personality traits I wish I had in greater abundance.

8. Tell us about the book you have out right now.

Actually, I have two books out. My debut novel, One Imperfect Christmas, is a September 2009 release from Abingdon Press. It’s about a young wife and mother coping with guilt and marital problems in the aftermath of her own mother’s stroke.

Autumn Rains, my Heartsong Presents contemporary romance, is out this month. This story, about a widow suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and an ex-con just released from prison, was inspired by an encounter my brother-in-law had with an ex-con passing through town on his way to find work.

9. Do you have any advice for other writers?

Be patient, be determined, be willing to be taught. Develop a tough hide, because rejections are inevitable. Learn everything you can from them and just keep writing.

10. How important is faith in your books?

Faith is integral to my stories because it’s integral in my own life. While my characters may not spout Bible passages on every page and my stories may not include the typical “conversion scene,” scriptural truths play out organically through story events and character growth.

11. What themes do you like to write about?

The theme of forgiveness comes up quite often. Another is self-worth (or, more accurately, the value Christ imparts to us as children of God). Family relationships in some form are always central to my stories.

12. What is your favorite book you’ve written and why?

While One Imperfect Christmas and Autumn Rains are both very special to me, my favorite book is one of the two I’m currently revising. This one is my favorite because I believe it’s the book in which my voice finally came into its own. I also love the setting and the central characters. I always hate to say too much about my works-in-progress, but I’m hopeful this story will one day find its way to publication.

13. What is your writing schedule like?

I usually put in a five-day work week, saving weekends for home and family. A typical morning begins with devotions, exercise (if I’m feeling especially disciplined ), then e-mail, blogs, etc. If I have any errands to run, I try to get them done before lunch.

Beginning around 1:00 p.m. and for the next 4-5 hours, it’s all about the work-in-progress. Writing, rewriting, revising, research, whatever. I may sporadically check e-mail or look up something on the Internet if I need a short break, but afternoons are designated writing time, and I try not to let other things interfere.

Thanks so much for inviting me to join you on your blog today, Margaret! I’ve visited here so often to read about other authors and their work, so it’s an extra-special thrill to now find myself in the “hot seat”! It’s a joy and a blessing to know you, and I appreciate all you do to encourage new authors and shine a light on Christian fiction.