Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cruising with Author, Johnnie Alexander

Samantha is the winner of Johnnie's book! But we don't have your email!!! Please leave a message if you are Samantha from the comments below! Thanks!

Ah-oo-gah. Ah-oo-gah! Welcome back, faithful readers! So glad you could pull over and chat awhile. I've got Johnnie Alexander visiting today. She just zoomed into the driveway and she's revved up to go. And guess what? She's giving away a copy of her book, Where Treasure Hides~print or ebook! Your choice! What could be better? So put your Deuce Coupe in neutral, and let's meet her!  

PT:  Hi, Johnnie! So glad you could sit a spell and visit with us while your engine cools. Tell us a little about your background and what genre you write in.

JA:  I’m a Buckeye native who has lived in Missouri, Nebraska, Florida, and now Tennessee (with a short stay in Birmingham, England many years ago). I dream of taking a road trip through all 48 continental states but I’m not sure I can do that in one fell swoop.

For fifteen years, I worked in the district office for two different Members of the Florida House of Representatives which was a great experience.

But I always dreamed of writing, and I’m thankful “to unite / My avocation and my vocation” as Robert Frost says in his poem “Two Tramps in Mud Time.” (I memorized that poem for a grad class, but had kind of forgotten it until I was answering this question. J)

My writing journey includes both historicals and contemporary romances. Even my contemporaries, though, are deeply rooted in heritage.

 PT: I love Robert Frost. I'll have to look that one up. I couldn't help but notice you won the ACFW Genesis back in 2011. Tell us how that spurred on your career.

JA:  My debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, won the Genesis historical category that year. Winning was such an honor and also a tremendous surprise. I was at my home in St. Cloud, Florida (Eastern time) while the ceremony took place in St. Louis (Central time). Forgetting all about the time difference and not really having a clue how long the awards ceremony lasted, I sent a text around 9:30 p.m. to close friends saying I hadn’t won and I was disappointed but it was okay. Not long after, I received a text from one of my critique partners followed closely by a text from my agent giving me the good news. I was ecstatic and immediately called everyone I had texted and a few more people, too.

Anyway, an acquisition editor with Tyndale was one of the final round judges so the contest brought the story to her attention. The novel released a little over a year later.

Similarly, I have a friend who was contacted by an agent during the judging process so entering contests may get your story in front of publishing professionals.

Even when that doesn’t happen, a contest can provide helpful feedback on your writing. About three years ago, my entry received the Bronze Medalist Award in the My Book Therapy Frazier Contest. After carefully considering the less-than-positive critiques about my heroine’s attitude, I wrote a new first chapter. That novel, a contemporary romance called Where She Belongs, releases in January from Revell. So I owe those judges hugs and chocolate!

 PT:  Wow!  What an opportunity! I love when everything just falls together. Let's get a little outside the lines. Tell us 5 things about Johnnie Alexander that have nothing to do with writing.

JA      : 1.     I have an alpaca herd which includes three babies born this past spring. I missed witnessing one of                    the births by only a few minutes.
2.     My papillon, Rugby, is a fluffy little guy with the courage to tree raccoons.
3.     I’m not a “good eater,” but I love jalapeƱos.
4.     Even though I work from home, my 2009 Pontiac Vibe has over 130,000 miles on it. We’ve been in over twenty states and the District of Columbia together.
5.     This past May, I flew to New York and fell in love with the city. I’d like to live there, for just a few weeks, and bask in its energy.

PT:  Who knew there was a little city in the farm girl! LOL  Does living on a farm influence any scenes in your writing?

JA:  Where Treasure Hides takes place in WWII Europe, primarily Rotterdam and London but it does have one farm setting. Actually that particular scene may be one of the most intense in the novel.

My next novel, Where She Belongs, centers on an old house I lived in as a teen in rural Ohio. Since there aren’t any alpacas in my stories, at least so far, I’d say that growing up on a farm had more influence on my writing than living on one now. The promo copy for the novel says my writing “evokes a strong sense of place and personal history.” I believe that comes from my childhood influences.

 PT: Gotcha. So what are your next plans for writing and are you in the middle of a novel right now?

JA:  Where She Belongs is the first book in my Misty Willow Series. Earlier this month, I turned in the second book in the series.

Now I’m heading to 1870s Nebraska, the setting for a novella tentatively called “The Healing Promise,” which will appear in Barbour’s Courageous Brides Collection (releasing next July). I’m also in the pondering phase for the third Misty Willow novel.

I’m very excited about both stories and eager to see how they turn out.

PT:  How exciting! I can't wait to see that collection. It sounds fab. Well, I'm sure you're ready to grind the gears and get moving. You've got lots to tinker on!

JA:  Thanks, Peggy, for having me as your guest. I can’t wait to chat with your readers and thank them, too, for stopping by.

NOW! Here's your chance! Johnnie would LOVE to have to leave a comment for her. AND! When you do, you will be entered to win for free~no fooling~ this award-winning novel by Johnnie Alexander! Boom-chicka-boom-boom!!! That's right! So easy! So don't waste any time! Comment away!

Johnnie Alexander writes inspiring stories that linger in the heart. Where Treasure Hides, her debut novel, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011) and Golden Leaf Award (2014). Her first contemporary romance, Where She Belongs (Misty Willow Series; Revell), and her first novella, “The Healing Promise” (Courageous Bride Collection; Barbour), release in 2016.

She also has won Best Novel and Best Writer awards (Florida Christian Writers Conferences), and Bronze Medalist (My Book Therapy Frasier Contest). She volunteers as a category coordinator for the ACFW Genesis Contest, judges various contests, and serves as marketing director for the MidSouth Christian Writers Conference.

A graduate of Rollins College (Orlando) with a Master of Liberal Studies degree, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. She lives in the Memphis area with a small herd of alpacas and Rugby, the princely papillon who trees raccoons.  

Catch up with Johnnie here:

Blog                http://www.johnnie-alexander.com
Facebook Profile (Friend or follow me!) https://www.facebook.com/johnnie.alexander.author
Facebook Author Page           https://www.facebook.com/JohnnieAlexanderDonley
Twitter                        https://twitter.com/johnnie_alexndr
Pinterest          http://www.pinterest.com/johnnie­_alex/
Instagram        http://instagram.com/jazzlin7/
RSS Feed        http://johnnie-alexander.com/feed/


Rebekah Millet said...

Johnnie, I just LOVE your book covers! So beautiful! And since I lean toward contemporary, I think Where She Belongs will be a great read for me to pick up. Thank you so much for stopping by the Diamond Mine.

Peggy - Awesome interview!!!!

Johnnie Alexander said...

Hey, everyone. I am just sittin' here grinning after reading Peggy's revvin' introduction! Makes me want to hop in my Vibe and take off for places I've never been. It's a lovely morning here in Tennessee. The alpaca are lazing in the hay, and Rugby is stealing bites of dog food from my kitten Addie who doesn't want to eat the food--she loves to bat it across the kitchen floor. That's my morning!

Johnnie Alexander said...

Hi, Rebekah and thank you! I am so delighted with both covers and very appreciative for the designers who created them. Just so you know and for anyone who is interested, Where She Belongs is available for pre-order. It's a very special story for me and I hope it resonates with readers. I'm on pins and needles waiting for January to get here :)

Renee Blare said...

Hi Johnie, welcome to the Diamond Mine! What an awesome mornin'! I'm listening to a hubby pound on the roof. I like yours better! LOL

Johnnie Alexander said...

Hey, Renee! Hope that pounding has come to an end. It's 5:00 here (I don't drink but typing the time made me think of Jimmy Buffet), and all's quiet here except for the occasional bark of a neighbor's dog and the answering bark of one of our own. Thanks for the warm welcome!

Connie said...

I am reading this on a morning that I am actually able to relax and enjoy a beautiful morning view from my recliner. I am so happy for all of the success you are enjoying right now.

Deanna Stevens said...

I enjoyed meeting you Johnnie! I live in Nebraska :) I would love to read your book.Thanks for the giveaway!
I'll be watching for Courageous Brides Collection too..

Johnnie Alexander said...

Thanks, Connie. It's been a whirlwind after a long journey. I do feel blessed but I'm also hard at work. You're a sweetheart!

Johnnie Alexander said...

Hi, Deanna. I lived in Norfolk, Nebraska ages ago. My daughters are native Cornhuskers but lived most of their lives in the Sunshine State!

The novella is based on a newspaper article I read way back then and saved all these years. Here's a hint: it's inspired by a speech made by a Ponca dad when his daughter died as the tribe was being forced to move from their home to the Oklahoma Territory. I wrote the first pages on Tuesday, and I'm really excited about it.

Thanks for being here.

Amy C said...

I have heard great things about this book. I can't wait to get my hands on it. Thank you so much for the interview and giveaway!
campbellamyd at gmail dot com

Renee Blare said...

LOL Nice time for some good music!

Ann Ellison said...

Enjoyed reading the post. I have read and loved Where Treasure Hides, but I read it in e-book form and would love to win a print copy for my library.

Johnnie Alexander said...

Hi, Amy. that just warms my heart--that you've heard great things about the novel. Yay!!!!

Renee, it's 5:00 somewhere!

Hi, Ann! Thank you for the shout-out! I appreciated your review so much.

Samantha said...

Both Where Treasures Hide and Where She Belongs sound great! :)

Great interview, Peggy!

I would love to see some alpacas in your books, Johnie ;)

Thanks for the giveaway and good luck everyone!

Caryl Kane said...

Hello Johnnie, You are a new-to-me author. Where Treasure Hides sounds like an amazing story. I look forward to reading it soon.


Gail Kittleson said...

Just stopping in to say hi, Johnnie. I learned yet another new fact about you here - worth the stop!! Love the WHERE SHE BELONGS title, btw.

Johnnie Alexander said...

Hi, Samantha. So funny about the alpacas. When one of my beta readers finished reading my last manuscript, she said, "Where are the alpacas?!" I guess I'll have to be sure they make at least a cameo appearance in my next story! LOL

Johnnie Alexander said...

Hi, Caryl! So glad to connect with you. I loved writing Where Treasure Hides, and the characters still have such a hold on my heart. My hope is that they hold onto their readers' hearts, too. Thanks for participating in the giveaway.

Johnnie Alexander said...

Gail!!!! So glad to see you here. Was it the bit about the jalapenos?? Or about my Vibe. (I love that vehicle.)

I like the Where She Belongs title, too, but I can't claim credit for it. I gave that manuscript so many different titles that, to myself, it became simply Shelby's Story. The new title fits perfectly though. I'm so excited for January to get here!

BTW, congrats on your newest release!

Katy Kauffman said...

Johnnie, what a great writing journey and novel! Congratulations on your award, and it's a blessing to have someone like Tyndale publish your book. How inspiring. I am from Memphis, so I was happy when you found me on Twitter and now we're Facebook friends. :) I hope I win your book, of course, but regardless I will read it!

Diane Blaser said...

Hi Johnnie! I'm so happy to have learned more about your everyday life and your books. I'm an Ohio gal myself though I'm originally from Michigan. I have lived in Ohio for 40 years and I have neighbors up the road that raise Alpacas too! I enjoy doing cross stitch and have stitched with Alpaca fibers many times in the past 10 years, having used it to stitch a very realistic furry cat. Do you shear your Alpacas and sell their wool? I would love to win your book. Thanks so much for the opportunity!

Johnnie Alexander said...

Hi, Katy. Thanks for your sweet and encouraging comment. I'm glad we connected, too. It's fun when God orchestrates our connections, and I so enjoy chatting with you.

For those who don't know, Katy is launching a magazine, available via email, called Refresh. Be sure to find her on Twitter :)

Johnnie Alexander said...

Diane!!!! That is so cool about the cross stitching with alpaca fibers. I didn't know that was possible. We shear the fiber once a year and sell it raw on Etsy. We plan to send some of it to a mill though to have it spun into yarn.

I hope your years in Ohio have turned you into a Buckeye fan (LOL) because the hero of my contemporary novel (the one that's releasing in January) is a huge OSU fan and wears an OSU ball everywhere he goes. Thanks for being here. I'm glad we've connected.