Monday, September 7, 2009

Interview and Book Giveaway with Author Myra Johnson

THE BIO

Myra Johnson’s roots go deep into Texas soil, but she’s proud to be a new Oklahoman. Empty-nesters now, she and her husband share their home with two lovable dogs and a snobby parakeet. Her debut novel, One ImPerfect Christmas, releases September 2009 from Abingdon Press. She also writes for Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents line. Autumn Rains, winner of the 2005 RWA Golden Heart for Best Inspirational Romance Manuscript, releases October 2009, soon to be followed by Romance by the Book and Where the Dogwoods Bloom. Myra and her husband, Jack, have been married since 1972. The Johnsons have two married daughters and five grandchildren.


THE INTERVIEW

JA: Not only is your book part of the Abingdon Press fiction launch, but it’s your debut novel. How does it feel to be striking out on such a grand adventure?
MJ: It’s been a wonderfully exciting time—exciting to learn all about the publishing side of the writing business, and amazing to be in on the ground floor as a fiction line launches. The Abingdon folks have done a tremendous job of getting the word out as well as holding our hands to guide us through the whole process.

JA: One ImPerfect Christmas is the tale of Natalie and Daniel Pearce, a couple who are watching their lives and marriage unravel. What made you want to delve into their story?
MJ: The idea first started percolating several years ago after watching a spate of sappy Christmas movies on TV. I wondered if I could write something with a little more depth and faith, and then one night I sort of “dreamed” the story of a couple (who turned out to be Natalie’s parents) ready to celebrate their fiftieth Christmas together . . . but what if . . . The story evolved over the next few years and went through many rewrites before (and after!) it sold to Abingdon Press.

JA: As a happily married woman, is it difficult to write about a couple in crisis, or do you find it a bit cathartic?
MJ: Every marriage has its share of troubles, so even though I may not have faced exactly the kinds of problems Natalie dealt with, much less experienced a separation, I do enjoy (okay, enjoy may not be the best word here, but other writers will know what I mean) delving into my characters’ emotional ups and downs.

JA: What do you hope people take away when they finish reading One ImPerfect Christmas?
MJ: I’d like them to take away the assurance that though no family is perfect and hard times come to us all, when you have faith, love, and the will to persevere, together you can get through anything.

JA: What’s next for you in the writing arena?
MJ: Immediately on the heels of my Abingdon sale, I received a contract offer from JoAnne Simmons, Heartsong Presents editor (Barbour Publishing), for my 2005 RWA Golden Heart winner, Autumn Rains. This novel, which releases in October, is the first of three contemporary romances set in Missouri. The next two should come out sometime in 2010. I’m also working on more full-length contemporary women’s fiction.

JA: You’ve had a lot of success with writing contests. How important are writing contests to fledgling writers?
MJ: For fledgling writers, I’d say it would be much more beneficial to connect with a good critique partner or group. Only when they tell you it’s “almost there” should you think about entering contests. Even then, be realistic. Plan to learn all you can from the judges’ critiques. You’re likely to get very mixed opinions, so use the experience to toughen your hide and learn to discern between personal taste and solid writing advice. When you’re consistently getting good scores and starting to make the finals, contests can be a great way to get your manuscript in front of an editor or agent. Contest finals also make a very nice addition to your writing résumé.

JA: The current theme of my blog is The Year of Dreams. If you could realize one life-long dream right now, what would it be?
MJ: Oh, my goodness, I’m living my lifelong dream! All my life I’ve wanted to be a published novelist. The real-life version may not have the glitz, glamour, and wealth I envisioned as a kid, but I still have to pinch myself sometimes to realize the dream has finally come true. If I have a dream right now, it would be that my husband would learn to cook a few more things so I could have just one more teensy hour to write every afternoon! And maybe a housekeeper, secretary, and personal shopper. :=)

JA: Last but not least, how can people keep up with your latest publishing news?
MJ: Visit my website, www.MyraJohnson.com, or my blog. You can also find me on Facebook and my Facebook fan page. Or follow me on Twitter.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Christmas is the season of miracles, but when blame and guilt keep people apart, a miracle needs a helping hand. Natalie Pearce loves Christmas so much she’d gladly make it a year-round celebration—until her mother suffers a massive stroke while taking down the decorations. Natalie’s guilt over not being there to help her mom soon builds a wall that separates her from the rest of her family, including her husband, Daniel, and their teenage daughter. As the next December approaches, the last thing Natalie wants to be reminded of is another Christmas season. Only her family’s tenacious love and an unexpected Christmas gift from her mother can help Natalie mend the broken pieces of their lives.


WIN THE BOOK

If you’d like to be entered to win a copy of One ImPerfect Christmas , just leave a reply to this blog. I’ll pick a winner at random on September 14th. Please leave an email address so I can contact you if you're the winner. (To prevent spammers from trolling for your email, please use this format with the brackets--you [at] yourmail [dot] com--or something similar.) Good luck!

38 comments:

Marjorie said...

This book would be the best win of all, please count me in on this great giveaway.
I am a follower.

cenya2 at hotmail dot com

Lady Araujo said...

Wow... it sounds very good. i'd love to read it. Christmas is a perfect theme.
Please, enter me.

God's blessings

marthanadnny(at)hotmail(dot)com

Linda said...

This sounds like a great read. Your "im" Perfect Christmas title catches my eye.
Please enter me. Thanks.
desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Myra Johnson said...

Good morning, ladies, and happy Labor Day! Jen, thanks so much for having me here today.

Anyone have special plans for the day? We seem to be "laboring"--always some chore that needs doing around the house. Maybe we'll fire up the grill later, and I think we still have some watermelon in the fridge.

Richard Mabry said...

Jennifer, Thanks for giving your readers this opportunity to learn more about Myra and her book. Don't enter me in the drawing, because I've had the opportunity to read an advance copy of ONE IMPERFECT CHRISTMAS, and I highly recommend it. I've had to privilege of knowing Myra for years (dating back to the days before she fell from grace and moved out of Texas) and her success couldn't happen to a nicer person.

Jennifer AlLee said...

Welcome, and a happy Labor Day to all!

Myra, thanks so much for stopping by. To answer your question, I'm spending most of the day laboring at the PC, but will take a break so my son and I can see a movie together - All About Steve. I'm really hoping it's funny!

Be blessed :+}

Cherie J said...

Enjoyed the interview. Sounds like a wonderful book. I just love Christmas stories. Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book.

cherierj(at)yahoo(dot)com

pat jeanne said...

So happy for your success in publishing your debut novel, Myra. You're an inspiration to all aspiring novelists. Love to win your book. I'll spend some of the day working at my desk, cleaning and food shoppiing.
patjeannedavis[at}verizon[dot}net

Myra Johnson said...

Nice to see some familiar names here (waving to Doc Mabry, whose debut novel will be out next spring!). I try to think of Oklahoma as FAR NORTH Texas--LOL!!!

We just took a lunch break, did some vacuuming, and cut doggy toenails--always a fun task. Hubby has tennis on TV and I'm upstairs checking e-mail, etc. Fun, fun Labor Day. ;>D

Tina M. Russo said...

LOL, fell from grace?
She's in the bible capital of the world now. Some call it Little Jerusalem. Oh you Texans!!

Great article, Jennifer and Myra!

I have my copy coming so don't enter me in the drawing. :)

Sandee61 said...

Really good interview! I'd love to read this book. Please enter my name in your giveaway. Thank you!

Blessings,
Sandee

Muzzley56[at]aol[dot]com

Myra Johnson said...

Little Jerusalem? I hadn't heard that one before, Tina! Nice to know I'm that much closer to heaven! (Although sometimes the winters here make me wonder if you-know-what has frozen over!!!)

Emma said...

One ImPerfect Christmas sounds wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

Sherry K said...

Would love a chance to win Imperfect Christmas. It sounds like a great book. Happy Labor Day to all. Hubby & I are sick so our boys are going to a friends. I can here the ahhhh's out there but a sick day in bed means 'reading time'. So it's not too bad. You can get lost in the story and forget about feeling crummy. Watermelon does sound good!

Thanks,
Sherry K
love2stitch(at)hotmail(dot)com

Jo said...

Great interview and the book sounds great as well. Please enter me in the drawing.

Blessings,
Jo
ladijo40(at)aol(dot)com

Myra Johnson said...

Just got back from a shopping errand. Hubby decided we needed something to grill for supper.

Sherry, I hope you feel better soon! But I agree, it's always nice to have a good excuse to curl up with a good book. ;>D

Susanne Dietze said...

Great interview! This book sounds wonderful. This book is going to go on my must-read list! I'd love to be entered in your drawing.

srdietze [at] sbcglobal [.] net

Lacy J. Williams said...

Great interview Myra! Don't enter me in the drawing - I don't have my copy yet but will be shopping for it soon!

Lori (sugarandgrits) said...

Another debut author, plus, a Christmas-themed debut novel! What more can you ask for? Please enter me!

Thank you,
~ Lori

sugarandgrits{at}hotmail{dot}com
http://sugarandgrits.blogspot.com
http://someofmyfavoritebooks.blogspot.com
(my Book Reviews blog)

April said...

Sounds great. I love Christmas books. Please put me in the giveaway. Blessings. AprilR
tarenn98[at]yahoo[dot]com

Jody said...

Sounds very interesting. I would love a chance to win a copy.

rodgerandjody (at) hotmail (dot) com

ashley said...

This book sounds wonderful! I've recently become more involved with my Christianity and was excited to find Abingdon Press. My plan this Christmas is to ask for as many books as possible (fictional, devotional, etc) from Abingdon's site. This book is one on the list! But winning it sooner would help make the season brighter =).

God bless,

Myra Johnson said...

Good morning, ladies! Again, thanks so much for the interest in my book.

Ashley, I'm glad you found Abingdon Press. The response to their new fiction line has been amazing. They've made a point of including a wide variety of genres--women's fiction, romance, suspense, historical--something for just about everybody's reading tastes.

Vicki said...

I'd love to win this book!

lelou2(at)ymail(dot)com

Carole said...

I record and watch a lot of Christmas movies and have to agree with Myra, some of them are pretty sappy. One ImPerfect Christmas sounds like a books I would really enjoy. Congratulations on being published and I hope this is the beginning of many.

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

JenniferB said...

This book sounds great, please enter me.
Thanks
ejxd95 at gmail dot com

Myra Johnson said...

A quick hi to our most recent visitors! Jen, it's a real delight being your guest, and such a thrill to see the interest in my debut novel! Thanks, everyone!

Carol said...

I love reading Christmasy books and that's about all that I read in November and December. The way Myra talked about this book really caught my eye!!
Carol

choco1950(at)netins(dot)net

Carolynn W. said...

Please enter me, I love holiday stories, thanks!
carolynnwald[at]hotmail[dot]com

windycindy said...

What a fascinating author and a wonderful sounding book! I would enjoy reading this story in front of our fireplace. Please enter my name in your delightful drawing.
Many thanks.....Cindi
jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

mindy said...

looks like a great read minsthins at optonline dot net

Mama Hill said...

Is this contest over? If not, I would love to have my name in the hat! Thanks!

Deedles said...

Great interview. Please add my name to the draw.
djeanq(at)gmail(dot)com

Abby said...

This sounds like a lovely read!


ajcmeyer at go dot com

scottsgal said...

I love Christmas stories - please count me in - gets me into the season mood

msboatgal at aol.com

cstironkat said...

I love all things Christmas. Please enter me in your giveaway. This would be a great read. Thank you.

Jennifer AlLee said...

Wow, there sure was a lot of great conversation about Myra and her book. Thanks to everyone who stopped by, especially Myra, who kept things lively :+}

Today's winner is Jody. Congrats!

Myra Johnson said...

Again, thanks so much for having me, Jen! And thanks to all who visited and commented. You can't imagine what a thrill it is to see the interest in my debut novel.

Jody, I'll get the book in the mail to you within the next few days. Enjoy!