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Interview with Anna Rose Johnson

Anna Rose Johnson has a passion for telling timeless stories through journalism and novels—whether it’s the tale of an Olympic athlete or a heroine who lived 100 years ago. She loves classic books, beautiful flowers, and all things historical.
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When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I can’t quite remember when I started writing stories; it’s something I’ve always done! By the time I was seven, I knew I wanted to be an author, and I finished my first (very short) middle grade novel at age twelve.

What compels you to write middle-grade historical fiction?
For me, it’s fascinating to visit older time periods and try to bring them to life in a brand-new story. I enjoy finding the perfect historical details, but I almost always invent the story first and then choose the era that fits best, because that way it keeps the characters and plot at the forefront. I also want to communicate inspiring messages in stories for kids!

What message do you hope readers take away from your story?
The book is incredibly special to me because of the connection to my own family history, and also because, like my main character Norvia, I love classic girls’ novels. My hope is that young readers come away feeling joyful, regardless of what’s happening in their life at the moment.

What’s your biggest challenge in balancing writing time with your other responsibilities?
It can definitely be difficult to find time and energy for drafting a new novel when you’re in the midst of a busy season, but I try to carve out a little writing time each day just to stay in the groove! Even a small word count helps.

You’re a journalist as well! Can you tell readers about your gymnastics articles?
I’ve loved gymnastics for a long time now, and it’s exciting to interview gymnasts and discuss competitions. I recently wrote an article explaining the procedure for athletes trying to qualify to the next Olympic Games, which was a complicated topic but fun.

How do your faith and spiritual life play into the stories you tell?
My faith always plays a role in my stories, because I really want to bring that uplifting aspect to my books—especially when my characters are going through tough times.

Who/What inspires you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
I actively seek out inspiration while coming up with new ideas. Some of the main places I get story/character ideas are from genealogical research and from examining the elements I love about my own favorite books. I also make aesthetic scrapbooks and read inspirational magazines to get the creative juices flowing.

What is your writing routine? Any quirky habits or must-have snacks?
I have been known to write while eating candy (M&Ms make good rewards for hitting word counts)! I also only listen to music if I’m at just the right point in my story.

What literary character is most like you?
I identify a lot with Beth March and Batty Penderwick!

What led you to choose the genre in which you write?
I’ve always loved historical stories, particularly those set at the turn of the century, so when I shifted from writing contemporary middle grade to historical, things began to click.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
I love reading (of course!) gardening (I grow cut flowers), scrapbooking, hanging out with my dog and ponies, and listening to classical and '70s folk rock music.

What books are on your nightstand right now?
I’m currently reading Sadie on the Rocks by Joanne Bischof (who is one of my mentors!), the Moomin series by Tove Jansson, The Little Silver House by Jennie Lindquist, and Fletchers End by D.E. Stevenson.

If you could only recommend three books to a friend, which three would you choose?
That’s pretty easy! My top three favorite novels are Jane of Lantern Hill by L.M. Montgomery, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace—so I would definitely recommend those three! (And indeed, I do recommend them all the time!)

What authors have inspired you on your journey to publication?
The authors who most inspired me as I wrote were L.M. Montgomery, Noel Streatfeild, Maud Hart Lovelace, and Jeanne Birdsall. I was also very inspired by my mentors (and fellow authors!) Brett Harris and Kara Swanson at the Author Conservatory, where I’ve been a student since 2019.

Finish this statement: If I were not an author, I would be ____________.
Is it cheating to say a screenwriter?
Stephanie Rose Finsterbush loves writing stories filled with history, a dash of adventure and comedy, and a heaping dose of romance. Wife, and homeschool mom of two, Stephanie blogs about her family, their multiple cross-country moves, and her journey to publication at

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