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Interview with Christine Johnson

Creativity called to Christine Johnson at a young age. She tried music and art but returned to her first love—story. After a long journey to publication, she often encourages other writers on her Facebook author page. Read on to discover what sparked her interest in historical fiction.

How did you decide to write historicals? And where do you find inspiration for your stories?
Historicals were a natural fit since that's what I love to read. I've been crazy for the genre since my first Victorian gothic romance many, many years ago. When I first dared to enter the grown-up section of the library, that's the book I pulled off the shelf to read.

Inspiration often comes from the research. In this case, I was fascinated by wreckers and the whole wrecking industry in the Florida Keys. It recalled Daphne DuMaurier's classic, Jamaica Inn. Add in the tensions of the time with characters in conflict, and a story is born.

When planning a new book, what comes first for you—a character, a setting, or a plot idea?
Actually, that varies. Sometimes it's a scene or part of a scene. Other times, a character jumps out demanding attention. Other times, I'm fascinated by a plot idea or some tidbit of research. Remember the scene in the movie, Shakespeare in Love, where Will Shakespeare gathers ideas from everyone around him? Often times a story comes together like that. A scrap here, a snippet there. Weaving it all together is an amazing mystery for which I give full credit to the Lord. Without Him, this scattered mind could never make sense from all those pieces.

As a reader, what genre of books do you gravitate toward? And who are some authors you admire?
As mentioned, I do gravitate toward historicals, but I also enjoy women's fiction. I hate to list favorite contemporary authors since there are so many, and I don't want to leave anyone out, so I will stick with the author from the past who inspired me. From a child I wanted to be able to write like C.S. Lewis. The Chronicles of Narnia are my all-time favorite books. I love the depth of meaning Lewis captures within the simplicity of the writing. Sigh.

Finish this sentence: One thing I didn’t expect about being a published author was _______.
How busy I’d get. After spending so many years wanting to get published (15 years), I had little expectation that my career would last past the first book. Now that I'm finishing up writing my tenth novel, I'm amazed at the Lord's provision. Wow!

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received? And what advice can you give to pre-published authors?
Apparently I'm a slow learner. For years people told me to research the market, but that was the last thing I wanted to do. So I used the shotgun approach for submission, hoping something hit the target. I must be a pretty poor shot, because nothing stuck until I got serious and studied the market. Aside from that, I would urge pre-published authors to learn as much as they can about the craft and business of writing, use the time to connect with other authors, and most of all, don't give up!

When readers finish one of your books, what do you hope they take away?
Initially, I hope they say, "Wow, I didn't see that coming" or "That was full of twists and turns." But on a much deeper level, I pray that the Lord uses something in the book to draw the reader a little closer to Him.

Which one of your heroines do you most identify with? Or is it different in different seasons of life?
There's a little bit of me in all the heroines, and yet none are me. Does that make sense? Since I write romance, most of the heroines are young and full of pretty naive notions. I probably identify more with the few somewhat older ones, um, because of my current season of life.

Any parting words?
Thank you for inviting me here, God bless, and keep writing!

Thanks for sharing with us, Christine!

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