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Interview with Kimberly Johnson

Kimberly writes "stories that warm the heart and feed the soul" Her new release, A Holiday Proposal, is part of her current Romance series published by Harlequin's Heartsongs Presents line. Her books are set in Leavenworth, Washington and have been likened to Debbie Macomber's. Readers are encouraged to look for her subtle sense of humor in each of her books.

Kimberly, since your books are set in Leavenworth, Washington, would you share with us your connection to the area and why you've chosen to set your stories there?
Sure. My husband has extended family in Leavenworth. He first introduced me to the town when we were dating in college. We drove over there to go cross-county skiing at the fish hatchery.

I chose Leavenworth because I wanted to write a Christmas story, and I couldn’t think of a better place for a Christmas story to take place. As I was writing the original book in the series, The Christmas Promise, several of the female characters stood out to me and I gave them each their own book.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
I don’t really know what spurs me to write other than it makes me happy. I judge a day by how much fresh writing I did—editing doesn’t count. The more I write the happier I am.

I have an overactive imagination, so characters frequently pop into my head. As I’m writing they are introduced as I need them. Sometimes the character stands out in my mind and then she gets her own book. :-)

What led you to choose the genre in which you write?
That’s a long story, but I’ll be brief. I pursued publication writing romantic suspense for many years, but my writing wasn’t suspenseful enough. I eventually gave in to my agent’s suggestion that I write a romance. The first contemporary romance I wrote was purchased by Heartsong Presents and is the first book in this series.

What is the hardest part of writing your books?
They each have their own difficulties, but I think overall my biggest struggle is the timeline. That always seems to be a problem for me. I am numerically challenged (that is putting it kindly) and I nearly always manage to mess up my timeline. No matter how careful I am or how many times I go though the story and count out days and weeks, I mess up. It’s very frustrating to me.

What was the best thing a reader said about your writing/books?
My readers have been very kind to me, but in light of my past endeavor to write suspense this comment stands out to me and puts a smile on my face. This comment was made regarding A Romance Rekindled, book 2 in the series: “I have to say it has enough suspense to keep me on the edge of my seat!”

I enjoyed this comment so much about my first book, The Christmas Promise, that I put it on my website's landing page: "Kimberly Rose Johnson writes from a fresh clear perspective. Her heart is in her writing as well as her beguiling and subtle humor in situations that will make you laugh out loud."

Aside from the Bible, what book(s) have most influenced your life?
That is a tough question since I generally only read fiction. I’ve read several devotionals and Bible studies that were impactful and I’ve read a few good craft books too that helped me along the way. I’m horrible with titles and can’t remember any of them by name. LOL I’ve been known to write my own titles down wrong for blog interviews. I did it in this one too, but caught it.

What one bit of advice can you give to writers who are having difficulty finishing a novel?
Don’t quit. If the plot is the problem ask a trusted writer friend to read it and offer suggestions. I had that problem with my book that releases in March 2015 and I had to call one of my critique partners because I was seriously stuck. She had me back on track in five minutes and I finished the book that same week. :-)

If your problem is fear of failure, you will have already failed if you don’t finish, so take a chance and finish.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Ginger Solomon wrote a great book called One Choice. It’s so different from anything I’ve ever read I couldn’t put it down. I also really enjoy Melissa Tagg, and Carla Laureano—I couldn’t put down Five Days in Skye.

Reflecting back, what do you see as most significant to your publication journey?
The support of my husband was essential or I wouldn’t be published. Period. But also, the support of my friend and mentor, Miralee Ferrell. She encouraged me, critiqued my work, gave me advice, traveled to writers conferences with me. She even dropped everything to go to a writer’s conference with me when I decided I wanted to go just two weeks in advance of the conference. She taught me the ropes, prayed with and for me, and has always been on the other end of the phone line when I need someone to talk to during those crisis moments in life.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?
I like to read, play the piano, watch crime shows, take walks with my husband, visit with friends, and iMessage my oldest son, who is now away at college. It’s always fun when a message from him pops up on my iPod. I drop whatever I’m doing to visit with him. :-)

Finish this statement: If I could have lunch with any author (past or present), I'd have lunch with. . . .
. . .Debbie Macomber

Any parting words?
Thanks for hosting me! I enjoyed the interview. ACFW has been a big part in my growth as a writer.

Thanks for sharing with us, Kimberly!

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