Today’s spotlight is on Sherri Wilson Johnson, and she has agreed to give away an ebook copy of To Dance Once More to one commenter who leaves an email addy. The drawing will be next Sunday, May 27th.
Hi Sherri, how nice of you to do a giveaway. Tell us about your favorite book as a child and your favorite book as an adult. Can you see a connection between those books?
One of my favorite books as a child was The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde Swift (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Red_Lighthouse ). It came with a vinyl record, which turned the book into an audio book. I loved it because the lighthouse was tiny and hid underneath the George Washington Bridge. He felt like he wasn’t important but actually he was extremely important. Without him, ships would have slammed into the bridge at night. The story makes you feel hopeful that you can make a difference in this world. The sounds of the tugboat and other ships were fascinating to listen to as a child (a long time ago). My favorite book as an adult (except the Bible, of course) is hard to pinpoint. I love so many books and I dislike probably just as many.
What is your favorite Scripture? Do you also have a favorite Scripture that encourages you in your writing? John 14:1-3 has always been my favorite scripture. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” This makes life worth living. James 1:2-4 has been an encouragement to me in my adult life and in my writing. It says: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” I could not get through the ups and downs of this life and of trying to complete my writing projects without this encouragement.
Yes, perseverance is important for us all, especially writers! If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose? There are a lot of places I would like to visit just for fun. If I could go anywhere to visit for research, I suppose it would be to England or Sweden to research the places where my ancestors lived.
I often wonder if I would write if I had to do it the old-fashioned way without computers and spell-checks and email. Is there anything about technology that you don’t like? Or anything about it that you feel enhances your writing? One of my main issues with technology is the fact that I have a hard time resisting the urge to use it. I waste a lot of time that could be used writing. However, I can’t imagine not having technology. Although I often handwrite with pen and pad, I definitely enjoy being able to type something and make corrections without having to rip a piece of paper out of a typewriter and start over or use correction fluid. My first novel was written on a typewriter. In a melancholy moment, I decided it was no good and I burned it in my fireplace. That novel was lost forever. But the more I’ve learned about the craft, the more I realize that the fireplace probably was the best place for that book. One of the best advantages of technology in the writing industry is the convenience it brings to marketing and also in the submission process. When I first started writing, it was expensive to make copies, mail manuscripts, and include a SASE and getting the word out about your projects was impossible unless you hired someone to do your marketing for you. I think technology has changed the face of writing for the better and as long as we as writers remember to use it in moderation, we’ll be successful.
As a writer how have you had to grow and stretch out of your comfort zone? Letting go of my work and submitting it to publishers and agents and letting other people read my words has stretched me. You have to be willing to be vulnerable and face rejection and correction. By doing that, I’ve realized that everything I want to say isn’t necessarily important and is subject to editing. I’ve learned to say things in as few words as possible.
What other advice would you give to a beginning writer that you wish someone had given you? Oh boy! I don’t think there is room enough on your blog for this. I guess one thing I would advise a beginning writer would be to be patient. If you don’t have patience, you’ll never persevere on the long road to publication. Also, get lots of practice, practice, practice every day—or at least several times a week. In this industry, you need to be as polished as possible. The more you write, the better your writing will be. I also recommend that all writers read the works of other authors (good and bad) to see how they can improve and how they can avoid big mistakes that will lead to rejection. Probably the most important thing would be to write with a message. Know what you want people to walk away from your words with and strive toward getting that message across in everything you write.
Do you want to add anything about your book such as how to order it? My debut novel, To Dance Once More, is available at Christianbook.com, Amazon, and many other places on the Internet. Here is the link to find out more: http://sherriwilsonjohnson.com/sherris-books/to-dance-once-more My second novel, Song of the Meadowlark, will be available in May and details about it can be found on my website. http://sherriwilsonjohnson.com/
My other blog is: http://www.sherrijinga.wordpress.com/
Find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Author-Sherri-Wilson-Johnson/138396456193536
Find me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/swj_thewriter
Book Blurb: To Dance Once More is the story of Lydia Jane Barrington, a Victorian debutante. Lydia lives on a plantation in Florida under the watchful eye of her father. She’s quite an independent young lady who does not want to fall into the trap (as she sees it) that her mother and sisters have fallen into—marriage and motherhood. She wants to travel the world and experience life before giving her heart to a man. One day, her eyes are opened to love and no matter what, she cannot forget the blissful feeling it causes. She begins to believe that love isn’t such a bad thing after all. Then she discovers a secret that prohibits any of her dreams from ever coming true. She begins a quest to free herself and her family from a future of bondage. Hearts are broken and lives are torn apart because of Lydia’s own selfishness. Will she surrender to a call that God placed on her life and be able to experience love after all? You’ll have to read the book to find out. Here’s a link to the sneak peek: http://sherriwilsonjohnson.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/to-dance-once-more-media1.pdf
Bio: Sherri Wilson Johnson is the author of To Dance Once More and Song of the Meadowlark. She is from Georgia, has been married since 1988, and is a former homeschooling mom. She loves to write, read, eat ice cream, ride roller coasters and make people laugh. She loves Jesus and hopes to spread His love to the whole world through her writing.