Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming Rose Chandler Johnson to my blog. The author of the devotional guide God, Me And Sweet Iced Tea has a debut novel out too! Thanks, Rose, for joining us today!
Tell me a bit about yourself, how long you’ve been writing, what types of writing you do, etc.
Rose: I wrote in the late 70s and 80s, had some poems and articles published then, and then basically didn’t write for close to 20 years. Due to the demands of my family life—I raised six children as a single parent—and the fact that I’ve been a teacher and a student myself over the last twenty-five years, writing took a backseat until 2008. I began writing again in 2008 almost daily and I’ve been writing ever since.
Why did you decide to become a writer?
Rose: Writers write because they have a passion to write. I always enjoyed it so much. I was a big fan of the classics growing up and very studious. I decided to get a degree in English and French and dreamt of one day writing a great novel.
What is the one piece of writing advice you wish you’d had at the beginning of your career?
Rose: The one piece of advice—write everyday.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Rose: Keep a writing journal and jot down words, phrases, and ideas that come to you every day. I’ve forgotten entire story ideas because I failed to write it down.
What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block?
Rose: Write. I simply start putting words on paper. It’s called “freewriting” and I’ve found that if I just start writing that I will eventually come around to the words I needed.
What are you currently working on? Any special projects?
Rose: I’m working on a couple of projects when I find the time — a non-fiction book and a second devotional, and another novel. I think of the non-fiction as a priority because it’s an overflow of what the Lord has done in my life and what He continues to reveal to me about Himself. I’m doing research for the novel and working on my characters. I do elaborate character sketches, with pictures and biographies for all of the main characters. I’m looking forward to see God’s timing in all of this. In the meantime, I want to be faithful to write everyday whatever God puts on my heart.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Rose: I love the classics. My tastes are a bit old-fashioned. My favorite novel is Jane Eyre, which I read every year or so. I actually read more spiritual non-fiction than anything else. I particularly love Oswald Chambers and have read his complete works. I usually reading 2 or 3 books at once.
Do you have a favorite time of day to write?
Rose: I like to write first thing in the morning, even before I begin my bible reading. This is when I’ve written most of my devotions. My most productive time to write fiction is the middle afternoon to early evening. I figured this out over time.
Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write?
Rose: My Father’s House was recently published. I lived with those characters for several years. I had my plotline developed all the way down to chapter summaries, and I found pictures for each character, even for places, things, and pets. (See my Pinterest pages for my books.) But, one of the most delightful things about writing My Father’s House was that my characters and events surprised me. Things happened that I didn’t anticipate. I learned things about the characters that I didn’t know when I started. Together we discovered the story.
How can my readers find out more about you and your work?
Rose: I really appreciate it when readers connect with me on the social media sites, including my Amazon Author Page. My blog offers encouragement and monthly book giveaways from guest Christian authors. I always respond to the reviews readers write for my books, and that leads to the occasional sharing of personal information as well.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Rose: I’m still working on the greatest roadblock, which is managing my time to write. My family has always been my priority, so I have to work very hard to carve out time to write. Often I have to give myself permission to make writing time for me.
Tell us about the featured book?
Rose: One reviewer called it “a triumphant story of hope”. I think that describes it. It reminds me of the verse Psalms 27:13: I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
A bit about how the story came about:
I wanted to write a story about a young woman who in spite of devastating hardships, disappointments, personal loss and mistakes ultimately finds happiness after reconnecting with family and faith. I wanted the reader to take the journey with her, go with her through some of the hardships, but I didn’t want the painful things to be the focus of her triumphant story. Lily Rose has an indomitable spirit and warm heart that is endearing to readers. Her father believed that she would be alright; the reader wants to know she will be too. With my roots firmly planted in Georgia, the setting had to play a critical part in the story. So, I modelled my fictional town after so many small Southern towns and I set in some of my love of nature and gardening. Being a Southerner, I had definite ideas about elements I needed for this story to come alive. Besides fascinating characters and a distinctive setting, there had to be a little crazy, eccentric, and some downright mean, mixed with suspense, romance, and lots of southern charm.
Thanks so much for sharing with us today.
Make sure to check out Rose’s bio and links to her blog and other sites.
Rose Chandler Johnson’s devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments was released in July 2013. Her devotions, poems, and articles have appeared in numerous Christian publications and online. She enjoys writing for her popular blog, Write Moments with God, and engaging with her readers. Rose is a native Georgian and happily makes her home near Augusta, GA. She has been a French and English teacher over the last twenty plus years. Currently, she is an English instructor at a community college. Rose enjoys baking, gardening, and spending time with her six children and their families. You get a glimpse of those interests in the pages of My Father’s House, where sweet iced tea is served in abundance. Rose wants to make it clear that the mention of all that sweet tea wasn’t a shameless plug for her devotional. No, ma’am. It’s just the beverage of choice in the South.
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