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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Author Interview - Sherri Wilson Johnson

Our interview today is with Sherri Wilson Johnson, author of Song of the Meadowlark which I reviewed yesterday on this blog. Link:

Sherri with her agent, Les Stobbe

Anne: I sound like a broken record, I know, but I love to know what inspires a story. Share, Sherri!

Sherri: I had always wanted to write a cowboy story but wasn’t sure I could do it. I’m afraid of horses. I thought it might be kind of foreign to me and that my readers would pick up on it. But Song of the Meadowlark kept knocking at my mind’s door. I originally set it in Wyoming, because that’s where I thought all cowboy books had to be set. But it didn’t flow well because I’ve never been out west. I changed the setting to South Georgia and changed the bird from a Western Meadowlark to an Eastern Meadowlark, and it all fell into place. I wrote this book with the theme of forgiveness and starting over, because those are two topics I know all too well. The story deals with characters who have lost loved ones and who have to learn to grieve and move on. I’ve lost both my parents and my brother-in-law, and I suppose the emotions of the characters flowed naturally out of my experiences. Maybe I wrote it as a personal way of dealing with the losses and healing from them.

Anne: Lewistown sounds so like small farming communities. Is the location a real one or fictional?

Sherri: The location is fictional although it is loosely based off a small Georgia town I found on Google maps while following the highway to Florida. I have not been to the real town but I have passed right by it. The description of what Cora saw on her trip is from my eyes.

Anne: I really love the characters, especially Cora and Rex, of course. Do you pattern any of your characters after yourself, your family, or your friends?

Sherri: I don't purposefully do so, but I know it happens. I am a people-watcher, and I take mental notes wherever I am. I believe little bits of conversation and mannerisms and attitudes I experience definitely affect my characters.

Anne: What message do you want folks to take home from your books?

Sherri: I want readers to know that forgiveness is always possible, and so are second chances. If you commit to making your life a better one and one that will serve the Lord, then you can win!

Anne: Amen to that. What are three things you think your readers would like to know about you?

Sherri: (1) I hope to live to be 100 like my grandmother; (2) I want to write at least 40 more books (3) My goal in writing is not to become famous or wealthy but to share with everyone what God has done in my life!

Anne: I especially like surprise Number Three, since few writers become rich or famous. I'll bet that's something the average reader doesn't know, either! Would you like to give us a teaser about your next book?

Sherri: My current fiction WIP (work in progress), After the Raging Storm, is part of my New Hope Series. It's set in drought-stricken Georgia in 1894. Annabelle is engaged to the son of the town's copper supplier but feels uneasy about the whole thing. She's searching for the meaning of her life apart from this relationship. When she runs into an old friend and compares him to her fiance, she begins to doubt her chosen path in life even more. As the storm rages inside her heart, a storm of a natural kind threatens to destroy her family home and the neighboring farms. What will it take to calm the raging storm inside Annabelle?

Anne: Thank you, Sherri--you have been such an entertaining and inspirational interviewee. God bless your day, and God bless your writing. May it grow better and better, may you grow closer and closer to God, and may your readers gain new insights into the character of the Lord.
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