Johnnie Alexander, author and freelance editor, writes stories that linger in the heart. The first of three contemporary romances, Where She Belongs, released in January 2016 (Misty Willow Series, Revell).
Her debut novel, Where Treasure Hides (Tyndale, 2013), won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011 Historical Fiction). “Beneath the Christmas Star,” her first short story, appeared in the Guideposts anthology A Cup of Christmas Cheer–Tales of Joy and Wonder for the Holidays (2013).
Johnnie also has won the Best Novel award at the 2010 Florida Christian Writers Conference and both the Best Novel and Writer of the Year awards at the 2009 FCWC. She is a 2012 Bronze Medalist in the My Book Therapy Frasier Contest.
A graduate of Rollins College (Orlando) with a Master of Liberal Studies degree, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. She experiences farm life in the Memphis area with a small herd of alpacas and Rugby, the princely papillon who treed a raccoon.
The following is a March 2016 interview with Johnnie Alexander.
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Be in to win a copy of one of the following:
Where Treasure Hides or
Where She Belongs
(ONE copy of each title to be won, print copy US only, eBook Worldwide)
Contest runs from March 21 – April 11, 2016 EST
Tell us a little about yourself.
I used to joke that I wanted an alpaca. A year or so ago, God gave me a herd.
Other than that idiosyncrasy, I’m a fan of road trips, classic movies, stacks of books, and spending time with my family.
I’ve won a few awards for my writing, and I have a Master of Liberal Studies degree from Rollins College (Orlando, Florida).
What inspired you to become a novelist, and did you always want to write?
When I was a child, I told myself stories to fall asleep. But I didn’t seriously consider writing novels until after I participated in National Novel Writing Month for the first time in 2003. I love creating characters who surprise me with their secrets. It’s an amazing experience.
A few more years passed before I actually completed and polished a manuscript and even more before a publisher offered me a contract. I’m glad I never gave up on my writing dreams.
What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?
I imagine the answer varies for different readers. Christian fiction may address how we can live out our faith in difficult situations. It may challenge us to be bolder in our faith. It may simply entertain without resorting to foul language or wallowing in the gutter.
Christian fiction that is perceptive and yet subtle in its message of grace and hope appeals to me as a reader. I’ve not yet written a story like that, but I hope to someday.
How do you hope your readers react to the stories you write?
Every day, we are creating a legacy—through our interactions with others, through the decisions we make, in the way we spend our time. A common theme in my stories, whether historical or contemporary, is the importance of a family’s spiritual and emotional legacy, and how a generation’s legacy affects those who come after it.
I hope readers will respond by being more intentional about the memories they are creating for their families and friends.
What has been the most surprising aspect to becoming a published novelist?
The doubts don’t necessarily go away—I wonder if I’ll be able to write something else, if readers will like my stories, if I’ll get another contract after this one is complete. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, because I want to grow as a writer and I want to challenge myself. A little bit of doubt can be an effective spur to encourage learning and digging deep into myself for every story.
How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?
For most of my life I dreamed of being a writer, primarily in nonfiction. Then I discovered how much I loved writing fiction, and that became my dream. But it was an up-and-down journey with setbacks and disappointments. I learned to trust God with my dream and with my future, to whole-heartedly believe His plan was best. I’m not saying it’s always easy to hold onto that belief, but I do my best. Through a difficult time, I held onto promises of God’s steadfast love and provision. He is faithful, and I pray my writing brings glory to Christ.
Other than being a novelist, what other goals do you have for your life?
There are so many places in the world I long to visit (including New Zealand). I’d even like to do a continental U.S. road trip that hit every single state. That’s my fun but unlikely to happen goal.
I hope to be remembered for creating memories with those I love so it’s important for me to spend time with my children and grandchildren. I pray my life and my writing honors Christ and blesses others.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to read, play games with the family, take walks. I’m working on a latch hook rug, but it’s taking me forever.
What can you tell us about your debut novel?
Alison Schuyler, the heroine of Where Treasure Hides, is afraid of falling in love because of her belief in a strange family fate. But when she sees British officer, Ian Devlin, defending a young Kindertransport boy at a London train station, her heart has other plans. During the war, Alison hides Dutch art and Jewish children while Ian fights his own battles.
Through her difficult experiences, Alison learns the truth of Proverbs 31:25, “Strength and honour are her clothing, and she rejoices in the days to come.” She trusts God, not a family superstition, with her uncertain future.
What stories can your fans expect from you in the days ahead?
My latest release is Where She Belongs, the first in the Misty Willow contemporary romance series. Shelby Kincaid, a widowed mom, wants to raise her young daughters in the only place she ever truly belonged. But transforming her family’s abandoned homestead into the perfect home of her memories won’t be easy with AJ Sullivan around. The popular high school teacher longs for a family of his own, but he’ll have to face the past before he can give his heart to Shelby.
The story explores the ties that bind us to home and the irresistible forces that draw us to each other.
The second and third books in the series release in September 2016 and May 2017.
I just finished a historical novella which will appear in Barbour’s Courageous Brides Collection. It will be published in July.
What would you like to say to your fans in New Zealand, and others worldwide?
I have a favor to ask! Please send me a photo of you with my novel(s) and let me know where you are. I’ll put the photo on my website’s Fan Photo Page. It’d be great to see “where in the world” readers are reading Where Treasure Hides or Where She Belongs.
Even if you see a copy of the book in a bookstore, please take a photo and send it my way. My email address is johnniealexander at icloud.com.
Do you have any parting words?
Thank you so much for the engaging and thought-provoking questions. I love smiling at the future God has planned for me, and I pray you, too, are rejoicing in the days to come.
May your days be filled with treasured moments.
Where Treasure Hides
- Tyndale House Publishers
- December 2012/August 2015
- ISBN: 9781496401274
Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy―that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life. Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles.
While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow. As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?
Where She Belongs
(Misty Willow #1)
- Revell Books
- January 2016
- ISBN: 9780800726409
Shelby Kincaid is ready to move on from her grief. With high hopes for the future, she longs to purchase her family’s ancestral homestead so she can raise her young daughters in the only place she ever truly belonged. She plans to transform the abandoned house into the perfect home of her memories. But she’ll have her work cut out for her.
AJ Sullivan never wanted the homestead. Inherited as a punishment from his grandfather, it has sat empty for fifteen years and fallen into ruin. He’s glad to finally unload it. But a clean break isn’t possible when he can’t get the young widow Shelby off his mind.
Welcome to Misty Willow, a place that will have as great a hold over the reader as it does over its inhabitants. With writing that evokes a strong sense of place and personal history, Johnnie Alexander deftly explores the ties that bind us to home–and the irresistible forces that draw us to each other.
When Love Arrives
(Misty Willow #2)
- Revell Books
- September 2016
- ISBN: 9780800726416
An Unlikely Couple Struggles to Reconcile the Burdens of Their Past
Dani Prescott came to the children’s hospital to spy on Brett Somers–so how did she end up on a date with him? Weeks earlier she’d seen an interview in which he blamed her mother for the plane crash that had killed his parents. But the crash had killed her mother as well, so Dani can’t believe the story Brett’s trying to sell to the media.
Vowing to find a way to discredit the privileged–and maddeningly handsome–Brett, Dani has been following him and taking photos, hoping to find something she can use against him. But when she catches his eye instead, she quickly finds herself offering up a fake name and agreeing to a date. Brett knows this mystery girl is hiding something–but he’s got his own secrets to keep. What will happen when he discovers who she really is? Will Dani and Brett look beyond their own heartaches to discover a love that could heal their deepest pain?
Fresh, flirty, and fast-paced, When Love Arrives is an engaging story that will have readers falling in love with the characters as they navigate the tricky waters between romance and revenge.
The Courageous Brides Collection
(A Novella Collection)
- Barbour Publishing
- July 2016
- ISBN: 9781634097772
Ride into adventures alongside nine determined women of yesteryear whose acts of compassion and bravery attract male attention. Marcy helps displaced Indians. Emmy tends wounds at Fort Snelling. Ronnie stows away on a cattle drive. Daisy disguises herself as a Pony Express rider. Elinor becomes an abolitionist. Mae tames wild horses. Hannah gets help for accident victims. Lucy’s curiosity unnerves criminals. Kate nurses soldiers on the battlefield. Will real dangers douse the sparks of love?
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Winners of a copy of one of the following:
Where Treasure Hides
Where She Belongs
Where Treasure Hides: Johnnie Bruce
Where She Belongs: Kim Amundsen
ONE copy of each title was won, print copy US only, eBook Worldwide, and ended April 11, 2016 EST