I had the pleasure of meeting Rose Chandler Johnson a couple of years ago at the Write To Publish Conference. We reconnected on goodreads recently and talked about our writing goals and projects. Though I just started reading Her Father’s House, and have not finished, I wanted to share Rose with you by way of interview. We can all identify with busy schedules. Even if you are not a writer, I believe you will enjoy Rose’s thoughts. If you have a dream or goal you desire to pursue, I invite you to grab a cup of sweet ice tea and read about Rose and her writing achievements.
When did you realize you wanted to write?
As a child, when I was no more than eight or nine, I wrote plays for my two sisters and brother and me to perform in a large back room of our house. I can’t imagine why they always listened to my directions. My stage name (Sandra Blake) was always the same, the most beautiful name I could imagine at the time. Later, in high school, I dreamed of being a writer one day and started writing in college.
Who is your targeted audience?
My writing is faith based, but I hope to reach a secular audience as well as Christians with my fiction. Women, in particular, and especially the 20 to 40 age group. Teenagers, couples, and men have enjoyed my devotionals.
Are your stories historical or contemporary?
Contemporary, but I’d love to write historical fiction too.
Tell us about the non-fiction you write?
I write devotionals. My devotional, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments, was published in July 2013. I’ve written some essays and articles and a little poetry, as well, but I’m particularly fond of writing devotionals.
Do you work outside the home? And if so, how do you carve out time in your busy day to write?
Yes, I teach. I’m an adjunct English instructor at a community college. In addition to that, I’m a mother to six adult children and nine grandchildren. My youngest child is twenty and a student at the University of Georgia. So, my biggest challenge as a writer, and the greatest roadblock, continues to be 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 myself. Besides journaling early in the mornings, I crave out blocks of time on different days for writing.
Why did you want to write this novel, My Father’s House?
I wanted to write a story about a young woman with an indomitable spirit who in spite of devastating hardships, disappointments, personal loss and mistakes ultimately finds happiness. The story begins with a quote from the 23rd Psalm. I wanted the reader to take the journey with her, but I didn’t want the painful things to be the main focus of her triumphant story. Lily Rose finds herself in an abusive marriage. I know from firsthand experience how devastating that can be. The question is: Will she survive it? Lily Rose’s warm heart endears her to the reader who wants to know that she’s going to be all right, as her father had said. When Lily Rose reconnects with family and her faith, hope is restored and we get a glimpse of the bright future God has in store for her. The setting needed to play a critical part in the story as well. So, with my roots firmly planted in Georgia, I modelled my fictional town after so many small Southern towns, and I set in some of my love of nature. 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 meanness, mixed with suspense, romance, and lots of southern charm. One reader wrote that the story “made my heart smile.” I’m happy to accomplish that with this story.
When readers get to the last page, what do you hope they take away from the story? What do you want to tell your readers?
No matter which road we take, God is always watching over us. And I sign this book with the verse, Matthew 6:28 Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.
My Father’s House, a novel by Rose Chandler Johnson
“At once a sweet romance and a page-turning thriller” (Christy Award–winning author Ann Tatlock). Still reeling from a childhood tragedy, Lily hopes marriage will fill the hole in her heart. But when her relationship turns dark, it is her connection with God that will illuminate her path.
Connect with Rose:
Link to My Father’s House: http://amzn.to/2a9wykP
Link to God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments: http://amzn.to/1PjnTKl
My Father’s House is Rose’s first novel. Her devotional journal, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea: Experiencing God in the Midst of Everyday Moments won the Georgia Author of the Year Finalist Award in 2014. It was also awarded the Selah Finalist Award in the same year. Rose enjoys writing for her blog, Write Moments with God and engaging with her readers. A native Georgian, Rose has lived in a suburb of Augusta for the last thirty years. Before retiring from Georgia’s public school system, Rose taught English, French, and ESOL. She is currently an adjunct English instructor at a community college. In addition to reading and writing, Rose enjoys cooking, sewing, gardening, and spending time with her six children and their growing families. And yes, sweet iced tea is her beverage of choice.