To celebrate her latest release, Myra is giving away one (1) copy of "Castles in the Clouds" (hard copy - US ONLY). To enter, go to the Rafflecopter box at the end of this post. The last day to enter is January 13, 2017. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I will contact you and then pass your information along to Myra. Good luck!
Q & A with Myra...
A: Our family Christmas traditions are fairly simple. Christmas Eve candlelight services (my husband and I both sing in the choir) then eggnog and cookies afterward. Christmas mornings vary, depending on whether we have kids and grandkids home for the holidays. This year we did — our younger daughter, her husband, and their four children (ages 14, 11, 5, and 3) – so it was a fun day!
This daughter and her family have served on the mission field in the Middle East, so one tradition they observe that we enjoy tagging along for is going out for Middle Eastern food on Christmas Eve. It's nice to imagine we're eating a meal similar to what people in the land of Jesus' birth are serving.
Q: That sounds like a wonderful way to spend Christmas! Castles in the Clouds was released last August. Can you tell me about the inspiration behind the story?
A: The story was partly inspired by my missionary daughter's experiences during a six-weeks-long college mission trip to Kenya several years ago. I always knew I wanted to include some of what she shared with us in a book someday. Then in 2013, when my husband and I traveled to Africa on a photo safari, our Kenyan guide related a little of the history behind the school system. As Larkspur's story developed, the idea of sending her to Kenya to work at a mission school took root.
Q: How much research went into this book?
A: Quite a bit. I had much to learn about life in rural Arkansas during the Great Depression and also how the school system developed in 1930s Kenya. A fun bit of research involved watching a YouTube video of a ship traversing the Suez Canal in the 1930s, much as my story characters would have done as they traveled from America to Kenya.
Q: What message do you hope your readers take away from the story?
A: One underlying message could be stated in the words of Proverbs 16:9 (RSV): "A man's mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps." We sometimes think we know exactly what we want from life, but no matter how hard we strive to make it happen, God may have something entirely different in mind. If we're not open to new possibilities, we may miss the special blessings God has planned for us.
Q: Oh, that's so true! And God's plans are certainly better than anything we can imagine :) What is the next project you are working on?
A: I currently have three new novels in various stages. Two are Love Inspired contemporary romances set in the Texas Hill Country, the first of which should release in September. I'm also preparing to release A Rose So Fair, book 3 in the Flowers of Eden series. Readers of Castles in the Clouds and the first book, The Sweetest Rain, will have met spunky Rose Linwood and her longtime friend Caleb Wieland. Their relationship will take them through many twists and turns before they find their happy ending. Watch for the book this spring!
Q: It sounds like there will be some great books to look forward to later this year! One final question. What are some of the books in your TBR pile?
A: Actually, I'm in the middle of a book that's going to take me a while to finish! A few years ago, for a change of pace, I tackled Ken Follett's epic historical novel The Pillars of the Earth. Later, I picked up a used hardback copy of Follet's World Without End, which takes place two centuries later. It sat on my TBR stack for a long, long time before I felt ready to dive in to another 1000+ page tome. It's an interesting foray into the history of England in the latter years of the Middle Ages, and definitely a departure from my typical historical fiction read!
Q: It certainly sounds like you will be busy :) Thanks so much for taking time out of your schedule to stop by and chat with me. I'm sure my readers will enjoy getting to know you a bit better.
Larkspur (“Lark”) Linwood’s visit to Professor Keene’s office would change her life … in many ways. She agrees to travel to Kenya to gain practical teaching experience as part of a mission program. While there, she meets Professor Anson Schafer, but health problems cause him to return to the United States earlier than anticipated. Lark unfortunately realizes that things with the trip were not as she had been led to believe, so she returns home. Her path crosses once again with Anson, who is looking to start a program to help the uneducated in Arkansas. He wants Lark to help him. She agrees, as it is an opportunity which will allow her to earn money to complete her own education. Anson’s vision for a school to educate students of all colors is not as well received as he had hoped, which will leave Anson and Lark questioning whether they should follow their dreams or their hearts.
This is this second installment of the “Flowers of Eden” series, and it is just as delightful as the first! Precise details combine with touching scenes, and the book is topped off with a beautiful cover. Johnson weaves in numerous historical facts and addresses difficult topics, such as discrimination, in a sensitive manner. The author’s time in Kenya adds to the realism of the story. She also provides historical details related to the story which will educate the reader on things such as Jim Crow Laws, the Dust Bowl, and the Great Depression.
I love the overall theme that satisfaction comes from your heart’s attitude instead of what you are doing. While this book can be read as a standalone, the reader will have a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the family if the books are read in order.
One of my favorite lines is, “But if you’re too focused on falling, it isn’t a leap of faith at all, is it?”
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I was not required to provide a review. All opinions are my own.
Amazon purchase link...
Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Her historical romance When the Clouds Roll By won the 2014 Christian Retailing’s Best award for historical fiction. Myra is also a two-time finalist for the ACFW Carol Award and winner of the 2005 RWA Golden Heart. Married since 1972, Myra and her husband have two beautiful daughters and seven grandchildren. They reside in beautiful North Carolina near four of their grandchildren, but as a native Texan Myra sorely misses real Texas barbecue and those gorgeous bluebonnets every spring! The Johnsons share their home with two pampered rescue dogs.
Readers can keep up with the latest by subscribing to my e-newsletter(http://myrajohnson.com/newsletter-signup/) or visiting me online at the links below:
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/MyraJohnsonAuthor
Twitter: @MyraJohnson and @TheGrammarQueen
The Seekers blog: http://seekerville.blogspot.com/
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