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Author Interview,  Giveaway,  Hope-filled Fiction

Liz Johnson: Romance, PEI, Blessings & More

Enjoy meeting my friend, and Contemporary Romance author, Liz Johnson. Learn more about her writing and her newest release, The Last Way Home. Be sure to comment on her interview by August 16 for a chance to win a print copy!

Welcome to the blog, Liz! Let’s kick off with hearing about your hobbies. What do you do for fun?

Like most writers, I’m an avid reader and a collector of a ridiculous TBR. I also love to ice skate–like Eli in my latest book.

I’ve tried ice skating twice. It didn’t go well. LOL As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

For a little while, I wanted to be a hair stylist, which is wildly funny if you knew me now. (I’m a wash and wear kind of gal now.) Then I wanted to be a ballerina. (Also hilariously ridiculous since I can’t dance a lick and never took ballet.) In high school I decided on physical therapy. (The science requirements for that degree in college cured me of my grand illusions.) All of that, and I ended up in public relations and marketing—and writing. 

Your public relations and marketing experience must be an asset for your writing career. Let’s talk about how and when you started writing. 

I wrote my first short story when I was seven. I was homeschooled, and my mom assigned me a story-starter—two paragraphs about a bear. I was supposed to write two more paragraphs. I wrote two pages. I sat at the dining room table asking my dad how to spell this word and that. And that was the start of it all. I never stopped writing. All through junior high and high school, I was writing stories, and by the time I got to college, I knew I wanted to work in Christian publishing.

After college, I took the Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild Writing for the Soul correspondence course and studied the craft and business of writing. But it wasn’t until I started working in publishing that a friend encouraged me to write a story idea I had told her about. That became my first published novel, The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn, in 2009. 

I bet you really appreciate that friend! What genre do you write and what inspired you to write that particular genre? 

I write contemporary romance now—although I started with romantic suspense. Mostly I like to write about love. I think it’s because the Bible tells the greatest love story of all. God’s love for us blows me away, and I want my stories to be a mirror of that love. 

Great inspiration. What is the setting of your current novel? Is it a real location or fictional? Tell us about it.

My new novel, The Last Way Home, is set in Victoria by the Sea, Prince Edward Island, Canada. It is a real town on the south shore of PEI, and I was enamored of it on my first visit. It’s filled with artists and fishermen, and it boasts a community theater with packed houses all summer long. It smells like the salt air, and I love the wind off the bay. And it has a population of about 70 full-time residents. 

Oh, that sounds lovely. What is one of your favorite quotes from The Last Way Home?

I love the first line. I was thrilled when I wrote it. 🙂

Eli Ross had a black eye, a fractured wrist, and nothing else to his name. It was not the way he’d planned to come home.

That’s a great line! What advice would you give an aspiring author?

Finish your book. It seems so simple, but writing a book is the hardest step for most authors. It doesn’t have to perfect. It doesn’t even have to be good. That’s what editing is for. I once heard Frank Peretti say that anything worth starting is worth starting badly. So don’t get caught up in trying to write a perfect story. Write your book, then go back and fix it. That’s what every writer I know does.

Solid advice. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

The writing part of writing is hard for me—the part where I tune out distractions and get my seat in the chair and put down the words. But I love having written. I love seeing how a story comes together and getting surprised when a specific piece falls into place and fills a hole I didn’t know how to handle.  

Has a reader ever blessed your socks off? How?

Yes! I’m blessed every time I get an email or message from a reader. Just knowing that they took hours of their lives to read my books is such an honor. Perhaps the best was when a reader emailed me to let me know that her husband took my release day off work to watch their son specifically so that she could spend the whole day reading my newest book. Then she shared how my books had helped her through a difficult time post-partum. Wow! I was blown away. I’m so grateful to know that the stories God has given me are blessings others. 

Wow, that’s incredible. What a blessing. Who is your favorite fiction author? Favorite novel?

I have so many favorite fiction authors! But Gilbert Morris was one of the most influential. When I read the House of Winslow series and Appomattox Saga in junior high, I fell in love with Christian fiction and decided I wanted to write my own book. And 12-year-old me wrote the worst book ever. 

My favorite novel ever is The Witch of Blackbird Pond, a Newberry Medal winner from the 1950s. I read it as a kid and immediately fell in love. Nat Eaton was my first literary crush, and I wanted to be just like Kit. I have several copies of the book around my house, including the first one I read—the spine falling off and corners curled. 

What’s next from you?

Right now I’m working on the third and final book in the Prince Edward Island Shores series. It’s about the youngest Ross brother, Levi. He and the local drama teacher set out to save the local community theater.

Thanks so much for sharing about your life and writing, Liz! I wish you the best moving forward. God bless you.

Join the Conversation. Are you a Contemporary Romance fan? What do you love about the genre? Have you ever been to Prince Edward Island? What questions or comments do you have for Liz?

Be sure to comment by August 16 for a chance to win a print copy of Liz’s book. Keep scrolling to find the comments section.

The Last Way Home by Liz Johnson

Click the book cover for purchase link

When Eli Ross left Prince Edward Island to join the NHL, he left a broken family behind. More than a decade later, he’s broke and headed home to an uncertain welcome. He wants to make things right with the family he wronged, but his mom’s business partner isn’t making it easy. To top it off, the coaching job he’s accepted turns out to be far more difficult than he anticipated.

For years, Violet Donaghy has put everything she had into making Eli’s mom’s ceramics shop a success, and she’s not eager to forgive the man who hurt the family that’s taken her in as one of their own. But when the kiln at the shop starts a fire that nearly destroys the studio, she’ll need all the help she can get to save the business and their summer income.

Can these two strong-willed people come together to mend the broken pieces of the Ross family? Or will the ghosts of the past continue to haunt them?

Return to Prince Edward Island for a romantic story of family, forgiveness, and the power of love.

Author Photo

By day Liz Johnson is a marketing manager. She makes time to write late at night—that’s when she thinks best anyway. Liz is the author of more than a dozen novels, a New York Times bestselling novella, and a handful of short stories. She’s a Christy Award finalist and a three-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. She makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona, where she enjoys exploring local music, theater, and doting on her nieces and nephews. She writes stories of true love filled with heart, humor, and happily ever afters. You can find out more about her books at www.lizjohnsonbooks.com

Connect with Liz: Website / Instagram / Facebook / Twitter

Please share Liz’s interview on social media to help spread the word about her new book!

Please share Liz’s interview on social media to help spread the word about her new book!

If you missed last week’s interview with Lynette Eason, find it here.

21 Comments

  • Jeanette Davis

    This sounds like a wonderful book and a wonderful series!! My first ‘experience’ with PEI is Anne of Green Gables. I would love to visit one day. Yes the Bible is the greatest love story EVER written and while I am studing Paul’s letters, I notice that they are full of love, hope, mercy and peace. I always think of Paul as a ‘crusty ole guy’ but he is a ‘softy’ when it comes to the churches he helps find Jesus! Also, I just marvel at the close of Philippians when Pauls says the brothers in Ceasar’s house also send their greetings! Imagine him winning over the Roman soliders! Love of Christ moves mountains! I really look forward to reading your PEI series! God Bless

    (I believe this is a print book, if so, please enter me in the contest. If an e-book, do not enter me…) Thanks for this opportunity

    • Deena Adams

      Jeanette, thanks so much for your comments and adding value to our conversation. I love your thoughts about Paul winning the Roman soldiers to Christ.

    • Liz Johnson

      Jeanette, thanks so much for stopping by and adding your thoughts about Paul winning Roman soldiers to Christ. What a beautiful reminder that God is at work in even unlikely scenarios. 🙂

  • Perrianne Askew

    I enjoyed the interview and the first line, it really grabs your attention. I can’t imagine returning home in that state! I haven’t read a Liz Johnson book in quite a while. Thankfully my local library has it on order.

    • Liz Johnson

      Perrianne, thanks for stopping by. I love utilizing my local library too! I’m so glad they have The Last Way Home on order.

  • Laura Westall

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for the comment about finishing your book, and not worrying if it is good.
    The Witch of Blackbird Pond has been one of my lifetime favorite books also.
    God bless you both!

    • Liz Johnson

      Thank you for stopping by, Laura. I love meeting another fan of The Witch of Blackbird Pond! It’s such a special book! And I’m cheering you on to finish your book! You can do it. I think it was Nora Roberts who always says you can fix anything but a blank page. 🙂

  • Patty

    I preordered a copy and have already read it, so don’t enter me. But I must wanted to say thank you for the interview ladies! And Liz, I loved the book.

  • Liz Johnson

    Deena, thanks so much for inviting me to share about The Last Way Home on your blog. What a treat for me!

  • Teri DiVincenzo

    That is such a fantastic first line! Thanks so much for sharing Liz, and thanks Deena for such a terrific article–I’m following you both! I’m super stoked to read, especially when I realized that this series is set on PEI (total Anne fan here).

    • Liz Johnson

      Teri, I love meeting a fellow Anne fan! 🙂 I always recommend a trip to the island. If you can’t make it in person, a little paperback vacation is the next best thing! 🙂

  • Lois Kennis

    I love the opening lines of Liz Johnson’s new novel, “The Last Way Home.” What a powerful beginning. I learned of this author when she was interviewed by author Deena Adams. The characters sound strong-willed and fascinating, in a charming small town setting on the coast of Canada. Definitely sounds like an excellent read!

    • Liz Johnson

      Hi Lois, thanks for joining the conversation! I’m glad you’re intrigued by the opening line of The Last Way Home. I was tickled when I wrote it!

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