Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Interview with Liz Johnson

Today I'm welcoming Liz Johnson to my blog! I met Liz at the 2014 ACFW Conference in St. Louis, and then spent more time with her at our Books and Such Literary Management Retreat in Monterey, in October. Liz is such a sweetheart, and so funny! She's here to talk about her latest release, Navy Seal Noel, and to give us a sneak peek at her next release.

Welcome to my blog, Liz! I’m thrilled that you stopped by to visit today and talk about your newest release, Navy Seal Noel and your upcoming series with Revell Publishers.
Hi! I’m so excited to be here today. Thanks for inviting me over for a chat!
For readers meeting you here for the first time, can you tell us a little about yourself and your publication story?
By day I’m a not-so-mild-mannered marketing manager for nonfiction books at a Christian publisher. By night I spin wild stories of love and suspense. I live in Nashville and love to spend my free time exploring the history (especially Civil War era) and harmonies of Music City. I wrote my first short story at age seven. At twenty-seven I signed a contract on my first book, The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn. In those twenty years I wrote a lot of really, really bad books. I also took some classes, went to some writers conferences, and read a lot of other books. And one day my writing started to get a little bit better. My most recent romantic suspense, Navy SEAL Noel, is my seventh book with Love Inspired Suspense. I’ve also gotten to write an historical novella (Civil War era, of course) and a handful of short Christmas stories for Guideposts Books.
I'd love to explore the history of Nashville! I'm a fan of Civil War era history, as well. Can you give us a brief synopsis of Navy Seal Noel and a sneak peek at your next release? 
Navy SEAL Noel is about scientist Jessalynn McCoy, who is abducted by a drug cartel and ordered to release a deadly toxin, or she’ll be killed. Trapped with no options, she's desperate for help…she just never expected it from Will Gumble. The boy who let her down years ago is now a navy SEAL. She trusts his skills, his experience. Yet trusting him is a struggle. Will's wish is to heal their damaged relationship and get them to safety. But time is running out and someone is on to their escape plans. Any mistake could mean the difference between facing the rest of their lives together or apart. Forever.
My next release is a little over a year away, so I don’t have a lot of details to share yet. I will say that it’s a contemporary romance set on Prince Edward Island that follows the lives of four people trying to open a bed and breakfast. It’s the first in a three-book series from Revell Publishers.
You had me at Prince Edward Island! :) I’ve heard that some authors need to have a special environment to write in (music, comfy chair, coffee shop, quiet room, desk, etc.). Do you have a special place you like to write?
I’m not terribly picky. I like to be in a comfy spot—I do have a writing chair that is incredibly comfortable—and have a diet dr. pepper close by. When I’m on an urgent deadline, everything about my house becomes suddenly very interesting, so I usually have to find a back corner at a coffee shop or Panera and plug in my earbuds to get to work. And I definitely have to have music playing—something that puts me in the mood of the scene I’m writing.
I had to giggle. Deadlines are a fickle thing, aren't they? One part panic, and the other part--oh, look at the spots I need to mop on my floor... I know you made the move from your home state of Arizona to Tennessee. What have you found is the biggest difference in culture?
It's hard to say what the biggest difference is. Perhaps it’s cliché to say this, but Southern hospitality is a wonderful part of Nashville. I’ve never lived in a place where so many people are just genuinely kind to strangers. I saw it firsthand when I moved here five years ago, just in time for the flood that destroyed so much of Nashville. When the waters receded, people walked out of their homes and went door-to-door offering to help their neighbors tear down and rebuild. Some churches collected so many items for donation that they couldn’t find enough people who needed the donations. I attended one benefit concert that was so packed, I had to stand in the very back of the auditorium the entire show. Nashville loves to care for its people and neighbors, and I love that about living here.
That's such a nice thing to say about Nashville. It's wonderful to know that neighborliness is still alive and well. Here’s one more question, just for fun. I saw on your blog that you can talk about bad made-for-TV movies for hours. J What is the worst movie you’ve ever watched? 
I do love cheesy made-for-TV movies! They make me so happy. But the one that drove me crazy (in a bad way) was about a woman who wrote a book, which outlined what she’d like her love life to look like with a fictional guy named George. She sent her manuscript off to a publisher, who immediately bought it and produced a huge hardcover print run in a month. Then the author confessed that her book was not true, and there was no man named George in her life. The publisher demanded that the author find a George stand in for media appearances. So the author found a guy named George and thought he had all the qualities she’d been looking for, but maybe her childhood friend was actually a better match for her.
This movie got everything (EVERYTHING!) about the publishing industry wrong. Books don’t miraculously get edited, typeset, proofread, designed, printed, marketed, and distributed in a month. It takes a long time to release a book. The movie also showed zero understanding of the word fiction (seriously? When was the last time a novelist had to present one of her characters in real life?). And in this particular film, my favorite part of most movies—the romance plot—just fell flat.
But there are so many wonderfully cheesy flicks out there. Hallmark Channel especially knows how to take advantage of all my favorite romance tropes—marriages/relationships of convenience, secret identities, and reunion romances. Their Christmas movies are one of my favorite parts of the season.
See, I told you I could talk about made-for-TV movies for hours!
That does sound horrible! I struggle with movies that portray a false impression of publishing more than I should. :)
Thank you for answering my questions, Liz! I can’t wait to read your next release. It’s been a pleasure having you visit my blog.
Thanks so much for having me here, Gabe! What a treat to visit with you and your readers.
Liz has generously agreed to give away a copy of her book, Navy Seal Noel, to one lucky winner! Be sure to leave a comment and enter the Rafflecopter for your chance to win. Also, be sure to stop by Liz's Facebook page and like it to stay updated on her books!
YOUR TURN: Do you have a favorite (or least favorite) made-for-TV movie? Have you ever been to Nashville? Or Prince Edward Island? Where would you rather go?

About Liz:
By day Liz Johnson is a marketing manager for a Christian publisher. She finds time to write late at night and is a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. Liz makes her home in Nashville, TN, where she enjoys theater, exploring local music, and making frequent trips to Arizona to dote on her nieces and nephews. She loves stories of true love with happy endings and shares about her adventures in writing at

About Navy Seal Noel:
Abducted by a drug cartel, scientist Jessalynn McCoy's orders are simple—produce a deadly toxin, or be killed. Trapped with no options, she's desperate for help…she just never expected it from Will Gumble. The boy who let her down years ago is now a navy SEAL. She trusts his skills, his experience. Yet trusting him is a struggle. Will's Christmas wish is to heal their damaged relationship and get them to safety. But time is running out and the stakes keep rising. Any mistake could mean the difference between facing the holidays together or apart forever.
Men of Valor: These navy SEALS were born to excel…
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I don't watch many TV movies, because my TV addiction is sci-fi series and BBC stuff. But recently I noticed that a sci-fi actor I love (Michael Shanks from Stargate) had starred in a Christmas TV movie, so I decided to check it out. Christmas Lodge had a cute premise, but most of the acting was so bad, it was physically painful to watch.

    I visited Nashville twice in college, but I'd love to go back. And PEI, well, of course!!!

    I love Liz's writing and already own Navy Seal Noel, so you don't need to enter me. It was fun reading more about you, Liz!

    1. I will occasionally watch a made for TV movie, but it has to have a great premise and if the acting is terrible, I'll probably change the channel. :) Some of them have been great, but others are painful to watch, as you said.

      Thanks for stopping by, Karen!!

  2. I want to go to Nashville and Prince Edward Island! And, Liz, I laughed at how "interesting" everything in your house gets when you're on a deadline! I'm the same way. Sheesh! Your new book sounds awesome!!

    1. I haven't been to Nashville or PEI and would love to go! I also laughed at Liz's comment about her house being interesting. It's so true. :) Thanks for stopping by to say hi, Jill!! Can't wait for your debut to release.

  3. I love Hallmark movies as well! I am actually watching one of their Valentine's movies right now as I type this! I don't think I could pick just one. I think Signed, Sealed, Delivered was one of my favorites. I was glad they made it into a series.

    1. Melissa, I loved Signed, Sealed, Delivered too! :) I like the series, too. I've been enjoying their Valentine's movies as well!

    2. I haven't seen Sign, Sealed, Delivered! It sounds like a good series. :) Thanks for stopping by, Melissa.

  4. Great interview!!
    I met Liz at the Monterey Retreat, and we bonded like glue over our shared MISERY at the Whale Watching Fiasco of 2014.
    I have been to PEI (no one up here calls it 'Prince Edward Island) quite a few times, as it's a 4 hour drive from my house.

    I've even been to Green Gables.

    AND been kicked out!!!

    1. Oh, my gosh! I forgot that you were kicked out of Green Gables, Jennifer! :) That is hilarious! I love that you're so close to my beloved PEI. :)

      And oh, the whale watching fiasco! And the lack of ice cream was appalling! But so glad I got to spend some time with you! You're a hoot!

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