Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

Write to the Point with Johnnie Alexander June 10, 2015

Filed under: Author Interviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:54 am
Tags: , ,

Johnnie Alexander

Today we get write to the point with Johnnie Alexander. Read on to learn more about her and wonderful books.

Johnnie Alexander writes inspiring stories that linger in the heart. Where Treasure Hides, her debut novel, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011) and Golden Leaf Award (2014). The first of her three contemporary romances, Where She Belongs (Misty Willow Series), releases from Revell in January 2016.

She also has won Best Novel and Best Writer awards (Florida Christian Writers Conferences), and Bronze Medalist (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 lives in the Memphis area where her morning chores include feeding dogs, cats, chickens, and a small herd of alpacas.

Tell us about yourself, family, where are you from, how long have you been writing?

After growing up in Ohio and raising my children mostly in Florida, I’m now living with twelve alpacas, a flock of chickens, and a few dogs and cats in the Memphis area. It’s an interesting life, especially when the resident raccoon scavenges in the garage and the family of foxes decide to have a chicken dinner . . . but I miss my kids and grandkids.

I’ve wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember, but for years my publishing history was sketchy—a few poems and essays. I got serious about fiction writing several years ago after participating a couple times in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and discovering the joy of creating characters.

How did you come to know Jesus as your Savior?

I was blessed to grow up in a Christian home but it wasn’t until I attended a small Bible college that I truly understood the importance of a personal relationship with Christ. Though I’ve gone through times in the “Valley of Superficiality” since then, my spiritual growth is now intentional and ever-deepening.

Tell us about your latest book(s). What do want your readers to take away after the last page?

The next few months will be so exciting.

In August, Tyndale is releasing the print edition of my debut novel, Where Treasure Hides. (It was released as an ebook a couple of years ago.) The story, set in World War II Europe, is about a Dutch-Where-Treasure-Hides-682x1024 new coverAmerican artist’s love for a British soldier and their struggle to survive the difficulties of war.

Then, in January, Revell is releasing my first novel in the Misty Willow series. Where She Belongs is a contemporary romance set in central Ohio. A young widow longs to raise her children in her grandparents’ home which has been abandoned for several years. But as she uncovers long-ago betrayals, she realizes her family’s spiritual legacy is much more valuable than their material one.

Both these stories explore the blessings and burdens of family legacies and heritages. My prayer is twofold: 1) that readers will be encouraged to create and pass along their own treasured family memories, and 2) that these stories will linger in the readers’ minds and hearts long after they close the last page.

If you’d like to read chapter one of Where Treasure Hides click here.

How often do you blog and what do you cover in your blog?

My guests have an option of what type of posts they’ll write, but a favorite choice is Story Spark. Authors share the creative inspiration behind their novels—a topic I always find fascinating.

I also participate in Christian Fiction Fridays, a blog hop where authors post snippets of a work-in-progress on their own blogs. The story I’m sharing, When Memory Whispers, is an unpublished World War II story that I wrote before Where Treasure Hides. It’s about a young American actress who gets caught up in war-time espionage and falls in love with a German soldier.

The blog itself is a work-in-progress. If you take a peek, you’ll see there wasn’t much activity in recent weeks but that’s because I was traveling without my laptop. My whirlwind trip from Memphis to Ohio to Tampa to New York City to Washington DC to Orlando then back to Memphis didn’t leave much time for social media interaction. (But I sure had a lot of fun!)

What are you reading right now?

Room with a View by E. M. Forster

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp

Safed and Keturah by William E. Barton

Writing 21st Century Fiction by Donald Maass

Can you share with us a Genesis 5020 in your life?

At first, I struggled to come up with something big and dramatic—but my siblings never threw me in a pit (though they may have wanted to) and I doubt I’ll ever be Pharaoh’s second-in-command.

But harm is often subtle. And sneaky.

A few years ago I was assailed by parenting guilt. Again and again I was burdened by things I wish I’d done and things I wish I hadn’t done. I longed for that most impossible of things—a do-over, a second chance to get it right. Often I kept these thoughts to myself but sometimes I shared them with my too-soon-grown-up kids. One day, after another listening to my regrets, my middle daughter glared at me. “Mom,” she said, her voice firm and unwavering. “Your daughters are happily married and your son’s a youth minister. We’re all Christians and serving God in some way. Even if you had done things differently, would the outcome be any better?”

She was right. Because of that conversation, those ugly doubts don’t have the power to injure my soul anymore.

Love it! Thanks for sharing that with us. The enemy would’ve loved for you to keep silent and continue to beat yourself up over those lies. So glad you daughter was able to speak truth to you 🙂

Do you have a life and/or a ministry verse?

More than one! But Colossians 3:1-2 is definitely my most significant passage. It advises us to set our hearts and minds on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (paraphrase).

Where can we find you on the web?

Blog                http://www.johnnie-alexander.com

Facebook Profile https://www.facebook.com/johnnie.alexander.author

Facebook Author Page           https://www.facebook.com/JohnnieAlexanderDonley

Twitter                        https://twitter.com/johnnie_alexndr

GoodReads     https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6802954.Johnnie_Alexander

Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/author/johnniealexander

 

Is there anything I didn’t ask that you would like to add?

Thanks for having me as your guest, Melissa. I appreciate the opportunity to become better acquainted with you and your readers. God bless you and your ministry.

Thanks so much for visiting with us. You’re books sound wonderful and need to be put in my TBR pile. May God continue to bless your writing journey.

 

 

Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma June 23, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews,Monday Musings — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:05 pm
Tags: , ,

daises

Book Description

Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.

Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.

However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitch’s identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her “marriage.”

Their journey to Gisela’s mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ella’s daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.

In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.

My thoughts:

This is a perspective of World War II I haven’t read before. When I read about WWII I usually am reading about what the Nazis did to the Jewish people.

This story is coming from the perspective of Germans running from the Russians. Of course Mitch gets thrown in the mix and he is fighting against Germany yet helping Gisela and her friends and family who are German. This adds so much tension and you know something bad is going to happen.

Along the journey lives are lost and new refugees  join the group, refugees who seem nice at first but then stir up trouble within the group.

Liz does a wonderful job of bringing this era to life and making you feel like you are part of the action. You will travel with this ragtag group as bullets whiz by, as they are crowded in the back of trucks and gymnasiums. You will feel the pain of blistered feet and the fear of losing those you hold dear.

If you enjoy historicals, or stories about WWII with a bit of romance thrown in you will want to pick this book up.

Visit Liz’s website here.

Grab a copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Deeper Shopping or Books-A-Million.

An ecopy of this book was given to me by the BookLook Bloggers Program in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Review and Giveaway: For Such A Time April 22, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews,Tuesday Thoughts — Melissa Finnegan @ 4:35 pm
Tags: ,

for such a time

About:

Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther

In 1944, blonde and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric’s secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.

Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric’s compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy.

Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp’s prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?

My thoughts and giveaway:

Wow. I don’t know what else to say.

This book is a masterpiece, truly beautiful.

If you love Esther’s story in the Bible, if you love historical fiction, if you love romance, if you are intrigued by WWII, by the suffering the Jewish people endured, then you will LOVE this book.

I did Beth Moore’s study of Esther a few year ago and I think that really gave me a deeper understanding of the characters in this book. That is a powerful study.

Stella’s (Hadassah) story is amazing. The strength she has to face her enemy, to live with the enemy and feel herself fall in love with enemy and then to wonder if he really is enemy at all? What is Aric’s story? There is something about him that doesn’t add up to he monsters who are killing the Jews.

I love Stella’s struggle with Christianity, and her friends who have shared Jesus with her in the past. Jesus is stirring in her even when she wants to deny Him.

Honestly, when I first got the book I was worried I would regret requesting it….well, there are no regrets here. And you won’t have any either if you pick this one up. So why don’t you 🙂 I give this one a big 5 stars.

Win your own copy by leaving a comment by April 28th at 5:00 pm to be entered in the drawing. (U.S. residents only)

Visit Kate’s website here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Deeper Shopping or Books-A-Million.

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.