Talkshow Thursday: Meet author Johnnie Alexander
Linda: Thanks for stopping by. I love your books and Where Treasure Hides is my favorite. What was your inspiration for the story?
Johnnie: Thanks for having me, Linda. You’ve warmed my heart by loving Where Treasure Hides!
The inspiration came in a round-about way, so I’ll share the condensed version. While working on my first WWII novel (affectionately known as Sparrow and still unpublished), I watched two documentaries that “called” to me.
The first, The Rape of Europa, discussed the Nazi looting of art; the other, The Hidden Child, was about the plight of children during the war. I was astounded and saddened by both these videos.
When friends who had read Sparrow asked for a sequel, I decided to join these motifs—the hiding of the art and hiding children—into a story. Where Treasure Hides isn’t a sequel, but a secondary character from Sparrow is the hero of Where Treasure Hides.
LM: Research is necessary to any book, but more so in a historical. What sort of research did you do for your story, and did you find any unusual?
Johnnie: I read a great many books and watched several documentaries on topics ranging from Vermeer, art forgeries, the Monuments Men, Holland, Colditz Castle (a POW camp) to the stories of hiding, rescues, and captures. I also watched videos on the battle at Dunkirk and the amazing rescue. I made a timeline of important WWII events and built my story around which ones I wanted to include.
LM: You’ve written historical and contemporary fiction. Do you prefer one genre over the other?
Johnnie: Historicals, whether I’m writing them or reading them, touch a deep place in my spirit. But my contemporary Misty Willow series is deeply rooted in family history and legacy. It’s inspired by a mid-19th century brick house I lived in when I was teen. The past influences the present—we can’t escape that but we don’t have to let it define us.
LM: What writers influence you the most?
Johnnie: Um, I’ve had to think about this one. (Back again from tending to dogs and laundry!) I’m
LM: What’s the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
Johnnie: This may not be quirky, but here goes: when my apartment lease ended in mid-December, I put my belongings in storage, loaded my car with the essentials, and embarked on a three-month road trip from Tampa to Memphis to Tulsa to Arizona to Tulsa to Missouri and back to Memphis.
I stayed with different family members and traveled with my daughter and her family as they moved from Arizona to Missouri. (That’s the reason behind that leg of the trip.)
Now I’m settled in the Tulsa area and an official Oklahoma resident. Though, as I’m writing this, I’m back in Memphis!
LM: Here are some quickies:
Favorite Color: almost all shades of green
Favorite Author: This is so hard! I can never choose just one. Ann Tatlock is one of my favorite inspirational authors. I recently read two of Jolina Petersheim’s novels, The Alliance and The Divide, and she’s a fantastic writer. I couldn’t put those books down.
Favorite Food: My sister’s pizza and her roasted chicken.
LM: You’ve traveled extensively. What was your favorite trip?
Johnnie: I do seem to be on the road quite a bit. That’s what happens when your family settles hundreds of miles from each other.
Last fall, my sister and I flew to Europe and spent our first week taking the Eurail from one place to another. We didn’t really have a plan, and it was so fun to pop into these major cities. Then we spent a week in a Lisbon apartment (thank you, HomeAway!) just a few blocks from the Mediterranean Sea. It was a fantastic vacation. I’d love to do it all over again!
LM: Can you tell us what writing projects are on your plate right now?
Johnnie: I’m so excited about the projects I have lined up. This year, I’m working with an editor on Sparrow, that unpublished WWII story I mentioned earlier, writing a novella for the Barbour Erie Canal Brides Collection, and imagining my first indie project—a novella in the Resort to Romance Series which will be released early next year.
Linda: Where can folks connect with you?
Johnnie: My website has a fun new header—it shows my Instagram feed! So please stop by and see my latest photos at http://www.johnnie-alexander.com. Remember to sign up for my newsletter so we can stay in touch!
Amazon Author Page http://www.amazon.com/author/johnniealexander
You’re also invited to Novelists Unwind (http://novelistsunwind.com) where I feature video interviews with inspirational authors.
Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family's renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She's certain that true love will only lead to tragedy-that is, until a chance meeting a Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life. Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison starts to question her fear of love as WWII breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow. As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?
Purchase Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AEB3CMS