Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Johnnie Alexander Talks about Her Fascination with WW2 History Day 1

Johnnie Alexander’s debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (Historical category, 2011). Her first contemporary romance, Where She Belongs (Misty Willow Series; Revell), and her first novella, “The Healing Promise” (Courageous Bride Collection; Barbour), release in 2016. Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. She lives in the Memphis area with a small herd of alpacas and Rugby, the princely papillon who trees raccoons.

Johnnie is giving away a copy of her new novel Where Treasure Hides. To enter the drawing for her novel, click on the contest link at the bottom of this interview and follow the instructions.

Welcome to PASTimes, Johnnie. Tell us a little about what you write. 

I became intrigued with WWII history when I found a book called Hitler’s Soldiers in the Sunshine State. That fascinating book, and several others I read, eventually led to my first novel set during that era. It’s unpublished, but my research inspired the storyline for my debut novel Where Treasure Hides.

As a bonus, I sold a short story to Guideposts about a young Florida boy who encounters a German POW escapee on Christmas Eve.

Are you a full-time writer or do you hold a day job? What is the biggest challenge/obstacle you face in protecting your writing time?

First thing in the morning, I feed and water an alpaca herd plus fill the food bowls for the dogs and the cats. So most days, I have time to write. Perhaps my biggest challenge is the balance between writing and marketing.

What historical time periods interest you the most and how have you immersed yourself in a particular time period?

World War II history definitely remains a favorite. I’ve read numerous biographies, nonfiction books, and a few novels, plus watched documentaries and movies on various aspects of that eras—espionage, art looting, hiding Jewish people, prisoner-of-war camps, escape routes. There are so many fascinating events and heroic people to discover. A few months ago I visited the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC. I wish I’d had the time to read every display.
Introduce us briefly to the main characters in your most recent book. 

Alison Schuyler is a Dutch-American artist whose family has owned an art gallery in Rotterdam, Holland for generations. Though several Dutch Masters adorn the gallery’s walls, Alison’s most treasured painting is her father’s portrait of her deceased mother.

Alison first sees British officer Ian Devlin at Waterloo Station in London where he has come to the aid of a young Kindertransport boy. A station official wants to confiscate the child’s violin, but Ian isn’t about to let that happen. He is smitten by the lovely artist who draws a sketch of him and the child.

But Ian isn’t the only man with his eyes on Alison. Theodor Scheidemann, an ambitious Prussian count, is intrigued by her artistic legacy and takes desperate steps to keep her and Ian apart.
Don't miss day 2 of Johnnie's interview tomorrow. For information about how to enter the drawing for Johnnie's novel, Where Treasure Hides, click the link below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Johnnie Alexander said...

Hello, everybody! I'm so excited to be the guest on Novel PASTimes and to share a little bit about my novel and farm life. The alpaca photo always makes me laugh. It was taken shortly after shearing, and they look so funny with their big eyes and triangular faces. Such entertaining creatures.

Thanks again for hosting me.

Ann Ellison said...

Enjoyed the interview and love seeing pictures of the alpaca.

Kim Amundsen said...

I do enjoy reading fiction about WWII. kamundsen44(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Kim Amundsen said...

They have got to be a handful the animals.

Johnnie Alexander said...

Hi, Ann. Thanks for sharing the link on Facebook.

Johnnie Alexander said...

Hi, Kim. Delving into WWII history is almost like exploring a never-ending cave. There's so much to learn. Thanks for participating in the giveaway.

Johnnie Alexander said...

Almost forgot, Kim, to mention the alpacas. They're naturally skittish but crowd around for food or to have their legs splashed with water on a hot day. The babies are adorable.

Patricia Bradley said...

Can't wait to get some of the yarn from your alpacas! And Where Treasures Hide is such a wonderful book! I didn't do the rafflecopter because I have 2 copies already!

Samantha said...

I love the alpacas and the book sounds awesome :D
I always like reading WWII books. Not only are they entertaining, but also very instructive. Reading fiction is one of my favorite way to learn about history :)

As for the question about legacy, I think the most important and wonderful legacy you can pass on to your children and family is the love of Jesus :D

Samantha said...

Sorry I forgot my email :P

samanthabis23 at gmail dot com

Pam K. said...

I think the number one legacy to pass along to my family is the importance of faith, and the knowledge it must be a personal faith (they can't get by on my faith). I also think it's important that my children have a strong sense of family, including those ancestors who came before us. We have a lot of old family photos and have fun as I remember who they were.


Patty said...

To pass on the love of the Lord is the most important thing. But also a love of and the importance of family. I've seen a situation recently where greed seems to be tearing a family apart, and it is so sad.


Susan P said...

I would love to leave a legacy of standing strong for your faith. I hope to have grandchildren who are soldiers for Christ!

Johnnie Alexander said...

Hi, everyone. I love all the answers about the importance of Jesus' love, faith, and family as a legacy.

Pam K., I appreciate what you said about children needing a personal faith. A couple of times I had to stand back (and pray hard) to allow one of my kids to make the right decision because I knew it needed to come from the heart instead of from me. But wow, that can be hard!

Patty, that situation is sad. That poor family.

Samantha, the alpaca are fun. Mostly! I herded most of them from the pasture into the fenced backyard this afternoon so they could do their job (mowing!). Merry and her youngster wanted to be with the others, but didn't want to cooperate with me. I did a lot of walking before she finally decided to go through the gate. :)

Johnnie Alexander said...

Waving to Patricia Bradley, my favorite author of romantic suspense! And a promise of yarn as soon as we get it sent to the mill!

Kim Amundsen said...

I have seen Alpaca's up close. They are interesting creatures.

Johnnie Alexander said...

Hi, Kim. I totally agree. Each one has its own personality. We have snobbish Charro and suspicious Merry and docile Autumn among others. All of them are curious. Thanks for stopping by.

Deanna Stevens said...

I would like my family to remember my husband & me as someone who were giving, caring person who loved the Lord! I hope they remember me as a quilter and her husbands best friend.
Our best advise being - "Love the Lord" - -
'your marriage will be what you make it.' AND always "Remember WHOSE you are!"
I would enjoy reading Where Treasure Hides :)

Merry said...

I would love to leave a legacy of faith, stepping out with God to follow Him wherever He leads. God has given us such an amazing life so far!

Johnnie Alexander said...

Deanna, even though we don't personally know each other, I'm positive your family will remember you and your husband exactly as you describe. When you're passionate and intentional about your values, they shine through everything you do. Thank you for commenting.

Johnnie Alexander said...

Hi, Merry. I love your little teacup photo. I want to leave a legacy of faith, too. I'm so thankful for God's blessings--even the twelve-week-old kitten who is biting my toes as I type. Ouch! (LOL)