We met Tamika when she introduced us to her non-fiction book. She's venturing into the fiction world with her new book. SORMAG wishes her many blessings with this new book.
SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.
Tamika Johnson: Sure! I am a mother of a 20 month old daughter, the CEO of the #1 African American Christian Publishing Company, Leading Lady Publications; the author of three books; a High School Dance Teacher, and Miss Black Delaware USA 2006. So needless to say, I am a very busy person!
SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?
JOHNSON: Gladly! Meet Me At the Altar is my second book and first Christian Romance Novel. Meet Me At the Altar is an incredible story of redemption and forgiveness and has been receiving rave reviews. You don’t have to take my word for it, I would love for everyone to read a recent review from Tyora Moody of Faithwebbin.net.
The novel opens up with an introduction to the four main characters. Shana is a divorced single mom with a precocious six year old. Her marriage ended abruptly after finding her husband in the bed with another man. Derek is the typical nice guy looking for love, but unfortunately has found it in the wrong places. He still has not quite gotten over the destruction to his life and business by an unscrupulous woman. Derek’s cousin, Shawn has decided married life is not for him. After his wife, Desiree, had their daughter and stopped working, Shawn feels unattracted to the woman he once swooned over. Sherry has learned quite well how to use her body to get what she wants from men. One of her victims was Derek. Now she is back, but Derek has his eyes on someone else. Derek believes God has finally sent the right one his way as he begins a friendship with Shana. A little tentative, Shana does embrace her new relationship with reservations. Not completely understanding how Shana’s ex-husband hurt her, Derek misinterprets her conflicting emotions as though he must not be good enough for her. While Shana tries to deal with her new relationship, she also is adjusting to new business opportunities
and to her new business partner, Desiree. Still struggling over how Shawn treated her, Desiree struggles with bitterness and is not interested in dealing with Shana’s strong faith. Desiree is determined to take on a new client that is causing some unease for Shana. Unfortunately, Shana’s uneasiness maybe a sign she shouldn’t ignore. Reviewed by Tyora Moody-May 9, 2006
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SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
JOHNSON: Wow – so many things. Let me start by saying that Meet Me At the Altar was written after my very painful divorce. I was in a unhealthy marriage and was eight
months pregnant when my husband of two years left. I had just finished college and was in more than seventy thousand ….yes, $70,000 worth of debt due to school loans and debt incurred during the marriage – and I was making a mere $800 each month working as an After School Director. Needless to say I was very bitter and turned my back on the One who could make everything alright – God. When I finally broke down and cried like a baby, asked God for forgiveness and re-dedicated my Heart, Mind, Body, and Soul to do His Will at the Altar, things turned around in a matter of days! I was offered a job making three times what I was making (I was hired pregnant!), and best of all my mental and emotional state were better.
With the birth of my daughter December 2004 my dreams were restored and I began to write what I consider to be one of the best love stories I have ever read. Now here I am nearly two years later with a healthy daughter and engaged to a wonderful man who makes me feel beautiful every time I am in his presence, and my spiritual relationship with Christ is whole!
So…to answer your question – In addition to literary entertainment, I want women and men to understand that no matter who may have said that you were worthless – God is there to restore our damaged hearts. I also want readers to capture the beauty in the love stories between the couples in the book, as well as with God. Finally, I want readers to be inspired by the struggles and triumphs each character goes through.
SORMAG: Do you ever have a hard time letting go of a character after the novel is finished?
JOHNSON: I get immersed in the lives of my characters and have slated Meet Me At the Altar as a three part series as I would like to give each character a full story. I am also in the process of writing Meet Me At the Altar the stage play, which I hope to debut February 2007 – so stay tuned! I wouldn’t say that I have a hard tie letting go, but I do enjoy developing a character.
SORMAG: What do you feel is the key to writing convincing characters?
JOHNSON: I would say that it is important for a writer to draw on what he or she knows or has personally experienced. If a writer wants to write about something unfamiliar, it is important to research the topic so that one can accurately write the emotions and other
characteristics that will make a character believable.
Also, I think it is important to have others read your work for believability of the characters. For example, it was important for me to write convincing male characters so I had my fiancé read the book and critique their conversations and display of emotions. This paid off when a couple of the book reviewers commented on the fact that the males were believable.
SORMAG: What makes your writing style unique?
JOHNSON: I think that every author puts his or her own unique voice into their work – however, I would say that my style is unique in that I tend to go against the grain
and write what people don’t expect in traditional romance. My books deal with domestic violence, homosexuality, forgiveness, etc. and yet, a beautiful love story is always at the forefront.
SORMAG: What are you doing to promote your book?
JOHNSON: I am gearing up for a Blog Tour so if anyone would like to interview me during the month of September and October, please let me know so I can mail you a review copy.
I am also blessed to be connected with a National Book Distributor – Midpont Trade Books so the book will be available to bookstores nationwide. That is just some
of what I am doing.
SORMAG: What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
JOHNSON: Hmmm…Honestly, what surprised me the most was the fact that I actually did it! It’s one thing to state a fact or dream, it is another thing altogether to actually bring that dream into reality. The publishing of Meet Me At the Altar and the establishment of Leading Lady Publications are destined for great success and that is an exciting thing.
SORMAG: What do you do to make time for yourself?
JOHNSON: I like to spend quality time with my daughter who is the most hilarious little girl I have ever met! She loves to dance and sing and we do that together quite often. But I make it a point to give her her special time each day in the morning and evening. Once she goes to bed I give myself at least one hour before jumping back into work to lay around and do NOTHING! I also love to dance and read.
SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email,website)
JOHNSON: For more information about me, please go to: www.tamikajohnson.com or http://www.missblackdelawareusa.com/. For more information about our upcoming books or
publishing through Leading Lady Publications, please visit: www.leadingladypublications.com, call 302-670-8767, or mail a request to 521 Washington Ave, Chestertown, MD 21620.
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