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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Friday, July 30, 2010

FEATURED AUTHOR: Korika L. Johnson


Thirty-year-old, Tonya Monroe has worked hard to amass her assets: a dream home in one of Washington's largest Maryland suburbs, a "sweet" job, a luxury car, and money in the bank. She has beauty, brains, and a body envied by women and adored by men. But what she hasn't had since her mother was killed while riding with a drunk driver, leaving Tonya to be raised by the two people she begrudges most - her alcoholic father and her mother's closest friend, Carolyn Wright - is peace of mind. Peace isn't the only thing slipping through her fingers when she is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

Carolyn, who wielded the car that took Tonya's mother's life, is now a fifty four-year-old devoted wife, ministry leader, and self proclaimed "woman of integrity." Though she believes in "holding folk - especially church folk - accountable for their actions," she refuses to live under the black cloud of that terrible day. She is now strong in the Lord and the power of His might. But her well-built spiritual wall begins to crumble when she winds up the subject of scandal at the Straighter Way Baptist Church, and has to answer for her action.

Korika L. Johnson is a servant, wife, mother, daughter, friend, avid reader, inspirational fiction author and lupus survivor, who is committed to producing and sharing contemporary works that glorify God and impact lives.

She has always been a lover of the Word and written words. As a child, she loved to read and write, feeling even then that God had placed a call on her life to minister through the gift of writing. For birthdays of friends and family members, she created homemade cards containing her original poetry. Their positive feedback was enough to fan the flame that is her desire to Give Glory Through Stories of Hope!

She is the managing member of Toward the Mark Press, LLC, a Christian publishing house, a member of the Lupus in Color Foundation, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and SISTERGIRLS Inc.

Korika resides in Maryland with her husband and their two daughters.

How did you start out your writing career?

At a very early age, I developed a passion for words. Reading and writing. I've been doing both for as long as I can remember. However, it was in 2005 when I was diagnosed with Lupus and was subsequently forced to leave my job with the District of Columbia government, that I feel I was pushed into my purpose. I used writing as an outlet of healing and committed to a ministry of H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Endure). That's what I want my writing to do - offer hope.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned the importance of a support system for those with chronic illnesses. Being able to share how you feel with someone you trust can help a lot. Oddly enough, I realized that, not through my own personal experience, but through the experience of my character, Tonya. Strange, huh?

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

As with my characters, God used the darkest days of my life to strengthen me and I want others to know that God is a loving God of purpose and even adversities are meant to strengthen us. Not tear us down. But build us up in Him. I also wanted to raise awareness of lupus. Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys. According the the Lupus Foundation of America, 1.5 million Americans have it, yet I'd never even heard of it before my diagnosis.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

The toughest test I've faced as a writer was staying true to myself. Not allowing others to dictate what and how I write.

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

I would choose Colleen McCullough, Judy Blume, and Victoria Christopher Murray because they've all played a significant part in my formative years as a writer. My early literary influences included reading everything Judy Blume ever wrote, Colleen McCullough's Thorn Birds made me actually see stories in my head as if I were watching a movie, and it was after reading Victoria Christopher Murray's Joy that I knew I wanted to write fiction professionally. I attended one of Victoria's book signing years ago and actually had the opportunity to talk with her at length about the industry. I will NEVER forget that. She's great and talked openly and honestly about the industry. That's why I'd choose her again.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

The real work for an author begins after the book is written. - Writing the book, for me, was the easy part. Marketing it is a bit more challenging.

Everyone who lines up won't march. - It's surprising how many people you help who won't be there for you when you need them most.

All things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose. - Romans 8:28 is one of my absolute favorite scriptures. I would have lived a lot less stressful life had I known...really known that every challenge I've ever faced or will face has worked or is working, not against me, but to make me better.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do write from your heart. Don't let anyone or anything stifle your creativity.

I borrowed this question from Author Carleene Brice, What is your author fantasy?

To be able to write for the rest of my days, get paid well for doing it, and bless my readers in the process.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

I really wish that non-writers would understand that fiction is a literary work based on the imagination. Like Tonya, I was diagnosed with Lupus, but Joy Comes in the Mourning is NOT about me! LOL!

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?

I would say the best advice that I've gotten so far was to join a writer's group. Can't really say that I've gotten any negative advice.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

Trinidad.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I have a very high level of angst when it comes to public speaking.

Our theme for this month is Agent Hunting? What advice would you give someone searching for the right agent?

Spend some time in the library or book store flipping through books that are similar to yours. Research the agents who represent the kind of book that you've written.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know for sure that Jesus is real and He can heal us anywhere we hurt.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

My next book is a doozy! See, most women can appreciate a man who is crazy about his mother because they believe it means he'll adore his woman just as much as he adores his mother. Well, that isn't always the case. In my upcoming novel, First Lady, Cheryl Davis loves her mother in-law dearly, but refuses to play second fiddle to her. Cheryl's family means everything to her and she will do whatever it takes to keep it intact. Even if it means devising a plan sure to win her husband Greg's affections. However, when Cheryl goes so far as to enlist the help of an unsuspecting, friendly neighbor to make Greg jealous, she gets far more than she bargained for.

Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. - Proverbs 14:22

If you don't know the answer to that question, you will after reading First Lady. It takes a journey into the lives of a couple fighting to keep love alive. Feelings are hurt, trusts are violated, and hearts are broken, but in the end they learn that when you apply the Word of God to your life, nothing is too rickety for Him to repair.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

Readers can visit me at http://www.korikajohnson.com/
, send me a shout out at www.shoutlife.com/korikajohnson, check me out on Facebook at www.facebook/korikajohnson, hit me up at the spot at http://www.korikajohnson.blogspot.com/, look me up at the Lupus in Color Network at http://www.lupusincolornetwork.ning.com/, or e-mail me at korika@korikajohnson.com.

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4 comments:

LaShaunda said...

Korika,

Thank you so much for being our featured author today. There aren't many stories that talk about Lupus, so I say thank you for writing about this important disease.

My mother was diagnosed with it thirty years ago. There wasn't much information about it and there still isn't much. We think that it had a lot do with her kidney failure years later.

I look forward to reading your book and wish you many blessings as you continue on your writing journey.

elaine cantrell said...

Korika,

I enjoyed reading your interview. I have a chronic disease also, and you are dead on with what you said about it. Everyone needs a support group with God as the moderator. Good luck with your writing.

Korika L. Johnson said...

Thank you so much, LaShaunda, for having me as your featured author, and for your well wishes.

It's sad that many of us aren't even aware that the disease exists until it lands on our doorsteps. Which is one of the reasons it was so important for me to shed light on it.

Bless you for giving me the opportunity to talk about the book that's getting people talking about lupus.

Korika L. Johnson said...

Elaine,

You hit the nail on the head! A support group with God as the moderator! I've been to support group meetings that were, for lack of a better word, downers. For me it is so important to have God preside over these meetings. To assure us that there is hope. It's all about HOPE!

Thank you and may God bless your body with health and your soul with joy!

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