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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vanishing Act Blog Tour

Liz Johnson grew up reading Christian fiction, and always dreamed of being part of the publishing industry. After graduating from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff with a degree in public relations, she set out to fulfill her dream. In 2006 she got her wish when she accepted a publicity position at a major trade book publisher. While working as a publicist in the industry, she decided to pursue her other dream-becoming an author. Along the way to having her novel published, she completed the Christian Writers Guild apprentice course and wrote articles for several magazines.

Liz makes her home in Nashville , TN , where she enjoys theater, exploring the local music scene, and making frequent trips to Arizona to dote on her two nephews and three nieces. She loves stories of true love with happy endings. Keep up with Liz's adventures in writing at www.lizjohnsonbooks.com.

Vanishing Act

Eighteen months ago, Nora James watched as her father was shot in an alley-and then she fled. She changed her name, her appearance and her job, hoping to keep her father’s shooter at bay. For months, it worked…but now her luck has run out. A ruthless assassin is on her trail, and soon Nora, now known as Danielle, will be found. But this time, she has FBI agent Nate Andersen by her side-right? The handsome agent would give his life to protect Danielle, but he’s wary of giving his heart…until a deadly confrontation leaves him with both on the line.
How did you start out your writing career?

I guess it started at my parents’ dining room table with a little seven-year-old writing a six-page story about a bear. That story was only supposed to be two paragraphs long, but even then, my mind didn’t stop with a short story. And while I didn’t sell that story or any of the other more than twenty that I wrote by the time I got out of college, I was just practicing. Every writer starts somewhere. I started early.

What did you learn while writing this book?

I learned a lot while writing this book—mostly about fear in my own life and how I was letting it affect my writing. I spent a lot of time worried about whether I’d be able to sell Vanishing Act or even finish it. And as my characters learned about putting their fears in God’s hands, so did I.

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

The toughest test I’ve faced as a writer, was probably finishing my third book. I was offered the contract on Code of Justice, in April, right before I accepted a new job, moved across the country, and nearly got flooded out of my home. It was a really trying time in my life, and I had 45,000 words to write in 3 of the busiest months I’ve ever had. I know that God gave me the strength to get it done on deadline, or there’s no why I could have gotten it.

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

J.K. Rowling because I’m enamored with her creativity and mind. C.S. Lewis because he’s one of the most incredible spiritual thinkers ever. And, of course, Meg Cabot, who I think would just be so funny to spend time with.

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

I wish I’d known that I shouldn’t spend so much time pining for things that will never happen. I also wish I’d known that writing is really hard. And I wish I’d known that I can remember that writing can be really fun. And fun writing is so much better than not fun.

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

Do make writing fun. Write stories that you love. Write characters that you love. Write something that makes you smile.

Don’t be afraid of revisions and listening to editors. They really do know what they’re talking about. Who knew? :)

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

In all honesty … I’d love to see someone I don’t know reading my book.

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

That I don’t say no to going out with friends because I don’t want to spend time with them. Finding time to write and work a full-time job means that I have to say no to some things. It’s hard for me to say no to the fun things, but it’s part of being a writer.

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

The best advice: Good stories are important. Good writing is more important.

The worst: Write what you know. If all we did is write what we know, most of our stories would be really boring. We’d have no wizards or fantastical worlds or wild suspense rides. We’d have no vampire books or very many adventure stories. Sure, put things you know into your stories. But don’t limit yourself by your own experiences.

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

I can’t wait to visit Prince Edward Island where L.M. Montgomery wrote some of my favorite books of all time, the Anne of Green Gables series. I’m taking my mom for a trip this month!

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

They might be surprised that I’m in the fantasy football league at my work. I even won last season!

Our theme for this month is STAYING OUT OF THE SLUSH PILE? What advice would you give someone to make sure their manuscript stays out of the slush pile?

Well, the slush pile is usually reserved for manuscripts that come in without an agent’s representation. So first advice, is get an agent. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. So I guess, I’d say, remember that your first draft probably isn’t ready to be submitted. Neither is your second. Editing is so important. Have friends read your manuscript and give you feedback. Keep fixing, keep editing. And then, after all that work, you have to let it go. That’s hard, but it’s worth it.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

I know for sure that I’m nothing without a God who loves me.

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

My next book is Code of Justice, another book with Steeple Hill’s Love Inspired Suspense. It features a familiar character from Vanishing Act, FBI Special Agent Heather Sloan. Her sister Kit is killed when their sightseeing helicopter crashes. But when someone keeps trying to kill Heather, she teams up with Deputy Jeremy Latham to follow the drug ring behind Heather’s worst nightmare. It’s scheduled to come out in March of 2011.

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

They can follow my misadventures in writing at www.lizjohnsonbooks.com and e-mail me at liz@lizjohnsonbooks.com.

Leave a comment or question for a chance to win a copy of Vanishing Act.

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LaShaunda said...

Liz thanks for stopping by on your tour. Congrats on your new job. I'm so jealous about your trip with your mom. I just told my hubby last week I want to go there. I've been watching Tales from Avonlee and the place is so beautiful. Let me know if you post pictures. I would love to see.

Dee Hines said...

Liz, your book sounds very interesting I can't wait to go to the store and pick it up. I love romantic suspense. I pray that stores can't keep your books in stock because they are selling like hotcakes.

Super Mommie said...

I just discovered the Love Inspired books and I love them. I can't wait to read your book. I'm going to suggest it to my bookclub at work.

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