Readers often wonder, "What is it like to be an author?" Then they think of big-named authors they know, or envision authors portrayed on TV or in a movie-who almost always are living lavish lifestyles and experiencing sales that would make J. K. Rowling drool.
But alas, such depictions are accurate for approximately one-to-three percent of the authors out there. For many writers, sitting along the sidewalk in St. Augustine, Florida, holding your book, reading from it while passersby toss loose change into your briefcase is probably more realistic. Of course, I exaggerate a little. We don't do our begging on sidewalks. That's reserved for guitar players and painters. Authors use social media and local bookstores.
At this very moment (July 2), I'm sitting here at my desk, listening to John Williams' Greatest Hits, while I take care of posting this blog. The Imperial March is playing. Which makes me think about how certain phrases or tunes become so iconic because they are usually tied to a memorable character.
Once I'm finished posting this blog, then I'll get back to Book 5 of my Blake Meyer Thriller series, A Pulse of Time, which is due to the editor by July 31 in preparation for a December release date. Then, tomorrow, I have shoulder surgery to look forward to.
So, see, authors are people, too. They deal with their own set of struggles and triumphs just like the next person. Writing is a job and a passion, just like others jobs are to other folks. Which brings us to the next guest on the Florida front porch! She, too, has a passion for this writing biz. Please welcome Kimberly Rose Johnson!
Kimberly, pull up a chair, grab some iced tea, and in fifty words or less, tell our readers about yourself.
Hi, I’m Kimberly Rose Johnson. I write faith-based contemporary romance and romantic mystery. Writing is my passion, which I believe was fostered through my love of reading Christian romance. I have one award credited to my name and have been a best seller on Amazon multiple times.
See, Dear Reader? I told you writers have a passion about what they do.
So, Kimberly, before you ever got a notion of becoming a writer/author, how old were you, and what were you doing in that time of your life?
I didn’t begin writing until my early thirties. I always enjoyed creative writing in school. Aside from music, that was probably the only thing I liked about school. I distinctly remember one time in particular in my high school English class when my teacher told us to get out a piece of paper and write a story. I don’t recall any instructions beyond that. I had zero trouble with this assignment and immediately started writing. I noticed my classmates grumbling and having a hard time with the assignment. They couldn’t understand how I could already be finished when they couldn’t even get started. Storytelling came naturally to me; however, I had no idea I was a writer at that time. In fact, it would be close to fifteen years later before that idea to try writing ever came to me.
What educational background do you have?
I have a B.A. in Behavioral Science and a minor in music from Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. It was the only college I applied to. I received a music scholarship there and felt strongly it was where the Lord wanted me to go.
For all the pet lovers out there, answer this question: Do you have any?
I am definitely an animal lover. Because I am extremely allergic to cats I only have a dog. She is a yellow lab.
Good thing you're not allergic to dog fur. 😀 Our daughter has had two yellow labs. Clogs up the Roomba. And when they take them outside and brush them, it looks like a rabbit got attacked by a hawk in the middle of the night.
Besides storytelling, what talents do you have?
I play the piano. I taught piano lessons for 18 years. I used to sing to, but no longer do that.
Besides the usual things authors face, has there been an unusual event that changed your perspective about being an author?
For me the most personal challenging thing I’ve faced is my inability to work a “day job” and still have enough energy and creative juices to write. Because I am an introvert it is exhausting for me to be around people for large periods of time.
I had a job working in a high school, which I loved, but I found that when I came home I had no energy. I literally had to take two-hour naps before I was able to function again. This cut into my writing time in a huge way. It also put a lot of pressure on me and affected my health in a negative way because I had to push myself so hard to meet my deadlines. I ended up quitting that job and now write full-time.
Tell us about your writing day. How do you go about writing?
My average writing day probably looks like many of your days. I get up with my husband and do the normal before work things such as breakfast. Once he’s off to work then my workday begins. I start with social media then emails and then I get into writing. I generally write in two-hour chunks for a total of four actual hours a day of writing. If you do the math I’m short a couple of hours since I work while my husband in at his job. Those hours are consumed by continuing education and exercise. I want to be a screenwriter, so I am taking classes online. Thankfully, it appears that I’m good at adapting books. I’ve acquired a manager who is shopping my work.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Once I determine the approximate ages of my characters, I Google popular names in the year he/she would have been born. I choose from the list given. I’ve been known to give characters from different books that same name. Thankfully, I’ve discovered many of those names before they are published and have changed them (LOL). Though many readers know a character as such and such, I will always have them in my head with their original name.
Tell us about what project you are currently working on.
I am currently juggling a couple of indie projects and brainstorming a new book. Edge Of Truth will release August 6, 2019. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes things that need to happen for this book to get published, so I’m pushing hard to make it happen. Edge Of Truth was one of the first books I ever wrote. I had been thinking about that book and decided it was time to dig it out. It was fun to revisit something I wrote in the early years of writing—approximately 12 years ago.
The other thing I’m working on is a group project with six other authors. We are publishing a series in October for Christmas. Each book will be a novella in the same story world with a central concept. Sara’s Gift.
The last project I’m working on is an idea that was inspired by a visiting pastor at my church. I’m going to write the book then adapt it to screenplay. I’ve adapted two of my other books to screenplay. Adapting my books is another passion.
More and more authors are doing the screenplay thing...especially those who write the Hallmark kind of stories. I bet Hallmark gets flooded with screenplays these days.
So, let's switch gears a little. If you had one person you could meet (think outside the Bible here) and could spend as much time as you wanted with that individual, who would it be?
This is a very hard question! I’m going to cheat. Since you didn’t specify if the person had to be living or dead I’m going to do one of each. J
My mom’s mom died about 25 years ago. I miss her and would love to spend more time with my grandma.
As for a person currently living, ugh, there are so many I want to say, but I will stick to one. I met Robin Jones Gunn many years ago over lunch at a writer’s conference. She was so kind, I would choose her. Her writing is exceptional, and from what I’ve heard, she has experience working with producers. I would love to chat with her about the business, writing in general, and life.
When you look for a new home, what are the things that are important to you?
It’s funny you should ask this because we were house hunting this past fall. My must haves are two living areas with separation, an open floor plan, three bedrooms with enough square footage for a queen sized bed in each room along with a desk and dresser, an updated kitchen, two updated bathrooms, a laundry room, at least two stall garage, and a quiet neighborhood.
After looking for a new house for over 20 years (I’m picky), we finally found my dream house but the location was wrong. It was at the bottom of a hill with a large water retention basin beside it and across the street from it, and the land had been developed to have a creek bed flow through the back yard. The house itself was perfect! It was even brand new—necessary because of my many allergies. Needless to say we didn’t buy it. I’ve decided to be content with the house I’ve been in since 1993—we bought it in the framing stage.
Houses grow on you, don't they? Like that comfortable pair of shoes or your broken-in recliner. So, you shrug and say, "Eh, we'll just keep this one." Then, you watch all the House Hunter shows and find yourself using the lingo when thinking about what you would like in your new place. I guess, if you two raised African swallows for a living and had a budget of $800,000, three-months later, you could have had the retention pond repurposed into a man-made, creek-fed lake brimming with farm-raised trout (Can you tell we watch those shows at our house, too?).
When you look for a new car, what are the things that are important to you?
My dream car is an all wheel drive, with good gas mileage. It must have a hatchback type opening in back. I don’t like normal trunks. It also needs to have plenty of space in the “trunk.” Other than that, I don’t want anything fancy.
Vehicles say a lot about a person. I'm reading "practical" here.
What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most, and why?
Jeremiah 29:11 and Proverbs 3:4, 6 because they encourage me.
If you had life to do all over again, would there be any changes? If so, what would they be?
I’m basing this answer on my writing life. I would have started indie publishing sooner. I am a hybrid published author, which means I am both traditionally published and independently published.
Amen to that. I would have started writing a lot sooner. Oh, well. Better late than never.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers about you, or anything we didn’t cover?
When I first began writing it was my dream to be published in the romantic suspense genre. That however is not the genre I found success in as a traditionally published author. My current publisher has encouraged me to include a mystery in many of my books, which ended up inspiring an idea for a romantic mystery series and The Librarian Sleuth Series was born.
The Sleuth’s Dilemma is the second book in that series and my most current release.
I'm sure our readers will be checking it out! Who doesn't love a good mystery?
Kimberly, we appreciate you taking time out of your busy writing scheduled to open up your life and allow our readers to sit down and learn more about you and your work.
Readers, if you wish to get to know Kimberly better, here are some places you can go to do just that:
Kimberly Rose Johnson’s
Again, thanks, Kimberly, for being a part of our Author Behind the Story blog series! May God bless your efforts!
And may God bless America, and more importantly, may America bless God!