I have an great opportunity to highlight Jessica Johnson's short story, "The House on Mirror Lake." It appears in the "Sweet Summer Love" contemporary romance anthology and takes place in the beautiful north woods of Minnesota.
Jessica Let me start with asking you to tell us a little about yourself.
I’m from northeast Ohio, but now I live in northern Minnesota. I have four children ages 6 through 14, and one son in heaven who would be 10. I’ve been writing stories since I was a little girl, and it’s been only recently that I’ve started getting serious about publishing. When the kids were little, there just wasn’t time.
Tell the readers about (The House on Mirror Lake).
The House on Mirror Lake is a sweet romance short story that appears in the anthology “Sweet Summer Love,” which just released July 8. It’s the story of Claire, a single woman who resides in a small lakeside home. Claire, who is resistant to change, loves all things old: antique cookbooks, vintage dresses, black-and-white movies . . . so when Jack Severson, a handsome carpenter, buys the house next door with the intention of gutting it and selling it for a profit, Claire puts up a fight. The sparks fly between these two as they start out at odds, but soon realize they’d do much better if they were on the same team.
What inspired you to write (The House on Mirror Lake)
I actually wrote this story for a contest. The other authors of the “Sweet Summer Love” anthology were looking for new, upcoming romance writers to contribute to their book, and they set up a contest, offering a spot in the book for the winning short story. I had no idea what to write about, but it had to be about summer love. I live in northern Minnesota, and to me, summer is all about going to the lake. So the idea started forming from there. I was amazed how quickly it took shape. A lot of the references I make throughout the book come from my own life and things that remind me of my grandparents.
What is the main thing you hope readers remember from this story?
That we can spend our whole lives fighting change, but sometimes it’s inevitable. Not all changes are bad—some might actually make your life better, if only you would be open to it. I’ve lived through a lot of changes, most of them resulting from losing someone I love, like my dad, or my son. Those were hard times. I could’ve retreated into my shell for the rest of my life, insisting things stay the same from there on out, but then I’d never have my two youngest sons, who are a huge blessing in my life.
What is your favorite scene/chapter?
I love when Claire first meets Jack. She’s falling all over herself. But when she realizes why he bought the house next door, she does a one-eighty pretty fast. She’s a quirky character, and I really like the way she turned out.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
The hardest part of writing is continuing through the “wall.” It’s like writer’s block. You’ve written all these great chapters, and then you get to what’s known as “the sagging middle,” and you have no idea where to go from there. I have a novel that’s on the back burner right now because that very thing happened. I don’t know how to get from where I left off, to the wonderful ending I have planned.
The House at Mirror Lake
Claire McKinney has never been a fan of change. She watches old movies, collects antique cookbooks, and wears vintage dresses. So when the new owner of the house next door threatens to tear down every wall—and every cherished memory of her beloved neighbors, the Wilsons—she wages an all-out rebellion.
Jack Severson doesn’t plan to lay down roots. He’s content to move from house to house and town to town. When he meets Claire McKinney, the woman who steals his hand saw as well as his heart, he may have to change his wandering ways.
While Claire may have to learn to accept that some changes are good, sparks and hammers fly in this sweet summer story about love on the shores of Mirror Lake.
Jessica tell the readers where to find you and your novels?
I have my books available at Amazon.com
My website is: www.jessicaleighjohnson.com
I also have a Pinterest board for every story I’ve written or am writing. It’s a fun way to get a look at what the characters look like in my head. Here’s the link to that page: https://www.pinterest.com/jlkoneckjohnson/
Anne Ashby grew up in a very small coastal town in Southland, New Zealand. An eagerness to travel, fostered by her mother, led her to join the Royal NZ Navy where she enjoyed a very satisfying career. She has travelled extensively and lived in Singapore and Maryland USA. Anne likes to bring something of her beautiful country to romance readers everywhere by using New Zealand as the setting for most of her clean/sweet contemporary stories. If not set in NZ, Anne has kiwi characters filling her books. Anne has a keen interest in genealogy, an obsession for rugby and a definite dislike of housework. When not reading or writing, Anne finds plenty to occupy her time with her family commitments and her role as the National President of the Royal NZ Navalwomen's Association. She currently lives in Auckland with her husband and one of their four children. She's blessed to have her four grandchildren living close by.
Although a secret dread lays buried deep inside New Zealand tradesman Justin Titirangi he appears content. He enjoys his life in Washington DC. He never dreamed a casual invitation to attend Thanksgiving with a friend's family would impact his life so disastrously. Previously untouched by social snobbery, he's blasted with both barrels.
Nicole Campbell is ashamed of how she'd treated her brother's friend, but is smarting from the demise of a long term relationship. She never expects to see Justin again anyway. A need to escape her smothering parents but without ready funds, Nicole temporarily moves into her brother's house in DC, unaware Justin also lives there.
Sparks fly when Justin and Nicole come face to face but will they manage to control the blaze before it engulfs them both?
Visit Anna and get you copy of 'Worlds Collide.'
Anna’s Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Anne-Ashby/e/B004IAD0BYB&N http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/anne-ashby
Purchase links for Worlds Collide : http://www.amazon.com/Worlds-Collide-Anne-Ashby-ebook/dp/B00ZFUJVEG
It's my pleasure to have Gail Kittleson on 'Behind Every Story.' I asked Gail to share with us how her wonderful books came about.
Our granddaughter is a born organizer, like her mom. The genes certainly do not come from me ... when I snapped this pic of our nine-year-old plowing through rearranging the plastic containers in my cupboard, I thought, “She’s actually enjoying this.”
We need organizational skills constantly. That’s what I do in the garden when I reposition plants so the taller ones grow in back. (I know—if I were a TRUE organizer, they’d never have gotten planted in the front to begin with. Ahh...live and learn.
For me, organizing on paper is way easier than in the physical world. I’d far rather write a pointed essay or edit a chapter than shuffle around plastic containers, for instance. But even with writing, my reticence to organize comes into play.
Watching a plot evolve as a character’s personality develops brings me pleasure, much more than if I were to eke out a step-by-step walk through life for that heroine or hero. The joy is in the surprises.
Don’t you love it when you need something thrilling to occur in your character’s life, so you go for a walk, ask for guidance, and voila~ the perfect scenario pops into your mind?
Another way of saying panster-writing.
On the other hand, this approach can also allow disorder to rule. Once your characters lead you to the end of the novel, you have to go back again to make sure all the necessary elements have magically stolen into your story.
When they haven’t, you often delete more than you wrote in the first place on the way to a reader-friendly order. Does your middle sag? Do your chapter endings titillate the imagination? Will this scene in the middle of the forest, running from the Gestapo, seem a bit much?
At least now, after seven years of honing my skills through online classes, lots of reading, workshops, etc., I know what to do when I go back through a manuscript for the umpteenth time. That’s a plus.
As with plastic container organizing, I also realize the necessity of a willingness to throw things out. Lids that don’t match any receptacle? Into the TOSS basket they go. The same goes for scenes full of literary nuggets that slow down the plot. ARGH!!!
Never thought I’d say it, but being a plotter has its enviable points.
I agree with you Gail, it certainly has advantages. I know the readers will enjoy your latest memoir.
Purchase at: http://www.amazon.com/Catching-Up-Daylight-Journey-Wholeness-ebook/dp/B00EJPZHPK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1436375456&sr=1-1&keywords=gail+kittleson
About Gail Kittleson-
Gail has always loved to read, but came to fiction writing through the back door. She facilitated parish nurse and hospice workshops on grief and loss, wrote resources for caregivers, and instructed college expository writing and English as a Second Language. After she penned her memoir, Catching Up with Daylight, the fiction bug bit her. She's been addicted ever since, with special interest in World War II women's fiction.
She and her husband enjoy life in small-town northern Iowa, their grandchildren, and in winter, the Ponderosa forest of Central Arizona.
Personal note: meeting new friends is the frosting on my cake--please feel free to contact me however it works for you.
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