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/
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