Let’s Chat! Jill English Johnston

Welcome, everyone!

Jill English Johnston joins our chat circle this week. I’ve known Jill for several years through our local American Christian Fiction Writers group. We also attend the same church, although on different campuses.

Jill’s beautiful Christian devotionals, Praise and Wonder, showcase her husband Jon’s photography. She’s offering a print copy of Praise to someone who joins the chat below.

If I were asked to describe Jill English Johnston in a word or two, I’d say gentle soul. I think you’ll agree.

P.S. By the way, thank you for your service, Jill! 

Jill English Johnston Before Writing

I was born in Erie, Pennsylvania and raised in the country in northwestern Pennsylvania (near Edinboro), where my entire extended family also lived. My parents were blue-collar workers. Dad worked in a shop (Lord’s manufacturing making airplane parts). Mom worked odd jobs (Avon sales, egg farm, toy manufacturing, waitress, donut shop). Family was important, dysfunctional and crazy, but our main social circle. 

I loved to read, dreamt of traveling, and quite honestly, didn’t have my family’s cynical outlook on life. So I never quite fit in. I always thought I was an optimist. Then I met my husband and realized I was only the least pessimistic of the people surrounding me. I loved to read (books were my escape) and loved to write (had so many stories in my head). I dreamt of one day being published and influencing/encouraging young hearts as writers like Tolkien, Lewis, L’Engle, and Cleary had done for mine.


M
y dad served 4 years in the air force. Since my family didn’t encourage college and I wanted to travel and do something different than minimum wage jobs, I joined the navy.

I trained as a weather observer/forecaster and was stationed all over (many years in Asia). I planned to get out and do something different every step of my service time. But marriage, kids, and life kept me reenlisting—for 24 years!

Finally I retired in 2010, two years after my husband, and we moved to Texas and built our what-we-could-afford-dream home.  It includes my own study with a great view, plenty of bookshelves and lots of space to spread out, research and write. 

Jill English Johnston’s Debut Experience


N
ovels take a long time to write, especially when learning how. After moving to Texas, the Lord provided me amazing encouragers and writer’s groups who helped me on my writing/learning journey. I’ve attended workshops and conferences and have written hundreds of thousands of words, but have only finished one novel (book one in a trilogy) and have several trilogies in various stages of completion.

With the appearance of Amazon and Create Space (now part of Kindle Direct Publishing), I decided to publish my own devotional. Two things motivated me.

  • One: I wanted to have something to sell at our writer’s group annual Christmas book sale and


  • Two: My husband, Jon T Johnston, is a hobby photographer and has thousands of pictures on his computer. In 2017, I combined our talents and designed and self published our first book in our Be Still series together, Praise: Proclaiming the Glory of God (based on verses in Psalms). I did it mainly because I could, for the experience and also to share my husband’s photographs with others. 

What’s up With Jill English Johnston now?


T
his past Christmas, we published our second book in the Be Still seriesWonder, Contemplating the Mysteries of God. It is based on verses in Isaiah. The book was even more fun than the first because we took a camping road trip so my husband could take the pictures while I wrote a devotional for each passage/photo. This year we’re working on the third book in the Be Still series, Explore. It will be aimed toward young people, with plenty of photographs of God’s creation and questions to inspire/encourage. 

I’m still working on my novels. I plan to soon send proposals to editors/agents for the one I’ve finished, Mists of Time (book one in the Time Trilogy). While I wait, I will continue to work on the second book, Echoes through Time and outline the third, Truths in Time.

Jill English Johnston

I also write devotionals for my blog, my church facebook page and my writer’s group annual Christmas Advent devotional. I teach on prayer and serve as prayer ministry leader at my church. This month I will facilitate a writer’s workshop, aimed at those wanting to explore the idea of writing and listening to the Lord’s leading/direction.

How to Find Jill English Johnston

Facebook 

Blog

Amazon

Goodreads

About Jill English Johnston

Jill English Johnston pours her heart and soul into writing both fiction and non fiction. Ever since childhood, she’s appreciated the power of story and is delighted God has finally brought her to the place where she, too, can put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, wings to words.

With her passion for prayer and prose and her husband’s love for capturing God’s glory in pictures, Jill English Johnston and Jon T Johnston, work together to create photo devotionals, the Be Still series.

They currently live in New Braunfels, Texas and spend their time writing/taking pictures of God’s creation, watching sunsets, kayaking, hiking, cycling and traveling to visit grandchildren, children, family and friends.

~ ~ ~
Dear Lord, You keep Your handprint ever before us. In Creation. Families. Love. Joy. And wonder. We praise You as the Origin of everything good. We pause to thank You for gifting writers with words and callings to write stories that lift You up and encourage others. Please bless each word Jill writes to Your glory.
~For Jesus’ sake

2 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Jill English Johnston

  1. Hey, gang. Jill is vacationing this week and won’t be able to reply until she returns. But please do comment. You’ll encourage both of us.

     
     
  2. SARAH TAYLOR

    Thank you Jill for your Service!

     
     

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Let’s Chat! Pat Nichols

Welcome, everyone!


Meet Pat Nichols, our guest author this week. Pat describes her first novel, The Secret of Willow Inn, as “contemporary women’s fiction with a touch of cozy mystery.”

Oooooo. Intriguing.

Pat is offering a print copy of The Secret of Willow Inn to someone who joins our conversation below. So gather ’round. Let’s encourage one another. 

Pat Nichols Before Writing

My life began in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois with two wonderful parents and later a sister. When I was in third grade we moved to Orlando, Florida, where years later I married Tim, my high-school-sweetheart.

When our son and daughter were toddlers, I became an Avon Representative to supplement our income. In 1978, following seven years as an independent representative, I was hired as a district sales manager. Three years later Avon promoted me to division sales manager and moved our family to Atlanta, Georgia. I spent the next twenty-four years in seven different management positions working with hundreds of amazing women throughout the US.

Tim and I retired the same day in 2005. We finished decorating our home and ticked off every item on our travel bucket list. Our favorite destination, Venice, Italy. During the next few years, I engaged in volunteer work, served on three boards, and spent time with our three grandchildren.

Pat Nichols, the Writer


T
he tragic loss of our God-daughter compelled me to write a story about her life, but with a happy ending. The experience watered a seed planted years earlier and launched career number two. Now I’m proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams or fulfill God’s calling.

How Pat Nichols Began as an Author

I’d heard it takes an average of ten years for an author to land a first publishing contract. Having begun my writing journey after becoming eligible for social security, I needed to shave as much off that time as possible. For three years, my time split between studying the craft, attending conferences, connecting with authors, and writing a second novel. I pitched those first two books to seven agents and publishers and received seven rejections.

One benefit that comes with age is the ability to view rejection and disappointment as opportunity. I took the feedback from those agents and publishers to heart and fleshed out a new idea. A series about two women, strangers from different backgrounds, and a convicted felon returning to the scene of her crime.

How Pat Nichols Grew as an Author


I
visualized the characters, the way they looked, their personalities and their history. Next came a decision about the settings. A small town struggling to survive and a big, bustling metropolis. Because I live thirty miles from downtown Atlanta, I chose it as the city. Although I’m old enough to remember slide rules, I’m grateful modern technology allows me to conduct research from my living room. Not that I don’t like to get out and about. It’s simply a more efficient use of time.

When it came to the second setting, I wanted to create a community I could conform to the story. It began with century-old storefronts facing a lakeside park and a block-long section graced with seven southern-style, antebellum homes. An abandoned hotel and historical general store completed the scene. It was time to breathe life into Emily, Rachel, and Sadie.

A Debut for Pat Nichols


F
our years after first typing Chapter One, I signed a contract with Guiding Light, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas imprint. The Secret of Willow Inn—book one in the Willow Falls Series releases January 10, 2019. Book two releases January, 2020.

The discipline, goal setting, and multi-tasking I learned during my corporate life is serving me well in my writing career. The biggest learning curve has been marketing and social media. Thank goodness I have grandchildren to answer my technical questions.  

What’s Next for Pat Nichols?

My goal is to publish at least ten books before God takes me home. My current work-in-progress is Willow Falls Series book three. Emily, Rachel, and Sadie have become so much a part of my life I sometimes want to invite them to dinner.

What’s next? Willow Falls book four, a possible rewrite of my first novel, and a Christmas novella. I thank God for planting the seed and opening the door to this wonderful, world of writing. I pray my journey will encourage others to follow their dreams and view age as a precious gift.

How to Find Pat Nichols

~ ~ ~

Dear Lord, Pat’s life story illustrates how You give Your children dreams and callings and set their feet on paths to reach them. We can see Your hand in Pat’s life and in her journey to publication. How faithful You are. Thank You for Your faithfulness to every generation. We pray You’ll bless each word she writes to Your glory.
~ For Jesus’ sake

 

23 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Pat Nichols

  1. Debbey

    Isn’t God great. I so enjoyed your “chat” and learning of your writing journey. I am looking forward to reading the Willow Falls series…all 10 of them! I agree with you, age is God’s gift to us. It is just a number. We can definitely do all things through Christ. By the way, I am in the midst of my 40th year teaching!

     
     
    1. Hi Debby,
      Wow, 40th year teaching. That’s awesome. My mother and sister were teachers and one of my corporate positions was trainer. So we have a lot in common. And you’re right, age is just a number. I hope you enjoy The Secret of Willow Inn.

       
       
  2. Tammy

    I totally enjoyed getting to know you. I live about 2 hours from Atlanta in North GA. This book sounds amazing. Thanks for the chance.

    Tighefan42atgmail dotcom

     
     
    1. Hi Tammy,
      I love north Georgia, which is why I created Willow Falls in that part of the state. I hope you enjoy the book. Perhaps our paths will cross one day.

       
       
  3. Sonnetta Jones

    I love how your goal is to write 10 books before God takes you home. I will be working on my vision board tomorrow and I am excited for what God will place on my heart and what the Holy Sprirt will prompt me to do tomorrow.

     
     
    1. Hi Sonnetta,
      Amazing things happen when we follow God’s nudging. He gives us strength we in our weaknesses.

       
       
  4. Lydia Rodruguez

    I am going to read your book sounds like I could also invite your characters for lunch . I especially like how I can feel your faith
    for God, keep writing and may God bless you .

     
     
    1. Hi Lydia,
      I’m delighted you plan to read The Secret of Willow Inn. Thank you for your encouragement and blessing, both mean a lot. I wish you well in all you do.

       
       
  5. Maryann

    It was wonderful getting to know Pat. Thank you for sharing a glimpse into both your writing and personal life. This sounds like a wonderful series with enjoyable characters. You brought back some memories as I remember how my late sister loved being an Avon lady too!

     
     
    1. Welcome, Maryann. Thanks for joining our circle.

       
       
    2. Hi Maryann,
      You’re welcome. I’ve enjoyed watching my characters develop through the first, second and now third book. I wonder if your sister’s path and mine crossed when she was an Avon lady? It’s possible, because I worked in 4 different divisions in 4 states during my career.

       
       
  6. Linda

    I bet I have met you in Atlanta at an Avon conference. I was in the Honor Society so I got to go to Atlanta several times! Looking forward to your books!

     
     
    1. What a neat connection, Linda. Great to welcome you to the circle.

       
       
    2. Oh my gosh, it’s quite possible we did meet. Honor Society, that’s awesome. I loved working with Avon representatives.

       
       
  7. Alison Boss

    Thank you, Pat, for sharing your writing journey with us! It is wonderful to see God work and see His plan unfold as we wait on Him. Though at times that waiting can be very hard, God proves Himself faithful time and time again! Your book, The Secret of Willow Inn, sounds very good!! I love a good mystery! Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book!! 🙂

     
     
    1. My pleasure, Alison and thank you for your insightful comments.

       
       
    2. Welcome, Alison. Amen. God does, indeed, prove Himself faithful. Thank you for commenting.

       
       
  8. Great to learn more about Pat and her writing journey. Thank you for the encouragement.

     
     
    1. Thank you for commenting, Melissa. I wish you much success on your journey.

       
       
    2. Welcome, Melissa. I agree. Pat’s message encourages. Thank you for joining our circle.

       
       
  9. Belinda

    Amen! What a beautiful inspiration!

     
     
    1. Thank you for commenting, Belinda. Blessings as you pursue your dreams.

       
       
    2. Yes. Both beautiful and inspiration apply to Pat. Thanks much for joining us, Belinda.

       
       

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