Tara Johnson is our guest author this week. Tara writes historical romance. Tyndale House Publishers recently released Tara’s debut novel, Engraved on the Heart.
Tara is offering a copy of Engraved on the Heart in either print or digital form to someone who comments below. So join the chat, ya’ll!
Tara Johnson Before Authoring
I’m a preacher’s kid from Arkansas. I love to travel to churches, ladies retreats and prisons to share how God led me into freedom after spending years living shackled as a people-pleaser. (Click to Tweet!) But that’s a whole other story…
I was always in love with books and story worlds growing up, but my passion was music. When I signed with a small Christian record and management label, I thought I had God’s plans for my life all figured out.
Several years ago, I was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a disorder that keeps the stomach from pumping. It’s a vagus nerve problem which involves pain, nausea, esophagus spasms, reflux and a host of other issues. This nerve dysfunction has now progressed into my larynx. In short, I am losing my ability to sing.
When He began whispering hints of change, I was confused. The plans that seemed so certain to me suddenly shifted and I was reminded of this important truth…the more you build your identity on something other than Christ, the greater the pain when that identity crumbles. (Click to Tweet!)
A Change of Directions
So, I began to write out my thoughts on a blog. A way to express myself on the days when I couldn’t find my voice. God showed me a great creative beauty in writing. I fell in love with it. As I began to immerse myself in the craft, I learned professionals call an author’s unique way of writing the author’s “voice”.
Letting Go of the Old
Sometimes we cling with white knuckles to our own plans so tightly, we fail to realize God is trying to give us something far better. But in order to receive it, we must relinquish our hold on the old before we can receive the new. (Click to Tweet!)
God may heal my singing voice. He may not. Either way, I’m content. I’m happy. God never takes away without giving something better in return. I have a voice, and I’ll use it for Him as long as He gives me breath.
Because you can have a voice and still not have a voice.
Tara Johnson: A Debut Experience
Several years ago, I signed with the remarkably talented literary agent Janet Grant of Books & Such Literary Agency and my debut novel Engraved on the Heart was just released by Tyndale House Publishers. During each of the milestones—signing the contracts, holding that first book in my hands—-I felt equal parts wonder, gratitude and terror.
It’s a very vulnerable thing to put a piece of your heart out there for the world to see. I particularly wrote a lot of my own struggles into the heroine Keziah. She struggles with epilepsy, people-pleasing and feelings of worth, all during the backdrop of the Civil War.
What’s up with Tara Johnson now?
I just turned in edits on my next story, set to release during the summer of 2019. Where Dandelions Bloom focuses on the life of a heroic young woman during the Civil War who fled abuse at home only to find herself in the middle of our nation’s greatest conflict.
History is crammed full of larger-than-life characters. Doc Holliday, Annie Oakley, Helen Keller, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Amelia Earhart and Frederick Douglass are just a few examples of flawed, wounded humans who battled their demons with determination and left an indelible mark on the pages of history. I suppose that’s why people are so fascinating.
Insight from Tara Johnson
No matter the era, we all battle the same wounds. Abandonment, abusive fathers, overprotective mothers, loss, grief, rejection, addiction, crippling anxiety, loneliness, or the yearning for unconditional love, to name a few. We all battle the same junk and have to decide whether to fight or cave. Run or stand. Cry or smile. That’s what great characters do. They are a reflection of our struggles, our own wounds. Our own need. And, when written well, they remind us to Whom we need to turn for healing.
How to Find Tara Johnson
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Lord, how You surprise us! Your ways aren’t our ways, so what do we expect? You’ve woven unexpected threads into Tara’s life and handed her a pen and a keyboard to write stories rooted in her unexpected journey. We praise You, Rapha God, for Your healing touch.
Please bless each word Tara writes for You.
~ For Jesus’ sake ~