Thursday, January 23, 2014

Celebrating Susan Diane Johnson with a few Q&A's...and a Giveaway!

Come join us as we celebrate the release of our own Suzie Johnson's latest book, True North! (It's officially out tomorrow, so this will whet your appetite!) Isn't the title wonderful?

First, a bit about Suzie:

Suzie Johnson is the author of two contemporary inspirational novels, True North, and No Substitute. Both books are written under the name Susan Diane Johnson and published by The Pelican Book Group. Sweet Mountain Music, her third novel and first historical, written as Suzie Johnson, will be released in May from WhiteFire Publishing. Suzie and her husband are the parents of a wonderful son, and they live on an island in the Pacific Northwest with their naughty little cat. Suzie believes her island is the perfect spot for writing romantic fiction. You can visit her website at
Here's a bit about True North:

Desperate to save her marriage after tragedy has torn them apart, Lisa Kendall hopes to restore it by unexpectedly showing up on an Alaskan cruise ship where her husband, Joe, hoped he'd be alone. As Lisa tries to get through to Joe, she realizes God has been trying to get through to her.

Susanne had a few Q's for Suzie:
The story takes place (or part of it takes place) on a cruise ship. So let's dish about that! Have you cruised to Alaska? How did you research the cruise?
No, I’ve never been on a cruise ship at all. My husband and I wanted to go on an Alaskan cruise for our 30th anniversary, but it didn’t work out. Hopefully we can try for our 35th. I did a lot of research for this book. A. Lot! I collected all kinds of books and brochures for Alaskan cruises. I watched DVDs and several travel shows. I know exactly which ship I want to go on, and I have all of my side trips planned out. In fact, one of the things I want to do is go up in a helicopter (yes, I’m afraid to fly, but that’s beside the point), land on a glacier, and sled down. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Totally, YES! Where would you cruise if you could go anywhere you wished?
I mentioned watching those travel shows and DVDs. One of them was on a cruise that left from Spain, and cruised around the Mediterranean, visiting Greece, France, and Italy. Oh. My. Dream!
Ok, I could definitely come on that cruise with you. Sounds delightful. Ahh... But the cruise in your story isn't all fun and games. Joe and Lisa are struggling in their marriage. As an author, did you find yourself taking sides in their relationship?
No. In fact, I never thought about it until you asked me. When I was writing Joe, I was totally in his character. When I was writing Lisa, I was totally in her character. I cried a lot while writing this book.
Embodying the characters really makes them come alive, so I commend you! What role does God play in Joe and Lisa's lives? If so, at the beginning of the book, how do they reconcile their faith with their son's death?
Losing a child is huge. I don’t know that we will ever understand why tragedies happen. We are helpless when they do. All we can do is pray our way through it, keep our eyes fixed on God, and trust him to guide us through when terrible things happen. I hope I have been able to portray two people who are able to do this, and who can grow spiritually in the midst of their grief.
Lisa sounds pretty spunky, chasing Joe down on the cruise he wanted to take alone. What is your favorite thing about Lisa?
The fact that she puts aside some of her biggest fears to do whatever she can to reach out to Joe. 
She really shows courage, a trait I admire! On another note, as a kid, I visited Sea World 1-2 times a year, so I have seen a lot of Killer Whale Shows in my time. Amazing animals. I love the orca on the cover. So tell me, where you live in WA state, do you see many killer whales?
I love that cover so much. I’ve only seen the orcas in the Sound once, on a whale watching trip with my son. And we were getting fairly close to Canada when we saw them. I’ve seen gray whales here, twice.
The interesting (and sad) thing about your question is that Keiko, the whale who was featured in Free Willy, was captured in the cove down the hill from the house I lived in as a teenager. I spent almost every day at that beach and never even heard about this horrible whale hunt. And I never saw whales there because they never came back to the cove until a couple of years ago. And I missed them both times.
That is so sad about Keiko! Wow. I remember the press he received (and that makes me think of that recent documentary, "Black Fish:" about Sea World's orcas. But that's a post for another day.) What are you working on now?
I’m working on a contemporary about a single father and a reluctant nanny. I’m also working on a series of three historical novels. The first one in the series is set in 1901.
 Thank you, Suzie! And congratulations! We can't wait for your big release tomorrow.
Suzie has generously offered to give away a copy of True North to a lucky commenter. Please leave a comment by 11:59 pm Jan 31, eastern time, to be entered!


  1. Suzie, congrats on the release of True North! And on the newest book coming out soon. Boy - when your career took off, it took off! SO proud of you and the great writing you're doing.

    1. Thank you, Stacy! I can't wait for your book to come out.

    2. Hi Stacy! Yes, Suzie is doing some fabulous writing. She's such an amazing person.

      So glad you could come by today. You're entered into the drawing!

  2. I'm so excited for you, Suzie! And I'm SO impressed with your ability to get so much writing done and work as much as you do at a "regular" job, too! One of these days you're going to have to let us in on your secrets to productivity!

    1. Thank you, Stacy. I have no secrets, just insomnia, lol.

    2. Insomnia doesn't seem to affect you the way it does me, Suzie, LOL. Your creativity is a gift.

    3. Sorry Niki. I called you Stacy by accident. I'm a dork. :)

      Susie, that's how the insomnia affects me - in dorkiness. ;)

    4. No worries. I sent a crit to the wrong member of my crit group... well, it was the right crit, but I addressed it to the wrong person in the email. *blush* I chalked it up to hormones...

    5. Lol, Niki. At least you have a good reason. :)

  3. Loved the interveiw. Looking forward to those new books, Suz, especially the historicals!

    Congratulations again on this one. :)

    1. I'm looking forward to the historical, too, DeAnna. Can't wait!

    2. Thank you, DeAnna! For you and Susie, I'm not sure my historical is in your eras. But, I think it's kind of fun. :)

    3. Well, Suzie, if it's between 1215 and 1945, it probably would interest me. :D

  4. Susie, that title just came to me in a flash. It was originally written with a different title, which was always the working title. I knew I wanted a different title, and couldn't come up with an appropriate one. Then it just came to me. In an instant. And it goes so perfectly with my theme. "Keep your eyes on God." He's our True North! And it goes with the Alaskan setting. Too perfect.

  5. Oh, PS, Susie, yes, that Keiko incident was so sad. From beginning to end. It makes my stomach hurt.

  6. I've been to Alaska several times (I used to live in the Yukon) and I've been on a few smaller vessels (ferries and such) so I know how gorgeous this area is. Sounds like a fun book

  7. Wow, Tracy, nice! I do hope to get there someday. Every once in a while, my dad and I talk about just driving on the ferry and riding it from Seattle to Alaska and back. My husband isn't sure that would be much fun. ;) Thank you for stopping by!

  8. a wonderful posting...thanks for the chance to read this story ;)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  9. Suzie, makes me want to take the Alaskan cruise. We've done a few in the Caribbean and "The Foot Steps of Paul" cruise in the Mediterranean. A cool idea for your setting. Love your title.

    1. Oh, Zoe, that's awesome. I'm glad you had that opportunity. And thank you! :)

  10. I'm glad we didn't have food to serve because I would have missed it all showing up a day late!

    loved the interview! And will no doubt love the book. I don't know how SOME PEOPLE get so many stories done while working (one or two) jobs and taking care of a home and hubby...
    Congratulations, Suzie!
    sadly the idea of an Alaska Cruise does nothing for me at the moment... except that it's supposedly warmer in some parts of Alaska than it is in many of the northern states!

    I think I'll dream about that Mediterranean Cruise instead!

    thanks ladies!

    1. I was kind of hungry yesterday, Deb. I got so hungry waiting for you that I ate cake at ten pm last night.

      I'm cold, too, and I think a visit to the Mediterranean would be perfect about now.


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