Thursday, December 30, 2010

Award-winning author Myra Johnson writes what she likes to call “romantic women’s fiction”—emotionally gripping stories about love, life, and faith. Her first novel, One Imperfect Christmas, debuted from Abingdon Press in September 2009. She also writes for Barbour’s Heartsong Presents line. Her romance Autumn Rains (November 2009) was named a 2010 finalist in the Short Contemporary Romance category of the prestigious ACFW Carol Awards. Married since 1972, Myra and her husband are the proud parents of two beautiful daughters who, along with their godly husbands, have huge hearts for ministry. Four rambunctious grandsons and one precious granddaughter take up another big chunk of Myra’s heart. She and her husband now share their home with two lovable dogs and a snobby parakeet. Myra writes full-time and is active in her church as well as local and national writers groups.

We’re focusing on Christmas all this month! What do you most associate with Christmas where you live?

A special part of Christmas in our city is a large church and Bible college that every year puts up thousands and thousands of Christmas lights and displays all across their campus. You can drive through, or (weather permitting) park and walk through. It’s like a fairyland of color, music, and light—wonderful for getting into the Christmas spirit!

Do you have any special family traditions you do at Christmas time?

We usually attend Christmas Eve worship at our church, and then afterward drive through the neighborhoods to enjoy the Christmas lights. On Christmas morning, the rule is that we eat breakfast first (I usually make cranberry-orange scones), and then open gifts. And the doggies always open theirs first!

Do you have a favorite Christmas Carol and if so do you know why?

My favorite carol isn’t one of the more familiar ones. It’s called “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” a gentle, melodious song that speaks of God’s love for us in Christ even before the world was created.

If you could spend Christmas any way you could how would you celebrate?

I’d always have my children and grandchildren with me. One of our daughters loves winter and would much prefer a white Christmas, but personally, I wouldn’t mind having Christmas in Hawaii or some other warm, pleasant tropical locale!

Do you have any special memories of Christmas?

When our kids were young, every year after opening gifts we’d write, stage, and videotape our very own homemade Christmas movie. The first one we did was a comedic takeoff of “A Christmas Carol.” Another year we did a parody of “The Nutcracker Suite.” Twenty years later I still have all the videos. Such fun to watch and reminisce!

What does a typical Christmas Eve and or Christmas Day look like for you?

My husband and I both sing in the church choir, so we usually participate in a Christmas Eve service, then, as I mentioned earlier, drive around town and look at lights. On Christmas morning after breakfast, we open gifts and then relax with coffee and the morning paper. I try to keep the meal planning simple—who wants to slave away in the kitchen on Christmas Day??? We spend the day “playing” with our new “toys,” just hanging out with family, napping, taking a walk with the dogs, or whatever we feel like. It’s a very laid-back, special time with loved ones.

Do you have any Christmas movies or Christmas books you like to see or read each year?

We try to watch White Christmas every year. It’s a family favorite. Our little granddaughter has seen it so many times now that she can perform just about every song and even some dance moves by memory!

Tell us a little about your book:

Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life. For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened. Worse, she’s allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves—most of all her husband, Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she’s one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.

Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit’s end. Nothing he’s done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa’s adolescent rebellion isn’t helping matters. As Daniel’s hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.

Where did you get the idea for ONE IMPERFECT CHRISTMAS?

The idea started percolating after watching several sentimental made-for-TV Christmas movies one year. I decided I wanted to write a Christmas story of my own and started playing the “what if” game. I imagined a woman who was dreading Christmas because of a family tragedy and how it might alienate her from the people she loved most.

Do you have a Christmas message for my readers?

Through all the hustle and bustle, all the shopping, parties, and family squabbles, through every joy and disappointment, never forget the “reason for the season”—Jesus Christ came to earth so that we might know the immeasurable love of God!

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  1. Oh, girls, you KNOW how I love being first! I brought fresh coffee and hot chocolate too, in case any outdoor revelers come stopping in to say "hi".

    Myra and Elizabeth, what a beautiful interview for Christmas week. Now I must drink eggnog in your honor and enjoy my Christmas lights for a few more days. I always hate to take them down because Januarys are dark in Western New York, and they seem darker still when all the Christmas lights fade to none by January 6th, "Little Christmas".

    But I DO keep candles in all my windows, lit all night, to commemorate the light of Christ unto the world and to welcome people home.

    I love light.

    Lovely, lovely post!

  2. Oh, my. I so miss the lights of RHEMA Bible College. They so marked the season!!!

  3. HI Myra, Loved this interview. It so fits in with the season.

    I also loved Imperfect Christmas. Anyone out there who hasn't read it are in for a treat. Its a terrific read any time of the year.

    Thanks for the coffee and chocolate Ruthy. Made my morning.

    Myra, have a wonderful new year.

  4. Hi Myra:

    I’ve read all your books except the last one. The type is just too small for me. Do you think your publisher will come out with eBooks? I hope so.

    Also, do you think you will do another Christmas book? They are my favorites.


  5. Gotta get a copy of this one....sounds fantastic.

  6. Love this interview. My Christmas season was a little interrupted this year, definitely not perfect. I am so glad the 12 days of Christmas stretches things out.

    I hope you had a blessed Christmas and your new year will be full of interesting surprises and successes.

    Peace, Julie

  7. I do love talking about Christmas, but I have to admit that 've never heard of that song you mention.

    Hope you had a great Christmas. Loved your book, "One Imperfect Christmas."

  8. Thanks to everyone for the sweet comments! Sorry for being AWOL but I've been waylaid by a vicious tummy bug. Elizabeth, I so appreciate your having me this week!


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