Many authors take on the enormous task of transporting us back to a simpler time in life. Johnson does an impeccable job of establishing her characters in a time period that many of us today would be far from understanding. “The Sweetest Rain” takes the reader back in time to 1930 Arkansas. In the town of Eden, a young girl named Bryony and her dearly beloved sisters are living on a cotton farm with their loving grandfather. Times are hard and drought is plenty. Yet, the spirit of the young girls and the perseverance of their grandfather shines throughout the story.
Myra Johnson has enthralled readers in weaving history into her novels such as with her previous novel, “Til We Meet Again,” set in WW1. Her love of historical romance shines as she takes the reader right into the lives of her characters. Although she has never lived in Arkansas, Johnson has vacationed there frequently and adores the glorious landscapes of the Natural State. Johnson has researched her settings, taking note of the severe drought in 1930-31 in Arkansas. The Great Depression is a backdrop to this story as well, which serves to underscore the desperation of the time.
In “The Sweetest Rain”, Bryony and her sisters pull the reader into the struggles and emotions of the time. Johnson describes the hero of the story, Michael Heath, as her most intriguing. His inner strength shines when he is called to action. Although his family dynamics lead him into personal turmoil, his kindness is evident as the story flows. In developing her characters, Johnson does a superb job of expressing war’s more” emotional and physical wounds.”Johnson’s writing career began when she was a student at ICL, enrolling in its Writing for Children and Teenagers course. Eventually working her way up to instructor, she assisted other writers in honing their craft while also reinforcing her own. Years later, she took the next step and decided to focus on her own novels. Her very first book contract was signed in 2008.
Johnson’s writing career began when she was a student at ICL, enrolling in its Writing for Children and Teenagers course. Eventually working her way up to instructor, she assisted other writers in honing their craft while also reinforcing her own. Years later, she took the next step and decided to focus on her own novels. Her very first book contract was signed in 2008.
Johnson’s motivation for writing comes from her simple love of stories. As a Christian, her faith in God and His calling for her to write has been a perfect fit. God put it in her heart as a young girl to write. His provisions and assurance always were given at the right times in her life. During my interview with Myra, she recalled a personal experience she had when she was at a particularly discouraging point in her career. “I’d experienced so many close calls with my submissions but just couldn’t break through the publishing barrier. My hopes were at an all-time low, and I was ready to give up. Then in an extremely vivid dream, I sensed God telling me through words and imagery that being a writer was an essential aspect of who God had created me to be, so much that if I gave it up, I would be like a body without a skeleton. Not long after that dream, things started falling into place in my writing life, and eight years later I’m humbled and amazed to have more than a dozen books in print.”
Johnson encourages other Christians with the call to write to take the leap of faith. She uses the example of Jesus and his parables to show the importance of storytelling as an effective way to impart truth and spread the Good News. She notes how Christian fiction has expanded greatly over the years, including all genres. She advises that all writers interested in Christian fiction be avid readers and to try and find a genre that fits. Joining writers groups and reading books on writing are also important tips from Johnson. She belongs to a group blog, http://seekerville.blogspot.com/ where writers “hang out” and encourage one another.
Johnson’s books may typically have a romantic focus, but she points out that the characters have strong influences from family, jobs, friendships and other factors. She does an excellent job of portraying forgiveness, reconciliation and hope within the family structure. Another theme in Johnson’s books is the acknowledgement that every human being is “a beloved creation of God.”
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today….The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:13-14 (NIV).
Myra Johnson’s latest novel, “The Sweetest Rain”, published by Franciscan Media (formerly St. Anthony Messenger Press) is available at Franciscan Media.