By day Liz Johnson is a marketing manager. She makes time to write late at night—that’s when she thinks best anyway. Liz is the author of more than a dozen novels, a New York Times bestselling novella, and a handful of short stories. She’s a Christy Award finalist and a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. She makes her home in Phoenix, Arizona, where she enjoys exploring local music, theater, and doting on her nieces and nephews. She writes stories of true love filled with heart, humor, and happily ever afters.
How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first short story when I was seven and signed my first book contract when I was 27. In those years I kept writing and writing. I wrote my first novel when I was twelve, and it was a terrible western romance. I continued writing stories throughout high school and tried my hand at another novel in college. It was also really terrible. But I kept taking classes and learning and growing as a writer. And then when I was twenty-five I told a friend of mine about a book idea I had. She told me to set up a writing calendar, and then she checked with me every day to make sure I’d written the night before. That book—after many rounds of revisions—became my first published novel, The Kidnapping of Kenzie Thorn.
Why do you write?
Writing is a necessity for me. If I go too long without writing, the voices in my head start getting rowdy.
What’s the hardest thing about writing?
Overcoming distractions and fear. Like the dog who sees a squirrel, I’m easily distracted by interesting things. A new bit of research. A funny video. Pictures on Facebook. Pushing the distractions aside is hard but an essential part of writing. And the same is true of silencing the voices of doubt that I hear every time I sit down to start a new chapter. It’s easier to listen to that fear than it is to tell it it’s wrong and trust that you have an important message to share.
How long does it take you to write a book?
Every book is different, and I give myself enough time to write each one to the best of my ability. But my last couple Love Inspired Suspense books have each taken me about three months to finish.
What do you like to read?
I love to read just about anything I can get my hands on! Lately I’ve been reading a lot of Regency era romances by authors like Julie Klassen. I also love westerns by Karen Witemeyer and Regina Jennings. Sandra Orchard is a favorite in the romantic suspense genre. I also love general market favorites like The Princess Bride, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I wish I had more time to read, as there are so many good books releasing every day. But if I read as much I’d like to, then I’d never write!
What’s the best advice you have for aspiring writers?
Finish your manuscript. It’s hard work. It takes a long time, but there’s nothing like writing your first manuscript to practice writing. One of the best ways to get better at writing is by writing. So get your seat in a chair and your fingers on a keyboard (or pencil to paper) and get writing.
Is it true you once worked at Walt Disney World?
That is true.
What was it like?
It was the hardest job I’ve ever loved. There’s something amazingly wonderful about taking personal responsibility for giving every guest a great day.
What’s your least favorite household chore?
Getting my car cleaned. I’m terrified of being stuck in the carwash, so I avoid it at all costs.
What’s your favorite food?
My dad’s hamburgers. They’re always perfect and so tasty.