Monday, April 30, 2012

Introducing Sherri Wilson Johnson
To Dance Once More

To Dance Once More is the story of Lydia Jane Barrington, a Victorian debutante. Lydia lives on a plantation in Florida under the watchful eye of her father. She's quite an independent young lady who doesn't want to fall into the trap (as she sees it) that her mother and sisters have fallen into  - marriage and motherhood. She wants to travel the world and experience life before giving her heart to a man. One day, her eyes are opened to love and no matter what, she cannot forget the blissful feeling it causes. She begins to believe that love isn't such a bad thing after all. Then she discovers a secret that prohibits any of her dreams from coming true, She begins a quest to free herself and her family from a future in bondage. Hearts are broken and lives are torn apart because of Lydia's own selfishness. Will she surrender to a call that God placed on her life and be able to experience life after all? 

Welcome Sherri. I'm thrilled to introduce you Downunder. Tell us about yourself. I am from Georgia in the United States. I live northwest of Atlanta with my husband of twenty-four years, my two children and our two dogs. I love to write, read, eat ice-cream, ride roller coasters and make people laugh. I someday hope to pet a Bengal tiger and go skydiving. I love Jesus and hope to spread His love to the whole world through my writing.

I love a good romance. Tell us how you came to write this book. To Dance Once More is a story that joins together my love of the Victorian era, the beach, and pure romance. As a young adult, I began reading romances but they were not always clean reads. I've always loved to write and once I became convicted about reading books that were not appropriate, I knew I could never write such books. I wanted my writing to glorify the Lord and my reading had to as well. I wrote my first novel in 1985 but decided it was not good so I burned it in the fireplace. It wasn't until 1993 that I began writing again and that is when To Dance Once More was born. You sound like a kinderd spirit. We share a love of the beach, romance and the Victorian era. But more about that another day....

If you share a love of history like me, you must wish you could visit another era. I enjoy the Victorian times with the balls and courting and slow pace of things so much that I think I would enjoy living in that time. Men were proper and chivalrous then, and purity, although maybe not important to everyone, was at least the social norm. I am very passionate about waiting until marriage for sex and living in the Victorian times would make it easier on people to remain pure. That's exactly why I love that era. Values were upheld across society. 

What about real life travel? Have you been to Australia? I have not been to Australia but would love to visit, as long as I could hear the wonderful Aussie accents. I have always wanted to see the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, and Ayers Rock. And since my absolute favourite is playing in the ocean, I think I would like to crash around in your great waves. You will love it, when you finally get here. I will be your guide and show you some of those amazing beaches, with my very best Aussie accent.

How has writing this book changed you? I thought I knew a lot about writing because I had read so many novels. With the mistakes of my first novel taken into consideration, I thought I was an expert. After receiving rejection after rejection I decided to take a writing course. There I learned a great deal about not only writing novels but also about writing proposals. Eventually To Dance Once More was accepted for publication and that gave me the courage to complete my second and third novels. It taught me the importance of admitting my imperfections and how to improve them. It gave me the confidence to put myself out there for others to read. I'm so glad you persisted, Sherri. You surrendered to the call God placed on your heart, even through difficult times.

If you would like an e-copy of To Dance Once More, please leave a comment below and I will announce the winner on Friday.  In the meantime, please enjoy this excerpt.

April 6, 1886 

The warm sun beamed through the lace curtains covering the whitewashed windows of Lydia Jane Barrington’s bedchamber. Her home at Live Oaks Plantation sat on the outskirts of Gulf Resort, Florida, a modern, bustling port. Outside, the mourning doves cooed, and the bushy-tailed squirrels scampered about the lawn. Chickens clucked while they pecked at the ground eagerly gathering corn kernels. In the distance, cows mooed, waiting for the farm hand to milk them, unaware that summer waited patiently for its chance to scorch the land. A salty breeze blew across Lydia’s porcelain face and called her from her deep slumber. Her curtains rose with the breeze and jerked down quickly, slamming back against the windowsill. She stretched with a yawn, and as morning nudged her, languorously she opened her eyes. She slid from her bed, cast the covers onto the floor, and sauntered across the sun-drenched room. Her crystal blue eyes sparkled like the sun on the ocean in the morning. Her hair, an auburn-colored cascading waterfall, was a gift from her mother’s side of the family. She went to the window and, pushing back the curtains, looked out at the plantation. The moss-draped live oaks and the towering cypress trees painted shadow puppets on the ground. The sun shone on the land as far as Lydia could see. 

Lydia put on the pastel-blue cotton dress her Aunt Rebecca had made for her, then gazed out her window and drank in the scenery. As a child, she had stared out this same window and dreamed, like most young girls, about being the lady of her own manor with many children. However, over the past year, during moments like this, she wondered what else the world had to offer beyond what her eyes could see, away from this vast estate. She did not want to be like all the women she knew who seemingly disappeared in the shadows of their husbands. She feared most of all a betrothal to someone whom her father chose for her; forced into a loveless relationship simply to increase her father’s money pouch. To her, that was nothing more than slavery, and slavery no longer existed, thanks to the Civil War.  She wanted to travel and see the entire world, not simply entertain guests who had come from exotic locations around the world. 

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