Coffee with Sherri Wilson Johnson

Meeting new-to-me authors is always a joy and if you have been following me for any length of time, you know there have been several new authors on Back Porch Reads. Today, I have Sherri Wilson Johnson visiting to talk about about her new book, Offshore Ambush, and what inspired the story as well as any advice she might have for aspiring writers.

Welcome to Back Porch Reads, Sherri! Thank you for joining me. It is nice to have the opportunity to chat with you and hear about your writing journey.

What inspired you to start writing?

I don’t really know what initially inspired me to write because it seems like from the time I was eight years old, I loved telling stories, loved reading books, and wanted to fill my every waking moment with adventure that came through imagining other worlds.

So, how long have you been writing?

I first decided to try my hand at novel writing when I was eighteen years old. I wrote a full 500-page novel on a typewriter and then burned it in the fireplace when I decided it wasn’t any good. It really wasn’t. I wrote my second “first” novel after I was married and had my first baby. That was in 1993, and I worked on it until it was published in 2011. So it seems like my life has always been about writing.

I must confess, my heart sank at your admitting to burning that first novel, but I understand. The first of anything is rarely good.

I have several readers who would like to write a novel one day, what advice would you give a new writer or someone just starting out?

Get started! Lots of people say that one day they want to write a book. I say there’s no reason to wait. Start reading books in the genre you want to write in. Read books on the writing craft. Meet other writers by joining a group. Do everything you can do to get moving because it takes time to write a book, and there’s no time like the present.

I agree 100%. What is the most difficult part about writing for you?

Editing the final manuscript. I usually edit each chapter as I go along, but then when the book is finished, I always dread going through the book as a whole.

I can agree with that feeling. Once you push send, there is no going back. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I like to listen to instrumental movie tracks from movies like Inception, Braveheart, The Last Samurai, and Gladiator while I’m writing. Anything that feels dramatic and causes me to feel it in my chest. It tunes out the house noises and shifts my left-brain tendencies into right-brain creativity.

And those movie soundtracks can definitely drive your creativity.

So, let’s talk about Offshore Ambush

What was the inspiration for the story?

Offshore Ambush first came into my dreams while sitting on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama with my husband. We kept looking out at the horizon trying to figure out what the ships or buildings were that popped up all over the place. A little research revealed that they were oil and gas platforms. That sparked a year-long hunt for more information and from there, the story blossomed.

What is the key theme and/or message in the book?

Offshore Ambush is about second chances. For Everett and Gretchen, it’s actually their third chance at love. The story also expresses the importance of learning to trust and lean on the support of others. They are dealing with the death of someone they love deeply, so they have to draw from deep within themselves to hold it all together and avoid ripping each other apart.

The story sounds interesting. I know many readers will enjoy Offshore Ambush.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

Offshore Ambush is my fourteenth book, but my favorite book is probably Desolate Escape, which is the first book in this series. I also love Endangered Refuge because it’s about saving Bengal tigers that are being trafficked. Tigers are my favorite wild animals, and it was a lot of fun to write that book. This series, Jeopardized Reunions, has been the most fun of all my series.

What is the most surprising thing you discovered while writing your book(s)?

All the books in this series are set in and around the Mobile Bay area in Alabama. I found that the ideas for more stories kept flowing and flowing while doing my research. I was surprised that I didn’t run out of ideas in this six-book series. While I think Offshore Ambush is the last book in the series, I may write more one day. Each book can be read in any order. Some characters pop in and out of all the stories. So the possibilities really are endless for more stories in the future.

I always tell people that once the beast is let out of the cage (in regards to the domino effect of writing creativity), it’s hard to stop.

Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share?

I am currently contemplating switching the genre I write in, but I’m keeping it a secret for now until I decide. I’m reading books in that genre and trying to learn about it as much as I can. I’ve been writing suspense for so long, I’m not sure if I can switch. But I’m itching to try.

Making those kind of changes can be fun and scarry. I pray it turns out the way you hope. 

Thank you again, Sherri, for joining me today. I hope this tour blesses you. I look forward to seeing more from you. 

Readers, please be sure to keep reading and enter the giveaway. 

About the Book

Book: Offshore Ambush

Author: Sherri Wilson Johnson

Genre: Christian Romantic Suspense (contemporary)

Release Date: January 9, 2024

Sometimes people aren’t who you think they are.

Gretchen Overton’s world is shattered when someone murders her brother on a remote offshore platform in the Gulf of Mexico. As medicolegal death investigator for Baldwin County, Alabama, she vows to uncover the truth and bring the killer to justice. But little does she know, her path to finding answers requires the help of Everett Forrester, the rig’s Drilling Foreman and her ex-boyfriend.

While tensions rise and the body count increases, danger lurks around every corner…and it becomes clear that someone is determined to eliminate Gretchen and Everett before they uncover the truth.

Can they untangle the web of deception and expose the killer before everything rips them apart again?

 

Click here to get your copy!

 

About the Author

Sherri Wilson Johnson is a Christian romantic suspense author and lover of all things book related. She’s always been a sucker for a good love story—whether it’s in real life or fiction (both historical and contemporary). Completing her first novel at the age of eighteen, and later burning the only copy in the fireplace, she continued learning the craft of writing and now writes Contemporary Romantic Suspense and Historical Romance with a splash of suspense and/or mystery. When not writing, she’s usually assisting other publishing professionals or helping authors realize their dreams of becoming published. Sherri and her husband are empty-nesters and live in Georgia with their two dogs. She loves spending time with family, vacationing at the beach, curling up with a good book or working on her current work-in-progress. She dreams of a second home on some beach somewhere someday, where she can plot and write romantically suspenseful novels.

More from Sherri

The idea for Offshore Ambush came from my annual visits to the Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan, Alabama area. Just like how the idea for Desolate Escape (book one in my Jeopardized Reunions series) came about while sitting on the deserted beach at the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge where I imagined someone discovering a dead body on the beach, discovering the oil and gas platforms out in the Gulf but not knowing what they were sparked my creative juices. So I began researching what these were while eating dinner on the screened-in porch that viewed Mobile Bay where we were staying (across the street from the beach). When I discovered that they were drilling platforms, my husband and I started brainstorming. Yes, Dan is one of my biggest brainstorming resources, for lack of a better word. He always titles my books for me, always listens daily as I fill him in on what I’ve written, and never fails to cheer me on when I’m dreaming up the next book or series idea.

 

I had planned to end the series (for now) with one final book that reached beyond what I’d written before. Since this series has been set on Mobile Bay and the beaches surrounding the Bon Secour Wildlife Refuge plus some of the rivers that flow into the bay, I felt like it would only be fitting to venture out into the ocean. So the first half is set on the Lapis Lazuli oil platform, then the rest is set in Gulf Shores.

 

Now for an interesting story about how I named the Lapis Lazuli…

I’ve been reading the Bible all the way through this year, this time in chronological order. Because I’m a slow reader, I use a Bible app and let the British narrator read it to me. I follow along in my Bible and make notes or underline verses that touch me. Well, in at least two handfuls of places in the Old Testament the stone lapis lazuli is mentioned, and every time the British narrator pronounced it, it made me smile. I don’t know why, but it did. So when I did a search on what it was and found out that it was this gorgeous deep blue (which happens to be one of my favorite colors), I suddenly felt compelled to name the oil platform the Lapis Lazuli.

 

Exodus 24 talks about Moses and Aaron and the elders going up the mountain where they saw the God of Israel. Verse 10 says: “Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky.” Can’t you just see it?!

 

It’s mentioned that the priestly garments had lapis lazuli in the breastpiece. And in Song of Songs chapter five, the woman describes her beloved as this:

His arms are rods of gold
set with topaz.
His body is like polished ivory
decorated with lapis lazuli.

Okay, so now I’m in the mood for a good love story. How about you? 

Offshore Ambush is another one of my second chance romantic suspense stories that reminds me of how God is the God of second chances, forgiveness, and unconditional love. I hope you will find this story to be as inspiring to read—and yet thrilling due to all the danger our hero and heroine find themselves in—as I did while writing it.

Blog Stops

Locks, Hooks and Books, March 22

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, March 23

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, March 24 (Author Interview)

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, March 24

Texas Book-aholic, March 25

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, March 26

Fiction Book Lover, March 27 (Author Interview)

Blogging With Carol, March 28

Betti Mace, March 29

Back Porch Reads, March 30 (Author Interview)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, March 31

Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, April 1

Blossoms and Blessings, April 2 (Author Interview)

An Author’s Take, April 2

For Him and My Family, April 3

Life on Chickadee Lane, April 4

Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Sherri is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a paperback of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

4 Comments

  1. debbiejpruss

    Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you. Happy Easter

  2. bn100

    intriguing

  3. Roxanne C.

    I enjoyed reading the interview and learning more about the author. I like the second chance theme of Offshore Ambush.

  4. antoinettem2

    Great interview! This sounds like an awesome read!