The strong sense of place imbedded in my Misty Willow Series comes from all the childhood moments, those forgotten and those I will never forget, that made up my life on a central Ohio farm.
We moved there when I seven or eight, living first in the upstairs apartment of a ramshackle farm house that had once been an inn and probably a station on the Underground Railroad. Before long, we moved downstairs and then we moved about a mile or so down the road to The Little House on the Curve.
It’s true. Like Laura Ingalls, we lived in our own series of houses with simple names.
From here we moved to The House on the Hill and then to The Brick, the nineteenth century house that inspired the series.
Small details from those years strengthen the setting so that it becomes very real. For example, we had a circle of stones arranged beneath an old shade tree where we roasted hot dogs and marshmallows, grilled hamburgers, and buried foil-wrapped potatoes within the coals.
My dad often found arrowheads, ancient relics of a long-gone civilization, as he worked the fields.
We didn’t eat out often but when we did, it was usually at The Dixie Diner. In the days before Pizza Hut and Dominos set up in our nearby town, we ordered from King Karl’s Pizza. Whoever made the drive to pick it up got the privilege of eating the piping hot corner piece of the square-cut pizza. I often volunteered.
These are just a few of the memories I snuck into the Misty Willow stories. It’s a fictional place, but very real to me.
Johnnie Alexander is a wannabe vagabond with a heart for making memories. While relaxing on her Sunshine State patio with her dogs Rugby and Griff, she writes stories that tug at your heartstrings. She has won the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Genesis Contest (Historical) and several conference awards. Her popular debut novel, Where Treasure Hides, a CBA bestseller, has been translated into Dutch and Norwegian.
Please leave a comment—perhaps share a brief childhood memory—to enter the giveaway for a copy of What Hope Remembers. A U.S. winner may select either a print or ebook edition; an ebook edition will be given to an international winner. Thanks for participating!
About What Hope Remembers: When Amy Somers loses her job as a lobbyist, she moves to Misty Willow, well aware that she’s crossing bridges she’d burned years before. With all the mistakes she’s made and the uncaring things she’s done–even to her own family–she can hardly believe that happiness will find her, especially when Gabe Kendall, her first crush and her first kiss, rides back into her life atop a buckskin mare.
A former Marine, Gabe is at loose ends after serving a prison sentence for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He sees beyond Amy’s hard exterior to the girl he once knew and loved, and he longs to see her open her heart. Yet with his vision clouded by shame for his past and fears about the future, he finds it difficult to see the path ahead.
But the memory of that long-ago kiss just may have the power to reignite a romance that brings out the best in both of them.
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Find out more about Johnnie Alexander: http://www.johnnie-alexander.com