Interview with Theresa Harvard Johnson

What is your writing process?
I generally write by inspiration. As a charismatic believer of Christ, it is my desire to write by the guidance of Holy Spirit... always having God's love in my heart. I often awake from my sleep writing or find myself receiving streams of information throughout the day that I record or jot down. Then, when time permits I pull that information together. So, I guess it's safe to say that I do not have a consistent writing process in that sense. I have, over the years, developed a strong discipline in which I write every single day - either by way of journaling or developing an aspect of a writing project even if it is only for 15 minutes or so. At this point in my life this practice is normal. I have found that rainy days really stimulate my writing process. I quickly try to find somewhere quiet so I can listen for the words as they pour into me.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Actually, I was inspired by my 1st grade teacher. She would read poetry to us in homeroom before class started. She would read the poetry of Langston Hughes, Paul Laurence Dunbar and other famous Black authors. I was captivated. I began reading their work independently at her encouragement. By the time I was in third grade, I was writing poetry of my own. She told me that I naturally picked up and drew from the writing styles of the poets whom I'm read. Some people threw away a box of books at a church where my father was a janitor. He brought those books home because he knew I loved to read. Turns out they were Nancy Drew Mystery novels dating back to the 1950s! I read every single one of them. They placed an aspiration in me to become a print news journalist -- which I did some years later. I made history in my family and in my local community in that area. These poets, along with Nancy Drew helped mold the course of my life. I went on to earn some significant awards for my writing and the craft still drives me today.
How do you approach cover design?
I primarily write books of instruction. In addition, my books center around a specific topic and multiple variations of that topic. As a result, I created a look and feel that speak to those topics. Fortunately, I learned a great deal about publishing, graphic design, etc. in my career. Sometimes I consult professionals for their insight and a mockup, but mostly I design my book covers on my own.... generally after I am sure my subject matter won't change.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
This is a tough question. I have so many books that I love. My favorite book of all time was "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers. Although it was a fiction novel based on the story of Hosea from the Bible, it impacted my life so greatly that it brought immense healing to me personally. Secondly, I would have to list "The Selected Works of Georgia Douglas Johnson," a poet whose writing style captivated me in my youth. I also enjoy "And He Dwelt Among Us" by A. W. Tozer. This book was life transforming for me, and although extremely different, it has a similar impact as "Redeeming Love." Other books I enjoy are poetry compilations and include "The American Negro Poetry Collection" and "Jubilee by Margaret Walker." Many of the poems in these collections are raw, real and relevant to life. Their honesty touches my soul deeply.
What do you read for pleasure?
I read an enormous amount of classical and Harlem Renaissance style poetry.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
When I travel, I generally have my favorite reads loaded on Kindle Fire. When I am home, I long for the look and feel of a softback or hardback book. I find great pleasure in turning the pages and enjoying the smell of worn pages. I generally read my poetry books over and over again.
Describe your desk
If you had a camera right now before me, there are two stacks of books (about 15 on my left) and on my write there's about four inches of research for a new book I'm working on... along with a dedicated spiral notebook and 5 ink pens. I also have a cup of tea on my desk.
When did you first start writing?
I learned to read before I started Kindergarten. Because my first grade teacher was always reading us poetry in homeroom, I began attempting to write rhyming poetry in 1st grade. By the time I reached 3rd grade, I was writing poetry (and songs) nearly every week and sharing them with my friends and family.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I've always wanted to write a book - whether it became a bestseller or something passed down within my family for generations. I would say that I stumbled upon the "indie author" area. It was never deliberate on my part to take this route. It just so happens that technology has offered opportunities for me to publish (like it has for so many of us) that were not available just 20 years ago. So, opportunity and ease led me down this path.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing is like breathing for me. It's like the paintbrush for the painter. The piano for the pianist. I can't imagine my life without writing. It is literally the joy of my life. The pen has become my lifeline... and in itself the greatest joy God has given me -- for me.
Published 2016-11-26.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Sin of Spiritual Plagiarism: Unauthorized Vessels
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 21,390. Language: English. Published: November 28, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Christian Church / Leadership, Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing
In this book, The Sin of Spiritual Plagiarism, the author takes us on a journey through Father's heart to expose the agenda of the adversary in which some believers have fallen prey by stealing the ideas, visions and words of others and claiming them as their own.
Scribal Purpose: 10 Reasons Why God Commanded You To Write
Price: Free! Words: 8,170. Language: American English. Published: November 26, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Biblical Studies / Prophets, Nonfiction » Religion and Spirituality » Biblical Studies / Prophets
Scribal Purpose walks Christians through the biblical foundation for "writing as ministry."