Interview with Emily Stalder Johnson – Ramona Portelli Blog

Interview with Emily Stalder Johnson

Emily Stalder Johnson is the author of a beloved Christian book series called The Series of Hope. It begins with her very first novel, A New Hope: Second Chances and a Forgotten Boy. The story and the rest of the series thus far follows an abused boy named Dublin, who we get to see rescued from his pitiful plight right away, and just in the right time—then grow and mature into a man in search of healing, love, and family.

Emily also enjoys trying her hand at Young Adult novels. She has two of such novels written: Saving Lonesome Carsten, which is published, and Secrets Buried in the Wood, which she looks to have published well before the end of 2022. She’s also working on another project about a dysfunctional family seeking healing, forgiveness, and togetherness; a common theme in all her books, regardless of the genre.

Emily has loved writing since she was about six years old. Her teacher had her write and illustrate a book and then read it to a kindergartner, which was crucial in Emily’s decision to follow her passion and calling of becoming a writer. She finds joy, peace, and purpose in her writing, and hopes that her books are impactful and encouraging to all her readers. Emily is from Lancaster, Ohio, and she lives with her husband, Mark, and their two dogs and two cats.

Tell me more about your latest book

Well, my latest book that has been published is called Within Hope’s Reach: Book Five in the Series of Hope. It is a compelling, action-packed, edge-of-your-seat novel involving main character Dublin, his family, and two brothers seeking vengeance against Dublin and his uncle. It’s a little bit different from the rest of the books in this series, but it’s just as interesting and fun to read, with plenty of inspiration to enjoy throughout. Within Hope’s Reach is the last book in the series that is currently published, however, at least two more are on the way.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?

The most challenging aspect of writing Book Five was probably simply trying to write something that would live up to the expectations of the first four. My own expectations and those of my readers. It’s hard writing a lengthy series and trying to produce something just as compelling as the ones preceding it. But it was well-received and is one of my favorites. In all honesty, though, all my books hold a special piece of my heart and so I can’t call any one my favorite and not include all the others.

What is your normal procedure to get your books published?

First, I come up with an idea, or rather, it comes to me, and then I jot down some vague ideas, some specific ones, and a tentative title to build my story around. Everything is subject to change, but it always flows perfectly once I get started and dedicate the time to writing it. Next, I write it in its entirety, which usually takes 3-5 months or so. I edit it, revise it, cut stuff out, add more details here and there, and reedit it before sending my manuscript off to my editor for her to do her beautiful work. Once she edits it, I make any suggested revisions based off her feedback, and I carefully look for errors, I double-check my formatting, and that the page numbers and table of contents are all consistent. Finally, I go to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, and complete the publishing process by uploading my pdf document and filling in/selecting all the necessary information needed for a book to be made through this platform. This includes my bio, blurb, title, subtitle, edition number, cover design image (which I nearly forgot to mention, I have an artist who creates some pretty exceptional cover designs for me!), agreeing to being assigned an ISBN number, and everything else needed. It takes about 72 hours for the book to become live on Amazon, but once it’s there, anyone can order my books in paperback, hardcover, or eBook formats.

Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

In a way, yes, I most certainly do. As a Christian writer, I attribute my gift/skills at writing as being a spiritual gift. It gives me purpose, and the ability to share God’s love through my work, which I love doing. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else other than being an author. I’ve known this is what I wanted to do since I was a first grader, so surely Someone has given me this drive to want to do this and succeed, and this ability to carry it out and encourage my readers.

How many books have you written so far?

1. A New Hope: Second Chances and a Forgotten Boy

2. Hope Endures: Book Two in the Series of Hope

3. A Hope Restored: Book Three in the Series of Hope

4. Hope Prevails: Book Four in the Series of Hope

5. Within Hope’s Reach: Book Five in the Series of Hope

6. Saving Lonesome Carsten

What’s the best way to market your books?

I haven’t figured this one out. However, my findings are that meeting people, creating rapport and relationships, and then using word of mouth to tell others about my books is one of the best ways to market them. It’s not high-scale successful, but should never be underestimated, because I’ve gained a lot of loyal readers by going about it this way, who have also passed along my information so others can read my work, too. Of course, advertising on social media, holding book signings (I have held two in the past year), trying to get my books into physical stores, and being open to learning and implementing new ways of marketing.

How hard or easy is it to establish and maintain a career in writing?

To me, this question depends on what you mean. For me, establishing and maintaining a career has already been done, rather easily (mostly!), because of my persistence and simply, my love of writing and sharing stories. I have written many books and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. However, if the meaning behind this question is whether it’s successful, then that part is very difficult. It will take me a lot of work, perseverance, and dedication to making my writing my actual career which will pay my bills and beyond… But I believe I will do it.

What is your advice for aspiring writers?

Never give up, be brave enough to tell your own, unique story(ies) that have been in your heart—and it all begins by taking that first step and writing down your first sentence. Just write it! And find yourself some close friends or family members who are supportive and who can give you constructive feedback. Believe in yourself and your story but always be open to learning.

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