Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Interview with Victoria Johnson

I can’t remember exactly when I met Victoria Johnson but I’ve known her for a very long time. I know Victoria's been a fan of Avalon Books for nearly as long, perhaps longer, than I’ve known her. I’m lucky to be the one to interview her for the Avaloners’ Blog.

From her Bio: Victoria M. Johnson, the youngest of twelve, grew up surrounded by a large and close family. Currently she and her husband live in northern California with her children close by. When she's not writing or reading you're likely to find Victoria either watching a movie or making one. She loves to travel to nearby or faraway places and then scrapbook those experiences or put them in a story.

The Doctor's Dilemma is Victoria's first novel for AVALON.

Here’s something about The Doctor’s Dilemma . . .

Doctor Ryan Novak wants nothing to do with women whose only wish is to be a doctor's wife. Luckily, working in his pediatric clinic in rural Mexico puts romance last on his mind.

Nurse Grace Sinclair arrives at La Clã­nica Pediãitrica with a broken heart and a vow never to fall in love again. The temporary nursing assignment is exactly what she needs to escape her painful memories and to rejuvenate her spirit.

After a rocky introduction, Ryan considers Grace too beautiful to have altruistic motives for joining the clinic, and Grace believes he is like the doctors back home demanding and self-centered. However, they soon realize they are equally committed to helping the community, and their close working relationship makes it impossible to ignore their attraction to one another.

When Ryan offers Grace a permanent assignment, her pain and fear stand in the way, and he wonders if he'll ever be able to convince Grace to risk her heart again.

Q: What was the inspiration for The Doctor’s Dilemma?

I’ve had a lot of interaction with medical professionals over the past few years—doctors, nurses, and specialists who cared for my mother. I was so appreciative of their compassion and impressed by their skill and dedication, and I felt compelled to write a story that shows how heroic these people truly are and how much they impact the lives of others every day. But I also wanted to place my characters out of their element and away from the usual resources, and I wanted them to have personal difficulties to overcome, and they of course face challenges far worse than they ever imagined.

Q: You’ve sent Grace and Ryan to Mexico, which is out of their element, and being in a rural area places them in a hospital-like setting but not with the usual US-type of medical facilities. Must they suffer with personal problems and survive even more obstacles than what’s obvious to the reader?

It wouldn’t be a story written by Victoria M. Johnson unless there was unexpected twists and turns. However it’s all organic—the obstacles add to the personal drama and the personal issues come out during moments of high tension, impacting the character’s decisions.

Q: What part of The Doctor’s Dilemma came to you first? The characters? The story? The setting?

Oh, it’s hard to say. Stories tend to percolate in my brain for a long time before I begin writing them and all three elements become so intertwined in the process that after awhile I don’t remember what led to the original spark. My husband and I visited that part of Mexico and the setting and people intrigued me. We writers never truly take a vacation. Our brains are always working, always asking, ‘what if’ and always memorizing our experiences that eventually find their way into our stories. It’s my hope that readers won’t be able to tell what came first and after page one they will be drawn in to the story.

Q: Since this story has to do with doctors and nurses, do you have a medical background?

Yes, I was a medic in the Air Force for ten years. (That’s where I met my Air Force sweetheart, my husband, Michael). When I returned home I worked at Valley Medical Center for a few years in the orthopedic ward and emergency ward. I’ve also written another romance novel about doctors and nurses that needs some polishing before sending it out.

Q: It’s good to know we’ll be seeing more of your stories. It seems you do have a writer’s mind and it’s always asking “what if . . . .” You’re not limited to writing fiction. If I search B& or Amazon for your name it comes up with two non-fiction books.

Could you tell us a bit about All I Need to Know in Life I Learned From Romance Novels?

My first nonfiction book was an inspirational how-to as much as a celebration of romance novels. As a long-time reader of romances I've always thought there is a wealth of insight, hope, and common sense within the pages of romance novels; and I wanted to spread the word. My book captures those qualities that makes romance novels special and reveals how anyone can use that knowledge to be more heroic in their own lives. This book helps readers define what's really important in lifeand shows her how to get it. The essays reveal the wisdom and spirit of romance novels that we, as readers and writers of romances, have known about all along.

Q: How did Grant Writing 101 come about?

I’m a grantwriter in my day job. I have a CFRE certification and I’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the nonprofits I’ve worked for. As a professional grant writer, friends would often ask me for advice for their organizations. I’d happily give it, but I realized they needed more. They needed to learn how to write a grant themselves, they needed to be shown what to do if their proposal was rejected, and they needed tips for long-term success. But there was no way I could teach each one all that. So I wrote a book. This book is for those friends and for the tens of thousands of nonprofit organizations and individuals doing extraordinary work in the community with minimal staff and budgets and with no time to take grant writing classes. These people make a difference in the world. They change lives. And so I wrote a simple, down-to-earth guide to grantwriting to help them raise funds for their causes.

Victoria posts about her grantwriting at:

Q: Is there anything else you’d like the readers to know about you?

The Doctor’s Dilemma is my first fiction novel and I’m very proud of it. I think readers will enjoy the romance, the tension, and the adventure. The characters came alive to me and I think readers will root for them and take pleasure in spending time with them. I’m also honored to be an Avalon author. I’ll always appreciate Avalon for publishing my debut fiction novel and giving me the opportunity to be part of the family. The other Avalon authors are phenomenal. I very much enjoy reading their books. My web site is:

I wish Victoria all the best in her upcoming writing ventures and thank her for taking the time to answer my questions for this interview.


Carolyn Brown said...

Victoria, it was great meeting you in NYC this summer. Hope to see you in California next year. Your debut book looks like a winner!

Sandy Cody said...

Victoria, your books sounds delightful. Glad to meet you.

Beate Boeker said...

I'm intrigued by the Mexican setting! It sounds like a very interesting book! And how nice to welcome another new Avalon Author here!

Leigh Verrill-Rhys said...

I'm looking forward to reading this book but I'll have to hold my horses until November when I can have it delivered to my new home! Great interview, Shirley, and all the best to you, Victoria. I'm very glad we've met in person!

Victoria M. Johnson said...

Hi Carolyn and Leigh! It was a pleasure meeting you both in New York. Hello Sandy and Beate. Nice meeting you online and thank you for your kind remarks about my book.