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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Guest Blogger Liz Johnson and A Promise to Protect


LIZ JOHNSON graduated from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff with a degree in public relations and works as an editorial and marketing manager at a Christian publisher. She is a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist, and A Promise to Protect is her fourth novel with Love Inspired Suspense. Liz makes her home in Nashville, TN, where she enjoys theater, exploring the local music scene, and making frequent trips to Arizona to dote on her two nephews and three nieces. She loves stories of true love with happy endings. Keep up with Liz's adventures in writing at, Twitter @LizJohnsonBooks, or Facebook.

by Liz Johnson
Published by Love Inspired Suspense


Navy SEAL Matt Waterstone knows about keeping people safe. When his best friend’s sister is attacked, Matt promises no harm will come to Ashley Sawyer–not on his watch. But Matt’s not the only protective one. Ashley will do anything to safeguard the residents of the battered women’s shelter she runs. She’s sure she can handle the threats she gets in return. What she can’t handle is the way Matt scales the walls around her heart. Yet when she falls prey to a crime web more sinister than she’d realized, trusting Matt could be the only way to survive.

Readers, buy your copy of A Promise to Protect today!


Characters in the Flesh by Liz Johnson

There I was, minding my own business, running—well, actually, strolling—on the treadmill at the Y when I glanced at the teenage kid running on the treadmill next to mine. I gasped. My toe caught on the track. And I nearly flew backward. A firm grip on the handrails was the only thing that kept me upright.

What surprised me so much that I nearly biffed on the treadmill in front of a room of would-be-athletes?

I’d just laid eyes on the character from the book I was reading. There, right next to me, was twelve-year-old Morris from Allison Pittman’s Stealing Home. An African-American baseball prodigy from 1905—albeit in modern gym attire and sneakers—was pumping his arms and legs like he’d just leaped from the pages of the book I was reading into my world.

Running into characters in real life. It’s a hazard fiction readers—and writers—take.

For writers, sometimes that real face to go along with a name comes before the character isn’t much more than a name. That is not how it was for me with Matt Waterstone, the hero in my newest book, A Promise to Protect. Matt had a name and an occupation. He’s a U.S. Navy SEAL. He even had a best friend—Tristan. But I couldn’t find a face for him.

I’m often guilty of making a SEAL in my mind look more Rambo than regular guy. More Stallone than standard. But the truth is that most SEALs fall into a “normal” appearance. They have to be able to blend into a crowd, have to be able to move without notice. Their training, strength, and endurance set SEALs apart. But you might not be able to pick those traits out just by looking at them.

So when I set out to find a face for my hero, Matt, I looked for someone who could blend in and yet still stand out. He needed unique features, and more importantly the attitude and assurance of a SEAL. That’s when I found Matt Wertz—an indie musician with curly, light brown hair, a slim, powerful build and eyes that convey just enough personality for my own Matt.

I’ve seen Matt Wertz perform live, and while he’s a wonderful artist, sometimes he grins and moves the very opposite of any SEAL I’ve ever imagined, all gangly limbs and adorable dance moves. But sometimes—every now and then—he smiles that lopsided smirk and he transforms into the Matt of my book, into my Matt.

It’s the risk of loving fiction. Seeing a character in person. It’s also one of the great rewards. For me, it adds another—a special—dimension to a story that I clearly loved so much.

Reader Question: Have you ever seen a character in the flesh? Who was it, and what did you do? Here’s hoping you managed to stay on your feet better than I did when I saw Morris on the treadmill.

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Thank you, Liz, for sharing with us today.

ENTRY RULES Readers, leave your email address (name [at] domainname [dot] com) along with your answer to the question for your chance to win a free autographed copy of the book featured above. If you do not answer the question, and your email address isn't provided, you will not be entered.

This week, the drawing is open to US/Canada residents only.


Christmas with CWG said...

Awww...Morris! I won't name names, but I've had more than one person tell me that the Duke Dennison character from that same book reminds them of super-agent Chip MacGregor!

Unknown said...

Oh, this is an easy one!

My sister is an author and has characters that seemed like they were my cousins when I read about them.

We were walking through the mall once and I pointed to a girl standing by a clothes rack and said "Hey, look!It's April."

Suddenly, 3 other people joined the girl and one guy says "Hey, April."

My sister and I stared at each other in shock. It was the neatest thing ever!

Liz Johnson said...

Allison, I do love your books! :) But I confess to being a little biased on Duke's character because I know the guy they used as the back cover model. :)

Jennie, that's a great story! I would absolutely flip if that ever happened to me.

squiresj said...

No I have never seen a character in the flesh. But I can relate to some of characters.
Please enter me.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

Bethany said...

I do not think I've seen a character in the flesh, but that would be so cool!

cbus.blogger at gmail dot com

Martha A. said...

Hmmm, I have seen people I thought would make a good character in the book. I see a man that I wrote a story about often. I often wonder what he would think as he is quite grouchy in the story! martha(at)lclink(com)