Lisa Renee Johnson is an author, foodie and closet mixologist! After co-founding and running a book club for almost two decades, Lisa Renee took the plunge into the world of fiction writing with her debut novel Dangerous Consequences. Lisa Renee also captured the country’s attention with the hashtag #laughingwhileblack that ignited a media firestorm and prompted global conversations about race, power, privilege and bias.
In addition to writing, Lisa Renee, a self-proclaimed Sunshineologist, created the I Got Sunshine movement to inspire women to define success and happiness on their terms. A true sunshine girl at heart, Lisa Renee was born in Florida, reared in Texas and now resides in Northern California with her family. Her highly anticipated follow-up novel Surviving the Chase, will hit the shelves soon. Visit her online at www.lisareneejohnson.com.
BPM: Tell us about your new book. What topics are discussed? Available on Nook and Kindle?
Dubbed the “Sex Doctor” on his local radio show, psychologist Donathan James advises callers on their sexual issues. With his gorgeous and brilliant neurosurgeon wife, Sydney, at home and women flirting with the hot doctor everywhere he goes, Donathan is living the high life. But when he wakes up naked and drugged in a hotel room, with no memory of the evening before, the doctor suddenly has problems of his own.
Soon Donathan’s sexy stalker is sending him photographic evidence of what they did that night, turning up in his office to rant about her unstable past, and demanding they meet again and again.
All Donathan wants is his life back – and for his wife not to find out. But when the relentless stranger goes too far, it leads him to discover his beloved wife has secrets of her own. Now, to save their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. James will have to hold on tight to survive the bumpiest ride of their lives.
Topics: Adultery, Mental Illness, Blackmail, Sexual Harassment. The book is available on Paperback, Nook, Kindle and Audio.
BPM: What was your hardest scene to write, the opening or the close?
I say the opening scene since there is so much riding on those first few pages. My job as a writer is to do a great job of creating a sense of urgency that compels and motivates my reader to turn the next page. If they don’t turn the page, they will never experience my story.
BPM: Do you try to deliver to readers what they want or let the characters guide your writing?
As an author, the one thing I’ve learned along the way is that the story belongs to the characters. My only job is to get out of the way and let them tell it.
BPM: Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?
My creative mind is always in what if mode. I believe if there’s purpose in the writing/story and people can learn and grow from it, then the story should be told.
BPM: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others?
The scenes that are most difficult for me to write are the ones that have characters with no redeeming qualities. By nature, I’m an optimist and I always seek the good in everyone, however, in fiction writing (and in real life), sometimes the good doesn’t exist. In the beginning I would stare at the computer for hours trying to find a redeeming quality in some of these people. But after a stern chastising from my husband, I realized that every character in my stories, even the crack head have a role to play. And not everyone can or wants to be saved. It was a very hard lesson.
BPM: What made you want to become a writer? How long have you been writing?
I’ve been in love with the written word since before I could remember. Growing up, I spent most Saturdays at the local library immersed in stories. That love of everything books followed me into adulthood and after college I co-founded a book club called Sistahs On The Reading Edge. We’ve been together for almost two decades and I found that after finishing the books, a little whisper would say, “I can do this.” I tried to suppress the urge for as long as I could, then in 2009 I took action and found my way to a writing coach. And Dangerous Consequences was born.
BPM: How has writing impacted your life?
Not only do I write fiction, but I also journal daily and create visuals in my dream book. I write with no expectation and the practice is relaxing and sparks reflective inquiry, creativity and ideas. I’m better because I write.
BPM: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?
Writing is very therapeutic and freeing. Sometimes, my thoughts I put on paper are incomplete, but I find that if I keep at it, my subconscious leads me where I need to go and helps me problem solve.
BPM: What was one of the most surprising things you learned from this project?
Writing a good book is important, but creating and then executing a well-thought-out book marketing plan to promote your book once it is in print is the key to your success. If readers don’t know your book exists, they can’t buy or read it.
BPM: Share one specific point in your book that resonated with your present situation or journey.
The book deals with a theme of infidelity from three different women’s perspectives. Although these are not my personal story, I have experienced infidelity in the past. It was freeing to allow each of theses characters to respond to the insult in their own unique way.
BPM: Is there a specific place/space/state that you find inspiration in?
In my current book series, my characters live in the San Francisco Bay Area. For inspiration and to guide what happens next in my stories, I travel to the neighborhoods they live in. By frequenting coffee shops, restaurants, etc, it’s like seeing the environment through the eyes of my characters. It’s a really cool experience.
BPM: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Getting lost in the storytelling is energizing. Wanting to get the story right can be exhausting. Writing is rewriting and it includes many types of editing. By the time the process is done, I don’t want to look at the story on paper again.
BPM: What are the top three things that make you feel happy and fulfilled?
Outside of my family, I feel most alive when I’m reading, traveling or being creative which for me consists of writing, cooking and making signature cocktails.
BPM: What makes you forget about the world around you?
Being in nature calms me and gives me a renewed energy.
BPM: What strengths did you use to achieve two major goals in life?
My desire for the FREEDOM to do, be, have and to create the life I want is the fuel that drives me toward achieving major goals in my life. Goal-setting is an important skill, but it’s useless without taking action. My strengths are big picture visioning and execution.
BPM: What other projects are you working on at the present?
I’m in the final editing phase of Surviving the Chase the highly anticipated sequel to Dangerous Consequences. I currently speak and facilitate workshops around the country on Women’s Empowerment, Writing, and Racial Bias. And lastly, I help aspiring authors create strategy around writing, marketing and publishing their books.
BPM: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
I live on social media. You can find me engaging on any of the platforms below!
I Got Sunshine Community: www.facebook.com/groups/IGNITEYOURHAPPYNOW/
Surviving the Chase by Lisa Renee Johnson (November 28, 2017)
In this page-turning follow-up to Dangerous Consequences, a serial killer wants revenge—but two surprising people stand in her way . . .
Abandoned by her mother as a kid, Payton Jones wants no reminders of her past and no commitments. She’s beautiful, educated, rich, and gets what she wants—even if her favorite friends-with-benefits, Tony Barnes, is a hot complication. But her life of shopping, spa appointments, and mindless sex is interrupted when the most wanted woman in the Bay area starts hunting for Payton’s estranged mother. Curiosity leads Payton into unfamiliar—and risky—territory.
Psychologist and local radio show host Donathan “Sex Doctor” James almost became a victim of the killer, who bared her every twisted thought to him. He knows she won’t stop until she commits the most personal murder of all. But when his wife’s best friend, Payton Jones—who Donathan isn’t quite sure he can trust—uncovers a shattering connection to the killer, they team up to find her.
Now, surviving the chase puts Donathan’s marriage, career, and life on the line while Payton comes face to face with everything she’s been running from for years . . .