Inspiration to enlighten/ make a difference can come in many ways. It can come from loss, a diagnosis about your health or even just a whisper in the wind. Korika Johnson already had been inspiring others throughout her life but when she was diagnosed with Lupus she found her new voice to inspire with words and writing. SayWhatNews had the pleasure in speaking with this inspirational author about her life and her book:
SayWhatNews: Good morning Korika. Thanks so much for doing an One on One interview with SayWhatNews. First tell us who is Korika L. Johnson?
Korika: I am a servant, wife of 16 years, mother of two beautiful daughters, ages 9 and 15, avid reader of Christian fiction, inspirational fiction author, Lupus survivor, and President of Toward The Mark Press, LLC.
SayWhatNews: Tell us how the President of Toward The Mark Press, an advertising design firm ended up as an Inspirational Writer?
Korika: The call of God and a call to action. I have always been a lover of God’s Word and written words. As a child, I loved to read and write, feeling even then that God had placed a call on my life to minister through the gift of writing. But it wasn’t until I was diagnosed with Lupus – a disabling and life-altering chronic autoimmune disease – in 2005, and the Lupus Foundation of America reached out to the Lupus community for ways to bring additional attention to the disease, that I knew I would write a book.
The first couple of years after my diagnosis were the darkest of my life. But God used that time and experience to strengthen me and I wanted nothing more than to pass what I’d learned on to others. Which is that there is always, always hope in Jesus.
SayWhatNews: In your opinion, what is the most rewarding and challenging aspect of being an inspirational author?
Korika: I would have to say the most rewarding aspect of being an inspirational author is hearing from readers who have been touched in a positive way by my work. I consider my writing a ministry of H.O.P.E. (Helping Other People Endure). I truly feel blessed to be able to share the gifts and talents God has instilled in me to engage, motivate, and inspire others.
The challenge would have to be carving out quality time to write.
SayWhatNews: I personally have seen up and close how Lupus can effect ones health. My cousin and my mother’s best friend are Lupus survivors. Tell us what inspired the book “Joy Comes In The Mourning”?
Korika: I had a two-fold mission in mind when I began writing Joy Comes in the Mourning. I had never even heard of the disease before my diagnosis so I certainly wanted to raise awareness, but I also wanted to encourage readers that God has purpose behind, presence during, and preservation after every storm that may come their way.
SayWhatNews: Korika, tell us about your first book “Joy Comes In The Mourning” and introduce us to your main character.
Korika: Joy Comes in the Mourning follows the story of Tonya Monroe, a young woman who lost her mother at the hands of a drunk driver when she was only 14 years old. Tonya’s tragedy was compounded by the revelation that a close family friend, the novel’s secondary character (Carolyn Wright), was responsible.
One storm after another has passed through Tonya’s life since the death of her mother. But she is now 30 and has it all…until she begins experiencing the mysterious symptoms of Lupus, which forces her to question her relationships with the people closest to her, and her newfound relationship with God.
SayWhatNews: How did you come up with the title of the book?
Korika: The original title was Testimony, but my editor didn’t like it. I thought about my characters and their troubles. Tonya and Carolyn faced obstacles that made them want to give up on life, on each other, even on God. But in the end, He turned their mourning into joy because they allowed Him to use them for His glory in spite of what they considered terrible circumstances.
I called my editor and explained this and she loved the new title, Joy Comes in the Mourning.
SayWhatNews: What do you want your readers to gain after reading “Joy Comes In The Mourning”?
Korika: I want readers to know beyond a shadow of doubt that all things truly do work for good to them that love God and are called according to His purpose.
SayWhatNews: Being a wife, mother of two and the President of a company, how were you able to find true quality time to write?
Korika: It was hard, but my husband was a big help. Saturday is usually family day. But there were many Saturdays that he had to take the kids out without me because of a looming deadline.
SayWhatNews: In what ways do you think readers can relate to the characters in your book?
Korika: Both Tonya and Carolyn had their issues with forgiveness – Tonya forgiving others and Carolyn forgiving herself. Yet forgiving yourself or someone else is something almost every reader can relate to. Similarly, many readers can identify with other aspects of their character and behavior: Carolyn’s over-the-top attitude when it comes to the things of God, and just how such behavior turns Tonya off completely.
SayWhatNews: Korika, your book “Joy Comes In The Mourning” just recently made the Lupus Foundation of America Patient Education Committee “Seal of Approval List”. How did getting such a stamp of approval make you feel?
Korika: I felt honored that The Foundation thought Joy Comes in the Mourning, a work of fiction, could shed light on the real struggles and challenges in the daily life of a Lupus survivor.
SayWhatNews: Korika, you have been quoted of saying that you have always enjoyed writing as far back as you can remember, tell us which books/authors inspired you to be a writer and why?
Korika: When I was younger, Judy Blume was it for me! Tiger Eyes, Deenie, Blubber, Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing! Reading those stories…I fell in love with words hard and fast. I wanted to write, to entertain and enlighten just as Judy did.
It was after reading Victoria Christopher Murray’s Joy that I knew I wanted to write fiction professionally. There was actually a scene in Joy that had cheering on the main character, Anya, out loud!
SayWhatNews: I hear you are currently working on your second novel called “First Lady”. What can readers expect from this new work of art?
Korika: Proverbs 14:22 reads: Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness. Well, in my upcoming novel, First Lady, expect to find out what happens when Cheryl Davis plans what is not good in an attempt to win the affections of her husband of ten years.
Greg loves Cheryl, as Christ loves the church, and desires nothing more than to please her...as long as her needs don't interfere with his relationship with his mother. When his mother - his "First Lady" - is faced with the ultimate betrayal, Greg has no choice but to be there for the woman God used to give him life - even if it means the death of his marriage.
First Lady takes a journey into the lives of a couple fighting to keep love alive. Feelings are hurt, trusts are violated, and hearts are broken, but in the end they learn that when you apply the Word of God to your life, nothing is too rickety for Him to repair.
SayWhatNew: Now that you have started writing your second novel, do you have any plans for a book tour for “Joy Comes In The Mourning”?
Korika: As a matter of fact, I do. I’ve been speaking with my publisher about a Tate Tour with two other great Tate authors.
SayWhatNews: What advice can you give inspiring writers/authors?
Korika: Be true to yourself and write from your heart.
SayWhatNews: What’s next for Korika L. Johnson?
Korika: My husband just asked me this question a few days ago. I just want to write as long as God allows me to. But when He says move, I’ll move…just like that!
Korika L. Johnson website