☕️ You have to be willing to give up the life you’ve planned for in order to live the life that’s waiting for you. ~ Joseph Campbell ☕️
Praise for Second House from the Corner
“Johnson is a skilled storyteller with a breezy style, and the journey of Felicia, a strong African American woman, will have particular appeal for Terry McMillan fans.” –Booklist
Felicia Lyons, a stressed out stay-at-home mom struggles to sprint ahead of the demands of motherhood while her husband spends long days at the office. Felicia taps, utters mantra, and breathes her way through most situations but on some days, like when the children won’t stop screaming her name or arguing over toy trucks and pretzel sticks, she wonders what it would be like to get in her car and drive away.
Then one evening the telephone rings, and in a split second the harried mother’s innocent fantasy becomes a hellish reality. The call pulls her back into a life she’d rather forget. Felicia hasn’t been completely honest about her upbringing, and her deception forces her return to the Philadelphia of her childhood, where she must confront the family demons and long buried secrets she thought she had left behind.
From a phenomenal fresh voice in fiction, comes the compelling story of what happens when the dream falls apart. It’s the unforgettable tale of love, loss, rediscovery, and the growing pains of marriage.
🏡 Quick 6 w/Red and Sadeqa Johnson 🏡
1. How has your experience in the background of the literary industry influenced or changed your journey as an author?
Working as a publicist in publishing prior to becoming an author has helped me tremendously. I had the opportunity to pick the brains of best-selling authors such as Amy Tan, Bishop TD Jakes, Bebe Moore Campbell, Rebecca Walker to name a few. My goal was always to learn the behind the scenes of publishing so that when it was my turn as an author no one could pull the wool over my eyes. It’s nice to know both sides of the business, and the knowledge and experience is what really made my first novel, Love in a Carry-on Bag a success.
2. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
It’s definitely a combination of both. I spend a lot of time looking out the window in my office waiting for an itch of something I want to write. I start everyday free writing in a notebook before I start working on the computer. Most of my outlines and character bios are hand written. There is a freedom that comes with putting pen to paper first and then tidying it up on the computer. I play around with ideas first and then when I feel that I’ve gone far enough then I start to outline. My agent and I discuss the outline before I start writing the book. Then I plow away until I have a draft.
3. What was your favorite chapter or character to write and why?
Second House From the Corner is very dear to me in a lot of ways. I don’t know that I have a favorite chapter but I really enjoyed writing part 2 of the book, when Felicia is forced to return home to her childhood home of Philadelphia and face her family secrets and the life she left behind. The scenes in that section were so much fun to create because I’m from Philadelphia. I enjoyed getting to know the city through Felicia’s experiences which are very different than my own.
4. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
The toughest part for me was not being able to get a single publishing house to publish my first novel. I was completely distraught over the rejection and nursed an ached of not being good enough. This was like rock bottom. I had to look up and say God, what is it that you desire for me. What is your plan? Once I asked the question and realized that I was supposed to take on the hefty animal of self-publishing to get Love in a Carry-on Bag out, everything fell into place. I am who I am as a writer and a businesswoman because I self-published that first book. I learned a lot, spent a lot of money and energy and I wouldn’t change a moment of it. The best compliment to my career is when my agent took Second House From the Corner to the publishing market and I had not one but three editors wanting to buy my book! That’s a testament of how far I came.
5. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I love writing about love. Man / woman love, parent-child love, families. I really enjoy the journey of seeing a flawed character hit their lowest point and have to reach inside of themselves and claws their way into daylight. It’s the journey that makes us all stronger. For both novels, I’ve left a window open so that I could return to the characters. In Second House From the Corner, you get a glimpse of what the main characters from Love in a Carry-on Bag are up too. It’s possible that readers will see them again.
6. Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact have they had on your writing?
I’m inspired by so many authors, particularly BeBe Moore Campbell, Benilde Little, Terry McMillian, Tayari Jones, Jesmyn Ward, Zora Neale Hurston, Paulo Coelho to name a few. I also love reading and listing to spiritual writers like Jack Canefield, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson and Esther Hicks. Reading is the first step of writing and every book that I’ve read, good or bad, has helped me with my writing process.
Sadeqa Johnson is a former public relations manager who spent years working with well-known authors such as J.K. Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop T.D. Jakes before becoming an author herself. Her debut novel, Love in a Carry-On Bag was hailed by Ebony.com as “this summer’s hottest read.” It was the recipient of the2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction and the 2012 USA Best Book award for African-American fiction. Originally from Philadelphia, Sadeqa Johnson currently resides in Virginia with her husband and three children. Second House from the Corner is her second novel.