Elana Johnson writes inspirational Romances under the pen name Liz Isaacson. She loves small-town life, cowboys and all things country. In this interview Johnson talks about her characters, what she has on her nightstand and how reality TV inspires her.
Can you give us a short summary what the books in the Three Rivers Ranch Romance Box Set are all about?
There are 3 full-length novels in the Boxed Set, and they feature 3 heroes that served together in the Middle East. Two of them were injured in a tank bombing and came home. The first book features Squire Ackerman and his reunion romance with his high school crush. But first he has to forgive her and accept his injury.
The second book features Pete Marshall, who was hurt much more than Squire, so he doesn’t show up at the ranch until Squire’s set to go back to college, and his sister, Chelsea has moved into the homestead. She’s broken and hurt, everything Pete understand.
The third book features Brett Murphy, who’s come to the ranch to get a break from his construction business, only to have his ex-wife show up with a seven-year-old she claims is his.
All of the stories are about forgiveness, finding and following God’s will, and increasing personal faith.
What appeals to you about Western Romances? Why do you enjoy writing in that setting so much?
I love the small-town life, and I think cowboys (especially military cowboys!) make great heroes. I like the simplicity of small populations, and the dynamics of having no where to run when things go wrong. I live in the west, and it’s beautiful, peaceful country.
What books are on your nightstand?
Oh, I don’t have books on my nightstand! That space is crowded with a million school papers from my kids, bills, and other stuff I don’t quite have time to go through and keep what’s important and what’s not! My Kindle is stocked with books, though. I just finished two romances, and a YA dystopian, all of which were fantastic!
How are the three books in this box set related? Are they part of a continuing story or can they be read as stand-alone novels?
The books in the Three Rivers Ranch Romance series can be read as stand-alone novels, but they’re also companion novels. They all take place in the fictional small town of Three Rivers, Texas, and revolve around at least one person who lives and works at Three Rivers Ranch.
What would you say is the big theme in the Three Rivers Ranch Romance Box Set?
It’s Christian romance, so the themes of forgiveness, patience, and faith are prevalent in most of the novels.
Many of your heroes struggle with issues from the past. Was this a conscious choice?
Yes. I think most of us as adults have things in our past we have to overcome to be our best selves. I like exploring that side of people and creating characters that have to face tough things in order to move forward.
How do you find the stories for your characters? Are they sometimes based on real people?
The stories themselves aren’t based on real people, but sometimes the characteristics of the characters are!
What do you find the most challenging about being an author?
Finding the time to write! I’m a teacher, a wife, and a mother, and sometimes amidst all that, I can’t find 15 minutes to get words on the page.
Where do you go to find inspiration?
Reality TV! It’s stranger than fiction.
What are you working on right now?
I am writing the sixth book in the Three Rivers Ranch Romance series. It’s titled EIGHT SECOND RIDE, and features Ethan Greene – who we meet in the first book! – and his journey toward love after he joins the rodeo circuit.
Where can our readers interact with you or discover more of your work?