26 Apr Author shares ‘unique voice’
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by Susan Peterson
Tara Lynn Johnson says she is no stranger to pain – physical pain, grief, rejection, abandonment, anxiety, loneliness. After all, it is part of what makes us human. But it is how we handle pain and what we turn to to help us that is most important, which is the message that Tara chooses to impart in her stories.
Born in Oregon, she spent most of her formative years in Arkansas. Her father was a preacher who ministered in various locales around the state.
As a child, Tara was gifted with a beautiful voice. She loved music, imitated her favorite singers, and dreamed of a career on stage. But she was also intrigued by historical figures and was an avid reader. To this day, the “Little House on the Prairie” series by Laura Ingalls Wilder is one of her most valued possessions.
She chose to pursue her love of music, and in 2001 she earned a music degree from University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Her dream came true when she signed on as a roster artist with a Christian ministry and record label group.
After 10 years as a singer, Tara was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a condition that causes muscle spasms that affected her singing. It was a devastating blow. She shared her pain and disappointments with her many fans on her blog. They related to her direct style, honesty and openness – so much that many asked her to continue writing. Another friend encouraged her into attending an American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Conference.
At the conference, Tara heard a presenter speak about the power of each author’s unique voice, and it was then that she had the revelation that she could exchange her singing voice for a written one. She threw herself into learning the craft.
Tara, a strong proponent of networking, met Janet Grant of Books & Such Literary Agency through a friend. Janet decided to represent Tara, and she negotiated a three-book contract for her with Tyndale House Publishers.
Tara’s first book with Tyndale was a historical novel titled “Engraved on the Heart” (2018), a suspenseful Civil War romance that encompasses secrets, bravery, love, betrayal and divided loyalties. Tara says that although she likes her readers to be swept away, she thinks it’s important that they learn about the fascinating historical occurrences of the time.
“Where Dandelions Bloom” (2019) again takes place during the Civil War, telling the story of Cassie Kendrick, a protagonist who runs from an arranged marriage and disguises herself as a Union soldier.
Tara’s books have numerous reviews on Amazon, with 5-stars being the most abundant. Her fans seem to want more and say they can’t wait for her next book. She’s currently working on “All Through the Night,” scheduled to come out later this year.
Tara has also been published in Plain Truth magazine and has been a featured guest on Voice of Truth radio and Enduring Word radio. Early on, she published a self-help book, “Hollow Victory: How to Identify and Disarm Five Landmines that Make Victorious Christian Living Feel Like a Lie.” In it she tackles the topics of grief, depression, perfectionism, people-pleasing, fear and anxiety, which can disable one’s spiritual life. She enjoys speaking to groups on a variety of topics and often incorporates song and humor into her presentations.
Tara and her husband, Todd, live in Alexander (Pulaski/Saline counties) with their children, Bethany, Callie and Nate. Tara homeschools Callie. Two other children, Taylor Lynn and Morgan Lane, are with Jesus.
Thanks to the imagination of her young son Nate, she is also contemplating writing a children’s book.
More about Tara can be found on her Facebook page, which she posts to regularly. Her website, TaraJohnsonstories.com, has songs, a blog and even advice on writing. Her books may be purchased from Amazon and other online book sellers.