Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Tara Johnson | The Makings of a Hero
Author Guest / December 18, 2020

I had just finished a walking tour through Oxford, a city rife with memories of people like Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, Tokien, William Tyndale and countless others. Ornate college buildings rose up on every side. People of all nationalities clogged the sidewalks as they scurried from store to store, their sacks bulging with brand name apparel and souvenirs. I had just passed “The Eagle and Child” pub and was admiring the spiraling cathedrals when a steady rain began to fall. I pulled out my umbrella when I saw him. A homeless man sat huddled under a blanket in the pouring rain. His shoulders were hunched. An open duffel bag rested near his knees. Its contents boasted a folded tarp, a few paltry coins and an empty soda can. Nothing else. As I passed his slight form, I heard his soft plea. “Could you spare a coin, me love?” I dug through my wallet and handed him a few pounds. His dirt-crusted fingers reached for the coins. “God bless ye.” “God bless you too.” I walked away but my heart twisted. The sights I wanted to see paled in comparison to the emaciated form sitting in the deluge. Whirling back, I walked up…

Tara Johnson | The Inspiration Behind Where Dandelions Bloom
Author Guest , Giveaways / July 1, 2019

Inspiration can come from the most unusual places. As I began to lay the foundation for my latest novel, Where Dandelions Bloom, several factors were easy. I already knew I wanted to base the heroine on the story of real-life Civil War hero and spy Sarah “Emma” Edmonds. Cassie Kendrick was birthed from Emma’s struggles . . . running from an abusive, alcoholic father determined to marry her off to an even more abusive man. To escape a fate that seemed worse than death, Cassie dons the uniform of a soldier and enlists in the Union Army. The hero, Gabriel Avery, was completely fictitious but inspired by Civil War photographers like Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner, whose work completely changed how war was reported to the public. Gabriel is running from the darkness of his past by trying to find his worth in recognition. I came up with the idea for young, precocious Jonah Pfifer when I stumbled across some fascinating research. The youngest soldier in the American Civil War was only nine years old! Most people assume children were only used as drummer boys and buglers, but as the war dragged on, and casualties increased by alarming numbers, recruitment offices became desperate….