Thanks for the one-on-one interview, Margot. Let’s get started…
Are your characters based on anyone you know?
The story and characters are fiction but draw on some of my experiences at work and at home. I’d love to have lunch with Tessa and compare notes on strong leaders, single parenting, family quirks, and cute golden retrievers. One key difference is I didn’t meet my handsome husband at work!
Tessa and Mark both support a mother with dementia which brings some tough but also light moments. My dad died of complications from Alzheimer’s, so that part of the book is close to my heart.
Do any of your characters take over and write the book themselves sometimes? Who?
The synopsis is my only outline. I find characters take on lives of their own and influence the direction of the story. I love it when a character surprises me.
How long have you been writing? When did you decide to become an author?
Writing is in my blood. My late dad was a journalist, editor, and author, and my sister, Donna Gartshore, writes for Harlequin Love Inspired. I recently found an illustrated story I wrote when I was seven!
We all need a little inspiration in our lives. What’s your favorite quote and why?
Any advice for the aspiring authors out there? Particularly those who are feeling a little discouraged?
Keep reading, writing, and learning! Even bestselling authors have had their share of rejections. It helps to build a writer network you trust to support and encourage you.
Besides writing and reading, what are some of your hobbies?
My husband and I share a big blended and extended family which makes for lots of fun gatherings and games at our place or more recently, lively Zoom calls. I like to walk daily—with and without my old golden retriever, Sophie. As well, I volunteer with the SK Writer’s Guild and the SK Book Awards and look forward to the day we can travel again.
What’s your most bizarre life experience?
One of my more unusual adventures was appearing on the TV game show Let’s Make a Deal where I almost won a car.
I was very excited to receive an invitation to the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace last year, but it was postponed. I’m still hoping I’ll get another chance.
What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
An editor said I was a strong writer, but she didn’t connect with my story as deeply as she had hoped. It was a good news, bad news message but made me think of ways to improve it.
A reader recently posted about Love Leads the Way: “Loved it.” That comment made my day!
If you could spend time with a character from your book, whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
In my first book Love Takes Flight, Erin runs a dog kennel business. I love dogs so I think Erin and I could have a fun day feeding, grooming, and playing with all kinds of dogs. Since I’m married, I won’t mention the handsome leader in Love Leads the Way.
What do you want readers to come away with after they read Love Leads the Way?
I hope readers feel satisfied they’ve had a fun experience that entertained and moved them in some way. Ideally, they got really invested in the characters and rooted for their happy ending. Maybe they even stayed up late to finish it!
About Love Leads the Way
She coaches him in team leadership…but do they both need lessons in love?
Single mom Tessa Shore runs a successful leadership program at work and supports a mother with dementia. She can handle any challenge in her jam-packed schedule as long as nothing spins out of control…especially her feelings.
Engineer Mark Delaney is an expert on pipelines at the same company, but his interpersonal skills need a makeover. Advancing to an executive job requires enrollment in a leadership course he doesn’t think he needs.
When their professional and personal issues entangle, life at the office gets a lot more complicated. Romance is impossible…or is it?
Pacing around Crescent Park in moonlight trimmed with stars, Mark breathed fresh air and slowed his erratic heartbeats from the shock of Tessa’s invitation. Apparently, the woman who directed the class with the precision of an air-traffic controller could flex…at least, a little. She wanted to spend extra time with him, and he couldn’t refuse.
“I didn’t think we’d bump into other participants at this late hour.” She hugged tighter her windbreaker against the cool breeze. “We won’t mix business and pleasure. I’m strictly off duty, and so are you.”
“Okay, Tessa, whatever you say.” Zipping higher his jacket, he strode and sniffed moisture riding the wind. Guilt tiptoed around his collar, and he couldn’t escape the feeling this outing was a bad idea. He should avoid her, except in class, yet he accepted her invitation. But why did she break her own rule and contact him?
“If I can’t discuss work, can I ask you a personal question?” He admired her profile with pert nose tipped to the sky, breathing the fresh night air.
“I guess so since I’m the woman who persuades everyone else to dish.” She laughed and brushed a curl from her cheek.
Streetlights alternated with a full moon to light the pathway. Their footsteps crunched on gravel, and their murmured voices broke the peaceful silence.
“Ready.” She tucked her hands in her jacket pockets.
“Is Mr. Shore waiting at home?” He winced at his forward question. No sense beating around the bush. He shouldn’t pine for someone else’s wife.
About Margot Johnson
Margot Johnson grew up in a family of writers and has always loved books and writing.
She is the author of LOVE TAKES FLIGHT and her new release LOVE LEADS THE WAY. Before turning her focus to the fun writing life, Margot held leadership roles in human resources and communications. Her motto is “Dream big and work hard.”
When not writing, she loves to connect with family and friends, volunteer with SK Writers Guild, and walk at least 10,000 steps a day (except when it’s minus 40!) She lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada with her amazing husband and adorable golden retriever.