A Q&A with Liz Johnson – Author of A Sparkle of Silver

Author Liz Johnson Sparkle of Silver

Liz Johnson, the bestselling author of the Prince Edward Island Dreams series returns with a brand new book this fall! A Sparkle of Silver will be the first novel in her brand new series, Georgia Coast Romance. Set on St. Simons Island in Georgia (of course!), readers will be swept of their feet by a story spanning the generations. A definite must-read for any romantic fiction lovers out there!

Johnson sat down to answer a few questions about where she found the inspiration for this book as well as what is next for the Georgia Coast Romance series…

A Sparkle of Silver releases on October 16 and is available to preorder here. 

Q: Readers have loved your Prince Edward Island Dreams series. Now you are transitioning to a new series. How many books are proposed for the Georgia Coast Romance series?

A: I’m planning to write three books in the Georgia Coast Romance series. They aren’t tied together through an individual location the same way the PEI series is, but I think readers will enjoy the feel of the Georgia coast in these contemporary stories of characters exploring the past to find hope for the future.

Q: Why did you select Georgia for the setting of your new series?

A: Several years ago my aunt invited me to visit her on St. Simons Island, and we had such a lovely time there. It’s not only a beautiful island, but it’s also filled with so much rich history. Christ Church of Frederica was one of my favorite stops on our tour of the island, and I couldn’t wait to include it in a book.

Q: A Sparkle of Silver blends the past with a contemporary setting. Was it difficult to write a story involving two different eras?

A: I thoroughly enjoyed writing in both eras. The contemporary setting of the historical landmark was such fun. My hero and heroine are both dealing with such heavy things that I loved writing about their exploration of the Chateau. For a few hours they could almost forget their painful circumstances and just enjoy the discovery of the old home. Writing about the 1920s was a whole new challenge for me. It meant new types of research and exploring the era. And because the 1920s story line is told through journal entries, I had to really immerse myself in the character. She ended up being one of my favorite parts of the story.

Q: What was the inspiration for your new book?

A: About eight years ago my dad and I visited Hearst Castle in California. I’d never heard of it until our visit, but I was mesmerized by the opulence of this home built by William Randolph Hearst. He spared no expense in building this retreat in San Simeon, and I couldn’t get over the gold-plated tiles in the pool – or the fact that there were two pools on the grounds. He entertained actors and socialites, the elite of Hollywood and some of the richest people in the world. Yet year after year Hearst continued to expand the home until it had more than 160 rooms on the estate where he left in 1947. It just wasn’t ever enough.

By the time we finished the tour, I already had a story idea about an actress in costume at a similar estate. It’s changed a bit since then, but A Sparkle of Silver can be traced back to that trip to Hearst Castle and a somber realization that many and all it could buy would never fulfill Hearst.

Q: What type of research was required for writing A Sparkle of Silver?

A: I did a lot of research into the 1920s, everything from the way they used language to what would have been built into a grand estate in 1929. Of course, my trip to St. Simons was a great jumping-off point, with information about things like the feel of the wind off the ocean and the sound of the waves on the shore. This is also my first book with a character who is battling dementia, so I did quite a bit of reading about how that might manifest itself.

Q: Was there any part of this book that really surprised you once you began writing it?

A: Yes, but I can’t reveal it without giving away too much of the story. I will say that I was as shocked by the darkest moment in the book as the characters themselves. The revelation should have been apparent to me, but somehow I didn’t see it until the very last minute, and when it all came together, it felt like an enormous gift.

Q: What do you hope readers gain from reading your book?

A: I hope that readers are reminded that the very best things in life are free – the love of family, laughing with a friend, the grace of God. When we face financial struggles, it’s easy to focus on those and miss the joy in life. I also hope readers will be encouraged by the reminders that God has not forsaken us. When the storm rages on, many of us struggle to say, “It is well with my soul.” That’s okay. God is still on his throne. Our doubts and trials do not diminish who he is or his love for us.

Q: What’s next on your writing to-do list?

A: Next is the second Georgia Coast Romance book. I’m working on it right now, and I’m excited to share this Savannah story with readers in 2019.

A Sparkle of Silver releases on October 16 and is available to preorder here. 

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