The author speaks on faith, walking in purpose, and finding her writing voice
Lakisha Johnson is a Memphis born God-fearing woman who has been writing since 2012. She has published thirty books including novels, devotionals, and journals covering topics of faith, abuse, marriage, love, loss, grief, and losing hope. In addition to being a self-published author, she’s also a wife, mother, grandmother, co-pastor, senior business analyst, devotional blogger, college graduate and product of a large family.
Lakisha writes from her heart and hopes the messages on the pages will relate to every reader. This is why she doesn’t take the credit for what God does because if you were to strip away everything; you’d see that Lakisha is simply a woman who boldly, unapologetically and gladly loves and works for God. Ask her and she’ll tell you, “It’s not just writing, it’s ministry.”
What inspired you to become an author?
Truth is, I never set out to be an author. When I wrote my first book, it was something fun to do. I made a cover and uploaded it to CreateSpace, and it did okay. Then it was picked up by a publisher and for a couple of years, things were good. One day, I decided to self-publish, thinking I knew what it would take. I was wrong.
After releasing The Family that Lies in 2016, God would shut me down and I didn’t release anything in 2017. I didn’t realize, God was shutting me down to shift everything I knew. By this time, I’d accepted my calling to ministry and God would use fiction books as a part of it.
In 2018, I released my first Christian Fiction novel, and I was scared because it wasn’t my usual style of writing. Readers loved it. God would then allow me to release eight books that year. In 2012, there was no inspiration, but in 2017, ministry became it and if I can get someone to see God, trust God, try God and His grace even through a Fiction book, sign me up.
What is the most challenging aspect of writing a book?
For me, it depends on the message because the majority of what I have written, I haven’t gone through personally. When I wrote about mental illness, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and divorce, I needed the posture of those who have dealt with these issues in order to reach their hearts. To achieve this, it took a lot of prayer, time, and research. This for me is the most challenging and rewarding.
What are three major keys to building a successful literary ministry?
· Keeping God first in everything and believing it will all work according to God’s plan for your life. See, sometimes, you’ll find yourself believing it isn’t worth it. Especially when you don’t see the readers or the royalties. However, everything God does is purposeful and if He placed the gift of writing in your belly, it is a part of His plan for your life.
· Prayer, faith and fasting. I pray about every book from the title, synopsis to the storyline because I’m writing for God and it’s His story to tell.
· Finding a balance when there doesn’t seem to be enough minutes in the day. Life can be overwhelming, especially if you have a family, day job and other things requiring your time. You must find a healthy balance to ensure nothing is lacking. This also means you may have to say no to some people, places, and things. In other words, sacrifice.
· Bonus… Keep writing even when it hasn’t paid off.
How would you describe your writing style to a reader who has never read your work?
I tell anybody, I write realistic Christian Fiction that doesn’t always end in happily ever after. This means, you may read a story with sex, cursing, and sinful living, because I write imperfect people for imperfect people. Yes, I realize it’s fiction, but for me it’s not just writing.
Each time I publish a book, it’s ministry and through ministry you have to reach people where they are. Sometimes, this is during brokenness, while in sin, a dark place, while suicide is speaking, or anxiety is at its highest. Sure, I could write every book with a happy ending, but life doesn’t always give us one. There’ll be times when the test result is positive for cancer, you miscarry, your marriage ends in divorce, or your life feels as though it’s been shaken up and you feel like you won’t survive.
My style of writing offers hope for you to pray again, hope again, fast, get up, try one more time, trust some more, try love for the twentieth time, etc. These are the types of things I write about. My writing is real, raw, and leaves nothing out.
What message do you hope readers will get from reading your stories?
Even when life isn’t always good to you, there’ll be things you don’t think you deserve to go through and times you’ll question whether you should go on… there’s hope. I pray hope is instilled in the heart of every person who reads my books. Enough hope to make them say, “I may be going through this, I may have dealt with that, or they may have tried, but I can survive.”
Again, I may write Christian Fiction, but baby, I soak every word in God’s anointing. Therefore, I include sermons, Bible studies, and prayers because somebody may not have a church home and yet, they need a church.
What strategies do you use to ensure that you thrive when things are tough?
There’s only one, really. I look beyond where I am. I’ve been writing since 2012, yet it would take until 2018/2019 before I’d even begin to see the light. All I knew was God said to write and man, it was tough. I released books and royalty checks weren’t enough to cover the cheapest bill in the house. I kept writing. Readers would give good feedback, but books still weren’t selling. I kept writing. Sacrificing time with family and it didn’t seem to be worth it. I kept writing. Why? Because I’m looking beyond where I am and into what I know God said. There’ll be a time when I won’t have to work as hard, when royalties will match the gift and things will align because my strategy is simple… believe what I heard God say concerning me.
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Trust your gift while working your gift. If you know writing is your purpose, you can’t give up when it’s hard. Truth is, it’s hard 99% of the time, but if one person is impacted by you, it’s not in vain. Also, spend time researching the topic, choose a genre you’re passionate about, write for quality not quantity, and enjoy it. The last thing you should do is work a gift you don’t love, like, and enjoy. When you enjoy it, it makes everything else worth it.
What are you currently working on?
Now, this is a loaded question. I have a few books I’ve started on, yet I haven’t decided what will be next. Currently, the one in the forefront is called One Small Secret, although the title could change. I do know, I plan to release a couple more books, including a book of prayers from previous stories, before the end of the year.
Book Link: Amazon
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