Authors abound in Lawrenceburg

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By Meaghan Downs

The only thing that comes close to giving birth is writing.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Anyone who writes — even just by texting or sending e-mails — understands how difficult it can be to find the right word.
I once spent three weeks trying to remember the word “efficacy.”
“Dilapidated” will forever haunt me as the word that vanquished me in the third round of the regional spelling bee.
I’ve never published a novel, like some of the following Lawrenceburg residents have, but I don’t think I’m too off base when it comes to finding the right metaphor for the writing process.
“Each book is like giving birth to a child,” local writer and teacher Jennifer Johnson said. “It’s like saying if I like my first daughter or my second daughter or third daughter.”
Johnson, a seventh grade language arts teacher at Anderson Middle School, received two publishing contracts only two days after graduating from college.
 “Thirteen years ago was when I decided I really wanted to start writing,” Johnson, who has published 12 books as of press time, said. Johnson’s next novel, “A Wedding Song,” will be available online and in bookstores in June, and she will be holding a book signing at Joseph-Beth bookstore in Lexington.
A fan of the “Twilight” and “Hunger Games” series, Johnson said she enjoys love triangles, and often writes that kind of tension into her novels.
But ultimately for her, writing and publishing Christian fiction is about encouraging her readers by blending love stories and faith.
“I only want to write stories because I feel like my only purpose is to encourage Christian women,” she said. “And romance is my thing. I’ve loved romance since I was born.”
Former Lawrenceburg resident Holly Brown Marsh, who writes under the pen name of Taryn Raye, also loves romance.
“Well, I grew up reading Harlequin and Silhouette, and there’s something nice about knowing someone’s going to have a happy ending,” Marsh, who currently lives in Adolphus said. “But truthfully, I consider what I write stories of the heart. I feel that what I write reaches the heart. Or I hope it does.”
Her first soon-to-be published novel, “Castaway Hearts,” focuses on historical romance. But Marsh has written about 11 other manuscripts, some emphasizing the work of women or family saga.
To her, she said, love is powerful.
And so was the encouragement of her mother, Patricia Brown, to give Marsh the courage to send her book to a publisher.
“‘You hit send or I’m never going to see a book in print from you in my lifetime,’” Marsh recalled her mother saying.
Writing can be lonely, frustrating and exhausting. It takes courage and dedicated.
But the endgame, for anyone who writes, is to find universality.
The goal, for both Johnson and Marsh, is to connect with their readers in some small way.
And that’s all any writer can ever hope for.
“I think the thing I hope to achieve as a writer is that readers enjoy my books and it’s something that touches them, something common to all of us,” Marsh said.
For more on these Lawrenceburg authors and others, check out next Wednesday’s edition of The Anderson News.

Know another local writer? Let staff writer Meaghan Downs know at mdowns@theandersonnews.com or follow @ANewsMDowns on Twitter.