Today, we're featuring Jill's first Love Inspired suspense novel. Welcome, Jill. What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?
I’ve written about hearing God’s voice, discerning light from darkness in a gray, confusing world, and trusting God in spite of the odds, but I’m biggest on pointing people toward hope. Seizing and clinging to hope despite obstacles is a bedrock theme in Reluctant Smuggler, the third book in my To Catch a Thief series of romantic suspense. You’ll find threads of the hope theme in everything I write. In Evidence of Murder, my February 2009 release for Steeple Hill Romantic Suspense, the deeply wounded hero must find reason to hope again, with the assistance of the heroine, even as they battle a faceless monster out to kill them. It was a challenging, fun, and personally moving book to write.
What other books of yours are coming out soon?
In June 2009, Witness to Murder releases from Steeple Hill Romantic Suspense. One of the secondary characters from Evidence of Murder becomes the main character in this one. I'm excited to take readers into the world of TV journalism, as well as a touch of the exotic from another continent. Here's a teaser: After a TV news reporter discovers a bracelet handcrafted by her long-deceased Nigerian mother on the wrist of a murdered fashion model, she digs to find the mysterious connection between herself and the murder victim. Her search for roots disturbs buried secrets that a killer will do anything to hide.
If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?
I’d have to say Francine Rivers. She’s a writer I admire very much. Her work inspires me to become better and better. Maybe one day I can write classics like Redeeming Love and the Mark of the Lion series. I’ve never had the privilege of meeting her in person, but I hear she’s a humble, wonderful person and a joy to be around. I think I’d like a bunch of that to rub off on me!
I met Francine when she was the keynote speaker at the first ACFW conference we had in Denver. She's everything you've heard and more. I admire her walk with the Lord as much as I love her writing. How long have you known that you wanted to be novelist?
At least since the sixth grade. That’s when my love of reading morphed into a passion to give others the same pleasure I received from reading a good book. The dream of becoming a published novelist has been born and died several unsung deaths over the course of my life. Then at about the turn of the century, the passion flamed once more, and evidently it was the Lord’s timing for it to come to pass. Several years of concerted effort and three full manuscripts later, Multnomah Books picked up my To Catch a Thief series, and the dream came true! Wherever I go on a speaking engagement, I like to tell people that if God will bring a cherished dream to pass for this nobody-in-particular from nowhere-special, He will do it for them too.
You aren't from nowhere. I've often wondered if since you're from Minnesota, and my father's family is from there, could we be kin to each other. Maybe some kind of cousin. What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?
Write, write, write; grow in craft; study the market; network with writers, editors, and others in the industry; don’t despise the day of publishing small pieces, and persevere, persevere, persevere! As long as you know you’re obeying the Lord’s plan for your life, it doesn’t matter how long it takes for that first book to be contracted. Oh, and don’t jump ahead of God and try any shortcuts. Believe me, they’ll just end up being longcuts. Patient endurance is the ultimate virtue in this business and brings great rewards!
Excellent advice. Now, tell us about the featured book.
Here’s a teaser for Evidence of Murder: When a new business owner finds on her property photos of a decade-old mass murder, she and the surviving son of the massacre become targets of a desperate and powerful killer.
I chose my home state of Minnesota as the setting for the book, and took the opportunity to explore fun and exciting areas—from the Twin Cities, to the Mississippi River, to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. I also had a blast researching new careers. The hero rents houseboats on the Old Miss, and the heroine is gearing up to open the doors of her dry cleaning business. Dry cleaning is a lot more interesting and involved than one might think. And the heroine, with her own background of tragedy and struggles with faith, makes an excellent foil for the suffering hero.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
My web site is http://www.jillelizabethnelson.com/. I offer a book review blog, plenty of opportunities to win books, my speaking topics, personal details, an appearance schedule, and of course, a page chock full of information about my published and upcoming books. The books page contains video and audio material, as well as excerpts.
Thank you, Jill, for spending this time with us.
Readers, you can order the book using this link:
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