I was baptized as a baby, and grew up with parents who were very involved in their church. Salvation was always a part of those teachings, and I grew up believing that it was a gift for all believers. My dad actually started off in the seminary, before World War II changed his plans, so faith was always a part of my life. It became far deeper for me as adult, after my husband and I lost a baby. Through that tragedy my husband and I grew closer, and we also grew much closer to our faith.
You’re planning a writing retreat where you can only have four other authors.
Who would they be and why? Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Colleen Coble, and non-fiction author Michael Hauge would be an interesting mix. I would just love to sit quietly in a corner and listen!
Do you have a speaking ministry? If so, tell us about that.
I don’t have a speaking ministry, but I think of inspirational fiction as a ministry in itself--a chance to share stories of people facing struggles in life, who find strength and peace as they reach a deeper level of faith.
That is so true. It's why I write fiction as well. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you and how did you handle it?
People are always telling me that they’d like to write a book someday. I’m sure they do to you, too. What would you tell someone who came up to you and said that?
People often come up to me and say they want to write a book, but they haven't taken a single step. I just encourage them to read voraciously and start writing regularly, even if they only have an hour a day. Invariably, they say "Oh, but I'm too busy," but if you have the desire, you'll find the time somehow.
If a person is already writing, and shows true interest, I love to steer them toward the organizations, online sites and books that can help them achieve their goals. For anyone longing to be published in inspirational fiction, ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) is an absolutely fantastic organization, and its annual conferences are amazing!
Aren't they? The conference is the high point of my writing year. Tell us about the featured book.
I've had seventeen secular romantic suspense/mystery novels published, followed by seven romantic suspense novels published by Steeple Hill's Love Inspired Suspense line. WINTER REUNION is my first for Love Inspired. What a treat (and an exciting new challenge!) it was to write a story without a strong external suspense plot!
It involves an emotionally and physically wounded man who left his marriage long ago, and is now on medical leave from the armed services. He comes back to Aspen Creek to meet the stipulations of his mother's will and finds he must not only work with his ex-wife, but must face a whole new set of challenges. Facing enemy fire is something he understands. But helping a houseful of elderly people--who were his late mother's final mission in life--truly tests his mettle! Winter Reunion is actually the first book in my Aspen Creek Crossroads series, and will be followed by SECOND CHANCE DAD in June, 2011.
I must feature that one on my blog, too. Please give us the first page of Winter Reunion.
Beth Carrigan took a last glance at her cell phone, shoved it in her pocket and heaved a sigh.
A crisp, sunny, October weekend in Aspen Creek, Wisconsin, usually brought crowds of tourists from Chicago, Minneapolis, and all parts in between. It didn't bring unexpected calls from Washington, DC, California, and the Henderson Law Office. Calls that now had her stomach doing crazy cartwheels.
What on earth was she going to do?
But everything is going to be fine, Lord. It's going to be fine, right? She surveyed her bookstore, breathing in the beloved scents of books, dark roast coffee and apricot tea as she walked to the back, where her friends were already settled in an eclectic mix of comfy loveseats and rockers she'd pulled into a circle before unlocking the entrance for them at nine o'clock.
Their voices fell silent as five pairs of worried eyes looked up at her. Their concern was so palpable that she forced herself to dredge up a nonchalant smile. "How's the coffee? Is it better this time? I bought a new fair trade brand and--"
"The question is, how are you?" Olivia Lawson, the oldest bookclub member at fifty-two, had been a high school English teacher for years, and was well known in town for keeping her students in line. Her brows, dark in contrast to her short, silver hair, drew together in a worried frown. "You definitely look upset."
Beth closed her eyes briefly for a quick silent prayer. "No news."
"If this is a bad time, we can all leave, dear. Unless, of course, there's something we can do to help."
For five years, they'd been meeting twice a month on Saturday mornings, an hour before the store opened. They'd been friends in good times and bad, and she knew she could count on them for support and the utmost discretion. Still, she stumbled over her thoughts trying to frame her news in the best light.
"The first call was from my mother. She's on her way here from California." Beth took a deep breath. "The second was from Dev. He's coming back next week."
Olivia's mouth dropped open. "Your mother and ex-husband. In the same town."
A hush fell over the group.
"And it gets worse. The last call was from Dev's lawyer--something about stipulations of an inheritance, and setting up a meeting, but surely it's just a formality, since the divorce ended my connection to the family. I can't imagine anything more uncomfortable than facing those two again."
Wow! I can hardly wait to read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Roxanne, for another interesting interview. I know my readers will be as anxious as I am to read the book.
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