Tuesday, August 23, 2011

NO CHILD OF MINE - Kelly Irvin - Free Book

Why do you write the kind of books you do?
When I first started out, I wrote books like I was reading at the time. Romantic suspense and mysteries. As time went on, I started to realize that it was really about the stories that bang around in my head. I like to tell a good story, regardless of genre. A character gets in my head and I want to tell his or her story. Strong characters and daunting challenges to be overcome—those are my favorite stories. Oftentimes as the story is revealed to me, the inspirational “take away value” is also revealed. As a seat-of-the-pants writer, I quite often don’t know what is coming. I love it when the moment arrives and God lets me in on that critical piece of information that makes the story more than just a story. I write the kind of books I do because they entertain while at the same time giving readers the opportunity to know the comfort of being close to a living God.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I’ve been married for 23 years and have a daughter, 21, and a son, 19. Every day since I married and then gave birth to Erin and Nicholas has been the happiest day of my life. We have our ups and downs like any other family, but I never lose sight of how blessed I am to have an “average, regular, normal” family. Not everyone gets that. My own childhood was not like that. So I love the barbecues and movie nights and Costco runs and arguing over who will change the litter box. This is the day the Lord has made, rejoice and be glad in it is a verse I keep close to my heart.

How has being published changed your life?
It’s given me confidence. Even though I wrote nonfiction as a journalist for years, I never wanted to tell people I was a writer. I didn’t use that term. Or author. It seems that publication gave me the affirmation I needed to stand up and say this is who I am. I still get embarrassed when people ask me about it, but I’m getting better.

What is your current work in progress?
I just finished the second manuscript in a two-book contract with Harvest House for Amish romances. I haven’t landed on a title yet, but it’s a story about the power of faith to give us hope even in the face of tragedy. The first book won’t come out until September 2012 so now I’m contemplating where to go from here. I have a concept I’m kicking around with my editor. We’ll see where it goes . . .

What would be your dream vacation?
That’s a tough one. I’ve never been to Europe. I’d love to travel through Spain, Italy, France, and England in a leisurely visit, but my daughter is a history major and she wants to tour Washington, D.C. I’ve never been and it would be great to see all those wonderful historic places that relate to our country’s roots in democracy together with her for the first time. I guess the bottom line is any time spent with my family away from work would be a blessing.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
So far, they’ve all been places with which I’m familiar. It helps not to have to grapple with those details and be able to focus on plot and character instead. In A Deadly Wilderness, parks played an important role in the story—a murder occurred in San Antonio’s only wilderness park and then the murderer is caught and killed in another well known park that is recognizable to most of my San Antonio readers. I know South Texas. I know Kansas. In No Child of Mine I use both. I don’t have a lot of time for research or travel, so, for now, I’m sticking to what I can easily create from my own experiences and memories.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?  I’d like to buy Christian author Dee Henderson dinner and thank her for writing the O’Malley series. I checked out The Healer from the public library eight years ago. It was my first experience with inspirational fiction and I realized I wanted to not only read more Christian fiction, but I wanted to write that kind of book. The experience made me realize this was how God intended for me to use my spiritual gift. I’d love to pick Dee’s brain about writing and the ups and downs of the publishing business. Mostly I’d just like to thank her for giving me hours of reading pleasure and characters I still consider friends after all these years.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
Honestly, I don’t have time for any other hobbies. The other thing that I do everyday is exercise. I wouldn’t call it a hobby, because it’s pretty much a necessity. Running on the treadmill while watching DVDs of old TV shows is the best stress reliever I’ve found and sometimes it helps me clear my head so I can solve a writing problem. When I’ve gotten a rejection or bad news, it helps me to run it off.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Finding enough time to write. I work full-time as a public relations professional, proofread trial transcripts for two court reporters, and I have a family that includes two young adult children, three cats and a bunch of fish, so writing time is constantly a challenge. I go to work two hours early each day in order to write before work starts and then I eat lunch at my desk so I can get in another 45 minutes or so. When a story is going well, I’ll squeeze in a little time in the evenings as well, if I can. It requires a lot of juggling but it’s worth it. Having a supportive family helps.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Number one, don’t give up. It took me seven years to publish my first novel. Join a critique group, go to writing conferences, hone your craft, and write everyday. Every craft worth learning requires practice and dedication. You don’t just pick up a violin and become a virtuoso from one day to the next. Be willing to take criticism and rejection—it comes with the territory. That’s not to say you’re not allowed to cry about it. I’ve cried buckets of tears over the years, but when you’re done, wipe those tears, plant your behind in the chair, and get back to the keyboard. Publication is the best medicine.

Tell us about the featured book.
I’m proud of this story. It’s the most complicated one I’ve ever attempted in terms of combining two plot lines (two crimes involving children are committed and my police investigators must figure out how they are related), using two distinct settings, and finessing two romantic entanglements. No Child of Mine is a reflection of the huge challenges faced by society today in protecting our children from people who should love them and take of them. Child Protective Services in Texas is overwhelmed as I imagine is every similar agency in states all across the country. Good foster parents and “forever” families are desperately needed. I hope No Child of Mine encourages readers to perhaps consider that option. Having said that, here’s the flap copy:

On a blazing South Texas day dozens of law enforcement officers, family, and friends gather to celebrate a wedding. Detective Deborah Smith is happy for the couple, but she’s fighting a loneliness that makes her long for her best friend—whiskey. Then the unthinkable happens. Colleague  Daniel Martinez’s foster son, Benny, disappears during the reception. Deborah is assigned to team up with Detective Alex Luna to search for the missing boy. Instead of finding Benny, they make a horrifying discovery on the groom’s property: the skeletal remains of a small girl. 

Torn between salvaging his marriage and trying to save a child he’s grown to love, Daniel fears both are slipping beyond his grasp; and Deborah struggles to hang on to her newfound sobriety in the face of the pressure of her job and her past, while Alex chips away at her resolve not to trust him—or any man. 
The team of investigators travels from the seamy underside of San Antonio’s drug-dealing gang territory to the back roads of rural America where secrets fester in peaceful country homes. Their investigation rips off the Band-Aid that covers the cracks in an overburdened foster care system and reveals the painful reality that children are all too often are battered, terrified victims of the people who should love them the most. 
As the two investigations become more and more entwined, Deborah, Alex, and Daniel must risk everything—even their lives—to bring a little boy home safely and unmask a child’s murderer.

This fast-paced follow-up to Irvin’s debut romantic suspense novel, A Deadly Wilderness, will keep readers turning the pages long after it’s time to turn out the lights.

Please give us the first page of the book.

Benny Garza tore down the gravel road like a bunch of gangbangers were chasing him.

He was used to that.

If Mom could see him now, she’d laugh. Always forgetting stuff. Stupid.

As he ran, he bit into the rolled-up tortilla and fajita in his hand, chewed, and tried not to choke. A hawk soaring over the trees caught his gaze. In San Antonio, he never saw stuff like that. He’d like to soar, too. High and far away.

His shoe hit something hard. Benny stumbled, arms flapping like a chicken trying to fly, and fell smack in the middle of the dirt. The taco flew. His nose scraped gravel, and he bit his lip. “Oh, man!”

He rolled into a sitting position, gasping from the sting. He clapped his hands to his face and rocked back and forth, working through the pain. He was used to that, too.

Dirt smeared the white church shirt and black pants Mr. Daniel had bought him special for the wedding. He tried to brush it off. The stain darkened and spread. “Oh, no, no!”

That’s what he got for rushing to get his jeans and tennies from the Jeep. That’s what he got for being in a hurry to have fun at the party. Like Mom always said, everything came with a price.

Mr. Daniel might get mad. Sure, he never got real mad like Mom. He didn’t yell or hit. He just looked sad, and his voice got soft. Benny’s stomach would feel funny then, like he might puke. He didn’t want Mr. Daniel to be mad at him. Ever.

Maybe he could ask Marco to show him how to use the washing machine. Maybe he could wash the clothes before Mr. Daniel saw them. Benny struggled to his feet, fighting tears. Eight-year-olds were too old to cry. That’s what Mom said. He trudged to Mr. Daniel’s Jeep and grabbed his clothes from the back seat.

He turned to shove the door shut. A giant man loomed over him, blocking the sun. He had a big smile plastered across his face. “Hey, buddy.”

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you for dropping by, Kelly.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.

If you’re reading this on Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Karla said...

Great interview. Sounds like a wonderful book. Would love to win it.

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much for the chance to win this. This looks amazing. I would love to read this. Thanks again.

I am from Oklahoma.


ZachandZoesMom said...

The book sounds interesting! Would love to be entered into the drawing!
I live in South Louisiana. Lots of swamps here! :)


Anonymous said...

Please enter me in the drawing.

Jo said...

Great interview especially since learning about another new author to me. The book sounds quite interesting. Please enter me.


Annette W. said...

OOO...sounds good! Thanks for sharing!
Annette in PA
derekannette at gmail dot com

Sonnie said...

Having grown up with you, Kelly, it was fascinating to read the interview about your current life. I'm really proud of what you've accomplished...in becoming a true write/author. Keep up the good work! This book sounds fun to read, too....loved the first page.

Linda said...

Looks like an interesting story...one way or another I will read this. Thanks!

Kelly Irvin said...

Thanks for your kind words, everyone. Sonnie, I appreciate your encouragement. It's always interesting to see what people you knew as kids have done with their lives! I hope everyone enjoys the book!

Judy said...

I enjoyed the interview with Kelly. I love getting to know authors that are new to me. "No Child Of Mine" sounds like a good read. I'd love to win a copy of it.


Judy B from Indiana

Linda Kish said...

I would love to read this book.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Kelly Irvin said...

I'm amazed at the geographical diversity represented in these comments. Anyone feel the earth move this morning? Stay safe wherever you are and happy reading.

Pam K. said...

I live in Kansas but lived in Texas for a few years so I'm interested in books set in either state. "No Child of Mine" sounds like a book that would be hard to put down. Thanks for the interview with Kelly and a chance to win this book from another new (to me)author.


Kelly Irvin said...

I did the opposite, Pam. I was born and raised in Kansas but moved to Texas as soon as I could (as the people in Texas like to say). It was fun getting to use my two "home" states in the book. In some ways, they have a lot in common. Go Jayhawks!

Anonymous said...

This sounds quite interesting!

Melisa from TX.

Marianne said...

Foster children..and intrigue!!what a combination. Would love to win. Thanks Lena and Kelly for the chance. mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com from Peace River Country, Alberta

Edwina said...

Thanks, Lena for another great interview!

Kelly, this book sounds fantastic!



Patsy said...

I have not read anything from Kelly but her book sounds great. Looking forward to reading it.
from Mississippi


Kristi said...

This sounds like a really good book! Enjoyed the interview as well.

Kristi in Illinois

Abigail said...

Looks like a wonderful book! Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks!!!
God Bless!
Abigail Richmond
Blanch, N.C.

Kristie said...

Sounds like a wonderful and unique book. Some people should not be parents and some people should not be foster parents. Fostering takes a special soul. Thanks for your take on that. I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com Thank you.

dancealert said...

The book sounds great would love to read it!

I'm from Michigan!

dancealert at aol dot com

Ingrid said...

Hi Kelly,. I loved the Interview,. please add me in your contest to win the Book,. it sounds great.
Thank you

I live in Illinois


Sharon Richmond said...

Sounds very interesting, Please enter me in the drawing.
Sharon Richmond

Cindy W. said...

Oh wow! The excerpt made me want to take that young boy and tell him it was going to be okay. How sad that in life children live in fear of those who are suppose to love them. I would love to be entered to win No Child of Mine.

I live in Indiana.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Robyn said...

Wow--this sounds like an intense read (in a good way). Looking forward to it.

coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Roanna said...

This book sounds very intriguing. I know people who do foster care, and my parents even considered doing it. I am interested in reading this book.

Please enter me.
Thank you!
Roanna from Ohio

Beth Reinke said...

Great interview. Love complicated plots where everything is intertwined. Please enter me to win No Child of Mine. :o)

Beth from PA

Sarah said...

Would love to win!

Sarah H

Judy said...

Great interview!! I live in Kansas and am a friend of your sister Debby. She introduced me to your first book which I read in just a day and a half! Your new book sounds like it will really touch a person's heart. Very interested in reading it and of course winning a free copy would be great! Looking forward to seeing many more new publications from you!

peachykath said...

This sounds like a really great book. Please enter me in the drawing for this book. Thank you.

Katherine from Northern California

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

wonderful to hear how publication provided confidence for you! and well worth it ~ congrats! thx for the gvway! frm CA

sarahw said...

sounds like a great book. woulg=d love the chance to win. thanks,
sarahw- MN