Friday, February 29, 2008

Author Deborah Raney - Free Book

I'm really pleased to welcome Deborah Raney back with her second Clayburn series novel. Leaving November is the sequel to Remember to Forget which we featured when it came out.

Welcome, Deb. By the way, I like the new photo of you. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?

My publisher has asked for several stand-alone novels, so I’m enjoying coming up with those ideas. They will all be contemporary women’s fiction, set mostly in the Midwest—those seem to be my signature story elements. But it’s fun to get to work with some of the ideas I’ve been collecting and some of the issues I’ve wanted to address.

Tell us a little about your family.

Ken, my husband of 33 years, and I are very close to being empty-nesters, since our youngest daughter is a junior in high school. Our grown kids all live out of state, including our little grandsons, but we manage to get together several times a year and it’s always a joy to spend time with our kids. They are our proudest “accomplishment”…not that we can take credit for the wonderful people they turned out to be, but we did manage to get them through puberty and out into the world. :-)

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?

Many writers have found that honing the craft tends to ruin reading for a writer—or at least makes one much more discerning and picky than before. I used to finish every book I started. Now if a book doesn’t grab me by page 50, I set it aside and move to the next title. This is in part because at 52, I realize there are only so many years left to read all the books on my ever-growing TBR pile—and in part because now when I read, I’m also studying the craft, and I want only the best teachers.

What are you working on right now?

The third Clayburn novel, Yesterday’s Embers. I have loved writing the Clayburn books and would love to have the chance to write one or two more stories set in this little town that is so like the ones I’ve lived in over the years. I also write a column called Marriage Perspectives with our oldest daughter, Tobi Layton, and we’re putting together a proposal for a non-fiction book based on our columns. It’s been a blast to write with my sweet daughter, who’s an elementary school teacher (and more importantly, the mother of our grandchildren!)

You'll have to come back when Yesterday's Embers releases. What outside interests do you have?

I’m always babying a large collection of houseplants, but when we moved to a new home with a big yard a couple of years ago, my husband designed a beautiful prairie-inspired garden in our backyard. Gardening isn’t really my talent, but I love helping my husband water and weed and try out new flowers. We stroll through the garden almost every morning spring through fall, and are always rewarded with some surprise—a new bloom, a butterfly, or a rabbit or bird who’s decided our yard would make a good home. Ken’s garden spawned a new “hobby” for me—blogging. I have two garden-inspired blogs, one that features our garden, and one featuring the gardens of several of my novelist friends:

How do you choose your settings for each book?

My settings are almost always fictional, even if there’s a real city close by. I like writing the kind of stories that could happen in real life, so I tend to follow the write-what-you-know maxim. I love small-town life and the Midwest, especially our “little house on the prairie” in Kansas. So those are things that appear in many of my books. But sometimes my stories—with the missionary characters in Beneath a Southern Sky and Over the Waters, for instance—require an international setting. Whatever the story demands, that determines my setting.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?

I’d love to hear the story of my maternal great-great-grandmother and grandfather’s journey across the ocean from England to the United States in the late 1800s—in their own words. So I would choose to spend an evening with John and Elizabeth Small.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?

That there were rules for writing novels! I had a God-given talent for writing, but I didn’t realize how much work it would be to learn the craft of writing. I suppose in some ways, it’s better that I didn’t have a clue how much work I had ahead of me. It might have scared me off—but then look what I would have missed! I love the writing life!

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?

To simply trust Him. For everything! I spend too much time thinking about the future. Not necessarily worrying, but just wanting to know what my future will look like. The Lord is teaching me that it’s far more important to live in the here and now, and that He has my future in His very capable hands. I’m simply to take one step at a time, keeping my eyes on Him at all times and trusting that He knows far better than I what is best for me and my family.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?

1. Stop measuring success by the world’s standards. If you fulfill, day by day, the small tasks God asks you to do, you are a success, whether the world ever recognizes it or not.
2. Bathe every day in prayer—when you wake up, before you sit down at your computer, before you close your eyes each night. A life bathed in genuine prayer can’t help but be successful.
3. Practice an attitude of gratitude. It always saddens me to see writers God has blessed with small steps of success lamenting because they aren’t more successful. I believe if we treat every success as a gift from our gracious God, one that is totally undeserved, then He is more inclined to bless us with greater success. And even if He doesn’t, practicing gratitude—giving thanks in every circumstance—is a good formula for joyful living in any circumstances.

Deb, tell us about the featured book.

Leaving November is the second Clayburn novel. I’ll let the back cover do the talking:

Eight years ago, Vienne Kenney moved away from Clayburn and all its gossip to pursue a law degree in California. But now she’s failed the bar exam again. Is she destined to be stuck forever, a failure—just like her father— in this two-horse Kansas town?

Nine months ago, Jackson Linder left Clayburn, with no explanation to anybody. Now he’s back. But he isn’t sure he’s ready to face the rumors and well-meaning questions of the town’s busybodies. Yet he’s determined, once more, to make his art gallery a success—in spite of the secret that haunts him every day….

Sounds intriguing. I can hardly wait for the release. How can readers find you on the Internet?

My website is I love hearing from readers and they can contact me via the email link on my homepage.

Thanks so much for the great interview, Lena. God bless you!

And thank you, Deb, for spending this time with us.

Readers, go to her web site and find more information about her books. By the way, if you haven't read the two missionary books she mentioned, get them. They're awesome, too.

Want a copy of Leaving November? Leave a comment. (Be sure to check back to see if you are a winner. One of our winners of Vendetta hasn't sent me her address.)

There's still time to leave comments on these interviews:

DiAnn Mills - Awaken My Heart
Susan Page Davis & Megan Elaine Davis - Homicide at Blue Heron Lake
Rebeca Seitz - Sisters Ink
Valerie Hansen - Frontier Courtship

Three winners will be chosen tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Author Anita Higman - Free Book

Today, we're talking to Anita Higman with her debut Heartsong novel. I've known Anita for several years through American Christian Fiction Writers.

Welcome, Anita. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

There is a bit of me in nearly all of my characters—even the male characters. In the recent novel, The Love Song, the hero, Zachary Martin, is a nerd. Even though I don’t have Zachary’s brain power, I can relate to his bumbling ways. So, yes, bits of me show up everywhere. But I’m sure that’s very common among writers. It’s easier to write about characteristics and temperaments that we fully understand rather than ones we’re just guessing at.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I do so many oddball things that narrowing it down to one is difficult. But my husband seemed to think my Tibetan Monk story might be a good one to share. Many years ago I was taking my kids along with another mom and her kids to visit a local museum for the day. In the midst of our milling around the exhibits, we ran across a cluster of Tibetan Monks with their long robes, sandals, and shaved heads. I thought, “They look kind of lonely. What if a conservative Christian mom with her kids left her comfort zone and went over to say hello?” Well, that turned out to be a good idea, since they were very friendly and seemed to be just waiting for someone to reach out with a smile. We all, including the monks, ended up taking turns standing with each other and snapping photos. It was an amazing few minutes I will never forget—two very different cultures colliding in joy. In fact, somewhere in our family albums I still have those pictures from that day at the museum of their happy faces mingled with ours.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

When I was a girl I tried writing a story about a man from Mars who came to earth to live an ordinary life in New York. Well, the idea was good, but I didn’t get too far, since I had no idea what I was doing! But I wish someone would have said, “Hey, Anita, of course this stinks. It’s your first effort. Keep writing, and you’ll get better.” But no one said that, so I gave up writing from many years. I was about thirty years old before I took up the dream with some serious effort. So, I suppose the answer to your question is, I did have the desire to become a writer from an early age, but I didn’t really discover I could write until I was in my thirties.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

All kinds. Lately, I’ve been reading Tolkien. I’ve read, The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, and The Two Towers. I’m looking forward to the final installment of, The Return of the King. Tolkien’s work is so masterful, I always feel quite humbled after reading one of his books.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I’ve written twenty books in a number of genres, including novels, plays, nonfiction inspirational and curriculum. I also have manuscripts in my office drawers, which have never been published. But I’m happy about that fact, since I now consider most of those works practice runs.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

It is hard, since writing, speaking, and promotion can take up a lot of time. Not to mention, trying to keep one’s website current and interesting! There are just not enough hours in the day to get it all done. But one way to regain some of those hours during the week is to shut off the TV. That’s helped me a lot. On the weekend, when I do treat myself to some rented movies, I multitask, which means I might be ironing, or sewing, or bleaching my teeth at the same time I’m watching a film.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

In the past I used a baby name book, but now there are sites on the Internet that will generate names. A name is so important. It’s like the title of the book. I can’t get started until I’m pleased with the title and the names of the characters.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Raising my kids and watching them become fine Christian folks.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

I suppose a dog, since they get loved on and don’t have to put up with being caged at the zoo. Hope that doesn’t say too much about my personality!

What is your favorite food?

Dark chocolate truffles! I have some organic ones that are imported from France. They’re dusted with cocoa powder, but once you take a bite they get all gooey and smear everywhere. I take chocolate very seriously, and I think you have to be willing to get down and dirty. :-)

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

When I first started writing twenty-three years ago, it took me so long to write a novel that by the time I got to the end, the overall voice of the work had changed. So, that was indeed a problem for me, trying to be consistent all the way through. I solved the problem by simply writing faster. I no longer edit as I go. I create a rough draft in maybe a month or two, and then I polish after that. So, now that new method helps me to sustain the same voice all the way through.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

This business can be very discouraging. You need tremendous patience, or you’ll lose your marbles. So, it helps to go into the writing profession knowing it is a long and winding journey. If you jump in with the motivations of quick fame or money you’ll just set yourself up for aggravation and disappointment. But if you feel called to write no matter the weather, then you’ll be able to deal with the ups and downs of the business. Think of writing as long-term, passionate endeavor—the love of a lifetime. Everything will go easier after that.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

The Heartsong novel, The Love Song (coauthored with Janice A. Thompson) was released recently through Barbour Publishing. It came about from introducing myself to a woman in a coffee shop. Her name was Pat Durham, and I found out she was an image coach by profession. I thought that career would be interesting to explore in a novel, and so I interviewed Pat, and she gave me some wonderful tips for the book. Later, image coach Glenn Yves was born, and that character became an important part of The Love Song.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

I would be happy for you to stop by my site. I’m at

Thank you for spending this time with us, Anita.

Readers, be sure to visit Anita's web site. And if you want to read a review of The Love Song, go to my web site and read the January Newsletter.

Want a free copy? Leave a comment.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Author DiAnn Mills - Free Book

When I heard that my good friend, and one of my favorite authors, had written a book she calls her "Zorro" book, I had to invite her back to my blog. Here she is in a photo by Chris Walter Photography. Don't you just love it?

This is your first book with Avon Inspire. What has this transition meant to you?

Cindy DiTiberio, fiction editor at Avon Inspire, works very hard for her writers. I appreciate the company’s interest in me and my historical novels.

How did you come up with the idea for this story?

I had the idea a long time before I plotted out the story. Actually, I’ve always been a big Zorro fan, and Awaken My Heart is a “what-if” idea from that story. Forbidden love is a theme I often use.

You write both historical and contemporary books. Do you like writing one more than the other? If so, why?

I don’t have a preference. Both are exciting to me. Both require extensive research. Some story ideas naturally lend themselves to historical or contemporary settings. Historical settings sometimes limit what a character can say or do in the way of solving problems, but that’s a challenge I welcome. In contemporary, the challenge is up-to-date research that doesn’t fizzle with time. Whether an historical or a contemporary, the characters drive the plot.

If you were planning a party with contemporary Christian authors, what six people would you invite and why?

Now this sounds fun. Let’s say it’s a murder mystery party, and no one knows who has committed the crime.
1. Angela Hunt – She’d be able to keep a secret.
2. Deb Raney – She’s so sweet, and no one would suspect her.
3. James Scott Bell – He could legally represent himself or the real murderer.
4. Colleen Coble – She’d be sure to bring the Starbucks.
5. Mark Mynheir – He’d be able to look at all the suspects and figure out the guilty one.

Now let’s do that for a party for historical Christian authors, what six people would you invite and why?

This party would be a box-social, and each writer would prepare their own lunch for that special someone.
1. Tracie Peterson – She’d make sure we were dressed according to the right year
2. Tricia Goyer – She’d know how to advertise the social
3. Lauraine Snelling – She’d make sure the town would be renamed after us.
4. Kathleen Y’Barbo – She’d promote each lady’s lunch.
5. Janet Bly – She’d bring along her husband to protect all of the ladies.

Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?

Each book has to be better than the previous one. This is my personal goal: more intriguing characters, more twists and turns in the plot, more sparkling dialogue, and definitely more emotion.

Tell us about the featured book.

Awaken My Heart is set in 1803 Texas, and tells the story of 18-year-old Marianne Phillips, the daughter of a wealthy rancher, Weston Phillips. Weston is involved in a hostile struggle with Armando Garcia, the infamous rebel leader of the ‘mestizos’ who claim to own the land that Phillips has settled upon.

Marianne innocently encounters Armando while out riding her horse, Diablo, one afternoon. Not knowing at the time who this handsome stranger is, Marianne cannot seem to get him out of her mind. Soon, she learns who he is – under terrifying circumstances. She is taken from her home and is held captive by the mestizos in hopes that Marianne’s father will trade the land of La Flor for her freedom.

Armando cannot believe that his people have stooped to such measures, and arranges for Marianne’s escape, but not before becoming enchanted with this brave young woman who has taken it upon herself to learn his language and whose faith seems to guide her through the most difficult situations.

How can readers find you on the Internet? Be sure to sign up for my newsletter!

DiAnn, thanks for coming back once again. I always enjoy our visits.

Readers, I loved Awaken My Heart. If you want to read my review of the book, you can check it out at It's one of my blogs. All my blogs on Shoutlife are book reviews. Or you can wait until after March 2nd and read it in the March newsletter on my web site.

For a chance to win a free copy, leave a comment. Someone will win. It might as well be you.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lots of Winners!!!

Kalea_Kane is the winner of The Healing Season by Ruth Axtell Morren.

The two winners of Vendetta by Roxanne Rustand are Audra Elizabeth and Lucie.

Sonya is the winner of Taming Rafe by Susan May Warren.

All four of you need to email me your mailing address. There's a link in my profile.

Do you like to read book reviews? I feature reviews in the monthly newsletter on my web site. Just click on then click on the newsletter link. You might want to check the archives for book reviews, too.

There's still time to leave a comment on these interviews:

Susan Page Davis & Megan Elaine Davis - Homicide at Blue Heron Lake
Rebeca Seitz - Sisters, Ink
Valerie Hansen - Frontier Courtship

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Authors Susan Page Davis & Megan Elaine Davis - Free Book

Susan Page Davis and her daughter, Megan Elaine Davis, are authors the Mainely Murder Series, a set of three cozy mysteries from Heartsong Presents: Mysteries. Book 1, Homicide at Blue Heron Lake, released January 18. Book 2, Treasure at Blue Heron Lake, will release in August 2008, and Imposters at Blue Heron Lake will come in spring 2009.

In the northern Maine town of Baxter, marina owner Nate Holman and journalist Emily Gray seem to attract mysteries, as well as each other. In book 1, Emily returns to Baxter to prepare her mother’s island cottage for sale. But when Nate takes her to the island by boat, they find an old man dead in his summer home. Before the police can come up with a likely murder suspect, Emily finds another body.

Susan Page Davis

Megan Elaine Davis

This is a collaboration between mother and daughter. How did this story come about?

MEGAN: My mom heard about the new line of books, and when she told me about it, we decided to write one together. We have both always liked mystery novels, so we thought it would be fun to write one of our own.

SUSAN: I think we were in the car, and I was telling about a plot I wanted to submit to editor Susan Downs at Heartsong Presents: Mysteries. Megan came up with a super idea that would make it work better, and I told her she ought to write it with me.

Did you find it easy to work together on it?

MEGAN: Yes and no. The hard part was finding time when we were both ready to work on it. Most of the time we alternated chapters, but we had to spend time together planning and discussing.

SUSAN: Ironing out the synopsis together was the most intense. Once we agreed on that, it wasn’t too bad. Each of us wrote our chapters individually, then emailed them to the other’s computer. When I would get a chapter from Megan, I would read it and suggest any changes I thought were needed. Once we were agreed on her content, I would write the next chapter and send it to her.

How did collaborating with this team impact you?

MEGAN: Working on a novel from start to finish has helped motivate me for other projects. Every time I succeed in my writing, I am encouraged to keep reaching higher.

SUSAN: I loved helping Megan sell her first book, though she had already published poetry and articles. I think it’s brought us closer, showing us that Mom and daughter can work together well on things other than housework!

What is the hardest thing about writing as a team?

MEGAN: Finding time when both of us were ready to work on our book. It's hard when both people are working multiple writing projects. My mom has also had to spend a lot of time managing her dad's estate, and I am planning my wedding.

SUSAN: Yes, we had a goal of each chapter being written in a week. But sometimes the person who was supposed to do the chapter that week was swamped with other stuff. So it took us a little longer than we’d planned, but we still met our deadline just fine and had time to let critique partners go over it for us. I’d encourage any collaborative writers to “pad in” a little extra time for the unexpected.

What are you reading right now?

MEGAN: Currently I'm reading The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, and recently finished The Pirates! in an Adventure With Scientists by Gideon Defoe.

SUSAN: I’m reading a secular mystery set in Maine: Site Unseen, by Dana Cameron. On my waiting list: Twopence to Cross the Mersey, by Helen Forrester, and The Fifth Man, by John Olson and Randy Ingermanson.

How did you choose your characters' names?

MEGAN: I confess--I have a name fetish. When I write by myself, names are everything. If I don't have a love affair with the names I'm using, out they go. I prefer unusual names--Victorian and literary and flora and fauna names. However, because of the nature of the books my mom and I write together, we chose fairly common names to give the story a more realistic atmosphere. We want readers to feel like this could happen in their own small town.

SUSAN: And we actually did change the name of our heroine slightly to please another person. Me, I’m awful at names. I tend to grab one out of the phone book, but Megan has a much more contemplative approach. We used Nate and Emily for the hero and heroine, and leave the less common names (Pauli, Rocky, Raven, Truly, etc.) to the minor characters.

Would you want to work on another book together?

MEGAN: Yes. But probably not a mystery. I do prefer reading them to writing them. Maybe we could write a fantasy.

SUSAN: Oooo, that sounds like FUN. I wrote one fantasy, Feather, and loved it. I’d like to revisit that genre.

Are you a member of American Christian Fiction Writers? If so, why?


SUSAN: Yes. I joined about two years ago and have found it one of the best investments I ever made. Because most of my work is Christian fiction, it’s ideal for me. The online courses are worth much more than the annual fee. Add to that the fellowship, bank of experts ready to answer questions, publicity opportunities, e-magazine, book club, and the conference and contests ACFW sponsors...It’s one of the best buys out there, in my opinion.

What do you want to tell us about the book?

MEGAN: My favorite part of our first book is that there are two mysteries in one. I've always liked complicated mysteries, ever since I read Nancy Drew as a kid. I also really like the setting. It reminds me of camping at Moose Head Lake with my cousins, and hot summer days when Grammy Page took us down to Messalonskee Lake for a swim.

SUSAN: Yes, our Blue Heron Lake books show interior Maine from our perspective. A tiny town on a big lake, with the island we’ve always wished we could live on. It’s not a real place, but it should be! And Emily has the adventures I wish I’d had at 25. I love writing about Maine and the quirky people who live here. Book 2 will give the reader a taste of Maine in winter, too.

Where can our readers find you on the Internet?

MEGAN: You can email me at I do not have my own Web site at this time. You can also learn more about the books my mom and I write together at her Web site:

SUSAN: Do visit my site and sign up for my monthly free book drawing. Our books are featured on the “Mystery” page there. I’m also a host at Keep Me In Suspense: , a site for mystery and suspense writers. You can learn about Heartsong Presents: Mysteries and sign up for their book club at: .

Wow, Susan and Megan, thanks for spending this time with us.

Readers, want a free copy of their book? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Author Rebeca Seitz - Free Book

I'm pleased to introduce you to Rebeca Seitz. We met in Nashville a couple of years ago, and I just love her.

Rebeca, welcome to my blog. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

Oh, dear. Can I plead the Fifth? Ha ha! A lot of my characters’ quirks come from either something I am/do, or something I know others are/do. I’ve always been a person who figures out life through stories. So, when I’m writing stories, I’m still embarking on that adventure of figuring out this crazy planet on which I find myself. Because of that, a lot of my analysis and struggle to understand comes through in the characters.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Just one? My momma would be rolling her eyes at me right about now. :-) Of all my siblings, I’m the nut. Always willing to try something new, go off on a hare-brained adventure, etc. I end up doing a LOT of quirky stuff. A few of them lately have been: running across the road in the middle of a storm to get a picture of the rainbow a couple of fields away, jumping as hard as I could into mud puddles to beat my two-year-old’s splash (that kid can SPLASH!), and hanging that same two-year-old off my hip on our front porch while teaching him how to catch the first snowflakes of the season on his tongue and laughing out loud with my husband (the smart one – who was standing in the warm doorway behind us).

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I was eight years old growing up on our family farm that we’d had since the Civil War. I couldn’t have picked a better place for a kid with no money and a big imagination to spend her growing up years. I climbed in barns that had seen over 100 years of storms, raced across ground that produced fruit for generation after generation, and had a gigantic spread of sky to stare into and make cloud pictures. At eight, I decided to write down one of the stories that always popped into my brain – about a magic cornstalk. :-) My parents still have it in their attic.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

Mostly, I read fiction. Big surprise, eh? :-) I read all genres of fiction – romance, contemporary, women’s, fantasy, suspense, mystery, thriller, international, etc. I don’t read a lot of historical these days, though I’ve read hundreds of them in my lifetime. On the non-fiction side, I occasionally (as in, once or twice per year, maybe) read a biography or a book that teaches about some aspect of God. For instance, I read Jennifer O’Neill’s biography a little while ago and am re-reading The Rest of God right now. I start a lot of nonfiction and own even more of it so if you ever come in my home, I look smart! But my passion is and always has been stories.

Mine, too! What other books have you written, whether published or not?

Prints Charming was my first novel. It released with Thomas Nelson last Spring. Coming Unglued is the follow-up to Sisters, Ink and will be in stores this August.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I married the man God created for me. I get asked a lot how I fit everything into the day between running Glass Road, writing novels, raising a two-year-old, being a wife, renovating a 100+ year old home, serving as director of our women’s ministry, etc. And, seriously, it’s because I’m married to an amazing man. Charlie is the earthly hands and feet of my heavenly Father. That isn’t to say he’s perfect – he’s not! But he loves me unconditionally and that means he cares about my well-being. If he sees I’m tired, he tells me to rest while he keeps watch on all the balls I have up in the air. If he sees I’m hungry, he sits a plate of food on my desk. If he sees I’m upset, he asks why and then listens while I tell him. If he sees I’m happy, he asks why and then laughs alongside me. He’s just this wonderful partner to share life with and he makes everything matter so much more. He frees me to be the Rebeca that God dreamt up.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

They just come to me. Names have always held a lot of meaning for me, a sort of latent personality in and of themselves. That’s why I no longer go by “Becky” as I did when I was a little girl with blonde pigtails. Becky has a certain personality, a specific type that should come along with it. I still have my Becky moments (mud puddles, rainbows, etc.) but enough of life’s storms have buffeted my life to mold me into a Rebeca. :-)

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Glass Road Public Relations! The publicity firm stands as testament to God’s faithfulness, provision, power and purpose in my life. It began solely as His dream and He’s allowed me to take part in it so completely these past three years that I stand in awe. Just yesterday, as I hung up the cell phone after a conversation with a movie producer, I turned to my sister and said, “I have the coolest job in the world. I LOVE that I get to do this.” Getting to spend my life working in the world of Christian entertainment is a gift for which I will forever and ever be grateful.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Wow, that’s a hard question! I think I’d be a blue jay. They’re such gorgeous creatures and their spot of dark blue against the light blue sky always makes me pause and appreciate the Creator. I’d like to have a lifetime where my presence pointed everyone to God’s artistic abilities all the time.

What is your favorite food?

Chocolate brownies or double chocolate cookies.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

My biggest problem – hmm, I think finding time to write is the hardest thing for me. I have a lot of demands for my time and writing is such a luxury, an escape, that I tend to put it at the bottom of the To Do list. I haven’t completely overcome the problem (as evidenced by the fact that my next manuscript is a month late right now), but I’m working on it.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Network!! If, that is, you want to be a published author. Learn all you can about the different publishing houses and what types of books they’re known for in the marketplace. Go to writers conferences and industry trade shows. Learn names, learn faces, and introduce yourself!

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

That it’s on sale in every bookstore in the country right now! :-) Seriously, I’d like you to know that Tandy’s story – and the stories of the other Sinclair sisters that I’m writing now – mean a whole lot to me. I’d love to know if their stories affect you. If you hated them, loved them, identified with them, please let me know at!

How can readers find you on the Internet?

They can find out all about the books at and about Glass Road at

Thank you for spending this time with us, Rebeca.

Readers, check out Rebeca's web sites. Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of her book.

Also check out these other interviews:

Valerie Hansen - Frontier Courtship
Susan May Warren - Taming Rafe
Roxanne Rustand - Vendetta
Ruth Axtell Morren - The Healing Season

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Author Valerie Hansen - Free Book

I've read Valerie's books for years and loved them. I am pleased to introduce this wonderful author to you.

Welcome, Valerie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

It’s impossible not to put much of yourself into characters, but rest assured I have never murdered anyone or taken a wagon across the prairie. One of the biggest pluses for me, is being able to express my Christian faith in my work. I have learned many of the lessons the hard way!

I understand that. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

If, by quirkiest, you mean purposefully, then I really don’t know. I did accidentally shoot myself in the shin about a year ago when I clumsily dropped a pistol. Yes, it hurt. But I managed to write it into a later book. When I decided I wasn’t going to die from the wound I got the giggles in the ER.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I have always written extensively. Before publication, my friends received long, handwritten letters. Now, they’re lucky to get an email! As for writing professionally, I tried for my first sale when I was 40.

Before my first book sale, I wrote long letters, too. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I actually read a lot of history, especially lately. Having a chance to write Love Inspired Historicals has given me the perfect excuse to immerse myself in the past without feeling guilty if there are dust bunnies under the couch. Actually, I think it’s a whole bunny family! To unwind, I like to read suspense and short mysteries, such as Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock magazines. And I’ve been a finalist for the Alfred Hitchcock short story prize 3 times in the past year; March, Oct. and Nov. as Valerie Whisenand, my married name. (Hansen is my maiden name.)

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

So far, I have 18 published by Love Inspired, with 5 more either scheduled or contracted for. Yes, there are a few mss. sitting in a drawer, unsold, but not many. Before Love Inspired, I wrote 7 books for Silhouette Romance as Val Whisenand, and prior to that for Berkeley, Kensington, NAL Signet, Lorimar Productions (Dallas), and a few short stories.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

Here, you are assuming I have kept my sanity! Last year, I wrote 5 books in 13 months and nearly wore myself to a frazzle. This year, I’ve been encouraged to set up my own schedule so I’ve opted for only one every 3 or 4 months. I work quickly, then spend lots of time rewriting and polishing because that’s the way it works best for me. See? I am obsessed! When I get a contract and begin to complete a book, I find myself seeing the story unfold so that all I have to do is type fast enough to keep up. It’s exhilarating.

I, too, wrote 5 books in about 13 months in 2006. I know how you feel. How do you choose your characters’ names?

This can be the hardest part, for me. Once they are named, they start to take on personalities of their own. Sometimes I go through the phone book, making sure I don’t choose the name of someone I know, then match first and last names by mixing them.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

This is a hard question. I don’t consider my salvation my own accomplishment so I can’t count that. And I didn’t conceive my children alone, so that’s out, too. I have, however, been married for a gazillion years and happily. I guess I’d have to say that never giving up is the key to any accomplishment I’ve made. Including my writing career.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

Oh, a dog. Definitely a dog. And then I’d look for an owner just like I am as a person. I love dogs and the feeling is mutual.

What is your favorite food?

On or off my diet? Pizza, I guess, with anything chocolate as a tie vote.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Fear of failure. Plain and simple. But if you don’t keep trying, you can be assured that you will fail. I try always to give the writing process to the Lord, then remind myself that how the manuscript is ultimately received is not up to me.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Read. Then read some more. Although I do sell on synopsis and sample chapters, now, when I began my first book I had read so extensively in my field, the chapters sort of composed themselves. Rarely did I have to go back and lengthen or shorten. It just flowed. And I think that’s another reason why I can write a book so quickly. It’s intuitive.

I love this cover. What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

Frontier Courtship
is a labor of love. So was the extensive research I did to write it. At the time I started it, I was living in CA, never dreaming I would soon move to the “wilderness” myself and complete the book here in the Ozarks. It’s one of those books that I had no ready market for but loved so much I finished it just for me. This one wasn’t quick because I took time off to continue writing contemporary romance in between sessions. Then, whenever I had a break, I went back to this wonderful saga. When it was finished, lo and behold, Love Inspired was opening their historical line and I was ready!

How can readers find you on the Internet?

I’m at and on so many search engines I’ve given up looking. My books are available from Steeple, of course, and on, plus loads of the usual secular sources.

Thanks for giving me this forum. Blessings.

And thank you for being here, Valerie. I've thoroughly enjoyed our visit.

Readers, go to Valerie's web site and look at all her books.

Want a copy of this one? Leave a comment.

Don't want to miss a single interview? Sign up for FeedBlitz under my profile.

By the way, I don't know why my picture doesn't show on my profile. If you click the link to read the whole profile, my picture shows up there.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Two New Winners!!!

Maureen is the winner of Bayou Corruption by Robin Caroll.

Nora St. Laurent is the winner of Finding Marie by Susan Page Davis.

Both of you need to email me your mailing address. The link to my email is in the right column.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Author Susan May Warren - Free Book

Hey, Suzie, glad to have you back. I've read Reclaiming Nick and I loved it. Then I read Taming Rafe. Wow!! I can't wait for the third book in the Noble Legacy series.

Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I believe firmly that our time here on earth is meant to prepare us for eternity – and that starts with a relationship with God. So, having been a recipient of so much grace in my life, I try and pass that in into my stories – filling them with hope, and encouragement, filled with real characters who struggle with real issues. Of course, I like to do it all against a great backdrop of intrigue or suspense, or even the beauty of a state like Montana! My desire is that, when people finish my stories, they are inspired to seek after the God they met in my books.

Very well said. I feel the same way. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

I think it was the day my first child was born. Of course, I was equally thrilled with every child (I have 4). But motherhood took me by surprise, and I didn’t realize how it would scoop me up and take my breath away. I love being a mom!

How has being published changed your life?

It’s opened doors of both opportunity and responsibility. I’m ever aware of the valuable time of my readers, and thus, I take the gift of being in their lives for even just a few hours very seriously. I work hard on my stories, and immerse myself in the Word, hoping that the stories I write touch a life in a way that is eternal. I never desired fame or fortune, but I always wanted to be a person who changed her world for Christ.

What are you reading right now?

I just finished Light of Eidon. I love fantasy, even though I don’t write it.

What is your current work in progress?

I just started a fun, fast-paced, thriller/mystery series – It’s the epic adventures of a wanna-be PI named PJ Sugar. It’s funny, and poignant, and full of suspense and romance, as well as a spiritual message that applies to all our lives. I’m hoping readers will fall in love with PJ Sugar like I have!

I love the name already. What would be your dream vacation?

The beach, a pile of books and lots of time to read them!

How do you choose your settings for each book?

I like to write about places that interest me – whether I’ve been there, or plan to go there. For sure, when I write the book, I’ve visited the place, however, so I can weave in the texture and actual landmarks. I also try and use places that have something to do with the story plot, also.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

Oh boy, that’s a hard question! I’ve met so many authors who I admire. I think, though, I’d love to sit down with Elisabeth Elliot, who still holds the standard as a Godly woman for me. Her courage and faith inspired me in my early missionary days, and I’d love to meet her.

I've always loved her, too. When I wrote for School of Tomorrow, I did a piece on Jim Elliot and the difference he and his friends made, even though they lost their lives doing it. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

Is there anything else? *grin* I love hiking, and camping. I love snowmobiling. I love home decorating. And I love making a great dinner for friends.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

The temptation to look at what others are doing and losing confidence in my own stories, my own writing. It is SO easy, (and so wrong) to compare yourself to others. My challenge is keeping my eyes fixed on my goal, despite the voices shouting from the sideline, and hear only the voice of my Father directing my steps.

That's somthing every Christian writer must learn. What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Write the stories that are on your heart, and learn your genre very well, by reading stories in that genre, and studying them copiously. Also – get a team of critiquers who will give you honest feedback!

Tell us about the featured book.

Taming Rafe is the story of bull-rider who finds himself caught in his worst nightmare. A friend of his has died, and Rafe has destroyed his career, and he’s broken and at the end of his rope. Enter Kat Breckenridge, a philanthropist from NYC who is trying desperately to keep her charitable organization from going under. It doesn’t help when Rafe decimates her event – so she goes looking for him, hoping he’s a decent guy and will help her out of bankruptcy. Uh…sorry, no. Rafe’s too wrapped up in his own problems to help her. But she’s persuasive, and she’s going to help him heal. In the process she also discovers a few secrets about herself that will change her life. It’s one of my favorite stories because I just adore Rafe. He’s a great hero – unwilling to see his need for someone until they practically force themselves into his life, but underneath that prickly exterior is a man with a great capacity to give, and love. Add to that the beauty of Montana, the excitement of bull-riding, a delicious subplot with a couple locals, and a spiritual theme about God at work in our lives. It’s story I am very grateful to have been allowed to tell.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you for spending this time with us, Suzie.

Readers, you'll just love this book. I could hardly put it down. If you want to read my review, go to my Shoutlife site:

I do reviews on my blog. You might like to read the other reviews there, too.

Want a free copy of the book? Leave a comment.

Also check out these other interviews:

Roxanne Rustand - Vendetta
Susan Page Davis - Finding Marie
Robin Carroll - Bayou Corruption

New winners tomorrow!

Don't forget to sign up for Feedblitz, under my profile.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Author Roxanne Rustand - TWO Free Books

Today, we're talking with Roxanne Rustand with her recent Love Inspired Suspense release, Vendetta.

Welcome, Roxanne. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

That's a tough question! I think an author's life experiences--her personality, moral compass, faith, education, family and friends--contribute to her (or his!) unique voice as a writer. That said, there will be a range of character types in each book. I'm not sure how much of me appears in my main characters. But, I want my protagonists to be strong, independent people willing to overcome emotional as well as external barriers to reach a point of happiness at the end of the book.

During each one of my books--even before starting to write for an inspirational publisher--I prayed that I could write an uplifting story, with a positive message about the importance of family and commitment. Now, I can also include a story arc on how some characters deal with faith issues while facing challenges in their lives. I love having the opportunity to deepen the characters in this way.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

Hmmm...that's a tough one! While in college, I changed majors a number of times, supporting myself throughout those years. At one point, I was awarded a public health service grant that paid my tuition, living expenses and books. It was a dream come true, but after the first year, I had a chance to drop everything and travel the USA to work for a well-known horse trainer. He needed a second demonstration rider for the programs he'd scheduled at venues across the country. I prayed and dithered, then finally chose adventure over responsibility, to the dismay of my family. But what an amazing experience that was....memories I've treasured ever since. The funny thing was that the government cut the funding for that public health service grant the very next semester. If I'd been afraid to follow my heart, I would have missed out on a great adventure, and would have lost the grant, anyway. I later went back to school, though, and finished a master's degree in nutrition.

Sounds like quite an adventure. When did you first discover that you were a writer?

My mom has reams of childish poems and short stories, and a particularly memorable "family newsletter", which I named after a brand of canned dog food. I didn't actually start writing fiction until my kids were in grade school, though. I'd read only nonfiction for years, and then a friend introduced me to a wonderful author. I was so entranced, that I began voraciously reading everything she'd ever written, moved on to other authors...and then started wishing I could write something, myself. I wrote feature articles for a horse magazine for a while, and then started fumbling through my first fiction manuscript.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

I will read cereal boxes if there's nothing else. I have books stashed in my car, in every room of the house...and treasure ever spare moment when I can read. Fiction, non-fiction--my tastes are eclectic.

Your reading habits sound just like mine. What other books have you written, whether published or not?

My first manuscript is in a box in my closet. I've written nineteen published books, and am working on my twentieth. The first fifteen were family relationship type stories with a strong thread of mystery or suspense, and a touch of humor. Most involved the complexities of relationships that contemporary women face. Since then, I've moved into inspirational romantic suspense, which I love. I also contributed to a multi-author murder mystery written for public radio, called Orchestrated Murder. In that one, I got to kick off the novel with a demented orchestra conductor, which was great fun!

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I work twenty hours a week as a dietitian for a psychiatric facility, write several books a year, have my family, church, and a menagerie of animals. I can't imagine an hour without something to do, and I am grateful to have a busy life.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

Without the right name, a character just won’t come to life. The tricky part is that I try very hard to avoid using the names of our relatives, neighbors, friends, or people I work with--and also try to avoid repeating names between books. With every book, it's getting harder!

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

No question about it--being a mom. Each of my children has grown into a hard-working, delightful individual who has made ongoing education a priority, and each of them is succeeding in life. They fill me with joy beyond measure!

I know what you mean. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

I spent most of my early grade school years pretending I was a horse, during recess...because all I wanted to do was ride. I'm not sure being a horse would be a very easy life, however!

What is your favorite food?

Cantonese....seafood....crème brulee....perfect dark, sweet cherries. Or, anything that our daughter makes!

I have a sign on my kitchen wall that says, "My favorite meal is going out to eat or whatever my husband cooks." Sometimes that's wishful thinking.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Steady productivity early in a contract is probably my biggest challenge. If the deadline is far away, it's hard for me to buckle down and make steady progress.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Several things. FINISH your manuscript. Keep at it, make yourself work through the difficult middle and get to The End. Far too many people manage a few chapters, then throw in the towel and start something else. You will learn so much from the process of actually finishing a manuscript! Also, read every bit of dialogue aloud. In fact, make yourself read every chapter aloud. You will catch awkward phrasing, unrealistic dialogue, and a host of other flaws. It's a wonderful exercise for improving your prose!

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

Vendetta is the second book in the Snow Canyon Ranch trilogy, set in the Wyoming Rockies. I loved writing these books, which involve three estranged sisters and their domineering, widowed mother Claire, who single-handedly operated the family ranch for many years. Each of the daughters is returning to Wyoming, wanting to help out now that Claire is failing. Each faces unexpected dangers. In Vendetta, veterinarian Leigh McAllister comes home to establish a new vet clinic, but finds that someone will go to any lengths to make sure she fails.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Roxanne. Your advice is very good.

Readers, want a copy of the book? Leave a comment. Someone will win. It might as well be you.

Roxanne has offered TWO free books!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Author Ruth Axtell Morren - Free Book

Today we're talking with Ruth Axtell Morren. She writes wonderful books.

Welcome, Ruth. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

There is always a certain amount. I like what Georgette Heyer replied to someone who asked her why she never gave interviews: anything of importance was found in her books.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

I have done some crazy things in my youth, some stupid things, some ‘out of my comfort zone’ things (since becoming a Christian) but I can’t really think of a quirky thing right now.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?

I first discovered I wanted to write—and wrote a brief spy novel, complete with illustrations—somewhere around the age of 12, but as far as seeing myself as a writer, that came much later, sometime in my thirties, after a few manuscripts and several rejections, when I knew I would always be a writer, whether or not I ever became published, whether or not it would simply mean I wrote in a journal. I was a writer. As Joyce Meyer likes to say, “It’s about your who, not your do.”

I love to listen to Joyce Meyer, too. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.

My favorite stories are historical romances, but I will read any type of fiction if it’s been recommended. I recently read The Kite Runner and was blown away by it. Apart from the fine writing, as a Christian, it was fascinating to read about a Muslim culture. I love novels set in countries I know little to nothing about. In that vein, I just recently finished Vanessa Del Fabbro’s The Road to Home, set in post-apartheid South Africa, also a first novel. Another incredible book. I will read the occasional fantasy and am a fan of Karen Hancock.

What other books have you written, whether published or not?

I have written 12 manuscripts, five of which have been/are being published, three are scheduled for publication, and three and a novella remain unpublished.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

It becomes a little more difficult with each new deadline. It’s a crazy business, and I now understand why pubbed writers tell aspiring authors, it isn’t over when you get that first contract.

How do you choose your characters’ names?

I always read the credits after watching a film or DVD J. With most of my books set in England, I look for traditionally British sounding names. Some names have come off old cemeteries (Geneva in Wild Rose, for ex.). I used to read a genealogy column in a weekly paper when I lived in Maine, for typical names of that area for my Maine-set stories. And nowadays, more and more, I just Google.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?

Whenever I submit my will to the Lord’s will, even when it’s in tiny things throughout the day. And I can’t really be proud of those things, because it’s only by His grace that I can do them.

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?

You are asking a writer whose every spark of creativity gets used up in her manuscripts to be creative in this interview! Hmm. It would be some type of animal that observes a lot.

What is your favorite food?

I love all kinds of foods. We have a very ethnic household, Hispanic & Wasp on my side, Suriname & Dutch on my husband’s. We’ve both traveled a lot and are rarely afraid of trying something new. At this point in time, my biggest priority is probably healthy food. I’m a big lover of veggies, preferably homegrown.

We had a Dutch exchange student when my daughters were in high school. He was a real joy in our lives. Now shifting gears, what is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?

Coming up with plots. I always thought I was better at coming up with characters and thinking up dialogue. I think it all came together just by learning the nuts and bolts of the craft of storytelling.

What advice would you give to an author just starting out?

Make sure you have a good paying job, which you like, on the side . Or a significant other, whose salary is comfortable enough to cover most of the household expenses. Seriously, it will take the pressure off trying to make a living at this business. You can take your time to be as creative as you like. Once you sell, you can take your time between deadlines to craft that perfect book.

What would you like to tell us about the featured book?

The Healing Season is a story close to my heart. Some might see it as a “Mary Magdalene” type story, which it can be, although I didn’t have her in mind when I wrote it. I see in it more an equivalent to today’s modern woman who may have given herself over to one too many men for a variety of different reasons, but who doesn’t realize how she’s selling herself short. Fulfillment and good self-image are not found in sex, not even in romance, only in Jesus Christ.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Through my website:

Thank you, Ruth, for spending this time with us. We look forward to seeing many more books from you.

Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy. Three people won books yesterday. Someone wins, it might as well be you!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

More and More Winners!! I Love This!!!

Laura Williams won Blessings by Kim Vogel Sawyer.

Abi b has won Distant Heart by Tracey Bateman.

Mindy Obenhaus has won Lethal Deception by Lynette Eason.

Email me your mailing address. The link is under my profile.

Another interview is coming tomorrow. Have a good weekend.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Author Susan Page Davis - Free Book

We're welcoming Susan Page Davis back with her wonderful sequel to Frasier Island.

Welcome, Susan, why do you write the kind of books you do?

Suspense appeals to me because I’ve always been fascinated by the concept of Justice, and of Good triumphing over Evil. It’s a way writers can show God’s will accomplished in a small way, and in the here and now, not the far-off future.

And you do that so well. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

Today. Nothing big happened today, but looking back and trying to choose one day, I couldn’t do it. But I could see that, while I was often unhappy in the past, the Lord has brought me into a life that I love. Each day my satisfaction grows. It’s not that everything is peachy now, but I think I’m more contented with what God has given me than I’ve ever been before.

How has being published changed your life?

I don’t think I worry as much as I used to. I stay on task more, which means I spend more time at my desk. And I’ve stopped apologizing for my writing. I used to put myself down a lot. I think (hope) I’ve quit doing that.

What are you reading right now?

Right now? Yikes! You asked for it. I’m reading The Skulking Way of War: Technology and Tactics Among the New England Indians, by Patrick M. Malone (for research for a New Hampshire historical) and Oxygen, by John Olson and Randy Ingermanson (for fun).

What is your current work in progress?

My daughter Megan and I are finishing up our second cozy mystery together: Treasure at Blue Heron Lake. When that’s done I have a novella and new suspense book (sequel to Frasier Island and Finding Marie) to write. Hooray! I love it!

I can hardly wait to get my hands on the third book in the series. What would be your dream vacation?

I would love to take my whole family to Wales and stay in a castle or an old abbey for a month. Okay, two weeks. In summer. With a beach. And a chef and maid, of course. And horses we could ride anytime we wanted. No phones or computers, but everyone would take a blank journal. Oh, yeah.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

I like writing about Maine. It’s the place I know best. But I’ve written about other places, too. My first published book was set in Wyoming because my editor wanted a historical, and that seemed like the ideal place for a Heartsong. Their readers were gobbling up prairie romances at the time. I’ve lived in Oregon, and visited Wyoming several times. In some cases the setting is chosen for me, as when Cathy Hake asked me to write a Shenandoah Valley series with her and Vickie McDonough (our Virginia Brides collection releases in April 08). With Frasier Island and Feather, the imaginary locations kind of grew in my mind along with the stories. For Finding Marie, I knew it had to start in Japan because that is where I’d left Pierre and Marie at the end of Frasier Island, but I wanted them to come back to the States, so I made it an odyssey from Tokyo to Maine. I guess there’s no definitive answer to this one!

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

I would love to get my dear hubby off for an evening. He works the 3 to midnight shift for a daily newspaper. Saturdays are usually booked, and Sunday evening is spent at church. Our last evening together? Alone? Can’t remember!

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

Genealogy, logic problems, scrapbooking. I used to do a lot of needlework, but haven’t had time for any of these lately.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

Interruptions and distractions. I usually try to get the most pressing household tasks out of the way early in the day, then go into write-like-crazy mode. But I’m not one of those people who can shut the office door and hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign. I have to be accessible to my family. I just deal with it as it comes and am thankful for what time I have.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Learn all you can about writing. You hear it so many times—master the craft. But it’s so true!

Tell us about the featured book.

Finding Marie stars a 22-year-old woman in a desperate situation. Marie’s husband, Lt. Pierre Belanger, has finished a two-year stint in Japan with the Navy. Marie is to fly home to Maine and stay with his family, and he will join her in a few weeks. Except that things go haywire in the San Francisco airport. Marie sees Pierre’s superior officer’s wife murdered, and she must run for her life. Her cell phone is stolen. She is afraid to ask for help. Her journey is a nightmare that never seems to end. She has to grow and learn to rely on God, because there’s no one else.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

That’s easy! I hope you all come visit me there!

Thank you, Susan, for spending this time with us.

Readers, I've read Finding Marie, and it is an edge-of-your-seat kind of suspense. So many twists and turns in the plot. You'll love the book. I wrote a review on my Shoutlife blog ( ), and it was reprinted in one of the newsletters on my web site, near the end of last year.

Want to win a copy? Leave a comment! (Don't forget to check back to see if you won.)

There's still time to leave a comment on these posts:

Robin Carroll - Bayou Corruption
Kim Vogel Sawyer - Blessings
Tracey Bateman - Defiant Heart
Lynette Eason - Lethal Deception

Three winners will be chosen tomorrow, and there'll be a new interview on Sunday.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Author Robin Carroll - Free Book

We're back with my friend, Robin Carroll, for the release of her second Love Inspired Suspense, Bayou Corruption.

This is Robin (on the right) and her agent Kelly Mortimer.

Welcome, Robin. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I love mysteries/suspense. Have since I could read. I grew up reading Trixie Beldon books, then Nancy Drew. I can’t imagine not writing a mystery/suspense.

And you do it so well. Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?

That’s a hard one…so many choices—the day I got married, the day each of my daughters were born, the day I got “the call”….. No, I’ll go with the day the Lord called my husband closer to him.

I know what you mean. That changes everything in your life, too. How has being published changed your life?

Deadlines! LOL Seriously, it’s pretty much the same, just now I have a deadline to turn something in to my editor, not just my crit partners or agent.

What are you reading right now?

Amazing stories by two of my crit partners—Dineen Miller & Ronie Kendig, a craft book on character traits, and Colleen Coble’s Anathema.

What is your current work in progress?

Since I’ve completed the Bayou series, I’m working on the proposal for a new series for Love Inspired Suspense, as well as my single title that placed in the Genesis back in 2006.

What would be your dream vacation?

Back to Jamaica with my hubby—but with my laptop this time.

How do you choose your settings for each book?

That’s easy—because I’m from the south, that’s just who I am…it’s part of me. So no matter what I write, for now, it’ll take place in the south! :D

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

Hmmm….this is a hard one, too! Probably Stephen King because he’s one of my all-time favorite authors and I’d love to see his mind working. A close second would be Robin Williams, because I love to laugh and he cracks me up.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?


What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?

Getting characters to shut up and let me work on the story I’m writing! LOL I laugh, but it’s true. I normally have to finally stop and open a new document and write a scene that’s flipping in my head so that character will let me finish my story. Then, later, I go back and look at the scene. If the character in that starts messing with me, then I know who to write about next.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Someone once told me that being an author is 25% talent, 25% hard work, and 52% perseverance. I’d have to agree. If you’re serious, you can’t give up. No matter the harsh scores, the rejections, the revisions….you have to keep at it.

Tell us about the featured book.

Bayou Corruption is the second book in the bayou series, and focuses on the middle LeBlanc sister, Alyssa. This book was especially interesting to write for me because some of the lessons the character learns are mine. And I couldn’t help falling a little bit in love with my hero, the dashing Jackson Devereaux. Rival newspaper reporters, an attack on a local lawman, and corruptions dating back for decades….it was fun to learn about these characters and plot.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Robin, thank you for spending this time with us. I can hardly wait to read the new book.

Readers, want a free copy of the book? Leave a comment. Then check back to see if you won, otherwise we won't know where to mail it.

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Saturday, February 02, 2008

Author Kim Vogel Sawyer - Free Book

I'm extremely pleased to once again welcome my good friend, Kim Sawyer. I hope you've already found her wonderful books. If not, you'll want to now. We're introducing her book Blessings, which just released.

Welcome, Kim, What are some of the spiritual themes you like to write about?

The spiritual threads in my stories always tend to be a natural outgrowth of the character’s development rather than “planned.” However, each of my stories carries a similar theme of hope—there is HOPE when we trust God and lean not unto our own understanding.

And you show that so well in all your books. What other books of yours are coming out soon?

In March, My Heart Remembers, a historical novel from Bethany House will release. I am very excited about this story—it features three orphan train siblings attempting to reunite in adulthood. Since my beloved step-grandmother was an orphan train rider, this story is especially dear to me. And it is my tenth book, releasing on the third anniversary of my first contract signing! The past three years have been absolutely amazing…and my heart remembers every blessing.

How exciting! If you could spend an evening with one contemporary person (not a family member of yours), who would it be and why?

I would choose to spend some time with President Bush to offer him encouragement. His term has been one turmoil after another, yet he has maintained his integrity and values. I admire that. As a former educator, I would also like to talk education with him.

He and his wife Laura would be part of my dream evening, too. How long have you known that you wanted to be novelist?

Forever. I realize that sounds silly, but truthfully, I can’t ever remember a time I didn’t want to be a writer. I believe God planted that desire in my heart. Then, in His timing, He watered the seed and brought it to fruit. I am in the center of His will, and it’s a marvelous place to be.

I understand that. What can you tell authors who have been receiving only rejections from publishers?

First I would ask this question: Do you believe writing for publication is something God desires for you? If the answer is yes, then consider this: There are no wasted steps on a God-designed journey. If you’re walking the pathway God planned for you, then every step has a purpose…even the rejections. So be disappointed—that’s a natural reaction—but don’t let disappointment become defeat or disaster. Trust that God has His timing, that He will use the rejections for your good and His glory, then continue to walk where He leads.

Kim, tell us about the featured book.

Blessings is Book 3 of the Sommerfeld Trilogy, a series of stories set in a fictional Old Order Mennonite community in Kansas. This book features the niece of the first book’s hero. Trina Muller has dreams that exceed the boundaries established by her religious sect. Giving them up means certain heartbreak, but following them means separation from her family, her beau Graham, and her fellowship. Is her dream worth the pain that it will cause…even if it is God’s will for her life?

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Please visit –I welcome guests!

Thanks, Lena—I appreciate the opportunity to visit with you!

Thank you for spending this time with us, Kim.

Readers, you'll want to visit Kim's web site. There's lots of information available there, and you can see all of her books.

For a chance to win a free copy of Blessings, leave a comment. If you leave a comment, be sure to check back and see if you won. We are still waiting to hear from a couple of former winners.

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Three Winners Today!!!

Windy Cindy is the winner of A Sister's Test by Wanda E. Brunstetter.

Patricia pacjac Carroll is the winner of Elvis Takes a Back Seat by Leanna Ellis.

Hanna is the winner of Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith.

All three of you need to contact me with you mailing address. There's a link to my email under my profile.

There's still time to leave a comment on these interviews:

Tracey Bateman - Defiant Heart
Lynette Eason - Lethal Deception

Look for another wonderful interview later today.