Thursday, September 11, 2014

HALLOWED HALLS - Hannah Alexander - One Free Book

Dear Readers, when my copy of Hallowed Halls arrived, it went straight to the top of my to-be-read pile. I’ve read Hannah Alexander suspense novels for years. I love the way this couple works together to give us a dynamite story. The settings always intrigue me, since most of them are in the Ozark Mountains, where I spent most of my growing up years. They create characters, who really grab me by the heart and don’t let go. Hallowed Halls is a great read that I would recommend to anyone who loves romantic suspense … and to those who maybe don’t. This is a very good read for anyone.

Bio: Hannah Alexander is the pen name for a husband-and-wife writing team presently working on their 29th novel. Their books can be found online and in new and used bookstores across the country. Hannah's work is typically set in a small town, typically with a medical drama, some suspense, some humor, with characters who often raise questions about the spiritual aspects of their lives.

Welcome back, Cheryl. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
Thank you, Lena. I wish I could see what He’s doing, because I’m beneath that tapestry, and all I see are knots and scribbles so much of the time. The one thing I do see for sure is that as long as I have stories to tell, I’ll continue writing. It’s been my lifelong passion, and I only hope I can still do it when I get to heaven.

Tell us a little about your family.
I’m glad you asked. I’m preparing to attend a family reunion in which over 100 individuals are scheduled to be there. My mother was one of thirteen children, and from those children came more than 55 cousins for me to love as siblings, and I do love them. Mom made sure of that, because I’m an only child.

My husband, Mel, whom I include in the pen name Hannah Alexander because of his great help with editing and medical scenes, has been my immediate family for nearly 20 years; the reason I chose the name “Hannah” for my half of our pen name was because I could so easily identify with pre-Samuel Hannah in the Bible. I was never given children of my own. That has allowed Mel and me to do many things we couldn’t have done otherwise, and we’ve accepted God’s will for our lives.

I have two stepsons from a former marriage whom I love dearly, and they’re great buddies with Mel. One of those stepsons recently received a master’s degree in Homeland Security, and he and his beautiful wife have two precious children. My other stepson works with pharmaceuticals and he and his vivacious, business-savvy wife presently have eight cats. We can identify, since Mel and I have rescued multiple abandoned kitties over the past nine years, and they’ve kept us busy. I have the utmost love and appreciation for the mother of my stepsons; because of her generous spirit, I’m allowed to be involved in their lives, and am greatly blessed.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
I’ve never thought about this before, but yes, my writing has changed my reading habits, because I’ve met so many excellent novelists over the years. There are some fabulous wordsmiths amongst my growing bevy of friends, and I enjoy their work a great deal. Typically I love to immerse myself in poetic writing style. I indulge myself in the best voices in writing, whether it’s thrillers, women’s fiction, even horror—and I don’t even like horror, but if an excellent writer just happens to write in that genre, that’s what I read. If I want to have a good writing voice, myself, I can’t afford to read novels that aren’t well written and edited, but there are so many excellent novels to be read, I’ll never run out of great material.

What are you working on right now?
I’ve just completed a novella entitled Alive After New Year to be released in December with Love Inspired Suspense. Now I’m beginning the sequel to the indie novel I recently finished for the Jerry Jenkins Suspense line, entitled Hallowed Halls, which we’re featuring today.

The novel I’m working on right now begins with my heroine discovering she has driven hundreds of miles in a fugue state to find herself sitting in front of a tombstone, with Fourth of July fireworks filling the sky. She doesn’t know who she is or what she’s doing here. My hero is one of the first anti-heroes I’ve ever done, so this will be new to me. He was one of the antagonists in Hallowed Halls, and now he’s coming to grips with the damage he’s inflicted on so many people. I’m more excited about this story than I have been about anything for a long time. Soon, I might even have a title for it. As soon as I know, it’ll be on my website.

I’ll want to feature it on this blog when it releases. What outside interests do you have?
I expect to one day enjoy hiking again, and traveling, and exploring new places. Right now, I read a lot, and help my husband with the clinic we recently established in our tiny hometown. We never dreamt how much work and emotional effort this clinic would entail. Our hometown, where I graduated from high school decades ago, has barely over 1,000 residents, so growing a patient load and reaching out to surrounding rural towns is something of a challenge. Getting the word out about our existence reminds me a lot of being a newly published novelist attempting to promote my first book. Until they’ve been to our facility and seen how good our staff is, and how caring my husband is, they don’t take us seriously. But word of mouth is as vital for the success of a medical clinic as it is for a novelist. I know my husband, and I know word of mouth will continue to spread.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
That’s where my love for travel and exploration come in. Once I find a place I love—usually here in Southwestern Missouri—I set a series in a make believe town, people it with characters who reflect people I’ve met and admired—or not. Then I settle in and stay a while.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
We’re presently studying the book of Esther, and I find I would love to ask her about her experiences that took place in that book—from her personal perspective. How did she manage to obey the terrifying demands made of her? I can’t imagine. I could use a good lesson about how to be more obedient.

I’ve long been interested in the life of Esther. When I was writing dramatic monologues, I did one of Esthere. What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
That it would take me fourteen years of writing, editing, rewriting, marketing and receiving rejections before I reached my first novel publication, but when it happened, the time would be right. Would I still have done it if I’d known how long it would take? Most definitely. But perhaps I would have experienced less discouragement.

My first published book took 8 years, so I totally understand. What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
Again, studying Esther, I’m finding through the only book in the Bible that does not mention God that God still reigns. Even in the empty times in my life, when I can’t feel His touch or presence, I’m learning that He’s still with me. It’s something I want to convey in the book I’m writing now through the character of the man who was a scoundrel in Hallowed Halls, and comes face to face with his horrible behavior in Book Two.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
First of all, learn grammar and punctuation and the craft of writing to the point that it becomes easy and doesn’t trip you up.

Second, write the story you want to write. Get it all down on paper without editing it. Feel free to write anything you want on the page, then put it away for at least a month.

Third, edit your novel with the help of several good books on writing and editing novels. Rewrite it over and over and over again, then put it away again. After more time has passed, pull it back out and rewrite it once more. I’ve found one can never rewrite enough, but you have to stop somewhere.

An editor once told me that it takes as much time to become a talented author of novels as it takes to become a brain surgeon. One has to build on the craft until it becomes an art.

Tell us about the featured book.
Hallowed Halls is a story set in a small town along the Missouri River, a fictitious town named Juliet set between two real places named Frankenstein and Hermann. Don’t you love it? I couldn’t resist using those names.

My heroine, Dr. Joy Gilbert, has lost her job in Kansas City after resisting her employer’s advances once too often (remember the scoundrel I’d mentioned earlier? That’s him) When Joy arrives in Juliet late at night, out jumps her employer’s fifteen-year-old teenaged daughter from the backseat. Tressa, who is escaping a difficult home situation, is tired of her battling, divorced parents. Unfortunately, Joy has crossed a state line with a minor. Soon after, she must face her former fiancé and admit her mistakes. Next, her mother, Molly, greets her at the front door with a house filled with rescued animals and a grumpy disposition. Life seems to be going downhill for Joy.

Forced to take a job working for Zack Tyler, her former fiancé, in the emergency department, Joy continues to clash with her mother about her life choices—they’d planned to open a clinic right here in Juliet, but instead, Joy took the job in Kansas City. Mom can’t quite forgive her for that.

Joy also has to work out some guidelines with Zack as they attempt to figure out how to re-establish their long-time friendship and work better together in the ER.

When young Tressa starts having blackouts, personal matters have to be handled on the fly as Zack, Joy, and Molly attempt to discover what’s happening before the blackouts become something worse.

Since I’ve read the book, please give us the first page for my readers.
Fury surged through Dr. Joy Gilbert like a rifle shot as she shut her office door and yanked the stethoscope from around her neck, suppressing a rebel yell. She stormed to the wide windows and sucked in her breath, ready to throw open the panes and shock the world. But an inquisitive squirrel leapt from one branch to another on a tree behind the clinic.

With a comical tilt of his head the furry critter broke the force of Joy’s outrage. She released her breath and deflated. As a child, she’d helped Mom bottle-feed an orphaned gray squirrel, and the little thick-tailed acrobat had often made her laugh.

Why scare the squirrels because she was stinging from the ridiculous accusations of a hostile patient? The man was unbelievable.

Her intercom buzzed, jerking her back to complete maturity.

“Dr. Gilbert, honey, you okay in there?” It was Betty, her favorite nurse.

“Give me a sec—”

“The boss is on his way to the clinic, sweetie. I want to rush Mr. Bezier out the door before he can waylay Mr. Cline.”

Joy winced. Along with half the clinic staff and several patients in the waiting room, Betty had undoubtedly heard Frank Bezier berating Joy for her refusal to write him a script for a half-year’s supply of Percocet. Some people thought they were above the law.

He had, in fact, loudly accused her of using her physical attributes and other “abilities” to land her job with Weston Cline “since I’m obviously an incompetent physician,” she muttered, too softly for Betty to hear. The patient was a bully.

“He’ll just call Weston later,” she told Betty. “He has clout.” And Weston’s personal cell phone number.

“Oh horse dumplings; the man’s a legal drug junkie and everyone knows it, including the boss. And might I remind you that Mr. Cline hired you for your ability with patients? Everybody here knows that.”

Joy closed her eyes in relief at her nurse’s soothing words. No one knew about the pains she’d taken to keep Weston Cline’s attentions away from her. All the struggles growing up without a daddy could teach a girl a few hard lessons, so she’d expected to be prepared. Being accused of doing the very thing she’d always resisted had felt like a stab in the gut.

“You could fire him from your service,” Betty said. “Send a letter and he’s out the door in thirty days.”

“We’re basically a pain clinic, Betty.” So why had Joy agreed to work here? “If I release a patient in pain from my services, I’ll be out the door.” Joy suspected Weston chose to advertise the clinic’s willingness to take chronic pain patients in the first place because it would ensure a fast growth rate. And it certainly had. A healthy bottom line was Weston’s main goal in everything he did.

“If you go out the door, so will I,” Betty said. “As will half the staff. Weston Cline knows better. You don’t want the state medical board breathing down your neck for being overly generous with controlled substances.”

Joy turned her back to the desk. “I think they already are.”

Too bad she hadn’t been thinking with her brain last year when Weston offered her this job. He not only offered it, he pressured her for weeks. The man had the charisma of a world dictator and for a short time she’d allowed herself to be dazed by his sweet words and the promise of a successful career—particularly after Zack broke their engagement.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
As always, look us up at Drop us a line. We love to hear from readers.

Thank you, Cheryl for sharing this new book, and glimpses into your life, with us today.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Hallowed Halls -
Hallowed Halls (Jerry B. Jenkins Select Books) - Amazon
Hallowed Halls (Hallowed Halls Series Book 1) - Kindle

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Linda said...

Hanneh Alexander is (are) one of my favorite writers. Can't say enough of their ability to ramped up a good mystery!

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Diana Gardner said...

Portsmouth, VA

Hannah Alexander said...

Linda, thank you! Just be aware that Hallowed Halls is a slightly new genre for me. Though death hovers, there is no murder mystery in this one. The suspense is medical and relational. I hope you enjoy this direction. Don't worry, later, we will be releasing more suspense/murder mysteries, but this is the series on my heart right now.

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a wonderful story. I like books with a medical aspect to them.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

rubynreba said...

This sounds like a wonderful book that I would enjoy.
Beth from IA

Hannah Alexander said...

Linda and Beth--Hope you have a chance to enjoy it!

Deanna Stevens said...

I do like medical suspense, I usually don't figure it out until the last chapter :) DK Stevens from SE NEBR

Hannah Alexander said...

That's okay, Deanna, neither do I.

Anonymous said...

this sounds lie it would be a must read for me too Lena!! Shelia from Mississippi

Anonymous said...

This sounds great!
J.C. -Indiana-

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this interview Lena. I enjoyed it. Sounds like she has a troublesome patient. Would love to re4ad the whole book so maybe I can win it. Thanks for the give-away. Maxie from Texas.
> mac262(at)me(dot)com <

kam110476 said...

Hi Hannah Alexander & Lena! Hallowed Halls sounds so good and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Mary Preston said...

Family re-unions are fun. We have one pencilled in for February.

This sounds like a fantastic read.

Mary P


Vera Godley said...

It is always a good read you have a Hannah Alexander book! Looking forward to this one. For some reason, I never picked up that husband Mel was a doctor. Love when medical suspense or medical stories in general have the authenticity that a real medical professional brings to them.

Hoping to win here in North Carolina

Hannah Alexander said...

Thank you for all the comments! Yes, Mel, my husband, is busily working at the clinic, building patient load to eventually support us, while working ER on the weekends to keep us afloat until the clinic is on its feet. I'm busily writing the sequel to Hallowed Halls while handling the financial side of things at the clinic. He's loving every minute of it, and wishes he'd gotten into family practice sooner. So we write what we ( both of us ) know, and Mel makes sure we get the medical aspect right.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway, SC.

Amy C said...

What an interesting interview. Thank you.
Amy C

Patty said...

Thanks for the interview ladies! I think I've only read only one of Hannah Alexander's books, and it was a rare one that wasn't really a suspense novel, so I would love to try this one out.

Patty in SC

sm said...

Sounds like a good mystery and I liked reading about you and your husband as co-writers. I would love to read your book. sm wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com CA

Pam K. said...

I've read several Hannah Alexander books and enjoyed the mix of romance and suspense. Hallowed Halls sounds like another good one.


Hannah Alexander said...

I should probably point out that Hallowed Halls isn't a murder suspense, as my Hideaway series books were. I've switched genres just a tad to include a little more personal drama, a medical suspense, but no murder. Definitely romance and some humor in a small-town setting as usual, but it won't scare you at night...well, okay, most of it won't.

Anonymous said...

Love to add this book to our collection of your books in our church library. Thanks.

Julie (WI)

Hannah Alexander said...

Thank you, Julie. Maybe your library will have a new book soon!

Ellie Whyte said...

I too have recently been told to write out a whole draft without editing and then put it away for a while before taking another look at it for tweaking. I know I'd have a better chance of getting something written if I followed this advice, rather than writing a chapter only to go back and pick holes in it until it's dead LOL

I'm looking forward to sharing HALLOWED HALLS with other readers in my town - also a small rural one :-) (Please don't include me in the draw - I already have a copy of the book).

kec200 said...

This sounds like a really good read. Love the medical aspect. Kathy from NC