Tuesday, January 19, 2016

HER DEADLY INHERITANCE - Beth Ziarnik - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I so enjoy introducing debut Christian authors to you. And when it’s a long-time writer friend, it’s even sweeter.

Thank you, Lena, for hosting me here at “A Christian Writers World—Characters Who Grip your Heart.” Who would have thought when we met at an early ACFW Conference that we would be here now talking about my debut romantic suspense, Her Deadly Inheritance?

Welcome, Beth. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
What a hard question to answer. To my complete surprise, I’ve discovered I get to know my characters by observing them as I write their stories. Yet some of me or my life experiences come out through them. Like Jill’s determination to follow God even into danger, if necessary. Like Clay’s passion for historic architecture which led him to become a restoration contractor and his expertise at playing ball. I borrowed a fantastic catch he made from one of my husband’s ballgames. Much of what goes on with Jill and Clay during the Fourth of July comes right out of Jim’s and my experiences as we enjoyed the Fourth at Munising, Michigan. In my life, I have also had to deal with the shock and grief of losing loved ones unexpectedly. My life was touched by suicide and the haunting wondering if there was anything I could have done that might have prevented it. So much more is in there, however, I don’t want to spoil the story by saying too much. But I do know that, in order to strike a cord of authenticity, writing a character’s story necessitates delving deeply into my own memories and emotions. It’s akin to the excitement of digging through Grandma’s walk-in attic to discover long-forgotten treasures.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Probably while I was in high school, taking a one-semester journalism course and discovering I could write great news stories that appeared both in our high school paper, the Kau-Hi News and the town newspaper, The Kaukauna Times. That’s when I knew I could write. But even before that, while still a middle schooler, my friend Gwynne Vils and sat on her porch for hours an entire summer, writing our fiction tales. Unknown to me, my mother saved my attempts and returned them to me when I was in college. Maybe back then, Mom already saw something in them and had a sense of where life might lead me.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My hands-down favorite genre continues to be Christian romantic suspense. But I also read other genres. Lately, I’ve enjoyed Andrea Boeshaar’s A Thousand Shall Fall (historical romance), Pesto and Potholes by Susan Baganz (contemporary romance), and The Dividing Stone by Anita Estes (Christian paranormal akin to Frank Peretti’s work). And I wouldn’t miss reading Karen Witemeyer’s historical romances set in Texas. I’ve also enjoyed Gloria Clover’s YA Christian fantasy novels and hope she will have another released in the near future.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
Sanity? What sanity? Since the release of Her Deadly Inheritance on January 2, I’ve traveled such a fast track that it’s all I can do to barely keep up. At the same time, it is great fun connecting with readers, friends, and supporters who are so excited for me. What a beautiful blessing! And, yes, I do have help keeping my sanity. First of all, God’s faithful answers to the prayers of my prayer team and many other well-wishers. I could never do any of this without the Lord and these wonderful people. Also, my agent, Jim Hart, who offers direction and a calm voice of assurance every time I need it. I could say the same for my editors, Rowena Kuo and J. Christine Richards. The Lord has also kindly provided so many wonderful novelist friends who have traveled this road before me. God is always there for us when we need Him and reach out to Him.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Oh, I knew someone would ask that question. I might as well admit it. My characters tend to choose their own names. I read baby-name books and all, but in the end, my characters are pretty adamant. Maybe it’s because I send out weekly requests to my prayer team, and God answers their prayers. I do like to look up the meanings of their names to get a better perspective on who they are, and I often know how they came by those names, which adds even more information to the picture. But name them? No. They do that themselves.

I know. I had a character force me to change his name in the middle of a novel. He just wouldn’t accept the name I gave him. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Starting a local writers club almost 30 years ago. I asked God for one. The prayer was barely out of my mouth when he put me together with another writer to plan and begin Word and Pen Christian Writers. It has served hundreds of writers since its inception, most of whom were published as a result. We encourage each other, pray together, learn together twice a month. First, at the general club meeting, and later, during our critique meeting. I thank God, too, that from Word and Pen, other clubs have been born--Lighthouse Christian Writers in the Peshtigo, Wisconsin area, Pens of Praise in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and a new one in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where members haven’t yet chosen a name. This is all the Lord’s doing, and we often say how grateful we are to him.

What is your favorite food?
Bread—every kind and variety except with caraway seeds. Fresh and fragrant from the oven. Warm from the breadbasket. Cheesy bread, whole grain bread, toasty garlic bread, marble rye … okay, that’s enough rhapsodizing. I suppose I should also admit that I bought a practically new bread machine at Goodwill one summer, and I love using it to make bread.

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My original dream was to write romantic suspense, exploring how Christian characters with all their flaws might address the frightening challenges they would face during the story. Writing nonfiction came easily to me. But writing fiction took many years of learning a whole different set of skills to produce a publishable novel. Prayer and persistence made the difference. What others were telling me—“Don’t give up!”—was good advice. So, I kept working at the craft and networking with others in the industry, praying for them, encouraging them, and learning from them. Then one day the dream came true. God has a right timing for everything. Usually when we least expect it. He loves riding in on that white horse to surprise us!

And His timing is always perfect. By the way, I love your cover. Tell us about the featured book.
Her Deadly Inheritance is the first in a series of three novels that follow Jill and Clay through the challenges of a growing love and surviving horrendous life-threatening situations. Each book can easily stand on its own, and I’m loving the writing of the second even more than the first—if that’s possible!

In the first book, they overcome impossible odds to fall in love and nearly lose their lives, but of course, I don’t want to give away the story. I can say that, in this book, Jill deals with her need to put to rest her festering self-blame regarding her mother’s death. Though her mother died while Jill was hundreds of miles away, did she unknowingly contribute to the tragedy?

Here’s the back cover blurb: First a runaway. Now running for her life. Won't Jill Shepherd's family be surprised when she returns to Grand Island, Michigan, to end their lies and scheme to have her declared legally dead? But when Jill exposes the mastermind behind her intended death, her family's deception may kill any chance she has of remaining alive.

Clay Merrick may seem to be little more than a handy-man restoring homes, but when the former Special Forces operative tracks a brutal killer to Jill's historic house under renovation, he has most of the evidence he needs to bring the killer to justice ... until Jill gets in the way.

When the killer sets sights on Jill as the next victim, it's not just Clay s mission on the line, but his heart.

Please give us the first page of the book.
5:00 a.m. Twelve hours before a judge would declare her legally dead.

Clutching her cell phone to her ear, Jill Shepherd turned away from the red numbers glowing on her bedside clock and paced in the room’s pre-dawn shadows.

“Say you’ll come, Jill.”

“Don’t ask me, Uncle Drew. You know I can’t.” She squeezed her eyelids shut and struggled against the tightness in her throat. “The minute Lenore finds out I’m alive and you knew, she’ll think we planned this.”

His wife would turn on them both for snatching the house on Michigan’s Grand Island from her at the last minute. “She’ll leave you.”

“I’ll take my chances. More important things are at stake here.”

His quiet resignation clawed at her conscience. She clenched her teeth. She would remain strong. He deserved that much.

“I can’t.”

“Yes, you can.”

She swallowed hard at his pleading.

“I have to go,” he said, “but please come. The company plane is waiting at O’Hare. You have the pilot’s number. Call him.”

Jill pulled in a shaky breath. “She’ll never forgive you.”

“I’ll meet the plane when you get here. On the way to Windtop, we’ll decide how to break the news. Everything will be fine.”

He disconnected the call.

Everything would not be fine. Even he knew too well that someone would pay. The same woman who had driven Jill’s fragile mother into seclusion would see to it

I’m glad my book arrived this week. It’s the next one I’ll read. This has me really hooked. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Currently, on my website at www.bethziarnik.com,

Thank you, Beth, for sharing your debut novel with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Christian Suspense: Her Deadly Inheritance - Paperback

Christian Suspense: Her Deadly Inheritance: First a runaway. Now running for her life. (Christian Mystery & Suspense) - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. 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 Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link:


Anonymous said...

angela in ky would like to win.

Linda Kish said...

This sounds exciting. I would love to read more.

Linda in California

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a series I'd like to read!
J.C. -Indiana-

Anonymous said...

Sounds gripping!

-Melissa in TN

Mary Preston said...

It is a great cover. I look forward to reading the entire series.

Mary P


Jo said...

This book sounds great and I defintely want to read it.

Jo from Southern Arizona

Connie Porter Saunders said...

This sounds very exciting and I loved the first page. Thanks for sharing!
Connie from KY

Raechel said...

Sounds like a good book! Thanks for the interview and giveaway!
Raechel in MN

Diana Flowers said...

I love suspense and learning about new authors! Thanks so much for the giveaway opportunity!!

Diana in SC


Beth Gillihan said...

Love the plot! Sounds like a book you can't put down!

Beth in Montana

Karen Sue Hadley said...

I enjoy suspense and this sounds like it is full of intrigue.

Tammy G. said...

A new author to me...yay! I'd love to read this book!

kim hansen said...

Sounds like a good read. cheetahthecat1986ATyahooDOTcom. North Platte Nebraska

Beth An Ziarnik said...

Thank you all for leaving such encouraging comments. I am constantly blown away by readers who say they couldn't put Her Deadly Inheritance down because they had to know what happened next. Of course, that's what we authors work toward, but ... really? It amazes me every time I hear those words. My best to you all!

Robin in NC said...

Christian Romantic Suspense is my favorite genre! Please throw my name in the pot to win a copy! Thanks so much!

rw620 AT aol DOT com

Beth Ann Ziarnik said...

My favorite genre, too, Robin. God bless!

kam110476 said...

Hi Beth & Lena. Her Deadly Inheritance sounds like a real nail biter and the cover is beautiful! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!
Kristen in OK
kam110476 at gmail dot com

Beth Ann Ziarnik said...

Words every author wants to hear, Kristen! Thank you for posting.

Brenda Arrington said...

Sounds very exciting. Can't wait to read it. Thanks for the giveaway.
Brenda in VA

Abigail Mitchell said...

Looks great! Please enter me.
Blanch, NC

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Looks like an awesome giveaway!! Enter me!!
Conway, SC.

Beth Ann Ziarnik said...

Brenda ... Abigail ... Sharon ... thank you for entering the giveaway and leaving such encouraging words. Bless you and have a great day!

rubynreba said...

I really look forward to this book. The first page makes me want to read more.
Beth from IA

Terrill R. said...

The romance in this sounds just as good as the suspense.

Terrill - WA