Friday, May 27, 2016


Dear Readers, J. A. is a member of the critique group that meets in my home. She’s a co-host with me. When I can’t host, the group meets at her house. We also go to the same church, so we’re good friends. We critiqued this book in our group, and it’s wonderful. She writes suspense. This is her first romantic suspense, and it’s very good. Strong characters and lots of surprises. Just the kind of suspense book I like. You won’t want to miss it.

Welcome back, J. A. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
Thanks for having me on your blog, Lena. It’s always a pleasure to work with you.

I’m grateful to be in a season of redemption right now. Part of this requires me cut back and allow the Holy Spirit to rewire all areas of my life. The process has slowed my writing down, but in a good way. So what awaits me on the horizon is bit of a mystery. At the same time, I know He plans to prosper me (Jeremiah 29) and He has only good things in store. I’ll keep you posted.

Tell us a little about your family.
I love family! I have two grown children, one daughter-in-law, and two adorable grandchildren. And I guess I should mention the two grand-dogs and a grand-cat. We all live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, so we see each other often.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
Oh, yes. First, it’s hard not to mentally edit any book as I read, “Ugh. They put ‘where’ and ‘at’ in the same sentence!” Second, I love reading what I enjoy writing. I glean from other authors in my genre; their style and voice inspire me.

What are you working on right now?
Currently, I’m working on a presentation for a writing workshop in July. On the side, I’m putting together a non-fiction work that I hope will touch the lives of women (and men?) in emotionally abusive situations. My heart has broken over this area of oppression, so I’m gathering true life stories and doing a ton of research. I also have a blog with weekly posts that often blossom out of the deep healing God is walking me through.

What outside interests do you have?
Great question, Lena. I’m into fitness, and I’m slowly getting back into nutrition. I also love to paint (acrylic), which I consider both worship and therapy. Someday, I hope to get back into dancing.

How do you choose your settings for each book? By the way, I love the setting for this novel.
Setting is one thing I have to develop from the onset, or at least within the first couple of chapters. I aim to create a setting that will double as a character in the story. I design it so the human characters must interact with it. Will it be hostile? Cozy? Mysterious? Unsettling? This all makes a difference to me in how I carry out a plot.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Elijah, the biblical prophet. He strikes me as transparent and emotional. I can relate to him—at least I think I can. Mostly, I’m fascinated by him and all he did serving the Lord.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
I wish I had known how key a Moral Premise is to a story. Having the same vice and virtue working consistently in each character makes a story cohesive and helps the reader engage. Learning this has completely altered my writing.

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
God has me going at a slow place (slow to me because I was trapped in a mach-10-pace lifestyle until recently). Rest is beautiful. Worshiping without restraint is life-changing. He is revealing more of who He is and that is helping me discover who I truly am in Him.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Study the craft well, and don’t try to publish until your talent/skill has been confirmed by others in the industry. Get in a critique group and develop a thick skin. Don’t stop writing.

Tell us about the featured book.
Rylee Shepherd’s background is everything but enviable, and her time as a nanny in Hawaii is ticking away. God, however, is teaching her to live by grace, not by works. She overcomes false beliefs about herself and her past. The twins she nannies, who are raised on heavy doses of Disney, are hard not to fall in love with.

Her boss’s estranged son, Noah Logun, lives with his gracious pastors who are helping train him how to fight a spiritual war according to his faith in Christ. Noah desires to acquire “the eyes of Elisha” (2 Kings 16) and overcome his history as “the loser.”

Will Rylee and Noah discover the truths that will help them win the biggest battle of their lives? Can they do this before felons Lizard and “Kojak” execute their wicked plan?

Please give us the first page of the book for my readers.
Will they find me here? The odds were not in Rylee Shepherd’s favor. Moving halfway across the Pacific Ocean was the bravest decision she had ever made but maybe not the smartest.

Rylee tugged the crumpled, washed-out piece of paper out of the pocket of her shorts, which she’d accidentally laundered along with her clothes a couple days ago. She’d kept the ad for this nanny position handy in case she had trouble finding her new boss after landing in Hawaii. The ad described the Kauai residence as a beach house, and at first read, she had pictured a peaceful, modest bungalow.

Standing alone in the spacious, airy great room, she turned in a slow circle. She determined to beat the human record for adjusting to a new home. Only a hint of the initial tension still lingered in her stomach, unlike the first day she entered this museum-like palace. Recalling that day in vivid color, she thanked God her chest hadn’t caved in and the ocean of heaviness hadn’t buckled her knees.

Me fainting would not have impressed Mrs. Logun.

A flicker of blue on the white tile floor caught her eye. Rylee picked up one of the boys’ Lego men that had escaped the playroom and rolled the tiny figure between her thumb and forefinger. The little guy was lucky she spotted him. This dwelling with its colossal dimensions and asymmetrical décor swallowed him the way outer space would swallow a bubble.

“Small and exposed. I know exactly how you feel.” Rylee stuffed the lonely toy man into her shorts pocket next to the other play piece she’d found on the head of one of the statues in the marble entry. She would return both men to the third-story world where they belonged.

If only I could fit in as painlessly as Lego pieces fit together. A speck of her heart ached for the cozy sense of belonging she’d left behind on the mainland. As long as that speck didn’t turn into a thorn in her side, she’d manage fine.

How can readers find you on the Internet?
Amazon page: 
Pinterest (for this novel)

Thank you, J. A., for sharing this new book with us. I know my readers will love it as much as I do.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Family Lies Deadly Ties - Paperback
Family Lies Deadly Ties - 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:


Julie from TX said...

Thanks for hosting me, Lena. What a joy it is to know you, sweet lady. <3

Melanie Backus said...

I am intrigued by this one and would love to read it.

Melanie Backus, TX

Raechel said...

I don't need to be entered as I've read the ebook copy and just purchased the paperback, but I wanted to comment and say that I really enjoyed this interview!
I adore this book and the author's other books! :)

Unknown said...

My name is Jill Ricci and I met her when she was a part of Jerry Jenkin's group with my husband Dennis Ricci.
I live in Newbury Park California.
I so enjoyed this interview. Julie the more I know you the more I want to read this offering. Now that I am done with my residency I can actually read what isn't on a required reading list. What a concept. Blessings on the release of this novel.
e-mail address is

Julie from TX said...

Hi Melanie Backus. Thanks for taking time out to read Lena's post.


Julie from TX said...

Raechel and jill, y'all are too much. Thanks for dropping by 'just 'cuz.'


Connie Leonard said...

I would love to win this book.

Julie from TX said...

Hey, Connie. Fancy meeting you here. :) Glad you dropped by.

Unknown said...

I'm about half way though the ebook but would love the printed copy. So far it's great. This is the first of J.A.'s books that I've read.

Sharon from TX (actually down the road from J.A.) :-)

Julie from TX said...

Hey Sharon. Actually you're closer to Lena! :)

Mary Preston said...

A great beginning thank you.

Mary P


Cindy W. said...

Sounds like a book I would love.

I live in Indiana.

Cindy W.

BJM said...

Interesting beginning.


kim hansen said...

Sounds interesting. north platte nebraska.

Julie from TX said...

Happy Saturday!
MARY, all the way from the Land Down Under. Someday, I hope to visit.
CINDY, I hope you get a chance to read FLDT. Thanks for chiming in.
BJM from SC. I was just in your neighborhood (NC). Such beautiful country you live in.
KIM, from North Platte. I was born in Lincoln! I cannot count how many times my family used to drive through No.P on our way Colorado to visit extends family.


Beth Ann Ziarnik said...

Great interview and the novel intrigues me. Would love to read it!

Julie from TX said...

Hi Beth Ann. Where are you from?

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!!
Conway SC.

Julie from TX said...

Hi Sharon from SC. Thanks for dropping by.


Trixi said...

What a fun interview with a new-to-me author! I love how you put God in everything you do, a great quality to have in your writing as well. It's why I read Christian fiction, I want to grow somehow in my walk or be encouraged by something in the book! I like authors who are true to their faith and don't compromise in their writing.
Your book sounds good, thank you for the chance to win a copy!

Trixi in OR

Julie from TX said...

Hi Trixi from OR. I agree with your comment related to integrity in one's writing. Never compromise your faith in your work, no matter how menial. Good luck in Lena's contest.

Connie Porter Saunders said...

This sounds fantastic! Thanks for sharing.
Connie from KY

Caryl Kane said...

I LOVE Julie's books! I am excited to read this one!

Caryl K in TEXAS

Stella said...

This definitely sounds like my kind of book. Stella in Indiana

Unknown said...

Then I need to meet her since she is my neighbor!!!

Brenda Arrington said...

This romantic suspense sounds like my kind of novel. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
Brenda in VA

Julie from TX said...

Hi Stella from IN and Connie from KY. It is a fun book! Thanks for dropping by Lena's blog and good luck in the contest!

Julie from TX said...

Hi Brenda from Virginia. Thanks for dropping in on Lena's blog. Good luck!