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?
for having me on your blog, Lena. It’s always
a pleasure to work with you.
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 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?
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
What are you working on right
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
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.
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?
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 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?
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?
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.
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.
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.”
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
Please give us the first page of
the book for my readers.
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.
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.
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
Me fainting would not have
impressed Mrs. Logun.
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.
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.
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