BIO: Though Alice K. Arenz is known for her cozy mysteries and romantic mystery/suspense novels, the Carol Award winning author has branched out with her newest release, The Wedding Barter, a romance that is both serious and funny.
Arenz is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Her first three novels were honored by two finals and one win in
ACFW’s Carol Awards: cozy mysteries The Case of
the Bouncing Grandma (a 2009 finalist), The
Case of the Mystified M.D., (2010 winner), and mystery/suspense Mirrored Image (a 2011 finalist). These
novels have been followed by An American
Gothic, Portrait of Jenny, and
short story, Home Cookin’.
Lena and Readers! It’s
nice to be here.
. Why do you write
the kind of books you do? Alice
I write what God gives me—it’s the only explanation there is. Yes, I’ve always been fascinated with mystery/suspense, so it seemed a natural genre to write. But my latest, The Wedding Barter, is a romance. Though there is always an element of romance in my books, this one is so completely different—no murders or mayhem.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
I know it’s cliché, but my happiest “days” were when my daughters were born. Close, are the births of my four grandchildren. When I think about them, I get goose bumps and thank God for blessing me with all of them.
How has being published changed your life?
It’s added a different dimension to my life, allowed my imagination to soar and opened up a whole new channel of communication between God and me. That probably sounds odd, but I pray and ask Him for guidance—and try to be patient long enough to “hear” the answer. I remember when I was writing The Case of the Bouncing Grandma and wanted to know how it would end—when it would end! I kept on asking until one night I clearly heard “And then he kissed me.” Nothing about what would lead to that point, but it was enough to make me want to go on. I even put in a hard page break and typed those words. And He was right, that’s exactly how it ended.
What are you reading right now?
Actually, I’m re-reading my Bouncing Grandma Mystery series so that everything is at the forefront of my mind as I start on the third in the series. It’s tentatively called The Case of the Stolen Identity.
What is your current work in progress?
Ah, I got ahead of myself! Stolen Identity will be a cozy mystery like The Case of the Bouncing Grandma and The Case of the Mystified M.D.
What would be your dream vacation?
I’ve always wanted to visit the British Isles—especially
Ireland and . Scotland
How do you choose your settings for each book?
The main locations are always fictional—I’ve taken the adage of “write what you know” and used it for the main setting. From that point, the book dictates the rest.
If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
Wow, I’ve really never thought about this. I’m so family oriented that I rarely think beyond wanting to spend time with them.
Let’s see. . . I would have to say Pat Robertson because five years ago when I couldn’t move from my chair the result of a sudden attack on all my senses, CBN and the 700 Club were there to remind me God was holding my hand, carrying me. Yes, my husband and family were right here and supportive, but there was something about Pat Robertson that spoke to me and made me listen even when my head was screaming, when light and sound assaulted me on more levels than I knew existed. I couldn’t watch other TV programs, couldn’t stand to “over” hear the sounds or the movement. But something I’d never watched before, always passed by. . . spoke to me. So, I choose Pat Robertson.
What a wonderful tersimony. What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I used to enjoy sewing and painting, but because of problems with my hands I haven’t done those things in years. Well, until a few weeks before this past Christmas. I was trying to come up with a way to give my grandchildren (ages 19-8) a special gift—something they could have the rest of their lives. We’d always gotten them a tree ornament, but with our tight budget, even that would’ve been a stretch. That’s when I came up with the idea to make ornaments.
Chris looked up the directions on how to make homemade clay—flour, salt, water. After he mixed it together, I got out my old cookie cutters and very carefully rolled out the clay. Once they’d baked and cooled—five ornaments for each grandchild—I dug out my acrylic paints for the first time in nineteen years and painted/decorated them, praying God would help my hands to stay working and to keep the pain away. And He did exactly that!
Another wonderful testimony. I love stories of how God has been so present in our lives. What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Marketing. I don’t have the finances to advertise, so I rely on friends and family to help get the word out. I’ve also been blessed with people like you,
Lena, who invite me to be on
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Stay true to your faith and listen to what God’s telling you. It’s also very important to develop a tough skin. Remember that everyone will have a different opinion and/or advice. Take what they have to say and learn from it and don’t let it discourage you. Pray a lot and take the time to really listen to what God’s saying.
That last part is the most important part. Tell us about the featured book.
Here’s the back cover blurb for The Wedding Barter.
Riley Carr has been best friends with Amy Lawton since they were toddlers. While Amy awaits her discharge from the Army, Riley's been left in charge of helping to arrange "a very small, intimate ceremony with no fanfare" for Amy and her fiancé. But, Riley has something else in mind.
With the aid of two other friends, Riley presents her “wedding barter” idea to groom, David Herron. He agrees, providing best man, Mike Todd, stays in the loop to keep things from getting out of hand.
It doesn't help that the giant of a man is threatening, overbearing, and just doesn’t seem to like her or her ideas. But, when Todd gives Riley an ultimatum of producing results in three weeks or he’ll take over, she’s determined to prove him wrong. . .in more ways than one.
Please give us the first page of the book.
“You have to look at this!” I passed the pages I’d printed to Natalie, indicating she should give the extra one to Hannah, who’d already begun munching on a crunchy breadstick—one of Marcello’s specialties.
“Wha’s this?” Hannah spoke around the food in her mouth. A trim finger, with hot pink nail polish, covered her lips—probably to keep crumbs from falling out.
“It’s obviously important, Han, or she wouldn’t have asked us to read it.” Nat flounced in her chair, or would have if she’d been wearing anything other than jeans. She just naturally had that attitude—all super girly girl. There was nothing pretentious about her, never had been. Just because she was always “put together,” even when covered with dirt, some people believed she was not only stuck up but stuck on herself. Quite the reverse was true; Nat was an introvert on steroids—unless she knew you well.
Hannah, neither introvert nor extrovert, perused both sides of the paper I’d given them, her dark blue eyes wide.
“Is this for real?” She finally asked, stabbing at the page with a hot pink nail.
“As far as I know. Remarkable, huh?”
“Audacious is more like it.”
“Come on, Riley. A bridesmaid auction? Most people I know would rather bow out and risk the loss of a friend than incur such an outrageous expense.” Nat tossed the paper on the table. “The very fact there’s such a lengthy email chain speaks loudly of a hoax. Why on earth would anyone—”
“Did they?” Hannah asked before taking another bite of the breadstick.
I raised an eyebrow in response, realized what she was asking, and shrugged. “Actually have the auction? I don’t know. There’s nothing in the chain beyond the invitation, announcement, or whatever you’d call it. It was scheduled for what—um—a couple months ago? May, wasn’t it?”
Both girls nodded. I was about to say something when our waitress came by to take our orders. Knowing Nat needed to return to work in an hour, I knew we shouldn’t waste anymore time. We all ordered Marcello’s lunch specialty, BBQ beef calzones with the flakiest crust this side of heaven, and iced teas—unsweetened, of course—then went back to our conversation.
Hannah looked through the pages again. “The auction was in May and the wedding, um, is in September. Yesterday, if it was held this year.” Shaking her head, she continued. “You don’t really care about these strangers, do you?”
“This is a joke, right?” Nat narrowed her eyes. “I mean, you’re not thinking of doing an internet search…” She choked on her sip of water. “Our very own dinosaur searching the net for anything has got to be a joke.”
We all laughed. My friends knew me well. Ever since I’d suffered a head injury that left me in a coma for three days, computers and I were barely friends. I rarely used one except for work and email. And, it wasn’t just the loss of my computer skills; all my interests and hobbies suffered because of the accident—my love of reading and my determination to one day further my photography skills. But, this wasn’t the time to think about such things.
“It got me thinking, you know?” I leaned back in my chair and studied my friends. “If someone could devise a plan like that auction, surely we can come up with some ideas to help Amy plan her wedding.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?
And the book is available from Amazon at:
Thanks for hosting me on your blog. It was fun—and a little challenging. God Bless you all!
, for sharing this
new and different story with me and my blog readers. Alice
And readers, please share the link to this blog to all your reader friends. I know others will be interested in this story idea.
Leave a comment for a chance to win one of two free Kindle copies of the book.
wanted to giveaway two to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Thank you, Alice . Alice
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