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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 11 May 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – TERESA TYSINGER

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – TERESA TYSINGER

“They say “write what you know.” I’m fortunate to know grace and love pretty well – the grace of a heavenly Father who forgives me without my deserving it, and a love deeper and wider than my vast imagination can comprehend.”

 

“I yearn for connection – as I’m sure many of you do. It’s part of our make-up as human beings. True relationship building takes time and effort.”

 

rem:  Hello, Teresa, welcome to my little nest. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

TERESA:  My twin sister and I were born in Honolulu, Hawaii (father was stationed there in the Navy) and raised in Central Florida. I then spent more than ten years in North Carolina attending college and marrying my husband. We now live in North Texas with our daughter and fur baby. I work full time as a director of communications for a large church—a career I’ve enjoyed for about 14 years.

rem:  Remind me to ask for some twin antics… 😉 Tell us three things about yourself.

TERESA:

  1. On paper, I test extremely introverted, though friends would never suspect that based on my outward interactions; I must recharge with quiet alone time.
  2. My home library is pretty lean because, more often than not, I give books away to friends or family once I’ve read them.
  3. I have a master’s degree in editing and publishing but focused on book design, which led me to a career in graphic design as part of church communications. I love it!

 

rem:  Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

TERESA:  My favorite coffee drink is an iced caramel macchiato…mmm!

rem:  Caramel—sounds delectable! What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

TERESA:  There is currently a pair of my daughter’s socks in my purse. Ah, motherhood!

rem:  LOL Classic motherhood. What’s your favorite recent discovery?

TERESA:  My daughter and I love the show The Zoo on Animal Planet, a behind-the-scenes show about the Bronx Zoo.

rem:  Do you use sarcasm?

TERESA:  All. The. Time. It’s my favorite tool to get through life. Ha!

rem:  What is the first thing you notice about people?

TERESA:  Whether they are kind or not. Sometimes it’s in their eyes, and you just know.

rem:  Very true. Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

TERESA:  I chose my life verse when I was going through confirmation in sixth grade. I think God knew then that my anxious nature would need it: “Do not fear for I am with you; do not be afraid for I am your God.” Isaiah 41.10.

 

rem:  And that’s what His presence is all about, peace. What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

TERESA:  I believe Christian fiction is only different from secular fiction in that it sheds light on the only true conflict resolution: God’s grace and salvation. This can be really subtle, yet poignant in well-written Christian fiction. For me, writing has become my sacred time with God. It’s when I feel the closest to him—like he’s my co-author.

rem:  Ooohhh, I love that—He’s your (our) co-author! When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?  

TERESA:  I guess my pet peeve would be characters who are too perfect or whose lives are hard to relate to. I want to read stories about characters I can see myself and my own struggles in. I am really drawn to stories with a strong sense of place. Setting is really important to helping me experience the story.

rem:  Like mine in the swamp???  wink wink… Which is more important: plot or characters?

TERESA:  I think the two go hand in hand; one can’t survive without the other.

rem:  Seems to be the consensus. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

TERESA:  Something else creative. In the past I’ve enjoyed crafts and home decorating.

rem:  Yes, well, home decorating, Interior Designer here—you’re speaking my (other) language! LOL What are you reading right now?

TERESA:  Nothing!  This book launch has taken so much of my time. My pile of books to read is tall!  I particularly can’t wait to open up The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson.

rem:    NO | KIDDING! What do you munch on while you write?

TERESA:  Usually just coffee. If I have snacks around me, I’ll eat too much!

 

rem:  Tell us a little about your writing journey.

TERESA:  I started writing Someplace Familiar over three years ago for National Novel Writer’s Month, a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Since then, it’s been through so many rewrites and edits to get to where it is today.

rem:  Ah yes, good ol’ NaNoWriMo! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?
TERESA:  Because of my full-time job and motherhood duties, I don’t really have a set routine. But when my husband is off on a weekend, I most enjoy camping out at my local coffee shop. I’ve been known to have a 6+ hours writing marathon when I can find the time. Otherwise, it’s a few hours a night after my daughter goes to bed if I’m not too tired.

rem:  Wait, is a mom ever not tired??? What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

TERESA:  TIME (see above answer). In an ideal world, I’d love to write full time. Since that’s not my current reality, I am learning to be kinder to myself. I try and focus more on what I can do and not on what I can’t. My number one priority is my daughter and husband, so the writing comes second. I pray a lot about finding contentment in every day, trusting that God is there always.

rem:  And Father honors those priorities. Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

TERESA:  Creating, for sure!  There are no rules when you’re just writing ideas down. The story feels more alive to me in that phase. Editing can be very satisfying, but it doesn’t feel as organic to me.

rem:  I love the way you said that! What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

TERESA:  I most enjoy the outlet it gives me to create people and worlds that only exist in my head. I’m also learning how amazing it is when readers are moved by my writing. The best feeling!

rem:  So true! I’m like a little kid when people tell me their (ahem, positive) response to my stories! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

TERESA:  Since I’ve decided to self-publish, the hardest thing is having to manage all of the moving parts on my own. It’s overwhelming some times. The easiest part is having a lot of friends who’ve done it before and are more than willing to help. The author community is really incredible!

rem:  I hear tell, though, that trad pubs have to manage much of it on their own anyway… What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

TERESA:  I’d tell new writers to not think too much (just write!), read all you can (about the craft of writing and books in your genre), and realize that you’re not alone (all writers have been where you are; reach out if you need help).

rem:  I so love the connections and camaraderie amongst fellow authors. How do you choose your characters’ names?

TERESA:  This is one of my favorite parts of the writing process. Sometimes, it is as simple as choosing a name I personally like. Other times, especially with last names, I research common names to the region the book is set in.

rem:  And let’s not forget when they introduce themselves… no name selecting involved. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

TERESA:  No! At least in the case of Someplace Familiar, I really wrote as it came to me. That was a good approach for my first book, but I think for future books I will do a little more outlining so it goes faster.

rem:  Ah, you “pantzed” it! KUDOS Your debut novel comes out the 30th of this month. Tell us about it.

TERESA:  Someplace Familiar is my debut contemporary southern romance novel. Here’s a short description:

Artist Livy Johnson needs a fresh start. That’s what a broken heart and forgotten dreams can do to a person. On little more than a whim, she reclaims her grandmother’s old home in quaint Laurel Cove, North Carolina and vows to restore its original charm. When she literally collides with childhood friend, Jack Bowdon, Livy wonders if she’s back for an entirely different reason.

Jack can’t believe his childhood crush is back. As the owner of Bowdon’s Supplies, and once again the town’s most eligible bachelor, he offers to help Livy with repairs. Together they embark on the project—and an undeniable whirlwind romance.

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Together they must find a way to survive the destructive pain of their pasts and ultimately discover God’s grace waiting to renovate their hearts.

rem:  Sounds delightful! Can’t wait to read it! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

TERESA:  Laurel Cove is inspired by the small town where my best friend grew up. I fell in love with the place while attending college in the mountains, so it’s been a real treat to introduce readers to a similar quaint and charming town. I think readers will also enjoy the story of renewed hope in love as our main characters work together to restore Gram’s cottage.

rem:  How fun is that! And I love the mountains. Tell us about why you wrote this book.

TERESA:  I felt called to write a story of redemption and grace—both grace we can receive freely from God and the grace we can extend to others. Other than that, writing this book was really to prove to myself that I could do it.

rem:  Well done. Please give us the first page of the book.

TERESA:

Not much had changed about Laurel Cove, North Carolina in the ten years since Livy Johnson had last visited. Driving down Main Street, it was every bit as charming and picturesque as she remembered. American flags blew in the breeze in front of old store fronts. Two old men in overalls leaned lazily on the back end of a rusty pick-up, probably shooting the breeze. 

A red traffic light.

Livy’s foot slammed against the brake pad, lurching the car to a stop about a foot into the quiet intersection. The cracking of wood behind her seat could only mean one thing. Her easel had broken. How was she going to get back into painting without the easel she’d used since art school? What a great start to her new beginning.

With no traffic waiting, Livy steered the car left as the light turned. She needed no GPS to find the Laurel Cove Inn, a short, steep climb off Main Street. The car came to a much gentler stop in front of the grand white building sitting at one edge of the town square. Livy’s muscles ached from the five-hour drive from Raleigh as she stepped from the car and stretched her arms toward a cloudless sky. The building was every bit as beautiful as she remembered.

The sight of a man looking down from a second-story window of the inn pricked at her insecurities. A gasp of cold, crisp mountain air stung her throat as her hand rubbed at the heat rising up her neck. Her eyes cut to the hood of her car, its engine still pinging as it cooled. The uneasiness of being watched eclipsed the serenity of her surroundings. She’d come to Laurel Cove to hide from her problems, yet someone had already found her.

Don’t be ridiculous. It wasn’t like she was hiding. Plus, everything, and everyone, she remembered of Laurel Cove was good. Curiosity pulled her eyes back to the window. The man’s tall figure filled most of the space between the frame. Flat palm facing out, he nodded in her direction.

 

rem:  Well, I’m right there with her in Laurel Cove, and now m’wanna read the whole thing! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

TERESA:  I hope readers see that no love story is perfect and without obstacles, but can be breathtaking and inspiring all the same. Jack nor Livy are perfect; they each struggle with forgiveness, insecurities, trust, etc. I hope readers see themselves in these characters and that they, too, find hope within God’s grace.

rem:  God’s grace indeed, wonderful. Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today! And welcome to the world of author hood!

 

https://teresatysinger.com/

https://teresatysinger.com/newsletter/

https://www.facebook.com/teresatysingerauthor/

https://twitter.com/tmtysinger

https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TeresaTysinger

https://www.pinterest.com/teresatysinger/

 

 

“… if my writing can speak of these sorts of grace and love to others – maybe even you – then what a gift it is, indeed.”

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Teresa Tysinger, Someplace Familiar

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 23 March 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – KAREN SWEENEY-RYALL

CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – KAREN SWEENEY-RYALL

 

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” John 7: 37-38 NASB

 

“Regardless of your circumstances, your age, your health, your finances and your past, you DO have a future and something to contribute.”

 

rem:  Hullo Karen, and welcome to my nest. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

KAREN:   I have lived all my life in western Pennsylvania, near the town famous for Mr. Rogers and Arnold Palmer.

rem:  So a friendly neighborhood, eh?  😉  #gotgolf  Tell us three things about yourself.

KAREN:  I find the vast beauty of the ocean so restorative.  I am a hugger. My dream vacation is a cruise among the Hawaiian Islands.

 

rem:  In that case, {{{{{HUGZ}}}}} Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

KAREN:  Coffee, no sugar, flavored preferred.

rem:  Same here. What is your favourite quotation and why?

KAREN:  “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”.  Les Brown

rem:  Thank you! (58 and counting!) What do you do as a hobby?

KAREN:  Read, listen to music.

rem:  What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

KAREN:  a box of blank CDs.

rem:  Hope that’s on your desk not in your purse… What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

KAREN:  My granddaughter and I watch “Elf” every year.  I also greatly enjoyed the recent movie “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone”. I don’t watch much TV but prefer mysteries like NCIS and also like Blue Bloods.

rem:  My Sis-in-Law got me hooked on “Elf” – love that movie. What’s your favorite recent discovery?

KAREN:  What a wonderful and interesting group authors are.

rem:  I know right!! If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

KAREN:  I wouldn’t because I like modern conveniences, technology advances.

rem:  Touché! Are you named after someone?

KAREN:  no

rem:  Do you use sarcasm?

KAREN:  Not much.

rem:  Is that a sarcastic reponse??? Would you bungee ?

KAREN:  NO

rem:  That looks pretty definitive. What is the first thing you notice about people?

KAREN:  eyes

rem:  The window to the soul. Favorite season? Why?

KAREN:  Spring. I love to watch grass and leaves turn green and the colors of flowers burst forth.

rem:  Mine too –  it’s a (ahem) robin thing.  😉  Hugs or kisses?

KAREN:  HUGS

rem:  * see above…  Rolling stones or Beatles?

KAREN:  Beatles.

rem:  Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

KAREN:  Several but Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB is the verse I try to live by

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.

rem:  Sounds so easy….. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

KAREN:  Danny Gokey because his songs speak strongly to my heart

 

rem:  What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

KAREN:  It is enjoyable yet uplifting and encouraging and includes life lessons.

rem:  When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

KAREN:  Connecting with the characters.  When the plot bounces back and forth and the author knows what it means but you don’t.

rem:  I read one like that – ‘course, I came into the story world several books into the series, but still – I had a hard time keeping up. Which is more important: plot or characters?

KAREN:  Characters

rem:  ‘Cause you wanna hug ‘em all, right? What would you do if you weren’t writing?

KAREN:  Inspirational speaker or traveling

rem:  Which you do anyway, right? What are you reading right now?

KAREN:  God is Good by Bill Johnson; Resonate by Nancy Duarte; Rebekah by Jill Eileen Smith

rem:  What do you munch on while you write?

KAREN:  granola bars

 

rem:  The healthy choice. You have a teaching ministry other than writing. Tell us about that.

KAREN:  I have led life groups at our church and speak at women’s encounter weekends. I also speak on memory loss, grief and other topics for my work.

rem:  Heavy stuff. What a blessing you must be to those in need. You are also a hospice grief counselor. In my estimation, that takes a special courage and compassion. How did you get started in this ministry and what does a typical day look like?

KAREN:  I believe God makes beauty from ashes when we use our difficult experiences to later help others. My father died when I was 21 and then my first husband when we were 35 so I wanted to share what I learned from that to help others.  I also have been an advocate for hospice and how it can help families for over 15 years. My day is partly computer and paperwork (ugh) but also phone calls and visits with bereaved, attending funeral viewings, leading support groups etc.  Every day is a little different.

rem:  Truly a light in a family’s darkest times. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

KAREN:  I have loved to read since a young child and journaled many years.  I wrote some articles but I have always wanted to write a book.  Following a difficult season in my life, I felt strongly I was to write about it to encourage other women.

rem:  What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

KAREN:  My home is quiet so I write primarily in my living room and dining room.

rem:  Mine is quiet too (most of the time) and I sit on the love seat, lap top in, well, lap. What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

KAREN:  My biggest problem is finding enough time, while working FT and being active at my church.  I wrote my book primarily on weekends. I hope to be writing and speaking FT instead soon.

rem:  I was already on Disability when I started writing so I can’t imagine having to juggle so many plates! What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

KAREN:  Letting my thoughts flow.  Sharing with the reader.

rem:  Nothing like it, is there? What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

KAREN:  Learning the process- it is like learning a new career.  Easiest- being able to write it in Word and upload from there.

rem:  It’s a constant learning curve, too! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

KAREN:  Only write if you know you are supposed to and have the passion to persist.

Record your thoughts on your phone or a recorder when the inspiration is fresh.  Keep learning about the craft and publishing.

I would not write because someone else says to.  Be open to constructive suggestions but be careful who you share with to avoid negative input.  Don’t try to be someone else.

rem:  All excellent recommendations! Tell us a little about your book? Do you have a new project coming?

KAREN:  This book evolved from going through a dark season of struggles in my life and the journey out toward renewed hope, vision and purpose.   I felt strongly that what I went through was not just for me but could help other women during their own time of struggles.  I plan to write a version aimed at young women 15-30.  I also am in the midst of writing The Journey Back To Joy about finding joy again after loss. I have 2 or 3 other ideas started, also.

rem:  Isn’t that what our life as believers is about, sharing with others – the good, the bad, and the ugly?? What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

KAREN:  I am hoping that this book will truly encourage many women to have hope, to awaken the dreams in their heart and to know that they each are uniquely special and beautiful. I am honored to have 16 other women share their intimate stories of difficult times in their lives. We all were very transparent in the hope that every woman who reads it will identify with one or more of us and be encouraged that they, too, can not just survive their situation but thrive.

rem:  Karen, you’re speaking to my heart!

Please give us the first page of the book.

KAREN:  Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.          James 1: 2-4

 

  1.      Rising Up From the Dark               

            Have you ever had a circumstance in your life that caused you great despair and hope was hard to find?  Have you felt like you cried out to God but it seemed as though He didn’t hear you?  I have. I recently read a description of the ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ as described by St. John of the Cross. I could immediately relate while reading his description of difficult times when it feels like our prayers are not being heard and we experience weariness, helplessness, emptiness, and a sense of defeat.  I believe I have experienced this four times in my adult life.

The first three were traumatic events: one, the shocking betrayal of my first husband who engaged in an adulterous affair.  We were high school sweethearts and both raised in devoutly religious homes.  I trusted him completely.  Many others told me that if they had to guess the one couple this would not happen to, it would have been us.  I thought so, too.  My husband was going through an early mid-life crisis of sorts and searching for why he

 

rem:  Ashes. And now you have beauty from it. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

KAREN:  It is never too late.  You always have worth and purpose.

rem:  Where can we find you online?

KAREN:

 

http://www.becomingmybestme.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Becoming-My-Best-Me-1591901087694232/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf

https://twitter.com/GigiKaren53

 

rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

KAREN:  I appreciate this opportunity to share about my book and I would love to hear feedback from those who read it.

rem:  Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

 

 

 

“Put your eyes on Me! Do not look to the right or the left. Do not wonder how or why. Come to Me and ask for My wisdom and for Me to move on your behalf.”

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Karen Sweeney-Ryall, Revealing Your Treasures Hidden in Darkness, Beauty from Ashes

 

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BLOGWORDS – Saturday 25 February 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN LEE HATCHER

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CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN LEE HATCHER

“… after several years of heart preparation, Robin accepted God’s call to write stories of faith and hasn’t looked back since.”

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“My storytelling career began in grade school when I told my fifth grade friends that my mother was born in a covered wagon while coming west on the Oregon Trail.”

 

rem:  Hullo, Robin, and welcome. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

ROBIN:  I am an Idaho native, born and raised in Boise. I have lived in Boise or a neighboring town my entire life and can’t see myself living anywhere else, although I do enjoy visiting other places. I think I have seven states left to go and then I can say I have visited all 50. I’m a wife, mom of two, grandmother of six. In addition to writing, I am a part-time college student with a goal of getting my degree before I need a walker to go up to get it in the ceremony.

 

rem:  ‘Nother place on my list of places to visit—and people to see!  😉  Tell us three things about yourself.

ROBIN:  I love most animals but particularly horses, dogs, and cats. I’ve had a love affair with books and storytelling since I was a little girl, although I didn’t dream of being a writer; I wanted to be an actress. My two daughters and I all wore the same wedding dress, and in recent years, we were all three college students at the same time, too.

 

rem:  I love that about the shared wedding dress! ❤ Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

ROBIN:  Coffee with Italian Sweet Crème creamer. Several cups throughout the morning.

rem:  Ya, gotta have the morning cuppa! What do you do as a hobby?

ROBIN:  This past year, I began to do Bible art journaling. It’s been an amazing way to get into the Word and to worship the Lord. I love using paints and watercolors and other mediums. I also enjoy decorative planning and knitting. And I listen to lots of audio books.

rem:  I love your pics of your Bible journaling. Your movie snack of choice?

ROBIN:  Popcorn with real butter.

rem:  Yup, gotta. Would you bungee ?

ROBIN:  Never.

rem:  LOL  Rolling stones or Beatles?

ROBIN:  Oh my goodness. The Beatles, hands down.

 

rem:  Me too. Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

ROBIN:  I have many, many favorites. God has used so many different verses throughout my life. But I’ll go with Isaiah 42:16: “I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them And rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, And I will not leave them undone.” (Isaiah 42:16, NASB95). I had just accepted my first contract offer to write for the Christian market (after 30 books in the general mass market), and I was almost paralyzed with fear that I wouldn’t be able to write the book. It would be my first contemporary novel as well as first Christian novel, and I didn’t know anything about it other than the opening scene which had come to me in a dream. God used this verse to calm my fears and tell me it didn’t matter if I didn’t know where the story was going. He did.

 

rem:  Robin, that’s beautiful. I love when Father speaks to us that way. What is your favorite bird and why?

ROBIN:  The American Bald Eagle. They are majestic.

rem:  That they are. Do you like to fly? What’s the farthest you’ve ever flown?

ROBIN:  I used to love to fly before it got so complicated with all of the necessary security (i.e. making packing complicated). The farthest I’ve flown was to Okinawa, Japan. That’s where my first grandson was born.

rem:  I flew last year in June, first time since 9-11. I was also four months post surgery so I “skated” through security! When is your birthday?

ROBIN:  May 10th.

rem:  What is your favourite birthday memory? All-time favorite birthday gift?

ROBIN:  My favorite birthday happened maybe eight or so years ago. It was just a lunch with both of my daughters at a fun little restaurant, but the memory is extra precious to me. My youngest daughter moved far away within the next few years, and so we don’t get those moments as easily anymore.

 

rem:  Love those moments like that—seem so ordinary at the time. What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

ROBIN:  I believe that Christian fiction should always honor God and encourage and uplift His people. Whatever the Lord has taught me or is teaching me eventually makes its way into my books.

 

rem:  Yes, fiction is truer than life sometimes. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

ROBIN:  I don’t want “hopeless” endings as happens in many general market novels. I don’t need a perfect” happily ever after” ending, but I do want hope. Pet peeve? Anything gratuitous.

 

rem:  Well, life isn’t “perfect happily ever after.” Had a discussion on FB with some other authors about that this week. Which is more important: plot or characters?

ROBIN:  Well, both are important. But if an author doesn’t create believable, interesting characters, then the readers won’t care what happens to them (the plot), no matter how wonderful it is.

 

rem:  Right, who cares what happens to cardboard people? What would you do if you weren’t writing?

ROBIN:  As long as money wasn’t an issue, I would buy a horse stable and arena and play with horses all day long.

rem:  That is SO you!!  ❤  What are you reading right now?

ROBIN:  College textbooks (as a student) and RITA Award contest entries (as a judge). The audiobook I’m listening to for pleasure is Newton and Polly by Jody Hedlund.

 

rem:  Busy busy brain! What do you munch on while they write?

ROBIN:  I don’t. My fingers are on the keyboard so no way to snack. Seriously, I have never eaten while writing.

 

rem:  Very true, busy brain, busy fingers… Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ROBIN:  I was an avid reader and a fan of the big historical sagas that were popular in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I got an idea for a story but didn’t do anything with it. Then I read an article in the local newspaper about a woman whose first book was published, and I decided to give it a try. I wrote longhand on legal pads at night and typed the pages on my coffee breaks and lunch hours at work. Nine months later it was finished, and I queried a bunch of publishers I found in The Writer’s Market. I sold it, the publisher went bankrupt a few months later, I resold it and the sequel the following year, and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

rem:  And a great history it is, too! You have shared your Bible art and journaling on your blog. Tell us how you got started.

ROBIN:  In late 2015, I heard about The Inspire Bible that was coming out from Tyndale. That led me to YouTube videos of people who were art journaling in their Bibles. I have always written in the margins of my Bible and used colorful pens and highlighters. Art journaling was just one more step along that same path, another way to interact with the Word.

rem:  I.love.it! I, too, used multi-colored highlights and pens to make notes, haven’t taken the step to art journaling though—yet… What do you feel is the value and importance of Bible journaling?

ROBIN:  The value comes from a believer spending more time contemplating and interacting with Scripture. If it is done for any other reason, it has no importance.

 

rem:  In essence true for any activity with Scripture. Father’s Word is not an easy careless read. But every exposure to His Word shines His light, maybe a crack, maybe flooding your heart with His presence. You started out writing for the general fiction market. Tell us what prompted you to write Christian Fiction.

ROBIN:  The short answer is, God prompted me. After I dreamed the opening for what would become The Forgiving Hour, I knew it was a novel where God would be a central character, and due to my faith having been cut from some of my secular novels, I knew it couldn’t be written for my general market publisher. But I also knew that I couldn’t move to writing Christian fiction without a specific call of God upon my life. I prayed about it for months. I asked Him to use a two-by-four if necessary. And one day, in church, He did just that. That was in October 1997.

 

rem:  Ah yes, the “two-by-four” moment. I think we’ve all had [a few of] those. What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

ROBIN: I write six days a week, mostly in the mornings. I have an office in my home, and I do most my writing on my iMac at my desk. Occasionally I move with my laptop to a recliner in the living room.

rem:  What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

ROBIN:  Around the middle of every book, I start wondering why I ever thought I could write a book. I know I will never manage to finish the new book and that I would rather do just about anything else than write. How do I handle it? I keep writing. When I was a bookkeeper, I kept books for my employer whether I wanted to or not. That’s what I was paid to do. I’m a writer. It is my job. So I sit down and write, whether or not I feel like it.

 

rem:  And yet, more than 75 books later, you’re still cranking them out! Ya must be doing something right!  😉  Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

ROBIN:  Creating. Because anything is possible then.

rem:  Ooohhh, I like that answer! What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

ROBIN:  Having written. I can’t say I always love writing but I always love having written.

rem:  What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

ROBIN:  DO: (1) Read, read, read. Read everything. Your favorite genres and everything else too. (2) Write, write, write. If nothing else, make lists. (3) Remember, if you write one page per day, you will have a 365 page novel at the end of one year. DON’T DO: (1) Don’t listen to the negative voices in your head. (2) Be careful who you trust with your work. (3) In this day and age when it is so easy to self-publish, resist the urge to publish before you and your work are ready.

 

rem:  All gems, but especially the last “don’t”—which I did when I was green and naïve…  Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

ROBIN:  I have no clue. I just wait for an idea to catch my imagination and refuse to let go.

rem:  Seems that’s where the best ones come from, the elusive mists of yon. How do you choose your characters’ names?

ROBIN:  I look in baby books and character name books and bibliographies and the credits at the end of movies, etc. And at some point, the character says to me, “That’s it. That’s my name.”

rem:  Yup, most of mine introduce themselves to me. Minor and secondary characters, I get to pick names for. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

ROBIN:  No. I write by the seat of my pants. I don’t know what will happen until I write it.

rem:  Meeee toooo. Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

ROBIN:  My April release is You’ll Think of Me. Here’s the blurb:

 

Abandoned once too often, Brooklyn Myers never intended to return to Thunder Creek, Idaho. Her hometown holds too many memories of heartache and rejection. But when her estranged husband Chad Hallston dies and leaves his family home and acreage to her and their ten-year-old daughter Alycia, it’s an opportunity to change their lives for the better—a chance Brooklyn can’t pass up, for Alycia’s sake if not her own.

 

Derek Johnson, Chad’s best friend since boyhood, isn’t keen on the return of Brooklyn Myers to Thunder Creek. He still blames her for leading his friend astray. And now she has ruined his chance to buy the neighboring ten acres which would have allowed him to expand his organic farm. To add insult to injury, Chad’s dying request was that Derek become the father to Alycia that Chad never was. How can he keep that promise without also spending time with the girl’s mother?

 

Brought together by unexpected circumstances, Derek and Brooklyn must both confront challenges to their dreams and expectations. He must overcome long held misconceptions about Brooklyn while she must learn to trust someone other than herself. And if they can do it, they just might discover that God has something better in mind than either of them ever imagined

 

As for my current project, I just turned in what will be my 78th release, so I am without a project as mull over some ideas rolling around in my head.

 

rem:  And now I wanna read it—of course. What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

ROBIN:  My favorite part of You’ll Think of Me is watching Brooklyn, a “daddyless daughter” (which I am too; my dad died when I was an infant), overcome the pain of not having an earthly father who loves her. Daughters growing up without fathers is an epidemic in our society and causes more damage than most people know.

rem:  Sadly, I am all too familiar with it. Tell us about why you wrote this book.

ROBIN:  I wrote this book for the same reason I write every book. The characters entered my imagination and insisted their stories be told.

rem:  Right. They start taking, nattering at you, and they won’t.shut.up. Please give us the first page of the book.

ROBIN:

 

Brooklyn Myers sat on the narrow stretch of lawn beside the brick apartment building, watching her ten-year-old daughter. On this balmy Saturday afternoon, Alycia lay on her stomach in the grass while reading a book they’d checked out at the library that morning. Reading, thanks to the public library, was one habit Brooklyn not only approved of but could afford to encourage. When a mother and child survived on a waitress’s salary, toys and other gadgets were a luxury. As was most everything else.

A headache threatened, and Brooklyn closed her eyes, rubbing her temples with her fingertips. Thank goodness she didn’t have to work today. She’d put in a lot of overtime in recent weeks and was in need of rest. Rest that always seemed just out of reach.

“Brooklyn?” Esther Peterman called from the second-story landing. “May I join you?”

Brooklyn looked toward the stairwell. “Of course.”

The rail-thin woman flashed one of her brave smiles before slowly heading down the final flight of stairs, a folded lawn chair clasped in one hand. She was only in her late forties, but she moved as if she were eighty.

Brooklyn’s heart clenched at the sight. As far as she was concerned, Esther was—and had always been—a godsend. She couldn’t begin to imagine how she and Alycia would have managed over the past decade without this kindly neighbor. Or how they were going to manage without her in the future.

 

rem:  Yup, I’m hooked. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

ROBIN:  I have two goals for every book: (1) That the reader will be entertained and (2) that they will have taken a step closer to Christ by the end of the book.

rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

ROBIN:  No. Thanks for having me.

rem:  Thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today!

 

rem:  Where can we find you online?

ROBIN:

http://www.robinleehatcher.com

http://www.facebook.com/robinleehatcher

https://twitter.com/robinleehatcher

https://www.instagram.com/robinleehatcher/

https://www.pinterest.com/robinleehatcher/

https://plus.google.com/+RobinLeeHatcher_Novelist

 

 

“Robin is a gifted writer whose novels unfailingly stir and challenge readers’ hearts.”
Francine Rivers, NYT bestselling author

 

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#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Robin Lee Hatcher, In His Arms, Heart Rings, Whispers from Yesterday, Keeper of the Stars, A Promise Kept, Firstborn

 

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BLOGWORDS – Saturday 18 February 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN CAROLL

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CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN CAROLL

 

 

“I love boxing. I love Hallmark movies. I love fishing. I love scrapbooking. Nope, I’ve never fit into the boxes people have wanted to put me in.” ~Robin Caroll is definitely a contradiction, but one that beckons you to get to know her better.

 

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Robin’s passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others and come alongside them on their faith journey—aspects Robin weaves into each of her 26 published novels.

 

 

rem:  Hullo, Robin, and welcome to my blog! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

ROBIN:  I was born and raised in Louisiana…now living in Little Rock, AR. I have 3 beautiful daughters and two precious grandsons.

rem:  Tell us three things about yourself.

ROBIN:  I love to scrapbook. I’m a “planner person” and the only birds I like are cardinals & hummingbirds

 

rem:  I’m a planner-type person, too, Level OCD. Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

ROBIN:  Sweet tea or white chocolate mocha coffee, but not first thing in the morning

rem:  That truffle bit sounds decadent! What do you do as a hobby?

ROBIN:  I’m a huge scrapbooker and planner person. It’s a way to be creative with actually making something, and letting my subconscious work out plot issues in the background

rem:  I love that plotting / writing happens in the background! Then again, when does it not happen in the background? What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

ROBIN:  My Edgar Allan Poe and Maleficent action figures

rem:  Hmmm…  Very interesting… Do you use sarcasm?

ROBIN:  It’s my first language. J

rem:  So I suppose that makes you fluent, then? Huh? Does it? Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

ROBIN:  My life verse is Philippians 4:13: I can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens me.

rem:  We all do well to remember that when Father gives us an [otherwise] impossible task! If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

ROBIN:  Stephen King because I admire his body of work, his sense of humor, and I’d love to just sit and chat with him

 

rem:  What a great choice—talented AND prolific! (Can I sit in with you?) What is your favorite bird and why?

ROBIN:  Hummingbird. I’m not a fan of birds, but a hummingbird is like a butterfly on steroids.

rem:  On steroids! LOL They are quite aggressive for their miniature-ness. Do you like to fly? What’s the furthest you’ve ever flown?

ROBIN:  It’s not a like/dislike…it’s more of a “I’d rather fly than drive” option for me. Jamaica is the furthest I’ve actually flown

rem:  Jamaica is also hard to get to if you’re driving. Jus’ sayin’ When is your birthday?

ROBIN:  August 19th

rem:  August is packed with birthdays in our family. What is your favourite birthday memory? All-time favorite birthday gift?

ROBIN:  They’re both the same: the year my husband and I went to Jamaica and for my birthday, we climbed Dunn’s River Falls. Was such a great time.

 

rem:  Sounds wonderful! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

ROBIN:  I think Christian fiction is great stories with real characters, but leaving the reader filled with hope. As I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, I think it’s a part of me and a part of my relationship with Jesus.

rem:  Oh yes, I’ve found that as I write (which is something He gave me) I draw closer to Him and learn more of who I am, which draws me closer to Him, and my writing is stronger for it. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

ROBIN:  If I get bored, I stop reading. Life’s too short to waste time reading the boring. J Pet peeve? Oh, I have so many. LOL Probably head-hopping. It bugs me.

rem:  I so agree! ‘specially since I read at bedtime! Which is more important: plot or characters?

ROBIN:  Both because if I don’t care about the character, I don’t care what happens to them. On the other hand, I can love a character, but if they are in a boring plot, I lose interest in them.

rem:  I totally agree, gotta have both. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

ROBIN:  Event planning

rem:  Really! I had thought I’d try that a few years ago—then came the diagnosis (RA) and I don’t have the energy, le sigh… What are you reading right now?

ROBIN:  Trying to decipher my handwritten WIP notes that I jotted at 3am

rem:  pahahahah – unique handwriting, eh? What do you munch on while you write?

ROBIN:  I love Tom’s Hot Fries, sweet tea, and M&Ms

 

rem:  Not so big on the hot fries but I’m right there with you with the M&M’s. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ROBIN:  I’ve written for as long as I can remember. I’ve always made up stories for characters in my head. One day, I decided to just write everything down.

rem:  The charactersssss, they speaks to ussss… What inspired you to write suspense? You lived in Louisiana, how much did that influence your writing?

ROBIN:  I write Suspense because that’s what I love to read. Louisiana living is a different way of life. The people, culture and food….I like to pull little bits of that into my books.

rem:  I’mma gonna gotta visit there one day. I’ve too many friends who live there or are from there! You are Executive / Conference Director for ACFW (we need to talk). How do you balance that with writing and—life?

ROBIN:  I’m a big multi-tasker. Always have been. I’m a little OCD and organization is a main component to my happiness. I love my spreadsheets and planners and checking items off my to-do list. With my ACFW job, we have an amazing team in place and we all do our jobs well. When one of us are on deadline, we know how to pinch hit for the other. We’ve worked together for years, so it’s a natural flow. My husband works with me, so he understands the craziness at times. And my kids are amazing….they pick up where I leave off so there’s minimal upset in the house, even when I’m on deadline. We laugh…a lot, and don’t take things too seriously.

 

rem:  A fellow spread sheet aficionado! Hi, my name is Robin, and I love Excel spreadsheets! That’s so great your family is so supportive. What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

ROBIN:  I don’t really have a routine…I assign myself deadlines when I’m not on one with a publisher and try to stay on task. I usually write in my office at home. Sometimes, for a change of pace, I’ll write in my recliner. Sometimes, if my husband is working his day job in the field, I might ride along with him and write while he does inspections.

rem:  Never a dull moment, that way. What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

ROBIN:  The constant changing within the industry. [Publishing] Houses going out of business, or no longer publishing fiction…it’s more than just the ebb and flow of changes. It’s the big upsets and how it affects others that I struggle with. I don’t know if any of us handle it…I think we all just do the best we can

rem:  Maybe it’s our creative minds that allow us to adapt… Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

ROBIN:  I actually like both, but I guess the creating best. Because it’s new. It’s exciting to get to work on a brand new story. New characters. That’s kind of cool.

rem:  What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

ROBIN:  Honestly? I’m a bit of a control freak, so it’s really fun to be able to control EVERYTHING in my stories. LOL

rem:  Muwahahahahah. #bestansweryet What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

ROBIN:  Get into a good writers’ group. Go to a conference—more if you can. Study the craft as much as you can. Don’t compare yourself to any other writer. Don’t try to write for the fads of today. Don’t take criticism personally.

rem:  I’m planning to be at ACFW this year—look for me? Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

ROBIN:  EVERYWHERE. Literally.

rem:  Exactly! How do you choose your characters’ names?

ROBIN:  I use names I like…I use the Baby Name Survey Book….if I see a cool name on a namebadge

rem:  Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

ROBIN:  Nope

rem:  Me neither. Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

ROBIN:  Right at this moment, I’m working on the sequel to Torrents of Destruction because I’ve gotten the most emails from readers asking for it

rem:  Gotta love that kind of reader response! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

ROBIN:  My next release, Weaver’s Needle, releases in June. I LOVED writing this book. With recovery specialists, Native American legends, a hunt for a real treasure in the Superstition Mountains in AZ…what isn’t to love?

rem:  I’ve fallen in love with stories with Native Americans! Please give us the first page of the book.

ROBIN:  The Legend of the Dutchman’s Lost Mine

 

In the rugged Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix, located somewhere in a twisted labyrinth of canyon juts, lies the Dutchman’s Lost Mine. The Apache Indians—Shis-Inday or “Men of the Woods”—had a secret gold cave hidden in the mountains. These mountains were the home of their Thunder God, and they held the area in reverence.

As news of gold in the Superstition Mountains spread, fortune hunters came from around the world to search. The Apaches, fierce protectors of their Thunder God’s Mountain, killed everyone who dared trespass.

As legend goes, in 1871, two German adventurers, Jacob Waltz and Jacob Wisner, came to Arizona. Waltz met and fell in love with an Apache girl, Ken-tee. Her relatives soon became convinced she had betrayed the location of their secret mine. According to their ancient ones, the gold had been placed there by the Thunder God for them to use only in time of desperation. When Ken-tee led Waltz to the mine, and they returned to Phoenix with nearly $70,000 worth of gold, the tribe warriors raided within hours. While they murdered Ken-tee, the Apaches failed to kill the Dutchman Waltz.

When Waltz was eighty years old in 1890, he decided to hide the location of the mine. As legend tells it, when he had completed his mission, he told many that “you could drive a pack train over the entrance to the mine and never know it was there.”

Several months after Waltz hid the mine, he contracted pneumonia. His only reported friend was a bread baker from Louisiana named Julia Thomas. History records the great February 1891 flood, which bore down on Phoenix, as the most ruinous in the American Southwest. It is reported Waltz survived the flood by climbing into a small mesquite tree, where he was stranded until someone cut him loose and took him to Julia Thomas’s home, who was known to take in victims of the flood.

Julia tried to nurse Jacob back to health, only he was so old and his body so feeble, he couldn’t resist his illness. He died in degrees over the summer. In October 1891, he attempted to tell Julia exactly where the mine was hidden. It’s recorded he said, “. . .the northwest corner of the Superstition Mountains. The key is a stripped paloverde tree with one limb left on, a pointing arm. It points away from the rock, about halfway from between it and the rock, and two hundred yards to the east. Take the trail in. I left a number of clues.” After speaking these ominous directions, he died.

All the Dutchman’s clues seem to focus around Weaver’s Needle. . . .

 

rem:  What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

ROBIN:  That with God, there is always hope

rem:  There surely is. Robin, thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today!

 

Where can we find you online?

ROBIN:

www.robincaroll.com

https://www.facebook.com/robincaroll

https://twitter.com/RobinCaroll

https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Caroll/e/B001IZXC9C/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_8?qid=1487282309&sr=1-8

 

 

“Caroll has written an engaging whodunit, with scenes that unfold expertly and keep the action moving and suspense alive. And though the romance plot line is sweetly written, the characters’ faith journeys are also deeply explored. Fans of suspense will be pleased with this light but entertaining read.”~  Publishers Weekly

 

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#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Robin Caroll, Weaver’s Needle, Native American Legends, The Legend of the Dutchman’s Lost Mine, Torrents of Destruction, Framed, Bayou Justice, To Write a Wrong, Bayou Betrayal

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 9 February 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN JOHNS GRANT

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CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN JOHNS GRANT

“…from an early age, I was fascinated by my fascinations—how a fictional world could invoke such longing in me…”

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“She’s always had way too much of [imagination.] She started making up stories before she could write them down (dictating them to her mother) and always had her head in the clouds.”

 

rem:  Hullo Robin! Welcome to my blog! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

ROBIN:  I was born and raised in a fairly small town in Georgia, on a little piece of woodsy land that I love like Scarlett loved Tara. And even though I moved away to Atlanta for about 20 years, had a long-distance romance with a guy living in Louisiana and married him, God brought the two of us back to my home town. Then this past year we built a little house in the woods on that same plot of land where I was raised. My mother and sister are still there in the house I grew up in.

rem:  I love that story! And we’re close, I need to come visit you! Tell us three things about yourself.

ROBIN:  I thought for many years I would make a living as a writer so I just took jobs to support myself until I became a rich and famous author. Which meant I had a lot of jobs I hated. I eventually decided—since overnight success seemed to be taking forever—that  I had to do something different. So I went back to school for my master’s degree and became a librarian. I’ve been married for 27 years next month. My mother is 97 and still lives at home, so my sister and I are her main caregivers—and my husband gets pulled in too, of course.

rem:  I know, what’s up with overnight success taking so long? What do you do as a hobby?

ROBIN:  Way too many things! I love knitting, quilting, and some other kinds of sewing (although nothing practical like clothes, of course).

rem:  I used to knit, also used to sew—who has time??? What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

ROBIN: Used batteries. Lots of them. I brought them to work to put them in the battery disposal box where I work and yet, there they still are.

rem:  At least there’s a logical reason… What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

ROBIN:  Favorite movie is The Empire Strikes Back. Favorite TV show is probably one hardly anyone has heard of—Alias Smith and Jones. Hmm, both of those titles are from the seventies. Can you tell I’m old?

rem:  :-O  I remember that show! And I loved it! Do you use sarcasm?

ROBIN:  No, never. Duh.

rem:  Me either! Favorite season? Why?

ROBIN:  No contest, it’s spring. Mostly because I hate January and February so much. I have post-Christmas letdown, I hate the cold, everything is gray and ugly and dark. Suddenly there’s light and flowers and warmth and birds singing. That feeling of rebirth and hope never gets old for me.

rem:  Not to mention the robins… If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

ROBIN:  Lately I’ve really come to like the actress Patricia Heaton. I loved her on Everybody Loves Raymond and I’ve just started watching The Middle. I already thought she was a wonderful comedic actress but lately I’ve learned how outspoken she is in support of pro-life issues, and that takes so much courage for a celebrity. I’d love to talk to her about how she handles being a celebrity, and how she works faith and family into her shows so well.

rem:  I like her. What is your favorite bird and why?

ROBIN:  This is a trick question, right? (Smiles!) Actually, I always have loved robins and when I was a kid would get really excited when I saw one because I had read in so many books that seeing a robin means spring is coming. Then my daddy pointed out we lived in the south where robins go for the winter, so they lost a little of their thrill for me.

rem:  Do I look like I ask trick questions? (see question above on sarcasm… ) Do you like to fly? What’s the furthest you’ve ever flown?

ROBIN:  I hate flying. It terrifies me. But I do it because I like to go places. I have flown to England and to Hawaii—I think from Georgia, Hawaii was actually the longer trip.

rem:  Ya, those are not short little hops! When is your birthday?

ROBIN: In April.

rem:  What is your favourite birthday memory?

ROBIN:  I actually really enjoyed my fiftieth, because I decided to act like a big kid and just have fun. I had just developed a love for all things Harry Potter and had a Harry Potter-themed party, cake and film festival and all. Then my husband took me to Zoo Atlanta to see the giant panda and her cub. Yes, it’s sad to get so mature and serious-minded. (See earlier question on sarcasm.)

rem:  I gotta tell ya, I changed my own answer to this question, ‘cause my 50th was da bomb! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

ROBIN:  I think of Christian fiction largely as a form of encouragement. When you read secular fiction, it can feel discouraging, particularly if you read a lot of it. You start to feel you’re the only person in the world who believes a certain way or behaves a certain way. You start to feel alone. Christian fiction reminds you you’re part of a family, reminds you what and who you stand for.

rem:  I can see that; I know as an author I’ve certainly witnessed that. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?  

ROBIN:  Predictability—and that goes for plot or for characters who always behave exactly as you would expect. I’ve put down lots of books after reading three-fourths of them because I know exactly what’s going to happen in the last fourth.

rem:  Makes for dull reading. Which is more important: plot or characters?

ROBIN:  Definitely characters. If the characters aren’t at least interesting—even if I don’t particularly like them—I don’t care very much about the plot. But I can forgive a slow plot for characters I love. Jan Karon’s Mitford books are a great example. I read those again and again just to hang out with some of my favorite people.

rem:  I’ve read more than a few that after I was done reading, I wanted to check back in a few days to see what’s up. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

ROBIN:  Everything else that I’m doing right now—being a librarian, a wife, a caregiver, sewing and quilting—only I would be a lot more relaxed as I did all that!

rem:  And doing more of it, probably. What are you reading right now?

ROBIN:  I’m between books at this moment. Last week I finished up one of a long line of psychological suspense audio books. I would have a hard time telling you which one, they’re all so much alike. I’m about to start a re-read of The Town House trilogy by Norah Lofts, my all-time favorite writer, because I just discovered her fan group on Goodreads (after decades of being the only one who ever heard of her!) and that’s our next group read.

rem:  Well, now I think I’mma have to check her out. What do you munch on while they write?

ROBIN:  I try not to munch on anything. I gained a LOT of weight during college by developing a habit of eating while studying or writing papers, so I had to break myself of that habit. I do, however, drink loads of coffee. You can’t give up all your vices!

 

rem:  Give up your vices? I know not what this means. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ROBIN:  It’s been LONG. I decided to be an author when I was seven. I sent my first manuscript to a publisher when I was 18. I actually published my first book about 35 years later, after actively writing and trying to publish all that time. So needless to say, there have been a lot of days when my faith has been tested. In fact, I had a whole blog for a while called The Queen of Perseverance about all that!

rem:  Perseverance, oy. On your website, you say you “explore spirituality in [your] writing.” Tell us what that looks like.

ROBIN:  To me, my books are very Christian, and they’re definitely from a Christian worldview. (My answer to the next question tells a little more about that). But they aren’t necessarily as overt as other Christian novels you might read.

rem:  What do you mean when you say, “intersection of literature, spirituality, and imagination?”

ROBIN:  I answered a similar question in another interview, so I’m going to repeat a bit of what I said there.  One book that’s made me think about this subject is called The Slumber of Christianity, by novelist Ted Dekker. He talks about the importance of imagination and story, even going so far as to say things like, “Humans have an actual dependence on various forms of fiction to understand truth. This is how God made us. Our minds explore all truth using the imagination first and foremost.” I hope my writing can help spark that good kind of imagination, to help us feel the truth of eternity and God.

rem:  In my interview I mentioned the fact that Jesus Himself talked in parables, basically fictional little vignettes. Talk a little bit about writing stories that involve evil elements (something a lot of Christian fiction avoids.)

ROBIN:  This is a big issue for me right now, because my sequel to Summer’s Winter that I’m working on now (Summer’s Fall) is taking me down some very dark paths. Sometimes I’m afraid of how people will react to the storyline, but then I think about that favorite writer I mentioned—Norah Lofts. She had a knack for covering some dark, disturbing events and characters, and she could make you feel the enormity and terror of what was happening. And yet she never went graphic with her violence or with details that glorified evil. That’s the balance I think we need to be able to hit—to not shy away from the existence of evil in our stories, but also not to be so graphic that we glorify it. After all, the Bible accomplished that very thing!

rem:  There is darkness in our lives every day. Fiction that glosses over it is not realistic. What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

ROBIN: There is no routine. I have learned over the years to write in short spurts whenever I have time and can grab a few minutes. Lately I’ve even taken that a bit further by setting timers for ten or fifteen minutes and making myself just keep writing for that amount of time, trying to get something down on the page. Because I can be the world’s worst at succumbing to the terror of unfilled white space and not writing anything down!

rem:  Oh I can’t do the dashes or whatever they call them, either. When I writes, I writes, and I doesn’t keep an eye on the time. What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

ROBIN:  Being too busy. I think my most creative days were when I was younger and had time to just daydream and play with stories in my head. Finding time to write isn’t the only problem; it’s finding the time and energy to dream and imagine.

rem:  Energy. What’s that?? Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

ROBIN:  I actually do enjoy editing. Starting out fresh without at least a scaffold of the plot is hard. I like when I have that first draft down—which is always pretty much unreadable garbage, but at least I have an idea where the story is going—and then I can actually start fine-tuning it and making it something I’m proud of.

rem:  What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

ROBIN:  Having written. Seriously—I love actually completing a story and making it come alive, and reading back through it and being happy with it. The writing process itself can be pretty painful, but the finished product makes it worthwhile.

rem:  Yeah, I will never forget that moment I typed “The End” for the first time—three years and ten days ago! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

ROBIN:  I would advise new writers to be careful who they listen to, because not all advice (or edits!) are equally helpful. Try to find joy in the writing itself because the other parts—marketing, submitting, critiques and reviews, deadlines, all that—can steal your joy, if you let it. And if you do want to publish, be really familiar with genres and publishers so you’ll know where your writing fits. When you look in a bookstore or on Amazon, it’s easy to assume that whatever you’re writing will find a fit, but each publisher tends to have their own narrow idea of what they publish. And even if you self-publish, you have to know what audience you’re going for and how to reach them.

rem:  Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

ROBIN:  I think my greatest ideas grew out of my childhood imagination. I’m still writing about characters and situations I dreamed up a long time ago.

rem:  Ideas are everywhere, aren’t they? How do you choose your characters’ names?

ROBIN:  I have a hard time with names. Sometimes I change them two or three times as I get to know the character better and the other name doesn’t feel right. Sometimes I thumb through baby name books and look at meanings. Sometimes I go through an entire draft of a story typing something like YOUNG BLONDE GIRL in place of a name until I can come up with something.

rem:  Names can be tricky. Biblical names spoke to who the person became; I think it’s true of authors even more so, ‘cause we know who the character is and have to find the name to fit. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

ROBIN:  No, not at all. I used to be a seat-of-the-pants writer entirely, just winging it and exploring the story as I went. Which explains why it would take me several years and so many drafts to produce an actual story. Now I do a brief outline, write until either I get stuck or the outline is changing, then outline some more. It’s a back-and-forth thing.

rem:  Part of my wishes I could use an outline, but so far, I’m pantzer all the way. Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

ROBIN:  My latest published book is called Jordan’s Shadow. Right now, I’m working on the sequel to my first book, Summer’s Winter. Actually I’m planning for a three-book series in all, and I’d like to write both sequels at once so I can release them close together.

rem:  So one of us is copying the other—although I’m not writing all four books in their entirety, I do have the subsequent books started (and book #1 almost complete.) What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

ROBIN:  If we’re talking about Jordan’s Shadow, my favorite part is the mystery of this book and the sort of gothic tone. I love a good spooky, atmospheric book, and I think I accomplished that feel!

rem:  Ya got me. I’m hooked. Tell us about why you wrote this book.

ROBIN:  I had an idea, a premise, many years ago that just never would let go of me. A mother gives birth to a baby, and as she watches her grow up and change, she realizes that day by day, her daughter is growing to look more and more like someone she knew and feared when she was younger. In fact, she starts to think her daughter is turning into her long-dead foe. The explanation of the mystery came to me at the same time, but I’m not telling you that right now, of course!

rem:  So basically you’re forcing me to read the book. Please give us the first page of the book.

ROBIN:

CHAPTER ONE

Rose, 1984

The night they found Jordan was the first time Rose had gone back to the old quarry pond in quite a while. She had been trying very hard to avoid the place, but no matter how hard she tried to stay away, the pond seemed to work just as hard to pull her back to it—as though it could brood and feel and scheme. So when Hunter turned the Camaro off the paved road onto the logging trail that ended at the pond’s edge, for a second she blamed the water instead of him. But only for a second.

Turning to glare at Hunter, she braced herself with her hand against the dash. The Camaro’s wheels bumped over the uneven ground, and darkness pressed against the windows as the thick pines shut out the moonlight. Rose tried to keep her voice from sounding hysterical. “You’re going to the pond!”

He turned to glance at her. Even in the dim light, she could see his mouth set in a determined line. “We are going to the pond.”

Rose snapped around and faced forward.  She wanted to argue, but then again she didn’t. She hated it when Hunter was mad at her.

When he spoke again, she could hear the edge in his voice. “That’s okay, isn’t it?”

“You know the answer to that.”  She tried to keep her voice level and calm, the way he liked it.

“True. What I don’t know is why it’s not okay.”

The woods started to thin as they reached the clearing, and the end of the road. As always back here, the radio lost reception and went to static, cutting “Thriller” off in mid chorus. Hunter sighed as he switched off the engine, leaving Rose’s ears ringing in the sudden quiet. Or maybe the buzzing came from rain frogs. She could see the water glittering and tossing in the moonlight, restless in the stiff breeze. They were in for a storm.

In spite of herself, Rose’s words came out loud and sharp. “Of course you know why it’s not okay.”

He laughed. “I don’t think the water can hurt you if you’re just sitting in the car looking at it.” He reached for Rose’s hand—no, it was her wrist he grabbed, pulling her toward him. But his lips and his voice were soft as he brushed her mouth with his. “Maybe it’s not your water phobia bothering you. Maybe you’re just scared to be alone with me back here in the woods.”

Rose giggled, happy that he didn’t sound angry. “Are you kidding? I want to spend my whole life alone with you.”  Running her thumb across the humble diamond engagement ring on her finger, she reassured herself of its presence for about the hundredth time that day.  It was a magic ring, her passage to freedom.

 

rem:  What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

ROBIN:  I hope they get a sense of life beyond this world—of the eternal. I hope I can give readers a sense of the awe and wonder of God.

rem:  I love how Father uses anything and everything to draw us to Him. Anything you’d like to add?

ROBIN:  No, I think that’s probably more than anyone was hoping to hear!

rem:  LOL Brevity is not in my vocabulary. Thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today!

ROBIN: Thanks very much for having me! I’m honored to be one of the robins!

 

rem:  Where can we find you online? (provide links)

ROBIN:

http://robinjohnsgrant.com/

https://twitter.com/robinjohnsgrant

https://www.facebook.com/robinjohnsgrantauthor

https://plus.google.com/+RobinJohnsGrant

https://www.youtube.com/user/robing8300

https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Johns-Grant/e/B00HZPHECU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1485106121&sr=1-2-ent

 

Now available on Amazon, novels by Robin Johns Grant: 

 

Jordan’s Shadow

Mind-bending mystery…love beyond the boundaries of space and time.

 

Summer’s Winter

When preacher’s daughter Jeanine meets her obsession, movie star Jamie, his dark secrets threaten her faith and her life.

 

 

“Humans have an actual dependence on various forms of fiction to understand truth. This is how God made us. Our minds explore all truth using the imagination first and foremost.” – Ted Dekker

 

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#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Robin Johns Grant, Jordan’s Shadow, Summer’s Winter, Summer’s Fall

 

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BLOGWORDS – Wednesday 25 January 2017 – WREADING WEDNESDAY SPECIAL EDITION RELEASE EVENT – RECONCILIATION by AMY BROCK MCNEW

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WREADING WEDNESDAY SPECIAL EDITION RELEASE EVENT – RECONCILIATION by AMY BROCK MCNEW

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Some ghosts from the past refuse to stay dead.

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Gutsier. Edgier. Deeper and darker.

 

Anger rages. It rears its ugly head and takes control. Sneaks in and sneaks up, and snakes around your self-control, infesting your peace with turmoil.

 

As Liz and Ryland’s journey continues, the demons they face are more deceiving, more subtle. And much more evil.

 

But the fiercer battles, the uglier demons are the ones they fight on the inside. Their personal demons.

 

“Humans reacted so often out of emotion. Especially anger. They never seemed to realize it debilitated them and left them vulnerable. They didn’t think clearly when running on rage and that played right into Kade’s hand.”

 

When the battle rages around, Liz strikes out. She has reinforcements. But when the battle is within, there are no reinforcements, and to strike out is to strike inward.

 

Can she overcome the boiling rage that torments her? Can she allow herself to become the woman and warrior God created her to be?  Can she conquer the beast within and walk in the fullness of God, accepting all He has for her?

 

 

Ms. McNew continues the story of Liz and Ryland, taking it to deeper levels of truth. Self-examination. And self-discovery. As the battle mounts around them, so too do they both face more intense wars within. Ms. McNew has generated more depth to her characters, woven a more intricate story tapestry. She has added new levels to an already riveting story, with real-life issues that bring an element of truth to the fight against the forces of evil. I was there with Liz as she struggled to quell the storm within, I cried with her when time and again, she fell short. I urged her on as Ryland came by her side with his love and encouragement. I rooted for them both as from the sidelines every time they went to battle.

Ms. McNew has done it again, and surpassed the high bar she set with Rebirth. I was drawn into this story, and saw much of myself in the human condition Ms. McNew so aptly portrays.

 

I received a free copy of this book, but was under no obligation to read the book or to post a review. I offer my review of my own volition, The opinions expressed in my review are my own honest thoughts and reaction to this book.

 

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Meet Amy Brock McNew. Author. Blogger. Fighter.

Amy Brock McNew doesn’t just write speculative fiction, she lives and breathes it.

Exploring the strange, the supernatural, and the wonderfully weird, Amy pours her guts

onto the pages she writes, honestly and brutally revealing herself in the process. Nothing is

off-limits. Her favorite question is “what if?” and she believes fiction can be truer than our

sheltered and controlled realities. Visit AmyBrockMcNew.com to learn more about this

intriguing author.

 

Social Media Links:

https://www.facebook.com/AmyBrockMcNewAuthor

https://twitter.com/AmyBrockMcNew

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/26955721-amy-mcnew

Purchase Link (L2L2 website): http://bit.ly/2h0CoeY

Facebook Launch Party Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2046488562244483/

 

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Thanks for having me, Robin! So, what exactly do you want to know? I’m an open book!

  1. What do you want readers to get from reading Reconciliation? There’s so much. It’s kind of a loaded book. Pretty heavy with some scary topics. But there are a couple overarching ideas I’d like people to walk away with. First, don’t be afraid to trust because you’ve been hurt before. There are people who love you, who you can depend on, and who are worthy of your trust. Don’t doubt them because of someone else’s actions. And of course, you can definitely trust God. Second, He is unchanging, as is His love. There is nothing you have done that can make Him stop loving you and trying to bring you back into His arms. Lastly, your past may be a part of you, it may have shaped you, but it doesn’t own you. Be open about it, use its lessons, and move forward in honesty and courage, knowing the past only has power over you if you give that power.
  2. What would you say is an interesting writing quirk you have? I don’t have any odd quirks, at least, I don’t think. I HAVE to have music. I can write without it, but I don’t like to. It seems like it’s more difficult to get the words out. My playlists for each character, scene, and chapter help me get in the right head space. Without it, it feels like something’s missing.
  3. What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing? When I’m not writing I like to work out, usually weights or the heavy bag. I also attend a lot of concerts, crochet, read whenever I have a free moment, play volleyball, play piano, and sing karaoke and play games with my family. It gets loud around here! I’m also learning to throw knives, which is just cool. Other than that, I have a video production company, and I volunteer with a music ministry, A1M. Busy busy.
  4. What is your writing Krypotonite? I’m guessing this means my biggest problem or issue. Hm. Probably being a perfectionist. I regularly push deadlines hard, a real last-minute submitter, simply because I want everything I put out to be as perfect as possible. Being OCD and a writer is sometimes a huge pain!
  5. Do you ever get reader’s block? There is always something I’m in the mood to read. It’s making the time that becomes the problem.
  6. How many unpublished and half-finished book do you have? 1 half-finished, 1 that’s ¾ of the way done, and none that are complete and unpublished. I’ve finished and published everything I’ve written.
  7. What is the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex? I’ve never had a problem writing guys, simply because most of my friends have always been guys. The only thing that trips me up occasionally is why they do what they do, and the fact that many men seem to have issues discussing emotionally charged subjects. I like to know the “why” of my characters actions and reactions, so that can get a little hairy when I’m writing a big emotional scene.
  8. How do you select the names of your characters? I tend to associate certain personalities and even physical traits with certain names. When I’m naming characters, I have these in mind as I go through names. I always look for a particular sound to the name, a singular feel to it. I have the character in my head, so when I search name sites, I already know a general idea of what I’m looking for. I’m also big on meanings of names. Then sometimes, the character comes to me with a name already part of the package. Oh, and my angels? I created those names, meshing Hebrew, Greek, and Gaelic names to create the sound and meaning I wanted.
  9. And finally, what did you edit out of this book? Well, the scene in the pizza place towards the beginning was a lot longer. But you get to see more of that in the first novella, Resistance. And I had to scale back a couple of battle scenes a little. I know people who’ve read it are probably like, “Whoa. That’s scaled back?” I tend toward the graphic side when it comes to battle scenes, and I felt it may have been a bit much for some of my readers. That’s about it. This one was pretty clean right out of the gate.

 

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Author’s Top Ten Favorites

 

  1. Holiday: Halloween
  2. Dessert: German Chocolate Cake
  3. Coffee: Black Rifle Coffee Company. Small, veteran owned, with the richest, strongest coffee ever.
  4. Book: I can’t pick one book. Ugh. Okay, if I have to…Demon by Tosca Lee. I could read that a million times.
  5. Book Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
  6. Date: Coney dogs and root beer from the drive in, at the park, sitting on the tailgate
  7. Vacation location: Myrtle Beach stateside, Scottish Highlands international
  8. Character from TRWC: Ryland. I adore him.
  9. Weapon: Mid-length Katana (Japanese sword), or 9mm SCCY compact
  10. Scripture: Psalm 13

 

Thanks again for letting me crash your blog. It’s been fun!

 

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Blogwords, Wreading Wednesday, Featured Book, Reconciliation, Amy Brock McNew, The Reluctant Warrior Chronicles, Reconciliation, Resistance, #‎TheReluctantWarriorChronicles ‪#‎UrbanFantasy, Author Interview, Top Ten Favorites

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 19 January 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – DANELE ROTHARMEL

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CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – DANELE ROTHARMEL

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“I pulled my hand back with the dragonfly clinging to my finger, and I remembered my prayer from the day before. A wave of overwhelming gratitude washed over me. This was the sign I had prayed for–the sign I so desperately needed.”

 

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““Lord, if you really sent this dragonfly to tell me that you love me and that everything’s going to be okay, you can let it go now.” Immediately, the dragonfly flew off my finger and zipped over the roof of the house.”

 

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I’d like to give a big welcome to DANELE ROTHARMEL to my blog.  Danele Rotharmel’s life took an unexpected turn when a mysterious illness brought her close to death. Eventually, she learned that a carbon monoxide leak from a faulty furnace was poisoning her. This poisoning triggered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity causing her to be put in quarantine. For seven years, she could only talk to friends and extended family through a windowpane. During this time, she wrote the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles.  Although her journey back to health was difficult, it provided her the opportunity to grow closer to God and write her books. For that, she’s forever thankful.

 

rem:  Danele, thank you for joining me today. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

DANELE:  Hello, Robin! It’s great being here! I was born and raised in Colorado, and I still live along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. I really love Colorado, and I can’t envision living anywhere else.

rem:  Oh! I love Colorado, too! Lived there for 16 years before coming to SC. Tell us three things about yourself.

DANELE:

#1. I’m a HUGE klutz, and the scene in Time Search in which Crystal falls and gets her hair trapped beneath a closing door actually happened to me.

#2. On a missions trip to Uruguay, I stood too close to a space heater and melted a big hole in my skirt—I’m lucky I didn’t catch on fire.

#3. In Mexico, I accidently sat down on an anthill, and ended up with ants in my pants. I didn’t discover the little creatures until I was sitting in the church van traveling down the highway.

rem:  Danele, these have to be the funniest three things in all the interviews I’ve done! No wonder I love you so much! What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

DANELE:  I have a tiny, stone owl on my desk that belonged to my great-great grandfather. It’s so old that part of the carving has been worn smooth. It fits in my palm, and whenever I feel overwhelmed by life, I rub my thumb over the worn carvings and take a deep breath. The owl reminds me to seize each day, to stop worrying obsessively, and to enjoy every moment—after all, life is fleeting.

rem:  That is so lovely. What a special token to have. What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

DANELE:  I love old movies, especially The Swan with Grace Kelly. The Swan is extremely sentimental, and it’s positively dripping with romance. It’s so syrupy-sweet that it has me yelling “cheese,” but I have to admit that it is a guilty pleasure. I’m still not sure if I like the ending—maybe that’s why it’s made such a deep impression on me. I enjoy The Swan so much that I’ve mentioned it in my latest book, Time Search.

rem:  Would you bungee ?

DANELE:  Are you kidding??? With my klutzy tendencies I’d never survive!  I’d love to be daring enough to try, but I’ve learned my limitations—at least, most of them. It’s far safer for me—and everyone else—if I keep my feet firmly planted on the ground.

rem:  It’s a good thing to know our limitations. What is the first thing you notice about people?

DANELE:  Their smile. I love walking around town smiling at people and seeing who will smile back.

rem:  We surely do need to hang out sometime—and walk about town smiling. J Favorite season? Why?

DANELE:  Autumn is my favorite season because I love skipping through crunchy, crackly leaves. Can I tell you a secret? In some ways, I’ve never grown up, and autumn tends to bring out the kid in me. Even though I can’t resist shuffling through piles of leaves, I have given up rolling in them. I’d like to say that my leaf-rolling days are over because I’m mature and sophisticated, but actually, the last time I rolled in the leaves I ended up with a cricket down my collar. Crickets tend to put a damper on things rather quickly, in my opinion.

rem:  I love crunching things as I walk, too. And I once had a cricket up my pant leg! :-O Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

DANELE:  My favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I love this verse because it reminds me that God has everything under control.

rem:  I used to think this verse meant I was supposed to do all things. Father showed me not so long ago that’s not true. Rather, He means that what He asks us to do, we are well able. What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

DANELE:  The best thing about Christian fiction is the ministry aspect. When I began writing, I made a deliberate choice to honor God with my books. I pray over my novels, and I pray for my readers. Being a Christian author has brought me closer to Christ because it compels me to put Him first in every sentence that I write.

rem:  When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?  

DANELE: I can’t stand it when a story has filthy scenes. To me, it’s like biting into an apple and finding a worm. I love good, clean books that are full of suspense and fun.

rem:  Yes. It is possible to write about what takes place without taking it too far. Which is more important: plot or characters?

DANELE:  I believe that both are very important, but if a story doesn’t have loveable characters, I think it falls flat. When I read a book, I picture the characters as my friends, and I live the story with them. If I don’t like the characters, I won’t finish the book.

rem:  Oh yes! I’ve actually wanted to call after I finish a book and see what’s up before! LOL What would you do if you weren’t writing?

DANELE:  Probably, I’d be going a little crazy. Writing is my outlet. It’s a way for me to shrug off the worries of the day and immerse myself in my own little universe. I can’t imagine my life without writing—I wouldn’t want to even try.

rem:  What are you reading right now?

DANELE: Right now, I’m reading Embracing the Baobab by Reverend Jerry Ireland. It’s a true story about Reverend Ireland’s time as a missionary in Africa. Some of the chapters make me laugh, and others make me think. I really enjoy his writing.

rem:  Sounds fascinating. What do you munch on while you write?

DANELE:  Gracious, Robin! I’d love to say that I munch on carrot sticks, but I’m afraid that’s not true. If I’m going to be honest, I have to admit that I munch on Doritos, cookies, and chocolate …and that’s probably why I desperately need to go on a diet. I keep trying to muster up enthusiasm about carrot sticks, but I can’t manage it. If someone could make a carrot taste like a Dorito, they’d make a million bucks and win my everlasting gratitude!

rem:  I don’t think anybody is truly enthusiastic about carrot sticks! Danele, you have an unusual testimony. Tell us about being quarantined and how that happened.

DANELE:  Many years ago, I became extremely ill and almost died. For a long time, my doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong, but eventually, I learned that the furnace in my home had a small carbon monoxide leak. This leak had been slowly poisoning me. I didn’t have a carbon monoxide monitor, and the gas can’t be seen or smelled. The initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic the flu, but eventually, they escalate into stuttering, staggering, vomiting, fainting, and death. I thought that once the furnace was replaced I would get better, but unfortunately, the poisoning had triggered Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. That meant I became extremely ill when exposed to perfume, car exhaust, cleansers, and the other chemicals that surround our modern-day society. My illness escalated until I was quarantined in my home to keep me away from chemicals. I thought my quarantine would only last a few months—it ended up lasting for seven years.

rem:  Seven years! Danele, that’s horrific! I’m so glad you’re okay.  ❤  And what is the significance of the dragonfly?

DANELE:  During quarantine, I questioned every aspect of my faith because I felt abandoned by God. I had lots of time on my hands, so I would think about my questions until I felt I had answers. Eventually, after time passed, I decided that God is real, God is good, God is intimately concerned with every aspect of my life, Jesus must be kept in the center of my faith, and God is trustworthy in spite of tragedy. Even though I had reconciled my faith, I still had times when I felt discouraged. The thing that kept me going was looking into the eye of a dragonfly. During a very difficult day, I asked God to make a dragonfly land on my finger. I felt the dragonfly would signify that God loved me and that everything would be okay. Through a wonderful chain of events, God answered my prayer. The dragonfly God sent didn’t just sit on my finger for a second; it stayed there for several minutes. The dragonfly incident was one of the most beautiful and defining moments of my life, and it’s why I named my blog, dragonflydanele. If you would like to read the whole story, please feel free to follow this link:

https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/welcome/

rem:  Love how the simple things of God have the greatest significance in our faith. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

DANELE:  During my seven years of quarantine, I began writing as an escape from physical pain and loneliness. Since I couldn’t go out into the “real” world, I created a world of my own. On days when the pain was especially bad, I devised plot twists to keep my mind from dwelling on my illness. When I was sad, I wrote funny scenes to cheer me up. And each time my villain was defeated by one of my characters, I used it as a boost to continue fighting my illness. By the time quarantine was over, I had written the first six books in The Time Counselor Chronicles. Time Tsunami, the first book in the series, was published by Prism Book Group in January 2016. Time Trap, the second book, was published by Prism in June 2016. And Time Search, the third book, was published on January 13, 2017.

rem:  That’s what I call making the best of a tough situation. Kinda like Romans 8:28, ya know??? What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

DANELE: When I was in quarantine, I would write for up to 18 hours a day. I was so engrossed in my stories that I would sometimes forget to eat and sleep. Now that I’m feeling better, I write more moderately. Because I still have some problems with perfume, I write at home. My computer has received so much use that some of the letters on my keyboard are worn off. I’m grateful that my high school typing teacher instructed me so well. I’d have no idea where the “D,” “C,” “L,” and “N” keys were located if it hadn’t been for him. I can still remember my typing teacher pounding into my brain that “the quick brown fox jumped over the garden gate.”

rem:  I honestly don’t remember typing class but obviously I took it ‘cause I, too, type by touch—and write many scenes with my eyes closed! What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

DANELE:  Because of my illness, and because I spent so much time in front of the computer during quarantine, I have hurt my vision. Last year, I was in danger of emergency eye surgery. Because my eyes are a problem, I’ve had to reduce the hours I spend in front of the computer. I’ve found that if I spend too many hours writing, I have trouble seeing the next day.

rem:  If I may, I’d suggest it boosts creativity, too, to be away from the computer—but that’s just me… Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

DANELE:  Creating is like flying! It’s exhilarating, freeing, and exciting! Editing is like putting together a treadmill with an instruction manual in one hand and a screwdriver in the other… But both processes cause equal satisfaction when they’re finished.

rem:  Love this analogy! Except that I edit as I go… What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

DANELE:  I enjoy hearing from my readers. Hearing that my books have touched people’s lives makes everything worth it.

rem:  It does indeed. What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

DANELE:  I’ve always been an extremely organized person, and my illness threw my organizational tendencies into overdrive. Because I couldn’t control many things about my life during quarantine, I tended to obsessively control the things that I could. During the publication process, an author doesn’t always have control. When other people get involved, manuscripts can be changed, favorite lines can be deleted, and deadlines can be altered. I’ve learned that since worrying about every little detail drives me crazy, it’s important to look at the big picture—and  the big picture is a published work that makes me proud. Having other people manipulate your work and schedule is difficult, but most of the time it makes the final product better in the end. The nicest thing about the publishing process is the extra sets of eyes reviewing your work. I’m so relieved when some of the mistakes in my manuscripts are caught. Without my editors, Alex would’ve seen lightening, Nicole’s eyes would’ve sparkled with laugher, and Marc would have complemented Crystal. Sometimes, editors need a big hug.

rem:  And I do love my editor! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would you recommend not doing?

DANELE: I would recommend doing the following things:

#1. Write what makes you happy. Don’t try to change your style to please someone else.

#2. Love your characters and give them realistic flaws and strengths.

#3. Step back and listen carefully to other people’s opinions about your work—then prayerfully decide if their suggestions have merit or should be rejected. Remember that just because someone says “jump,” you don’t have to always say “how high.”

(rem: this kind of goes along with the above-mentioned Bible verse—I can do all things but I don’t have to.)

I would recommend avoiding the following things:

#1. Avoid wearing your feelings on your shoulder—not everyone will like your writing, and that’s okay. Remember that some people don’t like chocolate.

#2. Avoid writing anything that you’d feel embarrassed to read to Jesus.

#3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Worrying about every detail will give you an ulcer, and usually, things manage to work out regardless of whether you pace back and forth or whether you relax. Give yourself permission to breathe.

rem:  Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

DANELE:  My greatest ideas have come while I’m laying down, “taking a nap.” I let my mind wander, and I picture my upcoming scenes as part of a movie. I imagine the action unfolding  before my closed eyes. Many times, I hammer out my dialogue during naptime before I ever touch my keyboard. Other times, I simply let the creative process carry me away, and I’m not sure what I’m going to type until I see it popping up on my screen.

rem:  I hear ya, Danele! I’m a complete Pantzer! How do you choose your characters’ names?

DANELE:  I chose Gil’s name because I wanted something outlandish and Gillyflower Meadowlark fit the bill. Some of my other characters’ names haven’t been quite as easy to choose. Originally, Crystal was named Sophie. I changed her name when my mother quirked her brow and said Sophie Stuart sounded like “Soppy soapy.” Because I liked Crystal, I decided to name her after something beautiful. Originally, Nicole Cunning was named Gail. I changed her name when I was editing Time Trap because I felt confused during the scene in which Gail and Gil were talking to each other. I figured if I was having trouble keeping them straight, my readers would be pulling out their hair. I ended up writing a list of names and letting my family and friends choose. They decided on Nicole. As you can see, my naming process isn’t really a process at all—sometimes, it’s a matter of trial and error.

rem:  I realized in my last story I had three dudes names Hugh. None were significant part, which really was all the more reason to differentiate. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

DANELE:  Not really. I know how my story will end, but I let my characters determine how they get there. The creation of Sam in Time Tsunami came about because Danny ran next door to his neighbor’s house. Before that, Sam wasn’t in the picture at all. The creation of Poppa and Twinkles came about because Peter said the line, “Gil requires more help than you can give. We need the Facilitator.” After I wrote that line, I sat staring blankly at my computer screen wondering who the Facilitator was and why he was needed. I write to entertain myself, and half of the fun is seeing where my stories take me. It can be a wild ride.

rem:  I think I’ve said that before, not in those exact words, but yeah, I’ve said that before! Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

DANELE:  My latest book, Time Search, is the third book in my series. It continues the adventures of the TEMCO crew. Since the leaders of TEMCO have been put into hiding, it’s up to Crystal, Marc, and Zeke to discover the reason behind Drake’s recent attacks on the staff. While Drake is trying to dodge federal agents and track down TEMCO’s missing leaders, the remaining staff try to discover his real name and unravel the mystery of his past. I designed Time Search to be full of suspense, and I hope my readers will enjoy it! Currently, I’m polishing up the fourth book in my series, Time Awakening.

rem:  What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

DANELE:  My favorite part of Time Search is the interaction between Marc and Crystal. I love their complicated relationship. I also love watching them grow individually and as a couple. If you enjoy a suspenseful book that’s full of memorable characters, I believe that Time Search is the book for you.

rem:  You heard her, peeps, go get you a copy!

Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MY7RGFJ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1484259046&sr=8-1&keywords=danele+rotharmel+time+search

Tell us about why you wrote this book.

DANELE: I wrote Time Search during the middle of my seven-year stretch of quarantine. I loved my characters from Time Tsunami and Time Trap, and I couldn’t give them up. I was eager to write them another adventure. I was also suffering from a severe case of cabin fever—that’s the main reason Angelina travels through Europe. Writing Time Search gave me the ability to travel without leaving my house.

rem:  I wonder how many characters across the ages do things their creators can’t but want to??? Please give us the first page of the book.

DANELE: 

Heavy metal music blared through paper-thin walls. Knowing the noise from the apartment next door was drowning out his actions, Drake yanked open the door to Phoebe’s curio cabinet. With an irritated flick of his finger, he sent her porcelain figurines crashing to the floor. He paused at a white rabbit. He remembered Phoebe’s excitement when she’d bought it. She’d babbled on about it being the good luck charm for their field exam. Eyes narrowing, he threw the rabbit to the floor and ground it beneath his heel.

Bass boomed. A guitar solo shrieked. The music was so loud the pictures on the wall were vibrating. Kicking at stuffing from shredded couch cushions, Drake went to Phoebe’s kitchen and broke every dish he could find. He moved to her refrigerator, dumping food into a revolting, multicolored mess on the floor.

After emptying her freezer, he ground his teeth and clenched his fists. There had to be a clue to Phoebe’s location in her apartment. He just had to find it. Frustration mounted as he stomped to her bedroom, tearing posters from the walls as he went. In a matter of minutes, he’d torn her pristine bedroom to shreds, scattering feathers from pillows and tossing the contents of her dresser onto the slashed mattress. When it became apparent that he wasn’t going to find a clue to her location, he turned to pure vandalism—crushing and ripping anything that wasn’t ruined in the first sweep.

When he tired of destruction, he went back to the living room. His steel-toed boots crunched glassy shards as he stole to the window and peeked through the blinds. He rolled his eyes. The black SUV was still parked across the street.

“Morons.” he muttered.

He backed away from the window with a sneer. Andrew Hamilton’s agents obviously didn’t realize that the steam tunnels beneath NSU led into the basement of the Westbend Student Apartments.

“You’re all so stupid,” he hissed. “You deserve to be flattened like squirrels in the road.”

Next to the window, a plaque caught his attention. Its swooping gold letters proclaimed, God Protects. Rolling his eyes, Drake broke the plaque in half and lit a cigarette.

 

rem:  OY! He is not a very nice person and I don’t think I like him. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

DANELE: Time Search is full of spiritual lessons, but perhaps the most poignant is the fact that when tragedy strikes, we can’t hold onto bitterness. If we want to live in peace, we must forgive those who sin against us.

rem:  That’s a powerful truth, Danele. Anything you’d like to add?

DANELE:  Writing Time Search and the other books in The Time Counselor Chronicles was an act of pure joy. I hope that people enjoy reading my books just as much as I enjoyed creating them.

rem:  Thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today!

DANELE: You’re welcome, Robin! Thank you for having me! I’ve had a wonderful time!

 

 

rem:  Where can we find you online?

DANELE:

Danele’s Blog: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

Danele’s Testimony: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/welcome/

Danele’s Books: https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/my-books/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14782632.Danele_J_Rotharmel

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/danele.rotharmel

ACFW Fiction Finder: http://www.fictionfinder.com/author/detail/1331

 

 

 

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            * runs through next Thursday, 26 January.

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The Rose Coffee Cup Prize Package Includes:

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“As you slowly let go of your disappointment and confusion, almost imperceptibly, spring begins to come. Small things.  Little changes. A trickle of water, a blade of green, clouds parting to reveal a glimpse of blue sky.”

 

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https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/

https://dragonflydanele.wordpress.com/welcome/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14782632.Danele_J_Rotharmel

https://www.facebook.com/danele.rotharmel

 

 

 

 

 

#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Danele Rotharmel, Dragonflies, Quarantine, Time Tsunami, Time Trap, Time Search

 

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