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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 – Thursday 9 March 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ELIZABETH NOYES

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CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ELIZABETH NOYES

“Elizabeth Noyes, adventure-loving author, dedicated dreamer, and tireless traveler – and avid reader of romantic suspense, action adventure, and pretty much all genres.”

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“These full-length, nail-biting stories touch on hot topics in today’s culture, themes such as weapons smuggling, drug dealing, and human trafficking. Warning: You might also encounter an army of hot alpha males who meet their matches!”

 

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

ELIZABETH:  I grew up in Mobile, Alabama and lived there for 21 years. I now live with my husband of 43 years in a small town on the east side of Atlanta, Georgia. We are blessed to have both our children and their families live near us.

 

rem:  That is a precious blessing to have them nearby.  ❤  Tell us three things about yourself.

ELIZABETH:  1) I love to travel and have visited more than 50 countries on 3 continents. 2) I was one of the first women in the State of Georgia to earn a “D” license as a soccer coach, and had the privilege of coaching my daughter’s soccer team to a state championship. 3) I read voraciously, averaging 3-4 books each week, and pretty all genres.

 

rem:  1) Very cool, and very jealous. 2) Very awesome and way to go! And 3) Very impressed! Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

ELIZABETH:  High-test all the way. A little cream, a little sugar, and absolutely no flavorings. Just coffee, ma’am. Of course, being from the South, I’ll also take a tall glass of sweet iced tea with supper.

 

rem:  What do you do as a hobby?

ELIZABETH:  Writing, reading, writing, crocheting, writing, grandkids, writing, baking, and oh, did I mention writing?

 

rem:  So, you write a little, now and then, eh… What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

ELIZABETH:  I have this “thing” one of my grandkids made for me – it’s a mold of a rabbit. At least, I think it’s a rabbit. Yes, definitely a rabbit. I call him “Pete” and use him as a paperweight.

 

rem:  Pete’s a good name for a rabbit, if indeed he is a rabbit… What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

ELIZABETH:  Without a doubt, my fave movie is Gone With The Wind. I know that in today’s times, it’s not a politically correct admission, but the epic-ness (is that a word?) (rem: it is if you want it to be word) still wows me. I mean, it’s got everything—romance, intrigue, war, good times, bad times, action, suspense. I think I  fell in love with movies and books after seeing it.

My favorite TV show goes waaaaay back to when I was a kid. I doubt many people will recognize it – Adventures in Paradise, starring Garner McKay. It was set in the Tahitian Islands, and featured a man who owned a schooner and made his living hiring it out. I think my love of travel stems from then. One of the travel bucket list items I recently checked off was Tahitia, Fiji, and Bora Bora.

 

rem:  Great choices! Would you bungee ?

ELIZABETH:  Absolutely not. I have a paralyzing fear of heights. I once froze mid-way across a narrow walking suspension bridge. My honey had to come back for me. I buried my face against his back, held on to his belt for dear life, and finally, somehow, managed to get off that thing. Never again. Can’t abide glass elevators. (shudder)

rem:  {{{{{HUGZ}}}}} I’ll be sure NOT to tell you if I ever do that!  😉  What is the first thing you notice about people?

ELIZABETH:  Their eyes. Whether they will meet yours. Whether they hold or shift around. Eyes tell you so much about a person.

 

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

ELIZABETH:  I find it encouraging that so many Christian Fiction writers are willing to lay their beliefs out for everyone to see. Too many self-professing Christians today seem unwilling to take a stand for Christ, but when you put it out there in writing for the world to see—yeah, that’s a true believer.

One of my favorite sayings came from my daddy. “Why do you believe what you believe?” The characters in my stories often wind up in challenging situations where they have to make difficult choices. This, in turn, forces me to dig deeper into what I believe is the right thing to do, why, and the consequences that might arise from making a right or wrong decision. All too often, I learn more about myself than I wanted to.

 

rem:  Life is full of choices, difficult or not, and we all have made some wrong choices. It’s the human condition. I love that you wrote plays and were in the dramas club. Share with us a little about that.

ELIZABETH:  I had an English teacher in junior high and high school who discovered my knack for writing. I can thank Mrs. Strickler for nurturing my budding talent and encouraging me to explore possibilities. It was her guidance that helped me win a short story contest in 8th grade, write skits for the school pep rallies, and try my hand at a couple of plays. That’s when I discovered how actors ‘become’ someone else. Because that’s what writers do—we become our characters.

 

rem: I love that. I am an actress so I very much know what you mean. (ps, that also feeds to my characters as I write them.) And a campaign manager—what did that involve?

ELIZABETH:  Although we fail at editing our work, writers tend to see every mistake of someone else’s writing. A particularly glaring error (to me) on an advertisement my company produced caught my eye. I tried to discreetly point it out to the Ad Manager who’d created it, but with it already in circulation, she had to ‘fess up. My bosses’ (twin brothers!), put me in charge of screening everything that went out from the company after that. The position evolved from there.

 

rem:  What a neat chain of events! I also love that you say, “Working in a professional environment allowed me to hone my skills.” I think so often we tend to think time not spent writing has nothing to do with writing. How did your non-writing profession feed your writing?

ELIZABETH:  Business writing is black and white different from fiction, though there are gray areas they both share. In a business, mistakes reflect poorly on the company’s brand and their quality as perceived by the customer. An author’s writing is her product, her brand. Anything you put out there for public consumption reflects on you as a person.

This foundational element has always been structured into my writing, which isn’t always a good thing. I’m one of those who can always find something to change, even after a manuscript has gone to press.

 

rem:  No kidding! I am constantly tweaking, i.e. editing! When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

ELIZABETH:  My biggest pet peeve for anything written is editing. A few mistakes are forgivable, but when a piece is riddled with misspellings, improper grammar, and misused words—well, sometimes I just can’t finish reading. They stop me cold, which breaks the story flow. Outside of that, it’s the “telling” we always hear about. I’m like every other reader, I want to be sucked into the story so that five hours later I’m wondering where the time went.

 

rem:  Double no kidding! Which is more important: plot or characters?

ELIZABETH:  In my reader’s opinion, strong characters can carry a weak plot, but a strong plot won’t ring true with weak characters. When you combine both – yeah, that’s a winner.

 

rem:  What would you do if you weren’t writing?

ELIZABETH:  Travel. Love to travel. I married a military man and got to see a lot of the world. Even though we’re retired now, we still travel. To date, I’ve visited more than 60 countries on 3 continents, and have plans to see more!

 

rem:  See above comment: jealous, aka can I come with you? What are you reading right now?

ELIZABETH:  I’m reading the first book of The Watchman Series, entitled Ancient Lights, a Christian novel written by Dr. Ralph D. Curtin. It’s a paperback loaned by a friend who wanted my take on it. The novel has a unique conspiracy plot that involves the discovery of the long lost Urim and Thummin. It’s a complex weave with a heavy dose of theology, and quite historically enlightening.

 

rem:  My kind of story! Love me some good Biblical fiction! What do you munch on while you write?

ELIZABETH:  Oh, the pain! You reveal my secrets! (rem: tee hee hee) I think writers invented the term, ‘mindless eating.’ Let me count the snacks—popcorn, cookies, cereal, chips, leftovers, cheese, pretty much any leftovers. One moment my fingers are flying over the keyboard, and the next moment hunger strikes. I grab whatever is easiest, sit down at my desk again, and sometime later I discover the bowl is empty. Not good, not good.

 

rem:  Ya, that’s about how I do, too. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ELIZABETH:  In my youth (meaning before marriage), I wrote all the time, but without a plan. It was just something that spilled out. Then life interrupted—I got married, moved around the world, had two children, and went to work. I look back and find it interesting that in all the jobs I’ve held, writing always managed to become a key function.

Over the years, I’ve always kept a notebook. Not journaling exactly, but close. And private. I never shared my words with anyone, not even my husband. I viewed it more as therapy than writing.

The turning point came after I read a book by a favorite author. I would buy his books without bothering to read the blurbs, that’s how much I thought of him. And then, ‘he done me wrong.’ He wrote a book that built the tension, built the suspense, built the anxiety—and bailed on seeing it through. It felt like he’d run up against a deadline and closed it out as fast as he could. Talk about anticlimactic! I haven’t picked up another of his books since. He betrayed my trust. That’s when I decided to write my own book.

Writing while you’re employed fulltime is difficult. You’re pretty much restricted to weeknights and weekends, and working around other commitments. That first book I mentioned above is what I now call “My Practice Book.” It’s awful, but I studied, went to seminars and conferences, read self-help books, read blogs, and joined a critique group (scariest thing I’ve ever done!). Best of all, I started a new book. Six long years later, I got up enough nerve to submit it to a publisher. The rest, as they say, is history.

 

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

ELIZABETH: I mentioned my husband and I are retired now. He has an office upstairs at the front of the house. My office (which is the sunroom) is downstairs at the back of the house. We text each other several times a day. LOL.

I’m an early riser, usually up between 6-6:30 a.m. He’s gets up late, so I have the entire morning undisturbed. That’s when I do my best work, though I’ve been known to burn the midnight oil on deadlines.

 

rem:  so.NOT.a.morning.person. I do, however, envy you your sunroom! Someday… What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

ELIZABETH:  Perfectionism. I want it perfect in the first draft. I struggle against editing everything I write when I’m writing. Once I get into the flow, though, I lose track of time. This is both good and bad; good in that my word count soars; bad in that several hours can pass before I remember to get up and move around. Creaky joints don’t make for a happy writer.

 

rem:  Perfectionism is evil! Seriously, it’s a cruel task master! Excellence is more lenient and forgiving. Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

ELIZABETH:  There’s a sense of accomplishment with both. I love and hate becoming so immersed in a story that I lose track of time. Can’t tell you how many appointments I’ve missed because of this. But I also love the feeling of finding the exact right word or turn of phrase. I can spend hours on a single paragraph, which is killer when you’re trying to maintain a schedule.

 

rem:  Yes, yes, yes to “finding the exact right word or turn of phrase!” Especially when writing historical fiction! What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

ELIZABETH:  Hearing from fans who anxiously await my next book. I love when they tell me what they feel about my characters, challenge me about why I put them something, or how a situation made them reconsider their beliefs. It’s very affirming.

 

rem:  Also yes, yes, yes! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

ELIZABETH:  The hardest thing about publishing is the wait. I’m not patient by nature.  The easiest is turning the final edits around. The sense of accomplishment is a great motivator.

 

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

ELIZABETH:  DOs: 1) Read a lot. All genres. 2) Trust your publisher/editor. They know what they’re doing. Learn from them. 3) Be patient. Writing is a journey. Publishing is process. And you are a work of art in progress.

DON’Ts: 1) Know why you write. There is no wrong reason, but understanding what motivates you can help steer the process for you. 2) Be meticulous. Too much editing is better than not enough. Take pride in your work, and make it the best you can. 3) Don’t ever give up. Sometimes the journey is about you, but sometimes God wants to use your work to reach someone else. Trust Him to do His thing.

 

rem:  When we as Christian writers realize our source—our Muse—we can immerse ourselves in it, and produce something to be proud of. How do you choose your characters’ names?

ELIZABETH:  I actually keep a file of names. Whenever I run across one in a book or someone I meet, I jot it down in my file. I also do a lot of research on names—their meaning, the era when they’re most popular, ethnicity, etc. I mean who today would name their child Elspeth or Barnabus? The name has to fit the time and geographical location.

 

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

ELIZABETH:  Yes and no. (smile) I have a good idea of the goal of the story, and I usually have the start and finish. The rest comes to me in scenes. It’s the connecting all the parts that hard. I will typically start out with an outline, though once I sit down to write, the characters have a way of directing their own story, so the initial outline and the finished product tend to differ.

 

rem:  I used to think I was doing it wrong because I don’t outline. Even when I try, it trips me up. I just listen to what the characters tell me, and basically take dictation! LOL Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

ELIZABETH:  I’m finishing up book 4 in The Imperfect Series, called Imperfect Lies. While I dub these as standalones, meaning you don’t have to read them in order, it is preferable to start at the beginning. The books revolve around a family—mom, dad, and five grown children—with each book centered around one of the siblings. All the other characters are woven through the series.

 

rem:  Um, yeah, sounds remarkably like my current series except that my four MC’s are not siblings but best friends, all telling their part of one overarching story. 😉 What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

ELIZABETH:  A couple of the scenes are humorous in a Men-Are-From-Mars/Women-Are-From-Venus kind of way. I like to make fun of how men view women, and vice versa. (rem: love this!)

As for why someone should read Imperfect Lies – it’s a journey, with ups and downs, and relatable moments for both men and women. The main POV character, Mallory, is about to have her carefully ordered world disrupted in a big way. James, the main male character, butts heads with her over and over again until he comes to understand that relationships require not 50:50, but 100:100 from both partners. This book touches on topics pertinent in today’s society, subjects like kidnapping, human trafficking, slavery, terrorism, corruption, divorce, drugs, and career decisions

 

rem:  Tell us about why you wrote this book.

ELIZABETH:  I love reading, but hate all the profanity, gratuitous sex, and over-the-top violence that proliferates in the literary world today. I write to give readers an alternative.

rem:  Thank you for that, Elizabeth, good on you! Please give us the first page of the book.

ELIZABETH: Keep in mind it’s still in edits and subject to change, but here it is:

 

  “Yes!”

            Mallory clapped a hand over her mouth, startled by how loud her shout sounded in the empty house. They knew her name. She wanted to giggle and jump up and down, shout it to the world. The New York Times had read her article. They’d invited her for a job interview.

            A dozen twirls around the kitchen left her a little breathless, but did nothing to slow the adrenalin rush. She flopped onto one of the tall barstools. Of all the times for her family to disappear on her. Here she’d just received the biggest news of her life and had no one to share it with.

            Well, there was TJ, but her brand new sister-in-law wouldn’t be free to talk until late in the afternoon. The principal of the elementary school where she taught frowned on cell phone use during class hours.

            She could talk to Jonas, but he wouldn’t be home until dark. Of course, she could run over to the big barn and … Nope. Her youngest brother would scowl at the interruption, listen without saying a word, grunt like a caveman, and go back to work.

            Her thoughts turned outside the family. Maybe she could go see her friend, Shea, at the diner. Or stop by Miz Tillberry’s. Or, there was always James.

            Her lips formed a soft smile as thoughts of the town sheriff filled her head. She’d fallen for him the day her oldest brother, Garrett, brought him home to the ranch to recuperate. A wave of nausea rose at the memory of the ragged gunshot wound in his side. A souvenir for his military service.

            “James, it is.”

            Even sheriffs had to eat sometime. And regardless of how he felt about her, James would always be her friend. She tapped out a quick text. YOU FREE FOR LUNCH? GOT BIG NEWS.

            His reply came back seconds later. SURE. COME BY OFFICE.

            Her stomach lurched. Would he hate the thought she might move away? Or wish her well and forget about her?

            Time for her battle gear. The black skinny jeans should get the job done, the ones Dad called ‘vacuum-sealed.’ Paired with her new Lively boots and the zaffre-blue cashmere sweater that made her eyes pop, a little mascara—yeah, that should work.

 

rem:  Oooohhhh, I like it! Love how you introduced a bevy of characters in those few lines—and the all-important James… What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

ELIZABETH:  That while my book is fiction, I’ve done my research and made it as realistic as possible.

 

rem:  The best fiction does that. Where can we find you online? (provide links)

ELIZABETH: I can be reached at my Website

 

www.ElizabethNoyesWrites.com

www.facebook.com/ElizabethNoyesAuthor

https://twitter.com/Enoyes5246

https://www.linkedin.com/in/enoyes1625.

https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Noyes/e/B00IDV8MRG/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

 

 

rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

ELIZABETH:  I write in the Christian genre, but I take a different, more subtle approach than many Christian authors. I don’t preach. My target audience is not to entertain the choir. My goal is to reach those outside the church, those who love to read and prefer to not have the seamier content shoved in their faces. Instead, I sprinkle seeds of the gospel, and try to show the allure of Christianity through the lives and actions of my characters.

 

rem:  Methinks Christian Fiction as a whole is leaning in that direction. Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

 

 

 “These full-length, nail-biting stories touch on hot topics in today’s culture, themes such as weapons smuggling, drug dealing, and human trafficking. Warning: You might also encounter an army of hot alpha males who meet their matches!”

 

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#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Elizabeth Noyes, Imperfect Wings, Imperfect Trust, Imperfect Bonds

 

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BLOGWORDS – Thursday 2 March 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – DANA PRATOLA

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CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – DANA PRATOLA

“If you know nothing else about me, know this: Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior.”

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“It’s not your mother’s Christian Fiction.”

 

rem:  Hullo Dana, welcome to Robin’s Little Nest! Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

DANA:  I was born in New Jersey and am still here, but one day soon I’d love to move to a less expensive state, preferably one with NO SNOW 😀

rem:  South Carolina barely has snow, jus’ sayin… Tell us three things about yourself.

DANA:   I love Star Trek (original series only), I enjoy guns and shooting, I’m an excellent cook, but I hate cooking :/

 

rem:  Well that’s a slight conflict there. What is your favourite quotation and why?

DANA:  I have quite a few, but one of my favorites is, “You should never, never doubt what nobody is sure about.” (Willy Wonka).

rem:  Love me some Willy Wonka. What’s the most random thing in your bag or on your desk?

DANA:  I have a NO button on my desk that says different versions of…you guessed it, “No!”

rem:  What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

DANA:  Jesus of Nazareth. My favorite TV show doesn’t exist anymore, lol. I’ve been watching vintage game shows on Buzzer TV and LOVE What’s My Line!

rem:  I love that show! #DrewCarey And excellent movie, too. Would you bungee ?

DANA:  Nope, but I will be zip-lining in a couple months through rural PA  😀

rem:  Can I come with?? What is the first thing you notice about people?

DANA:  Whether they’re male or female.

rem:  Haha, touché. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

DANA:  Probably Dave Matthews. He’s so brilliant at what he does, and so unusual, and that makes for an interesting evening.

 

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

DANA:  Christian Fiction has the potential to make people see spiritual truths from new perspectives. Each book, each character is another window into human behavior that readers might not otherwise see, and the plots reveal Biblical truths that they might not know unless they’ve been deeply exposed to the Word, and many readers haven’t been. How often will the common person meet a billionaire struggling with inferiority issues, or a woman trying to find forgiveness and healing after abortion and abuse? As for my own relationship with Christ, while I do write secular fiction under a pen name, seeing other Christian authors presenting the Biblical world view definitely keeps my main focus where it needs to be, hopefully drawing others to Jesus.

rem:  Dane, I love your answer. So simply put and so profound. I love your tag, “Not your mother’s Christian Fiction.” Explain what you mean by that.

DANA:  I’ve heard so many readers complain that a lot of the Christian fiction out there is too sugary and goody-goody. That’s the way it’s always been and what most readers of the genre were used to growing up. I don’t write that. Because life is harsh and often brutal, and people – even Christians – make plenty of mistakes, that’s what I write about, and I think it makes for an even stronger contrast and impact when you see love and mercy and healing come out of a background of abuse and hatred, rather than out of one where the character spends most of their time in church or “doing good.”

rem:  Ya, I’m not crazy about the “goody-goody” fiction either. Do gooder, Lollipop Characters (just made that up) gag me. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

DANA: Good question. Bad writing turns me off instantly. Boring writing takes a little longer to recognize, but when I see it, I stop reading because boring writing is bad writing. A pet peeve of mine is names that make me pause to figure them out. They don’t have to be so complicated! And don’t “fancy up” plain names. I’m not reading Jaiynne, I’m reading Jane. Stop wasting letters and making my eyes stumble. (LOL, can you tell that irks me?)

rem:  LOL I will take exception to this when writing fiction based on real characters, i.e. Heather Gilbert’s Viking books, and Cindy Thomson’s Ireland series. Which is more important: plot or characters?

DANA:  For me there’s no way to separate them. Plot is only interesting if you care about the characters and characters with nothing interesting to do are basically hollow.

rem:  See Lollipop Character comment above. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

DANA:  I’ve been asked this question a lot and I don’t have an answer. It’s all I ever wanted to do.

rem:  Took me a while (read years) to figure that out, and I do have a degree but it would be what I’d fall back on if for some bizarre reason I couldn’t be writing. What are you reading right now?

DANA:  I don’t have much time to read for enjoyment so when I do have a few days, I like to go to authors I trust, Nora Roberts, Stephanie Laurens, Julia Quinn and a few others. Writing is mostly reading, so I guess I read my work every day 😉

rem:  What do you munch on while you write?

DANA:  Everything. Salty stuff if I have it, like potato chips and Cheez-Its, but I also love gummy bears.

rem:  So, sweet and/or salty. (and sticky)  us a little about your writing journey.

DANA:  I always wanted to write, so that’s what I did, and while it took years to hone my craft (a process that’s never done, for me) (rem: no it’s not, ever, for any of us) getting published happened very quickly. It was definitely a move of God. When I finally finished my first novel, THE COVERING, I didn’t know what to do with it. I couldn’t afford a writer’s conference to make connections with publishers, so I prayed and asked God to make a way. Literally two days later, someone told me about an online writer’s conference where I could have a pitch session with publishers from houses I was interested in. That’s where I met Nicola Martinez, my wonderful publisher from Pelican Book Group (it was White Rose Publishing then). I talked to her for 5 minutes, she requested the whole manuscript, and a week later she offered me a contract 😀

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

DANA: I have an office at home, that doubles as a yoga studio. My “routine” consists of getting up, doing yoga with my husband, then I write a little, shower, and the rest of the day I’m in and out of my office doing what I can as the mood hits if I’m not distracted.

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

DANA:  Distraction and Procrastination. My husband also works from home so neither of us have a rigid schedule, which make distractions the norm. I try to work when I can, but with my thoughts interrupted, it can be hard to get back into a storyline. Added to it, I’m a procrastinator, so when I have the house all to myself and it’s nice and quiet, I may decide to watch TV, or clean out the cabinets, rather than write. I’m a mess!

rem:  When I lost my cable nearly four years ago, I was frustrated and angry. Not I’m glad I don’t have it—one less distraction… Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

DANA:   Editing. For me the hardest part is getting everything down in that first draft because I’m a natural editor – I edit as I write, which is one of the biggies writers will tell you never to do. So once the story is finally complete, I sail through edits.

rem:  Meh, I’m an edit-as-I-write, too. It’s what works for me. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

DANA:   When I sit down to write, I feel like I’m doing what God created me to do. I may not have the right words yet, or the success yet, but it’s a process and I’m right where He wants me to be. Some people wait their whole lives to find that.

rem:  Girlfriend, we be’s in the same boat! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

DANA:   The hardest thing about publishing with a traditional publisher is giving up control of certain aspects, like cover design and what I can do with my book. The easiest… Hmm. I’d have to say that they take care of editing to a large extent, which I love. In indie publishing, I have control, but then there’s no one to blame for my errors, lol. (rem: like, say, duplicate chapters… ) In either mode of publishing, though, promo is on me. I HATE PROMO. Not as much as snow, though.

rem:  Ya, I’m getting used to it, but still not crazy about it. What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

DANA:    1) Don’t take everyone’s advice. Some people are just dead wrong and so much of writing can be subjective. But if enough people tell you the same thing, you should definitely take a closer look. 2) Write the story YOU want to read. Don’t worry about taking out things you think others will find offensive or off-putting. Someone is going to complain about your story anyway. 3) Make sure you KNOW your characters going in. Plot is always moving around how a character reacts to circumstances. How that specific hero or heroine responds, determines what happens next. You won’t know that if you don’t know them intimately before you begin writing. Make a list of scenarios and how each person would react in that situation. It’s better than being surprised as you write, and leaving the reader feeling confused.

rem:  How do you choose your characters’ names?

DANA:   I try to pick names that haven’t been used to death, or if I have, just names I like that seem to fit. I give each one a lot of thought. For me the name needs to say something about the person. I’m working on another series (under pen name, Elaine Dwyer – the first book is out  😀 ) where the family is all named after a country (England, Ireland, Scotland and America). The fact that they share that speaks to how close they are as a family unit and that unity is important to the story.

rem:  Love that for names! Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

DANA:   I think of most of it, lol. I usually know how I want it to begin and end and the rest is just a means to get there 😀

rem:  So Pantzer, basically. 😉 Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

DANA:   I’m working on several at the moment, but the one that’s the farthest along is about a country music superstar whose wife leaves him, abandoning their two girls at an amusement park. He needs someone to watch his girls, so he turns to the park’s Princess Fedora and asks her to come home with him. Naturally, she’s lovely and sweet, and the makings for some nasty rumors, especially when his wife doesn’t return after weeks with no word and her parents accuse him of murdering her 😀

rem:  Even that bit caught me with the murdering bit! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

DANA:   I’m a fan of two different worlds/lifestyles coming together and these two are pretty far apart. I love that he wants love, but has to face the fact that the demise of his marriage was mostly his own fault. And there’s the star-struck fan, who quickly sees he’s just a man, with problems and flaws that only help her love him more.

rem:  Tell us about why you wrote this book.

DANA:   Actually, I had a dream about a singer – Gary LeVox from Rascal Flatts. He was in an African themed Taco Bell with his two young daughters and a young woman, and the woman was trying to help him find his wife. Funny how the mind works 😉

rem:  The mind is a strange place, and a writer’s mind?? There’s just no way to categorize us. Please give us the first page of the book.

DANA:   Okay, but keep in mind it’s unedited and subject to change, so please be kind, lol.

 

           Selfish, spoiled, manipulative little…. Jack thought the words with enough force that it moved his lips, threatening to turn them into sound. His strides gained speed and length as he trekked the length of the enormous parking lot to the fence that ran along the highway. Again.

            He’d walked this route three times in the past half hour. Where was she? He checked his watch. Again.

            Eight thirty-four. The lines at the gate were already ridiculous. Even if Dora showed up now, his girls would only have the amusement park to themselves for a few minutes.

            She was always doing this. No regard for the girls or their wants. Always disappointing them, bringing them late, forgetting to pick them up…. She’d have to learn to better schedule her rendezvous. He swore he didn’t know how she kept her lovers straight or how she managed to fit them in between spa appointments and shopping.

            But, unfortunately, she was the most stable force in Kylie and Phoebe’s lives while he was on tour. Hell, even when he was home, he wasn’t home. He knew what a disappointment he was too, and that nothing was completely one person’s fault in a failed marriage, but he wished his kids could come out of this unscathed.

            Concealing the venom in his tone when speaking about their mother was hard and mostly he succeeded, but he couldn’t hide the fighting. They heard that, sometimes for hours on end. The silences were no better.

            Dora’s dark gray mini-van barreled into the lot, passing him, and stopping in front of the radio station entrance. Anger quickened his steps back toward her.

            The manner of her movements, lazy, heedless of her behavior, would have been enough to infuriate him, but her spine was straighter than it would ordinarily be if she was as carefree as she pretended. She was expecting a fight. And she was going to get one.

            His reflexive smile came to the forefront when seven-year-old Kylie flung the rear door back.

            “Daddy!”

            He extended a hand to help her out, gathered her in his arms and gave her a huge hug, as Dora unfastened four-year-old Phoebe from her car seat.

            “I can’t believe we’re here!” Kylie chattered, grabbing hold of Jack’s neck for another quick hug before he put her on her feet. “I kept telling mommy to hurry. I’m so excited!”

         Her exuberance only fueled his anger, especially when he caught the subtle smirk Dora tossed his way.

 

rem:  Sheesh, that’s a LOT packed in 413 words! I’m hooked. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

DANA:   That we all mess up and often have a chance to rectify the situation to some degree, but accepting personal responsibility instead of making excuses, is so important.

rem:  So, so true. Where can we find you online?

DANA:

https://www.facebook.com/DanaPratolaAuthor

www.twitter.com/danapratola

www.danapratola.webs.com

http://www.goodreads.com/danapratola

https://www.amazon.com/Dana-Pratola/e/B005G40TAQ/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

https://www.pinterest.com/danapratola/

 

rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

DANA:   Thanks for having me! ❤

rem:  Always glad to have you, Dana. Thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today! Pop in any time.

 

 

“Writing is my passion and my dream, and I know that if the words I write turn someone’s heart and mind toward Christ, I am fulfilling my destiny.”

 

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#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Dana Pratola, Descended Series, Jett, Sebastian, Aaro, Ulrick

 

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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 – Thursday 23 February 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN BAYNE

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CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN BAYNE

“Robin Bayne. . . . . Writing with faith and hope. . . . about love”

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“Robin is the author of Christian and “sweet” romance”

 

rem:  Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

ROBIN:  I’m from Harford County, Maryland, and live only one county away from that now. It’s the “burbs” of Baltimore City, and I currently work my day-job there.

rem:  I’ve been to Rockville, MD (I think it was Rockville…) but never to Baltimore—but I used Baltimore in my second novel! Tell us three things about yourself.

ROBIN:  Hmm, three things.  In 2001 I won a P.T. Cruiser at a mortgage banking convention in Hawaii.  (And acckk, yes, you have to pay a lot of taxes when that happens.)  I’ve been married to my hubby for 26 years and we have worked together for most of that time.  Oh, and I like to write long-hand to get the words flowing.

 

rem:  I’m funny with typing VS long-hand—for stories I have to beon the computer, but to write poems or letters for my stories, it’s gotta be long-hand. Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

ROBIN:   Coffee in the morning, usually “Chocolate Glazed Donut” flavor from my Keurig. Tea in the afternoon, herbal. One of my favorites is Pear, another is Sleepy Time Vanilla.

rem:  Oh, that Pear tea sounds lovely. What is your favourite quotation and why?

ROBIN: “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they go by.”  –Douglas Adams.  Love this because it can apply to my day-job and writing commitments.  And I think I’ve actually heard that whoosh before!

rem:  PAHAHAHAH!!! I “feel ya” on that one! What do you do as a hobby?

ROBIN:  Recently I’ve taken up golf, to have a sport to enjoy with my husband.  I am not very good at it, though, and I haven’t started keeping score yet. But I really do enjoy going out on the course and trying to hit that irritating little white ball.

rem:  Never did get into golf, but I wouldn’t mind wandering the golf course—I love to be outdoors. Do you use sarcasm?

ROBIN:  Who me? Nah.   LOL

rem:  Exactly. Favorite season? Why?

ROBIN:  I love the fall. I love the cooling temperatures, the start of the holiday season, and the pumpkin-everything.

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

ROBIN:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also—Matthew 6:21. I discovered this verse when looked up my “birth verse,” my birthday is June 21st so the website gave me this one. I really think it says a lot if you think about it.

 

rem:  Good verse, and good reminder. What is your favorite bird and why?

ROBIN:  My namesake, if I have to pick just one J

rem:  Good choice, I agree. Do you like to fly? What’s the furthest you’ve ever flown?

ROBIN:  We used to fly often, furthest trip was to Hawaii.  The last trip was to Las Vegas, and we flew home exactly 24 hours prior to the 9/11 attacks.

rem:  Gasp! How crazy for you to watch the towers come down! When is your birthday?

ROBIN:    June 21—first day of summer and longest day of the year.

rem:  And the more day to celebrate with! 😉 What is your favourite birthday memory? All-time favorite birthday gift?

ROBIN:  When I was little my dad assembled this piece of outdoor play equipment that sat 2 kids and went round and round when you pushed and pulled the handles.  We called it a Whirlie-Bird. My sister and I spent a lot of time getting dizzy on that. Good times.

 

rem:  I remember those! And I loved ‘em! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

ROBIN:  It has not really impacted it, but writing Christian fiction definitely supports it.

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

ROBIN:  Something too convenient, just unbelievable. It can throw me right out of the story. Truth is stranger than fiction….  Not the other way around.

rem:  Good answer, and I so agree with you! Which is more important: plot or characters?

ROBIN:   They are both such important elements!  You need great characters acting out a great story…if one or the other is missing, the story will fail.

rem:  I totally agree! What would you do if you weren’t writing?

ROBIN:  I’d read even more, and get out on the golf course more.  A round of golf can take over 4 hours, not to mention drive time to and from.

rem:  What are you reading right now?

ROBIN:  I am reading an inspirational Amish romance manuscript for my critique partner.

rem:  What do you munch on while you write?

ROBIN:  I try not to, but I love a cold Diet Pepsi on my desk.

 

rem:  Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ROBIN:  I’ve dabbled in writing my entire life, but didn’t get serious until I graduated from college. This was in my 30’s, as I went to school on weekends while working full time in the mortgage industry. Once I was finished I took what was my study time and began writing fiction.

rem:  You write both fiction and devotionals. Which came first? Which do you like better?

ROBIN:  I actually started with poetry, moved on to short stories and once I discovered how much I enjoyed reading romance novels, I started writing them. I still write some devotionals, and short anecdotal stories (like in “Chicken Soup for the Soul”).

rem:  Oh! Poetry! We should do a post o’ poems sometime—I was quite prolific with poems for a few years! Which is easier to write, fiction or devotionals? Why?

ROBIN:  Well they are like apples and oranges.  Fiction is never easy, but devotionals are difficult sometimes because you want to have that special “uh huh” moment at the end.  Sometimes it’s harder to write shorter.

rem:  Brevity isn’t even in my vocabulary…. Do you have a primary focus or theme for your devotionals?

ROBIN:  No specific theme, if I have an idea for one I will look for a verse to go with it. Sometimes I plan one based on the subject matter of the collection I am submitting to.

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

ROBIN:  Either at my desk, or if writing long-hand I will curl up on the sofa. I don’t listen to music or anything that might distract me, but a quiet news show or tv golf in the background is helpful.  I call it “white noise.”

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

ROBIN:  Just finding time to do it all–balancing the day job, housework, time with hubby.  And then there’s the marketing tasks…..

rem:  So many plates [to juggle], so few hands… Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

ROBIN:  I enjoy creating a story and editing my work later.  When official edits come in from my publisher, it’s not as fun. It’s more like work then.

rem:  LOL For me, they merge together and as an Indie, I don’t have “those” edits to contend with.  😉  What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

ROBIN:  As many writers say, the best part is “having written.”  Once a story is complete and polished I feel great.  (That is, until the editor’s notes come in, LOL.)

rem:  It’s still surreal to me I’ve written one—let alone three—novels! (and almost done with #4!) What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

ROBIN:  Read as much as possible, in lots of genres.  Get a critique partner or join an online group—writers always need a second set of eyes. And always let your work sit for a while before submitting it—you will be amazed what you pick up on after the piece “cools” a bit.

What not to do?   Submit your first draft.  Be upset when you start getting rejection letters. Be envious of other writers—their success does not hurt you at all.  Quit writing.  (Keep at it!)

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

ROBIN:  I have no idea… they just happen. Sometimes when I’m pulling weeds or doing dishes.

rem:  That’s where the best ideas come from, right? The mysterious “out of nowhere.” How do you choose your characters’ names?   .

ROBIN:  No way to explain that either. Each character has a face in my mind, and the names just seem to match their personality

rem:  Kinda that way for me too! Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

ROBIN: No, I am a “pant-ster,” meaning I don’t plot and outline ahead of time. I do often have the ending in mine, then the story is the journey leading up to that final scene.

 

rem:  Hey! That sounds exactly like me! Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

ROBIN: It’s the setting that came first with this story.  If you want to virtually visit the actual inn that inspired my story…. www.lambandlion.com

My husband and I stayed there many years ago and had a wonderful time. The innkeeper helped him set up a candlelight bath for me…our room had a fireplace, sunken tub and a private deck.  The whole experience was romantic.

Currently, I am working on a Christmas novella set in Fells Point, a touristy spot of Baltimore.

 

rem:  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 “Reunion At Crane Lake” is the end…. But I don’t want to spoil it. If you enjoy short, contemporary, “clean” second-chance romance set at a charming inn….you might like this story.

rem:  Sounds lovely! (great teaser by the way… )Please give us the first page of the book.

ROBIN:

 

Colton Reece propped his weathered boot on the gray boulder marking the driveway. This was the place. He shut his eyes, feeling the warm breeze flick the ends of his hair, and drew a breath deep enough to drag in the smell of the flowers growing around the rock, whatever they were called. It was just as his grandmother had told him. He’d been here before.

He looked around, lowering his gaze to the uncut lawn surrounding the inn. An uneven carpet, the bald, earthy patches emphasized why he was here. This grass could be brought back with a little care. This was land he needed to own, land that needed him.

It felt like home.

It had been home.

And thanks to God’s grace, now he could remember.

Eyeing the auction sign swaying with the wind, Colt straightened, stretching. Getting this place back in shape wouldn’t be easy, but the lack of prospective bidders standing on the lawn was a good sign so far. Turning them away wouldn’t be pleasant, but there was no need for an auction now that he was back.

To think he’d nearly missed today, nearly let the place slip from him, to go to the highest bidder with a cold cash deposit. Colt rubbed his jaw, his fingers pushing his taut cheeks in circles, striving to ease the tension. He needed to walk.

 

rem:  Goodness, Robin, I was there with him! He’s gotta get it back, he’s just gotta! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

ROBIN:  Maybe that forgiveness and second chances can lead to happiness.

rem:  Indeed they do. Robin, thank you so much for chatting with us on my blog today!

ROBIN:  Thank you for having me!  I’ve enjoyed our talk.

 

rem:  Me too, come again anytime. Where can we find you online?

www.robinbayne.com

http://wwwwritingbetweensundays.blogspot.com

http://www.facebook.com/rlbayne

http://www.twitter.com/rlbayne

https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Bayne/e/B005FLUDFG/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1486771566&sr=1-2-ent

https://www.pinterest.com/rlbayne/

 

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#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Robin Bayne, The Artist’s Granddaughter, The Will of Time, Christmas Pearl, Reunion at Crane Lake

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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 16 February 2017 – CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN PATCHEN

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CHAT THURSDAY – AUTHOR INTERVIEW – ROBIN PATCHEN

“I love helping authors polish their work.”

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“If time and money were no object, Robin would spend her life traveling. Her goal is to visit every place in the entire world—twice… so Robin does the next best thing: she writes. In the tales she creates, she can illustrate the unending grace of God through the power and magic of story.”

 

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

ROBIN:  My family moved to Londonderry, New Hampshire, when I was three years old. I went to college in Boston and lived in that area until my husband and I moved to Oklahoma in ’96. We’ve been in in Edmond, OK, ever since

rem:  That’s gotta be some culture shock! Tell us three things about yourself.

ROBIN:  I’ve been told I’m a good cook, I love to entertain, and I desperately hate to clean.

 

rem:  We have more in common than our name then. What is your favourite quotation and why?

ROBIN: “A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” C.S. Lewis. I’m not sure that this is my favorite quote, but it’s the one that comes to mind. I love it because I’ve known a lot of folks who’ve spent their lives scribbling “darkness” in their self-imposed prisons.

rem:  It’s a good quote, and very true, and I’m guessing that someone who reads the interview needs to hear it. If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

ROBIN:  I’d like to experience America in the years between the Revolution and the Civil War when we as a nation were discovering who we were and what we were about. I would especially like to experience the Second Great Awakening. I’ve been thinking a lot about revival lately—and praying for another great revival in America—so perhaps that’s why I would like to see it firsthand.

rem:  Don’t see much on that piece of time—can I come with you? Would you bungee?

ROBIN:  Definitely!

rem:  Let’s do it! Favorite season? Why?

ROBIN:  Autumn, because I grew up in New Hampshire, where the leaves explode in indescribable beauty every year. Unfortunately, Oklahoma leaves leave much to be desired.

rem:  Ya, in New England I guess that’s a given. 😉 Do you have a favorite Bible verse? And why is it a favorite?

ROBIN:  Psalm 1:1-3. It was one of the first verses I memorized after I became a believer over twenty years ago, and it helped to solidify for me the need to memorize and meditate on Scripture. Even today, the Lord teaches me from this passage.

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

 

rem: So powerful in its simplicity. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

ROBIN:  My son is currently studying at Youth with a Mission in Hawaii, and I’ve learned a lot about the man who started that ministry, Loren Cunningham. I would love to get to know him and to hear his thoughts on revival in America and around the world.

 

rem:  I’ve heard of YWAM. What is your favorite bird and why

ROBIN:  I’m going to have to say the robin, and not just because I’m named after them. There’s something special about a robin bird. They’re not exotic. They’re not particularly special, and they don’t have the most beautiful plumage of the birds, and yet look how God allows those common birds to soar. I feel like a robin bird sometimes—commonplace, but with God’s love carrying me, even I can fly.

rem:  I love your reasoning—and ya, I can fly too! Do you like to fly? What’s the furthest you’ve ever flown?

ROBIN:  I love to fly! My father was an airline pilot, so I’ve done a lot of flying in my life. The furthest was probably to Rome when I was about 15. I was involved in an exchange program, so I went by myself to Rome to stay for a week with a family I’d never met. It was an amazing experience that began on the flight when there were no seats in coach or first class, so they bumped me upstairs to business class. The seat was so big, I slept on it like I would a twin bed. It was total luxury.

rem:  When is your birthday?

ROBIN:  December 12, just 13 days before Christmas.

rem:  We’re close, month-wise if not year-wise. What is your favourite birthday memory? All-time favorite birthday gift?

ROBIN:  Not that they were all birthday gifts, but many of my favorite gifts are the robins I’ve collected over the years. Most were gifts from my mother, but I’ve received some from my husband. A dear friend did a small drawing with colored pencils of a robin, which is a treasure, and my sister-in-law took a photograph of a robin just hatching in a nest. When I was young, I thought the robins were silly, but now that I’m older, I treasure them.

 

021617-robin-patchen-bird-images

 

rem:  Oh! They’re all so lovely! And I’m a wee bit jealous! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

ROBIN:  Being a novelist is hard work. Attempting to write stories that glorify God and reflect truth is even harder. Dealing with rejection can be torture. My relationship with Christ has grown as I’ve learned to trust Him with all of it—the stories, the themes, the rejection. I have become more patient and more faithful as I’ve waited for the Lord’s timing in my writing.

rem:  Robin, you are so right. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

ROBIN:  I hate it when heroes and heroines do things that don’t make sense. If you want the heroine to go into the creepy basement all alone (like in every horror movie I watched in my youth) she’d better be on the hunt for a shotgun. When a hero or heroine behaves like they’re too stupid to live, I often don’t want them to.

rem:  Haven’t heard it put quite like that, but great point! LOL Which is more important: plot or characters?

ROBIN:  Yes to all. Without one, the other is irrelevant.

rem:  What would you do if you weren’t writing?

ROBIN:  I’d be an editor. Oh, wait, I am an editor when I’m not writing. J

rem:  Touché! What are you reading right now?

ROBIN:  Donald Maass’s The Emotional Journey, Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert, and I’m about to start James L Rubart’s The Five Times I Met Myself. I’m a little scattered with my reading these days.

rem:  What do you munch on while you write?

ROBIN:  I try not to munch, but I drink loads of coffee and tea.

 

rem:  Good on you! Such discipline! Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ROBIN:  I wanted to be a writer as long as I can remember, but for most of my life, I lacked the courage to try or even admit that dream. I didn’t start writing my first novel until I was forty, just (ahem) years ago. Once I started, though, I haven’t been able to stop. Through this journey, the Lord has given me the courage to share my work and the ability to do what I’ve done. He gets all the credit for the good things. The bad things—those were all me.

rem:  Yeah, well, you’re ahead of me! I was past fifty when I started… But yeah, can’t stop. What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

ROBIN:  I usually write standing at my kitchen counter, though sometimes I sit at the kitchen table. I love to write in coffee shops, but it’s hard to justify the cost when I can write at home for free.

rem:  I love the ambiance of a coffee shop—but I get too distract—squirrel… What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

ROBIN:  Every aspect of writing is hard. Every aspect of writing is joy. It just depends on the day. Right now, the problem is trying to figure out how to get my hero and heroine into the danger that will culminate in the climax. This isn’t the kind of problem normal people have at work. J

rem:  No, and I wouldn’t trade to normal for nuttin!! You’re a writer and an editor—do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

ROBIN: I write because you can’t edit a blank page. I much prefer editing.

rem:  Ha! Good point! Which came first, the writing or the editing?

ROBIN:  I’ve always been both a writer and an editor, but for me, editing is much more natural than writing. That’s why I rush through the first draft—because the magic happens in rewriting.

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

ROBIN:  I get to do what I love all day, every day. It get to make up stories for a living. I get to string together letters and words and sentences and paragraphs and create something from nothing. It’s the greatest job in the world.

rem:  So true. What do you enjoy most about being an editor?

ROBIN:  I love to take a mediocre passage and make it sing. I love to take a scene that’s falling flat and make it soar. I love doing that with my own stories and with other people’s stories.

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

ROBIN:  What to do: 1-Read a lot of books, both within your genre and without, and both in the CBA and in the general market. 2-Read craft books and go to writers workshops and then try to implement what you learn. 3-Find some great critique partners. What not to do: 1-Take every piece of advice as gospel truth. 2-Discard every piece of advice because you’re sure you know better. 3-Break rules for no good reason or because you never bothered to learn the rules. Picasso is a great example of this. Before he painted his signature rule-breaking pieces, he spent years and years studying and perfecting the techniques to his art. Only then was he able to break the rules with style.

rem:  Super analogy! (and one of my cardinal “rules” – know the rules so I know how to break them.) Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

ROBIN:  I have no idea. The ideas just sort of come. It’s terrifying sometimes, because what if no more ideas come? And then I have to remember that God will provide the next idea when I need it.

rem:  Sheesh, we think a lot alike! How do you choose your characters’ names?

ROBIN:  I’m terrible at names and titles. Often, I’ll start with a nationality. For instance, the hero in the story I’m writing right now comes from a Germanic background, so I looked for German names and chose Garrison Kopp. The heroine’s last name is Messenger. I chose that because at the start of the series, she’s the only Christian in the group of friends—the messenger. I doubt any readers will pick up on that, though.

rem:  I dunno, I rather imagine some will. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

ROBIN:  Usually, I have a good idea how a story will begin, I know what the major plot points will be, and I know how it’ll end. I like to follow the plot outline in Save the Cat, so I try to have a lot of those blanks filled in. But even if I plot the stories really well, I always end up changing things around when I’m writing, so I’ve learned that for me, a rough outline is the best plan.

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

ROBIN:  I just released the second book in the Hidden Truth series. It’s a romantic suspense called Twisted Lies. Here’s the blurb:

 

She thought they’d never find her.  And then her daughter vanished.

Marisa Vega’s life as an adoptive mom in a tiny Mexican village isn’t what she’d dreamed while growing up in New York, but as the target of a man who’s convinced she stole millions of dollars from his financial firm, Marisa believes hiding is her only way to stay alive. When her daughter is snatched and held for ransom, Marisa must discover who really stole the money in order to rescue her.

Months after being kidnapped, tortured, and left with PTSD, Nate Boyle is ready to live a quiet life in rural New Hampshire. When the source of his breakout newspaper article—and the woman who haunts his dreams—begs for help, he gets pulled into a riddle that’s proved unsolvable for nearly a decade.

Can Nate and Marisa unravel the years-old mystery and bring her daughter home?

 

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

ROBIN:  The heroine, Marisa, has spent eight years in hiding because she was afraid of the people who had her fiancé killed, the people who believe she stole millions of dollars from them. But now her daughter has been kidnapped, and in order to save Ana, Marisa comes out of hiding to fight for her. I love the courage of a mother willing to face death to save her child.

rem:  Nothing like a mother (bear) fighting for her cub! Tell us about why you wrote this book.

ROBIN:  I started writing it because of the hero, Nate.  He was a secondary character in the first book of the series, Convenient Lies. Here was a guy who endured serious trouble in order to protect a woman who’d dumped him. And what he had to go through for her…well, I won’t give it away, but he captured my heart. He deserved to have his own story told.

rem:  Stories lurking everywhere, even within stories. Please give us the first page of the book.

robin_twistedlies

ROBIN:

Nathan Walter Boyle had come to New York City with a handful of dreams. He was leaving with a truck full of nightmares.

Well, not a truck, exactly. He stopped at the bay window and looked out front. There in his driveway sat the weird container his father’d had delivered. The Pod was as big as a Dumpster, only shiny and white.

Nate had called his father before the delivery truck pulled away. “A U-Haul would have been fine, Dad.”

“This will give you time to sort it all out.”

Nate had a lot more to sort out than just the paraphernalia he’d accumulated in the fourteen years he’d lived in the city. If only he could figure out how to pack the nightmares away along with the detritus of his life.

He grabbed a packed box from the kitchen table and headed for the front door. He stepped onto the front porch, where he took a deep breath and blew it out slowly, like he did a thousand times a day. All was well. The guys who’d taken him were dead. He was safe.

Tell his pounding heart that.

It was sunny and chilly, mild for late March in New York. Spring had always been his favorite season in the city. The once slushy streets were clear. Trees budded along the sidewalks. Flowers bloomed. Even the people seemed to reawaken after their long grouchy winters. As the weather warmed more, kids would soon skateboard along the sidewalks, cords dangling from their ears. In city parks, the thump-thump of dribbling basketballs would serve as the rhythm for the season, while little children’s laughter would supply the melody.

For just a moment, Nate wished he could stay.

 

rem:  Well that says a lot in a few words—as any good beginning should. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

ROBIN: Nate is suffering from PTSD and feels like he can never play the hero—he tried that, and he failed. At the end of the story, his friend says something like, “A hero is someone who’s scared but does what he has to do anyway.” I hope the reader leaves with the truth that heroism isn’t the absence of fear but the courage to face yours fears and do what you have to do.

rem:  Face the enemy and don’t back down. Anything you’d like to add?

ROBIN:  It’s been a pleasure. You ask some hard questions!

rem:  Well, ya know, gotta dig a little to know you better. Robin, thank you so much for joining us today!  It has been my pleasure to have you here!

Where can we find you online?

ROBIN:

 

https://www.facebook.com/RobinPatchen

http://robinpatchen.com/

https://robinsredpen.wordpress.com/

https://www.amazon.com/Robin-Patchen/e/B00A289790/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_5?qid=1486665139&sr=1-5

And for regular updates and occasional freebies, join my newsletter:

http://robinpatchen.us10.list-manage1.com/subscribe?u=a8941bcf8b7c1f9b43c22164b&id=9937d87af3

 

 

“Robin’s red pen is the best thing that ever happened to my writing. Her grammar and punctuation edits are right on target, and her content suggestions always make my stories flow just a bit smoother. If you’re looking for an editor who’s unafraid to tell you what’s wrong, while freely praising what’s right, you’ve come to the right place.” – Sharon Srock, author of The Women Women of Valley View series.

 

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#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Robin Patchen, Robin’s Red Pen, Twisted Lies, Convenient Lies, Chasing Amanda, Finding Amanda

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