Posts Tagged ‘Seriously Write Interview Blitz’



This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: “Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.  – Jeremiah 30:2”


“I’m Terri and while my regular life is really pretty mundane, I’ll refrain from calling it dull. I live with my family in Oklahoma. I have two adorable Westies – or they have me, I’m never sure which.”



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

TERRI: I’ve lived my entire life in the same town in Oklahoma. Obviously, I must like it!

rem:  Wowzers! I have no idea what that’s even like! Tell us three things about yourself.

TERRI:  Hmm, only three? LOL! I’m the librarian at my church. It is a job I absolutely love. Being the librarian affords me the opportunity to introduce readers to Christian fiction. I have two West Highland White Terriers – Crosby and Nolly Grace. They’ll both be ten soon and if I may say so myself, they are adorable and fun. This last tidbit I probably shouldn’t admit to. I love shoes! I have way too many pairs, but they draw me in every time I’m at the store. Guess that means I should stay away from the store.


rem:  Oooohhh, I love little quirks like that—shoes, huh?? Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

TERRI:  Tea – sweetened with Sweet’n Low. And I enjoy flavored teas. Peach is my favorite.

rem:  Hello, my name is robin, and my blood type is… A-tea-positive… What do you do as a hobby?

TERRI:  I garden. Being outdoors and working in the garden is a great stress reliever. I love to go out every day after work and see what is blooming. Daylilies are my favorite flowers. I also love to travel – anywhere – anytime.

rem:  I love being outdoors! And love gardening. What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

TERRI:  Oh, that’s an easy one. Pillow Talk with Doris Day and Rock Hudson. I’ve loved that movie since I was a child. The chemistry between the two is perfect.

rem:  Love me some good ol’ Doris Day movies! Your movie snack of choice?

TERRI:  Popcorn and anything chocolate. I’m a bit of a chocoholic.

rem:  Chocolate you say? Sharesies? If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

TERRI:  Prohibition Era in the United States. Odd one I know, but I love the fashions, dances, and reading about “gangsters”. I wouldn’t really have wanted to live then, but it’s fun to dream about. I’ve been tempted to write about the era.

rem:  Oh, yes, I love those gorgeous gorgeous dresses! And the hats / headpieces! If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

TERRI:  Okay, this will sound corny, but it is true. My sis. We spend a ton of time together and I love every minute of it. We’re the best of friends.


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

TERRI:  Christian fiction is a chance to show the world- both Christian and non-Christian – that God is there in every moment of our lives. Done correctly it can be a teaching tool to help people; to remind them to reach for Jesus no matter what the situation. Hopefully, I’ve learned the same thing I want to show readers, that Jesus is always with me and that He uniquely created me the way He wants me to be.

rem:  YESSS!!! Just this morning, Father whispered that’s pretty much my writing manifesto, for believers and non-believers to see that thread in my stories! (methinks this is confirmation!) When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

TERRI:  I read a lot of suspense. So keeping me on the edge of my seat with heart pounding, page turning intrigue makes a story for me.

rem:  Ya, kind of important in thrillers! Which is more important: plot or characters?

TERRI:  Characters! If I can’t fall in love with the characters then it doesn’t matter how good the plot is.

rem:  Very good point. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

TERRI:  Create a Christian Fiction Reader’s Group at my church where we could discuss a book once a month.

rem:  Can’t you do that anyway? You are the librarian after all… 😉  What are you reading right now?

TERRI:  Lancaster County Reckoning by Kit Wilkinson. I’ve been on an Amish Suspense kick. I just finished Amish Refuge by Debby Giusti.

rem:  Love a good suspense, Amish not so much… What do you munch on while you write?

TERRI:  I try not to munch while writing, because if I do I catch myself reaching for the chocolates. Did I mention I’m a chocoholic?


rem:  Give me the chocolate and no one gets hurt… Tell us a little about your writing journey.

TERRI:  My writing journey has been going on for so long I don’t even know where to start! The first book I penned was a sweet romance. Not long after that I began writing Christian fiction. That’s what I’ve written ever since. That’s been a lot of years and every time I’d be ready to throw in the towel God would do something that stopped me from quitting and got be back on track. I’m so thankful!

rem:  Tenacious. Yup, I know that one well. (He wouldn’t let me quit if I tried.) How long have you been a member of the Seriously Write team?

TERRI:  Good question. I actually had to check. This is my second year as part of the Seriously Write Team.

rem:  I think every one of ya’ll have had to check! LOL What do you like best about Seriously Write blog?

TERRI:  I love the fact that it is geared toward helping writers. rem: me too! But for me the best part is Angie, Annette, Dawn, and Sandie. Those gals rock. I’m so blessed to be part of their team and to count them as friends.

rem:  I love the networking and new friends I’m made in writing! You’re one of them, ya know. How often do you post on the blog?

TERRI:  Thursday is my day at Seriously Write. I either host someone (rem: ahem) or write a post. I try to find lots of guests. I’m blessed to have Susan Tuttle as a regular contributor the first Thursday of every month.

rem:  Your tagline has quite an impact, “Faith filled fiction because life without Jesus is no life at all.”  Tell us how you came up with it.

TERRI:  Thanks! I wish I could tell you exactly how I came up with it, but the truth is I don’t know. I just know Jesus is what gives my life meaning.

rem:  He does drop some nuggets in us sometimes, doesn’t He? You volunteer at your church library, and you “have the great joy of introducing people to Christian fiction.” Tell us the most memorable sharing experience, what book was it and what was the response?

TERRI:  The Bible. I run a Read the Bible in a Year program and I love it when people who thought they would never read the entire Bible make it in a year.

rem:  I’ve done different read the Bible programs. I am now doing what I call camping out, hovering in a single verse or passage for several days.

The shoe collection. We want to know about the shoe collection. hee hee

TERRI:  Well, the shoe collection has a life of its own! I plead the 5th on the number of pairs I own. What can I say? I love shoes; every color and style. I recently added an adorable pair of blue and white checked ones to my collection. The minute I walked into the store they caught my eye. Now I need a cute top to go with them. I won’t mention the two other pairs I bought at the same time. They were on sale so that makes it okay. Right?

rem:  Caught sight of my daughter’s shoes the other day, lots of ‘em! I suggested she purge some since she never wears them and got the puppy dog eyes and mock wailing about never parting with her shoes! (ps, she’s grown) What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

TERRI: I wish I had a routine! Right now I have a demanding day job so I write at various times in a multitude of places. That will all change in a little over a year and then I hope to hole up in my office and write for a couple of hours every morning.

rem:  I didn’t think I had a routine, but seems I was wrong… What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

TERRI: The day job definitely makes me struggle. Usually a deadline of some type forces me to overcome it.

rem:  Ya, drat the day job! LOL Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

TERRI:  I definitely prefer creating. Developing new characters is such fun! I love seeing the mess they can make while “trying” to get things right. Although I no longer consider editing the enemy I used to. Now I realize how much better it makes my story.

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

TERRI:  Storytelling. It is just plain fun.

rem:  It so much is! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

TERRI:  Getting published and I’m not joking. The easiest, I haven’t found that out yet. J

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

TERRI:  Definitely join ACFW, find a local chapter if there is one in your area and attend, and attend conference at least once. Don’t be easily offended when your work is critiqued. Every new author needs help. Don’t worry so much about publication that you lose the joy in writing. Pray about what God wants you to write.

rem:  I’m planning to be there this year—gonna take supernatural means to do it, but I’m counting one it! How do you choose your characters’ names?

TERRI:  Sometimes their names come to me right along with the story idea. I love it when that happens. Other times I just sit around and make up names until I stumble upon one I like.

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

TERRI:  No, but I do develop a loose outline. Without something to guide me I end up with a huge mess that drives a ton of editing.

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

TERRI:  Currently I’m revising a romantic suspense entitled Deadly Assets. It is about a freelance forensic accountant who is vacationing in Yosemite. She’s been followed by a hitman to keep her from being able to complete the job she was just hired to do.

rem:  Hate when those pesky hitmen follow you around like that! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

TERRI:  I love all the danger I was able to put her in by having the book set in a national park. Yosemite is huge and this is her first time at the park and her first time to try rock climbing.

rem:  Danger and adventure! Tell us about why you wrote this book.

TERRI:  Because I love suspense and this sounded like a good way to get my heroine involved in a mess.

rem:  We are just awful to our characters sometimes, aren’t we? Please give us the first page of the book.


            Hailey Carlisle swung her body sideways and grasped for the rock above her. Damp fingers struggled to hold on to the hard granite. Fear kept her from looking down and the glare from the afternoon sun kept her from looking up.

            This is nothing like climbing the man-made wall at the gym. The errant thought forced its way into her mind. She leaned her forehead against the cool stone while she waited for her legs to stop shaking.

            “A climate controlled environment and a thirty foot wall didn’t prepare me for the real deal.” Hailey muttered, breathing hard. She glanced down, past her feet to the hard ground below, then focused on the gray rock in front of her. At least whoever had threatened her wouldn’t be able to find her in Yosemite.

            As she thought of her latest job with a police department in Oregon the sun slid behind a cloud. Hailey shivered at the loss of warmth. She needed a short break, a chance to catch her breath. A large flat boulder fifteen feet to her right looked like the perfect place to rest.

            Hailey focused on the gray oval rock with hints of white veins running through it. Her muscles quivered as she struggled to pull herself onto the ledge, lungs burning from the exertion. The urge to sprawl out and rest a few minutes beckoned. She scooted back, stretched out her legs, and shut her eyes. The rocks, the height, the possibility of falling – none of these things scared her like what awaited her in Oregon. She’d received at least a dozen threats on her life. Maybe that kind of thing was normal for people in dangerous professions, but Hailey was an accountant.


rem:  “… but Hailey was an accountant.” WOW! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

TERRI:  God created us each uniquely. In my novella The Christmas Bride Wore Boots my heroine has to reach the place where she realizes it doesn’t matter what others think about her as long as she is true to how God created her. I’d like my readers to realize that about themselves.

rem:  Oh boy, that girl and I could talk!! Where can we find you online? (provide links)








rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

TERRI:  Thanks for inviting me! I’ve had a great time visiting with you.

rem:  Terri, thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!




“Why Christian fiction? Because to me, life without Jesus is no life at all. My characters feel the same way, so you’ll find a message of faith in all my books.”



#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Seriously Write Interview Blitz, Terri Weldon, Misteltoe Magic, The Christmas Bride Word Boots, A Match Made in Sheffield




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“Carrying a burden that’s too much to handle? On the edge of the cliff looking down with no way across? Focus on God and His word for the answers. He’ll give you the power you need.”


“Pearls lie not on the seashore. If thou desirest one, thou must dive for it. (Chinese proverb)”



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

ANGIE:  I was born in a small town outside Rock Hill, SC and now I live in a smaller town north of Columbia, SC.

rem:  You are SO close to me! Tell us three things about yourself.

ANGIE:  I have a degree in Art and was a commissioned pen-and-ink artist. In addition to that, I’ve been a science teacher, a corporate trainer and curriculum designer. At one time, when I was going back to school for my master’s degree, I had three part-time jobs: a teaching assistant, worked in the proof department (before machines did it) in a bank, and worked in a hardware store on the weekends.


rem:  Busy.lady.  :-O  (P.S. I’d love to see some of your pen-and-ink work!) Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

ANGIE:  Coffee, all day long. Splenda and creamer, please.

rem:  What is your favorite quotation and why?

ANGIE:  It’s a verse, “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might, as to the Lord and not unto man.” Ecc. 9:10 KJV It’s always been my favorite because it’s what my parents taught me to do, give it everything I’ve got. Do the best I can, no matter what I do. I still try to do that.

rem:  Much better mantra than perfection. Much. What’s your all-time favorite movie? Favorite TV show?

ANGIE:  I love NCIS. The puzzle that they have to solve and the character development of the team is the perfect combination.

rem:  Favorite season? Why?

ANGIE:  Autumn. I’m a red-head and besides the fact that the temps start getting cooler, the changing leaves accentuate my coloring. (Ha!)

rem:  Autumn is a very close second (to spring, it’s a *ahem* robin thing… ) for me. Hugs or kisses?

ANGIE:  Hugs. From everyone.

rem:  Great.Big.Cyber {{{{{HUGZ}}}}} If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?

ANGIE:  I know everyone says, Billy Graham, but there’s a reason. His obedience to God has been responsible for leading so many people to Christ (including me). I would just like to hear what he’d say, about anything.


rem:  That would be an amazing time! What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

ANGIE:  As a writer, Christian fiction is the best opportunity most people will have to introduce Christ to a large audience. Stories, told correctly, are the best way to teach people. They pull people in so that the readers experience the same thing as the characters. And, as Allen Arnold says, I have to lean on God to write those stories with Him.

rem:  Oh, Angie, I so agree with this. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

ANGIE:  Flat characters.

rem:  Which is more important: plot or characters?

ANGIE:  Character development makes or breaks the story. If the story’s characters are flat, the story is flat.

rem:  As a designer, I can very much rsee the difference between plans on paper—two dimensional—and 3-D renderings which add depth and life to drawings. Same as with characters in stories. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

ANGIE:  Honestly, I don’t know. Whatever God wanted me to do.

rem:  Hard to imagine, isn’t it? What are you reading right now?

ANGIE: I’m one of Beth Vogt’s first readers. Y’all, she’s got a good one coming out soon!

rem:  Ooohhh, SQUEEEE!!! What do you munch on while you write?

ANGIE:  I don’t have a favorite snack, but I drink coffee or my Splenda lemonade, all the time.


rem:  Lemonade sounds lovely. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ANGIE: When I was a corporate trainer, I became unable to stand all day, so I became a curriculum writer. I began to feel led to write fiction and attended the Christian Writers Guild conference. Later when I stopped working, God kept leading me from one writing opportunity to another. I’ve been very blessed.

rem:  I do love those stepping stones, and how nothing is wasted in Him. How long have you been a member of the Seriously Write team?

ANGIE:  That is a very good question that I had to look up. The answer is 2011.

rem:  That’s a good while! What do you like best about Seriously Write blog?

ANGIE:  The team. We care for each other, pray for each other, celebrate our successes and commiserate our “oops.”

rem:  The epitome of teamwork. How often do you post on the blog?

ANGIE:  On Seriously Write, every Tuesday I write or host someone who writes a post encouraging our readers to aspire to persevere. On my personal blog, http://www.angelaarndt.com, I post every Sunday.

rem:  The banner on your blog is one of my favorite ever. Tell us about your theme of back roads.

ANGIE:  Thanks so much! When I was a corporate trainer, I felt as though I was on the highway, but when I became disabled, it felt as though life was flying by. Suddenly it felt as though I was on, not a detour, but a bumpy back road. I learned that if I was going to find any joy on that back road, I was going to have to learn to trust God and lean on Him.

rem:  YES and AMEN! Angie, I can so relate to that, disability and back roads and all. You write about strong, independent women. Why did you choose them for your main characters?

ANGIE:  Because that’s what I want to be! I Seriously, I doubt that anyone – man or woman – would want to be weak or dependent. But the hardest part about being strong and independent is admitting that you can’t do it all. That’s when you have to lean on God.

rem:  Sweetie, that’s what you ARE. What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

ANGIE: I get up at 5:40 every morning, have a cup of coffee and read my Bible. After prayer time, I write. I know that sounds sanctimonious, but I can’t write until I get my “head on straight” by getting it off myself.

rem:  There’s a reason to start our day with Him. What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

ANGIE:  Because I started writing late, I struggle with almost every aspect of writing. But I handle it by giving the whole process to God. When I forget to do that, I really struggle!

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

ANGIE:  I love it when I solve a problem in my story. A lot of times, I’ll write, write, write until I get stuck. But when I figure out the “stuck” part, that’s so cool!

rem:  #nods in avid agreement! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

ANGIE:  If you’re called to be a writer, I would recommend: 1) join at least one writers group, like ACFW; 2) take classes, such as ACFW’s online classes or Novel Academy and 3) write! You’d be surprised how many writers don’t write!

rem:  How do you choose your characters’ names?

ANGIE:  I have a list of unusual names. I use BehindtheName.com (rem: gotta check that one out) and I still have trouble. Eventually the name fits the character I have in my mind, but it takes a while.

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

ANGIE:  I have an idea of what I want to happen but then I use a version of the character journey to make sure I have all the ups and downs that make it a good story.

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

ANGIE:  Injured firefighter Sabrina Honeybee Turner battles small town politics and natural enemies while struggling to keep her late father’s bee farm alive. But the conflicted memories of her childhood may prevent her from ever learning to love her father and embrace the legacy he left her.

rem: I was hooked already but that last bit just dug it deeper! What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

ANGIE:  I love Sabrina. She’s gutsy, stubborn and will push herself to do what needs to be done, even if it scares her to death. Everyone faces a time in their life when they’re scared. I hope that after they read my book, they’ll see that they can always trust God. We may not like where He takes us, but it’s always be where we’re supposed to be.

rem:  Ya, I’d say fits your “strong, independent women” persona to a T. Tell us about why you wrote this book.

ANGIE:  Well, I’m injured, like Sabrina, and my life is nothing like I expected it to be. My husband is a beekeeper, was a volunteer firefighter and was a ready resource for my many questions.

rem:  So life mimics fiction… Please give us the first page of the book.



Sabrina Honeybee,

            The day you turned five, you asked to go into the beehives to get the queen’s crown. You wanted it for your own. Well, honey, here’s your chance. No one else can do it.

                        – Dad


May, 2017

            Sun-washed banners swayed between the double row of faded aqua, green and yellow shop buildings in tiny Crossroads, South Carolina. According to her phone’s GPS, Sabrina Turner’s inheritance stood one short block away, on the other side of the proverbial tracks.

            Ever since she’d received the lawyer’s letter, she’d ransacked her mind, trying to remember anything about her father, her hometown. But all that surfaced were Mom’s words, communicated loud and clear, even from her deathbed: Crossroads is a dump. And your father? He’s a no-good bum—the biggest mistake of my life.

            What little cancer had left of her Mother’s things had been easy enough to divide up between her and her sister. Thank goodness her father had a will. Even so, it was still too tempting to downshift and peal out.

            Buck up, Turner. Where’s your mettle?

            She could almost hear her battalion chief’s deep voice, graveled by a steady diet of smoke and fire. Avoidance is not an option, he would say. Too many people depended on them.

            “Fine. I’ll do it.” Speaking the words out loud always settled things. Didn’t it? Best she could do was gather up those painful memories while she was here and bury them.


rem:  You packed a lot in those 241 words! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

ANGIE:  That they can trust God with their life and that Christ died to save their souls.

rem:  Where can we find you online?











rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

ANGIE:  Whew! I don’t think so, although my favorite color is green. 😉

rem:  Oh! Can’t believe I missed that! 😉 Thank you so much for chatting with us at my little nest today!

ANGIE: Thanks for having me! J




“Angela Arndt writes women’s fiction with a thread of romance, telling stories of strong, independent women in difficult situations set in small Southern towns. Her biggest hope is that she will encourage others to overcome their “back roads” and find their own joy in the Lord.”




#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Angie Arndt, Seriously Write Interview Blitz, Back Roads, String of Pearls




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“It’s important to let the seed of joy grow through the darkness of adversity.”


“In my fiction, I introduce you to imperfect personalities—men and women you can laugh with, cry with, and want to shake straight a time or two.


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

SANDY:  I’m originally from a small Indiana town, but moved to Texas at 16. My husband and I are empty-nesters. We’ve been living in North Carolina for twenty-one years and love it here.

rem:  Ooohh! North Carolina! We’re practically neighbors! Tell us three things about yourself.

SANDY:  I don’t like heights, but … I prefer the mountains to the beach. And I did not inherit my mom’s love of cooking.


rem:  I love the mountains, too! Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

SANDY: Absolutely coffee in the mornings, not in the afternoons. I don’t drink much tea unless it’s winter and the tea is hot. Then it’s generally Earl Grey. When I do drink iced tea, it’s sweet. Shh… Don’t tell tea connoisseurs, but I’m a big fan of McDonald’s tea! It’s like slurping melted sugar.

rem:  Hello? Connoisseur here! LOL But you’re right, McD’s does have good tea.

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

SANDY:  The most random thing? The two-pound hand weights I never seem to use except as bookends. I have great intentions, but they rarely move from their duty holding back some of the notebooks on my desk.

rem:  Ya, I have “Thing 1” and “Thing 2,” former 12 oz Coke bottles filled with water for the purpose of using as weights. For lifting. They’re cute decorations, though… Your movie snack of choice?

SANDY:  I rarely snack while at the movies, but if I did, it would be popcorn with lots of butter and salt. At home, while watching TV, it’s ice cream, though I try to keep it to a minimum.

rem:  Yum to both! If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

SANDY:  I would go back to the 1880s of the Midwest or West. I think it’s a result of being raised on ’60s westerns and growing up a horse fanatic. It’s a time when the world was starting to modernize (as we know it) with various inventions and conventions, yet there was still a wildness with the continued settling of the country.

rem:  The west does have a wild sense to it, doesn’t it? (also a kid of the ‘60’s) Would you bungee ?

SANDY:  I would not bungee. I prefer to use rubber bands for their original purpose. 😉

rem:  Bahahahah!  #bestanswerever Rolling Stones or Beatles?

SANDY:  I was never a big fan of either. Neil Diamond was my guy. However, I’d prefer the Beatles any day over the Stones. (Sorry, Mick.)

rem:  Ohhhhh, yeahhhhh, love me some Neil Diamond!  #SweetCaroline #CherryCherry, #SongSungBlue, #HelloAgain, #ForeverInBlueJeans  Oh…     What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

SANDY:  Foremost with Christian fiction, I think you know you’re getting a story that is clean, which is something you can’t always predict when picking up a general market book. I did a survey once and asked people why they read Christian fiction. That was the number one reason. There’s also the spiritual encouragement we get from the stories—seeing characters overcome through trusting God. Don’t we find satisfaction in knowing someone has found that faith, even if they’re fictional? Writing Christian fiction is good for me, because I always seem to learn something along the way—either from my characters’ experiences or researching the themes. It’s deepened my relationship with the Lord.

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

SANDY:  Writers read differently than non-writers. Our minds are always on the lookout for those rules: no head-hopping, little to no telling, etc. It seldom happens, but I’ll pick a bestselling book that non-writers rave over. I can’t finish it, or if I do, I don’t enjoy it as much, because I’m always focusing on those things I’m taught not to do. rem: LOL, yes, I’m the same way!

My pet peeve is the repetition of a word within a short space or using a particular phrase repeatedly throughout a book. The more unusual it is, the more it stands out and becomes annoying to me. The only exception to a repeated phrase is if it’s a characteristic of a character used in dialog. As writers, we all have pet words or phrases. I certainly do. But it’s good to try to catch those things in the editing.

rem:  Ahem, I may or may not be guilty. Which is more important: plot or characters?

SANDY:  Back when I didn’t know anything, I would have said plot. These days, with deep POV, I think it’s the characters. Readers don’t want to read about fictional people. They want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them and experience what they experience.

rem:  I like that, “stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them and experience what they experience.” What would you do if you weren’t writing?

SANDY:  Well … hmm … I don’t know. More gardening, certainly. Probably more shopping, in which case, I think it’s good I have something else to occupy my time each day.

rem:  LOL What are you reading right now?

SANDY:  At this moment, I’m finishing up Ronie Kendig’s new novel, Conspiracy of Silence.

rem:  That looks so good! What do you munch on while you write?

SANDY:  Other than eating my breakfast while I work, I try not to munch while I write. Sometimes I fail. In those cases, it’s generally chocolate-related.


rem:  Such discipline… Tell us a little about your writing journey.

SANDY:  Writing is something I’d always wanted to do, but didn’t have the courage to try until I found a community education class in my Texas town. We formed a writer’s group afterward, and I was hooked. I began with greeting cards and posters, then went on to short stories for childrens’ denominational publications after I became a stay-at-home mom. I also wrote adult short stories. It wasn’t until about eight or nine years ago that I was able to complete a novel—which will never see the light of day! Since then, I’ve concentrated on publishing novels and novellas.

rem:  Greeting cards! How fun! How long have you been a member of the Seriously Write team?

SANDY:  I had to look that one up. Dora Hiers invited me to do a post for her in January of 2013. Then, when one of the hostesses left, the lovely ladies invited me to take her place. They’re a great group of writers and friends, and I so appreciate them letting me join the blog!

rem:  It’s one of my [many] favourite blogs. What do you like best about Seriously Write blog?

SANDY:  Other than the helpful writing tips and encouragement—both spiritual and writing-wise—I like getting to “meet” so many writers and offering them a chance to add our blog to their tours when they have a new release.

rem:  And I get to meet all of you!  😉  How often do you post on the blog?

SANDY:  Altogether, I’ve done about eighteen posts since 2013. I started out doing something for every fifth Wednesday, but now prefer to give others the spot.

rem:  I love how ya’ll switch it up, and have your guest spots. You switched from writing short stories to novellas. What prompted the switch?

SANDY:  I actually went from short stories to novels when I felt the Lord telling me it was time to do so. I’d tried writing novels before, but it never seemed the thing to do at the time. But, you’re right, my first published book was a novella, and I’ve written a couple others since that aren’t published.

rem:  I like that your characters have “imperfect personalities.” What are some of the imperfections you give them, and what’s your favorite or worst one?

SANDY:  It seems so many of my heroes and heroines have difficulty with forgiveness—of themselves or others. I think it’s a universal theme in much of Christian fiction. Pride is the next biggie. I think my favorite imperfect character is a heroine in an as-yet-unpublished novel. She’s an incredibly strong woman on the outside, yet she struggles with a ton of guilt over her past actions (unforgiveness). She has trouble seeing herself as others see her. I think my worst imperfect personality is a secondary character from that same book—an antagonist. He’s arrogant and self-centered (pride), but he has potential and I so want to redeem him one day. 😊

rem:  That one’s a biggie! (forgiveness) What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

SANDY: Ha! No cave. And a coffeehouse is too noisy, not to mention I’d probably be on too much of a caffeine high to concentrate! I took over my daughter’s bedroom as soon as she moved out on her own. It’s a joke around here that it’s something she hasn’t gotten over yet, but there are no childhood shrines in this house! 😊 I shut myself in about 7:30 a.m. and for (at least) the first couple hours, I work on social media, emails, blogs—all the writing tasks that don’t involve my current project. At times, it’s most of the morning. Then I buckle down to get my word count in until about 5:00 most days. Saturdays are minimal, and I don’t work on Sundays.

rem:  Not so different to mine, only ‘cept shift it a few hours later in the day…  LOL What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

SANDY:  I struggle with a number of things, but doubt is a big one right now. Am I working on the right project? Is my plot compelling enough? Can I get the story across in an interesting way? I handle my struggles by continuing to work and do my best.

rem:  I think that’s universal for authors, isn’t it? Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

SANDY:  Definitely the creative aspect. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t had little snippets of scenes running through my mind. It’s good when I find a way to use them.

rem:  Yup, so true. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

SANDY:  Giving life to “people” and situations—those little snippets I mentioned—and letting my imagination run. I’ve also enjoyed making other writer friends. The majority are people I’ve never met in person. Maybe one day.

rem:  What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

SANDY:  The hardest thing for me is marketing, especially in-person marketing. It’s easy to share memes and specials online and put myself out there on blogs, etc., but contacting people in person about my book is really stepping out of my comfort zone. The easiest part of publishing for me is holding my book after I’ve slaved over it for months.

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

SANDY:  Recommendations: Persistence with writing growth and submitting. Patience with a slow-moving business. Development of an armadillo shell that wards off the gloom of rejection.

Don’t: Rush the process—enjoy the journey. Don’t think that a publishing contract is the end of the hard work—it’s just the beginning. Don’t ignore the value of making friends with other writers. They can become your greatest cheerleaders and provide the biggest shoulders to cry on when things go sideways.

rem:  Also yes. How do you choose your characters’ names?

SANDY:  For historicals, I like names from the period, however, I also like names that have a romantic appeal—at least to me. I skim through my baby name books and pick out something I feel matches the character or the story. It’s hard to explain, but a lot of times, I’ll see that character in my mind and a certain name seems right. For instance, Violet is not a name I thought I’d use for a heroine, but for the shy woman in my Christmas novella, The Yuletide Angel, it seemed perfect.

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

SANDY:  I’m getting better at it. A synopsis is needed for submitting proposals, so I work out the main points and an ending. For my current project, I’m working on a scene-by-scene synopsis for my own use, but it’s not usually how I do things and I’m not sure how it will go.

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

SANDY:  A Reluctant Melody released last year and recently won the Grace Award for Romance/Historical Romance. It’s a second-chance love story involving a former bad boy and the woman he once romanced to get back at his brother (Hugh, the hero of The Yuletide Angel). Kit wants to buy Joanna’s house for a mission to drunkards. His offer gives her the power to save her best friend from an abusive husband. She’s forced to choose between her friend’s safety and risking what might happen if Kit comes back into her life and discovers the secret she’s hidden for years. It also contains a murder mystery, but it’s not the focus of the plot.


Right now, I have a historical romance proposal out and am awaiting word on it. I’m also working on my first proposal for a contemporary romance.

rem:  Love the mix and twists there. What is YOUR favorite part about the book or why do you love this book? Why should we read it?

SANDY:  I love the characters in A Reluctant Melody. Joanna was brought low, but it destroyed her youthful vanity and created strength, loyalty, and a reluctant compassion. Kit’s low point also created compassion and a need to help others through what he experienced. It deals with an issue many older (and, I’m sure, younger) Christians struggle with today, namely, the changed moral outlook of society. How do Christians respond to things like out-of-wedlock births? It’s been a personal struggle for me. How do I show kindness without seeming to approve of a lifestyle contrary to God’s marriage plan? It’s tough. I tried to show my characters as flawed human beings who reap the consequences of their actions. At the same time, I wanted to show that God’s grace can wipe out those sins and provide our happy-ever-after.

rem:  Powerful stuff. Tell us about why you wrote this book.

SANDY:  I find interesting secondary characters in books, both those I read and the ones I write, and want to know their stories. It’s why I like reading a series. Kit is a secondary character in The Yuletide Angel. As soon as his role in Hugh’s life popped onto the page, I knew I’d write his story.

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

SANDY:  From A Reluctant Melody:

            Joanna Stewart’s fingers waltzed across the silk covering her lap. Had the stripes of the dress fabric been piano keys, the cab of her brougham would be filled with the melody of Sullivan’s “Let Me Dream Again.”

            She halted the romping digits and gripped the material of her skirt in a tight fist. Dreams. She awoke to the pain they caused years ago … after the lie of romantic love dealt its deadly blow.

            A horse car rattled past on the tracks running down the middle of Broad Street. The bell dangling from the animals’ collars jingled with each plodding step.

            Joanna’s driver, Liam McCall, turned onto Cleary. When the carriage stopped, she peeked out the window and scanned the dry and dusty street in front of the Stewart Broom Factory. When was the last time she’d ventured out of her house and into the midst of strangers? A month? Two? She wouldn’t be in town now if Perry’s note hadn’t stressed the importance of their meeting.

            A man on a bicycle passed too close to the carriage and thumbed the bell on his contraption. Her horse shied and the brougham rocked. Joanna grabbed the window frame to brace herself.

            Using coarse language and the power of brawny arms, Liam brought the animal under control. A moment later, he yanked the door open and held out his hand. “Foul things, horses. If it were up to me, I’d shoot ’em all.”

            Inwardly, Joanna cringed. “Even work animals deserve our respect and compassion, Mr. McCall.” As he helped her down, his callused fingers swallowed her lace-gloved hand.


rem:  Very telling first page—lots of info in there. What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

SANDY:  The themes of the book involve grace and mercy. Joanna believes her past disqualifies her from God’s forgiveness. Kit has already taken hold of that grace, but he still hangs on to that need to make amends for past actions. I want people to know that they’re never too bad to receive God’s forgiveness if they ask for it, then those past mistakes are forgiven and forgotten.

rem:  Where can we find you online?



Seriously Write






And I’d love to have you sign up for my newsletter. In it, I’ll keep you updated on my work, along with a few historical or other tidbits, polls, occasional giveaways or announcements about specials.

rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

SANDY:  Thanks so much for having me, Robin! What a pleasure and what great questions!

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




            Kit Barnes’ drinking ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. The most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past and the one person he hurt the most.
            A pariah among her peers, Joanna is all too eager to sell her property and flee the rumors that she sent her late husband to an early grave. But she will let the gossips talk and the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she’ll allow Kit back into her life.
            When a blackmailer threatens to reveal her long-held secret, she must choose between trusting Kit or seeing her best friend trapped in an abusive marriage.
            Will Joanna risk another betrayal? Or will she find a way through the pain of the past to love and trust again?



“My job as a writer is to keep you turning the pages by creating realistic characters and exciting plots. My prayer is that from the story of at least one of my fictional people you will find inspiration for the trip along your own road of faith.”




#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Sandy Ardoin, Seriously Write Interview Blitz, The Yuletide Angel, Family Ties, A Reluctant Melody


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If you’re looking for purpose in your life, you may want to start at the root—love.”


I believe in the power of story. It can comfort, challenge, and inspire. It can make us laugh, and it can bring us to tears. It can teach, take us on an adventure, and help us dream.”


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


DAWN: I grew up in a small rural town in Wisconsin called Prairie Farm—population of around 550 people. My parents and grandparents were also raised in the town or nearby farms, so I was third generation. The setting and some of the characters in my historical romances (The Daughters of Riverton series) were inspired by the community.


After graduating with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry, I married and lived in the Minneapolis area for fifteen years before moving to the Seattle area over twenty years ago. I love living in the Pacific Northwest because I have access to both the mountains and the ocean.


rem: I love the ocean but I really love the mountains!! Tell us three things about yourself.

DAWN: I have two grown daughters and a grown stepdaughter. I adore my three grandchildren—one boy, two girls. I’m a fan of Masterpiece Theatre.

rem: Ain’t nothing like those grand babies!!  ❤ (and I also love Masterpiece Theatre.) What do you do as a hobby?

DAWN: It’s a seasonal hobby, but I enjoy working in the yard. Although we’ve tried to use quite a few perennials, each spring I fill gardens, pots, baskets, and window boxes with an assortment of colorful annual flowers.

rem: I used to. Used to have dozens of houseplants. Then I moved and lost heart for it… Your movie snack of choice?

DAWN: I don’t have to give that question a second thought. I’m a popcorn fanatic. I could eat it every day, but I’ve worked hard on moving away from that habit.

rem: Ooohhh, love me some good buttery popcorn! If you could go back in time, what era would you choose and why?

DAWN: I think it would be amazing to visit a number of time periods, but because my stories are set in the early 1900s, I think it would be really helpful for me to experience firsthand how people lived then.

rem: Now that just makes sense! Adventure AND research! What is the first thing you notice about people?

DAWN: I first notice people’s eyes. I can tell a lot about a person by what I see there, as well as if they’re willing to keep eye contact with me. Not that I want a stare down, but if people continually look away, I’m clued in to what they’re thinking or feeling at the moment.

rem: Eye contact is very telling indeed—and very vulnerable… Favorite season? Why?

DAWN: Fall is by far my favorite. I enjoy the cool air, the changing colors, walking through piles of crisp leaves, and the smells. The season makes me think of bonfires, apple orchards, hot cider, and fruit pies.

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

DAWN: My life verse is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”


I cling to that truth during times of crisis, uncertainty, and loss. It keeps me going when I can’t see beyond today.


rem: Ya, sometimes our own plans just flop, but He’s always got us, doesn’t He? What do you think is significant about Christian fiction?  How has being a novelist impacted your relationship with Christ?

DAWN: I write Christian fiction because I believe in the power of story to comfort, challenge, teach, and inspire. (rem: emphasis mine) I think there’s a little bit of us in the characters we write about. So, as they face challenges and work through their own past or present hurts or spiritual issues, we’re given opportunities to work through our own. At the same time, in order to write stories that have a chance to impact lives, we need to walk in close relationship with Christ and allow him and the Holy Spirit to work through us.

rem: I see more of myself in my characters with each one I write. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

DAWN: I have a difficult time reading anything that’s too sweet and easy. I avoid stories that lack conflict or real-life situations.

rem: Right, just no substance to them. Which is more important: plot or characters?

DAWN: They’re equal in importance for me.

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

DAWN: When I’m not writing, I’m editing for other authors. But if I were step out from the publishing umbrella, I’d probably gravitate toward working for some kind of ministry or community outreach. I’ve been involved in both in various degrees during my life.

rem: What are you reading right now?

DAWN: I’m just starting the novel When Angels Cry by MaryLu Tyndall.

rem: That’s a new one to me, will have to check it out. What do you munch on while you write?

DAWN: I don’t think about eating while writing, but I may grab a piece a dark chocolate, and there’s always coffee or flavored water nearby.


rem: Well, yeah, coffee is a given—and dark chocolate, excellent choice. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

DAWN: I’ve written stories since I was a child, I was the editor for my high school newspaper, and I had a short story published in my college newspaper. But, I didn’t get serious about writing professionally until twelve years ago. After co-writing three full-length plays for my church drama group, I realized that writing filled a void that nothing else had.(rem: again me)  At that point, I discovered American Christian Fiction Writers, and that organization gave me opportunities to connect with other writers online, through local groups, conferences, etc. I started blogging, meeting with a local critique group, and submitting manuscripts to agents and publishers. Although some of my articles, devotions, and short stories were published—and my novels generated interest—my full-length manuscripts were not picked up by traditional publishers. So, after my husband and I prayed about it for some time, I was led to indie publish. Now I have two books available for readers, and I’m working on the third in the series.


rem: A fellow writer of plays, eh? How long have you been a member of the Seriously Write team?

DAWN: Annette Irby and I created Seriously Write in June 2009. Since then, the number of people involved on our staff has grown.

rem: Well Happy Blogaversary! (I had no idea) What do you like best about Seriously Write blog?

DAWN: Our mission has always been to encourage and support Christian writers. I think we do a great job of providing helpful tips pertaining to writing and the publishing industry. But, I think I’m most proud that Seriously Write has also become a place where people have found it safe to be vulnerable with the struggles that come with this career—as well as what they deal with in their personal lives.

rem: As a faithful follower of your blog, I can say you do and do it well. How often do you post on the blog?

DAWN: It really varies. I’m responsible for content every Friday, but regular contributors cover two of those days each month. I try to give other authors opportunities to share their personal journeys to publication or encouragement the other days. I format and schedule all posts, and I fill in with articles of my own here and there.


rem: Ah yes, the “Blog-keeping!” What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

DAWN: I have a difficult time writing early in the morning, so I take care of editing for clients, social media, e-mail, and other business-related things first thing. Later in the day, I go to a quiet place in my house to write—away from my office.

rem: A fellow writer not of the morning! I do it “backwards” too. LOL What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

DAWN: I struggle with wanting to do it all—social media, marketing, meeting word count goals, etc.—and feeling like I never have enough time to do it all and still “be there” for family and friends. The only way I can handle it is to remind myself that people need to come first before my career.

rem: A very profound reminder. And one I believe Father honors. Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

DAWN: I prefer editing my stories after I have the rough drafts down. I like the process of fine tuning and making what’s there better.

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

DAWN: I have a need to be creative. It’s in my DNA. (rem: yep, me again) Creating something out of nothing—and hopefully something that is meaningful to someone else—is extremely rewarding.

rem: I believe the words Father gives us are always meaningful to someone, somewhere. What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

DAWN: The hardest thing is getting your work noticed when there is so much competition for people’s time and money. I can’t think of anything that’s easy about publishing.

rem: uh, ya, I noticed that… What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

DAWN: My recommendations are: join a critique group of honest (but kind) writers who know the craft or are willing to learn with you, enjoy the journey (you’ll meet awesome people along the way), and do what’s right for you. For some that means pursuing traditional publishing, for some that means indie publishing, and for others, it means doing a mix of both.


Three things I wouldn’t recommend are: submitting your work to an agent or publisher until you’re confident it’s ready, comparing yourself and successes (or lack of) to someone else, giving up when you feel discouraged.


rem: Yes, I certainly have met some amazing peeps—present company noted! How do you choose your characters’ names?

DAWN: Because I’m currently writing historical romances, I need to make sure the names fit the time period. So, I research names that would have been given to children the year my characters would have been born, and then I pick from that list what feels best.

rem: I love doing my research, names and the rest of it. Do you think of the entire story before you start writing?

DAWN: I like a road map of where my story is going, and I want to make sure there’s a strong plot and enough internal and external conflict for my characters to overcome. So, I outline the entire story before I start writing, but I leave room for additional ideas and changes as the story and characters develop along the way.

rem: So, not a pantzer, eh? Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

DAWN: My latest release is Hope’s Design, Book 2 in The Daughters of Riverton series. An independent city girl aspiring to be a fashion designer falls for a stubborn artist from the country who wants to keep his talent a secret.


I’m currently working on Rebecca’s Song, which is Book 3 in The Daughters of Riverton series.


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

DAWN: Hope’s Design is a romance, but it’s also a story about following our dreams and what it means to be accountable for our God-given gifts. I love it because even though the story takes place during a time when women weren’t given many options for careers, Hope Andrews is still determined to follow her dreams, even though the journey is often discouraging.


The book will draw you into the lives of the people in Riverton (a small Wisconsin farming town in the early 1900s) and make you feel a part of that community. It will also encourage you to explore what it means to follow your own dreams.


rem: I love stories about following dreams—for so many years I didn’t… Tell us about why you wrote this book.

DAWN: I wrote this story because I believe so strongly in encouraging others—especially women and young girls—to pursue their passions, despite the challenges.


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

DAWN: The first page of Hope’s Design:


Riverton, Wisconsin

June 1904

“Next stop, Martindale.”

The end of her long journey—almost. The railroad didn’t reach her final destination—the small country town of Riverton, Wisconsin. From what she remembered, with a population of over two thousand, Martindale was four times the size of Riverton.

Hope Andrews peered out the window at people on the platform saying farewell to passengers boarding the train. An elderly couple wiped tears from their eyes after giving a young man one last hug. He stiffened, as though embarrassed by their outward signs of affection, then softened and embraced the gray-haired lady before planting a kiss on her cheek.

One woman, wearing a faded dress and holding the hand of a little boy dressed in stained trousers, seemed to search the car’s windows for a passenger. Her face lit up in recognition, and she waved frantically. Was she saying good-bye to a husband leaving home in search of work?

That man—talking to a porter. Despite the thick, hot air in the train car, Hope shivered. Similar build, hair color, and taste in clothes, but it couldn’t be Henry. No one would divulge she’d traveled to the Midwest.

The stranger turned his face, giving Hope full view. Her shoulders relaxed, and she sighed in relief. Shame on her for letting even an imaginary Henry Shelton affect her—their relationship had been over for months.

A whistle blew, and the train inched forward. Cornfields and grazing cows would fill a portion of her scenery for the next year, maybe two. Quite a change from New York City, but for now, what alternative did she have? Because of Henry, she’d given up her home, her friends, and possibly any chance of becoming a real fashion designer.


rem: I’m intrigued—guess I better get caught up with the first one already… What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

DAWN: Dreams can come true.


rem: Yes to the Amen! They surely can—and do! Where can we find you online? (provide links)













rem:  Anything you’d like to add?

DAWN: Thanks, Robin, for having me as a guest!

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



Courage is using the talents and gifts God has given you, even when you’re afraid you’re not good enough. Spiritual courage is answering the call God dialed into your heart, despite how crazy the world may view it.”




#Blogwords, Chat Thursday, Author Interview, Dawn Kinzer, Seriously Write Interview Blitz, Sarah’s Smile, Hope’s Design, Rebecca’s Song

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