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Author Interview – HARRIET MICHAEL

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WRITING PROMPTS & THOUGHTS & IDEAS (oh my)

INTERVIEW BLITZ

 

Harriet is a Christian writer and speaker. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, magazines, anthologies, and devotionals including, Focus on the Family, The Upper Room, The Secret Place, David C Cook Company, Lifeway, Celebrate Life, and many others. She has written two e-books about prayer,

When the Psalmist penned the verse quoted at the top of my homepage, he penned one of the most beautiful verses in scripture. The verse is addressed to “all who fear God”. They are the ones who will be able to truly appreciate what God has done for a soul, because they have a story too – God has done something for their soul too. This blog is my story of what God has done for my soul and like the Psalmist, I invite all who fear God to come and hear (or in this case, read) what God has done for my soul.

 

rem: Welcome Harriet! So glad to have you on my blog. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

HARRIET: I was born in the jungles of Africa. Really. My parents served as missionaries in the country of Nigeria and the year I was born, they happened to be relieving in the very remote jungle village of Joinkrama. A year after my birth, they transferred to a less remote area for language school and eventually to the city of Ogbomoso. All of my childhood memories are from Ogbomoso, but we did visit Joinkrama once, so I have some memory of it. There really were monkeys swinging in the trees and elephants walking around in Joinkrama. I tasted elephant meat when we visited. One had been killed by a villager, so of course there was plenty of meat to share. J

My parents moved back to the US during the Nigerian- Biafran War. I lived my high school days in Bluefield, WV. After marrying, almost 37 years ago, my husband and I moved to Louisville, KY and still live here today.

rem: Not just to be cliché, but I’d love to visit Africa someday! Tell us three things about yourself.

HARRIET:

  • I have four grown children, three sons and a daughter.
  • I have only one grandchild (my daughter’s child). But one of my sons and his wife are in the process of adopting, so I will soon have two grandchildren.
  • Aside from writing, I work part time as a substitute teacher.

rem: Nothing like them grandbabies is there! What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

HARRIET: Cotton Candy. I have a serious sweet tooth.

rem: I’d say so! If you could have any super power what would it be?

HARRIET: I’d like to beam myself places, like the people on Star Trek could. Remember that? I was a big Star Trek fan as a teen and always thought it would be nice to be able to be beamed where you want to go, instead of having to spend long hours traveling.

rem: I know right! Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

HARRIET: Diet Coke. Haha! But I like coffee and tea too, though I do not consume them often. But when I do, they are always sweetened.

rem: Haha! Ya got me! Vacation: beach or mountains?

HARRIET: Beach, for sure! I love the beach. My family went there every summer when I was a teenager. I don’t get to go as often now as I would like.

rem: I don’t guess so from Kentucky! If you come visit me, we’ll scoot right on over though! What is your favorite quotation and why?

HARRIET: “I believe in God as I believe the sun has risen –not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.” –C.S. Lewis

rem: That’s beautiful What do you do as a hobby?

HARRIET: I love to garden, though I don’t have a real green thumb. Plants don’t always grow for me, but I sure do enjoy digging in the dirt and hoping they will grow. I also enjoy pencil drawing and do that on occasion.

rem: Oh! We are kindred spirit—digging in the dirt; I never outgrew that! And I love to draw, too. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

HARRIET: I don’t like sad or terrifying stories. I know they sell but personally I don’t care for them. To quote my sister when she was talking about movies once, “I don’t pay to be made sad or scared. I can feel those ways all on my own without paying anything.”

rem: Good point. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

HARRIET: John Ridd of Lorna Doone. Actually, Lorna Doone is my all-time favorite fiction book too.

rem: Sad to say, if I ever read it, I don’t remember it… Which is more important: plot or characters?

HARRIET: Characters, for sure. If the characters are real to me, I enjoy the book, even if the plot is not particularly riveting.

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

HARRIET: I only started writing a few years ago. I suppose if I were not writing now, I’d do much the same as I used to do—busy myself with hobbies, part time work, and being a wife, mother, and grandmother. But I am so glad God gave me the gift of writing and opened the doors to it. I love it so much. I feel like a kid who loves to play with the gift her Father gave her. I think I finally know what I want to be when I grow up.

rem: I feel the same way! Only ‘cept I’m not growing up! Tell us a little about your writing journey.

HARRIET: Writing is a new work God is doing in my old age. It’s a huge blessing to me and I can only hope it will bless others along the way too. I thank Him daily for opening these doors, even though as is often the case, it was born out of a difficult and even dark time in my life. Through these difficult days, I longed to understand prayer better, searched the scriptures for anything about prayer, and journaled. At the end of four years, I had a manuscript written.

 

Then in 2009, I attended a writer’s conference, hoping to learn how to get my manuscript published. I came home thinking that goal was unachievable. I had learned three things: 1) I knew very little about the publishing world, even after the conference, 2) I have editing issues. 3) I didn’t have a platform.

 

Writing still intrigued me. Actually, it did more than that; it pulled like a magnet. I had words I wanted to share and had spent the previous four years honing my ability to put them down on paper. (Learning to write on a computer came later. My 60,000+ word manuscript and my first few articles and devotions were all hand-written and transcribed onto a computer.)

 

My wheels started turning. If I could start getting small pieces published, then I would be scratching that writing itch while building a platform too. A platform, for those of you who are not writers, was defined to me as the number of people who would read something simply because it was written by you. For me at the time that number was a big zero. Well, my mom and dad would probably read it, so maybe that number was more like two. J

 

So, I shared my thoughts with my daughter, shortly after returning from the writer’s conference. I sheepishly told her about the workshop on freelancing small pieces and confessed my desire to try it. But who did I think I was fooling? I was not a writer.

 

My daughter looked up from her orange juice and said, “You know mom, the average American reader only reads at a sixth grade level.”

 

I burst out laughing and replied, “I can write at that level!”

 

And I sat down immediately and began transcribing a devotion I had hand-written in my journal onto my computer to send to The Upper Room. That devotion, titled, “The Day of Small Things” based on Zechariah 4:10, became the first piece I ever submitted. It was not the first piece I ever had published, because it takes a long time from submission to publication with some devotional magazines. It was published a year and a half later in the February, 2011 issue of The Upper Room.

 

Today I have well over a hundred published credits—devotions, articles, non-fiction short stories, online newsletters and magazines, and others.

 

rem: What an amazing and wonderful journey. What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy

HARRIET: I write anywhere and everywhere. I have a writing desk in my bedroom that faces a window. This is my favorite place to write, but sometimes I take my computer downstairs to the kitchen and sit at the table, and other times, I write while I am at work, during the period that the teacher I am subbing for would be planning. I never substitute on Mondays and set that day aside for writing, though sometimes life interferes.

rem: What makes you struggle as a writer? How do you handle it?

HARRIET: So far, I have not suffered writer’s block. Instead I have too many things rolling around in my head that I want to get down in written form. So, more than anything, I struggle with not having enough time to get it all done. How do I handle this? I just plow ahead and keep writing every chance I find.

rem: Me too, never enough time, translated, too much to do. Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

HARRIET: Creating, definitely! I actually have editing issues (trouble with spelling and punctuation). I benefit greatly from an outside editor. I have found that my strength is content and publishers often like what I have to say and send me contracts but then their editors go back over the piece—thank goodness!

rem: Even editing inclined people benefit from having their work edited. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

HARRIET: Writing feels like playing to me. I think it’s my first language. I write better than I speak. And fiction writing, especially, feels like I’m a little girl again, playing pretend.

rem: Again with the kindred spirit! How incredible to play and get to call it work! What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer?

HARRIET:

  • Be persistent
  • Try freelancing some small pieces, especially nonfiction. Having contracts on small pieces is so encouraging. It brings in a little income while it also builds a platform.
  • Network—join groups, attend conferences, get to know other writers.

rem: Numbers one and three, check; number two not so much… Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

HARRIET: Real life. For the most part I am a nonfiction writer and even the few fiction pieces I have written have been fiction based on fact.

rem: Tell us a little about your devotional books.

HARRIET: Among other things, I am a devotional, scripture-based writer. I have had numerous devotions and expository type articles published in magazines—The Upper Room, The Secret Place (Judson Press), Open Windows (Lifeway), SEEK (Standard Publishing), to name a few.

Recently I co-wrote a seasonal devotional book with childhood friend and fellow missionary kid, Shirley Crowder. That book is titled, ‘Glimpses of the Savior”. It contains six weeks of devotions from mid-November- the end of December. Many of the devotions share insights from our childhoods in Africa.

I also have another book coming out very soon from Pix N Pens Publishing. I consider that book, titled “Prayer: It’s Not About You” as my opus. That book took me four years to write and longer than that to get published. It is an in depth look at prayer from a Biblical perspective.

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

HARRIET: God’s word is the only reliable source for answers to life’s questions. Both of these books, bring the readers back to scripture and helps the reader gain greater insights into what God’s word has to say on certain topics, such as prayer.

rem: If we can point others to Father and His Word, then we have been successful, whatever field we’re in! Thanks for joining us today, Harriet. It’s been a pleasure having on my blog!

 

 

 

http://www.whathehasdoneformysoul.blogspot.com/

 

 

#harrietmichael, #writingpromptscrew, #authorinterview, #glimpsesoftheSavior, #theupperroom

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WRITING PROMPTS & THOUGHTS & IDEAS (oh my)

INTERVIEW BLITZ

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

TAMMY: I was raised in Ohio. First we lived in the city of Toledo, then my parents moved us to a small town. I live in Topeka, Kansas now.
rem: Tell us three things about yourself.

TAMMY: I love being a Grandma; My husband and I do foster care; I’m almost an empty nester
rem: Nothing like being a Grandma! What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

TAMMY: Butter Pecan

rem: Superman or Batman?

TAMMY: Batman – he has all those cool gadgets
rem: I’m a Batman fan too—it’s a, er, Robin thing….. LOL What is your favourite quotation and why?

TAMMY: Live your life so that if anyone would say anything bad about you, no one would believe it.
rem: Oh, I love that. What do you do as a hobby?

TAMMY: Reading, writing, making jewelry
rem: I love reading but don’t have the patience for the jewelry making! Tell us a little about your writing journey.

TAMMY: I have always wanted to write. In 2009 I decided I wasn’t getting any younger and I wanted to fulfill a life long dream. I started out by going to a writer’s conference in Girard, Kansas; “Called to Write.” I wrote a story to the critique by a published author. I found out that I had made every mistake you could ever think of to make in a story. But, I had a place to start, and to learn. The next year I attended again and purposely had scheduled a critique with the same published author. I wrote a whole new beginning to a story after reading a few books on the craft of writing. Well, she told me that I had improved by leaps and bounds. I still had a lot to learn, but I was so encouraged.
rem: What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

TAMMY: I usually write for an hour or two after I get home from my full time job. I have converted a small bedroom into an office.
rem: What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

TAMMY: I am really insecure sometimes in my ability to write well. To combat that I try and read as much on the craft of writing as I can. Being part of writing on a blog has helped tremendously.
rem: I think every author who has ever written anything has as one time or another struggled with their ability to write well! Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

TAMMY: I prefer to write. I’m not good at editing. I don’t find my own mistakes well.
rem: What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

TAMMY: Meeting other writers.

rem: I’ve enjoyed that too! Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

TAMMY: I don’t know where my ideas come from, I have stuff in the back of my head that I would like to write about. Sometimes I will read an article online or in a magazine about a period of history that sparks an idea too.

rem: I understand you entered the “LIH” contest. Tell us about that; what does LIH stand for?

TAMMY: LIH stands for Love Inspired Historical
rem: Tell us about the story you entered in the contest.

TAMMY: My story takes place in 1885 Montana. It’s a romance between a U.S. Marshal doing undercover investigating of cattle rustling, who meets a cattle baron’s niece who is poor relation, so she is made to pay her way by taking care of her precocious cousins. She also has her own crusade to start a library in her frontier town.
rem: Romance, intrigue—sounds good to me. I understand you’ve moved to the second round! Congratulations! Tammy thank you so much for being on my blog today! I look forward to your book when it comes out.

rem: Thanks for joining us today, Tammy. It’s been a pleasure having on my blog!

 

 

#tammytrail, #writingpromptscrew, #authorinterview, #LiveInspiredHistorical

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Author Interview – HOLLY MICHAEL

 

Writing Straight (Holly’s blog) is from the maxim: God writes straight with crooked lines. Crooked Lines is the title of my first novel. Through life’s crooked lines and learning curves, people are the dots that connect. This website is about connecting with each other to inspire and share about life and writing.

 

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“I’m a kaleidoscope, twisted and turned by the hand of God through a beautiful life of writing, traveling, and other incredible opportunities.”

 

rem: Welcome to my blog, Holly. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised?

HOLLY: I was born and raised on a dairy farm in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on a peninsula, a couple of short miles from Lake Michigan.

rem: I’ve never been there, but I’m finding more people I know who are from there! Where do you live now?

HOLLY: Kansas City, Missouri, though my husband and I do have a little cottage in the woods in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin on the bay waters of Green Bay.

rem: I love little cottages! Tell us three things about yourself.

HOLLY: 1. I grew up the seventh child of ten children.

  1. I have three children: My oldest son, Jake (a type one diabetic) played for two years in the NFL. I’m just as proud of my other two children: Daughter Betsy just joined her doctorate program at the University of Tennessee, and my youngest son Nick is playing college football and earning his degree at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette 3. My husband, also is the seventh child, is an Anglican Bishop

rem: Sounds like for fun family reunions! What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?

HOLLY: Cookie dough!

rem: On my list of favorites! What’s your favorite cookie?

HOLLY: Snickerdoodles

rem: Also on my list of favorites! (and might make some tonight…) If you could have any super power what would it be?

HOLLY: God’s Word says we should ask for more of Holy Spirit. Acts 1:8

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Is there any greater super power than power from the Holy Spirit?

rem: No, no there is not! And He gives fully and generously to all who ask. Kids or pets? Names and ages?

HOLLY: Jake – 26 (and daughter-in-love, Emma-24), Betsy – 24, Nick – 21 Jake and Emma have two dogs, Betsy has one dog, and Nick has a cat. Grand-pets suit me just fine at this stage in my life.

rem: Vacation: beach or mountains?

HOLLY: Beach, unless visiting the mountains when it’s warm.

rem: What do you most value in a friend? What quality do you most admire in a man or woman?

HOLLY: Loyalty.

rem: Loyalty is so important! How can a friendship, or any relationship really, survive without it? Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

HOLLY: The Bible. It’s a Book that you can keep reading again and again and always learning from.

rem: You are so right! Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

HOLLY: Scarlett O’Hara. Sure, she had her faults but I really admire her rebel nature. She didn’t conform to societal expectations and relentlessly pursued her goals. When life didn’t go as planned Scarlett just says, “fiddle-dee-dee.” I think I’m going to use that phrase more. And one last thing I admire about her is her ability to look toward tomorrow with hope.

rem: Well, fiddle-dee-dee, you surely do make a good point. What would you do if you weren’t writing?

HOLLY: Traveling and taking pictures, which is what I am doing when I’m not writing.

rem: I think I’ve seen some of your travels. Tell us a little about your writing journey.

HOLLY: My writing journey began the day I quit writing. Tired of rejection letters, I went out for a walk and declared to God that I was quitting. I had three little children and didn’t want to waste any more time UNLESS He gave me a real clear sign. I let go and returned home to a blinking answering machine. At the beep, an editor for Guideposts magazine said she wanted to publish my essay. The next day, I got a check in the mail from a parenting magazine and a copy of my first published work. Doors to being published opened after that leading to freelance work and a career as a journalist and newspaper features writer. After that, I began writing fiction and non-fiction books.

rem: Amazing what happens when we let got and turn it over to Father! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

HOLLY: I attempt to write full time, but I also travel and work in ministry with my husband so I don’t always keep up full time-40 hours-a-week writing. Good thing is that I have a small MacBook Air that goes everywhere I go. My office is wherever my butt lands, or sometimes the place where I can stop, stand, and open up my MacBook.

rem: Isn’t that the great thing about being a writer? We can do that, open up the laptop or MacBook wherever our butts land! What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

HOLLY: Facebook, social media, and Words With Friends. Best way of handling it is to set my alarm for one hour and do nothing but write.

rem: There ya go! There is much to be said for setting limits… Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

HOLLY: Editing. My husband says I smile more when I’m editing. I write fiction and nonfiction, but was a nonfiction writer before I became a fiction writer. Sometimes I think I’m not creative enough to write fiction, but I really do enjoy fiction writing and am learning. Editing—whether fiction or nonfiction—is just more fun.

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

HOLLY: Writing, THE END

rem: Yes, that is an amazing feeling! What was the hardest thing about publishing?

HOLLY: I am an indie and a traditionally published author. The hardest was the process of getting my indie works formatted and published.

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

HOLLY: DO: 1. Read writing craft books. 2. Write, write, write. 3. Join a critique group.

NOT DO: Indie publish anything before: 1. Reading at least one writing craft books. 2. Having your work read by a critique partner. 2. Having your work edited by a good editor.

rem: Well, I sure did it backward…. LOL Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

HOLLY: Life. I have been blessed with many amazing life experiences, and even some not so amazing that have given me story ideas. Life is an adventure with my husband. He’s a pastor and is from India. We have some amazing travel experiences in India and in other countries. We’ve also had some incredible ministry experiences.

rem: I’d love to visit India someday; might have to hit you up for places to visit! (also good reference if I ever have a character from India!) Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

HOLLY: They are all my favorites! That’s like asking if I have a favorite child.

rem: So true. Which character in the story is most like/least like you?

HOLLY: Rebecca in Crooked Lines is a lot like me…she takes a lot of wrong turns, but God guides her through the Crooked Lines of her life. But Crooked Lines is fiction…thankfully. I put that character through the ringer.

rem: I didn’t think to ask if you’re a planner or a pantser; I’m a pantser straight up and am shocked at some of what my characters go through. You have two books out, one fiction and one non-fiction. Tell us about them.

HOLLY: Actually, I have three books out: 1 fiction title and 2 nonfiction titles. I also have one fiction title due out next month.

 

Crooked Lines blurb: On the shores of Lake Michigan, Rebecca Meyer seeks escape. Guilt-ridden over her little sister’s death, she sets her heart on India, a symbol of peace. Across the ocean in South India, Sagai Raj leaves his tranquil hill station home and impoverished family to answer a higher calling. Pushing through diverse cultural and religious milieus, he labors toward his goals, while wrong turns and bad choices block Rebecca from hers. Traveling similar paths and bridged across oceans through a priest, the two desire peace and their divine destiny. But vows and blind obedience at all costs must be weighed…and buried memories, unearthed.

 

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What Football Taught Me About Never Giving Up (Holly Michael joins her NFL player son, Jake Byrne, in this football-themed devotional published by Harvest House). Jake Byrne dreamed of playing professional football. He had the size, the talent, the drive…but at age 14, he found out he also had type 1 diabetes.

Still, Jake was determined to reach his goal. And God was determined to guide and empower him all along the way.

Jake’s journey to the NFL is the backdrop for this collection of inspiring devotions based on nearly a hundred football terms. Jake takes you to the weight room, practice field, and even across the goal line. You’ll feel as if you’re lined up next to him, facing a very large defender you’re about to take down. He also includes Scripture and then ties up each story in a way that feels real and encouraging. You’ll discover…

  • what to do when God calls an audible in your life
  • how to respond when God puts you on special teams
  • why prayer is never an incomplete pass

These quick daily readings will help you press through your own difficulties and experience God’s dream for you.

 

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Tsunami 2004: Still Wading Through Waves of Hope: December 26th, 2014 marked the anniversary of the monster waves seen around the world. Is life restored back to normal on the shores of Nagapattinam, South India? Will it ever be?

“We’ll go to the most devastated, remote villages where no one else has gone,” Bishop Leo Michael promised a Northwest Arkansas newspaper reporter.

Like a sweeping wave, news of the tsunami fundraiser spread to a national level. Bishop Leo Michael became the ideal vehicle to collect, then ferry aid across the sea. He had lived and worked in the now tsunami devastated region for many years, spoke the native language, and had a counseling degree.

Ten days later, trekking into impassable villages and decimated shorelines, the Michaels helped the widows and the orphans and those most affected by the tsunami.

Ten years later, the Michaels returned to the same villages and encountered surprising changes and a life-threatening situation.

 

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True Paths is my sequel to Crooked Lines, due out in April

 

rem: I hadn’t realized your wrote What Football Taught Me with your son, my apologies. And I can’t wait for your new book to come out! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

HOLLY: In my books, hope is the main take-away. Whatever befalls the character, faith and hope guides them.

rem: Hope is the anchor of the Christian faith, is it not? Thanks for joining us today, Holly. It’s been a pleasure having on my blog!

 

http://www.writingstraight.com

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorHollyMichael

@HollyMichael

 

 

 

#hollymichael, #writingpromptscrew, #authorinterview, #crookedlines, #whatfootballtaughtmeaboutnevergivingup, #tsunami2004, #truepaths

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WRITING PROMPTS & THOUGHTS & IDEAS (oh my) INTERVIEW BLITZ

 

Anne holds a Master’s in Counseling and Bachelor’s in Classical Liberal Arts. She has had a passion for writing historical fiction ever since reading Rosemary Sutcliff’s novels as a preteen. She wrote her first full length novel at fifteen. She is a military spouse and mother to a little boy, “Joe-Joe.”

Her inspiration for Scorched Earth came from moving to the Colorado Rockies. She loves reading Christian fiction and wanted to weave a lighthearted tale about love, rivalry, and the taming of the west.

When not writing, you can find Anne reading Dr. Seuss for the 100th time, vainly attempting to potty train Joe-Joe, or working on her fixer-upper house with her husband.


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

ANNE: I grew up as a homeschooler in the D.C. area. I married my college sweetheart the summer after graduation and spent the next few years traipsing over the United States as a military spouse. We are now settled in Denver, CO with our four-year-old son, Joe-Joe who keeps our wits sharp and our legs tired. For example, last time I told him that he couldn’t watch a movie, Joe-Joe enlisted some divine help. “You can’t say ‘no’ to me, Mama, because God doesn’t want us to be mean.”

rem: He sounds like quite a pistol! Tell us three things about yourself.

ANNE: I’m a mental health counselor, military spouse, and Christian author. I have a passion for looking at the world just a little differently than everyone else and talking about spiritual issues with the millennial generation.

rem: We have that in common—looking at the world differently! (methinks it’s part of the writer’s life) What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? What’s your favorite cookie?

ANNE: Right now, I enjoy cherry ice cream. As for cookies, I prefer donuts, especially Krispy Kreme.

rem: Gotta love Krispy Kremes! If you could have any super power what would it be?

ANNE: I’ve always wanted to fly. Since I was in elementary school, I’ve been banking on that Isaiah 40:31 means I’ll get to fly in heaven. Sure hope I’m right. Can’t wait!

rem: Ya know, I think I’d choose that too! (said the little birdie) Which Muppet do you most resemble? Why?

ANNE: Muppets, are those the puppet people? Forgive my cultural ineptness. I was homeschooled.

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

ANNE: As a mental health counselor, I have to take a stand against overmuch coffee. As a stimulant, caffeine is bad for your mental health. I drink my tea straight.

rem: Ouch. I’m gonna have to pretend I did not see that… Kids or pets? Names and ages?

ANNE: I have one son, Joe-Joe aged 4. No pets, unless one counts the stuffed snakes Joe-Joe keeps convincing me to sew for him. They bite people too. I would think they’d have a little more respect for me after I sewed them, but according to Joe-Joe, they don’t.

rem: Wicked snakes! Superman or Batman?

ANNE: Superman, he’s such a clean-cut, all-American hero. (I don’t go for the bad boy, anti-hero type very often.) Captain America is an all-time favorite of mine too. I love his line about Thor from the Avengers: “There’s only one God, Ma’am, and I’m pretty sure He doesn’t dress like that.”

rem: He has a good point! Vacation: beach or mountains?

ANNE: I live in Colorado and miss my East Coast ocean every day. Last year, for our anniversary, my husband and I flew to the San Diego beaches. It was lovely.

rem: Lovely indeed! (and ps, I’m a tad jealous of you in Colorado!) What is your most treasured possession?

ANNE: My computer’s hard drive. I’ve almost lost story drafts before and the mere thought of losing thousands upon thousands of words can send me into a panic.

rem: Just the thought puts me in near panic…. What is your greatest fear?

ANNE: Besides losing a novel the day before it’s due to the editor? But seriously, probably that my husband will get deployment orders again.

rem: I can sure understand that! What is your greatest regret?

ANNE: Playing bubble spinner in certain college classes. J

rem: Bubble spinner, eh? What is your favourite quotation and why?

ANNE: 2 Tim 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” NKJV As a mental health counselor, I work with a lot of people who struggle with mental illness. There is a huge stigma against mental illness and people in the midst of depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues can feel like there is no hope. This verse always encourages me that no matter how strong the grip of a mental illness, God still loves His children. While mental illness may devastate a person’s brain, it can never remove God’s spirit from us.

rem: So very true. I find it interesting, I am three weeks post-op today, and people have been so generous in helping out. Struggling with RA though, people don’t understand and don’t think or know to offer help; same with depression. (then again, I don’t ask for help when I need it) I also suffered with depression for many years—but ya know what? Father truly did give me a spirit of power and of love—and a sound mind! (as sound as a writer’s can be… LOL)

What do you do as a hobby?

ANNE: Obsessively follow presidential politics. Given the state of our nation, one would think this hobby would spike my blood pressure, but I actually find it relaxing.

rem: Now that’s different! What do you most value in a friend? What quality do you most admire in a man or woman?

ANNE: I most value loyalty in a friend. As for what I admire most in a man or a woman, probably compassion and humility.

rem: I agree, without loyalty there’s not much to base a friendship on. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?  

ANNE: The story has to have a cohesive plot without plot holes. I could not sit through the numerous Pirates of the Caribbean movies for that reason. My pet peeve in fiction is “too sweet to live” heroines who end up apologizing for existing. To be completely honest, I probably go overboard on the other side with my heroines and make them a little too ‘wicked.’ 😉

rem: Yeah, I can’t handle squeaky clean characters; they’re not real. Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

ANNE: The Bible for sure.

rem: Can’t go wrong with that! Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

ANNE: I love Gilbert from L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables Series. Who wouldn’t fall for a guy who’s been madly in love with you for years? Also, I was named after Anne of Green Gables, so perhaps I’m biased.

rem: If you could chose to be a character in a book, who would it be and why?

ANNE: I would choose the most boring book I could find where nothing happens to the heroine and she doesn’t have to risk her life, or lose her best friend, or starve and freeze for days in pursuit of an adventure. In other words, I don’t want to suffer any of the things I put my heroes and heroines through.

rem: Makes sense. Then again, wouldn’t you be bored? jus’ sayin’ Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read?

ANNE: I love historical romance, the clean kind. I always enjoy Deanne Gist, Jody Hedlund, Mary Connealy, and Siri Mitchell’s books. Michelle Moran has some fun ancient world ones.

rem: I love good historical fiction, too. Which is more important: plot or characters?

ANNE: Plot. If the plot catches my interest, I’m willing to put up with jerky characters.

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

ANNE: Clean my house more? Actually no, that’s a lie. I’d probably read obsessively.

rem: Bahahahah! I might have to borrow that answer… Tell us a little about your writing journey.

ANNE: I’ve been writing since I was a child and finished my first two novels, which I hope never see the light of day, as a teenager. Six years ago, I started my writing journey in earnest, making lots of mistakes and finding an awesome agent along the way. In six weeks, the book I started back then will go to print with Olivia Kimbrell Press.

rem: Congratulations on finding an agent! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

ANNE: Right now, I wake up before my 4-year-old son and stay awake after he goes to bed at night. I have a favorite snuggly red blanket that I use as I sprawl, in very bad posture, on our sectional and type until I fall asleep. (My husband works the swing shift in case you hadn’t guessed that.)

rem: What makes you struggle as a writer? How do you handle it?

ANNE: Fear of failure and worrying my work isn’t good enough for publication. I force myself to write the first draft no matter how horrible I think it is, then edit it from there.

rem: Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

ANNE: I love thinking up a new plot and I love putting the final edits on a manuscript as I read beta readers’ glowing reviews. It’s all that in-between, actually-writing stuff that’s hard work. 😉

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

ANNE: Ever since I was a child, I’ve made up stories in my head. Writing allows me to get the “voices in my head” onto paper.

rem: I love the way you put that—“…get the “voices in my head” onto paper.” What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

ANNE: 1. Be sure you actually want to be a writer. There are many more profitable careers. 2. Select genre carefully. Some genres are much easier to break into than others. 3. Work on your social media and blogging presences. Author platform is too important to delay until after you’ve written the book.
As for the not to do

  1. Don’t quit your day job.
  2. Don’t send out queries/publish before soliciting many critiques.
  3. Don’t give up.

rem: Meh, I didn’t select my genre (women’s fiction) it chose me. And I didn’t even know about media and presence until after I published! Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

ANNE: Weird but true fact, I watch Disney youtube videos when I’m experiencing writer’s block. My 4-year-old son thinks it’s great.

rem: The Muse is everywhere! Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

ANNE: I love my four book Ancient Rome series (the Love & Warfare series) that is coming out starting in April of this year. Ever since reading Rosemary Sutcliff as a child, I’ve been fascinated by the Roman Empire. I also took Latin in college.

rem: Ooohh, fascinating! (appeals to my historical interests) You recently signed with an agent. Tell us a little about your latest book. What is your current project?

ANNE: I signed with Linda Glaz of Hartline Literary Agency almost two years ago now, but just got my first two book contracts last year. I’m currently finishing the fourth book in my Love and Warfare series. It will release this summer. The hero in this book is driving me insane at present, but I hope to have a better relationship with him after a few more revisions.

rem: Those characters can be fickle, can’t they! My last main character wasn’t speaking to anyone in the story but she also wasn’t speaking to me! I had to have a little chat with her so we could get the story told! What is one take-away from your book(s) that you hope readers identify with?

ANNE: Grace. As a Christian author, I like to show examples of grace in all the books I write. As my 4-year-old tells me every day, God loves him even when he’s bad and disobeys Mama.

rem: I think as a Christian author, we should include something of our knowledge of Father in our writing, even if we don’t market as Christian Fiction. I understand you are licensed as a foster parent. Tell us how you became active in this and how it has impacted your life.

ANNE: When I was about ten, a foster mom at our homeschool PE group brought four beautiful little girls to our local park to play. Over the next months, I fell in love with those toddlers. Ever since then, I’ve known I wanted to be involved in foster care. Right now we are waiting for a placement.

rem: What a beautiful memory. Thanks for joining us today, Anne. It’s been a pleasure having on my blog!

 

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You can connect with Anne at

https://www.facebook.com/annegarboczievans/

http://annegarboczievans.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/garboczievans

 

030316 - anne evans - book images

 

#anneevans, #writingpromptscrew, #authorinterview, #plumpuddingbride, #whatsaforeverfamily, #whatsafosterfamily

 

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WRITING PROMPTS & THOUGHTS & IDEAS (oh my) INTERVIEW BLITZ—KAREN JURGENS

 

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WRITING PROMPTS & THOUGHTS & IDEAS (oh my)

INTERVIEW BLITZ

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“I am a newly-retired teacher who is entering the field of Christian ministry… There are a vast number of people who are lost and hurting, and I hope to reach them with this message of faith. I have always loved to write and have been doing so since I could hold a pen. I love to cook gourmet French dinners–but only during holidays–as well as to cycle, read the classics and play Scrabble.”

She spent her career as a high school English and French teacher, and will always be a lifelong learner. She loves everything French, especially creating gourmet cuisine for birthdays and holidays, and you will likely find French culture and language in whatever she writes.

Ms. Jurgens began a new ministry, Touched by Him, where she serves as a blogger and speaker. As a single mom, her best accomplishment has been raising two lovely daughters. Along with her mother who is now 93, the four of them enjoy fun times together shopping, dining out, and traveling.

 

 

 

rem: Welcome to my blog, Karen. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised?

KAREN: I was born and raised in Cincinnati, but I have lived in the Dallas, Texas, Metroplex for 31 years. I love to cook, write, and travel. I once planned to go to cooking school to become a chef, but a teaching job came through instead. I have spent my entire career as a French and English teacher.

 

rem: I do love cooking! (Je ne parle pas français.) What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? What’s your favorite cookie?

KAREN: Since I grew up enjoying Graeter’s and United Dairy Farmers’ local ice cream, I was very spoiled. Every July both companies treat patrons to a fresh peach flavor that is divine. But my very favorite is raspberry chocolate chip. I am a chocoholic, so no surprise that my favorite cookie is chocolate chip, too.

rem: oh my! Fresh peach ice cream! I’ll take some! Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

KAREN: I love both. Coffee must be French roast, and my tea is always black—English Breakfast or Earl Grey. I take both with cream only.

rem: Kids or pets? Names and ages?

KAREN: My older daughter, Meghan, is 31 and the younger is Caitlin, 28. My darling poodle, Babette, was 15 when she passed away several years ago, but she is still carved in my heart.

rem: So sorry about Babette. Vacation: beach or mountains?

KAREN: I love the beach. Growing up, my family vacationed in Florida every year. I learned to be a sun worshipper from my early teen years, so laying out and getting a dark tan was my passion. I finally gave up tanning when I turned 30, but I still enjoy sitting in the sand under a beach umbrella and swimming in the ocean.

rem: There is something about the sound of the surf. Sigh… What do you most value in a friend? What quality do you most admire in a man or woman?

KAREN: I value sincere honesty above all else. A good sense of humor along with a disciplined work ethic are qualities I most admire in others.

rem: I agree on all counts. Without honesty, nothing else holds up. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?  

KAREN: Since I am writing my second fiction book, I have discovered that I don’t like the syrupy-sweet perfect endings that contemporary romance demands. I find them too contrived. I enjoy surprises, twists and turns, and the story that forces me to create my own romantic dénouement.

rem: Thank you! I couldn’t agree more! (gak) Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

KAREN: Non-fiction: The Bible. Fiction: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

rem: If you could chose to be a character in a book, who would it be and why?

KAREN: I would be Melanie Hamilton Wilkes in Gone with the Wind. She was pure southern class, exemplifying loyalty and humility. She was the heart and soul of the novel, always supporting Scarlett and knowing better than to believe the romantic gossip about Scarlett and Ashley. She was wise, understanding, and spent her life serving others with devoted love.

rem: You are a classy lady, I say it’s a good fit! Tell us a little about your writing journey.

KAREN: I loved reading and writing stories from an early age. I grew up reading the Bobbsey Twins series (all of which I still have in my library). Since I had no siblings my age, I entertained myself writing stories in all kinds of places, even the car (my parents were always on the go). I remember one essay I wrote, entitled “How Pillsbury Got its Name.” My first “novel” was a romance called Love is Forever. My writing matured as I took creative writing courses in high school and college, and I still have stacks and stacks of short stories and chapters from unfinished stories over the decades.

rem: I remember the Bobbsey Twins! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

KAREN: I have an office at home where I love to work, especially in the evenings and into the wee hours of the morning. I usually get going about nine and am not aware of the time again until two a.m. I substitute teach most days, so if I can, I have learned to write at school while the students are working.

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

KAREN: I struggle with how I accept criticism about my writing. When I began attending a critique group, I was surprised at how much I still needed to learn to become a good writer (in spite of being a high school English teacher). I have learned to be tough, meet deadlines, and accept critique suggestions without letting them “sting.” Now I thrive on constructive criticism because it makes my writing much better.

rem: That’s a toughie, I think, for all of us. Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

KAREN: I very much enjoy the editing process, probably because of my English teacher background. However, I adore the writing process more because that’s where my creative juices soar. It’s much like giving birth to a “child” you hope everyone will want to read and love.

rem: Very apt analogy, and one I feel deeply as well. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

KAREN: I enjoy my characters and how they evolve in the story. Mine have spiritual issues that resolve through God’s grace in a contemporary setting. Their personality traits deepen through the story, sometimes developing in surprising ways I didn’t originally plan.

rem: I love when the story surprises me, especially when I’m the one writing it! What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

KAREN: The easiest thing about publishing is having someone else do that for you. My first novella is part of a ten-author anthology, which was published by Lena Nelson Dooley. The hardest thing is to find a publisher or figure out how to Indie publish, which is what I’m facing with my current novel. Understanding and implementing a strong marketing plan are the biggest keys to success.

rem: I know very few people who don’t have great disdain for the marketing aspect of being an author… What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

KAREN: To do: Read all you can about your craft, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. Attend conferences your first year and just try to learn as much as possible. Create a good library of reference materials, like The Emotions Thesaurus. Learn Scrivener. Invest in a good laptop or computer and know how to use it. Join a good critique group. (Whoops, more than 3!) (meh, who’s counting?)

To Not Do: don’t write without an outline—plan before you begin. Don’t fail to set daily goals, whether it’s time or word count. And don’t let others’ criticism turn into writer’s block.

rem: Yeah, ‘bout outlining… Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

KAREN: My greatest ideas all come from real life—the people I’ve known and the places I’ve been. Great writers pass on the good advice of always writing about what you know.

rem: Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

KAREN: The fiction I currently write is for my ministry, Touched by Him. I try to show how characters deal with spiritual issues in a contemporary setting. My first story is about how important it is to choose a godly mate in a world where true believers are scarce. The second is about how a broken marriage can be salvaged and redeemed through God’s merciful love and grace.

rem: Which character in the story is most like/least like you?

KAREN: I am most like Gwen Livingston, whose husband was unfaithful to her. Although my personal circumstances are different from Gwen’s, I hope to show how forgiveness and learning to trust again are keys for every person who has suffered through the unfaithfulness of his or her spouse. I am least like Meredith Holloway, Carlie’s loose-living sorority sister who stabs her in the back.

rem: See? Now I’m gonna have to read your story! Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

KAREN: Desire’s Deception is the name of my second book, slated for a 2016 publication. The original plan was to be part of an April Love novella collection, but this story dictates a larger word count, so it will become a novel instead.

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

KAREN: Sin is a messy business that splashes on everyone. You can’t get away with a secret life forever, and when it comes out, everyone suffers—the innocent along with the guilty.

rem: The best stories have secrets somewhere in them, methinks. Tell us about your ministry, Touched by Him. How did that come about  and what is your purpose and mission?

KAREN: When I retired from my teaching career in 2014, I knew it was time to begin the ministry. God called me more than twenty years ago, after I went through the most difficult trials of my life. My mission is to use my experience to help others find His answers to their life’s trials, and most importantly, to find salvation in Jesus Christ.

rem: Father is always faithful to take our mess and turn it for our good. Thank you for being on my blog today, Karen. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you.

You can follow her blog about scriptural answers to life’s trials at Touched by Him Ministries at www.karenjurgens.com.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/karenha00661653

Facebook Author page: http://www.facebook.com/TheKarenJurgens

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Jurgens/e/B016CXTOOG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_6

Writing Prompts blog: https://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com/

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Carlie Livingston is steering into her last year of college in Oxford, Ohio, confident that she and Lance Holloway are headed to the altar after graduation. Those plans are wrecked, however, by her dad’s infidelity, causing her parents to walk through a messy divorce. Will she have the same fate if she marries her college sweetheart who comes from a secular family? Her mother insists she will.

She tests God’s Word by letting Him take the wheel of her life. But if God is in control, why are all her close relationships crumbling? Nothing makes sense.

Just when it appears hopeless, Clay McKinney two-steps into Carlie’s life, promising to provide everything she’s looking for. But if he’s God’s answer, why can’t her heart release Lance? Where will her final destination be on this journey of trust?

rem: Thanks for joining us today, Karen. It’s been a pleasure having on my blog!

You can find Karen at:

Author of A Christmas Mosaic, published 2015
Desire’s Deception, coming 2016
www.karenjurgens.com

www.writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com

www.facebook.com/TheKarenJurgens

http://www.twitter.com/karenha00661653

http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Jurgens/e/B016CXTOOG/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_6

#karenjurgens, #writingpromptscrew, #authorinterview, #aChristmasmosaic, , #desiresdeception, #touchedbyHim

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Author Interview – BETTY THOMASON OWENS

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WRITING PROMPTS & THOUGHTS & IDEAS (oh my)

INTERVIEW BLITZ

Betty Thomason Owens writes romantic comedy, historical fiction, and fantasy-adventure. She has contributed hundreds of articles and interviews to various blogs around the Internet and is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), where she leads a critique group. She’s also a mentor, assisting other writers, and a co-founder of a blog dedicated to inspiring writers. Annabelle’s Ruth (June, 2015), a 1950’s historical novel based on the Book of Ruth, is the first book in the Kinsman Redeemer Series (Write Integrity Press). Her 20’s era romance, Amelia’s Legacy, Book 1, Legacy Series, released October, 2014 (Write Integrity Press). She also writes contemporary stories as a co-author of A Dozen Apologies and its sequels, The Love Boat Bachelor, and Unlikely Merger. She has two fantasy-adventure novels, The Lady of the Haven and A Gathering of Eagles, in a second edition published by Sign of the Whale Books™, an imprint of Olivia Kimbrell Press™.

 

So glad you’re here, Betty!

 

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My advice to all those interested in writing: join a *critique group or writers’ organization such as American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Word Weavers International, or Romance Writers of America (RWA). Whatever you write, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, historical, romance, fantasy, or devotional, there’s an organization or group out there for you.

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Critique also means criticism. Most of us don’t really want to have our work criticized. Hopefully, you will find a fellow writer or group of writers who will engage in gentle criticism of your work, be more concerned about helping you along your writing journey.”

 

rem: Welcome to my blog, Betty, so glad to have you here. Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

Betty: Daddy was a nomad, so we moved a lot. San Diego and West Tennessee were his favorite spots, so we moved back and forth for a while. He finally found his niche in the insurance business and they sent him to Knoxville, Tennessee, then Louisville, Kentucky. I put down roots in Louisville.

rem: My mother had gypsy blood, too, and we moved every year for several years. Oy! Tell us three things about yourself.

Betty: I’m a major klutz. I can trip over invisible things. (rem: a special talent)

I was once “mama” to two Charolais calves. They followed me around like puppies. Imagine two full-grown cows that loved to play chicken with their “mama.” A thousand pounds running at you, full-speed, to stop just inches in front of you. Chilling. I’ve always been a storyteller. Mom called them “lies.” I didn’t make up the cow story, though.

rem: Well, now, that’s different, calves following you around! If you could have any super power what would it be?

Betty: I’d like to be able to run really, really fast—like The Flash. Actually, I’d like to be able to run.

rem: I hear ya—and I plan to after my surgeries! Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

Betty: I’m a coffee drinker and a coffee snob. I like the cool beans, cream—no sugar, please.

rem: I’m particular about my coffee too, cinnamon hazelnut, no cream or sugar. Vacation: beach or mountains?

Betty: I love both, but we usually end up lazing our days on the beach.

rem: With the water lapping at your toes, of course. What is your greatest regret?

Betty: I didn’t have big hair in the eighties. Honestly, I try not to do regrets, but there really is one and it’s big, at least to me. I wish I’d kissed my dad goodbye the last time I saw him.

 

rem: cute. Sorry about you dad, I know that must have been hard. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you?

Betty: I love happy endings, but sappiness gives me indigestion.

rem: Yeah, I don’t do sappy either. ick ick Your fiction pet peeve?

Betty: A cliffhanger! Hate! Hate!

rem: Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

Betty: There is a tie between Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice. I love them both and have read them a ridiculous number of times.

rem: Both excellent choices. And both favorites of mine. Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Betty: Edmond Dantes in The Count of Monte Cristo. He lived an amazing life—actually several—and gave up everything for love.

rem: Another favorite of mine. Which is more important: plot or characters?

Betty: I love character-driven stories and I tend to write that way.

 

rem: Tell us a little about your writing journey.

Betty: I started writing as a release. I was a stay-at-home-mom with three boys. Yeah, release! Several years later, I’d finished my first novel, a 1920’s coming-of-age story, and stuck it out there on the ACFW critique loop, where I met Fay Lamb. She believed in my writing and later encouraged me to send the manuscript to Tracy Ruckman at Write Integrity Press. Meanwhile, my husband told me this was my year to be published. The year drew to an end and it hadn’t happened. Tracy called me on New Year’s Eve and offered me a contract.

rem: Oh! How I do love those “serendipity” moments! What a great way to ring in the New Year! What is your Writing Routine? Where do you write: In a cave, a coffeehouse, or a cozy nook?

Betty: I’m retired and my day starts early. I have quiet time, then get a little marketing and socializing done, then open my manuscript and work until it’s time to make breakfast for my husband (he works second shift). Where do I write? I prefer to use a laptop wherever I can get the best view of the sunrise. I move around during the day, usually ending up in the family room. When I’m really into writing, I’m oblivious to most distractions. Except bright sunshine. Tends to lure me away from the computer screen to the outdoors.

rem: I’m with ya on the outdoors! But when I’m writing, I stay put. What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

Betty: I get stuck sometimes. Maybe I can’t think of the right word, or maybe the plot’s not working out. I go for a walk, or if the weather’s bad, I clean. Physical activity seems to “un-stick” my mind!

rem: Again with the outdoors. Sometimes I just sits on the front porch and watch the clouds and the trees! Do you prefer the creating or editing aspect of writing? Why?

Betty: Definitely creating, because I love the freedom of storytelling—writing with abandon until I’ve formed a scene or a chapter I like. I also enjoy the editing process when it’s mine. When someone else has done the editing, it’s hard, because I know they’re wrong. After a while, though, I realize they’re probably right and I go fix the problem.

rem: Ohhhh, it’s hard putting our literary babies in somebody else’s hands only to have them slice-n-dice it up. What do you enjoy most about being a writer?

Betty: Besides the aforementioned elation of writing with abandon—getting a good review, or a positive feedback from a reader.

rem: Well, yeah. What was the hardest thing about publishing? The easiest?

Betty: My first experience with publishing was the old-fashioned self-publishing route of paying a company to make it happen. It was not a good experience, but I loved the stories and continued to work with them. Once the contract was up on the original company, I updated them and re-released them with a small publisher who made them look wonderful. Getting the attention of an agent or publisher is difficult with all the competition out there. It took a while and a lot of querying to get the 1920’s book, Amelia’s Legacy, in print. This was also the easiest thing, once I had signed the contract. I didn’t have the entire weight of the editing process on me. Having a professional work on the book took a lot of pressure off.

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

Betty: Top 3 – Work hard. Pray hard. Research well.

Don’t do these – Don’t give up. Don’t think you can edit your own work. Don’t sign until you’ve read the contract and researched the company/publisher/editor well.

rem: Excellent nugget about researching a company/publisher! Also, standard but excellent reminder to (actually) read the contract before you sign. Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

Betty: The greatest come from my memories, growing up. I’ve met a lot of people along the way—a lot of truly quirky characters—who add depth to the stories. Sometimes ideas just “drop in.” Love those.

rem: Do you have a favorite book or work that you’ve written? If so, why?

Betty: Annabelle’s Ruth, my latest release, is my favorite. The biblical story of Ruth has always fascinated me. I took the ideas from that book and combined them with the stories I’d heard of my mother’s early life so the setting is 1950’s rural West Tennessee. The personal connection is what makes it special to me. Also, many of the characters in the book actually existed, though I changed their names and adjusted them a little—kind of like caricatures.

rem: Which to me, makes the best reading. Which character in the story is most like/least like you?

Betty: I’m probably in both the main characters. Annabelle (the Naomi character in the book) is actually modeled after my paternal grandmother, and I’m a lot like her. The Jensen character is the least like me, but he was the most fun to write. He’s just mean and greedy!

rem: Those nasty folk really are fun to write, aren’t they? Tell us a little about your latest book? What is your current project?

Betty: I recently wrapped up the second book in the Legacy series. The title is Carlotta’s Legacy. Last I heard, it was in the hands of the editor. And I just started writing the second book in the Kinsman Redeemer series (following Annabelle’s Ruth). The working title is Sutter’s Landing, and it will take up where I left off in Annabelle’s Ruth. More adventures in the lives of my main characters.

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

Betty: All of my books so far have a running theme of forgiveness, which is very important to me. Annabelle’s Ruth emphasizes God’s grace and redemption. Even in seasons of great loss and difficulty, God’s light shines through.

rem: Oh, Betty, that’s so true! Thanks for joining us today, it’s been a pleasure having on my blog!

 

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You can find Betty at the following locations:

Facebook Author Page

Twitter

Pinterest

She also contribute to: Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas…Oh My!

 

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#bettythomasonowens, #writingpromptscrew, #authorinterview, #kinsmanredeemer, #annabellesruth, #carlottaslegacy, #sutterslanding

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Author Interview – Writing Prompt Crew member JENNIFER HALLMARK

 

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WRITING PROMPTS & THOUGHTS & IDEAS (oh my)

INTERVIEW BLITZ

 

Jennifer is a writer by nature, artist at heart, and daughter of God by His grace. With over 200 articles and interviews on the internet, her attention has moved to southern fiction and YA fantasy.

Her first book published in early 2014, a multi-authored romantic comedy novella, called A Dozen Apoligies. She is currently shopping her YA series, Journey of Grace: Realm of Ecclesia and a contemporary southern fiction novel, When Wedding and Weather Collide. She is also part of two compilation projects: Unlikely Merger is a romantic novella, a sequel to A Dozen Apologies which released July 1st, 2015. She’s also contributed to the anthology: Not Alone: A Literary and Spiritual Companion for those Confronted with Infertility and Miscarriage which released in December 2015.

Jennifer shares a writer’s reference blog, Writing Prompts & Thoughts & Ideas… Oh My! with friends, Betty, Tammy, Allison, Karen, Cari, Holly, Anne, Robin, and Betty B.

“The most important thing to me is my faith in God the father, His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Second is my family and friends. For me, a relationship with God has made life worth living, full to the max and overflowing. Do you know Him? Read the Bible and you’ll discover a God who is good, merciful, and just.”

 

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“The most important thing to me is my faith in God the father, His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Second is my family and friends. For me, a relationship with God has made life worth living, full to the max and overflowing. Do you know Him? Read the Bible and you’ll discover a God who is good, merciful, and just.”

 

rem: Welcome to my blog, Jennifer. Tell us a little about yourself.

Jennifer: Hi, Robin! I’m a wife, mother, and grandmother from Alabama and a retired chicken farmer. J I love to read, write, and spend time with my family.

rem: Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

Jennifer: I lived in several places including Florida growing up but ended up in North Alabama. I’ve lived in Northwest Alabama for the last thirty-three years with my husband, Danny.

rem: Not too far from where I first took on the world—Columbus AFB, Mississippi! Tell us three things about yourself.

Jennifer:

  • I have one brother who lives in Alaska and I’m going to see him in June. Woo hoo!
  • I love basset hounds, especially my dog, Max.
  • I’m a huge football fan. Roll Tide!

rem: Glad you get to go see your brother! I’ve got a pretty good one too! Coffee or tea? Sweet or un? Flavored or not?

Jennifer: I adore hot tea, sweetened with honey. No flavorings but I do drink decaf (doctor’s orders)

rem: Once in a while do I add honey to hot tea but mostly unsweetened all the way! Vacation: beach or mountains?

Jennifer: That’s a tough one. I do love warm weather and the beach. But the mountains are so enjoyable during any season. I really enjoy going to the Smoky Mountains…

rem: Basically how I feel, too. What is your greatest fear?

Jennifer: Fear has been a major struggle throughout my life. God keeps bringing me further along as I lean on Him. Probably fear of failure. My perfectionist tendencies cause me to grab hold of lies about the true meaning of failure, success, and significance.

rem: Yes, Father showed me a few years ago that perfectionism is not His—excellence is, and there’s a world (literally) of difference!) Perfectionism is a cruel task master, while, like Father, excellence sees our abilities and our heart. (here endeth the lesson) What do you do as a hobby?

Jennifer: I enjoy puzzles, from Sudoku to jigsaw. I love music. I’m always downloading and singing new songs. My husband and I like to drive around, checking out new towns and restaurants.

rem: Sounds like a good mix of fun. When reading, what makes or breaks a story for you? Your fiction pet peeve?

Jennifer: Great characters. I have to get inside the skin of someone if I’m going to enjoy the read. My pet peeve would be stories whose endings are tied up too perfectly to be true.

rem: I agree. I read a great story a couple of years ago but some of the characters ran together, it was hard to keep up. Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?

Jennifer: Beside the Bible, probably Sherlock Holmes or The Chronicles of Narnia. Too close to call.

rem: Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Jennifer: Albert Campion. He’s a mystery-solving Brit in the 1920’s brought to life by Margery Allingham. I’ve read and reread the series of books with him in them.

rem: Love the era, and of course, I love all things British! Which is more important: plot or characters?

Jennifer: Characters. I can read a book that’s really introspective with little plot but cannot stand one with shallow characters.

rem: Tell us a little about your writing journey.

Jennifer: It started as a child but didn’t turn into a profession until 2006. That’s when I decided to take a course on writing and see where it would lead. The journey has had its ups and downs with lots of lessons learned. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

rem: Don’t all life journeys have their ups and downs? Else what value have they? What makes you struggle as an author? How do you handle it?

Jennifer: I struggle with the distractions and unforeseen circumstances in life. The last year has been extremely difficult and my time spent writing has suffered. To handle it, I edit a lot and work on articles. I know the part of creating something new will return at some point.

rem: Life does throw us those curve balls sometimes; seems you’re handling the best way you can. What are your top 3 recommendations for a new writer? What 3 things would recommend not doing?

Jennifer: Do: Join a writing group. Practice. Watch out for scams in the writing world.

Don’t: Isolate yourself. Publish too soon. Don’t give up.

rem: Agree, on all counts. Especially, don’t give up. Where do you get your greatest ideas for writing?

Jennifer: Dreams, writing prompts, and life. Everything I’ve written started as a dream, a writing prompt, or a situation that occurred in my life. I then take the idea and mold it into a story.

rem: Writing Prompts (and Thoughts and Ideas! Oh my!) hmmm, imagine that! Talk a little bit about Not Alone. What drove you to be part of this project? What was the writing experience like, sharing these stories with others who have been through this loss?

Jennifer: Not Alone is an edgy Chicken Soup of the Soul type book. It’s full of honest stories by everyday people who’ve suffered from the effects of a miscarriage or infertility. I’d written my story down long ago and when I heard that Jessica Snell was interested in submissions for this compilation, I was intrigued. It proved healing to share my story with the possibility of helping someone in their own journey of loss.

rem: So sorry for your loss, Jennifer. I’m glad you’ve found healing, and that it is something you can share and minister through. Thanks so much for joining us today, it’s been a pleasure having on my blog!

 

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Connect with Jennifer at:

 

http://www.jenniferhallmark.com

http://writingpromptsthoughtsideas.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/jenniferhallmark

https://www.facebook.com/authorjenniferhallmark

https://twitter.com/JenHwrites

https://www.pinterest.com/jenlhallmark989/

 

Links to book:

Kalos Press 

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

 

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#jenniferhallmark, #writingpromptscrew, #authorinterview, #notalone, #heart seekers

 

NOTE: this interviewer will be in hospital for surgery tomorrow, the 11th. i will reply to comments as soon as i’m able, possibly friday. thanks for understanding and wish me luck! a new knee will soon be mine!

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