WHAT'S IT GOING TO BE?

What book should you read next? What words should you write next? Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, you need look no further for ideas and pointers to help you make up your mind. You might even get your next book for free--and signed by the author!

Sometimes I even give away my own novels. My Inspirational romances and devotionals are pictured below and are detailed on my Books page. You can always count on a trace of humor in my novels and nonfiction. Whether you're a teen or a woman mature in years, I think these stories will ring true.

Read on, and discover some of today's most appealing Christian novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bonnie Leon and Free Books!

When John Bradshaw's first wife, Margaret--who is supposed to be deceased--shows up in Sydney Town, he and his present wife Hannah must trust God to right their shipwrecked lives.

Before we meet today's featured author, I want to announce that the winner of Jenny B. Jones' novel, So Not Happening, is:

gpar0719@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

And now let's revisit novelist Bonnie Leon and hear about her latest release, Enduring Love, book three in the Sydney Cover Series (Revell, May 1 2009). We heard from Bonnie when she released book two in this series (Longings of the Heart).

Here's a little more about Bonnie.

Bonnie Leon is the author of fifteen novels, including the popular Queensland Chronicles and the Sydney Cove series, plus the bestselling Journey of Eleven Moons. She's excited about a three-book contract she just signed with Revell for a new Alaskan adventure.

Bonnie also stays busy speaking and teaching at writing seminars and conventions. She and her husband Greg live in the mountains of Southern Oregon. They have three grown children and four grandchildren.

Bonnie, please tell us more about Enduring Love.

In book one of the Sydney Cove series, To Love Anew, John Bradshaw and Hannah Talbot are both thrown, unjustly, into the English prison system and transported to New South Wales. They meet on a ship carrying them to a prison in Australia. After overcoming crushing conditions they find love and a new life in Parramatta. Their future together is full of promise until Margaret, John's first wife, shows up in Sydney Town.

Believing Margaret dead, John had stepped into a new life with Hannah. Now all seems lost, especially after receiving counsel from the church's reverend who believes John and Hannah's marriage is not legal. Attempting to build new lives, separate from one another, John begins to rebuild his relationship with Margaret while Hannah returns to her post as housemaid for a wealthy family in Parramatta.

Love cannot be terminated simply because of decree, yet John and Hannah are determined to do the right thing. They place their lives in God's hands, trusting that He can do all things, yet wonder if this is too difficult even for God?

Wow. I love that premise, Bonnie. What fantastic conflict. Which character in your novel most interested you while you wrote? Why?

I've thoroughly enjoyed creating each character in this series, but it is Hannah I most admire. Although she is laid low by her own weaknesses she also possesses strength of character, a forgiving heart, faith in God and an ability to trust God even when His plans do not line up with her own desires.

These are qualities I desire in my own life.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

Australia at the turn of the nineteenth century is an interesting and unfamiliar setting. But beyond that this is a story of complex and fascinating characters and how they face life's most difficult obstacles. They are real people with real weaknesses and strengths. And as they come against unexpected, heartbreaking circumstances readers will wonder how even God can unravel this emotional disaster. I think it's an intriguing and perfect conclusion to the series.

When we discussed Longings of the Heart, you said, if you were the casting director for the film version of the novel, you would cast Ben Affleck as John and Jennifer Garner as Hannah. Is that still the case?

Yes. I believe Ben Affleck would make a good John. He's very good-looking, but not perfectly handsome and he possesses both strength and sensitivity.

Jennifer Garner has a nice balance of beauty and character.

Margaret is new to the series and I think Catharine Zeta Jones would wonderfully portray her flashy beauty and boldness.


What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? Explain.

Using free writing I blast down my first drafts, then go back and edit. The editing is my favorite part. It's so much fun searching for just the right word, laying down foreshadowing, fleshing out scenes and coming up with interesting plot twists.

What do you struggle with in your writing?

Not having enough time is an ongoing struggle. I'm not a "fast" writer. My best work needs time to percolate. It's startling what develops in a story when given the opportunity to grow naturally. The creative mind is a mystery.

However I live in the real world where things other than writing are important--family, church, friends, and marketing cut into my writing, but without all these things life would be empty.

A new writer wants to know how to keep her readers from setting her book down. What's your advice for her?

Begin with a great story. Create characters readers care about otherwise they won't care about the story. Find the right pacing--keep up the tension and make sure to end each chapter with something that makes a reader want to turn the page.

The last time you visited, I asked you to choose an inanimate object to represent yourself and to explain what you had in common with that object. You chose a picture frame [and if anyone would like to know why, here's the link to Bonnie's December 2008 interview: Bonnie Leon]. How about now?

I love this question. Now I have a chance to add to my list of inanimate objects. I'd like to be a soft, cushy blanket. That way I can wrap myself around someone and offer warmth and comfort.

Considering this response and your picture-frame reasoning, Bonnie, I can tell you get a lot of joy out of ministering to others.

What are you working on now?


I'm in the midst of a new Alaskan series. It's the story of Kate, a bush pilot, and a man named Paul, both transplants from the lower forty-eight. Each has a history they hope to leave behind. One has too much to prove while the other tries to hide from the past.

It's a story of drama and adventure. I'm having a great time and love my characters. Can't wait to see it on bookstore shelves.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book.

I can be found on my website at www.bonnieleon.com. Those who stop by can find out more about my life and what God has been teaching me--I blog weekly. They can check up on my latest writing adventures or contests, and look up writing tips.

My books are available online at Christianbooks.com and Amazon.com as well as other sites.

Thanks Bonnie, for visiting again and telling us about Enduring Love. Readers, Bonnie has offered to sign a copy of her novel for the winner of our drawing on Thursday, May 7. To enter, leave a comment for Bonnie, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed) you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

And check back on Monday, when we'll meet novelist Laurie Alice Eakes, author of Better Than Gold. And we'll draw the winner of Lynette Sowell's book, The Wiles of Watermelon. You can still enter for that drawing under Lynette's interview, below.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lynette Sowell and Free Books!

A small Tennessee town's buried secrets come to life and affect everyone in the present.

Before we meet today's author, I'd like to announce that the winner of the signed copy of Wanda Dyson's book, Shepherd's Fall, goes to:

bc428@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

And now let's meet novelist Lynette Sowell, author of The Wiles of Watermelon (Barbour Publishing, 2008).

PhotobucketLynette Sowell works as a medical transcriptionist for a large HMO. But that's her day job. In her "spare" time, she loves to spin adventures for the characters who emerge from story ideas in her head. She hopes to spread the truth of God's love and person while taking readers on an entertaining journey. Lynette is a Massachusetts transplant, who makes her home in central Texas with her husband, two kids by love and marriage (what's a step-kid?), and five cats who have their humans well trained. She loves to read, travel, spend time with her family, and is a green-thumb-in-training.

Lynette, what can you tell us about The Wiles of Watermelon?

PhotobucketNewlywed Andi Hartley is not at all sure she's ready to look like an over-ripe melon . . . In fact, she's still getting used to being married. But her husband, Ben, wants to start a family right away. Gulp. Their family plans are put on hold when Andi's kitten runs from the house to their watermelon field and digs up a bone attached to the remains of a thirty-year-old skeleton. Buried secrets come to life . . . and then the colorful owner of Greenburg's best eatery is murdered. As Andi unearths more and more of the suspicious history surrounding the skeleton, she realizes both deaths are related.

Okay, that does it--no cats in my garden! What a fun premise, Lynette.

Which character in your novel most interested you while you wrote? Why?


Honey Haggerty, the owner of Honey's Place, a local restaurant featured in my book. She's a loud and wild character, and it was hard to learn why she did many of the things she did in the book.

What an intriguing comment. I love it when a character is so real the novelist has to walk through the story with her before her motivations become clear.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?


It's a small-town mystery, with characters I think most of us have encountered at some point in real life. Plus, there's not one, but two, murder victims.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

PhotobucketRenee Zellweger would make a great Andi, with her sweet quirkiness.

PhotobucketGoing by looks alone, Michael Chiklis would make a great Ben.

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? Explain.

I enjoy tightening my writing, and working with other writers to help tighten their work. Sometimes more words aren't prettier; they're just more words. Of course, the flip side of that is I usually have to make sure I've used enough words to make my own book come alive in the way I'd like.

What do you struggle with in your writing?

Oh, the ideas! I can be reading the news, be traveling, or hear a friend tell a true story, and I'll get a story idea drop into my head. But it takes patience and skill to know when a book idea is fleshed out enough to start writing. I like to know what happens in the book as much as I can, and ideas don't always cooperate.

A new writer wants to know how to keep her readers from setting her book down. How would you advise her?

1. Don't end a chapter with a character turning out the lights to go to bed.
2. Don't give too much information at the beginning of the story.
3. Give your character lots of problems to solve!

What is the last book you read that impacted you? How did it affect you?

The Principle of the Path, by Andy Stanley. I don't read a lot of nonfiction, but this book kept me up late to finish it. I've reevaluated a lot of things in my life that I'd like to change with God's help.

What are you working on now?

I'm currently working on a contemporary romance proposal set in Arizona that I hope to submit to the editor in mid May.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book.

My web site is www.lynettesowell.com . If you'd like to order my book, you can e-mail me directly at lynette@lynettesowell.com.

Thanks, Trish!

You're welcome, Lynette. And thanks for telling us about yourself and The Wiles of Watermelon. Readers, Lynette has offered to sign a copy of her book for the winner of our drawing on Monday, May 4. To enter, leave a comment for Lynette, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed), you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

And check back on Thursday, when we'll revisit novelist Bonnie Leon, and hear about her new novel, Enduring Love. And we'll draw the winner of Jenny B. Jones' book, So Not Happening. You can still enter for that drawing under Jenny's interview, below.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sara Mills' Novels Give-away

Happy Saturday, all. The winner in today's drawing for both of Sara Mills' novels is angelahipp@ . . . .



Congratulations! I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

There's still time to enter the drawings for Wanda Dyson's Shepherd's Fall and Jenny B. Jones' So Not Happening, below.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jenny B. Jones and Free Books!

New York's social darling Isabella Kirkwood just woke up in a nightmare: Oklahoma.

Before we meet today's featured author, I want to announce that the winner of Loree Lough's novel, Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania, is:

peachykath79@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

And now let's meet novelist Jenny B. Jones, author of So Not Happening (Thomas Nelson, April 2009).

Tell us about yourself, Jenny.

PhotobucketI write Christian fiction with a few giggles, quite a bit of sass, and lots of crazy. My novels include the Katie Parker Production series and the upcoming book So Not Happening. I would also like to take credit for Twilight, but somewhere I think I read you're not supposed to lie.

Yeah, I'd rather you not take credit for my hard work, Jenny.

When I'm not typing my heart out (or checking email), I teach at a super-sized high school in Arkansas. My students are constantly telling me how my teaching changes their lives and turned them away from drugs, gangs, and C-SPAN.

Okay, that's not exactly true.

Maybe you watched Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds one too many times, eh? Will you tell us a bit more about So Not Happening?

PhotobucketBella Kirkwood had it all: A-list friends at her prestigious private school, Broadway in her backyard, and Daddy's MasterCard in her wallet. Then her father, a plastic surgeon to the stars, decided to trade her mother in for a newer model.

When Bella's mom falls in love with a man she met on the Internet--a factory worker with two bratty sons--Bella has to pack up and move in with her new family to Truman, Oklahoma. On a farm no less!

Forced to trade her uber-trendy NYC lifestyle for down-home charm, Bella feels like a pair of Rock and Republic jeans in a sea of Wranglers. But soon, things fall apart at school, and Bella is the outsider. Forced to be on the school paper, she finds her greatest enemy to be her new, hot editor. Before long, Bella smells something wrong in the town of Truman, and it's not just the cow pasture. With her savvy reporter's instincts, she is determined to find the story behind all the secrets.

Which character in your novel most interested you while you wrote? Why?

The main character, Bella, popped into my head as I was writing my first series. I thought, "Wouldn't it be funny to take a Gossip Girl type and flip that character on her tail? Bring her "down home." And I mourned for days when the teen mystery Veronica Mars went off the air. So I just combined the two ideas. Originally I thought it would be a great idea--for someone who wasn't me. I didn't have any experience writing mysteries, so it was a crazy challenge. But I loved it.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

Reading it will remove all traces of cellulite.

Say no more! But really. Say more.

Hopefully it has a little bit of everything--romance, intrigue, suspense, and most importantly--humor. I hope it's an escape. I'm not a deep girl, so I just wanted to bring a faith-based message through entertainment and (fingers crossed) some laughs.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

Ha! Great question. I taught drama for a number of years, so I'd totally want to cast.

PhotobucketI'd pick Demi Lovato from Disney as Isabella Kirkwood.

PhotobucketA younger version of Tom "Superman" Welling for her love interest.

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And I would have a cameo, of course. Because it's my dream to visit a set and raid the food area.

This is a picture of Hollywood Jenny.

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? Explain.


Writing easy? Um, hitting the send button when it's over. I love this job, I do. But no part of it is easy for me. Career-wise it's the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm really good at the procrastination part though. And emailing and Facebooking--necessary skills for any serious writer.

I knew I was cut out for this biz. What do you struggle with in your writing?

My main problem (no shock) is discipline and staying focused. It's amazing what you suddenly HAVE to do while you're writing. During this last book, I was compelled to get out there and clean my garage. I'm so easily distracted. I'm a seat-of-the-pants writer, so I struggle with rejection every day. Sitting down and having nothing in my head is not a good feeling. A familiar one, but not a good one.

I hope you have enough in there to answer this one: How would you advise a new writer asking how to keep her readers from setting her book down?

Be original. Use conflict. Include kissing scenes with an alpha male. Stick fives and tens throughout the pages.

I have been reading the wrong books.

Okay, Jenny, choose an inanimate object to represent you. Explain what you have in common with that object.


Paper--blank with some potential.

What is the last book you read that impacted you? How did it affect you?

My agent passed on the greatest book to me. It's called A Girl Named Zippy, by Haven Kimmel. It's nonfiction, but it's so engrossing, it feels like fiction. It's just about a young girl's crazy life in small town Indiana. Nothing especially big happens to her, but it's the way she writes that makes even the mundane sound riveting. I can't sing its praises enough. It's my new gift book for friends and family. It's also one of the funniest books I've ever read. Rarely does a book make me laugh out loud, but this one? Omigosh. Amazing. The author will either inspire you or make you want to pack up your MacBook forever.

Yes, I remember that book! She does have a fun voice. And there are touching parts, too, if I remember; especially near the end.

What are you working on now?

I just finished Just Between You and Me, my first foray into women's fiction and a Women of Faith pick for 2010. It's the story of Maggie Montgomery, a woman who must return home and face both her past and her future. It's about living fearlessly when the world is crumbling around you. There is conflict. There are kissing scenes with an alpha male. And there will be fives and tens in the pages.

And you said you weren't disciplined. Sounds like you've got a formula that works, girl, and you stick with it. Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book, notably the version with the fives and tens.

Stop by my blog. It's my favorite writing venue, for sure. We have lots of fun and discuss irrelevant things like Britney Spears, movies, books, and the fact that you can find RoboPigeons in London.

Link to the latest book:
Amazon.com

Thanks Jenny, for visiting and telling us about So Not Happening. Readers, Jenny has offered to sign a copy of her novel for the winner of our drawing on Thursday, April 30. To enter, leave a comment for Jenny, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed) you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

And check back on Monday, when we'll meet novelist Lynette Sowell, author of The Wiles of Watermelon. And we'll draw the winner of Wanda Dyson's book, Shepherd's Fall. You can still enter for that drawing under Wanda's interview, below.

Finally, if you'd like to leave a comment for Sara Mills, (see April 15 posting, below), please do. This Saturday, April 25, I'll draw a name from those who have commented and will send both of Sara's novels to the winner. See more info, below.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Wanda Dyson and Free Books!

When a bounty hunter's family is threatened, he is forced to take his moral code right to the limit and fight the urge to step over the line between what he should do and what he could do.

Before we meet today's author, I'd like to announce that the winner of the signed copy of Debby Mayne's book, Peachtree Dreams, goes to:

msgtspfox@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

And now let's meet novelist Wanda Dyson, author of Shepherd's Fall (RandomHouse/Waterbrook, April 2009).

PhotobucketWanda Dyson is the best-selling author of suspense novels and a non-fiction title that was featured on Oprah. She lives in Maryland on a horse farm with her daughter, the horses, the chickens, the rabbits, the cats, two Australian Shepherds and a German Shepherd puppy.

Please tell us a bit more about Shepherd's Fall, Wanda.

PhotobucketNick Shepherd is the first-born of the three Shepherd siblings and the most dedicated to the family bounty hunter business. But that dedication may cost him everything when he starts a personal war with the Carver crime family and they take his teenage daughter in retaliation. Time is running out, the ATF is blocking his way, and someone close to him is about to betray him. Can he get to Krystal before it all falls apart?

Which character in your novel most interested you while you wrote? Why?

I loved Nick--I guess being a first-born child and something of a control freak, I could relate to him, but Conner ended up intriguing me the most. He's solid, dedicated, and devoted to his family and friends, but he has a history that gives him a unique perception of the world around him.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

It's fast paced, lots of action, and the kind of book that men enjoy as much as women.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

PhotobucketNick - Michael Weatherly.

PhotobucketSteven - Nathan Fillion

PhotobucketMarti - Sandra Bullock




Conner - Actor/wrestler The Rock
Photobucket

PhotobucketRafe - Antonio Banderas

Those are some mighty attractive bounty hunters, Wanda. What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? Explain.

Writing the action, setting it up and keeping it going. My mind just works that way. It's running in my head so fast that I just keep typing. I don't have to think too hard to kill someone off.

Duly noted, my dear. What do you struggle with in your writing?

Characters. I am so not a character writer, so developing them on paper as well as I know them in my head is a real struggle. I much prefer writing the crime, the action, the high-octane parts of the book.

A new writer wants to know how to keep her readers from setting her book down. What's your advice?

Keep raising questions but don't be so quick to provide the answers. That really is the simplest way I know to keep them turning the pages.

Choose an inanimate object to represent you. Explain what you have in common with that object.

Wow. Tough question. I'm going to say my desk. Because I'm a mess. LOL. Seriously, people think I am so organized, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, you do hide that well, especially from any of us who have witnessed you at writers' conferences. What is the last book you read that impacted you? How did it affect you?

The Night Watchman by Mark Mynheir. He did such a phenomenal job developing that remarkable character that I just couldn't get enough of him. It makes me really want to develop that skill . . . of bringing remarkable characters to life on the page.

What are you working on now?

Right now, I'm finishing up Steven's story, the second book in the Prodigal trilogy - Shepherd's Run. He's such a fascinating guy because he's doing what he thinks is his duty even though he'd much prefer to be doing something else and it's fun to watch God take him apart and force him to see what he should be doing with his life.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book.

My site: www.WandaDyson.com And there's a link there to go straight to Amazon to buy the book.

Thanks, Wanda, for telling us about yourself and Shepherd's Fall. Readers, Wanda has offered to sign a copy of her book for the winner of our drawing on Monday, April 27. To enter, leave a comment for Wanda, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed), you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

And check back on Thursday, when we'll meet novelist Jenny B. Jones, author of So Not Happening. And we'll draw the winner of Loree Lough's book, Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania. You can still enter for that drawing under Loree's interview, below.

Finally, if you'd like to leave a comment for Sara Mills, (see April 15 posting, below), please do. On April 25 I'll draw a name from those who have commented and will send both of Sara's novels to the winner. See more info, below.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Loree Lough and Free Books!

It seems a miracle when two lonely people find one another . . . until they find themselves on opposite sides of an intense trial involving the murder of a 5 year old Amish boy.

Before we meet today's featured author, I want to announce that the winner of Merrillee Wren's novel, Homecoming Blessings, is:

rebornbutterfly@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

And now let's meet novelist Loree Lough, author of Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania (Summerside Press, April 2009).

PhotobucketAt last count, best-selling author Loree Lough had 71 books, 62 short stories, and more than 2,500 articles in print. Dubbed "edgy, heart-tugging adventures" by reviewers, her stories have earned dozens of "Readers' Choice" and industry awards.

A frequent guest speaker for writers' organizations, government agencies, book clubs, college and high school writing programs and more, Loree has encouraged thousands with her comedic approach to 'learned-the-hard-way' lessons about the craft, and 600 (and counting!) of her former students are now published authors.

Loree splits her time between an Allegheny Mountains cabin and a home in the Baltimore suburbs, and shares both with her husband and a formerly-abused, now-spoiled Pointer whose numerous vet visits inspired the nickname 'Cash'.

I love that nickname! Now that my son is nearing college age, maybe I'll start using that name with him.

What more can you tell us about Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania, Loree? What's your back-cover copy?


PhotobucketFor as long as anyone can remember, tourists have flocked to the quaint town of Paradise, Pennsylvania, where Amish buggies are as common as shops selling handcrafted goods. But to attorney Julia Spencer this town is anything but a paradise. Raised in foster homes, Julia has succeeded in life only through steely determination and independence. The closeknit Amish people are a mystery to her, but local veterinarian Simon Thomas knows them well and is fiercely protective of their simple ways, which are increasingly threatened by the outside world. When Julia agrees to defend a local teenager charged in a case involving an Amish boy, she and Simon find themselves on opposite sides of an intense and emotional legal battle. Just when it seems they will never understand one another, God has something to teach them both about the power of forgiveness and the joys to be found in Paradise.

Which character in your novel most interested you while you wrote? Why?

Simon (the hero), because he started out a guy who seemed to have it 'all together' until tragedy upset his carefully-ordered world. Watching him deal with inner turmoil, and overcome, was something to behold.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

Well, to quote Colleen Coble (one of the novel's endorsers), it's "an artfully woven tale that weaves unforgettable characters with Amish culture." (It also has some heart-tugging scenes, fast-paced dialog, and edge-of-your-seat action.)

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

Photobucket
Wish list, eh? How 'bout Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts!
Photobucket

All right, I'm back now after spending way too much time searching for the perfect Brad Pitt shot.

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you, Loree? Explain.


I'd have to say dialog, and I think there are two reasons for that. One, I'm one of those people who can mimic an accent or dialect after just a few minutes with a person, so capturing a character's, well, character with the use of speech patterns comes quite naturally to me. Two, dialog is the springboard for so many other plot elements . . . like motive and reaction and conflict resolution. Just as most of us use dialog to 'reason things out' (aloud, or in our heads), my characters use 'words' to start the problem solving ball rolling.

What do you struggle with in your writing?

Time! I never seem to have enough of it. If I could, I'd sit at my desk 24/7/365, but I have a husband, kids and grandkids. A dog. A house to clean and a yard to maintain. Groceries to buy, bills to pay . . . the list is endless, and every item on it requires--and deserves--my full, undivided attention. I often joke that if I had 48 hours in every day, maybe I'd get half the things on my To Do list crossed off. But I know myself: If God blessed me with 48 hour days? I'd ask for 52!

A new writer wants to know how to keep her readers from setting her book down. How would you advise her?

Plot, plot, plot. First, it's my sure-fire way to develop characters readers can identify with, which means putting them in situations my readers identify with. Plotting, rather than writing 'by the seat of my pants,' is the only way I can nix the dreaded sagging middle.

Choose an inanimate object to represent you. Explain what you have in common with that object.

My neighbors have compared me to the Energizer Bunny, and while he's cute as a Gerber baby, I'm more inclined to say a Timex watch. Remember that old TV commercial: "It takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'"? Well, that's me. No matter what, I'm movin' forward.

What is the last book you read that impacted you? How did it affect you?

The Wedding, by Nicholas Sparks. I hafta preface this by saying that normally, I'm a huge Sparks fan, but this time? I did not did not did NOT like the protagonist's wife! She was a whiny, ungrateful, self-centered, clingy little brat who surely didn't deserve all the wonderful things the protagonist did for her . . . which detracted from what otherwise would have been a strong, capable, MAN.

Oh, I know what you mean! I'm in the middle of a novel right now which involves a husband very similar to the wife you describe. I don't know how the wife will handle her situation long-term yet, but it's so difficult to read about people undermining their so-called loved ones!

What are you working on now?


Three more titles for Summerside: Love Finds You in North Pole, Alaska, and Be Still . . . and Let Your Nail Polish Dry (co-authored devotional by Andrea Boeshaar, Sandie Bricker, Debby Mayne and myself), both due in bookstores October 1, 2009, and Love Finds You in Folly Beach, South Carolina, with an Oct. 1 deadline that should hit the shelves early next spring.

How wonderful to see you so busy! Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book.

I love to hear from my readers, so feel free to write me at loree@loreelough.com.

And please visit my blog, The Lough Down: www.theloughdown.blogspot and my soon-to-be-improved web site: www.loreelough.com where, if you're patient, you'll hear some hauntingly beautiful music.

I'm on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube (where people can view my the book trailer for Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania, just by typing the title into their search box), Shoutlife, GodTube (which has a new name that keeps escaping me), and a slew of other stuff that would just incite yawns.

Thanks so much, Loree, for visiting and telling us about Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania. Readers, Loree has offered to sign a copy of her novel for the winner of our drawing on Thursday, April 23. To enter, leave a comment for Loree, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed) you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

And check back on Monday, when we'll meet novelist Wanda Dyson, author of Shepherd's Fall. And we'll draw the winner of Debby Mayne's book, Peachtree Dreams. You can still enter for that drawing under Debby's interview, below.

Finally, if you'd like to leave a comment for our dear friend Sara Mills, (see April 15 posting, below), please do. On April 25 I'll draw a name from those who have commented and will send both of Sara's novels to the winner. See more info, below.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sara Mills Books Give-Away

This extra post and book give-away is in support of fellow novelist Sara Mills, whose husband Keith (40) passed away unexpectedly April 7. Sara, now a single parent to three young children, is the author of two wonderful Christian mysteries. Author Cara Putman's interview with Sara, copied below, took place just before Keith's death.

On Saturday, April 25, I will pick a name from the list of comments below this interview and send both of Sara's books to that winner. Sara may see your comments, so feel free to address them directly to her.


Cara's Interview with Sara Mills:

PhotobucketMiss Fortune and Miss Match are delightful books set in NYC in 1947. Tell us how you got the idea for Allie and these books...

I got the idea for Miss Fortune in the middle of the night, when all good ideas come to me: One sleepless night I was watching The Maltese Falcon and I started to wonder how different the story would be if Sam Spade had been a woman. She'd never have fallen for Miss Wunderly's charms and lies. She'd have been smart and tough and she would have solved the case in half the time it took Sam because she wouldn't spend all of her time smoking cigarettes and calling her secretary Precious.

The thought of a hard-boiled female detective got my mind whirling.

I paused the movie and sat in my darkened living room thinking about how much fun a female Sam Spade could be. Intrigued but not yet ready to dash to my computer, I changed disks and put on Casablanca (my all time favorite movie ever). The sweeping love story, a tale full of hard choices and sacrifice was what finally made the whole idea click in my mind. If I could just combine the P.I. detective story of The Maltese Falcon with the love story from Casablanca, and make Sam Spade more of a Samantha, I could have the best of all worlds.

These books are so good, I wish I'd written them. How did you set the stage to capture that gritty PI feel without being dark?

I find that a lot of PI stories are gritty and dark, focusing on the worst of the humanity, and while I wanted the Allie Fortune mysteries to be exciting and tension-filled I didn't want them to be stark and hopeless.

One of the things I tried to do to counteract the darkness was to give Allie a multi-layered life. She has cases, relationships, friends and family, all of which I hope combine to make the stories textured, rich and full of life.

Allie is a character I'd love to have coffee with. What did she teach you while you wrote these books?

Allie was a great character to write. One of the things I learned from her was that human relationships (man/woman, mother/daughter, friends) are complicated and full of unspoken rules and expectations. Allie is a rule-breaker at heart and it complicates her life on a regular basis. One of the storylines I loved most is Allie's relationship with her mother and how it grows and changes and how it's shaped her.

Another dimension of Allie's character that really taught me a lot was her willingness to do whatever was needed to help those she loves. There is no price on that kind of friendship and it's a characteristic I'd like to see more of in myself. Okay I admit it, I've got a bit of a friend-crush on Allie. LOL.

One last question: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would that be and who would you take with you?

If I could go anywhere right now I'd head to Monterey, California (I'm writing a book set there right now) and I'd plant myself on the beach with a notebook, writing my story as the waves crashed. Sounds like my idea of heaven on earth. There's something about the wind-shaped Cypress trees and the crash of the surf in Monterey that calls to me. I don't know why, it just is.

Miss Fortune, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #1

By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers

PhotobucketIn 1947 Allie Fortune is the only female private investigator in New York City, but she's kept awake at night by a mystery of her own: her fiance disappeared in the war and no one knows if he's still alive. Until Allie finds out, she will have no peace. When there's a knock on her office door at four in the morning, Allie suspects trouble as usual, and Mary Gordon is no exception. Mary claims someone is following her, that her apartment has been ransacked, and that she's been shot at, but she has no idea why any of this is happening. Allie takes the case, and in the process discovers an international mystery that puts her own life in danger.

Meanwhile, the FBI is working the case as well, and she is partnered up with an attractive, single agent who would be perfect for her under other circumstances--if only she knew whether her fiance was still alive.



Miss Match, Allie Fortune Mystery Series #2

By Sara Mills / Moody Publishers

Photobucket FBI agent Jack O'Connor receives a letter from Maggie, a woman he used to love, saying she's in trouble in Berlin. The FBI refuses to get involved, so Jack asks Allie Fortune to help him investigate. Allie and Jack pose as a missionary couple who want to bring orphans back to the United States.

A child finds important documents that everyone in the city--Soviets and allies alike--want for themselves. Maggie refuses to tell Jack what the documents are, saying if things go wrong, they are better off not knowing. Through the course of the search, Allie's past is brought back to her, half a world away from home.


I hope you will all keep Sara and her family in your prayers.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Debby Mayne and Free Books!

Three Georgia women face the challenge to believe in happily-ever-after endings.

Before we meet today's author, I'd like to announce that the winner of the signed copy of Linda Hall's book, Shadows on the River, goes to:

tbbycatt@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

And now let's meet novelist Debby Mayne, author of Peachtree Dreams (Barbour, April 2009).

PhotobucketAuthor of more than twenty novels and novellas, Debby Mayne writes for Summerside Press and Barbour Publishing. Her nonfiction articles have appeared in regional parenting magazines, Writer's Digest Magazine, and other professional trade publications. She teaches the "Breaking Into Print" course for Long Ridge Writers Group, and conducts workshops for all ages.

Debby lives on the West Coast of Florida with her husband and two cats. Her upcoming 2009 releases include Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida (Summerside Press), Noah's Ark (Heartsong Presents), Be Still and Let Your Nail Polish Dry (Summerside Press devotional with Sandra Bricker, Loree Lough, and Andrea Boeshaar), and Christmas Homecoming anthology (Barbour Publishing with Paige Winship Dooly, Elizabeth Goddard, and Elizabeth Ludwig).

Be Still and Let Your Nail Polish Dry. You've gotta love that title! Debby, please tell us a bit more about Peachtree Dreams.

PhotobucketThree Georgia women can no longer believe in happily-ever-after endings. Shannon lost her boyfriend when her face was scarred. Jill buries the pain in her past by focusing on her work. Cindi is getting out of the bridal business after her parents announce their divorce. Three determined men will attempt to change these women's opinions of love.

Which character in your book most interested you while you wrote? Why?

Jill Hargrove in "Double Blessing" was the most interesting character to me because she struggles with being self-sufficient, even though she needs help. Many women confuse independence with being able to "do it all." As Jill's faith grows, she learns quite a few valuable lessons about knowing when to let go of the past and rely on God.

Why will readers enjoy your book?

Since this is a 3-in-1, readers will be able to enjoy the stories of three totally different women as they discover true love.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your book, who would play your lead roles?

PhotobucketKatherine Heigl would be a good heroine in "Love's Image" and "If the Dress Fits," two of the stories in Peachtree Dreams.

PhotobucketI can see Hilary Swank playing the lead in "Double Blessing."

PhotobucketKirk Cameron would be a good hero in "Love's Image."

PhotobucketLeonardo DiCaprio in "If the Dress Fits."

PhotobucketAnd Matt Damon in "Double Blessing."

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you?

None of it's easy, but I like dialogue because I can play it in my head like a movie.

Yes, I know what you mean. That's how I usually hear dialogue as I write it, too. What do you struggle with in your writing?

I have the hardest time staying with my main characters because sometimes, secondary characters are surprisingly interesting. One of the reasons I'm excited about my upcoming Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida is that it's longer, and I'm able to explore subplots and other relationships.

This month we're looking at ways to keep readers from setting our books down. How would you advice new authors about this?

Figure out what holds your interest as a reader and do that. Make sure each scene is well motivated and leads to your goal. Provide plenty of emotional hooks to make your readers worry.

Choose an inanimate object to represent you. Explain what you have in common with that object.

Since I'm a military brat (my dad was a career Air Force guy), I'll have to say I'm like a military base. Day in and day out, I look basically the same on the surface, but there's constant change inside--new books, family changes, and increasing knowledge.

What is the last book you read that impacted you? How did it affect you?

When I'm not writing, I'm reading, and every book I read impacts me in some way. I recently finished Rachel Hauck's Love Starts with Elle. Sometimes we think we know what God is calling us to do when He actually has something very different in mind for us.

What are you working on now?

PhotobucketI'm currently juggling several projects. I'm writing the first draft of Special Mission, the second book of my contemporary West Virginia Heartsong Presents set, reading the galley of Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida, and outlining a proposal for a new women's fiction series.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book.

My books can all be purchased at Amazon.com. Here is a link to Peachtree Dreams.

Thanks so much, Debby, for telling us about yourself and Peachtree Dreams. Readers, Debby has offered to sign a copy of her book for the winner of our drawing on Monday, April 20. To enter, leave a comment for Debby, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed), you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

And check back on Thursday, when we'll meet novelist Loree Lough, author of Love Finds You in Paradise, Pennsylvania. And we'll draw the winner of Merrillee Wren's book, Homecoming Blessings. You can still enter for that drawing under Merrillee's interview, below.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Merrillee Wren and Free Books!

When businessman Peter Dalton has to work with the boss's missionary daughter Ashley Hiatt, he finds a new focus in life as well as love.

Before we meet today's featured author, I want to announce that the winner of Jill Williamson's novel, By Darkness Hid, is:

becca.dowling@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

And now let's meet novelist Merrillee Wren, author of Homecoming Blessings (Steeple Hill Love Inspired, April 2009).

PhotobucketMerrillee is the winner of the 2003 Golden Heart Award for best inspirational romance manuscript presented by Romance Writers of America. In 2004, she made her first sale to Steeple Hill. She is married to her own personal hero, her husband of thirty plus years, and has two grown daughters. She has lived in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, and Chicago but now makes her home on one of God's most beautiful creations, an island off the east coast of Florida. When she's not writing or working for her husband's recruiting firm, she spends her free time playing tennis or walking the beach, where she does the plotting for her novels.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Homecoming Blessings, Merrillee.

PhotobucketBig-city businessman Peter Dalton doesn't think he and fresh-from-the-field missionary Ashley Hiatt have anything in common. Until his boss--her father--pairs them together on a special project to help those less fortunate. Although Peter's dream is to step into his boss's shoes as the head of Hiatt Construction, he sees that dream fade as he helps Ashley with this mission project. Suddenly, instead of making money, Peter is making other people's dreams come true by repairing houses in a rural area of Georgia. He's a changed man. Well, maybe not when it comes to settling down. After his former fiancee's betrayal, he believes he's just not cut out for family life. But lovely Ashley seems to think otherwise . . . and is making it her mission to prove it for good.

Which character in your novel most interested you while you wrote? Why?

Although it is hard to choose between the hero and heroine of this story, I think I have the most interest in the heroine. She is plucky and not afraid to take on something new. I enjoyed writing about her transformation as she returns to a world far different from her world on the mission field. I love how she learns to deal with the hero, as well as her father. When these two men attempt to run her life, she turns the tables on them in her very charming way.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

I believe readers will enjoy my novel because it is one of those stories that deals with opposites who find themselves falling in love despite their resistance to the idea.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

PhotobucketBeverley Mitchell as Ashley Hiatt.

PhotobucketBen Affleck as Peter Dalton.

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? Explain.

Nothing. I suppose that sounds odd, but writing a book is real labor to me. I love to tell stories, but getting them on paper is work. I kind of liken it to giving birth. When it's all over, you have labored long and hard, but you get to hold your baby in the end.

What do you struggle with in your writing?

Although nothing comes easy for me in the process, I find writing a synopsis the most difficult part.

A new writer wants to know how to keep her readers from setting her book down. In three sentences or less, give her your advice.

Make sure there is plenty of conflict--internal and external. Make the conflict believable by having it well-motivated. Make sure that something is at stake in all of your scenes.

Choose an inanimate object to represent you. Explain what you have in common with that object.

I almost asked you to skip this question. I guess I'm low on imagination--not something associated with a writer of fiction. The only thing I can think of is the "Energizer Bunny." That's what my neighbors call me because they see me out on my power walks and working in my humongous yard.

I know, that question often stumps authors. But it's fun to see where their imaginations take them when the answer is self-reflective. What is the last book you read that impacted you? How did it affect you?

Marley and Me, by John Grogan, was the last book I read. I loved the story of this family's devotion to their dog. They loved the dog and continued to love him no matter how much trouble he caused. The story reminds me of God and how He loves us in spite of our sins.

It is funny, that parallel relationship we often see between how we relate with our dogs and how God relates with us. Sometimes it's the other way around than how you worded it--sometimes people point out that the dog loves the human regardless of how the human behaves. Either way, that unconditional love is a joy to see.

What are you working on now?


I'm working on a new three-book proposal that takes me back to three teenage characters who were in three of my early books set in the fictional town of Pinecrest, Washington. I'm telling their stories now that they are adults.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book.

They can visit my Web site at www.merrilleewhren.com

Here are several links to purchase my books:

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

e-harlequin

Christian books

Thanks, Merrillee, for visiting and telling us about Homecoming Blessings. Readers, Merrillee has offered to sign a copy of her novel for the winner of our drawing on Thursday, April 16. To enter, leave a comment for Merrillee, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed) you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

And check back on Monday, when we'll meet novelist Debby Mayne, author of Peachtree Dreams. And we'll draw the winner of Linda Hall's book, Shadows on the River. You can still enter for that drawing under Linda's interview, below.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Linda Hall and Free Books!

An old and long-forgotten crime is brought painfully to the forefront when Ally Roarke comes face to face with the man who murdered her best friend twenty-five years ago.

Before we meet today's author, I'd like to announce that the winner of the signed copy of Donald J. Parker's book, All the Stillness of the Wind, goes to:

cepjwms@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

And now let's meet novelist Linda Hall, author of Shadows on the River (Steeple Hill/Love Inspired Suspense, April 2009).

PhotobucketAward-winning and twice Christy-nominated author Linda Hall has written 15 mysteries and romantic suspense novels, plus many short stories. She has also worked as a freelance writer, news reporter and feature writer for daily newspaper.

She grew up in New Jersey where her love of the ocean was nurtured. Most of her novels have something to do with the sea. When she's not writing, Linda and her husband enjoy sailing the St. John River system and the coast of Maine. In the summer they basically move aboard their 34-foot sailboat, aptly named Mystery.

Linda is currently writing romantic suspense for Steeple Hill's Love Inspired Suspense line, and loving it. She grew up reading Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt and feels like she has "come home" in her writing.

Linda, please tell us a bit more about Shadows on the River.

PhotobucketThis is Ally's story, and Ally writes, "I was only fourteen when I witnessed a murder on the riverbank. A murder that went unpunished. Unless you count what happened to my family. We were forced out of town by the teenage killer's prominent parents. And the murder was forgotten--by everyone but me. Now, the killer is a respected businessman. I can't let him get away with it. But I'm a single mother with a child to protect, what can I do? The new man in my life, Mark Bishop, warns me to be careful. For there's already been another murder. Close to home."

Which character in your novel most interested you while you wrote? Why?

Ally is a marine engineer and boat designer. It's a career I would find fascinating, but never had the scientific training to actually do. So, I can live these lives through my characters--and do and be things that I can't be in real life. I found the research fascinating.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

Shadows on the River is fast paced, brims with suspense, and is full of that all-important romance.

Romantic Times Magazine, which gave it a four star review, writes, "With a voice well suited to mystery and suspense, Hall creates an almost gothic atmosphere and a wonderfully satisfying conclusion in this final installment of her Shadows series."

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

PhotobucketI think Jodi Foster would be a good Ally.

PhotobucketAnd maybe Matt Damon for Mark.

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? Explain.

Probably the editing part is the easiest--because the main part of the novel is already written. It's just refining and cleaning it up.

What do you struggle with in your writing?

Clawing out a first draft, taking bits and pieces out of the air and turning them into a story.

A new writer wants to know how to keep her readers from setting her book down. How would you advise her?

One word--suspense. Second word--conflict. If your novel doesn't have enough of both, add more.

Choose an inanimate object to represent you. Explain what you have in common with that object.

When we were sailing off the coast of Maine, we anchored beside a tree. It was such a stark and lovely tree that my husband ended up painting it. I like the idea of a trees roots going down deep for nourishment.

What is the last book you read that impacted you? How did it affect you?

The Shack by William P. Young. It touched such a deep part of me that I don't think I can fully explain all that it meant to me. I just know that I began the book and began weeping. I wept through it, right up until the end. It pictured God to me in a way I had never thought of before. I had read C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity. I had read Tim Keller's The Reason for God. Both of those books explain the 'dance' of the trinity. I understood, or thought I did. But it wasn't until reading The Shack that I could visualize it. This dance of love and adoration, and he invites ME! Amazing.

What are you working on now?

Right now I'm working on edits for Storm Warning, a new romantic suspense series which will be out in January, with two more books to follow. Storm Warning is set on Whisper Lake, a fictitious lake in Maine. Widow Nori Edwards has purchased a beautiful lodge and ten rental cabins that she wants to fix up and rent out. But little does she know that the place she bought is steeped in mystery and threatened. She must get to the bottom of it before she can move on.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book.

My website is: writerhall.com

I blog at two places: Craftie Ladies of Suspense and Love Inspired.

There is also a 'fans' group on Facebook.

My book will be available in all stores and bookstores starting April 15. It also can be ordered right off my website.

Thank you, Linda, for telling us about yourself and Shadows on the River. Readers, Linda has offered to sign a copy of her novel for the winner of our drawing on Monday, April 13. To enter, leave a comment for Linda, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed), you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

And check back on Thursday, when we'll meet novelist Merrillee Wren, author of Homecoming Blessings. And we'll draw the winner of Jill Williamson's book, By Darkness Hid. You can still enter for that drawing under Jill's interview, below, and if you have a comment for the short post, below, about finding titles for books, your name will be entered an additional time.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Title Only an Author Could Love

Need help finding a title for your masterpiece?

Surely you can do better than the authors competing in my Christian Fiction Online Magazine column this month. In fact, a number of Christian novelists offer advice on how to come up with catchy title ideas.

And if you have an additional idea to share, please post it in a comment, right below. I'll add your name an extra time to the upcoming drawing for Jill Williamson's novel.

Then join me below in welcoming Jill Williamson to Reading, Writing, and the Stuff In-Between!

Jill Williamson and Free Books!

A squire and a maiden discover their ability to communicate with the minds of others.

Before we meet today's featured author, I want to announce that the winner of Cynthia Hickey's novel, Candy-Coated Secrets, is:

chassan2@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you today for your snail mail address, and we'll get your book to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right in order to participate in future book give-aways!

And now let's meet novelist Jill Williamson, author of By Darkness Hid, Blood of Kings Book One (Marcher Lord Press, April 2009).

Tell us about yourself, Jill.

PhotobucketI am a novelist and freelance editor. I love to read and started Novel Teen Book Reviews (novelteen.com) to help teens find great books to read. We review books for ages 8-12, 12-16, and 16 and up. Our site has a search box that helps readers find books by age, genre, or gender.

I also run teenageauthor.com, a website devoted to encouraging young writers. Teenage Authors has a yahoo critique group where teens can post their work for review.

My husband has worked as a youth pastor for eleven years, so I've had lots of experience working with teens. I read, write, and play the guitar in my free time. I live in Eastern Oregon with my husband and two kids.

What can you tell us about By Darkness Hid?

PhotobucketAchan has been a slave all his life. He is consigned to the kitchens of a lord and forced to swallow a foul potion every day. When an enigmatic knight offers to train Achan for the Kingsguard, he readily accepts. But his new skills with the sword do not prepare him for the battle raging between the voices in his head.

Vrell Sparrow is not who she seems. She masquerades as a boy to avoid capture by the powerful forces that seek to exploit her. But Vrell feels called to help a young squire who recently discovered his bloodvoicing gift, even if doing so requires her to work with those who could destroy her.

While Achan learns to use his new ability, Vrell struggles to shut hers down. All the voices strive to learn Achan and Vrell's true identities--and a different kind of voice is calling them both.

You can read a sample chapter, comments from readers, and endorsements on my website.

Wow, I know plenty of my blog readers will be interested in this one. Which character in your novel most interested you while you wrote? Why?

Achan. He rebels against injustice despite the punishments he receives and the ongoing threat of death. He's naive about so many things and sometimes so stubborn he makes more trouble for himself. My favorite thing about Achan is that he would sacrifice his own happiness for others, even those undeserving.

What do you think readers will enjoy about your novel?

So far people really like the unpredictable, fast-paced plot. They really like that Vrell is disguised as a boy, especially when her story comes together with Achan's and he thinks she's a pest. Also, it's fun to see how Achan learns to use his sword and compete in a tournament. By Darkness Hid has mystery, suspense, action, and a hint of romance that appeals to readers of all ages. And if that doesn't convince you, check out the "What people are saying" page on my website.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

PhotobucketSteven Strait would be the perfect Achan if he looked just like he did as Warren Peace in Sky High.

Amanda Bynes did a great job playing a boy in She's the Man.
Photobucket


Photobucket Dakota Fanning could also play Vrell, with brown hair, though.

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? Explain.

Plotting. I love to come up with plots that twist and turn all over the place. I carry around a notebook and think through the story or scene until I come up with a plan. It's my favorite part of writing.

What do you struggle with in your writing?

I struggle with finding the time to write and being consistent. I wish I could write an hour each weekday, but it's so hard. I get so easily distracted by emails and other things. Second to that is probably character development. For me that ties right into finding time to write because my characters grow and change the more I write and rewrite. If I can't find time to work on my stories, my characters don't get much opportunity to grow.

A new writer wants to know how to keep her readers from setting her book down. How would you advise her?

Always make sure something is happening that either furthers the goal of the point-of-view character or hinders that goal. If the scene has nothing to do with the point-of-view character's goal, it probably needs to be cut.

Choose an inanimate object to represent you. Explain what you have in common with that object.

A textbook. I am filled with lots of information. God has really taught me some amazing truths in my life. I'm thankful to have found writing as a way to share some of this information with others.

What is the last book you read that impacted you? How did it affect you?

I was deeply impacted by End of the Spear, by Steve Saint. The whole story amazed me. That those missionaries would give their lives to bring God's truth to a dangerous tribe was amazing. And the fact that their wives took their children and moved in with the tribe after they were killed was even more amazing. Missionaries are my heroes. I am in awe of their bravery and self-sacrifice.

What are you working on now?

I'm polishing up the sequel to By Darkness Hid. Then I'm going to start writing the third and final book in the Blood of Kings series.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online? Please include the link for purchasing your book.

I'm everywhere! My web site is www.jillwilliamson.com>. I'm also on Shoutlife, Facebook, MySpace, Shelfari, GoodReads, Twitter, Amazon. I have links to all these pages on my web site.

And there are also my other two web sites: Novel Teen Book Reviews at www.novelteen.com and www.teenageauthors.com.

Thanks so much, Jill, for visiting and telling us about By Darkness Hid. Readers, Jill has offered to sign a copy of her novel for the winner of our drawing on Thursday, April 9. To enter, leave a comment for Jill, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. If you subscribe to my blog, at right (or if you're already subscribed) you'll be entered an additional time to this drawing and all future drawings.

And check back on Monday, when we'll meet novelist Linda Hall, author of Shadows on the River. And we'll draw the winner of Donald J. Parker's book, All the Stillness of the Wind. You can still enter for that drawing under Don's interview, below.

Before you leave your comment below, take a quick look at some of the fantastic new releases coming out in April!

1. A Claim of Her Own, by Stephanie Whitson from Bethany House. Newly arrived in Deadwood, South Dakota, Mattie O'Keefe must soon decide where true riches lie--and what's worth dying for.

2. A Gift of Grace, by Amy Clipston from Zondervan. When Rebecca Kaufman's older sister, who left the Amish community when she was a teenager, dies in an automobile accident, Rebecca is left custody of her two modern non-Amish teenage nieces, Jessica and Lindsay.

3. Baby Baby, Book One of the Family Heirloom Series by Karen Weisner from Samhain Publishing House. A Proverbs 31 wife wonders, does "submissive" mean giving up having anything of her own?

4. By Darkness Hid, Book One in The Blood of Kings by Jill Williamson from Marcher Lord Press. Two people discover their ability to speak to, and hear, the minds of others: a squire serving an evil prince, and a maiden masquerading as a boy to avoid marriage.

5. Chef's Deadly Dish, Book Three in the Cozy Crumb Series by Lisa Harris from Heartsong Presents: Mysteries. Determined to discover the truth, Pricilla Crumb, an unconventional busybody, follows one lead after another, dishing up laughter and surprises along the way.

6. Copper and Candles, Michigan Brides Book One by Amber Stockton from Heartsong Presents. Charity work brings them together, but their positions in society might drive them apart.

7. Homecoming Blessings, by Merrillee Whren from Steeple Hill. When businessman Peter Dalton has to work with the boss's missionary daughter Ashley Hiatt, he finds a new focus in life as well as love.

8. Peachtree Dreams, by Debby Mayne from Barbour Publishing. Three Georgia women face the challenge to believe in happily-ever-after endings.

9. Shepherd's Fall, Prodigal Recovery Series Book One by Wanda Dyson from Random House/Waterbrook. Nick Shepherd faces the hardest decision of his life--to save his daughter from a convicted killer, he may have to compromise his beliefs.

10. Stealing Home, by Allison Pittman from Multnomah. Four people, each harboring a secret passion, are brought together through providence, tragedy and love.

11. Texas Ranger Dad, Mule Hollow Series by Debra Clopton from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Rose Vincent has made a life for herself and her son in Mule Hollow Texas but when Texas Ranger, Zane Cantrell comes to town, her brings her past with him and everything she holds dear in life is threatened.

12.The Reluctant Cowgirl, The McCord Sisters by Christine Lynxwiler from Barbour Publishing. When Crystal McCord's New York dream crumbles, she thinks her parents' Arkansas ranch might be a safe place to hide her heart. . .until she meets the cowboy next door.
 

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