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!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sandra Glahn and Free Books!

PhotobucketDr. Jeremy Cramer, a medical researcher, makes a mistake that forces him to face the unfathomable love required to sacrifice an only son.

For a bonus interview, let's meet novelist Sandra Glahn, author of Informed Consent (Cook, August 2007).

PhotobucketSandra Glahn, ThM, got her start freelance writing working with the Grammy-nominated music production team for Barney and Friends. Today she serves on the faculty at Dallas Theological Seminary, her alma mater, where she also edits Kindred Spirit magazine. The author of the Coffee Cup Bible Study series, she has also co-authored or authored four medical suspense novels including the Christy Award finalist, Lethal Harvest. Glahn is a candidate for the PhD degree at the University of Texas at Dallas. She is the 2010 convention chair for the Evangelical Press Association, and is the fiction panelist for The Writers View.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Informed Consent.

PhotobucketJeremy Cramer, M.D., Ph.D., is a resident in infectious diseases who's the next Einstein of research. While working on a way to revive water submersion victims, he makes a breakthrough discovery. Yet during the ensuing media frenzy he neglects his son on a visit to the lab, and that negligence allows his son to contract a life-threatening virus. The virus tests the limits of the new formula--and Cramer's ethics. Ultimately he must decide between letting his son die or violating the rights of a young transplant donor--a choice which forces him to stand face-to-face with the unfathomable love required to sacrifice an only son.

Oh, my goodness, the stress of that dilemma makes my stomach hurt, Sandra! Now I have to read the book.

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

Portia, the trophy wife of one of the doctors. She has a checkered past, but her character allowed me to communicate the wisdom of learning through others' mistakes. Inspired by Hebrews 11, I also enjoyed using her character to communicate grace.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

It's suspenseful. It'll make them ask, "What would I do in the same situation?" And it includes humor.

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

Photobucket Dr. Jeremy Cramer: CNN's medical reporter Dr. Sanjay Gupta




PhotobucketAngie, Jeremy's wife: Alison Sweeney from The Biggest Loser/Days of Our Lives

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The vixon, Portia: Sarah Jessica Parker


PhotobucketDevin Garrigues, the head nurse: Queen Latifa

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Dr. Barlow, Jeremy's mentor and Portia's husband: Richard Gere


This month we're looking at opening lines. What are the first lines of your novel? What did you hope to convey with those opening lines?

The ringing phone jarred Jeremy out of a deep sleep. 

"Sorry to disturb you, Dr. Cramer," the head nurse said.

"What is it, Dev?"

"We need you in the ER."

He sat up and turned on the call room light. "What's up?"

"Bus crash."

I wanted to establish that Jeremy, a doctor on call for ER duty, has a comfortable relationship with his head nurse and is about to find himself in the middle of chaos. Readers need to know from the start that this is a medical story with suspense.

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? What do you struggle with?

I like to write detailed scenes. I enjoy making people feel like they can smell the ammonia and taste the lousy hospital chicken casserole. But standing back and making sure the "skeleton" structure of the story works--well, that takes more effort for me. A lot more effort.

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

A treadmill. Because I am a Christian, a parent, and a teacher, I find that little I do brings immediate results. I constantly have to remind myself that, while I cannot see visible, tangible effects from my efforts right away, the investment will pay off at some future date. Walking on a treadmill appears to take us nowhere, yet we have to believe the effort will bring a good outcome.

Ah, yes, I remember my treadmill. It's downstairs, missing me. You're accidentally inspiring me, Sandra.

What is the last book you read that moved you?

Uncle Tom's Cabin. It's one of those books that many people know about, but few of us have actually read. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote an intelligent, witty, compelling story that has driven me toward social justice more than any other writing besides the Bible.

What are you working on now?

My PhD. Which means reading most of the Western canon of lit. Thought I'm not writing at the moment, I'm soaking up the collective wisdom and styles of wonderful authors as I consider my next work--a piece of historical fiction set in first-century Ephesus. Though the eyes of a young woman I plan to explore why the apostle Paul instructed widows in Corinth to stay single but he wanted widows in Ephesus to marry and have children. I teach a class at seminary that explores those hard "woman" verses in the Bible, and I want to explore some theories in story form.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

Readers can find me at my web site (www.aspire2.com), and on my blog (www.aspire2.blogspot.com). They can purchase Informed Consent in print or Kindle versions by clicking on the image at left.



The Kindle version is also available at Amazon.

Thanks, Sandra, for visiting with us and telling us about Informed Consent. Readers, Sandra has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, April 8. To enter, leave a comment for Sandra, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Louise Gouge, Virginia Smith and Susan Page Davis, below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their novels.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Susan Page Davis and Free Books!

PhotobucketIn the far north, a grandmother finds herself chasing polar bears and falling in love.

Before we revisit with today's novelist, I'd like to announce that the winner of the drawing for Pearl Girls is:

debracollins@ . . .

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 chat with novelist Susan Page Davis, author of Polar Opposites (Barbour Publishing, late April 2010).

Susan Page Davis is the author of 30 novels, mostly in historical romance, mystery, and romantic suspense. She's a Maine native and the mother of six (all home-educated) and grandmother of six adorable children. She spent many years as a news correspondent and started writing fiction in 1999. Her husband Jim is a recently retired news editor, now freelance editing books.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Polar Opposites.

PhotobucketCheryl Holland is the receptionist at her son-in-law Rick's veterinary practice in Wasilla, Alaska. When Rick invites his grad school roommate to join him, Cheryl expects a young man Rick's age. To her surprise, the man she meets at the airport is in his 50s, and very charming. But she can't see herself becoming attached to Oz Thormond. He's a sophisticated cosmopolitan who does scientific research. She's a country woman who fixes her own car and takes care of her aging father-in-law.

They're polar opposites. It takes a trip into the Arctic Circle, where she helps Oz do research on wild polar bears, to open Cheryl's eyes to potential romance.

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

I loved writing about a heroine in my own age bracket. Cheryl has to overcome some preconceived notions, a bad case of low self-esteem, and the fear of losing a loved one that she's had since her husband's death in a plane crash. The Lord brings her through all of that, into a wonderful new stage of her life.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

It's got cute polar bear cubs, a feisty heroine in her 50s, a little danger, and a dashing hero. What more could you ask?

This month we're looking at opening lines. What are the first lines (or the first line, if you prefer) of your novel? What did you hope to convey with those opening lines?

Cheryl Holland left her car in short-term parking at the Anchorage airport and hurried toward the terminal, zipping her jacket. Late October winds held a biting promise of snow.

I hope this will transport the reader to Alaska right off the bat.

I'm shivering already, Susan.

What is the last book you read that moved you?

I just re-read Anne of Green Gables, and I cried again. Yes, it's an old fashioned, sentimental tale, but it's good writing and a wonderful story.

What are you working on now?

I just finished the rough draft of a western romance--the third in my series called The Ladies' Shooting Club. Now I'm writing a contemporary mystery called Pieces of the Past. It will be the sixth book in the Patchwork Mysteries series from Guideposts.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online? 

Visit either my Website at www.susanpagedavis.com or my author page on Amazon to see all my books. Some of my books are also found on www.christianbook.com

Polar Opposites will go out to members of the Heartsong Presents Book Club in April and May, and to the general public in about six months. But after release it can be ordered directly from the publisher at 1-800-847-8270 for shipping in late May.

Thanks, Susan, for visiting with us and telling us about Polar Opposites. Readers, Susan has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Monday, April 5. To enter, leave a comment for Susan, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Louise Gouge and Virginia Smith below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their novels.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Susan May Warren and Free Books!

PhotobucketSophie Frangos is torn between the love of two men and the promise that binds them all together.

On occasion I feature a new release, apart from my interviews with authors. Rather than giving the author's book away, I simply add commenters' names an extra time to existing drawings. This week let's take a look at Susan May Warren's novel, Sons of Thunder (Summerside Press).

A bit about Susan:

PhotobucketSusan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she's also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women's events and retreats speaker, she's a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer's workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at: www.susanmaywarren.com. Connect with Susan on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SusanMayWarrenFiction

What's the book about?

Photobucket Markos Stavros loves Sophie from afar while battling his thirst for vengeance and his hunger for honor. Dino, his quiet and intelligent brother, simply wants to forget the horror that drove them from their Greek island home to start a new life in America. One of these "sons of thunder" offers a future she longs for, the other--the past she lost.

From the sultry Chicago jazz clubs of the roaring twenties to the World War II battlefields of Europe to a final showdown in a Greek island village, they'll discover betrayal, sacrifice, and finally redemption. Most of all, when Sophie is forced to make her choice, she'll learn that God honors the promises made by the Sons of Thunder.

Read an excerpt here:

And Susan is holding a contest related to her new novel's release:

Enter Susan's Memory Prize Pack contest:

Each one of us has a wealth of stories from the past--while they might not all be as sweeping and dramatic as that of Sofia and the Stravos brothers (swoon), your family history is a treasure nonetheless.

Well--let's hear them! Were your great-grandparents 'fresh off the boat'? Was your great uncle a war hero? Did your grandmother make unbelievable sacrifices to help or protect the family? Did your father harbor a family secret until his death? Are you related to someone famous (my assistant is related to presidents Harrison and Jackson--wow! Who knew?) Do you have a family treasure? Maybe you just have some lovely memories. Whatever it is that is unique in your family history--share it with us.

Have a photo to go with your story? Even better!!!! Email those to amy@susanmaywarren.com !

One grand prize winner will win a Memory Prize package containing a gift certificate to create your own hard cover photo book, a 6 month membership to Netflix (to satisfy that flick fix!) and a signed copy of Sons of Thunder! 5 runners up will also win signed copies of Sons of Thunder! Contest ends March 31st. Winners will be announced April 2nd.

TO ENTER THE CONTEST VISIT THE SONS OF THUNDER WEBSITE: brothersinarms.susanmaywarren.com AND CLICK ON THE SHARE PAGE!



Leave a comment for Susan, below, to be added an additional time to the drawing on Thursday, April 1. Leave your email address (in case you win) like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Virginia Smith and Free Books!

PhotobucketA heartwarming story of family, faith, and love that endures, Third Time's a Charm is the satisfying conclusion to Virginia Smith's Sister-to-Sister Series.

Before we revisit with today's novelist, I'd like to announce that the winner of the drawing for Ann Shorey's novel, The Promise of Morning, is:

cherierj@ . . .

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 Virginia Smith, author of Third Time's a Charm (Revell, January 2010).

Photobucket Virginia Smith is the author of more than fourteen Christian novels and over fifty articles and short stories. In 2008, she was named Writer of the Year at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. Stuck in the Middle, book one in her Sister-to-Sister Series, was a finalist for ACFW's 2009 Book of the Year award, and A Taste of Murder was a finalist for the 2009 Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. Ginny's website was listed in the top ten writer sites of 2009 by Writers Digest.

She and her husband divide their time between Kentucky and Utah, and escape as often as they can for "research trips" (or so she says) to scuba dive in the warm waters of the Caribbean.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Third Time's a Charm.

Photobucket My newest book is Third Time's a Charm (Revell, January 2010), the funny and heartwarming story of a professional young woman struggling to balance career, church, budding romance, and a personal crisis. As if that weren't enough, a couple of matchmaking sisters crank up the tension and the fun. This is the third book in the Sister-to-Sister series, following Stuck in the Middle and Age before Beauty, but you don't have to read those books before this one.

When I created the Sister-to-Sister series, I modeled the characters after my relationship with my own sisters, so the books are very close to my heart. Plus, I drew heavily on personal experience to write this book. Third Time's a Charm is lighthearted in places, but it confronts some tough issues, too.

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

The female lead, Tori Sanderson, is one of my all-time favorite characters. While I wrote the first two books in the series, I had a lingering dread of writing Tori's story, because she was my total opposite in so many ways and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to write her believably. She's a major shopaholic, and I'm a dash-through-the-door-and-buy-the-first-thing-that-fits girl. Plus, she's quite the little flirt, something I've never been good at or understood. But when I dug into the story and her character, I discovered that she and I are far more alike than I realized. I was fascinated to discover many underlying similarities, and to see how they played out in her story. I think she's not only believable, but she resonates with people.

We just never know what we're going to uncover through our characters, do we? 

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

Not only is Tori a relatable character, but she has two handsome guys vying for her attention. Who wouldn't love to have that happen? LOL!

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

Photobucket For Tori Sanderson I'd cast Christina Applegate. That's how I envisioned her as I wrote Third Time's a Charm. One evening I saw an advertisement for Samantha Who, and I jumped out of my chair shouting, "That's her! That's Tori!"

Photobucket I'd never watched Samantha Who, so I Googled the show's cast and found Barry Watson, who became my model for the handsome handyman, Ryan Adams.




PhotobucketAnd Mitch Jackson is modeled after Michael Weatherly, the gorgeous but suggestively inappropriate Tony DinNozzo on NCIS. 

This month we're looking at opening lines. What are the first lines (or the first line, if you prefer) of your novel? What did you hope to convey with those opening lines?

One sign was certain to drive even the most pressing appointment right out of a girl's head: Today Only--All Shoes 15% Off. The bright red letters snagged Tori Sanderson's gaze as she speed-walked through the mall toward the exit, an elegantly wrapped box clutched in her arms.

Since many readers met Tori in the first two books in the Sister-to-Sister Series, they knew she was a shopaholic, so I put her in a situation that enforced that opinion. If someone hasn't read those books, I wanted to introduce her that way. Because overcoming the underlying reasons for her shopping fetish is a major part of her growth during the book. I really love the way that turned out.

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? What do you struggle with?

I think first drafts are the easiest part of writing. When I get into the "zone," the words just flow. I love it when that happens. But getting into that zone is sometimes difficult. At the beginning of a book, when I'm still feeling my way around the characters and the plot, sometimes I have to force myself to sit down at the computer and start writing. I'll do just about anything to avoid getting started. Laundry. Dishes. Even go to the gym!

I so identify, Ginny! I love sitting down to the computer and seeing I already got a chapter started the day before, rather than seeing the completely blank page. 

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

Questions like this always stump me! I've sat here thinking about it for twenty minutes, and finally I asked my husband. He said, "You're like a computer--you're full of information." I like that! (I have him fooled, don't I?)

Yes, sometimes we have that gift of knowing just enough to sound smarter than we are, eh? 

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

I just read Simple Gifts by Lori Copeland, and I loved it. It's humorous at times, and it has tons of depth. In it, the main character has to return to her hometown and face the painful memories of her father, who was mentally disabled. Watching her revisit her embarrassing past by looking at those events through adult eyes reminded me of several times I've had to do the same thing.

What are you working on now?

I just finished the copy edit for a romantic suspense novel called Into the Deep. I'm an avid scuba diver, and I always wanted to write a book with a scuba diving theme. This is the story I came up with, and I had an absolute blast writing it. It'll be released from Steeple Hill in October.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

My website has tons of information about me and my books--www.virginiasmith.org. I also spend far more time than I should on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ginny.p.smith.



The book is available through the Amazon button, at left, and it's also available at ChristianBook.com.

Thanks, Virginia, for visiting with us and telling us about Third Time's a Charm. Readers, Virginia has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Saturday, April 3. To enter, leave a comment for Virginia, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

I should add that I posted a review for Third Time's a Charm quite some time ago. Here's what I wrote about the book: "There's something about Virginia Smith's writing style--her books are such quick, enjoyable, fun reads that you finish them well before you expect to. Third Time's a Charm is no exception. Tori Sanderson might seem slightly shallow when we first meet her, but it doesn't take long to see the vulnerability and need for acceptance that color her behavior and decisions. Suddenly you care about how she fares professionally, romantically, and with regard to the questions her father left behind. You appreciate her flexibility and creativity when she faces obstacles and surprises. And you smile as if she's your best friend when good things come her way. Kudos to Ginny Smith for another highly recommended installment in the Sister-to-Sister series!"

Check out my interview with Louise Gouge and my post about Pearl Girls, below, and leave a comment under those posts to be entered in drawings for signed copies of those books.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Louise Gouge and Free Books!

PhotobucketTorn between love and duty, American Patriot James Templeton must deny his heart to help win his country's freedom.

Before we revisit with today's novelist, I'd like to announce that the winner of the drawing for Diane Burke's novel, Midnight Caller, 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 Louise Gouge, author of The Captain's Lady (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, March 2010).

PhotobucketAward-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction, calling her stories "threads of grace woven through time." In addition to numerous other awards, Louise is the recipient of the prestigious Inspirational Readers' Choice Award for her 2005 novel, Hannah Rose. With her great love of history and research, Louise loves to visit museums and travel to her stories' settings to ensure accuracy.

She has been married to David Gouge for 45 years. They have four grown children and six grandchildren. She earned her BA in English/Creative Writing at the University of Central Florida in Orlando and her Master of Liberal Studies degree at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. Louise is also an adjunct professor of English and Humanities at Valencia Community College in Kissimmee, Florida.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of The Captain's Lady.

PhotobucketCaptain James Templeton's orders from General Washington are clear. His target: Lord Bennington, a member of George III's Privy Council. The assignment: find Bennington's war plans. The risks: the future of the East Florida Colony, Jamie's life . . . and his heart. In spite of the dangers of their hopeless situation, he's fallen in love with Lady Marianne Moberly, Lord Bennington's daughter. Desperate to protect his country, Jamie carries out his orders with a heavy heart. But Marianne's persistence is a challenge he never expected. With love and faith, they must navigate troubled waters to win their future together.

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

Although I loved all of my characters, even the "bad" ones, in this story my heart went out to my hero, Captain Jamie Templeton, a man with conflicting love interests--but not as one might think. Jamie loves his country, the budding United States of America, and all the ideals that go into its foundation. But Jamie, being a red-blooded man, also loves Lady Marianne Moberly, the daughter of his patron, who was also his nemesis. The conflicts of a dedicated Christian (who sought to do God's will and yet had been ordered to spy against those who trusted him) must have been nearly overwhelming during the American Revolution. Jamie doubts a successful outcome every step of the way! Read the book to see how it turns out. Not the war, but Jamie's part in it. LOL!

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

This story really does have everything: excitement, adventure, intrigue, romance, danger, mystery, and suspense. No matter what your favorite genre may be, you'll find something to enjoy in The Captain's Lady.

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

Honestly, I lay awake last night trying to think of whom I would cast, and I couldn't think of any modern actors for my hero and heroine.

That's all right. Sometimes we travel back in time for the ideal actors for this question!

PhotobucketI would like for Peter O'Toole to play Lord Bennington, father of my heroine and patron/nemesis of my hero.

PhotobucketOn second thought, I'm sitting here watching Good Morning, America, and Gerard Butler looks pretty good. Maybe I'd cast him as Jamie, if he can pull off an American accent.

PhotobucketFor my heroine, Lady Marianne, I sort of like Kate Beckinsale as she was in her earlier days before she took on vampires. Wow, being a casting director is hard! I'd be willing to take suggestions from anyone who's read The Captain's Lady.

This month we're looking at opening lines. What are the first lines (or the first line, if you prefer) of your novel? What did you hope to convey with those opening lines? 

Lady Marianne peered down through the peephole into the drawing room while her heart raced. Against her back, the heavy woolen tapestry extolling one of her ancestors' mighty deeds pushed her into the wall of her father's bedchamber, nearly choking her with its ancient dust. Yet she would endure anything to observe the entrance of Papa's guest.

What I hoped to convey: Today's writers are encouraged to open their stories with a bang, to hook and enthrall their readers from the first word or at least the first sentence. But in reality, some stories need a tiny bit of setup before the reader can plunge into them. In my above opening, I wanted to show that our heroine, Lady Marianne Moberly, is willing to endure anything to catch a glimpse of our hero, the man she loves. In addition to showing that their love is forbidden by the disparity in their social ranks, the opening scene foreshadows all that Marianne will do to gain her objective, no matter how much discomfort it causes her.

I'm with you, Louise, on the fact that not all stories work well with a big-bang opening. I think sometimes we treat novels like fast food--I want it all right now! 

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? What do you struggle with?

I love to write dialogue, especially scenes in which the heroine and hero are arguing . . . or confessing their love. This comes from my amateur acting days when I enjoyed bringing characters to life on the stage. I bring a lot of that into my writing. And while it's not exactly a struggle, I do find it a challenge to smoothly include setting details. Long ago, authors laid out the setting in detail at the beginning of a story, but today's readers expect the setting to be shown more gracefully. That takes much more time.

Now that's a change I embrace. You're right. It's more difficult for the writer, but I think it's definitely an improvement. As a reader I don't want to come across sections I can skip. 

What is the last book you read that moved you?

Oh, there are so many good ones to pick from. Off the top of my head, I would say DiAnn Mills's A Woman Called Sage. I got to read it before its upcoming release, and it's a wonderful, spiritual adventure. Check out her website at www.diannmills.com and find out more about her wonderful novels.

What are you working on now?

I'm working on the third book in my Revolutionary War series. Books One and Three take place in British East Florida, a colony that served as a refuge for Americans loyal to England during the American Revolution. I live in Florida, and it's great fun to explore our history and imagine what those Loyalists endured while the Revolution was going on in the thirteen northern colonies. As a diehard American Patriot, I find it quite different to imagine how it must have been to be loyal to the Crown.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

I have a quirky bio on my website, one I wrote for our local paper, The Orlando Sentinel, in answer to a call for stories about people who found new life after fifty. That's exactly what happened to me. I've had no less than three "careers" after my fiftieth birthday, including published author, television marketing coordinator, and college professor. In fact, I've added another one. I have an online copyediting business, and I love to work with budding authors to make their manuscripts shine.

My website and contact information are blog.Louisemgouge.com. Come on over and visit me! And you can purchase The Captain's Lady at Amazon.com, cbd.com, and barnesandnoble.com.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Trish! I love your questions. You really made me think!

Thanks, Louise, for visiting with us and telling us about The Captain's Lady. Readers, Louise has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, April 1. To enter, leave a comment for Louise, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interview with Ann Shorey and my focus on Pearl Girls, by Margaret McSweeney, below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their novels.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pearl Girls and Free Books!

Watch Jesus Christ turn the grit of life into pearls of great worth!

Before highlighting today's book and author, I want to announce that the winner of the drawing for Gayle Roper's novel A Stranger's Wish, 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!

For today I wanted to draw your attention to Margaret McSweeney, General Editor of the story compilation, Pearl Girls (Moody Publishers, 2009).

After experiencing the death of both parents, Margaret McSweeney recognized the importance of community like never before. Through these difficult times in life, she learned how God uses gritty circumstances to conform us to the stunning image of Christ.

McSweeney also realized that she was not at all alone. It is for this reason that she decided to compile essays into an inspiring book: Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit Experiencing Grace.

Through this collection, readers will be encouraged by the heartfelt writings that deal with loss and hardship in a real and honest way. Respected authors such as Shaunti Feldhahn, Melody Carlson, Debbie Macomber, Robin Jones Gunn and others help remind every woman that they are not alone and that no circumstance is beyond the grace of God.

McSweeney uses the metaphor of a pearl in order to better describe the situations that ail us all. When an oyster takes in a piece of sand in order to create its coveted masterpiece, it is initially painful to the soft flesh of the creature. But after the pain, appears a clean, white symbol of simplicity, purity, and endurance that any woman would be proud to wear. McSweeney believes that each woman is a pearl and together, form a necklace of great worth. In this book, readers will discover community and encouragement: women are alone in neither their pain nor victories in life.

* Every Pearl Girl story holds a message of hope and grace. God isn't finished with us yet! - Karen Kingsbury, America's inspirational novelist and bestselling author of the Above the Line series

* The stories inside the pages of this Pearl Girls book will warm your heart and remind you about the strength and presence of God’s grace in our lives. - Emilie Barnes, author of Meet Me Where I Am, Lord: Devotions for Women Harvest House

As one of the authors in this collection, I have a copy to give away to one of my subscribers or commenters. If you'd like to have your name entered in the drawing, leave a comment below.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ann Shorey and Free Books!

PhotobucketWhen loss breaks Ellie Craig's heart, can she find the courage to go on?

Before we revisit with today's novelist, I'd like to announce that the winner of the drawing for Linda S. Clare's novel, The Fence My Father Built, is:

sunny_girl_anna@ . . .

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 Ann Shorey, author of The Promise of Morning. (Revell, March 2010).

PhotobucketAnn Shorey has been a story collector for most of her life. Her writing has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul, and in the Adams Media Cup of Comfort series. She made her fiction debut with The Edge of Light, released in January 2009. When she's not writing, she teaches classes on historical research, story arc, and other fiction fundamentals at regional conferences. Ann lives with her husband in Sutherlin, Oregon. The Promise of Morning is the second book in her At Home in Beldon Grove series.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of The Promise of Morning.)

PhotobucketEllie Craig believed her marriage to Matthew, the pastor of Beldon Grove's church, would flow from blessing to blessing. He's always been the leader in their household, giving her a comfortable life.

Then they lose three children in infancy and her world reels, leaving her vulnerable to the attentions of the recently returned son of Beldon Grove's founder. When Matthew suddenly makes a decision that leaves Ellie alone with their older children, she realizes her actions have driven him away.

Now Ellie must search within herself for the answers to her problems. Will she be able to open her heart to her husband? Or did her actions destroy any chance they had at happiness?

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

Ellie Craig was the most interesting character to me. I loved the way she developed as her character matured into the responsibilities thrust upon her.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

The theme of keeping promises emerges in the story, as does the parallel to today's women who have to adjust their lives when their husbands make employment or other decisions that affect the whole family.

I imagine, in today's economic/employment climate, there are more spouses facing those adjustments than ever.

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


PhotobucketI'd cast Reese Witherspoon as Ellie.

Photobucket






And Jeff Bridges (the way he looks in Crazy Heart, with the beard and all) as Matthew.

This month we're looking at opening lines. What are the first lines (or the first line, if you prefer) of your novel? What did you hope to convey with those opening lines?

Ellie Craig brushed the last leaf from the surface of a granite marker embedded in the soft earth. "There, Lizzie." She crooned her daughter's name. "Isn't that better?"

She dropped an empty tow sack in front of the next stone to protect her skirt, then lowered herself to her knees. "Mama's here, Susanna."


When reading those lines, I hoped to convey a feeling of curiosity in the reader: "Where is she? What happened?" Also, I wanted to open with sympathy for Ellie. Just retyping the beginning makes me teary.

Yes, I think the normal assumption, after reading those lines, would be that the father had died. I can see from your comments above, that's not the case. Nicely done!

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? What do you struggle with?


Dialogue is easiest for me, I guess because I've spent so much of my life thinking, "I wish I'd said that," long after a conversation is ended. As a writer, I can make the dialogue come out the way I want it to.

I struggle with transitions at the end of scenes. It's often a challenge to seamlessly move my characters to the next scene. I remember the opening scene of the first novel I attempted (it's lurking on a shelf in my closet). I had this great scene going, then I was stymied--how do I get my characters off the porch (where the scene took place) and into the next scene? "How do I get them off the porch?" has become my code when I'm stuck on a tough transition.

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

Does staring at the computer screen count as inanimate? Seriously, this is a good question. I'm thinking a willow tree that bends with storms, yet perseveres, would describe my life.

What is the last book you read that moved you?

I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. As a dog lover, it affected me deeply. A dog, Enzo, narrates the story and the author gave me a great imaginary look into Enzo's heart. Of course, I transposed Enzo's story to my dog, Amber. Now I give her credit for deep insights. I totally loved the ending of The Art of Racing in the Rain. I've gone back and read it several times. This is probably a lighthearted answer to your question, but there you are. I love dogs.

Well, you're certainly not alone there! The book has been amazingly popular. And thanks for not spoiling that ending for me!

What are you working on now?


Right now I'm in the middle of the first round of edits for the third book in the At Home in Beldon Grove series, tentatively titled The Dawn of a Dream.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

You can go to my website, www.annshorey.com for my book review blog as well as more information about me. By clicking on the Novels tab on my site, then clicking "Buy This book," readers can find links to Amazon and Christianbook.com, as well as Borders, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million.

Thank you for hosting me on your blog, Trish!

Thanks, Ann, for visiting with us and telling us about The Promise of Morning. Readers, Ann has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Saturday, March 27. To enter, leave a comment for Ann, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Gayle Roper and Diane Burke, below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their novels

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer HERE.

The Rules

Dear readers,

In order to comply with nitty gritty laws about giving away all of these awesome novels, I'm posting the following rules and will post a link to this post with each future giveaway. Nothing has changed about my giveaways or your involvement/responsibility, but there's been much chatter lately about some little bureaucratic gremlin insisting upon the posting of these rules. I aim to please, even bureaucratic gremlins. So:

Disclaimer:
1. No purchase necessary to enter any giveaways given on this site (http://www.trishperry.com). The giveaway will end on the date stated in the posting. The opportunity to play may be affected by local ability to access the Internet at any particular time. The odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.

2. Open to all readers, 18 years or older who are legally allowed to participate in such a give away as allowed by their local laws. The giveaways are limited to United States mailing addresses only.

3. Players must submit the required information for each give away which will allow the entrant a chance to win. Entrants will be informed if they are a winner on or after the give away end date. Limit one entry per person. Trish Perry is not responsible for: incomplete, lost, late, damaged, scrambled or misdirected entries or other errors of any kind whether human, mechanical or electronic, which may limit a user's ability to participate in the giveaway.

4. Trish Perry and members of her family are not allowed to enter the giveaway. Void where prohibited by law. All Federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.

5. Prize(s) will be assigned to those who have been identified as winners.

6. Entrants will be informed at the close of the give away if they are a winner, and if a player is identified as a winner, what prize has been won. Winners will receive their prizes via mail after the giveaway has completed and winners have been verified. Taxes, if any, are the sole responsibility of the winner. Trish Perry assumes no responsibility or liability for any damages, losses, or injury resulting from the acceptance or use of any prize. All prizes are mailed out within 6-8 weeks of announcement of winner.

7. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

Extra entries: On occasion I feature an author who is not giving a book away. Comments on those interviews are entered an additional time in one or more upcoming drawings, as indicated in the posting. Again, only one entry per interview allowed, and above rules apply.

There now. That wasn't so bad, was it?

Also, here is my Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the pages on this site are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Diane Burke and Free Books!

PhotobucketSingle mom, Erin O'Malley knows bad things happen to everyone but evil is supposed to happen to somebody else---or not?

Before we meet today's novelist, I'd like to announce that the winner of the drawing for Amber Miller Stockton's anthology, Liberty's Promise, is:

sarahackerman@ . . .

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 Diane Burke, author of Midnight Caller (Steeple Hill Inspirational Romantic Suspense, March 2010).

Diane Burke lives just above central Florida in speedway territory. She has two grown sons, two wonderful daughter-in-law's and three grandchildren. She resides with her two "babies," a Border Collie named Thea and a Golden Lab named Cocoa.

Her first manuscript Whispers In The Dark won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense in the Inspirational category in 2008, was purchased by Steeple Hill as Midnight Caller in 2009 and debuts in March 2010.

After unexpectedly losing her husband two years ago, Diane feels blessed by the Lord for being given the opportunity to spend her time writing the kind of books that blend suspense, romance and faith into a happily-ever-after tale.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Midnight Caller.

PhotobucketErin O'Malley, single mom of a five-year-old handicapped child, is disturbed when she receives a series of anonymous calls. But when local women turn up dead after reporting their calls to the police, she is terrified. Especially when the calls escalate and she can't shake the feeling that she is being watched.

Detective Tony Marino believes he is not family material because of his dangerous career. But when a small boy unexpectedly tugs at his heartstrings---and the boy's mother captures his heart, Tony puts everything on the line to protect the family that feels like his own.

Because there no longer is any doubt---Erin is next on a serial killer's list.

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

Surprisingly, Patrick Fitzgerald. Although I came to love all my characters for reasons unique to them, I most admired Fitz. He was an elderly gentleman facing more days behind him than ahead. Yet, he dared to fall in love, accepted challenges without complaint and was able to open his heart and his home to those he cared about the most. The conversation between Tony and Fitz over lunch was a moving moment for me when I had the opportunity to show what kind of man Fitz really was.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

I hope my novel fills the bill for being suspenseful, romantic, and touching--a slice of life depicting ordinary people faced with extraordinary circumstances and how they coped.

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

Eyal Podell would play Tony.





And Jennifer Christiana Finnigan would play Erin.



This month we're looking at opening lines. What are the first lines (or the first line, if you prefer) of your novel? What did you hope to convey with those opening lines?

His fingers tapped an angry rhythm against the handle of the scalpel hidden in his pocket. Where was she? He checked his wristwatch for the third time in as many minutes. Her shift had ended thirty minutes ago. She should be standing in that doorway by now. Alone. Vulnerable.

What I was trying to do was to let the reader know right off the bat that evil had come knocking on the door of an every day, ordinary, hard working woman. I hoped to create empathy for her and curiosity about how the bad guy was going to be caught.

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? What do you struggle with?

Dialogue comes easiest for me. I see and hear my characters like I'm watching a movie in my mind. My struggles come with plotting. Most of my ideas come to me as individual scenes or snatches of dialogue. I find it very, very challenging to try and pull it together in a tight, cohesive plot.

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

I'd have to say a large, soft feather pillow. I'm soft and mushy both inside and out.

LOL, I like that, Diane.

What is the last book you read that moved you?


Hands down it would have to be Where Mercy Flows by Karen Harter. I heard about Karen three weeks after I returned from the RWA San Francisco conference. Her second book Autumn Blue had been nominated for a Rita. Karen had been valiantly fighting cancer for years and shortly after the conference she passed away. I was so impressed by the fact that she helped her husband plant a church, started a special program for young people and wrote two books all AFTER learning she had cancer that I felt compelled to order her debut novel.

I wasn't disappointed. It was a marvelous book that explored the relationship between a father and a daughter and the subject of forgiveness touched my heart. I don't honestly know whether it was the book by itself or the story of the author behind it (not that it mattered) but I couldn't put it down, sobbed my heart out at the end of the story, and found it a place of honor on my keeper's shelf.

What are you working on now?

I just finished my second manuscript, tentatively titled Deception, about a woman who wakes up one morning to discover that everything she thought she knew about herself and her family was a lie. It is sitting on the editor's desk waiting for a yeah or nay. While waiting, I've just started my third manuscript which will also be a romantic suspense.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

Readers can contact me at www.dianeburkeauthor.com. I am also on Face Book and welcome new friends.

My book can be purchased at Amazon.com or christianbooks.com

Thanks for having me!!

Thanks, Diane, for visiting with us and telling us about Midnight Caller. Readers, Diane has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Thursday, March 25. To enter, leave a comment for Diane, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Linda S. Clare and Gayle Roper, below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their novels

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gayle Roper and Free Books!

PhotobucketA stranger's request, a secret key, a handsome man, a series of escalating threats--Kristie faces them all as she boards at an Amish farm.

Before we meet today's novelist, I'd like to announce that the winner of the drawing for Ronie Kendig's novel, Dead Reckoning, is:

jthauge@ . . .

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 Gayle Roper, author of A Stranger's Wish (Harvest House, February, 2010).

PhotobucketGayle Roper is the author of more than 45 books. She says, "I have been in love with story all my life. Give me a novel with strong characters and a captivating plot, and I'm one happy reader. Or writer."

Two of Gayle's books have been named Book of the Year, she's won a RITA Award for Best Inspirational Romance, won three Holt Medallions, received a Reviewer's Choice Award, and finaled repeatedly for the Christy Award.

She lives in Southeast Pennsylvania with her husband Chuck. She teaches frequently at writers conferences and speaks at women's events across the country. She loves her kids and grandkids, and enjoys eating out whenever she can talk Chuck into it.

Wow, Gayle, I'm in awe of your accolades! You're Superwoman! I think Chuck should take you to dinner whenever you darned well please!

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of A Stranger's Wish.

PhotobucketKristie Matthews, artist and teacher, moves to an Amish farm. On her first day she's bitten by the family's German shepherd and rushed to the hospital by a handsome neighbor. There she meets an old man having a heart attack. He gives her a key to keep for him and makes her promise to tell no one she has it. Trouble and romance follow until she solves the mystery of the key.

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

I like all the characters of this novel, but one of my favorites is Mary Zook, the Amish mother who is a closet artist. In her culture, art is frowned upon, but she has this gift and a compulsion to use it. When Kristie, our heroine and an artist, comes to board, Mary's world suddenly expands, but she has to decide how much she can step outside what is comfortable and right.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

A Stranger's Wish has suspense, mystery, interesting characters, and it's a great story. There are also lots of interesting facts about Amish life, something that interests a lot of folks. How should we balance law and grace?

There's certainly no denying the appeal of Amish fiction. I think it was literary agent Chip MacGregor who wrote the other day that he believes Amish fiction is here to stay (versus a passing fad)--a permanent genre of its own.

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


PhotobucketThe guy who plays The Mentalist (Simon Baker) can be Clarke, our hero.

PhotobucketAnd Amy Adams can be Kristie.



This month we're looking at opening lines. What are the first lines (or the first line, if you prefer) of your novel? What did you hope to convey with those opening lines?

By the time Jon Clarke What's-his-name drove me to the hospital, my terrible inner trembling had stopped.

I hoped to intrigue readers enough to make them read on and find out what had happened to Kristie.

Yes, it already poses a number of questions!

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? What do you struggle with?


I can usually see the opening and the finale though not in great detail. I know who my bad guy will be. I try hard not to use the same devices over again. One car chase in one book is it. I think the hardest thing is delving into personalities of characters who are different from me. What would they think, what would they do in a specific situation when they are so different from me?

What is the last book you read that moved you?

I'm a sucker for a good romantic suspense, mystery or romance. I've been reading several contemporary romances as a judge for the RITA Awards. I read a new author, Susan Mallery, a title called Straight from the Hip. An unusual set-up, characters of depth, and a satisfying ending. I find some romances have the big break-up and then the last two pages are the rekindling of the affection--too little too late. I don't buy that fences can be mended that quickly.

What are you working on now?

I'm writing a short romantic suspense for Love Inspired Suspense called Hear No Evil. It's the second of three about a trio of teachers who share a house. Lucy is the impetuous, leads with her heart character whose personality will be fun to capture.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

I have several short stories posted on my web site, www.gayleroper.com. They're there just for friends and visitors to read. There's lots of information about my other books there too. All the titles can be purchased at a local book store or through christianbooks.com or Amazon.com.

Thanks, Gayle, for visiting with us and telling us about A Stranger's Wish. Readers, Gayle has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Monday, March 22. To enter, leave a comment for Gayle, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Amber Miller Stockton and Linda S. Clare, below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their novels

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Linda S. Clare and Free Books!

PhotobucketIn the high desert of Central Oregon, a woman who has always longed to know her half Nez Perce Indian father finds her legacy: a rundown trailer surrounded by a fence made from old oven doors.

Before we meet today's novelist, I'd like to announce that the winner of the drawing for Robin Miller's novel, Deliver Us From Evil, is:

ppwbookplace@ . . .

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 S. Clare, author of The Fence My Father Built (Abingdon Press, October 2009).

PhotobucketLinda S. Clare grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and taught art as well as elementary school in public and private schools. She has published four books, including her debut novel The Fence My Father Built. She has won several fiction awards, teaches college writing classes, and works as a mentor and editor. Her husband of thirty-two years and their four adult children, including a set of twins, live in Eugene, Oregon, along with five wayward cats, Oliver, Xena Warrior Kitty Paladine, Melchior, and Mamma Mia!

Clearly we should expect series from you, Linda, with all those multiples in your life!

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of The Fence My Father Built.


PhotobucketMuri Pond has always longed to know her biological father, who left when she was a small child. Years later, she's still reeling from learning that it's too late: Her father, a half-Nez Perce Indian named Joseph Pond, has died, leaving her an inheritance of property in Central Oregon. As Muri and her two children, Nova, 16, and Truman, 11, make their way from Portland out to the tiny town of Murkee, Muri has lost a lot: her librarian job, her marriage and her faith in God.

When she arrives at her newly-inherited property, she's shocked: it's little more than a ramshackle trailer, surrounded by a fence made from old oven doors. As she tries to make the best of things, she grapples with Joe's charismatic sister Aunt Lutie, her husband, Tiny, who keeps potbellied pigs and mountains of bicycle parts for needy kids and Linc Jackson, a conniving neighbor who threatens to sue over water rights.

Muri struggles to accept her father as he was and in doing so rediscovers the faith he somehow never abandoned.

Wow, I really see this as an indy film, Linda. Very quirky and character driven.

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


I'm fascinated by dear Aunt Lutie, who in spite of challenges such as poverty and ethnic discrimination, has a grip of steel when it comes to her faith. Why? Lutie is the equalizer in the book. She is nonjudgmental, practical and kind. Besides, she knows how to handle Muri's feisty teenaged daughter Nova.

Why will readers enjoy your novel?

So many of us have missing pieces in our lives--parents who divorced, died or were otherwise absent. Many of us deal with family members who suffer from alcoholism or substance abuse. It's very important to see these people as many times loving God and loved by God, instead of defining people only by their flaws. Muri is on fire to know her roots. I for one have always been desperate to know my family heritage, which was difficult because I am the daughter of a mother who was herself adopted and I was adopted by my stepfather. Until I was able to locate my birth father (only a few years ago) I had a family shrub instead of a tree.

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

PhotobucketI usually think of Sandra Bullock as Muri.

PhotobucketAnd perhaps Bill Paxton for Rubin the veterinarian.

But I also realize that the Hollywood stars are changing fast--I don't want to brand my characters as old.

We pull our actors from whatever time frame we need for this question, Linda, so it doesn't matter what age they become. We're dreaming, so we can stop time if we want!

This month we're looking at opening lines. What are the first lines (or the first line, if you prefer) of your novel? What did you hope to convey with those opening lines?

Sprawled across the bed, you slept facedown, wearing that red cowgirl shirt and the velvet skirt you love. I stood by and watched your breathing. Your hair, so straight and black, reminded me of my people, our people, and I wondered what you dreamed. Years ago, the Nez Perce surrendered to broken treaties, broken dreams. I'm sorry, daughter, but I'm surrendering too.

These words are from Muri Pond's father Joseph's journal, which she finds among his things. I wanted to evoke a sense of great love and great loss, and the unfailing way in which fathers and Fathers hold out hope for their children.

Very poignant beginning, Linda.

What facet of the writing craft comes easiest to you? What do you struggle with?


The writing craft should always be evolving for me. I am perhaps more able now to envision a character whose high stakes goals clash with those who would obstruct the goals. But fiction always boils down to scene writing. Am I conveying the story movement necessary? Have I chosen the best things to dramatize? Am I listening hard to the characters as they express their emotions? These things, more than others, are not hard for me but I do struggle with pivotal scenes sometimes. I have a slight bent toward the melodramatic. Struggle equals rewriting until the scene is right.

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

I think of myself as a bucket. A holey bucket at that. The reader is longing to connect to ideas and emotions through character and story. I'm trying to become a receptacle for those things. My bucket has holes because it can never be full if it serves that reader. Words, stories, characters--all are limitless. I let myself down into the deep holy well where stories are born and do my best to set them into action. If I'm successful, my story helps readers grow, change, think or see things in a new way.

Love it!

What is the last book you read that moved you?


I've been reading Mary De Muth's fabulous Thin Places: A Spiritual Memoir (Zondervan 2010). I like to pretend Mary is my long lost sister. We think a lot alike. She has succeeded in plumbing the depths of that well and bringing up a book full of fresh and original honesty. She's not afraid to say, "Look! My bucket's full of holes!" You gotta love that.

Mary's awesome. Gifted and humble.

What are you working on now?


I'm finishing a stand-alone novel called Hiding From Floyd. It's the story of Abi Welles who ten years earlier, lost a son while he played hide and seek with his very strange brother James. Nobody knows if James was involved or if he tried to save his brother. As the tenth anniversary of Floyd's death looms, Abi must uncover the truth about James, her marriage and her faith. Here are the first lines:

Ever since my son passed away, I've been an expert on grieving. I tell those who take my "God's Good Grief" workshops that grieving is all about the living, even when living is the most painful thing on earth. Whoever said time heals all wounds never outlived a loved one. Named after his grandpa, Floyd--isn't Floyd a funny name for a child?--was only in second grade.

Where else can readers find you or your writing online?

Since I teach writing at Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, I blog about writing tips at www.GodSongGrace.blogspot.com.

Buy The Fence My Father Built at Abingdon Press.

Thanks, Linda, for visiting with us and telling us about The Fence My Father Built. Readers, Linda has offered to give a copy of her novel to the winner of our drawing on Saturday, March 20. To enter, leave a comment for Linda, below. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Check out my interviews with Ronie Kendig and (Tiffany) Amber Miller Stockton, below, and leave a comment under their interviews to be entered in drawings for signed copies of their novels

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants.
 

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