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!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Alison Strobal and Free Books!

PhotobucketA young pianist is determined to follow her dream of playing professionally—even if it means staying behind in LA when her husband gets relocated to the middle of nowhere—and chasing that dream nearly kills her.

Before we visit with today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the signed copy of Kim Cash Tate's novel, Cherished, is:

plhouston@ . . .

And the winner of the signed copy of Margaret Daley's novel, From This Day Forward, is:

ABreading4fun@ . . .

Congratulations! I'll contact you both today for your snail mail addresses, and we'll get your books to you right away. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right (above my list of books) in order to participate in future book give-aways!

Now let's meet novelist Alison Strobel, author of Composing Amelia (David C. Cook, September 2011).

PhotobucketAlison is a wife to (and co-author of children’s books with) Dan Morrow, a homeschooling mom to two daughters, and an avid crocheter and reader. She’s written six contemporary fiction novels and two children’s books, and she works from her home office in Colorado, which has an amazing (and sometimes distracting) view of the Rockies.

Her passion in writing is to see God’s truths conveyed through stories about life, love, and faith; through stories that make readers think; but most importantly, through stories that are thoroughly enjoyable. Her second novel, Violette Between, was a Rita finalist in 2007, and her first children’s book, That’s Where God Is, has won two awards.

If she wasn’t a writer and a mom she’d be an elementary school teacher, which is what she was before quitting to write full time.

Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.

Oddly, most of my weird trivia comes from my college years:

--For about five minutes I planned to major in musical theater in college.

--I studied abroad at the University of Glasgow in Scotland my junior year, and lived just a couple blocks from the flat where my grandmother had grown up and lived before coming to the states as a war bride.

--I was addicted—in the real sense—to an online role playing game my freshman and sophomore years.

--And then, two not related to college: my husband and I met on eHarmony.com—he was my 100th match, I was his first.

--We were in a bunch of television and radio commercials for them in 2003/2004.

I'd love to see one of those ads!

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Composing Amelia.

PhotobucketAmelia has been running from her mother for years, afraid of making the same mistakes she made and of becoming the same kind of failure she was. Her dream to be a professional pianist is, in her eyes, a ticket to security—if she can achieve that, then she’s sure she’ll never be like her mom. Her husband, Marcus, has his own ambitions and his own parental angst, and both assume that God’s will is behind them and their desires.

But when Marcus gets a prestigious position in a small town in Nebraska, their marriage, their faiths, and their dreams are tested.

What is it about your lead character that will make your readers care about her?

I think readers will really like and relate to Amelia because, like so many of us, she’s trying to escape dysfunctional family dynamics and be her own person. She doesn’t want to be defined by the same mistakes her mother made, but try as she might she just can’t seem to grab the success she so desperately wants. And like many couples, she and Marcus are torn between their shared desire to be together and their separate desires for what success looks like.

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

PhotobucketA younger Matt Damon would make a good Marcus.


As for Amelia…hmmm, that’s hard! I think maybe Beth Riesgraf (from my favorite show, Leverage) would be a good match. She’s a good fit for the image I had in my head of Amelia, though I’m not sure how she’d look as a redhead!

And I was unable to find a redheaded version of her. We'll have to use our imaginations, just like when we read books! 

What were some of your favorite words of encouragement from a mentor, colleague, or reader?

I’m so blessed—I get the most incredible feedback from readers! One of my favorite quotes came from a reader who called my book “steak and potatoes” reading—in other words, a solid, “filling,” and satisfying story. I loved that! One woman wrote to tell me that one of my books had opened her eyes to how she needed to change and grow deeper in her relationship with Christ. Incredibly humbling stuff. It’s such an honor to get to write these books and then see God use them to change people.

And how wonderful and thoughtful when readers take the time to let you know, right?

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?

I’m currently listening to Terry Pratchett’s The Fifth Elephant. I think Pratchett is one of the most brilliant writers alive right now. I highly recommend him to anyone who likes imaginative stories, boldly drawn characters, British humor, and fascinating social commentary in the guise of quirky fantasy. (If you decide to check him out, start with the Night Watch books—I believe the first is called Guards! Guards!)

And way a shame we're losing his genius to Alzheimer's--I agree with you, he's wonderful.

What are you working on now?

I just—literally just, like 10 minutes before starting this interview—sent away four book synopses to my agent to be pitched to one of my publishers. Hopefully by the time this interview is up I’ll have another contract lined up! Until then, I’m going to keep promoting the books I have out, brainstorming some possible YA projects with my husband, and outlining the books my agent is proposing so that they’re ready to go.

Where else can readers find you online?

My website will soon undergo a facelift, and when it’s live I think I’m going to start blogging again. So keep an eye on www.AlisonStrobel.com (and check out the behind-the-scenes stuff I have posted for Composing Amelia and my other novels as well!).

I’m also very active on Facebook, where my group page is full of fun conversations on all sorts of things. I’m on Twitter, but I’m less “author” there and more “mom/wife/Christian Libertarian/Attachment Parenting, Gentle Discipline, and homeschooling advocate”. I don’t usually do Twitter until I’m in bed, don’t ask me why, so if you’re a night owl you’re a lot more likely to see my tweets!

My husband and I also have a fan page on Facebook (Dan & Ali Morrow) and a website (DanAndAliMorrow.com) where we give away free books every month! Come check us out!

The book is available at fine book stores and for online purchase via these buttons:

767738: Composing Amelia

Finally, what question would you like to ask my readers?

Oh, so many things I’d love to ask! But since I can only ask one thing, I’ll ask this: What do you wish your favorite author would do more of? More in-store book signings? More virtual events (virtual book launch, virtual book discussions, etc)? More blogging? Curious to see the answers; I hope y’all leave some comments for me!

Thank you, Alison, for visiting with us and telling us about your novel. Readers, Alison has offered to give a signed copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Monday, September 19. To enter, leave a comment below in answer to Alison's question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Leave your email address, in case you win, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Be sure to check out my interview with Susan Page Davis, below. Leave an appropriate comment at the bottom of the post to enter the drawing for a signed copy of her book.

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.


Carol M said...

Blogging helps me to get to know an author and what kind of books she writes. I think book giveaways are a good idea. Once I've read an author's book and liked it, I will then start buying them.
mittens0831 at aol dot com

Judy said...

I love in store book signings. I have met two of my favorite authors through book signings. One of the signings was held in a public library. To my surprise the authors were just down to earth people like me. I enjoyed being able to chit chat and ask questions in person. Every time I read a book written by them my mind goes back to what they look like and how kind they were. Also, they are such good Christian witnesses!

Alison you are a new author to me. I would like to get to know you better through you books. I would love to win a copy of, Composing Amelia.



Trish Perry said...

Good points, Carol and Judy! The book giveaways are meant to get the books out there, as you said, Carol, so that more people will develop a liking for a particular author's work and tell others about it, so it's good to read your comment.

And Judy, every time I've done a signing, I've really loved it when a reader has chatted with me. Unless an author is someone like J.K. Rowling, she usually has the time to talk!

Anonymous said...

I love Alison's books!

What I would love from my favorite authors are more sequels. I find myself attached to the characters and don't want to say goodbye at the end of the book.


Gail said...

I don't think I've ever been to a book signing...so I'd say blogging is a great way to be in touch with readers. I love hearing more from authors and finding out what upcoming projects they have.

bookwurm70 at gmail dot com

CarlybirdK said...

The more book signings, the better! I wish Christian authors were able to have big book tours like other authors do. There are so many authors I would love to meet. I don't get impressed by movie stars, but meeting an author is always a big thrill for me! Great question and great interview.

dancealert said...

I wish she would write mrore books! I've burned through everything she has ever written!
I'm a subscriber by email. I'm a follower via gfc. I posted this on my blog: http://dancealertreads.blogspot.com/2011/09/httptrishperryblogspotcom201109alison.html

dancealert at aol dot com

by Pegg Thomas said...

Easy answer... write more books! :)
twinwillowsfarm at gmail dot com

Patsy said...

Oh my goodness, I've never known anybody that met a spouse on eHarmony. That was so funny that it was your husband's first contact.

The thing I would love for some of my favorite authors to do is to do book signings closer to where I live. I live in south Mississippi and the majority of signings is to far away to travel. I understand they can't travel everywhere - that's okay - love 'em anyway!

Would love to read Alison's book. I know she is a great author.


Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

What do {I} you wish {my} your favorite author would do more of?
~something i would enjoy is having an online reading group include the author! would luv the ensuing discussions or even have the author plan the discussion questions. who better to understand intentions - then we get to go deeper in understanding story/characters...
lovely to meet you Alison! i've lived in scotland briefly and as yet have not been successful on eharmony =)) just a couple points that resonated as i read your interview ~ thanks Trish for a great post! infuse at live dot ca

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

another suggestion ~
infuse at live dot ca
we really found success during the monthlong Austenesque Extravaganza where we had an hr long twitter party each sunday afternoon with about 4-5 authors and Jane Austen fans. we could not believe how that hr flew by! so much joy and news shared ~ we met new authors, learned about their WIP, published works, inner workings of publication, writing & became friends! new twitter followers and new reads waiting... absolutely the best way to connect readers/writers who anticipated reconnxn through the nxt wk twitter party , blogs now introduced, etc.
definitely a suggestion i'd promote~

karenk said...

HI Alison,

Loved your posting...and I'm looking forward to reading your latest novel CHASING AMELIA...thanks for the chance to read it :)

I enjoy reading your newsletters and postings on different blogs...I think that you are doing everything right :)

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Jenny said...

I'm with Pegg...Write more books!

I'd love to see those eHarmony ads, too!

Can't wait to read Composing Amelia...thanks for the interview and the chance to win.

eviesmommo at yahoo dot com

Amber said...

I wish my favorite author would keep her web site updated and send out newsletters more often. She generally only sends out a newsletter when she has a book releasing, but I'd like to hear from her more often about what she's working on and such. I like the Girls Write Out blog (Diann Hunt, Denise Hunter, Kristin Billerbeck, Colleen Coble, and Hannah Alexander take turns blogging) and wish my favorite author would join a group and blog with them! I find it fun to get a few blog entries a week from different authors. I also think surveys would be a good way to interact with fans.


margie said...

I am usually busy caring for my very active toddler grands so I don't always have time to blog..I agree with someone who said more sequels. I love reading but really hate to turn that last page and get to "the end". When it is a really good book, you just wish it could go on and on! I am an old stick in the mud when it comes to my books and prefer a real book to an e-book! And free books?? Who doesn't love to win a free book?? Margie at mijares dot net

Trish Perry said...

Hmmm, surveys. Interesting idea, Amber. I may have to learn how to do that . . .

Anonymous said...

Since the only bookstore near us
does not do author signings,I
vote for blogs. I love reading
blogs and learning not just about
the books, but something of the
author's life. Blogs have given
me a chance to read people I would
never have known about otherwise.
And boy do I agree with the person
who said she wished more sequels
were written. So often, I am sure
there will be a sequel to tell us
what happened to the characters &
there isn't a follow up. Also free books are so important in this economy when so many of us can't buy very many.

Janna said...

Booksignings are a great way to interact with readers - we don't get many in my little town, but last week Beverly Lewis was here and I made a point to go meet her and I then proceeded to buy all 3 books in her most recent series! It meant alot that she made a stop in little ol' North Platte - she had a line of people the whole time she was here and sold a ton of stuff!

I like reading blogs and love giveaways but personal contact ranks highest for me (one of the reasons I go to the ACFW Conference and meet authors there :-)

ryanx6 at msn dot com

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I wish my favorite authors would write more books and even sequels, however, I know they have lives, too. :-) Maybe have book discussions on their facebook pages, but again, they have lives and often, families of their own. I'm not interested in book signings as that takes an author away from her family.

Jo said...

I wish that my favorite author would come out here and give a seminar.




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