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!

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 Inspirational novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2020

Tara Ross and Free Books!

Thea Fenton has a unique gift.

Now, she needs to figure out what to do with it.

Before we meet today's author, I want to announce that the winner of the free copy of Linda Shenton Matchett's historic romance, Spies & Sweethearts, is:


Congratulations! We'll get your book right out to you. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right (above my list of books) in order to learn about new releases! U.S. subscribers are entered in the drawings a second time when they comment.

And now let's chat with novelist Tara Ross, author of the Inspirational Contemporary YA (with a touch of Magical Realism) novel, Fade to White (IlluminateYA/LPC, May 2020).

As a teen, Tara K. Ross discovered how well-written prose can change the trajectory of a person's life. Case in point: her life. She now passes along this wisdom through her work as a school speech-language pathologist and mentor with local youth programs. She is also blessed with a ridiculously supportive family that grants her time to create stories that tackle the interplay of faith and mental health. Fade to White is her debut novel.

​When Tara is not writing or reading all things YA, you can find her rock climbing the Ontario escarpment, planning her family's next jungle trek, interviewing authors on The Hope Prose Podcast, or blogging at www.tarakross.com.

Please tell us one random thing we might not know about you.

In a previous life, I loved to act. My favorite role was playing Susy, a young blind woman in the stage production of Wait Until Dark (originally made famous by Audrey Hepburn in the 1967 film adaptation). After having children, finding time for theatre was difficult, so I turned my previous passion for reading scripts into a new joy for reading aloud to my children. Now with eight years of reading under my belt, I’m dabbling with the idea of audiobook narrating.

I remember that film! Terrifying! That's quite a role.

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Fade to White.

Thea Fenton’s life looks picture-perfect, but inside, she is falling apart. Wracked by anxiety no one seems to understand or care about, she resorts to self-harm to deflect the pain inside.

​When a local teen commits suicide, Thea’s anxiety skyrockets. Unexplainable things happen, leaving her feeling trapped within her own chaotic mind. The lines between reality and another world start to blur, and her previously mundane issues seem more daunting and insurmountable than ever.

​Then she meets Khi, a mysterious new boy from the coffee shop who seems to know her better than she knows herself—and doesn’t think she’s crazy. His quiet confidence and unfounded familiarity draw her into an unconventional friendship.

​Khi journeys with her through grief, fear, and confusion to arrive at compassion for the one person Thea never thought she could love.

​Intriguing premise. What is it about Thea that will make your readers care about her?

Thea is like so many of us, trying to hold it together on the outside, while falling apart beneath the surface. In Thea, we are given permission to explore how grief, anxiety and confusion can be confronted. This is one girl’s story, but these emotional states extend to all of us. She journeys imperfectly – acts irrationally, speaks too quickly and lives with many regrets, but through her repeated mistakes we are reminded of our own humanity and need for hope.

That's beautiful, Tara. Especially during this very weird quarantine experience, I'm sure many people feel anxiety they never anticipated. It might be easier than ever to identify with Thea.

Have you ever written a novel with a seasonal (or holiday) setting/theme? If you had to choose a seasonal or holiday setting, which would you choose?

Both Fade to White and my current WIP are set in late fall. I chose this time of year very intentionally. It is ironically my least favourite season. I find the lead up to Christmas excruciating. It’s self-imposed and ridiculous, but my internal headspace is a fright from October to December. I wanted to draw attention to how challenging November can be for people who suffer from mental illness. In Canada, the days become progressively shorter, and colder. We begin to hibernate and isolate ourselves from others, and all too often, as the world around us begins to decay and freeze, we embody these same emotions. I wanted to share that even within this season of endings, there are possibilities for new beginnings.

The weather component of what you're describing really hits home for me. I've lived most of my life in the Washington Metropolitan Area, and over the years I came to dread the dark, icy winter months. I'm on the west coast now and thriving in the warm weather! I don't have SADS, but I completely understand why people experience it. 

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

I recently read and adored All Manner of Things, by Susie Finkbeiner. This was a novel that I did not know I wanted to read. I met Susie at a writer’s conference two years ago and knew from first conversation that I did want to be her friend. She has a genuine and warm personality and despite my nobody status, offered encouragement that will stay with me for years.

I don’t usually read historical novels, and I purchased a copy of Susie’s book not knowing what to expect. I wasn’t expecting to be deeply affected by her writing, or to reread portions of her story for the better part of a year. I didn’t know I would be taken on a journey to the inner most heart of a family. That her characterizations would leave new friends in my life. I didn’t expect that a plot without cliffhangers at each chapter end could keep me turning pages faster than a thriller. That with each letter or richly crafted scene, I would fall more in love with this novel. Susie is masterful at her craft and an author that every writer must read, if not for the emotional journey, then for the free lessons on craft.

Lovely recommendation! What are you working on now?

I can’t wait to blurt to the world about my next contemporary YA novel, but unfortunately, I am not at liberty to give too much away yet. I can share that some of the characters from Fade to White may make cameo appearances in this next novel. I continue to weave themes of faith and mental health into the story, but this time I dive more heavily into the use of technology and how it affects our self-image.

Where else can readers find you online?

Instagram: @ tara.k.ross
Twitter: @tara_k_ross
Amazon author page

The book can be purchased online via the following button:

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

Do you read across genres or tend to stick closely to one? What would encourage you to step outside your reading comfort zone?

Thanks again for hosting me on your blog!

My pleasure, Tara. And thanks for visiting and telling us about yourself and your book. Readers, Tara has offered to give away a free copy of her book. To enter, leave a comment and your email below in answer to her question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. Remember that U.S. subscribers are entered an additional time in each drawing. The drawing is done by email, so leave your email address, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com.

Only United States residents are eligible for the drawing, but anyone can subscribe to the blog posts via the GDPA-compliant Feedblitz box above my list of books, at right.

Also readers, I'd love it if you'd connect with me on Facebook. Just click on my name at the right of today's post title.

Annoying legal disclaimer: as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases; drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer, GDPA notice, and my Disclosure of Material Connection HERE


Gail H. said...

I read several genres. It keeps me from getting bored and I can experience many different authors that I enjoy. If I read a suspense that’s good but pretty heavy, I then like to read a contemporary romance. I also enjoy Amish, historical romance, mystery and WWII fiction.

Paula Shreckhise said...

My go-to is historical but a close second is Mystery/ Suspense. I have branched out into some women’s fiction and find it quite good.
Thanks for the article.


I Love different genres as Long as it is a great book and is a print book I will read it! SARAHTAYLOR601973(at)YAHOO(dot)COM

Tara Ross said...

My go to is obviously clean YA fiction, but I also love women's fiction, and anything contemporary. Mind you, I've read a couple of historical novels this past year that I've loved as well!

Trish Perry said...

I'm much like Gail. I switch from genre to genre, from historical to suspense to women's fiction to romance to spec to classics, and on. I seldom read the same genre two books in a row, although I did that when I was younger. After reaching the end of a great gothic romance, I wanted nothing more than to read another one just as good. But I eventually found I lost appreciation for a single genre if I didn't step outside of it. Now I like to keep myself on my toes by finishing a good book and moving in a completely different direction.



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