Monday, January 26, 2015

Interview with Historical and Regency Romance Author Regina Scott

Book Giveaway Jan 26 – Feb 2: You have a chance to win a Historical Romance, The Bride Ship. Leave a comment about this interview with your e-mail. Book: U.S. and Canada only.

Regina Scott is the award-winning author of more than 25 historical romances, most set in the Regency period. Her stories have traveled the globe, with translations in many languages including Dutch, German, Italian, and Portuguese. She and her husband of over 25 years reside in Washington State with their overactive Irish terrier. Regina Scott is a decent fencer, owns a historical costume collection that takes up over a third of her large closet, and serves as the chief organizer for her family and friends.

The Bride Ship is such a charming story. The hero, Clay, is a man among men. He’s a rough and tough man who knows what he wants but underneath he has a heart of gold. Allegra was married to his brother but is now a widow. Clay is completely opposite from his brother who was a refined gentleman. Clay lived a life of adventure panning for gold in California and shipping lumber from the forests of Oregon Territory. Now Clay wants to help Allegra because of his devotion to his brother. But that is not the real reason. His love for Allegra shines through.” –Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke

Welcome to my blog, Regina. The Bride Ship is your first venture outside the Regency era. Please tell us about your novel.

The Bride Ship is the first in a new series that chronicles the real-life story of a group of women who left the East Coast after the Civil War to start new lives in frontier Washington Territory. Though my heroine, Allegra Banks Howard, and her friends are fictional, the challenges they face are real to that fateful journey and time period. Some of the women came hoping to be brides. Others merely wanted a chance at a future away from sad memories of husbands and brothers lost to that bloody war. None expected the trip and the destination to be so ripe for adventure, and love.

I have never heard of this before. That’s so interesting. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

I first learned about the Mercer Belles (one of the kinder names given to this stalwart group of ladies) when I was a girl growing up in the Puget Sound area of Washington State, and I’ve wanted to write a story about them ever since. What would make a woman willing to travel thousands of miles, to leave family and friends behind, most likely forever? To attempt life on the frontier with nothing but the clothes on her back and the faith in her heart? How did that woman react when she saw fledgling Seattle, which wasn’t nearly as civilized as she had been led to believe from the materials given her by the group’s recruiter and organizer, Asa Mercer? I could imagine dozens of ways the stories might have played out, all depending on the lady herself.

I bet the trip was very hard to endure. What kind of research did you have to do?

I read every account of the Mercer party I could locate, including journals of the ladies in the group. I studied in the state Historical Society archives to learn what befell the others once they reached their hallowed shores. I owe a lot of my material to the journal of Roger Conant, which has been published as Mercer’s Belles: The Journal of a Reporter. He was a New York Times reporter embedded in the Mercer party, who not only described their adventures but shared the stories with the newspaper to the delight of his many readers. He had a rather patronizing attitude toward the ladies, calling them “fair virgins” and emphasizing every time any of them so much as batted her eyes at a gentlemen. But the stories he tells, of exploring the wonders of Rio de Janeiro, navigating the desolate Straits of Magellan, being chased by a Spanish man-o-war in Chile, and visiting the Galapagos Islands, are amazing!

Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about her.

What I love about Allegra is that she is trying her wings for the first time. A pampered Boston socialite, she went through life as the dutiful daughter, doing everything her parents required, including marrying the son of family friends when his brother, the man she loved, headed West. Now her husband and parents have died, and she can see how her mother-in-law is determined to shape Allegra’s young daughter into the same mold. Isn’t there more to life? Shouldn’t Allegra be the one guiding her daughter’s footsteps? Shouldn’t Allegra have the right to choose who she’ll marry, if she’ll marry again? She may make some mistakes along the way, but she picks herself up and keeps on trying, knowing that it’s not only her own future she’s championing, but her daughter’s. When Clay Howard, the man she once loved, shows up to “rescue” her, she’s not so sure she wants rescuing. And then it’s his turn to learn a few things.

Wow! Your story sounds so intriguing. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I believe in living the history I write about. I’ve sailed on a tall ship, driven a carriage four-in-hand, sipped the waters in Bath, and strolled the shops on Bond Street in London. If you need a fourth for an English country dance, I’m your girl. But don’t be surprised if I step on your toes. We have many women named Grace in my family. I am not one of them. J

Haha! Now I know the real you! Thanks for this wonderful interview, Regina. This has been a real pleasure getting to know you.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Interview with Fantasy YA Author Andean White

Book Giveaway January 16 - 26: You have a chance to win a Fantasy/Medieval Romance, Winter’s Thief. Leave a comment about this interview with your e-mail. Book: U.S. only, Ebook: International. I have an author interview and book giveaway every week, so don't forget to stop off and visit my blog.

For thirty-five years, Andean White worked in manufacturing management for some awesome organizations making interesting products. A couple years before retiring, Andean wrote a series of travel journals with a humorous under current. Several friends and family suggested he write some short stories based on the journals—that sparked an interest in writing. Among his interests, Andean enjoys biking, fishing, travel, woodworking, golf, classic cars, and of course writing.

Welcome to my blog, Andean. Please tell us about this Fantasy/Medieval Romance, Winter’s Thief.

Winter’s Thief is a medieval-like tale of a king’s secret adoption scheme to create an heir to the throne, as the queen cannot bear children. The story takes us into the lives of the characters providing security and those who wish to see the princess dead. Oscar, the captain of the guard, instrumental in the success of the king’s scheme, has second thoughts when his farmer son meets the princess several years later. Their budding romance struggles as they battle treason, spies, revenge, assassination, kidnapping, abduction, ambush, social class, beasts, and parents.

This tale sounds intriguing. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

For Winter’s Thief, the idea came from a completely different source than other stories. Kathryn Elizabeth Jones, mentor turned editor, asked if I would write a page and a half story inspired by a card pulled randomly from a deck. The card contained a reproduction of the Bernardo Martorell painting titled Saint George Killing the Dragon—a castle, princess, knight, and a dragon. I was not thrilled with the assignment and put it off until a couple hours before our meeting. With little time to proof, I had to be at my best. It turned out pretty good. Over the next month Kathryn talked me into five pages, ten pages, a couple of chapters, and then a book.

That is so interesting. It was as if Kathryn had to encourage and pull this story out of you. Haha. What kind of research did you have to do?

Mostly I verified a few timing concerns. For example, the date linen was first used in clothing. Also checked the names of flowers, clergy apparel, and food. The story is loosely base on medieval life, but I took a few liberties, as it is a fantasy.

Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about him or her.

Oscar is the Captain of the Long Bows and the king’s most trusted knight—handling the king’s secret missions. He is bound by his oath to the king, and sacrifices time with his family to be strong, efficient, prepared, and deadly. His skills are tested on assignments from transporting a newborn princess to interrogating an enemy spy. The real test is coming as some of his secrets are about to be exposed.

And yet, he is not afraid to discuss his favorite color is green because it reminds him of Spring, a new beginning. He knows thoughts of his new beginning are in conflict with his oath and reality. Lost time with Abby, his sick wife, has him wondering how his son Kendrick will survive without a father.

I’m sure adults would enjoy this novel as well. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

When I tell friends and former work associates that I am a writer, their faces have the strangest expression followed by “What did you say?” Then “Really?”

My former career was details, procedures, specifications, testing results, blue prints, budgets—you get the picture—technical, with a narrow range for creativity. I am happy to say Winter’s Thief, my second book has received good reviews from many of those same people who formerly asked “What did you say?” Thankfully, I can answer “Really!”

Haha! That is great. Thanks for this wonderful interview. For those interested, you may visit Andean’s website at http://andeanwhite.com



 Enter more giveaways at I Am A Reader.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Interview with Cook Book Authors Annie, Chelsea and Holly Forsyth

Book Giveaway January 12 - 19: You have a chance to win a Cookbook, The Everything Naturally Sugar-Free Cookbook. Leave a comment about this interview with your e-mail. Book Giveaway: U.S. and Canada.

Annie, Chelsea and Holly Forsyth began Natural Sweet Recipes (www.naturalsweetrecipes.com) in June 2011 as a way to share recipes with family and friends that were interested in eating sugar-free. Because they enjoyed sharing their recipes so much they decided to broaden their readership and make their blog public. Since then their recipes have been featured all over the Web on sites such as BuzzFeed, The Pioneer Woman’s Tasty Kitchen and Huffington Post. Their first cookbook The Everything Naturally Sugar-Free Cookbook was published in September 2014 which features 300 of their favorite naturally sweet recipes. The book features drinks, appetizers, breads, main dishes, and, of course, desserts that can all be made without refined sugar!

Welcome to my blog, Girls. This is fun having sisters on my blog. Please tell us about your cookbook and why it is unique.

Thanks so much for having us! The Everything Series is a great series of books that spell out everything you need to know about a topic. The company contacted us and asked us if we would be their “Sugar-free Experts” and write a book dedicated to cooking and baking without refined sugar. It was the perfect fit for us and we jumped on board. The book features some of our reader’s favorite recipes from the blog but also has many new and improved recipes as well. We think something that makes the book special is it really became a labor of love for our entire family, not just the three of us. We had family near and far testing recipes and even creating new recipes. This book really pays tribute to our support and love for each other as well as our collective pursuit of health. If we had a family time capsule for the year, (which we should make!), this book would definitely be in it, representing a lot of collaboration, work, laughter, tears and late night phone calls.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

We get inspiration from absolutely everywhere! We love to travel. Annie and her husband have done a lot of traveling all over Europe and always come back with fantastic recipes that we set out to re-create in a healthy way. Chelsea is currently in Brazil where she is learning a lot about food and traditions there. Holly lives in Los Angeles where the food scene is top notch and is always taking pictures of beautiful dessert cases and restaurant food presentations. Whenever we see unique flavor combinations at gelato shops or a dessert presented in a particularly pretty way, we text a picture to each other and store the idea away for later. The fact is, most desserts are not healthy in the slightest, so we always have our work cut out for us in recreating recipes. We currently have a recipe list with over 200 ideas that we hope to share on our blog or add in a future cookbook!

Did you have to do any research for this cookbook?

Yes! When it comes to science, the world is always changing! We wanted to make sure our readers had the latest research on what sugar does to their bodies. We have an entire chapter dedicated to refined sugar and why people should avoid it. We did a lot of research trying to ensure we were using the best techniques in our cooking as well as ways to make procedures easier for our readers. Not to mention endless “tasting research”! Taste testing was definitely the most time-consuming (and enjoyable!) part. We reworked recipes over and over, at 3 different altitudes, in 3 different test kitchens, trying to make sure they were the best they could be.

What is your most favorite recipe from this book and why?

Annie: I really enjoy the Vegan Lemons Bars because lemon bars are an old family and personal favorite that I am so excited to enjoy now in a sugar-free way. I also love that there is a secret healthy ingredient in them! It’s always a blast telling people after they eat dessert that you snuck in something super healthy that they didn’t notice!

Chelsea: I love the Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. I have a weakness for gourmet cupcakes and this recipe is my go-to for any celebration!

Holly: I love the Honey Mustard Dressing. I can’t believe I’m picking this recipe over all the wonderful desserts in the book, but my three little girls, ages 8, 5 and 2 will literally eat anything with this dressing on top. I’m a big green vegetable fan, and it makes me giddy seeing my two year old ask for seconds on her salad at dinner.

Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Something real about us is that we are recovering sugar-addicts! We each suffered from various health problems in our teenage years and over time realized that our diets had a lot to do with how we felt. We have strived ever since to heal our bodies by cleaning up our food. After a lot of reading and consulting health gurus, we decided that a big part of an optimal diet is eliminating refined sugar. We are grateful to be in this together, because it’s so much easier making good food choices when we have support. Also, we are best friends in real life! We live very far away from each other right now so this blog has been a way to work, eat and laugh together across long distances.

Thank you so much for this interview, girls. I hope my readers check out your new cookbook. Congratulations!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Interview with Mystery Writer Kathryn Elizabeth Jones

Kathryn Elizabeth Jones has been a reader even before she could read. She has always loved books and would pretend to read even before the skill to read sunk in. She has loved to write for almost the same amount of time. Kathryn has published 7 books to date. Two mysteries, two Christian fiction books, two nonfiction books and one middle reader. She has also published short stories and articles for newspapers and magazines throughout her 20+ years as an author.

Welcome to my blog, Kathryn. This is a Susan Cramer Mystery. Where did you get your inspiration for this series?

I grew up on Nancy Drew Mysteries, so it was only a matter of time before I delved into the genre of mystery writing myself. Susan is a regular sort of woman with the same hang-ups and desires for a better life; something we all want.

I’m a mystery fan, too. Please tell us about book one: Scrambled.

Susan decides to leave her long-time husband hoping for a better life. Problem is, things only get worse as she is the first person to discover the collapsed man in the cellar of the Hotel Camaro. With all of the strange people who rent rooms at the old hotel, plus the fact that she has been blamed for the murder, Susan is also concerned about keeping where she is staying under wraps. The last thing she wants is to be persuaded to come home. Can she find the killer before her true identity is discovered?

This series sounds intriguing. Tell us about book two: Sunny Side-Up.

In Sunny Side-Up, Susan is finally able to take that well-needed vacation. Problem is, the first night out on the cruise ship, Aloha, an old man falls dead at her feet. Once again she is at the wrong place at the wrong time. How will she be able to clear her name this time? And how will she deal with Henry, Mr. non-romance himself?

It’s fun to see a character grow and develop in each book. When you fall in love with your characters, it is hard to leave a series. Please tell us what the third book is about: Hard Boiled.

In Hard Boiled, Susan returns home only to be told that someone within her family has been murdered. Though she isn't blamed, (she was on a cruise after all) there are some pretty strange clues floating through the air within the outreaches of her very own family. Is someone within it to be blamed?

Though this is not the last book in the series, (expect at least one more book in the series and a teen mystery series that will begin soon thereafter) I will have a hard time leaving the book and going on to something else. Expect Hard Boiled in 2016.

Who is one of your favorite characters in this series and what do you love about him or her?

My favorite character is Susan. She is so like me and so unlike me it's funny. What's not so funny is how easily she fumbles, how easily she is taken in. Susan is every woman who wants a better life for herself, but is sometimes unsure of how to get it.

Thank you for this wonderful interview. In January, Kathryn’s newly updated Marketing Your Book on a Budget will be released. I’m sure that many authors will be interested in this book. Watch out for her new Christian series called Heaven 24/7, also.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Interview with Regency Romance Author Danielle Thorne


Danielle Thorne writes from south of Atlanta, Georgia. She is the author of sweet romantic adventure books, both historical and contemporary. She also has a new series of Young Adult paranormal books. Danielle has been married for twenty-five years, is the mother of four sons, one daughter-in-law, and a rebellious Bombay kitty. Her popular blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on life and the pursuit of peace and happiness.

Welcome back to my blog, Danielle. Please tell us about Proper Attire.

A "proper" West Indies romance, Proper Attire is a quirky Regency meets the Caribbean story about having the courage to stand up for yourself even in the face of danger and the unknown. In this novel, Julia Scott flees England and a cruel stepmother to determine if the West Indies is the paradise of her dreams. Attacked by pirates and desired by island natives, the only person she can trust is John Smith -- if that's her rescuer's true name. Reaching her uncle's station in English Harbor, Julia must find a way to face her feelings and deal with her traitorous family, a dashing new suitor, and the guardian angel, John Smith, who has no qualms sporting counterfeit names and less than what is proper attire.

This sounds so intriguing. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

I had started this story as a one page exercise years ago and was working on other projects when one day it caught my eye. The storyteller in my head whispered, "What would happen if Jane Austen crossed paths with Jack Sparrow?" and the idea sparked the storyline to come to life. I had to get it down.

What a unique idea! I love it. What kind of research did you do for this book?

Because I write in the Regency and Age of Sail periods, the majority of my research was on the island of Antigua. This is one of the islands I haven't visited in my travels, so I'm unfamiliar with it. I also had to pull out my Age of Sail facts and vocabulary books to freshen up my memory of ships and sail tactics as well as just fun words.

You have written regency romance, modern romance, Young Adult paranormal, and poetry. All of your stories are clean and for all ages. Which genre is your favorite and why?

Gosh, that's hard to choose because I write what I love, but I guess I'd have to say contemporary romance is my favorite. Because it is modern, I'm more comfortable with dialogue and description. It really gives me more opportunity to dig deeper into character and plot.

That makes sense to me. Where can my readers find you online?

I'm easy to catch on Facebook and Twitter, and truth be told, I'm a great big Pinterest nerd. I also invite everyone to follow my blog!



Thank you, Danielle, for this fun interview. I hope everyone checks out your new story.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Clean Romances, Cozy Mysteries, and Fantasy Novels


Five Different Genre and Ten Books to Check Out
Each Book has raving reviews!

FANTASY / ROMANCE

E-book: The Treasure of Isain
Synopsis: Prince Garin is a brave, proud, adventure-seeking prince. Elani is his most trusted servant and she would do anything for him, even die for him. Their quest to find the mystical Treasure of Isian is immediately interrupted and they find themselves confronted by angry giants, soul-stealing elves, bewitched dragons, a vengeful water-witch, battling foes, and a mysterious kingdom. Elani must face her greatest fears to save her prince and her kingdom. Garin must decide what the most important things are in his life. Will they be able to make a great sacrifice to save the kingdom? And will Elani find true love?

E-book: The Alliance of Isain
Synopsis: War is coming and all the kingdoms must choose a side. Isian decides to make an alliance with their long time enemies in order to defeat a common enemy. So Isian sends a proposal, offering their daughter to the prince, in order to ensure an alliance. Princess Gabrielle and her new husband, Prince Alec must learn to work together and trust each other in order to triumph in the approaching war. With a mysterious beast attacking the kingdom, their lives in danger, and overcoming their vast cultural differences, will love grow despite their trails or tear them apart? Enjoy the fantasy, danger, mystery, and romance!


HISTORICAL / ROMANCE

Book: Melinda and the Wild West
Award: Semi-Finalist for Reviewers Choice Award
Synopsis: Melinda Gamble wants to make a difference in the world. Without hesitation, she accepts a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Paris, Idaho. She has many challenges such as trying to help a rebellious student, coming face-to-face with a notorious bank robber, a vicious grizzly bear, and finding herself in a terrible blizzard that leaves her clinging to her life. But it’s a rugged rancher who challenges Melinda with the one thing for which she was least prepared—love.

E-book: The Rebels of Cordovia
Synopsis: Long after the legendary Robin Hood, a group of men and women find themselves fighting for the same cause. Daniel, a rogue and a leader of the Freemen, doesn’t realize that the sweet feminine woman he has met and is falling for happens to be the leader of Robin’s Rebels. Realizing the importance of uniting all the rebel groups, Daniel tries to recruit Robin’s Rebels but they refuse. Now he has to find a way to convince them. When he finds out the leader is actually a woman, what will his reaction be?


COZY MYSTERY / ROMANCE

E-book: The Bali Mystery: Amelia Moore Detective Series
Synopsis: Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, traces missing persons, checks people’s backgrounds, and protects them. With the help of Rick Bonito, a cunning and crafty man, her business is flourishing. When Mrs. Brody hires Amelia and Rick to find her missing brother, they find themselves in Bali, Indonesia. They are mystified why her brother quit his job, put his home up for sale, and ran off to this mysterious and exotic island without telling a soul.

E-book: The Shamrock Case: Amelia Moore Detective Series
Synopsis: Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. With the help of Rick Bonito, her new partner, her business is flourishing. When Amelia is hired to search for her client's grandparents, the case takes them to Ireland. Kate must learn about her heritage. Who are her grandparents and could they still be alive after all these years? Why did her parents leave Ireland suddenly and move to America? Is there more to this case than meets the eye?


MYSTERY/SUSPENSE

E-Book: Anasazi Intrigue: The Adventures of John and Julia Evans
Synopsis: When a devastating flood takes out several homes in a small town, residents are shocked by the news of also a possible poison spill that kills many of the fish and neighbor's pets. Julia, the town's newest reporter, begins her investigation but realizes the story is much bigger and more dangerous than she thought! Julia and her husband find themselves on the run trying to save their lives while finishing the story of a lifetime! She never realized that being a reporter could be so dangerous. With artifacts, dead fish, a devastating flood, and miscreants, John and Julia have their hands full.

E-Book: Mayan Intrigue: The Adventures of John and Julia Evans
Synopsis: The discovery of a priceless artifact puts Julia's life in great danger! While on assignment for the newspaper, John and Julia Evans try to enjoy a romantic vacation among the Mayan ruins. When Julia sees a couple suspicious men exchanging an item, she quickly turns and leaves but it is too late. The men have seen her. Before John and Julia realize what is going on, they are both in danger and find themselves running for their lives through the jungles of the Yucatan.


NON-FICTION

E-Book: Writing Your Family Legacy
Synopsis: Writing Your Family Legacy: It’s important to teach our children their heritage. Who are your ancestors? What were their traditions? Each of us has a story from our ancestors or even our own story to tell. If these stories are unwritten, then how are your children going to know of their parentage? It’s up to us to write these experiences down. Make your ancestors come alive on paper. Make your family legacy something your children will be proud of.

E-Book: Reflections of the Heart
Synopsis: Reflections of the Heart has 13 chapters of inspirational writings such as: The secret of Happiness, Laughter is the Best Medicine, Parenthood – A Great Responsibility, Equal Partners in Marriage, Developing Your Spirituality, and Music Soothes the Soul.






Monday, December 15, 2014

Interview with Children’s Author Ali Maier

Ali lives in a Cleveland suburb with her husband and two children. As an avid volunteer, hands on mom and former kindergarten aide, Ali has spent years working with children. Ali chose to write the Mom Made Us Write This series to encourage young readers to do something she loves – to read! Ali wanted to write a book series that would allow readers to laugh and encourage them to write and share their own stories.

Welcome to my blog, Ali. Please tell us about your children’s book: Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer.

A sister and brother, forced to write in the summer, and share ONE journal? Ugh. This is exactly what happens to 10-year-old twins Maggie and Max Pruitt. When Mom comes up with a plan for them to keep a summer journal, Maggie and Max can’t believe it. Worse yet, they have to share! Through their writing, Maggie and Max find out they have very different (and hilarious) views about growing up, family and life - a conclusion they only discovered because, as Max and Maggie say, “Mom Made Us Write This.”

Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is a journal-style book for children that capture the essence of sibling relationships. Anyone with a brother or sister will identify with the fun and struggles that Max and Maggie experience this summer! From a trip to the zoo to the annual check-up at the docs – read all about the life adventures of Maggie & Max.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book? My book’s main characters are 10-year-old siblings, Maggie and Max Pruitt. My children (Maddie and Matt J) gave me the inspiration for the characters. I originally started to write “Maggie and Max” stories to encourage them to see each other’s point of view when they disagreed (That’s my nice way of saying they were fighting with each other!!). I was fascinated watching my kids grow up, the best of friends one minute, then fighting and driving each other crazy the next!  They had same kind of he-said, she-said disagreements that I had with my sibling growing up. After publishing Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer, I’ve found that everyone seems to identify with the uniqueness of sibling relationships.

What age will enjoy this book the most?

The book is targeted at ages 8-12, but younger children, parents and teachers all enjoy it. The kids love it because it makes them laugh, parents love it because it’s safe and family friendly, and teachers love it because it encourages journaling.

I have actually been surprised by how many adults have told me they loved the book. So many people relate Maggie and Max to their own childhood experiences.

Between the 10-year-old twins, Maggie and Max Pruitt, who is your favorite character in this story and what do you love about him or her?

I love them both – remember they are loosely based on my own kids and family!! The characters are so intertwined. They are from a close and loving family that has fun and they laugh together, but they also tease, joke and argue sometimes. The characters make each other better – and one couldn’t exist without the other!  

What I love about Maggie – is her creativity and her “I don’t care what anyone else thinks” attitude.  She’s strong and free spirited, and never goes along with the crowd. She’s tough about almost everything, except babies and doctors.

What I love about Max – His sense of humor makes Max stand out from the crowd. Max finds humor in just about every situation – especially when it involves his sister! Plus, Max can create contraptions & catapults out of pretty much anything he finds, so he is never bored! Who knew a paperclip and a rubber band could be so much fun?

Your book sounds like a fun read. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget. I love this question because my readers and I get to know the real you.

OK, I will tell you my big secret… I love to write, but I am completely afraid of sharing my writing with other people. Writing a book was a lot of fun for me. Sharing that book with thousands of people to read and share and judge was terrifying! I am totally self-conscious about sharing my writing with anyone.

There were two things that made me get past that fear –

1. I love, love, love the Harry Potter book series. I love the story, but I also love the memories those books created for my family. We read all of the books as a family as our kids grew up – hours and hours and hours and hours of reading out loud and listening to the books on tape. As a big fan of JK Rowling, I would always read about her and the books in the news.

One day, I read an article about JK Rowling’s first attempt at getting the Sorcerer’s Stone (the Philosopher’s Stone in England) published. She was turned down by publisher after publisher. I am so thankful that she didn’t give up. That she didn’t let fear and self-doubt stop her from getting that first book published.

That was an inspiration to me. I still get nervous when people read my writing, but I don’t let it stop me anymore.

2. I have the best, most supportive and encouraging family and friends around. My husband has so much faith in me, that it absolutely stuns me sometimes.  When I was growing up, my parents always told me to choose friends that challenge you to become a better person, not ones who bring you down. And that is so very true. The support and encouragement of my family and friends gave me the confidence to push through my fears.

If those things hadn’t happened, Maggie and Max’s adventures would have stayed in a secret notebook next to my bed.

Thank you so much for this great interview, Ali. I hope my followers will check out your book about the Pruitt family.


Mom Made Us Write This In The Summer is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Interview with Historical Romance Author Diane Dean White

Diane started her writing at an early age, but it wasn’t until her husband’s work took them to a small southern town that she wrote her first column, “Yankee Viewpoint’s” for a local newspaper. She was also a columnist for a weekly magazine for four years. Diane is the author of over three-hundred short stories. Her novels include On a Summer Night Stories from a Porch Swing, Texting Mr. Right, and her Christmas novella Winter Wonderland. Diane and her hubby, Stephen, have been married for forty-two years, and are the parents of three grown children and three grand-gals.

Welcome to my blog, Diane. I really love your book cover. Please tell us about this Christmas story.

Winter Wonderland is what my home state of Michigan is called. I’ve wanted to capture a story about Detroit in the early years, when the well-known J. L. Hudson Department Store was so popular. It was fun to research, as I wasn’t in Detroit in 1951, but in the sixties and early seventies I’d go with my mother, and then Steve, and we made some trips to shop at the huge department store. The malls started up in the late 60’s and in 1998 the well-known store was demolished. After WWII people came from all over to get factory jobs in Detroit, and my story follows one family from Florida with their twenty-year old daughter Ruth. She has had secretarial experience and secures a job in Hudson’s Department Store. A stranger she meets on her first day going for an interview becomes someone very special. Faith is a big part of my writing, and I share about a special outreach in this book, which is part of my husband’s grandparent’s ministry near Detroit.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book and do you include real life situations?

This story is fiction, however the information and research is true about Detroit. Many of my short-stories are true, but my novellas and novels are mostly fiction. Many things about them may stem from something in the past. Not necessarily mine, but having lived in a certain area. For instance, On a Summer Night starts out in the mid 60’s with two girls who go to Florida for their graduation gift; I’d gone to college in Florida, and knew about my subject. The area and the characters are fiction. I stay away from real people and don’t pattern anyone after anybody I know. I use fictional towns, but mention larger cities in the state.

What kind of research did you have to do?

A lot about J. L. Hudson’s…the time period, 1951 and what songs were popular; both in country music and top hits. Research about Ford Motor Company and when Borden’s changed from milk wagons to trucks! All kinds of little things had to be checked out to make sure information is accurate.

Please tell us about the main character in this story and what you love about him or her.

I used the name Ruth in memory of a sweet older woman who became very close to me. And is probably the model of what many of us wish our lives to be as Christian women.
I enjoyed creating Ruth in my book; her character is very kind and loving toward her family, and younger siblings. She works hard at her profession in 1951, as a secretary in a large city department store. Not being used to the ways of a city she enters J. L. Hudson’s using a revolving door and meets Mr. Green Eyes, who happens to share that section at the same time. Ruth is from a small town in Florida and her father comes to seek employment with Ford Motor Company.

Thanks, Diane, for this wonderful interview. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

Because I have a back injury I don’t go out a lot. That’s been hard because I’ve always been active, but I also believe the Lord gave me this opportunity to develop my craft and write. I turn to Him daily and in all areas, and believe He leads me in my writing as well as my entire life. I don’t drink coffee or soda pop, but I am a chocoholic. J We have three grown children. Two are over seas, our son is in the mission field in Russia and our daughter and hubby, along with three grand-gals, are in China for two more years on a work assignment. Our oldest son is in South Carolina and still too far away. We are truly empty nesters and look forward to their visits each year.

Thank you, Linda, for your kindness and taking the time to chat.

You’re welcome, Diane. I hope all my followers will check out your books, especially this Christmas story.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Interview with Regency Romance Author Jeanna Ellsworth

Jeanna has written 6 books, 5 of which are Jane Austen inspired romances, and 1 original Regency romance. She is currently taking a short break from writing so she can get caught up on all the books that are on her to-be-read list. She doesn’t think that this is even possible. TBR lists are never ending. However, she is also confident that this hiatus will not last long. She enjoys going out to lunch with her friends, mommy-daughter dates, running and playing volleyball.

Welcome back to my blog, Jeanna. On the back cover of this novel, it says: If Mr. Darcy had met Elizabeth Bennet in his beloved Derbyshire, would he have recognized her as the love of his life instead of dismissing her as someone “not handsome enough to tempt” him? That is a very interesting concept. Please tell us about your new book.

One of the things that always made me curious about Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet was that she was so confident and self-assured. I found myself asking what makes a woman strong? I then thought of Rosa Parks, Helen Keller, Oprah etc. and decided that these women had to overcome huge obstacles and stand strong in the face of opposition. I decided that Elizabeth Bennet must have had to overcome major life trials to be the wonderful heroine that we love. To Refine Like Silver is an alternative path where Darcy meets his newest neighbor, Elizabeth’s Aunt and Uncle Gardiner, in Derbyshire before that dreadful Meryton Assembly where he says those awful words. He is immediately drawn to Elizabeth’s strength and confidence, a confidence she earned by enduring trials. Georgiana is suffering significantly with depression and Darcy turns to Elizabeth for help with Georgiana. From this point on, Darcy and Georgiana slowly begin to turn toward God for their strength, instead of themselves. In so doing, they evolve, and learn a valuable lesson; our trials do not define us, rather they refine us.

You love to write alternative paths for Pride and Prejudice. What intrigues you most about writing these stories?

I enjoy the beauty of seeing two imperfect people, who are perfectly matched for each other, self-correct their weaknesses and eventually become worthy of the love and respect from the other. I suppose I’m a sucker for reformation. Darcy and Elizabeth have to be the most famous literary characters written about in the last 202 years. I have read so many books and seen them fall in love so many times that I fear there can be no greater ending to a story than their eventual Happily Ever After. I also love that in order for these two characters to deserve each other, and for anyone to find a Darcy or an Elizabeth, one has to be a Darcy or an Elizabeth. My Darcy is out there and in order to find him and recognize him as my soul mate, I need to behave like an Elizabeth. We all have a heroine lurking inside us and we just have to polish our flaws and remove our impurities until we shine. I suppose writing about Darcy and Elizabeth gives me hope that my Mr. Darcy is out there looking for my fine eyes and impertinence (or whatever unique qualities I have!) that set me apart from every other 38-year-old, single mother of three.

You have now finished 6 books in this genre but this one is your favorite. Why?

Great question! For so many reasons! For one, it was really fun to use a biblical scripture as a plot foundation. I use Malachi 3:3, God “shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver”, and the blacksmith metaphor that it implies to carry my plot. The idea is that our trials can be blessings from God and often we do not see how He is refining us into better people. The main reason I love this book the most is because I used to suffer horrendously with major depression. I lived in that dark abyss for ten years. But those years were not wasted. I never saw it at the time, but I was in the refiner’s fire and was being buffed and polished into the shining woman I am today. This, in a way, is my story. I felt like because I survived those ten years, I had an obligation to help those who struggle with depression. I felt obligated to help share what I learned.

You suffered a great deal with major depression but have been depression free for over 5 years now… ever since you began writing. This is so interesting. Please tell us why you think your depression has gone away.

There are so many ingredients to the magic recipe. Before I proceed, I do have to say that my recipe may not be what works for you. I recently took up long distance running. I had an epiphany while running and pondering my current problems. It was, “Keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep heading in the right direction and you will get home.” Some of the things that worked for me was forgiving those who wronged me, learning to be grateful for the tiniest blessings, scripture reading, building close personal relationships with family and friends, getting out of unhealthy environments, exercising, finding fulfilling employment, the right cocktail of medication (and not giving up when it wasn’t quite right), and lastly, finding a way to do something hard and then rejoicing in my personal success. That last one was my writing. There are studies done that prove that using creativity is a great depression diverter. My writing has most definitely been my Xanax. I literally have not had one single day of depression since I started writing. Writing romance novels about true love and companionship only uplifts oneself. It makes you believe in the goodness the world has around you. You begin to see kindness and tenderness at every turn. That is a great way to fight off depression.

What a wonderful answer to depression! Where can my readers find you online?

Twitter: @ellsworthjeanna
My website, blog, and information about my books are located at www.HeyLadyPublications.com

Thank you so much Linda for hosting me and interviewing me about To Refine Like Silver. It really is my favorite book and have had such a great response from the readers so far. It impresses me that even the agnostics have enjoyed the messages. I think that is because forgiveness and gratitude and not religious topics, they are what make good people into better people. I hope you all get a chance to read it, or at least pass it on to someone who might be struggling with depression. Thanks again, happy reading! Good luck on the giveaway!

Thanks, Jeanna, for this wonderful interview about you and your book.