Monday, May 25, 2015

Interview with Romantic Suspense Author Carole Brown


Book Giveaway May 25 – June 1: You have a chance to win a Romantic Suspense Novel, With Music in Their Hearts. Hard Copy: U.S. only or Kindle: International.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, and the simple life. And her grandsons! Did she mention their grandsons?!

“With Music In Their Hearts is a mystery romance. This is the most adorable mystery ever! Emma Jaine is a strong character and I really like her. Not only does she run a boarding house, but she also takes care of her father and two younger sisters. She’s a spunky and pretty woman, and a few men at the boarding house are attracted to her.

“Tyrell is a good-looking man and absolutely adorable when he teases and flirts with Emma Jaine. He is a reverend, a minster of a nearby church, but at the same time he’s an undercover agent for the government. His flirtations with Emma are appropriate for a minister and you can see the attraction between the two. I love the mystery that goes along with the romance. Romance and mystery make a book so much fun to read.” –Review by Author Linda Weaver Clarke

Welcome to my blog, Carole. This book is a World War II Spy Trilogy. Please tell us about it: With Music in Their Hearts.

Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.

He’s instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.

While Tyrell searches for the murdering spy who reaches even into the boarding home, Emma Jaine struggles with an annoying renter, a worried father (who could be involved in this spy thing), and two younger sisters who are very different but just as strong willed as she is.

As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Is the trouble-making renter who hassles Emma Jaine serving as a flunky? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage?

Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?

Where can my readers find your books?


What kind of research did you have to do?

Lots of it, and since I love research, it wasn’t a hardship. I researched:

Phrases and words common to the 1940s.
Fashion, including men’s hats and suits, women’s hats and clothing, and styles
Music: songs especially
A bit about the area, although I have lived for awhile in the Cincinnati area, so knew some.
Some about ammunition

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

I have two main characters: Emma Jaine Rayner and Tyrell Walker, but I will focus on Emma Jaine for this question.

She’s the oldest red-headed daughter of Papa (Ossie) Rayner. Since her mother died ten years before, she’s taken over the care of her two younger sisters, and her father. The responsibility has given her a rather over-bearing attitude in some ways, and only when Tyrell Walker shows up with his teasing, does she come to life and realize she wants what all the young women her age--and younger--are wanting: a MAN! 

I love how Tyrell teases Emma Jaine. He is so adorable. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I love life--not the hardships and trials. Lol. But the privilege of having another day to enjoy. I love elephants and many other animals. I like learning about new things (research). I love real cheesecake and Christmas and well, most holidays or any chance to be with family and friends. I enjoy collecting rocks and music boxes. I love traveling and we have visited ¾ of the United States. I love cities at night and the country anytime. Love misty valleys and rolling streams, crashing ocean waves and waterfalls. I love photography, scrap booking, good food and the simple life. Most of all I adore my three grand boys--God sent! And God himself.

Now that’s quite a handful of things you just named, Carole. Thank you for this fun interview. It was enjoyable getting to know you.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Interview with Children’s Author Louie Lawent


Louie Lawent is the author of the picture book "Gerty The Pig" which is in schools across the United States. The book is part of the National Accelerated Readers Program. He is also a lyricist with his works featured on rock, country and children's releases. Louie co-wrote 10 children's songs with Steve Goodie which are featured on Steve's "Refrigerator Art" CD. Also, he co-wrote "Worms In The Can, Wieners On The Bun" on Canadian children's recording artist Erick Traplin's CD "A Little More." Louie is an avid Green Bay Packers fan and enjoys table tennis.

Welcome to my blog, Louie. Please tell us about your children’s book: Momma Don't You Worry.

The tale is told through the voice of a boy who's almost 6 years old and wants his independence. He feels like he's too old to have to hold on to his mom's hand when they're out and about. When he breaks away from his mom in a shopping mall, he gets lost. Then he must decide what to do.

I read this book and it’s so cute. Its only 9 pages and done in rhyme. Here is an example to whet your “reading appetite.”

When we’re crossing busy streets
My mom always insists
“Put your little hand in mine”
“MOM, I’M WAY TOO OLD FOR THIS!”

She watches me with eagle eyes
Like I’m a treasured jewel
She cramps my style, oh man alive
“MOM, THIS JUST AIN’T COOL”

The author writes “Thank God” in this rhyme and I figured the boy was actually thanking God for helping him to find his mother when he was lost. Where did you get your inspiration for this book, Louie? From life experiences?

I came up with this idea quite a while ago. I can't pinpoint how it came to be, but yes, I do get many ideas from life experiences, whether it be from something a friend says, or something that someone I know does. For instance, one day I was in a post office and 2 kids were sitting side by side - a boy and a girl - probably 4 to 6 years old. The girl said something to the younger boy and I thought "that would be a great title for a children's song" and I then wrote a lyric. One of my grandmas was a packrat. I wrote a lyric entitled "A Packrat's Mind" that eventually became a song I co-wrote with Wayne Hamilton who sings it. He reformed it and added to it and it's a real catchy folk song.

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

I love that the little boy wants to assert his independence, but at the same time recognizes that he has to do it on the sly because he knows he will be in trouble if all goes wrong.

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

Well, when I was in kindergarten, apparently I scrambled across the street when school let out. The kindergarten teacher wrote on my report card something like this, "You should talk to Louis about crossing streets. He's had a couple of narrow escapes."

Thank you, Louie, for this interview. Louie’s children’s book, Momma Don't You Worry, is only $1.29. There is no book giveaway for this interview but you can purchase it at Amazon.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Interview with a Inspriational Romance Author Diane Dean White

Book Giveaway May 11 - 18: You have a chance to win an e-book of Texting Mr. Right. E-book.

Bio: Diane started her writing career at an early age when she asked for a typewriter for Christmas. She pounded the keys writing poetry and short stories in grade school on an old black Royal manual. She wrote for a local newspaper, covering hard news and feature stories including a column called: “Yankee Viewpoint’s”. She enjoys ancestral history and writing donor appeal letters for non-profit organizations. She is the author of Beach Walks, Carolina in the Morning, On a Summer Night, Stories from a Porch Swing, Winter Wonderland and Texting Mr. Right. Diane is also the author of over three-hundred short stories. She and hubby, Stephen, have been married for forty-two years, and they are the parents of three grown children and three grand-gals.

Welcome back to my blog, Diane. I love the book cover. It's draws me into the story. Please tell us about Texting Mr. Right.

Thank you, Linda. This is a novella set it my home state of Michigan. I write mostly inspirational romance and suspense, but this was purely romance. I used the familiar setting at my parent’s cottage on Lake Michigan to introduce readers. The story is fictional but the cities are real.

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

I wanted to do a story that included the area in Michigan around the great lake, and the cottage. I was asked to write something by a publisher, and sadly a few months after she published this, she dissolved her company. The book was relinquished back to me, so this
April, I did some small edits and it’s now back on Amazon. On both e-book and paperback.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

The area, which is a few hours north of major metro cities in Michigan, is well known to me. But things such as diseases contracted from deer, which are popular and how they are treated took some research. Although our son and daughter-in-love are stateside after six years in the mission field, they now live in California and helped with research there. I take readers on a tour of that area. I constantly do research to be sure names I use aren’t real in a city, and had fun writing this story.

Please tell us about one of the main characters in this story and what you like about him or her.

Megyn is the main character and she has just graduated from college…she watches friends marry and wonders why she hasn’t found Mr. Right. Soon she finds him, but they don’t live in the same part of the state. (Relationships are often separated with both spouses working today.) So when Megyn falls in love she seeks God for guidance, in hopes she and Brandon can make it work…praying, but wondering how. I enjoyed creating a number of characters…Megyn’s girl friend’s mother, Mrs. Young, is a fun-loving woman, and Megyn’s own mother is a character. Brandon is handsome, computer savvy, and knows what he wants in a wife.

Where can my readers find you online?

This book is presently in ebook and paperback on Amazon, and other booksellers.
My website is: www.DianeDeanWhite.com
YouTube video for Texting Mr. Right:


Thanks for this awesome interview, Diane. If this video doesn't make you want to read this story, I don't know what would. Great video! 

"Texting Mr. Right was a fun love story. Brandon was an awesome guy in this story. He was attracted to Megyn right away and their love grew quickly. I love how the author developed his loving personality, using a pet name for Megyn that is so charming… he calls her Beautiful. Megyn reminded me of my own daughters and her pet name for Brandon was Handsome. This story is unique because it doesn't have that old unrealistic misunderstanding between the couple: get mad, stay mad for a few chapters, then make up. Diane White allows the couple to think about their problem, lets the couple try to solve it, and still be wildly in love at the same time. The ending is delightful and totally unlike other love stories, because the author chooses to end the last chapter on their honeymoon. How fun is that!" --Review written by Author Linda Weaver Clarke

Monday, May 4, 2015

Interview with Historical Biographer Author Anna Ray Jones


Book Giveaway May 4 - 11: You have a chance to win a Historical Biography, Journey of Ashes. Book: U.S. and Canada or Kindle: International.

Anna Ray-Jones is the author of Sustainable Architecture in Japan. She has also written several screenplays including The Haunting of Rachel Gottlieb, a semi-finalist in the Nicholl’s Screenwriting Fellowships of 2005, and There Might be Angels, a finalist for the Kairos Screenwriting Prize of 2009. Her short story, Him Woolly, was a winner of the new fiction prize of 2009 awarded by the Journal of Arts and the Environment. Her next book, a work in progress, is called Loom Song, a novel about Irish linen weavers shipped out as felons to Australia in 1828. She is currently a Senior Vice-President at the PR agency of Donley Communications in New York City.

Despite a story set in, and surrounded by, horrific events, ‘Journey of Ashes: A Boyhood in the Holocaust’ does not allow those events to dominate or to become ‘the story.’ Instead, it captures the human perseverance for normalcy during even the most abnormal and abhorrent of circumstances.” – Sherrie Dulworth

Welcome to my blog, Anna. Please tell us about Journey of Ashes.

Journey of Ashes presents a literary interpretation of a child’s recollections of growing up in Krakow surrounded by the Holocaust.  In this uplifting story we are introduced to Roman Ferber, a boy whose humor, courage and sturdy sense of self outshines the sun, even in the darkest days of the Nazi era in Poland. His biography displays a delicate balance between humor and tragedy and explores the striving for normalcy in the face of the unimaginable. 

Journey of Ashes offers up humor and grace, cunning, spirituality, friendship and betrayal as among the well honed tools of endurance.  The transition to the death camps is shocking, yet the book exalts the sustaining power of a child’s belief.  Despite facing unimaginable cruelties, Roman held fast to the pledge made to his lost father that he would survive at any cost.  This book confirms that shining promise.

Roman Ferber is a holocaust survivor. He was born in Poland in 1933 and spent his childhood confined by the Nazis in several prison camps including Auschwitz. You are the co-author of Roman’s story. How did this come about? 

We found each other on Craig’s list after a friend of mine saw his post looking for a writer to tell his story. We met and got along well. Initially, we had planned on a non-fiction book derived from interviews but after nine months of discussion, I had a very dull manuscript that was not satisfying to either of us.  Also, Roman didn’t want to do any writing himself--he felt it all should come from the interviews that regrettably weren’t good. I think he never realized that to write the book he wanted, he would have to lay open his soul for all the world to see.  But Roman was reluctant and fearful (and understandably so) to dig deep into personal recollections about his wartime experience, so no emotional investigations at all seemed possible. I certainly did not have the heart to quit on the project but needed a completely different approach to take it forward. It was then I had the idea to reinterpret Roman’s story as a semi-fictionalized memoir.

Thankfully, I could draw on my accumulated knowledge of the Shoah and my Polish travel notes and use that knowledge to expand his story into a kind of “theater of experience,” whereby not only would the story be centered on him but would integrate characters around him that were real, that he knew or may have encountered, and also I could compose composite characters who would have been archetypes of the period.  Two examples are: the Catholic Pharmacist in the Krakow Ghetto named Tadeusz Pankiewicz, who helped Jews in a hundred different ways, and who interacted with Roman’s brother, Manek. The Pharmacist’s role and many of his brave acts are highlighted in my book, as are those of his opposite, a German officer named Walter Mueller, who went insane after a day of killing in the Ghetto and shot himself.  While Pankiewicz was a real person, Mueller is a composite soldier based on real-life case histories I researched of Nazi officers who lost their minds from the atrocities they agreed to commit.
What happened to Roman after he was liberated from the prison camp?

After the liberation, he was rehabilitated in what had become the Displaced Persons camp of Bergen Belsen in northwestern Gemany. In 1949, at the age of 16, he immigrated with his mother to the USA and settled in New Jersey. For over three decades, he served under several mayors and held key positions in the city government of New York including: Special Assistant to the Deputy Mayor for Business & Community Development, Director of Manufacturing & Wholesaling, Director of Business Development, and Director of Job Development & Treasurer of the NYC Job Development Loan Program.

Thank you for telling us about Roman Ferber, Anna. To learn more, visit http://www.journeyofashes.com. Check out Roman’s story on Amazon.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Interview with Children’s Author Amy Hauer

Amy Hauer is an avid reader, a lover of non-fiction and children’s picture books. She is also an avid photographer, her camera never far from her hand. The Emily Grace Series, which teaches preschoolers to read, uses her photography to illustrate each adventure. Amy lives in upstate New York with her husband and three daughters—all of whom provide much inspiration for her  stories—but her youngest daughter serves as the subject of the Emily Grace Series.

Welcome to my blog, Amy. Please tell us about your children’s books, The Emily Grace Series.

Thank you so much for having me. What an honor! Well, The Emily Grace books are non-fiction tales about a young girl’s real adventures as she visits, discovers and interacts with the world around her. Whether it’s a flower shop, a garden with worms, or picking pumpkins and apples, each story is different. Emily Grace is naturally curious about everything and through these books, young readers can discover things as she does. Each book is designed to help children build their reading skills through sight words and repetition.

Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

Inspiration comes from so many things in my life. I am an artist and love to create, so ideas come from everything around me. My children are a big inspiration! I also spent the last 13 years as a preschool teacher, so I know what the children I taught loved to read: books that engaged them and held their attention. Adventure was a big part of that, and any book that they can feel a part of they wanted to hold onto. I found that there were books that weren’t written for this age group, but should be. I love nature and how things work. I love the seasons and how things change. I also love the idea that I can give something to the kids I taught that they hadn’t seen: interaction through their natural world. By inviting them into Emily Grace’s world, they can go along for the adventure as if they were there.

What kind of research did you have to do?

Being that this series is non-fiction, I needed to research how things grow. Emily Grace Goes Pumpkin Picking shows how seeds change into plants by showing the life cycle of the pumpkin in a kid-friendly way. With both Emily Grace Plants a Garden and Emily Grace Goes to a Flower Shop, our research came from visiting a flower shop and talking with the staff, and then capturing Emily Grace learning from hands-on experience. One of the best parts of Emily Grace Plants a Garden came when Emily discovered a group of worms digging their own holes in the dirt as she dug holes for her flowers. By experiencing that, she was able to both see and learn just how valuable worms are for a garden. In the coming months, The Emily Grace series will find her visiting the NASA Space Center in Florida, as well as an aquarium, a veterinarian, a fire station, and an emergency medical services provider in her “People in Our Community” books.

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

Emily Grace is the young girl in each of The Emily Grace series books. She is naturally curious about the world around her. She loves to ask why—a lot. Emily Grace, like most children her age, looks at the world with eyes wide open. She often sees things with a curiosity we adults have lost. I found that by joining Emily Grace, as both the author and photographer, I was able to chronicle her adventures as she navigates the world around her while learning about things at the same time.

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

I am quite good at doing a rooster impression and a witch’s cackle. Hey, maybe that’s an idea for two more Emily Grace books. Emily Grace on a farm and going out on Halloween!

HAHA! Thank you very much, Amy, for this awesome interview. I hope my readers will check out your children’s books.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Interview with Historical/Romantic Suspense Author Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen was raised in Rexburg, Idaho and has been a writer for as long as she can remember. At her request, she received her first typewriter when she was ten years old because she wanted to write her stories more efficiently. She enjoys traveling with her husband throughout the world and especially loves historical sites. Besides writing romantic suspense novels for adults and fantasy chapter books for children, she is the author of numerous articles and short stories. Betrayed is her third romantic suspense novel.

Welcome back to my blog, Ronda. This book is sort of a mystery/suspense story with sweet romance. Please tell us about your new book.

Betrayed is about a young woman who protects a child from the ruthless gang who killed her parents and faces love and self-sacrifice at the brink of the Niagara Falls.

Here’s the blurb from the back of the book:
1851: Niagara Falls, New York. The evidence has been well hidden—the Thayers were confident that it was safe from the clutches of the ruthless Murphy Gang. But it has all been in vain. The lawless group is closing in on the family homestead, and seven-year-old Penny is given only one instruction: Run. After two long years eagerly anticipating her fiancĂ©’s return, twenty-year-old Julia Barrett is ready to make a fresh start with Adam Wolcott—even if it means putting her dream of traveling west with the Mormons on hold. But when Adam’s return is overshadowed by the unexpected arrival of a young orphan girl in desperate need of help, Julia is drawn into a dangerous mystery that will threaten all she holds dear. Charged with the protection of little Penny, Julia quickly finds herself relying on the help of Tom Harrison, an endearing young man who has long admired her from afar. Torn between two suitors, Julia soon uncovers a shocking trail of corruption and deceit—a discovery that pulls her inescapably into the race to locate telling evidence that Penny’s family gave their lives to protect . . .

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

A variety of sources, but the first inspiration came while I was looking through my family history and found a story about a family who was crossing the plains when two men joined up with them. The men killed the parents and stole their wagon and supplies. They then tied the two children to a horse and sent them off, alone, into the wilderness. Later, after another family found and rescued the children, they saw the murderers in town, but hid so the men wouldn’t see them. That event led me to create Penny Thayer, the child in my story.

Wow! What an inspiration for a storyline! What kind of research did you do for this book?

First, my family and I visited Niagara Falls a few years ago, but beyond that I read a lot of historical books and web documents related to life in 1851, the town of Niagara Falls, the falls themselves, the Tuscarora Indians, and anything else I needed to learn to make the book as authentic as I could.

That’s great. I love to learn about an area in a book, at the same time read a fun story. Where can my readers find you online?

I’m always happy to hear from readers, and my website, www.rondahinrichsen.com, will likely give readers the most information about me as well as contact information. I’m also on FB and Twitter.

Thank you for this interview, Ronda. I love your website. It’s very informative.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Interview with Inspirational Author Mary Ball

Mary L. Ball is an inspirational fiction author and lives in North Carolina between the wondrous mountains and beautiful beaches. She writes about real-life problems, suspense or mystery blended with romance.

Her novels include: Escape to Big Fork Lake, Stone of Destiny, Postmarked Ever After, Christmas at Angel Ranch and Redemption in Big Fork Lake. She is also a contributing author of 21 Stories of Faith. When Mary is not working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and singing with her husband at church functions.

Welcome back to my blog, Mary. I love the cover of your book. Please tell us about Redemption in Big Fork Lake.

Linda thanks for having me on your wonderful blog again. I can’t take a lot of credit for the cover. My publisher, Prism Book Group did the cover. The editor-in-chief of Prism, Joan Alley does a fantastic job on all the authors’ books. I call her the cover guru. LOL.
 
Here’s the blub for Redemption in Big Fork Lake: Can he be forgiven? Only after Robert Turner hurts a woman does he realize how much of a hold alcohol has on his life. For Robert, a chance meeting with an Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor offers hope. A new devotion to the Lord and a relationship with Belle McBride gives him expectations for a better future. His life appears to be on the right track, until he comes full circle with his past and faces the one mistake that haunts him daily. Can forgiveness free Robert or will heartache drive him to return to the life he once had?

I love inspirational stories. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

My debut novel titled, Escape to Big Fork Lake was released in 2013. One of the characters in this novel has a drinking problem and caused Samantha (the main character) several problems. He actually attacked her. Many readers asked, “What happened to Rob?” Redemption in Big Fork Lake is Robert’s story.

I like it when an author tells the story about a character from a former book. What kind of research did you do for this novel?

I had to research alcoholism, and the Alcohol Anonymous foundation.

I bet it was interesting what you learned about it. You love to write inspirational stories. What intrigues you most about writing in this genre?

I’m a woman of faith and I enjoy writing about situations that we all can face in this world, and taking my characters through the tough times while highlighting their journey to a graceful outcome.   

I love your answer. Where can my readers find you online?
My website
Also, find me on Face Book

Thank you, Mary, for this awesome interview. I hope my readers will check out your websites.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Interview with Humorous Romance Author Teresa Ives Lilly


Lilly is the author of 9 Novellas and 4 Novels.  She writes Christian Romance and is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers group.  Her books can be seen on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Smashwords, and Lovely Romance Press.


 Welcome back to my blog, Teresa. Mammie's Mail Order Bride sounds humorous and romantic. Please tell us about your new book.
Mammie’s Mail Order Bride is about how Mammie has ordered a Mail Order Bride for her son Stephen, so she can have grandchildren eventually.  Sally Jersey has filled the position, but has brought along 4 nieces and nephews…. Mammie is pleased to have an immediate set of grandchildren, but Stephen, who didn’t even want a wife, is not happy at all.  

This sounds like a hoot. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

This book has actually been in my mind for over ten years.  The first page was written that long ago.  I just love Mail Order Bride stories, but wanted a unique twist.  Having Mammie order the bride seemed unique.

Most definitely! I like this new twist. What kind of research did you do for this book?

Researching Mail Order Brides for me is just reading other Mail Order Bride books…. 

That’s right. You can get a lot of good ideas and info that way. You love to write sweet romances. What intrigues you most about writing this genre?

I love sweet romance, but actually don’t read too many of them, because I always think I should be busy writing one…. It’s the only type of book I even care to write…

I know what you mean. When I changed genre, from romance to mystery, I couldn’t help but add some romance to each book. Where can my readers find you online?

Thank you for this wonderful interview, Teresa. I hope my readers will check your books out.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Interview with Children’s Author John Briggs


John Briggs is a former nationally syndicated children’s TV critic who enjoys sharing old movies and music with his two children. He is the author of several middle-grade biographies, including Judy Garland: Little Woman, Big Talent and Mary Dyer, Friend of Freedom. He is also the author of an upcoming picture book, Leaping Lemmings, from Sterling Publishing. A native of Pennsylvania, he currently calls New York’s Capital District home, where he makes his living as a freelance book editor. In addition to writing, John likes baseball, tea, and lecturing his preteen son on just about everything.

Welcome to my blog, John. This children’s biography, Judy Garland: Little Woman, Big Talent, tells the story of Judy’s struggles in landing the role that most children absolutely adore: The Wizard of Oz. Please tell us about your book.

The book covers Judy’s life from her time as a little girl in Minnesota singing Jingle Bells in her parents’ theater to her time as a superstar in movies and on stage. Most of the book focuses on her rise to fame in Hollywood, from her first movie at the age of seven until she landed the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Of course, The Wizard of Oz gets its own chapter because, after all, it is the most watched movie of all time.

I am a Judy Garland fan. I have seen so many of her films. One of my favorite movies is In the Good Old Summer Time, which has little Liza Minnelli at the very end of the movie. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

I was hired to write a children’s article about any celebrity from Hollywood’s Golden Age (my choice), and the one celebrity from that era kids still know is Judy Garland. At a time when they’ve largely forgotten Mickey Rooney or think of Shirley Temple as a drink, they still know Judy thanks to The Wizard of Oz. Of course, like most writers, I way over-researched the topic and realized I had enough for a book. I talked to my publisher, and they loved the idea, particularly after we realized there had never been – and this is amazing to me – a kid-friendly book about Judy Garland. But we didn’t forget about Liza. There’s a great picture in the book of Judy holding up Liza as a baby, and I tell the story of Judy reading the script for Liza’s first starring role in a film, even though Judy never got to see the movie. Talk about a talented family! 

I learned that Judy was 17 when she got the role of Dorothy. What kind of research did you have to do?

Tons. I read several books, and utilized great websites like the Judy Garland Database and others. I watched several TV interviews with her from Barbara Walters and Mike Douglas to get stories directly from Judy. I also watched old footage of Judy from the Oscars and movie premiers to add flavor to some of the stories in the book. Then there was research on the three dozen photos we used, and so on. It was a lot of work, but getting Judy’s life right for young readers – so that they realize just how talented and driven she was – was absolutely worth it. I wanted her to be as real as possible to kids and not just ‘the girl who played Dorothy.’

Now since you have learned so much about Judy Garland, please tell us your thoughts about her.

I am absolutely amazed at her determination to keep going after suffering one failed audition after another. She just didn’t give up. She came so close so many times only to have a door slammed in her face. I think kids can learn a lot from her. Judy was told she was too short, too heavy, not pretty enough, etc., but she had talent and she knew it. We talk a lot these days about helping kids with their self-esteem, and Judy is proof that you have to believe in yourself first and foremost. Work hard, keep trying, and eventually you’re going to succeed. I tried to bring that out in this book because it seemed to be an underlying theme to her life.

Judy Garland sounds like a great example for everyone. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I grew up in rural Pennsylvania in a place so remote we couldn’t get TV reception. I actually didn’t see The Wizard of Oz until I was twenty-eight. To this day I don’t watch a lot of TV, but boy, do I love to read. I have no doubt that led to my life as a writer and editor, and I’m sure glad it did. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have written Judy Garland: Little Woman, Big Talent!

No TV? So you didn’t watch cartoons on a Saturday morning? Haha. Thank you for this interview, John. Visit John at http://johnbriggsbooks.net. Remember to stop by each week and read a new interview with a book giveaway. Here is a bit of trivia from John's website.

A few facts about the 1939 movie: The Wizard of Oz:
  1. It’s the most watched movie of all time.
  2. Over the Rainbow is ranked as the number one movie song of all time.
  3. MGM wanted Over the Rainbow cut from the film.
  4. Judy Garland wasn’t the first choice to play Dorothy. She wasn’t even second. She was third.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Interview with Inspirational Romance Author Jewel Adams

J. Adams has written books in different genres, but her main focus is inspirational interracial romance. She is a motivational speaker to both youth and adult audiences. In her spare time (when she has any) you can find her curled up with a good book and a healthy stash of orange Tic Tacs. She and her family reside in Utah.

Welcome back to my blog, Jewel. Please tell us about your new romance.

Til You Come Back to Me is about an attractive and affluent young man who finds himself alone in the world and finally finds love for the first time. When he thinks life can be no better, he experienced some painful trials before experiencing one that is so great, he wonders if he will make it through it. It is a love story that is both tragic and beautiful – a love that spans the ages.

I love your book cover. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

This is a story I dreamed about a few years ago and it kept coming back to me (no pun intended), and it is the first story I have ever written from the hero’s point of view. I had to sort of put myself inside a guy’s head, which was interesting as far as emotion.

Yes, that is very true. I often times talk to my husband about a man’s emotions or personal feelings and that helps me in my writing. What kind of research did you do for this book?

Not much. I used to live in Winter Park, Florida, the setting for the story, and Angelo is Italian, and of course, I love everything Italian.

You love to write sweet romances. What intrigues you most about writing this genre?

I just love being able to create a story that is emotional and passionate without all the unnecessary content so many mainstream romance writers add to their stories. Some scenes are better left behind closed doors.

I totally agree. Where can my readers find you online?

I created a fun website for Til You Come Back to Me Again: www.Angelospromise.weebly.com
All my books are available at Amazon.com

Thank you, Jewel, for this awesome interview. I hope my readers will check out your book.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Interview with Humorous Author Kersten Campbell

Kersten Campbell is the author of two motherhood humor books, “Confessions of a Completely Insane Mother” and “Don’t put lipstick on the Cat.” She lives in Washington with her husband, five children, a wary cat, and a dog who is smarter than all of them. She also enjoys writing freelance articles supporting motherhood and families.

Welcome back to my blog, Kersten. Please tell us about your new book.

Thank you! “Don’t Put Lipstick on the Cat” is a compilation of humorous essays about motherhood and raising a family. From finding underwear in the freezer, to cleaning spaghetti off your pets, life is full of interesting moments. As a mother, there are times when life just doesn’t go the way you expect, and sometimes you just have to laugh and enjoy the wild ride of being a parent.

Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

The idea began years ago, when I noticed many mothers feeling inferior and comparing themselves to each other. I thought: someone needs to write a book about what it’s “really” like in a perfect home. I thought humor would be the best way to do this.

You are right. Listing humorous situations can make a mother feel as if her child is no different from others. What kind of research did you do for this book?

Well, they are all stories based on true happenings within my own family, so I guess you can say my children were the research. But I also researched how to write humor, which is not as easy or as intuitive as you think. There is a real science to it.

You love to write humorous stories. What intrigues you most about writing this genre?

I like to make people laugh. I think it’s healing. It brings life into the proper perspective. Life is stressful when you take yourself too seriously. If you can laugh about life’s ups and downs, your life will be a lot richer.

I love to laugh and this book sounds like a fun one to read. Thank you so much for this wonderful interview, Kersten. Where can my readers find you online?

I have a humor blog called, “Life on the Funny Farm,” and a more serious parenting blog called, “A Passion for Parenting.” My author website is www.authorkerstencampbell.com.

Don't forget to stop by often because I have a new interview and book giveaway every week.