Monday, April 28, 2014

Interview with Christian Romance Author Shirley Ray Redmond

Shirley Raye Redmond is the author of several "sweet" romance novels and dozens of children's books. Many of her titles have won both national and regional awards. She is a member of numerous writing organizations, including Women Writing the West, Southwest Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She lives with her family in New Mexico. Amanda’s Beau is her 28th published title.

Welcome back to my blog, Shirley Raye. Please tell us about Amanda’s Beau.

Thanks, Linda. The novel takes place in the year 1905 in New Mexico territory. My heroine Amanda Dale is burdened with the responsibility of caring for her widowed sister, an invalid, and Ella’s two children—one a premature infant. Schoolteacher Gil Gladney is handsome, intelligent and sensitive. When he and his pupils discover the relics of an ancient culture among the ruins outside the village, Gil contacts an old college friend. The possibility of an archeological excavation excites the community of cash-strapped farmers, eager to earn extra money working on the site. When a rabid skunk reels through the excavation site, threatening the lives of Amanda and her nephew Rex, Gil realizes that life is short and the possibility of true happiness can be fleeting. In the end, Amanda learns to trust God to provide the happily-ever-after ending she’s been praying for.

I read your book and I enjoyed it very much. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

My novel was inspired by the true story of a schoolteacher in New Mexico who (along with his pupils) discovered some ancient Anasazi ruins on the outskirts of the town. I took my own youngsters to Aztec, New Mexico, several years ago and knew then that one day I wanted to write a story focused on the ruins there.

I am so intrigued with the ancient ruins of America. What kind of research did you do for this book?

To refresh my memory about the history of the Aztec ruins and to learn more about the early excavations there, I read the book, Aztec Ruins on the Animas by Robert H. Lister and Florence C. Lister, which I bought years ago in the museum bookstore when we visited the Aztec Ruins National Monument. I also read Rabid, A Cultural History of the World’s Most Diabolical Virus by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy to help me with the rabid skunk scene. It was grim but fascinating reading.

I think it’s interesting when authors add real life situations to their stories. Did you put real experiences from your research in this book?

Absolutely! Much of the information about chickens I learned from my son, who raises chickens as a hobby. Like Gil and his pupils, my family and I rambled through the ruins on the outskirts of the town of Aztec. So the sights, sounds, smells and tactile sensations in the story are all based on personal experience.  

Even Bonita, the ragtag Irish setter in the novel, is based on a real dog named Fly, which belonged to my father when he was a boy in the 1920s back in Virginia. Unfortunately, the dog succumbed to blood lust, attacking chickens and other animals on the family farm. When the dog snatched my dad’s infant cousin from a blanket on the ground during a family picnic, he had to chase the dog into the woods, shoot her and rescue the baby. I vowed my story would have a happier ending, and it does.

I had never heard of blood lust before. When I read your novel, I was so surprised. Thank you so much for this interview, Shirley Raye. I hope my followers will check out your book.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Interview with Mystery & Sweet Romance Author Linda Weaver Clarke

THE BALI MYSTERY: Amelia Moore Detective Series 

Linda Weaver Clarke paints a beautiful portrait of the island of Bali. In fact, she made me wish I were there. I’ve read her books before and she has a wonderful way of drawing the reader right into her stories. Amelia and Rick were very realistic to me. I thought Rick’s Bucket List gave readers a great insight into his character. Throughout the book you couldn’t help pulling for these two to realize they were more than co-workers. The mystery and romance flowed beautifully through each page.” –Socrates Book Reviews

George Clarke: Welcome to Linda Weaver Clarke’s blog! This is Linda’s husband and I’m interviewing her today. We've been married 41 wonderful years. We met at college and now have six daughters and 5 super grandkids. Linda usually interviews authors, but today I’m interviewing her. Now the shoe is on the other foot!

Linda: So does the shoe fit, Sweetheart?

George: Not as good as it fits you, I guess. So Linda, you have written both sweet romances and adventure/mysteries. I have read all your books and your mysteries are my favorite. Why did you change genres?

Linda Weaver Clarke: Because of the challenge! I wanted to see if I could do it and in the process fell in love with this genre.

George: How does writing a romance differ from writing a mystery?

Linda: The writing process has a completely different mind set. With romance, you plan out the plot around the meeting of a couple. As you write, you develop some sort of charisma between the characters, making the reader feel excited that one day they're going to fall in love. You, as the reader, know what the outcome will be. But with a mystery, the reader is in the dark. The author has to come up with a plot that no one knows about until towards the end of the story and hope they haven’t figured it out. In a mystery you may or may not allow your reader to know who the bad guys are, depending on the plot of the story.

George: What is a cozy mystery?

Linda: Cozy mysteries are in a genre of their own and are usually a series of stories. It should be a G-rated story with no swearing or sex. It has many twists and turns and must have likeable characters. A cozy mystery focuses on the plot and characters, and the main character is usually an intelligent woman.

George: You have a new cozy mystery series named “Amelia Moore Detective Series.” This cozy mystery is different from the usual mysteries. Instead of solving a crime, in each story Amelia and Rick will find a missing person. Will you tell us about The Bali Mystery?

Linda: Amelia Moore, the founder of the Moore Detective Agency, specializes in missing persons. Her cases have taken her to some very interesting places and put her in some dangerous situations, but she always solves the case. With the help of Rick Bonito, 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.

George: How much research goes into writing a book like this?

Bali means “The island of the gods.” My research about Bali Island was so much fun. The Hindu temples are unique and the gardens surrounding them are absolutely beautiful. The ocean is a turquoise blue and dolphins can be seen in the water around the island. The island is known as one of the most romantic spots and affordable places to visit.

I learned what a religious people the Balinese are. They pray with their families daily and visit their temples weekly, giving thanks to God. Another interesting fact is that Indonesian law requires that everyone hold an identity card. Included on the card is the person’s faith or religion. Indonesia does recognize Christianity but does not recognize atheism. By the way, blasphemy is illegal in Bali and in any of the Indonesian islands. I read that you can be arrested for profanity.

I also had to do research on self-defense techniques so Rick could teach Amelia how to defend herself if the need should arise.

George: What is your next cozy mystery about?

Book two has already been written and it’s with my editor right now. It’s called The Shamrock Case. 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?

George: Where can you find The Bali Mystery?

Linda: At Amazon and Barnes and Noble. E-books are also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

George: Thank you for this interview, Linda. I have read The Bali Mystery and found it very enjoyable and can’t wait for the next one.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Interview with Christian Author Sharon Srock

Author Sharon Srock went from science fiction to Christian fiction at slightly less than warp speed. Twenty five years ago, she cut her writer's teeth on Star Trek fiction. Today, she writes inspirational stories that focus on ordinary women using their faith to accomplish extraordinary things. Sharon lives in the middle of “nowhere” Oklahoma with her husband and three very large dogs. She is the proud mother of six, the prouder grandmother of twenty, and the great grands are coming with three and counting!

Welcome back to my blog, Sharon. Pam is the third book in the series: “Women in Valley View.” Each book focuses on a new title character. Please tell us about your new book.

Pam’s story is about secrets and forgiveness, and the harm we do to ourselves when we carry these things around instead of giving them to God.

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

I’ve been divorced and I know the pain of ending something that was supposed to last a lifetime. I’ve also had to learn to forgive. I never faced any abuse on the scale that Pam did, but it made me wonder… Could I forgive if I had?

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I had to talk to a counselor. I needed to have legitimate reasons for Pam to act like she does in the early part of the story.

Your characters have a great sense of humor in your stories and I love it. Does it just come naturally for you to come up with comical things?

When it comes to my dialogue, I tend to write like I talk, with just a hint of sarcastic humor. I’m glad it works for my women, cause it usually just gets me in trouble.

Thank you, Sharon, for this wonderful interview. I hope my readers will check out your books. I read the second one in this series, which was a sweet romance, and totally loved it.

Purchase links for THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW: PAM
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Pelican Book Group.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Interview with Children’s Author Sherrill Cannon

Sherrill S. Cannon is a former teacher, mother of four and a grandmother of ten, who is also an Award-Winning Best-Selling Author! In less than four years, her previous five books Manner-Man, Gimme-Jimmy, The Magic Word, Peter and the Whimper-Whineys and Santa’s Birthday Gift have received eighteen 2011-13 national awards. She is also the author of seven published and internationally performed plays for elementary school children, produced throughout the world. She is a resident of New Hope, PA and travels with her husband of 53 years throughout North America in their RV, sharing her books along the way!

Have you ever seen a work of art worth millions, which looks like something your child brought home from school? This story is about a child who paints a fingerpaint print in class and then loses it in the wind on the way home. What happens next when it’s found and official judges interpret the fingerpainted art?

Welcome back to my blog, Sherrill. This book sounds amazing. Where did you get your inspiration for this story?

I’ve often thought, when seeing a painting that sells for millions and looks like someone threw paint on a wall, that my child has brought home better artwork from school! So a little bit of “Beauty is in the Eyes of the Beholder”, and a trace of The Emperor’s New Clothes! Themes of perspective and perception – with some self-esteem as well!

Each of your children’s books is done in rhyme. Could you give us a few lines of your story please?

One day in my art class, Ms. Gallagher said,
“Just fingerpaint something you see in your head.”
So I dipped all my fingers in paint that was green
And drew on the paper my very best scene.
Then right in the middle, I put a red blob
'Cause I wasn't quite sure how to best draw my dog;
But then the bell rang, so I put things away
And never got back to my picture that day.

Wonderful! I love children’s books that rhyme. They’re my favorite. Do you get to have a say about all the illustrations for your book?

That’s the most fun about working with Kalpart (the team that has illustrated all my books.) I am able to give them the instructions for each illustration, and then get a sketch back that I can either approve or change…before reaching final approval on the color version. This tends to happen occasionally, since they are in India and we do everything by email and there’s sometimes a language misinterpretation. One wonderful thing about this book is that not only is the theme of the story about perception and perspective concerning artwork, but the book is illustrated from the point of view of the child narrator – the reader sees what the child sees - so the reader interprets whether girl or boy, good or bad, etc.

You love to write children’s stories. What intrigues you most about writing these stories?

I love poetry and I love children. I especially love to get them to hear the music of the words. It makes my heart smile when I am reading aloud to children and hear a delighted exclamation, “It rhymes!” Also, as a former teacher, I usually try to teach social manners, such as consideration for others and self-esteem, disguised as fun stories.

Thank you for this wonderful interview. I hope my readers will check out your books. You can buy her books at Amazon. Just click here: Amazon Link