Monday, January 26, 2015

Interview with Historical and Regency Romance Author Regina Scott

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

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

Monday, January 12, 2015

Interview with Cook Book Authors Annie, Chelsea and Holly Forsyth

Annie, Chelsea and Holly Forsyth began Natural Sweet Recipes ( 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.