Posted in Author Interview, blog tour, Book reviews, Books, character introduction

Author Interview! A.M. Heath (Blog Tour/Book Review)

Blog tour

 

Good morning, readers! For September’s interview, it’s a little different – it is apart of the blog tour for “If Only It Were Yesterday”! So there is a lot of extra fun going on here, including a giveaway, facebook party, and my review. So let us get on with this fun-filled post, shall we?

 

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The Book:

If Only It were Yesterday (A Season Passed, #1)

 

Liz Cooke has two problems in life: Her social media is filled with brewing political conflict and her idea of a perfect man seems to have gone extinct a century ago. Inspired by the contents of an antique trunk, Liz dreams she time-travels to 1885. As she sets out to enjoy the Victorian era in all its glory, armed with knowledge gleaned through historical novels and period dramas, will she find the past to be all that she thought? And does the right man for her exist only in her dreams or has he been in her life all along?
Loosely inspired by Alice in Wonderland, A.M. Heath brings you a fun read chock-full of humor and whimsy with a special message for the avid reader in all of us.

 

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My Review:

*Happy sigh* This was a perfectly delightful read! The first I’ve read by this author, but it most certainly won’t be my last!

I read this as an e-copy, but I made quick work of securing a print copy for myself, because it was that enjoyable and I wouldn’t hesitate to read it again.

Main character Liz Cooke was real and quirky and lovely, and also very relatable. Starting in present day, we get to know Liz and see how she struggles with believing that times past would be a better place to live instead of this trial-torn present day world. Owning an antique store, she comes across a very special trunk that throws her back in time…

There were so many pleasant nods to Alice in Wonderland, and I love the quotes scattered throughout. The Bible verses at the beginning of the chapters was a joy as well, and it was fun seeing how they were interwoven into the chapters.

“If Only It Were Yesterday” portrayed the historical timeline in a realistic way, showing the beauty as well as struggles that we find today too. I loved the encouraging faith message in this book, and the reminder that God is in control and has placed us in the time period He knows is right for us. Being content where we’re at, and serving Him here.

I was just thoroughly impressed with this novel, and eagerly anticipate the following books in the series! Such a good read <3

(And on a bit of a fangirl note…I loved Scott. He was the best ‘best friend’, and he was adorable. I want to see more of him…XD)

 

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AI AM Heath

 

Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :)  Would you please introduce yourself and the genre that you write:

 

Thanks so much for having me! My name is Anita and I write under A.M. Heath. I write Christian Fiction. Most of what I pen is historical or historical romance. But I have some Contemporary/contemporary Romance under my sleeves as well. ;) But all my stories carry a message for the soul and a bit of clean romance.  

 

 

What inspired “If Only It Were Yesterday”?

 

Me. Lol I inspired the novel. Seriously though, I had to learn the hard lesson about the trap of idolizing history and/or fiction. Once I saw reality a little more clearly, I couldn’t help but notice how many avid readers had fallen into the same trap. I wanted to reach out to them. I wanted to remind them that most of what we see in fiction is an illusion. While there ARE elements of reality, there are also a great deal of unrealistic elements. It blessed me abundantly to hear back from the early readers who admitted to being a little too much like Liz. But it’s an easy trap to fall into, especially when there’s so much around us that makes us discontent. From there, it’s only a matter of longing for that contentment elsewhere … never realizing that it doesn’t exist in our settings but ind Christ.

 

 

Of your characters, is there one that you relate to more than the others? And if so, why?

 

Definitely Liz. I basically just allowed her to become me in many ways. Her natural curiosity. Her need to know what really happened. Her fixation on history and all things Austen. All of this comes from me. And because of that, this was probably the most natural story/character to write. She is her own person in other ways,  but she also a great dose of myself.

 

 

Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?

 

Lol I’m probably the most laid back person you’ll talk to about naming characters. It seems that everyone has a system except for me. I literally just start tossing around ideas, just whatever pops in my head. I also thumb through a list of era-appropriate names and jot down whatever jumps out at me. At that point, it’s just a matter of calling out names until the character answers to one of them.
LOL Okay, I’m aware that this explanation makes me sound a bit crazy. But if you’ve seen The Man Who Invented Christmas, you’d understand. Dickens’ method in the movie actually IS my method. It’s worked well for me so far! And the characters really do come to life when you stumble upon the right name.

 

 

I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one?  If so, would you mind sharing?

 

I have a specific playlist that I like to play while I’m writing. I’ve found that most songs outside of that list tend to annoy me and distract me from my writing.

Oh! Here’s another that I never knew was odd, but the more I talk to other authors, the more I find that it’s rare. When a new book idea is conceived (we’ll have to call it the plotting process because it’s typically the only real plotting I do) I tend to work with the last things first. Almost immediately, I’m hashing out title ideas, naming main characters, and visualizing my cover options. Once these things are established and I have a basic sense of my plot, I’m ready to start writing. And I don’t go far before I’m writing the clincher and ending scenes. I think for me, the most vital part of the plotting process, is to be able to visual the final product. To see those characters in their most crucial scenes and to have a solid idea of a the cover and title gives me a sense of direction that a detailed outline gives to a seasoned planner. I’ve tried several times to formally outline a story, but I can’t seem to do it. I use that finished imagine in my head to guide me. Knowing the title helps point me toward my goal and purpose for the story. I typically know the starting point and the end result, so I just wing it from there.

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

 

Typically, it energizes me. I actually get weighed down if I don’t get to write for long periods of time. Editing and formatting drains me to no small degree, so I keep another draft in the writing process, so I can slip away and refuel with some creative time.

 

 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

 

SLOW DOWN! So many new self-published authors rush to finish their first book that it suffers as a result. I was one of those. I ended up revising my first book and re-releasing it the following year because I wasn’t completely satisfied with the outcome as the reviews started rolling in. With a traditional publisher, an author doesn’t have a choice except to wait until they’re picked up. But with self-publisher, the author is in charge of everything and it’s all too easy to let your eagerness put something out when you and the story isn’t quite ready.  

 

 

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

 

There’s a great network of authors who have helped me in various ways, some of which I’m just beginning to get to know. But Alicia G. Ruggieri, Amanda Tero, and Krista Noorman have worked alongside of me for several years. They’re always there to encourage me as well as help critique and line edit my work. I highly value their lovingly honest opinions. They, along with others on my team, push me to craft a better story. And there’s no substitute for talking shop with someone who knows what you’re going through.  

 

 

How important to you is the faith-element in your writing? Is it central to the theme or more of a sideline plot?

 

Normally, when I craft the plot, the spiritual theme is in clear view and a central part of the story. There have been a couple of times when the faith element was hidden and had to be layered on in order to bring it into focus properly. But, for me, it really is the heart of the story and the reason I’m penning one at all.

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

 

They’re very proud. Some of the women in my family read my books. And my kids are always thrilled to see Mommy’s books in print. Lol My husband isn’t a reader so I think the whole tedious process baffles him. He’s told me multiple times that he doesn’t see how I sit in front of the computer as long as I do. Lol But I love it.

 

 

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read, or plan on reading, your latest, “If Only it Were Yesterday”?

 

I’ve given this a lot of thought. The character, Liz, is such a fan of Jane Austen, so I don’t think you could go wrong by picking up one of her novels or any classic. But another would be Lynn Austin’s Wonderland Creek. The fact that it has Wonderland in the title is a fun coincidence. But I would recommend it because they’re both written in the first person and both main characters have an unfortunate addiction to fiction which leads them astray and brings them to some tough lessons.

 

 

Thank you for the wonderful interview, Anita! I so enjoyed your answers, and you’ve been a joy to get to know!!

 

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Besides being an Indie Author, I’m a wife, mother of four, children’s Sunday School teacher, sweet tea drinker, history fanatic, romantic, bubbly, lover of broccoli, and cake decorator who has a soft spot for Christmas trees, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What I’m not is a laundress (or at least not one who keeps up very well), a duster, tall, or patient in a doctor’s office.

 

You can visit me online on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Pinterest, and my blog. *Note: I’m most active on Facebook and my blog.

Whether you’re on social media or not, you can ensure that you never miss one of my sales, giveaways, or new releases by signing up for my newsletter. I’ll send you a direct link to your email anytime something big happens. http://eepurl.com/dDbVNz

 

 

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Facebook party! Click on the graphic below to join!


Liz Party

And don’t miss out on the give-away!! Click on the graphic below to go to the giveaway and enter!

Grand Prize

Also, catch up on the other stops of this blog tour!

Release Day Spotlights: 
Sept 4: 
Amanda Tero @ With a Joyful Noise
Becky Dempsey @ Blossoms and Blessings 
Alicia G. Ruggieri @ A Brighter Destiny

Reviews for If Only It Were Yesterday:

Sept. 5:
Laura Wilson @ Blue Eye Books

Sept. 6:
Alicia G. Ruggieri @ A Brighter Destiny

Sept. 10: 
Karen Hadley @ Karen Sue Hadley

Sept. 11:
Becky Dempsey @ Blossoms and Blessings

Sept. 12: 
Virginia Winfield @ Bigreadersite

Sept. 13:
Heather G. @ Blue Jeans and Teacups

Sept. 17:
Raechel Lenore @ God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae

 

**I also did a Character Introduction post featuring Liz Cooke from “If Only It were Yesterday” – you can check that out here!

CI Liz Cooke

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Posted in Author Interview, Book reviews, Books, character introduction

Character Introduction: Libby Sheffield

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Welcome back to a Character Introduction post! Today’s featured character is Libby Sheffield!

(If you’re new to these posts: The idea behind them is just to spotlight the character a bit, give a little description of their personality, and for fun, a few books I’d recommend to them if I could. )

 

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Libby Sheffield

(Photo found on the authors Pinterest Board)

 

Libby Sheffield, Gossamer Grove 1907
When “The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond” has two heroines, what made me choose the historical over the present day? Um, actually I don’t really have an answer to that. I very much liked each heroine, so I had to just choose one. ;)
Libby Sheffield is a young woman tormented by guilt – a guilt she has tried hard to escape from, to bury. While she is striving to solve the town’s mystery amongst all the strife, her own past continues to follow her, pulling at her conscience. She’s just as broken as everyone else.
She’s a strong character, with a very good heart. She perseveres throughout it all. Through the danger. Because she wants to see things put right again. She wants to believe in the grace the revivalist Jacobus Corbin tells her about.
I love the spirit of this character; her strengths, weaknesses, and determination. You can’t help but root for her the entire journey.
If I were to recommend some books to Libby, I would suggest:
The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright ~ It’s only natural that Libby would enjoy a book written by her author too, right?!
Julie by Catherine Marshall ~ I’m not very good at explaining why a character would enjoy the book I recommend…for this one, I just think the overall feeling of the book would be a good match for Libby.
A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White ~ A bit of a mystery tucked between the pages, I think Libby would enjoy this one too.
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Meet Libby for yourself in “The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond” by Jaime Jo Wright:
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For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant faade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she’s wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she’ll uncover. 

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father’s newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon’s son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town–but it isn’t until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future–or their very souls.

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You can also “meet” author Jaime Jo Wright in last week’s author interview! Be sure to check that out:
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And you can also check out my review here:
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Posted in Author Interview, Book reviews, Books

Author Interview! Jaime Jo Wright

 

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Good Monday morning readers! I took a bit of a schedule-break in July, but I’m back now with today’s author interview, and next week’s character introduction! Good to be back, right? ^.^ I hope you enjoy this interview – I know I do. The genre of books that Jaime Jo Wright writes (teehee) is usually one out of my normal, but I’ve greatly enjoyed her two books and eagerly await more!

 

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Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :) Would you please introduce yourself and the genre that you write:

Thank you so much for having me! I am Jaime Jo Wright, perhaps known more for my indulgence in coffee and my handle “The Professional Coffee Drinker” rather than my books. LOL But I write dual-time or split-time mystery. Basically, it means half the book is set in a contemporary setting while the other half takes the reader back into a historical setting, with the mystery weaving in and out of both time periods.

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In your Dual-Time stories, do you find one easier to write than the other – past or present?

It sort of depends on the story. In “The House on Foster Hill” my first novel, the historical setting was easier, but in “The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond”, I found myself gravitating more toward the contemporary setting as the one that came smoother.

Of your characters, is there one that you relate to more than the others? And if so, why?

Hmmm, well honestly there’s some of me in every character. I don’t know that I’ve written one character I super relate to, although I will say I think a lot like Kaine from “The House on Foster Hill”. Sort of impulsive, act first, think later, type of thing. 😊

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Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?

None whatsoever. LOL! Sometimes the name just pops into my head and it sticks. Other times, I just look around and like was the case in “The House on Foster Hill”, I see my cat and go, “oh. Ivy. That’s a solid name for a human too.”

I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one? If so, would you mind sharing?

I’ve heard this too. If I have one, I’ve not discovered it yet. Unless you count composing the chapters in my head before I write them down. But I don’t know if that’s so much quirky as just an attempt at efficiency. LOL

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Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Neither? It’s part of who I am. Some days I’m exhausted so I just don’t write. Other days, I’m excited to write and then words come out energetically. I don’t usually feel too broad of an emotional swing with writing so much. More just: contentment.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Continue to enjoy every moment to its fullest. Don’t look too far ahead and don’t live in what’s already happened. Make every minute a memory.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I’ve been blessed with a fairly broad group of writerly friends. The closest ones, I refer to as my “sisters”. They help me become a better writer by challenging me as a person, by supporting me, praying for me, and just overall, being there. I think relationships that are deep and go beyond just the writing world, definitely become ones that help form you as a writer and as a person.

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How important to you is the faith-element in your writing? Is it central to the theme or more of a sideline plot?

The faith-element for me is very important. I usually have a one-word theme to my novels and the characters all circle around it in their stories. It’s also important to me that the faith-elements be relatable and non-preachy. Something that anyone could pick up and be encouraged or challenged by without feeling like they got slapped in the face with evangelism. If that makes sense?

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

My kids are very proud. They firmly believe I’m famous—think Bon Jovi level of famous. When I reassure them I’ve not yet achieved the rabid fan-base they believe I have, I am quickly corrected. LOL! My husband is also proud, and he’s super supportive. All in all, the family is my fuel.

 

 

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your latest, “The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond”?

 

Great question!! If you enjoy the mystery elements, I’d strongly encourage checking out Rachel McMillan for her historically based mysteries. Super good with a unique voice and an edge that I really enjoy!

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Great answers to each question! I loved reading through them. I hope you’ve enjoyed this too, readers! And here’s some more info about Jaime Jo Wright’s latest book:

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About The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond:

For over a century, the town of Gossamer Grove has thrived on its charm and Midwestern values, but Annalise Forsythe knows painful secrets, including her own, hover just beneath the pleasant facade. When a man is found dead in his run-down trailer home, Annalise inherits the trailer, along with the pictures, vintage obituaries, and old revival posters covering its walls. As she sorts through the collection, she’s wholly unprepared for the ramifications of the dark and deadly secrets she’ll uncover.

A century earlier, Gossamer Grove has been stirred into chaos by the arrival of controversial and charismatic twin revivalists. The chaos takes a murderous turn when Libby Sheffield, working at her father’s newspaper, receives an obituary for a reputable church deacon hours before his death. As she works with the deacon’s son to unravel the mystery behind the crime, it becomes undeniably clear that a reckoning has come to town—but it isn’t until another obituary arrives that they realize the true depths of the danger they’ve waded into.

Two women, separated by a hundred years, must uncover the secrets within the borders of their own town before it’s too late and they lose their future—or their very souls.

 

 

 

 

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Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited romantic suspense stained with the shadows of history. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy Tinkerbell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures atjaimejowright.com

 

 

Social Media Links:

Web site: www.jaimejowright.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/jaimejowright

Twitter: www.twitter.com/jaimejowright

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/jaimejowright

Instagram: www.Instagram.com/jaimejowright

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/13916081.Jaime_Jo_Wright

Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/Jaime-Jo-Wright/e/B01421H0JQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

 

Book Review

Posted in Author Interview, Books, Give-aways

Author Interview: Lindsay Harrel! With GIVEAWAY!

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Good morning, and happy Monday! Today, not only do I have an amazing author interview to share, but she’s also offered a GIVEAWAY to go along with it! Isn’t that fantabulous? I fell in love with “The Heart Between Us”, and knew I’d love to have Lindsay Harrel for an author review. And when she offered a giveaway – well, goodness, what fun! Keep reading to find all the details, and don’t forget to enter for a COPY of “The Heart Between Us”!!

 

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Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :)  Would you please introduce yourself and the genre that you write:

 Sure! My name is Lindsay Harrel and I write inspirational romantic women’s fiction. Thanks so much for having me!

 

 

What sparked the idea for your book, “The Heart Between Us”? (I thought it was so clever and absolutely loved the whole thing!)

 Thank you for your kind words. I heard a radio feature story on K-LOVE or some other station about a woman who went sky diving because her heart donor had always wanted to do it and never got to. It just made me ask the question, What if someone fulfilled her heart donor’s entire bucket list?

 

 

heart-1450300_1920.jpgIn “The Heart Between Us”, is there a character that you relate best to? And if so, why?

 Yes! The story is about twin sisters Megan and Crystal and how they have both been affected by Megan’s long-term illness and subsequent heart transplant. When I was first going to write the book, it was just going to be Megan’s story and Crystal was just the antagonist who was overprotective and didn’t understand Megan. But my agent challenged me to dig deeper and tell Crystal’s story too. When I did, I discovered a character who had been deeply affected by living with a sick sister her whole life. I could relate, since my mom was sick for many of my formative years. Between that and Crystal’s penchant for defining herself by her achievements, she became the character I related to most.

 

 

Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?

Not really. I always look up common baby names in the year the character is born and when one pops out at me as feeling “right” for the character, I choose it. Funny though—I didn’t do that with Megan’s character at first. I chose Maddie because I liked the name, but I got the comment that it made the character feel for high school age, not 32. So I went back, applied the process mentioned above, and chose Megan (I also have a good friend named Megan so that was a bit of fun in choosing that name).

 

 

I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one?  If so, would you mind sharing?

I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I really prefer silence when I write. I also can’t stand the idea of only writing part of a scene; if I’m going to write, I try to finish an entire scene in one sitting. It feels incomplete to me to write only, say, 500 or 1000 words at a time!

 

 

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Megan in “The Heart Between Us” is fulfilling the bucket list of her heart-donor; Do you have a bucket list yourself?

It’s not something I’ve actually written out, but yes! At the top right now is visiting Italy with my husband.

 

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Great question. I think both. I actually don’t care as much for the drafting stage of writing (I much prefer editing!); the blank page is a bit intimidating to me. But I am energized by the thought that I get to live my dream. It’s also exhausting to pour yourself and your emotions out on the page, and to be a good writer, I think you have to be constantly doing that.

 

 

cross-2209803_1920How important to you is the faith-element in your writing? Is it central to the theme or more of a sideline plot?

I’ve read all sorts of Christian fiction, and the ones that resonate with me the most are those that infuse faith organically. So that is what I try to do. Some stories require more actual mention of faith; with others, the character kind of just has this misconception about God and has an epiphany at the end, but faith isn’t constantly mentioned. I think it just depends on what the story calls for. But because I am a Christian, I can’t help but write stories from that perspective and worldview, so I think in that sense, my stories will always be faith filled.

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

They are 100% supportive! Of course, my boys (who are 1 and 3.5 years old) don’t really understand it. But my husband is amazing in giving me time to write when I’m on deadline, and my mother-in-law and stepmom help with the kids too.

 

 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Stop worrying! Things will happen in their time. Just enjoy the process and stop stressing over how you’re going to get there (and when! and if!). :)

 

 

old-1130731_1920.jpg“The Heart Between Us” visits many places all over the world – have you traveled much in your life, and did you make any special travel-plans during the writing of this book?

In college, I took a study abroad trip to England, Ireland, Scotland, and Paris one summer. It was amazing and definitely shaped my desire to write about those places. I have wanted to go back, but my husband and I haven’t had the time or money. But we are saving and dreaming!

 

 

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I am blessed to be friends with SO many in the writing community, and have been craft and brainstorming partners with Gabrielle Meyer, Melissa Tagg, and Alena Wendall. I’ve also been mentored by incredible authors like Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck. All of them challenge me to do deeper with characters and—more than anything—they just encourage me when I’m down and help keep me grounded and rooted in the things that are most important on this writing journey. I’m so glad my writing life isn’t a solitary endeavor.

 

 

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your latest, “The Heart Between Us”?

I think readers who enjoyed The Heart Between Us would enjoy anything by Katherine Reay, specifically Lizzy and Jane or her latest, The Austen Escape!

 

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image found on google; I do not claim any rights to it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you so very much, Lindsay Harrel!

 

 

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Lindsay HarrelLindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd with a B.A. in journalism and M.A. in English. She lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. Lindsay has held a variety of jobs, including curriculum editor for two universities, medical and business writer, and copywriter for a digital marketing agency. Now she juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with working freelance jobs, teaching college English courses online, and—of course—writing novels.

When she actually has time to do other things, she loves to sing, read, and sip passion iced teas from Starbucks. She loves to watch God work in ordinary lives to create something extraordinary, and she writes to bring hope to those who may have lost it along the way. Connect with her at www.LindsayHarrel.com and any other place she hangs out online, including Facebook and Twitter.

 

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What a lovely interview, wouldn’t you say? I just love learning more about an author and their writing process/books! <3

And now, how about we get to that giveaway!

 

DETAILS: Lindsay Harrel is offering 1 (one) print copy to be given away to one reader! Follow the link below to enter this lovely giveaway – trust me, you don’t want to miss this book!

**US address only due to shipping costs**

 

Giveaway will start TODAY and will end SUNDAY the 10th, and the WINNER will be announced next MONDAY with the Character-Spotlight post, so be sure to check back!!

 

 

Click the graphic to be led to the giveaway widget, or click here.

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Best wishes on the giveaway!!

 

 

Posted in Author Interview, Books

Author Interview! Connilyn Cossette

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Welcome to another Author-Interview Monday! I am beyond pleased to be sharing this author-interview with Connilyn Cossette for May! I adore her books. <3 When she replied to my inquiry about an interview, I was overjoyed to say the least. :) Hope you enjoy it as much as I have!!

 

 

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Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :)  Would you please introduce yourself and the genre that you write:

Hi Raechel, Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog! My name is Connilyn Cossette (and yes that is my real name, not a nom du plume). I am the author of the Out from Egypt and Cities of Refuge Series with Bethany House Publishers which are Biblical Fiction (although I like to call it “outsider Biblical fiction” because my main characters are fictional, not people from the Bible). I have recently moved from Texas to North Carolina with my hubby of twenty years and my two kids, 11&13, whom I homeschool. So being a writer and a homeschool teacher on top of just doing my day to day stuff, my life is a little crazy, but its a good crazy!

 

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Aren’t they all so gorgeous?! And so excited for the next book!

 

Of your books, is there a character that you relate best to? And if so, why?

Probably Shira from Shadow of the Storm. My kiddos came to me by adoption as well, so my struggles mirror Shira’s in many ways.  I also tend to be a glass-half full person, and sometime my rose-colored glasses end up shattered, but it does help me to look for the best in people. And, like Shira, music is also my worship language.

 

 

Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?

I use Hebraic versions of the Bible as a starting point and I have a couple of websites with Hebrew names I reference frequently. I also base names on Hebrew word meanings and shhhh, sometimes I make them up ;)

 

 

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I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one?  If so, would you mind sharing?

I sometimes like to write with my eyes closed. It allows me to be fully inside the scene to experience and build the sensory details. My son saw me doing it the other day and freaked out how accurately I can type with my eyes closed! Although at times it makes for some interesting spelling or words that I cannot decipher at all later.

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It energizes me unless I come to a wall and can’t find my way past it. But thinking about stories, talking about stories with my writing pals, crafting stories, and polishing stories through editing are all pretty much my favorite things in the world.

 

 

 

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How important to you is the faith-element in your writing? Is it central to the theme or more of a sideline plot?

Faith is absolutely central to what I do. My heart is to draw people to the Word by sparking interest in the cultural and historical context through story form. I am not out to re-write the Bible, but only to spur imagination about what it might have been like for people whose lives connected in some way with all those Bible characters (who were real people!) that we know so well.

 

 

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

My kids are very inspired by what I do. They both are book-a-holics and love to write. My son especially has taken to writing his own stories, sometimes for hours at a time. My hubby of course is very proud of me, but being a non-reader (GASP!) he’s still a little mystified by the idea that I want to spend hour upon hour making up stories about imaginary people. They’ve all learned to be very tolerant of my tendency to stare at walls or out windows randomly, or to talk to myself, or to wave my arms around or make strange faces as I silently act out scenes. Hopefully that will stave off any plans to take me to the funny farm later in life ;)

 

 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

To read more in different genres, to write what you would want to read instead of trying to copy anyone else’s style. To be okay with the weirdness of your brain and the fact that a lot of “normals” may just not get your particular brand of quirkiness. To not waste time or energy on second-guessing yourself but instead be brave and bold about who you are and the passions that God hard-wired into you.

 

 

gerbera-1250287How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I am about halfway done with the third book in the Cities of Refuge Series (and yes, that means I am SUPER behind) but otherwise I only have one half-finished novella sitting on my laptop that hopefully someday I will get around to working on, since it ties in with my Out from Egypt Series.

 

 

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Nicole Deese and Tammy L. Gray are my bestie writing gals, we Google Chat every week now that I have moved across the country. They constantly challenge and inspire me to be a better writer. I don’t think I would have near the drive, the writing speed, or staying power to do what I do without them. We have developed a deep trust between us that allows us to be completely honest when something just doesn’t work and a willingness to take criticism without offense because we know that we all want each other’s work to be the best it can be.

 

 

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your latest, “A Light on the Hill”?

I can’t think of a specific book off the top of my head, but I always recommend any Biblical Fiction by Roseanna White, Mesu Andrews, Francine Rivers, Stephanie Landsem, or Tessa Afshar. These ladies write God-honoring stories that point readers back to the Word.

 

 

Thank you so very much, Mrs. Cossette!

 

 

 

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Connilyn CossetteConnilyn Cossette is the CBA-Bestselling author of the Out from Egypt Series and the Cities of Refuge Series from Bethany House Publishers. There is not much she enjoys more than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible, discovering new gems of grace that point to Jesus, and weaving them into an immersive fiction experience. She lives in North Carolina with her husband of over twenty years and a son and daughter who fill her days with joy, laughter, and inspiration. Connect with her at www.ConnilynCossette.com

 

 

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That was delightful! I can’t express just how much I love reading author’s answers to these questions, and getting to know them more. It feels like such a special experience and honor!

Writing with her eyes closed – love that, because I do that too. ^.^ It works well!

Also, her advice to her younger writers self – beautiful. I think the answers to those questions are the ones I soak up the most <3

 

 

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Check back next Monday for the Character Introduction post featuring one of Mrs.Cossette’s characters! <3

 

Posted in 1940's, Author Interview, Books

Author Interview! Sarah Sundin

 

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Welcome to the third Author-Interview Monday on this blog! I can’t wait to share this lovely interview with author Sarah Sundin herself! Like, so excited. I’m a huge fan, and so to have her here on the blog – yep, pretty amazing!! I won’t keep you in suspense any longer…here’s the interview!!

 

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Welcome to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here :)  Would you please introduce yourself and the genre that you write:

My name is Sarah Sundin, and I write historical romance set during World War II.

 

 

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Of your books, is there a character that you relate best to? And if so, why?

I relate to all my main characters. When I write a novel, I really try to get into the skin of my hero and heroine. Before I begin the rough draft, I explore their lives up until the story begins, their personalities, fears, secrets, dreams, and hopes. In the process of writing, I imagine the story through the lens of their experiences. I feel like I get very close to them.

 

 

 

Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?

Names are very important to me. Sometimes the character’s name is just there, and other times I have to work to find it. Baby name books are very helpful, and I look at timeliness of names, ethnicity, and meaning as well as if it seems to fit the character. For Wyatt Paxton’s name in The Sea Before Us, I thought I might want a name with a meaning related to the sea, since he’s a naval officer. I found Wyatt, which means water, and it sounded like an appropriate name for my hero from Texas! For Dorothy Fairfax, I chose Dorothy because it was very popular in that time period and it just fit her.

 

 

 

I have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one?  If so, would you mind sharing?

I don’t know if it’s a quirk, but I do a lot of pre-writing. I fill out character charts, plot charts, and more. Lists and color-coding and timelines make me very happy!

 

 

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

It usually energizes me. The plotting phase sometimes feels like a wrestling match as I’m trying to make the story and history and characters fit a structure, but it’s thrilling when it comes together. And the rest of the writing process is a blast—I love character development, research, the rough draft, and editing.

 

 

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How important to you is the faith-element in your writing?

Very important. Each of my main characters has an issue to deal with—a sin issue, a faith issue, or a flaw he hasn’t dealt with. The events of the story forces him to turn to the Lord in order to grow and change.

 

 

 

What does your family think of your writing?

Snicker. My husband is a pharmacist and he married a pharmacist—who turned into a novelist. It was kind of disorienting for him. He’s come to support his wife’s strange new career. When my daughter was a teenager, she thought my writing career was my way to torture her. She’s grown out of that now, thank goodness. My grown sons are great supporters and avid readers! My youngest son, a sailor in the Navy based in Japan, had his picture taken with one of my books at the top of Mount Fuji!

 

 

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If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

I’d tell her to relax, be patient, and enjoy the writing process. I was so eager and anxious to get published—as are most beginning writers. But discovering the joy of writing was a time to be savored and to explore.

 

 

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I have two complete unpublished novels and an unpublished novella. The novels will never—and should never—be published. But they served their purpose and showed me I could finish a full-length novel. As for the novella, I’m still fond of it and would enjoy doing something with it someday.

 

 

 

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What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

One of the joys of belonging to the Christian writing community is meeting dozens of authors. Some have become critique partners, some have become publicity partners, and some have “just” become dear friends. It’s an incredible blessing!

 

 

 

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your latest, “The Sea Before Us”?

Recently I’ve read and loved Kristy Cambron’s The Lost Castle (one of the three timelines involves the French Resistance leading up to D-day) and Jocelyn Green’s A Refuge Assured. Next on my to-be-read pile are two more World War II novels, Cathy Gohlke’s Until We Find Home and Liz Tolsma’s Melody of the Soul.

 

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Thank you so very much, Mrs. Sundin!

 

 

 

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Sarah Sundin is the award-winning author of ten novels, including The Sea Before Us. Her novels When Tides Turn and Through Waters Deep were named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school. Please visit her at www.sarahsundin.com.

 

 

 

 

 

The Sea Before Us.jpgBlurb for “The Sea Before Us”:

In 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France, determined to redeem himself with the brothers he has betrayed. Dorothy Fairfax serves as a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, piecing together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France—including those of her family’s summer home—in order to create maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt turns into naval bombardment plans for D-day. As Wyatt and Dorothy work together, he hopes Dorothy will return his growing love. But will family secrets, misplaced affections—and the seas off Normandy—separate them forever?

 

 

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Wasn’t that superb, readers? I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed reading her answers. And I took encouragement from what she’d tell her younger-writer-self. To enjoy the writing time. It’s definitely easy to strive for that one day when you finally become published, but the writing process is my favourite part and I want to savor it while it’s here. :)

So many great answers, and I hope you all enjoyed reading them as well! Learning more about favourite authors is a great treat. :)

 

If you’re interested, you can also read my review of “The Sea Before Us” here.

 

And check back next Monday for another special Character-introduction post! :)

 

 

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*Some of the images are stock-photos or taken from Amazon/Goodreads. I don’t claim any ownership to those ones. 

 

Posted in Author Interview, Books

Author Interview! MacKenzie Morganthal

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Welcome to the second Monthly Author Interview! I’m just tickled pink to be able to interview such lovely authors. :)  This month I have the delight of interviewing author MacKenzie Morganthal! Her name may be familiar to you readers because this isn’t her first time on my blog. Just type in her name in the ‘search box’ on the sidebar, and several posts will pop up – they’re all fun reads, with her book’s blog tours, some character spotlights, and more interviews.

But let’s get started on today’s interview, shall we? :)

 

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Welcome once again, Miss Morganthal, to my “Peculiar” Blog! I’m so happy to have you here on this return visit! For the benefit of new readers here, would you please introduce yourself and the genre of books you write?

 

I’m so happy to be back here at your lovely blog! :) I’m MacKenzie Morganthal and I write contemporary Christian fiction novels. I’ve been writing since I was about nine years old and have loved it ever since! My two published books are part of my Mission for Freedom series, and deal with the topic of human trafficking. My passion is to raise awareness and education about this topic of human trafficking, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to do that through my writing. When I’m not writing, I love music, the creative arts, and working as a teacher aide with the goal of being a teacher someday.  

 

#Human TraffickingAwareness.pngIn your two released books, “Not Abandoned” and “Out of the Dark”, we primarily get to know sisters Haley and Avery Hampton; was one easier to write than the other? And if so, why?

 

Hmm, I would have to say that Avery was a bit harder to write than Haley’s character. Haley has always been my favorite character from this series, so she was always pretty easy to write. But Avery had a bit more dynamics to her character, as she was a victim of human trafficking. In “Out of the Dark” we see Avery going through a lot of ups and downs, and I grew pretty attached to Avery in this book, even though the emotional trauma she was wrestling with was heartbreaking. Not to give away any secrets, but I think book three will be my favorite part of Avery’s story. ;)

 

Do you have a special process for how you choose your character’s names?  No, I’ll usually just pick a name I like and go with that, haha! I like to try and find contemporary, yet unique names, so I’ll keep notes on my phone whenever I meet someone who has a unique name that would be great for a novel character, and then when I need to choose a new character name I’ll just scroll through my list and find one I like best. So nothing really special ;)

 

gerbera-1250287.jpgI have heard that many authors have their own interesting writing quirk – do you have one? If so, would you mind sharing?

Well, I guess I would have to say that when I write I like to format the size of my pages in my document before I start writing…weird, I know! I don’t have to do all the formatting right away, but if I’m starting a new novel it has to be on 5.5 x 8.5 paper and I like to fix my margins also before starting to write. If I’m writing an article or short story, I don’t mess with the formatting first, but I guess it’s just a quirk I have for novels!  

 

Does writing energize or exhaust you?

I would have to say…energize, but it can also be exhausting, especially when I put deadlines on myself. I participated in NaNoWriMo this past November, and writing was the only thing I had time for and I still struggled to finish on time. (But I did finish!) So that was very exhausting. But for the most part it’s energizing for me, especially when working on a novel I’m really excited about, and I don’t have deadlines on myself, and I can just enjoy writing when God gives me the inspiration.  

 

cross-2209803_1920.jpgHow important to you is the faith-element in your writing?

It is very important to me! I have not written a book that does not have some kind of faith element in it. Without God, I would not have the gift of writing, so I can’t imagine leaving Him out of it. If I couldn’t include faith in my books, then I would have no purpose for writing. To me, books are more than just a few hours of entertainment. They have the ability to impact people, and if I’m going to be impacting people, then I want to be impacting them for Jesus and not myself.

 

What does your family think of your writing?

I think they like it ;) Haha! Truly, they have been my biggest fans and I couldn’t do this without them. Their feedback is very important to me, and it’s always really encouraging when they say things like “I couldn’t put it down!” I’m so thankful for their support and love.

 

pencil-1497126_1920.jpgIf you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Ooh, that’s a tough one. I think I would say to remember to be yourself. Don’t try to make your writing please everybody else. If you’re writing for God, then that’s all that matters. He’ll place it in the hands of those who need it. And just have fun! Writing should never be a chore. God gave me this gift to enjoy and have fun with. Don’t worry about being the next bestseller, just focus on enjoying every moment of the journey.

 

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Wow…a lot! Besides my two published books, I have 9 other unpublished books. And probably hundreds of half-finished books! When I was younger especially, I would hop from one book idea to the next, which resulted in many incomplete ideas. Now I try to make myself wait to finish a book before moving on to the next…but it can be hard! And sometimes moving on to a new story is actually great for getting fresh inspiration for an old story that has run dry. Right now I’m very close to being finished with my third and final book in my Mission for Freedom series, and I’m also collaborating on a book with…you, our host Raechel! ;)  

 

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What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?   

My sister is my number one writing inspiration! She has worked so hard on expanding her writing platform and really puts her whole heart into it. Her example pushes me to better my writing and follow her lead. She’s amazing, and I hope to be at least half the writer she is someday. And of course my best friend, also you, Rae! =D Rae is an amazing writer, but you readers already know that if you follow her blog! I mentioned before that we are currently collaborating on a novel together…I kinda squeal excitedly anytime I talk about it. But writing alongside her has been so wonderful and she definitely helps me to be a better writer. I couldn’t write this new book without her! And I’m going to stop myself from talking about this new book now, because I could go on forever about it. Seriously. Y’all are going to love it.  

 

Awww, thanks for that! I think you’re an *amazing* author too, and you help me become a better writer too <3 And yes – loooove our story! <3

And lastly, would you recommend a book that my readers might like if they’ve read your Mission for Freedom series?

Well, I absolutely love Lisa Harris, and her series Southern Crimes or Nikki Boyd Files are police mystery novels similar to my Mission for Freedom series. “Vendetta” book one in the Nikki Boyd Files was my favorite! I love police suspense/mystery novels, so I read a lot of them as inspiration for my Mission for Freedom series. Irene Hannon also has great mystery/suspense novels, and I really enjoyed “Deceived” in her Private Justice series. Another great book similar to mine is “Visible Threat” by Janice Cantore. I loved this one, and it also dealt with the topic of human trafficking like my series does.  

 

 

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Thank you so much, Miss Morganthal!!

 

 

 

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MacKenzie Morganthal is the author of the Mission for Freedom series. Book one, “Not Abandoned”, was her debut novel. She lives in Pennsylvania where she is a monthly e-magazine columnist, Creative Artist, and musician. She loves Jesus most, sweet tea, singing along to the radio, and spending too much time at Starbucks.

 

 

 

 

 

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That was excellent – I personally loved reading each of her well-written answers – she inspires me, and it’s such a blessing to know her, and have her here on the blog too! I hope you readers enjoyed it as well. :)

Next Monday I might just be featuring one of her characters…so check back!! :)

 

Her heart was finally resting in the fact that God had been in control, and everything she couldn_t do, He had held in His hands.

 

 

 

Do you have any questions for MacKenzie Morganthal? I know she’d be pleased to answer them, if so. :) Just comment below!