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Interview with Mystery Author Abigail Keam and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am introducing you to my friend Abigail Keam. Abigail and I met in a Kentucky writers group six or seven years ago. I have enjoyed spending time with her any chance I get to see her and I’m thrilled that she’s my guest today. Abigail writes mysteries set in Kentucky and romances set in Florida – two of my favorite states! Abigail is giving away a copy of the first book in her latest series – so read on to see how you can enter to win!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Hello, I am an award-winning and Amazon best-selling author who writes the Josiah Reynolds Mystery Series about a Southern beekeeper turned amateur female sleuth in the Bluegrass.  In addition to Josiah Reynolds, I have a new heroine— Mona Moon.  I just released my new Mona Moon Mysteries1930s mystery series. I love this era and the research was a joy.  I combined real events and people into the storyline giving the stories an additional richness.

I also have written The Last Chance For Love Series where strangers from all walks of life come to the Last Chance Motel in Key Largo and get a second chance at rebuilding their lives and The Princess Maura Fantasy Series.

My first mystery novel, Death By A HoneyBee, won the 2010 Gold Medal Award for Women’s Lit from Readers’ Favorite and was a Finalist of the USA BOOK NEWS-Best Books List of 2011. 

Death By Drowning won the 2011 Gold Medal Award for Best Mystery Sleuth from Readers’ Favorite and also was placed on the USA BOOK NEWS-Best Books List of 2011 as a Finalist.

I am an award-winning beekeeper who has won 16 honey awards at the Kentucky State Fair including the Barbara Horn Award, which is given to beekeepers who rate a perfect 100 in a honey competition.  So when I write about beekeeping in my Josiah Reynolds Mysteries, I know what I’m talking about.

I currently live on the Kentucky River in a metal house with my husband and various critters.

Tell us about your current release. My current release is Murder Under A Blue Moon—a 1930s Mona Moon Mystery series.  It’s a rags-to-riches story about Mona Moon who is an out-of-work cartographer and pinching pennies when she receives the news that her uncle had died and left her a fortune plus a Thoroughbred horse farm.  Mona relocates from New York to the Moon estate in Kentucky only to discover her uncle has been murdered.  Now she has to find out who did the dastardly deed or she might be next!

To make matters more complicated, her next door neighbor is English nobility, Lord Farley, who is too smooth, too charming, and too handsome.  Mona doesn’t like him. So why does Mona’s heart beat faster when she sees him?

With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down?  It takes me about three months to write each book.  In today’s market that is not fast enough, but I want to put out a good story, and one that will outlast reading fads.  I am hoping readers will be enjoying my novels long after I’m gone.

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to a publisher(or agent or audience if you self publish)?  I have seen poorly written novels make the New York Times list and excellent books bite the dust.  There is no rhyme or reason to success sometimes.  I think some writers must be sprinkled with pixie dust.  I write the best I can and hope for the best with sales.  I love my characters and my stories.  I think it shows in the writing.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I remember being in the second grade and wanting to be a writer.  I wrote my first story in the second grade.  It was titled Bobby Bobo Got Baptized At The Big Bone Baptist Church.  My teacher showed it to my mother and told her to encourage me to write.  However, my mother was already on top of it.  It was my mother who imparted the love of the written word.  She and I would take the public bus to the Cincinnati Library every month and bring home a shopping bag full of books.  I would read them all, and she would take me back to the library.  We did this for years.  She thought education was very important and pushed, pushed, and pushed.  I’m so thankful she did.  I rewrote Bobby Bobo several years ago and published it as well as several other autobiographical short stories.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? If it were 2010, I would advise to self-publish.  However, things have changed, and I tell newbies to get a deal with a publishing house if they can.  The new self-publishing authors are struggling because the writing field is glutted, and a self-publishing author must spend sixty percent of her/his time marketing.  If the author doesn’t know what she is doing then she will fail.  I know several New York Time best-selling authors who are throwing in the towel because they can’t make a living anymore.  My advice—keep your day job.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write?  I have a vague outline, but I let the characters guide me.  I don’t keep notebooks or do charts.  Somehow it seems to work out all right.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? I like short, tight books.  I rarely write over 45K wordsI keep description and adjectives at a minimum. Less is more with me. It’s a pet peeve of mine, but I hate reading a book with long wordy narratives and pages of description that don’t push the story forward.  An author should be able to present a mood or depiction of a character, location, or object in a few short lines.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Stay away from “publishing businesses” which promise success in return for a large fee.  It’s most probably a scam.  I saw one such business advertising on FB which guaranteed a 100K salary in the first year for new authors.  The asking fee for their magic formula was $10,000. Not going to happen, folks.  Also get rid of toxic people in your life.  They will sabotage you and your work.

Here is where you can find Abigail online:

Official Site     www.abigailkeam.com

Facebook        https://www.facebook.com/AbigailKeam

Instagram        https://www.instagram.com/abigailkeam/

Twitter             https://twitter.com/abigailkeam

Pinterest          https://www.pinterest.com/abigailkeam/

Amazon           https://www.amazon.com/Abigail-Keam/e/B0045PEGUQ

YouTube         https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCThdrO8pCPN6JfTM9c857JA

email   abigailshoney@windstream.net

Bookbub          https://www.bookbub.com/authors/abigail-keam

Abigail is giving away a copy of Under a Blue Moon to a reader! See below how you can enter to win:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Interview with Regina Rudd Merrick and a Giveaway!

Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I am happy to bring you fellow Kentuckian Regina Rudd Merrick! Like Regina, I LOVED the Little House on the Prairie books and dreamed of being a pioneer. When I read them the first time, I lived in Oregon and had recently been to the Pioneer Museum – which just added fuel to my brain’s fire. I hope you enjoy Regina’s interview as much as I did. Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her book Coastal Promises!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. First, thanks so much for hosting me today! I am a writer, church musician, wife, mother, former librarian, and grateful follower of Jesus Christ. I’ve lived most of my life in Western Kentucky, but I dream about the sound of crashing waves and sandy beaches. I’ve been married to my husband, Todd, for 36 years, I’m the mother of two grown daughters, and the keeper of a 100-year-old house where I live in the small town of Marion, KY. I’ve written and published three books, Carolina Dream (Apr. 2017), Carolina Mercy (July 2018), Carolina Grace (February 2019) in the Southern Breeze Series, and my newest story,“Pawleys Aisle,” a Southern Breeze novella in the Coastal Promises collection, published by Mantle Rock Publishing, LLC. I’m excited to be a part of the Mosaic Collection, and will release the first novel in my new “Reno-Vations” series June 2020!

Tell us about your current release. Coastal Promises is a novella collection from Mantle Rock Publishing, LLC, featuring four authors and four beachy romances set along the Southeast Coast. My story is “Pawleys Aisle,” and is a Southern Breeze novella, connected to my Southern Breeze Series!

Here’s a little bit about each story!

All Yours, Art and Soul by Diane Turpin (debut author!). Beth Kindall’s desire to discover the anonymous buyer of her watercolor painting is complicated by the arrival of architect, Trevor Garrett. Their instant spark upsets Trevor’s realtor who already had her eyes on the newcomer. Can Beth unravel the mysterious buyer, sort out her own commitment issues, and thwart the realtor’s advances on Trevor?

For the Love of Dolphins by Kathy Cretsinger. Sadie Miller inherited one of the dolphin tour boats when her father passed away suddenly. She was determined to make the tour as successful as her father had, even with the problems with her dad’s brother Uncle Joe. When her old middle school flame. Ian Glover returns from England, and her life takes her places she’d never dreamed.

Pawleys Aisle by Regina Rudd Merrick. Leaving a lucrative position in the banking world for the creative world of weddings, Chelsea Prince finds the perfect venue, Pawleys Island Chapel, next door to the perfect walled garden. Her elderly neighbor and partner-in-planning have an agreement, but when the unexpected happens, she has to deal with the cranky grandson who wants to be left alone to write the next great American novel. Since Chelsea has sworn off men, it shouldn’t be a problem to ignore him and go on her way hosting weddings in the chapel. But when Marc McCallum offers up a compromise, she wonders if maybe there is one man out there that can be trusted.

Surf Song by Pam Harris. Dreams don’t always work out as imagined, a fact country music singer Rachelle has learned all too well. Burned out by the demands of her singing career, she flees from Nashville to a quaint inn in the Outer Banks of North Carolina where she hopes to find peace and clarity. Registering under her real name of Holly Bellamy and sporting a new hair color and style to disguise her true identity, she revels in being just a “regular person.” When she and the inn’s owner begin to develop feelings for each other, however, her life takes a turn she never expected.

What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? Humor! I love a romance that can make me LAUGH more than I cry! I know conflict is what drives a plot, but honestly, I couldn’t handle some of the relationship issues I read about – I’d be too depressed! I try to throw a little humor in when I can, but I know why it’s lacking – humor is HARD!

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? My very first screen crush was Fess Parker in reruns of “Daniel Boone.” Yes, you read that correctly. At age 6, I thought he was an absolute dreamboat! LOL My first musical crush was David Cassidy. I have several “Partridge Family” albums, and have, in fact, memorized every song in “The Partridge Family Greatest Hits.” Sigh . . .

What made you take the plunge and finally do it? I began this writing thing by writing fanfiction. I found kindred spirits there, and ended up with somewhat of a following on a forum-style website with several other authors who were writing with a Christian bent. After a bit I was invited to join a group of authors seeking publication, and one of those authors invited me to room with her at my first ACFW conference in Indianapolis. I had completed my first original manuscript while writing about 40 fanfiction pieces, several of which were short-novel-length. The rest, as they say, is history!

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? Great question! No, and yes! For the first book, I didn’t know what I was doing, so I just WROTE. It all came together in rewrites as far as plot and structure. After that, since I was writing a series, I had to be cognizant of continuity, so I actually plotted my stories and interviewed my characters. That’s not to say things do not change as I go – they most certainly do – but I usually have a general idea of how it will end. Note that I said a GENERAL idea! 😉

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? I’ve loved books all my life. My first favorite author was Laura Ingalls Wilder. I dreamt of being a pioneer girl. My fourth grade teacher introduced me to her books, and I still re-read some of them! Other series I loved were the Trixie Belden series, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, etc. By the time I was twelve or thirteen I was reading Grace Livingston Hill, Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, and just about anything that was a mystery or a clean romance!

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? This question actually came up in a writing group I met with this week. That’s tough, especially when you’re just starting out. The best advice I can give when you hit that wall is to go back to your characters. Interview them. Get to know them like they’re your best friend or a relative. What DON’T you know about them that would help you write their story? It’s also a reason I like to have more than one point of view (POV). When I run out of one POV ideas, I can move on to the other POV and look at it from their perspective! It helps!

Here is where you can find Regina online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Regina-R-Merrick-512257938964888/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Twitter: https://twitter.com/trmerrick64

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/reginamerrick/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/rmerrick/

Website: https://www.reginaruddmerrick.com

Publisher Website: https://mantlerockpublishing.com/

Regina is giving away a Kindle version of her book to a lucky reader! See below how you can enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway

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