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Interview with Author Connie Pease

Welcome to Readers Write to Know!  I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance.  This week, I am happy to have author Connie Pease as my guest. Because I can’t hear music, I am always so impressed when I meet someone who not only hears music, but writes music and musicals! I’m in awe of that talent. And, she’s a writer of books, too! Check out her release – the premise sounds absolutely fascinating and fun!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a Minnesota girl who loves the beauty of lakes and woods but could do without the cold of winter and frozen toes. I have four adult children who I love and worry about aConnie Miller Peasend am proud of and treasure. I’ve been married for 28 years to a nice guy I met in college. Writing was never on my radar. I started writing music after my fourth child was born, then started writing musicals and fiction. To be at this place in my life as a published author just goes to show the truth of the proverb that tells us how we might plan out our lives, but the Lord directs our steps.

Tell us about your current release. Mrs. Covington’s Sunday School Dropouts follows the adventures to Cathy Covington and her drop-dead gorgeous cousin, Andi, as they track down her former Sunday School students who have dropped out of church. Subplots along the way (including a town parade Cathy is unwillingly elected to organize, found money, and a small-time swindler) add to the fun.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Oh this is going to date me, but I don’t care – he’s darling! When I was a little girl, I remember watching Andy Williams on television and his voice was like happiness and goodness swirled with smooth chocolate. We lost a good one when we lost him.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Ha ha. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to find something that worked and market it? You could make a bundle! When I’m stuck, I do a lot of ineffective things like getting up to get another cup of coffee, bake cookies, straighten up a room – in other words I become the procrastination princess. Honestly, the most effective thing for me is to just plow through and write horribly until I start coming up with something decent again.

covingtonWhat advice do you have for aspiring writers? Be willing to write a few books before you get one published. Those first books might be your favorites, but you will be a better writer if you put in time to write more than just one. Secondly, persist. You must keep going even when your work gets rejected. Thirdly, ask God to bless your work with His direction.

What is your preferred method of writing? I sit at the desk in front of the computer and type. I sometimes stare into space and sometimes out the window. I drink coffee with a splash of milk. Every once in a while I talk out loud. I tell myself that’s not crazy, just creative. What? Isn’t it? 🙂

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea? I’ve had a few story ideas I’ve jotted down up at the cabin. Actually, music is the thing that gets written in my head when I’m out driving or taking a walk. It’s kind of funny and great fun when it happens. The steering wheel is percussion and old receipts get lyrics written all over them. Are you worried yet about being on the same roads as I drive?

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I write for my own enjoyment. If I didn’t, Mrs. Covington would never have shot at the squirrels in her yard with a BB gun, because a few readers didn’t like that. I wanted it left in, though, because it amused me. (And red squirrels really are very territorial and mean.) It’s only after the book has been published or the musical has been performed that I start getting nervous about what other people think.

I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction? Your assumption of my plotting skills is flattering! I’ve yet to write any fiction in which I know where the story is going to go. In fact part of the last chapter of Mrs. Covington. . . was actually the first paragraph when I began that story.

Find Connie online: Facebook and her blog.

Find Connie’s books online: Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

 


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Interview with Author Laura Hilton 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.  This week, I am so pleased to introduce you to author Laura Hilton. As the mother of three, who can only write when she is alone in the house, I am always SO impressed with homeschooling authors — especially homeschooling authors who produce such great content as Laura. Please read on and meet this amazing woman — and, she is giving away a copy of her latest release! Read on to see how you can enter to win.

Tell us a little bit about yourself:  Award winning author, Laura Hilton, her husband, Steve, and their five children make their home in Arkansas. She is a pastor’s wife, a stay-at-home mom and home-schools. Laura is also a breast cancer survivor. Her publishing credits include three books in the Amish of Seymour series from Whitaker House: Patchwork DreamsA Harvest of Hearts (winner of the 2012 Clash of the Titles Award in two categories), and Promised to Another. The Amish of Webster County series, Healing Love (finalist for the 2013 Christian Retail Awards). Surrendered Love and Awakened Love followed by her first Christmas novel, A White Christmas in Webster County, as well as the Amish of Jamesport series, The Snow Globe, The Postcard,  and The Birdhouse. Other credits include Swept Away from Abingdon Press’ Quilts of Love series. Laura is contracted for another three book Amish series set in the Jamesport area, with the first book, The Amish Firefighter, planned for April 2016. She has indie published a Christmas novella, Christmas Mittens. Laura is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a professional book reviewer.

Laura HiltonTell us about your current release:

Twenty–year–old Greta Miller’s daed has been injured in a farming accident during the summer. The supportive Amish community tries to help out, but Greta and her sister must work outside the home to make ends meet, and so Greta rents a booth at the farmers’ market. Because Greta is still in her rumspringa and free to explore the world, her family selects her to sell her homemade jams, jellies, and preserves to Englischers. Josh Yoder wants to court Greta, but years ago, he made the mistake of rejecting her during a seemingly innocent game; which resulted in him leaving the Amish. Three years later, he’s back, but Greta wants nothing to do with him. Josh struggles to fit in and rebuild relationships he destroyed. Knowing Greta’s family needs help, he steps in, hoping to win her back. When Greta admires one of his birdhouses, he gives it to her, hoping that it will open the door to more. But as their friendship begins to grow, a series of unfortunate events pull Greta away from the Amish, leaving her rejected by those she loves. Will Greta get beyond her family’s distrust and return home? Will she prove her innocence? Or will she remain outside her Amish community?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it?  Yes, because that one person is important to God and He wants that person reached with His love and care.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? No. I’m writing for God, I gave my life to Him to be used as He saw fit. I am not going to compromise myself to become more successful. He knows who He wants to read my books and will make sure the book gets to that person.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write?  In my case, they develop as I write. I might have  a basic idea (paragraph length) in mind, and know the characters names, but that is all I know. God tells me the story as I write (I pray a lot.)

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book?  Depends. The publisher generally gives me a maximum and minimum word count and I shoot toward that.

lhbirdhouseWhat advice do you have for aspiring writers?  If God’s given you a passion for it, He’s given you permission for it. Read a lot. Write. And don’t give up.

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.)  I write on the computer, edit as I write, and when I finish, the manuscript is ready to go to the publisher.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? (Book series, maybe?) I was raised on my grandmother’s Grace Livingstone Hill books. I devoured them. But really, I read anything back then, even cereal boxes.

I’m always intrigued by how writers get started…did you always have these books inside you and knew that you wanted to write them or did the idea just pop into your head one day and you decided to put pen to paper?  I always wanted to be a writer.  When people asked me as a child what I wanted to grow up to be, I said a wife, a mom to five kids, and a writer. They laughed, told me I’d never have five kids, and maybe I should become a librarian, because only certain types of people write (not sure about that!)  I did marry, we’ve been married almost thirty years now. We have five kids. And I write.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? Kill somebody. J Seriously, I pray a lot when I write. But I have been known to wander around the house muttering, “Somebody has to die.” My children assure me, “Nobody has to die, Mom.

I assume when you start a book, you pretty much have the plot laid out. Do you ever change your mind later on in the book, and go in a different direction?  No, I don’t have a plot laid out. I know nothing except a basic blurb, maybe about three sentences, about the idea. I just pray and write.

Find Laura online: book blog, personal blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Find Laura’s books online:

 



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Interview with Author Richard Mabry 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.  This week, I am so happy to have returning to us Dr. Richard Mabry. I’ve met Dr. Mabry several times over the last couple of years, and had the privilege of attending a class he taught on writing medical dramas. I’m so thrilled he’s back with us with his new release. AND – he is giving away a copy of his latest release to one incredibly lucky winner — so read on below to see how you can enter to win!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’m a retired physician, now writing what I call “medical suspense with heart”. I got into writing after the death of my first wife. I turned my journaling into a book that Kregel published, The Tender Scar: Life After The Death Of A Spouse. At the writers’ conference where I began to learn about the craft of writing, I was challenged to try my hand at fiction. After four years, four richard mabrynovels, and forty rejections, I got my first contract. I’ve won a few awards and gotten nice reviews along the way. My latest novel, Miracle Drug, is my ninth.

Tell us about your current release: The story involves a doctor who, by a strange twist, becomes personal physician to a former President of the US. Both the ex-President and the nurse with whom the doctor is in love return from a trip overseas with a rare and universally fatal infection. There’s a chance that an experimental drug might help, but there might only be enough to treat one patient. And the tension builds from there. (And, mind you, this was written and edited before Ebola became a household word, so I’m proud of the job I did anticipating some of the actions such an infection would make necessary).

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? I’ve been a Christian since my teens, and since I have a Christian worldview, I write that way. I’ve always felt that writers who incorporate sex, profanity, and similar things into their writing were merely using these as gimmicks. I’ve never felt pressured to descend to that level with my own writing.

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)? Like most authors, I’m a poster boy for the Imposter Syndrome. We don’t like to blow our own horns (which makes handling publicity tough), and wonder when someone is going to tell the world we’re untalented frauds. I had to learn early on to get past this by sheer willpower. But my private persona is that of an introvert who’d rather be sitting alone in his office writing instead of posting on social media, meeting with editors and agents, andrmmiracledrug interacting with the public. Nevertheless, all authors do those things, because that goes along with the job description.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? In my thirty-six years practicing medicine, the last ten as a professor at a prestigious medical center, I wrote or edited eight textbooks but I never dreamed of writing anything non-medical. After the death of my first wife, my journaling became a book still read by thousands who have lost a loved one. Since I was retired, I tried my hand at fiction, but I have to confess it wasn’t due to any long-held dream. Rather, it was a reaction to a challenge (and you know what happens when you challenge a man).

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? When I started writing, self-publishing was basically ‘vanity publishing’, where someone paid to have his/her book published. Now, self-publishing is not only respectable, many authors are turning to it for a number of reasons, some of them financial. I started with a traditional publisher because they offered me a contract- that’s it. I decided that if someone wanted to pay me to write, while handling the editing, cover design, and much of the marketing, I was happy to let them. And I still am, although I have self-published one novella and have another ready to go. Authors who have a foot in both worlds are called ‘hybrid’, I don’t know if we get better mileage than others, though.

Do you have your plot line and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? I start with a ‘hook’-a single sentence that tells me what the book will be about. Then I populate the book, figure out the arc, and rough in what Jim Bell calls the ‘knockout ending’. I often get 10,000 words in, only to find that things have changed, both in the plot and the characters, since I started. I’ve even been known to start over at that point. I don’t know who the villain will be until I’m writing the last few chapters, and often the person I had in mind won’t be the bad guy. Donald Westlake calls this ‘push fiction,’ and says that if he doesn’t know how a book will end, the reader can’t guess. Makes sense to me.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? Opinions vary as to whether there’s even such a thing as “writer’s block”. If I hit a point where I don’t know what to write, I may take a day off and let what Stephen King calls “the boys in the basement” work on the problem. Usually, I wake up the next day with an idea of how to proceed. Sometimes the inspiration comes on my morning walk, even on the golf course. But I’ve never been totally stuck for a prolonged period.

Which of your characters most reflects your personality? I’m often asked if one of the male doctors in my book reflects me. The answer is no. Although lead characters should have a flaw (preferably one that improves as the book progresses), I have not just one but too many to count. What most of my male and female protagonists reflect are the traits I wish I had. But they’re not real. Sometimes I wish they were. I’d like to have coffee with them sometime and find out the secret of their success.

Find Richard online: Facebook, Twitter, blog, and webpage.



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Interview with Author Rose Mccauley

Welcome to Readers Write to Know!  I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance.  I am always excited when I have a personal friend as my guest, and this week is no exception. Rose McCauley is one of my favorite people. I met her at a local Christian writer group several years ago. It’s rare for me to read, but I did read her current release and it is SO GOOD! Make sure you check it out. I hope you enjoy Rose’s interview.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’m a child of the King, a wife of 47 years to my college sweetheart, mother to three, and roseMimi to five. I taught school for 27 years before retiring to write down the stories of some of the voices in my head.

Tell us about your current release: Surrender to Peace is my third published book, and my first to be pubbed by Olivia Kimbrell Press.

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes, because the Kingdom principles of surrendering to God and learning to discern his Voice are so important for all Christians, and also something I had to learn.

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)? Since I am writing for the Lord, I want it to be my best work possible, but I have to kill my own ego and write the story He gives me with the skill He has given me at this time without thinking about what others will think of my writing. God can use my feeble skills for His purposes and His glory if I am following His lead.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? Again, you have to seek God’s guidance in this step of the process, too. I have one book pubbed with a traditional publisher, one self-published with the help of someSurrender to Peace friends, and Surrender to Peace is with a small-press. All have been great learning experiences!

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 usually have the spiritual lesson running through my mind and/or some characters who need to learn that lesson along with their backstory that brought them to the beginning of the book. Then I plot out some major plot points and a few sentences about each chapter (although these are also subject to change as the story develops), then I begin to write and see what happens! That’s the fun part!

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? It depends on whether it is a novel, novella, or short story and what the general length for each are, although when you are self-publishing or going with a small press, there is more leeway for less or more words. The best way is to use the number of words necessary to write the best story! And always edit and pray and edit some more!

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Join ACFW and other writing groups, and pray for God’s guidance along the whole journey.

Find Rose online: website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Find Roses’s books online: Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Nobles, Kobo, Oyster, and Scribd.

 



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Interview with Author Ginger Solomon

Welcome to Readers Write to Know!  I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance.  This week, I’m so happy to have Ginger Solomon, a fellow Inspy Romance contributor as my guest. I have long admired homeschooling moms who are able to write — I am the type of writer who has to be alone in the house to truly find productivity. Ginger homeschools five children, and still writes amazing romance novels. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Ginger Solomon is a Christian, a wife, a mother to seven, and a writer — in that order (mostly). When not homeschooling her youngest five, doing laundry or fixing dinner, she writes or reads romance of any genre, some sci-fi/fantasy, and some suspense. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, president of her local writing group, and writes regularly for three blogs. In addition to all that, she loves animals, horses especially, likes to do needlework (knitting, crocheting, and ginger solomonsometimes cross-stitch), and loves to sing in the choir at church.

Tell us about your current release:

–Blurb for Love in Mistletoe Springs:

The Mistletoe Springs animal shelter loses their grant, endangering the lives of countless stray dogs, cats, even birds and turtles. The community attempts to save the shelter by running a Christmas in July fundraiser. Groups of volunteers scramble to get all the details together while managing their personal lives. For ten people, love gets in the way.

–Blurb for Mr. Christmas and Miss Scrooge:

Mitch Silverton agreed to be in charge of decorating for the fundraiser. And he needs his boss, Margaret Holberg, to donate her family’s vast array of decorations to make the day unforgettable. BUT…

She’s not sharing. Christmas is not a holiday she wants to celebrate in July, and saving the animal shelter is not high on her list of important things to do.

He wants her to share more than the decorations. He wants her heart. Will he succeed in changing Miss Scrooge into Mrs. Christmas?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Absolutely. I write because I can’t not write. Even if my story only ever helps my teenaged daughter, who reads all my books, then that’s enough for me. I aim to always glorify God in my life, which bleeds into my writing. While I don’t share the salvation message, I do write from a Christian worldview. Even when my characters are struggling with sin, I write them back into the fold of God byMistletoe Springs the end of the book.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? I think this ties in to the previous question, and my answer would be no. I don’t write for the monetary rewards. I write for the glory of One. If He’s not pleased, it doesn’t matter how many people like my book or how much money I’ve made, it was a failure. On the flipside, if He is pleased and glorified, then I’ve done what I’ve set out to do.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? I have a fantasy novel that I play with. I’ve never intended for it to be published. It’s something that I’ve just had fun with. I don’t have to worry about believability, grammar, consistencies, etc. I just write and enjoy the characters as they come alive to me. Amazingly, it is one of my daughter’s favorites, and she often begs for a new chapter. Maybe someday I will publish it, but that wasn’t the goal when I started writing it.

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 few things researched before I begin—location, weather, and moon phases. I also generate a calendar so I can make sure I keep the days straight. I’ve tried doing the plotline and character development in advance, but it backfired and I found the story stifled, so I deleted it all and started over. And even for my current work-in-progress, I tried to do a character worksheet, but as I wrote the story my heroine revealed herself differently than she did in the “interview.” I’ve decided I just need to write the story. That’s what works for me.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? With Mr. Christmas and Miss Scrooge, I had a predetermined length because it was going in the Love in Mistletoe Springs set, but otherwise I aim for 75,000-90,000 words. Typically my first draft finishes in the 65,000 word range, and with edits and extra description, I add the extra necessary words.

What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done?This answer is not writing related, so I hope that’s okay. Believe it or not, when I was a teenager, I didn’t think I’d ever be a mom. I didn’t really care for children, though I babysat regularly. Maybe that’s why. 😀 Then after I got married, I thought two children would be a good number. My husband wanted five. And in God’s wonderful sense of humor, he sent us seven—five boys and two girls. Ironically enough, I still don’t care for other people’s children after more than a couple of hours.

Find Ginger online: website, Inspy Romance BlogPinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

Find Ginger’s book on Amazon.




 

 

 

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Interview with Author Kimberly Rose Johnson

Welcome to Readers Write to Know!  I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance.   This week, I am so happy to bring you a fellow InspyRomance contributor, Kimberly Rose Johnson. Kimberly’s new book sounds SO good — and you have a chance to win the first book in that series today! So, read on through the interview and find out what you need to do for a chance to win Island Refuge! I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I married my college sweetheart 25 years ago this month. We have two college age boys and are entering the empty nest phase of our lives. I’ve been writing since 2006 and signed my first contract in 2012. I write sweet Christian romance. My writing career began with Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents line and since they have closed the line I am currently writing for Mountain Brook Ink.

Island Dreams CoverTell us about your current release. My current release, Island Dreams, is the second book in the Wildflower B&B Romance series. It takes place on fictional Wildflower Island in the southern Puget Sound area.

Here is the back cover blurb.

Piper Hunt arrives on Wildflower Island to develop family property into an upscale resort knowing this may be her last chance to prove her worth to her father. With grandiose ideas, she soon finds herself at odds with adjoining property owner, Chase Grayson. As she begins to appreciate the simplicity of the island, she struggles to maintain balance between her father’s wishes, preserving the natural beauty of the island, and her attraction for Chase.

Chase Grayson values the peace and quiet of Wildflower Island. That serenity is threatened when Piper Hunt discloses her plans to develop an upscale resort that not only butts up to his property, but will turn the island into a busy tourist destination. In fighting her plans, he also finds himself fighting his attraction to her. If he doesn’t stop her plans for the resort, his life will be altered forever. If he succeeds, it means he will never see her again. Can he live with either choice?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it?  Absolutely! I consider writing to be a ministry. This question reminds me of the scripture where the shepherded searches for the one lost sheep. If it’s worth it to Jesus, it’s worth it to me.

With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? LOL, my characters are very polite, but sometimes it’s really difficult to get them to tell me what they are thinking. That being said there have been days when I simply type as fast as I can and pray it will all make sense when I’m finished for the day.

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’m a positive thinker, plus I listen to my critique group. They are free with their opinions, and I trust their judgment. If they say something needs work, I work at making it better. If they say they like it, I know I have a good story. That being said there have been occasions when one of my critique partners hasn’t been particularly crazy about something, but if my gut says I’m right, I listen to it. So far it hasn’t steered me wrong.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? I’m actually experiencing that right now. I don’t force myself to write, but rather focus on something different. In this case I chose to pull up this interview and work on it. I’m hoping my mind will chew on the story in the background. Another thing I’ve tried that works well is to read for pleasure. For some reason relaxing my brain allows my creative juices to start flowing again.

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 the general ideaLove in Mistltoe cover laid out, but the story evolves as I write it. When I wrote for Heartsong Presents I had to write by outline. At first that was a huge challenge, but I grew to like it. The last four books I’ve written though I did not use an outline. However, I did have a fairly detailed synopsis that I followed.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Yes. My contracts stipulate the length.

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) When I am brainstorming I prefer pen and paper, but the actual writing takes place on the computer. For me it would be too much work to hand write my story out. LOL I probably wouldn’t be able to read my writing one page into the story since my hand usually cramps up when I hand write things.

Find Kimberly’s books on Amazon!


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