Skip to content

Author: Kaylee

Interview with Darlene Franklin

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 Darlene Franklin. I loved this interview. I love that Darlene has devoted her talents to God even now, while in a nursing home. She has had an incredible writing career, and I am so blessed to have her with us today.

?????????????
?????????????

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over forty books and has written more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont.

Tell us about your current release:

Becky Patterson escapes the stifling life at her father’s parsonage for an exciting life as a mail-order bride. . .only to learn her potential is a part-time preacher, Jake Underwood. Her dreams of working alongside Jake in his store stall when an itinerant preacher wants to ordain him as pastor of the growing church. Will Becky accept God’s calling on her life—or will she reject Jake’s love and the future God has planned for them?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? What a difficult question! If that one person lived a hundred years in the future, then I would say yes. (I have a favorite quote: Don’t write for the 100 books who read your book, or the 10 people who’ll read it in 10 years, but for the 1 person who reads it in 100 years.) But as I get older, with little assurance of how long I will have a mind clear enough to write, the more I realize what limited time I have left to write. Would I write to benefit one—or write something else, hoping to benefit more? Because I might not have time to do both. And we’re talking about benefits and not sales. If a book will only sell one copy, then, no. I lose time and money (expenses).

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)? At first, I was too inexperienced to know how poor my writing was, and I sent it everywhere. I met with other writers face to face (before digital communications were common) and they encouraged me when I was rejected, yet again. I was encouraged by published writers and editors at conferences, people who read my work, liked it, and said it was good enough to publish. I just might not have my market right. In fact, my first book contract from such a meeting with Tracie Peterson, who represented Heartsong at the time. I also entered contests—and won a few. That encouraged me. I asked God many times (I still do) if I should quit writing—the learning curve took me twelve years before my first book contract. Every time I asked, God said, “Not yet. You need to write . . .” I wrote in obedience to God, trusting the ultimate publication to Him. Most of those early books haven’t been published, BTW. I still believe I’m a fairly average published author. I describe my situation this way: look at professional sports. Only a small handful people get to play pro football and get paid for it. And of them, we mostly only know the superstars. But every single one of them is lucky to play at all. I figure I’m one of the pool of bit players who’s privileged to write Christian fiction.

jacob'sdreamWho was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Oh, Ilya Kuryakin on The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I remember cleaning the church with my mother and my best friend, making up stories about the series. Seeing David McCallum again drew into NCIS right away. After that it was Dr. McCoy on classic Star Trek, Manolito Montoya on High Chaparral. Shall I go on?

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I’ve always been a huge supporter of traditional publishing, because you have to learn your craft and learn marketing to sell to a print publisher. Also, self-publishing when I started meant paying for the printing costs up front and figuring out how to market to retailers—nothing I was able to do. Having said that, I understand that there are fewer opportunities now. E-publishing is fairly easy. When Heartsong closed, I jumped into self-publishing myself. I still think many writers go into it before they’re ready.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Oh, my, yes. That comes from writing to length for traditional publishers, both fiction and non-fiction. The length of the book determines how long I need to write it, and how I plan it. No, going to another question (plotter or pantser), I’ve converted to more of a pantser than a plotter. I still have a basic story idea, characters, an obvious ending (I do write romance, after all); and I decide the number of chapters and the basic thrust of each chapter.

Find Darlene online: her website and Facebook.

Find Darlene’s books:

 

halleeLOGOspinefinal


I’m so grateful for your visit, today.

You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.

You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


Leave a Comment

Interview with Author Patrick Craig

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 thrilled to introduce you to Patrick Craig. I absolutely loved this interview. He makes me wish I could sit down and listen to his grandmother tell stories — and I love that he uses her for inspiration so many decades after her death. Please enjoy this interview as much as I did.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’m 67 years old, married with two daughters and five grandchildren. Judy and I live in patrickcraigIdaho in the Boise area. I was a professional musician and had a fairly successful career in the San Francisco Bay Area until I came to Christ in 1984. Then I gave up secular music and went to Bible College. After that I was a worship leader and pastor for many years until 2007 when I retired from professional ministry and set about to fulfill my lifelong dream to tell stories and set them down on paper.

Tell us about your current release: The Amish Heiress is the first book in my new series, The Paradise Chronicles. When I was writing the Apple Creek Dreams series for Harvest House, I was going to tell the stories of Jerusha Springer, her adopted daughter, Jenny, and then Jenny’s daughter, Rachel. But I fell in love with the character of Jenny, and then there were two books about Jenny where I had only planned on one. Now I finally get to tell Rachel’s story. It’s a different kind of story, but then I’m not exactly known in Amish circles as someone who writes a typical Amish novel. I think that’s because I read too many Zane Grey books when I was a kid.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? I fell madly in love with Hayley Mills when I saw the original version of the Parent Trap back in the early sixties.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? When I moved to Idaho last year I brought my Aunt’s old writing desk, which had been in storage for twelve years. In the drawer I found a picture of my grandmother. She died when I was one year old so I never knew her, but I heard about her all my life. She was an incredible horsewoman, a crack shot and a self-trained musician who could hear a song one time and then sit down and play it on the piano. But most important, she was a storyteller, an Irish Seanchaí. My father remembered a bedtime story she told him and my Uncle Jack. Every night for years, she made up a new chapter, never the same and always wonderful. So I putThe-Amish-Heiress her picture on my desk and when I’m writing and I get stuck, I remember: a new chapter every night and never the same…

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I had my first article published in the school paper when I was seven years old. I got such positive feedback from my relatives and friends that I decided writing was something I could do well. I’ve been writing ever since.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? My first series was published by Harvest House but just when Jenny’s Choice was released, the publishing industry had a serious downturn and lots of Houses, mine included, dumped many of their newer authors. I was disappointed of course, but I had a story to tell and a fan-base that was asking for it. So I just pretended I had a contract, set deadlines for myself and wrote the book. When it was done I hired a professional editor, enlisted the man who designed the covers for my first three books and started working on my mailing list. I published The Amish Heiress through Create Space and Barnes and Noble, let my fan base know it was coming out, and here I am. The Amish Heiress just hit #1 in Hot New Releases—Historical Christian Romance—on Amazon.

Have you always wanted to write a book? Back in my high school days I started my career as a professional musician. I always loved the musical part of it but my favorite thing to do was always songwriting. And not just “Yummy, yummy, yummy, I got love in my tummy” songs, but songs that told stories. When I was a pastor I wrote several teaching books but always in my heart was the desire to tell stories and put them in books.

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 been writing about the same families for the last four books so my characters are pretty well developed. I do write a complete synopsis of the story and then do a chapter outline before I start. Then when I want to get off task I look back on those and get centered on where I am in the story.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? If I want the story that’s in my heart to come out, I have to show up at my computer, ask the Lord to tell me the story and then write it down the way He gives it to me. You have the only real storyteller in the universe living inside you. As a Christian writer you must listen to the story that He wants to tell through you and stay at it until you know that you have written it the best you can. And then trust Him to do the rest.

 



On Barnes & Noble:

halleeLOGOspinefinal


I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


Pin It
Leave a Comment

Interview with Author Valerie Comer

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 welcome Valerie Comer back to us! Valerie is a fellow foodie, a friend, and will be in a Christmas box set with me due to come out in the next couple of months. I always love having her here!

Tell us a little bit about yourself: Hi, Hallee’s friends! I’m glad to be back. I’m a farmer, foodie, and author from British Columbia, Canada. I’m thrilled to be able to help provide tasty and nutritious food from our farm and garden for our three young grandgirls. It’s so important to give them a good start in life, isn’t it! I love to bring stories featuring fresh local food and sustainability to my readers, as well.

Tell us about your current release: Plum Upside Down is the fifth book in my Farm Fresh Romance series. The series began with three young women banding together to buy a farm to prove to everyone that they could grow their own food and live sustainably. The valeriebookwomen’s vision has grown along with the farm, and Plum Upside Down features Chelsea, the sister of one of the original three.

Chelsea has lived a safe life in an upscale Portland neighborhood, where she’d attended a Christian school — plus church, every time the doors opened. Joining the team at Green Acres Farm feels like a big step to her, even though it’s really not that much different in terms of remaining sheltered. Her faith has never been challenged until she meets Keanan Welsh, an overgrown hippie who is passionate about reaching outside the bubble to help those less fortunate, whether in North America… or in Africa. Through Keanan, Chelsea begins to see what is lacking in her Christian life, but how far out of her comfort zone is she willing to go?

As you can see, the main themes in this story aren’t food/sustainability themes, but the backdrop of the farm and its mission permeates everything that happens. While you’ll probably want to read all of the books in this series, Plum Upside Down can be read as a standalone. However, if you want to start at the beginning, Raspberries and Vinegar is free for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and Kobo.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? Traditional was the only game in town when I began writing about fifteen years ago. I did land that elusive contract from Barbour for a novella in Rainbow’s End, a 4-story collection, which released in 2012. I was sure this would open all sorts of doors! But it didn’t. In 2013, a very small house picked up the first two books in my Farm Fresh Romance series, but the rights reverted to me a year later due to dismal sales. I believed in the books and had more stories to tell in that setting so I took the jump into indie publishing in July of 2014. God has been so good at connecting the right readers with this series. It now sells quite well and has many loyal fans. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m thankful for every step of the way.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? I don’t, really. That’s one of the things I love about being an indie author. I feel there is a large enough readership who might be interested in my books, if only they knew the stories existed. As an indie, I stand (and fall) on my own choices. Anything I choose to put in my stories might lose some readers… or gain others. So, which readers do I want to attract? I focus on those, stay true to God and what He’s called me to do, and then don’t waste time worrying about those who would like my stories better if they had more sex, less God… or whatever.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Three steps.

1. Get off Facebook. 😉

2. Ask God what He wants to teach readers and me through this part of the story.

3. Doodle on my three-by-four foot whiteboard with dry-erase pens in many pretty colors, looking for interconnecting thoughts and ideas.

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’ve recently finished my nineteenth manuscript (Team Bride, a Riverbend Romance Novella due out in September) and, the more I write, the less I plot in advance. I have a good handle on the valeriecomersetting for both of my current series, and do spend time getting to know the characters a bit before I start. Once I have a few ideas of how to create conflict between the couple, I jump in. I love writing this way! I hope readers are as pleasantly surprised as I am with some of the twists and turns I didn’t see coming.

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I look for the sweet spot between the two. Like everyone else, my husband and I have bills to pay, so I can’t ignore the market, especially since writing is my fulltime job. However, it takes a long time to write a book. Plum Upside Down was my main task for three full months of first draft work, and subsequent drafts also took time. I couldn’t bear the thought of writing strictly for the market if the work would feel like it was sucking my soul dry. The Riverbend novella series has been fun to intersperse between the longer Farm Fresh Romances. They’re lighter on the farm-and-food themes, because I do have other stories in me as well. However, the Farm Fresh series has been such a success that I’m planning a spin-off series that will start releasing in 2016. So, in this case, I can follow both my own passions and what readers are buying.

Which of your characters most reflects your personality? Authors will tell you that there’s a tiny bit of themselves in every character, but it is usually impossible for readers to pick out which bit. For me, Chelsea in Plum Upside Down struck a bit close to home. I also lived quite a sheltered life with conservative Christian parents, a Christian boarding school during high school, then three semesters of Bible college. I had a lot of head knowledge and, yes, quite a bit of heart knowledge, too. But it is easy to get into a rut, at least for me, and over the years I’ve struggled to truly believe in God’s personal love for me. Corporate love? Sure. God loves His creation. He sent Jesus to die for us because He loves us. But there have been times I didn’t feel the One-on-one love I craved deep inside. Remember, I don’t plot! When I realized where Chelsea’s story was taking me, I admit to being a bit nervous. How could I give her a happy spiritual ending when I don’t always feel I have a solid grip on it myself? While her story is definitely not the same as mine, I’m so thankful that God met me through the pages of Plum Upside Down and deepened my walk with Him. If you read Plum Upside Down and find Chelsea’s spiritual journey meaningful, I’d love to hear about it!

Find Valerie online!



On Kobo:

On Barnes & Noble:
 

halleeLOGOspinefinal


I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


Pin It
Leave a Comment

Interview with Author Merrillee Whren

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 pleased to introduce you to Merrillee Whren. I always love hearing about how authors come up with their story ideas, and as a suspense author, I find a special kinship with authors who get ideas about how to murder someone! I very much enjoyed Merrillee’s interview and hope you do as well.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: This may be more than a little bit. I was born on my mother’s birthday in Rapid City, South Dakota, USA. Soon afterwards my parents moved to Montana. This would be the first of many moves in my life. After I graduated from high school in Spokane, Washington, I went back to South Dakota to attend Dakota Bible College where I received a degree in Christian Education. Then I attended Milligan College in Tennessee for another degree in Bible and Elementary Education. After graduation, I got a job teaching sixth grade near Cincinnati, Ohio, where I met my husband. We were married on Valentine’s Day and had our reception in Loveland. No wonder I became a romance writer.

merrilleewrenWe started married life in Greenfield, Ohio, where my husband was a pharmacist at the local pharmacy. I continued teaching. Just before the birth of our first child, we moved to Hillsboro, Ohio. Daughter number one was born on June 18, 1978. One year later, to continue a family tradition of sharing birthdays, daughter number two was born on June 18, 1979. The girls are now grown and married.

The moves I made while growing up prepared me well for life with my husband whose career took us on a journey from a small town in Ohio to the cities of Atlanta, Boston, Dallas and Chicago. I have visited all fifty states in the USA and two dozen foreign countries. When my husband decided to start his own company, we moved to Amelia Island, Florida. We lived there for nearly twelve years until we moved to Arizona to be close to our granddaughters.

My writing journey has had as many stops along the way as my life’s journey. In 2003, after writing and revising eight manuscripts and receiving lots of rejections, I won the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart for best-unpublished inspirational manuscript. The following year, I made my first sale to Love Inspired Books, and I have written a dozen more books for them.

Tell us about your current release: Nursing the Soldier’s Heart is the second book in my Village of Hope series.

Nurse Kirsten Bailey places her family above all else. She refuses to give former army medic Brady Hewitt any leeway for being weeks late in visiting his ill grandmother. But Brady has a good excuse, and he’s eager to show the pretty nurse that first impressions aren’t always right. While working with Brady to care for his grandmother and two orphaned boys, Kirsten realizes that his charm and kindness aren’t an act. But Kirsten plans on doing missionary work abroad and she’s determined Healing the Soldier's Heartnot to fall for this engaging soldier. Could the man she once dismissed be the one to make her stay forever?

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I write romances because I always loved to read romances. They have happy endings, and I love a happy ending. After reading so many romances, I thought I would try to write one. I had always been a storyteller, but I had never considered writing something for publication until I was grown with children.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? When I first started writing, I didn’t even know about self-publishing. I bought a book about writing romances and learned about publishers from that book. After I had sent in my first manuscript and received a rejection, I started in on the second book. About that time Romance Writers of America had their conference in Atlanta where I lived at the time. That was thirty years ago, and I was able to register at the door. After many years of writing and many rejections, I finally made a sale to Love Inspired. When self-publishing lost much of its stigma in the writing community, I decided to self-publish the manuscript that won the RWA Golden Heart Award. I published A Place to Call Home in 2013. I have plans for future self-published books, as well, but they have been on hold while I completed a three-book contract for Love Inspired.

Do you have your plotline and character development already laid out before you begin writing a book, or do they develop as you write? When I start to write, I usually have a hero and heroine and the beginning scene in mind. I may know some of their background and the initial problem that they face. To sell on proposal to a publisher, I have to know more than that, but my preference is to start writing and see what develops most of the time because I really can’t figure out what is going to happen until I start writing. I liken it to walking down a dark hallway and having lights come on as I walk making things clearer as I step forward.

Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Because I’ve written over a dozen books for Harlequin Love Inspired that has a pre-determined word length, my stories tend to be in that length, but my independently published stories tend to be longer because Love Inspired book were longer when I first started writing for that series, and I still have that length programmed into my internal storyteller. I always have to cut my books for Love Inspired to keep within the word count.

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) Definitely computer. I started out with a typewriter, but I believe I may never have finished that first book if I’d had to complete it on the typewriter. Thankfully, my husband brought home one of the first portable PCs from his office, and I used that. 

Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had a great writing idea? This wasn’t a strange place, but an unusual object that prompted the idea for A PLACE TO CALL HOME. We lived in Massachusetts at the time, and I was outside shoveling snow and noticed this huge, huge icicle hanging off our garage. It was so big that I was sure it could kill someone if it hit them. I began to think about what might happen if someone actually used an icicle to kill someone. It would melt, and there would be no weapon. Of course, I write romance and not murder mysteries, so the story idea morphed over a decade before I actually sat down to write the story about a man who was unjustly accused of killing his wife. 

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I try to do both. If I don’t enjoy the story, how can I write it? Of course, when I write for a publisher, I have to write a story that will fit within their guidelines and expectations of their readers. Sometimes, I haven’t always agreed with what my editor wanted me to write, and so I didn’t write that story for a publisher. Those are the stories I am planning to self-publish. 

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

 



On Barnes & Noble:

On Kobo:
 

halleeLOGOspinefinal


I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


Pin It
1 Comment

Interview with Author Patricia PacJac Carroll

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, today I’m so happy to introduce you to Patricia PacJac Carroll. Like me, Patricia loves road trips. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve just packed up and gone on a road trip adventure. She’s also a lover of the old West, and it looks like that love has been translated into her stories. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did.

Tell us a little bit about yourself: I’m Patricia PacJac Carroll. I am a Christian and blessed beyond my imagination. The PacJac is my initials and my husbands. I live in Texas and love road trips. I grew up watching the westerns on TV and have always loved the old West. Not sure I would have liked to actually live back then. I love horses but enjoy my Starbucks and air conditioning.

patriciacarrollTell us about your current release: Lady and the Scamp is my latest release.

She’s not a lady. He’s not a Scamp. Let the fun begin.

Here is the blurb: Hank leaned his chair back, set his feet on the sheriff’s desk, and tried not to think of Lilly, but her memory and words persisted. “You’re worth it.” He could hear her voice as clear as if she were still in Hickory Stick and not traipsing through saloons telling anyone who would stand still long enough about her Good Shepherd.

Shrill barks and loud knocks stole his attention.

“Now what?” Annoyed by a dog’s yipes, he threw open the door. “Shut that dog up.”

A beautiful woman stepped away from him while her jade, green eyes flashed alarm. She recovered. Her head went up, her shoulders straightened and her face set with an expression that said he wasn’t worth her time.

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes. I believe the Lord has given me the gift of story. And I also believe he gives me the stories. My job ~ write and publish them. If He wants it for one person, I’m good with that.

With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? That is a problem. I have finally come to the conclusion I can only write on one new one at a time although I can edit another at night. Actually, I am sure there are times my characters have stood around tapping their fingers waiting on their pokey author to get with the program.

How do you push past the fear of your writing being average and be bold enough to sell it to your audience? First, I have to like it. Then ~ it’s faith. Do all I can do to make it the best and then trust. Nothing is guaranteed.

Netties love cover-2 (3)What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Just write. I believe writing is an act of faith. So when staring at the blank computer screen, I gather up my courage and start writing.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? I started out trying to be published with a traditional publisher but couldn’t break in, and then in 2011, I saw the opportunity to go Indie. Once I jumped that fence there was no looking back. I love the freedom.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Write. Find a critique group either in person or online. And write. Keep writing. When you’re ready, there is nothing stopping you, but do make sure you have learned the techniques and craft of writing.

Which of your characters most reflects your personality? The first book I published is Liberty Belle. I had no idea how impulsive I was until I wrote that book. My character –Libby – is very much me. She taught me who I really am. I never saw it coming.

Find Patricia online: Website, email, Facebook, sign up for her newsletter

Find Patricia’s book online:


halleeLOGOspinefinal


I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your Subscribe via any Reader feed reader or subscribed Subscribe via Email via email.
You can also become a fan on Become a Facebook Fan Facebook or follow me on Follow me on Twitter Twitter. I would love to see more of you!


Pin It
1 Comment