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 so happy to have Dawn Kinzer as my guest. Dawn is giving away a copy of her latest release — and, friends, this book sounds so good! Read on to see how you can enter to win!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a freelance editor, and my own work has been published in various devotionals and magazines. I co-host and write for the Seriously Write blog. Sarah’s Smile is the first book in my historical romance series, The Daughters of Riverton. Hope’s Design is the second, and Rebecca’s Song completes the trilogy. My latest release, By All Appearances, is a contemporary romance set in the Seattle area.
I grew up in a small rural town in Wisconsin—third generation to be raised there. That town’s setting and history inspired The Daughters of Riverton. I’ve lived in the Seattle area for twenty-six years, and I love everything about the Pacific Northwest, except the Seattle traffic!
I’m a wife, a mom to two grown daughters (a stepmom to another), and a nana to four young grandchildren. We’re a close family, and I adore those little ones. When I’m not consumed in writing, editing, or family time, I enjoy gardening, music, and spending time in nature. I’m also a Masterpiece Theatre junkie!
Tell us about your current release. By All Appearances is about a social event planner and a disfigured musician who discover that not all people or situations are what they seem. The story challenges readers to think about how we often make judgments before we know the facts or take time to know the person behind the mask.
Story blurb …
Liana Tate, a special events planner grew up in a high-profile family. No matter what she does, Liana feels she never measures up.
Bryan Langley, a talented musician, was close to signing a recording contract when a barn fire left part of his face severely burned. He survived, but his career did not.
When Liana’s father hires Bryan as a caretaker on the family estate outside of Seattle, Liana’s and Bryan’s lives become entangled. He risks public humiliation for Liana’s success, and she encourages him to use his musical gifts, despite his reluctance. Thrown together, will they achieve their elusive dreams? And will the two find the love and acceptance they yearn for, or will their actions only drive each other away?
What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. I was in the first grade, and we were in class when our teacher announced that he’d been shot. She brought a black and white TV into the classroom and showed us a replay of a news broadcast. I think our teacher felt it was important for us to understand and discuss what happened. We were all stunned that he was gone, and it was difficult to process the situation.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? As a child and teen, I wrote simple stories. I took a sci-fi literature class in college and wrote a story as my final project and received an “A.” At the time, I didn’t want to teach English, and I didn’t want to go into journalism. I’d placed authors on a pedestal, and I didn’t believe I would ever be good enough to write anything publishable. So, I focused on science—another passion—and graduated with a BS in biology and chemistry.
Years passed, I became involved with the drama program at my church, and I was asked to co-write a play for the teens to perform. A friend and I ended up writing three full-length plays, and during the writing process, it felt like I’d found “home.” I realized that writing filled a creative void. That’s when I decided to write my first novel—just to prove to myself that I could do it, and that decision started me on the journey to publication.
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’m a plotter. I need a roadmap of where I want to go. When I start writing a novel, I know the beginning, most of the challenges along the journey, and how the story will end. However, surprises always pop up along the way. More ideas come as I write. I also have a pretty good understanding of my characters, and I know their dreams, goals, and fears, along with the spiritual lies they believe. But I still get a rush when one of them reveals something new about themselves. For me, those revelations are exciting because they’re signs that the characters are coming to life.
Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? As I learned to read Dick and Jane in first grade, a new world opened up for me, and I became an avid reader. Living in a rural town with a population of 500 people, there wasn’t much more to do than read, play with friends, or ride bikes.
A small revolving library was created in a back room of our town’s fire station. One summer, the librarian held a contest with awards for reading the most books. My first place prize included two Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene. I was hooked! I think I spent any money I earned on that series. I still have those novels and two others I inherited from an older relative: The Secret of the Red Gate Farm (1931) and The Message in the Hollow Oak (1935). Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is one of my all-time favorite books. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte made a huge impression when I first read the story, and it remains a treasure.
Which of your characters most reflects your personality? Sarah McCall may reflect my personality the most. She’s my heroine in Sarah’s Smile, (Book 1 in The Daughters of Riverton series). But it’s almost impossible to pick one of my characters because a part of me is reflected in all of my heroines. Some of their struggles have been my own struggles, and they handle situations like I would—or have. They tend to be independent and a little more on the serious side, but they also have a sense of humor and can be funny at times. They’re strong but also softies at heart. They strive to do the right thing, but they’re imperfect and make mistakes.
What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? When I struggle with what to write, I give myself permission to daydream. Sometimes our brains are so overloaded with all the other “things” in our lives, we don’t leave any room for creativity. The best place for me to daydream is somewhere in nature (if the weather cooperates). Sometimes, it works to let my mind wander when the house is quiet for the night or in the early morning hours while I’m lingering in bed. It’s amazing what will come when you slow down for a few minutes.
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? I changed direction while writing The Daughters of Riverton series. Annie Banks is first introduced as a minor character in Book 1, Sarah’s Smile. In Hope’s Design, she was originally going to play another small role and then take the lead as the heroine in Book 3.
But as I wrote Hope’s Design and began fleshing out more of Annie’s role, I discovered that the storyline I was originally going to use in Book 3 would make a strong subplot in Hope’s story.
I also realized that I could provide an interesting character arc and a satisfying ending to the series if Rebecca Hoyt became the heroine in Book 3. Readers disliked Rebecca intensely in Sarah’s Smile, but by the time they finished Rebecca’s Song, they’d watched her transformation, and they’d grown to love her. So, Annie never got her own story, but she was still able to have a fun and meaningful role in the series.
Here is where you can find Dawn online:
Dawn is giving away an ebook or paperback (US only) copy of By All Appearances to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter 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 have award-winning author June Foster as my guest. I love that June wrote her first book in her RV, and that she courageously listens to the commands of the Holy Spirit over the topics on which she writes. She’s 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. An award-winning author, June Foster is also a retired teacher with a BA in Education and a MA in counseling. She is the mother of two and grandmother of ten. June began writing Christian romance in 2010. She penned her first novel on her Toshiba laptop as she and her husband traveled the US in their RV. Her adventures provide a rich source of information for her novels. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her next book.
To date, June has written twenty-two contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels and novellas. She loves to compose stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. June uses her training in counseling and her Christian beliefs in creating characters who find freedom to live godly lives. She’s published with Winged Publications. Visit June at www.junefoster.com to see a complete list of her books.
Tell us about your current release. The rippling influence of Ryan Reid’s less than moral mother and absent father made a mark on his soul. Yet everything changed when the young school teacher accepted Christ—almost everything.
An earthquake hurls the beautiful Sandy Arrington into his life, tossing his world upside down. When God calls him to build an annex for needy teens at his church, Ryan must face the carefully guarded secret he’s held deep in his heart. Though Sandy falls in love with him, Ryan’s forbidden affections lie elsewhere, and he must depend on the Lord to see him through a struggle he always hoped he’d never have to face. Sandy’s wealthy cardiologist father and the battle Ryan is powerless to win are hurtles to their romance. Can he dig his way out to find Sandy’s love?
Ryan’s Father is a fictional work offering love and respect toward those with same sex tendencies who want to walk away from the lifestyle. Family members and friends will enjoy reading the novel as well.
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes, a hundred times yes. I’ve known several Christian people who’ve confided in me concerning their same sex tendencies and how they would love to be free. I’m convinced that the Lord put this plot on my heart to benefit others—or perhaps even one.
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? Yes, specifically with this book. I realize there are going to be people who will close its covers as soon as they discover the topic. It’s hard to stand for something that’s such a hot button issue today.
With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? I suppose that’s why I’m a plotter. Before I begin a book, I “free write” everything I know about the plot, setting, and characters. Then I write a summary of every chapter before I write the book. As I accomplish that, I still gain more insight into the characters as well as when I actually write the book so I’m able to incorporate every idea that works.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I literally feel like the Lord started me on this journey. I had never had an interest in writing, in particular fiction, until after I retired from teaching. That’s when the Lord planted the “writing bug” in my heart. He allowed me to become traditionally published after only two years of writing and learning the craft. I always joke that God knew He needed to put me on the fast track because of my age.
What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done? I’m an introvert through and through. I love chatting with people face to face but never, never did I want to speak in front of a group—or, heaven forbid, go on television and talk about my book. Yes, you guessed it. I was on TV once on a local Birmingham morning show. Once I got into the interview, surprisingly enough, I wasn’t nervous. But I’m not so sure I want to do it again.
Here is where you can find June online:
June is giving away an ebook of Ryan’s Father to a reader! See below how to enter to win:
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 have Susan Page Davis as my guest. My family has been watching the Pirates of the Caribbean movies on our weekly family movie night, so her new book really resonated with me! It sounds very good! Plus – Susan has written more than 90 novels. NINETY. Wow! Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of her latest release!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’ve published more than 90 novels and novellas, and I love writing. Before I became a fiction author, I worked as a newspaper correspondent. I’m married and have six adult children and ten grandchildren. I grew up in the state of Maine and spent most of my life there, but when my husband retired we moved to western Kentucky. Not only is the climate much friendlier, but we’re nearer most of our children now.
Tell us about your current release. In The Scottish Lass, sailor Fiona Campbell is captured and forced to accompany a band of cutthroats on their quest for a lost treasure. A shifty sailor turned pirate, Samuel Trafton, has betrayed his former sailing mate Elwood Stark and stolen Stark’s new command from under him. Fearing for her life, Fiona fends off her kidnappers and prays Captain Alice and her crew will come to the rescue. Meanwhile, sailor Tommy Mercer was also captured. He tries to help Fiona and suffers for his efforts.
Stark approaches Captain Alice Packard, hoping she’ll help him get his ship back. But Alice can’t trust him. Stark was her friend Josiah Howard’s first mate, but Josiah’s gone on business, and she can’t get his opinion. Alice has many lives depending on her, and she can’t afford to make a mistake. Could Stark be in league with Trafton to gain control of the Vera B. as well as Stark’s schooner? This is Book 2 in the Hearts of Oak series, another seafaring adventure with Captain Alice Packard and her crew.
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 stories not knowing if they will resonate with people or not. Years later I might hear from someone who found encouragement or inspiration in one of my books. But I don’t hear from the majority of my readers. I might never know how the story affected them. I write what comes to me and leave that part up to God.
With all those characters in your head screaming to get out how do you write fast enough to get it all down? I don’t. There’s always more there to be told. Sometimes I write very fast, and sometimes more slowly, but I think I have more stories waiting than I will ever have time to tell.
Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Little Joe Cartwright for sure.
What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I have pretty much written since I was a child. I have copies of old stories I wrote in junior high. As an adult, I did a lot of newspaper and magazine articles before starting seriously to write fiction. For me, there’s something compelling and satisfying about getting it on paper.
Do you have pre-determined length in mind when you first begin a book? Usually. Well over seventy of my books were written for traditional publishers, and they all have general lengths in mind and put them in the contract. When I write something for independent publishing, sometimes I just do it and see where the length ends up.
What is one thing that you “never saw yourself doing” and either do it now or have done? Self-publishing. When I started writing novels, self-publishing fiction was declared “the kiss of death.” It was many years and many published novels later that I began to consider it. The publishing market and process has changed immensely in the past 12 years. Self-publishing is now a viable option for writers. True, because it’s so easy now, there’s a lot of poorly written and poorly edited material out there. But indie authors can make it on their own now, and many have. My first indie books were backlist books on which I had the rights returned to me by the original publishers. Since then, I’ve gone on to publish several original books, like the Hearts of Oak series written with my son, and the Maine Justice series.
Find Susan online:
Susan is giving away a copy of her book to a reader! (Print US only or ebook) See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway