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Interview with Christy Distler 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 pleased to have author Christy Distler as my guest. Christy beautifully words how she gets past “imposter syndrome“, something for which I am painfully familiar with, in order to follow God’s will in her life. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. Read on to see how you can enter to win an autographed copy of her latest release!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. My name is Christy Distler, obviously. For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed my most vivid dreams with my eyes wide open. Names became people—people who didn’t exist in this time and place but couldn’t have been more real in my heart and mind. So I’ve done the only rational thing: give them a voice by writing fiction.

My novels, whether historical or contemporary, delve into betrayal and reconciliation, faith and grace, and always involve the intertwining of cultures. When not writing, I work as an editor for Christian publishing houses and independent authors.

Obsession with words aside, I’m also a wife and the mom of kids and dogs. I consider dark chocolate a food group (level on the pyramid all depends on the day). I love to laugh. And I’m thankful. If I’m not reading, writing, editing, or involved with family and church activities, you can find me trolling yard sales and thrift stores. I live in the same Pennsylvania town where I grew up.

Tell us about your current release. As 1756 dawns, Isaac Lukens leaves the Pennsylvania wilderness after two years with the Lenape people. He’s failed to find the families of his birth parents, a French trader and a Lenape woman. Worse, the tribe he’s lived with, having rejected his peacemaking efforts, now ravages frontier settlements in retaliation. When he arrives in Horsham, the Quaker community where he was reared, questions taunt him: Who is he—white man or Lenape? And where does he belong?

Elisabeth Alden, Isaac’s dearest childhood friend, is left to tend her young siblings alone upon her father’s death. Despite Isaac’s promise to care for her and the children, she battles resentment toward him for having left, while an unspeakable tragedy and her discordant courtship with a prominent Philadelphian weigh on her as well.

Elisabeth must marry or lose guardianship of her siblings, and her options threaten the life with her and the children that Isaac has come to love. Faced with Elisabeth’s hesitancy to marry, the prospect of finding his family at last, and the opportunity to assist in the peace process between Pennsylvania and its Indian tribes, Isaac must determine where—and to whom—the Almighty has called him.

A Cord of Three Strands weaves fact and fiction into a captivating portrayal of Colonial-era Quaker life, including Friends’ roles in Pennsylvania Indian relations and in refuting slavery.

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Absolutely. Even benefitting only one person would make it worth it.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? No. While I think (probably) every author wants to be successful, I love writing so much that I’d still do it even if I was the only person who ever read what I wrote. I certainly want to reach as large of an audience as possible, but I could never compromise my beliefs/standards to do so, especially if it included material that would be offensive to God and/or cause others to stumble.

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)? This was the hardest part of publishing for me. I think all writers suffer from some degree of imposter syndrome (doubting your talents or accomplishments). For a while, I was happy just writing because I love it, but then I realized that, no matter my doubts, God has called me to write stories that bring glory to him, and that by not sharing them with others, I’m not being obedient. My deepest desire is to be obedient to him, so I had to get out of my own way and let him lead.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? Going for a walk. For some reason, that always gets the characters talking to me. I also tend to write better if I’m listening to music that relates to the story. Of course, in the case of A Cord of Three Strands, that wasn’t possible since early Quakers didn’t participate in any type of music.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I’ve always been a writer. Somewhere in my mom’s attic, there’s a book I wrote (and she illustrated) when I was about seven. If I remember right, it’s called Unicornland.

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 mostly pants’d A Cord of Three Strands. For my WIP, which is almost finished, I decided it would be better to make a rough outline first, and that has definitely cut down on the writing time required. I’ve still made some changes along the way, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to stay a plotter from now on.

What is your preferred method of writing? Computer. I use Scrivener for storyboarding, keeping track of chapter word counts, etc., but I prefer to write in Word because I use endnotes to keep track of my research.

Here is where you can find Christy online:

www.christydistler.com

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Christy is giving away a signed copy of A Cord of Three Strands and a cord of three strands bookmark like Elisabeth Alden made in the book to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Interview with Terri Wangard 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 so happy to have award-winning historical romance author Terri Wangard as my guest! Terri’s new release sounds SO GOOD! I am also fascinated by the story of Lusitania — and to have a history major with a master’s in library science write a book about it makes me think that it will reveal so much information I didn’t know before! Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy!

Tell us a little bit about yourself. I grew up in Green Bay, Wisconsin, during the Lombardi Glory Years. My first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. These days I write mostly historical fiction, and won the 2013 Writers on the Storm contest and 2013 First Impressions, as well as being a 2012 Genesis finalist. I have a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, is my day job.

Tell us about your current release. The Lusitania has always fascinated me, more so than the Titanic. Since I started writing, I’ve wanted to write a Lusitania story. Here is the blurb for Roll Back the Clouds:

A dream come true becomes a nightmare. Geoff and Rosaleen Bonnard embark on a once-in-a-lifetime voyage to England aboard the fabled Lusitania in 1915. Europe is embroiled in war, but the authorities insist the conflict shouldn’t affect a passenger liner.

Then, a German submarine hurtles a torpedo into the grand ship. Rosaleen makes it into a lifeboat, but Geoff is missing. She searches the morgues in Queenstown, heartsick at recognizing so many of her fellow travelers. Alive, but suffering a devastating back injury, Geoff is found in a Cork hospital.

While waiting for him to recover, Rosaleen is thrilled to meet her mother’s family, but a dark cloud hovers over her. The battered faces of dead babies haunt her. She sinks into depression, exasperated by Geoff’s new interest in religion. Her once happy life seems out of reach.

Will joy ever be theirs again?

What’s the first major news headline that you can remember and what do you remember? I think it was Robert Kennedy’s assassination. We were at a motel, and my parents were talking about it. In my vague memory, I can see them looking at a newspaper.

Who was your first Screen/Musical Crush? Donny Osmond

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I wrote stories as a Girl Scout, since I received the Writer badge. I didn’t expect to write books though, until I read some stories that seemed to be written by formula. The names and settings were changed, but otherwise they were all the same. That prompted me to try writing my own book.

What is your preferred method of writing? I write on computer, but if I have an hour in the evening and an idea is percolating, I’ll write in a notebook.

How did you make the initial step into writing your first novel. What were some of your major roadblocks and how did you overcome them? I first wrote a book in the early 2000s. I sent it to a publisher. It took them a year to say No Thanks. I set aside my writing for a few years. Then, in 2008, I read Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes, about women fulfilling their wishes. That made me decide to write again. I bought the laptop I still use today and wrote Friend & Enemies, the first of five novels, so far.

Who were some of your favorite authors as a child? I loved the Flicka, Ricka, Dicka series by Maj Lindman.

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I write what I would like to read, and hope others do too.

Here is where you can find Terri online:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorTerriWangard

Twitter: @terriwangard

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/terriwangard

Instagram:  @terriwangard

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/terriwangard/

Website: http://www.terriwangard.com

Terri is giving away an ebook copy of Roll Back the Clouds to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Interview with Patti Stockdale 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 have Patti Stockdale as my guest. I love the story about how she started writing — clearly God had a plan for her! I also love how her latest release was inspired! Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy of it!

Tell us about yourself: Patti loves hope, history, and a good happily ever after. She can’t remember numbers, so she married a statistician. Thanks to him, she’s lived all sorts of places and worked all sorts of jobs. For 11 years, she directed the programming at a nonprofit senior center and hosted an annual talent show, rocking a Dolly Parton wig, Annie Oakley boots, and a sweet-although snug-Batman costume. She no longer works there. These days, Patti writes books and reading assessments for an educational publisher.

Tell us about your current release: One forbidden love. Two broken hearts. Three little things.

Hattie Waltz should forget the troubled neighbor leaving for boot camp in 1917. He forgot about her ages ago. It had always been the Waltzs verses the Kregers, his family pitted against hers. When she hands him a farewell gift, a chemistry lesson unfolds. The good kind.

Arno Kreger can’t leave Iowa or his old man fast enough. He’s eager to prove his worth on the battlefield and stop blaming himself for his brother’s death. Before entering the train, he bumps into Hattie. He’s loved her forever, always from the sidelines, because nobody crosses Hattie’s pa.

One innocent letter soon morphs into many. Arno and Hattie share three little secrets in each letter and grow closer together. But he’s on his way to a war across the ocean, and she’s still in her father’s house. Their newfound love will need to survive dangers on both fronts.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I returned to college at the age of 35, taking classes two nights a week at a satellite campus. Although I valued the convenience, I had few choices on courses. But that was okay. I’d nail down the basics then declare a major. After the college canceled Western Civ one semester, my only other Monday/Wednesday option was, you guessed it, Creative Writing. Could I work full-time, raise a family, and complete the labor-intensive assignments? I had to try. Surprise, surprise. I fell in love with storytelling.

Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? My favorite authors swoop me into their stories, tug on my heartstrings, and reveal how true love wins. I also appreciate deep POV and humor. Whether historical or contemporary, my goal is to write books I want to read.

Who was your first screen/musical crush? At a recent book signing back in my hometown, a friend reminded me I’d once mailed Christopher Knight, Peter Brady from the Brady Bunch, a fan letter. How had that slipped my mind? Anyway, according to my friend, he mailed me his autographed publicity photo. No, it’s no longer pinned to my bulletin board.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Perseverance. I wrote the first draft of Three Little Things over 20 years ago. Then, it hid in a box while I worked at a busy nonprofit. A million times, I could have given up on my old dream but never caved. It’s not always the most talented writers who sign contracts. It’s those who hone their craft and never quit. My other tip is to hand the manuscript to God, let Him handle the worries and the rejections.

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 needed a new project for a creative writing class. At the same time, my mom and her sisters found an old tin of love letters their parents had exchanged. Writing a historical had never crossed my mind. But why not? I loved reading the genre. Once I persuaded the ladies to loan me their letters, I wrote the rough draft of Three Little Things. Initially, I tried to tell my grandparents’ story. But all great characters need flaws. Guess what? It was impossible to flaw my grandparents. After this revelation, my real-life characters morphed into fictional characters, making Three Little Things a much better book.

Here is where you can find Patti online:

Patti is giving a copy of Three Little Things to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Interview with Nancy J. Farrier 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’m thrilled to have Nancy J. Farrier as my guest. It’s always fun to have guests who are my friends. Nancy and I served together on the Romance Writers of America Faith, Hope, Love chapter for many years. The last time we were at a conference together, we were able to have dinner together. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I do! And, Nancy 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. I am a best-selling, award winning author of historical and contemporary Christian fiction. I grew up in the mid-west, moved to the Southwest to be close to the mountains and never looked back. I love the people, culture, plants, and animals found in the desert and surrounding areas. I love the sunshine because rainy days are depressing for me, and most days I enjoy the heat—maybe not when it’s over 110 degrees and humid. On my down time I enjoy early morning hikes, spending time with my family, reading, going to church and my plants. I have five children who are all grown, six grandchildren, several cats and a dog.

Tell us about your current release. My upcoming release, The Richest Knight, is a novella set at the Grand Canyon in the early 1900’s and highlights the Harvey House. The Richest Knight was inspired by my grandfather who raised eleven kids on a small, rocky farm in Indiana. He always said he was a millionaire because God blessed him with so my kids—very ornery kids I might add. I wanted to explore the idea of true wealth and what that looks like. Below is the blurb for my book.

She wants the security of riches.

He’s turned his back on the demands of wealth.

Lillian Robinson is determined to marry a man of means. She’s had enough of living in poverty and seeing her family suffer. As a Harvey Girl at the Grand Canyon, her opportunities to meet the man of her dreams should be plentiful. So, why does the lead mule skinner makes her heart race every time he comes around.

Franklin Knight turned his back on his family. He refused to fall in line and bow to their need for money and power. He chose to work at the Grand Canyon as a muleskinner, a place where he can live out his faith in God.

When Lillian catches Franklin’s attention with her beauty and bright smile, he doesn’t count on her clumsiness, or on her desire to marry into the very society he spurned. Still, he can’t forget her. Will Franklin be able to show her the true meaning of love? Will Lillian recognize the value of a heart of God before she makes the worst mistake of her life?

If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Yes. Yes. Yes! I am a writer because I have to write. Not only do I feel God placed this call on my life, but the stories and characters clamor to get out when I take any sort of a break. Plus, every story I write has a message I need to tell, something God placed on my heart. I would write that story even if no one else ever read the words.

Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? I am a multi-published author and after I had several books published, I had a couple of publishers approach me to see if I would write in a genre. It was one I felt didn’t belong in the Christian market for reasons I won’t go into here. I politely refused. I feel that refusal hurt my writing career but I would not compromise my beliefs to do something that would bring monetary profit. I couldn’t do that and still be the Christian I needed to be. God has still richly blessed me and I am comfortable with His approval.

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)? My writing is a calling, or a work God has given me to do. It’s not about me. It’s not about fame. It’s not about wealth. For that reason, I have no problem submitting to a publisher or self-publishing.

I do sometimes struggle with how people see me. They are impressed that I’m an author and they shouldn’t be. I am only doing a job. I am not better then or more special than anyone else. My job is not better than any other. I have told people before that if they do the job God has given them to do, they are on the same level with me. He loves them and sees the work they do, no matter how menial the job is, or how others see that job. Doing what He calls you to do is what counts.

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? Books were always treasures to me. My mother read to my sisters and I from the time we were born. She took us to the library every week and that was a favorite time for me. I still love our hometown library and visit when I go back to see family.

My fascination with books led me to write from an early age. I wrote stories, poems, songs—anything that came to mind. They weren’t well written, but I still wrote.

By the time I became a Christian, my life had spiraled down and wasn’t very pretty. I gave up everything of my old life, including my writing. At that point I had never sought publication.For the next fourteen years, I raised a family, did gardening, worked hard, but not once did I write anything.

Then story ideas and characters began to appear in my imagination. I fought them. Tried to keep from thinking about writing because I thought that was the old me I had put away. I got to the point where I would wake up crying in the night from the need to tell these stories.

Finally, I begged God to take the ideas away. When He didn’t, I asked him to make it clear that He wanted me to write. If He allowed me to publish something in the next year (this was January) I would write for Him. I sent out two small devotions that year. Two. In December, I received a check in the mail for one of those devotions that was published in a book of kid’s devotions. I knew then my writing was a call from God and I’ve worked hard at it ever since.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Write. Practice. Enter contests that give feedback, but only take what is positive and helps you to improve. Read books on writing. Write.

Don’t be discouraged, although that’s very difficult. Still, if you have a gift and a calling, work at it. Don’t write for fame or fortune because most writers don’t receive either. Write because you can’t quit. Write to give your characters a voice. Write because you love having written, even when the process is like ripping your heart out every time.

Also, join a writer’s group. Go to a writer’s conference. Don’t push yourself to do too much, but relax and make connections. Those connections are a valuable tool to keeping your sanity as you write.

What is your preferred method of writing? (computer, pen & paper, etc.) I write on my computer. Scrivener is the program I prefer because I can have all my notes and pictures all in one place. Once I’m done writing the story, I put it in Pages or Word to do the editing and uploading.

When I am writing, I have a table leaf on the arms of my treadmill and use that as a desk. My husband set me up with a large monitor that plugs into my laptop so it’s easier to see. I walk for three or four hours a day as I write and do writing business. I don’t like sitting down, so this works best for me. I walk at a slower pace and it’s pretty easy to type.

I always have my water nearby and usually a pack of gum. I rarely eat snacks. And, I can’t listen to music while I write. I know many authors do listen, but as a musician, I can’t shut out that music to concentrate on writing.

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 am not much of a plotter. I have the characters down. I know where they came from and have an idea of where they are going. I usually know the end of the story. However, there are a lot of events that take place between page one and the end.

There have been so many times, I’ve had characters come on scene and I didn’t realize they would be there. Or, my main character is different than I originally pictured them. If that happens, I have to make the decision to let them express themselves or force them back into the mold I already had. That isn’t always an easy choice.

A few times, the end I had in mind does not make sense by the time I get there. Then I have to reconsider what events have taken place to lead up to this point and the best way to bring everything to a sensible conclusion.

This means, writing isn’t cut and dried. I don’t like over plotting a book because I love the discovery along the way. That makes the writing so exciting. You are on an adventure with your characters and every day you wonder what will happen next. I am so blessed to be able to do this work.

Here is where you can find Nancy online:

http://nancyjfarrier.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorNancyJFarrier/

twitter.com/nancyjfarrier/

Nancy is giving away a copy of The Richest Knight to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Interview with Pat Jeanne Davis 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 so happy to have Pat Jeanne Davis as my guest. I L-O-V-E anything WWII, and I especially love reading an author who makes sure her research is spot on. Pat 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. I enjoy flower gardening, conducting genealogy research and traveling with my British-born husband. We have two grown sons. I write from my home n Philadelphia, Pa. and have written essays, short stories and articles online and in print. When Valleys Bloom Again is my debut WWII inspirational romance set in England and the States. I’m a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

Tell us about your current release. As war approaches in 1939 Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat. Her father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger passes. Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home? With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling herself isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible. Did she leave God behind in war-torn London too? Then Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate.

Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind. Did she have a sweetheart in England? Was it foolish to think she’d consider him? He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him. Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope for a happy marriage?

Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the U.S. Army—or that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence. Will she discover the true meaning of home?

What inspired you to start writing, or did you always want to write? I find the study of history more entertaining when reading a well researched piece of fiction with believable and sympathetic characters inhabiting a world set in a bygone era.

Have you always wanted to write a book? I started out writing essays and short stories. I was motivated to write a novel after hearing accounts from someone I worked for about her husband’s experiences while serving in US Intelligence during WWII and when the war ended his experiences serving on the Nuremberg trials.

What is your inspiration for writing this story? As the ranks of those who lived through the WWII era gets smaller, I wanted to highlight their lives in an instructive and entertaining way. Some of their experiences inform the context of this inspirational novel. Military and history buffs alike will appreciate the references to battles and hardships faced by soldiers. When Valleys Bloom Again unfolds through the eyes of Abby Stapleton with the flavor and sensibilities of the 1940’s home front—from an estate in Pennsylvania with its numerous landscaped gardens, to the bombed-out inner-city and suburbs of London.

My story relates the experiences from both an American and British perspective of two sweethearts, each from a different social class, as they live through the trauma of war on the home front and the battlefield. Abby and Jim are drawn together and changed by this event, while their relationship grows in depth and beauty. A twist in the story introduces espionage and a closely guarded family secret.

Why do you write the kind of books you do? The study of history fascinates me, especially that of the early to mid-20th Century. I write historical inspirational stories that reveal God’s sovereignty in times of global upheaval and during worldwide social change. I attempt to write stories about events in our past in an informative and entertaining manner while staying true to the facts of history. I strive to give my reader a story that reveals God’s overruling providence through all of life’s experiences and that with our confidence in God and submission to His will, we can be hopeful and steadfast in purpose, trusting in the promise from Him that all things work together for good. If my story does not always have a happy ending, it will have a satisfactory one that provides hope for those who commit all to Him.

Who do you envision your typical reader to be? Like myself those who enjoy Christian historical fiction and a story set against the backdrop of the Second World War that contains loyalty, heroism, espionage, romance and faith will also enjoy When Valleys Bloom Again.

What do you do when you hit a roadblock and have NO idea what to write? Sometimes if I go back and re-read prior chapters in the story I get momentum to move forward with the rest of the novel. Then at other times if I put aside a particular scene I’m struggling with and try to create another one I know will be necessary later on in the story.

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? When I begin writing a first draft I don’t have a fully formed plot. The direction for the story can change as I do further research or as I receive input through brainstorming plot ideas with others. At times I’ve eliminated scenes and created others in their place.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? As a new writer, you may cringe when told by a more advanced writer to rework a paragraph or get rid of a sentence or scene. Carefully consider their suggestions and follow them wherever you feel you can. They only want your story to shine and you to become a better writer. I’m thankful for the numerous critiques from editors and other writers who have helped me to improve my work.

Here is where you can find Pat online:

Website:  https://www.patjeannedavis.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pat.j.davis.7

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

Goodreads:      https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43600391-when-valleys-bloom-again?from_search=true

Amazon Author Page: https://amazon.com/author/patjeannedavis

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/pat-jeanne-davis-34290422/

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

BookBub:  https://www.bookbub.com/books/when-valleys-bloom-again-by-pat-jeanne-davis

Pat is giving away a copy of When Valleys Bloom Again to a reader! See below how to enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

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Interview with Lynne Basham Tagawa 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 pleased to bring you Lynne Basham Tagawa, because it means that get to know her a little bit more, too! I LOVE the sound of her book! And I very much enjoyed the approach she took with her answers. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did. Lynne is also giving away a copy of her latest release, The Shenandoah Road. Read on to see how you can enter to win a copy!

Tell us a little about yourself. I’m a schoolteacher, actually—science and math. The math got added on when a small school lost its math teacher and I was squeezed into the role. But my interests shifted over the years, and now I prefer history to chemistry.

Tell us a little about your current release. The Shenandoah Road: A Novel of the Great Awakening was released last summer, and now it’s currently in audiobook production. My narrator lives in Virginia, and loves that the story is set in some of his favorite areas.

It’s a romance, but the novel isn’t just about that. It’s classified as historical fiction, not romance, for that reason. And because the characters marry at about the 25% mark—okay, a bit of a spoiler there!

I wanted to write about the great revival in the 1730s and 40s—what would it be like to live back then? There are very few who have written stories set in that time period, and one of those is juvenile.

As I did research I realized that there was a lot of diversity in the colonies during that time, even among English-speakers. New Englanders had different backgrounds, different customs, from those in Virginia. Everyone knows about the Quakers—Philadelphia was the cosmopolitan metropolis of the day, with religious freedom not found elsewhere. So that’s another group.

Then enter in a huge wave of Scots-Irish immigration. Several hundred thousand came to these shores during the 18th century, and their customs were different still. I begin to imagine . . . what if a Scots-Irish Presbyterian married a New England Congregationalist . . . it was fun to write.

If you knew ahead of time that your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? Wow, what a challenging question. I would say yes, but with this explanation: my focus on motivation always has to be on what the Lord would have me to do rather than the results. We are called to “witness,” which brings to mind a courtroom setting. We give our testimony or speak gospel truth, but in the end, the fruit is up to God.

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)? Great question. I self-publish (I have my own imprint) but I still deal with that. I know my writing is not exceptional. Some things have helped me—first, I’ve learned, that in every endeavor, to use what God has given me. It may not be as much as what God gave someone else, but it’s what He gave me. Second, writing is a craft that is learned. I can improve.

What is your personal, most effective way to get past writer’s block? I’ve never suffered from a major case of it. Periodically, though, my output slows down. I begin to have doubts about the chapter I’m writing. Step one is just to write—even if it’s a paragraph. Another tactic is to quit and pick up a novel. Weirdly, reading someone else’s prose starts my brain churning. After a while my eyes have drifted from the page and I’m constructing a scene in my head.

How did you determine whether to self-publish or seek a traditional publisher? A couple of things led me to self-publish. The first was my content. My stories are “preachy”—not in the bad, copy/pasted way I see on occasion. But my characters have a spiritual journey as well as an emotional one, and that necessitates using Scripture or even bits of sermons. The Shenandoah Road has a lot of that—first, my hero wants to make sure his potential wife understands justification by faith, and later, he teaches her using a sermon by George Whitefield.

The only publisher I knew of that might go for it is rather small. I communicated with one of their authors, who explained his decision to create his own imprint. It’s partly economic, partly a question of signing away your rights.

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 backbone—important, crucial scenes jotted down before I type the first word. What is this story about and where is it going? I know there are some writers who invent characters, plop them in a setting, and see what happens. Not me. I have to envision the climax so I know where I’m driving. I wouldn’t call it an outline, exactly—that word gives me mental hives. It’s more like the rail to hang on to or at least glance at while I go up the stairs. It reduces my anxiety so I can enjoy my characters and let things happen along the way. A couple of incidents in The Shenandoah Road were spontaneous. I love that.

Here is where you can find Lynne online:

http://christianreading.com/ltagawa/

https://www.facebook.com/Lynne-Basham-Tagawa-263573557821364/

Lynne is giving away a copy of  The Shenandoah Road: A Novel of the Great Awakening to a reader! See below how you can enter to win:a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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