One of the authors I've enjoyed getting to know via social media and zoom meetings with our mutual publishing company over the last few years is Pamela S Meyers. I've also enjoyed reading her series of books set in Lake Geneva, WI. Her fourth book just released and I'm super excited to see where she took the story (besides WWII). Read on to find out more about her and her beautiful series.
Pam, this is the fourth book in your series, and each is set in a different time period. Did you find you enjoyed researching one time period more than another? Why?
I didn't expect to like the time period of the first book as it was set in 1873 at the time of the Great Chicago Fire, because I'd never written a story set before phones were commonly used and people drove cars, not buggies. But as I got into the story I found I really enjoyed it and enjoyed the challenge of being careful to not use vocabulary that was not in the vernacular of the time. Each time period after that which is about 20 years or so after the previous book had certain challenges and I learned a lot about each one. My favorite, though is Book 4, set in 1942-43 homefront WWII. I loved the forties and the way the U.S. pulled together with a "can-do" spirit.
I don't think I would've even though about vocabulary! Great job on the details.
As you've followed this family through the years, have you included anything from your own family's history in your stories?
Not anything specific. My family didn't move to Lake Geneva until around 1946 so they weren't around even during the time period of the first one. But the unique thing is the town itself didn't change a whole lot from the 1930s going forward until the 1970s. I used the bowling alley for a good part of Rose Harbor. It was the same bowling alley I learned to bowl in and where my dad bowled in a bowling league for years. I pretty much described it as it was. I also bring in some of the real townspeople such as the family who owned the bowling alley back then. Grace, my heroine, although proficient at flying large bomber airplanes was a lousy bowler, as am I. Mac, the hero in the story, teaches her how to throw a hook and she vastly improves. Where was Mac when I needed him? LOL.
Ha! I'm not great at bowling, either.
What made you choose Lake Geneva as your main setting for these stories?
Lake Geneva is my hometown. I was born in Ohio but we moved to L.G. when I was two and I have no memory of ever living in Ohio. The town and area have a rich and interesting history, just ripe for story ideas :-).
If you haven't read one of Susan Page Davis's books, I highly recommend it. I've read several and enjoyed every one. And you have plenty to choose from, because she's published almost a 100! Today, I'm interviewing her and helping you get to know this author I've gotten to know over the last four years through KenTen Writers and now the Scrivenings publishing group. Read on because she has fun answers.
Susan, you've written over 90 books. So, I'm curious. Could you pick a favorite?
Hmm, that’s hard, Amy. Usually I would say “Whichever one I’m working on.” But the one I’m working on now is giving me some hiccups, so I won’t pick that. I do love my newest book, Blue Plate Special. It’s the first one I’ve set in western Kentucky, where I’ve lived now for eleven years.
What started you on your path to being an author?
I’ve always loved reading, and I wrote tons of stories as a kid, but I never really though I could become an author. Then, as an adult, I watched a TV program that greatly disappointed me in its ending. I kept thinking about it and how it SHOULD have ended. Then it became, “If I had written that, I’d have done THIS.” After a while, I realized that in my mind I’d plotted out a complete, complicated story of my own. I told my husband, and he said, “Write it down!” Three months later, I was shocked to see that I had a 100,000-word novel, and it actually made sense.
Remember the Roadtrip Romances I've been talking about for almost two years now?
Last week, I signed a contract for all three of my Roadtrip Romances. The first, Destination: Fun (Romance) will release June 2022. Roadtrip for One (Two) will release December 2022. And Operation: Find a Job (Guy) will release June 2023. I'm so excited to share these stories of the various trips Katie, Bree, and Skye take and how they don't turn out quite like expected. Tons of fun locations, friendships, and of course, romance, is on its way.
But that's not all!
I also got a contract for another novella. This will release in a collection called Love in Any Season. My story will be called The Missing Piece, about Beth and Tommy and a quilt shop their moms run. It's going to be a fun collection with authors Regina Merrick, Sarah Crouch, and Heather Greer, and I know you're going to love them all. Look for that collection to come out September 2022.
In case you don't know what this all means, it means I better get busy and quit letting my muse take a vacation! Ha! I have some rewrites and first writes to do as well as polishing a few other things, but I'm thrilled to continue releasing stories to share with you.
And now I want to know. Are you as excited as I am? Which story intrigues you most?
I don't think I realized how burnt out I was getting. I mean, I wasn't completely frazzled, but I was close. From getting edits for my October release last year through the release of my January book this year and finishing a few other things, I hadn't stopped. Seriously. I'd written and/or edited something almost every day through all of that.
And that's good. Because it means forward momentum.
But it's also bad. Because it means I was tired.
Hello! This month, I'm interviewing a fellow Scrivenings Press author, and very interesting guy, C. Kevin Thompson. I've gotten to know Kevin a bit over the last year, despite not living anywhere near each other, and I'm thrilled to help you get to know him, too. So, without further ado, read on to find out more about him and his amazing story, The Letters, which I just read recently and enjoyed.
Kevin, your bio says your love of writing grew in middle school (mine, too). Is there a book or two you can think of that really stuck with you and made you want to write something like that? Or was it more the teacher?
I liked the creative aspect of writing, I guess, like many other kids in elementary and middle school. As I grew up, I was always thinking of scenarios and coming up with spoofs of stories or situations that I always thought would make great commercials. That’s why I appreciate so much the GEICO commercials. They are so creative. The Pinocchio as a motivational speaker one is my favorite. “You have potential! And you have potential. And you have—oh boy…” So good.
Although I liked the creative aspect of writing, I was not much a reader until I hit the age of 13 (So, there is hope out there, all you Moms with boys.) The book that got me interested in reading was Jaws. I wanted to be a marine biologist growing up, until I realized spending months at sea was part of the job description. I get deathly seasick, and when I attempted to take up scuba diving, I knew that was not something that would work for me. However, marine biology was what got me interested in Jaws. That book got me interested in reading. Reading got me interested in so many other things. Now look at me. Award-winning author. Two Masters Degrees. Former ELA teacher and now an administrator. You see? It can happen.
Congratulations on being a Finalist for the 2021 Selah awards. Can you tell us a little about The Letters and what inspired you to write it?
Thank you (He says with a smile). The Letters came from a heart and desire to deal with an issue that I didn’t feel was handled very much, if at all, and when it was, not very well (abortion). I also was working on a personal study at the time wherein passages like Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8, where it talks about a day to the Lord is like a thousand years, and vice versa. This coupled with a conversation about abortion and what happens to all the aborted children caused me to seek a Biblical perspective on how God views time and redemption. Other passages like, Jeremiah 1:5, made me realize that time to us and time to God are two entirely different things. We are tied to clocks and calendars. He isn’t. He can stand over time and see the past and into the future simultaneously. How else could he see Jeremiah in his mother’s womb and know he’s going to be a prophet? How else could He know to put two angels on the Ark of the Covenant, creating the Mercy Seat, and then hundreds of years later, recreate that same concept at the Resurrection when the two angels sat at the head and foot of the place where Jesus was laid (and no doubt sat when He rose from the dead), thus recreating the Mercy Seat all over again (cf. John 20:12)?
This study came on the heels of when The Shack came out and took the Church by storm. I personally had trouble with the theology of that book, and wanted to make sure I dealt Biblically with the theology of The Letters.
It also is written with a tinge of allegory sprinkled in for good measure, but instead of giving everything away, I’ll let the reader determine who plays the role of Satan and who plays the role of Jesus.
Do you ever have one of those moments when someone asks you to join their group and you're like, "Who, me?" And just like, you're on the ball field in elementary school once more, thrilled that you're not the last picked. And even more thrilled because you got on the team you were hoping for.
Well, I had no idea I even wanted to be on a team I'm joining this month. But when they asked me, I knew I had to say "Yes," despite wondering if they were sure they wanted me. Me? I'm not well-known or even all that amazing. But you know what? They asked me anyway.
Ready to know who I'm talking about?
This month I get to join the group of authors over there who chat all things Contemporary Christian Romance. And y'all, I'm fan-girling a bit. To be included among other authors I love to read and have been looking up to ... it's a pretty amazing feeling. So, that being said, come over and check it out. I'll be posting on that blog about once a month, getting to take over their social media every now and then, and participating in giveaways, among other things. I'm expecting lots of fun!
So, what about you? Have you ever been asked to participate in something you didn't even know was an option, but ended up being an honor and joy?
Several of you have heard me talk over the last few years of my Roadtrip Romances I'm writing. A trilogy that follows three girls on different roadtrips where they also find romance, of course. Well, I had written the first one a while back, tackled the second one last November, and planned to write the third this summer (still hoping for that). With so much already done and figured out, I went ahead and sent a proposal in, hoping to line these up to start releasing next year.
I have good news and bad news.
As I posted back before February, I was given a challenge to basically do another Nanowrimo in February, when people weren't as busy. I accepted, but told myself I wouldn't be upset if I didn't "win" like I normally do (aka over 50,000 words in a month), especially since February has fewer days.
Well, I had an idea for a story set in college, and as of February 23rd, I finished the first draft at almost 68,000 words. It was even better than I expected.
I know it will need editing, but it was such a joy to write. As the words flowed out, I discovered even more depths and lessons that my characters needed to learn. I got to learn about different majors than I had myself in school. And I created a school that included quite a few things I love from several schools in real life.
Today, we welcome my fellow Scrivenings author, Deborah Sprinkle. I've gotten to know her a bit over the last year through zoom calls, and she's a delight to chat with. I hope you enjoy getting to know her just as much.
Deborah, congratulations on the recent publication of your second novel. As someone who majored in Chemistry and taught for a long time, what made you decide to write murder mysteries?
I've been an avid reader of mysteries since I was young, beginning with Agatha Christie. So when I retired from teaching chemistry and felt the desire to write, I naturally gravitated to the mystery/suspense genre. What's ironic is that my very first book was a patriotic devotional that I co-wrote with a friend! It was published in 2013 and it was another six years before my debut romantic suspense novel came out.
Are there any people in your past who have inspired or been a big help in your path to publication?
I started going to the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers' Conference in 2011. There I met so many great people who would later become friends. One in particular has mentored me for many years now. That's DiAnn Mills. She's an award winning romantic suspense author who's written over 40 books that have sold over one million copies. Yet she believes in helping other authors, like me, get started and be successful. That's what I love about the Christian writing world.
I know you've lived several different places. Did you base the town in your books on any town from your past or bits and pieces of several?
Yes. For many years, we lived on a 30 acre lake in northern Indiana much like the one I describe in my first book. It was near a community that was smaller than Pleasant Valley, and not within an hour of a big city like Cincinnati, but the house and the lake are very similar to ours. I'm not sure why I chose southern Ohio as the location. I just knew I wanted Pleasant Valley close enough to a big city to give myself options for future stories.
Since joining a book club, I've noticed how nice it is when authors have discussion questions posted SOMEWHERE, either in the back of the book, or on their website. So, for any of you who choose my novel to use as a book club read, here are some questions you can use to discuss afterwards. You're not limited to these, obviously. And I'd love to hear any you can come up with, too.
This is a place for me to tell you about what I'm writing, talk about the process or where some of my ideas came from, or even have other authors come in and talk about their books.
Authors I Love to Read (in no particular order)