I'm thrilled to have Candace West, one of my Scrivenings sisters, back on here today. Why am I having her back? Because her third book is about to release next month. And I'm very much looking forward to reading it because of how much I loved the character in the last book. :-) So, without further ado, read on to find out more.
Hey Candace, congrats on your third book. When you started writing this series with Lane Steen, did you know it was going to be a series?
Hi Amy, I’m excited to be here. Thank you for inviting me! Early on, I knew I wanted to make a series from Lane Steen. As I delved deeper into the lives of the different characters, I started planning which ones would eventually have their own stories. And a few of them took me by surprise.
This newest story follows one of the secondary characters from your second book. Will we be seeing any of the other characters come back this time, too?
Absolutely. You’ll see nearly all of them throughout the story in addition to a few new ones. Also, Lane’s best friend Tabitha, from book one, will be a part of this story. Some of you may remember that Tabitha wasn’t in book two, Valley of Shadows.
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.
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.
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.
I don't know about you, but I'm friends with my former English professors from college. We keep up on Facebook and they cheer me on with each book, which is amazing. So, when I saw one of them cheering on another Freed graduate, I knew exactly how that felt. And the more I read about her and her book, the more I wanted to know. So, I reached out to new author Karly Cross, and she agreed to do an interview. After all, if I want to know more, you probably will, too, right?
Hi Karly, welcome! I'm always excited to meet other alum from Freed-Hardeman who are also authors. When did you first decide you wanted to write?
Hi! Thank you so much for having me! This is definitely a blessing to be able to answer these questions with you. I love that Freed has connected us and that we have that connection to each other here in the writing world.
As cliché as it may sound, I think I’ve always had the writer’s spirit in me. I was writing silly songs and poems from the time I could read, and all my fantastical stories were my favorite way to express myself. Creating and writing have always just been part of who I am.
Your first book looks great. I'm always excited to find more books for my children to read as they grow, especially ones that include the Bible. What inspired you to write a book about going back to Bible times?
Thank you so much! It was definitely a labor of love, and I hope your kids enjoy it, truly!
I think sometimes when we read the Bible, we forget the humanity of the people we’re told about. It’s so easy to slip into the mindset of “these are stories” rather than “these are historical accounts.” By having the characters, Riley and Gabe, go back into these accounts, in my opinion, it gives young people a chance to really explore the humanity of the biblical people. It broadens the scope and shifts the perspective, which I think can be beneficial to all.
Happy New Year all! I'm excited about bringing a whole new set of interviews to you this year, and first up is Allison Pearl. She's a sister author with Anaiah Press, and her books sound so good. I've really enjoyed getting to know her, and I think you will, too.
Hey Allison, I notice that all of your books have my favorite food on the cover. :-) What about donuts made you think murder mystery?
The murder part was more of an afterthought. First on the brain was doughnuts. I probably would’ve put them in anything, but I can’t do cookbooks, so murder it is.
If you had to branch out and write about a different kind of food, what do you think you'd pick?
I love a good pie. And they’re not easy either, which would be good in a book. The crusts and filling are finnicky and complicated. They’re hard work, but worth it. There’s got to be a story in there somewhere.
Pies are hard, yes. I've never perfected making a crust, so I totally get the analogy.
I'm noticing some names like Knightly and Bennet in your book descriptions. Any relation to the beloved characters of Jane Austen or did you just like the names?
The names are absolutely Austen inspired. To me, she was the first of us. She wrote amazing stories that kept you turning the pages long after bedtime. And even though the endings were always happy, she didn’t shy away from weaving the real struggles of women in her time into the narrative. Struggles that in some ways we are still dealing with today. Ultimately, I wanted my first published novels to be a nod to the woman who started it all.
Hi all! Today, I'm pleased to introduce you to a new-to-me author. The joy of working with several different publishing groups, is I get to meet and know several different authors, too. Today, I'm chatting with a fellow Anaiah Press author, Sara Beth Williams. Read on because she's pretty fun!
Sara Beth, welcome to my blog. I love getting to know other authors on here. To start, can you tell us what inspired you to start writing?
I’ve been writing since junior high. I’ve written poetry ,and copy cat stories, kids' stories, and YA stories. Then later, as I matured, and began reading Christian Romance, specifically Hallee Bridgeman’s Jewel series, I fell in love with the genre and thought to myself – I can absolutely write this.
Nice! What are some ways that your stories stand out from other romances (yes, I know this is a hard question--especially since I write romance, too)?
I love to write characters who are authentic and deep and messy. My characters deal with a lot of family drama. I also stray from writing about rich characters. My third book releasing in March, 2021, also delves into a little bit of mental illness.
One of the privileges I've discovered with being published by multiple houses is that I have multiple publishing families. I'm still getting to know the authors over at Anaiah Press, but I'm enjoying it, too. And I hope you'll enjoy getting to know brand new author Jennifer Chastain with me. Here's the fun interview about her and her new novel, which sounds like so much fun!
How does it feel to have your first book "birthed?"
How do I describe my first book being published? When I saw the email saying, "Congratulations! We'd like to offer you a book contract for "The Mistletoe Contract", I started crying. But these were happy tears of joy. It's surreal, exciting, scary, and all those other adjectives thrown in! It's been a long awaited dream coming to fruition with a lot of long nights of writing. I guess I can sum it up in one word - overwhelming.
I completely agree with all those adjectives. :-)
When did you first decide to become a writer?
Oh wow, this is another tough question. Over twenty-five years ago I felt this strong urge to write. However, I was unsure and scared and really had no idea where to start. I have loved to read since I was a young child and was always making up stories for my Barbie and Ken dolls. However, six years ago, I felt God's call again and I said "I should write a book. I think I could do that." Before this, I lacked confidence in myself and my abilities but God kept nudging my heart to do this. And to be honest, He wouldn't let me rest. So I did a Google search for "How to write a novel" and up popped Novel Academy/My Book Therapy, with Susan May Warren teaching the StoryCrafter classes. I learned so much and am still learning.
Today, I'm interviewing fellow Anaiah Press author, Sally Ling. The more I learn about this lady, the more fascinated I am. Read on and see if you feel the same.
What started you down the road of writing books about Florida history?
I was a special correspondent for the Sun Sentinel newspaper and my editor assigned me a story about some old World War II buildings on the campus of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida that used to be part of the Boca Raton Army Air Field (1942-1947). After I wrote my article, I realized this was a much bigger story than the 700 words I was assigned. I wrote a second article for a local magazine (2000 words), yet the story still wasn’t given adequate space. My first book on Florida history turned out to be the amazing story of how the Boca Raton Army Air Field played a pivotal role in winning WWII. The story was made into a feature documentary by our local PBS station.
What is your favorite part of living in Florida?
The weather. Although it’s hot in Florida in the summer, so is the rest of the country. Where I live (southeast coast), there is always a breeze, and the winter is beautiful. Typically, I go to North Carolina for the summer.
I know you write both fiction and nonfiction. Do you have a preference or like each for different reasons?
I typically alternate my writing between nonfiction and fiction. Nonfiction involves a copious amount of research, so it typically takes me longer to write. I must say, however, that my fiction books also require lots of research as you’ll note in Women of the Ring. Regarding fiction, I’ve always had a vivid imagination, and for that reason I love writing fiction. The challenge of weaving a story together and not really knowing where I’m going until I get there is exciting to me. I’m a pantster writer (I write by the seat of my pants).
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)