Posted in Interview

Interview of Roseanna M. White

Thank you for willing to be interviewed!

1.      Can you tell us what was it about the Culper Ring that drew you to write a series?

Well, when I first heard of the Culper Ring, it was in the show Brad Meltzer’s Decoded, and the investigators interviewed experts who said they really couldn’t say what became of the Ring after the Revolution. Maybe they had totally ceased operation. Or, for all they knew, maybe they were still around today! Naturally, I liked that last “maybe.” 😉 What really sealed it for me is that Benjamin Tallmadge, head of the Ring, was a congressman during the War of 1812. It didn’t make any sense to me at all that he wouldn’t have called friends up again.

So when I set out the series and pitched it to Harvest House, I intended to make it generational—to follow the Culpers from their historically recorded dealings in the Revolution through the next two major wars, where I’d explore those super-fun what-ifs. =)

2.      When you were writing book one of the Culper Ring series (Ring of Secrets), were you also planning for Whispers From the Shadows?

I knew as I wrote Ring of Secrets that the next book would be about Winter’s son, Thad, and Fairchild’s daughter, Gwyneth. That was enough for the premise—a hero and heroine yet again on different sides of the war, but this time Gwyn would be sent to America for her own safety. The particulars of the plot I developed after I’d finished the first one, though I had it well under way by the time Ring of Secrets was in edits, and when there was room in the back of the book, they asked to include the first chapter. =)

3.      How much research do you have to do for each novel in the Culper Ring series?

Oh my, LOL. I’d already done a lot of the basic research on the Colonial era before beginning Ring of Secrets, for my Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland, but I did spend a week or two reading the super-fabulous Washington’s Spies by Alexander Rose. He compiled some amazing original research for form the most complete view of the Culpers ever.

For Whispers from the Shadows, I got to pull in some of the research I’d done before on the Regency era (for clothing and mannerisms, etc), and then I turned to a book written by a good friend’s college professor for the particulars: Battle for Baltimore: 1814 by Joseph Whitehorne.

Having a main, well-respected book I use for research is my usual method, and then I supplement as needed with other sources to answer questions that come up as I write. Thank heavens for the internet!

4.      I found Thad to be one of my favorite characters in Whispers From the Shadows. Who/what inspired him?

He’s one of mine too. =) Thad isn’t based entirely on any one person I know, but I guess certain aspects of him are inspired by some of the spiritual fathers in my life. His personality I created by necessity—I needed a character who was personable and friendly enough to be the go-to for the privateer fleet, who were the primary sources of intelligence in this war.

Then as Thad began to take shape in my mind, I realized he was a lot more than personable. I wanted him to be a very faithful character, one who turned to the Lord in his Culper work…and that’s where his spiritual side came in. There’s an older gent in my church who is so in tune with the Spirit it just touches me anew all the time. I wanted to bring that sort of faith alive in this novel, the kind that we all can have, if we just train ourselves to listen.

5.      Can you tell us what you’re working on now?

Sure! I just turned in the third book in the series, Circle of Spies, a month ago, and finished a second free novella to come between books 2 and 3, A Hero’s Promise (about the little boy Jack from Whispers, and Thad and Gwyn’s daughter, Julienne, who Jack calls Lenna).

So now I’m taking some time to jump back to my biblical books and work on a sequel to my debut novel, A Stray Drop of Blood. This next one is called A Soft Breath of Wind, and where the first focused on the saving power of the blood Jesus shed upon the cross (heroine was at the crucifixion), the second will focus on the indwelling of the Spirit in the early church, all through the eyes of someone with an amazing gift of the Spirit…that has left her physically scarred.

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Posted in Interview

Interview of Serena Chase

ImageWelcome Back! And thank you for willing to be interviewed again!

1.      I have often heard that the second book in a series is the hardest to write. Did you feel that way about The Remedy?

Serena: The Ryn and The Remedy were originally written as one really long book, so I guess you could say that, while I didn’t feel that way about writing The Remedy, I’m feeling that way now with book 3 of the series! I love the fun characters I’m working with (Pirate Cazien and Julien’s sister, Erielle) and the twist I’m putting on the new fairy tale I’m re-imagining is really fun (my little secret, for now!) but I do wonder if readers who loved the “sweetness” of Rynnaia and Julien will love the snarkiness and edgier nature of Caz and Erielle, as characters. I hope so…

2.      Finding the Remedy involves an old prophecy, clues, and then the Remedy itself. When did you write the prophecy (before or after they went on their adventure?) and at what point did you know what the Remedy was?

Serena: Keep in mind that these two books evolved over 7 years of rewriting and revising… but there was a little of this and a little of that. Originally, when I got to that point of the story that needed the prophecy revealed/scrolls translated, I just wrote the poem. I was reading a lot of poetry right then—romantic poetry, of all things. Nothing like the riddled mess in The Remedy!—but it came rather swiftly and was kind of a fun way to go about figuring out how to turn riddles—riddles that I wasn’t even sure what they meant, myself!—into actual scenes and settings. But both the poem and the action it led to were revised countless times before the final version of The Remedy was published.

3.      When writing fantasy-like novels, you can’t really do research, so what kind of preparation do you find yourself doing?

Serena: There is always research, even when you’re making up everything about the world. I’ve read a ton of material on weapons, ships, clothing, pirate history, sea creatures, travel times, topography – sometimes you even have to go back and reread your own work to figure out how long it takes a character to get from point A to point B.  I spend a crazy amount of time on Pinterest, finding images that speak to the story. (I have boards for the Eyes of E’veria series as well as one specifically for Book Three!) But the biggest way I prep for writing? Believe it or not, I listen to a lot of music. I know the basic structure of the book going in (especially with this series, since I’m starting each 2-book set with a known fairy tale!) I also have a pretty good idea of the story arc, the theme, and how I want to see the characters grow over the course of the novel. I make a ton of playlists of modern music with lyrics that speak to the characters’ personalities and situations. I burn CDs and take them in my car (some of my best scenes have come to me while driving!) But when it comes to the actual writing? No words, please! While writing, editing, and revising, I listen to instrumental music—mostly movie soundtracks.

4.      What is the ‘one thing’ you wanted to convey to your reader with The Remedy?

Serena: That would be Rynnaia’s realization: “I am known and I am loved.” – I think it is the cry of every heart. We may not go through the sort of identity crisis Rynnaia does over the course of the two books, but we long for the same sense of belonging, of being loved, not only by the people we love, but by God. It’s a pretty big deal. To recognize and accept that, out of all the people in the world, all the beauty, all the universe . . . the One who created it all KNOWS and LOVES you on a personal level? That’s huge. That’s what I hope my readers will see and take to heart through her story.

5.      Can you tell us more about your next project (aka will Cazien’s story be told?)

Serena: Oh, Caz! He is such a popular boy!  I don’t want to give away too much yet . . . but yes, Captain Cazien de Pollis shares the POV spotlight with Erielle de Gladiel in books 3 & 4, which take place fairly quickly after The Remedy’s end. And they are both excessively fun characters to write! But don’t worry: I won’t be finished with Caz at the close of book 4. He’s too much fun! (And I have too much backstory written about him to let it go to waste.) So here’s a little teaser: I have a couple of Eyes of E’veria prequel novellas in the pipeline—and at least one of those is entirely focused on Cazien’s mid-teen years, his “errand”, and his legacy. In that book, our fair pirate is fifteen years old and not yet a captain. That being said, I think readers are anxious to see what will become of Captain Cazien as they “know” him now—at 19/20 years old. Plus, readers are curious to see what comes of all those cryptic remarks he made about Erielle in The Ryn and The Remedy—so I don’t think they’ll mind waiting for that peek back in time!

Thanks for the interview, Embassie! I’m glad you enjoyed the books!

Posted in Interview

Interview of Karen Witemeyer

Thank you for willing to be interviewed!

1.   When you started Short-Straw Bride, did you always know Crockett would get his own story?

At the beginning, I didn’t have much thought to the secondary characters in the novel. But the more I wrote, the more attached I became to all the Archer brothers. By the time Travis and Meredith’s story was complete, I knew I wanted to write Crockett’s story as well. However, my editors had made it clear to me in the past that they preferred I not write series. So I did some begging and some bargaining. I promised to make his story stand alone with new characters and a new setting so it wouldn’t truly be a series, and my editor agreed. Then, when Short-Straw hit the bestseller list and readers started asking for more Archer brothers’ stories, my editor wrote me and said how thankful she was I had pursued that book with Crockett. I couldn’t have been happier.

2.      What was your inspiration behind Stealing the Preacher?

As I mentioned earlier, the inspiration for Stealing the Preacher sparked during the writing of Short-Straw Bride. Crockett Archer played a key role in the story, his smooth, teasing charm a balance to older brother Travis’s gruff, over-protective nature. I knew in my heart that this man deserved a story of his own.

When the Archer brothers were children, growing up alone on their ranch and defending it from those who wanted to take advantage of their youth, Crockett’s niche in the family evolved into that of spiritual mentor and healer. He was in charge of the family devotionals the Archers conducted in lieu of attending a church service, and whenever an injury occurred on the ranch, Crockett was the one to tend it. For years, the Archers never left their land, yet as he grew to manhood, Crockett felt God’s call deepen within him—a call to not only minister to his brothers, but to a congregation of his own.

So what kind of heroine could I create for this noble preacher-to-be? Well, she had to be someone who shared his values and his calling to ministry. But if I left it at that, we’d have an awfully dull story. So to liven things up, I made Joanna Robbins the daughter of a retired outlaw, one who despises “sermonizers” and their hypocritical ways.

Since Crockett is no ordinary preacher, but a gun-toting rancher with a gift for doctoring . . . well, that meant a plot full of scrapes, trouble, and shenanigans. But amid the adventure and romance lies a heartrending tale of God’s pursuit of a single lost soul.

3.      What is the one thing every romance novel should have?

By definition, a romance novel needs to have a sigh-inducing love story at its core which includes a happily-ever-after for the hero and heroine. Of course, I also enjoy a lot of action/adventure, humor, and poignant, dramatic moments along the way.

 4.      You have written a number of books now, do you have a favorite hero or heroine? Or one that stayed with you the longest?

 People often ask me this, and my answer is always: Asking an author to pick a favorite book of hers is like asking a mother to pick her favorite child. It’s just impossible. However, I know that’s a bit of a cop out, so if pressed I will admit that my favorite hero is probably Levi from To Win Her Heart. From overcoming his violent past, to the extreme efforts he made to hide his speech impediment, to the gentle way he challenged Eden to move from surface Christianity to soul-deep faith – he would get my vote for favorite hero.

 5.      Can you tell us something about what you’re working on now?

My next project is actually a novella that features Neill Archer, the final brother in the Archer clan. I just couldn’t let him go without giving him his own happily ever after. Away from the Archer ranch for two years to earn the money needed to start up his own spread with his childhood friend, Josiah, Neill takes a job repairing a little old widow’s roof. Only the widow isn’t old nor is she little. She’s nine months pregnant with her deceased husband’s child, and she meets Neill with a shotgun aimed at his chest.

Neill’s story, A Cowboy Unmatched, will be part of a collection entitled A Match Made in Texas. It releases January 2014 and includes novellas by three other wonderful historical authors: Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Carol Cox.

 

Posted in Interview

Interview of Beth Vogt and Giveaway!

Update: Congrats Kandra! You Won!

Thank you so much for willing to be interviewed!

1.      What was your inspiration behind Catch a Falling Star?

I like to write fiction that is based on real life. The catalyst for Catch a Falling Star was a conversation I had with a friend several years ago. She has a fulfilling life—lots of friends, a satisfying career/ministry, is involved with lots of worthwhile things—and yet some of her dreams haven’t come true yet. And she was asking, “How did I end up here? Did I miss something? Did I take a wrong turn?” And that conversation stuck with me for weeks. Everyone experiences life not going according to plans—the question is: What do you do when life takes a detour?

2.      When you write, do you plot the story out beforehand or are you surprised as to where it takes you?

Yes and yes.  I use The Book Buddy to plot out my novels. The Book Buddy is a marvelous work-text created by best-selling author Susan May Warren that helps you map out your novel. I then fast-draft my novel—and that’s when the surprises happen. I know where I’m going, but there’s always an unexpected plot twist or two. I start writing a scene and end up thinking, “I didn’t know that was going to happen!” Plotting is needed—but I have to give the story room to breathe and lead me a little bit too.

3.      I found Griffin to be such a fascinating character. Was there anyone/anything you based him off of?

Oh, Griffin. Such a fun hero. My husband was in the air force and we made several good friends who were pilots – some helicopter pilots and some jet pilots. Getting to know them, I discovered that pilots can balance the demands of that career field and their faith. But other than that, Griffin was created in my own head. I think anyone who has been single for a long time gets rather set in their ways—and that was true for Griffin (and Kendall, my heroine).

4.      Your novel deals with a lot of medicine (Kendall is a doctor) as well as issues with adoption. How much research did you have to do?

I had to do a fair amount of research for the medical aspects of the book, especially since I created an imaginary herbal supplement. Even made up, it had to be based in plausible reality. Thankfully, my husband is a physician, so he’s my very-close-at-hand expert. The adoption subplot came about because one of my closest friends has adopted two children. I’ve watched her pray over her children, face the challenges, embrace the ministry God has given her. I wanted to address at least some of that in Catch a Falling Star. She read the entire manuscript, but I especially wanted her feedback on Evie’s story.

5.      Can you tell us a little about what you are currently working on?

I’m finishing up book #3, which is titled Somebody Like You. It’s also a contemporary romance, and it has twins in it. That’s been fun to write because I have a twin sister. I’m also working on a novella and, like any novelist, I’m already thinking, “What next?”

 

Author Bio:  Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best is often behind the doors marked “Never.” After being a nonfiction writer and editor who said she’d never write fiction, Beth’s debut novel, Wish You Were Here, released in May 2012. Catch a Falling Star releases May 2013. Connect with Beth atbethvogt.com, where she talks with others about quotes through her “In Others’ Words” blog.

Beth Vogt has generously decided to do a giveaway of Catch a Falling Star! All you need to be entered into the running is to leave a comment. The giveaway ends May 24th. Please include your email address. If you are the winner, you have 48 hours to respond to the email that will be sent to you. To start the conversation going: Are there any dreams of yours that you’re still waiting to come true?

Posted in Interview

Interview of Becky Wade And Undeniably Yours Giveaway!

Update: Congrats Ganise! You Won!

 

*Disclaimer: This interview is posted on Becky Wade’s website. She has given permission for it to be posted here. And frankly, the questions were so much like I would have asked, I thought they were great for today.

1.What inspired you to write Undeniably Yours?

I was inspired by Regency-era love stories I read growing up that featured wealthy and aristocratic heroines paired with brave-hearted, common-born heroes.  I write contemporary romance and so it was great fun for me to bring these character types into a modern Texas setting and give their storyline my own unique twist.

2.What is the book’s theme?

Undeniably Yours is about a woman’s journey from weakness to strength.  She’s able to find that strength, little by little, as she trusts in God’s power and plan.

3.How would you describe your writer’s voice?

My voice is funny, authentic, and modern.  I write love stories about imperfect people redeemed by a perfect God.  It’s my hope that my books will charm and entertain my readers, while simultaneously stirring their emotions and encouraging their faith.

4.Is Undeniably Yours part of a series?

All of my books stand alone.  They each tell a complete story in and of themselves.  At the same time, I’ve long wanted to write a group of books about members of the same family, and starting withUndeniably Yours, I’ll have that chance!  Undeniably Yours is the first of four books about the Porter family from Holley, Texas.  Each book will detail the story of a different sibling.

5.What was your reaction when your CBA debut novel, My Stubborn Heart, was recently named a finalist for the RITA award?

Joy!  I was so conscious, when I received the news, that God is the one worthy of recognition for the creation of My Stubborn Heart.  I believe that it’s not me who writes, so much as it’s me who steps out of the way and seeks to let God write books through me.

The nomination also filled me with gratitude for the people responsible for bringing the book to publication.  My agent believed in it from the beginning.  My editor, Sarah Long, championed and improved the manuscript.  Everyone at Bethany House — from the editorial staff, to the cover designer, to the marketing and sales teams — lent it amazing support.

Becky Wade has graciously offered to give away a copy of Undeniably Yours two weeks from today on May 17th! All you need to do to win is leave a comment and a winner will be randomly selected. I ask that you please include your email address. So, to get conversation started what is one thing you like about a Becky Wade novel or what is the first thing you would do if you found out you inherited millions?

Posted in Interview

Interview of Ronie Kendig

Thank you for willing to be interviewed!

1.      When writing military fiction, what comes first, the people or the situation? Almost every time when I write my fiction, the characters come to me first. Before I step into the tricky—sometimes muddy—waters of the plot, I make sure I know the characters. To me, that’s essential because in order to know how the plot plays out, you have to know what your characters will do in the situations the plot presents.

2.      You have a couple of different countries and cultures represented in Talon. How much research did you have to do for Talon? There is always an incredible amount of research. I’m easily distracted, so I often have to turn off the internet to write, but in doing so, I also end up cutting off a tap for information. Research doesn’t necessarily come before I write. It’s an active part of my process. I’ll get my characters into a  situation, want them to do “X,” and wonder—can they even do that? And off I go to dig out the plausibility from research tools, either via email, books, or internet searches.

3.      When you started writing the A Breed Apart Series, how far in advance do you plan the subplots of the other main characters? Or do they surprise you? Subplots often develop of their own accord in my stories and/or develop organically from the characters or something else already happening in the story. Sometimes, however, they are a plot device I use to give readers a peek into another aspect of the story. For example, while writing the third book in the series, Beowulf: Explosives Detection Dog, I needed readers to see a different viewpoint to what was happening. . .and I wanted something a little different, so I gave a minor character a very prominent subplot role. The effect—at least to me and my editor—was incredibly powerful.

4.      You have written quite a few novels. Has there been any one character that has stayed with you the longest? Max Jacobs is still *right there* in my mind. He’s a commanding character, and I just haven’t felt as if he’s been willing to step down and leave me alone. I still would love to see him take center stage in a movie or made-for-TV drama or something. The guy has a lot of “presence” and skills.

5.      Can you tell us about what you’re working on now? Currently, I am working on Raptor Six, the first book in the Quiet Professionals. This series focuses on the OA452 group (Green Berets) that readers meet through the A Breed Apart books. I think readers will really enjoy this series because there is a constant team-camaraderie that is similar to the Discarded Heroes series. . .but maybe a smidge more intense.

Posted in Interview

Interview of Morgan Busse

Thanks for willing to be interviewed!

1.      Since this is book two in a series (and I’ve heard those can be tricky books to write) what was the one thing you wanted to accomplish in Son of Truth?

My goal with each book I write is to leave a piece of the story inside the reader; that the reader will resonate with one of the characters or plot lines. Son of Truth explores the issues of how does a person change after a spiritual encounter? What happens to one’s faith when God doesn’t come through? Why does God allow bad things to happen? If my readers walks away with the story still brewing inside their mind, I feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.

 2.      Which novel has been the easiest for you to write? Daughter of Light or Son of Truth?

Son of Truth was by far easier. Daughter of Light went through many rough drafts and rewrites as I was learning the craft of writing. When I wrote Son of Truth, I was able to focus more on the story and less on learning how to write. I also knew the characters and plot, so writing Son of Truth was merely continuing the story.

 3.      When writing sci-fi/fantasy, what are some constraints you come up against, if any?

The reaction of people. Really J. For the longest time I hid what I wrote because some of the people I knew viewed fantasy and science fiction as wrong. Of course, now everyone knows what I write. But people can still be hesitant to pick up my book because they think it will be “too weird”; that it will be filled with elves and dwarves and dragons and stuff. They think they won’t be able to relate to my book. Getting past people’s prohibitions is the biggest hurdle I have. But when I do, I have readers coming up to me saying they never read fantasy, but they loved my book. And that makes my day!

 4.      You have a lot of great characters: Rowen, Lore, Caleb, and Nierne. Is there any specific inspiration for any of them? Or did they just unfold as the story was told?

Every story I write begins with an image of a character. I look at them and ask: “Who are you?” “Where do you come from?” “How did you end up here?” When I first met Rowen, I saw her in the field with the wolves attacking (a scene from Daughter of Light). When I first met Caleb, he was assassinating a man (another scene from Daughter of Light). Lore morphed from a very hard, cold man, to the Captain of the Guard. And I met Nierne in the dungeon after her city was taken over.

As you can see, I met each character and started asking them those questions and the story began to unfold as they revealed who they were and what happened to them.

 5.      Can you tell us anything about book three?

Book 3 will be a book of revelations. Many of the questions I have planted throughout the series will be answered, like what happened to the Eldaran race? Who are the Shadonae? Where did Caleb’s mother come from? Why couldn’t Rowen’s father stop the Shadonae?

Relationships will develop and the fate of the country of Kerre will be revealed. Rowen will meet the Shadonae and the final confrontation will happen. One thing I will say is there will be no family revelations. No Star Wars “I am your father” kind of moments J.