Author Interview & Giveaway with Tara Johnson

We have a special treat today! Author Tara Johnson has stopped by to chat with us about her new book Engraved on the Heart.  I absolutely loved reading this story! There is such depth of feeling in this story, that I’m sure you will love it too! You’ll want to make sure you get a copy of this book to enjoy for yourself! CLICK HERE for my review.

Tara-Johnson

Tara Johnson is a passionate lover of stories, Tara uses fiction, nonfiction, song, and laughter to share her testimony of how God led her into freedom after spending years living shackled as a people pleaser. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and makes her home in Arkansas with her husband and three children. Visit her website and subscribe to her newsletter

Web Page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter //

 

EngravedOnTheHeartReluctant debutante Keziah Montgomery lives beneath the weighty expectations of her staunch Confederate family, forced to keep her epilepsy secret for fear of a scandal. As the tensions of the Civil War arrive on their doorstep in Savannah, Keziah sees little cause for balls and courting. Despite her discomfort, she cannot imagine an escape from her familial confines―until her old schoolmate Micah shows her a life-changing truth that sets her feet on a new path . . . as a conductor in the Underground Railroad.

Dr. Micah Greyson never hesitates to answer the call of duty, no matter how dangerous, until the enchanting Keziah walks back into his life and turns his well-ordered plans upside down. Torn between the life he has always known in Savannah and the fight for abolition, Micah struggles to discern God’s plan amid such turbulent times.

Battling an angry fiancé, a war-tattered brother, bounty hunters, and their own personal demons, Keziah and Micah must decide if true love is worth the price . . . and if they are strong enough to survive the unyielding pain of war.

Grab your copy today!

   Engraved on the Heart

 

Join me in giving a warm welcome to Tara Johnson!

 

cornucopia-1789664_640Q:  What is your favorite season, and why?

Tara:  Autumn. I love the cooler weather, the brilliant colors of the trees, the excitement of the approaching holidays, the loamy scent in the air, pumpkins, hay rides, hot cocoa…it’s an exquisite time of year in my home state of Arkansas.

Trisha:  Autumn is beautiful, for all the reasons you listed above. Where I live we have lots of grape vineyards, and you can smell the grapes! It’s delicious!

 

book-1209805_640Q:  What is the best part of your day?

Tara:  Waking up early and reading my Bible on the front porch while the rest of the house is asleep. It’s blessedly quiet and a beautiful way to start the day.

Trisha:  That sounds like the perfect start to a day!

 

books-315677_640Q:  What are some of your favorite CF reads from 10 years ago, or further?

Tara:  I grew up reading anything by Lori Wick. The Hawk and the Jewel, Pretense, Sophie’s Heart and Wings of the Morning were my favorite. I also loved Lori Copeland’s Brides of the West series and Francine Rivers Mark of the Lion series.

Trisha:  Did you take a peek at my bookshelf?! We could be reading twins! Those are some of my favorites also!

 

mobile-616012_640Q:  If we took a peek at your “recently played” music, who would we find?

Tara:  I have the most strange, eclectic collection of music ever. Being a music major will do that to you. Ha! Scrolling through my playlist looks like this: Matt Maher’s “Lord, I Need You”, Ed Sheeran, Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, David Garrett, the soundtrack from Wicked, Carrie Underwood, Queen and Bethel Music. I love it all.

Trisha:  That sounds like a wonderful collection to music!! I too have a wide collection that I listen to.

 

desk-2158142_640Q:  Did the plotline or the characters come first?

Tara:  For me, it always begins with the characters. Once I know the characters’ fears, childhood memories, passions and goals, the plot falls into place. The reason people are so taken with story in any form, whether it’s a novel, movie, story song, or anything else, is because we’re rooting for the character. What would Star Wars be without Luke Skywalker, or The Wizard of Oz without Dorothy, or Gone with the Wind without Scarlett O’Hara?

Trisha:  I agree! Characters always take center stage for me.

 

book-863418_640Q:  Which character took you by surprise?

Tara:  Micah. I’ll try not to reveal anything here for those who haven’t yet read the story, but Micah’s secret took me by surprise. I was typing along and out it came. The creative process is fascinating that way.

Trisha:  Yes, me too! I didn’t see that coming!

 

baby-1266117_640Q:  What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?

Tara:  Probably midnight at the latest. I’m typically an early bird and do my best work in the morning and early afternoon. Most nights I’m asleep by 10:30 or 11:00.

Trisha:  Sounds like me! I can push myself to stay up until midnight, but more often than not I’m in bed by 11:00 if not before.

 

pencil-918449_640Q:  What is something that didn’t make it into the final copy?

Tara:  I originally wrote a scene that reunited Hiriam with his long-lost daughter. Again, I don’t want to spoil anything but while chatting with my editor, we decided the ending would be more poignant if we left it out. Tough decision!

Trisha:  Hmmm…. that does sound interesting. I have to admit, I like the ending that you settled with.

 

love-2614754_640Q:  What books/stories are you currently working on and how long till we can read more?! (I’m eager to read more amazing stories can you tell?)

Tara:  My second novel Where Dandelions Bloom will release in the summer of 2019, and I’m hard at work on story number three, tentatively titled A Song for Cadence, set to release in the summer of 2020.

Trisha:  I just know they will both be fantastic! I am eager to read more of your wonderful stories! Thank you so very much for taking time to visit with us today and share about your wonderful stories!

*** GIVEAWAY ***

Tara Johnson is giving away 1 (one) copy of her book “Engraved on the Heart”. Winner may choose one print copy or one e-copy. Please review the policies here. Please note that due to shipping cost this print copy is only available to those in the continental USA. The giveaway will be open for one week. At the close of the giveaway period the winner will be contacted via email and announced on this page.

Return daily during the giveaway period to tweet for bonus entries using the Rafflecopter entry form.

 To Enter the Giveaway: 

1.)  Leave a blog post comment answering the following question:
“What are your favorite things about summer?”

2.) CLICK HERE to enter the Rafflecopter entry form.

***** Giveaway Ended *****
Winner: Raechel L.

EngravedOnTheHeart

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Author Interview & Giveaway with Karen Witemeyer

Friends, I am super excited to have Karen Witemeyer visiting with us today!  I have been reading her books since 2011 when her very first book “A Taylor-Made Bride” hit the shelves. I’ve not missed one of her stories, I’ve gobbled them all up like a hungry book dragon. Today, you get a front row seat to our conversation about Karen’s news book More Than Meets the Eye! Grab yourself a drink, a cozy chair and don’t forget to enter the giveaway before you go.

karen-witemeyer

Christy Award finalist and winner of the ACFW Carol Award, National Reader’s Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, and Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes Christian historical romance for Bethany House, believing the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children.

Website // Goodreads // Facebook // Pinterest

 

 

MoreThanMeetsTheEyeMany consider Evangeline Hamilton cursed. Orphaned at a young age and possessing a pair of mismatched eyes–one bright blue, the other dark brown–Eva has fought to find her way in a world that constantly rejects her. Yet the support of even one person can help overcome the world’s judgments, and Eva has two–Seth and Zach, two former orphans she now counts as brothers.

Seeking justice against the man who stole his birthright and destroyed his family, Logan Fowler arrives in 1880s Pecan Gap, Texas, to confront Zach Hamilton, the hardened criminal responsible for his father’s death. Only instead of finding a solitary ruthless gambler, he discovers a man not much older than himself with an unusual family. When Zach’s sister, Evangeline, insists on dousing Logan with sunshine every time their paths cross, Logan finds his quest completely derailed. Who is truly responsible for his lost legacy, and will restoring the past satisfy if it means forfeiting a future with Evangeline?

 

Grab your copy today!

  More Than Meets the Eye

Welcome, Karen!  I’m thrilled to have you visiting with us today and chatting about your latest book release. Let’s get started with a few fun questions and then chat about the book.

Heather'sGardenQ:  What is your favorite season, and why?

Karen:  Spring – I love seeing new life emerge. Wildflowers (especially Texas bluebonnets), budding trees, grass changing from brown to green, baby animals coming into the world – it’s a season of hope.

Trisha:  Yes! Spring is my absolute favorite season as well!

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Q:  What is the best part of your day?

Karen:  The evening. Work is done for the day, dinner dishes are finished, relaxation can begin. Usually this entails sitting in my chair next to my hubby and watching a TV show or two. I usually cross-stitch while he plays on the computer. However, now that it’s summer and the kids don’t have homework to rush off to complete, one or two evenings a week we play board games. Love having the whole family together for a little fun-spirited competition.

Trisha:  Evenings are the ideal time to relax and unwind from a busy day.

 

coffee-2151200_640Q:  What are some of your favorite CF reads from 10 years ago, or further?

Karen:  Christy by Catherine Marshall is my favorite of all time. I also really enjoyed Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

Trisha:  Oh, yes! Two wonderful selections!

 

mobile-616012_640Q:  If we took a peek at your “recently played” music, who would we find?

Karen:  My favorite genres include 80’s love songs, oldies, Christian, and Big Band. So names you might see would include Celtic Woman, Josh Groban, Lauren Daigle, Toby Mac, and Bing Crosby. How’s that for variety?

Trisha:  I love the variety!

 

guy-2609361_640Q:  Did the plotline or the characters come first?

Karen:  In More Than Meets the Eye, I would say that the characters came first. Years ago, I read a book by Julie Garwood called For the Roses where a group of street-toughened New York City urchins find a baby girl that someone had tried to dispose of and they decide to take her in and make a new life for themselves out west. This idea of family bonds being formed through shared hardship really spoke to my heart and came back to me as inspiration when I was brainstorming a new idea for a series. I wanted to bring together a group of orphans and have them create a family for themselves. Then came the idea of the orphan trains, but I needed my orphans not to be chosen by families so I had to give them reasons to be discarded and overlooked. Zach, the oldest, became a loner with a huge chip on his shoulder. Seth came into play as a sickly kid with weak lungs and a poor constitution. But how would I make the cheerful, tenderhearted heroine I envisioned for this story undesirable to adoptive families? That’s when I hit on the idea of heterochromia – or two different colored eyes, something people would see as unnatural and cause their superstitious minds to leap to unsavory conclusions. Once I had these characters in mind, the plot began to grow.

 

alphabets-2365812_640Q:  Which character took you by surprise

Karen:  Well, I don’t want to tell too much, because I want this character to take readers by surprise too, but  I will say that I had no idea this little fellow was going to show up until one of my secondary characters spoke him into existence near the end of Chapter 22. I usually keep a tight rein on my story as I write, so when something surprises me, it’s a rare treat and a keen reminder that, ultimately, I’m not the one in control.

 

coffee-2593577_640Q:  What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?

Karen:  I don’t write at night. That’s my down time. My brain pretty much turns to mush around 8:00 pm and is only good for watching television and handling the occasion family board game. I’m best in the morning or early afternoon. Which means I write a lot over the weekends.

 

correcting-1870721_640Q:  What is something that didn’t make it into the final copy?

Karen:  I don’t write multiple drafts. I write one, very slow, very careful draft so there’s not much chopping that goes on in my manuscripts. (I know. I’m strange.) I have had a time or two when my editor comes back and says a particular scene isn’t working, leaving me to cut or completely rework a section, but that doesn’t happen too often. I have two such scenes posted in the Bonus Material on my website. One is a deleted epilogue cut from my debut novel, A Tailor-Made Bride. The other is a scene removed from A Worthy Pursuit. You can find those here. I didn’t have any large cuts with More Than Meets the Eye. Thank goodness. Those are hard on a writer’s heart.

 

TheChristmasHerloomQ:  What books/stories are you currently working on and how long till we can read more?! (I’m eager to read more amazing stories can you tell?)

Karen:  I have two upcoming projects. The first is a fun Christmas anthology where I got to team up with authors like Kristi Ann Hunter, Sarah Loudin Thomas, and Becky Wade. The concept is a family heirloom that is handed down from mother to daughter across the generations – an heirloom that brings true love to its owner, often when least expected. This was my first stand-alone novella, and I had so much fun writing it. In fact, my Facebook group, The Posse, helped me plot the story and brought in a four-legged critter that ended up playing a key matchmaking role in the story. The Christmas Heirloom releases on October 2.

The second project is a sequel to More Than Meets the Eye. Older brother Zach Hamilton meets his match in an independent baker who ignores his death grip on bachelorhood and bargains him into a marriage of convenience. Secrets with the power to destroy their happiness loom and a vengeful villain with the power to destroy their lives sabotage them at every turn. The working title is More Than Words Can Say, and it is slated for release next June.

Thanks so much for having me!

Trisha:  Thank you, for visiting. It has been a pleasure to chat with you! Friends, Karen is generously giving away an autographed print copy of More Than Meets the Eye. Read below for the details!

 

***** GIVEAWAY *****

Karen is giving away 1 (one) autographed print copy of “More Than Meets the Eye”. Please note: Due to shipping cost this giveaway is only open to those with U.S mailing addresses.

Please review the policies here. The giveaway will be open for one week. At the close of the giveaway period the winner will be contacted via email and announced on this page.

Return daily during the giveaway period to tweet for bonus entries using the Rafflecopter entry form.

 To Enter the Giveaway: 

1.)  Leave a blog post comment answering the following question:
“Have you read one of Karen’s books before? If yes, do you have a favorite?”

2.) CLICK HERE to enter the Rafflecopter entry form.

**** Giveaway Ended ****

Congratulations Billie B.

Author Interview: Rachel Fordham

Greetings reader friends! I’m super excited to have Rachel Fordham visiting with us today! I’m thrilled to be able to introduce you to Rachel. Over the past few months, we’ve chatted several times. Rachel has a big heart for children, and families and she has a exceptional talent for weaving together words into a beautiful story that dances across your imagination and pulls you in.

RachelFordham Rachel Fordham has long been fascinated by all things historical or in the words of her children “old stuff”. Often the historical trivia she discovers is woven into her children’s bedtime tales. Despite her love for good stories she didn’t attempt writing a novel until her husband challenged her to do so (and now she’s so glad he did). Since that time she’s often been found typing or researching while her youngest child naps or frantically writing plot twists while she waits in the school pick-up line. In addition to her passion for storytelling she enjoys reading, being outdoors and seeing new places. Rachel lives with her husband and children on an island in Washington state.

Web Page // Goodreads // Facebook //

BONUS: Rachel is offering a FREE ebook; visit her webpage for more details!

For those who haven’t yet heard of Rachel’s book, The Hope of Azure Springs, let’s take a look at what this story is about.

The Hope of Azure Springs 

TheHopeOfAzureSpringsSeven years ago, orphaned and alone, Em finally arrived at a new home in Iowa after riding the orphan train. But secrets from her past haunt her, and her new life in the Western wilderness is a rough one. When her guardian is shot and killed, Em, now nineteen, finally has the chance to search for her long-lost sister, but she won’t be able to do it alone.

For Azure Springs Sheriff Caleb Reynolds, securing justice for the waifish and injured Em is just part of his job. He’s determined to solve every case put before him in order to impress his parents and make a name for himself. Caleb expects to succeed. What he doesn’t expect is the hold this strange young woman will have on his heart.

Debut author Rachel Fordham invites historical romance readers to the charming town of Azure Springs, Iowa, where the people care deeply for one another and, sometimes, even fall in love.

CLICK HERE to add to The Hope of Azure Springs to your Goodreads List

 

Q:  Are you a coffee or tea drinker?

Rachel:  Neither. I am about as boring as they come. I prefer water and I don’t even like it too cold. I want to be able to take a huge drink and not burn or freeze my throat.

 

Q:  What is your favorite dessert?

 Rachel:  I’m currently trying to break my sugar addiction but with little success. I LOVE all treats. My favorite is anything homemade. Maybe because I like baking. I love the smells and the process. I love baking with my kids. A really well-made chocolate chip cookies are a favorite (hmmm…I might actually like the dough better).

 

Q:  What would be your dream vacation?

Rachel:  In the past, I would have said Jerusalem or Italy. Some exotic destination. The older I’ve gotten my dreams have changed a little. I’d love to go live somewhere else long enough to really know the people and help out if I could.

We do have a family goal to see all fifty states and are getting pretty close.

 

Q:  If they were to make a movie of The Hope of Azure Springs, who would you choose to play the hero & heroine?

Rachel:   That is so hard. I doubt anyone would fit with the characters I’ve created in my head. Maybe readers of this post can help.

Em is often described as plain (some townspeople call her much worse). She has stringy yellow hair. She is thin and freckled with a scar up one of her arms. That’s her physical description but we’d need to find an actor that when we first see her we don’t think much of her but then as we get to know her we realize that they are possessing true beauty. The kind that is often overlooked initially but that is pure and shines past any outer shell.

Caleb is the type of man you’d stop and stare at. He’s a sheriff and rugged with dark hair and usually a little scruff on his face. Pretty much he’s your classic heart-throb with a bit of country flair. His personality though is a man that comes across as all seriousness but underneath is a man with feelings and worries of his own.

 

 

Q:  Where did your inspiration for The Hope of Azure Springs come from?

 Rachel:   I have always had a soft spot in my heart for orphans and foster children. When I heard about the orphan trains I wanted to build a story around that. It grew from there!

 

Q:  Did you have a favorite character while writing The Hope of Azure Springs?

Rachel:   Margaret is a character that started out just being a plot device and ended up being a woman I’d love to live next door to and pick her brain for wisdom and laugh with. I adored her!

 

 

Q:  Did anything surprise you during your research for The Hope of Azure Springs?

Rachel:   When researching orphan trains I realized there were a lot of experiences. Some were beautiful stories of lost children finding homes and families. Others found homes where there was no comfort. They were neglected and abused. I tried to write a book that showed both sides of this piece of history. More than anything I realized these train riders were real people and I wanted to tell that story.

 

 

Q:  What book are you currently working on and how long till we can read more?!

Rachel:   My next book with Revell is due out in 2019. It’s not a sequel but does pass through Azure Springs so we get to revisit some of the same people (yay!). It begins at the Dead Letter Office in Washington DC. I have always loved letters and so this was not only fun to research but fun to write. What would you do with a letter that comes into your hands, speaks to your soul but isn’t meant for you?

 

Pre-order your copy today!

The Hope of Azure Springs

Author Interview & Giveaway: Meghan M. Gorecki

Welcome, reader friends! I’m thrilled to have Meghan M. Gorecki joining us today to talk about her debut book Amongst The Roses.

Meghan GoreckiMeghan M. Gorecki is an author of inspirational fiction about what God can make beautiful from the ashes of history, and hearts. A lover and avid studier of people, times gone by, and fiction, she has been writing since childhood and now houses her books under Northern Belle Publishing. Coffee and red lipstick color her days as a redhead from a box, alongside her treasured tribe of family and friends in her beloved hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Connect with her on social media and at her blog/website at: northernbellemeg.com
Northern Belle Publishing

Amazon // Facebook // Goodreads // Instagram // Twitter

 

About the Book

AmongstTheRosesThe War Between the States shakes Margaret Bryant out of her comfortable upper-class life when her father enlists in the Army of the Potomac. Despite being safely ensconced above the Mason-Dixon Line in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Margaret finds her strength tested by opposition from familiar faces and Confederate threats. Will she let a young man from a lesser station into her heart even as war rages ever nearer to the home front?

 Restless Connor Doyle sees the war as a way to escape from his family’s farm and his identity as a poor Irishman’s son. His brother, Adam, torn between duty to country and his family, enlists alongside Connor. Adam dares to hope in a future with Margaret when he begins a courtship correspondence from the war front. The two brothers make a vow to protect one another at all costs, but when faced with death and destruction from all sides—will they be able to uphold it?

 The three bloodiest days in America’s history bring these three together at Gettysburg and tragedy’s cruelty threatens to tear two hearts apart—and bring two unlikely allies together.

  Amongst the Roses

 

Welcome, Meghan! I’m so happy you could join us today to chat about your new book! Let’s start out with a few fun getting to know you questions, and then talk about the book.

Q:  What is your favorite season, and why?
Meghan:
  Autumn. It’s such a sigh of relief after a sweltering summer. Everything is more gold and bright and crisp. I just love it.

 

Q:  What is the best part of your day?
Meghan:
  My mornings and time with Jesus. Once my feet are out of bed, I’m a morning person. It’s just getting there that’s sometimes tricky. LOL

 

Q:  What are some of your favorite CF reads from 10 years ago, or further?
Meghan:
  Anything by Lynn Austin—the Refiner’s Fire trilogy was incredible and I read it through multiple times. SO rich in historical detail and with powerful spiritual themes through out.

 

Q:  If we took a peek at your “recently played” music, who would we find?
Meghan:
  A lot of Bethel Music worship songs. J

 

Q:  Did the plotline or the characters come first?
Meghan:
  Oh the plot for sure. I let the history dictate it. And despite how long the characters had been in my head (since grade school!) they took their good old sweet time revealing themselves to me as I tried to write.

 

Q:  Which character took you by surprise?
Meghan:
  Adam. He really developed into a solid, interesting character that I was happy with how he turned out even though he didn’t turn out as I’d expected in a lot of ways.

 

Q:  What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?
Meghan:
  Only once or twice—one in the morning. I probably ended up deleting what I’d attempted writing. LOL I write well early in the morning. Not late at night.

 

Q:  What is something that didn’t make it into the final copy?
Meghan:
  Most of the first third of the original draft LOL. I couldn’t remove a whole lot because of the history I wanted to ensure stayed in the book—but you can bet during the last two rounds of edits I cut and combined scenes a lot. It needed it, LOL.

 

Q:  What books/stories are you currently working on and how long till we can read more?! (I’m eager to read more amazing stories can you tell?)
Meghan:
  Right now my only writing goal is to finish A Rose Long Awaited and release it in the fall, hopefully. Then, only God knows. The life season I’m in now still has room for writing—but there’s also a lot more tugging at my heart and my time, so I’m just along for wherever God takes me.

Thank you, Meghan for visiting with us today and letting us take a glimpse into your life and this delightful book Amongst the Roses.

 

*** GIVEAWAY ***

Meghan Gorecki is giving away  1 (one) digital copy of her book “Amongst the Roses”. Please review the policies here. The giveaway will be open for one week. At the close of the giveaway period the winner will be contacted via email and announced on this page.

Return daily during the giveaway period to tweet for bonus entries using the Rafflecopter entry form.

 

 To Enter the Giveaway: 

1.)  Leave a blog post comment answering the following question:
“What is your favorite flower?”

2.) CLICK HERE to enter the Rafflecopter entry form.

Giveaway Graphic

 

**** Giveaway Ended ****

Congratulations Mindy H.

Author Interview & Giveaway: Michelle Griep

I have a special guest vising with us today! Grab a hot drink and a chair and settle in for a fun interview. Allow me to introduce our Author guest, Michelle Griep.

2754194  I hear voices. Loud. Incessant. And very real. Which basically gives me two options: choke back massive amounts of Prozac or write fiction. I chose the latter. Way cheaper. I’ve been writing since I discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. I seek to glorify God in all that I write…except for that graffiti phase I went through as a teenager. Oops. Did I say that out loud?

Web Page // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Goodreads

Join us as we chat about Michelle’s latest released book, The Innkeeper’s Daughter. For those not familiar with this wonderful story, be sure to click here to read my review.

The Innkeepers DaughterDover, England, 1808: Officer Alexander Moore goes undercover as a gambling gentleman to expose a high-stakes plot against the king—and he’s a master of disguise, for Johanna Langley believes him to be quite the rogue. . .until she can no longer fight against his unrelenting charm.

All Johanna wants is to keep the family inn afloat, but when the rent and the hearth payment are due at the same time, where will she find the extra funds? If she doesn’t come up with the money, there will be nowhere to go other than the workhouse—where she’ll be separated from her ailing mother and ten-year-old brother.

Alex desperately wants to help Johanna, especially when she confides in him, but his mission—finding and bringing to justice a traitor to the crown—must come first, or they could all end up dead.

The Innkeepers Daughter

Welcome, Michelle!  I’m so happy to have you here chatting with us today about The Innkeeper’s Daughter. Let’s start out with a few getting to know you questions, and then we’ll dive right into the book.

Q:  Are you a coffee or tea drinker? 

Michelle:  Yes. Both. But I had to switch to decaf recently.

Trisha:  I too enjoy both coffee and tea.

 

Q:  What is your favorite dessert?

Michelle:  Anything chocolate. Dark’s my favorite but I won’t snub milk.

Trisha:  Yes! Love chocolate!

 

Q:  What would be your dream vacation? 

Michelle:  England . . . which I happen to be going to in May! Woohoo! And my favorite place in all of England is Ironbridge. It’s like visiting the Shire.

Trisha:  That’s wonderful! Do you have enough room for a stowaway?! I’m sure that you will have a marvelous time!

 

Q:  If they were to make a movie of The Innkeepers Daughter, who would you choose to play the hero & heroine? 

Michelle:  Alexander Moore is Chris Hemsworth, and Johanna Langley is Rachel Weisz.

You can see their pictures plus the other characters at my Pinterest board: https://www.pinterest.com/michellegriep/the-innkeepers-daughter/

Trisha:  I enjoy seeing all the wonderful pictures you collected for your inspiration board on Pinterest!

 

Q:  Where did your inspiration for The Innkeepers Daughter come from?

Michelle:  I visited Dover a few years back. Roaming the white cliffs and following old smuggler trails made me wonder what those smugglers might be like.

Trisha:  I can almost picture you there!

 

Q:  Did you have a favorite character while writing The Innkeepers Daughter?

Michelle:  Lucius Nutbrown, hands down. Who wouldn’t want to talk only through a puppet?

Trisha:  He was quite the unique character!

 

Q:  Did anything surprise you during your research for The Innkeepers Daughter?

Michelle:  Learning about Congreve rockets was super interesting. I love the tie-in with America as they were used during the war of 1812, and that’s where we get the line in the Star Spangled Banner “and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air.”

Trisha:  Learning about those rockets is interesting!

 

Q:  What books/stories are you currently working on and how long till we can read more?! 

Michelle:  Thatcher is the spy-sidekick of Alex in The Innkeeper’s Daughter and now I’m working on his story (which will be the 3rd and final Bow Street Runner book). Here’s a blurb:

Life couldn’t be better for Abigail Gilbert—but it’s been a long time in coming. Having lived with a family who hated her, it’s finally her time for love. Abby sets off on a journey across England to marry one of the most prestigious gentlemen in the land—until highwaymen upset her plans and threaten her life.

Horse patrol captain Daniel Thatcher arrives just in time to save Abby. But she’s simply another victim in a job he’s come to despise. Tired of the dark side of humanity, he intends to buy land and retire.

Abby pleads with him to escort her for the rest of her journey. He refuses—until she offers him something he desperately needs to achieve his goal . . . money. Delivering her safely will give him more than enough to buy property.

So begins an impossible trek for the cynical lawman and the proper lady. Each will be indelibly changed by the time they reach her betrothed, if they don’t kill one another first—or fall in love.

Trisha:  I’m so happy that Daniel Thatcher is getting his own story! I can’t wait to read all about his adventure!  Thank you again, Michelle for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to visit with us today.

*** GIVEAWAY ***

Michelle Griep is giving away 1 (one) copy of her book “The Innkeeper’s Daughter” Please review the policies here. Please note that due to shipping cost this print copy is only available to those in the continental USA. The giveaway will be open for one week. At the close of the giveaway period the winner will be contacted via email and announced on this page.

Return daily during the giveaway period to tweet for bonus entries using the Rafflecopter entry form.

 To Enter the Giveaway: 

1.)  Leave a blog post comment answering the following question:
“Who is your favorite fictional Spy?”

2.) CLICK HERE to enter the Rafflecopter entry form.

 

*** Giveaway Ended ***
Congratulations: Nicole Cook

 

 

Author Interview & Giveaway with Sarah Sundin – The Sea Before Us

Welcome reader friends! I am super excited to have Sarah Sundin visiting with us today.

SarahSundinSarah Sundin enjoys writing about the drama and romance of the World War II era. She is the author of The Sea Before Us(coming February 6, 2018), the Waves of Freedom series (Through Waters Deep, Anchor in the Storm, When Tides Turn), the Wings of the Nightingale series, and the Wings of Glory series. Her novels Through Waters Deep and When Tides Turnwere named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years.” Through Waters Deep won the 2016 INSPY Award and was a Carol Award finalist.

A mother of three, Sundin lives in northern California. She works on-call as a hospital pharmacist and teaches Sunday school and women’s Bible studies. She enjoys speaking to community, church, and writers’ groups.

Web Page // Goodreads // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest //

For those who may haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading this wonderful story is one you won’t want to miss out on reading! To read more check out my review (click here).

TheSeaBeforeUsIn 1944, American naval officer Lt. Wyatt Paxton arrives in London to prepare for the Allied invasion of France. He works closely with Dorothy Fairfax, a “Wren” in the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Dorothy pieces together reconnaissance photographs with thousands of holiday snapshots of France–including those of her own family’s summer home–in order to create accurate maps of Normandy. Maps that Wyatt will turn into naval bombardment plans.

As the two spend concentrated time together in the pressure cooker of war, their deepening friendship threatens to turn to love. Dorothy must resist its pull. Her bereaved father depends on her, and her heart already belongs to another man. Wyatt too has much to lose. The closer he gets to Dorothy, the more he fears his efforts to win the war will destroy everything she has ever loved.

The tense days leading up to the monumental D-Day landing blaze to life under Sarah Sundin’s practiced pen with this powerful new series.

  The Sea Before Us (Sunrise at Normandy #1)

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Sarah Sundin! Thank you Sarah for vising with us today and taking time out of your busy writing schedule to answer a few questions.

Q: What is your favorite season, and why?

Sarah: Autumn. I’m a November baby, I adored going back to school, and I love cool weather.

Trisha:  Autumn sure is a beautiful season! I love all the colors. It’s like nature’s last hurrah before winter sets in.

 

Q: What is the best part of your day?

Sarah: Early afternoon to early evening is my most productive time. I’m not a morning person, so I’m barely coherent before noon. In the afternoon my creativity and energy finally arrive. And then my husband comes home from work, which makes my day. And not just because he’s the one who loves to entertain our high-maintenance yellow lab.

Trisha: Evening is family time in our house also. It’s my favorite part of the day!

 

Q: What are some of your favorite CF reads from 10 years ago, or further?

Sarah: Before 2000, I’d read little Christian fiction, other than This Present Darkness and the Left Behind series. Our kids were still little, and taking time to read felt almost selfish. When I started writing in 2000—and I knew I wanted to write for the Christian market—I had a good excuse to begin reading again. I started with Robin Jones Gunn’s Glenbrooke series and loved the combination of romance, faith, humor, and realistic characters.

Trisha:  Sounds like you picked out some good stories!

 

Q:  If we took a peek at your “recently played” music, who would we find?

Sarah:  Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, the Andrews Sisters, Harry James, and Artie Shaw.

Trisha:  I should have guessed! You know, too love listening to these singers/artists. Now I have the song “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” playing in my head, I sang that song in choir! My grandmother use to play “In The Mood” by Glenn Miller on her record player and we’d dance with the broom and dust cloth while cleaning. Fun memories!

 

Q: Did the plotline or the characters come first?

Sarah:  At the “big picture” level, the plotline for the Sunrise at Normandy series came first—I wanted to have three brothers fighting on D-day from the sea, the air, and the ground. To make it work, the brothers had to be estranged. Once I knew that, the characters came to life and drove the plots for each of the three novels.

Trisha: I’m really looking forward to reading the other two brother’s stories!

 

Q:  Which character took you by surprise?

Sarah:  Mr. Fairfax, the father of the heroine, Dorothy Fairfax. World War II has caused him great suffering, and he doesn’t bear grief well. He started off in my mind as a fairly negative character, but I grew to have great sympathy for him, and I love how he grew during the story. The scene that made my cry when writing involves Mr. Fairfax and Dorothy.

Trisha:  Yes, I think I know what scene you are talking about with Dorthy and Mr. Fairfax!

 

Q:  What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?

Sarah:  In college, I was the queen of the all-nighters. I can’t do that anymore. My husband has been a good influence on me, and I keep regular hours (my eighteen-year-old self is SO ashamed of me). So the latest I stayed up writing The Sea Before Us would be 10 pm. But usually I wrap up my writing for the day by 6 pm.

Trisha:  Oh, I’m with you! My ability to stay up super late, has diminished.

 

Q:  What is something that didn’t make it into the final copy?

Sarah:  Nothing actually. I’m an outline-oriented writer, and I think through my plots before I start the rough drafts. But something appeared in The Sea Before Us that wasn’t in my original draft—the prologue. Three years before the story begins, a tragic string of events thrust the three Paxton brothers apart. In my original draft, this story was revealed by Wyatt Paxton in conversation and memories. But it felt kind of flat. I played with the idea of adding the incident in a prologue, but kept rejecting the idea. When I turned the manuscript in to my editor, I mentioned the idea of a prologue. She said, “Write it now!” So I did. It only took about two hours, because I already knew what happened and I’d already imagined the scene from the perspective of each brother. It flew! And it was probably the most emotional scene I’ve ever written—it really shook me up. I’m getting great feedback from readers, so I’m very glad I added it!

Trisha: I’m glad you added the prologue! That was fantastic!

 

Q:  What books/stories are you currently working on and how long till we can read more?! (I’m eager to read more amazing stories can you tell?)

Sarah:  The Sky Above Us will be released in early 2019. It features Adler Paxton, a P-51 fighter pilot who flies over Normandy on D-day, and Violet Lindstrom, a Red Cross worker at Adler’s air base. I just finished my publisher’s first edits on the novel, and I’ve seen the early work on the cover! Can’t wait to see the official book cover! The last book in the series, The Land Beneath Us, will be released in early 2020, and it tells the story of Clay Paxton, an Army Ranger on D-day.

Trisha:  I’m super excited to read Adler’s story and Clay’s as well! Thank you so much for visiting today!

*** GIVEAWAY ***

Sarah Sundin is giving away 1 (one) print copy of her book “The Sea Before Us” Please review the policies here. Please note that due to shipping cost this print copy is only available to those in the continental USA. The giveaway will be open for one week. At the close of the giveaway period the winner will be contacted via email and announced on this page.

Return daily during the giveaway period to tweet for bonus entries using the Rafflecopter entry form.

 To Enter the Giveaway: 

1.)  Leave a blog post comment answering the following question:
“Do you stay up late reading? What is the latest you’ve stayed up reading?”

2.) CLICK HERE to enter the Rafflecopter entry form.

 

* * * * *  GIVEAWAY ENDED * * * * * 

Winner is: Tami L.

 

TheSeaBeforeUs1

Author Interview & Giveaway with Jocelyn Green – A Refuge Assured

Welcome, Friends! I’m so very excited to introduce you to today’s special guest. It is a pleasure to have Jocelyn Green visiting with us today.

JocelynGreenJocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the King; Wedded to War; and The 5 Love Languages Military Edition, which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. She graduated from Taylor University in Upland, Indiana, with a B.A. in English, concentration in writing. She is an active member of the Christian Authors Network, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Military Writers Society of America. She loves Mexican food, Broadway musicals, Toblerone chocolate bars, the color red, and reading on her patio. Jocelyn lives with her husband Rob and two children in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

 Web Page // Goodreads // Twitter // Facebook //

You can pick up a copy of Jocelyn’s latest book  “A Refuge Assured” at your local bookstore. CLICK HERE to read my review.

 

A Refuge AssuredLacemaker Vivienne Rivard never imagined her craft could threaten her life. Yet in revolutionary France, it is a death sentence when the nobility, and those associated with them, are forced to the guillotine. Vivienne flees to Philadelphia, but danger lurks in the French Quarter, as revolutionary sympathizers begin to suspect a young boy left in her care might be the Dauphin. Can the French settlement Asylum offer permanent refuge?

Militiaman Liam Delaney proudly served in the American Revolution, but now that the new government has imposed an oppressive tax that impacts his family, he barely recognizes the democracy he fought for. He wants only to cultivate his hard-won farm near Asylum, but he soon finds himself drawn into the escalating tension of the Whiskey Rebellion. When he meets a beautiful young Frenchwoman recently arrived from Paris, they are drawn together in surprising ways to fight for the peace and safety for which they long.

 

Please join me in giving Jocelyn a warm welcome! Jocelyn, it is a pleasure to have you here today! Let’s get started with our interview. 

Q:  What is your favorite season, and why?

Jocelyn:  Spring. The increase of daylight after a long Iowa winter always takes me by surprise and fills me with joy. The warmer temperatures and reappearance of grass and leaves and all flowering things really do feel like an annual rebirth.

Trisha: Oh, Spring is my favorite also! The flowers returning, things turning green, warmth, sunshine, birds singing, I love it all!

 
Q:  What is the best part of your day?

Jocelyn:  The part where I’m drinking coffee. 😊 Usually that’s in the morning before the kids are up, but it can be early afternoon on occasion, too. But that’s a tie with family dinner time. I love having everyone together to talk about our day. When we don’t do it, I really miss it and notice a disconnect.

Trisha:  Mmmm….Coffee! Yes! Family time is so important!

 

Q:  What are some of your favorite CF reads from 10 years ago, or further?

Jocelyn:  Brock and Bodie Thoene’s Zion Covenant series, for sure!

Trisha: Yes! I too enjoyed reading that series!

 

Q:  If we took a peek at your “recently played” music, who would we find?

Jocelyn:  Mozart, Christmas music sung by monks, and on Pandora, “The Civil Wars” artists.

Trisha:  I enjoy listening to instrumental music when I read & write. I find it helps erase background noise. I enjoy finding out what others listen to.

 

Q:  Did the plotline or the characters come first?

Jocelyn:  My first response would be characters, but both the hero and heroine would not be who they are without the plot. So here’s what I had to work with first: a lacemaker (character) fleeing from the French Revolution and seeking asylum in America (plot). Plus a veteran of the Revolutionary War (character) struggling to work out what independence means in America’s young democracy (plot). They are so intertwined, it’s hard for me to separate them.

Trisha:  Thus far, for me it’s been all about the characters when I’m starting a story. I enjoy hearing how authors approach a new story.

 

Q:  Which character took you by surprise

Jocelyn:  Both Armand and Paulette took me by surprise. Paulette played a role I didn’t know she would until late in the process, and Armand—well, that man popped into the pension at Le Havre at the  beginning of the novel when I didn’t even know he would be in the book at all. But I’m SO GLAD he showed up, because his relationship with Vivienne, the heroine, was a rich subplot that added dimension to both characters and plot.

Trisha:  Yes, both of those two took me by surprise as well. Paulette more so than Armand.

 

Q:  What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?

Jocelyn:  I don’t remember! It probably wouldn’t impress you. It’s far more likely for me to go to bed at a normal hour and get up early (5 am is typical, 3 am or 4 am is not unheard of).

Trisha:  My goal is to go to bed around 11 pm.  Often a good story will keep me up past that. But rarely do I ever wake up before 6 am. I’d rather sleep in. 🙂

 

Q:  What is something that didn’t make it into the final copy?

Jocelyn:  I have gobs to choose from, since I cut out so much. Here’s one: in early drafts, I had a couple of extra characters who served as tutors for Henri in Philadelphia, but they didn’t have enough to do to make it worth their existence on the page, so I cut them out. I figured readers have enough characters to keep straight as it is. I also cut out lots of sighing, inhaling deeply, gazing, and clearing throats. 😊

Trisha:  Now I’m curious, if you have ever saved one of those characters you chopped out and used them in another book later?

 

Q:  What books/stories are you currently working on and how long till we can read more?! (I’m eager to read more amazing stories can you tell?)

Jocelyn:  I’m currently working on the next novel to release from Bethany House in 2019. It’s set in the French and Indian War and is set in Montreal and Quebec. Thank you for being an eager reader!

Trisha: Yay! A new historical to watch for! I look forward to hearing more!

 

*** GIVEAWAY ***

 Jocelyn Green is giving away 1 (one) print copy of her book “A Refuge Assured” Please review the policies here. Please note that due to shipping cost this print copy is only available to those in the continental USA. The giveaway will be open for one week. At the close of the giveaway period the winner will be contacted via email and announced on this page.

Return daily during the giveaway period to tweet for bonus entries using the Rafflecopter entry form.

 To Enter the Giveaway: 

1.)  Leave a blog post comment answering the following question:
“ Do you listen to music when you read, and if so, what do you like to listen to?”

2.) CLICK HERE to enter the Rafflecopter entry form.

Author Interview with Amanda Barratt

Welcome reader friends! I’m super excited to have Amanda Barratt here visiting with us today and sharing about her new book My Heart Belongs In Niagara Falls, NY.

AmandaBarratt  ECPA bestselling author Amanda Barratt, fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story – a spinoff of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes inspirational historical romance, penning stories that transport readers to a variety of locales – from the sweeping coastline of Newport, Rhode Island, to the rugged landscape of Central Texas. Her novella, The Truest Heart, was a finalist in the 2017 FHL Reader’s Choice Awards.

 

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she lives in the woods of Michigan with her fabulous family, who kindly put up with the invisible people she calls characters.

 

These days, Amanda can be found reading way too many books, watching an eclectic mix of BBC dramas and romantic chick flicks, and trying to figure out a way to get on the first possible flight to England. Connect with Amanda at the following locations

Web Page // Facebook // Goodreads // Twitter //

Now, let’s take a little glimpse at My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York

MHBinNiagraFallsNYJourney to Niagara Falls, New York, 1870

She avoids danger at all costs. He makes his living by rushing headlong into it.

Outwardly, Adele Linley’s trip to visit her American cousins is nothing more than a summer vacation. In reality, she’s the daughter of an English aristocrat with barely a penny to her name seeking a rich American husband.

Having grown up in an overcrowded orphanage, Drew Dawson is determined to make a name for himself. He’ll take any honest job to provide for his sister—even crossing Niagara Falls by tightrope.

On a sightseeing trip to the Falls, Adele meets several eligible suitors. Incredibly wealthy and pompous, Franklin Conway takes an immediate fancy to her. But Adele would truly like to marry for love. When she encounters the mysterious Drew in the garden, Adele is confused by her feelings for someone who is everything she is NOT looking for. Will they both stay the course they have chosen for themselves.

 My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York

Join me in giving a warm welcome to Amanda Barratt! I’m thrilled to have you visiting with us today, Amanda. Let’s get started with some fun questions!

Thank you so much for letting me hang out with you all today! This is super exciting!

Q:   What is your favorite season, and why?

Amanda:   Autumn, hands down! In northern Michigan, we’re privileged to have a beautiful array of fall colors. There’s nothing better than walking down a secluded country lane, your boots crunching against fallen leaves, and then coming inside for a cup of hot apple cider. 🙂 Christmastime is probably a close second though, as I love the season of celebration and giving!

Trisha:    Fall in Michigan is beautiful. Here in the south west corner of Michigan I especially enjoy the scent of the grapes ready for harvest.

Q:    What is the best part of your day?

Amanda:   This is a tossup between morning and evening, since I love both for different reasons. Mornings are great, because I spend some time doing devotions, then get to dive into my writing for the day, which I always look forward to! But evenings are when I read, have meaningful conversations with family, and catch up on my latest period drama obsession. 🙂

Trisha:  Such a great way to bookend your day!

Q:   What are some of your favorite CF reads from 10 years ago, or further?

Amanda:   I actually just read one that was published in the late 80s. Vienna Prelude by Bodie and Brock Thoene. This book was magnificent—full of so much drama and emotion and characters to love and root for. It was my first time reading it, and I’m looking forward to checking out the rest of the series. Redeeming Love is another one that I return to over and over again.

Trisha:  Yes, I too enjoyed reading the books by Brodie & Brock Thoene. Absolutely, can’t forget about Redeeming Love!

Q:   If we took a peek at your “recently played” music, who would we find?

Amanda:   An odd mixture! LOL Along with some Christmas music, I’ve been listening to Celtic Thunder, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and the soundtrack from the show Victoria.

Trisha:   I often listen to Celtic music when I am writing, and I too enjoy listening to Ella Fitzgerald & Frank Sinatra. I haven’t yet listened to the soundtrack from Victoria, I enjoyed watching that series.

Q:   Did the plotline or the characters come first?

Amanda:   Both came pretty much at the same time. We’d planned a family vacation to Niagara Falls. Before the trip, I was reading up on the history of the area, because that’s just what history nerds do. 🙂 I’d read quite a bit about the stunts and daredevils, and as I was walking along, looking at the Falls, the idea of a daredevil falling in love with a woman who feared risk, came to me. When Barbour put the word out that they were looking for authors to submit to a destination romance line, my sister suggested I do Niagara Falls and make the hero a tightrope walker. Sisters always know best! 🙂

Trisha:   Niagara Falls is a place on my list that I want to visit! I’m so glad your sister encouraged you to write this wonderful story!

Q:   Which character took you by surprise?

Amanda:   Delany, definitely. I was writing the scene where my heroine arrives at the home of her relatives, and lo and behold, the butler at the door is far from your ordinary staff member. It was one of those unexpected bursts of inspiration that I had a ton of fun building on.

Trisha:   It is fun when characters surprise us!

Q:   What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?

Amanda:   I never stayed up late working on this story. I probably laid awake at night thinking about it sometimes, but I’m a morning person, and around 8 PM my brain checks out for the night. 🙂

Trisha:  I’m not much of a night owl myself, but occasionally I will be so wrapped up in a story, that time gets away from me and I end up staying up well past my usual bed time.

Q:   What is something that didn’t make it into the final copy?

Amanda:   I generally add more than I delete. So while my first draft looks different than the final one, it’s because of addition, rather than subtraction. I ended up omitting some analogies that I thought were rather clever when I wrote them, but made me cringe when I read them a second time.

Trisha:   Thank you, Amanda for visiting with us today. It was fun getting to know you better and getting a behind the scenes peek at the story.

We’d love to hear from you:

Do you have any questions for Amanda?

Author Interview & Giveaway with Mikal Dawn “Count Me In”

To say I’m excited to have Mikal Dawn on the blog today is a serious understatement (excuse me a moment while I gush and go fan-girl here)!!  I “met” Mikal on Facebook through mutual bookish friends, and while I’ve not yet had the pleasure to hang out with Mikal in person, I’m fairly confident, that we’d have a blast! I recently read her debut novel “Count Me In” and I was swept away on a euphoria of words (see my review here). This is such a super fun story, I couldn’t put it down! If you haven’t yet meet Mikal or read “Count Me In”, this is your golden opportunity!

MikalDawn  Mikal Dawn is an inspirational romance author, wedding enthusiast and proud military wife. By day she works for an international sports ministry, and by night she mutters to imaginary friends, performs sketchy Google searches, and procrastinates (like any good writer!). When she isn’t writing about faith, fun, and forever, she is obsessively scouring Pinterest (with coffee in hand, of course!) for wedding ideas for her characters.

Born and raised just outside of Vancouver, Canada, Mikal has lived throughout the southern United States, currently residing in Nebraska (and loving it!) with her husband, three kids (two of whom she drives *everywhere* for ALL THE SPORTS), and one ferocious feline.

Web Page // Goodreads // Twitter // Facebook // Pinterest //

CountMeInAllegra Spencer has been living a careful life. Her safe job as an accountant is bookended by going to church and the gym. Okay, sometimes the gym. Fine. She goes to church. And the coffee shop. She avoids risk at all cost, preferring to stay safe in her cozy condo. Until her accounting firm goes belly up and she’s out of a job.

Tyler Hawk had a glorious career as a star NFL tight end. He retired on a high note and now lives a second dream of owning his own business and leading others on extreme outdoor adventures. But he needs help with his books—and his heart. When Allegra takes the job, sparks fly.

It’s a case of safety zone versus danger zone, and in their minds, never the two shall meet.

  Count Me In (An Emerald City Romance #1)

Please join me in giving Mikal a warm welcome!

Thank you sooooooo much for having me, Trisha!!! You’re the bomb! 😊

Q:  What is your favorite season, and why?

Mikal:  WINTER!!!! What could be better than cold, snow, cozy fires, plaid, warm Christmas lights, thick blankets, soup! And did I mention SNOW? #myfavorite

Q:  What is the best part of your day?

Mikal:  Like every other family, it seems, we’re a super busy one. We’re at the ice rink four days a week, the dojo two nights a week, church…you name it. So the best part of my day is when we’re all under the same roof at the end of the day. I adore my family.

Q:  What are some of your favorite CF reads from 10 years ago, or further?

Mikal:  Oooo…what a GREAT question!! Hm. Ten years ago… I re-read a lot of books around that time, all older. My favorite is Stealing Adda by Tamara Leigh. It was the book that told me I could write Christian romantic comedy. Others that were (and still are!) my favorites are In Honor Bound by DeAnna Julie Dodson (she now writes cozy mysteries as Julianna Deering), The Russians series by Michael Phillips & Judith Pella., and books by Irene Hannon.

Trisha:  Those are all great books! I enjoyed reading the Russians series and the Stonewycke Series by Michael Phillips & Judith Pella.

Q:  If we took a peek at your “recently played” music, who would we find?

Mikal:  It’s Christmas!!! You would find Christmas music. Strictly Christmas music. But after Christmas, you’ll find a gamut of music! I love most songs put out by Postmodern Jukebox (seriously, look them up!!), U2, Bon Jovi (okay, most 80s music—and early- to mid-90s, too!), Crowder, City Harmonic, For King and Country, Needtobreathe, Rend Collective, Noah Mac and Chloe Kohansky (from The Voice), Pentatonix, Straight No Chaser, and a bunch of individual songs from well-known artists (though I wouldn’t go buy their albums in their entirety), and you have a bit of an eclectic mix.

Q:  Did the plotline or the characters come first?

Mikal:  It was actually the last “big” scene that came first. A class I was taking had an assignment for a particular part of the book, so I wrote that. A couple of people emailed me and said they’d love to read the story in its entirety (of course I didn’t have it!), so I thought, “Why not?” And Count Me In was born. I make it sound easy, but it really was anything but. I’m super thankful for the incredible critique partners and brainstorming partners I had!

Q:  Which character took you by surprise?

Mikal:  Honestly, two side characters: Bo and Story. I didn’t really have plans to write this as a series, but then when I was finished writing Count Me In, I had critique partners and early readers asking me what was going on with those two and when their story would be written. I truly didn’t even realize they’d written themselves their own book. Ha!!

Q:  What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?

Mikal:  I’m old, man. I can barely stay up until 11pm anymore. LOL! And writing is exhausting for me, emotionally and mentally. So when I write, it’s usually only for an hour or two—at the most four. I think the latest I stayed up was 1am. No where near other friends of mine who have pulled all-nighters then stayed up all day for their families or to go to work.

Q:  What is something that didn’t make it into the final copy?

Mikal:  LOL!!!!! Honestly? Nothing!! I tend to write with brevity. My poor editor. She’s fabulous. But I’m sure she felt like she was pulling teeth. Most authors seem to have to cut words to get their books into the required length. Me? No. I had to add words. Lots of them. My editor worked with me to show me where I could pour more words, enhance description/setting, and add a few more scenes for depth. This book was truly a team effort.

Q:  What books/stories are you currently working on and how long till we can read more?! (I’m eager to read more amazing stories can you tell?)  🙂

Mikal:  I’m EXCITED you’re eager!!!! That seriously makes my day. 😊 Well, my plans were to write Story and Bo’s story next. And I tried, I really did. But those two…they’re stubborn (which is pretty obvious when you read Count Me In). I fought with them for a few months. Thankfully, I have some pretty incredible friends in my corner, and after talking with them, praying (both them and me), and doing some deep thinking, I’ve set Bo and Story aside to let them stew a little longer.

Right now, I’m working on a novella that’s connected to this series! It will be releasing as part of a collection this coming Spring. I’m super honored and excited to be part of this group of authors—it’s still pretty surreal, to be honest.

And because Bo and Story are taking their sweet time telling me their story, I’m moving on to Caprice, Allegra’s (from CMI) sister. In Count Me In, Capri was an intern for a fashion designer. Well, she’s come into her own and is being noticed. So take one part fashion designer, one part military service member, add a dash of matchmaker mother, and the Emerald City, and you get A Cut Above.

Trisha:  Eeep! I can’t wait to read about what happens with Caprice! Thank you so much for taking time to visit today! It has been fun getting to know you a little better.

*** GIVEAWAY ***

Mikal Dawn is giving away 1 (one) digital copy of her book “Count Me In.” Please review the policies here. The giveaway will be open for one week. At the close of the giveaway period the winner will be contacted via email and announced on this page. Return daily during the giveaway period to tweet for bonus entries using the Rafflecopter entry form.

 To Enter the Giveaway: 

1.)  Leave a blog post comment answering the following question:
“What is the most adventurous thing you have done?”

2.) CLICK HERE to enter the Rafflecopter entry form.

*** Giveaway Ended ***

Congratulations to our winner:
Janice M.

Author Interview – Toni Shiloh

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Toni Shiloh. I recently finished reading her latest book ‘Returning Home’. I just loved this story! The characters are so vivid and real and I felt like I was in the story with them.

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Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace of the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes soulfully romantic novels to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness. Before pursuing her dream as a writer, Toni served in the United States Air Force. It was there she met her husband. After countless moves, they ended up in Virginia, where they are raising their two boys. When she’s not typing in imagination land, Toni enjoys reading, playing video games, ​making jewelry, and spending time with ​her family. Toni is a member of the American Christian ​Fiction Writers (ACFW) as well as the president of the ACFW Virginia ​Chapter.

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ReturningHomeJo Ellen Baker is shocked to find out that the boy who teased her mercilessly throughout high school, has returned to their hometown of Freedom Lake, and he’s missing a leg. When his mother asks her to renovate their carriage house to give him a place to gain his independence back, she wants to say no. But one look at him brings a rush of forgotten feelings.

Evan Carter can’t believe he has to return home and live with his parents. Every hope and dream he ever had dissipated in a car crash that cost him his leg. Stuck in a wheelchair, he’s forced to reexamine his relationship with God and the local carpenter, Jo Ellen Baker.

Will renovating his home open the door for a mended relationship, or are some wounds too deep to heal from?

Returning Home (Freedom Lake #1)

Welcome, Toni! I’m so happy to visit with you today and get to know you a little better.  Let’s get started with a few getting to know you questions, and then we’ll talk about the book.

Heather'sGardenQ:  What is your favorite season, and why?

Toni:  Growing up it was summer because I hate to be cold. But now that I live in a place that has all four seasons, I love spring. It’s absolutely stunning to see the flowers bloom and see the sun shine but not bake you. 😊

Trisha:  My favorite is Spring also! There is something about the rebirth of the trees and flowers, and just life bursting forth.

 

Q:  What is the best part of your day?

coffee-2593577_640Toni:  Oh wow. I’m not sure if I can pick just one. I love waking and reading God’s word. I love seeing my kiddos come home from school. But I also love their bedtime and the quietness that descends afterward. 😉

Trisha:  Yes, starting the day with God is the best. The quiet of the evening after children’s bedtime is pretty nice too. Peaceful times!

 

Q:  What are some of your favorite Christian Fiction reads from 10 years ago, or further?

book-863418_640Toni:  Ten years ago I didn’t know Christian fiction existed. The only book I was aware of was the Left Behind series. I believe I had read all of them by 2007 but I wasn’t reading anything else.

Trisha:  You know, I’ve never read even one of the Left Behind series. I have read plenty of other CF books.

 

Q:  If we took a peek at your “recently played” music, who would we find?

mobile-616012_640Toni:  Kari Jobe, Jesus Culture, and Elevation Worship. You might also find some Adele, Maren Morris, and Thompson Square.

Trisha:  Great selection of music you have! Kari Jobe has such a beautiful voice and her songs are so moving. I too enjoy Thompson Square, but I’ve not listened to their music in a while.

 

blur-1869579_640Q:  Did the plotline or the characters come first?

Toni:  The characters. They usually always come first, strolling by in my mind or some are bold enough to tap me on my shoulder and ask for a turn on the laptop.

Trisha:  I love that you have some bold characters!

 

Q:  Which character in Returning Home, took you by surprise?

books-315677_640Toni:  Jo’s mother. I was pretty sure nothing she could say or do would shock me but I was wrong.

Trisha:  Yes! She did surprise me as well. She is quite a unique character.

 

Q:  What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?

desk-1148994_640Toni:  Not that late at all. I’m not a morning person or a night owl. I’m pretty much a middle of the day person. I love sleep too much.

Trisha:  I’m with you there, sleep is a beautiful thing!

 

Q:  What is something that didn’t make it into the story?

pencil-918449_640Toni:  I had scenes from Guy’s point of view (POV), Evan’s father, Evan’s mother, and one from Michelle’s. I got some advice that said too many POV’s would be confusing. Instead, I rewrote the scenes from Jo or Evan’s POV.

Trisha:  I can see how that could be overwhelming with so many voices.

 

Q:  What was your most memorable vacation?

mickey-mouse-1776700_640Toni:  The first time I went to Disney World with my husband. It was our first vacation together and utterly magical. We’ve been a total of 6 times since, all sans kids. 😊

Trisha:  That does sound like it would be fun!

 

Thank you, Toni for visiting today and sharing with us about you and your wonderful book ‘Returning Home’. Please, do come and chat again some time soon!

Friends, do come back later this week, as I will be on tour with Singing Librarian for a review and giveaway of ‘Returning Home’.

I would love to hear from you:

What was your most memorable vacation?