Kara and David, welcome to the Blog! I’m so glad you could join us today to talk about your new book and your writing journey. First, can you tell us a bit about your book and what inspired you to write this story?
Kara & David:
Thanks so much for having us on your blog. We’re excited to be here and chat with you 😊 Here’s our official blurb for Warped Remains:
Emily Sheffield’s parents are the worst. Okay, maybe Emily has been erratic and her behavior a little reckless lately but shipping her off to live with her grandparents in Alaska is so much worse than she deserves. At least she gets to spend her layover with the cute boy on the same flight. If she has to leave everything and everyone she knows, she might as well make some new–and cute–friends, right?
For Aiden Cohen, life in Alaska is perfect—good grades, great friends, an awesome church, and work he loves. There’s just one thing missing: his mom. Desperate to know her, Aiden sets out to find the woman who abandoned him at birth. But a disastrous first meeting with his birth mom, leaves Aiden stunned and ready to go back to his ordinary life in Alaska. And with fate finding Aiden and Emily on the same flight, he couldn’t be happier. If only he can convince her that God is real, everything would be perfect.
Everything seems to be going well—until a confusion on the runaway prevents the plane from landing. Circling the runway should have been simple, but when the plane hits a bad patch of turbulence, throwing it off-course, the pilots lose control. The plane crashes, leaving Emily, Aiden, and two dozen other passengers stranded on a creepy island. Surviving and hoping for rescue are their primary goals, but the least of their troubles. They aren’t the only ones on the island, and it’s now a race against time for someone to find them before the island’s inhabitants do. But there are people willing to do anything to keep the island’s true purpose a secret—even if it means sacrificing the lives of the survivors.
Kara & David:
Why did we choose to write this story? We’re both huge fans of the TV show LOST, so that was a huge inspiration. We both also love thrillers, so it was a no-brainer that we’d write one. Beyond that, though, we wondered what would happen if two people from completely different lifestyles were forced together under intense situations and had to trust each other to survive. Would one person corrupt the other? Or would they both change and adapt for the better? From there, Emily and Aiden were born and the story progressed.
And is this the first book you have published?
David: This is my first book that is published! With regard to Kara’s many accomplishments, I’ll let her take the lead!
Kara: No, this is not the first book I’ve had published, though it is my debut Christian YA book. Prior to Warped Remains, I had written and published two adult Christian romantic suspense books. And prior to that, I had been writing and publishing in the secular market under a pen name.
How long has it taken you to get published?
David: My journey to publication differs from the norm both in time and the nature of it. Many, many, many (did I mention: many?), after being politely rejected for a book (if we can even call it a book!) that had no right being subbed out, I asked the editor, Kara Leigh Miller, if she could give me guidance on how to become published — my ultimate dream. After going back and forth, I asked point blank: “I have a great idea that will be a winner. I can’t do it myself, so would you like to co-author it with me?” To my disbelief, she said yes. The rest, as they say, is history.
Kara: I had been writing for a solid two years before I decided to seriously pursue publication. Once I did, I was lucky enough to get contracts with a couple small presses for a series of novellas. It wasn’t until I started writing full-length novels and pursuing an agent that I really hit a wall. LOL. It took almost two years to sign with an agent. We’ve since parted ways, and now I’m actively pursuing publication with Anaiah Press and self-publishing.
What draws you to writing YA thrillers as opposed to YA fantasy or horror?
David: To me, the YA audience has the greatest imagination out there. Not only can they picture and imagine the story, but sometimes, they actually believe in. In other terms, YA was always my favorite category to read--and I wanted to write something worth reading!
Kara: I’m a huge fan of everything scary and creepy, so writing thrillers really suits my interests. It’s fun to put characters in crazy and scary situations and see how they’ll react, especially in Christian fiction. A character’s true faith always comes out in the worst situations—are they firm believers who will rely on God to get them through? Or do they pray just enough to get out alive? It’s always interesting to see which way they’ll go.
Are there any authors who’ve influenced you in your writing? Do you have any favourite authors?
David: Hmm… that is a tough one to answer. If I had to choose, I grew up reading the Hardy Boys. I identify with Frank and Joe Hardy, in the sense that as a writer we are always curious about what comes next. What the next plot, the next chapter, the next book. Without that curiosity—it’s hard to become a YA writer.
Kara: Stephenie Meyer and the Twilight Saga. Believe me, I know the issues with that series, but I find Mrs. Meyer to be extremely inspirational. Like me, she was just a mom with a crazy story idea. She wrote it for her own enjoyment first, (much like I did with my very first novel), and that passion showed on every single page. I strive to love my stories and characters enough so that love will shine through to readers.
What advice would you give to other writers trying to break into the Christian market?
David: Here is advice not only for the CF market, but writing in general: A lot of times, we can doubt ourselves: we can’t do this, or we can’t do that. I found the opposite: when sitting down to write a book, it takes patience, perseverance, discipline, and a hint of creativity. Being able to do that shows you, in my opinion, that you are capable of doing anything! Never give up on your dream! In the end, it’s a mind game—and the “only thing to fear is fear itself.”
Kara: I agree with David—never give up! Also, read a lot in the genre you’re writing. Know what else is on the market, what’s selling well, and pay attention to the content. I’m an acquiring editor for a small Christian publisher, and I’m amazed at the queries I receive that claim to be Christian fiction yet contain things that would probably offend a lot of Christian readers. It really boils down to knowing your market.
What hobbies do you like to do when you’re not writing?
David: playing sports, reading every book in the genre, and spending time with my wife and family!
Kara: I love going to the gym! Not only do I feel better, it helps get the creative juices flowing. I like to go shopping with my girls, going to the movies, reading, and spending time with my husband.
Do you have any quirky, must-have rituals before you get to writing? (candle burning, café latte, coffee shop only, etc.)
David: This may sound strange and all that, but whenever I would write a specific scene—a thrilling chapter, a sad chapter, or a romantic, I would listen to music that corresponded with the theme of the chapter or topic.
Kara: Like David, I also need music to write. I create a playlist for each book I write, and when I sit down to work on a book, I’ll listen to it. And I always have to have a bottle of water within reach. Oh, and I turn on Dr. Phil for extra background noise. No idea why, but it’s weird to write without his face on my TV. Hahaha.
Anything else you’d like our readers to know about you and your work?
David: Together with the best co-author out there, we would brainstorm Warped Remains chapter-by-chapter. Each brainstorming chapter would be 3-5 sentences. From there, we would just write—in my opinion, creativity and world building happen when you imagine the next scene being played out, the next line being thought, and the next words being said. Plus, it helps to have Kara Leigh Miller—you can never go wrong with that.
Kara: David seriously gives me way too much credit. LOL. I’m the type of writer who can’t be trapped into any sort of box, which is a nightmare when it comes to building an author brand. But I love to write across a variety of genres from thrillers to romance to dystopian, and at any give time, I’m actively working on multiple projects.
If you could have dinner with three famous authors, alive or dead, who would they be?
David: James Patterson, Franklin W. Dixon, and Kara Leigh Miller. These 3 authors are trailblazers in their respected genres. I would love to discuss what them how they started in their genres and going into 2020, would they have done things differently.
Kara: Sadly, David and I have yet to meet in person, but someday, hopefully soon!! For me, I’d love to have dinner with Stephenie Meyer, Stephen King, and Jennifer L. Armentrout. Each of these authors have influenced my love for certain genres and tropes that I’m currently exploring in my own books. I’d want to know where they come up with their ideas, how they know if a particular idea is a keeper, and what they would do differently if given the chance.
Where can your readers find you on social media?
Kara: You can find me here:
Newsletter – https://eepurl.com/bn1wyD
And finally, how long do we have to wait for your next book?
David: We’re working on Inferno, which is Prison Break meets Lord of the Rings. As the say, stay tuned…this is just the beginning.
Kara: Not too much longer! I have a contemporary YA Christian romance releasing on May 19, 2020 called Perfectly Imperfect. I love this story SO much, and I cannot wait for the world to meet Isabelle and Grayson. I’m hoping to release a paranormal romance (my ode to Twilight) in the fall via my self-publishing company, FireChicken Press, LLC. And, as David mentioned, he and I are busy working on our second book.
Thanks so much for being here today, Kara and David!
If you want to enter their giveaway, click here and hit up Rafflecopter for a free copy:
If you want to grab yourself a copy of WARPED REMAINS, you can do so here:
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B081C67K45/
Barnes & Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/warped-remains-david-jemal/1134878245
Smashwords -- https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/990552
Buy Link: amzn.to/39vUcax
Accomplishments in 2019:
What a year! I wrote two books in 2019–NORTHERN HEARTS (Heroes of the Tundra Novella) came out in December 2019, and NORTHERN PROTECTOR (Heroes of the Tundra Book 2) will release June 16, 2020.
This is the first time I’ve ever written two books at the same time, and for me it was a daunting experience! But I learned how to switch back and forth between my characters, stay organized, and streamline my writing process.
I did three book signings this year, including my big launch of NORTHERN DECEPTION (Heroes of the Tundra Book 1) in April. My debut novel was #2 on the McNally Robinson Winnipeg Bestseller’s list for the week of April 7-17, 2019!
NORTHERN DECEPTION hit #56 out of the Top 100 Christian Books on Amazon its first two weeks out.
I also judged the RITA and The Daphne du Maurier contests. Although I entered the RITA, the Carol, and the Daphne du Maurier and received high marks, I didn’t final in any of them. I did, however, get excellent feedback on NORTHERN DECEPTION.
“This is by far my favorite book I’ve judged this year.”
“The romance was perfect and your character growth exceptional.”
My husband and I took a one-week trip up to Churchill, Manitoba to polar bear country so I could research on site for my next book, NORTHERN PROTECTOR. The town sits in the middle of the wilderness, and as one towns person put it, “This is two steps away from heaven.” The scenery, the crystal clean environment, and the wildlife combine to make it a joy to experience firsthand. I’m so glad I’m able to put even more realism into NORTHERN PROTECTOR for my readers!
I hosted nine authors on my blog this past year, and I appeared on twenty different blogs, as well as my regular spot on the International Fiction Writers Blog.
And, I did two Facebook parties, which I really enjoy doing for readers and am looking forward to putting on another one, at least, in 2020!
What’s Up for 2020:
Besides launching NORTHERN PROTECTOR in June, I want to write two more books. I’ve got ideas for a speculative series, and more romantic suspense books. I may continue with my Heroes of the Tundra, depending on reader response, and I have ideas for more series. I also have ideas for two time slip stories.
My goal is to push myself to write more and write faster in 2020!
I also want to blog more consistently to build my reader base and interact with all of you. You’re important to me and communicating with you via this blog and my newsletter are my #2 and #3 goals for 2020.
I’m also happy to be serving as Membership Chair on the Faith, Love & Hope RWA Chapter Board for 2020.
Our family has been blessed with great health this past year although we had some stressful situations to overcome. Such is life. My “word” for 2019 was “Focus” and for 2020 it will be “Intentional”. I want to be more “Intentional” in all areas of my life. More purposeful, more proactive, more loving, more “present” in the lives of my loved ones. I’m looking forward to so many new things in 2020–new writing, new friends, new opportunities.
What new things are you looking forward to in 2020?
Have you set some goals? Do you have a “word” for 2020?
What kinds of things would you like to see me blog about this year?
Would you like to see another book in the Heroes of the Tundra series, or should I start another spin-off romantic suspense series?
Leave an answer in the comment section so I can get back to you. I wish you and your loved ones a very happy, healthy, and safe 2020!
Wealthy socialite Kali McIntyre dreams of opening her own dessert bar, Sassy Sweets, in downtown Winnipeg—until her father crushes that dream when he cuts her off financially. He’s determined to get her to use her law degree to join the family’s high-powered law firm. She’s determined to do anything but that. And when an unknown-to-her aunt dies in Churchill, Manitoba, leaving her an unbelievable inheritance, Kali’s on the next flight up north to make her dreams a reality.
Chef Jake Miller has lived in Churchill for the past ten years, working hard to keep The Great Northern Lodge afloat through some tough times. But then his business partner dies unexpectedly, without telling him that she’d changed her will or that she had a niece who is set to inherit everything. Now, Jake and Kali have thirty days to work together and decide–who will stay and who will go–before Christmas rolls around. Secrets, attempted murder, and a new menu all add up to a Christmas unlike any other.
This book will be available through Amazon and anaiahpress.com on DECEMBER 6, 2019...buy link to follow.
Blurb for One More River To Cross:
In 1844, two years before the Donner Party, the Stevens-Murphy company left Missouri to be the first wagons into California through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Mostly Irish Catholics, the party sought religious freedom and education in the mission-dominated land and enjoyed a safe journey--until October, when a heavy snowstorm forced difficult decisions. The first of many for young Mary Sullivan, newlywed Sarah Montgomery, the widow Ellen Murphy, and her pregnant sister-in-law Maolisa.
When the party separates in three directions, each risk losing those they loved and faces the prospect of learning that adversity can destroy or redefine. Two women and four men go overland around Lake Tahoe, three men stay to guard the heaviest wagons--and the rest of the party, including eight women and seventeen children, huddle in a makeshift cabin at the headwaters of the Yuba River waiting for rescue . . . or their deaths.
Award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick plunges you deep into a landscape of challenge where fear and courage go hand in hand for a story of friendship, family, and hope that will remind you of what truly matters in times of trial.
Review: 5 Stars
I’m a huge Jane Kirkpatrick fan because I love how detailed her historical research is for her novels. She brings true events and real people to life in her books, and she doesn’t shy away from their hardships, disasters, poor decisions, or trials. This particular event was unknown to me, as a Canadian reader, and so I enjoyed the story even more for learning something completely new to me.
I especially enjoyed how Ms. Kirkpatrick centered on the story from the women’s perspective, even though the book has three pages of “characters” listed at the beginning so the reader can keep all the families in order. Women are at the heart of history and yet, little is known about their real struggles or contributions to it. So, taking her research and bringing to life the deadly winter of 1844-45 at the cabin, was spellbinding for me. It was a study in the defiance of the human spirit to survive and overcome. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!
This story of Mary, Sarah, Beth, and Maolisa will twist your heart and stay with you long after you finish the book. I was glad Ms. Kirkpatrick included Notes at the end which detailed what happened to these people after their ordeal was over, as much as she was able to find. And her Book Club discussion questions are well worth trying this book out for your Club.
I received a review copy through NetGalley and Revell's Book Blogger program but was not required to give a positive review. All opinions are my own.
Photo credit: Paul Wood
The second week of July, I had the pleasure of flying north to Churchill, Manitoba, where I set my debut novel Northern Deception. Churchill is a small town on the west shore of Hudson Bay, roughly 68 miles from the Manitoba-Nunavut border. It sits on the edge of the boreal forest as the land goes north into tundra and the arctic.
It’s called the “Polar Bear Capitol of the World” for a reason. Canada has about 15,000 known polar bears in i’s population across its arctic expanse. It’s estimated that there are only about 25,000 polar bears left in the wild. Churchill sits right on the bear’s migration route out to the sea ice on Hudson Bay.
Hundreds of bears come through the area/town during October/November each year on their way out to the ice where they’ll hunt ringed seals and store up the fat they need to survive back on land during the summer.
I went up to Churchill to experience it during July because my second book in my series “Heroes of the Tundra”, Northern Protector, is set during the summer. I wanted to see the landscape, the town, the wildlife, and meet the people who’d helped me with my earlier research for the first book.
The first thing we learned when we got there was that the first polar bear had been spotted two days before. The sea ice was broken up and the Bay was clear again. This meant the bears would be coming ashore to move north and northwest inland to survive on smaller prey, berries and even moldy seaweed thrown up by the tides.
We got a quick lecture from our hotel operator on NOT leaving our vehicle while we were out exploring, and how to keep our heads on a swivel now that the bears had returned.
Photo credit: Laurie Wood
We enjoyed a ride out to the Wildlife Management Area in a certified Tundra Buggy. These huge vehicles are built on fire truck chassis, with specially made tires that leave as small a mark as possible on the unique and delicate environment out on the tundra. The lines on the Buggy are to show how tall a bear can be when it stands on its hind legs and reaches up to the windows.
Here's some of the “road” we followed along the way…
Photo credit: Laurie Wood
The whole area is permafrost but with global warming, parts will thaw and create ponds and small lakes that are two to three feet deep. The water is clear and free of pollution. Small fish called sticklebacks live in it and arctic terns, ducks, gulls, and swans all feed on them. These water areas freeze up again come the fall.
The best thing we saw all day was a mother bear and her two cubs, but they were about half a kilometer away. This photo was taken with a telephoto lens:
Photo credit: Allison Crichlow
We saw a lone caribou feeding just before a native hunter caught up to it and shot it. Although it was upsetting for some of the people on our tour, native people are allowed unlimited hunting and fishing in the north, so he was within his rights to hunt the caribou. Our driver told us that caribou is delicious meat, less gamey then deer or moose.
Photo credit: Paul Wood
Our second day we went out on a boat tour to see the beluga whales. These whales are white when they become adults and are grey as babies and adolescents. They’re friendly and curious animals, somewhat like dolphins. They come in from Hudson Bay annually to the Churchill River where it’s protected and give birth to their calves. It takes twenty-two months for a beluga to gestate a calf. We were fascinated by the small pods of whales swimming beside our boat. They’d come close and check us out, and then leave us behind. This went on for a couple of hours until they got bored and left us to feed.
Photo Credit: Paul Wood
The VIA Rail Train Station is not only a functioning train station for passengers and grain/supply trains, but it’s a Parks Canada Site as well. Inside there’s a small museum of historical exhibits showing the interactions between Europeans and the Indian (or as Canadians call them, First Nations Peoples), as well as some nature exhibits of polar bears and caribou.
Photo credits: Paul Wood
After a tour of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Detachment and an interview with the Detachment Commander, my research trip was complete.
Photo credit: Paul Wood
Photo Credit: Harry Sandhu via Unsplash
Why does Canada celebrate July 1st as our annual day of national pride, instead of July 4th? This goes back to the formation of our country on July 1st, 1867 when the British North American Act under Prime Minister John A. MacDonald made the federation of four provinces “the Dominion of Canada”. The year after, the Governor-General declared that July 1st would become our national holiday to be celebrated every year.
Canada comes from the Algonquin First Nations word “Kanata” which means “village”. Although we began as a nation founded on British and French citizens, along with the First Nations indigenous peoples who were here before us, we’re now proudly multi-cultural. Here are some general facts about Canada you may not already know:
Photo Credit: Major Paul Wood, Canadian Armed Forces
Canadian Holidays and Traditions:
Specific Canadian Foods:
Some of our Similarities and Differences:
Photo Credit: Nic Amaya via Unsplash
All of this goes along with our Canadian reputation for being quiet, unobtrusive, and apologizing a lot. Our society isn’t “showy”. We’re proud of our country’s history even though we’ve made mistakes along the way, notably with our First Nations peoples. I hope you’ve learned something new about Canada. And if you’d like to read a story about Canada’s arctic tundra, you can find it in my book NORTHERN DECEPTION, out now with Anaiah Press.
Reunions can be deadly.
After a savage attack in university, Kira Summers fled to the safety of northern Canada and her work as a polar bear scientist. But when her whistleblower brother dies in a mysterious car crash, she must return home to bury him and pack his belongings. Unaware she’s carrying explosive evidence someone’s willing to kill for, she has no choice but to rely on the one person she never thought she’d see again.
Lukas Tanner, a widowed single father of a special needs toddler, moved to Churchill five years ago. As the proud owner of Guiding Star Enterprises, a wilderness tour company, he and his daughter lead a simple life. But when Kira comes crashing back into his world, he realizes God has other plans. Now, Lukas and Kira must confront a merciless killer as their past and present collide in a deadly race—a race they must win if they have any hope of a future together.
BOOK LINK: Amazon
June Foster has a new book out called "Dreams Deferred". Today she joins us with a devotional along with information about this lovely book based on the true story of her great-grandparents.
A Heavenly Perspective
One winter morning, I sat down to read my daily devotional as I usually do. Next I retrieved my list of prayer requests—people in my Sunday school class, my internet friend, and oh, yeah, I wanted to pray for salvation for some who weren't walking with the Lord. If I didn't do it soon, I'd be here all day and wouldn't get to the clothes that need to go in the washer, my bed I needed to make, not to speak of emails to answer.
I scratched my head. My prayer concerns weren't too much different than my grocery list, which would take me to the store later. Yet didn't the Lord want me to intercede for others? Of course He did.
I waited a moment longer.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1 He is the almighty One who's always existed and created the stars, moon, earth, universe.
I was in His presence.
"I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?" 1Chronicles 29:11 Nothing was more important than this. Everything else paled in comparison.
The "important" daily chores faded in significance in light of who God is.
There would be plenty of time later. After basking a little longer in His presence, I lifted up my prayer requests to Him. Today I needed to get my priorities straight.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33
Frances Matthew Hall is obedient to family tradition: all firstborn sons will serve as a priest. Now Matt officiates at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas. But when on Easter Sunday, he notices a beautiful young woman who takes his breath away, he must fight against his attraction to her or leave the priesthood and alienate his entire family.
Mary Louise Graham is a middle school teacher and devout catholic. Yet no amount of service to the community can ease the heavy load of guilt she carries. God can never forgive her unspeakable mistake. But when Father Matt tells her about a forgiving God through His son Jesus Christ, she's free. Only thing, the Godly priest now means more to her than he should.
Can two people find their way to each other amidst insurmountable obstacles? Dreams Deferred is inspired by the author's great grandfather and great grandmother's story.
You can buy this book at: tinyurl.com/y3g555tz
About June Foster
June Foster is an award-winning author who began her writing career in an RV roaming around the USA with her husband, Joe. She brags about visiting a location before it becomes the setting in her next contemporary romance or romantic suspense. June's characters find themselves in precarious circumstances where only God can offer redemption and ultimately freedom. To date June has seen publication of 19 novels and 1 devotional. Find June at junefoster.com.
LAURIE: I’m so glad you could join us today to talk about your new book and your writing journey. First of all, can you tell us a bit about your book and what inspired you to write this story?
LAURA: Thank you so much for having me here again, Laurie! The Lighthouse Baby was initially inspired by my fascination with lighthouses. I’ve always admired the stoic structures from afar, and then a few years ago, my family and I visited the stunning Oregon Coast. As soon as I stepped inside my first lighthouse, I knew there was a story to be told. I imagined what joys and tragedies had occurred over the years within those secretive, damp, rounded walls. Needless to say, this book is set right on that rugged coastline in the picturesque tiny city of Florence.
“Life on the run from a horrific past is all Bella King knows—until she lets down her guard and falls for Oregon architect, Adam Lexington. The draw of a lighthouse, the dream of a family, and the determination to discover answers leads to grave danger—will the truth set Bella free before it’s too late?”
LAURIE: What is the theme of The Lighthouse Baby?
LAURA: The main theme is “freedom”. Our protagonist, Bella King, has been on the run for years—fleeing from a traumatic past which held her captive and stole her identity. As a result, she has great difficulty trusting others when her natural response is always to escape. She knows in her heart that as a Christian, she has freedom in Christ (Galatians 5:1), yet she needs to unlock the truth from her secret past to ultimately live free. This truth begins to unravel after a sinister package arrives and is followed by doubt, devastation, and danger… (cue spine-chilling music!)
LAURIE: And is this the first book you have coming out with Anaiah Press?
LAURA: No, The Glass Bottom Boat, my first book in the “Flight to Freedom” series came out in March 2019 with Anaiah Press. In fact, The Lighthouse Baby is my seventh traditionally published book.
LAURIE: What do you enjoy about writing a series?
LAURA: This is my second book series, and I absolutely love writing them. It takes so much creative effort developing characters for any novel—they almost become real people to the author! At the end of writing a book, it’s a bittersweet moment when we joyously complete the manuscript yet have to bid our characters farewell. Therefore, a series allows us to jump back in and delve deeper and investigate further building on our original work—either with the same characters or bringing in some new ones. In my “Flight to Freedom” series, I wanted each book to be able to stand alone (which is a challenge) yet allow the reader to follow certain beloved characters on their journey.
LAURIE: How long has it taken to get The Lighthouse Baby published?
LAURA: I began writing this manuscript in 2016, so it’s taken a full three years to get published from start to finish. The bulk of the story I wrote in 2017 and then it was picked up by Anaiah Press a year ago.
LAURIE: What advice would you give to other writers trying to break in to the Christian market?
LAURA: Don’t put your writing into a box.
When I began writing, I wanted to be a picture book author. That was my “box” of choice. My dream. I wrote some stories for children’s magazines, but then God steered my writing in (many) other directions. Articles, stories, and devotionals for all ages—and my published books are Christian teen fiction, middle grade fiction, marriage non-fiction, and Christian romantic suspense. I do currently have an agent for my picture book, but ironically, that’s the one genre I initially wished for and am yet to crack! Sometimes God holds a surprise door open for us—I would have missed so much if I hadn’t stepped through mine.
Watch for those open doors!
LAURIE: Where can your readers find you on social media?
LAURA: Here, there, and everywhere:
You can also find the links on my website at www.laurathomasauthor.com
LAURIE: And finally, how long do we have to wait for your next book?
LAURA: Hopefully, not too long… I am currently in the process of revising the manuscript for The Orphan Beach, book 3 in the “Flight to Freedom” series!
Life on the run is all Bella King knows. But after letting down her guard and opening her heart in a charming small town along the Oregon Coast, a chilling revelation forces her to make desperate decisions. Local architect, Adam Lexington, longs to protect Bella and secure their future together, but is hiding a tragic secret of his own.
The draw of a lighthouse, the dream of a family, and the determination to unlock the shocking reality of Bella’s heartbreaking past lead them both into grave danger. Will the truth set Bella free before it’s too late?
You can buy it here: amzn.to/2VREJtd
LAURIE: Hello Allison, I’m so glad you could join us today to talk about your new book and your writing journey. First, can you tell us a bit about your book and what inspired you to write this story?
ALLISON: Glazed Suspicion is a small-town suspense story about a feisty doughnut chef and a sexy sheriff’s deputy. It’s a romantic tale with a sprinkling of danger and murder. I’m a small-town girl with quite a sweet tooth so, I think, writing this was practically inevitable.
LAURIE: And is this the first book you have coming out with Anaiah Press?
ALLISON: It is. But it’s not the last. So be on the lookout for more.
LAURIE: What led you to publish with Anaiah Press?
ALLISON: When I finished Glazed Suspicion, I wanted to find a Christian publisher with a reputation of integrity and faith. Anaiah flashed on my radar pretty quickly.
LAURIE: What draws you to writing romantic suspense as opposed to straight up romance or romantic comedies?
ALLISON: Well, to write comedy you have to be funny so um… But also, when I was a little girl, I spent a lot of nights under my blanket with a flashlight and a book. It was the suspense novels that kept me awake.
LAURIE: Are there any authors who’ve influenced you in your writing? Do you have any favourite authors?
ALLISON: My mom would get Christian Suspense books in the mail every month when I was a kid. She’d leave them around and so I’d read them myself. I didn’t think at that time to look at the names of the authors but it was all those stories that led me to where I am today.
LAURIE: How long has it taken you to get published?
ALLISON: I’ve been extremely blessed. The creation and release of Glazed Suspicion has been a couple years in the making but I feel like it’s flown by.
LAURIE: What advice would you give to other writers trying to break in to the Christian market?
ALLISON: Write. Every. Day. It’s tough sometimes, but you’ll be happier and a better writer for it.
LAURIE: What hobbies do you like to do when you’re not writing? Anything else you’d like our readers to know about you and your work?
ALLISON: I’m a big reader but other than that I love music. I could be playing it, singing it, or just listening to it. And I love the outdoors.
LAURIE: Where can your readers find you on social media?
ALLISON: You can find me on twitter @AllisonPearl5 and also on Instagram as allisonnicolepearl. My Facebook page ‘Books by Pearl’ shows information on upcoming releases and the address is www.facebook.com/allisonnicolepearl/
LAURIE: And finally, how long do we have to wait for your next book?
ALLSION: Not very long. The next chapter in the Love and Danger in St. Claire series should be hitting the shelves this fall.
LAURIE: Congratulations! Well, without "further ado", here's the beautiful cover of your current book as well as the back cover blurb and our readers can click through to the buy link for their convenience. Enjoy!
#After escaping a life marred by crime, Nicole Appleton flees to small town Saint Claire and starts a business of her own. She still craves forgiveness and maybe a family, but could anyone love her once they discover she sugar-coated her past?
When sheriff’s deputy, Josh Bennet, arrives on the scene of a break-in at the local doughnut shop, he finds evidence incriminating his not-so-secret-crush. Is the fair beauty being framed or is she the mastermind trafficking drugs through his hometown? When things turn deadly, Josh must discover who the real villain is before it’s too late. And he’s praying that it’s not her.
BOOK LINK: amzn.to/2YkruCZ
About the Author:
I’m an avid reader and a pet lover who’s lived just about everywhere. Old movies, gardening, and lots of tea are some of my favorite hobbies. A country girl and hiker, I’m happiest when I’m so far out in the woods that car horns, billboards, and street lights seem like a thing of the past.
#authorinterview #Anaiahpress #writingcommunity #amwriting
Photo credit: Michael Mroczek
WHEN GOD SAYS NO
It’s happened to all of us.
The promotion we worked so hard for went to someone else.
The agent or editor query we were counting on was rejected - again.
The double-line on the pregnancy test stick didn’t show up for the fifteenth month in a row.
The perfect house we’d dreamed of fell through because someone else over-bid us.
GOD SAID NO.
And it hurts! And it makes us angry, and sad, and depressed, and a host of other emotions we can barely name at the time. We feel like giving up. We want to rave at the sky. We tell ourselves we don’t care. Or, maybe we do care, too much. We bottle up the emotions and cut ourselves off from friends and family.
We cut ourselves off from God. If He truly loved us, He’d give us the “desires of our heart”. Doesn’t Scripture say that?
“Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture,
Delight yourself in the Lord
And he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37: 3-4
Scripture seems clear. We trusted, we prayed, we thought we did everything right, and still…
GOD SAID NO.
If we’re mature Christians, we only wallow in self-pity for a short time. We’ll try to remember all the times God has been faithful to us. We’ll examine our hearts and motives to ensure we’re operating from a place of integrity.
And as for all those negative emotions that spring up from our anger and disappointment? Let us own them because our harsh and “bad” emotions are as much a part of our inner being as our “good emotions like happiness and contentment and joy.
However, we must be careful not to cross over into the territory of sin. The Apostle Paul said:
“In your anger, do not sin,",
Do note let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”
WHAT ELSE CAN WE DO?
Protect your heart and mind.
What does that mean? Whatever your deep hurt has been, you don’t need to keep exposing yourself to triggers until you feel better. If you’ve been striving to get pregnant, it’s all right to “take a break” on Facebook or other social media from friends who continually post photos of their babies and toddlers. You’re not being weird. You’re protecting yourself until you’re stronger.
Distract yourself with another hobby/activity. Stop obsessing over the weekend real estate ads for a while. Explore activities–especially free ones!–your city or town has to offer.
Read books in a different genre than the one (s) you usually do or the one (s) you write in. This gives your mind a break and will open up some new avenues for you.
Think outside the box.
What does that mean? Write down the major events in the past two years–five years–ten years of your life. Do you see a pattern, whether of good things or bad things? Are you completely stressed out? Maybe God has said NO to a big thing you believe you WANT because you couldn’t handle it right now.
If you’ve got a pattern of nothing but good things, maybe God is trying to teach you something else. Maybe it’s time for you to give back: to your family, your church, or your community. Maybe God said NO to a big thing you want because you need to share your blessings in other ways.
It’s not NO; maybe it’s NOT RIGHT NOW.
Is that house going to stretch your budget too far? Are you being realistic, or too materialistic?
Not having a child is heartbreaking. It’s possible God has other plans for you that involve children you’d never have met otherwise. Open your heart and mind to the possibilities.
That agent or editor you were dreaming of may not have been the right match after all, OR they had a bad day and rejected you for some reason you’ll never know about. You can try them again or move on.
That promotion may have come with The-Boss-From-He$$-o. You may have dodged a real bullet. Something else could come up in a few months you’re much better suited for.
Don’t be like Sarah
Do NOT try and go before God. We all know what misery Sarah brought to her household when she gave Hagar to her husband Abraham to try and give him an heir. God granted her desire but it didn’t turn out quite the way she had in mind. If God is saying NO at this time, write about it in your journal, pray about it, be angry for a short time, but then–leave it all with Him.
He will never leave us, even when we’re not living according to His will. Even when we try to do things on our own. But the better way, is to pay attention when He does say no to one of our heart’s desires, because He will always give us something much better to replace it.
The takeaway is: His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Whenever God says NO to something big in your life, once your anger subsides think about all the good things that will probably come out of it. And be grateful!
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I'm a military wife who's raised two wonderful special needs children to adulthood. We've lived all over Canada and are still on that journey. When I'm not writing, I can be found spinning, knitting, and hanging out with my dogs.