Author Interview: Virginia Vaughan

Author Interview: Virginia Vaughan

I always enjoy introducing other authors to my readers, and today is no exception. Virginia is a new author to me, even though she’s published 16 books with Love Inspired. I hope you’ll give her a warm welcome.

Virginia Vaughan is a multi-published author of inspirational romantic suspense. Blessed to come from a large, southern family, her fondest memories include listening to stories recounted by family and friends around the large dinner table. She was a lover of books even from a young age, devouring gothic romance novels and stories of romance, danger, and love. She soon started writing them herself. A former investigator for the State of Mississippi, Virginia utilizes her criminal justice background with her love of writing to transform words into powerful stories of romance and danger. Her sixteenth novel with Love Inspired Suspense, TEXAS KILLER CONNECTION, is now available.

Connect with her through:

Website  |  Facebook   |  Amazon  |  BookBub  |  Newsletter

 

Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Virginia with rapid-fire.

 

CC: Milk or Dark Chocolate?

VV: Definitely Milk Chocolate.

CC: Print or E-book?

VV: I love the convenience of E-books but there is nothing like holding a real book in my hand.

CC: Cat or Dog Person?

VV: I love both cats and dogs, but I do have a soft spot for rescue dogs.

CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?

VV: Definitely a night owl. I do my best work late into the evening when the house is quiet.

CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?

VV: Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the cooler weather, boots, and football season! .

Now for a couple of fun personal questions:

CC: What is your favorite Bible verse?

VV: My go-to verse is Jeremiah 29:11. In my darkest days, this verse gives me hope that God has something planned for my life that is better than anything I can see.

CC: Amen. And I love how that promise is given with the knowledge that the Israelites are getting ready to walk some pretty dark days.

CC: What are you reading right now?

VV:Right now, I’m re-reading Patricia Bradley’s Natchez Trace Park Rangers series since I’m working on my own story featuring a Natchez Trace Park Ranger.

CC: Oh that is fun. I try to read books with similar settings to mine while writing as well. 

CC: What do you like to do when you aren’t reading or writing?

VV: Lately, my free time has been spent babysitting my grandbaby, Izzy, when they need me and it is so hard to get back to work when all I want to do is love on her.

CC: Congratulations on the grandbaby!!! Baby snuggles are the best and definitely hard to break away from.

CC: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

VV: I write out of order as I’m writing. Sometimes, I can be working on a scene and not even know where in the story it takes place. After my first draft, I go back and put all the pieces together into a coherent story. It’s a crazy way to write but it works for me.

CC: That is a neat quirk that I only dip into when stumped. I can’t believe you can write an entire book that way! 

CC: What is your writing kryptonite?

VV: Time is my greatest obstacle. I’m raising kids, homeschooling, and a caregiver for my mom so I have to be intentional with protecting my writing time.

CC: I’m a caregiver too and that can definitely be a huge challenge, especially on top of raising kids.

CC: What does your writing schedule look like?

VV: I’m not a great multi-tasker so when I’m writing a story, I tend to focus on getting words down as fast as possible.

CC: I am so similar. I think you and I need to do a little more chatting after this is over.

Let’s talk about your release, Texas Killer Connection.

To catch a killer

they’ll need to find the evidence.

When the investigation into her look-alike cousin’s death stalls, former army intelligence officer Brooke Moore arrives in Texas searching for justice—and is thrust into the middle of a deadly conspiracy. Now she must turn to her cousin’s ex, FBI agent Colby Avery, for help. But with every clue leading them deeper into danger, they must uncover the truth…before they are buried with it.

CC: Which character was the most challenging to create?

VV: My hero, FBI Agent Colby Avery, was a difficult character to get to know. I’d gotten to know his siblings well in the previous books in the series, but Colby was always kind of stand-offish to me in the previous stories. So getting into his character in this book was almost like starting from scratch with a new character.

CC:Those silent stubborn types can really give us authors a run for our money to be sure!

What was some of your favorite research you discovered while preparing for this book?

VV: One of the scenes in TEXAS KILLER CONNECTION involved a bomb threat in a hospital. It was interesting learning about the different security codes facilities use to indicate trouble.

CC: My brother works in a children’s hospital and we had a discussion once about some of those topics. It really is fascinating how prepared they really are for such scenarios.

If you could be any of your characters, which one would it be?

VV: I loved my heroine, Brooke, and the way she was able to take care of herself. She’s strong, independent, and not afraid to take risks for those she cared about.

She sounds like an amazing heroine, and I can’t wait to get to know her more soon.

Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. As my final question, I have my usual “Fun Question”.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

VV: As a huge superhero fan, I’ve thought about this question a lot. My superpower would be to be able to fly or transport myself from place to place at will. No more driving for me! LOL

CC: Oh I so feel you on that one! My second job is an unpaid chauffeur. LOL

Readers, you can purchase Virginia Vaughan’s books at Amazon or at Harlequin’s website.


Reader question:

If you could pick a superpower what would it be?

Author Interview: Greta Picklesimer

Author Interview: Greta Picklesimer

It is my joy and pleasure today to get to introduce you to a debut author. Greta Picklesimer has written a historical romance titled Second Chance at Happiness that sounds like a sweet tale with one of my favorite tropes. You can find out more about her and her story below. 

UPDATE: Greta is providing a special giveaway of her book Second Chance at Happiness AND a notebook with her cover on it. All you have to do is follow her Facebook page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Greta Picklesimer is Michigan born and raised by Kentucky-transplanted parents. She accepted Jesus as her Savior at age five and strives to live for him on a daily basis. Besides writing inspirational historical romance novels, Greta spends time working on her art journal, painting with watercolors and oil pastels. She is owned by one overly affectionate rescue cat by the name of Pearlie Blue who was named after one of her father’s favorite Bluegrass songs. By day, Greta works as an office assistant. At night, she writes. 

Connect with her through:

Website  |  Facebook   |  Goodreads  |  BookBub  |  Twitter

 

Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Greta with rapid-fire.

 

CC: Milk or Dark Chocolate?

GP: Milk chocolate every time, unless it isn’t available then dark.

CC: Print or E-book?

GP: Both I hoard books so it is best if I purchase books for my to-be-read pile in E-book format. If it is a non-fiction book used for research purposes, then I definitely want it in print.

CC: Cat or Dog Person?

GP: Cat person most definitely. I am owned by one rescued, love-starved cat by the name of Pearlie Blue. She loves to be cuddled, petted and fawned over. She loves to sleep in the crook of my left arm under the covers with me.

CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?

GP: Hmm. I’m usually chipper in the morning so morning person. I go to bed around 6 PM, take a nap and get up around 8 or 9 PM. Then it’s back to bed for me around 10. I sleep the night through from that point on.

CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?

GP: I like the milder temperatures of Spring and Fall. I don’t like Winter even though I enjoy a good snowfall as I watch from the warmth of my house with a cup of hot tea in hand.

Now for a couple of fun personal questions:

CC: What do you like to do when you arent reading or writing?

GP: I enjoy working on my art journal. I have two so far. I love painting the pages with acrylic paints and then decorating the pages to match what I am journaling about.

CC: Painting is such a relaxing thing to do. I used to love it in high school so I can understand why you keep art journals now.

CC: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

GP: I first realized I wanted to be a writer when I was eight or nine-years-old. My eldest sister, Sandra Picklesimer Aldrich, brought over to my parent’s home a copy of a story she wrote for a magazine. I think it was called Grandfather’s Clock. I thought if she could do it, so could I. So, I started writing very short, one-act plays. They were poorly written, but first furrows into anything new usually is. I still have them. Later, I wrote stories about people who lived on the sun and about people who lived in sunbeams. In college I took journalism classes with photography and created my own program of photojournalism. I worked as a freelance photographer and writer (mostly photographer) for several small newspapers. When I landed my first full-time, staff reporter position, I found I loved to write feature stories over news stories. I decided to try my hand at a young-adult fantasy novel. It’s still on the shelf. I decided I wanted to write inspirational, historical romance novels after reading a contemporary romance taken from the community bookshelf at work. The book intrigued me. My thinking was if this author could do it, so could I. So, I did.

CC: Wow. That is quite the journey from journalism to ficiton novelist. I bet it was like learning a whole new skill set. 

CC: What has been the biggest challenge for you on your writing journey?

GP: The biggest challenge on my writing journey is also my Kryptonite. If I start my writing time by saying, I’ll just check my email or Facebook or some other online platform I get lost in it. Writing time wanes. I get tired and go to bed instead of writing. But if I hop on the computer and tell myself I’ll write X amount of pages, words, etc. AND then check Facebook and email, I find I get a whole lot more accomplished. Recently, I participated in a Winter writing challenge through a writing group I belong to. I needed to write 20,000 words in one month. It surprised me how much I could accomplish when I set my mind to it. I wound up completing the first draft of the second book in the series. I was offered a contract for it today.

CC: Congratulations on the contract!!! That is so exciting. AND YES!! That is something I totally need to do better about too!

Let’s talk about your debut release, Second Chance at Happiness.

After Catherine Reed’s husband dies in a tragic logging accident, Catherine and her four-year-old daughter, Clair, move home with Catherine’s mother and brother in order to accept a new position as the teacher for the town’s one-room schoolhouse. But Catherine carries a dark secret that she hasn’t even shared with her mother. Will she ever find forgiveness?

Samuel Harris has suffered his own loss, losing his wife and unborn child over a year prior. Although he is the town’s preacher, he struggles to trust God, blaming God for allowing him to be absent when his wife died. The guilt has burdened him ever since. But when his old flame Catherine Reed comes back to town, he wonders if they can find healing together.

Catherine believes that anyone who wants to learn should be allowed to learn, but she is quick to find a town divided on that issue. As she and Samuel set out to change people’s minds in a post-Civil War era, they find themselves drawn to each other over and over again. As they join together for the same cause, could they also find a second chance at happiness?

CC: Which character was the most fun to create? What makes them fun?

GP: I loved creating the anti-heroes in the novel. They were the most fun to create. Their actions and reactions surprised me. I just let them take the reins of the story when they showed up. They were most obliging and their antics did not disappoint.

CC: Anti-heroes are so fun to create.

Who was the most challenging to create?

GP: Catherine Reed, the heroine, was the most difficult to create because she had lost her husband when the story opens. She was numb from the pain and loss. If you’ve ever lost someone close to you, you know the soul-sucking void that is created when they are gone. I found her distant at first, which is exactly how I react to losing someone dear. 

CC: Losing someone close is definitely difficult and life-altering. I can only imagine how it would be to lose my husband, and I’d rather not. 

How do you select the names of your characters?

GP: The names of the characters just came to me. I didn’t struggle to find them. The characters told me what their names should be. One character has an odd last name. He insisted that that was his name. I stopped arguing with him about it and put it in the book.

LOL. Our characters can really be demanding and sometimes it is best just not to fight them.

What do you hope readers will take away from your story?

GP: My hope is that readers will understand that even though the characters were flawed that the Lord can forgive us and that he forgets our sin. 

Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. As my final question, I have my usual “Fun Question”.

As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot?

GP: I would choose a cat as my mascot because cats have slinky bodies can contort. They are smart, interesting and if they are like my Pearlie Blue, loving and in need of love and attention.

CC: Oh to have a slinky body. Sigh. Thanks so much for joining us, Greta! 

Readers, you can purchase Greta Picklesimer’s book Second Chance at Happiness at Amazon.


Reader question:

If you could pick a mascot for yourself, what would it be?

Author Interview: Teresa Tysinger

Author Interview: Teresa Tysinger

The Christian writing community is like family, and as such I get to meet and connect with lots of authors. Teresa Tysinger is one of those authors I’ve met through various online connections. It is my joy and honor to present her to you today. 

Teresa Tysinger is an author of Southern Contemporary Romance inspired by grace. She writes on the fringes of being a wife, mom, and full-time communications and public relations professional. Teresa is a member of ACFW, the Association for Women in Communications, and the Religion Communicators Council. She loves coffee, traveling, and prides herself in knowing and loving almost every genre of music. Born in Hawaii, raised in Florida, and educated in North Carolina, she now resides in Texas with her husband, daughter, and dog.

Connect with her through her:

Website  |  Facebook  | Instagram  |  Newsletter  |  Goodreads  |  BookBub

 

Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Teresa with rapid-fire.

 

CC: Milk or Dark Chocolate?

TT: The darker the better!

CC: Print or E-book?

TT: I love the feel of holding a book in my hands.

CC: Cat or Dog Person?

TT: I love both cats and dogs, but there is something so sweet and special about the bond between humans and dogs. It feels blessed somehow!

CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?

TT: The older I get, the more of a morning person I’m becoming!

CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?

TT: I appreciate something about every season, but Fall will always have a special place in my heart. I love everything about it!

Now for a couple of fun personal questions:

CC: What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?

TT: When I was going through confirmation in the sixth grade, we had to pick a life verse. I chose Isaiah 41:10 but have no doubt that God gave it to me because He knew I would need it throughout my life. I struggle with fear and anxiety from time to time and this verse brings me such comfort: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

CC: That is such a comforting verse, and it is so easy for us to succumb to the fears and anxieties this world brings.

CC: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

TT: I remember being a young girl, maybe ten or so, and reading Anne of Green Gables. I couldn’t imagine anything more exciting than using words to transport people to faraway lands and introduce readers to characters they’d otherwise never meet, just like L.M. Montgomery had done for me. It was thrilling! I started with small stories written in journals and dreamed of one day publishing something other people would actually get to read.

CC: And now you are there! What an exciting and wild ride. 

CC: What has been the biggest challenge for you on your writing journey?

TT: I am constantly searching for ways to balance writing with all of life’s other tasks: my full-time day job, being a mom and wife, self-care, church and volunteering, etc. Some days I want to ignore everything else and just write without distraction, but those opportunities are few and far between. Honestly, every time I type The End, I’m amazed I was able to find time to do it. 

CC: Amen. I’m convinced balance is a myth that we’ll never achieve.

Let’s talk about your debut release, Say It’s For Good, book 4 in the Laurel Cove Romance Series.

Say It's For Good (Laurel Cove Romance Book 4) by [Teresa Tysinger]Is a decade enough time to heal old wounds?

Professional chef Leah Spencer is level-headed, responsible, and practical—making it an easy decision to move home to Laurel Cove, North Carolina to care for her ailing father. All he wants is for his only child to find love and partnership like he had with his late wife—before he leaves her all alone. Desperate to ease his worries, as well as her own, she breaks character and creates a fake relationship with the one man in town who likely wants nothing to do with her. And the one man she’s ever truly loved.

Ladies’ man Jasper Bowdon has successfully avoided commitment ever since his heart was broken a decade ago. Casual dating, however, had grown tiresome and he’d recently decided to take a break from women to finally figure out what he really wants. Why, then, does he agree to a pretend relationship with the very woman who’d ruined him in the first place? And why is he left wondering if it could all be part of God’s plan to heal them both?

Love and friendship get a second chance in this final installment of the Laurel Cove Romance Series. Books in this series are stand-alone and can be read and enjoyed in any order.

CC: Which character was the most fun to create? What makes them fun?

TT: It’s interesting to look back on my writing and realize that very often my favorite characters are those with supporting roles. The faithful aunt, the grumpy but wise neighbor, etc. In Say It’s For Good, this is definitely true with the heroine’s best friend Penny. For a while, I’ve wanted to write a best friend inspired by Suki from Gilmore Girls. Similarly, Penny is quirky, sharp-tongued and quick-witted, but compassionately honest at just the right times. I think she’s got some of the best lines in the novel and often says what I think readers will be thinking as they read.

CC: Oh that is too fun! Those side characters really do take on lives of their own at times.

How did this story affect you as you wrote it? Did God teach you anything through the writing?

TT: More than any other story I’ve written, I struggled with Say It’s For Good. I found myself trudging through, sometimes setting it aside for weeks, not sure if I was simply distracted by other obligations or uninspired. More than once, I questioned if maybe this story wasn’t meant to be. Was I forcing it? Should I start over and consider a new plot? Finally, thanks to support and prayers from many family and friends, I managed to finish and sent it off (with a bit of trepidation) to beta readers.

The first reader who responded with feedback shed light on a mind-blowing realization. She identified with Leah, the heroine, who struggles throughout the story with a sometimes crippling fear that gets in the way of receiving blessings and, ultimately, love. BOOM! It hit me that this is my own personal struggle and has been nearly my whole life. Anxiety has often left me frozen, unsure of how to proceed and, seeking shelter in situations and relationships I’ve labeled as “safe.” No wonder I struggled so much with writing this story, since its themes hit so close to home.

Because of this, I can’t help but wonder if the obstacles I encountered along this writing journey were the enemy’s way of blocking God’s truth of hope and grace and healing that I believe ultimately come through by the last chapter. Now, a book that felt like a chore to write feels more like an exercise in faith. More often than not, faith is messy and its trajectory is full of ups and downs. I’m so thankful for the journey through this particular story!

CC: What a powerful testimony to how God uses the stories to no just affect our readers, but us as well.

If you could be any of your characters, which one would it be? Why?

TT: I’d love to be Penny, Leah’s best friend! It would be fun to be a professional chef, but I also love that she always says what she thinks even if it might raise some eyebrows or get some laughs. She seems to instantly make friends and is unwavering in her loyalty to the friends she does have. As someone who has a very simple (okay, maybe nonexistent) style, I think it would also be fun to live in her quirky, colorful wardrobe for a while!

She sounds like a fun person to be for a while.

Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. As my final question, I have my usual “Fun Question”.

If you could travel anywhere without worry about cost, where would you travel?

TT: My husband and I recently added taking a tour of Christmas markets around Europe to our bucket list, including stops in places like Bavaria, France, and Germany. They seem to have the perfect mix of tradition, holidays, and fairytales!

CC: That might just have to be added to my want-to-do list. It sounds fascinating, and I adore Christmas.

You can purchase Teresa’s book at Amazon.


Reader question:

Where would you like to travel if you could do so without cost?

Author Interview: Sarah Loudin Thomas

Author Interview: Sarah Loudin Thomas

There are so many amazing authors out there, and this year it is my privilege and honor to get to introduce you to various ones. Today, Sarah Loudin Thomas joins us for a tea-time chat if you will. 

Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Sarah is the director of Jan Karon’s Mitford Museum in Hudson, NC. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Coastal Carolina University and is the author of the acclaimed novels The Right Kind of Fool–winner of the 2021 Selah Book of the Year–and Miracle in a Dry Season–winner of the 2015 Inspy Award. Sarah has also been a finalist for the Christy Award, ACFW Carol Award and the Christian Book of the Year Award. She and her husband live in western North Carolina.

Connect with her through her:

Website  |  Facebook  | Instagram  |  Goodreads  |  BookBub

 

Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Sarah with rapid-fire.

 

CC: Milk or Dark Chocolate?

SLT: Dark and white chocolate IS NOT CHOCOLATE

CC: Print or E-book?

SLT Print if it’s a keeper, otherwise e-book to save shelf space

CC: Cat or Dog Person?

SLT: Dog!! Cats are fine but I ADORE dogs.

CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?

SLT: Morning person. I’m cranky after 9 p.m.

CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?

SLT: Spring–that’s when all the Appalachian wildflowers are blooming!

Now for a couple of fun personal questions:

CC: How can we pray for you?

SLT: That we find just the right person to hire as an assistant at The Mitford Museum.

CC: We will certainly be praying for that!

CC: What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?

SLT: “I believe, help my unbelief.” It’s the tension I live in every day.

CC: I love that verse! It’s what I’m actually using as the basis for book 3 in my series. 

CC: What are you reading right now?

SLT: The Mapmaker’s Children by Sarah McCoy. It’s set in WV!

CC: Oh! I’ve not heard of that one!

CC: What do you like to do when you aren’t reading or writing?

SLT: Hike the mountains of Appalachia. And then eat something delicious which I may or may not have cooked myself.

CC: A hike in the mountains sounds lovely!

CC: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

SLT: Like so many writers, I can’t remember a time before!

CC: 😀

CC: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

SLT: If I don’t know a detail, I can’t write past it. A minor character’s name, a meal I’m including, the description of a piece of jewelry . . . I need to know before I can go on.

CC: I understand that challenge, and that can really slow down the process.

CC: What is your writing Kryptonite?

SLT: Not writing. Not writing begets not writing.

CC: Wise words!

CC: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

SLT: I come home from my day job, walk my dog, have supper with my husband, and then write for an hour or so. The goal is 1,000 words/day when I’m on deadline.

CC: That seems so achievable. I love it.

CC: What has been the biggest challenge for you on your writing journey?

SLT: Waiting. If you’re a writer, you know what I mean.

I definitely get you there!

Let’s talk about your latest release, The Finder of Forgotten Things.

It’s 1932 and Sullivan Harris is on the run. He promised the people of Kline, West Virginia, that he would find them water, but now he’s failed and disappeared with their cash. Although he’s determined to stay a step ahead of pursuers–like Jeremiah Weber–his resources are running low. Gainey Floyd is suspicious of Sulley’s claim to be a dowser when he appears in town but reconsiders after he finds water. Rather, it’s Sulley who grows uneasy when his success makes folks wonder if he can find more than water–like forgotten items or missing people. He lights out to escape such expectations and runs smack into something worse. Hundreds of men have found jobs digging the Hawks Nest Tunnel–but what they thought was a blessing is killing them. And no one seems to care. Here, Sulley finds something new–a desire to help. As Jeremiah–and now Gainey–pursue him, Sulley becomes the unexpected catalyst for finding what even he has forgotten. Hope.

CC: Which character was the most fun to create? What makes them fun?

SLT: I really enjoy writing flawed characters–the more flawed the better! Sulley is loosely based on my great Uncle Celly (Marcellus) who was quite a scoundrel in our little community. My great Aunt Bess, who remembered him, told me he liked to draw pictures but only of the devil and naked ladies. Her brother once asked Celly how he knew what the devil looked like, and he said, “Seen him many a time.” Now that’s a character I HAD to put in a story! Of course, I sanded some of his rough edges and gave him a chance to be redeemed.

CC: Flawed characters are the best, because they are just so real, and to see them redeemed through story really gives hope to the real scoundrels in our life.

What was some of your favorite research you discovered while preparing for The Finder of Forgotten Things?

SLT: I was researching Appalachian funeral traditions when I discovered coffin quilts. I knew about cooling boards, sitting up with the dead, hand-digging graves, silver dollars on the eyes (pennies turn the skin green), and draping a cloth soaked in soda water over the face to keep the skin from darkening. But coffin quilts–this was new!

Called coffin or graveyard quilts they would be stitched by a family to be revisited each time someone died. They were typically somber colors–grays, blacks, or browns. Patterns varied, but often included a large square in the center that was the “graveyard.” Pieces of fabric shaped like coffins would be embroidered with each family member’s name and basted to the outside edge. When that person died, their coffin would be moved to the center graveyard and sewn into place.

The quilt might be used to drape the actual coffin at the funeral or used to cover the deceased at the viewing. While it might seem morbid, I tend to think it strikes the right balance between acknowledging that we’re all going to die one day and honoring those who already have. Because in the end, we’ll all find our spot in the graveyard!

CC: I’m all about funeral history. I’ve never heard of a coffin quilt but they totally make sense to me, and I love the concept.

What inspired you to write a story that includes the 1932 Hawks Nest Tunnel disaster? How did you initially hear about it?

SLT: I’m a WV girl currently living in NC, so I drive past the turnoff to Hawks Nest each time I go home. It’s near the New River Gorge Bridge—a REALLY high, REALLY long bridge that kind of freaks me out. I discovered that I could avoid driving over the bridge by taking the long way through the gorge. It’s also a really beautiful detour and I enjoyed stopping at the Hawks Nest overlook—where I read those white historic marker signs. I was intrigued and astonished to learn about such a horrific tragedy that seemed essentially unknown. And I wanted to tell people about it.

I love finding little-known bits of history and reading about them! It’s really fascinating when you can find a local tidbit.

Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. As my final question, I have my usual “Fun Question”.

If you could have any superpower, which would it be?

SLT: Is eating as many donuts as I want without gaining weight or being unhealthy a superpower? If not, I’ll take flying, but only about five feet off the ground. I want the speed but prefer not to risk the height.

CC: LOL, I love the speed vs height issue, and eating donuts without gaining weight or being unhealthy would definitely count as a superpower.

You can purchase Sarah’s book at Christianbook.com and other fine retailers.


Reader question:

If you could have any super power, which would it be?

Author Interview: Stacy T. Simmons

Author Interview: Stacy T. Simmons

I am so blessed to introduce to you a fellow author and friend, Stacy Simmons. Her newest release A Promise for Faith is the first in her Briar Creek Love series as well as being her debut. Allow me to properly introduce Stacy.

Stacy T. Simmons writes uplifting fiction that delights the reader’s romantic sensibilities. Many years of marital bliss are a great contributor. By day she is a Special Education inclusion Paraprofessional. By night, she is happily working on her next manuscript and corralling her and her family’s menagerie of pets she likes to call “Noah’s Ark.”

Connect with her through her website, Bookbub, Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

 

Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Stacy with rapid-fire.

 

CC: Milk or Dark Chocolate?

SS: Milk but any chocolate is wonderful!.

CC: Print or E-book?

SS: Print

CC: Cat or Dog Person?

SS: Both!

CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?

SS: Morning with coffee : )

CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?

SS: Summer

Now for a couple fun personal questions:

CC: How can we pray for you?

SS: For people to read and feel uplifted by my novel, thank you.

CC: It is so scary to have your book other there and to both worry that no one will read it. It’s so important to us as Christian writers to also lift up your readers, so I totally get that. We will be praying.

CC: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

SS: As a teen I wrote horrible poetry, I wrote but never published a children’s book ages ago. What rekindled my fire was seeing the love of students reading their books six years earlier. It made me want to write a story they might read someday.

CC: I think it is the curse of every teenager to write horrible poetry. LOL We are so glad that your students inspired you to write again.

CC: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

SS: I love to listen to music, I pray before writing and will sing some Christian pop songs.

CC: I’m a music listener too! Mostly instrumental though. Words mess me up while I’m typing.

Let’s talk abot your debut releast, A Promise for Faith.

Secrets have the power to ruin lives. Faith and love have the power to disarm those secrets.

Failure isn’t an option for Faith Fuller, She wants to prove to herself and her very successful parents she can stand on her own, even if it means accepting a job offer from someone she wanted to forget. To add to the problem, that job means facing her biggest fear.

Caleb Gaines is looking for a manager for his coffee shop. He’s in over his head running his successful river outfitters business, and being a single dad to a preschooler. But the perfect candidate wants nothing to do with him. Risk-taker Caleb is up for a challenge and wants to convince Faith to help him.

If neither one relies on faith and learns to trust, any chance at love will be washed downstream.

An out-of-work chef and successful river outfitter are both hiding secret tragedies. How much faith will it take to learn to trust in each other, overcome obstacles, and find love?

CC: How did this story affect you as you wrote it? Did God teach you anything through the writing?

SS: Patience and endurance. Writing a novel is not a sprint but a long winding path through the forest. You won’t see the end until some time from now.

CC: Amen. And sometimes that forest is a scary place to be.

How do you select the names of your characters?

SS: I researched favorite baby names in their birth year, also I used some of my family names in there as well.

CC: Oh that is fun. And I totally look up names by birth year too. Just a little farther back. 😉

What do you hope readers will take away from your story?

SS: No matter what is thrown at you, Jesus is with you and guides you all the way through it.

 

Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. As my final question, I have my usual “Fun Question”.

What are the top three things on your bucket list?

SS: 1. Hawaii 2. Tahiti 3. To travel back to Europe

CC: Oh, wow. I hadn’t ever considered Tahiti, now I’m intrigued. Thanks so much for hanging with us.

You can purchase Stacy’s book at Amazon.


Reader question:

What items are on YOUR bucket list?

Meet Brielle Adebayo from In Search of a Prince by Toni Shiloh

Meet Brielle Adebayo from In Search of a Prince by Toni Shiloh

One of my new favorite things to do this year is to interview characters. They are so much fun, and it just really gets you connected to them even before (or after) you’ve read the book. Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Brielle Adebayo from In Search of a Prince by Toni Shiloh. Before we meet officially, let me introduce you to her story:

In Search of a Prince by Toni Shiloh

It seems like a dream come true . . . until it forces her to question everything.

Brielle Adebayo is fully content teaching at a New York City public school and taking annual summer vacations with her mother to Martha’s Vineyard. But everything changes when her mom drops a bombshell–Brielle is really a princess in the island kingdom of Ọlọrọ Ilé, off the coast of Africa, and she must immediately assume her royal position, since the health of her grandfather, the king, is failing.

Distraught by all the secrets her mother kept, Brielle is further left spinning when the Ọlọrọ Ilé Royal Council brings up an old edict that states she must marry before her coronation, or the crown will pass to another. Brielle is uncertain if she even wants the throne, and with her world totally shaken, where will she find the courage to take a chance on love and brave the perils a wrong decision may bring?

CC: Hi Brielle! It is so great to meet you. Would you please introduce yourself to my readers? 

BA: Thank you so much for having me. In case you haven’t seen the cover of the story or read the back cover, I’ll assume you know nothing about me. I’m Brielle Bayo, or at least, that’s the name I went by growing up. It wasn’t until recently that my mom informed me I’m actually a princess. *awkward laugh* I know, the stuff from fantasy, right? But I am Princess Brielle Adebyao, heir to the throne of Ọlọrọ Ilé, a country of the coast of West Africa in the Gulf of Guinea. In Search of a Prince is centered around me, finding out this huge secret, and what that means for my future.

CC: Wow! That is the stuff of fantasies for sure, but I’m sure it couldn’t have actually been that easy to brush off and deal with. Who ended up being one of the hardest people for you to deal with?

BA: Um, my uncle. I know I should be over the moon to have more family since it was just my mom and I for the longest. But he has made it apparent he doesn’t like me or want me around. Every time I see him I want to turn around and hide. But I can’t let him see how his words hurt me.

CC: Ugh. That is so hard. Family can be a challenge to deal with in the best circumstances but in this? My heart goes out to you. So how about the family gatherings? Do you like them? Hate them? 

BA: In the past, our family gatherings consisted of my mom and me. Just us two against the world. Now that my family has been expanded, I’m still unsure how I feel about family gatherings. Some of my father’s family seem to judge me and find me lacking. What kind of joy is that to gather with them? *sighs* Maybe one day this question won’t fill me with so much doubt.

CC: Oh, sweetheart, I hope one day you will be able to hang out at those gatherings with so much joy that you burst with rainbows. That is understandably hard right now, and suddenly being a princess comes with a lot of stress. What is your biggest fear?

BA: Failing those who depend on me. I’m not sure why God saw fit to allow me to be a princess that will one day become queen. But if He has called me to this life, I pray that I won’t fail. That He’ll equip me and allow me to be a blessing to this country.

CC: It sounds like you have a good footing in your faith and that is so refreshing. So since you’re a princess, you’ve got to have a prince right? Tell us a little bit about him.

BA: I feel like I cannot NOT talk about the hero. However, I also don’t want to give anything away since there’s a little Bachelorette-like vibe going on in my world thanks to the royal council’s decree. Regardless, the hero fits every definition you can think of. Someone dependable, someone who has my back, someone who makes me smile and want to be around him all the time. I’m so glad I met him.

CC: You’re making me want to swoon just hearing that description. I can’t wait to meet him. And readers, you can meet him NOW. In Search of a Prince by Toni Shiloh is available for purchase at most book retailers, but you can click this link to find all the options.  

Readers, in the comments below, what would you do if you suddenly found out you were royalty?

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and multi-published Christian contemporary romance author. She writes to bring God glory and to learn more about His goodness. Her novels, Grace Restored, was a 2019 Holt Medallion finalist, Risking Love a 2020 Selah Award finalist, The Truth About Fame a 2021 Holt Medallion finalist, and The Price of Dreams a 2021 Maggie Award finalist. Learn more at http://tonishiloh.com.

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