Author Interview: Kimberly Duffy

Author Interview: Kimberly Duffy

This month I have the great pleasure and honor to introduce to you author, Kimberly Duffy. I met Kimberly through a mutual friend just before her debut book came out. Kimberly is a wonderful mom, wife, and author. I hope you enjoy getting to know her better as much as I did.

Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she’s not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. He doesn’t mind.

You can connect with her at:

Newsletter (free short story): http://kimberlyduffy.com/index.php/newsletter/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/authorkimberlyduffy/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKimberlyDuffy

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

 

 

CC: Milk or Dark Chocolate?

KD: Neither. I’m allergic to caffeine.

CC: Ugh! That must be so hard! I stress eat chocolate way more than I should.

 

CC: Print or e-book?

KD: Print!

 

CC: Cat or Dog Person?

KD: Allergic to those, too.

CC: You poor thing! I guess the best pet in those instances is a fish. 

 

CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?

KD: Night Owl.

CC: The night seems to be when everything is finally quiet.

 

CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter? 

KD: Fall or spring. I love both seasons.

CC: They really are each pretty in their own rights. I could do without the tree pollen though. LOL

 

Before we dive into your book, let’s learn a bit more about you. What has been the biggest challenge for you on your writing journey??

KD: Not falling into the trap of comparing my journey with someone else’s. Especially with social media, it’s hard to resist that temptation. It’s in your face all the time and typically, you only see the very best parts of someone’s journey. 

CC: Hugs. Comparision is so incredibly hard. I think it is a trap we can all be tempted to fall into, and often do.

Why do you write with settings in India?

KD: India is the most vibrant, colorful, energetic, warm place on the planet. It lends itself well to beautiful imagery and descriptive writing, as well as being so diverse which makes writing each book an opportunity to dive into new research. Though, only the first three books are set there. I’m looking forward to writing other places as well.

CC: I am looking forward to seeing India through your writing. It is such a unique location, although, any location you write is bound to be wonderful.

So let’s talk about A Tapestry of Light

Calcutta, 1886.

Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie’s English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn’t forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.

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

KD: If I could be anyone from Tapestry, it would be Damaris who is my heroine’s closest friend. She has a larger-than-life personality, kindness tempered by a realistic outlook and sharp sense of humor, a stunning figure and mound of red hair, and purpose. She’s also loyal, lives with a wealthy, permissive aunt, and honestly deserves her own book. Maybe one day?

CC: She definitely deserves her own book! And I have a feeling you will have many readers clamoring to read it.

What drew you to this story?

KD: Initially it was the beetle-wing embroidery. I stumbled across a piece of 18th-century ruffle at an Indian fabric exhibit and was just fascinated by it. The Victorians were big fans of using things from the natural world in their fashions and elytra are the most beautiful green, iridescent, and have a long history of being used in embroidery. Then I was drawn to Ottilie’s fierce strength, her pursuit of truth, and her willingness to wade through hard things.

CC: That is so cool. For our readers, here an image of some beetle-wing embroidery to feast your eyes upon. 

Dress fabric embroidered with beetle wing-cases, makers unknown, 1858, Hyderabad, India. Museum no. 4498:1/(IS). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London (https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/indian-embroidery)

Thank you so much for joining me today and providing us with a taste of you and your story. The last question is always my fun one:

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

KD: Teleportation definitely. I’ve actually seriously considered this question in case I’m ever offered the opportunity. I love to travel. I wish I could wake up in Paris, eat a croissant, then hop on over to India for lunch and a visit with friends, then be in Greece for dinner time and a walk along the ocean. 

CC: I’d definitely jump on board with that one, but for a completely different reason. LOL It would be so nice to get my family where they need to be in seconds instead of taking all day. 🙂

Seriously, thank you again so much for the interview. It’s so neat to get to know you a bit more.

Readers, you can purchase Kimberly Duffy’s book at any of the following retailers or your favorite bookseller.

Amazon     Baker Bookhouse     Barnes and Noble     Books-A-Million     Bookshop.org    Book Depository     Christianbook.com     Indiebound.org


Reader Question: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

 

Author Interview: A.D. Lawrence

Author Interview: A.D. Lawrence

The winner of the February Reading Challenge giveaway is Alisa W. Check for an email from me, and if you didn’t get it, email me at crystal@crystalcaudill.com. CONGRATULATIONS!!!


It is my great pleasure and honor to introduce to you A.D. Lawrence, one of the 2021 Christian fiction debut authors. Be sure to read the full interview and then enter the giveaway at the end for a chance to win a copy of The Purple Nightgown.

A.D. Lawrence makes her home in Northeastern Nebraska. She has been passionate about writing and true crime for years, and her two obsessions melded into the goal of authorship. She is an active member of the ACFW, writes a true crime blog, won the 2019 Crown Award and was a 2019 First Impressions finalist and a 2020 Genesis finalist. Her first book will be released through Barbour in March of 2021 as part of the True Colors series.

You can connect with her at https://adlawrencefiction.com/, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.

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

 

 

CC: Milk or Dark Chocolate?

ADL: Dark

CC: You are my kind of girl!

 

CC: Print or e-book?

ADL: Print

 

CC: Cat or Dog Person?

ADL: Cat

CC: I guess I can forgive you for that. 😉

 

CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?

ADL: I’m not very good at either, but I’m becoming a bit of a Night Owl.

CC:  I used to be a Night Owl, but now I’m like you. I’m not good at either.

 

CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter? 

ADL: Fall . . . always fall.

CC: It’s such a pretty time of the year!

 

Before we dive into your book, let’s learn a bit more about you. What are you reading right now?

ADL: Though it’s not my typical reading genre, I’ve been enjoying The Smoke River series by Adina Senft. The first two books are amazing, and I’m just starting book three. 

CC: For those who are interested in what genre that is, it’s Amish. I’m so glad you are enjoying the series! I have to admit, Amish isn’t typically my thing, but my interest is piqued.

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

ADL:  Please don’t judge me, but I’m really into 90 Day Fiancé at the moment. It’s pretty crazy.

CC: When I first read that, I read 90 Day FINANCE. LOL Fiancé makes so much more sense. 

What is your schedule like when you’re writing?

ADL: I have a full-time job, so writing keeps me busy. Since I only had seven weeks to write and edit The Purple Nightgown, I woke up at five to write before work and wrote until late into the night. Thank goodness, it came together!

CC: Holy cow! Seven weeks AND a full-time job? Girl you amaze me. I’m not sure my brain can function that early and go to bed that late afterward. Bless you!

Thanks for sharing those fun things. Let’s dive right into talking about your debut novel, The Purple Nightgown!

Marvel at true but forgotten history when patients check into Linda Hazzard’s Washington state spa in 1912 and soon become victim of her twisted greed.

Heiress Stella Burke is plagued by insincere suitors and nonstop headaches. Exhausting all other medical aides for her migraines, Stella reads Fasting for the Cure of Disease by Linda Hazzard and determines to go to the spa the author runs. Stella’s chauffer and long-time friend, Henry Clayton, is reluctant to leave her at the spa. Something doesn’t feel right to him, still Stella submits herself into Linda Hazzard’s care. Stella soon learns the spa has a dark side and Linda a mean streak. But when Stella has had enough, all ways to leave are suddenly blocked. Will Stella become a walking skeleton like many of the other patients or succumb to a worse fate?

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

ADL: I had the most fun with Henry, probably because I pictured him as James Norton. His conflicting emotions made him fun to write.

CC: That’s a new actor to me. I had to look him up to know who you are talking about, but I can see him as being a character of conflicting emotions. He just sort of has that face.

What was your hardest scene to write?

ADL: Since I’m a romantically stunted person, the mushy scenes were a challenge. Emotions like fear and anxiety are easy for me to write, but warmer feelings … not so much. I’m thankful for critique partners who experience the full range of human emotion and gave me a hand.

CC: I am the same way! That does make writing romances so much harder, but you did a great job!

Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. The last question is always my fun one:

What are the top three things on your bucket list?

ADL: 1) Tour Highclere Castle 2) Hot Air Balloon Ride 3) Serve on a Jury (something serious, not some car theft or drug case.)

CC: Your third one is so funny to me. Everyone tries to get out of jury duty, and you want on it. In fairness, you want a serious case, but i still find it humorous. My dad served on a grand jury once, and I can remember the cameraman filming the shoes of the jury as they walked by and my family recognizing my dad’s ratty tennis shoes. LOL

Readers, you can purchase A.D’s book at any of the following retailers or your favorite bookseller, but be sure to enter the giveaway as well! If you win, you can make someone’s day by giving it as a gift.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Christianbook.com


The Giveaway

To enter, please comment below with YOUR top three bucket list items and then click on the Rafflecopter entry below. Entries are open from 3/9/2021 12:01 AM (EST) to 3/15/2021 11:59PM (EST). This giveaway is restricted to US residents only. The winner will be announced on next Tuesday’s book review.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Author Interview: Jennifer Deibel

Author Interview: Jennifer Deibel

It is my great pleasure and honor to introduce to you Jennifer Deibel, one of the 2021 Christian fiction debut authors.

Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher whose work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic magazine, and others. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at www.jenniferdeibel.com. Her debut novel, A Dance in Donegal, releases Feb. 2, 2021 from Revell and is available for pre-order wherever books are sold!

You can connect with her at Instagram, Facebook, Goodreads, or BookBub.

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

 

 

CC: Sweet or Unsweet Tea?

JD: Can I say both? LOL Honestly, though, in a pinch I’d probably go for dark!

CC: Absolutely you can say both. Good choice. 😉

 

CC: Print or E-book?

JD: Print! I love the feel, smell, the heft of it.

CC: I’m 100% with you!

 

CC: Cat or Dog person?

JD: Dog, for sure!!

CC: Who can resist a tail that wags every time they see you?

 

CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?

JD: Permanently Exhausted Pigeon. LOL

CC:  Oh that’s hilarious! I’ve not heard that one, but it’s perfect!

 

CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?

JD: Oh, fall, most definitely!

CC: It is so beautiful!

Thanks for sharing those fun things. Let’s dive right into talking about you. 

How can we pray for you? 

JD: I’m heading into edits for book 2—which I’m so very excited about! I absolutely love this story and can’t wait to get it into readers’ hands! But I’m also in the midst of grading middle school essays, and thinking of which story idea(s) I want to pursue next. So, I’d appreciate prayers for energy and strength, but also for wisdom and discernment. And divine inspiration.

CC: Absolutely! Teaching is such a full-time and mentally draining job, I can’t imagine how you manage to balance both writing and teaching. You are definitely in our prayers!

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

JD: Being a teacher, I tend to write the bulk of my books during the summer. I try to balance good, big chunks of concentrated writing time with good, concentrated time with my kids—they are getting older, and won’t be home forever, so I want to be wise with my time. During the school year, I rotate evenings and weekends with writing, schoolwork/planning/grading, family time, etc.

CC: Bless you. You have so much to balance in your life. You completely amaze me. The mom guilt is hard and you definitely don’t want to miss those moments, but being called to write has its demands as well.

Now let’s dive into your debut novel, A Dance in Doengal!

After the loss of her Irish mother in the summer of 1920, Moira Doherty decides to fulfill her mother’s wish for her to leave Boston and teach in her mother’s home village of Ballymann in Donegal, Ireland. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about a scandalous family reputation abound and threaten not only her new position but also her life.

Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of unlikely friends including Sean, a handsome thatcher, to help her clear her family name before it’s too late. As she seeks to navigate her new life in Ireland, she may find that this is truly the life she was always meant to live.

CC: What was some of your favorite research you discovered while preparing for A Dance in Donegal?

JD: I really loved researching all the ancient traditions of Ireland. I’d experienced many of them firsthand when we lived there, but I wanted an even deeper understanding of why they do or say the things they do—things they’ve done and said for centuries, and still do to this day. I don’t want to give too much away, but there’s one major life event in particular that I just found absolutely fascinating the sheer number and depth of traditions involved in it. It’s like a well-choreographed dance, and everyone seems to automatically know their parts. Which, I loved, as it fits well with the dance theme that runs throughout the story. And it deepened my own appreciation and love for Ireland’s culture and traditions because I understood even more where they are coming from, and the rich meaning behind literally everything they do.

CC: Wow. I’m a little jealous you lived there. It’s definitely on my bucket list to go one day, but I’m glad I’ll get a glimpse of it by reading your book!

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

JD: So much of this story was written during or shortly after major seasons of change and transition for our family. And, much like Moira, I often found myself questioning God’s plans, and whether or not He truly knew what He was doing…or if I’d misheard/misinterpreted His leading in some way. Walking this story alongside my characters helped strengthen my own faith that God does in fact know what He’s doing, and He is good, and He is for my good…even if the circumstances He chooses to use to do that are painful.

CC: Hugs. Those are the best and most painful lessons to learn, but I’m so glad you were able to process those changes through your characters.

How do you select the names of your characters?

JD: For some of the characters, the names just came to me—I just knew the main character’s name was Moira, for example. Others, I had to look up. I wanted names that were common in that time-period, and in that area of Ireland. But I also wanted the names to match the characters and their personalities. The meanings of names are hugely important to me in my own life, so I brought that to my characters as well. I also chose harsh-sounding names for the antagonists because they are caustic people, and I wanted their names to be consistent with that.

CC: I love how much thought went into all of that! Name meanings are so fun to look up and now you’re going to have me looking up the meanings of your characters. 

Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. I have one last, fun question to give you. 

Would you rather face 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck? Why? 

JD: Oh, 100 duck-sized horses. No question. First of all, they sound completely adorable! Secondly, I feel like they might be more manageable…or at least less threatening than a horse-sized duck. I feel like one peck from that duck would be the end of me. 

CC: I can just see the beak coming at you now. LoL

Thanks for spending time with me and my readers today. I am so excited to share your story with them. READERS: You can purchase Jennifer’s book at any of the following retailers or your favorite bookseller. The reviews are rolling in and they are great. I can’t wait to dig into my copy soon.

Amazon     Baker Book House    Barnes and Noble     Books-A-Million     ChristianBook     IndieBound    Target     Walmart

Introducing the Historical Bookwork Podcast

Introducing the Historical Bookwork Podcast

So I have a confession to make. I don’t have a book review for you this week. I just turned in my first ever edits on Sunday and I devoted every spare moment of the last month working on those. My brain is too kaput to write a review of a book I read last year but never got around to writing about. However, I want to stick to my commitment to give you reading-related material that you might like. My friend and critique partner, KyLee Woodley, released her first episode of a podcast just for fans of Christian historical fiction. Check it out below, give it a listen, and then let me know what you think! Sarah Sundin is her and Kendy’s first interview guest.

I stole the below from their website: https://historicalbookworm.com/

The Historical Bookworm Podcast is for fans of Inspirational Historical Fiction. It’s a unique interview show with a historical spin! Join hosts KyLee Woodley and Kendy Pearson for:

  • Author interviews – personal, better-than-a-blog interviews decidedly more insightful than any book jacket bio.
  • Pinch of the Past – this segment will enlighten and fascinate listeners with interesting historical facts, stories, recipes, quotes, and more.
  • The Bookworm Review – we’ll share our latest reads!
  • A Group for Groupies! – Hop onto our Historical Bookworm Facebook group so you can participate in the fun! This is an opportunity for listeners to interact with our guests and hosts.

Listen while you drive, jog, or wait for the kids after school. You won’t want to miss the bi-weekly Historical Bookworm Show! Every episode is designed for true history lovers and readers of inspirational fiction.

Episode 1: Guest Sarah Sundin and a Bookworm Review of Lori Benton’s latest

Join us for an interview with Sarah Sundin, writer extraordinaire of World War II drama, daring, and romance. She discusses her latest release and what she’s discovered along her journey in researching World War II. You won’t want to miss this delightful, personal glimpse into our guest as Sarah sheds her author cap for real-life tales. You may be quite surprised! Check out Sarah’s website, Sarahsundin.com for all things Sarah–books, speaker information, maps, and more! And don’t forget to pick up her brand new release, When Twilight Breaks right HERE!

Pinch of the Past enlightens you with the amazing origins of a myriad of wedding-related customs, like the Best Man, wedding rings, honeymoons, and more.

Our Bookworm Review brings you Lori Benton’s fabulous 2020 release of Mountain Laurel, Book One of the Kindred series. Book Two, Shiloh, will be available in October of this year. Find Mountain Laurel HERE. And check out the rest of this author’s incredible books about frontier faith and fiction at LoriBenton.com.

 

Let me know if you guys listen to it and what you think! If you’re into podcasts, I know of several historical fiction related ones that I can direct you to. If YOU know of Christian Fiction podcasts to recommend, share them here as well. Next week I hope to have my interview up with Jennifer Diebel and then the last day of February will have my review of this month’s reading challenge book, The Patriot Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse. I’m starting that tonight. 🙂 

Author Interview: Amanda Wen

Author Interview: Amanda Wen

It is my great pleasure and honor to introduce to you Amanda Wen, one of the 2021 Christian fiction debut authors.

Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. She has placed first in multiple contests, including the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest, the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest. She was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest finalist. A lifelong denizen of the flatlands, Amanda currently lives in Kansas with her husband, their three Wenlets, and one snuggly Siamese cat.

You can connect with her at www.amandawen.com, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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

 

 

CC: Milk or Dark Chocolate?

AW: While I love any chocolate, I do have a slight preference for The Dark Side.

CC: Who can resist the dark side. Soooo delicious.

 

CC: Print or E-book?

AW: Print. There’s just something about holding a book and turning real pages that makes for a much more immersive reading experience.

CC: Same!

 

CC: Cat or Dog Person?

AW: 100% cat. I have a Siamese named Jasmine who is the sweetest kitty ever (she’s snuggling with me right now, in fact, which makes typing a little awkward, but totally worth it).

CC: That sounds sweet. All I ever had was a barn cat, and he was not a snuggler.

 

CC: Morning Person or Night Owl?

AW: Morning, as long as I’ve had my coffee.

CC:  Caffeine is a must in the morning, for sure!

 

CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?

AW: Fall is my absolute favorite.

CC: It really is a beautiful time of the year.

Thanks for sharing those fun things. Let’s dive right into talking about your debut novel, Roots of Wood and Stone!

Abandoned at birth, her family roots a mystery, historical museum curator Sloane Kelley has dedicated her life to making sure others know theirs. When a donor drops off a dusty old satchel, she doesn’t expect much from the common artifact . . .until she finds real treasure inside: a nineteenth-century diary. Now she’s on the hunt to find out more.

Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother’s historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. With her advancing Alzheimer’s, he can’t afford to be sentimental about the family home. But his carefully ordered plan runs up against two formidable obstacles: Sloane, who’s fallen in love with both the diaries and the house, and his own heart, which is irresistibly drawn to Sloane.

A century and a half earlier, motherless Annabelle Collins embarks with her aunt and uncle on the adventure of a lifetime: settling the prairies of Sedgwick County, Kansas. The diaries she left behind paint a portrait of life, loss, and love–and a God who faithfully carries her through it all. Paging through the diaries together takes Sloane and Garrett on a journey they never could have planned, which will change them in ways they never imagined.

This warm, beautifully written split-time novel will resonate with readers looking for stories that reveal the beauty of God’s plan for our lives, and how our actions ripple for generations.

CC: Who was the most challenging character to create? What made them so difficult?

AW: I’d say Sloane, my contemporary heroine, was probably the most difficult nut to crack. As a pantser, the only way I get to know my characters is to just start writing them, but Sloane doesn’t trust easily and wasn’t about to open up to me right away. I honestly felt like I was spinning my wheels with her trying to get her to talk until I found two of her passions: local history and jazz. (Conveniently, that latter bit helped her open up to Garrett, my contemporary hero, as well. 😉 )

CC: Oh, that is so sweet! I think I will get along with Sloane just perfectly. History and jazz are two of my favorite things.

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

AW: In total contrast to Sloane, my past hero, Jack, showed up fully formed and ready to take over any scene he was in. A native of Ireland (and thus possessor of a fabulous accent), he came to the United States as a child and, along with many other Civil War veterans, became an early settler of Sedgwick County, Kansas. Jack has suffered some deep wounds just prior to the start of the story, but he is a man of big dreams, fierce determination, and passionate devotion to those he loves (along with a touch of impulsiveness, which you’ll see in his very first scene). He was an absolute joy to write.

CC: He sounds like a joy! I can’t wait to get to know him!

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

AW: This book is inspired by aspects of my own family history. My mom is a genealogist and has been tracing our family—and sharing their stories—my whole life. As an homage to her and all the rest of my ancestors, many of the people and places in the book are named for my ancestors. There are also several shout-outs to Wichita, Kansas, my home for most of my life, which people who’ve been around these parts might recognize.

CC: That is so cool, and what a personal touch!

Speaking of personal…let’s get to know YOU a little better. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

AW: I’ve written stories for fun off and on ever since I was a kid, but the writing bug hit me big-time in January 2008, when I wrote stories and actually let other people read them. Then came the Wenlets—all three within four years—so that gobbled up my time until 2014, when story ideas came out of nowhere and refused to let go. Around that time I started letting a lifelong friend, herself a multi-published author in the general market, read my work. She took me under her wing and gently corrected all my newbie writing errors, but told me I had publishable talent and ideas. I decided that if God had given me that gift, I should probably pursue it through whatever avenue he chose.

CC: Amen! I am so glad you chose to follow this path with your gifting so that we may all enjoy.

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

AW: Trusting God’s timing, which is I think a common one for us writers. So many of us finish our first novel and then we think we’ve Arrived somehow, and we want to run out and get it published.  I was absolutely no exception. And though my first novel won a few contests and landed me my wonderful agent, it did not sell to publishers. I was pretty disappointed, as anyone would be, but while that book was on submission, I’d started to write another book in a slightly different genre—one I truly loved writing and felt at home in. My agent wasn’t as excited about it as she had been my first book, but she believed in my writing and said she’d pitch anything I wrote. That second book didn’t do as well in contests and was on submission for over a year…but the folks at Kregel fell in love with it, and that book is the one that became Roots of Wood and Stone.

One postscript illustrating God’s perfect timing: Roots of Wood and Stone was inspired by my mom’s research into our family history, and I dreamed of the day when I’d get to tell her that the book was under contract. The day that dream came true and I finally got to call her with the news, I got to call Ireland, where she and my dad were celebrating their 50th anniversary. At the time of the call, they were eating lunch in a little café in the hometown of the ancestor whose life inspired the book. It doesn’t get much more perfect than that.

CC: Wow! God’s perfect timing is so astounding. What a blessing to be able to have that publishing announcement story to share. I’m sure your parents were thrilled to get the call.

What is your writing Kryptonite? 

AW: Plotting. I envy those who can plot out an entire novel and then just sit down and have the whole thing written in a matter of a few weeks. I cannot do that. I’ve tried. My process, which involves pantsing and revising as I go, is annoyingly slow, but it’s what works for me, so I’ve tried to make peace with it.

CC: I understand that whole-heartedly! So frustrating, but totally worth the journey.

Before we slip off to our last fun question, I have one more serious one for you. How can we pray for you?

AW: I would love prayer for the launch of Roots of Wood and Stone. It’s a dream come true, and while I’d love to say I’m excited and joyful and soaking up every minute, I’m actually very anxious about it. I have no idea how to ensure a book’s success once the writing is done, and I’m a little confused as to why God would choose to have me release this book in the midst of a global pandemic when many things are shut down, in-person launch events can’t happen, and the economy is less than amazing. Every aspect of writing this book, though, has been an exercise in trust, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that releasing it is any different. But if you could pray that a) those who God wants to read this book will read it and be brought closer to Him, and b) that I’d be able to relax and enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience without worrying that I’m somehow doing it wrong, that’d be amazing.

CC: You are being covered in prayer, Amanda. We are so blessed to have this sneak peek into your world.

Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. The final question is always a fun favorite of mine:

What are the top three things on your bucket list? 

AW: 

  • Travel to all 50 US states (I’m sitting at 39 right now) and Europe (specifically the British Isles since that’s where my family’s from and Germany/Austria to visit the birthplaces of my favorite composers)
  • Attend a New England Patriots home game (I’ve seen them play on the road a few times, but never in Foxboro).
  • Perform Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony and Handel’s Messiah with orchestras. (I’ve played snippets of Messiah, but never the whole thing, and Beethoven’s Seventh is the only symphony on my list of favorites that I’ve never performed).

CC: Can I just be in the audience for either of those concerts? I’ve been blessed to hear Handel’s Messiah once, but I’d love love love to hear it again, especially with someone I know playing on stage!

Join me in celebrating Amanda’s debut releasing February 2nd from Kregel publishing, by wishing her congratulations below and sharing one thing on YOUR bucket list!

You can purchase Amanda’s book at any of the following retailers or your favorite bookseller.

Amazon      Barnes and Noble     Christianbook.com

Meet the Christian Fiction Class of 2021

Meet the Christian Fiction Class of 2021

*For those participating in the 2021 reading challenge, I have created a Facebook Group for those who want to interact throughout the month. For those who wish to receive a bookmark as a reminder of the themes, fill out this Google Form.*

 

 

 

2021 is bound to be a better year than 2020. At least that is what I am declaring! To start the year off right, I thought it would be neat to introduce you to some of the newest authors on the Christian Fiction scene. This year, ten authors I have had the honor to meet will debut their novels to the world. I have broken down the graduating class into the months they will break into the world. Support these new authors by connecting with them online, checking out their books, and if the books interest you, pre-order your copy or request your library to purchase a copy. Preorders go a long way to help an author have a successful book launch. It takes a lot of work to get a book out there, and I’m excited to help them get the word out.

 

Just as an incentive to help these authors out, I’m offering a $25 Baker Bookhouse gift card giveaway. Each author has chosen one link they want promoted most. Pick which ones you’d like to help out, and earn an entry for each one. To participate, click here

 

 

January Graduate

 

 

Amanda Wen is an award-winning writer of inspirational romance and split-time women’s fiction. She has placed first in multiple contests, including the 2017 Indiana Golden Opportunity Contest, the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest, and the 2016 ACFW First Impressions Contest. She was also a 2018 ACFW Genesis Contest finalist. A lifelong denizen of the flatlands, Amanda currently lives in Kansas with her husband, their three Wenlets, and one snuggly Siamese cat.

 

Connect with her:   www.amandawen.com     Facebook     Twitter     Instagram

 

 

Roots of Wood and Stone

Genre: Split-time Women’s Fiction

 

This historic home holds the keys to their destiny . . . and their hearts

Abandoned at birth, her family roots a mystery, historical museum curator Sloane Kelley has dedicated her life to making sure others know theirs. When a donor drops off a dusty old satchel, she doesn’t expect much from the common artifact . . .until she finds real treasure inside: a nineteenth-century diary. Now she’s on the hunt to find out more.

Garrett Anderson just wanted to clean out his grandmother’s historic but tumbledown farmhouse before selling it to fund her medical care. With her advancing Alzheimer’s, he can’t afford to be sentimental about the family home. But his carefully ordered plan runs up against two formidable obstacles: Sloane, who’s fallen in love with both the diaries and the house, and his own heart, which is irresistibly drawn to Sloane.

A century and a half earlier, motherless Annabelle Collins embarks with her aunt and uncle on the adventure of a lifetime: settling the prairies of Sedgwick County, Kansas. The diaries she left behind paint a portrait of life, loss, and love–and a God who faithfully carries her through it all. Paging through the diaries together takes Sloane and Garrett on a journey they never could have planned, which will change them in ways they never imagined.

This warm, beautifully written split-time novel will resonate with readers looking for stories that reveal the beauty of God’s plan for our lives, and how our actions ripple for generations.


Preorder here:
Amazon      Barnes and Noble     Christianbook.com

 


February Graduate

 

 

Jennifer Deibel is a middle school teacher whose work has appeared on (in)courage, on The Better Mom, in Missions Mosaic magazine, and others. With firsthand immersive experience abroad, Jennifer writes stories that help redefine home through the lens of culture, history, and family. After nearly a decade of living in Ireland and Austria, she now lives in Arizona with her husband and their three children. You can find her online at www.jenniferdeibel.com. Her debut novel, A Dance in Donegal, releases Feb. 2, 2021 from Revell and is available for pre-order wherever books are sold!


Connect with her:
Instagram     Facebook     Goodreads     BookBub

 


A Dance in Donegal

Genre: Historical Romance

 

After the loss of her Irish mother in the summer of 1920, Moira Doherty decides to fulfill her mother’s wish for her to leave Boston and teach in her mother’s home village of Ballymann in Donegal, Ireland. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about a scandalous family reputation abound and threaten not only her new position but also her life.

 

Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of unlikely friends including Sean, a handsome thatcher, to help her clear her family name before it’s too late. As she seeks to navigate her new life in Ireland, she may find that this is truly the life she was always meant to live.

 

Preorder here: Amazon     Baker Book House    Barnes and Noble     Books-A-Million     ChristianBook     IndieBound    Target     Walmart

 

March Graduate

 

 

A.D. Lawrence makes her home in Northeastern Nebraska. She has been passionate about writing and true crime for years, and her two obsessions melded into the goal of authorship. She is an active member of the ACFW, writes a true crime blog, won the 2019 Crown Award and was a 2019 First Impressions finalist and a 2020 Genesis finalist. Her first book will be released through Barbour in March of 2021 as part of the True Colors series.


Connect with her:
   https://adlawrencefiction.com/     Twitter     Facebook     Instagram     Pinterest

 

 

The Purple Nightgown

Genre: Historical Fiction Suspense

 

Step into True Colors — a series of Historical Stories of Romance and True American Crime

Marvel at true but forgotten history when patients check into Linda 

Hazzard’s Washington state spa in 1912 and soon become victim of her twisted greed.
 
Heiress Stella Burke is plagued by insincere suitors and nonstop headaches. Exhausting all other medical aides for her migraines, Stella reads Fasting for the Cure of Disease by Linda Hazzard and determines to go to the spa the author runs. Stella’s chauffer and long-time friend, Henry Clayton, is reluctant to leave her at the spa. Something doesn’t feel right to him, still Stella submits herself into Linda Hazzard’s care. Stella soon learns the spa has a dark side and Linda a mean streak. But when Stella has had enough, all ways to leave are suddenly blocked. Will Stella become a walking skeleton like many of the other patients or succumb to a worse fate?
 

Preorder here: Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Christianbook.com

 

April Graduate

M.N. Stroh writes edgy Christian Historical Fiction to inspire the downtrodden and outcast with adventure-laden escapes leading to divine encouragement. Her debut novel, Rise of Betrayal, will release through the Cave imprint of Olivia Kimbrell Press in 2021. M.N. serves as Director of Communications for Serious Writer Inc. affiliate, Writers Chat. She is also director of Serious Writer Book Club and co-administrator of Christian Writers Group International.

Connect with her: mnstroh.com     The Clan!(Newsletter)  Facebook     Instagram     Twitter     Pinterest     LinkedIn     Goodreads

Tale of the Clans Book 1: Rise of Betrayal

 

One brash act forced her to flee her clan. Now, after years in hiding, she risks exposure to the man whose brother is dead because of her. 

 

Ireland, 962 AD

Forced into a betrothal with the son of her warmongering overlord, Nessa knows her impending marriage will thrust her family into the heart of their clan’s longstanding feud with the Danes of Luimnech. Her fate is sealed until tragedy presses her to make a desperate escape—one which leads to her betrothed’s death.

Sanctuary among distant kindred proves short-lived and Nessa falls into the schemes of her rescuers. With the balance of power shifting in southern Ireland, her knowledge could pave the way for her former chieftain to claim the provincial throne. Yet, offering that knowledge may expose her identity to her estranged clansmen—and to the man whose brother was slain because of her.

Gideon mac Davan yearns to prove himself a warrior worthy of the Dal Cais. But he never dreamed his aspirations to join Brian mac Cennedigh’s rebel band would unfold after his brother’s murder. Conflicted between vengeance and the secret he conceals, Gideon must trod a contrary path. One which may end in the collapse of all he once revered.

Follow M.N. Stroh to keep up-to-date with cover reveals and preorder links.

 

May Graduate

 

 

Michelle Sass Aleckson –  After growing up on both the east and west coasts, Michelle Sass Aleckson now lives the country life in central Minnesota with her own hero and their four kids. She
loves rocking out to 80’s music on a Saturday night, playing Balderdash with the fam, and getting lost in good stories. Especially stories that shine grace. And if you’re
wondering, yes, Sass is her maiden name. Visit her at www.michellealeckson.com.

Connect with her:   www.michellealeckson.com.

 

 

Crazy for You

Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

The problem with being related to everyone in town is that there is no one left to date…until now…but will this outsider survive his family?

Former soldier Veronica “Ronnie” Morales isn’t going to let her kid brother, Tiago, get pulled into the gangs of Minneapolis, so, seeking safety and a fresh start, she heads to sleepy Deep Haven on the north shore of Minnesota. She’s hoping to put down roots as the paramedic for the new Crisis Response Team, but it’s not easy to be the town outsider.

Fire Chief Peter Dahlquist is a peacemaker—he has to be. After all he’s related to both of the Deep Haven dynasties – the Zimmermans and the Dahlquists, Deep Haven’s
version of the Hatfields and the McCoys. Worse, Peter is the holdout vote for a landmark project, which also makes him the loneliest guy in town when both sides demand that he pick sides. The only one who seems to understand his plight is the newcomer in town…his pretty, street-tough paramedic.

When Tiago finds himself caught up in small town shenanigans and the town blames Ronnie for tragedy, Peter is forced to pick sides. But will his choice cost him the home—and the woman—he loves?

Preorder here: Amazon     Barnes and Noble

 

July Graduate

 

Jennifer L. Wright has been writing since middle school, eventually earning a master’s degree in journalism at Indiana University. However, it took only a few short months of covering the local news for her to realize that writing fiction is much better for the soul and definitely way more fun. A born and bred Hoosier, she was plucked from the Heartland after being swept off her feet by an Air Force pilot and has spent the past decade traveling the world and, every few years, attempting to make old curtains fit in the windows of a new home.
 
She currently resides in New Mexico with her husband, two children, and one rambunctious dachshund.
 
Connect with her:   https://jennwrightwrites.com/     Facebook     Twitter

 

If It Rains

Genre: Historical Fiction

 

A story of resilience and redemption set against one of America’s defining moments—the Dust Bowl.

 

It’s 1935 in Oklahoma, and lives are determined by the dust. Fourteen-year-old Kathryn Baile, a spitfire born with a severe clubfoot, is coming of age in desperate times. Once her beloved older sister marries, Kathryn’s only comfort comes in the well-worn pages of her favorite book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Then Kathryn’s father decides to relocate to Indianapolis, and only the promise of a surgery to finally make her “normal” convinces Kathryn to leave Oklahoma behind. But disaster strikes along the way, and Kathryn must rely on her grit and the ragged companions she meets on the road if she is to complete her journey.

 
Back in Boise City, Melissa Baile Mayfield is the newest member of the wealthiest family in all of Cimarron County. In spite of her poor, rural upbringing, Melissa has just married the town’s most eligible bachelor and is determined to be everything her husband—and her new social class—expects her to be. But as the drought tightens its grip, Henry’s true colors are revealed. Melissa covers her bruises with expensive new makeup and struggles to reconcile her affluent life with that of her starving neighbors. Haunted by the injustice and broken by Henry’s refusal to help, Melissa secretly defies her husband, risking her life to follow God’s leading.
 
Two sisters, struggling against unspeakable hardship, discover that even in their darkest times, they are still united in spirit, and God is still with them, drawing them home.

 

Preorder here: Amazon     Baker Bookhouse     BarnesandNoble.com      Christianbook.com

 

September Graduate

 

Kerry Johnson has been conversing with fictional characters and devouring books since her carefree childhood in the Connecticut woods. A member of ACFW for nearly a decade, she finaled in their Genesis Contest seven times and won twice (YA and Romance). She also won RWA-Georgia’s Maggie award for her contemporary romance. She’s been published in Creation Illustrated and was a regular contributor to Tampa Bay’s Overflow Magazine from 2011-2013. Kerry currently lives in sunny, stormy Tampa Bay with her patient engineer husband, two energetic teen sons, their eight-year-old, doll-loving niece, and way too many books.

She’s active online at www.kerryjohnsonbooks.com, www.facebook.com/candidkerry/, and on Twitter https://twitter.com/candidkerry, where she shares an overabundance of pictures with her feathered toddler (sun conure) Mango and lazy Boxer, Boomer.

 

Title to be Revealed Soon

Genre: Romantic Suspense with Love Inspired Suspense 

 

The danger’s all downhill after a murder on the mountain.

 

When single-mom Everly Raven discovers a body inside a chalet on her family’s New England ski resort, the blame falls on her. Racing to evade the target on her back, she’s forced to work with her ex and father of her child, FBI agent Isaac Rhodes, to clear her name. But with a blizzard closing in and the killer’s henchman hot on their trail, can they stay alive long enough to find the real killer before he finds Everly first?

 

Follow Kerry to keep up-to-date with titles, cover reveals, and preorder links.

 

October Graduate

 

Rhonda Ortiz is award-winning novelist and nonfiction writer whose articles on spirituality, family life, and arts and culture have been published by a variety of popular media outlets. Her debut novel, Molly ChaseIn Pieces, is forthcoming October 2021 with Chrism Press, a new division of WhiteFire Publishing devoted to Catholic and Orthodox Christian voices. A native Oregonian, Rhonda attended college in historic Annapolis, Maryland and now lives in Michigan with her husband and five children. Find her online at rhondaortiz.com.
 

 

Connect with her: rhondaortiz.com   Instagram     Facebook     Pinterest     GoodReads     Twitter

 

 

 

Molly Chase

 
Genre: Historical romance with elements of family drama and political suspense

 

Certain things ruin a girl’s reputation, and madness is one.

BOSTON, 1793—Beautiful and artistic, the only daughter of a prominent merchant, Molly Chase cannot help but attract the notice of Federalist Boston—especially its men. But she carries a painful secret: her father committed suicide and she found his body. Now nightmares plague her day and night, addling her mind and rendering her senseless. Molly needs a home, a nurse, and time to grieve and to find new purpose in life. But when she moves in with her friends, the Robbs, spiteful society gossips assume the worst. And when an imprudent decision leads to public scandal, Molly is tempted to take the easy way out: a marriage of convenience.

Merchant sailor Josiah Robb is as familiar to Molly as a brother—as dear and as exasperating. Yet she is no sister to him. He hopes to marry her before anyone else does, but sailing the high seas leaves no time for convincing Molly that he is more than her teasing childhood friend. Josiah wants a new job and a fresh start, and when he agrees to carry a confidential letter to President Washington, his life is changed forever.

In the wake of tragedy, these longtime friends discover a new intimacy. But slander, confusion, absence, and a wealthy, conniving bully stand between them. And with French spies on the loose, they not only have to rescue their reputations—they have to protect their lives.

 

Preorder here: While this book is not yet available for preorder, I recommend signing up for Rhonda’s newsletter on her website so that you can get the latest news.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

November Graduate

 

Cathy McCrumb graduated from Biola University with a degree in English Literature and a love for stories. While writing is one of her favorite things to do, she also enjoys reading, long hikes and long naps, chocolate, baking gluten-free brownies, and crocheting while watching science fiction movies with friends and family. Her newest goal of ice fishing seems more attainable now that she and her family have moved to Colorado. Most of her imaginary friends are nice people.

Connect with her

 

The Recorder

Genre: Science Fiction
 
So, what’s *in* the book? Mystery, a touch of creepiness, and, yes, some romance, all mixed into dystopian science fiction, and a young woman who has neither a name nor a family. Plus, as he would have me tell you, there’s Nate. 😉)
 
The Recorder, the first book in Cathy’s sci-fi series, is set to release in November 2021. Set hundreds of years in the future, the novel tells the story of a nameless young woman raised to serve the public, and what happens when she discovers her humanity for the first time.
 
 
Follow Cathy for more information as it becomes available. 

 

 

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