Under Prairie Skies: Interview with Cynthia Roemer

I am so excited to have Cythinia returning for another interview this month. Her second novel is set to come out in a couple weeks and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to interview her again. Just in case you missed her first interview, you can find it hereOnce again I am offering a Rafflecopter Giveaway at the end of this interview, so you don’t want to miss it. 


Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational writer with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. She writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband and their two college-aged sons. Under Prairie Skies is Book Two in her Prairie Sky Series.

WC: Thank you for joining us again, Cynthia. I am so excited to get to know you a little better and share it with my readers.

The Fast Five

  1. Sweet Tea or Unsweet?  Sweet tea
  2. Beach Vacation or Mountain Getaway? Mountain Getaway
  3. Homebody or Love to Travel? Homebody with an occasional short trip
  4. Morning Person or Night Owl? Morning Person 
  5. Bookmark or Dog-ear Pages? Bookmark!

WC: Thanks for answering! Those are such a fun, quick way to get to know a person. I think you and I match 3 of the 5! I just despise mornings and love to travel. Wink_Emoji.png


The Writing Journey

WC: What actually set you on the writing journey? Was there a specific event that pushed you toward publishing?

Cynthia:  In a sense, yes. My thirst for writing began when I was sixteen when, through the prompting of my high school English teacher, I entered a short-story contest at a local college. It won first place, and I was hooked. I knew then, the Lord was calling me to write.

The next milestone on my writing journey came after I joined the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Association (ACFW) and my first novel, Under This Same Sky became a finalist in the Genesis Contest (2014). Being a finalist boosted my confidence and gave me the courage to continue to hone my craft and seek a publisher.

WC: What has God taught you along your publication journey?

Cynthia: Oh, many things: patience, endurance, dedication, and to be a team player. Right now, He’s teaching me contentment and dependence on Him. My road to publication was a long one and I give Him all the glory for bringing me to this point. Now He’s teaching me to be content with the outcome. It’s my prayer that each novel He gives me to write will reach the hands (or Kindle/Nook) of those who’ll be blessed by my stories.

WC: What has been the biggest challenge for you as an author?

Cynthia: Hmm. Prior to publication, my biggest challenge was waiting on God’s timing. It’s so hard as a writer to stare into the unknown not knowing whether your many hours of time and effort will see fulfillment. Now that I’m on the other side of publishing, my greatest challenge is balancing my time. I’m not a fast writer and now have marketing to contend with as well. It’s a challenge to balance my writing/marketing/family-time. Often I wish there were two of me! LOL!

Under Prairie Skies

~ Beyond shattered dreams lies a realm of possibilities ~
Illinois prairie ~1855

Unsettled by the news that her estranged cousin and uncle are returning home after a year away, Charlotte Stanton goes to ready their cabin and finds a handsome stranger has taken up residence. Convinced he’s a squatter, she throws him off the property before learning his full identity. Little does she know, their paths are destined to cross again.

Quiet and ruggedly handsome, Chad Avery’s uncanny ability to see through Charlotte’s feisty exterior and expose her inner weaknesses both infuriates and intrigues her. When a tragic accident incites her family to move east, Charlotte stays behind in hopes of becoming better acquainted with the elusive cattleman. Yet Chad’s unwillingness to divulge his hidden past, along with his vow not to love again, threatens to keep them apart forever.

Under Prairie Skies

WC: You are a master of sweet romance that is fraught with the genuine struggles of life. Charlotte was a character we didn’t like in your last book, but yet you have made her a character we not only relate to but also like in this one. Have you ever had any Charlotte moments or relationships in your life, where jealousy became a serious issue?

Cythina: Thank you so much, Crystal. It was a real challenge turning spoiled green-eyed Charlotte into a worthy heroine, but I grew to like her very much. I’m so glad you did too! You pose an interesting question. Yes. I once had a former friend that turned on me much like Charlotte turned on Becky Hollister in Under This Same Sky. It was very heart-wrenching to go through years of trying to make amends only to take one step forward and two steps back. I’m so glad Charlotte wised up and mended her ways.

WC:Chad Avery is an amazing hero who my heart grieves for through most of the story. He is a strong Christian man yet struggles with his own grief and faults. Did you have a person who inspired this character? Or how did you determine what qualities to give Chad?

Cynthia: LOL! Like my sister said when she read Under Prairie Skies, “Chad is every woman’s dream man.” Chad Avery is a culmination of the qualities women admire. He includes bits and pieces of my husband, mainly his being a man of few words, but one who sees things for what they are — his wisdom. I wanted Chad to be the strong, silent type who could stand up against Charlotte’s feistiness, but also someone who had his own vulnerabilities that needed to be addressed.

WC: I think you very successful in that. He is indeed a man of every woman’s dreams.

WC: How did God challenge you in writing this particular story? Were there any lessons that you took away that you hope your reader will also take away?

Cynthia: The main theme woven within the pages of Under Prairie Skies is that of “iron sharpening iron”, how the Lord uses people to speak His truths into our lives. What I’ve taken away, and what I pray readers will take away, is a heightened sense of listening for God’s voice in our everyday encounters with people and being willing to speak truth and life into the hearts of others when given opportunity.


Fun Question

WC: If you could be a cartoon character, which one would it be?

Cynthia: Oh wow! I would say the road-runner. He’s got great wit about him and always seems to end up on the best end of things, especially where Wile E. Coyote is concerned. LOL!


Alright, beloved readers, it is the time you all have been waiting for! This time I am giving the winner an option of either an e-copy of Under This Same Sky or Under Prairie Skies. Just comment below AND use the Rafflecopter link below to enter. Entries are open Tuesday 12 AM (EST) 3/27/2018 and close on Monday, 4/9/2108, at 11:59 PM (EST). Winner will be announced on the Under Prairie Skies Review the next day.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Legal Jargon: No Purchase is necessary. This contest is open to all readers in the world, 18 years and older who are legally allowed to participate in such a giveaway as allowed by their local laws. The Write Call does not exchange prizes for reviews. Reviews are appreciated, but not required.*

Join the Conversation: What cartoon character would you be?

Connect with Cynthia at: 

Website: http://cynthiaroemer.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com@cynthiaroemer
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCynthiaRoemer/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16785237.Cynthia_Roemer
Author Newsletter Sign-up: http://cynthiaroemer.com/

Author Interview: Carlene Havel

Welcome friends to another author interview! Today I would like to introduce to you Carelene Havel.

CarleneHavel.jpgCarlene Havel writes Christian-themed romances and historical novels. She has lived in Turkey, Republic of the Philippines, and numerous US states. After a career in human resources and software development, she began writing in 2005. The Havels live in Texas, surrounded by their extended family.



WC: Thank you, Carlene, for doing this interview. Your bio says you have lived in numerous places. What brought you to those places?

Carlene: My husband was in the US Air Force. He went wherever his military duty required him to go, and I followed. I’d never been on an airplane before getting married, nor had I traveled much. I had no idea what adventures awaited me after saying, “I do”.

WC: Please, tell your husband thank you for serving, and thank YOU for being a military wife. That comes with its own set of challenges. You both are appreciated.



Which place was your favorite to live in? Why?

Carlene: I was born and raised in Texas, and some of my ancestors were here since before it was part of the United States. Therefore, to remain in good standing with my family, I have to proclaim my home state as my fave.

yalova-2245716_640.jpgHowever, the most exotic place was Turkey. We lived at Karamursel Air Station near the village of Yalova, across the Sea of Marmara from Istanbul—one of the world’s most delightful cities.

My friends and I fearlessly drove all over the country in a Volkswagen beetle, enjoying the historic ruins. I never developed a taste for their strong coffee but did fall in love with the hot tea (they call it chai) served everywhere in Turkey.

I’ve been back twice in the intervening years, but there’s nothing like actually living somewhere to soak up the full richness of a culture. Turkey and its honest, industrious people will always have a special place in my heart.



WC: Those sound like very cherished memories. What things did you learn by living in a different country?

I learned that people are very much the same, despite variations in language, dress, and customs. Beneath those superficial differences, there is that universal human heart. We all love our children and yearn for them to have a better life than ours. Given the chance, most people are decent, generous, and helpful. And, yet, every population has its share of rascals and handful of evil monsters.



WC: The Bible is full of rich, wonderful words. What is your favorite Bible verse?

Carlene: This question always challenges me because my favorite changes from time to time. I love John and Romans, but today I’m thinking about a beautiful verse from Isaiah 42:2. 





WC: Writing is a very solitary undertaking, but I have found God to be present in the writing and in teaching us as we go. What is something God taught you on your writing journey?

Carlene: Patience! Authoring a book is quite an undertaking, but writing “the end” on the manuscript is not even the midpoint of the trip. Finding the right publisher or self-publishing, and working with a cover designer draw out the process to the point the writer wonders if the book will ever see the light of day. And, oh, that editing–combing through your book so many times you know it by heart, still finding misspelled words, dangling participles, and far too many commas. Then, when the baby is at last delivered, it’s time to tackle the uphill climb called marketing.


WC: I enjoyed reading Song of the Shepherd Woman. I think my favorite aspect was how you connected the Gospel story to the lives of your characters. What was the hardest part of interweaving your story with the Gospel?


Carlene: I started to ponder what happened to the shepherds who were in the fields on that first Christmas. Were all of them followers of Jesus for the rest of their lives? Suppose one of these young men went astray. What would the remedy be? Perhaps later in life he reluctantly takes responsibility for a helpless child, a little girl who reminds him of the power of simple faith. These thoughts rattled around in my head, gradually forming the characters who became Avram and Channah. After I fell in love with them, I felt compelled to write their story.


WC: The details you used really showed the amount of research you did. How did you do most of your research? (Books, internet, interviews, travel?) What was something you learned that really surprised you?

Carlene: My writing partner, Sharon Faucheux, is the main historian, while I’m more the story-teller. Sharon uses reference books and the internet for most of her research. I read a nonfiction book about how to breed and take care of sheep before starting to write “Song of the Shepherd Woman”.

I also happened to be in a Bible study with a woman who shared some tidbits from her experience raising sheep. I sent an email to an Australian sheep farmer we located through the internet and clarified a few lingering questions.

The most surprising thing I learned is how helpless sheep are. Just about everything frightens them, and those who know them best maintain they are downright stupid.



WC:  That is really powerful when you think about it in the context of Jesus calling us sheep. No wonder He wants to be our shepherd, and seeing how shepherds really do care for their sheep in your story is such a wonderful reflection of his love.


What is the main thing you want your readers to take away from this story when they walk away?

Carlene: I hope my story encourages readers to trust steadfastly in God, even when human logic says faith is foolish.


WC: I love to ask just for fun questions. What is on the top of your Bucket List for 2018?


Most books! Pelican Book Group has contracted my novella “Parisian Surprise”, a contemporary Christian romance, which I hope will be released sometime this year. Also, I’ve almost finished a novel about a man’s attempt to heal his broken marriage. I have some simmering ideas for a sequel to “Song of the Shepherd Woman” as well.


Thank you, Charlene, for sharing about your travels, your book, and all the wonderful insight you have gained from that. My beloved readers, you can have a chance to win an e-copy of Charlene’s novel by commenting below AND entering the Rafflecopter give away below. Entries open Tuesday 12 AM (EST) 1/30/2018 and close on Monday, 2/5/2108, at 11:59 PM (EST). 

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

So readers, what is on your 2018 Bucket List? 


*Legal Jargon: No Purchase is necessary. This contest is open to all readers in the world, 18 years and older who are legally allowed to participate in such a giveaway as allowed by their local laws. The Write Call does not exchange prizes for reviews. Reviews are appreciated, but not required.*

Author Interview: Cynthia Roemer

Welcome to a New Year and allow me to introduce you to a new author, Cynthia Roemer! I really enjoyed her debut novel Under This Same Sky. You can check out my review here, and read to the end to have your chance to win a signed copy!



Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational writer with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. She writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband and their two college-aged sons. Under This Same Sky is her debut novel.


WC: Thank you, Cynthia, for joining me today. It was a pleasure to meet you at your book signing and I am so excited to introduce you to others. First off, tell us a little about you.


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

CR: I love spending time with my family, hiking, gardening, riding the combine with my farmer husband, and enjoying God’s creation.


WC: What does your family think of your writing?

CR: Difficult to say. I know they’re happy for me, but neither my husband nor my grown sons are readers, so it’s hard for them to grasp why I enjoy writing. I got the thrill of my life recently though when I walked in and saw my husband reading my novel!! That meant the world to me.


WC: What is your favorite Bible verse?


CR: Oh, wow. There are so many great Scripture verses. One of my favorites would have to be Jeremiah 29:11, the theme verse for my debut novel, Under This Same Sky: “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope.” I love the promise of God’s guidance and presence in my life.


WC: What does literary success look like to you?

CR: When readers’ lives are touched through what I write, that’s success! If a reader feels led to contact me or leave a review that says my novel spoke to them, I can think of no better measure of success. That’s when I know I’m in line with the Lord’s will.



WC: I love that definition and I think your book Under This Same Sky truly measures up to that success. You dealt with grief so well in this book. How did you do it? Did you have personal experience or did you turn to those who did? What was the process like for you?

Though I’ve not lost any close family members, I’ve known others who have. The Lord gave me compassion to feel and experience deeply the hurts of others, and I pray that carries over into my writing. I shed a few tears of my own in writing Becky’s story.


WC: I love the connection to the blind school. What interested you in that topic?

I used to visit a lady named Ann who was blind. She loved for me to read her my stories. It was such a blessing. I have to credit my interest in blindness to her.


WC: Who was your favorite character? Why?

That’s a toughy. I have a fondness for all of my characters. But, one of my top favorites would be Jimmy Bodine, the blind orphan boy who befriends Becky. He’s so wise and knows just the right words to speak encouragement. He’s the friend everyone would love to have.


WC: I have to agree. Jimmy has a soft spot in my heart. Were there any lessons God taught you as you wrote this particular book? What were they?

Definitely! The theme of Under This Same Sky is total surrender to God, something I think we all struggle with. The Lord is continually urging me to rely on Him instead of putting my trust in myself or others.


WC: Do you have any upcoming projects, releases, or sales?

I’m glad you asked. Book Two in my series, Under Prairie Skies, is set to release in lateSowing-Seeds-photo-3.png April or early May, 2018 with Mantle Rock Publishing. Book Two begins just days after Under This Same Sky ends and is the story of Becky’s cousin, Charlotte, and cattleman, Chad Avery. I’ll be sharing more about it in my upcoming author newsletters. I’m always happy to have new readers sign up! You can do so on my website: http://cynthiaroemer.com/


WC: I always love to ask these just for fun questions. If you could be any character from any book, who would it be and why?

Oh, wow! That’s a loaded question. Hmm. Possibly Jo in Little Women or Lady Miranda Hawthorne of Kristi Ann Hunter’s A Noble Masquerade. I like ladies who have some grit and can identify with these two ladies who don’t quite fit into the mold.

Once again, thank you so much, Cynthia, for dropping by! Readers, comment below with your answer to what character you would be and enter via the Rafflecopter link below for a chance to win a signed copy of her debut novel.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*Legal Jargon: No Purchase is necessary. This contest is open to all readers in the world, 18 years and older who are legally allowed to participate in such a giveaway as allowed by their local laws. Those outside the contiguous United States will receive an e-copy instead of a physical signed copy. The Write Call does not exchange prizes for reviews. Reviews are appreciated, but not required.*


Author Interview: Lucette Nel

I have fallen behind on my interviews, but I am back on track, and just in time for Christmas, I am here to introduce to you Lucette Nel, fabulous author of Historical Romances.

LucetteNelLucy Nel is a coffee addicted work-in-progress daughter of the Lord Almighty. She’s a mommy to a rambunctious toddler and wife to her best friend and real-life hero. Along with three spoiled Pugs, they make their home in Gauteng, the smallest of nine provinces in South Africa.

She works as a bookkeeper and uses every available second to create interesting characters in historical settings.

She’s a member of American Christian Fiction and her dream came true when she signed a contract with Pelican Book Group for her Christmas themed novella, The Widow’s Captive and now her upcoming release, A Match of Sorts.

Thank you so much for consenting to do this interview, Lucy. I know it is an incredibly busy time of year.

WC: So let’s get down to business. What is the hardest part about being an author?

LN: Oh wow. Finding time to write will be top of my list. Secondly, not to compare myself to another author. I’ve learned that there will always be someone more talented, funnier, with a story that readers will enjoy more.



WC: When it is time to sit down and write, what are your must haves?

LN: Coffee! I’m one of those people that drink coffee no matter the time of day or season!

WC: What are you reading now (or just finished)?

LN: I just finished rereading my all-time favorite Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I actually reread it once a year.

WC: What is your favorite Bible verse?

LN: Philippians 4: 13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”


WC: Just for fun, if you you could be any animal, which animal would you be? Why?

LN: Do bears really hibernate for three months? I’m sleep deprived.

WC: Lucy, thank you so much for spending time with us today. Readers, I have an awesome opportunity for you to get introduced to Lucette Nel’s writing. Below is a giveaway link of her currently published books. If you can’t wait or don’t win, Pelican Book Group is offering her e-books for $0.99 for the month of December. So there really is no excuse not to check her out.

You can follow Lucy on her author Facebook page, here.

Lucy has two books available for purchase with Pelican Group at the moment:

The Widow’s Captive and A Match of Sorts

Todays Comment Question: What is your favorite Christmas present you ever recieved?

As a Christmas present, I am offering a double #bookgiveaway. Use the rafflecopter link below for your entries to win an e-copy of BOTH books.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Legal: This #giveaway is open to all residents of Earth and those who are 18 years and older, except where prohibited. It is a random drawing and the winner will be selected by Rafflecopter on December 5th and the winner announced on the December 6th Book Review post of A Match of Sorts. 

The Widow’s Captive


On the run with two small children and a third due within weeks, Adeline Spencer fears the approaching blizzard will seal their fate. An abandoned cabin is an answer to her prayers. She hopes it will shield them from both the storm and the enraged brother-in-law hot on her tail. But when a stranger knocks at the door, she is convinced they have been found by one of Ward’s lackeys.Blamed for the death of his friend, Sheriff Jonah Hale is determined to prove himself worthy of his badge, even if it means riding into a blizzard to check on a crazy miner. When Jonah reaches the cabin, he’s caught off guard by a pretty and very pregnant young woman wielding a skillet. Bound to a chair while the storm rages, and as Christmas settles in around them, he must find a way to earn Adeline’s trust…and perhaps her heart.

A Match of Sorts

AMatchOfSorts_w12520_680.jpgAs Christmas approaches, widowed Reverend Caleb Brennan needs a wife, or his vengeful father-in-law will take his young daughters. When his mail-order bride jilts him, Caleb grows desperate. During a storm, he finds an unconscious boy outside his home with signs of foul play. Despite his previous misfortune, obligation compels Caleb to lug the stranger inside. But as he provides first aid, he discovers more than he expected.Bounty hunter Grace Blackwell refuses to owe a debt to any man, especially one as charming as Reverend Brennan. To repay him for saving her life, Grace agrees to pose as his mail-order bride. If their ploy is discovered, Caleb could lose his daughters. But in their pretense, the reverend and the bounty hunter might just both lose their hearts.

Author Interview: Joanna Davidson Politano


Today I am extremely excited to present to you debut author, Joanna Davidson Politano. Joanna is an amazing writer with such a heart for God. Her writing transports you to another time and makes you forget the stresses of contemporary life. From the first time I read her work before it was ever contracted, she became my favorite author. Now that I have a physical copy of her book in my hands, I realize she is even better than I remembered!


And because I want to share her wonderful writing with you, one lucky entrant will win a copy of Lady Jane Disappears. Check out the details below.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce, Joanna.

JoannaDavidsonPolitanoJoanna is a work-from-home mom of one super cute little girl and one handsome little dude. She is married to her hero Vince, who is her love and polar opposite. She writes, he tears it up with the red pen. She breaks cars and other mechanical things, he puts them back together. He’s nailed the “speak the truth” thing, and she brings the “in love” part. But the real spark to her marriage is that he does not like chocolate and she…  like it a normal amount. They love and live from their little house in the woods near Lake Michigan, which is undergoing a constant renovation.


WC: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy, crazy life to answer these questions. I am so excited for your debut release date! Too bad we can’t have a debutante ball to celebrate.

You have a beautiful, wonderful, young family. How do you manage to get writing done while chasing around a one year old and a four year old?

JDP: Two words: Nap time! I put important things first (God time, children), and somehow all the needed writing time materializes because God can do things like that. I live by the principal that children are never a distraction from the important work—they are the important work. When I’m living (and “momming”) well, I write well. So I guess it’s really about these two words: TRUST GOD!


WC: When writing a story, what is the most important thing to you? The plot, the characters, the journey, or something else altogether? 

JDP: I enjoy the characters, especially their dialogue, but the entire process of writing is invaluable to my entire life. It’s the way God gets my attention, teaches me the nuances of his truths, and keeps me very dependent on him. There’s no room for self-reliance when you’re a slow writer who’s also trying to be a mom—and you have deadlines to meet.


WC: Writing historical fiction is a research heavy genre. What made you choose the Victorian era? 

JDP: I chose this era because some of my favorite writers lived and wrote in those years. It’s a time of industrial change and interesting political shifts… and beautiful gowns and flowery writing.


WC: Your voice is amazingly refreshing! Like taking a stroll through a Victorian garden. What author’s inspired your writing?

JDP: Thank you so much! I think my conversations roses-1138920_1920with God is where my writing voice originated. As far as writers, I’d say Daphne Du Maurier for atmosphere, Charles Dickens for characters, Martha Grimes for witty lines, and Mary Higgins Clark for tension. I could never hope to rival them, but I sure enjoy reading and dissecting their work!


Lady Jane Disappears is your debut novel. How does it feel to have something you wrote in other people’s hands?

A little like a voluntary invasion of privacy! I never intended this novel to be published—it was my practice novel in which I meant to explore all the elements of a book I truly enjoyed so I could find my own niche. Somehow the freedom of writing for practice loosened the most authentic storytelling in me, and it worked better than when I tried hard. Go figure.

It’s hard to release private thoughts and personal artwork into the world and open it up for critique, but I love being authentic and open, too. Hopefully something I say strikes a chord with someone else, and I believe it might, only because God put me on this path, gave me things to write about, and then facilitated the publication of those words. Hopefully he has a reason for it besides the exercise of me baring my heart.


WC: What has God taught you along this journey?

JDP: I can’t do anything—anything—without him. He can give and he can take away. Writing, mothering, or even breathing is all done by his say-so and can be taken away just as quickly. I’ve truly learned to trust-fall into God every single day. I’ve learned about writing, deadlines, marketing… but mostly I’ve learned how to have an intimate hand-in-hand relationship with God.


WC: What inspired you to write Lady Jane Disappears?

Lady Jane DisappearsJDP: You know, it’s a funny story. As a kid, I had this way of meting out justice—I wrote kids in my class into anonymous stories that ended up getting passed around the class. How fun, I thought, if an overlooked girl did the same thing in a Victorian household? What sort of wonderful chaos would that create in a straight-laced era full of covered-up sins and thin facades? So I wrote about a serial novelist who writes everyone around her into her novels and publishes them under a pen name. Oh, the trouble she caused!


WC: Give us a high and a low. What was the best/easiest thing about writing Lady Jane Disappears? The worst/hardest part?

JDP: Honestly, I loved all of it. Because it was a “practice” novel, I simply enjoyed putting it on paper and it flowed quite easily. I included every element I love in a novel, not pausing to care about what should or shouldn’t go into a book. It was also published pretty easily (after many MANY failed attempts with previous stories—don’t get me wrong, I was no overnight success). I think the best part was writing the ending—oh, how I love endings! The lowest… wondering what to write next that would be as much fun!


WC: Last question and it is just a fun one that my husband asks when he interviews people. Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized duck-525417_640.jpghorses? Any particular reason why?

JDP: One horse-sized duck! I could never explain to 100 horses of any size why I was trying to fight them, because you could never get that many to listen at once.


WC: Thank you so much for taking the time to participate in this interview and for writing such an amazing book. I absolutely cannot wait for others to read it.


Connect with JoannaFacebook     https://jdpstories.com/      Newsletter

What about you, my reader friends? Would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck sized-horses? Why?


Comment below and then enter the drawing through the rafflecopter link below for a chance to win your own copy of Lady Jane Disappears. (After having trouble reaching the winner in my last interview, I think this might be the easiest way to contact a winner.) Then come back next week to find out the winner and read my review on her official release day, October 3rd! *Open to residents of the 48 Contiguous United States* comments close at 11:59 PM, Oct. 2nd.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Interview: Natalie Monk

Hello, friends!

I have another great author to introduce you to this month, Natalie Monk, who has graciously provided an autographed copy of Of Rags and Riches to give away to one lucky commenter. I had the pleasure of meeting Natalie last year at the National ACFW Conference, just before she received the contract for her debuting novella, For Richer or Poorer. It is a privilege to know her and introduce you to her today.





Natalie Monk is an award-winning writer of historical romance. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency. A preacher’s daughter from South Mississippi, Natalie loves porch swings, old movies, and meeting readers through her website: www.nataliemonk.com.


Thank you, Natalie, for agreeing to an interview and generously providing an autographed book!


Everyone has quirks in their life, whether it be collecting something unique or something you do to relax. What would you say are your quirks?

Oh, fun question! I collect unique tea cups and different kinds of tea to try. I like to crochet to relax, but only in the winter.


How did you become a part of the Of Rags and Riches Romance Collection?



Gabrielle Meyer and I met at the 2015 ACFW conference and later that fall, she emailed me about a Barbour Collection proposal she was putting together and invited me to submit an idea for the anthology (synopsis and first scene). A few months later, we got an email Barbour had accepted the proposal!


What was it like to work in a collection? Did you collaborate with the other authors? Or did you work mainly on your own?

Working in a collection was such a blessing for a debut author like me. I can’t say how helpful it was to have eight other ladies to field newbie questions, share the marketing load, and celebrate “the end.” We kept in communication through a private Facebook group. As far as the stories, we knew a bit about one another’s stories from reviewing the proposal, but we didn’t have to share a setting location or characters, so for the writing we worked on our own.



In order to bring her starving family to New Jersey, Polish immigrant and housemaid Marcella Lipski must marry wealth…so she dons her employer’s discarded ball gowns and goes husband hunting at Newark’s tourist spots. There’s just one problem. Ella can’t speak a speck of English. She considers herself blessed to secure free English lessons from a poor-but-mysterious cart driver—until she loses her heart in the process.


Your heroine speaks Polski. Why did you choose this background for your character? Did you know Polski or did you have to research it?

Ella’s Polish heritage was inspired by a lady I met in South Mississippi, whose Polish parents came to New Jersey during WWI, met in America, married, and had several children. Ella’s character and background took up a major part of my research for the novel. From historical Polish politics, to the immigrant journey, cultural prejudice and the language (including Youtube videos explaining the mechanics of the Polish-English accent), there was so much I didn’t have room to include in the novella. Fascinating to learn about, though! Maybe I can use the info in future novels. 🙂


How did the idea for your story come about?

Due to some internet kerfuffle on my part, I didn’t get into my email to see the invitation to submit to the collection until a week before the submission deadline, so to put it lightly, I needed a quick plot! To help with that, I decided to do a twist on the classic Cinderella story. Remembering the Polish lady I had recently met, I decided to make “Cinderella” a Polish immigrant come to America on a husband hunt to save her starving family. I had also recently read a few biographical writings about George Muller, a man of faith who started orphanages in the 1800s. Things developed from there.


How was God involved in your publication journey or the writing of this story?

Well, Gabrielle and I met because of a scheduling fluke at an editor pitching session, but I’ve come to think of it as a God moment since the novella came together after that. Also, I happened to receive word about the collection opportunity while I was at a Virginia mountaintop getaway—a perfect place to write, and plenty of time to do it. It hit me in the midst of the process, that God arranged for me to debut with Kathleen Y’Barbo, whose fiction I was reading when I had my first “I want to try to write Christian fiction” moment at fifteen years old. Several other of my writing heroes are in this collection as well. I’m so grateful God arranged things the way He did. As the true Dream Giver, I believe He delights in helping us reach our goals when they line up with what He’s called us, and placed within us a longing, to do.



Do you have a favorite Bible verse? What is it and why is it special to you?

Psalm 139:7-10 has always been dear to me. The truth that God is always with us means so much and influences the way we live if we practice it—something I need to do more of. Isaiah chapter 43 and Ephesians chapter 2 are also favorites.


What are you reading right now?

I’m reading Just a Kiss by Denise Hunter and GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon. I’ll dig through my TBR pile for a historical romance next, then I’ll be reaching for a romantic suspense!



Some of my followers are authors or aspiring authors themselves. What would you say was the most surprising resource for you that you would encourage others to use?

Hmm. I’m not sure if it would be surprising, but one thing I credit with a major part of my craft knowledge is entering contests. I still put great stock in reading writing craft books, agent or writer blogs, and bestselling fiction in one’s genre, but the contest circuit taught me a lot in a short amount of time. Not always the most comfortable route for the ego, but quick for the essentials and invaluable in developing a thick skin and writer’s intuition about what advice to cull or keep.


The last question is just a fun question my husband uses when he interviews people. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

Oh my, this is a hard one. Most superpowers seem to come with huge responsibility, but I think I would choose to be able to do hard things faster with energy left over to spend on family and friends and others in need of help. 🙂


What a fun interview, Crystal! Thank you for hosting me on your website. It’s been a pleasure.


Want to connect with Natalie? Readers can chat with Natalie on her website www.nataliemonk.com, FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.


What is your favorite kind of story to read? Do you have a favorite genre? Time period? Plot line? 

Comment to be entered to win a copy of Of Rags and Riches. Natalie’s story is autographed! Click here for contest rules. Comments close on Monday, 9/18 at midnight (EST). Winner will be announced in next week’s post. Only one entry per commenter no matter how many comments they make.

Interested in knowing more about the collection. See below and check back next week for a review of the collection and Natalie’s story.


9781683222637Journey along in nine historical romances with those whose lives are transformed by the opulence, growth, and great changes taking place in America’s Gilded Age. Nine couples meet during these exhilarating times and work to build a future together through fighting for social reform, celebrating new opportunities for leisure activities, taking advantage of economic growth and new inventions, and more. Watch as these romances develop and legacies of faith and love are formed.



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