Author Interview: Grace Hitchcock

Author Interview: Grace Hitchcock

I am so blessed to know Grace Hitchcock. Bless her heart, she has been one of my biggest supporters and I cannot express how grateful I am to her and all her support. I adore her and her books, and it is my pleasure to get to introduce you to her. Grace and I met at my first ACFW in 2016 (I think), and I was so inspired by her kindness and patience with this unpublished author. Now we’re both out in the world, and I am so happy for this opportunity to support her back. Allow me to formally introduce you to her.

Grace Hitchcock is the award-winning author of multiple historical novels and novellas. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in the New Orleans area with her husband, Dakota, sons, and daughter. Connect with her online at

You can connect with her through:  Website Newsletter  |  BookBub  |  GoodReads

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


CC: Sweet or Salty?

GH: Sweet

CC: Print, E-book, or Audiobook?

GH: Audiobook! I used to always be print, or eBook recently, but with a baby, audiobook has been my only option of late 🙂

CC: Coffee, Tea, or Other?

GH: Cafe Latte!

Morning Person or Night Owl?

GH: Morning person, especially when there is coffee to be had!

CC: Favorite Holiday?

GH: Christmas! Now that my kiddos are old enough to appreciate the sparkling lights, Christmas decor, and songs, we love to drive through neighborhoods and point out our favorites. And then, there is the Christmas baking fun!

I’m so not a coffee person, I don’t even know what a cafe latte is exactly, except that latte means it has milk in it. LOL

So tell me, Grace, what does your writing process look like?

GH: After the first whisper of the story in my head, I select names and meet the characters. Next, I write out their story in a detailed synopsis that I use for the first draft. After I get down about 50,000 words, I edit it three times to get the novel up to about 85,000 words and send it off to my publisher! From there, we have a content, copy, line, and proof edits before it goes to press!

CC: I don’t think I could write a manuscript that short if I tried! LOL I love how you know your process though. I’m still working through figuring mine out.  

How have you seen God work through your writing journey?

GH: I’d say for certain it is the timing of each book. When I first began trying to get published, I was pitching full-length novels, but Barbour thought I’d do better with starting with novellas. Changing directions and writing novellas taught me how to write tight (given the smaller word count) while giving a full feeling story. Even though it wasn’t my first choice to begin with novellas, it was a great introduction to the writing and publishing world. God knew what He was doing and after my first two novellas were published, Barbour offered me the anchor book in their True Colors series and then, my writing career really got rolling! Time and time again with each offer and contract, His timing was and is perfect.

CC: God is so good. . . and now it makes sense how you can write so tightly. I bet those years of writing novellas really taught you a lot. Which brings me to . . . 

Do you have any advice for those who want to write their own stories?

GH: Attending ACFW, the American Christian Fiction Writers conference, was the best move for me as a new writer. Not only do you get to meet those authors you have been reading for years, but you get to sit in their classes and learn from the masters while making lifelong friends and meeting agents and publishers! Going to this writing conference is worth every penny!

CC: I so agree. Honestly, I’ve met almost every single one of my best friends through ACFW. The relationships formed are the kind that you don’t know how you did without before hand.

Let’s dig in to your newest release, The Pursuit of Miss Parish (Aprons & Veils, Book 2).

Love’s gentle promise becomes nothing more than a withered dream.

With dreams of love and a hope for belonging, shy Belle Parish leaves her position as a maid in Charleston to travel to New Mexico with her best friend to become mail-order brides. Colt Lawson’s letters hold great promise and while his devilishly handsome face matches his picture, something does not add up. Discovering his lie only moments before they wed, Belle flees the church and straight into the Castañeda Hotel Harvey House. Giving up the prospect on ever marrying, she dons her nun-like uniform and focuses on her role as a Harvey Girl waitress until a strong, former Texas Ranger rides into her life.

Colt Lawson didn’t want to send that letter to Belle Parish in the first place, but her first response had all but captured his heart. When he is left standing at the altar alone, he is left with two choices—either release his dream of a love marriage, or attempt to win her heart. Wooing her would be a lot easier if that Texas Ranger wasn’t back in town. Who wants a dusty rancher with a past when she could have a shining knight in a Stetson?

Purchase your copy at  Amazon 

CC: Where did you get the idea for Maeve’s Pledge?

GH: Mostly from research about the Harvey Girls and also inspired by my girlhood favorite books, The Finding of Jasper Holt by Grace Livingston Hill and Janette Oke’s A Gown of Spanish Lace. Originally, I did not have Belle connected to Miss Fairfield, the heroine from book one, in anything but the location of the Harvey House, but in re-writing book one, I discovered that Miss Fairfield’s maid would be perfect for the leading lady of my next book.
CC: I love how God takes our plans and connects them in ways we never imagined.
Who was the most challenging character to create? What made them so difficult?

GH: Colt! When I first wrote The Pursuit of Miss Parish, I only wrote it from Belle’s POV, but during re-writes, I soon found that I needed Colt’s side of the story. He has been a lot of fun to get to know, but he holds things deep within him, and it took a lot of digging to figure out what made him the way he was, but I think that digging not only gave me a much better insight to him, but it brought the story to a deeper level.

CC: That must have been some rewrite. I love how those types of edits reveal things about our stories, though, and build them into better stories.
How did this story affect you as you wrote it? Did God teach you anything in the writing?
GH: Belle is very shy in nature and it takes great courage for her to act. I feel like for years God has been working courage into my heart as an author, much like the courage Belle needs 🙂 Every time I send off a manuscript to my editor, or launch a new book, I have to always turn my back to my fear and trust God to bless my work.
CC: Amen, and I think that’s something I need to think on myself.
I’d love to know a little more about your research. Who were the Harvey Girls?
GH: Whenever I tell people I am writing about a Victorian Harvey Girl romance, they usually assume the Harvey Girls are associated with an old-time saloon, but nothing could be further from the truth. In the 1890s, there were not many respectable jobs for women, so when Englishman Fred Harvey created his chain of fine dining restaurants along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroads, single women without an education, or in need of earning their own way, were given a chance to earn an honest wage without the speculation that they offered anything else but food as a service. With Mr. Harvey’s strict rules about the waitress’s code of conduct, the women were given their independence while still maintaining their good name and place in society under the protective, fatherly arm of Fred Harvey. These extraordinary, brave women became known as the Harvey Girls, the ladies who tamed the Wild West with fine china, good pie, and exceptional service with complete propriety.
While Harvey Houses were built to serve the needs of the passengers on the rail to encourage tourism in the west, the railroad workers and local townsmen also dined at the restaurant, but usually at the lunch counter. At a time when men filled towns and women were scarce, inevitably, a railroad worker or townsman would express interest in marrying a Harvey Girl. In order to marry, she would need to fulfill her work contract or risk paying a fine of a month of salary. The fine was set in place to ensure that Fred Harvey would have enough workers and that he wouldn’t simply train a girl to have her shipped to a town of bachelors and leave him without a waitress.
As you can probably tell, such a set up sends an author’s head to spinning with all the romance that could come from a woman venturing out on her own in a land filled with cowboys, bandits, ranchers, and farmers. The possibilities for romance are endless! There is so much more I could write about these fascinating ladies and their contributions to society, but I hope you enjoyed this taste of history on the Harvey Girls!
CC: I absolutely do. The stories you weave are so fascinating, and I’m so blessed to get to read them. Last question before we hop off!
What animal is most like you?
GH: A Holland Lop bunny. I used to have Holland Lops, and I find that like the bunny, I too enjoy my cozy little home, but given the chance, I’ll dart out for grand adventures 🙂
CC: I love that! I’m definitely settling into the rather be at home feeling the older I get. LOL
Readers, I hope you’ll check out The Pursuit of Miss Parish and then leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or BookBub. You wouldn’t believe how important that is to an author.  

Reader, what was most fascinating to you about the Harvey Girls?

Counterfeit Faith Release Day

Counterfeit Faith Release Day

UPDATED: The giveaway winner is JCP!

I’m so excited to share with you the third and last book in the Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age series, Counterfeit Faith. Today, I’m going to cheat a little and well, interview myself about Counterfeit Faith. Check out the bottom of the post for a giveaway just for blog visitors.

Q: We can always read the back cover description of a book, but it’s always interesting to hear the author describe their book in their own words. Will you introduce us to your sophomore release, Counterfeit Faith?

 Counterfeit Faith is probably my most romantic story thus far. It was hard to avoid with flirtatious Josiah Isaacs as the hero. Once he met the matron of Final Chance House of Refuge, Gwendolyn Ellison, it was a war with himself not to fall hard and fast.

Gwendolyn Ellison has spent her life serving children the public has deemed delinquents. Sent to Final Chance House of refuge, the children are supposed to be given a safe place to be reformed from their criminal ways and given a second chance at life. However, someone is trying to hide the abuse occurring inside, and when Gwendolyn tries to expose them, they target her with threats to her life.

Widower Josiah Isaacs gets pulled into Gwendolyn’s troubles when he rescues her from a knife blade, but he soon discovers more than abuse is going on. Someone is using the children for their counterfeiting operations. As a Secret Service operative, he has the jurisdiction to step in and rescue the children. As he and Gwendolyn work together, they both fight against their growing affection for each other. After all, Josiah doubts God, and Gwendolyn relies on her faith to endure each ordeal. Even if they can survive this case, can they really have a future together when their beliefs are so at odds?

Q: In writing a historical novel, you could have chosen any place and any time. Why Philadelphia?

In Counterfeit Love, I’d mentioned that Broderick Cosgrove and Josiah Isaacs had pursued their case from Philadelphia to Cincinnati. So it only made sense that once Broderick Cosgrove’s and Andrew Darlington’s stories had been told, Josiah would continue to work where he initially started. It also allowed me to bring Hayden Orton back into the story and give the series one final connection to my novella, Counterfeit Truth.

Besides, I’ve always desperately wanted to visit Philadelphia. I’m a huge history nerd, and who wouldn’t want to walk the streets where our founding fathers did? Of course, my travel to Philadelphia didn’t happen until after the book was almost ready to go to print. However, I loved diving into the history of Philadelphia and seeing a different period than most people think of when the city is mentioned. Philadelphia was the perfect example of a Gilded Age city. I got to bring in touches of the upper class while still thoroughly wandering through the underbelly of what society wanted to ignore.

Q: Josiah has been a widower for ten years. Why is he so intent on fighting against his growing affection for Gwendolyn?

Josiah is extremely loyal to his deceased wife, Shauna, despite being a flirt. Every year on their anniversary, he visits her grave at the time of their wedding. Her pictures remain all over the house, especially at his bedside, where he sleeps with a lamp on so he can wake up to see her face. He believes Shauna is the only woman he can ever love, and to love anyone else would be disloyal to her. When he notices a deepening attraction to Gwendolyn, it scares Josiah. He doesn’t want to be unfaithful to Shauna. How can he love another woman but still love Shauna?

Q: What keeps Gwendolyn fighting against her growing attraction to Josiah? 

Aside from the fact that Josiah is a widower and obviously still in love with his first wife, Gwendolyn is very cognizant of the fact she and Josiah come from vastly different social classes. The Isaacs family is one of the wealthiest families in Philadelphia, the type to rub elbows with the Astors. Josiah’s mother is one of the board members for Final Chance, and Mrs. Isaacs has made it clear that while she values Gwendolyn as a matron of Final Chance, Gwendolyn should not be looking for love above her station. There is also a matter of a difference in their faith. While her faith is firmly rooted in Christ, Josiah doubts God’s goodness and if He can even be trusted. Although marriage to Josiah might sound like a Cinderella fairytale, Gwendolyn knows that no fairytale is worth the pain of being yoked to a man who doesn’t share her faith.

Q: During this story, the Secret Service faced some difficult constraints that affected their ability to conduct investigations. What were those, and how did Josiah work around them?

The Secret Service largely depended on earning the trust of counterfeiters by purchasing counterfeit money. This allowed them to explore deeper into the network of counterfeiters and arrest those involved at the production level. However, when President Cleveland came into office, so did a new solicitor. This solicitor believed that Secret Servicemen were inciting people to commit a crime and therefore put a ban on purchasing counterfeit money. This crippled investigations for nearly a year when, finally, the ban was lifted. However, the ban was not lifted until after this story. Because Josiah could not purchase counterfeit money associated with those inside Final Chance House of Refuge, he used his mother’s connections to join the board and his partnership with Gwendolyn to gain the needed information.

Q: What is it you hope for readers of this novel? 

It is always my hope that the readers will find enjoyment and satisfaction in my stories. Even more so, I hope they will walk away with a feeling of being encouraged and challenged in their own faith walks. Josiah and Gwendolyn wrestled with doubt. Their faith wavered and struggled, just like everyone’s does at some point. However, instead of ignoring their doubt and pretending it didn’t exist, they eventually faced it head-on, carrying it to God and asking Him to help their unbelief. God doesn’t get upset with our doubts and questions. He welcomes them. They are an opportunity for us to come to Him and allow Him to show us things about Him and our relationship with Him that would never have occurred otherwise. So my biggest hope is that readers will walk away unafraid to bring their doubts to God.

Q: This book is the last in a series. Are there any threads that run through the whole series that will be wrapped up in Counterfeit Faith

Josiah’s story emerges through each of the stories. In Counterfeit Love, you meet this flirtatious man who is supposedly afraid of the dark and sleeps with a lamp on. He’s the unobtainable bachelor who is often ribbed for his inability to say no to a woman. In a way, he has counterfeited love through all these surface-level flirtations he’s had, trying to find solace in the grief he quietly carries. In Counterfeit Hope, you discover there is a reason why he hasn’t committed to any of the women he’s flirted with and felt trapped into proposing to. He was once married, and he’s not ready to let that love go. Again, his hope has been counterfeited, placed in a love that, because of death, is now one-sided. Counterfeit Faith is the full maturing of Josiah. His story of love, hope, faith, and redemption. His story is what really brings all the themes together into a fullness that would be lost without its telling.

Q: You offer a free novella to newsletter subscribers that is a prequel to the start of this series. What can you tell us about it? How do readers get their copy?

I wrote the story of Secret Service operative Hayden Orton, who you’ll meet in Counterfeit Hope, and Felicity Richmond as a way to introduce readers to the series and a few of the characters. Felicity is a reporter determined to prove that the Secret Service is corrupt by catching a former operative selling counterfeit money. Hayden is annoyed by Felicity’s constant interference and concerned about her reckless pursuit of the very man the Secret Service is trying to capture. When Felicity’s life becomes threatened by the corrupt former operative, Hayden is assigned the task of protecting her and distracting her from pursuing the former operative by having her join him on a case involving the burglary of the Philadelphia Mint. Lots of danger, spunk, and romance are mixed into this novella, and it’s the perfect way to dip your toes into the series.

Readers can find out more and get their free copy by signing up for my newsletter letter here:

Q: What do you love most about writing historical romance novels packed with suspense and faith?

My favorite part of writing romance, especially with suspense, is that romance stories reflect God’s love for us. He pursues us, fights for us, and desires a close relationship that can only be gained by living life together. Just like the heroes of my books, He is willing to—and did—die for us. He vanquishes the evil in our lives—sin and death, cherishes us, and pushes us to become a better version of ourselves. The version He created us to be. I can’t write a romance story without suspense and faith because that is the love story God has written for us.

As far as the historical aspect goes, what can I say? I’m a huge history nerd. I love delving into the intricacies of history. History is always far more complex than our high school history books painted it to be. The Gilded Age, for instance, fascinates me with its dual nature–the extravagantly rich culture of the upper class and the destitution of the lower class. Social movements, immigration, labor riots, and rapid technological advances are a feast for this history lover’s voracious appetite.

Purchase Links:  Amazon  |  Baker Book House  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Books-A-Million  |  Christianbook


From now until Tuesday, May 23, leave a question or comment for me on this blog post to be entered to win a signed print copy (or e-copy if you’re international) of your choice of Counterfeit Love, Counterfeit Hope, or Counterfeit Faith.

UPDATED: The giveaway winner is JCP!

Do YOU have any questions for me?

Author Interview: Linda Shenton Matchett

Author Interview: Linda Shenton Matchett

I had the honor of meeting Linda when she interviewed me for her blog last November, and I’m so glad for this opportunity to get to know her a little more. Let me introduce you to her officially: 

Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, she was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry (of Star-Spangled Banner fame) and has lived in historic places all her life. She is a volunteer docent and archivist at the Wright Museum of WWII and a former trustee for her local public library. She now lives in central New Hampshire, where she explores the history of this great state and immerses herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.

You can connect with her through:  Website Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  YouTube  |  BookBub  |  GoodReads

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


CC: Sweet or Salty?

LSM: Sweet

CC: Print, E-book, or Audiobook?

LSM: Ebook and print

CC: Coffee, Tea, or Other?

LSM: Tea

Morning Person or Night Owl?

LSM: Morning Person

CC: Favorite Holiday?

LSM: Thanksgiving

I’m right there with you on the tea, Linda! In fact, I’ve got a cup of Earl Grey in front of me right now.

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

LSM: I’ve been writing stories since I was in elementary school after my parents gave me a package of pens and a notebook that featured a bouquet of pencils on the front! I loved creating characters, and for some reason, most of them when I first started out were animals who talked! I also published a family newspaper for a year when I was about 12.

CC: Oh that is fun! My friends and I created a school newspaper for the last two years of elementary school. In fact, I think I still have a few hanging around. I was in charge of the joke section. Imagine that. LOL I haven’t thought of that in YEARS. 

What does your writing process look like from beginning to end?

LSM: My writing process is very regimented. Probably because of my career as a Human Resources professional, I come up with my protagonists’ jobs/avocations first, then I name and describe them. I have a spreadsheet that includes everything from their physical attributes to what irritates them or makes them especially happy. Then I come up with the premise of the story, and using another spreadsheet, I outline the story from start to finish. The other columns are texture (weather and location), date and time of day of the scene, the end of chapter hook, and any anticipated research necessary. That takes a couple of weeks. After that, I conduct the research, which is dangerous because I can do that forever! I love research. The final step is to begin writing. I have a full-time job but have a short commute, so I write for about an hour before work, then until lunchtime on Saturdays. It takes about 60 days to finish the first draft.

CC: Wow! That is incredible. I usually takes me about 6 months to complete my first draft.

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

LSM: Balancing my full-time job and other responsibilities with my writing career is definitely my biggest challenge. Writing “feeds me,” so I sometimes resent the interruptions that pull me away. A close second is juggling the non-writing tasks with writing.

CC: It is such a struggle not to get upset when interrupted. There really just is so much to balance in life, isn’t there?

Now I’m excited to talk about your newest release, Maeve’s Pledge (Suffrage Spinsters, Book 11).

Pledges can’t be broken, can they?

Finally, out from under her father’s tyrannical thumb, Maeve Wycliffe can live life on her terms. So what if everyone sees her as a spinster to be pitied. She’ll funnel her energies into what matters most: helping the less fortunate and getting women the right to vote. When she’s forced to team up with the local newspaper editor to further the cause, will her pledge to remain single get cropped?

Widower Gus Deighton sees no reason to tempt fate that he can find happiness a second time around. Well past his prime, who would want him anyway? He’ll continue to run his newspaper and cover Philadelphia’s upcoming centennial celebration. But when the local women’s suffrage group agrees that the wealthy, attractive, and very single Maeve Wycliffe acts as their liaison, he finds it difficult to remain objective.

Purchase your copy at  Amazon 

CC: Where did you get the idea for Maeve’s Pledge?

LSM: To come up with the idea, I researched pivotal events during the women’s suffrage movement and discovered that Susan B. Anthony and a group of women presented the “Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States” during the July 4th celebration of the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Further research unearthed the fact that the Centennial exposition committee reneged on giving women space in the main exhibit hall. So a group of women fundraised thousands of dollars in only four months to build their own exhibit space. These incidents struck a chord with me, and having attended the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, I had an inkling of what it was like to be at the exposition.
CC: I had no idea about it, but I’m not surprised. There were a lot of obstacles women faced on the road to equality and the ability to vote.
What about this story drew you to it?

LSM: As someone whose career started in the 1980s and who struggled to be taken seriously as a professional businesswoman, I could relate to these women’s desire to be taken as intellectual equals, to be able to hold office, and to vote in their representatives. Throughout a large portion of my career, women with identical experience and knowledge were paid a fraction of a man’s salary for the same job. I was hired into a large aerospace company with an undergraduate degree and was put into a non-exempt clerical position. A man my same age with the same degree was hired into a management position. No one seemed to think this was odd or out of line. I didn’t agree with the illegal activities the suffragists resorted to, but I could understand their feelings of desperation and willingness to do whatever it took to get the attention of legislators. 

CC: Then that definitely makes this an intensely personal story. I’ve not had to deal with it to the same degree, but I have experienced situations where I am taken advantage of because I am a woman, even in this “modern” age. I definitely look forward to heaven when that is not a problem.
What was some of your favorite research while you prepared for Maeve’s Pledge?
LSM: I loved digging into the Exposition, especially the woman’s pavilion. Because it was the country’s centennial, there was a lot of press coverage and photographs, so there was lots of primary source material. Ben Franklin’s great-granddaughter was the major fund raiser for the women’s pavilion, and she didn’t hesitate to use his name to get her audience with people to ask for money. By all reports, she didn’t suffer fools either! The numbers differ, but somewhere between 75 and 85 women had exhibits in the pavilion, many of them patented. Female engineer Emma Allison of Iowa operated the portable engine supplying steam power to the pavilion’s machinery, which included a printing press churning out a daily news sheet.
CC: That is really fascinating. It definitely makes me want to go look into it and research it more myself! And now as we wrap up, it’s time for one final fun question.
If you could be any superhero, who would it be?
LSM: Wonder Woman. Theoretically, she never gets tired. 
CC: Never get tired. . . Yep. I could definitely do with that one!
Readers, I hope you’ll check out Maeve’s Pledge and then leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or BookBub. You wouldn’t believe how important that is to an author.  

Reader, what do you know about the suffragist movement? Do you have any experiences were someone treated you differently because of who you were?

Author Interview: Shannon Redmon

Author Interview: Shannon Redmon

I had the honor of meeting Shannon Redmon during an interview with the Suspense Squad, an awesome YouTube channel where a group of suspense authors for Love Inspired Suspense interviews other suspense authors. Not only was it fun to get to know her, I happen to enjoy her LIS stories. Allow me to introduce you to her properly:

Shannon Redmon remembers the first grown-up book she checked out from the neighborhood bookmobile. A Victoria Holt novel with romance, intrigue, dashing gentlemen and ballroom parties captivated her attention. For her mother, the silence must have been a pleasant break from non-stop chatter, but for Shannon, those stories whipped up a desire and passion for writing.

Shannon is a Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author and her greatest hope is to immerse readers into a world of suspense and escape while encouraging faith, hope, and love in Christ. She has two books published by Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line—Cave of Secrets and Secrets Left Behind with a third and fourth on the way—Mistaken Mountain Abduction and Christmas Murder Coverup.

She is also one of the Managing Editors for Acquisitions of Spark Flash Fiction Magazine, where she received her first official published byline. She won first place in the Foundation awards, was a runner-up in the Genesis contest, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Agency.

You can connect with her through:

Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  LinkedIn  | YouTube  | GoodReads

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


CC: Sweet or Salty?

SR: Salty – I love a good potato chip!

CC: Print, E-book, or Audiobook?

SR: I prefer Print because I love beautiful covers but often I read ebooks on my phone because I can get more on there.

CC: Coffee, Tea, or Other?

SR: Both – I love a morning coffee with creamer and then drink tea the rest of the day

Morning Person or Night Owl?

SR: Neither – I get up around 7am and often go to bed by 11pm

CC: Favorite Holiday?

SR: Thanksgiving – I love having a big meal with my loved ones without the stress of buying gifts!

I’m definitely a fan of Thanksgiving. I love cooking and baking, and yes to without the stress of buying gifts!!! Let’s move into some of the more in-depth questions. 

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

SR: I’ve always been a writer – writing poems, breakup letters for my schoolmates, and short stories that never got picked up by any teenage magazine. As I got older, I would start writing a story, get about ten chapters in and stop. In 2015, my husband told me I needed to finish one. I took his advice and finished my first book in 2016, which will never see the light of day. By the time I’d written my fourth book in 2020, I signed with Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line.

CC: It’s amazing what perseverance will teach you, and what it can lead to!

What does your writing process look like from beginning to end?

SR: Typically, I come up with my characters first and flesh out who they are, what they look like, and what they do, then I create a plot around those characters with what I hope lines up with market needs.

CC: So you are definitely a character-first writer. Interesting to know!

What is your writing Kryptonite?

SR: I always go through a phase during my first draft of my books where I think the story is just stupid! LOL! I question if anyone will ever read anything I ever write again after this, but God always encourages me, and I keep going. Usually in the editing phase, I start to see the beauty in the story God gave me to write.

I’m so glad I am not the only one who faces this. It’s such a challenge to keep writing when the stories feel like they won’t be worth reading.

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

SR: I’ve had to learn to wait well. Not everything comes together according to my timetable and God has taught me many lessons through waiting even though I struggle to this day with waiting.

CC: Man, do you feel you on this one! Learning to wait well is so hard.

How have you seen God working through your writing journey?

SR: My readers and writer friends have been such a blessing to me since I started this journey. They keep me encouraged when I want to quit and provide so much love for the stories God gives me to write. I love coming up with new ideas to share with them.

CC:The people God has brought into our lives through writing is probably one of the greatest gifts we can receive. Truly, they are amazing.

Do you have any advice for those who want to write their own stories?

SR: Don’t write to be published. Write stories because you love to weave together a tale that entertains and takes readers on a fantastic journey. That passion will keep you moving forward when the road gets tough.

Wise advice. If your only goal is to get published, you’ll wonder why you wanted it eventually. It’s a hard road.

Now I’m excited to talk about your newest release, Mistaken Mountain Abduction.

Tracking a kidnapper

leads to a deadly pursuit

After her twin is abducted and mistaken for her, former army helicopter pilot Aggie Newton must move fast. She has to find her sister and figure out why she’s become a target—even if it means working with her ex. But Detective Bronson Young knows these criminals will do anything to stop their investigation. Can they dodge deadly attacks long enough to save Aggie’s sister and expose the kidnappers?

Purchase your copy at  Amazon 

CC: Where did you get the idea for Mistaken Mountain Abduction?

SR: I read an article about a female Apache helicopter pilot and was completely intrigued. I wanted to write a story about a character who had these massive skills.
CC: I love finding out about something interesting and working a story around it. I bet researching it had to be fun!
In fact, what was some of your favorite research you discovered while preparing for Mistaken Mountain Abduction?

SR: I researched hostage extractions and how the military completes these, which was very different than what I expected. I was able to interview military personnel and get first hand knowledge (at least what they were allowed to share) about how army units and military operations work. 

CC: Oh man, I bet that was super fascinating. I look forward to reading about what you learned in the story.
What was your favorite part about this story?
SR: This by far has been my favorite book so far to write. I love that the story drops the reader right in the action on the first page and carries through until the end.
I love a good, fast-paced story. That means it will probably be a binge read for me. As my final question, I have my usual “Fun Question”.
If you were a pirate, what would your nickname be?
SR: I actually played a pirate in one of our Vacation Bible School skits at church. I wore a large red pirate hat with a black feather and way too much eye makeup as well as a ton of costume jewelry. Unfortunately, I don’t remember my name!
CC: LOL, that is awesome. The things we do for Children’s ministry, right? I bet the kids loved it!
Readers, I hope you’ll check out Mistaken Mountain Abduction and then leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or BookBub. You wouldn’t believe how important that is to an author.  

Reader, have you ever flown in a helicopter? If not, would you want to? Why or why not?

Liz Tolsma – Author & Podcaster

Liz Tolsma – Author & Podcaster

Last year I had the blessing of getting to meet Liz Tolsma when I was on her podcast Christian Historical Fiction Talk, and it was so wonderful to get to know her through an actual conversation instead of just email or Facebook conversations. Today, it is my pleasure to get to introduce you to her and her newest release, What I Would Tell You. 

Long-time Wisconsin resident Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels, romantic suspense novels, prairie romance novellas, and an Amish romance and has been an award finalist on several occasions. She is a popular podcaster, speaker, and editor. Together, she and her husband adopted three children internationally. They reside next to a farm field with their youngest daughter. Their son is a U.S. Marine, and their oldest daughter is a recent college graduate. Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping.

You can connect with her through:

Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest  | BookBub  | GoodReads

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


CC: Sweet or Salty?

LT: Both! I LOVE chocolate-covered pretzels!

CC: Print, E-book, or Audiobook?

LT: Ebook. I mostly read at bedtime, and my husband wouldn’t appreciate me leaving the light on or listening to an audiobook.

CC: Coffee, Tea, or Other?

LT: Coffee but only if it doesn’t taste like coffee; otherwise, tea.

Morning Person or Night Owl?

LT: Morning person

CC: Favorite Holiday?

LT: Christmas! I was married on December 23, my husband was born on December 25, and my daughter on December 17.

Oh wow! That is a lot of really important events in December! No wonder Christmas is your favorite. Let’s move into some of the more in-depth questions. 

What does your writing process look like from beginning to end?

LT: A big, old, sloppy mess. I start with an idea or a character or a historical event. I do a good bit of research, learn a little bit about my characters, and then I’m off to the races. The characters reveal more of themselves and their stories as I write, which often means I have to go back and change things. Sometimes plot lines will hit me in the middle of the book, which means more rewriting. I spend more time actually reworking a book than I do writing it. That’s why I’m thankful for a good editing team. They really help me clean my mess up and make it presentable to the world.

CC: That honestly makes me feel better as I’m really struggling to wrangle this story into some semblance of an order for a synopsis.

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

LT: Juggling writing, marketing, editing, podcasting, and a family life. I wear a lot of hats, and it can get to be too much at times. I need to stay focused and disciplined, and it’s amazing how much I can accomplish if I do that. I also have to be sure to carve out the time that my husband and children need and deserve. My husband has been known to come by me on a Saturday afternoon, firmly close my laptop, and tell me that’s enough for the week. He helps me to stay balanced, so he’s good for me and my mental health!

That is so important to have a family that helps you stay balanced. I’m struggling with doing it all as well, and last year was pretty brutal. I don’t know how you podcast on top of everything. I feel like I’m drowning with much less on my plate.

How have you seen God working through your writing journey?

LT: He has really used this process to grow my patience. I’ve had to trust his timing to be perfect for my first contract. I’d been writing for almost ten years when that first came along. I’ve had to place myself in his hands with each subsequent contract and not allow my fear of never getting a contract again to take over if I don’t have a deadline. I’ve also learned so much from my characters’ story arcs. As they learn things about the Lord and about the Christian life, there are lessons in there for me as well.

CC: Amen and amen. What a blessing it is to see how you lean into Him for the whole writing life. 

Do you have any advice for those who want to write their own stories?

LT: This sounds so simple, but my advice is to write. You can’t be a writer if you don’t have words down on paper. If I had a nickel for everyone over the years who has told me they want to be a writer but never wrote a word, I’d be able to write from my private Caribbean island! Even if it’s only a couple of hundred words a day, it’s amazing how fast they add up and become a book. Once you have them down, then you have something to work with and to improve on.

Sage advice.

Now I’m really excited to talk about your newest release, What I Would Tell You.

Determined to resist the invading Nazis, a Greek Jewish woman’s greatest dream has become her worst nightmare, and now she faces an impossible choice whose consequences echo across the generations.

1941—The pounding of Nazi boots on the streets of Salonika, Greece, reverberates in Mathilda Nissim’s ears, shaking her large community of Sephardic Jews to its core and altering her life forever. If only her people would rise up and resist their captors. At great risk to herself and those around her, she uses the small newspaper she publishes to call them to action, all to no avail. Her husband encourages her to trust God to watch over them, but God has once again deserted His people. Amid the chaos, Mathilda discovers she’s expecting a longed-for child. Still, nothing stops the occupiers’ noose from tightening around their necks, and she may have to resort to desperate measures to ensure her daughter’s survival.

2019—College student Tessa Payton and her cousin take a popular DNA heritage test only to discover they don’t share any common ancestors. In fact, the test reveals Tessa is a Greek Sephardic Jew. This revelation threatens her tenuous faith. Always the overlooked child in her family, she empties her savings account and jets off on a journey to Greece to discover where she belongs and which God demands her allegiance. The enchanting curator at the Jewish museum guides her as she navigates life in Thessaloniki, helps with her genealogical research, and loans her a fascinating journal written by a Jewish woman during WWII. Tessa’s search, however, may open old wounds and uncover long-hidden secrets that could fracture her family forever and leave her with more questions than when she started. Based in part on true accounts of Jews in Salonika, Greece, What I Would Tell You traces two women’s journeys, delving into what faith looks like and where it leads us as they navigate difficult circumstances and impossible choices that have ripple effects across the years.

Split time fiction: WWII and 2019

Stand-alone novel

Approximate book length: 91,000 words

Includes author’s notes

Purchase your copy at  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Books-A-Million  |  Christianbook  

CC: Where did you get the idea for What I Would Tell You?

LT: I can’t prove this because I can no longer find the source anywhere, but I read an article about a Greek Jewish woman faced with an impossible choice during WWII. I know I didn’t make it up because I knew nothing about WWII in Greece before I read that article. I didn’t keep the source anywhere, but the kernel of an idea that became this book never left me. It’s been so wonderful to finally get a chance to write it and to see it out in the world.
CC: I hate when I lose my sources, but what a neat thing. I love how the real-world inspires fiction.
What about this story drew you to it? Does this story have any special meaning to you?
LT: The compelling nature of the story drew me to it. I just couldn’t imagine what I would do if I ever found myself in my heroine’s position. I can’t say too much more without spoilers, and I wouldn’t want to do that! The story really took on flesh when I was able to travel to Greece to research it. It was 2021, Covid was still raging, and my daughter was waiting to hear about a missions trip she hoped to take to Greece that summer. Just about the time Greece reopened to US citizens and she knew she’d be going, I got the contract for What I Would Tell You. I knew I needed to go. Alyssa and I had a fabulous two weeks together researching the book. She traipsed all over the city of Thessaloniki without complaining, took notes for me, and was a fabulous navigator. It helped that she’d been in the country for almost three months at that point, so she was familiar with the culture.
CC: Wow! I love how God aligns things so beautifully! And what a special time with your daughter that was. I can’t imagine all the special memories you two have stored up.
What was some of your favorite research you discovered while preparing for What I Would Tell You?

LT: So much of what we saw and did on the trip made it into the book. I mention many of them in the author’s notes at the end. It was very sobering to visit the Jewish sites in Thessaloniki knowing that less than 2000 of the city’s 50,000 Jews survived the Holocaust. The Jewish museum brought me to tears, as did the train station where they were transported to Auschwitz. I did end up falling in love with Greek food, and a good bit of that made it into the contemporary storyline. If you look at my pictures from that trip, there are more of the food than there are of my daughter. Of course, my favorite part had to be when we did some research in a nearby beach town. It was tough, be we did it so the story could be the best possible story LOL!

CC: LOL more pictures of food than your daughter! I can relate. I love eating foods unique to the culture I’m visiting. I love how so much of your research made it into your story.
What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
LT: This is a story about where we belong and who we belong to. I hope that readers will take away that our identity and belonging ultimately lie in Christ. Even if the entire world should forsake us, He never will. He will be with us to the end of the age. If they come away from the story with nothing other that, I hope that will be what stays with them long after they finish the last page.
That is such an important and powerful message. As my final question, I have my usual “Fun Question”.
What animal is most like you?
LT: I’ve always said that if I believed in reincarnation, I would want to come back as the cat of an old woman who has no grandchildren. I know that’s super specific, but that way I could just curl up and sleep without anyone interrupting or bothering me.
CC: LOL, that would definitely be the life. As a previous author once said, I tend to live as a sleep-deprived pigeon, so a life of napping sounds amazing.
Readers, I hope you’ll check out What I Would Tell You, and come back next Friday to learn more about what stories Liz has written, what she has to say about my upcoming release Counterfeit Hope, and for a chance to win an e-book of Slashed Canvas from Liz Tolsma.  

Reader, what do you know about Greece’s experience during the World Wars?

Author Clari Dees – Western Historical and Musical Contemporary Romances

Author Clari Dees – Western Historical and Musical Contemporary Romances

I discovered Clari Dee’s book The Pinkerton’s Pursuit of Justice earlier this year and absolutely fell in love. . . to the point I stalked . . . errrr . . .  searched out the author online and then emailed her. I’ve since had the privilege of meeting her at the ACFW conference in September, and am chomping at the bit in hopes of a second Pinkerton book’s arrival. (Hint, hint, Clari. 😉 ) But until then, I will have to satisfy myself with introducing you to Clari so you too might fall in love with her writing. Whether it’s historical western romances you seek or contemporary romances with a musician focus, she’s got it. Without further ado, here is Clari.

An avid reader by age seven, Clari loved to hang out at the public library, and the local bookstore staff knew her by name. Her favorite books ranged from Marguerite Henry’s horse stories, to Louis L’Amour’s westerns and Grace Livingston Hill’s romances. Her fascination with books and libraries continues, and she now works as a public librarian by day and a writer by night.

You can connect with her through:

Facebook  |  BookBub  | GoodReads  |  Amazon


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


CC: Milk or Dark Chocolate?

CD: Both. Because chocolate!

CC: Print or E-book?

CD: Both! I love the portability of an E-reader but I still love print books. And need more bookshelves.

CC: Cat or Dog Person?

CD: I’ve had both, but currently I have four cats and no dogs.

Morning Person or Night Owl?

CD: Both. So I am a perpetually sleep-deprived pigeon. Hee hee!

CC: Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?

CD: Summer! Definitely! Cold weather and short daylight makes my internal batteries run low. I need warmth and sunlight.

A “sleep-deprived pigeon”, LOL! Boy do I feel you on that one! Now let’s dive into the meat of the interview.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

CD: I don’t think I can pick just one. The chapter of Psalm 27 is a section of Scripture I have quoted to myself a lot this year. I love that the chapter starts with God’s promise to be my strength and ends with His promises to strengthen my heart.

That is a psalm I’ve often repeated to myself as well, especially during the early days of writing when I felt God had called me to an impossible task. For my readers, here is Psalm 27:

My Stronghold
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation —
whom should I fear? 
The Lord is the stronghold of my life —
of whom should I be afraid? 
2 When evildoers came against me to devour my flesh, 
my foes and my enemies stumbled and fell. 
3 Though an army deploys against me,
my heart is not afraid;
though a war breaks out against me,
still I am confident. 
4 I have asked one thing from the Lord;
it is what I desire:
to dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life, 
gazing on the beauty of the Lord 
and seeking Him in His temple. 
5 For He will conceal me in His shelter
in the day of adversity;
He will hide me under the cover of His tent;
He will set me high on a rock. 
6 Then my head will be high
above my enemies around me; 
I will offer sacrifices in His tent with shouts of joy. 
I will sing and make music to the Lord
7 Lord, hear my voice when I call;
be gracious to me and answer me. 
8 My heart says this about You,
“You  are to seek My face.”
Lord, I will seek Your face. 
9 Do not hide Your face from me; 
do not turn Your servant away in anger. 
You have been my helper; 
do not leave me or abandon me,
God of my salvation.
10 Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord cares for me. 
11 Because of my adversaries,
show me Your way, Lord,
and lead me on a level path. 
12 Do not give me over to the will of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing violence. 
13 I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living. 
14 Wait for the Lord;
be strong and courageous. 
Wait for the Lord.

What are you reading right now?

CD: Robert J. Morgan’s 100 Bible Verses That Made America and Karen Witemeyer’s In Honor’s Defense.

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

CD: I like being outside, going for a walk or a horseback ride.

CC: I haven’t been horseback riding in forever. I’m not sure I’d even be able to get back up on a horse at this point. LOL

Now I’m really excited to talk about the story that introduced me to you, The Pinkerton’s Pursuit of Justice.

He’s searching for justice. He just didn’t expect it to be her.

Pinkerton agent, Tremain Taggart, has dangerous criminals to investigate and apprehend. He doesn’t have time to escort a petty thief to Denver, but the quicker he completes the assignment his superior ordered him on, the quicker he can return to more important cases. However, the straightforward task promptly turns into the most complicated, chaotic chase of his career, and if he ever gets his hands on the elusive Miss Justice, he will be sorely tempted to wring her neck.

All Emmalena wanted was a tiny corner of the world to call her own. But after running away from the circus—the only life she’s ever known—all she’s found is trouble. And now she’s on the run, again. This time with a disturbing Pinkerton hot on her trail. If she can’t outrun or outwit him, she might have to risk her heart and actually trust him.

She’s the assignment he didn’t want. He’s the complication she didn’t need. But together, they might be exactly what they were each searching for.

Purchase your copy at  Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Book Depository  |  |  Indiebound

CC: What was some of your favorite research for The Pinkerton’s Pursuit of Justice?

CD: Researching circus was a lot of fun, and I found that a large provider of horses, mules, and all sorts of circus animals once lived in Northern Missouri (the state I call home). It was said that children in that county didn’t have to run away from home to join the circus because the circus had run away to them.
CC: The circus culture really is intriguing, and a topic I’m dipping my toes in for some research myself.
Who was the most fun character to create?
CD: Emmalena. Pitting her circus-knowhow against Tremaine’s Pinkerton skills is hopefully as much fun for the reader as it was for me.
CC: I know I absolutely adored all of those moments. It’s definitely a reread for me.
How do you select the names of your characters?

CD: For my historicals, I like looking at old census records to see what names were in use during those decades I am sometimes surprised to find names that I would’ve guessed were more modern if they weren’t on an 1850 or 1880 census.

CC: That has surprised me in my research as well, and I’ve sort of shied away from using them because I’m afraid of reader kickback. As my final question, I have my usual “Fun Question”.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot?
CD: My writing buddies insist that this answer has to be cat. Because there is usually one in my lap and/or in the basket on top of my big roll-top desk and/or on the back of my easy chair watching the birds at my feeders and/or on the floor under my desk chair. This is a Sugar, Spice, Smoky, and Pickles approved answer.
CC: LOL, that is great! I just have one very annoying dog. Thank you so much for joining us. Readers, I highly recommend you pick up her story The Pinkerton’s Pursuit of Justice ASAP. 

Reader, what stories have you read that feature circuses or Pinkertons?

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