Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Blessings, Magazines and South Africa? Interview with Author Paula Mowery



Addy Townsend hadn’t strolled with Conrad or had a vision in five years. Now Conrad has returned to challenge her to be a blessing to those around her. The Holy Spirit begins to nudge her into service in new ways and she follows.
But when she is blindsided with personal problems, can Addy learn to be a willing vessel even in times of struggle and suffering?

"We all wonder why bad things happen to good people. Can God use even the worst events in our lives to help us feed the world around us? Be the Blessing skillfully provides both food for thought and food for discussion."
 Lisa Wingate, national best-selling author of The Sea Glass Sisters and The Prayer Box

Paula Mowery is a pastor’s wife and former homeschool mom. She has always been an avid reader of Christian fiction. She began writing in the area of nonfiction creating three Bible studies which were self-published. However, she crafted fiction stories which she shared with friends and family. 
When one of her readers encouraged her to pursue publication, she joined American Christian Fiction Writers, learning more about the world of fiction. Her debut work of fiction is a novella published by Harbourlight, a division of Pelican Book Group – THE BLESSING SEER. She is also an acquiring editor for Prism Book Group.
Learn more about Paula at her blog – www.paulamowery.blogspot.com
Read more of her writing in her monthly columns on www.christianonlinemagazine.com.
Ten Questions for Paula Mowery
What should readers know about your latest release? Does it differ from your past books, offer a new perspective on a familiar topic, or shed light on a unique situation?
My latest release is a book called Be The Blessing. That is the very topic that is covered in this Christian women’s fiction. A pastor’s wife named Addy struggles to be a blessing to others around her when she is experiencing suffering herself. Christians must understand that no matter what circumstances we are going through, God will use us to touch another for Him. Sometimes, our suffering is the platform used to give us an open door.
What was the main inspiration for the new book? Had the idea been on your mind for a while or just popped into it one day?
My first book, The Blessing Seer, came out in July of 2012. After its release, my editor asked if there would be a sequel to the story. I hadn’t thought about it, but her question prompted me to mull over the possibility. It didn’t take long for God to inspire the premise for Be The Blessing.
Why do you feel compelled to write—in your genre or at all?
A couple of years ago I realized I had over fifteen manuscripts in a file under my desk. As my daughter would work on her homeschool assignments, I would write. After sharing a story with a friend, she encouraged me to pursue publication. I felt this to be a lofty goal that I could never succeed in doing. But, God continued to give me stories.
One day I decided to pray and lay out a fleece. I asked God to give me a sign as to whether I should pursue publication, making my writing a ministry. The next morning I received an email from a national magazine accepting my article. This was my yes. Not long after that, my first manuscript was accepted. To me, my writing is a ministry to readers who might be in need of just that particular encouragement.
How has travel been involved in your writing and/or research? What’s been your most memorable research experience?
Be The Blessing didn’t involve going very far since it is set in my town.
My soon to be released story, Forgiven, involved some research that was quite memorable. This story is included in an anthology called Brave New Century with three other stories. The premise of the book is that each story is a romance set in a city in 1900.
For my story I traveled an hour away to Knoxville, Tennessee, to a special museum/library in downtown. I was able to look up actual streets and building names and addresses to include in my story. It was fascinating to look up all of the information and use actual stores and boarding houses.
Who has inspired you the most on your writing journey—a loved one, fellow author, favorite teacher?
It is very difficult to pinpoint just one person who has inspired me in this writing journey. I have always been an avid reader of Christian fiction, so there are many authors who have been inspirational. My mother certainly encouraged me early on by bringing home Christian books for me to read as well as journals for me to write in. 
What surprised you the most about the writer’s journey—publication, representation, platform building, the writing itself?
What has surprised me most is everything that goes into having a book published. First, a writer must find the right publisher at the right time. If that aligns and a contracted is offered, then the editing begins. 
After that, an author must work on promoting her work. Amid promoting the book, the writer must continue to write and hone her skills. There’s so much more than just writing a book.
If you could rewind time to when you began your pursuit of publication, what would you tell yourself?
I should hope I would tell myself to keep the main thing, meaning keep God central. I promised Him that it would be enough if a book was only meant to touch one person for Christ, because one is enough.
Now to have some fun with travel…
What’s your favorite place you have visited?
One of my favorite places I have visited has been Knysna, South Africa. I went with a mission team to conduct a vacation Bible school for missionary kids while their parents had a conference. This place was a resort-type on the Indian Ocean. We stayed in fancy huts.
We ate in the dining room of the resort. We were there during their winter time. One day it flurried snow and the next it warmed enough for us to get into the Indian Ocean. The staff was so accommodating. We were there for July 4th, and the resort staff actually displayed a huge American flag, lit sparklers, and made us a South African style BBQ.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Or would you return to somewhere you’ve already been?
I have always wanted to return to South Africa, but I would like to also go to Australia and Alaska.
And now a fun tidbit—if there was one special travel destination just for writers and you were the founder of it, what would the name be and would it be?
I believe I would call it Writers Refreshed. I would have to have it in my beloved Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. There would be cabins for each writer with a screened-in porch that viewed the mountains. I would limit the retreat to ten writers only, keeping the hustle bustle to a minimum. We would have times to meet as a group and decide what we could do to help or encourage one another.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

White Dove, Suspense and a typewriter? Interview with Author Diane Dean White


On a Summer Night

A nightmare witnessed between two young women, and one couldn't forget or forgive.
Kate had never told her husband about the experience that changed their lives forever in southern Florida. Maybe it was time to tell him her story.

On a Summer Night is a story of suspense and romance. For more information about the book, click here or here.



Diane is the author of Beach Walks and Carolina in the Morning. A former newspaper reporter, and weekly magazine columnist whose stories have appeared in a number of books, magazines and other publications and anthologies.

She is a member of ACFW, and resides in Florida with her husband of forty years where she's working on her next book. You can read more of Diane's writing on her website,
www.DianeDeanWhite.com. You can also connect with Diane on her blog here or Facebook here. 

Ten Questions for Diane Dean White

What should readers know about your latest release? Does it differ from your past books, offer a new perspective on a familiar topic, or shed light on a unique situation?

Hello, Morgan. I appreciate you taking the time to share my book with your readers. I love your map and travel interviews…so happy to be here, too.

Since this is my first book in ten years, I hope there’s a big difference in my writing! I’d been a columnist for the previous four years for a weekly magazine, and decided in 2010 to do another book. I loved getting back into writing without a structured word count, as many short-stories I’ve had published often require.

What was the main inspiration for the new book? Had the idea been on your mind for a while or just popped into it one day?

I’m from Michigan originally, and attended Florida College in the late 60’s. I recall some things from that period, not all good. I spun my own fiction along with that, and of course research is a big part of writing, which I enjoy. Once I started with an idea it bloomed from there.

Why do you feel compelled to write—in your genre or at all?

It’s one of the genres I enjoy most….so I wanted to focus in that area. I’ve always written. I started in 6th grade with an old Royal typewriter. My first book was during a summer vacation with my grandparents in a small town in the thumb of Michigan. I was in eighth grade. I doubt anyone but my girl friend who was a good artist and made lovely sketches for each chapter, and my grandmother, read the story. J I’ve often thought writing was the best way to release my thoughts and it still is. I felt as if I’d burst if I couldn’t write a story or a poem and get my inner feelings out.

How has travel been involved in your writing and/or research? What’s been your most memorable research experience?

My travels are through our two of our three grown children who are overseas. I have a back injury and unable to do very much because sitting long is a big problem. Our son Brian, and wife are on the mission field in Sochi, Russia and I’ve shared their outreach with you before.

Our daughter’s hubby and our three grand gals and she are in Shanghai, China. They’ve gone to Bali, DaNang, and last year at Christmas they cruised on the Mediterranean. They saw Vatican City, Valetta on the beautiful Island of Malta, and onto Florence and Naples, Italy and Sicily. And finally the Island of Majorca. The photos from each place were beautiful, and I loved watching our youngest grand pushing the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Who has inspired you the most on your writing journey—a loved one, fellow author, favorite teacher?

My grandmother spent over thirty-years researching her family history, pre-revolutionary war period to date. As a young teenager I traveled to graveyards, county courthouses and homes of loved ones with her in Michigan and Canada to get pertinent information. She sent out letters; worked tirelessly, and at age 81 she published her book and gave copies to many family members. It’s also online and in the Lansing State Library.

I think her encouragement, because she read all my stories, subscribed to the newspaper in Georgia when I was a reporter, and kept a scrapbook of all my life events, was a big part of knowing I could do something I loved and enjoyed. I’ve also researched my own father’s family….and it was over a twenty-five year span.

Kids tune out so much when around older people who they should listen, and ask questions about their past. They are their history. The ancestral history websites are often good, but only as informative as the person who actually did that research. I don’t depend on them…I do my own.

What surprised you the most about the writer’s journey—publication, representation, platform building, the writing itself?

I knew what was involved because I’d self published two books in the early 2000’s, but I’ve been amazed at the new methods of social media since that time. I don’t tweet and I’m not into a lot of the new technology with iPods, etc.

With three grand-gals, and seeing all the information on the ACFW loop, I’m well aware of it. I enjoy Facebook and emailing, and I have a ministry which was started in 1999, Seeds of Encouragement. I try to reach out to others, sometimes via email, and often by snail mail, with a card and maybe a small lavender sachet or a phone call. Old habits are hard to change. J

If you could rewind time to when you began your pursuit of publication, what would you tell yourself?

To get an agent!

Now to have some fun with travel…

What’s your favorite place you have visited?

I’d have to say in the USA, it was when our three children were younger and we went to several cities and historical landmarks in PA. We stayed at a B&B on a tobacco plantation and visited Hershey town, and Lancaster.

We saw all the great sites in Philly; ate at Philadelphia's oldest sea food restaurant, Bookbinders, situated on the site of William Penn's home, and then onto Valley Forge and Gettysburg. The kids still talk about it, although they’ve traveled around the globe, it remains a special memory.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Or would you return to somewhere you’ve already been?

We celebrated my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary with my brother and his wife in Maui. I enjoyed Hawaii; it was nice, but also much commercialized. Since we only stayed in Honolulu and then Maui, I’d go to some of the other Islands, each is so different.

And now a fun tidbit—if there was one special travel destination just for writers and you were the founder of it, what would the name be and would it be located?

Aw, in a perfect world it would most definitely include a beach. We live in Florida and have a nice view of the Gulf from our fifth floor. I’ve seen our daughter’s photos of Bali and our son’s sailing cruise along the Croatian coast, and I think we could have a wonderful time enjoying the beach and a good spot with AC to write from.

I’d say from photos of our daughter’s trip to Boracay, an island in the Philippines, we’d enjoy that and the white sand immensely. I’d have to call it the name of my first series “The ‘White Dove’ Writers.”

Thank you. I hope you had as much fun answering these questions as I had writing them! J

It’s always fun to be with you, Morgan. I love your free spirit to be adventurous in your travels. I think you’ve got a good outreach and fun website to share.

Thanks so much, Diane!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Ideaphoria and a Fiat? Interview with Author Cheryl Cowell


Lisa Richards is caught in an abusive relationship and devises a clandestine plan to build her dream and escape. In league with the secretive Montebelli Corporation, she grasps her one chance to gain financial freedom and fulfill her dream to bring new life to the town her ancestors helped settle in the Pacific Northwest.
 
As a stranger to town, Steven Taylor distrusts Lisa's surreptitious behavior and sets out to expose her. Instead, he discovers the truth and becomes one of her few allies.
With attacks coming from many directions, they set out on a gripping course, working against time and the traps set in motion to break her.

Imminent threats, at work to crush her efforts, thrust her to the edge of destruction.
 

Passionately interested in all things creative—writing, gardening, art, friendships—I thrive in the inspiring countryside surrounding Ashland, Oregon.

Under the theme, Stunning Suspense, I enjoy crafting stories set in stunning locations and filled with heart-stunning suspense, mystery, and romance. In my stories, ordinary people, stretched beyond their limits, find supernatural help when plunged into insurmountable circumstances.
 
For more information about Cowell and her novels, visit her website at http://www.cherylcolwell.com/.

View her book trailer for "The Secret of the Montebellis" here.
 
Ten Questions for Cheryl Cowell
 
What should readers know about your latest release? Does it differ from your past books, offer a new perspective on a familiar topic, or shed light on a unique situation?
 
People say your first novel is a reflection of your life. Though I see evidence of that, my first 117,000-word draft was much too tame, so I had to spice it up. I had fun stretching the characters to their most devious sides, thus adding significantly more drama than my real life.
 
The town in the novel is set in the area where I live. Ashland and Talent are where my ancestors actually grew up. When I moved to Southern Oregon in 1980, I had no idea of this, so I loved adding that piece to the setting.
 
What was the main inspiration for the new book? Had the idea been on your mind for a while or just popped into it one day?
 
I’d never thought of writing, but while at a restaurant in Mt. Shasta, California, where my husband was on a bike ride, a seed took place for a story. Since I also enjoyed biking, I felt it added another dimension to the story.
 
In addition, the town of Talent was undergoing plans for a major transformation. I didn’t have the cash to participate, but thought it would be fun to build it into the story where all my investments would succeed!
 
Why do you feel compelled to write—in your genre or at all?
 
We can be born with about 18 major aptitudes. One of them is “high ideaphoria,” which is a constant flow of ideas. Up until I began to write, those ideas were taking shape in new gardens, new hobbies, in more ways than I had time to care for. However, with writing, I get to use this gift to create all the arbors and villas my heart could ever desire! My husband is SO happy!
 
That was the beginning. I never imagined God had this plan for me all along. He turned a fun hobby into an activity for His use—and transformed me at the same time.
 
Like my character, Lisa, I hid a lot of myself, becoming who I thought I was supposed to be. As I began to expose her secrets, it shed light on my own. Not only did this process develop courage, I saw that I was hiding for no reason. I’ve become much more authentic and integrated, not the chameleon I once was.
 
How has travel been involved in your writing and/or research? What’s been your most memorable research experience?
 
My husband and I flew to Tuscany for our 25th anniversary. He was part of a bicycle tour and I rented a Fiat to drive to each new location. It stretched me to overcome my worst fears: being left (while others go on together); getting lost (which I did every day, but came out of it alive anyway), ordering food in a foreign country, in a language I don’t speak, and eating by myself (and not feeling self-conscious), you get the idea.
 
Cheryl with the Fiat in Italy
Not only did God never leave me, I had a GRAND time. I’d go by myself again in a heartbeat. I am using the details in the photos and information I discovered in my next novel.
 
Who has inspired you the most on your writing journey—a loved one, fellow author, favorite teacher?
My daughter, Brittany, was the first one in the family to express an interest in writing. When I started attending writing conferences, she came with me and we learned and shared together. She is very talented, reads a lot, and has a great eye for improving my stories. My husband enjoys letting me read aloud and does a great job encouraging me.
 
What surprised you the most about the writer’s journey—publication, representation, platform building, the writing itself?
That I enjoy every part of the process: learning how to write, rewriting, editing, the solitude, the conferences and meeting other authors, and the enthusiasm in my readers.
 
If you could rewind time to when you began your pursuit of publication, what would you tell yourself?
I think it happened perfectly. Nothing tells you your work is NOT ready faster than an agent or publisher smiling their encouragement and suggesting you take more writing classes. It pushed me onward and upward until I knew where the bar was. Experience and feedback are the best teachers.
 
Now to have some fun with travel…
 
What’s your favorite place you have visited?
Radda, Italy. After traveling by myself for two weeks, I was finally in the groove. I entered the Chianti region of rolling vineyards and thought I’d found paradise. Radda sits on top of a knoll and offered exquisite views over a short rock wall from a shaded bench. With huge trees, well-kept old buildings, a central park, and not being as much a tourist town as some of the others I visited, it is my perfect Tuscany place.
Radda, Italy
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Or would you return to somewhere you’ve already been?
There is only one thing on my bucket list at this time: to spend a year in Italy, learn the language and study archeology. My next novel should be finished before Christmas and is based on an amazing discovery I made in Tuscany. I hope you’ll invite me back to talk about it. At this time, I’ll just say the history there is an author’s dream!

And now a fun tidbit—if there was one special travel destination just for writers and you were the founder of it, what would the name be and would it be located?
Writers need solitude, but limit their creativity in a vacuum. If I had the resources, I think I’d invite them to my property outside of Ashland, Oregon, where I’d build individual cabins with comfortable writing desks. We could choose places under the willows and arbors to write, but have lunches and dinners together to discuss our projects and new ideas. I love hanging out with other writers and the enthusiasm it generates.
 
Thanks so much. I hope you had as much fun answering these questions as I had writing them! J
 
Great questions and they brought up things I hadn’t before articulated. Thank you.