A Conversation with Becky Wade

INSPYs 2016-Becky Wade

As our 2016 INSPY author interviews draw to a close, today we welcome Becky Wade. Becky has been shortlisted in previous INSPY awards and this year, her novel A Love Like Ours (Bethany House) is on the 2016 shortlist in the Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense category.

Today, Becky discussed how A Love Like Ours came to be and the challenges/benefits of writing a closely-connected familial series.


Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.Book - A Love Like Ours

When Lyndie James, Jake’s childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake’s will, Lyndie’s sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he’s built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he’d thought he’d lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend? – Goodreads

Amazon | Goodreads


AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH BECKY WADE

INSPYs: What inspired the story of A Love Like Ours?

A Love Like Ours was inspired by the stories I’ve read and seen over the years about veterans dealing with PTSD. Those accounts of our real life heroes never fail to stir my emotions and my admiration. Thus, I decided to attempt to write a hero who’d encountered trauma on one of his tours with the Marines and has struggled with PTSD ever since. The result is Jake Porter and his journey toward hope, aka A Love Like Ours.Becky Wade INSPYs2

Becky Wade INSPYs

INSPYs: What are some of the challenges/benefits of writing a closely-connected series like the Porter Family books?

THE CHALLENGES

  • Balance. It’s always tricky to weave secondary characters who will star in future books or have starred in past books into the current novel. I’m constantly trying to lay groundwork for the books that are to come or catch up with characters from books that have been published. But I have to balance that with my foremost goal — which is to keep the plot of the current novel clicking along. It’s difficult to find just the right ‘recipe’!
  • Intricacy. Managing the details of a large family, their parents, their friends, their kids, and their town across four books and the passage of eight years in their story world is intricate work! I can’t tell you the number of times I had to cross reference or consult my notes or peek back at previous books to make sure I had the particulars right.

THE BENEFITS

  • Familiarity with the characters. I brainstormed each of the Porter Family characters before beginning book #1, Undeniably Yours. So when I started book #2, #3, and #4, I was already familiar with that book’s Porter hero or heroine. I already loved them and was invested in them.
  • Depth. Working with one family for so many years gave me a chance to really go deep with them, to show them across a whole season of marriages and babies and trials and joys. A writer can’t experience that same level of depth within the page count of a single book.

JUST FOR FUN QUESTIONS

+What are you listening to?

Audio books! I just finished A Man Called Ove, which was published in Swedish and has since become an international bestseller. It has some language in it, but overall, I found it utterly charming. Hilarious. Heartwarming. I was amazed by how authentically the main character was written. He was a curmudgeon and I loved him a great deal anyway.

+What are you watching?

So You Think You Can Dance is my favorite summertime show! This season, the contestants are kids and they’re phenomenally talented.

+What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? Book - The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder

I’m currently reading The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder, Rachel McMillan’s debut novel. I think it’s fantastic that she’s reimagined Sherlock and Watson as two women in 1910 Toronto

Thank you for interviewing me here at INSPYs.com! I’m so grateful to the Christian Fiction bloggers who work diligently in support of our genre. What an honor for A Love Like Ours to be shortlisted in the Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense category! Thank you, judges.


Thank you so much for joining us today, Becky! It’s great to learn more about the Porter family and the challenges and benefits they presented.

ABOUT THE AUTHORBecky-Wade5

Becky’s a California native who attended Baylor University, met and married a Texan, and settled in Dallas.  She published historical romances for the general market before putting her career on hold for several years to care for her three children.  When God called her back to writing, Becky knew He meant for her to turn her attention to Christian fiction.  She loves writing funny, modern, and inspirational contemporary romance!  She’s the Carol Award, INSPY Award, and Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award winning author of My Stubborn Heart, Undeniably Yours, Meant to Be Mine,  A Love Like Ours, and Her One and Only.

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter

A Conversation with Varina Denman

INSPYs 2016-Varina Denman Feature

Hello, INSPY readers! Our author interview features continues today with not one but two spotlights. Our first introduces us to debut author, Varina Denman. Varina’s novel Jaded (David C. Cook) is on the 2016 shortlist in the Debut Fiction category.

Today, Varina shares about the inspiration of Jaded, and gives us some insight into what the publishing process has been like.


Ruthie Turner resents the Christians in her small Texas town, but when she falls for the new preacher, she must release her bitterness…and learn to love. On the surface, nothing seems to change in Book - Jadedthis dull town-yet God always works beneath the surface. – Goodreads

Amazon | Goodreads


AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH VARINA DENMAN

INSPYs: What inspired the story of Jaded? 

Jaded tells the story of Ruthie Turner, whose family was shunned by the local congregation. It’s an emotional tale of forgiveness, and it continues to pull at my thoughts. (In a good way) Even though I’ve never experienced church hurt as monumental as what Ruthie endured, I’ve witnessed it too many times, and it breaks my heart. Ruthie finally learns to let go of the past, and it’s my prayer that Jaded encourages readers to forgive each other’s sins and make peace with their own differences.

INSPYs: What surprised you most about the writing/publishing process? 

I have greatly enjoyed learning the publishing process, but at first I was quite surprised that authors were expected to participate so deeply in the marketing. Now, it’s seems obvious, but back in the beginning, I imagined I could just write my little stories and be done with it. Ah … wouldn’t that be nice?

JUST FOR FUN QUESTIONS

+What are you listening to? 

I work best in total silence, so at the moment I don’t have music playing. However, I can hear three things: my air conditioner, my fingers typing on the keyboard, and my kids laughing in the next room. Later when I stop working, I’ll probably cranky-up my favorite Pandora station which revolves around “Everybody,” by Ingrid Michaelson

+What are you watching?

My family is addicted to NetFlix, and recently we’ve watched “Notting Hill” and “Death Comes to Pemberley.” I loved both of them. My teenagers are out of school for the summer (which means they spend way too much time in front of the television) and every time I leave my office to raid the refrigerator, they are watching “Supernatural.” This is NOT my kind of show, so I try not to watch it as I walk through the room, but it’s just. So. Hard. Not. To.

+What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? VDenman-Nightstand

I read most books on my kindle which leaves my nightstand fairly clear, but a friend recently loaned me a copy of Interrupted, by Jen Hatmaker. Okay, so it’s been next to my bed for over a year, but I really, really plan on reading it … eventually. I absolutely loved 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, so when I get around to it, I’ll probably love Interrupted just as much. As for my kindle, I’m currently reading Big Little Lies, by Liane Moriarty. And as you can see, I also have an antique copy of A Tale of Two Cities on my bedside table, along with two volumes from James Fennimore Cooper’s Works, just for decoration. If I ever decide to read Dickens or Cooper, I’ll probably download them onto my kindle and save the wear and tear on the antiques, but I love seeing them there!


Thank you so much for joining us today, Varina. It was a pleasure to learn more about Jaded.

ABOUT THE AUTHORVDenmanHeadshot2

Varina Denman writes stories about the unique struggles women face. A native Texan who spent her high school years in a small Texas town, Varina now lives near Fort Worth with her husband and five mostly grown children. Her passion is helping others make peace with their life situations. Varina’s Mended Hearts series is a compelling blend of women’s fiction and inspirational romance. Connect with Varina through her website or one of the social media hangouts.

Facebook | Twitter

 

A Conversation with Carla Laureano

INSPYs 2016-Carla Laureano

As we kick off the final week (before the INSPY board announces the winners), we welcome RITA-award winning author Carla Laureano. Her novel London Tides (David C. Cook) is on the 2016 shortlist in the Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense category.

Today, Carla shares more about London Tides and gives us a sneak peek into what’s coming next! Read on to discover more.


Book - London Tides

Irish photojournalist Grace Brennan travels the world’s war zones documenting the helpless and forgotten. After the death of her friend and colleague, Grace is shaken.

She returns to London hoping to rekindle the spark with the only man she ever loved—Scottish businessman Ian MacDonald. But he gave up his championship rowing career and dreams of Olympic gold years ago for Grace … only for her to choose career over him. Will life’s tides bring them back together … or tear them apart for good this time? – Amazon

Amazon | Goodreads


AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH CARLA LAUREANO

INSPYs: What inspired London Tides?

London Tides went through several iterations from when it was first conceived back in 2012 and the time it was completed in 2015. However, Grace’s story was sparked by some of the amazing photos coming out of the conflicts in the Middle East and my fascination with the photojournalists who willingly put themselves in harm’s way. I started wondering about the mindsets of those journalists and what they had to give up to do that kind of work. The premise for London Tides, with its traumatized heroine questioning her life’s choices, was born.

INSPYs: Can you give readers a sneak peek into what’s coming next?

In a pretty unusual but very fortuitous move, my MacDonald Family series has been acquired by my new publisher Tyndale, so the third book in the series, Under Scottish Stars, is being delayed while a new release schedule is being worked out.

In the meantime, I’m hard at work on a new food-centric contemporary romance series set in my hometown of Denver, Colorado. The first book is scheduled for Fall 2017 and involves a romance between the chef-owner of a fine dining restaurant and the writer who inadvertently ruined her career. Even though I’m moving back to America for the setting, readers can expect my usual mix of romantic chemistry and delicious food!

JUST FOR FUN QUESTIONS

+What are you listening to?

As far as music goes, it depends on the day. Lately I’ve been in the mood for pop, so I’m digging Rachel Platten’s Wildfire, The Fray’s Helios, and Sia’s This is Acting. When my kids are in the car, I usually play K-Love. I also listen to a lot of podcasts while I’m cleaning and cooking. My favorites at the moment are The Portfolio Life, The Splendid Table, and The Tim Ferris Show. (Listen to Tim Ferris at your own risk—he has fascinating guests, but there can be some salty language.)

+What are you watching?

I’m totally obsessed with Blindspot and The Catch, both of which I DVR and then binge-watch. I’m also working my way through Cooked on Netflix, which is a Michael Pollan mini-series that covers cooking from an anthropological and historical perspective. It’s fascinating.

+What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand?

Carla's Nightstand2

I’m really behind on my pleasure reading because I’m in the first-draft stages of the new book. But I’ve got a couple novels from close friends of mine waiting, plus some research, craft, and time-management books. Since I subscribe to a ridiculous number of food and lifestyle magazines, there’s usually a handful waiting for attention.


Thanks so much for joining us today, Carla. Great to learn more about the inspiration of London Tides and meet another fan of Rachel Platten’s Wildfire.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

CL_Author1Carla Laureano is the RITA Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons.

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter

A Conversation with Kathryn Springer

INSPYs 2016-Kathryn Springer Feature

Award-winning romance author, Kathryn Springer joins us today on INSPYs blog! Author of multiple novels, Kathryn’s recent novel, The Dandelion Field (Zondervan) has been shortlisted in the 2016 INSPYs Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense Category.

We chat with Kathryn about the inspiration behind The Dandelion Field, plus she gives us a quick peek into what’s next AND shares what’s occupying her TBR pile.


This handsome firefighter makes a living coming to the rescue, but Gin doesn’t need a man to fight her battles.Book - The Dandelion Field

After Raine s dad walked out, Ginevieve Lightly never lived in one place too long, a rambling lifestyle that defined her daughter s youth. When their car dies in Banister Falls, Wisconsin, Gin promises Raine they can stay until she finishes her senior year of high school. Gin will do anything to make sure her daughter has a bright future . . . a future that s compromised when Raine reveals she s pregnant.

Dan Moretti has only ever called Banister Falls home. After losing his best friend in a tragic accident, Dan devoted himself to responding to fires, rescuing the helpless, and guiding Cody Bennett, his best friend’s son, through life. With Cody being the epitome of the good kid, it was an easy job. Until he says four little words: The baby is mine.

Knowing gossip of Raine’s pregnancy will erupt sooner or later in the small town, Gin’s reflex is to grab the suitcase and escape to a new city, a new life. But with each passing day, Gin’s feet stay rooted in Banister Falls, and she falls a little more for this local firefighter who shows her not all men abandon women at the first sign of smoke.

As Gin and Dan do the best they can to guide the two teenagers through their early entry into adulthood, they discover together that romance can bloom in the rockiest of situations. And God can turn the pieces of a broken past into a beautiful new beginning.” – Goodreads

Amazon | Goodreads


AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH KATHRYN SPRINGER

INSPYs: What inspired The Dandelion Field?

The story started brewing in my head about five years before I actually started writing it. I would be typing away on my computer and characters from The Dandelion Field would suddenly “walk on stage” and interrupt the characters of the book I was working on. I tried to ignore them, tried to tell them it “wasn’t their turn yet”, but they didn’t seem to care!

So. . .I listened. I got to know feisty single mom Ginevieve Lightly and her teenage daughter, Raine, and realized I had to tell their story, too.

The Dandelion Field isn’t what I would call a conventional romance. Maybe because Gin is such an unconventional heroine! She and Dan Moretti don’t get to know each other in a romantic little bubble, sealed off from the rest of the world. They’re sucked into the middle of a small town scandal when Raine tells Gin she’s pregnant. The baby’s father is high school senior Cody Bennett, the boy Dan has mentored for years.

I write contemporary romance because I’m a huge fan of the HEA (Happily Ever After) but I also love to write about people whose lives are a little messy (okay, sometimes really messy!) and complicated, but they stick by each other when life gets hard. Those are also the kind of people who inspire me the most.

So. . .I guess in a way that answers your question!

INSPYs: Can you give us a peek into what’s next?

A peek into what’s next. . .

Right now I’m finishing up the second book in my Castle Falls “Bachelor” series for Love Inspired. It’s about three brothers who build canoes in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

JUST FOR FUN QUESTIONS

+What are you listening to?

I’m still listening to the playlist I created for The Hearts We Mend, which picks up where The Dandelion Field left off. Although it has to be perfectly quiet while I’m writing, I love music so I do some of my best “plotting” when I’m on the treadmill at the gym.

+What are you watching?

My husband and I live in the country and get a whopping four channels on our television. I really like HGTV, though, so right now we’re watching “Fixer Upper” on Netflix.

+What’s on your nightstand?

Kathryn’s TBR pile!

Kathryn’s TBR pile!

My summer reading list is already starting to get as tall as the dandelions in our yard! I usually have a mixture of fiction and non-fiction so what you see in the photograph are the books that actually fit on my nightstand. I won’t even tell you how many titles are on my NOOK!

Jesus Calling holds a permanent spot. . .I think this is the third time I’ve gone through it. I know there are some authors who don’t read while they’re on deadline but that would be like telling me not to breathe. I stick to the romance genre (no surprise there!) so I picked up Lenora Worth’s latest title Truth and Consequences because I’m a fan of romantic suspense—and if there’s a dog on the cover, count me in! Cynthia Ruchti writes women’s fiction but her characters are so incredibly real I find myself thinking about them long after I finish the book.

There are so many great titles coming out this summer, by the time you read this there will probably be a few more on the pile!


Happy you were able to join us today, Kathryn! It was a pleasure to learn more about the inspiration of The Dandelion Field, and you’re not along: we sympathize with that e-reader count.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR kathryn_springer

USA Today Best Selling Author, Kathryn Springer, winner of the 2009 ACFW Book of the Year Award (Family Treasures), grew up in a small town in northern Wisconsin, where her parents published a weekly newspaper. As a child, she spent many hours sitting at her mother’s typewriter, plunking out stories, and credits her parents for instilling in her a love of books – which eventually turned into a desire to tell stories of her own.

Author Website | Facebook

A Conversation with Pepper D. Basham

INSPYs 2016-Papper Basham Feature

Hello, happy INSPY readers. Joining us today is the first of this year’s debut author finalists, Pepper D. Basham. Pepper’s debut novel The Thorn Bearer (Vinspire Publishing) has earned acclaim in the blogging world, and has been shortlisted in the 2016 INSPYs Debut Fiction Category.

Today, Pepper shares with us some of her thoughts on the challenges (and benefits) of writing historical fiction, more about The Thorn Bearer and we ask her about her current music, TV and book obsessions.


From the decks of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of WW1, Ashleigh must choose between the forgiveness of her past, life in the present, and a Savior who can rescue Book - The Thorn Bearerher from them all.

When her fiancé leaves her eight months before their wedding, the unexpected blow ignites a battalion of insecurities stemming from her father’s intimate betrayal. Her worst fears are confirmed – who could ever love a soiled woman? In an attempt to escape the shame and disappointment of her past, Ashleigh boards the ill-fated Lusitania to cross the war-torn waters of Europe. Much to her dismay, she isn’t traveling alone.

Sam Miller is always making up for his best friend’s mistakes. Determined to help Ashleigh, he offers his compassion and protection as she ventures across a perilous sea. With the faint hope of renewing his lost love for Ashleigh’s sister, Sam never expects to find the woman of his dreams in his best friend’s former fiancé and his own childhood companion. As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship. When the truth of Ashleigh’s past explodes in the middle of war and Sam rejects her, Ashleigh must decide if God is enough – or if the double weight of her betrayal and past will crush her life forever. – Goodreads

Amazon | Goodreads


INTERVIEW WITH PEPPER D. BASHAM

INSPYs: What inspired you to write The Thorn Bearer?

Real life mixed with a discovery of the perfect book ignited the creation of The Thorn Bearer. I’d begun daydreaming about this young woman who had been wounded in a severe and intimate way from someone she should have trusted, because of some personal experience with the topic as well as knowing people who have felt the sting of such betrayal. What I hoped to create was a story of hope, of God bringing healing even in the darkest of circumstances.

Well, while I was creating this story idea, I found a book about The Lusitania at a yard sale for something like fifty cents. Suddenly the story began to come together and The Thorn Bearer was born. Now, of course, the version you read has been rewritten several times and edited even more, but that’s the history behind it 🙂

INSPYs: What are the challenges/benefits of writing historical fiction? 

The challenges, for me, is finding the time to write (in general) AND the research. Wow!! There are so many little nuances and details that can really put some readers off if they’re not done correctly. I strive to make the details correct of the time because I really want people to get a sense for the era.

The benefits? The research 🙂 I know, I already used it as challenging, but there are many challenging things in life that bring the most benefit 🙂 Earning a degree, teaching kindergartners, giving birth 😉

But I love the research – the discovery of another time and place. And the Edwardian/WW1 era is my FAVORITE! There was so much change going on with transportation, inventions, women’s rights, travel, and education…AND the costuming was FABULOUS!

JUST FOR FUN QUESTIONS

+ What are you listening to? Pandora Worship and Praise Radio, The Piano Guys, and Michael Buble

Captain America Civil War Wanda Steve

Photo: Marvel

+ What are you watching? The Flash, Agents of Shield, Dancing with the Stars, Phineas and Ferb, North and South, Emma, Austenland….and my family really enjoyed the new Captain America movie!

Book - The Sound of DiamondsI’ve also been watching lots of cool documentaries (sounds kind of oxymoronish doesn’t it…cool documentaries 😉 about WW1 as well as The Biltmore Estate. I’m determined to write a book involving the Biltmore some day.

+ What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? I’m in the middle of TOOO many books! Rachelle Rea’s The Sound of Diamonds, Sondra Kraak’s One Plus One Equals Trouble, and Tabitha – Girls from the Mountain book 1 (for research).

On my shelf? A Season to Love by Nicole Deese, Candee Ficks’ Dance Over Me, and The Christian Imagination edited by Leland Ryken.


Pepper, thank you so much for joining us today. It was a pleasure to chat with you and learn how The Thorn Bearer came to be.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Pepper Basham

Pepper D Basham has been telling tales ever since she was a little girl. When her grandmother called her a “writer” at the age of ten, Pepper took it as gospel and has enjoyed various types of writing styles ever since. A native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and lover of chocolate, Pepper enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction wherever she can. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC, where she works with kids who have special needs, searches for unique hats, and plots new ways to annoy her wonderful friends at her writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. She is represented by Julie Gwinn, and her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, arrives on May 7th 2015.

Author Website | Twitter

A Conversation with Kate Breslin

INSPYs 2016- Kate Breslin Feature

The INSPYs Advisory Board welcomes Kate Breslin to the blog today. Last year, Kate was on our debut shortlist for her novel, For Such a Time. This year, her sophomore novel  Not by Sight (Bethany House) has been shortlisted in the 2016 INSPYs Historical Category.

We learn what inspired the story behind Not By Sight, learn what’s next from Kate plus chat with her about her current favorites. Join us in welcoming, Kate.


Gripping Sophomore Novel from a Rising Historical Romance TalentBook - Not By Sight

With Britain caught up in WWI, Jack Benningham, heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, has declared himself a conscientious objector. Instead, he secretly works for the Crown by tracking down German spies on British soil, his wild reputation and society status serving as a foolproof cover.

Blinded by patriotism and concern for her brother on the front lines, wealthy suffragette Grace Mabry will do whatever it takes to assist her country’s cause. When she sneaks into a posh London masquerade ball to hand out white feathers of cowardice, she never imagines the chain of events she’ll set off when she hands a feather to Jack.

And neither of them could anticipate the extent of the danger and betrayal that follows them–or the faith they’ll need to maintain hope.  – Goodreads

Amazon | Goodreads


INTERVIEW WITH KATE BRESLIN

Photo: PBS

Photo: PBS

INSPYs: What inspired Not By Sight? I blame it all on PBS Masterpiece Theater’s Downton Abbey. 🙂 I’m a die-hard fan of the miniseries and watched an episode in Season 2, where a pair of suffragettes crashed a war-aid benefit at the Crawley home and handed out white feathers of cowardice to all men not in uniform. When the Crawley’s young footman, William, received a feather, it was the final push he needed to enlist. It was a decision that would later prove most unfortunate for him, but also the bud that blossomed into my next novel. When my heroine Grace gives hero Jack a white feather at a London ball during the war, the wealthy suffragette has no idea the chain of events she’ll set off in Not By Sight.

INSPYs: Just for fun: can you give us any teasers of what’s coming next from you? I’d love to! Currently I’m working on my next WWI historical romance, which releases in July of 2017. It’s a connecting book to Not By Sight, and takes place in Brussels with a tad more drama, intrigue, and danger. 🙂 My Christian message deals with the struggle to believe in God’s mercy when we can’t forgive ourselves. I do hope readers will enjoy the story!

JUST FOR FUN QUESTIONS

+ What are you listening to? “Tuck,” the third novel in Stephen Lawhead’s “The King Raven Trilogy,” a delightful and different take on the legend of Robin Hood. Adam Verner reads all three audiobooks and he’s wonderful!

+ What are you watching? Thanks to the DVR, I’ve been catching up on PBS Masterpiece’s “Call The Midwife” series and also the second season of “Grantchester.” I’m working up a Pinterest board for my next novel and actor James Norton is definitely a candidate for the story hero!

Kate's nightstand, full of wonderful reads!

Kate’s nightstand, full of wonderful reads!

+ What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? Ohh so many tantalizing selections! I’ve included a photo, and being democratic, I’ve stacked them in alphabetical order: Jane Austen’s unfinished manuscript, Sanditon; Kristy Cambron’s new release, The Ringmaster’s Wife; Elizabeth Camden’s, Until the Dawn; Dawn Crandall’s upcoming October release, The Cautious Maiden (third book in her Everstone Chronicles series); a perennial favorite, Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love; Carrie Turansky’s, The Governess of Highland Hall (first book in her Edwardian Brides series); and Karen Whitemeyer’s A Worthy Pursuit. I have so many others I want to read as well!


Thanks so much for joining us today, Kate. We enjoyed learning more about the inspiration behind Not By Sight, and totally approve of the hero inspiration for your June 2017 novel!

ABOUT THE AUTHORKATE BRESLIN

Former bookseller-turned-author Kate Breslin enjoys life in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and family. A writer of travel articles and award-winning poetry, Kate received Christian Retailing’s 2015 Best Award for First Time Author and her first novel, For Such A Time, won American Christian Fiction Writers 2015 Carol Award. Kate’s second novel, Not By Sight released in August, 2015. When she’s not writing inspirational fiction, Kate enjoys reading or taking long walks in Washington’s beautiful woodlands. She also likes traveling to new places, both within the U.S. and abroad, having toured Greece, Rome, and much of Western Europe. New destinations make for fresh story ideas.

Author Website | Twitter

2016 Shortlists Announced

Office Desk (2)

As many of you will remember, there were significant changes made to our awards at the beginning of our 2016 program year. Despite this, the INSPYs program saw an increased number of nominations this year. We thank you so much for understanding our need to change and evolve as we strive to create a program that is considerate of the many wonderful novels written in this genre. We experienced an incredible show of support for the INSPY program yet again. 

Multiple book deliveries later coupled with juggling multiple time zones, and our respective schedules, the Inspy Awards Advisory Board is thrilled to (finally) announce the 2016 shortlist contenders. As each year does, another daunting task was placed before us to pick just 5 books in each category from a long list nominated by readers and bloggers around the world. After careful consideration and deliberation, the INSPYs Advisory Board is pleased to announce that the following books have been shortlisted in the 6th annual INSPY Awards. 

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE/ROMANTIC SUSPENSE 

Contemporary Collage

London Tides (David C. Cook) by Carla Laureano

The Dandelion Field (Zondervan) by Kathryn Springer

Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Howard) by Beth K. Vogt

A Love Like Ours (Bethany House) by Becky Wade

The Wonder of You (Tyndale House) by Susan May Warren

 DEBUT FICTION

2016 debut category

**UPDATE: Please refer to this post**

The Thorn Bearer (Vinspire Publishing) by Pepper D. Basham

Jaded (David C. Cook) by Varina Denman

A Noble Masquerade (Bethany House) by Kristi Ann Hunter

Irish Meadows (Bethany House) by Susan Anne Mason

GENERAL FICTION 

General Collage

A Cup of Dust (Kregel) by Susie Finkbeiner

The Art of Losing Yourself (Waterbrook Press) by Katie Ganshert

Secrets She Kept (Tyndale House) by Cathy Gohlke

Water From My Heart (Center Street) by Charles Martin

The Brontë Plot (Thomas Nelson) by Katherine Reay

HISTORICAL ROMANCE

Historical Collage

The Wood’s Edge (WaterBrook) by Lori Benton

Not by Sight (Bethany House) by Kate Breslin

The Mistress of Tall Acre (Revell) by Laura Frantz

Luther and Katharina (Waterbrook Press) by Jody Hedlund

Through Waters Deep (Revell) by Sarah Sundin

MYSTERY AND THRILLER

Mystery Collage

The Last Con (Thomas Nelson) by Zachary Bartels

A.D. 33 (Center Street) by Ted Dekker

Vendetta (Revell) by Lisa Harris

Falcon (Shiloh Run Press) by Ronie Kendig

The Bones Will Speak (Thomas Nelson) by Carrie Stuart Parks

LITERATURE FOR YOUNG ADULTS 

YA Collage

Season of Fire (Blink) by Lisa T. Bergren

Shades of Doon (Blink) by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

The Choosing (Tyndale House) by Rachelle Dekker

An Uncertain Choice (Zondervan) by Jody Hedlund

Siren’s Fury (Thomas Nelson) by Mary Weber

SPECULATIVE FICTION

Speculative Collage

The Methuselah Project (Kregel) by Rick Barry

Heir of Hope (Enclave Publishing) by Morgan L. Busse

The Shock of Night (Bethany House) by Patrick W. Carr

The Curse of Crow Hollow (Thomas Nelson) by Billy Coffey

Embers (Enclave Publishing) by Ronie Kendig


Congratulations to all of the nominated authors and shortlist contenders! We now turn the job over to our judges to select a winner in each category. Winners will be announced June 28th.

Download Press Release here.

2016 Judges

Computer and Desk3Now that the advisory board is (nearly) done with the task of shortlisting the books nominated in the 2016 INSPY Awards, the advisory board is pleased to introduce you to our 2016 panels of judges. We now hand the job of choosing the winning novel over to them. The INSPY Advisory Board thanks each and every applicant for their enthusiasm and is thrilled to announce the judges for 2016. The shortlists will be announced on April 30 and once these judges receive their respective books, they then have the task of narrowing the list from five novels to the one worthy of the 2016 INSPY in each category.

We welcome these judges and thank them for their service.

Contemporary Romance / Romantic Suspense Judges

AnnieAnnie LOVES books – the look, the feel, the smell and the words. She’s an avid reader turned blogger reviewer. She dabbled at sharing her thoughts on her blog, Just Commonly for years (very sporadically), and only since 2015 have she focused on reviewing what she loves best, BOOKS! A widely known book nerd, once you get her started on a book, she might talk your ear off until you just had to get your own copy. She’s a big fan of all Christian fiction, as well as books in the Young Adult, Middle Grade and even Kids Fiction genre. She’ll test out recipes from cookbooks and share thoughts from biographies to books on nutrition, spiritual help or just any book that struck her fancy. Being a speed reader, she’s happy to be able to immerse herself in more books than normal. Next to reading, her other interests includes spending time with friends and family, eating and somehow challenge her non-existent athletic abilities to improve (tremendously) her tennis and golf game.

Becky Ritta

Becky Ritta is a thirty-something single girl from small town Nebraska. She’s been a voracious reader ever since the moment she realized c-a-t spelled “cat.” By day, she teaches journalism and manages the website and social media accounts for a Christian high school. By night, she reads, blogs, experiments with gluten free baking, and binge watches ’90s TV shows.

Becky began blogging on MySpace back in 2006; in 2008 she moved over to Christian Chick’s Thoughts  and posted her first book review. She loves interacting with authors and other book lovers, and her favorite part of reviewing is discovering great new (or new-to-her) authors.

Carrie SchmidtINSPYSCarrie Schmidt (aka MeezCarrie) is an avid reader, a book reviewer, a story addict, a KissingBooks fan and a book boyfriend collector. She also loves Jesus and THE Story a whole lot. Her passion in blogging/reviewing is to connect readers with a new favorite author or book, especially in the Christian fiction genre. Carrie lives in central Kentucky with her hubby Eric and their quirky dog Zuzu and is the long distance cool aunt to nine nieces and nephews. When she’s not reading or reviewing or “cool-aunting”, Carrie teaches English as a Second/Other Language to international adults. Learn more about Carrie at Reading is My Superpower.


Historical Romance Judges

Alyssa-Faith Washburn lives in the mountains of Northern California amidst Gold Rush country and former Maidu and Miwok territory. She began her reading journey with Nancy Drew and the Lord of the Rings at an early age, and never turned back. Alyssa also loves to write, classic films, music and all things vintage. She’s also very involved in her church as a Sunday School Teacher. She has a passion for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Pro-Life Movement, Politics, Personal Freedom, and an advocate against Human Sex Trafficking. Alyssa is an amateur Genealogist and has found her ancestry to have everything and the kitchen sink. Her stories are a mixture of truth, social issues and happily ever afters, because this world needs more happily ever afters. Éirinn go Brách (Clan O’Neill).

0Hayden Wand is a Christian, author, and college student who loves mysteries, musicals, and period dramas. She began blogging in 2010 as a way to share her love of reading and classic literature (and also to inquire if there was anyone else out there who loved The Scarlet Pimpernel). The piles of books stacked under her bed range from Christian fiction and Young Adult sci-fi to obscure Victorian novels and an 800-page biography of George Washington. She pens book reviews at A Tree, A Book, and a Breeze and blogs about everything else at A Singular and Whimsical Problem.

Tressa has been an avid reader her whole life. She grew up listening to her parents read such classics as C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, Robert Louis Copy of Blog ProfileStevenson’s Treasure Island and Kidnapped, and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, among others. She developed a love for the inspirational and happily-ever-after aspects  of Christian Fiction as an adult and busy mother. She also reads in the Young Adult and sweet Romance genres. Tressa blogs at Wishful Endings and is a tour co-host at Prism Book Tours. Outside of blogging and reading, she is active in her church and spends most of her time with her husband, four children, and spoiled puppy. She also enjoys watching movies, cooking, playing racquetball, gardening, sewing, and crafting when she can fit them in.


General Fiction Judges

Amy MAmy M has been enthusiastic about reading for as long as she can remember. She has a deep love of history and literature and reads both fiction and nonfiction. She enjoys sharing her love of Christ, books, and reading on her blog, Building Life’s Library, and is always happy to connect with authors and fellow readers there. Amy lives in Virginia with her husband and son, where she practices law. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time outdoors with her family.

KarenCollier

Karen Collier writes and reviews Christian fiction, enjoys a good book discussion, and likes to keep an audiobook and an ebook handy at all times. She puts her Master of Library Science degree to use as a substitute librarian for a local public library but spends most days mothering two adorable kids and squeezing in writing and reading time whenever she can. Karen and her husband Dave make their home on a stretch of farmland on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Her full bio, social links, and bookish blog posts can be found at karencollier.com, where she loves to connect with fellow readers.

rosie wilsonRosie Lapp is a writer with a passion for the written word. She blogs at Writings of Rosie, loves to read, writes sometime in between, and is a wife to the most wonderful man on the planet. Recently, she graduated with a Bachelor’s of Arts in English from Thomas Edison State University. Rosie strives to glorify God in both word and deed (Col. 3:17), endeavoring to share the Gospel and her love for Christ in all she does. It is her pleasure to endorse Godly fiction as it comes her way, but her greatest joy is to lift up Christ in her writing. Whenever she isn’t busy she likes to curl up on the couch and drink iced tea.

Literature for Young People Judges

alyssa-zech

Alyssa is a wife and SAHM to Baby Girl (3 1/2) and Baby Boy (3 months). She has been reading since before she can remember and devours all kinds of books. Her blog Sunrise Avenue is her home for blogging about all things book related. When she doesn’t have her nose in a book, Alyssa can be found blogging, drinking coffee, watching Doctor Who, or hanging with family. Find her also on Instagram or Goodreads.

Bekah Malik is a 21 year old living in the Chicago area, homeschool graduate, and college student pursuing a degree in Liberal Arts. She’s a dreamer and you canBekah M usually find her with her nose in a book, whipping up a batch of cookies, binge-watching Netflix, drinking coffee, or hanging out with her three wonderful sisters. She blogs over at Will Bake for Books, where you can find recipes to satisfy your sweet tooth and book reviews usually of the Christian fiction or Young Adult genres.

IreneIrene Wesley is a Southern born, quiet, book loving, BBC drama kind of girl.

Which means there’s always some sort of grand adventure going on in her world!  She started book blogging a year ago after realizing the joy and opportunity of sharing the love of literature with fellow readers.  And as the story goes, she has embraced it whole heartily ever since.

You can find out more about Irene – plus check out book reviews and other bookish fun – on her blog, A Thought Reflected.


Mystery / Thriller Judges

Beckie Burnham is very happily married 31 years (in June) and the mother of three grown children. She has always loved to read, but alas, the years she chased after11072929_855775971135473_3544893896183617040_n children curtailed her reading time. As the kids became more independent and able to take care of themselves, Beckie restarted her love affair with the written word. Six years ago she began to share her thoughts online with her blog, By The Book. Still energized by nagging, er, encouraging others to read good books, Beckie also leads three book clubs, including an informal group at the local women’s transitional center. When not reading or blogging, she enjoys time with family (still chasing after kids across the country), leading a Bible study and volunteering.

35568_137295162954529_621761_nRebekah Johnson – I am an avid reader. I love ebooks and paper books too. I started my blog Caffeinated Christian Raves – N – Reviews  three years ago to take my love for reading and books to share with others. I have just recently branched out in my reading adventures to include Historical Fiction (Civil War, World War II and The Renaissance Eras) and am finding a whole new adventure in reading. I am have also just started discovering “new” and “new to me” authors too. I am loving my new adventures in reading.  I am also involved in a Christian Ladies Book club and this even expands my love of reading.20160323_112002

Karen Weido is a wife, mom, blogger, avid reader and Instagram addict. Her blog, Ting’s Mom Books, features new releases from various Christian fiction genres, well as non-fiction and children’s books. She also blogs about her family life at Ting’s Mom Blog. Karen lives in South Arkansas with her husband and two children.


Speculative Fiction Judges

19_Ian Acheson_22.05.12_by rasha photography

Ian Acheson’s debut novel, Angelguard, is available in the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK. This is the first release in the Angelguard Chronicles, a series of speculative fiction novels that explore the interconnection of the spiritual and physical worlds and the power of prayer. Ian is busy completing the second in the series.

Ian reads a lot, and a lot, and a lot more. He reads widely in fiction, non-fiction, magazines, web and newspapers. He’s been telling and writing stories for most of his life since early childhood.

When Ian’s not writing he’s a professional strategy consultant having been in the Corporate world for the past 25 years. He brings some of this experience into his stories. He’s lives in Sydney, Australia, and shares life with his wife, Fiona, two adult sons and one gorgeous daughter-in-law. In addition, they have two adored kelpies that keep them active.

This will be Ian’s second year as an INSPY judge and he’s excited about getting his hands on the shortlisted finalists. Ian is also a judge for the three contests offered by the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the CALEB Awards that recognize Australia and New Zealand’s best Christian fiction.

You can connect with Ian on his Website,  Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads

Meagan

Meagan Myhren-Bennett developed an early love of reading growing up in a family where books were the gift of choice.  This love was the perfect excuse to become both a reviewer and a librarian.

When not at the library, she can be found at home, which is a small farm in rural Northwest Central Wisconsin, spending time with her family or reading with some of the family’s 13 dachshunds piled on her lap.  

Meagan’s reviews can be found at Blooming with Books (http://BloomingwithBooks.blogspot.com) where her eclectic reading tastes can be fully appreciated.  And she’s more than willing to help other readers discover her favorite authors.

socialMichelle R. Wood has been an avid reader from a very tender age, since her mother first began reading aloud to her. Eventually earning a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts and English, Michelle has worked as an editorial intern, staff writer, blogger, and print/web designer. Her personal musings and book reviews can be found at her blog, Distractions of Grandeur (www.woodmr.net/blog). She is honored and excited to once again serve as a judge in the speculative fiction category, having previously taken part in 2011 and 2014.

2015 INSPY Award Winners

After our panel of judges careful consideration, the INSPYs Advisory Board is pleased to announce the 2015 INSPY Award Winners. Below are the seven winning novels in their respective categories and a statement from our judges on the reason why they felt it was worth the award…

Book - Miracle in a Dry SeasonDebut: Miracle in a Dry Season (Bethany House) by Sarah Loudin Thomas: 
We chose Miracle in a Dry Season not only because of the talent of the author, but because it is a unique and engaging story. A refreshing tale of miracles, love, and laughter set in the 1950s, Sarah Loudin Thomas pens an intriguing take based around the miracle of Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. Through the story, characters – led primarily by a male character, Casewell, and events we gain a deeper understanding of faith and what it means to embrace the gifts and blessings God has given us.
Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense: Meant to Be Mine (Bethany House) by Becky Wade: Book - Meant to be Mine

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade is the epitome of Christian romance. The chemistry between Ty and Celia is fabulous, and we could feel the sparks in every interaction between them! While the romance is spectacular, this book has so much more to offer. Beautifully written, it is an emotional experience in the best way. Wade’s descriptions of the characters brought them to life, and their relational, emotional, and spiritual journeys rang true. The other four novels in this category are wonderful, but Meant To Be Mine’s excellence is unable to be denied.

 

saving amelieGeneral Fiction: Saving Amelie (Tyndale) by Cathy Gohlke: 

What a challenge, to pick one winner from five fabulous titles including Biblical, historical and contemporary fiction. We are delighted to announce the winner of the 2015 INSPY Award for General Fiction is Saving Amelie by Cathy Gohlke, which impressed us all with its complex characters, fascinating historical detail, and bold yet subtle Christian message. The story is set in Germany in the early days of World War II, and plot centres on rescuing the deaf Amelie, from her father and from a regime which prized “perfection” over the sanctity of life. The characters face danger, hardship and uncertainty over the course of this thought-provoking and sometimes harrowing read. We were particularly impressed with the sensitive way Gohlke showed how God can use ordinary people in the bleakest of circumstances.

Book - Mark of DistinctionHistorical Romance: Mark of Distinction (Tyndale) by Jessica Dotta: 

We chose Mark of Distinction because it exemplifies the historical romance genre and confronts unique spiritual themes. Jessica Dotta has woven a story with a captivating setting and characters. The writing style and mystery of the plot draws the reader from the beginning into a Victorian society of restraint, secrets, and consequences. At its center is the theme of full surrender and trust in God. With complex characters and a unique voice, the story unfolds with unexpected twists and romance.

Book - Storm SirenLiterature for Young Adult: Storm Siren (Thomas Nelson) by Mary Weber:

Our panel decided to choose Storm Siren as the winner for the YA category. Nym deals with insecurities about her elemental powers and wondering why she was born with such a curse. This makes Nym relatable to young women all over the world and from every generation – we have all dealt with insecurities at some point in their lives. To see Nym have to come to terms with how she was created and to use those powers for the greater good shows tremendous character growth. Another reason we chose Storm Siren was because of the amazing and magical world that Mary Weber created. World building is one of the first things in a Fantasy novel that draws you into the story. Oh…and who doesn’t love a map inside their book!Book - A.D. 30

Mystery/Thriller: A.D. 30 (Center Street) by Ted Dekker:

A.D. 30 is a fast-paced adventure that keeps you turning the pages until the very end. Ted Dekker delivers a powerful, faith-filled story that brims with perils – each with their own kind of mystery and suspense, struggles, and most importantly hope. Dekker takes us on a journey to Jesus through the eyes of the daughter of Maviah, a gentile and an outcast, readers rediscover the message of Yeshua, experiencing it as never before. Dekker masterfully conveys the depth of God’s love for us — a knowledge we often hold in our heads, but fail to carry in our hearts. Warring kingdoms, power-thirsty adversaries, and fickle rulers are only a few of the obstacles in Maviah’s journey that keep the reader flipping pages. Whether she will succeed in her quest is a mystery. An uplifting and simple message, encased in a sweeping historical epic, is the primary reason it was selected A.D. 30 to be the winner of this year’s INSPY award.

Speculative Fiction: Spirit Bridge (Thomas Nelson) by James L.Rubart:

Book - Spirit BridgeSpirit Bridge is a brilliantly written story that was thought provoking and yet easy to follow as a standalone novel, though it is the third and final book in the Well Spring series. The story-world was populated with an excellent group of lead characters who were complex and easily relatable in their struggles in both the physical and spiritual realms. Their struggles challenge the reader to examine aspects of their own lives.  The story’s message, dying to self and keeping the enemy from gaining a foothold, was clear throughout, not getting lost in the suspense and action of the story. Spirit Bridge fully satisfies the reader’s expectations of the genre. It is a powerful spiritual thriller, with the speculative elements underpinning the novel and not requiring any further explanation to better understand it. Spirit Bridge is very worthy of the INSPY for Speculative Fiction.

 

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We’d like to thank our judges for their hard work and careful consideration of each title.

Congratulations to the winners and all the nominated authors! 

Latest INSPYs news….

It is with gratefulness and a measure of sadness that the Advisory Board makes the following announcement:

Founding member and visionary of the INSPYs, Amy O’Riley, and fellow founding member and worker extraordinaire, Hannah Neilsen, have resigned from the Board due to personal commitments. The Board thanks Amy and Hannah for their invaluable contribution from the moment the INSPYs inspiration first struck Amy, to the day they announced their resignation. The Board wishes Amy and Hannah the very best with their future endeavours and dreams.

The Board is nevertheless delighted to announce the appointment of Rissi and Jamie Lapeyrolerie to the Advisory Board. Their unique talents will greatly contribute to the advancement of the INSPY Awards. Founding member, Rel Mollet, and existing board members, Lydia Mazzei and Stacy Millican, will continue to serve on the Advisory Board.

The Board is hard at work finalising all the details for INSPYs 2014 ~ exciting new developments regarding the INSPYs’ format and process will be announced shortly.

Until next time…