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! 

Up Close and Personal with Amy Sorrells

 

The Advisory Board is thrilled to host Amy Sorrels, debut author of shortlisted How Sweet the Sound.  Amy’s sophomore novel Then Sings My Soul released in March, 2015 and she is hard at work on Lead Me Home to be released by Tyndale in 2016.  Amy shares her writing nook {though her sweet dog steals the show} and another favorite spring writing spot ~ her garden!  Please join me in welcoming Amy K. Sorrells!

how sweet the soundFrom a distance, the Harlans appear to be the perfect Southern family. Wealth and local fame mask the drama and dysfunction swirling through their family line. But as the summer heats up, a flood tide of long hidden secrets surface. Devastation from a rape followed by the murder of two family members brings three generations of the Harlans together on their pecan plantation in Bay Spring, Alabama.

Chief among them is Anniston, who by the time she turned thirteen thought she’d seen it all. But as her heart awakens to the possibility of love, she begins to deal with her loneliness and grief. This tender coming-of-age tale, inspired by the story of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13, shows how true healing and hope comes only from God. Though our earthly family can wound and disappoint, our heavenly Father brings freedom to those long held captive through His mercy and grace.

What are you listening to?

I’m listening to the branches of the river birch brushing against the side of our home, because it’s about to thunderstorm.

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What are you watching?

I’m watching my dog’s nose twitch as he sniffs the breeze coming through the screen of our open window.

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What are you reading?

I’m reading too many books to list, so here’s a picture of my nightstand. (Not pictured: The Kitchen House on audio in my car.)

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Thank you so much for joining us Amy and especially sharing your gorgeous dog with us!  I imagine he has quite the personality!

To learn more about Amy and her writing please visit her Website | Facebook | Twitter.

Up Close and Personal with Steven James

Today, award-winning and well-known author, Steven James joins us. Steven has been shortlisted (and won!) for an INSPY in year’s past and this year, his novels  Checkmate (Signet) is on the short list for the Mystery/Thriller category and Blur (Skyscape) in the Literature for Young Adults category. Below we chat with Steven about what’s playing on his television and his upcoming to-be-read pile (with photos!).

Checkmate Goodreads SummaryBook - Checkmate

In “Checkmate,” critically acclaimed novelist Steven James offers the final, chilling chapter in his bestselling series, The Bowers Files.

 When a clandestine FBI facility is attacked, Special Agent Patrick Bowers is drawn into the vicious, ruthless story that a killer from his past is bent on telling the world.

Clues lead to long forgotten secrets buried deep beneath uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. Now, Bowers is caught up in trying to stop one of the most deadly attacks ever planned on American soil.
Smart, tense and full of mind-bending twists and turns, “Checkmate” explodes onto the scene, bringing The Bowers Files to a climactic and unforgettable conclusion.

Blur Goodreads Summary

Book - BlurThe isolated town of Beldon, Wisconsin, is shocked when a high school freshman’s body is found in Lake Algonquin. Just like everyone in the community, sixteen-year-old Daniel Byers believes that Emily Jackson’s death was accidental. But at her funeral, when he has a terrifying vision of her, his world begins to rip apart at the seams.

Convinced that Emily’s appearance was more than just a mere hallucination, Daniel begins to look carefully into her death, even as he increasingly loses the ability to distinguish fantasy from reality.

What’s real? What’s not? Where does reality end and madness begin?

As Daniel struggles to find the truth, his world begins to crumble around him as he slips further and further into his own private blurred reality.

Mineshaft2

A mineshaft “under Charlotte.” Part of Steven’s research for his novel, Checkmate.

Full of mind-bending twists and turns, Blur launches a new trilogy of young adult thrillers from Steven James, a master of suspense.

1.) What are you listening to?

Lately, I’ve been wearing out The Rend Collective’s “Art of Celebration” CD, as well as tapping into my collection of Goa trance songs. I listen to the trance anthems while I’m writing and the songs with words as I’m typing in my edits. 
 
2.) What are you watching?

Let’s see—Orphan Black, The Blacklist, and The Flash (my daughters are huge fans).

3.) What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? What I plan to read over the next several months…
Steven James Reads

 

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Thank you so much for joining us today, Steven. It was a pleasure to host you here. Learn more about Steven: Facebook ǀ Twitter ǀ Website

Up Close and Personal with Katie Ganshert

Katie Ganshert joins us today. Author of four contemporary novels with WaterBrook Press and a pair of novellas (Zondervan), Katie just recently released the first of her independently published young adult dystopian novels, The Gifting. Her novel, A Broken Kind of Beautiful (WaterBrook Press) is on the short list in the Contemporary Romance/Romantic category. We chat with Katie about her favorite worship music and the fabulous nightstand reading she has.

Goodreads SummaryBook - A Broken Kind of Beautiful

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.

If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?

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Katie’s Writing Space

1.) What are you listening to?

A good friend made me a mix of worship music for my birthday that I’ve been listening to a lot! It has songs like I Lay Me Down, From the Inside Out, and I’m Still Yours. It’s basically amazing and puts my heart in a place of worship and surrender (the best place for a heart to be). Call me cheesy, but I also love the “love songs” channel on Pandora.

2.) What are you watching? 

Daniel Tiger and Wild Krats. Ha! We are super lame when it comes to watching television. There aren’t really any shows that I’m into right now. I think So You Think You Can Dance is going to start soon, and I’m always a fan of that show!

3.) What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? IMG_7358

Currently, I’m reading two books with two more on my nightstand! The two I’m reading now are both on my kindle—Bonhoeffer’s biography (which is fascinating, but loooong, hence the reason I’m still reading it three months after starting) and Emerge by Heather Sunseri (so good!). Next is Katherine’s Reay’s upcoming novel, The Bronte Plot, and then A Love Like Ours by Becky Wade, who is one of my all-time fave authors! I also have The Selection by Kiera Cass waiting on my kindle as well.

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Thank you so much for joining us today, Katie. It was a pleasure to host you here. Learn more about Katie: Facebook ǀ Twitter ǀ Website

 

Up Close and Personal with Ronie Kendig

Rapid-Fire fiction author, Ronie Kendig is joining us today. Ronie has been shortlisted for an INSPY in year’s past and just announced her foray into the fantasy genre as well as a new thriller series with Bethany House. This year, her novels  Raptor 6 (Shiloh Run Press) is on the short list for the Mystery/Thriller category and Beowulf (Barbour Publishing) in the Contemporary Romance/Romantic category. Below we chat with Ronie about her favorite TV show being cancelled and get a glimpse of her TBR stack.

Goodreads Raptor 6 SummaryBook - Raptor 6

Captain Dean Watters keeps his mission and his team in the forefront of his laser-like focus. So when Dean’s mission and team are threatened, his Special Forces training kicks into high gear. Failing to stop hackers from stealing national security secrets from the military’s secure computers and networks isn’t an option. Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif. And a target. When Zahrah is captured because of her expertise in quantum cryptology, compromising the US military, Dean is forced to crack the lockbox around his heart—a move that might come at the highest cost.

Book - BeowulfGoodreads Beowulf Summary

Former Navy handler Timbrel Hogan has more attitude than her Explosives Detection Dog, Beowulf, but she’s a tough woman who gets the job done. Green Beret Tony “Candyman” VanAllen likes a challenge and convincing the hard-hitting handler they belong together might just get him killed.

When tragedy strikes and Tony’s career is jeopardized, Timbrel must re-evaluate her priorities—and fast! A terrorist plots to unleash a weapon of mass destruction on American soil. Can Timbrel and Beowulf track the chemicals in time? Will Tony surrender everything to save the woman nobody believes in?

 

1.) What are you listening to?

​ Right now, as I type this, I’m listening to the new soundtrack-style album by Two Steps From Hell called Battlecry. It’s the perfect music for writing! ​

2.) What are you watching?

​ Well, I’m actually silently weeping because my favorite TV show–Forever–has just been cancelled. I tried not to watch the last album so it wouldn’t end, but I wasn’t strong enough. I caved. ​

3.) What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand?

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​I started reading The Light We Cannot See, but then got invited to a book club with our Taekwondo school, and they wanted us to read The Girl on the Train, so I bought that. But I also have Lynette Eason’s newest, NO PLACE TO HIDE and Sabaa Tahir’s new An Ember in the Ashes. That’s just what’s on my desk. LOL! So many books, so little time!!!  ​

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Thank you so much for joining us today, Ronie. It was a pleasure to host you here. Learn more about Ronie: Facebook ǀ Twitter ǀ Website

Up Close and Personal with Stephanie Landsem

We continue this week’s short list author interviews with Stephanie Landsem. Stephanie’s novel  The Thief (Howard Books) is on the short list for the Historical Romance category. Below we chat with Stephanie about her talented musical family and their love of superheroes.

Goodreads SummaryBook - The Thief

Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Abandoned by the God she once loved, her only recourse is to depend upon Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, to keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and the landlord satisfied.

Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure and is desperate to escape the accursed Judean province. Accepting a wager that will get him away from the aggravating Jews and their threats of revolt, he sets out to catch the thieves harassing the marketplace.

When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Nissa hopes for freedom from her life of lies. But the supposed miracle brings only more misfortune, and Longinus, seeking to learn more about the mysterious healer, finds himself drawn instead to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures.

Cedron, Longinus, and Nissa are unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. As danger closes in on them from every side, they must decide if the love and redemption Jesus offers is true or just another false promise. How can the so-called Messiah save them from their shackles, when he cannot even save himself?

What are you listening to?

Since I live in a musically talented family, there’s seldom a quiet moment in our house. With a son home from college and his band re-connecting in our basement (which means I’m always out of food), I hear a lot of indie rock and jazz. My husband’s band plays an eclectic mix of 80s and current rock on weekends. With another son playing guitar and daughter playing bass, well . . . let’s just say the dishes are usually rattling in the cupboards. I love hearing my family’s music but when I get  quiet moment, I tend to savor the silence.

What are you watching?

Right now I’m re-watching a series called Grand Hotel. It’s a little like Downton Abbey but set in a hotel in Spain with mucho more drama, backstabbing, literal stabbings, revenge, heartbreak, and—unlike the stoic Britsplenty of manly crying. I absolutely love it. One warning to anyone who might be tempted to watch: the last season is not yet subtitled in English so after a cliffhanger episode you will have to wait to see what happens or learn to speak Spanish. With my kids, I’m watching all the Marvel/Avengers movies again before going to see Age of Ultron at the theater. We love our superheroes! Then we’ll do the same before the new Jurassic Park comes out this summer.

What are you reading?

I have several books going and a pile to read this summer. I’m happily catching up on some biblical titles I put off while I was writing The Living Water Series and have Pharaoh’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews on kindle now. On audio, I’m listening to classics that I somehow missed in high school and am halfway through The Brothers Karmazov. On my nightstand is Innocence, by Dean Koontz and I’m loving it. If you’ve always thought of Koontz as a horror writer, you’d be surprised at the themes of faith, hope, and forgiveness that are coming out in his latest works. As for nonfiction, I’m reading The Grace of Yes, Eight Virtues for Generous Living, by Lisa Hendey for a summer bookclub and Created to Relate, God’s Design for Peace and Joy, by my lovely friend Kelly Wahlquist. I’m always browsing a new cookbook and right now it’s The Ancestral Table by Russ Crandall — the blend of history and food is deliciously compelling.

Here’s my reading stacked up on my nightstand. As you can see, I always keep industrial strength earplugs handy in case band practice goes later than my bedtime 🙂

nightstand books

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Thank you so much for joining us today, Stephanie. It was a pleasure to host you here. Learn more about Stephanie: Facebook ǀ Twitter ǀ Website

Up Close and Personal with Kate Breslin

 

The Advisory Board is happy to welcome Kate Breslin, author of For Such a Time, shortlisted in debut fiction category.  Kate has a new book coming out in August, another historical romance featuring a strong, courageous female protagonist.  You can see by her bookshelves below that this author is quite well-read, but what you may not know is that she was also a bookseller for fifteen years!  Join us in welcoming Kate to the Inspy’s blog!

 

for such a timeIn 1944, blonde and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric’s secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz. Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric’s compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy. Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp’s prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?

What are you listening to?  I love listening to instrumental artists when I’m writing. Currently, my favorites include Helen Jane Long, The Piano Guys, and the soundtrack from Lord of the Rings. Music that resonates with my story setting really inspires me.

What are you watching?  I’m watching episodes of “Wolfe Hall” and “Call the Midwife” at the moment, and looking forward to the new season of “Downton Abbey” and “Grantchester.” I adore all British historical drama!

What are you reading?  As for reading, I’ve almost finished author Stephanie Landsem’s fabulous Biblical fiction novel, “The Thief,” then moving on to Edwardian England and my next eagerly awaited story, “The Daughter of Highland Hall,” by Carrie Turansky. There are so many books I long to read, and as you can see from my bookshelf, I have plenty of treasure to keep me happily occupied for years. 🙂

Kate's Bookshelf

Thank you, Kate, for giving us a peek into your life and especially at your bookshelves!  I can see spending lots of time in front of those shelves reading!  To learn more about Kate visit her Website | Facebook | Twitter.

Up Close and Personal with Cathy Gohlke

Happy June, Inspy Friends! Our special author of the day is Cathy Gohlke, writer of Saving Amelie, shortlisted for the General Fiction Inspy.  Cathy is no stranger to the Inspy’s as she was also shortlisted in 2013 with Promise Me This.  Join us in welcoming this incredible lady.  We are thrilled to learn Cathy is hard at work on her next novel due in September, 2015.  Be sure to read through to the bottom as we’ve been given a few hints about Cathy’s next book in the picture at the bottom of this post.  Welcome Cathy!

saving amelieIncreasingly wary of her father’s genetic research, Rachel Kramer has determined that this trip with him to Germany–in the summer of 1939–will be her last. But a cryptic letter from her estranged friend, begging Rachel for help, changes everything. Married to SS officer Gerhardt Schlick, Kristine sees the dark tides turning and fears her husband views their daughter, Amelie, deaf since birth, as a blight on his Aryan bloodline.Once courted by Schlick, Rachel knows he’s as dangerous as the swastikas that hang like ebony spiders from every government building in Berlin. She fears her father’s files may hold answers about Hitler’s plans for others, like Amelie, whom the regime deems “unworthy of life.” She risks searching his classified documents only to uncover shocking secrets about her own history and a family she’s never known.Now hunted by the SS, Rachel turns to Jason Young–a driven, disarming American journalist and unlikely ally–who connects her to the resistance and to controversial theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Forced into hiding, Rachel’s every ideal is challenged as she and Jason walk a knife’s edge, risking their lives–and asking others to do the same–for those they barely know but come to love.

What are you listening to?
I’m loving Timeless Reflections, by Dave Kurtz. Inside the CD 
cover Kurtz writes, “This collection of cherished hymns is played on a piano—one instrument, no vocals—pure, simple, yet full of feeling and at times even complex and full of layers, much like our relationship with the Most Holy God.” This mesmerizing CD has long been my favorite, my absolute “go-to” when I need to stop, drop, and spend time with the Lord.

What are you watching?
I love British series—like “Downton Abbey” and “Endeavor” and “Foyle’s War.” I’m especially enjoying the new season of “Call the Midwives.” The characters are compassionate, real, and I love glimpsing each character’s backstory as their tale unfolds. Seeing themes from current events woven into the tapestry of long ago British life is an idea near and dear to my historical fiction writing heart.

Cathy's Daily Devotional Reading
What are you reading?
My daily devotional reading for this year includes The One Year Bible (NIV), Holy Scriptures Tree of Life Version, Jesus Today by Sarah Young, Hymns for the Living Church, and Notes from the Valley by Andy McQuitty. I love combining devotionals and a nonfiction book with daily Bible reading and hymn singing.

This second photo does not reveal the stack of tantalizing fiction lined up on my Kindle, but you can see that I’m focused on research in England for my work in progress—books to do with WWII child evacuees, the Blitz, the influence of C. S. Lewis, Beatrix Potter’s magical gardens, the flora and fauna of Britain and the beauty of the magnificent Lake District. You may also see some of my granddaughter’s books—which creep into every stack of books and take reading priority on daily demand. : )

Some of Cathy's research books for her work in progress

 

Thank you Cathy, for giving us brief glimpse into your world and a hint of what’s to come next!  For more information about Cathy and her books visit her Website | Facebook

Up Close and Personal with Becky Wade

Another week and another new month (happy June, readers!) means we continue our shortlist author interviews. We kick off June with shortlisted author Becky Wade. Becky’s novel  Meant to be Mine (Bethany House) is on the short list for the Contemporary Romance / Romantic Suspense category. Below we chat with Becky about her fun reading list and learn about the inspiration behind Meant to be Mine.

Goodreads SummaryBook - Meant to be Mine

Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school–irresistible. When their paths cross again after college–still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia’s ready to be Ty’s wife, but Ty’s not ready to be her husband. He’s a professional bull rider; he lives on the road, and he’s long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he’s known since childhood.

Five and a half years pass. Celia’s buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty’s achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn’t forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia’s trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?

Becky Wade

“You know you’re a writer on deadline when you have a stack of clean clothes this tall simply waiting to be transferred to hangers. Nothing’s been hung up in at least two weeks.”

Author Interview

1.) What are you listening to?  I love contemporary Christian worship music!  I don’t listen to anything while writing except my dog’s soft snores and the background noise of the dishwasher or washing machine.  But when I’m cleaning up the house or cooking or driving somewhere with the kids (on those occasions when they’ll consent to listen to something other than bad pop music) we rock out to praise songs.  Three of my current favorite songs are: Because He Lives by Matt Maher, Come As You Are by Crowder, and Who You Are by Kristian Stanfill.

2.) What are you watching? Sadly, almost nothing lately because I’m ‘on deadline’ with a book due June 1st.  The torture!!  I can’t wait until June 1.

I get my morning shot of TV news from the Today Show.  When I am able to squeeze in solo TV time, my relaxation show is Who Do You Think You Are.  My son and I like to watch the BBC version of Sherlock together.

Becky Wade's Reading

3.) What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand?  I’m currently reading the first novel in my friend Rachel’s Hauck’s Royal Wedding series, Once Upon a Prince.  I’m cheating a little because I’m “reading” it by listening to the audio version on my phone every time I’m alone in my car.  I’m grateful that I can listen my way through books!  The stories make my driving time a treat.

Becky Wade (2)

Becky’s Writing Space

What inspired Meant to Be Mine?  I was inspired by the idea of a ‘Secret Baby’ plot line   I’ve always loved books in which fathers are reunited with children they never knew they had.  I gave that classic romance novel idea my own twist by marrying Ty and Celia in a Las Vegas wedding chapel right at the outset of the book.  I really enjoyed tackling not only the ’Secret Baby’ premise, but also the ‘Marriage in Name Only’ aspects of Ty and Celia’s story.

I’m thrilled that Meant to Be Mine was named to the INSPY shortlist in company with books written by author friends of mine.  I’m honored to be in their company and I’m truly encouraged by the nomination.  Thank you INSPYs!

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Thank you so much for joining us today, Becky. It was a pleasure to host you here. Learn more about Becky: Facebook ǀ Twitter ǀ Website

Up Close & Personal with Lynn Austin

 

The INSPY Advisory Board is excited to welcome author, Lynn Austin. Her novel, Keepers of the Covenant, is on the short list for General Fiction. In this interview, Lynn shares how both she and her husband are creatively-inclined, plus a peek over her shoulder while hard at work! Welcome Lynn!

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In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king’s palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies.

When the battles come to an end, Ezra’s brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude’s widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple–but the fight to keep God’s Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges…this one for the survival of God’s covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful.

What are you listening to?  I’m listening to “The Carnival of Venice,” a cornet solo that my husband (a professional musician) is practicing…and practicing…and practicing for a solo concert he is giving soon.

What are you watching?
I am a HUGE fan of all the decorating shows on HGTV. My current favorite is “Fixer Upper.”

What are you reading?  I’m currently reading a wonderful book by Jane Rubietta called Worry Less So You Can Live More.

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Hard at work. . .

Thank you for joining us Lynn and giving us a glimpse into her office and life!  To learn more about Lynn, visit her Website or Facebook .