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 Kristi Ann Hunter

INSPYs 2016-Kristi Ann Hunter FeatureOur debut author interviews continue today with novelist, Kristi Ann Hunter. Her debut novel A Noble Masquerade (Bethany House) is on the 2016 shortlist in the Debut Fiction category.

Today, Kristi gives us insight into the inspiration of A Noble Masquerade and shares her greatest surprise about the publishing experience.


Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her Book - A Noble Masqueradeinnermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, a duke–with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she’s heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marcus, her brother’s new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.

When Marcus accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men–one she’s never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marcus is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love. – Goodreads

Amazon | Goodreads


AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH KRISTI ANN HUNTER

INSPYs: What inspired you to write A Noble Masquerade?

I don’t think there’s a person alive who is always themselves. We have masks and restrictions we place on ourselves depending on where we are or who we’re with. Sometimes, though, those limits can feel like an abrasive and confining prison despite the fact that we made them ourselves. Never is that more evident than when you find yourself placed in the middle of a new group of people and you have to decide who you’re going to be.

Exploring that idea brought about the book A Noble Masquerade. Because the heroine met the hero under two different circumstances, she presented two different versions of herself and he was able to do the same. In the process of bringing those two ideas together, they each came to a greater understanding of who they were and how they could be themselves more often. I think that’s something everyone could use a little more of.

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

This is going to make me sound incredibly arrogant, but I think my biggest surprise was that I edited well. After the number of complaints and horror stories I’ve heard from people working with various editors, I was expecting the process to be rather painful. In some ways it was because it was the first time I’d ever gone through my work like that. There were sections that I refused to change in the way they wanted me to, but I did listen to the issues they had with the scene and rewrote it to fix those.

A lot of the credit for the process goes to the amazing editors I worked with at Bethany House who took the time to really see where I was trying to go with the book and helped me get there. By the end of the editing process, though, I was left sitting with a book I couldn’t believe I got to stick my name on and that’s a pretty heady feeling.

JUST FOR FUN QUESTIONS

+What are you listening to?

Ah, music. It is so very, very important in our house. Right now I’m hip deep in preparations for the launch of the next book in the series, An Elegant Façade, so I’m listening and refining the inspiration playlist for that book. I’ll be unveiling that entire list in July, but as a little sneak peek for you, it includes some amazing songs like Stained Glass Masquerade by Casting Crowns and Born to Be Free by Moriah Peters.

+What are you watching? 

Kristi Ann Hunter NightstandWell, the kids are home for the summer and just discovered the old original Power Rangers so I’m getting a nice little trip down nostalgia lane.

Otherwise I’m not watching a whole lot right now. We don’t have cable so I tend to be a little behind and go through spells of watching lots of TV off Netflix and then stretches of nothing. I can tell you what I WILL be watching in a few weeks and that’s the Olympics. WOOHOO! Love me some Olympics.

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

I’m actually reading an ARC right now, Dawn Crandall’s The Cautious Maiden. (Woohoo, author privilege, getting books before they come out!) I’m only a few chapters into it but I’m very intrigued.

Sitting right next to it though, taunting me and not-so-patiently waiting its turn is the new Karen Witemeyer book, No Other Will Do. I actually got that one a bit early, too, but haven’t gotten to read it yet. Sometimes writing the books gets in the way of reading them. Sigh.


Thanks for joining us, Kristi Ann! It was a pleasure to chat with you, learn more about your debut novel, learn what most surprised you about the publishing process (that’s a wonderful talent to possess) and to read about your 2016 Olympic excitement.

ABOUT THE AUTHORKristi Ann Hunter

Kristi Ann Hunter graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in Computer Science but always knew she wanted to write. Kristi is an RWA Golden Heart contest winner, an ACFW Genesis contest winner, and a Georgia Romance Writers Maggie Award for Excellence winner. She lives with her husband and three children in Georgia.

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter

A Conversation with Susan Anne Mason

INSPYs 2016-Susan Anne Mason

Join us in welcoming author, Susan Anne Mason today! This is Susan’s first year being shortlisted in the INSPY awards. Her  historical novel Irish Meadows (Bethany House) is on the 2016 shortlist in the Debut Fiction category.

Today, we learn about the music Susan Anne enjoys, read and see the inspiration for Irish Meadows plus more!


Irish immigrant James O’Leary has spent his life building Irish Meadows into a thriving horse farm and is not about to let hard economic times threaten its success. He intends for his Book - Irish Meadowsdaughters to marry prosperous men–ones who will secure the family’s rightful place in society, and at the same time, guarantee the future of Irish Meadows. Both girls, however, have different visions for their futures.

Brianna and Colleen O’Leary know their father expects them to marry well. Yet despite his wishes, Brianna, the quieter sister, dreams of attending college. Vivacious Colleen, meanwhile, is happy to marry–as long as her father’s choice meets her exacting standards. When stable hand Gilbert Whelan returns from college and distant family member Rylan Montgomery stops in on his way to the seminary in Boston, the two men quickly complicate everyone’s plans. It will take every ounce of courage for both sisters to follow their hearts. And even if they do, will they inevitably find their dreams too distant to reach? – Goodreads

Amazon | Goodreads


AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH SUSAN ANNE MASON

INSPYs: What inspired the story of Irish Meadows?

I’ve always loved sagas about large families. One of my favorite mini-series growing up was The Thornbirds about an Irish family who move to the outback’s of Australia. I became enthralled with the sweeping family saga—as well as the forbidden love between Meggie and Ralph—which inspired the romance between the fiery, Colleen O’Leary, and priest-in-training, Rylan Montgomery in Irish Meadows. And as many of my readers tell me, this couple hijacked the book! (I must confess that I fell in love with Rylan, too!)

Having Irish roots on both sides of my genealogical tree, I knew I wanted to write about a big Irish family. My great grandparents on my father’s side emigrated from Ireland to Brooklyn, NY around 1890. So I used New York as the backdrop for my saga about the O’Learys, an immigrant family who had overcome poverty and prejudice to achieve affluence in Long Island. When the book opens, patriarch James O’Leary is faced with the possibility of losing his horse farm and the affluent position he has achieved. This is the motivation for him wanting to find suitable, wealthy husbands for his two eldest daughters—but unfortunately for him, the girls have other ideas!

Horse farm1

A photo depicting Susan Anne Mason’s inspiration for Irish Meadows.

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

The challenge is definitely the research. Sometimes I end up doing hours of searching for a tiny aspect of the era you’re writing about—and it only shows up as one line in a scene. For instance, I had to do a lot of research just to find out about the use of telephones in 1911. Not only who might have a telephone in their house (rich people!), but what type of phone they would use. Hours of research for a tiny detail in a few scenes.

The benefits of writing historical fiction is that you become immersed in a different time period. Learning about the ways people lived back then—long before TV and the internet—is so interesting, and the good news is you get to come back to all the modern conveniences when you’re done!

Susan Anne Mason's favorite writing spot is her kitchen table.

Susan Anne Mason’s favorite writing spot is her kitchen table.

JUST FOR FUN QUESTIONS

+ What are you listening to? I don’t normally listen to a lot of music at home, but I tend to like songs that speak to me, not necessarily by one person or group. That being said, some of my favorite artists are Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift. Right now, I love the song “Piece by Piece” by Kelly. So moving. Another current favorite is “Stand by You” by Rachel Platten. 

+What are you watching?  Now that Downton Abbey is over (sniff), I’m having trouble finding a favorite show. I do enjoy Nashville, which thankfully has been picked up again. I watched Season One of Outlander but it got too graphic for me and I’ve only been watching it sporadically now. My guilty pleasure is the Bachelor/Bachelorette series. It’s romance, what can I say? (wink)

+What are you reading or what’s on your nightstand? Oh, my. How long do you have? I am a serious book-a-holic! (At least now I can count the purchases as a business expense.) I just finished reading “The Lost Heiress” by Roseanna White, which was fabulous! Anyone who likes Downton Abbey will love this book! And now I’ve started Pepper Basham’s “Twist of Faith” which already has me hooked!

Here is a snap shot of my “To be read” pile! No shortage of material there! I’m very excited to read the latest books by Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, and Susan May Warren. To name a few!

Susan Mason TBR

Thanks so much for having me here and for highlighting “Irish Meadows.” And best of luck to all the INSPYs finalists!


Thanks so much for joining us on the INSPYs.com blog today, Susan. It was our pleasure to host you; we enjoyed learning more about Irish Meadows, and seeing that impressive TBR!

Susan Mason author photoABOUT THE AUTHOR

I have always loved to write. As a teen, I wrote my first novel, only to be politely rejected by my publisher of choice.

Life got in the way – university, marriage and children became the priority. Then once I had time to start reading again, the writing bug bit once more.

I enjoy writing both contemporary and historical Inspirational romances. “Romance sprinkled with faith” describes my writing style. I love themes of forgiveness and redemption!

I am a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Romance Writers of America. My association with such amazing groups of people has been the biggest asset toward learning my craft.

Home for me is Brampton, Ontario, Canada (near Toronto), where I live with my husband, our two children and two cats. My day job is a part-time secretary at a local church. In my spare time, I like to read and research our family history on-line.

Author Website | Facebook

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 Katherine Reay

INSPYs 2016-Katherine Reay

Our final week (before the INSPY Advisory Board announces the winners) of author interviews continues today with author, Katherine Reay. Katherine has been shortlisted in previous INSPY awards and this year, her novel The Bronte Plot (Thomas Nelson) is on the 2016 shortlist in the General Fiction category.

Today, Katherine shares about the inspiration of The Bronte Plot, and asks YOU for new TV show recommendations. Read on below.


Lucy Alling makes a living selling rare books, often taking suspicious measures to reach her goals. When her unorthodox methods are discovered, Lucy’s secret ruins her relationship with Book - The Bronte Plother boss and her boyfriend James—leaving Lucy in a heap of hurt, and trouble. Something has to change; she has to change.

In a sudden turn of events, James’s wealthy grandmother Helen hires Lucy as a consultant for a London literary and antiques excursion. Lucy reluctantly agrees and soon discovers Helen holds secrets of her own. In fact, Helen understands Lucy’s predicament better than anyone else.

As the two travel across England, Lucy benefits from Helen’s wisdom, as Helen confronts the ghosts of her own past. Everything comes to a head at Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters, where Lucy is reminded of the sisters’ beloved heroines, who, with tenacity and resolution, endured—even in the midst of change.

Now Lucy must go back into her past in order to move forward. And while it may hold mistakes and regrets, she will prevail—if only she can step into the life that’s been waiting for her all along. – Goodreads

Amazon ($1.99 e-book sale) | Goodreads


AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH KATHERINE REAY

INSPYs: What inspired the story of The Bronte Plot? 

The Bronte Plot came to me as a question while reading C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce. In that story, while asleep, Lewis travels to heaven where he witnesses souls traveling “upward and onward.” Decisions must be made and burdens relinquished if the “passengers” on this journey wish to remain in heaven. Wrapped within fantasy, Lewis introduces us to the ideas of free will, choice and consequence – as well as deftly portraying the strings pulling at our hearts and the nature of surrender. I began to ask, what could or would that journey look like on this side of eternity? And if someone did reach a point to make new decisions and lay down old burdens, what event or force might begin the process? Lucy entered the story first, with her red hair, passion for design and story – and a few other personality traits – but she didn’t complete it. I knew that such turning points can happen at any age and Lucy needed a companion, someone unlike herself yet able to understand. She needed a Helen. And so, with two women ready for change, The Bronte Plot began…

INSPYs: Who was your favorite character/storyline in The Bronte Plot?

I adore Helen. Her character became so complex, from the wild summer of her youth to the pressures that later defined her life. And to see her work to redefine and find herself again – and, in many ways, free her family – was exciting.

I also loved Sid. If I ever hire an interior designer, I’ll need to find him in the real world.

Katherine's favorite writing spot!

Katherine’s favorite writing spot!

JUST FOR FUN QUESTIONS

+What are you listening to?  

To and from my daughter’s volleyball practice, we listen to audiobooks. We just finished The Book Thief – brilliantly narrated, by the way. We are now listening to The Screwtape Letters. At home, The Zac Brown Band is the most played Pandora station with Needtobreathe and Van Morrison close behind. Now… That said, Jimmy Buffet always makes a strong appearance on the back patio each summer.

+What are you watching?

I just finished The Night Manager, an AMC miniseries of the John le Carré novel. Wow! Incredibly tense and well done. Hugh Laurie is, as always, brilliant.

And now that Castle is over, I’m looking for recommendations. I need a new show! Please help…

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

I decided to pick up the two books on the floor and take a picture of the true mess that is my nightstand. It needs a little explanation. At present, I am reading The Blind Side, Prayer, The Screwtape Letters (I know, listening to it too… it’s research) and Self-Editing. The Nightingale has sat teasing me for six months because I want to get to it, but I need more time. I picked up the Moriarty ARC at BEA last month and hope to find time to read it this summer as well. And the Amor Towles? I picked that up at BEA too and pat it every now and then. His debut, Rules of Civility, was fantastic and I’m almost nervous to begin his second, A Gentleman in Moscow, because soon after I start that first sentence it’ll be over and I’ll have to wait five more years for another beautiful Towles tale. Oh… And Everybody’s Jane. Again research. I really do get the best research!

Thanks for inviting me here!


Katherine, thank you SO much for joining us! It was a pleasure to chat with you, and learn more about The Brone Plot.

EDITOR’s NOTE:  Some of my recent TV show favorites would be NBC’s Blindspot, ITV’s Grantchester and I’m currently watching the sixth season of TNT’s Rizzoli and Isles. What are you currently watching, readers?

ABOUT THE AUTHORKBR Headshot

Katherine Reay has lived all across the country and Europe and has just moved with her family to Chicago. She is a writer, wife, mom, runner, and, most randomly, a tae kwon do black belt. Her debut novel, “Dear Mr. Knightley,” is a contemporary story with a dash of Jane Austen and other nineteenth century writers thrown in for the fun of it. Her subsequent novels, “Lizzy & Jane” and “The Bronte Plot,” feature stories of hope, reconciliation, family, some seriously good food and travel. “A Portrait of Emily Price” will be released in November of this year. 

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

A Conversation with Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

INSPYs 2016-Carey and Lorie FeatureToday, the advisory board welcomes the writing duo of Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon. Know for their Brigadoon inspired YA lit retellings, Carey and Lorie’s latest novel, Shades of Doon (Blink) is on the 2016 INSPYs shortlist this year in the Literature for Young Adult category.

We hear from Carey and Lorie about the challenges and benefits of writing in an underrated market and the inspiration behind this story, plus they both share their current TV obsessions!


After cheating death, Veronica Welling is determined to savor every moment in her idyllic kingdom with both her true love and best friend by her side at last. At the same time, Mackenna Book - Shades of DoonReid is enthusiastically building her new life and a theater with her prince. But just as their dreams of happiness are within reach, the world Vee and Kenna have chosen is ripped away, leaving them to face their most horrific challenge yet—their old lives.

Thrust out of Doon, the best friends are confronted with tormentors from their past and no way to return to their adopted land. When the MacCrae brothers rush to their rescue, the girls’ situation turns from nightmare to modern-day fairy tale. But their happiness could be short lived: unbeknownst to them, someone in their closest circle is aiding the witch of Doon in her bid to destroy the kingdom once and for all. – Shades of Doon.com

Amazon | Goodreads


AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH CAREY CORP AND LORIE LANGDON

INSPYs: What inspired Shades of Doon

Lorie: Shades of Doon is the third book in a series inspired by the Scottish musical Brigadoon! When I was sixteen I saw the live musical and fell in love with the romantic tale of the village that only appears to the modern world once every one hundred years. But one thing always bothered me about the original – during the hundred years that the portal to the kingdom is closed, the people in Brigadoon sleep. Really? They sleep! I couldn’t stop thinking about what I could do with that hundred years…

INSPYs: What are the challenges/benefits of writing YA in the inspirational (an underrated genre) market? 

Carey: I think the biggest challenge of writing YA in the inspirational market is that readers have a very personal and varied definition of “inspirational.” Too much for some is not enough for others and same with the mainstream or secular elements of the story. Lorie and I don’t write specifically for the “inspirational” market. We write the same way we live, as honestly as humanly possible, in the world but not of the world. Life is messy, riddled with mistakes, doubt, and poor choices. Like us, our characters are beautifully flawed and through their weakness The Protector works His miracles. The biggest benefit to being in the inspiration genre is that we’re able to weave our faith and personal relationships with God into our stories. We’re constantly taking inspiration from things in our spiritual lives. Our greatest hope is that this series will plant seeds in readers’ hearts through which the Holy Spirit will bear fruit.

JUST FOR FUN QUESTIONS

+ What are you listening to?  

Lorie: I’m kind of obsessed with the Hillsong Young & Free album! Especially the acoustic version of This Is Living. I can be in the worst mood ever and that song will turn it around!

Carey: Besides HAMILTON?  Wait is there something other than HAMILTON?  For Forever Doon I listened to a lot of for King & Country, Casting Crowns, We The Kings, Ed Sheeran, and Francesca Battistelli.

+ What are you watching?  

Photo: CBS

Photo: CBS

Lorie: I’m binge watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I didn’t watch the series when it aired and I’ve been hearing about it for years. I finally know why everyone loves it so much. I don’t think they make character driven TV shows like this anymore. I feel like the Gilmore’s are friends. For me, it’s the closest a TV series has ever come to the experience of reading a book! I’m also kind of a superhero geek and enjoy watching The Flash and Supergirl with my youngest son.

Carey: My favorite show of the last couple years has been MTV’s Shannara Chronicles by the incredible Terry Books. I’m also into The Flash, Walking Dead (yes, I love my zombies), Once Upon a Time, and Hallmark movies – I’m a sucker for a good romance! I tend to skip the news and reality television in favor of SyFy and fantasy. Let’s take a look at my DVR: The VoiceSupernatural, Big Bang Theory, tons of Hallmark movies, Stitchers, Containment, The Colony, The Middle, Gravity Falls, Somewhere in Time (movie), and the 58th Grammys (saved for the HAMILTON number).

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

Lorie Langdon TBR 2016 (1)

Lorie: Right now I’m finishing Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas, the first book in a magical fantasy series that I’m really enjoying. My TBR pile is out of control! The picture only shows the physical books, I have about fifteen more on my Nook! I just scored the ARC of Sabaa Tahir’s A Torch Against the Night while at BEA…I may have to block off a whole day to read that one! An Ember in the Ashes was my favorite book of 2015.

Carey Corp TBR 2016 (1)

Carey:  I’m currently reading Cinda Williams-Chima’s new book Flamecaster and next up CJ Redwine’s Shadow Queen. Like Lorie, my TBR pile is out of control – it has it’s own room. I’m also rereading Lysa TerKeurst’s Unglued as my current devotional.


Thanks so much for joining us today, Carey and Lorie! Not only do you have amazing TV shows on for your current addictions, but we appreciate you sharing some insight into your thoughts about the YA market.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

careyCarey Corp NY Times & USA Today Best-selling author, Carey Corp, wrote her first book, a brilliant retelling of Star Wars, at the prodigious age of seven. Since then, her love affair of reinvention has continued to run amuck. Writing both literary fiction and stories for young adults, she begins each morning consuming copious amounts of coffee while weaving stories that capture her exhaustive imagination. She harbors a voracious passion (in no consistent order) for mohawks, Italy, musical theater, chocolate, and Jane Austen. Her debut novel for teens, The Halo Chronicles: The Guardian, earned her national recognition as 2010 Golden Heart finalist and more recently made the N Times Best-seller list. Coming Sept, 2015: Shades of Doon (book 3 of the 4 book Doon series), a young adult series loosely based on the concept of the musical Brigadoon, used with permission from the Alan Jay Lerner Estate & the Frederick Loewe Foundation, and co-written with Lorie Langdon.

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter

lorieLorie Langdon is one half of the author team that writes the best-selling DOON series, a YA re-imagining of Brigadoon!, published by Blink/HarperCollins. She has longed to write her own novels since she was a wee girl reading every Judy Blume book she could get her hands on. So a few years ago, she left her thriving corporate career to satisfy the voices in her head. Now as a full-time author and stay-at-home mom, she spends her days tucked into her cozy office, Havanese puppy by her side, working to translate her effusive imagination into the written word.

Lorie’s first solo novel, GILT HOLLOW, a YA romantic thriller, releases September 2016!

Author Website | Facebook | Twitter