Marion has also GENEROUSLY offered to have a free ~*Giveaway*~ to one of our blog members!! Simply comment on this post to be entered to receive the ebook of Restoring Faith! Giveaway is open for seven days from today and winner will be notified via email!
Paula Marie: Janet, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me and answer a few questions so we can get to know you a little better!
Janet: It’s an honor to be here! I’m loving your blog!
Paula Marie: Oh, thank you, that means so much to me!
I feel lucky to say I have read every one of your books! From those books, it is obvious you have a love for the South, can you tell us more about where you are from?
Janet: I do love the South. Maybe because I’ve always lived here. I was born in
Greenwood, Mississippi, in the flat, fertile Delta region of the state where there is a great deal of farming. At five-years-old, our family moved to Jackson, Mississippi, which Is the capital city. Though compared with other state capitals, it’s fairly small. But most of us think that’s just fine.
Our state is diverse in its landscape, but most is wooded and green, bordered by the Mississippi River in the west and the Gulf of Mexico in the south. The northeastern part of the state is heavily forested rolling hills. In that area, the quaint college town of Oxford is where I chose to set the first three novels. It’s such an adorable place with large oaks draping sidewalk and streets.
All regions of our state are hot much of the year. We have some cold winter weather here and there, but I remember some years wearing shorts on Christmas. You just never know!
I just had to attach a few pics for you!
Paula Marie: When did you first fell the writer’s pull?
Janet: I started writing in 2012 after my parents passed away. The story idea for Leaving Oxford had been churning for about six or seven years before that but I never sat down to write it. I wanted to write a story that removed some of the stigma that goes along with anxiety. I wanted it to be an encouragement because I’d also suffered from panic attacks. And once that story came out, more bubbled up. I hope to keep writing as long as God provides me material.
Paula Marie: Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? Are you a plotter, out-liner, or more spontaneous when writing your novels?
Janet: I was a definite panster at first, but I’ve become more of a loose out-liner. It helps keep the story on track. I pray I allow the Lord to lead. I always say any of the good stuff is God, the messed up part is me!
Paula Marie: Your characters in the Southern Hearts series continue to show up in the subsequent novels, do you find that easier to incorporate them, or more of challenge to have to “revisit” them and bring their lives up to date with the current story line?
Janet: It seemed pretty easy at the time because I wrote them back to back. I did have to chart the characters, places, and timelines, though. I’ve thought about (and have been asked to write) another story for Bryan, Emma, and Grant. I think it will be much harder after being away from them for so long. I’ll be pulling those charts back out if I do!
Paula Marie: I love to know what authors do with their free time when not writing or spending time with family, what are your other passions?
Janet: Good question! I enjoy ladies Bible studies, going on walks with my neighbor/friends/family, and listening to music. Travel is something I love whenever possible, and I like to take lots of pictures. I walk around looking for beauty in creation every day. It helps me be thankful!
Paula Marie: I have loved your football characters and scenarios, due to my being a diehard football fan….is that a sport you enjoy as well?
Janet: My husband and son both played football in high school, and they watch SEC football, so I’ve learned a lot about the sport. I enjoy watching Mississippi State and Ole Miss with them. The research for Leaving Oxford and Tackling the Fields made the sport and mentality of the players even more interesting. Wow, those guys love it, breathe it, and miss it when they can’t play anymore.
Paula Marie: What is the one thing you would like for readers to take away with them after reading a novel of yours?
Kanet: God loves you more than you can ask or imagine, and there is no sin so bad that you can’t be forgiven if you turn your life over to Him.
Paula Marie: What were your favorite books to read as a young child, ones that you made sure your children read when they were the same age?
Janet: Oh, I loved books like Charlotte’s Web and Little House on the Prairie. I never read The Chronicles of Narnia as a child, but I read them all aloud to my kids. I adore them!
Paula Marie: How can readers keep up with your news and upcoming releases?
|Janet: Follow me:|
Paula Marie: Finally – Coffee or tea? Cream? Sugar?
Janet: Two cups of black coffee every morning, although in Ireland I enjoyed hot tea with cream!
Janet has sweetly offered to have a free ~*Giveaway*~ to one of our blog members!! Simply comment on this post to be entered to receive the ebook of Magnolia Storms! My review for this novel can be found here:
Giveaway is open for seven days from today and winner will be notified via email!
Reprinted with author’s permission:
Donovan Harper and Claire Morgan are more successful as co-owners of a thriving advertising agency in quaint Serendipity, Pennsylvania, than they were at navigating their romantic relationship.
When an eccentric client makes an unusual request, Donovan convinces Claire their agency should participate in Serendipity’s annual Christmas Challenge. With contests and activities ranging from The Snowflake Plunge, candy cane making, snowman building, wreath and tree decorating, and a snowmobile race, could this be the opportunity Donovan has prayed for to win back the love of his life?
Join the holiday fun with Claire and Donovan in a story celebrating love, faith, family, small-town charm, and the true miracles of the Christmas season.
In addition to The Christmas Challenge, JoAnn Durgin is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the beloved Lewis Legacy Series as well as Prelude, the prequel to the series. Her other works include the Amazon bestselling Catching Serenity, Heart’s Design and its sequel, Gentle Like the Rain, The Wondrous Love Series, Echoes of Edinburgh, Perchance to Dream, Whisper to My Heart, The Valentine Verse, Thee Will I Cherish, and the popular Starlight Christmas Series.
About JoAnn Durgin
USA Today Bestselling Author JoAnn Durgin’s debut novel, Awakening (November 2010), is the beginning of the beloved Lewis Legacy Series of contemporary Christian romantic adventures with eight books and counting, including Prelude, the prequel to the series. Pursuit, Lewis Legacy 8, released in January 2017, and three more installments are planned for the series (with a spin-off series lined up right behind it where you never know when one of the original TeamWork volunteers or a Lewis family member might pop up unexpectedly to keep it fun). Roundabout, Lewis Legacy 9, released in January 2018.
JoAnn is also the author of the Amazon top-selling Whisper to My Heart, Catching Serenity, as well as Heart’s Design and its sequel, Gentle Like the Rain. Her other books include The Wondrous Love Series, Perchance to Dream, Echoes of Edinburgh, The Serendipity Christmas Series, The Valentine Verse, Thee Will I Cherish, and the popular Starlight Christmas Series.
As a fun project after the release of her 25th published novel, JoAnn recently started a new series of shorter novels with the pen name of Julianna Desmond! The first novel, ONLY A HEARTBEAT AWAY, released on September 1, 2017. You can read the book description and find out more on the Amazon Author page for Julianna Desmond. These books will be standalone, complete, happily ever after short novels. Rest assured, they will be written in JoAnn’s signature style with humor, romance, grace, and faith, and will be connected only by their similar titles. ONLY A BREATH AWAY is up next in early 2018 (release date to be determined).
A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn now writes full-time, and she loves nothing more than sharing her stories of faith, family, and love. After living from coast to coast in the U.S., she now resides with her family in her native southern Indiana.
Thank you so much, Andrea, for taking time out of your day to sit down with me and our readers for coffee! I was very excited to find you when Irresistibly Yours first came out! I absolutely loved the entire story. Can you tell us a little bit about how you came up with Vivian and Bo?
The inspiration for Irresistibly Yours is a sad story with a happy ending. My husband was dying at the time. (Don’t worry, he lived!) When you are faced with future widowhood, a gamut of emotions floods your system and you end up thinking about things you wouldn’t imagine someone in that situation would think about. One of them was, “I never want to go through this again. I’m never getting married again.” I told this to a friend and for several nights after that Bo showed up in my dreams. Nothing romantic. I’d go to church in dreamland and there he was. Deep-sea fishing (Something I’ve always wanted to do!) in dreamland and he shows up. After that my imagination took over and Vivian and Bo’s story came to life.
I love how Vivian is about the 1970 Plymouth GTX – a dream car of my husband’s, by the way, lol, how did you come up with such an inspiration?
It’s my dream car too! My aunt had one when I was a little girl and I believe that’s when I fell in love with muscle cars. I have a 1968 Barracuda convertible that I restored, and my husband has a 1974 Duster that he is redoing now. We also enjoy going to classic car shows together.
My husband would be so jealous, lol!!
I know you have some fantasy genre Christian books out as well as contemporary; do you have a preference for either genre when writing?
When you say fantasy, some readers are automatically shaking their heads, but honestly, mine are on the very mild side and read more like historicals. I love making up new worlds and the adventure, so yes, they are my favorite ones to write. Of the five books I have out right now, Restoring Dermot is my favorite.
When is your favorite time of the day / night to write?
Early morning—right after coffee and Bible study. And I try to quit writing by 3pm. If I keep going after that, my brain feels fried. Besides, I still need time for reading!
When did you first know you were meant to be an author?
I don’t remember the exact date, but within the last five years. It still amazes me that I was called to write. I never would have aspired to it on my own. The ‘feed my sheep’ verses kept coming up from various directions. So I asked God, ‘Who are these sheep, and how do you want me to go about feeding them?’ Right after I got my answer, the inspiration for Securing Aisling came.
Can you remember the first book you read that you fell in love with books?
Oh boy. Growing up, reading wasn’t encouraged at my house. If I read a book it was for school. In eight grade, a friend of mine got in trouble for reading a book during science class. I had to find out what was so interesting. She loaned me the book. I’m ashamed to say it was Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews, but it did ignite my hunger for reading.
Well, I must admit, I have read those books as well when I was much younger!
What would be your dream profession if you had not become an author?
I’ve never had one. My prayer from the age of nine was to have children and be a good mother. God answered that prayer and it wasn’t until the kids were grown that He gave me the desire to do anything else.
Being you are from the south – can you tell me what your favorite food to fry is?
Lol Surprisingly, I can’t remember the last time I fried anything other than an egg. I would say fried chicken, squash, and okra are my favorites, but I don’t have them that often.
How can fans keep in touch with you and your upcoming books?
The best way is through my website- www.andreaboyd11.com You will find information on my books that you won’t see anywhere else, and there are links to everywhere else I can be found.
Finally – Coffee or tea? Cream? Sugar?
Coffee! When I was a kid, I drank it black, but now I use flavored creamer. My daughter says I wake up every morning without a brain and find it at the bottom of my first cup. She may have a point.
Andrea Boyd has been so kind as to offer one lucky winner a free ebook version of Irresistibly Yours via Instafreebie! Just comment on this review and you will be entered to win! Contest will one week from today. Winner will be emailed with the link!
Click a retailer button to see which of these fabulous Christmas romances is available in your favorite retail store! You will automatically be taken to the store in your country. Please note that 99-cent pricing on books on Amazon/Kindle Unlimited may not be available outside of the USA and UK, so check pricing before you buy.
Merry Christmas in July!
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Thank so much for joining me today, Valerie, it is a real pleasure to have this time with you! As I have read every one of your published books to date, I think I have come to know you fairly well, but I want everyone to get a chance to know you better!
So many people talk about Farm to Table these days, can you tell us how food – fresh food – became such a large focus in your life, therefore your writing?
Farm to table is how both my husband and I were raised. Both sets of parents gardened, hunted, cooked/baked from scratch, preserved food, etc. In our early years together, that lifestyle was our default since we had very little money! As we became more health conscious, our focus on gardening, farming, and beekeeping grew, even as many in our generation lost the skills. When the movement rolled back around again, we were ready! We’d been living it all our lives.
When I began writing in 2002, I hunted for my sweet spot, where “what I knew” and “what was popular” intersected with my favorite genre, contemporary romance. I found my niche with the blossoming interest in farmers markets and other local food initiatives. This lifestyle provides a fun setting for many of my stories.
Your books always have great insight to both the male and female characters. Do you find it hard to switch that train of thought off and on? Or does it run smoothly once you are writing away?
Thank you! I think I struggled with that much more when I began writing. Now I really try to dive into each character’s mind when I’m writing from their point of view. How does he or she see their circumstances? The other person? God’s role in their life? What’s their education and job experience and family life been like? What is the Myers-Briggs personality type? I feel those areas are as important as whether they are male or female. All of it together informs the way they’ll think, act, and speak. I simply (!) need to get inside their heads, no matter who they are.
I am curious, do you ever have difficulty when a character is not really, let’s say, “into” God?
A lot of people aren’t really “into God.” For my characters, about the only aspect I choose is where they are in their faith journey as the story opens. I determine if they’re a believer or not. If yes, are they a new believer? A struggling believer? In what area?
Then, I see and record how they react to the circumstances they find themselves in during the story. I often also learn what happened in their past to bring them to this spot. I do a lot of character work in advance, interviews and such, but I don’t actually plot the story. With the backdrop in place, it simply unfolds as I type.
Sometimes secondary characters take on a larger role than I’d expected. Sometimes they have a faith journey of their own. And, other times, I’m maneuvering these characters through several novels or most of a series, knowing where they need to be when I’m ready to start writing their own stories down the road!
How do you schedule your writing time? Or do you just write when you are able?
My husband works four days out of eight, and those are my writing days. I generally try to write a chapter each writing day, but sometimes I run into a snag (usually at about one-quarter-to-one-third of the way in) and then need to take a day or two out for a round of mind mapping or something similar to get rolling again. In the afternoons and/or when he’s home, I’ll do more of the marketing end of things. That also leaves non-working time for doing things together!
I know you have worked on multiple writing projects at the same time, how in the world do you keep all the people, places, and issues straight?
I generally have projects on the go in three different stages: planning, writing, and editing/publishing. Right now, for instance, I’m writing Flavors of Forever, my fall Urban Farm Fresh Romance release. Meanwhile, I’m editing a different novel. It’s just back from beta readers and needs to be to my editor next week, so I’m working on that in the afternoons and evenings. Meanwhile, my NEXT novel will be in the same series as the one in editing, so I’m looking for ideas to add to the pot simmering at the back of my mind… and adding bits of foreshadowing into the edits to build interest (both for me and for readers) for when it becomes my current focus.
Last year I had three series on the go at one time, alternating between them, and that was one too many. I do like having two, though! It keeps my creativity rolling. You asked how I keep everyone straight — basically through many pages of spreadsheets and character notes. Even though I’m writing in more than one series, they’re all interconnected, and characters cross over from time to time. Thus, one of my spreadsheets is a timeline so I can keep track of the “when” of each story as it relates to the other stories in the same series and in other series. Otherwise, how would I figure out how old the kids are (or the adults LOL), who’s already married, etc?
Yes, I’ve made it more complicated than it needs to be. But readers enjoy the surprise appearances by other characters, and I enjoy putting them in! So I’ll keep at it.
Tell us what you enjoy doing the most when you are not under pressure to meet a deadline.
Because I’m an indie author, there is always a deadline in front of me. As soon as one manuscript has been sent to beta readers, I start on the next one, pausing as needed to volley the previous one back to beta again or to my editor. So, when a story is turned in, the next week it is business as usual!
That means I have to make time for hobbies and life every day. My husband and I enjoy gardening and cooking together. We also love to take our little holiday trailer up in the mountains and park beside a burbling stream for a couple of days when we can. Or, if we’ve got a week or more, a visit to the ocean helps us regroup.
And then there’s spending time with our four grandgirls, ages eight and under. That’s always a highlight!
I love books that are series, where the characters continue to show up, so that I feel like they are friends and I can see how their lives are progressing. It is just one of the things I appreciate about your books. I was wondering, though do those series make it more difficult when you are writing each book or do you enjoy revisiting those friends as well?
I love that part, too. I love being able to cross from one series to another and drop in a cameo of another loved character. Does it make it harder? Not really, other than double checking the timeline to see “when” in their story it is, and how much time has passed in their story world.
When closing a series, I feel like I’m saying goodbye to good friends. That can be hard, you know? But when I suspect they might show up again in another story, even just to wave a hello, it feels more like “see you later” than “goodbye.”
I know that I feel like your characters become friends, but is that the same for you as the writer? Do you have any “favorite” characters from your books?
They are definitely my friends! Some of them resonate more closely with my personality or with something I’ve gone through, and that forges a deeper bond. Just seeing that typed out, it sounds silly! And yes, I do have a few favorites, even though I probably shouldn’t admit it. Some of my favorite heroes are Noel Kenzie from Wild Mint Tea, Rob Santoro from Other Than a Halo, and Kade Delgado from—oh, wait, I can’t talk about that book yet. Also, I’m looking forward to writing Peter Santoro’s story. He’s been in several of the Urban Farm Fresh Romances as a secondary character, and I can’t wait for his turn to come up for a happily-ever-after of his own. Probably not until 2019, though.
Finally – coffee or tea? Cream? Sugar?
Coffee… with cream, sweetener, and cocoa. In other words, homemade mocha fuels my writing brain.
Thank you so very much, Valerie, as always, it is a pleasure spending time with you!!
Season of Miracles by Alexa Verde
Nurse Lana Smith gives herself a gift for Christmas, a fresh start in a small town. After escaping a dead-end relationship with a celebrity, she avoids her patient’s grandson, a pro football player. When Arturo gradually thaws her frozen heart, can her Christmas wish for family and affection come true?
Football is Arturo De La Vega’s life, but he returns to his hometown to help his ailing grandfather. Lana challenges Arturo to reach for stars of faith and love. Is Arturo’s quest for glory worth crushing Lana’s dreams and sacrificing his heart’s true desire?
my point of view
As anyone who knows me personally, they know I have a few passions in life, and one of them is Football. I love football, so having a book where the hero is a football star is right up my alley! I adored this story for several reasons, one, as I mentioned, football star, lol, two the older generations in this novel. Nothing warms my heart as much as a great love story, except for maybe the beautiful relationships young people have with the elders in their lives. That might be grandparents, or aunts, uncles, or just dear older friends. I have always had a big heart for elder generations and the stories they can tell us!
This story centers around Lana Smith, a woman that was literally abandoned as an infant, bounced around in foster care as a child, manipulated in a relationship and is still trying to find a place she can be part of a family and “belong”. She leaves behind an emotionally abusive man and returns to her chosen career as a nurse, with a little help from a friend. Mari Lobo lures Lana to Rios Azules to make her fresh start just before the Christmas Season. Fans of Alexa Verde will recognize Mari, and a few other supporting characters in this novel! I actually said out loud – hey, those are my friends too (really, I did)!! I hope I am not the only one out there who thinks of book characters as “friends”!?!
While Lana longs for a nice, quiet life in ‘small town’ USA, Arturo is a famous football star who has fans who adore him, team mates and coaches who depend on him, and a grandfather who refuses to leave his home and move with him to Houston when he needs extra care due to medical conditions. Arturo knows there is something missing in his life, as football is all he has, day in and day out, he lives, breathes and eats football. He longs for a way to help his grandpa, the one person he has been able to count on for his entire life…
From the moment Arturo and Lana meet, the sparks fly and the love blossoms! Both of them need to put their trust in God and learn how to heal from past hurts and issues, all while moving forward with faith in the Lord. This journey has its up and downs, a few twists along the way, and some very special secondary characters like Grandpa and others who really bring together a Christmas story worth reading more than once!
Season Of Miracles is the first of this series and I have loved every single one of them! I highly recommend them all!
You can get your copy here:
Alexa Verde writes sweet, wholesome books about faith, love, and murder. She penned her first literary masterpiece, a rhymed poem, at the ripe age of eight, and since has had 200 short stories, articles, and poems published in the five languages that she speaks. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish, a master’s in Russian, and enjoys writing about characters with diverse cultures. She can claim her 15 seconds of Amazon fame with her books climbing to the #1 spot in Hispanic American and #3 in Christian Mystery & Suspense. She’s worn the hats of reporter, teacher, translator, model (even one day counts!), caretaker, and secretary, but thinks that the writer’s hat suits her the best. After traveling the world and living in both hemispheres, she calls a small town in south Texas home. The latter is an inspiration for the fictional setting of her popular series Secrets of Rios Azules. For giveaways (Russian souvenirs are the next), news, and recipes, please sign up for her newsletter at www.alexaverde.com. Twitter: @AlexaVerde3. Facebook: www.facebook.com/alexaverdeauthor.com
Now, how would YOU like to win an ebook copy of Season of Miracles for yourself? One randomly chosen person that comments on this post will receive the ebook from Alexa Verde! Ebooks will be gifted via BookFunnel. Giveaway is open for seven days from today and will be notified via email!
Valerie Comer’s Riverbend entire series is on sale for 99 cents each right now!
There’s one for every season 😉 If you haven’t tried them, this is The Best Time.
You can get each one here: https://www.amazon.com/s/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_p_n_availability_1?rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Ariverbend+romance%22+%22valerie+comer%22%2Cp_n_availability%3A2245265011&keywords=riverbend+romance%22+%22valerie+comer%22&ie=UTF8&qid=1531418101
We have Juliette Duncan in for Coffee with Paula all the way from Australia today! Thank you, Juliette; this is a real treat for me, I so appreciate you taking the time out to be with me!
I was looking at your bio…and was tickled to see about your large family! What a blessing that must be for you! Tell me; are your children and grandchildren book lovers as well?
That’s a very interesting question. I’d love to say that they all are, but sadly, I can’t. However, one of my daughters-in-law is also a Christian fiction author and she loves reading, and one of her daughters (one of my granddaughters) is an avid reader. My three adult daughters read, but I don’t think I’d call them book lovers. And the boys?? Well… maybe one day they’ll discover the joy of reading!
How wonderful is that! What is your daughter-in-law’s name?
My daughter-in-law is Kristen M. Fraser. She also writes stories from Australia.
I have always wanted to visit Australia; the photos I have seen are stunning! What is your favorite part about living there?
I think that in general we lead quite a relaxed lifestyle, and as the majority of the population lives on the coastal fringe, we’re never far from the ocean and our lovely beaches, but Australia is such a diverse country. We have mountain ranges where you can hike and camp, we have the beautiful Great Barrier Reef, we have the ‘outback’ which has a special beauty of its own, and we also have snow in some places. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many places over the years, and I have so many favourite places, it’s impossible to choose just one, but I have to say that the Kimberley region in the north of Western Australia is absolutely stunning.
Have you ever lived in the US? I only ask because your writing is very good with American mannerisms and terminology!
No – I’ve not even been fortunate enough to visit – yet! I do a lot of research when I set a story in the US, but I also have an American editor who sets me straight if I’ve used a confusing word or phrase. Saying that, most of my books are set in Australia.
I see you have so many books published; I am ashamed to admit I have only read The Homecoming so far, but I look forward to reading more of yours! Which would you say was the hardest to write, in your own opinion and why?
I think that The Shadows Series books were the most challenging to write. My first husband was an alcoholic, and as I wrote Lizzy and Daniel’s story, I relived a lot of the emotion I felt during those years. Readers often tell me that out of all my books, this series is the one that grips them the most.
I am definitely going to look into that series, Juliette, as my first husband was also an alcoholic, I can relate 100%!
The Homecoming had some sensitive issues regarding lifestyles of non-believers…did you have a difficult time portraying Kayla’s lack of faith?
Unfortunately, no! I’ve seen enough in real life to know what happens, which is why I have such a passion for sharing the gospel message in my stories, and why the “hope, redemption and second chances” theme of The Potter’s House Books series is so special to me.
When is your favorite time of the day to write?
I’m usually more productive in the afternoon after all of my other jobs are out of the way, but I’m happy writing at any time of day or night!
How can readers keep up with you and your new releases?
The best way is by joining my newsletter. I send out weekly updates, and I also offer a free short story for new readers. https://www.julietteduncan.com/subscribe/
Finally – Coffee or tea? Cream? Sugar?
Coffee with milk – that’s how we say it in Oz! I gave up sugar recently.
So many people are getting healthy and giving up sugar <sigh> I am not one of them, lol! Thank you again for taking the time out of your busy schedule to give us a chance to get to know you a little better! I look forward to reading more of your books!!