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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!!
Secrets of Sunbeams by Valerie Comer
The first book in the Urban Farm Fresh Romance series, SECRETS OF SUNBEAMS, introduces an animal control officer with her own escapee goat who eats a nearly complete presentation by the everything-in-its-place solar architect who recently moved in next door. Can Jacob Riehl get past the incident — and the goat herself — to find a soulmate in Eden Andrusek, a tattooed woman who definitely doesn’t have everything together? Because if Jacob thinks the goat, not to mention the chickens, is just a passing fancy, Eden won’t have any trouble making her choice. Or will she?
Here is an excerpt, copyright by Valerie Comer, reprinted with author’s permission:
“Why do you have a pen for the goat if you don’t keep her in it?”
“I told you. It’s for when I’m at work.” Eden didn’t bother to glance at Jacob. Pansy required every speck of her attention. He’d never understand, anyway.
The half-mutter did it. She pivoted at the top of the ramp, blocking Pansy onto the small fenced rooftop. “She gets lonely. Did you keep your dog in its kennel even when you were home?”
“That’s what I said.”
“I never had a dog.”
“You nev… what?” She could almost feel sorry for the guy. Almost. “Where did you grow up, anyway?”
His blue eyes narrowed. “Portland. My parents didn’t allow pets. Other than goldfish.”
“Fish aren’t pets.”
“I could say the same about goats.”
“And you’d be wrong,” she shot back. “Pansy is sweet and loves to cuddle. If you’ve ever tried to snuggle a goldfish, you might get the difference.”
“My fish never escaped like this Houdini. They never stole my screws. Fish are very soothing to watch.” Jacob shrugged. “I’ll take fish any day.”
And to think she’d admired his muscles. How much less manly could he be than to prefer goldfish over dogs?
my point of view
I love Valerie Comer, I am certain anyone who knows me, knows this to be true, lol! My goal is to at some point have a review on this blog of every one of her books, which could take a very – very long time, as she has written so many. That being said, I decided on Secrets of Sunbeams right now, as it is the first official book of the newest series Urban Farm Fresh Romance, and the books are still being written by Valerie, so you can all get in on it now and continue it from here! There is also a prequel to the series – Promises of Peppermint listed as book 0, But Secrets of Sunbeams is the official book 1.
I truly adored this book, and Eden is a treasure. She’s so focused on getting through one day to the next, between her work, friends, church and the most important thing in her life, her little goat, Pansy. Being attracted to the good looking guy next door was definitely not on her radar! Jacob Riehl -anyone read the Farm Fresh series will know Jacob as Chelsea and Sierra’s brother – knows what life in a farm yard is all about, after all, his two sisters have firmly planted themselves in Green Acres, and that is just so not his thing! Jacob can appreciate the sustainable living, and not creating a negative footprint in the earth, but he feels this can also be done in a more conventional, urban setting – no need to live as drastically as his sisters and brother in laws do.
So what’s a guy supposed to do when he finds himself falling for a girl who thinks of her goat as a pet?? Well, hope she grows out of it, right? It must be a phase……..right?? This story had me literally laughing out loud – Pansy is just the cutest!! I want one, and it also had me feeling genuinely saddened by all that Eden has been through, it’s no wonder she loves her Pansy so much!
I honestly believe any fan of Contemporary Christian Romance will fall in love with this series, and with Pansy too! The best part is you get to keep reading all about this lovely town and the people there for a good long time with all the books out and yet to be released!
You can purchase your copy of Secrets of Sunbeams right here:
About Valerie Comer
Valerie Comer’s life on a small farm in western Canada provides the seed for stories of contemporary Christian romance. Like many of her characters, Valerie grows much of her own food and is active in the local foods movement as well as her church. She only hopes her imaginary friends enjoy their happily-ever-afters as much as she does hers, shared with her husband, adult kids, and adorable granddaughters.
Valerie is a USA Today bestselling author and a two-time Word Award winner. She writes engaging characters, strong communities, and deep faith into her green clean romances.
Valerie has graciously 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 Secrets of Sunbeams! Giveaway is open for seven days from today and the winner will be notified via email!
I know how busy an author’s life can be, so I am excited to welcome Elizabeth Maddrey to sit down and have some coffee with me today!
I see you live in the DC area! I love DC. I grew up just outside of New York City, and have never been to the Statue of Liberty, can you believe that? We always had the mentality that it was so close we could go anytime…and then I moved to Florida. I am sad that I took those places for granted and did not take the time to appreciate what was in my own backyard. I am curious, do you visit the Monuments and all the amazing places in DC often, or do you stay so busy you can’t?
I try REALLY hard to make sure we take advantage of what’s around, but yes! We still sometimes will sit on Saturday night and talk about how we *could* have gone downtown and done x, y, or z. You definitely have to try and make it a priority or life will get in the way.
Can you recall the first book you read as a child when you knew you would be a reader forever?
Probably The Mummy Market by Nancy Brelis or Go to the Room of the Eyes by Betty K Erwin. But there are tons more that leap to mind as well. I’d say my best friend in elementary school was the school librarian. She always had some wonderful suggestions for me.
I am amazed at how many published books you have when you are the homeschooling mom of two and an avid reader! Not to mention all the posts you do with the Facebook group Christian Romance Reader Gathering! Do you find you have to schedule your writing time vs your reading time to get everything you want accomplished?
Oh absolutely! On the positive side, being so busy, there aren’t tons of slots where writing *can* go, so I end up working it in during the afternoon quiet reading time that I make the kids take (cause everyone needs a break in the afternoon when we’re around one another 24/7!) and then at night after everyone is in bed if my hubby and I aren’t playing a board game or something together. But I still also sometimes look at the day or week and think about how much I could have gotten done if I’d been just a little more focused.
You have written some difficult struggles for your characters, some that have had me in tears, and it makes me wonder, do you suffer right along with them as you write their stories?
Aw, you have no idea how happy that makes me! (Which sounds strange, but still it’s absolutely every writer’s dream to know that readers are touched by a story.) As for me suffering along with them — it varies. Some have been crushing to write. Others I’ve been able to take a little more in stride. I think in many cases it depends on whether what the character is going through is something I’ve been through personally (or something someone close to me has experienced) vs something that I’ve researched.
If you had to choose any other career path, what would be your “dream” occupation and why?
Well, I taught computer science at the college level for quite a while before I stopped to make more room for writing, and it was a pretty good gig, so I’d be content to go back to that. I love teaching. And I love computer science. So it’s a pretty good fit. (I don’t necessarily love the bureaucracy that sometimes comes with teaching, but you get something like that in every job, right?)
Do you ever have dreams about your characters……..and then wake up and find your story is going in another direction?
Sometimes? I don’t plot, so I never really have more than a vague notion of what’s going to happen in the story until I’ve written it. So sometimes those dreams or shower thinking sessions are what I need in order to know what’s next.
What is your favorite go to snack, midnight or any time?
Gah. This is hard. I’ve been working super hard to keep carbs out of my life, and all the snacky things I love are all carbs, so I miss them. But I have found these Parmesan cheese crisps that are yummy and crunch and they have rapidly become my go-to snack.
How can readers keep up with you and your new releases?
Finally – Coffee or tea? Cream? Sugar?
Coffee. With cream and sugar. (And vanilla syrup and whipped cream if we’re being fancy 🙂 ) That said, I also really do love a good Darjeeling (also with cream and sugar).
Oh, whipped cream! Now there’s a girl after my own heart, lol! Thank you again, so much, for spending time with me today so our readers can get to know even better!
The Homecoming by Juliette Duncan, reprinted with author’s permission
Can she surrender a life of fame and fortune to find true love?
After leaving the small sleepy town of Shelton for the big city, Kayla McCormack struck it big time in the music industry. Her new life gave her everything she needed and wanted… fame, fortune, and fun. She even snagged a famous movie star for a boyfriend.
Just one problem – he’s married, and her conservative Christian parents don’t approve.
Dane Carmichael has had a crush on Kayla since she performed in the school Talent Show at age ten. Now carrying a war wound, Dane’s life revolves around the group of young teens he mentors at church, instilling in them the importance of remaining pure and following Jesus and not the world.
When Kayla rushes home to visit her father after receiving devastating news, she and Dane reconnect. His simple faith and life fascinate but scare her.
Kayla is challenged to assess her chosen lifestyle, but she’s also harboring a secret. She can’t forgive herself for what she did, so how can she expect God to? As He gently draws her to Himself, molding and shaping her, just like Dane does with his pots, she begins to understand how forgiving, loving and kind He really is.
my point of view:
This is the first book I have read by Juliette Duncan, and I want start off by saying I truly enjoyed it! By the time I was finished I found myself with a refreshing outlook on what it takes to truly have unconditional faith in all ways.
I need to admit it took me a little while to get into the groove of how it was written, but once I did I found it the story to be very touching and heart warming!
There were just a couple of reasons why, and this is just my personal preference, really, first of all I have always had a difficult time when reading fiction in the “first person scenario”, however, Ms. Duncan does an excellent job of this with both of the main characters, switching back and forth between Kayla and Dane with each chapter.
Secondly, Kayla starts off as not the “nicest” person, shall we say? But, hey, this is a romance story, so she’s bound to become more likable, right? Truth be told, she really does become quite appealing when you see her deep love for her dad! Kayla’s lifestyle and lack of belief in God is portrayed very clearly from the first page, but we all know we are reading a Christian story, so we can predict she will find her way to the Lord! The way she gets there is one of the best things I liked about this book!
What I loved from the start of this book is Dane! He is an amazing character full of love for God and a huge heart for teens. Dane is an inspiration for all of us! I always have a soft spot for veterans, and Dane is a wounded Marine who has struggled with his injury but turned it into a testimony anyone would be blessed by.
This is a very fitting start to The Potters House series, with Dane being a potter! I love the analogies between throwing a lot and how God molds us, always a work in progress!
About the author:
Juliette Duncan is passionate about writing real-life Christian inspirational romances that will touch her readers’ hearts and make a difference in their lives. Drawing on her own often challenging real-life experiences, Juliette writes deeply emotional stories that highlight God’s amazing love and faithfulness, for which she’s eternally grateful.
Juliette lives in Brisbane, Australia. She and her husband have five adult children and seven grandchildren whom they love dearly, as well as an elderly long-haired dachshund and a little black cat. When not writing, Juliette and her husband love exploring the great outdoors.
You can find all of her books on her website https://www.julietteduncan.com/
Juliette Duncan has graciously offered to have a free ~*Giveaway*~ to one of our blog members!! Simply comment on this post to be entered to receive the ebook from her directly! Thank you, Juliette!! The contest will end one week from today!
Marion Ueckermann is joining me today for Coffee with Paula Marie all the way from South Africa! Thank you, Marion, I am honored to have you here!
It’s great to be here, Paula. Thanks for inviting me.
I have read many of your books, and enjoyed them all, I especially love the different locations you have placed your characters, have you been able to travel to these locations yourself?
I have travelled to most of the locations, or at least countries, where I’ve placed my storyworlds. The only exceptions would be Oslo Overtures and Restoring Faith. I’ve never been to Norway or Colorado, although hubby has been to the latter. Some of the actual places I visited after I’d written the books, although I had travelled to nearby areas before. Here are just a few places I’ve visited that tie in with my books. There are many more.
Levens Hall & Gardens– A Match for Magnolia
Enjoying the Zambesi river at sunset. An elephant ride – Orphaned Hearts
Wine cellar in Stellenbosch, South Africa – The Other You
Those photos are wonderful! I recognized the hall immediately from A Match for Magnolia! Thank you for sharing, it brings the stories to life even more.
Do you write stories more from your own experiences, or do you spend a lot time doing research on the type of characters your creating?
Most of my storyworlds…from my own experiences. And then of course, I will sometimes put my characters into the same situations I’ve been in or have them experience things I have like jumping into an ice hole in Lapland, riding an elephant in Africa, or being surprised by a
lunch bill in Rome. But those instances are the exception not the rule. Usually, my characters tell me how they want to react to something. There’s a lot of research that goes into every story.
I enjoy hearing how different authors plan out their books, are you an early plotter of the story, or do you let the characters take over and lead you in the direction they are going?
I usually have a very basic idea of what I want to do, but the characters definitely do lead my stories. Sometimes, I have less than a basic idea and I just start writing.
I see you lived in Ireland for a while, and are now back in South Africa…what was the biggest “culture shock” you had to adjust to in Ireland?
Yes, we lived in Ireland for 18 months during 2001/2002. We were leaving South Africa and never coming back. Never say never! I think the biggest culture shock was just constantly feeling like a square peg in a round hole…never feeling like you really belonged. There is just something to be said about being with your “own” people. It definitely had nothing to do with the country because when we visited Australia, I saw the South African women who had immigrated there going through the same square peg/round hole struggles I did.
With writing full time, do you lock yourself away in an office and hang out a “Do not Disturb” sign for your family during your scheduled writing time, or does the distractions of the family and grandchildren interrupting not phase you?
Fortunately, the bulk of my day the house is quiet. It’s only from around 5.30 p.m. when the last of my grandsons is home from playschool (they live in the house next door) and the boys come on over to say hello, that my work day is interrupted. I have to confess though that this week (at time of writing) I got almost nothing done because hubby was at home with a pinched nerve in his back, so I am glad that everyone is off at work and school most days or I’d never get any writing done.
I have a summer and a winter office … one is downstairs and the other upstairs. The downstairs one is too cold to sit in during our short winter, but the upstairs one gets way too hot once summer arrives. I have these signs on my office doors—the handwritten one is compliments of hubby.
That is precious – I might be guilty of knocking on the door just to get written into the story, though!
You are an award winning USA Today bestselling author, I cannot imagine that came easily, can you tell us a little about your journey to becoming a full time author?
Getting onto the USA Today bestseller list was a joint effort with other authors banding together to get our boxed set on the bestseller list. It took a lot of work—planning and promoting—to achieve this. We actually hit the list twice…once at #79 with our twelve-author box set, Whispers of Love. My book, The Other You, was part of that endeavour. The next time we reached #95 with an eight-author set, Candy Cane Kisses. A Husband for Holly was part of that set.
I actually just blogged about my journey to becoming a full time author recently on Songs of Salvation on Phyllis Helton’s Among the Reeds blog. Readers can read the full version of that here. Short version, God called in a big way and told me to get out of the boat (my comfort zone…the job, the paycheck, the company car, the pension plan), and walk on water. It was such an overwhelming call, that I couldn’t say no, or postpone the notion of writing full time. Besides, staying in the status quo scared me more than walking on water with Jesus at my side. I’ll be chatting about it a little more on Wednesday, June 27th on A Baker’s Perspective blog chatting about A Day in the Life of Marion Ueckermann.
At my full time job when we are interviewing for a new employee I always ask them what the last fictional novel is that they have read….so now I will ask you the same thing!
The last novella I read was Autumn Macarthur’s Dolce Vita, book 8 of the A Tuscan Legacy series. I thoroughly enjoyed Rachel’s story and can’t wait for book 9 to release.
If you could go anywhere in the world you have never been for 24 hours, where would that be and why?
Probably Greece. It’s the one place I have on my bucket list to visit. Maybe I can pen My Big Fat Greek Romance?
Sounds like another winner to me!
How can readers keep up with you and your new releases?
Finally – Coffee or tea? Cream? Sugar?
I do love a good café latte, but nothing beats a cup of tea made the right way…cold milk first, in a porcelain mug (not Styrofoam), not too strong, and a teaspoon of sugar for a little sweetness. I’ve managed to give up two of the three teaspoons I used to drink, but I just cannot get myself to give up that last one.
I love that you included the recipe, thank you! It always so nice to hear how other’s enjoy their favorite beverages! Next time I make a cup of English Breakfast tea I am going to try it your way!
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!
Joint Venture by Elizabeth Maddrey Copyright and reprinted with author’s permission:
Friends. Business Partners. Lovers
Laura Willis is busy planning her wedding to Ryan when she catches him cheating. Again. This time with her best friend. She throws her fist, and her ring, in his face and immerses herself in work at Brenda’s House of Hair. But the salon is awash in drama too as Brenda cuts corners and goes on a rampage.
Laura’s coworker hairstylist, Matt Stephenson, is searching for other employment options and a new place to live. Deciding to take a risk, he determines to open his own salon and invites Laura to partner with him. Can their friendship survive the undertaking or will this joint venture be more than either of them bargained for?
my point of view:
This book is actually a prequel to the Grant Us Grace series, and I highly recommend reading it! It takes place several years before the other books, but gives a great background for the whole series. The other books in the series have been great, I still have one book left to read, but the Joint Venture characters are in the other books I have already read, so I absolutely loved reading this prequel.
I feel so lucky to have found Elizabeth Maddrey, her books are definitely faith based, and have great, heart felt romance in them, but she is also not afraid to write about topics that are difficult for most people.
There is a lot of pain and insecurity when it comes to being cheated on. A person feels like It must be their fault, even if it is not, when their significant other strays outside of the relationship. This can cause someone to keep trying to exam themselves to figure out where they “went wrong” and can really mess with your head and heart, believe me, I am speaking from experience here.
Laura and Matt are great characters and I loved them from the very first! It’s great to start a book where you like both the hero and heroine right away and can root for them to come together. There are many Christian fiction romances where one (or both) of the main characters must struggle through a lack of faith situation, but that is not the case in Joint Venture. Both Matt and Laura are firmly secure in their trust of God, which is refreshing for a novel in this genre.
Laura has a lot of issues to deal with besides a cheating ex fiancé, she has a meddling and somewhat manipulative mother (I can so relate) plus a new business she is starting from the ground up. So when she starts to have feelings for her best friend and new business partner, it really throws her for a loop.
Elizabeth Maddrey takes us all on a woderful journey of healing, dealing and forgiveness. I, for one, take away a feeling of being a better person for having read this book!
About the author:
Elizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who loves a good happily ever after.
She began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of computers, math, and organization steered her into computer science at Wheaton College, she always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. This continued through a Master’s program in Software Engineering, several years in the computer industry, teaching programming at the college level, and a Ph.D. in Computer Technology in Education. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity.
She lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.
You can find Elizabeth’s books on Amazon:
Elizabeth has graciously offered to have a free ~*Giveaway*~ to one of our blog members!! Simply comment on this post to be entered to receive the ebook from Elizabeth Maddrey! Giveaway is open for seven days from today and will be notified via email!