Tuesday Talks – Author Interview – Davalynn Spencer

Davalynn Spencer, Author of The Miracle Tree

Today we have Davalynn Spencer with us. Davalynn is a wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters, She writes cowboy romance. She is an ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author and winner of the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction. And she’s fairly certain her previous career as a rodeo journalist and crime-beat reporter prepared her for life in Colorado, wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley. Tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.

I grew up a California farmer’s daughter with a love for horses. That’s probably why a handsome cowboy caught my eye.

What’s your favorite genre to read and write. Who’s your favorite author?

I like stories with laughter, danger, grace, and love, and I enjoy writing the same. My next release is contemporary, but primarily I write historical/Western. Either way, there will be a cowboy in my stories. One of my favorite authors is Joanne Bischof.

What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?

I wrote my first story in the sixth grade, and my teacher used it as a skit during our annual science-conservation trip. As an adult, I wrote nonfiction pieces for rodeo-related publications and worked as a crime-beat reporter several years before pursuing my dream of fiction.

Tell us about this book. What did you learn about yourself through writing it?

This is a book of my heart – one that welled up from the inside and bubbled over onto my computer screen. For this “director’s cut” of an earlier version, I’ve included previously omitted scenes, redone the cover, and titled it with what I originally had in mind. Basically, I followed my heart and its vision for Laura Bell and Eli Hawthorne. At the end of the book, readers will find a brief explanation about my connection to the story.

Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?

Typically, my books start with a few ideas or a specific scene. I’m not much of an outline person, but once I have a sense of where I want to go, I map out the journey. It’s easier to get where you’re going if you know the way.

Is there a special place you like to write?

In the winter I write on my laptop in front of the woodstove. During the summer, I write in my office where I can see hummingbirds and deer through the window.

What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded? What character do you like best?

It’s hard to pick a favorite character because they’re like very close friends and I love them all. In The Miracle Tree I realized I’d shared a lot of things about myself—not the situations the heroine goes through, but the way she responds to them. The most surprising aspects of this book were the animals and how their interactions played out. I even had an argument with one of the dogs, but that’s a story for another time.

What advice would you give a new author?              

Never quit; keep writing.

What project are you working on now and how do we find your books?

I’m wrapping up a Christmas novella, Snow Angel.

Where can we find your books?

All my books can be found on my website at https://www.davalynnspencer.com or on my Amazon author page at https://www.amazon.com/Davalynn-Spencer/e/B002EZUEZK . A free novella can be accessed by signing up for my quarterly newsletter at http://eepurl.com/xa81D

 

 

 

Tuesday Talks – Interview with Rachel Hauck

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. Her book, The Wedding Dress, was named Inspirational Novel of the Year by Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is a double RITA finalist and a Christy and Carol Award Winner. Her book, Once Upon A Prince, first in the Royal Wedding Series, was filmed for an Original Hallmark movie and aired in April 2018.  Rachel has been awarded the prestigious Career Achievement Award for her body of original work by Romantic Times Book Reviews. A member of the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers, she teaches workshops and leads worship at the annual conference. At home, she’s a wife, writer, worship leader, and works out at a local gym semi-enthusiastically. Hi Rachel, tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.

 RH: I was raised in the Midwest and the South, the second oldest of five kids but the first girl so, you know, that makes me THE oldest. Haha. Don’t tell my brother. My parents were the best, loved Jesus and their kids.

After high school, I worked my way through college and graduated from Ohio State with a degree in Journalism. I bleed scarlet and gray. My first corporate job landed me in Melbourne, FL, and I’ve been here ever since.

I’m married to the coolest dude ever and we have an ornery cat who keeps us up at night.

What’s your favorite genre to read and write? Who’s your favorite author?

RH: I am really attracted to contemporary fiction as a reader. Stories by JoJo Moyes, Beatriz Williams, Patti Callahan Henry, Kristin Hannah and Marc Levy are go-tos for me. I don’t have a favorite author. I just love good stories.

 What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?

 RH: I loved books from a young age. I used to read a lot as a kid. I wrote chick lit before it was chick lit by penning a story about a girl who loved New York City when I was 12.

 Tell us about this book. What did you learn about yourself through writing it?

 RH: The Love Letter is a split-time romance set in the upcountry of South Carolina during the Revolutionary War, and in modern-day Hollywood.

I was intrigued with the concept of unfulfilled love. You know, the one that got away. What happened if their descendants met and fell in love?

I learned some great American History writing this book and some cool insights into the movie-making world!

Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?

 RH: I do a lot of character work before I start then I plug those elements into a high-level plot map. I write a long “tell myself the story” synopsis and submit that to my editor for input. That process takes about a month. Then I start writing. Deadlines wait for no one or no thing.

 Is there a special place you like to write?

 RH: I have a super cool octagon office with a copula so I write up there most of the time. I also like to sit out on our back deck-which is where I am now and the passing thunder had me concerned.

What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded? What character do you like best?

RH: Books always surprise me the way they unfold. They never match the original idea in my head but I wrangle with it to get the story I want. However, while writing I look for themes and threads that “ping” off each other to really tie the story together. And I talk a lot to God.

What advice would you give a new author?              

RH: Stick with it! Don’t give up. Learn the craft.

 What project are you working on now and how do we find your books?

RH: I just finished a book called The Memory House. Coming soon in 2019. 

Where can we find your books?

 RH: Find me and all my books at www.rachelhauck.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Talks – Author Interview – Kristen Joy Wilks

Kristen Joy Wilks, author of Spider Gap, a Pure Amore Novel

Today we have the privilege of speaking with Kristen Joy Wilks. Kristen lives in the beautiful woods of the Cascade mountains with her camp director husband, three fierce sons, and a large and slobbery Newfoundland dog. She spent her misguided youth falling in love with Commander Spock via Star Trek reruns. Hello Kristen, thank you for granting us this interview.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.

Hi, there. I grew up at a small Bible camp in the Cascade Mountains where my dad was the Camp Director. I ran around barefoot on the dusty trails between the cabins in the summer, caught grasshoppers in the wide mountain meadow, and even rode my horse through a herd of elk on a dare. Eventually, my boyfriend was hired by the camp. After we were married and went to seminary in Canada, we returned to camp where my husband has been a director for 20 summers. We have three rowdy sons, a 105 lb Newfoundland dog named Princess Leia Freyja, and 9 pet chickens called Paintball, Ewok, Peaches, Mango, Astro, Hades, Titan, Cocoa, and Mary.

What’s your favorite genre to read and write? Who’s your favorite author?

I love rich, vibrant fantasy like Cornelia Funke’s Inheart trilogy. I enjoy funny and quirky books like “Missing Mabel” which is part of Nancy Mehl’s Curl up and Dye series about a beautician in a funeral home. I enjoy mysteries like Agatha Christy and the Sherlock Holmes books. I love Young Adult books like Marissa Meyer’s “Cinder” about a cyborg Cinderella. And of course, I love middle-grade novels since I read aloud to my three sons at bedtime, even though my oldest is taller than me. Some of my favorite middle-grade novels are the “Redwall” books by Brian Jacques, the “How to Train Your Dragon” books by Cressida Cowell, “Artemis Fowl” by Eoin Colfer, and “On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness” by Andrew Peterson.

What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?

I began writing in the first grade when my teacher chose me to go to a young writer’s conference to meet Steven Kellogg. I wrote a book that was shaped like a guinea pig and was about how our Scottish terrier mix tried to eat my brother’s guinea pig. I began reading “The Black Stallion” series in second grade as well as Nancy Drew and have had my nose in a book ever since.

Tell us about this book. What did you learn about yourself through writing it?

My publisher actually called me up and asked if I would write a book for their Pure Amore line. I told her that I would if God gave me an idea because I totally had no idea what to write about. Well, I hung up the phone and BOOM, an idea materialized in my head. I figure that God was just showing off there, but I’ll take that kind of help any day! I actually went on this same 21-mile hike as a teenager and it was very memorable. So I made my characters and then I gathered up all the crazy real life things that happened on the trip, made up some brand new perils, and gave the various experiences to one character or another. I was able to weave in some of the things the Lord has taught me about fearing God (in a good way) through hiking trips. There is something about backpacking and being thrust into nature that aptly illustrates the might and glory of God.

Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?

The longer I write, the more I make use of outlines. I used to just wing it, but my writing has improved as I’ve learned to pause and figure out where the story is going. So yes, I used a basic outline for this. Blake Snyder’s 15 beats outline is a favorite of mine. Simple, but powerful in helping me find the story.

Is there a special place you like to write?

We have this big, fluffy chair-and-a-half in our living room and when my kids are home from school I get up at 4:00 am, tuck myself in a quilt, and write there until they wake up. When they are at school, I write during the day.

What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded? What character do you like best?

I really like how Strudel, the little dog, turned out. I loved imagining him getting more and more pine cones and bits of sap in his silky, floor-length coat. I also enjoyed imagining the horror of my main character as she tried to brush him out. Having watched people who have been on walks, but never a true hike, accomplish a real-life backpacking trip, I loved bringing that experience to life in my main character. Realizing that you can survive in the wilderness with all you need on your own back is a life-changing experience. It was wonderful to be able to paint that experience into a story.

What advice would you give a new author?              

Get lots of time in just writing! It takes hours and hours of pouring yourself into writing projects before your skill reaches industry standards. So just write! Yes, read blogs about writing, read books about writing, go to a writer’s conference at least once a year. A small, local conference is just fine if you (like me) cannot afford the big national ones. But most importantly, write! It took me about ten years of steady writing before I started selling magazine articles and stories. It was thirteen years before I sold my first book. But the practice pays off. Write, write, write!

What project are you working on now and how do we find your books?

Currently, I’m working on a romantic comedy about a beautiful photographer who is zipping through Yellowstone National Park on her classic 1950s motorbike when her small but fierce Scottish terrier escapes from his travel carrier and rushes into a herd of bison intent on brawling with any and every taker. A nearby park ranger prevents her from chasing after him, earning her wrath and allowing her dog to escape. Can she sneak around the rules-obsessed ranger and rescue her dog before he is devoured by a bear, wolves, or the bubonic plague carrying marmot? Seriously, marmots have been known to carry the plague. Let’s count that as your fun, Yellowstone fact for the day.

Where can we find your books?

Any place you buy ebooks! You can visit my website for the purchase links or to read up on our family’s adventures at the camp we live at, find yummy recipes, or to watch all of the hilarious book trailers my friend Shinobi has made for my stories.

www.kristenjoywilks.com

or

http://pelicanbookgroup.com/ec/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_72&products_id=869&zenid=419d7d4cf679b37b900be1e5a9c6493b

or

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/spider-gap-kristen-joy-wilks/1128760858?ean=9781522301035

or

https://www.amazon.com/Spider-Gap-Kristen-Joy-Wilks-ebook/dp/B07D516TFS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1527514272&sr=8-1&keywords=Spider+Gap

or

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/spider-gap

 

 

 

 

Tuesday Talk – Interview with Anne Mateer

Anne-Mateer-author-No-Small-Storm-coast-to-coast-brides-novel

Anne Mateer is with us today. Hi Anne, tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.

I was born in Detroit, MI, but my parents moved us back to Texas, their home state when I was 4. I was raised in Ft. Worth and am the oldest of four children—three girls and a boy. My mom and dad were both trained as teachers, but for most of my growing up years my dad owned his own business and my mom ran the office for him out of our house.  My parents taught us the value of hard work and education but they also exemplified the joy of knowing Jesus.

What’s your favorite genre to read and write? Who’s your favorite author?

My favorite genre to read and write is historical fiction, although I do enjoy reading and writing a good contemporary story as well.  Favorite author is always a hard one, partly because it could be the last best book I read and partly because there are so many authors who influenced me in my younger years. A few at the top of my list are: L.M. Montgomery, Eugenia Price, Jane Austen, and Frances Hodgson Burnett. I’ve left out many, many others!

What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?

I loved both reading and writing from the moment I understood that letters made words and words made stories. I was constantly in the library for something new to read. I scribbled small stories even in elementary school, but the moment that truly set me on a path toward writing happened in jr high. I remember the evening so clearly. Mom was calling me to the dinner table, but I refused to go because I needed to finish the book I was reading—yet another Eugenia Price novel. With tears streaming down my face, I finally reached the end, shut the book, and thought I want to write that kind of story when I grow up. (Eugenia Price wrote historical novels with a very clear faith element.)

Tell us about this book. What did you learn about yourself through writing it?

No Small Storm is a novella set during the Great Gale of 1815. Remembrance and Simon are both determined to make a success of their life all on their own, but when the gale hits the town of Providence, Rhode Island, they both discover that rebuilding what the storm destroyed requires help. I have a huge independent streak in me as well, so writing this book reminded me that I need other people and that asking for help is not a weakness. 

Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?

I’ve tried to be an outliner, but it never works for me. I usually have a character in mind as well as a general situation or event and do a lot of research and daydreaming. Then I start writing. It’s not the most efficient way to do things—my revisions are usually extensive and often the finished product looks nothing like the first draft!—but it’s the way I work best.

Is there a special place you like to write?

We have recently moved into a teeny, tiny high-rise condo, so I’m still experimenting with different writing places at the moment. There is a beautiful new public library two blocks away, which is a great place to write. But then there’s the French bakery down the street, too. (Not to mention at least 4 other coffee shops within a 5-minute walk!) Coffee and pastry while I write? Yes, please!

What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded? What character do you like best?

I was surprised by Simon’s backstory. When I began writing, I really had no idea why he had left Ireland to come to America. Then suddenly, during his conflict with another character, his history spilled onto the page. I have so many favorite characters in this book! I love both Simon and Remembrance and also was surprised how much I enjoyed Simon’s son, Timothy.

What advice would you give a new author?              

Be patient. Writing takes practice, which means time. Writing requires revision, which takes time. Even publication of a contracted book can take many months. We all want the project in our head to reach the page and the reader ASAP, but it’s important to slow down, hone your craft, get feedback, and revise so that your finished project is more likely to have the end results you desire—connection with the reader.

What project are you working on now and how do we find your books?

I am working on another historical novella, this one set in 1835 Toledo, Ohio when Michigan and Ohio were both claiming Toledo belonged in their boundary. It is a Romeo and Juliet story, of sorts. My full-length novels are available from Amazon as well as other booksellers. My novellas are exclusively on Amazon.

You can also find links to my books on my website: www.annemateer.com

 

 

Tuesday Talks – Author Interview with Brenda Anderson

Today we have the honor of talking with Brenda Anderson. Brenda has written ten books counting her recently released book Long Way Home.

Hi Brenda, tell us a little about yourself and how you were raised.

I grew up on a dairy farm about an hour west of Minneapolis, along with six siblings. It was the best place to grow up! While we worked hard, we also played hard. The farm was also a fertile place for imagination as that was where my stories first took root.

 

What’s your favorite genre to read and write? Who’s your favorite author?

I will read any genre and believe that if a book is well written it can appeal across readership. That said, I definitely gravitate toward contemporary family drama. That’s what I love to read, and it’s what I love to write. I love seeing God at work through messy lives!

 

What age did you realize you loved books? When did you start writing?

I can’t remember ever not loving books. My parents instilled a love of reading from infancy, not just by reading to us, but by reading for fun themselves. I’ve been writing almost as long. I wrote stories and plays back in grade school and always wanted to write a novel.

 

Tell us about this book. What did you learn about yourself through writing it?

Long Way Home is the 4th book in The Potter’s House Books series. We’re a group of seven authors sharing stories of Hope, Redemption, and Second Chances. My story is about a woman who gets stuck traveling across country with the man who bullied her as a child. They’ve both changed since then, and they both have a lot to learn. Just as I do. God continually teaches me that behind every broken person is a child that God loves. I have to learn to view life from their perspective. Even the bullies.

 

Do you normally use an outline for the books you write, or do you just start with a few ideas?

I’m definitely a seat-of-the-pants writer. I’ve attempted following an outline, but the story and my characters never behave. I start with some general ideas and see where the story takes me. Oftentimes, I don’t know where exactly I’m heading until halfway through writing the book. And oftentimes, I have to go back and rewrite much of the beginning because my plans were changed.

 

Is there a special place you like to write?

I do the majority of writing in my office on my desktop computer. I can close the door, sit properly (as taught back in high school in typing class) at my desk, and write.

 

What was something that surprised you in the way this book unfolded? What character do you like best?

There was a plot twist near the end that I didn’t see coming, and I’m finding the readers didn’t expect it either. That’s always fun. 😊 My favorite character is Jet. He was the bully, and he’s still working through anger issues. Throughout the story you see him grow and change.

 

What advice would you give a new author?

Persevere. If you have a passion for writing, don’t let anyone quash it.    Don’t believe anyone when they say you can’t. Don’t let the rejection slips have too loud of a voice. That said, it’s also important to keep learning. Go to conferences, take classes, work with critique partners, etc. We can always learn and we can always improve.

 

What project are you working on now and how do we find your books?

I’m working on my second book for The Potter’s House Books series, Place Called Home. It’s about a young woman who is escaping a life of being controlled and is ‘rescued’ by a young man who longs to help others. But she was ‘rescued’ before and that turned out badly. Will his help also turn into control?

You can find all my books at Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, and other online stores. For easiest access, see all my books on my website: http://brendaandersonbooks.com/books/