Thursday, March 29, 2012

Interview with Author Maria Hoagland

Maria Hoagland graduated from Brigham Young University with a BA in English. She is a long distance runner, eighth grade algebra tutor, and type 1 diabetic. She and her husband reside in Texas with their three children. She loves soft green grass, a breeze in the trees, and a good book. Nourish & Strengthen is her debut novel and she is currently editing a second. You can connect with Maria Hoagland on her Blog, Twitter, and Facebook.

I really like Maria's writing. There are many sweet as well as hilarious moments with Chloe's kids, giving a good balance to the more serious struggles that she and her friends are dealing with. I learned so much about diabetes and the daily challenge it is. It is a great book for any woman. Very uplifting.” --Jenny Moore, The Write Stuff

Hello Maria! I understand this story is about a woman who is trying to deal with the challenges in life. Please tell us about your novel, Nourish and Strengthen.

Hello, Linda. Thank you so much for allowing me to visit with you on your blog! I’m so excited to talk about my book. Have you ever noticed that people—especially women—can be pretty hard on themselves sometimes?

Chloe Taylor has the perfect life: a model’s figure, a husband who adores her, three healthy children. So why does she feel so much less than perfect? After losing forty pounds, Chloe Taylor is finally happy with her body. What she doesn’t realize is that she’s not the one in control. When Chloe is called as the Primary president, she discovers that managing the highs and lows of a chronic illness may be easier than the ups and downs associated with family, friends, and church callings. Consumed by her own challenges, Chloe fails to recognize the issues her friends are facing and is in danger of losing their friendship. As Chloe strives to develop Christ-like love for herself and those around her, she learns that outer appearances are far less important than inner peace and spiritual strength. But is she strong enough to face her most difficult trial yet?

Your book sounds very interesting. Where did you get your inspiration for it?

Although Nourish and Strengthen is most definitively fiction, many of the medical experiences are based on personal experience. My husband and I are both type 1 diabetic, as are two of our three children, and people are always asking about the disease and our experience with it. I wanted people to realize that although it’s a constant challenge, it’s only a part of daily life.

Chloe’s major challenge is living with a chronic illness, but we all have trials in our lives just as difficult to us as Chloe’s are to her. I hope readers will come away uplifted and ready to overcome their challenges and learn a little about diabetes along the way. But most importantly, I hope readers find themselves more willing to accept other people’s best efforts, including their own, and not always expect perfection. 

So true. We're our own worse critics. What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

Because we’ve been living with diabetes for quite some time in our household, there wasn’t a lot of initial research to do; however, I made sure to fact check with medical personnel, law enforcement, and rescue workers so I wouldn’t pass on misleading or false information.

I bet that was so interesting to interview them. What does your family think about your writing?

My husband, family, and friends have been very encouraging over the many years that I talked about and worked on my novel. And now that it’s out, they are even more so. But one of the best things to come from this experience has been watching my oldest child become interested in writing. The past two years, while finishing high school, he has written two dystopian novels, one of which is being reviewed by national agents. I can’t tell you how excited I would be to have his novel sitting next to mine on a shelf—and to know that my example might have been a small part of that achievement.

How wonderful! I can almost hear the “pride” in your voice as you speak about your son. Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I’m an endorphin junkie—that’s why I run. And I have found that running is a lot like writing. Mentally, I know I want to run because ultimately I enjoy it, but sometimes it’s difficult to make myself start. Those first twenty minutes are pure work, trying to get into the groove, find my pace. I get tired and worry I can’t go any further. But once I push through that wall and continue on, I get into a rhythm and start to enjoy it. Near the end, I push myself, running faster, working harder to meet that goal and improve each time. The real pleasure, however, comes when I finish and I have exerted my all. I may be sweaty and out of breath, but seeing my book on a shelf, hearing positive comments from readers, makes it worth all the work, and I know I will do it again.

I love your attitude about exercise. I’ve heard so much about endorphins and how they can make you very happy. I, also, learned that they are only released in your body through exercise. I guess I should do more walking, huh? Thanks so much for this wonderful interview, Maria. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Debut of Author Sarah Hinze’s New Book

Sarah Hinze loves children. She has given birth to 9 of her own, taken in additional foster children over the years, advocated for children’s rights before Arizona legislators and in the nation’s capital, published 6 books about the origin and destiny of children, and lectured on her research in the United States, Canada and Mexico. A former school teacher, in 1993 Sarah was named Arizona Homemaker of the Year. In addition to researching, writing and speaking, Sarah offers her gentle, strengthening wisdom as a Life Coach, in person or by phone consultation.

Sarah has collected personal accounts of those who have had dreams or spiritual experiences with their children before they were born or experiences of those who remember their life in heaven before they were born. This last study makes up the stories in her new book, The Memory of Angels: Remembering our Premortal Home.

Hello Sarah! According to your bio, you have accomplished a lot in your life. Please tell us about your new book.

We Lived in Heaven includes the vivid memories of life in heaven as told by young children, and dramatic stories of prayers answered by guardian angels who watch over us. Highlights of a few stories include:
* A letter from a mother to her son, whom she gave up for adoption, telling him of the dream that guided her through that painful decision.

* A kidnapped child who survived her ordeal by the guiding hand of a sister who would be born years later.

* A little boy’s memory of being brought to earth by his grandfather–a man he never knew.

At this time in my life several books had made the Near Death Experience (NDE) famous as evidence that there is “life after life.” I realized that seeing my children before they were born was evidence for “life before life.” I knew at least four Biblical accounts also teach that we live before this life—Jesus, John the Baptist, Samuel, and Jeremiah. I wondered if other people had similar experiences. I prayed for guidance and soon began meeting people who had seen their children before they were born. I coined the following definition: Pre-Birth Experience (PBE), meaning contact with or announcement regarding an unborn soul, and began collecting accounts for my first book, Life Before Life. I have now collected hundreds of case studies illustrating the reality of the PBE. As with any area of research, the more we learn, the more we can refine the data. We Lived in Heaven is my fifth book in this refining process. 

Your book sounds very intriguing to me. What kind of research did you have to do?

I began my research on Pre-Birth Experiences over twenty years ago without the Internet, if you can imagine such a thing! My husband was an invaluable help in this research. We called relatives and friends, explained we were writing a book and asked if they, or someone they knew, had seen or heard from their children before they were born. We visited with people in line at the supermarket, the bank, the doctor’s office, and so on. We sent letters to the editors of various newspapers around the U.S. Many of those letters were published and we began receiving letters and phone calls from strangers reporting PBEs. We read books and articles on the near-death experience and contacted some of the authors, asking if some had seen their future children or spirits waiting to be born during their NDEs.

Within a few months we had collected about 150 PBE accounts from which approximately 35 were selected for my first book. Today I have a website, and through email have received, and continue to receive, hundreds of Pre-Birth Experiences from around the world. When we give lectures we consistently find that at least 2-3 persons in any group of 30 have had or know someone who has had a PBE. In social science and cross-cultural research, the PBE is called the “Announcing Dream.” We now have 21 grandchildren, several of whom announced to their parents in dreams or otherwise that it was their time to come to earth. Our research suggests the PBE is a universal phenomenon that occurs in virtually all cultures and races. Most important of all, the PBE can be a beautiful, sacred, bonding and life changing experience for the unborn spirit, the recipient, and the entire family when shared. The PBE contributes powerful evidence for the sanctity and eternal nature of life.

Wow! So what does your family think about your writing?

Each member of our family supports our research, respects the sanctity of life, treasures their own children and some have had their own confirming Pre-Birth Experiences.

Now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I was born in Eastern Tennessee at the foot the Great Smoky Mountains. I love trees and green and recently found out that I have a Native American line from the Cherokee nation that runs through my family line. I am proud of this line and sometimes I can feel my dear Native Grandmothers and Grandfathers with me. 

Now how awesome is that! Thanks, Sarah, for this very enlightening interview. I have learned a lot. For those interested in her book, you may go to Amazon and check it out. It’s also available in German and Portuguese.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Interview with Sweet Romance Author Ruth J. Hartman

 Ruth Hartman is a “humorous” romance author and licensed dental hygienist. She lives in rural Indiana with her husband. Ruth’s “furry children” are her cats: Maxwell and Roxy. She’s pretty sure Max is German. He likes eating sauerkraut out of the pan.

Welcome back to my blog once again, Ruth. It’s fun talking to you. You write humorous romances. How fun! Please tell us about your new book.

“Grin and Barrett” is a quirky romance about two dentists. Remmie Grin and Victor Barrett. Their offices are right next door to each other and they go to ridiculous lengths to steal each other’s patients. Along the ride, though, they find out they have feelings for each other. But they’re both too stubborn to admit it.

The names of the main characters are hilarious. Where did you get your inspiration for this novel? 

I’ve worked in dentistry for nearly 30 years. I’d written two dental romances before this one. “Flossophy of Grace” was about a hygienist and a patient. “Pillow Talk” was about a tooth fairy and her dentist. I decided the dentists needed a book of their own.

You put a lot of humor in your books. Is it hard to come up with such humorous ideas or does it come naturally?

It comes naturally. I guess because I’m so goofy. I find the strangest things amusing. Like the piano-playing cat on those pistachios commercials. Or the woodchucks actually chucking wood on the insurance commercial. I don’t know. I just find stuff funny. My sister and I can just look at each other and start giggling. There may not really be a reason. But, who needs a reason, right?

I’m also a klutz. And you’ll see a lot of that in my books for the heroine. Klutzy characters make their own fun. ☺

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I didn’t have to do a whole lot, since I’m surrounded by all things dental every week. The dentists are compilations of several I’ve known over the years. Although, I’ve never met a dentist exactly like Victor. His character was different than any of my other heroes. I just wanted to try something new. So I made him opposite, in several ways, from heroes in my other books.

In our last interview, you mentioned that you add real life situations to your stories. Can you tell us an experience that you added in this book?

I played up the height difference between Victor and Remmie. My husband is nearly a foot taller than I am, and it keeps things interesting. Like dancing. We recently went to a dance sponsored by his employer. We went out on the floor for a slow dance (he won’t do the fast ones) and I noticed we had to hold each other differently than other dancers. While some of our female friends could look almost eye to eye with their husbands, and could have their arms around their date’s neck, either Garry would have had to lean way down for me to put my arms around his neck, or I’d be on tip toes all the time. Even though I wore boots with heels.

So, I just ended up with my arms around his middle and rested my nose on his chest. Which was better than my nose in his armpit. It’s not the easiest position to have a conversation with someone. The scene with Remmie and Victor tied together in a three-legged race is an example of that.

Your book sounds so much fun to read. Thanks for this wonderful interview, Ruth. And congratulations on another humorous love story!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Interview with Romance Author Emily Mah Tippetts

Emily Mah Tippetts grew up in New Mexico and now lives in London with her family. Someone Else’s Fairytale is her third novel written as E.M. Tippetts, the name she uses for romance. She also writes science fiction and fantasy as Emily Mah. Before she was a writer, she was an attorney who specialized in real estate, estate planning, and literary estate planning. To learn more about her, including how to contact her, visit her website.

Hello Emily! Please tell us about your sweet romance.

Protagonist, Chloe Winters, doesn’t just not care about celebrities, she’s got good reasons to avoid them. Suffice it to say, she’s got some unusual scars and cops recognize her immediately when they hear her name. The movie star is Jason Vanderholt, star of the New Light franchise, a series of gladiator movies that made him so famous he can’t set foot anywhere in public without attracting a mob of adoring fans.

Someone Else’s Fairytale conforms to the moral norms of Latter-day Saint fiction. There are no steamy sex scenes, swear words, or gratuitous violence. I loved writing it, and hope my readers get that same sense of lighthearted joy when they read it. It came out in December in ebook form, and is just now coming out in print.

Since my blog is a family friendly blog, your book fits right in. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

The idea for Someone Else’s Fairytale came to me while I was desperate to think of another light romance concept. I was completely blank, but wanted more than anything to have a book idea that I loved so much that I’d look forward to working on it every day. I must’ve spent two weeks wracking my brain for something, anything, and then one day I was bored and reading entertainment headlines. It occurred to me that it really is strange how many people idolize celebrities and how if one ever hit on me, I would find it an amusing incident to tell my grandchildren about and there it was, the idea I’d been searching for. What if, I thought, I had a protagonist who doesn’t care about celebrity, fame, or money who gets hit on by a movie star? So that’s the plot of Someone Else’s Fairytale.

The setting just had to be Albuquerque in my home state of New Mexico. It’s ideal because although it is a city, the population is tight-knit enough to make it feel like a small town. It’s produced several well known actors, and even those who aren’t well known are known to the people who live there. Their former classmates and extended family are still around everywhere. For example, I worked at the law firm that Neil Patrick Harris’s grandfather helped found. His brother ran a restaurant on the east side of town. So I made Jason Vanderholt an Albuquerque native and a graduate of La Cueva High School, which is where Neil Patrick Harris and Freddie Prinze, Jr. went to school.

Once I had my characters and setting, it was just a matter of introducing Jason to Chloe, and the rest was a couple of months of hard work and serious fun. I hope people enjoy the ride!

What a great plot! Back in the 40s, my mother and her sister took a trip to Palm Springs and while there she was hit upon by Errol Flynn. She enjoyed his flirtations but knew his reputation with the women and was careful. For those too young to remember, he played the part of “Robin Hood.” So, Emily, you write “chick lit” and science fiction. What does your family think about your writing?

They’ve been endlessly supportive. My parents paid for a very expensive education for me, and yet brag to their friends about my books - that’s loyalty, given the average income (or lack thereof) a writer earns. My husband reads everything I write, even the chick lit. And then the other people who’ve helped me along, such as my best friend Char who reads absolutely every draft of everything I produce, have become family to me. I don’t know what I’d do without them. My boys are too young to tell me what they think, so we’ll see!

Okay, now it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I’ve got six names altogether. My legal name is Emily Mah Tippetts, but I was born Emily Mary Mah, and my Chinese relatives gave me the name Shi Yue. So I am Emily Mah, E.M. Tippetts, Emily M. Mah, Mah Shi Yue, and many other names besides. This means that I can go through a lot of permutations before I have to use an actual pen name, which I love, because I can brand my different styles accordingly, but still look at the cover and see my very own name.

Wow! That’s really something. Now we know the real you: Emily Mah Tippetts, Emily Mary Mah, and Shi Yue! Hahaha! Thank you so much for this interview.