Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Interview with Inspirational Romance Author Mary L. Ball

Mary L. Ball lives in North Carolina and writes Christian fiction. When she’s not working on her latest story, she enjoys fishing, reading, and singing gospel songs with her husband. Readers can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Book Review for Stone of Destiny: “Taking Taylor's destiny in her hands, Grandma tries to make light of selling the family home, a home Taylor spent much time in as a child, and uses the ‘old lady’ excuse to shame her into staying there to oversee remodeling. Of course the remodeler is a hunk ... and the sparks of battle turn into sparks of romance.” –Lisa J. Lickel

Hello, Mary. This book is a sweet romance with a bit of mystery. Please tell us about your novel, Stone of Destiny.

Hello Linda, it's a pleasure to be here today. You have a wonderful blog. Here's the blurb to Stone of Destiny.

Taylor has given up on everything but her work. After becoming the youngest CEO of Mugful’s Beverage Company, she believes life is complete--until her grandmother asks her to oversee the renovations of the family home, in addition to searching for a missing heirloom. Her first contact with what she believes is an insignificant ring, lost for fifty years, sends her life spinning.

Unexpected feelings surface that she doesn't understand. Thoughts that should remain unspoken are voiced. Taylor’s emotional journey begins, testing a heart as cold as the ring itself and forcing her to question everything she believes.

Is this a fairytale, or simply her soul reaching out for a different world--a life she can only find through faith and a divine trust in God?

Romance! Mystery! This story sounds so intriguing. Where did you get your inspiration for this book?

My oldest grandson likes to read YA fantasy. One day while seeing him relaxing with his favorite book, I thought, I need to write a novel about spiritual wonders and remarkable things that happen when we put our trust in the Lord. Over the next week, the plot for Stone of Destiny was born.   

That’s so interesting. What kind of research did you have to do?
 I haven't been to Panama, so I spent countless time researching Central America, as my character spends a few months in the area.

The ring in Stone of Destiny is a sapphire. I used that gem because it's my birthstone, but during the editing process my publisher asked if I'd researched the meaning of a sapphire. I read the link and found the sapphire symbolizes mental clarity, faithfulness and truth, which are important components to the story.

Wow! So the sapphire was perfect to use in your story. Who is one of your favorite characters in this story and what do you love about him or her?

 I have a few and can't decide. I enjoy Taylor (the main character) she is like me in a lot of ways and finds herself questioning her path in life. Deep down she has different aspirations.

Taylor's love interest is Brent. He's a God-fearing, blue-collar worker who looks good in Wrangler Jeans. LOL

Then there is Granny Kaye. That lady has wisdom and lives by faith. She's the one constant in Taylor's life.
What wonderful characters! Okay, it’s time to tell us something about the real you that we’ll never forget.

I live in a small town and like it that way. I'd much rather be at a lake than in a five-star restaurant.      

Thank you, Mary, for an awesome interview. I hope my readers will check out your book. I know they’ll enjoy it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Interview with Inspirational Romance Author Regina Andrews

Award-winning author Regina Andrews, a resident of Providence, Rhode Island, grew up in the seaside village of Barrington, about 20 miles South of Providence. After graduating from Providence College she earned her degree in American Civilization from Brown University. The author of numerous works including romantic fiction, plays, essays and articles, Regina is currently working on The Sterling Lakes Series. Regina is involved in numerous community organizations, and is a radio host for In-Sight, an association for the visually impaired. Her hobbies include travel, museums, theater, reading, chorale singing and gardening. She and her husband share their home with a semi-feral cat named Queen Tiana, whom they rescued from a shelter.

Welcome back to my blog. Regina. Your new book sounds intriguing. When I read your sample chapter, I was instantly interested in the story. What is your new book about?

Thank you so much for inviting me to visit, Linda. I am delighted to be here. This book is very exciting to me, as it is a re-issue that I am looking forward to having people enjoy.

THE PERFECT PROPOSAL centers on Lindsay Richardson, a quiet elementary school teacher, whose world is turned upside down when she becomes the assistant to Dean Singleton Copley, one of the nation’s most dynamic business leaders in the high-powered corporate world. Lindsay’s father recently died unexpectedly and the school where she was teaching could not allow her time off to take care of her mother, who has Alzheimer’s. Thanks to a chance encounter with one of her father’s friends, businessman Mr. Copley Sr., she is offered a position at his company. When she arrives at work, she discovers she will be working with Dean Jr., the dynamo – not the kindly elder Mr. Copley who knew her father.

This time in her life is a test of her faith, her courage, and her strength. Her questions extend to not knowing what the Lord expects from her regarding her new boss, a dashing bachelor so different from her on the surface. Lindsay begins to see that Dean is scarred from situations in his past. Only faith gives Lindsay the strength to deal with the many challenges of her new position, all her personal crises, and the turmoil in her family life.

Where did you get your inspiration for this novel?

Actually I read an article about a situation like this on the Wedding page of our Sunday paper many years ago. The two met at work and lived happily ever after!

I love “happily ever after” stories. What kind of research did you do for this book?

It was crucial to understand Alzheimer’s disease. There were many questions I had to research, and facts I had to verify. Such as, for example, the matter of a patient wandering away from the house, which is a scene in the book, or the phenomenon of “sundowning”, which also occurs. I tried very hard to treat the entire subject of Alzheimer’s disease and its ripple effect with the utmost respect and dignity. Additionally, I had to research a bit about the various social clubs at Brown University, which involved several enjoyable visits to the University’s facilities.

Did you put real experiences from your research in this story?

At one point I served as a member of the Senior Citizens Governing Board in Rhode Island, and much of my experience from this appointed position could be applied to the subject matter of this book.  The “research” in this case was my actual life experience.

Wow! To use your own experiences is fantastic. You love to write Inspirational Romances. What intrigues you most about writing these love stories?

To me, the most exciting aspect of Inspirational romance, Linda, is that unlike a traditional romance with two main characters - the hero and the heroine, an Inspirational romance actually has three main characters – the hero, the heroine and God. That dynamic creates a fluid, vibrant paradigm that propels the story along without my having to construct it, because it is not just the hero and heroine’s thoughts or the way they relate to each other that propels the plot along. Rather, it is the hero and heroine’s relationship with God in addition to their relationship to each other directly impacts the storyline. And since it is a romance and we can be assured of a positive outcome, the path towards that evolves very naturally in my stories. It is guided by human foibles, triumphs and actions -- all held within the loving heart of God.

You explained your reason for writing these stories so well. Thank you for this interview, Regina. To learn more about this author, visit her website at http://www.reginaandrews.com. You’ll find all her books at this site.

Thank you for having me visit, Linda. Your blog is lovely and it is a joy to be here. Happy reading, everyone!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Interview with Romantic/Suspense Author Julie Bellon

Julie is married with eight children and eleven published books. Her novel All Fall Down won the RONE award for Best Suspense and her novel Pocket Full of Posies won a RONE Honorable Mention for Best Suspense. She loves to travel and her favorite cities she has visited so far are Athens, Paris, Ottawa, and London. She would love to visit Hawaii, Australia, Ireland, and Scotland someday. She loves to read, write, teach, watch Castle, Hawaii Five-O, and eat Canadian chocolate---not necessarily in that order.

Welcome back to my blog, Julie. You have four books in the Hostage Negotiation Team series: All Fall Down, Ashes Ashes, Pocket Full of Posies, and Ring Around the Rosie. Each is a “stand-alone” story. Please tell us about the last book.

Ring Around the Rosie is the Captain's story and it explores how his life gets turned upside down when his ex-wife is caught in a hostage situation with him.  Can the intense experience rekindle their feelings for each other? Here's the back cover copy for this one:

Revenge is a dish best served cold . . .

As the ex-wife of a law enforcement officer, Sarah Reed has known loneliness and loss. In order to cope, she makes a life for herself that's full of routine while building a wall of ice around her heart. Everything about her is as predictable as she can make it until a tiny detour for her ex-husband, Ron, changes her life forever. Caught in a bomb crisis, Sarah is taken hostage by a man who wants Ron and everyone around him to suffer---and his idea of suffering is more terrible than Sarah had ever dreamed.

Captain Ron Reed has seen the worst of humanity in his job with the Hostage Negotiation Team, but he never expected his past to come back with a vengeance---literally. Aaron Starks, a criminal explosives expert, has stolen next-gen bomb technology and uses it to force Ron to bargain for the lives of his team and his ex-wife, Sarah, the woman he still loves. But the situation escalates when Ron discovers that Starks has an even bigger objective in mind---using the bomb to show how vulnerable America and her people truly are.

Ron is willing to risk everything to save his country and those he loves, but when negotiations break down, will his sacrifice be too little too late?

My husband has read your first three in this series and really loves them. Where did you get your inspiration for this series?

I loved the idea of a Hostage Negotiation Team dynamic and how their personal lives would be affected by their jobs. I also read a lot of newspapers and current events jump out at me. My imagination takes over as I see how different characters could react in those situations and the stories just went from there.

What kind of research did you do for this book?

I have the privilege of interviewing several different law enforcement officials. I read tons of hostage negotiation transcripts. I feel like I researched every last detail from guns to bombs and bullet resistant wall panels down to the schematics of hotels, diners, and sub-basements.  I did a lot of research for this book and learned so much that never made it into the story! Maybe I should do outtakes sometime. That might be fun.

 You love to write romance/suspense. What intrigues you most about writing these stories?

I've always been attracted to this genre and what it means to want to protect your country or other people and how that balances with the instinct to protect those you love. I admire our military and law enforcement heroes and feel like there are so many stories to be told in what they deal with and how it affects them.  Their stories inspire my imagination and how I would feel in those circumstances and what I would do.  Of course I like the romance aspect because who doesn't want to have a little of that in their life?

Here are the covers for each of Julie's books in this series. 

I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind what they write. It has always intrigued me. I hope my readers will check out your books. Julie is having another contest in which she is giving away $30 Amazon gift card, A Booklovers Basket with three novels, a fuzzy new blanket and gourmet hot chocolate, or a copy of all four of the Hostage Negotiation Team series at http://ldswritermom.blogspot.com/2014/09/ring-around-rosie-blog-tour-kickoff.html.

My readers find Julie at:

My website is www.juliebellon.com
Twitter: @juliebellon
Pinterest: juliebellon8