Friday, April 17, 2015

Love is in the Air: His Will

Welcome Caryl McAdoo to my blog today. She's here to talk about the importance of seeking God and following His call on your life.

If you have questions about God's purpose, plan and will for your life then this devotional written by Christian author Caryl is just for you! :)

Did I mention she's giving away a copy of her latest book release, Sing A New Song? Answer Caryl's question toward the end of her devotional and follow the instructions listed in the Rafflecopter giveaway tool in order to enter this contest for your chance to win a copy of Caryl's book! :)

Enjoy! 

~*~
His Will
A devotional written by Caryl McAdoo

It is surely true that we all have been in a position where we know God is calling for change, right? You know it in your spirit. Like the old crooners sang, ‘something’s gotta give’! Something has to happen. Your life is about to change—whether it’s a new job, a new house, or city—maybe only a step or two will do. One baby step forward. Remember that game “Mother, May I”?

You know He wants you to move.

Circumstances are bringing you to a place where you will be forced to make a decision. And truth be known, though it might be scary, you’re absolutely willing no matter how comfortable you’ve been right where you are. Why, if God wanted, you’d be happy to keep things as they are…for another decade.

But you are certain that is not the case.

Still, your heart’s desire is obedience.

Here’s the problem. What exactly does He want you to do?

One time when I was in one of those places, He gave me a song to sing. I love it when He does that. This song’s titled "Your Will". The lyrics go (without the repeats): I just want to be in Your Will, Father. I just need to know Your Will. (repeat) For to walk in obedience is what I want to do. For to walk in obedience shows how much I love You. Open my ears, Lord; so I can hear. Teach me to listen as I draw near. Silence my flesh, Lord, in Jesus’ name, and by the power of His blood, I will proclaim that demons and devils will not speak to me. I’ll not hear their lies or their blasphemies. I only will hear the clear voice of my Lord. And then I’ll obey Your every Word. I just want to be in Your Will, Father. I just need to know Your Will.

For me, these times are a test. "Do you trust me?"

I have come to stand, then stand some more, knowing God is in control and on the throne. He knows my every need. He will never leave or forsake me. He has a plan, a good plan. These are all promises from the Word (The Holy Bible).

To win a copy of my book, Sing A New Song, I’d like to know that I’m not the only one. Console me by answering this question, "
Have you been in such a place? Are you in one now?"
~*~
Author bio: 
Simon & Schuster published Christian hybrid author, Caryl McAdoo is currently writing three series: her historical Christian ‘Texas Romance’; the contemporary ‘Red River Romance’; and ‘The Generations’, her Biblical fiction. 

The novelist loves singing new songs the Lord gives her, and she paints. In 2008, she and her high school sweetheart-husband Ron moved from the DFW area—home for fifty-five years—to the woods of Red River County. 

Caryl counts four children and fourteen grandsugars life’s biggest blessings believing all good things come from God. Praying her story gives God glory, she hopes each one will also minister His love, mercy, and grace to its readers. Caryl and Ron live in Clarksville, the county seat, in the far northeast corner of the Lone Star State.

~*~
Details on Caryl's latest book: Sing A New Song is Book 2 in the Red River Romance series. It is a stand alone, contemporary Christian romance set in Northeast Texas.

Book blurb: 
The untimely death of her father shatters Mary Esther Robbins’ heart and separates her from her grade school best friend, Samuel Levi Baylor. During their twenty years apart, she fulfills her life’s dream of penning new songs and singing God’s praise with a Christian band, while he tends his growing cattle herd and shares the Good News at every opportunity. 

The Lord brings her home then throws them back together when Samuel agrees to help Mary Esther move and remodel her childhood home. The two decades lost vanish, and their time together convinces both the other is the true soul mate. But misunderstanding and fear keeps them from expressing their true love. Though jealousy rears its ugly head, can love and commitment hold the two together? And while they’re both dedicated to ministering the Gospel together, can they do it as husband and wife? 




Excerpt from Sing A New Song:

The twelve-year-old boy who drove that same truck to her daddy’s funeral stood over six feet tall, a full grown man decked out in jeans, blue long-sleeved work shirt, and scuffed boots, but she’d know him anywhere.

He gawked. “It is, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it’s me. How in the world have you been, Samuel? How’d you know I was in town?”

“Well, I’ll be. Blessed. I’ve been blessed, but I didn’t have any idea. None. What are you doing here? Slumming?”

She refused to take the bait. “I’ll have you to know I’m moving back. Just now I was trying decide if the old girl is worth fixing up.”

“Really? What? You’re not singing anymore?”

“Of course, I am. No way will I ever stop singing, you goof, but I can sing in Clarksville same as in Dallas. I quit the band though. I’m sick of the road. If you could call it that.”

He nodded and looked around. “So what do you think?”

That he didn’t offer to give her a hello hug was just wrong, but she didn’t say anything about it. “I don’t know, but what about you? Are you married? How’s your grandfather? Y’all still living in English?”

He laughed a melodious bass that begged for a harmony. The boy’s promise had bloomed.

“Same old girl, except you got famous.”

“Oh, not so much.”

“PawPaw—thanks for asking—went home three years ago, and no, I haven’t found a lady who would have me, and yes, I’m still in English. I’ve doubled its size though, got me a right nice block of black land.”

“What are you doing? Farming?”

“Heavens no. Still trying to make a cowboy.”

She nodded. The old timers and cow punchers all told the same story. Not a one of them ever made it, but they were all still trying.

“Okay, now that we’ve caught up, what do you think about my house? Is she worth moving? I was thinking of setting her back in the woods a bit, in front of that deep pool daddy dug. You remember it? Should I bulldoze her or find me a carpenter and fix her up?”

“Of course I remember that pool, and you have found your carpenter. Me. If you want, I’ll have a look see.”

~*~

Review of Caryl's book, written by Christine Barber, Canadian author of Broken to Pieces:

Sing A New Song is a delightful breath of Christian air. McAdoo writes in such an eloquent way bringing her audience always nearer to God. She opens her readers’ minds to fresh ways of viewing Christian life and all it has to offer.

The characters are loveable and react to one another in humorous ways. The romantic tale is just as lovely as always demonstrating Christian virtues we all be best to remember. The story was illuminating in how it shares the Gospel in such a beautiful way.

The words from Samuel’s sermons as well as the gorgeous lyrics of Mary Esther’s songs fill our hearts with newfound worship for Our Lord. Truly an inspiring tale. It is Christian fiction in its best; recounting a romantic love story while bringing its readers closer to God. A treasure for sure.

~*~

Buy Caryl's books:

All Books - http://tinyurl.com/CarylsAmazonPage

Sing A New Song - http://tinyurl.com/NewSong

~*~
Connect with Caryl: 


Blog - http://www.CarylMcAdoo.blogspot.com

Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/CarylMcAdoo.author

GoodReads - http://tinyurl.com/GoodReadsCaryl

Google+ - http://tinyurl.com/CarylsGooglePlus

Pinterest - http://www.pinterest.com/CarylMcAdoo


Twitter - http://www.twitter.com/CarylMcAdoo

Website - http://www.CarylMcAdoo.com 
(All First Chapters are offered here)
Newsletter - http://carylmcadoo.com/sign-up-to-the-caryler/ 
(Get FREE books for subscribing!)

Are you a book reviewer? Join Caryl's Street Team!

http://carylmcadoo.com/christian-evaluaters/

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Love is in the Air: Romance, Writing and Believing in Love Again

If you've ever suffered from a broken heart and wonder how you could ever love someone again, today's guest post is for you.

First featured on my blog in February when she shared her real-life romance fairy tale called "My Hero," originally written for my True Love Stories series which took place for the entire month featuring one true love story of a real-life couple every day, Angela Ruth Strong is here again. Only this time, as a guest for my new "Love is in the Air" blog series!

Today, Angela will show you that it is possible to recover from your broken heart. She will testify about how God, who IS Love, never gives up on you even when you've given up on yourself.

Enjoy visiting with Angela! :)

~*~
Romance, Writing and Believing in Love Again
A guest post written by Angela Ruth Strong

I grew up reading romance novels. Everything from young adult books to my mom’s favorite author Debbie Macomber. So it was pretty natural for me to start writing romance. I sold my first one to the Love Finds You series. I’d never been happier.

Until my husband left me. And I had to finish writing the love story as my own marriage fell apart.

I was never going to write romance again. How could I spend my time making up characters who fell in love and got married? Attending weddings as a divorced woman was hard enough. I even ended my relationship with my agent because she wanted to focus solely on selling romance novels.

But then I met this man named Jim Strong. He loved me like I’d never been loved before. And I’m not talking romance. I’m talking about respect. Understanding. Patience. Acceptance.

It changed my life. And I don’t just mean I had somebody to sit next to at church again. I mean I could open up and spill the worst things about myself to try to scare him away, and he would adore me more. I could totally completely freak out about something small and inconsequential, and he would sacrifice himself to make it better. Or I would ignore a really big problem in my life, and he would point it out because he wanted the best for me.

This couldn’t be real, could it? It couldn’t last. It was too good to be true. Just like all those romance novels I’d read.

Even if it was real, I didn’t deserve it. I was damaged goods. I’d had my chance and blown it.

Except it did last. It grew stronger. It was better than any romance novel I’d ever read.

I realized that love is the most powerful thing on the planet. It changes lives. I wanted to share it with the world.


So I’m writing romance again. There’s nothing else I’d rather write. Even when a Christian bookstore owner tells me that Christians shouldn’t read romance. “They should read important things like politics.”

I don’t only feel bad for that man’s wife; I feel bad for him. I feel bad for the broken me who was afraid to believe in the mysterious beauty of two people coming together as one.

Now here I am, ringing figurative wedding bell. Restoring hope. Promising that the most amazing thing about love is that it can’t be earned; it can only be given freely. And when it is, miracles happen.

There is nothing more “Christian” than a love story. We are his bride.

This is the answer our society craves. This was the answer I craved. And I’m an even better writer now that I’ve learned about love the hard way.

“We love because he first loved us.”

Whether you believe in true love or not, you are loved. And writing about love stories is my way of wishing you all your own happily ever after.

~*~
Author bio: 

Angela sold her first story to a national magazine while still in high school and went on to study journalism at the University of Oregon. Her debut novel, Love Finds You in Sun Valley, Idaho released in 2010. 

She started IDAhope Writers to inspire other authors, and she has currently won the Idaho Top Author Award two years in a row. 

Find out more than you ever wanted to know about her at www.angelaruthstrong.com

~*~
Author book info: Angela’s story “False Security” is featured in the series of “three high-stakes novellas of Inspirational Romantic Suspense,” the other two books are written by other authors not featured on my blog here today. 


Here’s the summary for Angela’s story “False Security”:

Alex Pierce needs Laney Winters to help him prove neither of them is responsible for the millions of dollars that went missing after Laney arrested him for bank robbery five years ago. Besides Laney not believing he truly repented in prison, there’s the problem of the real thief trying to kill her and the police department treating her like a dirty cop. With the possibility of another crime being pinned on them, Laney finally teams up with Alex to save her life. If only she could trust him with her heart, as well. 


Buy Angela’s story “False Security” on Amazon.com by following this link to the official book series "Love on the Run" http://amzn.to/1IeUIFn

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Love is in the Air: All about Love

Today's blog post is all about love!

Yes, I know this entire Spring 2015 blog series talks about "Love is in the Air" and is purposed to promote authors of Christian fiction love stories, but today's post is different.

Today's post is actually a devotional and it's pretty neat because it will change your definition of love in a good way! Did you know that God is Love? Surprise! It's not only the official title of my blog here, it's the written truth as in there's a verse in the Bible that tells us God is Love! :) Intrigued? I hope so!

Welcome Christian author Tammy Johnson to my blog and enjoy spending time with her as she speaks about how at this point in her life, "love is everything."

Read on to find out why...

~*~
All about Love
A devotional written by Tammy Johnson

Love is something I have had on my mind a lot the last few years. Growing up and even through several years of my adult life, I had heard so much about love, but I wasn’t sure that I’d ever experienced it, that I would ever understand it – or if I’d ever be able to really believe in it.

Those thoughts and the longing of my heart to love and be loved, led me to where I am today. I don’t profess to know everything, but I am much closer to an understanding or acceptance of love than I ever thought I could be. That said, I’m pretty sure no human being will ever totally and completely be able to understand love. But should that keep us from trying? I hope not.

Real love is unconditional. There are no buts with love. How many times have you had someone say to you, “I love you, but...”? I know I’m guilty of saying it a few times. Maybe it’s just our way of softening the blow of what will follow the dreaded but. I try to stop myself now. When I hear myself starting to say it, I stop and think. Is there really a condition to the love I have for this person? If there is – maybe I’m not loving them in the way God meant me to.

God created us all with a hunger for love. We spend our lives looking for love. Sometimes in all the wrong places. All along God is there with all the love we could ever need. He IS love. How many times have we heard that verse?

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." 1 John 4:8

God IS love. Let that sink in.

If you follow that verse with 1 Corinthians 13:2, doesn’t it make sense to realize without God we have nothing? Without love we have nothing.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2

At this point in my life, Love is everything. I strive daily to be able to show love to others and share it in my writing. I am so blessed to be able to share my faith while writing for Love Inspired Suspense. My debut book, Royal Rescue is out now and I hope it touches someone’s life in a way that sparks that hope of love and faith in them.

If you, like me, struggle with accepting God’s love I hope you will take the time to open up your heart and share with him. He already knows you better than you can ever know yourself and He loves you.

~*~
Author bio: Two of Tammy Johnson's biggest dreams were being a mother and becoming a Harlequin author. After raising and homeschooling her four children up to high school, her writing dream came true when she sold her first book through the Love Inspired Suspense, Killer Voices pitch event. 



Raised as a preacher's kid, faith has always held an important place in her life. Tammy enjoys sharing her faith by writing stories of strong heroines and heroes who find strength in their beliefs to overcome danger and fear. She is a country girl at heart and lives in a small Kansas town with her teenage son and dachshund. She enjoys cloud watching and summer storms. A glass of sweet tea and a new story are never far away.

~*~
Blurb for Tammy's book Royal Rescue:


A PRINCESS IN PERIL

Hidden away for more than fourteen years, Thea James was presumed dead by most—killed in the fire that burned the royal palace. But Ronin Parrish knows the truth…and so does the person who murdered Thea's father, the king. Ronin takes his new duty as Thea's bodyguard seriously. After all, she's the only one who can clear his father of the king's murder. It doesn't matter that the princess's beauty and strength draw him to her. To a commoner like him, she can never be more than a mission. Now he's in a race to restore the princess to her rightful place on the throne before the unknown killer prematurely ends her reign.

~*~
Buy Tammy's book:
Amazon.com, http://amzn.to/1aLAxo4
Harlequin.com, http://bit.ly/1NbrnCp

~*~
Connect with Tammy:
Official website, www.tammyjohnson.net
Author page, www.facebook.com/authortammyjohnson
Twitter handle, @TammyjTammy

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Love is in the Air: Author interview with Melissa Tagg

Happy Easter, my wonderful blog readers! I hope you attended a church program yesterday or today to celebrate the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God is SO good! He loves you truly, passionately and deeper than you can ever imagine! *John 3:16* If you do not already know Him, I encourage you to seek Him, trust, He's already waiting for you! :)

Today I am delighted to introduce one of my favorite reporters-turned-authors and friends, Melissa Tagg! She's been here before but I'm especially excited today because she's sharing the story about her latest book release, From the Start!


From the Start is a fictional story close to my real-life heart because the heroine, Kate Walker writes made-for-TV romance movie screenplays which is a dream career goal of mine and she's captured the love interest of a dashingly handsome, smart and funny hero like professional American football player Colton Greene! 

I loved this story from start to finish and highly recommend that you buy and read Melissa's book if you have not already!

Let's proceed to Melissa's author interview now so you can find out how wonderful From the Start is and what a gem the author is too! :)

*Interview questions by Alexis are in bold, answers from Melissa not in bold.

~*~

Alexis: Today is Easter Sunday (April 5)! What do you love the most about this holiday, Melissa? 

Melissa: I love what Easter is all about! Truly, it’s the most joyful and amazing event in history…the culmination of God’s love for us, the ultimate sacrifice. It’s just the best! But I also really like the candy.

How do you usually spend Easter? Share your favorite Easter memory.

I usually spend Easter with my family. I almost always end up at the church I grew up in for a special Easter morning breakfast and service and then go over to my grandparents’ house for dinner with my relatives. I love family time!

One of my favorite Easter memories is going to the passion play at my aunt and uncle's church. It always included thunder sound effects when Jesus was in the grave and Jesus rode in on a white horse at the end. Oh man, I loved that play. 
I grew up hearing about Jesus, attending Sunday School, seeing first-hand what vibrant faith looks like thanks to my parents and so many others. 

But there was something about seeing Jesus' death and resurrection reenacted in story-form year after year that drove home the amazingness and realness of what I believe. I'm praying this year to re-experience that same childlike awe and the heart-deep emotions that go with it as I celebrate Christ's resurrection. 

Earlier this month, you wrote a post on your blog titled “How I got my writing joy back.” Tell me about it.


Melissa: Sure, well, people can read the long story here: http://www.melissatagg.com/on-writing/how-i-got-my-writing-joy-back

But the short version goes like this: In 2014, I really struggled with my writing—specifically with writing my third book. I think quite a few factors contributed to that, but truly, by the end of the year I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep writing. I prayed a lot about it, told God I was willing to give the whole thing up…I just didn’t like the stressed-out, wrung-out person I’d become. And amazingly, it’s like deciding I was willing to give it all up freed something in me. God did something so awesome in my heart…I can’t even really explain it. Again, the long version on my blog goes into more detail. But it really does boil down to God renewing my spirit and giving me my joy back. And I’m so grateful!

What would you say is the most difficult part about being a novelist? What is the easiest and what is the most rewarding?


Definitely the hardest thing for me is balancing writing with the rest of my life. That’s a struggle and something I’m still working on.

The easiest for me is writing dialogue. I think it’s the thing that comes most naturally to me, and it’s definitely where I have the most fun in a story! The most rewarding, hands-down, is hearing from readers—specifically, hearing a line or a character or story in general in some way impacted, encouraged or challenged them.

Okay now let’s talk about what I know you’re excited about, the release of your latest book, From the Start! I’ve read it, loved it and you can count on a five-star rating from me! But tell me, what do your readers not know about what it took for you to write and publish this book?


Oh man! Well, hmm, here’s one thing I haven’t really shared too much about the writing of this book. About two weeks before the original deadline for this story, I tore the entire story apart. I mean, seriously, tore. it. apart. This made for an incredibly stressful couple weeks…thankfully my editor was incredibly gracious, let me turn in a story that needed a LOT of work and gave me extra time to finesse the draft.

As an aspiring screenwriter, I loved that your main character Kate Walker in From the Start churns out “made-for-TV” romance movie screenplays! What a dream career! How did you think of Kate? Did anything from your personal experience inspire you as you created this character?


Okay, don’t hate me, but I actually don’t really like Hallmark movies! I know, I know, that’s such a horrible thing to admit. And I know there are some good ones out there. But somehow I seem to have only seen the bad ones and it soured me toward them. So I started to think, what would it be like to be writing movies…and to not like the movies you’re writing?

Also, I have a friend who writes fiction…but she really doesn’t like writing romance. Like, not even a little bit. And over the years I’ve encouraged (i.e. nagged) her to let her characters dabble in romance a little more. Maybe even, gasp, fall in love.

I think those two things combined helped form Kate in my mind. Probably even more than that, Kate really struggle with feeling like she’s making a difference through the stories she writes. She feels like she should be writing something deeper, heavier, grittier. And I can relate to that.

Your hero in From the Start, NFL quarterback Colton Greene sounds like a hottie with a brain and a great sense of humor. I loved reading the interactions between him and Kate! What was the most challenging part of writing this character named Colton? How did you overcome those challenges?

Definitely the biggest struggle in writing Colton was simply the fact that he’s a football player…and prior to writing this story, I had just about zero interest in football. I have no idea why I decided to make him a football player! Thankfully, several football-loving friends really helped me out. One in particular was hugely helpful. He answered all my questions, even sent me some YouTube videos, and ended up giving me a football story that changed the direction of Colton’s spiritual journey.

Did any part of From the Start take play from your real-life love story?


Ooh, you know, not so much. I just finished writing my fourth book and in that book, there are definitely moments taken from my own, ahem, romantic history. But Kate and Colton’s romance is pretty much straight out of my imagination.

You mentioned in a blog post somewhere a few weeks ago that you poured a lot of yourself into From the Start and were more vulnerable than usual. What do you mean? Explain in detail.

Well, I almost don’t want to admit this, but I think the reason From the Start was so hard to write is that I prodded much deeper into my own emotions in this story than I have in the past. There are big pieces of me in all the stories I write, but From the Start probed some of my more vulnerable places. My heroine, especially, embodies some of my own insecurities. She struggles to feel like she’s doing something important with her life. She wishes she were as brave as the characters she writes. She has trouble admitting what she wants and how she feels, even to the people closest to her. All of which is very...me. And so writing her story was emotional for me because, well, I felt like I was baring my own heart and vulnerabilities.

Working as a grant writer is your day job. When do you find time to write all of these wonderful, full-length, creative and so good novels?

It’s definitely an exercise in balance…and not one I’m always that good at! (Also, thanks for the kind words about my novels!) My writing schedule differs from season to season, depending on where I’m at deadline-wise. But when I’m in the throes of drafting a book, I tend to rise early and write for an hour or so before work, and then fit another couple hours in in the evening. I’m usually writing a couple Saturdays each month as well.

What are you working on now? Tell us about your next novel.

I actually just turned in my fourth novel! It’s called Like Never Before and those who’ve read From the Start will recognize both main characters—Logan Walker and Amelia Bentley. Logan Walker is a former reporter turned political speech writer and Amelia is the editor of the Maple Valley newspaper.

Describe your writing space. What makes it special to you?

I actually write all over the place. I have a writing room with a desk and a big white board, so I do a lot of work in there. But I also love sitting in bed, under the covers, laptop in my lap. Or on my comfy couch. Or in this rocking chair that used to be my grandparents'.

What is your favorite season? Why?

Autumn. I love everything about it. The crisp air. Pretty leaves. Everything pumpkin. Apple cider. Bonfires. And now, surprisingly, I even kinda like football!

What is your go-to food or drink when you’re on deadline?

Baby carrots. Grapes. Pretzels. And yes, M&M's! Ms. I also always have coffee, pop and water in front of me when I write.

What was your favorite scene to write in From the Start?

I have several favorites but one of my very favorites is when Kate and Colton first meet…in Kate’s bedroom…rather surprisingly. I giggled so much during that scene!

What do you want your readers to remember the most about your book, From the Start?

In From the Start, both Kate and Colton have a very clear picture in their heads of what their lives should look like. And every decision they make in the first half of the book is an effort to make those pictures in their heads a reality. But they both learn, slooowly and at times not-so-smoothly, that God might be weaving together a completely different picture. 


He (God) uses change and circumstance, reshapes broken dreams and heals wounds...He’s been there, at work, from the start. And there’s great peace and confidence in that truth…I hope readers take that away.

Complete this sentence: At the end of the day, I am ____________ because ____________.


At the end of the day, I am hopeful because I have big dreams and serve an even bigger God.

Thanks for the interview, Melissa!

~*~
Author bio: 

Melissa Tagg is a former reporter and total Iowa girl. In addition to her homeless ministry day job, she is also the marketing events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. 

When she's not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever, watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next book. 

Melissa loves connecting with readers at www.melissatagg.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Buy Melissa's book, From the Start:

Amazon, http://amzn.to/19TnO12

Barnes and Noble, http://bit.ly/1IfdQpZ

Books-A-Million, http://bit.ly/1xPltQh

Christianbook.com, http://bit.ly/1GUROau


Connect with Melissa:

Website: www.melissatagg.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AuthorMelissaTagg

Instagram: melissatagg

Twitter: @Melissa_Tagg

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Love is in the Air: Author interview with Johnnie Alexander

Today's featured author, Johnnie Alexander, will give away one copy of her e-book Where Treasure Hides to the person who wins the book giveaway contest! See the Rafflecopter widget at the end of this blog post to enter the contest.

Join me as I talk with Ms. Alexander about her real-life story and her passion for writing historical and contemporary romance!


~*~

Alexis: How did you get your start as a writer? Take us from the time you “knew” this is what you were called to do and end at how you got your first book deal.

Johnnie: I think I always knew, but fear and ignorance plus family, work, and grad school kept me from following my dream. Then in 2003, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and learned how much I really loved writing a story. It didn’t matter that it was a mess and didn’t resolve itself in a probable way. I had developed characters, a setting, and written a few scenes with impressive dialogue. Still the days flew by until I attended my first major writing conference in 2007 with a proposal that went nowhere.

Time ticked by. I joined two critique groups and studied craft. I learned about show, don’t tell and other important elements. Though I had (and still have) stumbles, editors began showing interest in my work, I signed with my agent, and I won a few conference awards. In 2011, Where Treasure Hides won the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest for historical fiction. A little over a year later, Tyndale published it as an e-book for their Digital First program. It releases as a print edition in August.

Why do you write historical and contemporary romance? 

New writers are usually advised to establish themselves in one genre, but God has other plans for my writing journey. After Where Treasure Hides was released, Tyndale asked if I had a contemporary. I pulled up a file I’d played with off-and-on over the years, wrote a proposal, and polished the manuscript.

Tyndale passed on it, but Revell said yes! I signed a three-book contract with them for a series called Misty Willow. The first book, Where She Belongs, releases in January 2016.

Tell us about your book Where Treasure Hides. What is it about? Who are your main characters and what are their struggles?


Dutch-American artist Alison Schuyler lives in Rotterdam, Holland with her grandfather who owns the family’s art gallery. While in London, she meets British Army officer Ian Devlin after he protects a Kindertransport boy at Waterloo Station and she draws a sketch of the two of them. 

Though the attraction between them is instant, Europe is on the edge of war. August 1939 is not a good time for romance. Circumstances bring them back together but Ian is recalled to duty when England declares war on Germany.

Alison assists her father in protecting Dutch art from the Nazi looters while Ian is wounded and captured at Dunkirk. She’s almost glad he’s a POW—at least he’s out of the war. But Ian chafes under the confinement and eventually escapes.

As the story unfolds, Alison and Ian are reunited then torn apart again. Will they ever find the happiness that eludes them? You’ll have to read the story to find out!

On your website next to the book cover for Where Treasure Hides is a photo of another book in another language. Tell us about it.

Waar Liefde Woont, translated Where Love Lives, is the Dutch edition of Where Treasure Hides. Marian Baay, a freelance editor for Dutch publisher Uitgeverij Kok, read the novel, loved it, and recommended it for translation.

Though the book opens at Waterloo Station in London, England, the setting then moves to Alison’s home and family art gallery in Rotterdam, Holland for a time. Later, we’re with Ian in France and Germany, then again in England, then back in Germany. (The characters travel around in this story.)

If you could spend a day with your favorite character from Where Treasure Hides, who would you spend the time with and what would you two do?


I would love for Ian to give me a tour of his family estate. Though not as grand as Downton Abbey, Ian’s home has been in the family for centuries. I’d love to see the hidden corners, the art, and any secrets it held. After that, we could take a boat ride to the giant boulder known as the Giant’s Hand where he likes to sit and think.

Describe your writing space. What makes it special to you?

I usually write at the kitchen table. It’s set in a nook with tall windows in two walls which gives me great views of trees. Sometimes a cat meanders past, and lately our two guineas and a few chickens have made their way down here from the pasture. Last summer, I could write and watch our alpacas “mow” the yard.

How does your faith in God play into your storytelling?

I think there are two answers to this question. Alison and Ian are both Christians, but Alison particularly struggles with placing her trust fully into God’s hands. Her favorite verse, and one she holds on to, is also one of mine: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future” (Proverbs 31:25 NASB).

The second aspect is the faith it takes to spend years writing a book that may only be read by family and friends. I had to be fine with that, with finding joy in the creative process and in indulging my imagination no matter the outcome.

There’s actually a third answer—the faith that God will give me what I need to do it again. As thrilling as it is to have a contract for two more contemporaries, it’s also scary. There are deadlines to meet. Expectations to fulfill. But God is faithful. I’m writing the series second novel now, and day-by-day it’s taking shape.

Who is your favorite Christian author and which of their books do you love the most? Explain why.

It’s so hard to choose a favorite though I like Ann Tatlock, Jane Kirkpatrick, and Davis Bunn for the depth of their stories. I recently read Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma which is a powerful and beautifully written novel. Her parallelism with the Biblical book of Esther added an inspiring layer to an already engaging story.

What words of wisdom would you like to share with aspiring writers?

Begin now for the journey may be long. Attend conferences, find encouraging and competent critique partners, and enter contests for the feedback you’ll receive.

What is your greatest dream for your writing career?

I’d love to see one of my novels made into a movie. Wouldn’t we all?

Truly, though, I’m not seeking fame nor fortune. My dream is to write stories that linger in the reader’s heart long after she closes the last page.

Share insight into your personal life. Are you married? Do you have children? What is your favorite vacation spot? What is your favorite way to bond with your loved ones? What is your favorite season?

Since moving to Tennessee a little over a year ago, my favorite vacation spot is where the kids are—one in Ohio and two in Florida. However, I’m also very fond of the Blue Ridge. And I dream of traveling to Europe.

My two daughters and my son are all grown up. The girls are married with little ones of their own. One has three boys; the other has two girls. We love movie marathons, playing games, and going to Pizza Hut buffet after a morning’s work is done. One of our favorite things is to make memories together.

We also have a group text thread. I just love it when my phone repeatedly dings because I know the kids are having a conversation. So fun.

I love “Florida season.” I lived in the Orlando area for over twenty years. I rarely knew for sure what month it was. And what fun to be surprised by the snowy photos friends posted on Facebook because I’d forgotten it was winter up north.

Here in Tennessee, I love coming in to a cozy house after doing morning chores and relishing the heat from the fireplace. Now that the weather is getting warmer, I delight in the daffodils popping up in the yard. And one tree outside the kitchen window displays pink tulip-shaped blooms on its branches. Just lovely.

As a writer and woman of faith, what do you want your legacy to be?

Being remembered as a Christian who endeavored to glorify God in all she did is a given. Beyond that, I want to be remembered by my family and friends as someone who created memories with those she loved.

Thanks for the interview, Johnnie! If you’d like to do a book giveaway, please leave a question for my readers to answer. 


Book Giveaway Question:
My dream of a European trip is coming true. Even better, you’re coming with me! What’s your one “must-see”?


a Rafflecopter giveaway
~*~
Author bio: 


Johnnie Alexander writes inspiring stories that linger in the heart. Where Treasure Hides, her debut novel, won the ACFW Genesis Contest (2011) and Golden Leaf Award (2014). The first of her three contemporary romances, Where She Belongs (Misty Willow Series), releases from Revell in January 2016.

She also has won Best Novel and Best Writer awards (Florida Christian Writers Conferences), and Bronze Medalist (My Book Therapy Frasier Contest).

A graduate of Rollins College (Orlando) with a Master of Liberal Studies degree, Johnnie treasures family memories, classic movies, road trips, and stacks of books. She lives in the Memphis area where her morning chores include feeding dogs, cats, chickens, and a small herd of alpacas.

~*~
About Johnnie's book:


Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life.

Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow.

As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?

~*~
Buy Johnnie's book 
Where Treasure Hides, currently available as an e-book. The print edition releases August 2015. Purchase links: Amazon, Barnes&NobleChristian Book Distributors