Ruth Smith Meyer - Christian Author Headshot

Ruth Smith Meyer

Ruth Smith Meyer, thank you for joining us; please tell us a little bit about yourself.

What or who motivated you to become an author?

From the time my mother and then older sister read stories to me, I was fascinated by the idea of writing. As a teen, I assisted my dad in putting out a newsletter and occasionally did some ghost-writing of his editorials when he was busy. However, my writing was mostly in the form of poems, short stories and letters until I began working at a Day Centre for Seniors. While there I wrote Keenagers Korner, a bi-weekly column for four area weekly papers. Attending the last God Uses Ink conference set things into motion for writing my first novel, Not Easily Broken. That was followed by a sequel Not Far from the Tree.

Do you have a favourite genre to write in, if so what is it and why?

Writing is so much a part of me that I have to write. I like to dabble in a lot of different kinds—devotional (I have regular assignments for REJOICE magazine,) inspirational, fiction, children’s literature and my latest adventure—the writing of my memoir, Out of the Ordinary. I also have been involved in several anthologies—the Hot Apple Cider series and am currently working with five other authors to write Good Grief People due to come out February, 2017.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an author?

Perhaps the biggest learning curve came when I was ready to have my book published. After much research and advice from experienced authors, I decided to self-publish with a firm who also had a distributing arm. Carving out the time to actually sit down to work on bigger projects is a continuing challenge. The times I have gone somewhere else to write have been the most productive. House-sitting for friends once gave me the opportunity for three weeks of uninterrupted time and that was great. Setting aside regular days is imperative. However, blogs and shorter works are often done late into the evening.

Have you found that challenge to get easier the more you write?

Yes, in my usual life, it did get easier. My second husband died at the beginning of this year. His final illness and the emptying of a house interrupted my schedule, but I am getting back to a more disciplined writing time.

What is your goal with your writing and who do you usually intend to reach with it?

The goal of any of my writing is to inspire readers to discover their own strengths, to face their fears, to find hope and growth in the midst of difficulty and to become all that God intended for them to be. I hope they also find joy and humour in the lighter moments as they read.

What else do you like to do besides writing, what are your other passions in life?

I find great joy in speaking to a variety of audiences with my inspirational talks. I am passionate about helping couples make the most of their marriage and for years was involved in various aspects of Marriage Encounter including presenting. After experiencing the death of two husbands sixteen years apart, I also find satisfaction in helping others who are on the grieving journey. I love nature, photography, painting, and all things creative. I love people and of course, my family. With two marriages I have four children, four step-children, in-laws, eighteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Each one of them is precious and I make birthday cards for each of them—another joy in life.

What do you think sets your books apart and why should people buy them?

Most people who have tried them say they are easy to read—a down-to-earth tone that makes them enjoyable even as they learn. They also appreciate the candor with which I relate real-life situations, making it natural for them to relate to the story. They find help in dealing with their own life and inspire them to grow.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?

Not Easily Broken and Not Far from the Tree are my two novels. Out of the Ordinary is my life story, and Tyson’s Sad Bad Day is my children’s book that helps little ones deal with the death of family members. I also have stories in Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, Taste of Hot Apple Cider and Hot Apple Cider with Cinnamon anthologies of Canadian Writers. I also contributed to another anthology, Fifty Shades of Grace.

Thank you so much for joining us, Ruth Smith Meyer

Christian Author Kenneth Steele

Kenneth L Steele

Kenneth L Steele, thank you for joining us; please tell us a little bit about yourself.

What or who motivated you to become an author?

Probably about years ago God put it in my heart to write a book. My goal was to write a novel but He spoke to me and said write something that would motivate the People to grow in me. I came up with Focus 15.

Do you have a favorite genre to write in, if so what is it and why?

I believe God has given me the ability to write devotionals. The reason is because I love to help people grow in God.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an author?

Trying to promote/market my own book.

Have you found that challenge to get easier the more you write?

Yes

What is your goal with your writing and who do you usually intend to reach with it?

I would like to reach everyone because I believe this devotion can help people grow in God.

What else do you like to do besides writing, what are your other passions in life?

Love playing basketball and hanging out with my family.

What do you think sets your books apart and why should people buy them?

Simplicity and the reason is because of the ability to navigate through each day with ease. I love how easy it is to search the Scripture and be able to reflect on what was read each day.

Elaine Stock Author Headshot

Elaine Stock

Welcome Elaine Stock, thank you so much for joining us. We would love to know, When did you decide to become a writer? Is there a particular person or event that created that spark?

I’ve always enjoyed a good story! Ever since I could recall, my mother always held a book in her hands. She made a big and delightful fuss when I signed the back of my very first library card, making it possible for me to check out countless books through the years that not only entertained and educated me, but most likely helped to keep my sanity intact. My aunt was also an incredibly talented storyteller and used to regale my brother and me with amazing stories.

I penned stories in my early years of elementary school, moving onto the desire to become a comedic playwright in my junior high school years, and then into mainstream fiction in high school. However, it wasn’t until my mother passed away when I was in my mid 20s did I begin to take my writing interests seriously—she was a very creative woman who due to mental illness never could make her dreams come true. After many years of off and on writing, learning the craft, and trying different genres did I make the move to link my writing to my faith. That’s when things began to change for the positive as far as accomplishment and publication goes. I wish I’d had that insight years ago … maybe I’d have several novels published by now … but maybe not. I’ve also learned that everything happens in His time frame, not mine.

[Tweet “I’ve also learned that everything happens in His time frame, not mine. – @ElaineStock #wisewords”]

What is your favourite genre to write?

I write contemporary mainstream fiction. I’ve tagged my writing as “Fusing Family Drama and Psychological Suspense” because the former psychology major in me loves stories about broken/troubled families and how our Father can heal what society deems impossible. Throw in a dollop of suspense and it becomes a creative playground for my imagination.

Are your books only for Christians or would other people also enjoy them?

My novels do circle around faith elements—I believe in hope, in His hope, and cannot get away from that. Yet, I don’t make them sermon-like preachy, nor do I believe that Christian fiction needs a “Saving” scene. I do believe that the general market reader will enjoy my novels.

How long have you known the Lord, what brought you to a relationship with Him?

I cannot not recall a time when I haven’t believed in a supreme being that rules the universe. However, I wasn’t brought up in a Christian home and I believe this was the impetus for my search for God throughout my teen years. Through the social media of the ‘70s—way before the Internet!—as in movies and pop songs, I became curious about Jesus, a Savior, wanting a direct relationship with me and one who wants to connect me to Father. After marrying my husband I was baptized (by sprinkle) in my early 20s and many years later was baptized a 2nd time by submersion. Both times I’ve experienced a truly Holy presence.

How do you connect with God best?

My days are filled with constant murmurs or out and out conversation with God. I also enjoy taking walks—that’s when I hear Him reply the clearest to me. Sometimes, too, I meet certain people or witness people interacting in dynamic relationships/conversations with each other, go about my own life, and then later learn that I’d earlier received what I think of as a God-lesson.

What do you consider the best piece of advice you can give to novice authors?

Believe in yourself and the stories/accounts you’re meant to write. Not to say that you shouldn’t accept objective help and learn about the craft of writing, but do avoid any negativity and discouragement or the disregard from those who label your writing interests as a hobby that will pass. In other words: take your writing seriously. Also, accept that it will take time and that you’re in it for the often very long haul.

[Tweet “Believe in yourself and the stories you’re meant to write. – @ElaineStock”]

Are you a member of any writing groups?

I belong to: ACFW and WFWA (Women’s Fiction Writers Association).

What writing project are you currently working on?

I’m finishing up another story about a family. Three of its members—a daughter about to turn eighteen, her mom, and her father, all need rescuing but for different reasons.

Thank you again, for sharing with us today Elaine! If you would like to learn more about Elaine Stock’s books or purchase them, you can find them below:

Sara Davison Author Headshot

Sara Davison

Welcome, Sara Davison! We’re eager to know, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I have two early memories, or “light bulb moments”, in my childhood that helped me to see that this is what I wanted to do with my life. As a kid, I pretty much lived in the library, which was in a big old house with creaky wooden floors in our little town. I have a vivid memory of walking up and down the aisles of that library one day when I was nine or ten, running my hands along the spines of the books and thinking, All these people wrote a book. It can be done. I can do this. Another light bulb moment for me came after a grade four field trip. When we came back to the school, we had to do a write-up about our day away. Mine was chosen for the school newsletter, and I can still remember that feeling of seeing my words in print and knowing people were reading them, the thrill that gave me. So the desire to write and have my work published was sparked in me at a very young age.

Why do you write?

The easy answer is that I write because I have to. There are times when I am gripped so strongly by a story or scene idea that it feels like I will explode if I don’t get it down on paper. What drives me more than that, though, is the absolute certainty that this is what God has called me to do. He has given me a gift that I have to use for His glory in order to find any joy or fulfillment in life. And equally strong as this urge to write, is the desire to have my words read. I found a quote recently that shed light on this desire for me. The quote was by Max McLean, founder of the Fellowship for the Performing Arts, who said: “… I am amazed at the communicators who have never quite understood that a story is not a story until it has been received.” That revelation struck me like an apple falling from a tree and bouncing off my head: The stories I write are incomplete until someone reads them. It is in the reading that the connection is made, the process is completed, the circle is closed. So I write out of obedience to the calling God has given me, and pray that, as I write and others read, God will use my words to have an impact on the hearts and lives of others.

[Tweet “The stories I write are incomplete until someone reads them. – @sarajdavison”]

When do you find time to write?

Now that my kids are getting older, it’s becoming a bit easier to find time to write. When they were young, I did pretty much all of my writing between nine at night and one or two in the morning. Thankfully, I am a night owl, so that worked okay for me. Even now, with two of my three kids doing online education from home, it can be tricky to find extended periods of quiet, uninterrupted time to work. I tend to take advantage of shorter time periods, such as the half hour I am waiting for my son to come out of his guitar lesson. And of course, I do still work late into the night, which is always my most productive time. Something I have found to be of tremendous value is going away once or twice a year on a week-long writing retreat. I go with a couple of friends and we spend our time writing, enjoying great meals, going for walks, more writing, then reading our work to each other in the evenings for feedback. I can’t tell you how relaxing, refreshing, and productive those times are, and highly recommend that every writer considers gifting themselves with those times away from the demands of everyday life.

Where did the idea for The Seven Trilogy come from?

The trilogy is set about forty years in the future, in Canada, and has a bit of an end times feel to it. The funny thing about that is I would have considered myself the least likely person to write on this topic. Movies such as The Mark of the Beast and other graphic apocalyptic films were very popular when I was in my teens, and I saw several of them at my church. Like they did for a lot of people, the movies terrified me, and for years, I didn’t want to read or watch or talk about anything to do with the end times. Then a few years ago our pastor led a study on the book of Revelation. Through that study, I began to see the beauty and the power in the book, and the hope it offers for the future of every believer. That planted the seeds for this series.

Fascinating, what is the theme of this book? Of the series?

When I first began writing The Seven Trilogy, some of the things that happen seemed a little far-fetched. By the time I was done the first book, The End Begins, however, those same events felt like they had been torn from the headlines of the daily news. There is no question that Christians in North America are at the very beginning of experiencing the treatment that Christians in other parts of the world have been undergoing for years. So far we cannot claim to have encountered true persecution, but there is an increasing hostility toward believers, spurred on by media bias and misrepresentation, that will inevitably lead to harsher and harsher treatment. According to the Bible, while this is inevitable, it is also a good thing. The church in North America is untethering itself from society. The gap between believers and the world is widening, and before long there will be no middle ground. Everyone will have to choose whether they will take a stand for or against Jesus Christ. While these times may be scary, they are also incredibly exciting. As the apostle Paul put it in Romans 5:3-5, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” As the times become more difficult, Paul promises that not only will believers grow in perseverance, character, and hope, but we will experience to a greater degree than ever before, the sustaining love and presence of God. And that is the main theme of The Seven Trilogy.

What do you hope your reader will take away after reading this book?

While there is uncertainty ahead, and it is easy to be afraid when we watch the news and see everything that is happening in the world today, the truth is that God does not want us to live in fear. Over and over again in the Bible, He tells us not to be afraid. We can rest secure in his promise that He will never leave us or forsake us, and in Jesus’ assertion in John 16:33 that, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Instead of facing what is to come with fear, we can face it with hope. As one of my characters, Jesse, says in Book 3, The Morning Star Rises: “I used to be sure of so many things in life … Now I only know two things to be absolutely true. God is still on his throne. And he has not abandoned us.” So I pray that after reading this trilogy, what the reader will take away with him or her is hope, that whatever happens in the future, God will carry us through. And that those who persevere to the end will enjoy His presence for all eternity.

[Tweet “Whatever happens in the future, God will carry us through. – @sarajdavison”]

What is the best feedback you have received?

Author Nancy Rue did an endorsement for The End Begins. She called the book, “important” which meant a lot to me. Other readers have commented that after reading The End Begins they were inspired to read and study their Bibles more, in case, like the characters in the book, their Bibles are ever taken away from them. Many have said that they were motivated to contemplate the future, and ask themselves if they are ready for what is to come. That kind of feedback, evidence that God is using the books to prepare believers for the future, is incredibly thrilling and humbling to me.

What are your future writing plans?

Book 2 of the trilogy, The Dragon Roars, releases in April. I am currently working on revising and polishing the manuscript of Book 3, The Morning Star Rises, which comes out in October. After that, I hope to continue to put out books through my amazing publisher, Ashberry Lane. I have a two-book romantic suspense series that I want to go back and revise and edit and then submit for possible publication in 2017. Other than that, I will wait to see what God’s plans are for my work. I don’t come up with the ideas for the stories myself, they come from Him, so as long as He continues to give me the stories, I will continue to be obedient to the call and to produce work that is as excellent as I can make it, for His glory. As I say in the dedication section of all my books, It is all from Him and for Him.

Thank you so much for joining us Sara! If you want to learn more about Sara Davison’s books or purchase them, you can find them below:

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Donna Fawcett Author Headshot

Donna Fawcett

Welcome, Donna Fawcett! Tell us, How did you get your start as an author?

It began in high school when an English teacher told me that if I did nothing else in life, I should write. I shrugged that off until I was in the midst of raising my children. I wrote a story about our dog who rescued our daughter. It was published. I didn’t know that this was unusual. I sent a few other stories out and they, too, were published. As the empty nest loomed, I took university courses in writing. I highly recommend anyone wanting to write to get a formal education first.

Why is that?

Too many raw writers submit their stories before they are ready. They make many mistakes and end up blowing their chances of being published. It could have easily gone that way for me but God really wanted me in this industry so he walked me through those first years.

If you could give one piece of advice what would it be?

Shut down emotion when it is time to submit to an editor. Too many writers ruin opportunities because they are too in love with their writing. Yes, there are times when editors go too far but for the most part, they know the market, they know their readers and they know what will sell. I draw the line when the writing no longer sounds like my writing or when I am asked to compromise my beliefs.

What is the key to getting known?

There are two keys to becoming a known author. I’m still working at both of them. One is exposure. Get involved in writing guilds but also get involved in volunteer organizations. People want to read your work if they know you. Speak at events. The second is patience. There are a handful of one-shot wonders out there but they are rare. Most writers become known because they are patient. They work at it continually.

What is the underlying purpose for your writing?

I ultimately want to bring glory to God. There are so many amazing things in the Bible that, when God reveals them to me, I just want to write about. I have seen (and done it myself once) writers compromise their faith in small increments in hopes that they will catch the attention of the masses. Trust me. If God wants our writing out there, He will put it there. If he has one person in mind who will come to faith in Jesus through my writing, that is enough. My gift belongs to him in whatever way he desires to use it.

[Tweet “If God wants our writing out there, He will put it there. – Donna Fawcett”]

Thank you for joining us Donna! If you want to learn more about Donna Fawcett’s books or purchase them, you can find them below:

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Glynis M. Belec Author Headshot

Glynis M. Belec

Welcome, Glynis! Tell our readers, who is Glynis M. Belec?

I wonder that myself some days. The first thing for sure, though – I am a child of God. It took me a while to realize this, but now I also love the God nudges and the way He reminds me to pay attention to daily blessings.
Some call me an award winning writer and children’s author just because I’ve won a few contests and I have some pretty ribbons, plaques and fancy scrolls in frames on my wall.

One thing – I cannot imagine a world without little people to inspire and bless me. I have lived in Drayton with my happy hubby, for almost 30 years. I got my first big break and my real start in writing professionally writing a weekly column – Sugar and Spice – in the Drayton Community News. I approached the editor with knees-a-knocking. But she apparently liked what I had to say, because I ended up writing that column for over 11 years. The word spread and the same column was picked up in another nearby town for 8 years – kind of like mini-syndication!

I also write devotions, short stories, blog posts, magazine articles for children and big people and most of all, I rejoice daily because I am constantly reminded about God’s amazing grace and His unconditional love.

I was a private tutor for over 18 years but last year, I had to give that up because I needed to convert my classroom to a ‘granddad’ apartment for my 89 year old Poppa Bear after his heart attack. I sure do miss my students but thankfully, I still manage to surround myself with children at every opportunity. Oh how I love to collect story-fodder from the everyday. It’s amazing where and when inspiration comes.

Sorry – I’m rambling. Next question?

How long have you been writing?

Okay, that’s an easy one. I am almost an antique. I started writing, seriously, almost 30 years ago. At least, that was my first paying gig. I had won first prize in a county-wide writing contest that I saw posted in a local library so it started me thinking that maybe people might want to read what I have to write. I was head over the heels thrilled and when we relocated to Drayton, I happened upon a 12-week course for freelance writers. I was hooked.

Why do you write?

I write because my momentum needs momentum. Seriously, I have this deep inner longing to write and nothing else satisfies it. I can’t really say I have ever had writer’s block. My problem is time and opportunity. I have a lot of personal issues going on in my household that draws me away often from my office. It’s okay, though. I’m not complaining. The way I see it is God’s timing is perfect. One day I will be able to spend long, uninterrupted hours at my desk, proffering forth paragraphs to my heart’s content. Until then, I keep reminding myself that I write when I can for God and I write because it allows me to share my heart. I like to think I don’t write for monetary gain, but I think many writers know that this is not always a good reason to write! I write for children because I love to see children smile and laugh and escape and fall in love with words. Nothing warms my heart more than when a Mom sends me a quick note telling me one of my books is their child’s favourite! Can you hear me purring?

 

What do you write?

I love writing for children. I especially love writing picture books with purpose. When I say ‘with purpose’ I don’t mean preachy. What I like doing is getting inside a child’s head and figuring out what they might be dealing with and then write something about that. I LOVE humour. I love to laugh and I love to make others laugh – probably about time I grew up, but I find staying a little child-like makes me less stressed and more focused on my passion.

I also write a lot of short stories for anthologies such as the Hot Apple Cider series and the Chicken Soup books. Writing devotions, too, is a good way for me to practice writing tight while focussing on passing on God’s word.

Presently I am working on a devotional, inspirational book for women called Help! I Need a New Fig Leaf. I’m really excited about that. I am not sure if I will publish it through my own Angel Hope Publishing company or if I will seek a traditional publisher.

I have a tween book in the offing, too. It’s the first book in my Stone Angel Series and it is called Broken Wings. I really need to blow the dust off this manuscript and resume high speed.

As well as all of these, I periodically write magazine articles and I have a regular column in a writer’s magazine and a faith article in a local newspaper.

I hear you have a bit of a speaking platform. Can you tell us about that?

I sure do. I have been speaking for a few years now and I love it. I have always been a bit of a drama queen (my husband bought me the sign) and no stranger to the amateur theatre stage, but that was with rehearsed lines and a memorized script. That I could handle no problem.

After my cancer journey – or maybe I should say during – God got hold of me and seemed to be stretching me and refining me for something very cool (bald joke intended). I wasn’t wise about it at the time but I had a wonderful girlfriend in Florida who called me often and helped me through much. She told me, one day when we were chatting on the phone, she had felt God tell her to tell me (kind of like a prophecy) that I would soon be writing and speaking about my journey and how God was working in my life. At first, I laughed. Then I learned that I shouldn’t laugh at God.

[Tweet “At first, I laughed. Then I learned that I shouldn’t laugh at God. – @GlynisMBelec”]
I regularly speak to women about Hope (my favourite topic) and other subjects – usually joyful, upbeat, and hopefully, inspirational. Sometimes I speak about my cancer journey and then share how God always has our backs. I really like leading writing workshops and talking about my books and for a while now, I have been speaking in schools to children about reading & writing. My favourite children’s workshop is called, Writing Rocks!

Did I hear you have a publishing company?

You heard correctly. ANGEL HOPE PUBLISHING is my baby and I love it I don’t advertise it a lot because I am afraid that it might get too much for me to handle and I don’t ever want to lose what writing time I can squeak in each day. My daughter, Amanda, works for me a few days a week and she is my great graphic designer and bookkeeper. We make a good team but she also works in a sign shop so I can’t have her full time! Angel Hope Publishing has a definite criteria for publication.

Do you have any advice for writers?

I really love teaching new writers and encouraging them in their craft. I remember what it was like going it alone in ‘the olden days!’ So here goes my three favourite pieces of advice for new and seasoned writers:

Never give up hope. Keep writing no matter what, if it truly is the passion of your heart. Even if you don’t think you are making headway, you really are. It’s called experience. Keep swimming!

[Tweet “Keep writing no matter what, if it truly is the passion of your heart. -@GlynisMBelec”]
Cut it down by half and leave nothing out. In other words, don’t fill your page with empty words. Keep the message but cut the fluff.

When you write from the heart, you touch other hearts. I have this saying on my website. Really listen to what God is telling you to share and then share it with all your soul. There is no better compliment about your writing than when someone says with all sincerity, “I know exactly what you mean. Thank you for speaking your heart. Your words touched me deeply.”

Thank you. Glynis, for joining us! If you would like to learn a bit more about Glynis M Belec’s books or purchase them, you can find them below:

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Ann-Margret Hovsepian Author Headshot

Ann-Margret Hovsepian

Welcome, Ann-Margret Hovsepian! Tell us, When did you decide to become a writer?

Actually, I never decided to become a writer. In high school and college, my only thought was to go into science, specifically chemistry. When it became clear in college that I wasn’t cut out for that I struggled to figure out what to do next. My first application to university was rejected so I looked for a temporary job while I reapplied and I landed at a small trade magazine where I was asked to take care of typesetting and proofreading. Within days I knew that I belonged in publishing, though I still didn’t have a specific career in mind. Four years later, at which point I was managing the editorial department and doing some copy writing, I decided to start my own business. I still didn’t think of myself as a writer, although my parents told me I was gifted in that area; I was going to offer desktop publishing, copy editing and proofreading services, writing freelance articles only as a side job. Nineteen years later, with over 300 hundred articles and four books published, it’s safe to say that I did eventually evolve into a writer, in spite of myself!

[Tweet “I did eventually evolve into a writer, in spite of myself! – @AnnHovsepian”]

That’s interesting, What is your favourite genre to write?

When I started writing regularly, most of my assignments were news pieces or profiles because I was most interested in periodicals and journalism was a natural fit. I never aspired to write fiction (and I’m still not sure whether I want to attempt it) but I did long to write more creatively and from my heart. As my writing skills improved and I started writing for less newsy publications, I had more opportunities to write editorials and devotions. I still enjoy writing profiles of fascinating people but my heart is really in writing devotions and Bible studies that will hopefully inspire and challenge the reader.

Are your books only for Christians or would other people also enjoy them?

My books are generally written with a Christian readership in mind but I always try to make sure that others who may pick them up will feel like there is something for them, too. I never assume that my reader is a Christian so I try to use language that reflects that.

How do you connect with God best?

Since I work at home and am alone for up 20 hours most days (can you tell I’m an introvert?), I have many opportunities to connect with God throughout the day. I often find myself talking to Him – about anything at all – since I have no one else to talk to and I enjoy that constant sense of His presence in my life. That’s been a very special blessing in my life and it would be one of the things I missed most if I ever found myself working in an office again.

How long have you known the Lord and what brought you to a relationship with Him?

I started attending church when I was a couple of weeks old but I decided to commit my life to Christ when I was seven, the morning after we watched the film “A Thief in the Night” at my church. Now you can guess how old I am! I lay awake all the night before, worried about what would happen to me if Jesus came back and I wasn’t ready to meet Him. I prayed with my father the next day and shared my testimony in church a few weeks later. (Let me make it easy for you: I gave my life to Christ on January 1, 1980!)

Which Christian author has influenced you the most?

I don’t even have to think about this one: C.S. Lewis. I was reading his books before I knew much about him and was always amazed by his wisdom and insights. Later in life I became fascinated by the man himself and it pains me that he is not alive so that I could go and meet him and talk to him. He has influenced me as a Christian and, I hope, as a writer.

What do you consider the best piece of advice you can give to novice authors?

As far as the craft of writing goes, my advice is to balance confidence with humility. You need confidence and courage to put your thoughts on paper but you also need humility to be open to direction and correction. Talent is important but it’s not enough. A major part of my success in being published comes down to my willingness to listen to and work with editors.
In terms of the business of writing, I always tell novice writers to be willing to invest in their careers – not only time and energy but also resources. Choose a writers’ conference that is right for you, making sure it’s one with good networking opportunities, and save up for it if you have to. Nothing beats meeting the editors and publishers who want to publish what you are writing.

[Tweet “I always tell novice writers to be willing to invest in their careers. – @AnnHovsepian”]

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

As long as it involves being creative, I’m all over it! I enjoy calligraphy, sewing, drawing, cooking, indoor gardening, decorating and all kinds of crafts. (Alas, I am inept at knitting and crochet!) I also enjoy reading, of course, live theatre and fluffy Hallmark films. On a more serious note, I am active in women’s ministry, both at my church and on a denominational level.

Thank you so much for sharing with us Ann! If you want to learn more about Ann-Margret Hovsepian’s books or purchase them, you can find them below:

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Lisa J. Flickinger Author Headshot

Lisa J. Flickinger

Welcome, Lisa J. Flickinger! Tell us, What is your favourite genre to write?

I love writing and researching historical fiction. My house looks like a late eighteen hundreds farmhouse, complete with a ladder and a broom collection, although I find any bygone era fascinating.

What does your office look like?

Along one wall sits an antique lawyer’s bookcase from my grandmother’s home filled with resource materials for writing. A stunning print of the Tonquin Valley done by photographer Paul Smith hangs above the desk and provides the dreamscape for my imagination.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Read, of course! Otherwise, I wrangle anybody I can to have a latte and chat at the local coffee shop.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I decided at birth to become a writer, but for several years lack of comprehension hampered my career. It wasn’t until my kids left home I seriously pursued writing (and finishing) projects.

[Tweet “I decided at birth to become a #writer – Lisa J. Flickinger”]

How do you connect with God best?

I love listening to the Lord speak into my heart during worship.

Which Christian author has influenced you the most?

I have been a fan of Allison Pittman’s work for years. Even more amazing, The Christian Communicator assigned my novel All That Glitters to her for editing. Her encouragement and insight helped me to develop as a writer and to take the leap toward publication.

Are your books only for Christians or would other people also enjoy them?

My books definitely embrace a Christian worldview; however, the settings and characters are memorable enough for anyone who enjoys a good read.

What do you consider the best piece of advice you can give to novice authors?

As you journey toward publication, be open to learning from authors who have gone before you.

[Tweet “Be open to learning from #authors who have gone before you. – Lisa J. Flickinger”]

Thank you for sharing with us Lisa! If you want to learn more about Lisa J. Flickinger’s book or purchase it, you can find it below:

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Laura J. Davis Author Headshot

Laura J. Davis

Welcome, Laura J. Davis! For those who aren’t familiar with your work, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I am a former singer/songwriter who had a singing ministry for a little over 30 years. Around 14 years ago a tumour was discovered in my abdomen and when the doctors took it out they accidentally ruptured my bladder without knowing it, sewed me up and sent me back to recovery. When I didn’t recover as expected, I was sent back in for emergency surgery. Somewhere in that time frame, my vocal chords were damaged due to being intubated. Although I was assured that my voice would come back, it never did and to make a long story short the Lord began a “new work in me” that ended with my first novel – Come to Me.

So you had a singing career and then a writing career – just like that?

Not really. Over a period of several months, while I was recovering from my surgery, I struggled desperately to get my voice back. I went through a time of depression because I couldn’t understand why the Lord would allow my voice to be taken away. During that time, a story was beginning to form in my mind about the life of Christ through the eyes of his mother. I had the distinct impression from God that I was supposed to write about it, but I was so angry at losing my voice I ignored it because I wanted my voice back. Besides, I couldn’t see the end of the story, only the beginning. But, over time, the desire to write became so strong that I could not ignore it. Then one day I went to my computer, placed my hands on the keyboard and said, “Okay, Lord. I surrender. Use my hands as you used my voice.” The next thing I knew the floodgates were opened and I didn’t stop typing until the story was complete.

[Tweet “Over time, the desire to write became so strong that I could not ignore it. – @LauraJeanDavis”]

But the Lord still had some more changes to come, didn’t He?

That’s for sure. About a year, maybe less, after my surgery, a fall down a flight of stairs left me partially disabled. In time, other problems set in, including arthritis. Then I was diagnosed with a disease called lipo-lymphedema, which affects my lymphatic system and causes my legs to swell which requires me to keep them elevated all the time. I have to spend two hours every day in something called a lympha-press that massages my legs to get the lymphatic fluid moving. It has pretty much zapped my ability to move about on my own. However, the good part of this is that it forces me to stay at my computer writing every day!

So how long have you been writing?

Not including my songwriting days, it would be about 14 years.

How many books have you written?

I have written a few but only three have been published – Come to Me, a Bible study to go with my other book, called Learning from the Master, Living a Surrendered Life and He Who Has an Ear, Who the Seven Churches of Revelation are Today. Sometime in the spring of 2016, my next Bible study, Unlocking the Truth of Daniel, will be released.

Tell us about your latest book.

He Who Has an Ear started as an inductive Bible Study for me. I was wondering about the churches the Apostle John sent letters to (in the book of Revelation) and asked myself if they still existed today. Out of the seven churches, only two received commendation from the Lord. The rest were letters of warning. So I was shocked when I realized these warnings are very relevant to the church today. It broke my heart at times to realize how similar the modern 21st century church is to those churches that existed over 2000 years ago. So the warnings Jesus gave to them also apply to us.

Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?

Yes. It is very important that Christians study their Bibles inductively, precept by precept. We have to get back to the Word and study it earnestly. The Bible says Jesus is the Word and Jesus said to abide in Him, if we are only having a short devotion each day, or not opening our Bibles until Sunday morning, we really aren’t allowing Him to abide in us as He should. Studying the Word of God keeps the Believer discerning. If we are a church that studies the Bible, we will not compromise our beliefs, nor will we be led astray by false doctrines. Unfortunately, the church has let in false doctrines because its people do not know the Word of God. This is exactly what happened to the churches in Revelation. Get back into the Word. It is so important.

[Tweet “Get back into the Word. It is so important. – @LauraJeanDavis”]

Tell us about your next book Unlocking the Truth of Daniel.

It will be the first book in a new series called Digging Deeper. The second book in the series will be on Revelation. The goal of this series is to encourage people to “dig deeper” into their Bibles so that they can discover for themselves all the incredible mysteries it holds. The new series concentrates on keeping scripture in context, so I focus on that by also investigating where things stand in history. The book of Daniel clearly speaks of Jesus’ life, but not in the way most people think. It also speaks of the Kings of the North and South, but again, not in the way most people have come to accept. So I believe this will be an interesting study for any Christian who wants to take their Bible study times to the next level.

Thank you for joining us, Laura! If you would like to learn more about Laura J. Davis’ books or purchase them, you can find them below:

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Rose Seiler Scott Author Headshot

Rose Seiler Scott

Welcome, Rose Seiler Scott! Tell us,  Is your new novel ‘Threaten to Undo Us’ a Christian novel?

Yes, in the sense that I am a Christian and I wrote the book. Themes of hope and faith weaved themselves into the story as I wrote.

No, it is not a typical Christian novel. The storyline is not specifically arranged around how God can change and transform people.

I think Threaten to Undo Us is a “crossover” book that many readers – both secular and Christian will enjoy.

There are lots of books on World War Two. What makes Threaten to Undo Us different?

The shelves at the library are filled with stories and memoirs from the Second World War. Most focus on the Holocaust or stories of Allied soldiers. Few books in English are written from the perspective of German protagonists and even less have been written on one of the largest expulsions in history that took place after the Second World War. Trust me, I tried to find them!

Where did you get the idea for the book?

War stories, such as the Diary of Anne Frank, The Hiding Place and Unbroken, have always captivated me with tales of people surviving under the most trying circumstances. Over the years, I heard a number of anecdotes from my Dad’s family and realized the story they told was nothing short of incredible. No-one else seemed to be curating their experiences, so when the family gathered and started talking about those days, I grabbed a scrap of paper and took notes. The book is based on their story.

What were some of the challenges you faced in research and what did you discover?

It was confusing to piece together the family narrative, because it didn’t fit the framework of World War Two as I understood it. They were German, but lived in Poland. Even those that were children at the time said they were in concentration camps. I wondered why, since they weren’t Jewish. Family friends had similar experiences, but initially I could find no mention in any historical sources about this. Eventually I was led to a few crucial books about what happened after the war in communist Poland and East Germany.

The history in a nutshell is this: Before the war, culturally German people lived all over Europe; in Poland, Ukraine, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), Hungary and Romania. In the final days of the war, Russian forces moved west into German occupied territory but Hitler took a defiant last stand preventing the German army from retreating in enough time to get their civilians out in a safe, organized manner. Women, children and the elderly had to flee for their lives and many didn’t make it to safety. Those who returned to their homes were soon forced out.

As a response to the devastation in Europe and as retribution to the Germans for their part in the war, Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt determined at the conferences of Yalta and Potsdam to redraw the borders and “repatriate” all Germans to Germany, even if they had never lived there. Germany was ill-prepared to receive millions of refugees. As the communist regime established itself, revenge, terror and slave labour became the norm for ethnic Germans in Eastern Europe.
I also had to get into the mindset and perspectives of my characters during a terrible time and figure out how people and why they acted the way they did. It is easy to look back and point fingers at past evils and certain groups of people, but it is not so easy to put ourselves into the context of another era! Studying this history has made me realize how important it is to have a moral compass that doesn’t waver with current opinions.

A few years ago, I had reached a point in the writing the book where I felt it was necessary to go to Poland and Germany in order to write knowledgeably so I made the trip with my parents in 2009. Even though much has changed since the war, it really helped to actually be there. Certain scenes would not have come to life in the same way had I not gone.

How long did it take to write the book?

12 years, give or take. I was raising a family, volunteering at my children’s school and church and regularly suffering with migraine headaches. I was so frustrated by the lack of information, I set writing aside a few times.

How much of the story actually happened and how much is fiction?

Though the book is based on actual events, the decision to go with fiction made it more representative of a whole group of people and created an even more compelling narrative. Incidents have been imagined, re-imagined and embellished, but for the most part the basic plot is what really happened. Truth really is stranger than fiction, but fiction plays a role in telling the truth.

[Tweet “Truth really is stranger than fiction, but fiction plays a role in telling the truth. – @RoseSeilerScott”]

Sounds like a really heavy read. Is it a depressing book?

Yes and no. Yes. The book is about a family’s struggles under two totalitarian regimes. Bad things happen. Grown men have told me they were moved to tears.

No. As a Christian, I believe there is hope even in the darkest of times. I also avoid graphic depictions of evil, violence and bad language. If it were a movie, I would rate it PG because of the subject matter.

[Tweet “I believe there is hope even in the darkest of times – @RoseSeilerScott”]

What are you working on now?

I was seriously considering a story based on my English grandmother who also had a fascinating life, but people are asking for a sequel to Threaten to Undo Us. Hopefully it won’t take me 12 years this time! I also have two blogs!

Thank you Rose! If you would like to learn more about Rose Seiler Scott’s book or purchase it, you can find it below:

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Teresa Marie Author Headshot

Teresa Marie

Welcome Teresa Marie! Tell us,  when did you decide to become a writer?

I have always known I wanted to be a writer, since I was very young. Ever since I was a child I wanted to publish a book.

What is your favourite genre to write?

I prefer to write poetry and/or on spiritual matters, which does not necessarily mean religious matters.

Are your books only for Christians or would other people also enjoy them?

I only seem to be able to write about the Lord. It always seems to come out somewhere in my poetry. I almost can’t help it.

How long have you known the Lord and what brought you to a relationship with Him?

I have had a head knowledge of the Lord from a very young age. The relationship with the Lord, where it became a two-way street, was in 1997 when I suffered a brain injury. That was when I learned total dependence on Him.

[Tweet “That was when I learned total dependence on Him.”]

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I love to crochet when I am not writing.

What do you do when you have writer’s block?

When I have writer’s block I start to pray and ask God to remove it.

What does your office look like?

It is burgundy and white and gold. I have a few pictures on my wall that my artist drew for my book. My office also has a desk and chair, another chair and meditation chair. It has a little heater and a fake fireplace. I also have a comb binding machine and a boom box that I listen to worship music on. I have papers all over the place, books and bookcases, plants and a printer, and a couple of lamps for mood lighting as well. And I have an afghan that I crocheted to match it all laying on one of the chairs.

What is your current project?

I am working on a book called “I Came To Die”. It is the story of my healing journey from debilitating illnesses. It should be done in the very near future.

Thank you Teresa, If you want to learn more about Teresa Marie’s book or purchase it, you can find it below:

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Sandra Orchard Author headshot

Sandra Orchard

Sandra Orchard is the author of ‘A Fool & His Monet‘.

Welcome Sandra Orchard,  Tell us what inspired you to write a series about art crime, do you have a personal passion for art?

The inspiration for the series began with a newspaper article about Alain Lacoursière, a Montreal police detective who founded one of the top art-theft units in the world. The FBI estimates that the international black market in art is worth about $6-billion a year and it is now believed to be the second biggest source of income for at least one terrorist group. Sounded like great fodder for a story! I scoured the Internet for more articles. I read countless books on art crime, including the biography of an art thief and the biography of the founder of FBI’s Art Crime Team. And more recently, I’ve registered for an online course on antiquities trafficking—the topic of the third book in the series—with the University of Glasgow.

I wouldn’t say I have a passion for art per se. But I’ve found the research into art crimes fascinating and have developed a much deeper appreciation for art’s value to society.

The second book of the series, Another Day, Another Dali, comes out next year. Can you give your readers any insight?

Another Day, Another Dali delves into the world of art forgery. Fakes can be more easily detected than ever thanks to modern technology, yet many paintings on museum walls or sold at auctions, let alone those sold by smaller dealers, are likely forgeries. It was fascinating to learn some tricks of the trade during my research for this book and great fun to incorporate them into the story. On the character front, this story shares more insight into what drives Serena’s determination to find her grandfather’s killer, and ramps up the growing romantic tension between Serena and the two very different men in her life.

Does this series need to be read in order?

No, each book is a standalone mystery that will be completely tied up by the end of the story. There are of course many continuing characters that readers will get to know better as the series progresses and whose interrelationships will change over the course of the series. I’m even inviting readers to vote for which man they’d like to see Serena eventually end up with.

You have received many awards throughout your writing career, which one are you most proud of?

The 2012 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Critical Condition for two reasons. The award is not one authors enter so my novel was up against all other 47 Love Inspired Suspense published that year. Secondly, the novel is very close to my heart, because it is a tribute to a dear writing friend who inspired the story, and died while I was writing it, and to her husband who’d stood by her side through the two decades they battled the disease.

Are your books only for Christian readers?

No. My heroes and heroines are believers, so their perspectives on and reactions to what happens in the stories, of course, reflect that, but the stories are not message-driven. Many of my readers simply appreciate them as fast-paced, entertaining, “clean” reads, free of course language, graphic violence and sensuality.

It took an unfortunate circumstance (blowing a disc in your back) to bring you down the professional writing path. What advice would you give to those who are putting off their desire to write?

Get started. Exploit opportunities to write and to learn. You’d be surprised how much you could have written by the end of the week, simply by snatching moments here and there—while waiting in the doctor’s office, while the children are napping or at music lessons, for a few minutes before bed, or on your lunch break. And read books on writing craft. Understanding the basics about how to show not tell and stay in one point of view and how to write actively, not passively, and about story structure, will save a lot of rewriting later. Join a writers’ group. Attend workshops. Read the kind of books you’d like to write, but don’t be in a rush to be published. Enjoy the journey.

Your husband was the one to suggest that you start writing novels. What is he saying now?

He is incredibly supportive. He actually made the suggestion in the misguided hope that I would bring less books into the house, as they were piling up. Now…we have more around than ever, but it’s fun to see my name on them.

What do you do in your spare time? (Because authors have so much of that!)

I play with my young grandchildren. I also enjoy hikes with my hubby and renovating. Before I started writing, I used to sew and knit and cross-stitch and paint in my spare time, but now I do too much sitting. I need to move.

Thank you so much Sandra, If you would like to know more about Sandra Orchard’s books or purchase them, you can find them below:

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