Archive for the ‘#christfic’ Tag

Sand in Your Shoes, by Lela Markham   Leave a comment

via Sand in Your Shoes, by Lela Markham

Does your faith make you uncomfortable? It should. Jesus wasn’t comfortable. He struggled with temptation, He was cold, hungry and tired, sometimes He was frustrated enough to toss usurpers out of His Father’s house by violent means. He risked censor by correcting the churchy, judgey people of His day in public settings. They tried to stone Him a couple of times and then they nailed Him to a cross to kill Him in a very cruel way. He then died with the sins of the world seeped into His very flesh. Our Savior was not comfortable:

John 15:18-19

“If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, 48  the world would love you as its own. However, because you do not belong to the world, but I chose you out of the world, for this reason 51  the world hates you. 

Jesus promised us that we would be as uncomfortable as He was – the world would hate us, we would struggle with our efforts to be His followers, sin would dog our steps.

If your Christian faith does not make you uncomfortable with the world around you and how you interact with it, then something is probably wrong with your Christian walk. Being a Christian in this world ought to feel a bit like having sand in your shoes.

When I write, more and more often, I find myself pausing with my fingers over the keyboard, thinking about how what I feel led to write might make some people uncomfortable. Sometimes it will make non-Christians uncomfortable, but more often than not, it will make Christians uncomfortable. I mostly don’t fear that anymore. I know that’s what God wants me to do … point out the uncomfortable tensions of Christians living in this world. We shouldn’t feel cozy with the world around us, but in many ways, we shouldn’t feel snuggly within the Christian community either.

I want my readers to think about the soldier sitting next to them on the pew – the guy who just got back from the Middle East. Sure, he’s a nice guy and his wife is wonderful. His kids love him and he can quote Scripture. Nothing wrong with any of that. I take him at his word that he is a Christian who walks with Christ every day. Now think back a month or two. What is the job of a soldier? Killing and subjugation of a foreign population. Cut away the politics that took our pew mate to that foreign country and just ask yourself “What would Jesus have said about what this guy was doing a month ago?” Would He have automatically said “Thank you for your service”? I doubt it. I think He’d probably have written the number of the man’s kills in the sand before saying “I forgive those who repent of their sins.” Imagine how uncomfortable that soldier would be as he watched Jesus writing in the sand. Imagine how uncomfortable you would feel watching that if you’d just thanked the soldier for his service. I want my readers to think about the people the soldier killed or subjugated and feel compassion for them, but I also want my readers to think about the scars on the soldier’s soul that were inevitable from that behavior and feel compassion for the soldier. I don’t think Jesus would forgive the soldiers and damn the subjugated based on politics and that’s an uncomfortable thought.

I used this example because I have a lot of friends who are or were in the military and that works its way into my books. I could have used almost any example where our lives outside the church conflict with our Christian faith … those points where we ought to feel uncomfortable but often don’t. You could substitute bar owners, prostitutes, cops, pharmacists, authors … the list goes on and on. Everyone of us has tensions between our faith and our “regular” life and we ought to care about that. But, in our consumeristic society, being comfortable is the chief societal goal and so those authors who seek to market themselves as “Christian authors” feel the need to make their audience comfortable. That is a smart marketing decision that avoids controversy and topics that might make their readers think about uncomfortable ideas.

Is that actually a ministry or is God calling us to something higher … to be the prophets to our society through our narrative talents? Can we entertain readers while teaching eternal truths in a palatable form?

I suppose that depends on how uncomfortable we’re willing to allow God to make us.

 

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Lela Markham is the pen name of an Alaskan novelist who was raised in a home built of books. Alaska is a grand adventure like none other with a culture that embraces summer adventure and winter artistic pursuits.

“I don’t seek to be known as a Christian author, but as an author for whom Christ is so central to who I am as a person that He shines through.”

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Stephany Tullis Loves Legacy Banner

GENRE (S)

 Literature & Fiction – Religious & Inspirational Fiction – Inspirational

Contemporary Fiction – Religious – Christian

PUBLISHER

Kindle Worlds

 

eBook Price: $2.99

Available – 7/19/17 –  Purchase here

Interview with Stephany Tullis   1 comment

Today’s interview is with STEPHANY TULLIS. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself. 

 

Stephany Tullis Author PicHello, I refer to myself as a ‘A Native New Yorker’. Typically, when most people think of New York, they think of New York City—one of the biggest cities in the world. I’m from upstate New York about two hours north of NYC. However, I love The City—as it is also called and have visited it many times but would not like to live there-. New York, however, is a city known for its style, flare, theatre, shopping and so much more. It is a progressive city where its residents and often first-time visitors learn the importance of coping with their environment and circumstances with an attitude and perspective of succeeding with the hand life has dealt them. It is that seeming ability to cope and handle it all that I bring to my personality. My father and some family members continue to live in New York State. Other family members live in Georgia where I also reside about 30 minutes north of Atlanta.

I currently have small business management consulting company but write full time for the most part.

 

 

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote my first book entitled The Master’s Plan, A Novel at the dare of my oldest son. I had unexpectedly left my management job in New York because of family reasons and relocated to the Atlanta area sooner than I expected. Upon relocation, I was extremely disappointed when I was not able to find a job. When I relocated, finding another job was the least of my worries. It was this New Yorker attitude that eventually led me to conclude that my sometimes brash, bold, fast talking, confident persona did not mesh well with the genteel southern sometimes-not-so-hospitable south.

 

Stephany Tullis Masters PlanAs I commiserated over my unemployment status, my son said quite cavalierly, ‘why don’t you do what you do best? Write! Write a book!’ I had never thought about writing fiction. Loved to read—always have and he was correct. I wrote but my expertise was in the areas of technical writing—contracts, proposals, speech-writing.

Needless to say, I took the dare and wrote my first book in 2013—a novel about a woman’s search for purpose.

 

What are you passionate about?

As I write in my bio, “In my world, there is no life without writing, traveling, family, music and my love of politics. My loves and interests are central to my writing.”

My world (my back-story) is guided by my faith and the inspiration I receive from God.

With this backdrop, regardless of the date or time of your visit, you will find family. Without exaggeration, family and relationships are the core of every book I write.

I love to travel and like me, my characters are always off and running and in so doing require me to research (and often visit) so many fascinating places.

I also love music—all kinds and I’m never surprised by what track finds its way to my personal playlists and a character’s ring tone, door chime, or car radio station.

People frown sometimes and don’t understand my love of politics, but I have a political administration background and thrived on it and in my past government career. For me, it’s the people, the process and what democracy offers. As with life, my fictional towns and cities include mayors, governors, school board members, etc.

If you haven’t guessed, I love my world that allows me the joy of living a life I love but most importantly, one where I can share it with others via my writing.

 

 

Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

Stephany Tullis Blue LadyFrom start to finish, my writing is driven by my characters. There are times when I have an idea or a plot and storyline but as I create my characters, the story line and plot usually changes. For example, recently, I had developed a very general outline of my intended story. When I began my search for images for my cover design, the entire theme of my story changed as well as the qualities, quirks and characteristics of my characters. In this respect, my cover is very important to me and has a motivating influence on the development of my characters and the ultimate storyline. Additionally, I use a lot of dialogue in my stories and have been told that I am a cinemagraphic writer…scene and dialogue driven.

 

 

Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?

I am a pantster, i.e. discovery writer primarily as I describe above. My characters drive my story and as ‘they develop (along with the storyline), an initial plot outline will change drastically as my story evolves. I no longer spend time in developing outlines for this reason.

 

 

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?

Stephany Tullis Love's LegacyI intend to write ‘with purpose’ without moralizing or chastising. I write in several genres but my goal is to not only entertain and write a ‘good’ book but to also provide my readers something to think about. This was an important objective in writing my first novel, The Master’s Plan. My first book is ‘Inspirational’ and I tackle some important moral issues; e.g. fidelity, family, relationships, etc. My goal was to write a book that anyone could read and would want to read regardless of religious backgrounds and come away with a message that they could apply to their respective personal situations.

 

My favourite review of this first book is by a reader who describes himself as a ’63-year-old blond-haired, blue eyed male who rated the book with five stars.

 

 

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

I decided to self-publish after hearing the horror stories of so many writers who had signed writing contracts only to find themselves boxed into situations that limited their ability to write and did not provide them the financial advantages they expected.

 

If you have experience with both traditional and indie publishing, compare the two.

For a short period, I was under contract with a small publishing company. There were some distinct advantages such as the availability of editing, proofreading and cover design services. I’ve learned, however, that I prefer my independence and the ability to direct my writing according to my personal preferences. I had anticipated that I would receive much more support in promoting my books with a publishing company. I was extremely disappointed to discover that this was not the case.

 

 

Who designed your book cover/s?

As mentioned previously, my cover design is very important to me and I view the cover as a reflection of me, the overall quality of my book and writing. I have used several designers since publishing my first book. My primary objective in selecting a designer is their willingness to work with me to design a cover that meets my needs and personal taste. I’m proud and very happy to say that I have ongoing relationships with all my designers and that several of my covers have won ‘best cover’ awards in various competitions.

 

 

***Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

I address this question above but would also like to reiterate that I write cross genre, always with a ‘purpose’ and do not write only for Christian audiences. I want my reading audience to understand that all people, regardless of their religious background, ethnicity or gender have problems, issues, and challenges. It’s the manner in which we handle those issues and challenges that makes the difference in our lives.

 

What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

The biggest challenge for me is reflected in how I view myself. I am a Christian who writes fiction and not a Christian writer. This may appear to be a minor point, but it isn’t. I’ll use a couple of examples to illustrate my point. As a Christian, I know that we all have issues and problems. We live in a world filled with horrific problems that impact us all and not just Christians. My goal as a writer is to share stories about how people live in view of and despite such problems. To illustrate a point, as a writer, I might have a character who swears. While I know most Christians will find swear words offensive in an inspirational book, I approach this area carefully. Usually by softening the presentation by using language such as, ‘he cursed’ but I have been known to use certain words such as ‘hell’ to illustrate a point.

 

 

Do you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great story or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?

 

I think as a writer who is a Christian, my purpose is to tell a great story. In my first book, The Master’s Plan’, I use a lot of scriptural references (note the book is based around a woman in search of her purpose who happens to be the second wife of a pastor). My goal is not to present the gospel. My goal is to present a life style that reflects a character’s ability to face life challenges in a manner that would be pleasing to Christ.

 

Where can readers find you and your books?

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Pinterest

Amazon Author Page

Book Bub

Readers Group

Interview with Raven H. Price   3 comments

Today’s interview is with Raven H. Price, who I have been retweeting often. Welcome to the blog, Raven. Tell us something about yourself.

Raven Price Author PicI am from Leesburg, GA, a small town a few miles north of Albany, GA.  I am a wife, mother and grandmother who retired from government service in 2014, to write and travel.

 

At what point, did you know you wanted to be a writer?

In 2010, I was inspired to write a fantasy/romance based on my own life’s story.  I lived through several heart-breaking events and felt sharing them in an entertaining manner would inspire and encourage other women to be more careful with relationships and seek a life with Jesus first.

 

 

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

I love to read fantasy and romance novels so, when I began writing, it was natural for me to incorporate the two genres.

 

 

I’m a big fan of writers who write the books they want to read. What are you passionate about?

Raven Price The PlanShowing people love, respect and acceptance regardless of their beliefs, lifestyles or sexual orientations.

 

 

Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you?

Yes.  While I was writing THE PLAN, I realized if I didn’t write truthfully as well as in a fictional manner I would lose a reader’s interest.  I found myself crying many times and came to realize being a judgmental person had to die.  It was then I promised myself to be open-minded and show respect to people as much as possible.

 

 

Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

Sort of.  The Plan, my first book is a stand-alone, but the other three are a trilogy call The Paradigm Shift Trilogy.   Convicted (Book 1) has an abusive theme involving physical abuse, Convinced (Book 2) has a mental abuse twist where Commissioned (Book 3) is a fantasy explaining why physical and mental issues are intertwined.

 

 

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

Raven Price ConvictedI usually write early in the mornings and after lunch I love sitting quietly in a natural environment.  Communing with what is around me clears my mind and opens my heart for a more enjoyable relationship with Jesus.  I like reading so I’d probably have a few romance novels to read in the evenings, such as Nora Roberts & J.D. Robb books.

 

 

Talk about your books individually.

Rather than talk about my books I will post the blurbs.

 

THE PLAN: As a young child, Rachel Parody has a very special relationship with Jesus. By his side, she explores a magical place, is comforted, and encouraged to not live in fear. Over time, Rachel and Jesus lose contact and evil demons use their time of separation to steer her into the ways of the world. Not until her heart is completely broken and her mind is convinced she is headed for hell will she seek a face-to-face encounter again with her Saviour. At the age of thirty-four, Rachel learns to rely and depend on her childhood friend once again. He teaches her the truth and then introduces her to the love of her life.
Because of her horrific past, many years later, Rachel’s need to be a good example for young women in her church drives her to worry over their romantic influences. When she notices a series of books and movies enslaving them with lustful desires, her interest gets piqued. After investigating the books, these stories don’t repulse her but become a catalysis for Rachel to share the love of Jesus with these girls. But the fantasy appeal of the characters enthralls the girls more than helping them see there is a true immortal named, Jesus. She tried many ways to share how this love story between a mortal and a vampire was written from references out of the Bible’s ‘Song of Solomon.’ but no one would listen.
Once Rachel realizes her efforts were futile, she asks Jesus to calm her obsession and send someone who could reach the younger generation with His loving nature. Instead of sending Rachel help, Jesus convinces her to write her own story. Exposing her past was not in Rachel’s plan, but giving her life away as an example was His.
Will Rachel tell everything?

 

CONVICTED (Book 1 of The Paradigm Shift Trilogy)

Raven Price ConvincedThis book was previously published as The Conversion (Book 1 of the Harvesting Machine Trilogy)
Convicted (Book 1 of the Paradigm Shift Trilogy) begins the story by explaining how after being beaten and emotionally bruised by two ex-husbands, Hope Anderson seeks the comfort she once felt within her family church. Upon her first visit back, she sits on the last row to secure her anonymity. Desperate to find comfort and acceptance, Hope felt judgmental eyes instead. Regularly plagued by fear and paranoia, Hope seeks counsel and finds it through a female evangelist on television. The woman’s depiction of love and her explanation of a spiritual journey prompts Hope to ask God for the same. He grants her request. Hope is taught how to pray effectively because of her journey with the Holy Spirit. With intercession, Hope is also granted supernatural gifts of spiritual sight and hearing. She faces demons bravely through her faith in the Holy Spirit to help others.
When Hope’s journey is over, she does not turn her back on her church or on her colleagues at work. Convicted, she boldly stands and fights for them using her superpowers. It is through this process that Hope learns to love herself and other people and to forgive.
Living happily with her Lord, Hope is faced once again with what caused her immense fear and paranoia. The fight for her life begins, and it is the worst physical and spiritual battle imaginable!

 

CONVINCED (Book 2 of The Paradigm Shift Trilogy)

Raven Price CommissionedA prophecy is starting over. Heaven holds a meeting so the last piece of a puzzle can be found. Jesus chooses Gina Grimes, a strong willed, self-serving and unchurched young woman to complete the team.
For Jesus’ plan to work, the Holy Spirit has to first convince Gina her lifestyle isn’t great. He uses Caylee Sellers, Gina’s happy-go-lucky co-worker, to convince her there is a better life with the Lord. Once Gina submits to Jesus, he sends her a guardian angel. But when the angel called Ox arrives on the scene to guard her, he sees that Satan is already focused on Gina and is determined to ruin or kill Jesus’ new convert before the Lord’s seed of faith can take root.
A battle of wills begins and in the process Gina gets physically hurt. To counter act the situation Satan caused, the Holy Spirit uses another strategy on Gina to produce an effect that will shape her outlook and give her a supernatural way to contour nearly every action and thought.
While Gina physically heals, the Holy Spirit makes sure Gina finds new friends who are also equipped with guardian angels and various powers. Jesus’ plan starts working. Gina gains strength with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, Ox’s presence and her new friend’s assurance. Will she find what she craves before all hell breaks out?

 

COMMISSIONED (Book 3 of the Paradigm Shift Trilogy) picks up where Convinced left off. After Gina Grimes places Satan under her feet, Jesus declares a war. One factor remained before He could follow through with His war. God, insisted He free Satan’s harlot before proceeding with the annihilation.
After Jesus releases the harlot, for one year, the Holy Spirit, also known as Whisperer, will narrate the story behind the commissioned. He will lead readers through more escapades involving the heroes and heroines of the first two books while explaining how they harvest souls for God’s kingdom. After telling how Pastor Craig Reed is transformed into the vessel God uses to preach the true meaning of love, Jesus unleashes his final battle that affects the old harlot and gives her a purpose.
Who is this harlot that Jesus redeems? Why did God insist she be saved from Satan before Jesus started a war? How is she transformed to create a paradigm shift for mankind to follow? Find the answer to these questions and see how her decision and actions affect all of humanity.

 

 

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish?

I had a previous contract with another publisher, but the books were priced too high and it forced me to rethink my career.  Self-publishing was a great decision.

 

 

Price is so important when it comes to selling books. You would think publishers would know that, but they don’t seem to. What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

I love being in total control of my work.

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

The only thing I miss is having someone’s help with marketing and planning book signing events.

 

 

Who designed your book cover/s?

selfpubbookcovers.com

 

 

Do you belong to a writer’s cooperative? Describe your experience with that.

Yes.  I belong to South Georgia Writer’s Guild.  All of the authors share helpful tips, encouragements as well attending events together.

 

 

 

Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

I am a Christian fiction writer, but my books are not just geared to a Christian audience.   All women, not just Christian women will enjoy my books because they are sweet romances with fantasy elements that will keep their interests.

 

What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

People think since you write Christian themed books that you will be a preachy, judgmental writer.  I’m the opposite of this.  I try to inspire, and encourage women who feel forgotten, abused, and weak.  I love empowering my readers with hope and happy endings.

 

Christians are told to be “in the world, but not of it.” As a Christian writer, how do you write to conform to that scripture?

I’m glad you asked.  I truly believe in a spiritual existence, where we can be better people, know true love and grow as strong, well-rounded people.  Without having a sense of a pure undefiled place, our realities would cause our brains to malfunction.  Everyone must be able fantasize, dream or wish upon the proverbial star.  I write a lot about the spiritual realm where angels live and fight for us.

 

How do readers find you and your books?

Amazon

Facebook

Twitter

 

 

Interview with Aaron Brinker   1 comment

 

 

Today’s interview is with Aaron Brinker. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself. 

Aaron BrinkerMy wife and I make our home in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. She works at a non-profit (Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge) and I am currently unemployed and looking.

 

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

 

I wrote my first story in the 7th or 8th grade, and actually have it in my backlist of projects to publish. It needs a lot of work, but has a lot of potential. I had a downward spiral into depression a few years ago. During that plummet, I wrote a few poems and showed them to one of my college professors. He sat down with me and told me what he thought. He asked me what I was majoring in and told me whatever path I chose I needed to write.

 

Tell us about your writing process.

I have found that outlining works best. I still lend enough to variation and creation. I will outline a novel scene by scene and basically write a few words of what the scene is about. i.e. character x and character y have a discussion at such location. Personally, this makes it easier for me in the sense that I don’t focus on a word count but a scene or two a day.

 

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

The Narrative of Benjamin WhiteReading and writing I prefer a variety of genres. Mythical, fantasy, horror, biographies are all genres I love. I was a big fan of the Narnia series growing up. Ted Dekker is one of my favorite authors. When it comes to writing, I love writing paranormal, horror, historical fiction, Christian fiction and fantasy. I am planning hopefully later this year to start penning my autobiography.

 

What are you passionate about?

I’m passionate about writing, helping out where I can with my wife’s employer, fishing, gaming, and reading.

 

When you are not writing, what do you do?

Read, play video games, hang out at my wife’s work, editing, proofreading, brainstorming, and numerous other activities.

 

 

What sort of research do you do for your novels?

If anything comes up that is beyond my knowledge I try and research to get a better idea to add credibility to whatever project I’m working on.

 

 

Second ChancesDo you have a special place where you write?

My wife and I have a spare room that we made into an office.

 

 

 

 

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

No long waits and having to write numerous letters to see if you’re novel will be published.

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

Knowing where they can improve with mechanics of their craft.

 

With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

Marketing and promoting take a lot of time and it can be devastating at times. I try and stay positive knowing that all it takes is the right person reading and sharing via word of mouth for something to take off.

 

Mane of RedemptionWho designed your book cover/s?

 

My wife designed my book covers.

 

 Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

I believe there are plenty of self-published authors that could hold their own against some of the best traditionally published authors in the industry. Quality editing is one of the major keys to getting a story to a higher standard.

 

Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

I do not. I believe Everyone (Christian and Non believer) can benefit from moral lessons within stories.

 

What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

 

Some words don’t have as big an impact. In On Writing: Memoir of a Craft, Stephen King said something along the lines of, “there are some instances where vulgarity is best for the impact intended.” I’m struggling with this in my current project. The main villain in the “Redemption” Series could have such a darker aura if I were able to use vulgar words in his dialogue. With the “Redemption Series” being categorized as Christian Fiction, I have to stray from not using certain language within the story. In a way I kind of enjoy the challenge of how to make a character more sinister without the use of vulgar language. My go to is body language and pauses between dialogue.

 

 

Regaining PowerDo you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great story or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?

 

I believe that an author can pen a really great story, yet keep the gospel tied in somehow. In Mane of Redemption I focused on one lesson that was the theme throughout the story. I think a person can have an underlying moral lesson within a story and still produce a very intriguing story.

A prime example would be the “Narnia” series by C. S. Lewis. There are a lot of parallels between Lewis’s stories and Christian teaching, but due to the quality of writing the reader is focused on the story and not the obvious lessons they are learning along the way.

 

How do readers find you and your books? 

 

Website: aarondbrinker.wixsite.com/authorsite

Twitter: www.twitter.com/aarondbrinker

Facebook: www.facebook.com/aarondbrinker

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Aaron-Brinker/e/B01N54XF59/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1


 

Interview with Alisha Jones   1 comment

Howdy. Today’s interview is with author Alisha Jones. Welcome to the blog.

Thank you for hosting me today!

 

Tell us something about yourself.

Alisha Jones Author PicWell, I am happily married to my college sweet heart — and have been for almost sixteen years. I have four children that I homeschool, and love to pieces. At the moment we live in one of North Carolina’s major cities, but my heart will always belong in the country where I was raised.

 

At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Funny story… I was reading a book one day, leaning back in my La-Z-Boy, and the doggone thing didn’t end the way I thought it should had. (At least, the way I thought it should had) LOL. I started thinking, “If I was the author of this book, I would have written this way differently.” After that, the ideas I had for the book wouldn’t leave my head. So, eventually, I started writing them down and formed the ideas into my own little novella. Hope Renewed, my first attempt at writing, I introduced four sisters. Of course, I couldn’t stop with just one sister, so I wrote the ‘Hope’ series and included them all.

 

Tell us about your writing process.

Actually, my writing process is sort of a scramble of thoughts mixed with ingenuity. I don’t usually write a full synopsis, but I do have somewhat of an idea of what I’d like to happen. Then, I just let the story flow from there. Sometimes, the idea works, sometimes it doesn’t. If I have to start over, then I take a new direction.

 

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

Alisha Jones MessagedMy absolute favorite genre is Christian Romance. I could probably read books in this genre for hours. I love to read anything by Mary Connealy, Tracie Peterson, and Brenda Minton. And, if a story has anything to do with cowboys, I’m all over it!

 

I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

Wow! Great question. I would definitely bring my laptop so I can write without distraction. As a mother of four, I get my fair share of disturbances. If I could write for a month with none of that, there’s no telling how many books would come from my head. LOL.

And, I would definitely be bringing my books. I have no shortage of Christian romances on my bookshelf (Probably 30-40 that I haven’t read yet) and, if I could, I would bring them all.

 

Talk about your books individually.

I’m not sure you have that much time. LOL. I have published a dozen books so far and have six or seven more in my computer that I have to get back to. But, I’ll tell ya, my favorite was the ‘Vows’ series that I wrote. It consists of four novels: For Richer or Poorer, For Better or Worse, In Sickness and in Health, and ‘Til Death Do Us Part. I cannot explain why, but these books made such an impression on me while I was writing them, and I’ve received so many compliments about them.

 

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

Alisha Jones ChanceI try to incorporate a clear plan of salvation in each of my books so that if a person is unsure about their eternal destination, they can clearly see how to accept Christ. And, of course, as a romance writer, I want my readers to feel that forever-after kind of love. I know when I finish a book, I just wanna love all over my hubby. LOL. He likes when I read! (wink, wink)

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

The greatest advantage that I can see is that I have no deadlines, no editors breathing down my neck to get their hand on the latest version.

 

Who designed your book cover/s?

So far, I’ve done that myself. However, I have found an excellent lady who creates beautiful work. Stephanie Adams from Agape Authors has a natural touch when it comes to covers, so I will probably be contacting her soon.

 

Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

 

This is kind of a strange question. For some reason, when people think of the word ‘Christian’, they think of some holier-than-thou group that walks around on clouds and never have a single problem. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, we experience the same struggles and trials that everyone else does. My books are very clean in speech and morality, and may not be as explicit as some may like. But, that’s because I like to read that kind.

 

Do you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great story or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?

It’s entirely possible to do both! Just because a book has been labeled as Christian, doesn’t mean it will be any less of a good story than some that are rated PG-13. In fact, there is a peace that settles over you when you realize that emotional and spiritual love can be greater than the physical.

 

Where can readers find you and your books?

You can visit my website anytime: http://authoralishajones.wix.com/cleanreads

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAlishaJones

On Twitter: @authoralisha1

Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Alisha-Jones/e/B00KUG5AOA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1458067247&sr=1-2-ent

And I have two blogs on BlogSpot: authoralisha1.blogspot.com and authoralisha2.blogspot.com

 

Interview with Katy Huth Jones   10 comments

 

 

Katy Huth Jones author picToday’s interview is with Katy Huth Jones. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself.

I grew up an Army brat in a creative family, and being a painfully shy child, books were my best friends during our frequent moves. I dropped out of college and married my husband Keith 37 years ago, planning to finish “some day” but ended up being “self-taught” after homeschooling our two sons and hundreds of others for twenty-five years. Now we have three precious grandbabies, live in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, and I play piccolo and flute in a quality regional symphony.

 

You probably have a better education that 90% of the people coming out of college. At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Although I’d been writing stories since I was eight, I made a conscious decision to “be a writer” at age 28 when I had a four-year-old son, six-year-old foster daughter, and a foster infant on a heart monitor. I wanted to do something “grown up” and since my head was usually full of story ideas, I thought it would be a simple thing to write and sell science fiction stories to magazines. It took seven years and more than 600 rejection letters before I finally sold my first story—a fantasy.

 

Oh, my … 600!?  You’re way tougher than I would be. What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

My favorite genre to read and write is Christian fantasy.

 

Katy Books top row

 

What is something you cannot live without?

My Savior, and my Bible.

 

What sort of research do you do for your novels?

Research is one of my favorite parts about writing. I learned while writing magazine articles and my one nonfiction book how vitally important accurate details are, even to a work of fiction. A reader can’t “suspend disbelief” if he or she is jarred out of the story by an improbable detail or situation. I read books, but also look for as many hands-on opportunities as possible. To write scenes of jousting, I attended jousts at a Renaissance festival and Medieval Times in Dallas. I bought a replica of a 13th century sword to get a feel for its weight and maneuverability. I’ve made (and bought) historical costumes so I can understand how it feels to wear clothing that you can’t put on or take off without the help of a maid or squire. You feel trapped!

 

Katy and harp.jpgIf someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

I only realized this a few months ago, but all of my fiction written since I’ve had cancer has a similar theme: Finding hope and light in dark places.

 

Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

Totally character-driven. My stories always begin with a character who is wandering around inside my head. If I start asking him or her questions, pretty soon I begin to understand who this person is, with dreams and fears. Then I ask, “What’s your story?” It took me many years to learn this, however. When I first started trying to write sci fi, it was plot-driven and never worked, because I was forcing 2-D cut-out characters into a plot instead of taking the time to get to know the characters and let the stories flow from who they were and the choices they would naturally make.

 

You’ve got them in your head too? Good to know. This is my Alaska question because I live here. I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

I’ll bring my camera, zoom lens, and tripod, because I’m sure there will be amazing birds and animals to capture. I’ll bring at least ten spiral notebooks to write in, because I prefer writing first drafts by hand. My brain is connected to the pen or pencil, not the keyboard. As for books, I’ll bring my Bible and possibly a field guide to Alaskan wildlife, but no fiction in which to immerse myself, because I’d rather fully experience the beauties of nature in a remote place like that!

 

Katy Butterfly ladyNice. Talk about your books individually.

Since my writing can be divided into B.C. (before cancer first struck in 2005) and A.C. (after cancer), I’ll just talk about what I’ve published A.C. That other writing life seems like it belongs to someone else!

I wrote a MG fantasy allegory of the cancer experience called Leandra’s Enchanted Flute, which was published by Cool Well Press in 2012. It’s the story of a 14 year old flute player with cancer who is taken to a fantasy world by a talking Carolina wren because he believes she has the courage necessary to save them from a growing world-wide “canker.” Although not specifically Christian, it still carries that theme of hope and light in dark places. CWP asked if I would write a sequel, which they published in 2013, Return to Finian Jahndra. Within a month, CWP went out of business. I got my rights back and re-issued them under Quinlan Creek Press (our homeschool was Quinlan Creek Academy) in 2014. This was my first experience with self-publishing.

Another story I tried to write in 1988-1989 was a fantasy novel about a reluctant warrior prince and a pacifist Healer. Even after two rewrites, it didn’t work, so I stuck it in a drawer and went on to actual money-making writing projects, such as children’s books and writing for magazines, both fiction and nonfiction.

Then in early 2011, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer, and to distract me in my grief while helping my Mom (he wanted to die at home, and it took him eleven months because he fought so ferociously), I pulled out the old fantasy manuscript, threw away everything but the opening battle scene, and as a “writing assignment” asked the characters to tell me their story. The words poured out, day by day. It was therapeutic, but also exhilarating. I actually came to know these people, and the story completely changed because it grew out of who they were, not an improbable plot I had thrust upon them.

Once I reached chapter 70-something, I realized this was going to be more than one book. Soon it became apparent it would take five books to tell the entire epic story. My critique group (all trad published authors) read the first one, Mercy’s Prince, and encouraged me to find an agent. I knew that Christian fantasy would be a hard sell, but to humor them I sent out queries, even though I had already paid a content editor and proofreader, planning to self-publish the first book in September 2015, once I was closer to finishing the series.

Then the first of June 2015, my cancer came back unexpectedly and with excruciating pain. My husband and I both expected to hear that it was stage 4 and nothing to be done. I wrote my obit, we went to visit our children (and I ended up in the ER in Kansas City because the pain spiked). I decided to move up the publication date for Mercy’s Prince, since all it needed was a cover, and it would be my “good-bye” for family and friends.  I managed to publish it the first of July 2015, just before chemo started. And since the lymphoma was “only” stage 3, chemo put it back in remission, praise God!

Unfortunately, due to chemo brain I couldn’t concentrate on writing. I had book 2, Mercy’s Gift, edited and proofed, with a lovely cover by Perry Elisabeth, and it was published in September 2015. I was about 80% finished with book 3, but I was scared I would lose the rest of the story.

I signed up for NaNoWriMo last November in order to bring my brain back online after chemo. I managed to finish book 3, Mercy’s Battle, and get a good start on book 4, Mercy’s King. These are long books, each between 125,000 and 139,000 words! Lord willing, and the cancer stays away for a while, I hope to finish the series in 2016.

 

What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I hope that anyone who reads my books realizes that trials and upheavals happen to everyone, even faithful children of God, but through faith there is always hope and light to be found in Him.

 

What influenced your decision to self-publish? If you have experience with both traditional and indie publishing, compare the two.

I never intended to self-publish, since I’d been traditionally published beginning in 1992. But being traditionally published is no guarantee of sales. In fact, the marketing director for my latest trad published book expects me to do what I’m doing for my self-pubbed books, only I have no control over prices, cover, and blurb. It’s a YA historical novel entitled Treachery and Truth, which tells the true story of “Good King Wenceslas.”

 

What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

The greatest advantage is being in charge of all the details and having the ability to “think outside the box.” The worst advantage, for me, is being in charge of all the details. I just can’t think as well as I could before having chemo twice and it takes me a long time to learn technical things.

 

Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

Honestly, the only thing is that great satisfaction when, after pursuing the craft for years and collecting hundreds of rejections, you finally get an acceptance by a well-known magazine or publisher. It’s a validation of all your hard work.

 

Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

Definitely! It’s possible because we’ve invested our heart and soul in this “baby” and want it to be the best it can be. It’s much more difficult without hiring extra sets of eyes to edit and proofread your manuscript. A good editor is worth his/her weight in gold.

 

Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

Yes, because it’s who I am as a child of God. I can’t separate that from my writing.

 

 What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

Making sure the story honors God. The temptation is always there to “add stuff” to make the book sell more copies.

 

 Christians are told to be “in the world, but not of it.” As a Christian writer, how do you write to conform to that scripture?

There are lines I will not cross, not in my Christian life, and not in my stories. No profanity, no immorality glorified or justified, and though there is violence in my stories (since I write about the Dark Ages and medieval times) I try to make sure it’s not there to “shock” but only what is necessary to tell the story. The Bible contains a lot of violence, but it’s not “in your face,” so I try to let that be my guide. Potential readers should be warned that they will find blood and battle injuries in my stories.

 

Do you feel that Christian writers are expected to conform to some standards that are perhaps not realistic to the world?

 

If you mean, are Christian writers held to a higher standard, then I agree. I hold myself to the high standard that Christ demonstrated for us.

 

Do you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great story or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?

I personally don’t “preach the gospel” in my stories. I try to show the characters living it through their words and deeds. My goal is to reach those who aren’t Christians, those who are struggling with darkness in their own lives. I honestly don’t know how people get through traumas such as cancer without faith in God.

 

 If you write speculative fiction, do you find that the Christian reader community is accepting of that genre?

There is a small but fervent market for Christian speculative fiction. Many Christian readers won’t read anything that is considered fantasy or science fiction, which I learned long ago in my early homeschooling days. I just keep trying to find the few readers who are looking for Christian speculative fiction. I know they’re out there!

 

Where do readers find you?

Blog: www.katyhuthjones.blogspot.com

Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Katy-Huth-Jones/e/B00700A4DQ

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KatyHuthJones

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Katy-Huth-Jones-Author-318819684805145/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2914315.Katy_Huth_Jones

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/piccolokate/

 

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