Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Interview with Janice Mineer

I am happy to introduce Janice Mineer and tell you all about her new release, Heartbeat of the Bitterroot. It was a pleasure to interview Janice and learn more about her. Here is a little bit about her book:

Jenna Clark always tried to bury her bleak beginnings in Montana's Bitterroot Valley, but a newfound secret about her father's identity forces Jenna to dig up her past. While there, mysterious threats and dangers suddenly enter her life that bring about an unexpected man of her dreams--Michael Callahan. After a lifetime of running away from family and love will Jenna find the courage to confront her past and step forward into the future? 

Where did you get the idea/inspiration for your book?
I have known people, and in fact have some in my family, who have taken their own terrible story of their family of origin and completely turned it around to create a beautiful life for themselves, for those around them and for the lives of their future family. How does that happen? What kind of courage does it take to be an agent for change? I wanted to explore that question and honor those who have done it.

Where does the title for your book come from?
Jenna discovers her heart beats with courage—the courage to change her circumstances. The heartbeat that pulses throughout the novel—Jenna’s tenacity and her ability to reach for true love—is symbolized by the bitterroot flower and the secret heart it literally hides. The book is set in the valley of the same name.
What is your favorite book?
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. I love the vivid colors of her settings and the vibrance of her characters.

Do you have anything in common with your character, Jenna?
Yes, I love to run and to drink green smoothies!
What is the quality you most admire about Jenna?
Her perseverance and her fierce loyalty to her family. Wait--that’s two things!
Tell us about bitterroot flowers and if they have a role in your book
Jenna’s deep, bold courage is symbolized by the bitterroot flower itself. It appears small and delicate but it is an incredibly resilient flower that is native to this area. A little-known secret is, if you slice through its root near the top, you find—not kidding—a pink heart.
What are you working on now?

The second novel in the series. Who can you trust? Someone who on the surface may seem beautiful and appealing could turn out to be terrifying.  Someone who at first seems fierce and intimidating may actually be hiding a kind and caring heart. How can you find out which is which? Another story set in Montana.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Interview With Elodia Strain

I am so thrilled to be featuring my friend, Elodia Strain. We have been online friends since 2007 when I devoured her first book, The Icing on the Cake. We have read and blurbed each other's books through the years since then. She was one of the first to read my latest manuscript. Her support for this still-unpublished book has been enormous.

We were blog buddies, and with a few other awesome ladies, started the Ink Ladies blog several years back. We have been hanging out online for years, and I can't wait to meet her in real life one of these days!

I am excited to announce her newest book, The Dating Experiment. I had the pleasure to interview Elodia. Read our fun interview below. 

Here is a little bit about her new book, The Dating Experiment.
After losing her job, her house, and her guy, the last thing Gabby wants to do is be in a dating experiment--especially with her ex. Her only chance of making it through is with help from her best friend, Ian. As she participates in the study and its hilariously awkward dates, Gabby begins to wonder: can science lead her to her perfect match? Or will she have to find him all on her own?

What was your inspiration for this book? 
The idea for this book actually started at the grocery store. My husband and I were shopping and we saw an ad—for soap, I think it was—that said something like, “Now 50% Better!” We started talking about research studies and statistics and whether or not we should buy the soap, and then he said, “Maybe you could have a research study in one of your books.” You know you’re married to an author when you talk about plotlines while shopping for toiletries. So he gets all the credit.

Do you have anything in common with your main character, Gabby? 
Well…I share her love of Nancy Drew books, her fascination with the fifties, her soft spot for young people doing good things in the world. And on a larger scale, I share her questions about luck. I often feel terribly unlucky. I have a single C on my college transcript because I didn’t get the email where my professor explained he’d made a grading mistake and needed the entire class to re-send our finals. I have an extraordinarily overzealous immune system. I know way too much about cars because I’ve spent many a day of my driving life on the side of the road with an overheating radiator/broken clutch/shredded fan belt. But deep down, at the end of the day, as I’m thanking God for all I have, I feel so, so blessed.

How do you manage to bring so much humor to your books? 
I honestly don’t know. When my first book came out, my own brother said to my dad, “I didn’t know Dia was funny.” My dad and my brothers have this amazing stand-up comedian kind of wit where they can think of something hilarious right on the spot. I don’t have that. If I think of something funny to say, it’s hours/days/months after the moment has passed. The first drafts of my books have a lot of spots where I literally type in parentheses (think of something funny) and then hope something comes to me. And if it does, I am immensely thankful. Because infusing humor into my writing is something that has become very important to me. Life is hard. I want to make it a little bit less so for anyone and everyone to reads my books.

Who is your book crush? 
Sarah Mlynowski, hands down. I love everything she’s written. She crosses genres and audience ages and somehow it all just works. I remember reading an interview with her where the interviewer asked, and I’m paraphrasing here, “What is the biggest difference between writing Young Adult and Adult novels?” and she said that she didn’t notice much of a difference except for page length. That’s absolutely astonishing to me! Because my answer to that question would have been something like, “Well, there are hundreds of differences, starting with the fact that I have to eat a different breakfast when I’m writing YA and…” So, yeah, she’s awesome. 

Who is your favorite female book character? 
I love this question! It’s actually a tie. Ruby Oliver from E. Lockhart’s Ruby Oliver novels and Emma Corrigan from Sophie Kinsella’s Can You Keep a Secret?

Tell us about GLAs (Good Little Anythings) in the book
This was a really important part of the book for me. I feel like so much is bogging us down these days: Politics, food allergies, the cancellation of The Grinder. I have experienced first hand the miraculous power of a good deed. In fact, I have a Mylar balloon that I got from a dear friend on Valentine’s Day that is still clinging to the ceiling of my dining room, a whole month later. And every time I see it, it brightens me up inside. I don’t think it’s said enough how truly immense any act of goodness is—no matter what it is, and no matter how small it may seem.

Tell us about your next project. 
My next project….Well…I’m actually floating some ideas right now with a few of my personal favorite authors for some kind of collaboration, so that is super exciting. I’ve also started to write my next romance, but it’s still just a baby of an idea. I guess it’s time to head to the grocery store for a little inspiration!

Thanks, Elodia, for taking the time to answer my interview questions. Find out more about Elodia on her website www.elodiastrain.com. I  want to read the book even more now. The Dating Experiment is on my Kindle, and I can not wait to read it!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Teen Bookfest by the Bay.

Monday, July 29, 2013

I Could Spot Cricket In A Crowded Room: How Stephanie Perkins Nails Characterization

I am a sucker for a book with good characterization. When I'm reading, I want to be able to visualize the characters, to imagine what they look like and how they carry themselves. Not every author can pull this off. Many times when I'm reading a book, I can't get a good visual of the character or the author doesn't do enough to help me really know the character.

Other times, authors do an amazing job of developing their characters so that I feel like I actually know them. In Young Adult literature, John Green and Stephanie Perkins are experts at this. Today, I want to focus on Stephanie Perkins.

In her novel, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Perkins marvelously develops her characters. This is evident in both, Lola and Cricket. I'd like to focus on Cricket.

Cricket Bell is Lola's neighbor and through Perkins' excellent descriptions, we learn that he is tall and lanky and also that his hair is tall. His hair is floppy, but also stands up, like a mad scientist. Cricket is particular about his pants. He wears slim-fitting, pin stripped pants and vintage shirts. Sometimes his pants are purposefully short to show off interesting socks. He wears rubber bands on his wrist. Cricket writes messages on his had, such as Carpe Diem or eggs to remember to buy eggs.

All of these characteristics help the reader really know and connect with Cricket. If I walked into a crowded room, I would easily be able to spot Cricket Bell.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Book Signing at Barnes and Noble

Last Saturday, I had a book signing at Barnes and Noble. I was signing with Nichole Giles, author of Descendant. It went really well. I had friends from work and church come. There were also young readers that came out to buy books. I even talked to a few young people who want to be writers themselves. 

In the past, all of my book signings have been solo. It was so nice to sign with Nichole there to sign with. I think I enjoy joint signings so much more. I hope to have more joint signings in the future. 

It was such a great day. Thanks to all the people that came out to buy books. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Fiction Fest

In anticipation of my book's release, my publisher has posted a sneak peek. Click on the link below to Cedar Fort's Fiction Fest to read an excerpt. Release day is May 14!


Monday, April 29, 2013

I will be doing a blog tour for my upcoming book, The Huaca. Click here to see which blogs will be participating. Also, let me know if you are interested in participating in my blog tour.