Welcome Bruce. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, there’s really only a bit to tell. J First things first: I’m 41 years married to my high school sweetheart, Jeannie, a father of three, and a grandfather of fourteen. In a second career after retiring from the Air Force, I’m just sorting out how this writing thing fits into everything.
When did you first discover that you loved writing?
When Jeannie told me I did. (See, I told you I was 41 years married…) Seriously, I was developing and teaching a course through the Old Testament minor prophets, and, when I introduced the study on Jonah to my class, I said, “If I were ever to write a novel, it would be on Jonah.” I had no intention of writing a novel, but Jeannie elbowed me in the ribs—gently, of course—after class and said, “Well…?” From that, “A Prophet’s Tale” was born.
Why do you write the type of books that you do?
I love historical fiction; the research, going back in time, getting a sense of what things were like during that era. I particularly love the “hybrid” contemporary-historical genre, where there’s a modern-day storyline that either parallels or complements the historical tale. Susan Meissner is a master of this (The Shape of Mercy, Lady in Waiting). Both Katia and For Maria are written in the contemporary-historical genre.
What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?
I’m not sure I can nail it down to just one, nor am I sure that have overcome it yet. J I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer, with all the joy and frustration that entails. Paired with a full-time job that inhibits a regular writing schedule, there are obstacles galore.
Has writing changed your life in any way?
Writing enhances my life, but it doesn’t define me. I’ve read some authors who started much earlier in life than I did say they can’t imagine not writing, that they have stories they just must tell. And that’s great; more power to them. But that’s not really me. Having said that, with the vast amount of time and energy it takes to produce a manuscript, the emotional investment in the story, learning the craft, marketing the final product, collaborating with other authors—and so much more—writing can’t help but change your life, if taken seriously.
What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?
Oh, my. To say there is only one would be to admit that I’ve spent very little time in Scripture. Current life circumstances nudge various passages closer to the top of the list. This may sound odd, but I use Scripture references for my computer passwords (very secure), and it’s always of interest to me to discover, when prompted to create or change a password, which passages first come to mind. That’s telling of what might be going on in my life at that particular time.
Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?
Oh, my. To say there is only one would be to admit that I’ve spent very little time reading. (Oops! Sorry, I think I already said something like that …J) “Truly spectacular” you say? How can the Bible not be at the top of the list? But then what? Fiction? (Depth of the storyline? Quality of the prose? Memorable characters?) Nonfiction? (Impact of the events? Inspiration of the subject? Again, quality of the prose?) Wow, I can’t even begin to decide which one would come in second.
What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
Wow, where do I start? I suspect that a list of un-quirky things I’ve done would actually be shorter than a list of my quirky ones. Being a seat-of-the-pants writer, you have to have some quirkiness to surrender the manuscript so the characters will write the story for you. That way you can blame them if the book flops. There, is that quirky enough? (Hint: ask a writer who outlines…)
Please tell us about the featured book.
Lost Loves of WWII is a Barbour Publishing collection of three novels, two of which are mine: Katia and For Maria (click hyperlinks for reader reviews). Katia is perhaps my favorite of the books I’ve written (it’s certainly my wife’s favorite), and, although it deals more with the Cold War than WWII, it does have roots in that war. It’s a contemporary-historical novel with one storyline in the present and the other in the mid-20th century. For Maria is the sequel to Katia, also a contemporary-historical, and the historical storyline is definitely WWII. There’s also a third novel in the collection: The Train Baby's Mother by Sharon Bernash Smith, which promises to be a great read. Three novels for the price of one, I think, is a pretty good deal.
Can you please give us the first page?
Since there are two of my stories in this collection, I get two pages, right? J Okay, we’ll compromise; a page and a half. I’ll give the prologue to For Maria, since it’s a complete chapter.
1 March 1940
I hope this letter finds you well. I have received no response to my letter of last December regarding your sister’s baby girls. I can only hope it reached you, and that your response is en route. I fear, though, that there may not be time to await its arrival.
Our apartment is being watched, as are so many others in this district. Rósa and I leave for Salzburg tomorrow evening…
* * *
“…AND THEY HIDE IN THE SHADOWS LIKE RATS.”
“Stay back from the window, Rósa. If they see you, they may come before we’re ready.”
Rósa Dudek eased the curtain closed and rubbed her thin arms against the damp cold permeating the front room of their tiny second-floor apartment. The chill crept inward from the tips of her frail fingers and numbed her bony hands, triggering a dull ache in her arthritic joints. She shivered and pulled a threadbare woolen shawl tighter around her shoulders. Her wistful gaze flicked to a small fireplace, empty but for the powdery residue of last month’s coal, now too costly to replace.
“What are you writing, Gustaw?”
Her husband laid his pen onto the table and ran his fingers through thinning black hair. Cupping his hands around his mouth, he blew into them, then flexed his stiff fingers next to three stubby candles sprouting from a triple brass candle holder on the table. A weary halo shrouded the sickly yellow flames and cast weak shadows across peeling floral wallpaper and a pockmarked tabletop. The jaundiced glow accented the deep creases in Gustaw’s lean tired face. He coughed.
“I write again to the Mahlers in Berlin.”
“But why? They didn’t respond to your first letter.”
“I know they didn’t respond, but I don’t know why. The post is slow since the Germans invaded. There could be many reasons.” He lifted his gaze. “And we must do everything we can to return the girls to their family.”
Rósa clutched her arms around her slight waist. “Perhaps they’ve left Berlin. Or maybe they don’t want the children.”
Gustaw paused, then rose from his chair and took his wife into his arms. He kissed her forehead. “You understand we must return them, don’t you?”
Her eyes brimmed as he caressed her cheek.
“God has withheld children from us for reasons only he knows, Rósa, and lacking a son or a daughter does not lessen my love for you, you know that. I’m becoming attached to the twins, too, but we cannot take another family’s children for our own. God would never honor such a thing.”
“Of course I know this,” she sniffled. “But they’re so beautiful, and they look at me as though…” Her chest convulsed, and she rested her forehead on her husband’s shoulder. He let her release, as he had so often over the past twenty-five years at yet another month’s reminder that motherhood had eluded her.
“Rósa, it’s time we must—”
They stiffened at a tapping on the wall. Three taps, followed by two. Then silence.
Gustaw rushed to the table and blew out the candles. He stuffed the unfinished letter and envelope into his jacket pocket. “Get the children. Now!”
Where can readers learn more information about you?
I have a website at www.brucejudisch.com. If you click on one of the book covers, it will take you to a page dedicated to that book. The exception to that is the cover of Lost Loves, since it’s a compilation. Click on the Katia and For Maria covers for their respective pages to see what’s in Lost Loves.
I’d love to hear from any of your readers through the Contact Me link at the bottom of each of my Web pages. I give discounts for signed copies cheaper than the cover prices.
It's my pleasure to highlight an author of Prism Book Group,
Nancy Shew Bolton is a wife of 41 years, mother of five grown sons, and grandmother to a boy and girl. Ever since she learned to write, she would jot down her thoughts and impressions in little snippets of inspiration in the form of poetry, song lyrics, or short essays. About six years ago, she decided to try her hand at writing a full length book. She’s since written five works of fiction, two non-fiction, and is working on an idea for a children’s book, as well as more fiction manuscripts. Writing a full-length work is much more challenging than she thought, and she has received so much valuable assistance from other writers, especially from the ACFW critique groups. Her husband has been supportive of her long hours spent at the keyboard. Many thanks to her beloved Johnny! And now she’s under contract with Prism Book Group with a novel set to be released in September 2014! What a journey! She thanks God and His Son for her life, her loved ones and the spark of creativity inside every person. She believes each person is a unique creation, with their own special voice and place in this amazing universe. God’s handiwork amazes her every day!
Tell us about your newest book.
My debut book, “The Right Ingredients” is a contemporary romance about a shy, hard-working baker whose carefully constructed life of safety becomes gradually shaken loose and transformed by love and faith. It tackles some deep issues, as well as celebrates the way God guides the main character Ann, into a faith relationship. And of course, there is a romance in it, too!
What are two things you have learned during writing and publishing?
In writing, I’ve learned so much about tightening up my writing. In the beginning, I wrote in a rather conversational style, or what is often known as lazy writing! I’d had no idea I was a lazy writer, since what I wrote before was almost always short, inspired bursts of poetry or song lyrics. But a novel is a different animal altogether. I still have much to learn!
With the publishing experience, so far I’ve learned there is a tremendous amount of self-promotion and marketing to learn. These are things that don’t come naturally to me. I love the challenge of writing, but I’m an introvert, and the social media stuff and self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to me. But, I’m stubborn enough to keep plugging away at learning it, though it’s such new terrain.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I got my first contract! Before that, I considered myself someone who liked to write. The surprise was that a publisher liked my writing enough to contract it. So, after that I thought of myself as a writer.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. I wanted to show how gentle and loving God is. I think all believers are familiar with how we get tested and challenged, in order to grow, but I think sometimes we forget how gentle His hand can be. I wanted to show how he opens a person’s heart, much the same way He coaxes a flower to open through just the right conditions. Hence, this story, “The Right Ingredients.”
What books have influenced your life most?
The Bible, of course. After that, I’d say as a child it was the “Little House” books and “Little Women.” Later on, “The Grapes of Wrath” had a huge impact on me, as did many classics by other writers, especially Shakespeare. How I love the way he expressed the inner workings of human beings. Fascinating.
Do you have any other works in progress you can share with the readers?
I have a women’s fiction novella set during the dust bowl, which comes out next spring. I also have two historical romances which I’m waiting to hear if they will be picked up for publication. One is set in the 1890’s, the other in the 1970’s.
Right now I’m working on a romance set in the 1920’s, as well as a fantasy/speculative fiction story a bit similar to Tolkien or C.S. Lewis. I love to write in various genres, and have an idea for a children’s story as well. Writing is such an adventure!
Thanks for interviewing me, Mary!
Nancy, it's a joy to have you on "Behind Every Story," may your writing be blessed as you travel your journey. Tell the readers where they can find you.
The Diamond Mine group blog
Lillian Duncan lives in Ohio with her husband, four parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that she's thinking about renaming Clifford since he keeps growing and growing and....
Why did you write REDEMPTION?
We only catch a brief glimpse of Jamie in DECEPTION and BETRAYED. REDEMPTION is Jamie’s story.
What do you want readers to take away from REDEMPTION?
God loves us no matter what we’ve done in the past or what we do in the present or will do in the future. His love is the one constant we can always count on!
Does REDEMPTION have a theme?
God loves us just the way we are and He is always there waiting for us to come to him.
What’s the SISTERS BY CHOICE series about?
This series definitely has romance in it, but I also wanted to explore the strong bonds that form between women—through blood or through the choices we make. Each story focuses on a relationship between two women that becomes as important to the story as the romantic plot.
Why did you become a writer?
I always had stories in my head waiting to be told. Unfortunately for many years those stories were only being enjoyed by me. One day a light bulb went off—hey, maybe I should be writing these stories down for other people!
That was the day a writer was born, but it took many long years until I could say, “I’m a writer!” Now, I love saying that.
What is your writing process?
I am not an outliner. I wish I were—it seems easier to me. But my mind doesn’t work that way. I never know what is going to happen in my story on any given writing day. It’s as if my mind is a movie screen and I watch that day’s events and then I write it.
When I start a new story I usually have a clear picture of the main character in mind and what obstacle he/she will face, but anything goes after that. If I’m writing and start to feel bored—then I kill someone or blow something up. And that way it’s a surprise to me and to my readers.
Do you know who the bad guy is when you begin your story?
Not usually. Most of the time I have several characters who it might be. As the story comes to a conclusion, I am surprised right along with my readers. REDEMPTION was no exception. I thought I knew who the bad guy was but as usual there were a few surprises!
Most people don’t think of murder mysteries and suspense novels as Christian Fiction. What do you say to them?
I can certainly understand their point of view. And for some readers my stories might be a bit too graphic or edgy and that’s all right. I understand that. I would say my readers are those who like traditional suspense and mystery novels but are tired of all the explicit language and sex scenes that aren’t necessary to a good story.
As mysteries and suspense, there is, of course, some violence in the stories. However; I don’t promote or glorify violence. I make sure to show characters experiencing the natural consequences of bad choices and bad actions.
Then what makes your stories Christian Fiction?
My stories always have an element of faith in them. How that plays out depends on the individual plots of each specific story. My main characters are always on a spiritual journey, though some may be further along than others.
My stories shows characters in crisis. I use the crisis to illustrate how real Christians react to real problems in their life. We all react in different ways when bad things happen and the same is true in my stories. I show characters having doubt but also resolving that doubt and becoming stronger in their faith as a result of the crisis.
One more word about Christian Fiction, it has changed dramatically over the past ten years. Other than erotica, readers can find their favorite genre as Christian Fiction as well as mainstream fiction. There are Christian Fiction books out there for every book lover—historical; romance; regency; science fiction; even horror novels.
What are you working on now?
In July, I had a new mystery novella series released--DEADLY COMMUNICATIONS. It features a crime-fighting speech pathologist. Having been a speech pathologist for almost 35 years, this story was so much fun for me to write.
The second in the series—NOWHERE TO BELONG—will be released sometime next year and I still have some work to do on the third in the series. Along with that I have a few other projects I’m working on. Busy, busy, busy!
HOW CAN READERS FIND YOU ON THE INTERNET?
My website is www.lillianduncan.net. My blog is TIARAS & TENNIS SHOES at www.lillian-duncan.com . I’m also on Twitter as @LillianDuncan and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lillian.k.duncan I also contribute to Putting On The New at www.puttingonthenew.com.
To celebrate the release of REDEMPTION, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card. But wait…there’s more! I always feel bad for the people who enter the contest but don’t win. So I’m also going to pick FIVE more lucky names to win a $5 Amazon Gift Card. Just the right amount to buy REDEMPTION! Just kidding, the winners can use it to buy whatever they wish.
So hop on over to TIARAS & TENNIS SHOES at www.lillian-duncan.com to enter. Leave a comment on the post REDEMPTION and you’ll be entered to win. Easy Peasy!!
Others may think Jamie Jakowski is a hero, but she knows differently.
Haunted by her past, she seeks redemption by helping others in spite of the danger to herself. However, after almost orphaning her daughter, Jamie opts to retire. When a friend needs her, Jamie agrees to one last undercover operation.
She is determined to reunite a heartbroken mother with her kidnapped son. Used to working alone, Jamie’s not happy when she’s assigned a partner. And after a failed operation and their failed romance, Enrique Rodriguez is the last person she wants to work with—ever.
To succeed, Jamie must confront her past as well as the people who want her dead.
Lillian Duncan: stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem!
Lillian is a multi-published writer with several Amazon bestsellers, including The Christmas Stalking and Betrayed. Lillian writes the types of books she loves to read—fast-paced suspense with a touch or two of romance that demonstrates God’s love for all of us
Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.
To learn more about Lillian and her books, visit: www.lillianduncan.net. Tiaras & Tennis Shoes is her personal blog at www.lillian-duncan.com.
Let me start with asking you to tell us a little about yourself. Also, enlighten the readers on a few things you enjoy when you're not writing.
My day job is in music--I’m a bass guitarist. I’ve been very blessed to get to live out both of my passions: music and writing. I ride the line between introvert and extrovert, so I love being alone and writing, but as soon as I’m done I want to interact with people. I enjoy game nights, antiquing, and just hanging out with friends.
Tell the readers about The Land Uncharted.
The story is about Lydia Colburn, a young physician who is dedicated to serving her village in the Land. Day and night, she rushes by horseback to treat the ill and injured, establishing a heroic reputation as the village’s new doctor. Naval Aviator Connor Bradshaw is flying over the South Atlantic Ocean on a mission to secure any remaining sources of fresh water in a 2025 world torn apart by war. A malfunction activates his aircraft’s ejection system, parachuting his unconscious body to the shore of a hidden land. Lydia risks her safety to help the injured outsider despite the shock of his mysterious arrival and the disastrous implications his presence could have for her peaceful society, which has gone undetected for seven generations. Connor searches for a way to return to his squadron, but his fascination with life in the Land makes him protective of Lydia and her peaceful homeland. And while Lydia’s attraction to Connor stirs desires she never anticipated, it also pushes an unwanted admirer to stage a dangerous attempt to win her affection. As Connor tries to keep the Land off the radar, he learns the biggest threat to Lydia lurks in her village. But when Lydia’s greatest passion and darkest fear collide, will she look to the past or the future to find the strength to survive?
What inspired you to write The Land Uncharted?
I wondered what if an uncharted land existed but it was undetectable to modern technology? I was inspired by my family history research. I have deep American roots and my ancestors moved west during the mid-1800's. I thought: what if during that era a few families wanted to settle a whole new land instead if going west? What if they packed a ship, ran aground on some uncharted land, and founded a new society there? Instead of writing the story of the settling of that land (which I may do some day) I decided to start the story in our era. The Land Uncharted begins seven generations after the settlement of the Land. Also, I believe romance is truly one of the most magnificent parts of life. One of. I also like to give these women cool jobs and big adventures, and some character development so they are ready to love when the time comes.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in this book?
No. It’s been through so many revisions and edits, I can honestly say, I’m content with the story.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Hurting characters. But I had to get over that. Not that I now enjoy it--just that I saw how it changes them and that is the goal.
Do you have a blog?
Yes. It’s the front page of my website. I sometimes write about my writing journey, but I mostly feature other authors and their books. If there is one thing I love about writing, it’s the writing community. This is never about just me and my books.
Where can readers find you and your novels?
Website: Keely Brooke Keith
It's my pleasure to interview a gifted author, and friend Diane Dean White. Texting Mr. Right is her newest novella. Answer a fun question at the end of the interview, for a chance to win an eBook of this wonderful romance.
Diane, as a writer of Christian novels and stories…how has the Lord influenced your life?
When I made a profession of faith to accept Christ into my heart, I also made him Lord of my life. In my writing I ask, is this something that He would be happy to read, and would I want my children to read it? I try to include the salvation plan in my books, and my short-stories are written with the same thoughts in mind; would the Lord like this and would my children? I pray about the books I write and how best I can project reality in life, forgiveness and redemption. When I’m unsure I give it to the Lord, and He always has an answer for me. J
How long have you been writing?
I started writing in 6th grade on an old black, Royal manual typewriter. I wrote stories and then poetry, and had a short book of poems published just out of high school. It’s something that seemed to come natural to me. I was a secretary at Michigan State University and didn’t get serious about writing until we moved to a southern town in Georgia and I applied for a position as a newspaper reporter. Little did I know I’d soon have a weekly column. I named it “Yankee Viewpoints,” I loved interviewing people for feature stories and learning about the area through our time together.
Did you start out pursuing novels?
No, I started writing short stories, and in 2001 after a fall when I began having back problems, I had a number of my stories featured on mailings that went out over the World Wide Web. I got so much feedback from people I decided to make a compilation of short-stories and I self published a book called Beach Walks. Many of those stories were picked up by Christian magazines and other books, and next I wrote a novel. Carolina in the Morning was a reality two years later. I loved doing the research for that story. We’d moved to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, and made trips to Charleston, where my book is centered. After that I started writing a weekly column for a Michigan based magazine, and was with them until I started on my next novel. I’ve written well over 300 short-stories and although it’s different from a novel, I enjoy writing them from time to time.
What was your next book?
Last fall On a Sumer Night was released. I’d worked on that for a few years and went with a traditional publisher. I began another novel, This Side of Heaven, and enjoyed writing this so much…since it’s over 90,000 words, I decided to take a break and write some short-stories. I published Stories on a Porch Swing, an ebook only, with Amazon last April. Then wrote my first novella, Texting Mr. Right, which was just released last week…it was fun and I hope readers enjoy it.
Diane, speaking of Texting Mr. Right, tell us a little about the story.
Here's a wonderful Inspirational blog:
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