Thursday, May 24, 2018

Story Sparks Multi-Author Giveaway: From Stringer to Author with Catherine Castle

Story Sparks



Welcome to the Story Sparks multi-author blog tour. Between May 21-26, 2018 readers get a chance to enter and win ebooks from six different authors. Today Catherine Castle is the featured author. Catherine’s winner may choose an ebook from any of her three books listed above on her book spine. Today Catherine will talk about the story sparks that started each of these books rolling. Read on to discover what inspires Catherine’s creativity and to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway .


Hi, everyone!
I began my writing journey as a stringer for a local weekly newspaper. The hardest thing about that job was finding ideas to write about. I was in Writer Heaven when the editor called with a story idea. It was like getting a bright, shiny gift topped with a beautiful ribbon. The problem was those editorial gifts didn’t come in as fast as I wanted them to when I first started writing. So, I had to figure out where to find more ideas to write about. And of course, the burning question back then was, “How do I find an idea?”

It’s also the question most people ask me when they find out I’m a writer. Now I know the answer. J

After I published my first book, a multi-award-winning inspirational romantic suspense titled The Nun and the Narc , my daughter bought me a tee-shirt that read Careful, or you’ll end up in my novel. I’m not sure if she knew how true that quote is, but I suspect she did, because whenever I’d hear, see, or read something interesting, she heard me say, “There’s a story somewhere in that.” For me story ideas are everywhere and within everyone.  I find story spark ideas in: the things I’m interested in, in other stories, in the news, in things people do, in things people say, at museums, in places I visit, in places other people visit, in magazines, and even through the tidbits of information on the backs of cereal boxes.

The Nun and the Narc originally started with the heroine as a missionary to Mexico building houses for the poor. I’d been working on some news articles about Habitat for Humanity for the newspaper, which probably spurred the original story plot. But the story wasn’t working for me. I couldn’t get my head wrapped around the missionary heroine. Then a critique partner suggested I consider making the heroine a novice in the Catholic Church.  Now, I am fascinated by nun stories. “The Sound of Music” is my favorite musical, and I loved the television series “The Flying Nun.” As a stringer for the local newspaper, I interviewed a nun who left the order to marry, and, in real life, I knew a nun who had also left the convent to marry. I do admit to having a curiosity about how those women dealt with leaving the convent, and I think part of that curiosity spurred my story.


The Nun and the Narc

Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicable attracted to him he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them, because he is making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.

 Although the book was a hard sell—the Christian market doesn’t usually like you to name denominations—the story was so intriguing to me, because of my interest in nuns, that I wrote it anyway, knowing it might never leave my hard drive. It was a book of my heart—inspired by my own interests and my feature stories for the newspaper.

My second book, a sweet romantic comedy with a touch of drama entitled A Groom for Mama, got its inspiration from a radio play my husband and I wrote years ago, entitled a “Bride for Mama.” The original play finaled in the contest, but my hubby and I never did anything more with it. When I was searching for something new to write, I remembered the radio play. I asked my husband if he minded it I took the original premise—a dying mother wants her son to find a bride before she leaves this earth—and turned the plot on its ear, creating a new story. He agreed and A Groom for Mama was born. I found inspiration in another story.

A Groom For Mama

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

My most recent release, a contemporary inspirational romance entitled Bidding on the Bouquet, was ripped from an internet headline about a bride who was making her wedding attendants bid for places in her bridal party. My story, however, bears little resemblance to the news story. With plot twists and character changes I created a new story. All I needed was spark of an idea provided by the Bridezilla who wanted to get money for her wedding.


Bidding on the Bouquet

The chance to catch a bridal bouquet containing a solid gold rose makes underprivileged, down-on-her-luck grad student Marietta Wilson pawn everything she owns to come up with a bid to win a bridesmaid spot in the most prestigious wedding of the season.

When he discovers his sister is auctioning off bridesmaid spots in her wedding party, wealthy, elitist Chip Vandermere is appalled. Not only is it in poor taste, but no self-respecting lady would stoop so low as to bid. Convinced Marietta is a gold digger, Chip sets out to thwart her plans.

A social climber and a social misfit. Can a bridal bouquet unite them?


So, you might want to be careful the next time you ask a writer, “Where do you get your story ideas?” They might just say, “Why, from you, of course.” Because everything is fodder for the imagination of a writer.  


Thanks for coming by today and don’t forget to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win books from these six authors: Carole Brown, Catherine Castle, Linda Matchett, Amber Schamel, Terri Wangard, and Jodie Wolfe.


About the Author:
Multi-award-winning author Catherine Castle loves writing, reading, traveling, singing, theatre, and quilting. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her books The Nun and the Narc, A Groom for Mama, Bidding on the Bouquet  and Trying Out for Love boxed set on Amazon. Connect with Catherine on her website and blog, FB, or Twitter @AuthorCCastle





Buy links:
The Nun and the Narc www.amzn.com/B00CHU9DH2
A Groom for Mama  www.amzn.com/B074SZSGB1 
Bidding on the Bouquet   https://www.amzn.com/B077X1RZ6X
Trying Out for Love  https://www.amzn.com/dp/B078SDRHP9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorCCastle    @AuthorCCastle



Link to Rafflecopter entry: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/831a42731/?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Story Sparks Multi-Author Giveaway: Creating a Family to be Proud of


Story Sparks Multi-Author Giveaway: 
Creating a Family to be Proud of


Welcome to the Story Sparks multi-Author Blog Tour. Between May 21-26, 2018, readers get a chance to enter and win ebooks from six different authors Today, Terri Wangard is the featured author. A lucky winner will win her Friends and Enemies. Terri will be talking about "Creating a Family to be Proud of." Read on to discover what sparks Terri's creativity and to enter the Rafflecopter (found at the end of the post) her heartwarming book.

A batch of forgotten letters was found in my grandmother’s house. Written in 1947 and 1948, they came from distant cousins in Germany. My grandparents and other relatives had been sending them care packages. My great-great-grandfather immigrated to Wisconsin in the 1870s, as did two brothers. A fourth brother remained in Germany, and these letters came from his grandchildren.

The family in the letters would be the perfect subject around which to craft a story. Research revealed life in Nazi Germany as increasingly grim before the war even started. The letters provide a fascinating glimpse of life in war torn Germany, but nothing about the war years. How had the family coped? I turned to the internet and searched on the family’s factory name. I found it all right, in a list of German companies that used slave labor. I wanted my family to be the good guys, but that hope grew shaky.

Contact had ceased in 1948 after the German currency reform, and with their silence in the letters, many questions couldn’t be answered. Why had they refrained from any mention of their thoughts and activities during Hitler’s regime? Desire to forget? Shame of the vanquished? Concern the American family wouldn’t help if they knew the truth?

The family consisted of a brother, his wife, and three young children, and a sister and her husband, and their “old gray mother,” who turned 66 in 1947. Another brother languished as a prisoner of war in Russia, not returning home until 1949, I learned from the German department for the notification of next of kin. The sister and her bridegroom had lived in Canada for five years, returning to Germany in 1937 because she was homesick. They were bombed out of their homes and lived in their former offices, temporarily fixed up as a residence. Before the war, they employed about one hundred men, but in 1947, had fewer than forty-five, with no coal, electricity, or raw materials to work with.

My imagination took over. The family, not the newlyweds, came to Wisconsin. Because a critiquer scorned someone returning to Hitler’s Germany due to homesickness, I gave them a more compelling reason when I rewrote the story. The grandfather had died and the father had to return to take over the factory, much to the daughters’ dismay, who loved their new life in America.

Of course, they did not support Hitler. Because their factory had to produce armaments and meet quotas imposed on them, they had no choice in accepting Eastern European forced laborers, Russian POWs, and Italian military internees.

The older daughter (my main character) took pride in committing acts of passive resistance. Now a war widow, she hid a downed American airman, an act punishable by execution. When they were betrayed, a dangerous escape from Germany ensued.

Maybe the family did support Hitler. Many did before realizing his true colors. My version probably doesn’t come close to the truth, especially concerning the daughter. The real daughter was twelve years old in 1947. No matter. This is fiction, and this is a family I can be proud of.

Friends & Enemies
Aiding downed enemy airmen is punishable by death in Nazi Germany,
but he’s an old friend. How much will she risk to help him?
A World War II novel. Purchase Link

Terri Wangard’s first Girl Scout badge was the Writer. Holder of a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in library science, she lives in Wisconsin. Her research included going for a ride in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress bomber. Classic Boating Magazine, a family business since 1984, keeps her busy as an associate editor.

Terri's Links:
Website (where you can sign up for her newsletter): http://www.terriwangard.com/

Link to Rafflecopter Entry Form: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/831a42731/?


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Story Sparks Multi-Author Giveaway: Spies, Flutes, and Red-heads with Carole Brown

Story Sparks Multi-Author Giveaway: 
Spies, Flutes, and Red-heads with Carole Brown

Welcome to the Story Sparks multi-Author Blog Tour. Between May 21-26, 2018 readers get a chance to enter and win ebooks from six different authors. Today Carole Brown is the featured author. A lucky winner will get her choice of a Kindle copy of With Music in Their HeartsorA Flute in the Willows. Today Carole will be talking about these books: The Spies of WWII. Read on to discover what sparks her creativity and to enter the rafflecopter to win one of her heartwarming books.

Spies:

Developing my WWII Spies series came from two things:

  • Listening to my mother talk about her life during WWII and seeing the pictures she had.
  • A short story about a “supposed” civilian spy during WWII from an elderly man. Rumors had it that HE was that spy, but he neither confirmed nor denied it.


Because my interest in WWII was sparked through these two avenues, I found it easy to fall in love with the research for the books. 

Researching spies was an eye-opening experience. Notonly danger is involved, but there are tons of reasons why men—and women—serve in such a capacity. The rewards are vast—money, esteem, the parties and socializing, exotic countries—if all goes as hoped and the spy escapes detection. Caught—prison and death can be the result.

Music:
And since dangers and sacrifices abound in WWII stories—some of which I brought out in these books, I also wanted to create a sense of fun, warmth, and love to lighten the suspense. One way I managed to create the feeling was to bring music into the story as a subplot.

The idea to include music in these books was sparked because of my own love of music. The decision as to what or how it was brought into each book was also a fairly easy decision. Music has so many benefits besides lightening up suspense books.
  • Encouragement
  • Mood enhancers
  • Spiritual uplifter
  • Healthy

 and so much more.

One tidbit before I move on to the sisters. I love most instruments, but the flute was not one of them—until I heard one played by an expert. That changed my ideas about flutes, and from then on, and the idea was sparked! The flute was the perfect instrument to include in athletic Josie's life.

The Red-headed Sisters:
I'd already planned to feature three red-haired sisters in their own books. It was fun to create their personalities and who the heroes would be. Fortunately, while I wrote book one, the heroes for the other two books appeared and were good matches for sisters two and three.

I've always loved red hair. It's so vibrant, rich in color and alluring. Studying and researching the subject I realized how many different shades of red there are and helped spark the choice of shades for each sister to match their personalities.

All in all, the first two books have been a delight to write, and I'm looking forward to the writing the third book soon.

Let me share brief thoughts how the spies, music and sisters all worked together to make this series heartwarming and suspenseful.

With Music in Their Hearts
With my interest piqued and imagination soaring, I settled on the plot for book one where the hero—handsome, smart, a minister and godly—is rejected to serve overseas but recruited to serve as a civilian spy. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between him and the heroine as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.

Emma Jaine Rayner, by her own claims, is a non-professional pianist, who entertains and gives an extra dose of homeyness to the boarding house residents with the nightly musical fests. Her active imagination while playing, increases her longing for a man to love—and Tyrell Walker, the civilian spy, increases the pressure by wooing her with his trained voice.

A Flute in the Willows
In Book Two, the heroine and hero are both rebels in their own way. She has two loves—her skating and Jerry, her husband, an overseas U.S. spy. But when he returns home looking like a skeleton trying to return to life, she’s scared. What happened in Germany to change a man so much? When his wife's life is threatened, Jerry realizes he can’t stand by and do nothing. Jerry has to risk all for the very soul and life of himself—Josie. These two damaged, rebellious people learn the hard way that leaning on God instead of themselves and their abilities is the only true way to love and happiness.

Josephine Rayner Patterson, the second sister, is quite different from her older sister. She's athletic and training for the Olympics once it's resumed after the war. But returning to her flute after a drastic alteration in her life, it's the balm that heals her troubled heart. In spite of resisting, Jerry Patterson through her music and enduring love, finds his heart strangely drawn to what he's never experienced before.

Sing Until You Die(coming)
The third book in this series has a tentative publishing date of 2019. The youngest sister of the WWII Spies sister overhears a private conversation while singing to the military troops and realizes it's vital information to the well-being of the United States. When she’s almost discovered, Claire barely escapes. Surrounded by zealous people she can’t and won’t trust, Claire has no options but to trust the one person she most disdains, the one person she ran from: quiet, plugging-along Wills but rumored to be the best spy serving on U.S. soil. In the midst of danger, Wills has the chance of a lifetime: to show the love of his life, his love for her. Will she learn that God is her strength and wisdom and that no matter how well she can sing, how far she travels, how many men she meets, only Wills can fill the void in her heart?

Claire Roseanne Rayner is the princess of the family, the petted and beloved daughter of the Rayner Family who sings like a bird and is determined to fly away like one too. She loves God but staying away from the boy-turned-man she grew up with is never far from her mind. William (Wills) Mason has never wavered in his love for Claire Rayner. In spite of having no talent in either singing or playing, he's fully behind Claire's musical ambitions. And loving her just might bring him to the point of facing death.

The Spies of WWII, Book 2
A Flute in the Willows
Chapter One
1943
Jerry Patterson stared out the yawning black hole in the side of the plane. Seconds to go before he dropped. Night time parachuting was always a risky thing, but the pilot was one of the best who’d keep this baby right on target, lessening the chances he’d have to hit water. Trees were another matter, but with any kind of luck, the landing would go smooth.
Then to meet his contact and move into the German military high life. His pulse revved up. It was a dangerous game he was about to play.
Josie’s face flashed in his mind, and Jerry felt his heart soften. How he loved his tomboy wife. She was a beautiful butterfly dancing on icebut put her in a social setting, and she was like a wild creature let lose in a maiden aunt’s prim parlor.
Three weeks of marital bliss. It’d been heaven on earth for him. One rapturous day—and night—after another. She’d cried the night before he’d left, but had been strength personified when he’d boarded the train the next morning.
If—no, when—he got home, he’d wrap his arms around her and not let her out of his sight.
Jerry stepped into the hole and dropped rapidly, counting. One thousand...One thousand one...One thousand two... With a jerk he pulled, the parachute opened above him, and he drifted earthward toward his assignment.

Question for readers:
What is your favorite musical instrument?


Buy Links:

About Carole:  
Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons? 





Monday, May 21, 2018

Story Sparks Multi-author Giveaway: 125th Anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893

Story Sparks Multi-author Giveaway: 
125th Anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893



Welcome to the Story Sparks multi-Author Blog Tour.. Between May 21-26, 2018, readers get a chance to enter and win ebooks from six different authors Today, Jodie Wolfe is the featured author. Two lucky winers will be awarded either her To Claim Her Heart or Mrs Wigglesworth's Essential Guide to Proper Etiquette and Manners of Refined Society. Jodie will be talking about the Cherrokee Strip Land Run of 1893. Read on to discover what sparked Jodie's creativity and to enter the Rafflecopter (found at the end of the post) to win her heartwarming book.

September 16th will mark the 125th anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Land Run of 1893. It was our Nation’s last great race for land. 115,000 people showed up to race for 42,000 plots. I can clearly picture that day. It was hot and dry. Folks gathered along nine different starting places located along the Kansas border and south of the Cherokee Strip in Oklahoma Territory.

All manner of conveyances could be seen—people on foot, horseback, buggies, wagons, bicycles, trains, etc. I can easily imagine the clamor and chaos as all those assembled awaited the gunshot that would signify the start of the race at noon. People were desperate. The country had undergone an economic catastrophe with the plummet of the New York Stock Exchange due to the overinvesting in the railroads. Many businesses that depended upon the railroad were forced to close their doors. Quite a number of banks either closed or called in their loans. It was a difficult time.

Such is the backdrop for my new novel, To Claim Her Heart. This book is especially significant to me since it was my dear mother-in-law who introduced me to the history of the land run. It mattered to her because she had several relatives who completed in the land race and found claims. I vividly remember the summer of 1997 when we stopped off in Oklahoma to see one of those original properties. My sons and I tromped over the land and saw the homestead that was built in 1894. The first home had been a soddy that didn’t last longer than a year.

The rock home I saw was partially built into the side of a hill and in a state of disrepair. A stream gurgled nearby and within a couple of miles, the Gloss (Glass) Mountains cropped out of the landscape. It didn’t take much for me to start imagining characters tromping through the area and choosing to settle there.

While Mom never lived to see this book finally published, she knew that I was working on it in her last days. I’m so thankful that she shared her rich family history with me. Quite a few of the family stories she told me were included in my book.

Here’s what the back cover blurb says:
In 1893, on the eve of the great race for land, Benjamin David prays for God to guide him to his 'Promised Land. Finding property and preaching to the lost are his only ways of honoring his deceased fiancée. He hasn't counted on Elmer (Elsie) Smith claiming the same plot and refusing to leave. Not only is she a burr in his side, but she is full of the homesteading know-how he is sadly lacking.

Obtaining a claim in the Cherokee Strip Land Run is Elsie Smith's only hope for survival, and not just any plot, she has a specific one in mind. The land's not only a way to honor her pa and his life, but also to provide a livelihood for herself. She's willing to put in whatever it takes to get that piece of property, and Elsie's determined to keep it.

Her bitterness is what protects her, and she has no intentions of allowing that preacher to lay claim to her land . . . or her heart.

Links:







Purchase Link for Mrs. Wigglesworth's Essential Guide to Proper Etiquette and Manners of Refined Society:https://www.amazon.com/Wigglesworths-Essential-Etiquette-Manners-Refined-ebook/dp/B07CMWB8KB/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1525963859&sr=8-4&keywords=jodie+wolfe

Bio:
Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. The power of story to influence lives and change hearts is what motivates her to weave tales that tell of the Savior's faithfulness and forgiveness. She's been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests and is a member of ACFW and RWA. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.

Here’s the first scene:
Chapter One
Competition should be relegated to the male species. Proper young ladies should avoid a situation which permits rivalry, particularly involving the male species. If unavoidable, allow the gentleman to win. Be above reproach in this manner.
Mrs. Wigglesworth’s Essential Guide to Proper Etiquette and Manners of Refined Society

September 15, 1893, Kiowa, Kansas—Border of the Cherokee Strip
“Elmer Smith?”
For once in all of her days, Elsie welcomed the name Pa had insisted on when her life began and Ma’s had ended.
“Is that you, son?”
“Ain’t your son.” Ain’t no one’s son. Elsie shifted her Stetson lower to ward off the man’s scrutiny.
“There’s no need to get your prickles up. Do you testify you’re at least twenty-one years of age and head of your household?”
Elsie nodded and bit back a retort.
“Then sign here.” The man shoved a paper across the makeshift desk. Beads of moisture dotted his upper lip.
She scrawled her name on the line. The page crinkled when she folded and shoved it into her shirt pocket, along with the copy of The Homestead Laws and Pa’s hand-drawn map.
“Get out of the way, kid.” A scraggly looking fellow jabbed into her shoulder.
Elsie stepped out of line, glaring at him. He ignored her and turned his attention to the clerk.
She elbowed through a crowd of men. How had her small town swelled to so many folks? Thankfully there were few she recognized, or, more so, who could recognize her. The less who knew her gender, the better. She certainly didn’t need no man to help her get the land she and Pa had dreamed about.
Elsie scooted her hat up and swiped at the sweat on her forehead before dropping it back into place, scrunching the thick braid she’d pinned up three days prior. Hefting her saddlebags to her opposite shoulder, she hiked the short distance to the livery and retrieved Buster. A short ride would clear her head and prepare her for what lay ahead.
Dust swirled and nearly choked Elsie as she rode in the opposite direction of the throngs, to see the old farm one last time.
Acrid smoke filled her lungs. Nearby fires, to deter Sooners from entering the strip before the race began, burned in the west, but not out of control.
Elsie urged Buster, careful not to tire him. Everything hinged on finding the land tomorrow.
Everything.



At the beginning of each chapter I created advice from a Mrs. Wigglesworth. Of course, most of my characters do the complete opposite. :) Because I’ve had such positive feedback in regard to these sayings, I created an ebook of her quips. I’ll be giving away a copy of it as well as an ecopy of To Claim Her Heart, so be sure to leave a comment.

What time period/historical event draws your attention?

Link to Rafflecopter entry form: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/831a42731/?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Talkshow Thursday: Meet author Johnnie Alexander

Talkshow Thursday: Meet author Johnnie Alexander

I'm pleased to have author Johnnie Alexander with me today. Her novel Where Treasure Hides is one of my favorites. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and draw up a chair to meet this interesting lady!


Linda:  Thanks for stopping by. I love your books and Where Treasure Hides is my favorite. What was your inspiration for the story?

Johnnie: Thanks for having me, Linda. You’ve warmed my heart by loving Where Treasure Hides!

The inspiration came in a round-about way, so I’ll share the condensed version. While working on my first WWII novel (affectionately known as Sparrow and still unpublished), I watched two documentaries that “called” to me.

The first, The Rape of Europa, discussed the Nazi looting of art; the other, The Hidden Child, was about the plight of children during the war. I was astounded and saddened by both these videos.

When friends who had read Sparrow asked for a sequel, I decided to join these motifs—the hiding of the art and hiding children—into a story. Where Treasure Hides isn’t a sequel, but a secondary character from Sparrow is the hero of Where Treasure Hides.

LM: Research is necessary to any book, but more so in a historical. What sort of research did you do for your story, and did you find any unusual?

Johnnie: I read a great many books and watched several documentaries on topics ranging from Vermeer, art forgeries, the Monuments Men, Holland, Colditz Castle (a POW camp) to the stories of hiding, rescues, and captures. I also watched videos on the battle at Dunkirk and the amazing rescue. I made a timeline of important WWII events and built my story around which ones I wanted to include.

LM: You’ve written historical and contemporary fiction. Do you prefer one genre over the other?

Johnnie: Historicals, whether I’m writing them or reading them, touch a deep place in my spirit. But my contemporary Misty Willow series is deeply rooted in family history and legacy. It’s inspired by a mid-19th century brick house I lived in when I was teen. The past influences the present—we can’t escape that but we don’t have to let it define us.

LM: What writers influence you the most?

Johnnie: Um, I’ve had to think about this one. (Back again from tending to dogs and laundry!) I’m
told my writing has a lyrical quality, and I think that comes from reading a wide variety of literature and poetry.

LM: What’s the quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

Johnnie: This may not be quirky, but here goes: when my apartment lease ended in mid-December, I put my belongings in storage, loaded my car with the essentials, and embarked on a three-month road trip from Tampa to Memphis to Tulsa to Arizona to Tulsa to Missouri and back to Memphis.
I stayed with different family members and traveled with my daughter and her family as they moved from Arizona to Missouri. (That’s the reason behind that leg of the trip.)

Now I’m settled in the Tulsa area and an official Oklahoma resident. Though, as I’m writing this, I’m back in Memphis!

LM: Here are some quickies:

Johnnie: 
Favorite Color: almost all shades of green

Favorite Author: This is so hard! I can never choose just one. Ann Tatlock is one of my favorite inspirational authors. I recently read two of Jolina Petersheim’s novels, The Alliance and The Divide, and she’s a fantastic writer. I couldn’t put those books down.

Favorite Food: My sister’s pizza and her roasted chicken.

LM: You’ve traveled extensively. What was your favorite trip?

Johnnie: I do seem to be on the road quite a bit. That’s what happens when your family settles hundreds of miles from each other.

Last fall, my sister and I flew to Europe and spent our first week taking the Eurail from one place to another. We didn’t really have a plan, and it was so fun to pop into these major cities. Then we spent a week in a Lisbon apartment (thank you, HomeAway!) just a few blocks from the Mediterranean Sea. It was a fantastic vacation. I’d love to do it all over again!

LM: Can you tell us what writing projects are on your plate right now?

Johnnie: I’m so excited about the projects I have lined up. This year, I’m working with an editor on Sparrow, that unpublished WWII story I mentioned earlier, writing a novella for the Barbour Erie Canal Brides Collection, and imagining my first indie project—a novella in the Resort to Romance Series which will be released early next year.

Linda: Where can folks connect with you?

Johnnie: My website has a fun new header—it shows my Instagram feed! So please stop by and see my latest photos at http://www.johnnie-alexander.com. Remember to sign up for my newsletter so we can stay in touch!


More connections:
Twitter            https://twitter.com/johnnie_alexndr

You’re also invited to Novelists Unwind (http://novelistsunwind.com) where I feature video interviews with inspirational authors.

Book Blurb: 
Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family's renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She's certain that true love will only lead to tragedy-that is, until a chance meeting a Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life. Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison starts to question her fear of love as WWII breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles. While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow. As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?