An Interview with Erin Brady, Author of Into the Amish

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into the amish erin bradyHi, Erin. Welcome to Destination Amish! Why don’t we start by you telling us a little about yourself?

Well, I love to laugh. Always have. And because of it, I’ve been writing chick lit books for quite a few years now. I’m also a city girl who has lived in New York all of her life and I am happily married with young children. I love reading books every bit as I love writing them and I’m a sucker for a happy ending. But then again, who isn’t!

You have a new book that you co-wrote with Sarah Price, can you tell us about Into the Amish?

I’ve known Sarah Price for a long time now, since we worked together in Manhattan and I think she’s one of the most talented authors around. She’s also one of the most giving and selfless people I know. She’s encouraging and someone I consider my personal mentor. In fact, I owe my writing career to Ms. Price. She’s the one who, after reading one of my manuscripts, encouraged me to publish my first book and I haven’t looked back since. She’s read all of my books and I’ve read hers. Her books are truly inspiring and I learned a great deal about the Amish and how these amazing people live in such close-knit communities. After reading one of her latest books last year, an idea for a romantic comedy came to me. What if a New York career woman was to find herself living in Lancaster among the Amish? How would she adjust? What life lessons would she learn? I went to Sarah with the story and she loved it! Not only did she love it but she offered to help me with the storyline as it pertained to the Amish. I think the end-result is a very funny, but also very touching story. I really wanted to portray those in the Amish community well, and I hope I did that. So often we are content to just see the “reality TV” version but I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to do with this book. Sarah’s help was invaluable and I think that we came up with a story that her fans, as well as mine will thoroughly enjoy.

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

Oh wow! I’m not sure I ever stop writing. But when I’m not writing because either the power is low on my laptop or my fingers cramp up from typing too long, you can find my singing loudly (and badly) while driving my children to and from school, watching my favorite romantic comedies on television or curling up with a good book.

How are you spending your summer?

When I’m not on my yacht and jet-setting around the world … Just kidding, of course! I plan to spend some of my summer soaking up the sun and taking some time to enjoy the warm weather with my family. I have young children and most of the year, I’m busy running around with them. Summer allows me the opportunity to spend quality time with them without the hustle and bustle of school and sports. Of course, I also spend a big part of summer time writing.

Do you have a favorite scene or quote from Into the Amish?

There are too many to mention, but the scenes I love the most are the ones when Emily tries her best to acclimate to country living and the Amish community. She has the best of intentions in mind and her heart is definitely in the right place, but there are many moments when things don’t work out as she’d like them to and it leads to some, well, very funny moments in the book. Now, if you were to twist my arm and name my specific favorite scene, I love it when Emily tries to milk a cow for the first time.

What is the one thing about you that your readers would be surprised to learn?

A lot of people don’t realize that I have quite a bit of the country girl in me. While it is absolutely true that I was born and lived all of my life in New York City (and can ride the subway with my eyes shut tight), I also spent many of my summer vacations staying with my grandparents in a rural area when I was growing up. I often woke up to the sound of the rooster crowing and, believe it or not, I have actually milked a cow! Writing “Into the Amish” brought me back to that happy place as I found myself recalling all of those fond childhood memories.

What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview?

Well, since I write romantic comedies, I always wanted to be asked who my favorite leading man is in a particular book.

Future projects?

I’m actually writing a chick lit book for the Christmas season. I had so much fun writing The Holiday Gig” a few years ago. That book is about a career woman who finds herself having to invent a boyfriend to appease her boss at work and her family at home. Although she thinks she’s found the answer to all of her problems by hiring a man to play her boyfriend (The “gig”), she discovers some hard truths about herself and comes to realize what is truly important in her life. Writing the book put me into the holiday spirit and I’m hoping a second book will have me singing “Jingle Bells” throughout the entire summer! In case you can’t tell, I LOVE Christmas. It’s my favorite holiday and although I can do without snow most of the year, I don’t mind it at all during the month of December. But just December!

I’m also hoping to convince Sarah Price to collaborate on a sequel to “Into the Amish.” I fell in love with the characters in the book, especially, Dolores Carrington, and I’m anxious to bring them all back to life. I miss them terribly, as you will after reading the book! This time, I’d love for one of Emily’s relatives from Lancaster to visit her in New York City. I can see a lot of comical misunderstandings in such a story, I reckon. That’s for sure and certain!


Erin Brady is a self-confessed romantic comedy addict who hopes to never find a cure. She spends countless hours re-reading Pride and Prejudice and admits to never getting tired of Darcy’s britches. She loves watching rom-com movies because, when it comes down to it, she can’t get enough of the “girl meets boy and falls in love” stories. Most importantly, she loves to laugh and finds humor in everything from washing dishes to singing karaoke off key!

To connect with Erin, visit erinbradyauthor.com or become a fan on Facebook.

An interview with Colleen Coble, Author of Mermaid Moon

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colleen cobleShame can cause people to make drastic, sometimes life-altering decisions. When they experience the consequences of failure, whether at their own hands or at the hands of others, their instinct can be to retreat to avoid experiencing hurt again. That knee-jerk reaction can strain relationships and lead to isolation. This is one of the themes award-winning author Colleen Coble chose to examine in the second book in her Sunset Cove series, Mermaid Moon (Thomas Nelson/January 12, 2016/ISBN: 978-1401690281/$15.99).

Q: Mermaid Moon is the second book in the Sunset Cove series. How is the series tied together? Is there a specific theme that runs throughout?

I wanted these books to examine the various ways we all come to family. Some are born into the family, some are adopted, and some create their own family with friends. Claire’s story (The Inn at Ocean’s Edge) is continued as a subplot through the story as well, so I think readers will like that!

Q: Did something personal inspire the storyline of Mermaid Moon?

I’ve always wanted to explore the turmoil adopted children feel as they try to decide if they will search for their birth family.

Q: What do you love so much about Down East Maine, where Mermaid Moon is based? Why is going there a little bit like stepping back in time?

I love the wildness of it and the way you won’t find big superstores in all the little towns dotting the coast. The communities exist by being close-knit and supportive of one another. Many still earn their living from the sea the way their ancestors did. It’s a wonderful place to be!

Q: Despite its sleepy setting, Mermaid Mood’s plot is packed with action and intrigue. Why did you choose to juxtapose those two characteristics?

I do that in every book. I love creating a setting that’s homey and somewhat remote so my characters have to learn to be strong and overcome the obstacles in their way. It’s also what I know. I’ve never lived in a big city (and don’t want to!), and I love the way a small town operates.

Q: What are some of the challenges involved with writing a mystery?

You have to keep the reader guessing and engaged. I want the reader to stay up until two in the morning because she couldn’t put the book down. It’s also challenging to keep each book fresh. After writing as many books as I have, I have to think hard about plot and character before starting a new book.

Q: Your main character, Mallory, left behind her small hometown and a string of strained relationships after her mother died. Why does our struggle with personal shame have such a strong impact on our relationships?

When we are hurt and fail, it makes us want to retreat and not take the risk of getting hurt again. Personal shame strikes at our core because we feel we can never make up for that failure. We fear the relationship can never be mended. When the shame and guilt run deep, it takes God to bring the necessary healing too.

mermaid moonQ: Family relationships can be the trickiest relationships of all. Why do you think that is?

Our family relationships have the deepest thread of love running through them. When you are hurt by someone you love that much, a sense of deep betrayal can make us put up our guard. It strikes at the core of who we are because the family relationship helped form us into who we are.

Q: Why do you think women, particularly single mothers, will find a kinship with Mallory?

Mallory had a lot to overcome in Mermaid Moon, but she didn’t let her circumstances keep her from doing what had to be done. Single moms have so much on their shoulders, and I have a lot of empathy for them (though I’ve never had to go through that myself). I want them to know God is there for them, and they can find the strength to do what needs to be done every day.

Q: What is so bad about being a perfectionist? Isn’t striving for your best a good thing?

Too often a perfectionist bases her worth on doing things right. Any failure to perform perfectly leaves her feeling she isn’t good enough. Of course we want to give anything we do our best, but our character isn’t damaged when we fail or when we mess up. People can love us even if we aren’t perfect.

Q: When Mallory finds herself in distress more than a decade after leaving home, her first instinct is to reach out to her first love. Why does our first love often have such a lasting impact on our hearts?

I think we never forget our first love. Everything is new and wonderful, and it seems perfect to our young and impressionable selves. Sometimes first love is the only time we throw ourselves fully into a relationship. It shouldn’t be that way, but if the first love ends badly, it can affect how much of ourselves we are willing to give to a future relationship.

Q: When is it appropriate to give others who have hurt us a second chance, and when should we leave them in the past?

I think you have to look at their character. Did they hurt you because they simply messed up? We all mess up. Or did they hurt you because they didn’t care enough to be faithful and devoted? Is the offense likely to happen again? Did they habitually hurt you? If that’s the case, it’s not really wise to put yourself in that position again. You have to forgive them and not hold onto bitterness, but it’s foolish to think they will change if you just love them enough.

Q: The death of a loved one often leaves us thinking about how to live without regrets. In what ways can we take that sentiment too far?

Some people can take that in a wrong direction and live for themselves only. They give no thought to other people and the future. It’s much wiser to take that loss as a chance to make sure you care for your loved ones as best as you can. The worst regrets are when a loved one dies and you know you could have done better in showing them your love and care.

Q: Without giving away too much, at one point in Mermaid Moon, Mallory cuts her hair off, even though she’d been growing it out for 20 years. What was the symbolism in that act? Have you ever done anything similar to mark a big decision?

I wanted the reader to see Mallory was not being weighed down with the past any longer. Much of her decision to grow it out was rooted in the past, and she was ready to let go of that. I used to have hair as long as Mallory’s, but mine was only cut off to shorten time spent on it so I could use that time with my new son.

Q: What is the main impression you want to make on readers of Mermaid Moon?

It’s usually harder to forgive ourselves than to forgive others. God doesn’t want us to carry around that burden of guilt and shame. We can be free of it if we realize He forgave it long ago. We’re the one still lugging it around.

Q: What do you have planned next for the Sunset Cove series?

I’m working on Twilight at Blueberry Barrens. This is Kate’s story, and she witnesses two bodies going off a cliff in the first scene. The authorities rule it a murder/suicide, but the brother of one of the victims believes it was murder. Kate gets drawn into the danger when she takes charge of the two girls orphaned by the deaths.


To keep up with Colleen Coble, visit www.colleencoble.com, become a fan on Facebook (colleencoblebooks) or follow her on Twitter (@colleencoble).

 

Lizbeth Selvig Author Interview

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Hi Lizbeth, Thanks for joining us! To get started, why don’t you give readers an introduction into the Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys series, and The Bride Wore Starlight?

1. You have a passion for horses and horseback riding. How did that influence the themes and settings around your books?

Pictures of horses adorned my bedroom walls from the time I was five, when I was a little city girl in Minneapolis. I collected all the stories about horses I could and had my first book boyfriend crush on Alec Ramsay in The Black Stallion series. I got my first horse as a graduation from college present from my husband, and I was hooked for life, even getting my daughter her her first pony when she was six years old so we could ride together. She went on to become an equine veterinarian, and I still help her care for all the horses she’s collected since that first pony! I still have a horse of my own, so you can see I’m obsessed and have a hard time imagining a world without horses in it!

All my books have included horses to some extent. I’m not even stuck on one type of horse, or riding or rider—my first series of books revolved around English riding, dressage and eventing. My current series “Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys” takes place on a Wyoming ranch so I get to spend a lot of time with horses in these books. In my stories, I’ve used horses as therapy animals, as challenges for my characters, and as comforting best friends. I love sharing the beauty and versatility and healing power of horses with my readers.

2. What is it about your two main characters, Alec and Joely, that have made them so strong after going through such traumatic experiences?

I think what’s amazing about Alec and Joely is that neither of them has any idea when their story starts just where their real strengths lie. Joely was a beauty queen several times, and even though she isn’t vain she has always believed that what she has to offer the world revolves around her physical looks. What she discovers after her physical body is broken and scarred is that she doesn’t need to trade on outer beauty—her talents of kindness, understanding, and the ability to love despite peoples’ flaws are her truest assets—and they (along with Alec’s help) are what make her strong in the end.

Alec completely believes what makes him strong is the ability to bury things that remind him of pain and could make him bitter. He has a major physical disability, but he ignores it and gets on with life—and he even has the sunny disposition to go along with it. But what he doesn’t know is that burying his past and his anger really is a weakness. When he learns (with Joely’s help) to embrace what he sees as weaknesses and truly face his fears—he grows into the truly strong and resilient man he wants to be.

3. How long have you been writing and who influenced you?

I started making up stories and telling them to myself at night in bed as far back as when I was four and five years old. Later, when other kids were reading themselves to sleep, I started writing down these stories. I guess it was what would now be called fan fiction—I had lots of fun affairs and adventures with my favorite pop stars from Paul McCartney to Bobby Sherman! Eventually I started writing “real” short stories and then novels. In the 80s and 90s I fell in love with the romances of LaVyrle Spencer. To this day she’s my ideal when it comes to telling a love story and I don’t try to copy her, but I do try to live up to her example.

4. Do you have a favorite romance? Tell us!

I mentioned LaVyrle Spencer, and whenever I’m asked this question I have to go back to her. Sadly, most younger romance readers today don’t know her work, but she was known for her beautiful lyrical writing and her warm, identifiable characters. My favorite romance is a book by her called “Hummingbird.” It’s an American historical about a “spinster” who takes in a wounded train robber. Their love affair was so tender, and LaVyrle wrote such a memorable first-attempt at sex scene that I’ll never forget it. Suffice it to say the first try at lovemaking was awkward at best—but so realistic. Naturally, she made up for it later—and it was totally worth the wait!

5. Where is your favorite place to write?

I mostly write in my office at home. Lest you think that sounds hoity toity, however, it’s also my sewing room and storage for my granddaughter’s “grandma’s house toys,” so it’s very far from tidy and it’s not all that private. Still, it’s my clutter and filled with things I love, and during the day it’s very quiet. I have two windows so I can always see outside—perfect for daydreaming-ah, brainstorming!

6. What’s on your bucket list for this year?

I’m already planning to attend Romance Writers of America’s annual meeting in San Diego as well as the Romantic Times Reader Convention in Las Vegas. My “bucket list” addition is that I want my hubby to come meet me at both of them since I’ve never been to either city. I’d like to see Cirque du Soleil’s “Beatles Love” performance in Vegas, and I want to visit the zoo in San Diego because I love zoos. I’d also love to go back to Alaska and visit my dear friends—those I made when I lived in Anchorage from 2006-2009!

7. One of your books, Rescued by a Stranger was a *RWA RITA® Award Finalist. What was that like for you?

Oh my goodness, I look back on that and I still can’t believe it happened! I was so flattered and honored because it’s a peer award, and to have made the cut with some of my absolute idols (Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis) was a dream come true. I swear it’s also true that it was an honor just to be a finalist. I mean, with all the stellar fellow finalists—it didn’t matter in the least that I didn’t win. It was extremely special to be wined and dined and treated like a queen for a week at the convention—a very meaningful sure wouldn’t mind bringing home one of those gorgeous, golden RITA ladies!

8. Can you tell us anything about your upcoming works?

I’m super excited about the last four books of the “Seven Brides for Seven Cowboys” series. The next three books will belong to the triplets, Grace, Kelly, and Raquel who were named for their father’s favorite two movie stars! Grace comes next and she meets the small-time poker player who thinks he has a generation’s-old claim to Paradise Ranch (and a very precocious five-year-old daughter). Kelly falls in love with a secondary character from “The Bride Wore Red Boots” – one of the veterans suffering from PTSD who has become a hotshot firefighter. It may or may not be the best choice for either of them. Raquel falls for a doctor who is a total science geek to her active tomboy personality. It’s hard to see how sparks can fly when one’s never seen Star Wars and the other won’t go out if it means missing Dr. Who. The last book of the series will introduce a surprise character: Cami Colarusso—a cousin to the Crockett sisters whom nobody knew existed. To end the series we need a little fun: how about dinosaurs on the ranch?!

In addition to the Brides books, I’m working on a proposal for a completely new book in a slightly different genre—women’s fiction. More on that to come! And I have a cross-over story coming out in May as part of a Kindle Worlds series set in Sapphire Falls—the world created by bestselling author Erin Nicholas. One of the characters from the Brides series is going to make his way to Sapphire Falls. I’m so excited, so watch for that, too!

Enter to win one eBook copy of THE BRIDE WORE DENIM and THE BRIDE WORE RED BOOTS!

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THE BRIDE WORE STARLIGHT

By Lizbeth Selvig

Avon Impulse; February 9; $2.99; ISBN: 9780062413963

TheBrideWoreStarlightOnce comfortable on stage in front of thousands, Joely Crockett is now mortified at the thought of walking—or rolling—down the aisle at her sisters’ wedding. Scarred and wheelchair-bound, the former beauty queen has lost more than the ability to walk—she’s lost her fire. But when one handsome, arrogant guest accuses her of milking her injuries and ignites her ire, Joely finally starts to feel truly alive again, and soon it’s impossible for her to resist her heart’s desire.

Alec Morrissey knows a little something about loss. A famous rodeo cowboy before he was injured in Iraq, he’s managed to create something of a normal life, even if it’s not the one he always imagined. Encountering stunning but damaged Joely, he sees a kindred spirit who can learn from his mistakes.

As these two healing souls begin to fall in love under the Wyoming stars, they must discover if they are willing to give in to the tragedies of life or fight for a future together.

 

BUY LINKS: Barnes & Noble / Amazon / iBooks / GooglePlay

Avon Impulse; February 9; $2.99; ISBN: 9780062413963


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

LizbethSelvig

Lizbeth Selvig lives in Minnesota with her best friend (aka her husband), and a gray Arabian gelding. After working as a newspaper journalist and magazine editor, and raising an equine veterinarian daughter and a talented musician son, she won RWA’s prestigious Golden Heart® Contest in 2010 with her contemporary romance The Rancher and the Rock Star. In her spare time, she loves to hike, quilt, read, horseback ride, and spend time with her new granddaughter.

She also has four-legged grandchildren—more than twenty—including a wallaby, two alpacas, a donkey, a pig, a sugar glider, and many dogs, cats, and horses (pics of all appear on her website www.lizbethselvig.com). She loves connecting with readers—contact her any time!