Greetings from Sarah Sundin! Today I have the joy of interviewing Winnie Griggs, author of 25 novels, which have won awards including the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award! Her novels have had a Western setting, both historical and contemporary, but her latest novel branches into a new genre for her—Amish fiction.
Welcome, Winnie! Please tell us about your book, Her Amish Wedding Quilt.
Spirited Greta’s been told to change or she’ll be a spinster. When her last hope for a husband chooses another, Greta pours her efforts into her quilts.
Widower Noah needs a new wife so when Greta offers to matchmake, he accepts. But no one seems right. Have they unexpectedly grown close?
February greetings from Marti Pieper, who is grateful to have had both power and water throughout this chilly month! I’m also grateful to reintroduce a familiar face to our CAN readers today. It belongs to our multitalented president, Angela Breidenbach. I first met Angie when we were both teaching at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. I then had the privilege of working closely with her on the CAN newsletter for several years. I know you’ll enjoy learning more about her and her books.
Welcome, Angie! I’m so glad you’re with us today. Please tell us about your latest book.
The Mail-Order Standoff: Marriage plans put on hold in the Old West when four mail-order brides have second thoughts. How will their grooms win their trust?
This four-in-one book includes Right on Time by Angela Breidenbach. Could two people be less suited than an English gentleman and a Western gal who is used to giving the orders? From the wild Montana Territory to the refined Kentucky horse farms, can Timothy prove worthy of Tara’s heart?
Do you have an unfulfilled dream?
I do, but I’m constantly working toward them. Them—because as I achieve one, I move to the next on my list. Oh yes, I have a long list. Currently I’m close to graduating with my genealogical studies degree and specialty in English records. I’d like to add more specialties (halfway to Scottish records already) and take small professional tours on genealogical research visits to Scotland, England, and other countries. I’m also working toward having my screenplays produced on TV and big screen. I dream of writing movies that touch lives and of leaving a body of work. I’d also like to have an endless lap pool someday inside a heated sunroom. Why not, right? Who wants to walk out in the snow to swim? Some very big stretch dreams.
Especially when you live in Montana, as I know you do! What talents do you have aside from storytelling?
Music. I love singing and am learning the harp. I hope to use both of those talents in church and music therapy. I also really enjoy teaching/speaking on genealogy, writing, and historical topics.
You amaze me with all you fit into a day! Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I’ve had a variety of jobs from airlines to radio to heating company co-owner (still am, but no longer in the day-to-day). Every job I’ve had informs my writing as I create characters. Once I’m finished with my last few genealogy classes, I’ll take genealogy projects for clients starting late summer/fall 2021.
Anyone who follows you on social media knows the answer to this one: Do you have pets, and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
Muse, my fe-lion executive assistant, inspires a lot of humor. I share our Muse and Writer conversations on social media and my website. He also inspired An A-Muse-ing 2021 Calendar. We hope to work together more this year to produce A-Muse-ing Tales series in the genre of cat comedy.
Sounds purrfect! What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Themes are a little harder to define because they’re not as interesting as the story world that reveals the deeper meaning. But the themes I tend toward are unique life experiences that reveal our life purpose and overcoming. For instance, I’ve written nonfiction in story form that deal with one specific characteristic like becoming a confident woman in Gems of Wisdom: The Treasure of Experience, and I’ve taken that same thing and built it into a character’s sense of not being good enough in the historical romance Right On Time (Mail-Order Standoff).
What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
Writing is telling stories whether fiction, nonfiction, articles, screenwriting. The biggest thing to me is that as a writer, I don’t read one genre or write only one genre because I’m interested in so many different things. As much as the industry tries to box writers into brands, and we have to establish that for readers, but my writing interests are hugely varied.
I understand that well! What inspired you to write this book?
I love following obscure historical tidbits, then setting characters into those interesting events. This one is in 1883, the year my own grandfather was born. The time zones, as we know them today, did not exist. Train crashes killed thousands of people because clocks and watches were set to the sun at high noon at the nearest town. I was fascinated by how something so mundane and normal today changed the entire world my grandfather was born into. I wondered how something that seemed so small might actually have caused a huge shift in societal life. What would that be like? How would that affect families? Business? I was stunned how long it took for the time zones to be normalized, but how it immediately saved lives. Some of the smallest decisions have the biggest impact.
And what do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Change, though scary in the expectation, becomes an amazing opportunity. Change in hindsight becomes normal, and fear disappears as that change becomes normal life. Each time we conquer the fear of change, we gain confidence.
So true. So what was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
I’ve been in college for that genealogy degree. Writing while in college, while speaking at conferences, and while caring for my family was really an adventure in pushing myself and my capabilities.
And I know you did it with excellence. Please tell us about your next project.
Coming this summer, I’m excited to release my Queen of the Rockies series. It’s set in Helena, Montana, starting in 1889. Helena was a very modern and beautiful city in what was considered the wild west. I love this gorgeous series full of vivid characters and real history.
Muse and Writer will also release A-Muse-ing Tales, book 1, cat comedy for the whole family in time for Christmas.
Today we welcome CAN member and author Ginny Dent Brant as she shares the story behind her inspirational book detailing her healing journey.
Hearing the words, “You have cancer,” was a shock to this health nut. When I saw my real life MRI flashed up on a screen, it looked like a tornado had invaded my body. Bewildered with disbelief, I asked to meet with a chaplain.
The first words from my mouth, “How could a health nut like me end up with an aggressive and deadly cancer like this?”
“Ginny, consider it a gift from God,” encouraged Pastor Sewell. “Sometimes God allows things in your life for you to help others. As an author and speaker. your experience in this journey can be a guiding light to others.”
“Never.” I insisted. “I’d never write about cancer. It’s the gift I never wanted.” I was praying desperately this cancerous thorn (tornado) would be taken from me.
“Yes, I can see it now, your next book with this inscription—‘It was the book I never wanted to write.’” He chuckled. “In time you will see the hand of God. I promise.”
My diagnosis and that tornado sent me on a quest to discover what caused my cancer and what I could do to help my doctors to beat it. As I began to connect the dots between nutrition, the immune system, conventional and integrative medicine, medical research, and the Word of God, I was able to pull back the curtain on cancer for me. The more I learned, the more I felt led to share my findings with others to help them prevent and survive cancer.
Pastor Sewell was right. These words appear on the first page of Unleash Your God-Given Healing: “This is the book I never wanted to write.”
And that tornado that invaded my body became my book’s analogy to The Wizard of Oz.
Ginny Dent Brant is a counselor, educator, speaker, and wellness advocate. Her recent book, “Unleash Your God-Given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer,” contains commentary from an oncologist. It won a Golden Scrolls Award and was featured on CBN News. Cancer prevention and wellness blog at www.ginnybrant.comhttps://www.facebook.com/ginny.d.brant/
Greetings from Sarah Sundin in the Redwood State! Today I have the joy of interviewing multi-published author and professional editor Kathy Ide. I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Kathy at writers’ conferences, especially when she served as director of Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference in the redwoods. Yes, I mentioned redwoods twice—read on to hear about Kathy’s redwood hobby—and to hear about her latest book as well!
Welcome, Kathy! Please tell us about your book, Editing Secrets of Best-Selling Authors.
Editing Secrets can help aspiring, beginning, or established authors polish their writing so it communicates clearly and has a powerful impact on readers. It contains a treasure trove of suggestions from best-selling authors whose books have touched the hearts and lives of readers around the world.
Looking for a new inspirational historical western romance? Try A Change of Scenery by Davalynn Spencer!
A hidden fear. A daring challenge. A liberating love.
A motorcar accident on a rainy Chicago night steals Ella Canaday’s fiancé as well as her ability to ride. Clinging to the remnants of her independence, she cuts her hair and her ties with her wealthy father and takes a train west as the seamstress with a moving-picture company. Colorado offers the change of scenery she needs. But she doesn’t expect the bold cowboy who challenges her to reclaim both the loves she thought she’d lost forever.
Cale Hutton needs the money the moving-picture company is paying for use of his cattle and horses, but he’s not keen on some city gal gettin’ in the way at the ranch. Between the filming crew by day and a rogue cattle-killing bear by night, his attention snags on the little bob-haired seamstress. Something about her easy manner around his horse sets his mind to find out what she’s hiding and why she has such a pull on his heart.
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Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers’ Favorite:
When Ella Canady joined the moving-picture firm, Selig Polyscope Company, as a seamstress, she wanted to leave her pain-filled life in Chicago. The company was filming scenes at the Rafter-H ranch in Canon City, Colorado. Two brothers, Cale and Hugh Hutton, owned the ranch and needed the money. Hugh was a widower with three young sons, and Cale had never married. While there was a strong attraction between Cale and Ella, she had physical and emotional scars from a tragic accident that changed her outlook on life. Cale needed to establish a trusting relationship to discover her past that she was reluctant to reveal. Each of them had to face other problems – animals on the Hutton and nearby farms were disappearing at night; Ella had to deal with the jealous main star in the movie. In A Change of Scenery: The Canon City Chronicles 4, written by Davalynn Spencer, an engrossing tale unfolds.
One of the best features of this book is the insightful development of many characters. How several characters coped with tragic events in their lives is realistic, affecting relationships with those they love. This novel is categorized as a Christian romance and historical fiction work. It is a well-balanced blend of these aspects. The tale flows smoothly, and the book is easy to read. Author Davalynn Spencer has woven an entertaining, thoughtful story in A Change of Scenery: The Canon City Chronicles 4. While this is a stand-alone book, readers will want to read the earlier editions of this series!
~ reprinted by permission
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Davalynn Spencer is a Publisher’s Weekly and ECPA bestselling author and winner of the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction. She is the wife and mother of professional rodeo bullfighters and the author of sixteen titles, both contemporary and historical. Connect with her at https://www.davalynnspencer.com
Davalynn Spencer here, pleased to introduce you to our regular host today, Sarah Sundin. It’s her turn for the spotlight, and what a light it is for her new book, When Twilight Breaks.
Sarah, tell us a little about this book.
Munich, 1938—Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent determined to expose the tyranny in Nazi Germany. After brutality hits close, American graduate student Peter Lang uses his connections in the Nazi Party to feed information to Evelyn, pulling them deeper into danger as the world marches toward war.
Your titles are always so intriguing, drawing us into the lives of people impacted by WW2. What inspired you to write this particular book in your collection?
When we visited Ellis Island several years ago, I fed family names into their computer. I found a record of my grandfather’s trip from Hamburg back to New York after his junior year abroad in Munich. In 1936. I knew he’d studied in Germany—he was a professor of German—but it had never occurred to me that he’d studied in Nazi Germany. My novelist brain got to spinning. What was it like for Americans living in Hitler’s Germany? And—of course—what sort of trouble could I get my characters in?
Searching for a devotional to help you in trying times?
With personal stories and insightful perspectives, Grace Fox brings you ninety daily devotions of hope in her book, Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos. Press pause for a minute each day to read these gems and refocus on the truth that God’s strength will carry you onward. Inhale the Holy Spirit’s peace. Exhale your worries and fear.
Each day’s devotion includes a key Bible verse, a time to pause and read, and then an action step or a question to ponder. There’s also a short prayer for the moment and an encouraging quote from others who have walked through times of crisis.
Here’s a review reprinted by permission from Heidi McLaughlin:
This is one of the most beautiful devotional books I have ever owned. With its glossy cover and colourful pictures of flowers throughout, the beauty drew me in. But even more splendid and powerful are the words written by the author Grace Fox. All of her words are authentic and truthful because she has lived them. When we’re going through a crisis, our attention span and focus is short and it’s hard to comprehend an overload of words and Bible passages. That’s why these meditations are brief, but filled with truths and reminders of God’s presence, comfort and power. I am going to buy at least 10 of these books to give away as a gift to many people in my life who really need this encouragement.
~ Heidi McLaughlin
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Grace Fox is a career global worker, speaks at women’s events overseas and across North America, and has authored ten books. She’s a regular contributor to Mornings with Jesus (Guideposts) and a member of the “First 5” writing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries. She had her husband married in 1982 and celebrate three married children and nine grandchildren. They live on a sailboat near Vancouver, British Columbia.
When my dad began going through papers and documents in his files, He found three letters he gave to me because he knew I was writing a historical novel series. One of the letters was dated 1857 and was addressed to my great-grandmother Sallie from her father. Another one was dated November, 1864 and was written by my great-grandfather to Sallie before he went into the battle at Nashville and was captured. The third was to Sallie from a friend talking about the war.
I treasured those letters and tucked the away to a safe place because I knew I would be using the information in my writing someway. After my father’s death, I found more information written by my great-grandfather telling about parts of his trip home after the surrender by Lee. The story burned in my heart and a series set at the end of the war and forward was born.
I did a tremendous amount of research to match what I had in my possession with history and ended up with a five book series, The Homeward Journey, based on what I found. My husband and I even traveled to Louisiana and Mississippi to visit the places mentioned in the letters and checked dates and times in the records there.
The first book was Love Stays True, a love story based on my great-grandparents love in the 1860’s. It’s a combination of truth and fiction based on the letters and stories I heard from my grandfather. It begins at the time of the Armistice and follows my great-grandfather’s journey from prison at Point Lookout, Maryland back to Louisiana where he married his sweetheart, Sally. That book led to three others to complete the four book series.
Martha Rogers is a free-lance writer and multi-published best-selling author. She is a member of ACFW and writes the weekly Verse of the Week for the ACFW Loop. She is a retired English and Home Ec. teacher and lives in Houston with her husband of 61 years, Rex.
Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the joy of interviewing a former Californian, now a Michigander—Carol Grace Stratton is one of our newest CAN members and a multi-published author of fiction as well as a nonfiction book for frequent movers. And she has a fun dream career . . .
Welcome, Carol! Please tell us about your novel, Deep End of the Lake.
Ally has it all: an upcoming wedding, new writing gig, and two great kids. But when life turns upside-down with a rebellious daughter, shaky job, and shakier engagement, she leans on her newfound faith, learning if you’re in the deep end of the lake, you’d better learn how to swim.
Munich, 1938. American foreign correspondent Evelyn Brand is determined to prove herself in her male-dominated profession—and to spotlight the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. Working on his PhD in German, fellow American Peter Lang is impressed by Germany’s prosperity and order. But when the Reich’s brutality hits close, he decides to use his connections in the Nazi Party to feed information to Evelyn, pulling them deeper into danger as the world marches toward war.
About the author:
Sarah Sundin is a bestselling author of World War II novels, including When Twilight Breaks and
the Sunrise at Normandy series. Her novel The Land Beneath Us was a 2020 Christy Award finalist, The Sky Above Us received the 2020 Carol Award, and The Sea Before Us received the 2019 Reader’s Choice Award from Faith, Hope, and Love. A mother of three adult children, Sarah lives in California. She serves as co-director of the West Coast Christian Writers Conference and enjoys speaking for church, community, and writers’ groups. http://www.sarahsundin.com.