Greetings from Marti Pieper in stormy, in-the-midst-of-rainy-season Mount Dora, Florida. Today, I have the privilege of sharing an interview with my friend and fellow author Jesse Florea. I know Jesse through serving on faculty together at various writers conferences. I know you’ll find him as fun, engaging and inspiring here on our CAN blog as he is in person.
Welcome, Jesse, and congratulations on the release of most recent book! Please tell us about it.
Girl Talk/Guy Talk: Devotions for Teens focuses on different aspects of teen life to help guys and girls better understand and communicate with the opposite sex. Stories, checklists, quizzes, fact-based news and skill-building tips will encourage and equip young girls and guys to relate to each other in God-honoring ways.
Greetings from Marti Pieper in Mount Dora, Florida, where we’ve had lots of rain every day this week. And we’re not complaining, since drought conditions have led to increased fire danger. The subject of today’s interview, Cheri Cowell, has also had extra rain in her area. Since she’s one of my fellow Orlando-area CAN authors, when my home has rain, hers usually does, too!
Welcome, Cheri! I’m so glad to share this time together. My first question is one every author loves: Would you please tell us about your latest book, One Story, One Mission, One God?
This workbook-style Bible study is an overview of the whole Bible in two six-week studies. The Old Testament and the New Testament studies help readers see how the Bible is one story about the same God with a single mission from the beginning to the end.
Greetings from beautiful and moving-toward-summer Mount Dora, Florida! I’m newly returned from the beautiful state of Colorado and a time of service and teaching at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference. And guess what? Lori Wildenberg, the lovely subject of today’s interview, also served on faculty there. I’m delighted to have this opportunity to share her work and wisdom with you.
Welcome, Lori! Please tell us about your most recent book.
Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home is for parents with a wayward child. My daughter and I, along with other parents and prodigals, share our stories. The book offers practical grace- and truth-filled ways of navigating life with a detoured child.
I love the title. And what inspired you to write this book?
This is a book I didn’t want to write. Having a child who has gone astray not only causes heartache, but it can be isolating and shaming. No one wants the hurt, the pain that a prodigal brings. But as only God can do, in my grief He tenderized me and moved me to reach out to bring comfort and encouragement to other families facing major struggles with their child. So I guess my inspiration is my daughter, our journey, and the hope that others will be encouraged.
How beautiful that God allowed you to use your pain as a vehicle to bless and encourage others. So what would you say is your book’s primary focus?
The primary focus of my book is to encourage the relationship between the prodigal, the parent, and God. I hope to provide some peace and direction to the parents who are wounded by the way in which their child is living. It’s tough to navigate life when belief and behavior collide. When one is the parent of a prodigal, living in the tension of grace and truth while holding fast to convictions is a challenging task.
I love your voice of experience. What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I pray that the moms and dads reading this book feel encouraged and less alone. My hope is that by reading the stories of others and implementing the suggestions presented, they will feel empowered to get through the day and to never give up.
Lori, I know you’ve been writing for a while. Would you tell us about your funniest moment with a reader?
One reader, a mom with little ones, mentioned to me she keeps my first book: EMPOWERED PARENTS: Putting Faith First in her bathroom, “So I can multitask.” One afternoon, her little one, who was being potty-trained, wanted to do a science experiment and tossed the book into the toilet and gave it a flush. Needless to say, I gave her a new book!
I guess you can say you have some very young readers in your audience! Now, please tell us about your most touching moment with a reader.
Messy Journey moves people, some to tears, and touches their hearts. These readers will often express this to me. I feel blessed because I know God is using my messy journey to help them through theirs. These individuals know they’re not alone. One mom told me I gave words to feelings she had never articulated. Now I was the one moved to tears.
Lori, let’s learn a bit more about you. What ministries are you involved in and why?
The ministries I’m involved in revolve around faith, family, and mentoring. My heart is to help families build relationships that last a lifetime. You can find me mentoring at MOMS Together (www.facebook.com/momstogether), supporting and relating to parents over at 1Corinthians13Parenting.com, and ministering to moms and dads via my blog loriwildenberg.blogpsot.com . I love speaking to various parent groups, women’s groups, and mom groups on the topics of parenting and mothering.
Fantastic. And what are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?
We live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Just out our back door are trails that stretch for miles. A perfect day in my world is time spent hiking with my husband, four kids (plus one daughter-in-love), and Murphy (the family labradoodle).
Anytime in or near the Rockies sounds wonderful to me, too. What can you tell us about your next project?
My upcoming project is in its infancy stage. I will be focusing on how to create a relationship between family members that lasts a lifetime.
That sounds like one that will meet a definite need. Thanks so much for taking time to share your life and your work with us, Lori. I know our readers will appreciate your thoughtful encouragement.
Greetings from central Florida and the lovely town of Mount Dora. Although we’re not snowed in like some parts of the country, we’ve had colder nights this week than we have during much of the winter. (I don’t want to inspire coveting, so we won’t mention how “low” our temperatures have dropped).
I have the privilege today of introducing you to experienced author and journalist Ginny McCabe. Ginny has lots to share, so let’s get started.
Welcome, Ginny! How did you get into writing?
From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I have spent much of my professional career in full-time positions in news, marketing and media relations with news organizations, in radio and publishing. I earned a journalism degree from Cincinnati Christian University and had some tremendous mentors, but I learned early on the value of being a go-getter and a disciplined, well-rounded writer.
In becoming a best-selling author and an award-winning journalist, it comes down to my faith, God’s hand on my life, the unconditional love and support of my family and friends mixed with hard work, talent, dedication and perseverance.
How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
I have authored five books and collaborated on four additional titles. Secrets Young Women Keep (Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins), a CBA bestseller and an ECPA Silver Medallion winner, and Rich Chick (Amazon) are a few of the latest titles.
How did your first book come about?
Some Kind of Journey: On the Road with Audio Adrenaline (Standard Publishing) was the first book project I had the privilege of being a part of. It was an MTV Real World kind of an experience from a Christian worldview. A group of us—an editor, myself as an author/journalist and several photographers/videographers—went on a road trip with Audio Adrenaline. We also took a handful of college students from across the country—Chad, David, John, Lisa, Rachel, Scotia and Vicki—and talked about real-life issues like the church, dating and more, which are covered in the book. We went from a golf course in Columbus to the inner-city streets of Chicago and onstage in Minneapolis—and experienced a week of what’s it’s like to be in a popular Christian band.
The editor, Dale Reeves, knew I had experience writing about the arts, entertainment and music, so he asked me to be a part of it. A lot of book projects have come about as a result of relationships as well as my talent and level of experience. Dale was also my youth minister when I was a teenager. He introduced me to Christian artists like Keith Green and Michael W. Smith. Christian music has been instrumental in my faith journey, so this book is deeply meaningful to me on many levels.
Greetings from beautiful Mount Dora, Florida, where we’re starting to chill out.
Of course, for us, “chill out” means temperatures that dip into the fifties at night and still climb into the seventies during the day. Today, I have the privilege of introducing you to novelist C. Kevin Thompson, who is also celebrating the season in comfort because he lives in a town just down the road from my own.
Welcome, Kevin! How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
That’s an interesting question. It’s something I’ve written about on my blog and is too long a story to get into here. Suffice it to say I’ve had two books published, and they will be published again as second editions. My first book, The Serpent’s Grasp, originally came out in 2012 and won the 2013 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference Selah Award in 2013 for First Fiction. It will be out again in 2017.
Happy end-of-August from lovely little Mount Dora, Florida, where the dwindling days of summer yield temperatures in the lower rather than the higher 90’s. Today, I’m delighted to introduce to you my friend, author Christine Lindsay, who lives a few thousand miles north of me in beautiful Canada. I say “friend” because, although we have yet to meet in person, she and I have interacted quite often via the Christian Authors Network. I’ve come to appreciate Christine a great deal, and I know you will, too. Let’s get right to our time of Q & A.
Welcome, Christine! How many books do you have published, and what are a few of your latest titles?
I’m totally floored with praise—for God—that at this time I have seven titles published. One of these seven is only a short story, but the rest are full-length historical novels, of which my British Raj Trilogy has won some nice critical acclaim, and also the most recent historical romance Sofi’s Bridge. But the true-life story that inspired all of my fiction and speaking is the most recent release (this month) of my nonfiction book Finding Sarah, Finding Me.
Congratulations on that special new release. You were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
That my career is in God’s hands, and no amount of fretting or pushing on my part will make it happen. The Lord has timed my career to fit my personal life. There have been times when my own life has made writing impossible, such as these past six months. They have been the craziest busy I’ve ever been with selling a house, moving, my youngest son’s wedding, a new granddaughter, and in the middle of all that I’ve tried to promote the two books that came out this year.
Greetings from north-of-Orlando Mount Dora, Florida, where the soggy remnants of Tropical Storm Colin are steaming their way out of our backyards.
But I know the weather where Angela Breidenbach (the lovely subject of today’s author interview) lives looks a bit different. Angela, a former Mrs. Montana International, still lives in that northwestern state when she’s not busy participating in author events, teaching at conferences, or traveling in her role as president of the Christian Authors Network. Angie has lots to share, so let’s move on to the Q & A.
Welcome back to the CAN blog, Angela! How many books do you have published?
Nine, with several more in process. I should have about 13 out by the end of the year, or close to it.
Wow! That’s amazing. What are a few of your latest titles?
Lassoed by Marriage, Blue Ribbon Brides (releases November 1), Bitterroot Bride, Taking the Plunge. . . all have 2016 publishing dates. One I’m really excited about isn’t fiction at all. It’s a compilation of my ancestors’ autobiographical stories—my grandpa, grandma, a great-aunt, and letters that were translated from my great-grandma from Swedish to English. I’m still working on a title, but this book is for preservation of history, and quite a few of my readers expressed interest. My big hope is that many family and descendants of these amazing people, who never read or knew of these writings, will be able to access them from all over the world. Readers are welcome to help me title it. I’ll take any and all suggestions under consideration. The big job is fact-checking dates, names, spellings, and places.
Sounds fascinating! Angela, you were last featured on the CAN blog in 2013. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
If the story is important to me, then I have to write it regardless if it’s important to a publisher. There’s a sense of job satisfaction and spiritual fulfillment that has to happen for me to enjoy my job as a writer. When I’m only writing to contracts because they sold, I find I lose my sense of joy in the art and creation. So now I make sure to work on my pet projects, too. Comically, one of those “pet” projects is Muse and Writer. He really is my pet, but Muse is my fe-lion personal assistant. (Don’t let him hear you say he’s a cat!) He has his own following. Writing those conversations between us is pure fun, but I’ve also learned that even comedy has valuable purpose. Muse and I get notes from readers about how these comedy snippets have helped them through tough times like divorce, depression, hospital stays, etc.
When I started, I had no idea there would be passion in me to write cat, ahem, fe-lion comedy or that it would actually have an outreach ministry. I learned I write to offer hope and encouragement. I learned that when people respond to that offering of my unusually voiced humor, telling me I helped them through a rough patch somehow, that it clicks in my soul. I will write those comedy sketches until the cows come home because I feel like it matters to someone. No way would I have thought Muse & Writer mattered for more than a snicker when I started it three years ago. But those readers are avid supporters, and I’m their avid supporter. I want to offer a bright spot on a dark day. That synergy between reader and writer is the most important thing I’ve found in my writing life—and it was in the least likely place I’d expect to find it.
Greetings from not-so-sunny (but not snowy and icy, either) Mount Dora, Florida. Today, I’m delighted to welcome award-winning author Gayle Roper to the CAN blog. I had the opportunity to meet Gayle in person at an industry conference last summer, where her book, A Widow’s Journey, was named the Advanced Writers and Speaker’s Association Nonfiction Book of the Year. I’m excited to introduce her to our CAN audience.
Welcome, Gayle! Could you please share how you got into writing?
I have been in this business for over forty-five years, and have things ever changed. I began writing as a young mom who was bored staying home. I quickly discovered nap time wasn’t for homemaking tasks but for writing. I had never planned to be a writer, so this career has been one of those wonderful God-surprises that expand and enrich your life beyond all expectations. My first sale was a short story to a now-defunct teen magazine. I was paid the princely sum of $10.
I had a few of those checks, too—and each one thrilled me. How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
Over the course of these years I’ve had more than fifty books published, most recently A Widow’s Journey: Reflections on Living Alone (nonfiction) and An Unexpected Match (fiction).
Greetings from Marti Pieper in lovely Mount Dora, Florida, where October means we’ve turned off our air conditioner and opened the windows. Our weather doesn’t get cold enough to produce leaves with true autumn color, but we do have plenty of pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and the ubiquitous pumpkin spice coffee drinks to help us join the rest of the northern hemisphere in celebrating fall.
Today, I’m delighted to introduce to you a friend-by-writing, Dena Dyer. I “know” Dena from several mutual friendships and of course through the Christian Authors Network, but we have yet to meet in person. Her Texas home is near Fort Worth, where my husband and I married and welcomed our first two daughters into our family. I have just enough in common with Dena to want to get to know her better, so let’s all do that via this interview.
Welcome, Dena! How did you get into writing and how many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
I started writing as a second grader, when I discovered a passion for stringing together words and making people laugh. To date, I’ve had seven books released with royalty publishers and have an eighth that will come out next year. It’s a humorous devotional book for couples, which I’m writing with my hubby. My latest release is 25 Christmas Blessings: An Inspiring Countdown to Christmas! (Barbour), a devotional book for individuals and families. It includes 250 service ideas, which I’m really excited about. Before that, I wrote Wounded Women of the Bible: Finding Hope when Life Hurts (Kregel) with my friend and fellow minister’s wife, Tina Samples.
An interview with Eleanor Gustafson and Marti Pieper
Welcome back to the CAN blog, Ellie. How many books do you have published? What are a few of your latest titles?
I have five published novels. The ones still in print are The Stones: A Novel of the Life of King David and Dynamo.
I checked out your website, and both books sound intriguing. Ellie, you were last featured on the CAN blog in 2012. What are the chief lessons you’ve learned about the writing life since then?
There’s far more to publishing books than just writing them. That’s the easy part. Then comes careful self-editing to get a good grade from the publisher. My big learning curve with Dynamo was point of view. Then, the whole marketing business. A lot to learn there, and I’m still a social and technology neophyte.