Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Every Part of Ourselves Makes a Character - Ask Patty Froese

Patty Froese lives in Alberta Canada with her husband and their young son.  The winters are long and cold, but that suits her just fine--as long as she can stay inside with her writing and keep the snow on the other side of the glass. She has eight novels now published, her most recent being Perfect on Paper with Desert Breeze Publishing. 
SDC: Welcome, Patty. As we come together, we'd love to know your theme scripture that strengthens you during your writing. Tell us about why you selected your verse as your focus, and how tit might correlate with the types of books you write, if it does.

PF: I've always liked Proverbs 4:23-27.  It reminds me to keep focused and keep perspective. I don't think it correlates with my novels in a direct way, but seeing as it is very personal to me and my novels are an expression of me, I'm sure it factors in.  Let's just say it ends up being part of the soup.    

SDC:  Thank you. I love checking into the scriptures some other authors give me over time. Tell us about your publisher(s) and your experiences in working with them and what you have coming out soon.

PF: I have worked with three different publishers so far.  Review and Herald Publishing association has published my Biblical fiction where I spin stories around different characters we find in the gospels.  Pacific Press Publishing has put out my kids books and my Victorian romance.  Now, Desert Breeze Publishing is releasing my eighth book--a contemporary Christian romance called Perfect on Paper.  I'm really excited about this one.  This is my first e-publication and I think there is just so much potential in this new market.

SDC:  I join you in that excitement, Patty. What kind of response have you received from readers who have been influenced greatly by your writing or your personal testimony? 

PF: I hear from a lot of readers who say that they really identify with my characters, but I think that the most memorable response I've gotten from my writing was from a woman who gave my book, Woman at the Well as a gift to her sister.  This is fictional story I spun around the story of the woman at the well from the book of John.  This lady's sister had a lot of problems surrounding substance abuse and that sort of thing, and she said that it absolutely changed her life!  I mean, I can't take credit for God working, but having God use my book was pretty incredible. I'll never forget that.  It was really humbling. 

SDC: How do the thread faith, love, and hope along with the reality of life work together in your stories?

PF: I don't try to do that on a conscious level.  Generally, I'm writing stories about people going through very real situations and how that would impact their faith--how they'd struggle through it and find God as their answer.  I think that faith, love and hope are integral parts of real, honest living and if I focus on making a story as honest as possible, those aspects will be there.

SDC: How long did you have to wait before getting published the first time? What are some things that went through your mind?

PF: I was first published as a kid when I got a story accepted into a children's magazine, but my first novel was accepted after I graduated university with an English degree.  I was broke, newly married, and checking my email at a local library.  When I opened the email, fully expecting to see another rejection, I did a quiet little jig right there in the middle of all the glares (they must have thought I was nuts!) and then dashed on home to find the first person I knew to tell.  What was going through my mind?  I was grateful--very deeply grateful.  What a feeling!

SDC: Ah, ha! A published author as a child. That's awesome, and will be so encouraging to young people who read these interviews. So, speaking of children, do you include children or animals in your stories? If so, why? And how do they play a strong part in the fleshing out of your book? If not, tell us a little about your sub-characters.

PF: I didn't used to use children as much as I do now.  As a mother, I find that children find their way into my stories without much trouble because raising a child is such a large part of my life. 

My secondary characters tend to be different aspects of my own personality.  We all have parts of ourselves that we keep under control, and secondary characters allow me to give those parts of myself a voice.  Sometimes it isn't pretty, but I think that is the only way to keep them real.  Sometimes my characters are an image that I have in my mind of what my life might have turned out like if something different had happened.  What would I be like if my writing had completely flopped and never gone anywhere?  What would I be like if I hadn't met my husband and I was still single and waiting?  Sometimes those characters are people in my life--or aspects of people in my life.  Then I have to think, if I were in their shoes, what would I do?  How would I feel?   

SDC:  Think of an intriguing question you would like to ask one of our viewers to answer to help me select the winner of your newest book coming out.

PF: If you were describe yourself as the character in a book, what character would you be?  Would you be the heroine, the side-kick, the flashback memory?  Tell me how you'd write yourself into a book.

SDC: Wow! Great question. Well, Patty, it’s been a real pleasure having you here at A Pen for Your Thoughts. Please include your URL and where people can find your books.

READERS: Be sure to answer Patty's question above to try to win a copy of her book! Don’t forget to include your email address.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Why? The answer is here from Laurie Alice Eakes!

A book you are going to want to read. This one was well worth the wait.
Read on --
Seafaring Women

By Laurie Alice Eakes

When I was working on my midwives project in grad school, I ran across a book with just a couple of paragraphs about a midwife who made her living going to sea with pregnant women. Since I love books that take place at sea, this struck my fancy. What better! One of my midwives and the sea. I started my usual process of asking why questions: Why would a midwife go to sea in the middle of a war? Why would her sister-in-law want her to go to sea with her? Why would the enemy help an American imprisoned in England? Why…? Why…? Why…?

The answers came to me as swiftly as a ship in full sail, and—Voila!—I had my story.
At least I had my story premise. The details took a bit more work.

toward redemption . . . and love.
All Phoebe Lee wants out of life is to practice midwifery in Loudon County, Virginia. But when she is pressed by her pregnant sister-in-law to help save her husband from an English prison during the War of 1812, Phoebe cannot refuse. The two women end up aboard a British privateer crossing the Atlantic under the command of a man with a deadly mission.
Captain Rafe Docherty promises to get Phoebe’s brother-in-law out of prison in exchange for information he holds—information Rafe needs to track down and destroy the man who killed his wife.

As Rafe plots revenge and struggles against his attraction to Phoebe, she determines to get ashore before she loses her heart and before her patient goes into labor. But an enemy in their midst threatens to end their plans, the ship, and their lives.


He caught a whiff of her delicate jasmine scent, soap from the merchantman, before he heard the whisper of her slippers and skirt on the deck blend with the sigh of rippling wavelets against the brig’s hull. With all his will, he managed not to turn around and draw her to him and kiss her again. For those few minutes on the docks, he’d forgotten Brock and hatred and eve n Davina. With the fire of rage now ablaze afresh, the temptation to seek solace from the beautiful widow tightened every nerve in his body.

He would not disrespect her that way.

But she’d promised to stay. And now she’d come to him. For the past two hours she’d been below, soothing Belinda’s histrionics over being left behind all day and knowing nothing of what was afoot. Now Phoebe glided up beside him within touching distance.

He continued to grip the taffrail so he didn’t touch her. “’Tis late for you to be up and about. Should you not be in your bed?”

“When there’s a caged lion pacing overhead?” She smiled at him in the blend of silvery moonlight and golden binnacle lantern glow. “I couldn’t stay away.”

“A braw lady to approach a lion in his lair.” He allowed himself the luxury of one ghost of a touch on her face, the merest hint of his fingertips skimming across the curve of her cheekbone.

No more. No more. In harbor, no helmsman stood at the wheel to force him to propriety. The nearest watch stood halfway down the main deck and out of sight.

“And I’ve not paced this half hour or more,” he added with the merest hint of a smile.

She’d been drawn to him as he wanted her to be, connected to his spirit because of those moments of contact on the wharf, those seconds of admitting their attraction to one another. Attraction without love or even liking and respect on her side. Something purely carnal and therefore wrong with a good woman like her.

Completely wrong regardless of the woman, a faint voice from his past reminded him—a past whose teachings he’d set aside for the sake of destroying James Brock.

(Learn more about Laurie Alice Eakes at her website)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Beginning of an Unforgettable Event - with Yvonne Leyman

Yvonne Lehman is an award-winning, best-selling author of more than 3,000,000 copies of her books sold. She founded and directed the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference for 25 years and now directs the Blue Ridge “Autumn in the Mountains” Novelist Retreat held annually in October at Ridgecrest/LifeWay Conference Center in NC. She mentors students for the Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writers Guild. She earned her Master’s Degree in English Literature from Western Carolina University and has taught English and Creative Writing on the college level. Her recent publications include Aloha Brides (Barbour, a collection of three historical Hawaii novels), A Knight to Remember (Heartsong, April 2012), the second in a series set in Washington DC, and Let it Snow (Heartsong, December 2012), third in the DC series. Hearts that Survive – A Novel of the Titanic  is her 50th novel.
SKC:  We welcome you here, Yvonne, and are looking forward to hearing about your book. Tell us about it.

YL The ship of dreams vanished, disappeared as it sank into the sea. In its place emerged a nightmare. The sinking of the “unsinkable” Titanic was not the end of the story for the 2207 passengers, plus the crew. It was the beginning of an unforgettable event that changed history, changed culture. There were only a few hundred saved in the 20 lifeboats. Not only were hundreds and hundreds of souls lost that night, but the event touched people throughout the world. Each person had family, friends, acquaintances and their lives too were touched and changed.

Some may want to compare this story with the book and award-winning movie Titanic, as I did when beginning this project. There is no comparison however. That is their story. This is mine and my desire, hope and prayer is that my readers enjoy this book, find it entertaining and filled with events and characters that come alive in their hearts and minds, and know what it means for a heart to survive.

SKC:  Sounds really good. I look forward to reading it. I'm curious. What keeps your mind from wandering away from the discipline of staying on subject each day when you write?

YL  I can’t say that I always keep it from wandering. But the acceptance of this book came late because Ramona Richards wanted a Titanic novel and I had a proposal for one. I had to write the entire book in about six weeks. No time to think. The thirty years I’ve had of learning the craft and practicing the creativity kicked in. When I awoke at night, I went straight to the computer. When I had a moment of looking out my office window at my panoramic mountain views I would recall an incident that could be included in the story, such as the way my neighbor got her dog. Now that experience is in my book. If I felt an instance of concern, I went immediately to my knees at my bedside and prayed. I ate at the computer. When my mind wandered, it wandered to my characters and story.

SKC:  Wow! Six weeks is a fast turnover. I would love to be able to do that. I cannot begin to say that now. Good for you. Tell, us, how do you come up with your characters’ names and your subject matter?  

YL My story covers fifty years, but begins in 1912 so my names are compatible with those who would be in first class on the Titanic. I also tend to visualize a person by a certain name. Lydia strikes me as not being a stereotypical name, but that of a pretty, plucky person. Caroline is a basic trusted name of one I’d like for a friend. Craven is one who craves certain things and indeed he does. Last names depict nationalities. John is a name that is accepted, popular, and doesn’t depict anything in particular. William comes from royalty. Armand is French. JoAnna was a name her parents chose and I used it because it’s a playful pseudonym of a writer/friend who first suggested I write about the Titanic.

SKC:  Sounds like you come up with your names about like I do. How has your background influenced your writing?

YL  In every way. This book is a composite, or culmination of all I know in craft and creativity that has developed in the thirty years I’ve been writing.  Many incidents and events in the story are based on personal experience or experience of people I know. It’s what I’ve learned as I’ve lived my life with successes, failures, negatives, positives, little faith, strong faith. My characters are who I am and what I  know of myself, others, and life.

SKC: Most of us as writers enjoy writing the book of our heart.  Then we find that the book of our heart isn't what the market wanted at all.  If you can't sell the book of your heart, what would you be willing to write to get published?

 YL I thought I knew what was the book of my heart, one set during WWII. I’ve wanted to write it for over twenty years but it didn’t fit into a category and is complex. However, as I was writing Hearts that Survive, it became the book of my heart. What I experienced in the way it flowed, the way my characters were more real than my own life, my love for the story, and the closeness to God and gratitude to Him for giving me the ability and opportunity to write far exceeded “what the market wants.” I write category books because I can, and because I’m a writer, and I have stories to tell, there’s purpose in my plots and themes, and editors want them. I think my WWII would be a good follow-up to my Titanic book, but if it doesn’t sell, I plan to write the kinds of books I’ve written for thirty years.

SKC: Once again, we thank you for being with us, Yvone, and for being so generous to giveaway one of your books.

YL Thank you for this opportunity. I hope the one who gets the book will thoroughly enjoy it.

To the readers: What have you discovered during your reading or writing to be the book most dear to YOUR heart?

 To get in touch withy Yvonne personally, you can find her at the following:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

We All Have Reason to Have Hope. See What Missy Has to Say

Missy Tippens, 2006 Golden Heart finalist, made her first sale to Harlequin Love Inspired in 2007. Her books have since been finalists for the Booksellers Best, ACFW Carol Award (Formerly Book of the Year Award) and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Her most recent from Love Inspired, A House Full of Hope, released on February. Visit Missy at

SDC:   Before we start the process, Missy, after a long day of writing or doing revisions in a story what is the very first thing you do?

MT: Should I admit this? Often, I go take my shower! :) I usually get right to work in the morning in sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Once I finish working, I take a relaxing shower and then head out for errands or whatever else in on my schedule.

SDC:   Well, there's nothing like being clean. (smile) What inspired you to come up writing in the genre you chose?   

MT: I think God inspired it. Years ago, I was planning a new story, and a writer friend who read my outline told me it was an inspirational romance. I had no idea! I think God was at work before I even knew it.

SDC:   I know you are a pastor's wife. How did you respond to the rejection slips you received before you got your first contract, and how did your family respond? How were you encouraged to continue writing?

MT: I usually had a pity party. :) Then I would often ask my women’s Bible study group for prayer. They were always very supportive and encouraging. They still are when I get rejections on proposals. My family has always been the same way.

SDC:   Ah, when you mentioned that pity part, all I could think of was the joy of being a person of such honesty. We look forward to you doing a giveaway this week. Tell us all about the book you are sharing with us today, and what your inspiration was to write it.

MT: I’ll be giving away a copy of A House Full of Hope, my February release from Love Inspired. It’s the story about a former bad boy who’s found God and is seeking redemption. But no one in his hometown wants to forgive him, especially not the sister of the girl whose family he devastated.

I actually got the inspiration for this story just from a “what if?” idea I had while brainstorming. What if a guy who’s changed his life goes to his hometown seeking forgiveness and falls in love with the sister of the high school girlfriend he ruined?

SDC:     What keeps you me humble as a published writer, Missy? What gets in the way of keeping you humble?

MT: The best piece of advice I had lately was from a speaker at my local ACFW chapter meeting. Beverly Varnado was the speaker. When asked if she’s really excited about her book being optioned for a movie, she talked about not getting on the roller coaster of emotions but to keep level headed and keep our eyes on God. That’s not exactly what she said, but that’s how I took her message to heart. Sure we have exciting times. But we also still get rejections or bad reviews. I’m learning not to get on the roller coaster but to keep my eyes on God and His will for my writing.

SDC:   How true that is. What is your MISSY secret to writing a good book? 

MT: I wish there were a secret! :) However, writing is hard work. Work that gives me joy, yes! But it takes a lot of time and energy. I guess my piece of advice to writers would be to pour yourself into it. Don’t hold back on the emotion, because readers will sense it. Put yourself out there. Share a piece of yourself on the page.

SDC:   I love that. It is so true that we have to share ourselves fully in our writing. I so agree. Have you begun anything new since the project you just finished?

MT: I recently sold a new proposal to Love Inspired, so I’m working on that book now. Its working title is Love for Lillianne. It’s a story about a practical realist who, through fulfilling the will of her beloved aunt, is forced to share workspace with a charming dreamer. So fun! :)

SDC: Thank you so much for being here with us and offering to do a giveaway. My question to our viewers would be this. What is the last book you read that filled you with the most emotion and why? 

Be sure to drop us a note with your answers.