Interview with Angie Brashear

Angie Brashear - Headshot (2)

author ANGIE BRASHEAR

photo (1)Nickname: My real name is actually Angela, so Angie is my nickname. Back home, my friends also call me Ang.
Genre: Fantasy Romance for Young Adults
Personal Philosophy: Can’t was defeated in the battle of try.
Fave Scripture: Phil. 4:13 Because in Him, I truly can.
Fave Quote: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis
In high school I was a… scholar, athlete, genuine nice girl, and friend to many. (According to my high school friends whom I polled.) [big smile]
Angie in high school

Angie in high school

Thanks for signing into our Slam Book, Angie! And thanks for coming on our blog today to talk about your new Christian fantasy, Of The Persecuted. We’d like to learn more about you and your book. Ready for the first question? 

Whom did you have in mind when you wrote Of the Persecuted?

AB: Young adult females, particularly those who battle insecurity in even the smallest tasks.

I think all of us battle insecurity at one time or another. I know I do. What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

AB: I hope my readers will see the One True God’s truth. And that He is the answer. To insecurity. To loneliness. To any form in which the enemy challenges each of us.

He is the answer, for sure. Which character is most like you and why?

AB: Can I pick three? [smile]

Laila Pennedy’s insecurity reflects every bit of my self-doubt as a teenager. No matter how obvious the truth was—whether getting good grades, winning races, or…really, any high school achievement—I didn’t believe I was good enough. And I believed I was a burden to the family and friends who supported me. Though my insecurities stemmed from different sources, abuse rather than the loss of those closest to me, I struggled with such emotions throughout my teenage years, and even into adulthood until I came to know Christ. 

Lars Landre’s reluctance to lead parallels my experiences. As a cross country runner, as a coach, and as an educator, I’ve often tried to avoid leadership roles, for I prefer to work behind the scenes because I do not like to be the center of attention. But I always end up leading, and I ultimately learned that good leaders aren’t the center of attention. 

Zander Costigan’s journey with the Maker mirrors my journey with God. Not the murderous allegiance to the Clan, but his moment of salvation and his subsequent reluctance to forgive himself of his mistakes. He’s actually my favorite character. Most of my readers have mixed emotions about him, and they’re supposed to, but I love him most.

I liked Zander and hope we get to see him more in your next novel. If you could meet one of your characters in real life, which one would it be and what would you do together?

AB: Lars, so he could teach me to shoot and fight. How fun would it be to assume the role of a female Robin Hood type?!?

That would be cool. I’ve always wished I knew how to shoot a bow and arrow or fence, but they’re not very practical today. 

Of the Persecuted (ebook cover)

 

You can connect with Angie at her website, on Facebook, or Twitter.

For a longer interview with Angie and to read an excerpt from Of The Persecuted, head on over to my blog.

AND NOW, THINK BACK TO THE LAST BOOK YOU READ. WHAT WAS IT AND WHICH CHARACTER WAS MOST LIKE YOU?

IF YOU WANT TO WIN AN E-COPY OF ANGIE’S BOOK, SAY SO IN THE COMMENTS. Winner announced September 4th. Must be 18 to enter. No purchase necessary.

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Worth the Wait by Laura Jackson

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I met Laura last year because we’re in the same local writer’s group. When the invitation to read her book in advance came out, I jumped on the opportunity. Worth the Wait took me back to the drama that goes along with high school–the dating, mean girls, trust issues, and best friends. Good and bad. Life.

I hope you enjoy learning more about Laura and her first book.

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Nickname: I don’t have one….sad.
Genre: YA
Personal Philosophy: Love Jesus.
Fave Scripture: Phil 4:11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. No matter where God has me, I want to be content with His will.
Fave Quote: If you’d get your mind right, everything else would fall into place. (My dad’s advice to me)
In high school I was a… normal girl who played sports and made good grades

Laura Jackson in high school

Laura Jackson in high school

Do you consider yourself a Christian author or author of Christian fiction? What do you think the difference is?

I think I’m a Christian author of Christian fiction. The first (Christian author) is a Christian who’s writing for a mainstream audience and doesn’t write spiritual elements in the book, which is cool. An author of Christian fiction is writing books with Christians in mind and usually includes spiritual truths in the book. That’s the difference to me, but since I’m a Christian who writes with Christian teens (particularly girls) in mind, I’m mixing the two.

I think both are needed.

Worth the Wait deals with typical high school dating issues—the pressure to have sex before marriage, mean girls, cheating boyfriends. How many of these did you experience firsthand?

I went to a small, private school where the girls in my class actually got along (all 6 of us). I was secure in my beliefs, so I didn’t fall for peer pressure in high school. In fact, I didn’t deal with most of those pressures until college. Sadly, I have had a cheating boyfriend, and like Ellie, I took him back for a while. So, I understand that struggle even though Ellie sometimes annoyed me like I’m sure I annoyed my friends/family.

Tell us about the setting of Worth the Wait—is this a real school in Houston, or one you invented? Did you go to a public or private high school?

Actually, we just changed the name of the school from the ARC that you read, Lisa! There was a school by that name, so we changed it to Waltham Christian Academy. It’s based off of the private school I attended and my imagination.

I enjoyed your book, but the ending wasn’t as complete as I hoped. Do you plan to write more about these characters in a future book?

Yes! I want to say more about the ending but don’t want to give it away. I had written an epilogue that tied everything together with the ending I thought agents, publishers, and readers would want. However, my publisher wanted a more realistic ending. And I liked it.
It’s not healthy to jump from one serious relationship to another. When I go back and read my old diaries, I cringe. I was a bit boy crazy. I’d write how much I loved one guy, and the next week, I was head over heels in love with some other guy. It wasn’t healthy, and I wished I had focused on myself and what God had planned for me instead of boys. So, I am happy with the way it ended, but I’ll revisit Ellie for sure.

Can you tell us something about Worth the Wait that you know but isn’t in the book? Something about a character or the setting?

I’m writing Lindsey’s story now. She’s such a hateful person, and at first, she was just a prop character, someone to cause problems for Ellie, the main character.
Then, I wondered what made her so mean. It’s been fun to figure her out, and I’m starting to like her.

And before you go, what is one thing you’d like your readers to know?

God’s plan is always worth the wait.

Where to find Laura:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurajacksonwrites
Twitter: https://twitter.com/LauraJackson80
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7203616.Laura_Jackson
Blog/Website: http://authorlaurajackson.blogspot.com/
Email: laurajacksonwrites@gmail.com

And now and excerpt from Worth the Wait

Pulling into the Martins’ driveway, Ellie repeated, “We’re just friends. He doesn’t expect more.” Before she could even ring the doorbell, Josh opened the door.

“Are you ready?” His eyes sparkled, and his grin matched hers.

“You’re smiling like you did that time you asked me and Cara if we wanted to try the cookies you made and then recorded our reactions as we took a bite and realized their main ingredient was salt.”

“I’ve grown up, Lansing. I can’t believe you don’t trust me.” He cast her a hurt puppy look as she pushed past him into the house, greeting his parents, who were remodeling their office.

“It was last year, Josh.” Ellie called back as she gave his mom a bear hug.

Holding Ellie tight, his mom whispered in her ear, “I’m sorry you’re hurting, and you’re welcome here any time, no matter which one of my babies you’re here to see.”

As she pulled back from the hug, she whispered back, “You know I feel at home here.”

“Y’all plotting against me? I promise I don’t have any cookies. I just have something to show you. Let’s go.” Josh motioned for her to hurry up.

“He’s been getting ready for this all morning, so I guess we’ll have to catch up later. Will you stay for dinner tonight? Mark and Cara will be here, and we’re going to have a family night.”

“Sounds per—” Ellie almost said perfect, but she was going to break the cycle of expecting and craving perfection. “Sounds fun.” Giving the Martins a wave, she headed out to the garage with Josh.

“This is amazing, Josh.” A temporary art studio filled the garage. Music pumped, old sheets covered the floor, and a small bookcase full of different paints stood between two easels that held blank canvases. “Are you going to paint two at once? I didn’t know you were that talented.”

He handed her a brush. “No, you’re going to paint one.”

“I’m not sure I have the talent for an actual canvas. Maybe I should start with a sheet of paper.”

“No, because I know what you’ll do. You’ll get all your emotions out on the paper and then paint a pretty little flower or smiley face on the canvas, thinking that’s what you should display. I want you to put your emotion on that canvas. All of it.” He handed her one of his old Texans’ t-shirts. She took off his sweatshirt and slipped on the t-shirt. His scent clung to every fiber of the soft cotton. Maybe his shirt will transfer some talent.

“So, what do I paint?” Maybe some waves like the ones on Nantucket. Those would be easy.

“Whatever you’re feeling. You’ve been through a lot. Your mom’s health. Golden boy. Me telling you how I felt.”

“That would be the flower part of the drawing,” Ellie joked. What if she put her anger and hurt there for anyone to see?

“You can draw that next. For now, just get your feelings out with the paint. I’m going to try something new—just picking colors and moving the brush. I always have a picture in my mind when I draw or paint, so I’m going to just go with the flow, not thinking about it too much.” He faced his own canvas and examined the paint for a minute before picking up his brush to mix a few colors together.

He was giving her privacy, but she couldn’t pick a color. Instead she watched as he moved the brush to create bold stokes covering the entire canvas. Every time she started to dip her brush in the paint, she checked to see if he was watching her. But he was absorbed in his own work and oblivious to hers. She began to paint happy yellow swirls. At least it’s not a smiling sun. She started experimenting with mixing colors and even dabbing blobs to give a little texture to the painting.

She looked over to Josh, who was focused on his painting. Occasionally, he would stand back and analyze his work, but he didn’t say a word or glance her way. She finally let the floodgates open, and out rushed a frenzy of paint. Over her carefully painted swirls and globs of “texture,” she began to just splatter the paint. Colors slid down the canvas, leaving streaks of mixed color before hitting the floor where they met her tears. When she finished an hour later, there was a mess of color: swirls mixed with lines, light contrasting dark. A confused mess that mirrored her own feelings.

She stepped back.

“It’s beautiful.” Josh’s words broke her concentration.

Excerpt used by permission.

Like what you read? Enter to win a signed paperback copy (US residents only) or an ebook version (international residents). All you have to do is fill out the form below. You’ll receive an extra chance to win if you comment on this post.

And now, dear friends, tell us: have you ever had a girlfriend/boyfriend cheat on you? Or were you ever the cheater?

A Chat with Fabulous Fay Lamb

A DOZEN APOLOGIES 2Vanessa Morton writes:   Thank you for coming back for Part Two of my interview with the Fabulous Fay Lamb, contributing author of the new Valentine novella, A Dozen Apologies. If you missed Part One of Fay’s interview about this innovative chapter book, you can read it here.

Before we begin, I want to tell you more about Fay. Many of us first met Fay through ACFW where she moderated the Scribes Loop with an abundance of organizational skills and grace. But, did you know…?

Fay Lamb’s emotionally charged stories remind the reader that God is always in the details. Fay has contracted with Write Integrity Press for three series. Stalking Willow and Better than Revenge, Books 1 and 2 in the Amazing Grace romantic suspense series are currently available for purchase. Charisse the first release in her The Ties That Bind contemporary romance series has been released. Fay has also collaborated on three romance novellas: The Christmas Three Treasure Hunt, A Ruby Christmas, and the newest A Dozen Apologies. Her adventurous spirit has taken her into the realm of non-fiction with The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Fay LambFuture Write Integrity Press releases from Fay are: Everybody’s Broken and Frozen Notes, Books 3 and 4 of Amazing Grace and Libby, Hope and Delilah, Books 2 through 4 from The Ties that Bind. Also, look for Book 1 in Fay’s Serenity Key series entitled Storms in Serenity.

Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and six grandchildren.

Today, Fay bravely agreed to answer our probing questions. Here goes!

VM: What other projects are you working on right now?

Fay: Oh, boy. That’s a loaded question. I’m currently awaiting the release of my second novel in The Ties that Bind series. Libby. I’m currently working on edits for the story that is the story of my lifetime, meaning, I’ve been working on it for thirty-five years. I had given up on publication. The story was a monumental undertaking with fourteen characters, two main plots, and several other subplots that provide a Biblical modern-day retelling of the aftermath of David’s sin with Bathsheba.

I’m also working on the third release in the Amazing Grace series, Everybody’s Broken. I do have a book trailer for Better than Revenge the second novel in the series. It can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9Yu0L5rWpA

You’re a successful, multi-published author. Do you write by hand or on the keyboard?

When I was a teenager, I would spend every night in my room writing by hand. Even when my working-class mother surprised me with a typewriter—a Selectric, at that, which dates me—I preferred to write by hand. That would be anywhere from twenty-five to fifty front and back pages nightly. Recently, when my computer cord needed replacement, I found myself writing by hand until the replacement arrived. The process was useless. I couldn’t read my own writing, and I found it hazardous to the story. When I type, my fingers can keep up with my brain. Writing doesn’t allow me to keep that pace.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

That’s easy. I knew I wanted to be a writer before I could even write. I remember that the first two words I learned to spell were General  and Electric as in the old black and white television that was most often my babysitter. I begin reading at age four, and words captivated me. Then you add in my grandmother’s love for soap operas … I don’t recommend soap operas. I swore off of them about four years ago now, but the complex plots and continuing storylines absorbed in my child’s brain taught me how to build a story, again, even before I could write them down. I told stories. I directed plays for the neighborhood kids. I truly feel I was born to be a writer. In high school, the aptitude tests always said I would be one of two things: a librarian or an author. And being a librarian was out of the question.

Who’s your favorite author?

I am eclectic in my reading tastes. My favorite author of all time is James A. Michener. I have read every one of his tomes. That love affair started in high school when a history teacher assigned me his novel Centennial to read. He provided everyone else with an easy biography, as I remember. I went to the library, checked out the book and lugged it—have you seen the size of his stories—to the checkout counter. I read it half the way through, did a report, and got an “A.” After I graduated, I couldn’t let the story go. I needed to see how it ended. I went to the bookstore, lugged the book to the counter, and I purchased it and read it through. Then I bought another and another and another of his works. My library has each of his first editions, tomes and not-so-tomes.

Another secular author that I follow is Sharyn McCrumb and her Appalachian Ballard series. She leaves her readers spellbound by stories that weave folklore into the present. And if you want to read a story that will leave you laughing, Faster Pastor, is hilarious and unique.

Christian authors that I enjoy are young adult novels by authors like John Otte and his young adult Failstate series, Cynthia Toney, and her soon-to-be released coming-of-age novel, Bird Face, and Therese M. Travis’s coming-of-age novel, A Fistful of God.  Adult novels: Tracy Bowen and Jenness Walker’s novel Bliss is one I will never forget because I laughed from page one until the last line. I’m noted as being their #1 fan.

I have recently discovered Ann H. Gabhart and her fantastic low-key, tough issue, writing in her Hollyhill series. I plan to read more of her works as well.

I’m a James Michener fan, too. I still remember reading The Source–Wow. What are you reading right now?

I’m actually re-reading the newest novel, Ryan’s Father, by June Foster. This is a tremendous story that centers on a tough issue, which truthfully was not handled well in at least one other book I’ve read. June provides the truth in love. I met June’s hero in critique, and I have never been able to forget him. This is one dynamic novel.

I’m going to add that to my TBR list. What’s your favorite food?

Hmm. Let me think … Only kidding. Vanilla ice cream.

Mmm, one of my favorites, too! When you’re not writing (hopefully with a bowl of vanilla ice cream at your side), what do you do for fun?

Goodness. It’s been so long since I haven’t been buried with work that I truly don’t remember. Well, I love to tat—you know—making lace and collecting salt and pepper shakers. I also enjoy spending time with my husband, Marc. We both work at home, but since our home is also an office for both of us, we’re working diligently each day. Sometimes we work sixteen hours a day with a break only for dinner. So when we get to leave the house and relax, we just enjoy spending quiet time together.

Thank you Fay for sharing with us again today.  I hope you come back soon!

Write Integrity Press (http://writeintegrity.blogspot.com/)  is releasing a new chapter of A Dozen Apologies each week day up to February 5, after which you can start voting for your favorite hero. ****Your votes will determine how the book ends! On February 14 through 16, the completed novella, including the last chapter, featuring the “winning” hero, will be offered free on Amazon Kindle.

Even if you don’t have questions, take a moment to let Fay know what type of hero / heroine / adventure you’d like to see in future chapter books. Let your voice be heard!

Fay Lamb takes us behind the scenes of the new Valentine Novella, A Dozen Apologies

A DOZEN APOLOGIES 2Vanessa Morton writes:   I am thrilled to present Part One of my interview with the Fabulous Fay Lamb, contributing author of the new Valentine novella, A Dozen Apologies.

(Come back on Friday (1/31/14) when Fay talks to us about her writing life and recent projects.)

Today, Fay is taking us behind the scenes of A Dozen Apologies, a fascinating chapter book about Mara and twelve men (heroes) in her life.

Fay, thanks for visiting our site today and staying with us to answer readers’ questions after the interview. Let’s get started!

VM: You collaborated with eleven authors to write A Dozen Apologies. Each week day, Write Integrity is releasing a new chapter by a different author. How did you come up with this concept?

Fay: I share a little about this on my blog, but I have had the pleasure of being a part of three of the four Write Integrity Press collaborative novella projects, and I believe our editor, Tracy Ruckman, has found a niche. After the first project, Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt in 2012 and as we were working on the 2013 project, A Ruby Christmas, I wanted to provide Tracy with an idea for Valentine’s Day. I kept imagining that old board game, The Mystery Date Game. I envisioned a heroine with all of the guys and she needed to choose from them. I have to confess, I also thought of a calendar of heroes. The problem was, a gal with twelve guys usually doesn’t a heroine make. I had to give her a reason for finding each of these guys. Then I realized that Mara had to have a past, and well, her past wasn’t too pretty. She was a terror to these men, and when God allows Mara to reap what she’d sown, she realizes that each of these men deserve an in-person, heart-felt apology, and well, if she fell in love with one of them in the process—that a love story makes.

Mystery Date Game–you’re so clever! How does a diverse group of talented writers give Mara–the main character–a consistent voice and work together toward the ending?

This is something that Tracy and each author who have worked on the three of the four projects centering around a single heroine have wondered. I believe that it starts first with the God-centered message. Each of the Write Integrity Press novellas present a very Biblical message. We also wrap the story in prayer. Then it starts with a very clear heroine and what her journey is about. For Mara, I saw her as out of her element when she hits a low point in her life. She’s a klutz, always running into problems either through her own ineptness or with the help of others, and as Mara grows, you see that through her bumbling and fumbling, God has given her a heart of mercy and grace—the same mercy and grace that she is seeking. As the authors began to work on the stories, just about all of them seemed to come to the conclusion that the problem with Mara, the reason she behaved so atrociously, was due to the fact that she had always been out of her element, not just after her downfall, but maybe even her entire life. With that in mind, Mara seemed to gel for each of us, and as I read chapter after chapter, I was again amazed at how God blended the story together, this time using twelve different pens (or computers).

Tell us more about Mara and what happens to her in your chapter.

Oh, I can’t share about my hero chapter because that’s top secret. You see, after the readers meet each of the heroes from the story (and from interviews posted on my blog On the Ledge), they will get the opportunity to vote for their favorite hero. That hero is the one who will win Mara’s heart and get the last chapter. Voting begins February 5 and ends February 8. On February 9, On the Ledge will begin to spotlight some or all of the authors with their heroes. From the very start of this concept, the authors agreed that the voting should be about the heroes. We also didn’t want to make it a “political” campaign or a popularity contest among the writers. We felt that this would lessen the impact of the story. When one of our authors (wave to Deb Ullrick) suggested the chapter authors remain anonymous, we felt that was a stroke of genius. On February 14 the readers can read the winning heroes chapter because the novella will be offered for free on Kindle through February 16.

I can tell you that Mara stays mainly in the South. Her longest journey takes her to Colorado, but she meets twelve interesting fellows from diverse backgrounds with compelling stories of their own, and well, she makes a mess of most jobs she works. I promise laughter and quite possibly some tears … Our editor told us she cried. We love to make Tracy cry … and laugh. That means we’ve done our job.

Fay, we appreciate you visiting our blog today and look forward to meeting again this Friday.

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Dear readers, before we tell you how to vote for your favorite hero and get a free copy of A Dozen Apologies, we wanted to share Fay’s contact information:

Fay LambFay loves to meet readers, and you can find her on her personal Facebook page, her Facebook Author page, and at The Tactical Editor on Facebook. She’s also active on Twitter. Then there are her blogs: On the Ledge, Inner Source, and the Tactical Editor. And, yes, there’s one more: Goodreads.

Write Integrity Press (http://writeintegrity.blogspot.com/)  is releasing a new chapter of A Dozen Apologies each week day up to February 5, after which you can start voting for your favorite hero. Your votes will determine how the book ends! On February 14 through 16, the completed novella, including the last chapter, featuring the “winning” hero, will be offered free on Amazon Kindle.

Fay will be standing by to answer your questions today. Even if you don’t have questions, take a moment to let Fay know what type of hero / heroine / adventure you’d like to see in future chapter books. Let your voice be heard!

Yay! Happy Release Day Jill Williamson!!!!!

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The owl is here to announce the winner of Jill Williamson’s new release, Outcast.

And, the WINNER is…RACHEL (no last name given)!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations to you, please email Karen at tracking.truth.kdb@gmail.com so she can get your shipping details.

To all those who, sadly, didn’t win you can purchase your own copy on Amazon (or if you are in Canada).

And don’t forget to join Jill on January 10th for her launch party 5 pm Pacific time on her website.

 

Welcome Jill Williamson!!!!

I am excited to welcome the fabulous Jill Williamson to our blog today.
But before we dive into some questions,
please leave your mark in the Slam Book.

Nickname: Don’t have one. Someone once called me Jill Bean, but it didn’t stick.

Genre: fantasy

Personal philosophy: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t speak.

Fave Scripture: There are too many favorites! Here is one: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ―Romans 8:28

Fave Quote: Here too! Here is one I like: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ―Dr. Seuss

In high school I was… a basketball player, a Girl Scout, and a wannabe fashion designer.

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Jill Williamson was the first Christian author who showed me that writing weird stuff was OK. 😉
It is a pleasure to have her on the blog today and I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did. 🙂

     “You will be releasing the second book in The Safe Lands series, Outcasts. What inspired you to start this series?”

My publisher was looking for dystopian books. Knowing that, one day when I was at my Bible study group, we were working through Beth Moore’s study on the book of Daniel. At one point she asked listeners to think about some teenage boys we knew and imagine how they might cope if they were taken captive to a city like Babylon. That instantly got me thinking about a fantasy idea I had that was inspired by the book of Daniel. And I thought, “Hey! That idea might work as a dystopian!” And it did.

     “The world you portrayed in the first book, Captives, had some very cool futuristic items. Can you name your favorite one?”

I like SimTalk. I’m always forgetting to take my cell phone with me, so this way I’d have it with me always. The only bad part would be remembering to turn it off. I’d have people waking me up in the morning!

     “I found the world that you built within the walls of the Safe Lands very convicting and some of their practices mirrored what our world is like today. Did you find yourself convicted as you wrote it? How so?”

Yes. Levi believes that all Safe Landers are the enemy. He doesn’t trust them, and he doesn’t care about them. And that’s probably because he can’t relate to them. But Omar feels compassion for them. And while Levi wants to scrape them off and worry about the remnant from Glenrock alone, Omar thinks Safe Landers deserve to know the truth. I feel like Levi sometimes. I get frustrated with hateful people or people who are so caught up in themselves that they have lost any shred of goodness. But God loves them still. And they deserve the truth. I thought about that a lot as I wrote this book.

     “If you wanted the reader to walk away with one thing after reading this series what would it be?”

To remain strong when you face trials. Don’t give in to anger or despair, but trust that your faith can carry you through even the most terrible circumstance.

     “Is there a writer New Year’s resolution you wouldn’t mind sharing with our readers?”

I’d like to try and stay on task more. I’m going to try very hard to write a weekly To Do list for myself, then keep up with it all week. The weeks that I did this have always been the most productive, so I’d like to make it a weekly thing.

     “If you could be any character from any of your books who would you be?”

Don’t know. I kind of like being me. I wouldn’t mind being Vrell Sparrow for a few days, but I’d miss electricity. It might be fun to be Spencer and play a basketball game and be able to dunk. But I’d want to be myself again rather soon, I’d think.

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Thank you so much for joining us today Jill.
If you want to learn more about all aspects of Jill Williamson be sure to check out her website.
Attend her online launch party on January 10th.

In case you didn’t know,
the next installment of The Safe Lands series is coming out on January 7th.
In honor of the occasion I will be giving away one copy of Outcasts to a blog follower.
The winner will be announced on Jill’s release date.

Have you read any of Jill Williamson’s books? Which was your favorite and why? Leave me a comment and join in the conversation. 🙂

Karen deBlieck

Karen deBlieck

Necessary Evil – an interview with TJ Akers + giveaway

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And now you’re wondering…which is the Necessary Evil? The interview or the story?

Cue diabolical laugh while rubbing hands together. I’ll never tell!!!

TJ, aka Tim, has already signed our slam book, so without further ado, let’s hear from him all about his new story, Necessary Evil!

Necessary Evil is a short story in a serial anthology. How does it compare to what you normally write?

Necessary Evil is pretty close to what I normally write. I do have a Christian worldview, and by the way we Christians are not clones of one another so the worldviews can vary from individual to individual. As a bible college graduate, all the wonderful ideas truths, theological\philosophical theories, and varying doctrines, are fair game for inclusion in anything I write. The hard part is making them palatable and entertaining to as broad an audience as possible without being preachy.

Tell us about the challenges of writing a story based on a character someone else created. Did that make things easier for you, or more difficult?

I asked Mike Lynch, the author of story one, and the organizer of this project, if he could send me his original story. Mike is great to work with and pretty much gave me free reign. The nice thing is that I know two other contributors and critiqued them in an effort to help. I’m a mega-geek when it comes to comic books, and within comics, continuity is an enormous part of characters popularity. So the biggest challenge is to develop some sort of continuity with nine or ten other writers. Instead of concentrating on Stelfson, the titular character, I focused on a recruit of Stelfson. This is a pretty safe approach. As I saw other stories, I was able to go back and put small details here and there to help build a sense of continuity. If I succeeded or not, I’ll have to wait and see.

What audience did you have in mind when you wrote Necessary Evil? And were did you get the idea for your story’s premise?

I like writing for YA, and especially Middle Grade readers, but my audience for this is more along the lines of the high school to early College reader. Hopefully, anyone sixteen or older would enjoy this.

My day job is in Information Technology. I do a lot of PC and Mac diagnostic\repair and end user support. The idea of turning someone into a virus to do harm to a computer isn’t much of stretch for what I do. I add the twist of my protagonist the human-turned-virus becoming my hero the antivirus. It is about transformation and the heroic journey. We all have our own stories in which we get to be the hero off, and the hero story is something that inspires all us every day people.

What are you working on now?

I’m revamping a speculative fiction novel called The Infinity Box. It is finished, but I put it away for a couple of years because I didn’t have it quite right and wasn’t sure how to fix it.  Another novel of mine, Chocolate Eyes, is sitting on the computer of an editor at Zonderkidz. It was a finalist in the 2013 Genesis contest and a finalist in the 2012 First Impressions contest.  Chocolate Eyes Is a real departure from what I normally write, it is about seventh grader that learns how to deal with bullies and difficult family members from caring for a precocious horse he saves from slaughter. Some of the judges in the Genesis contest accused it of being too dark, but the story is hilarious.  It would be really nice to work with Zonderkidz, because I’m a big fan of what they’re trying to accomplish in developing projects that reach out to a broader audience.  I do have Chocolate Eyes out to other places too, after all, I do want to get published and I’m not getting any younger.

Chocolate Eyes

Chocolate Eyes

What is one thing you’d like your readers to know?

Everyone should get caught up in the narrative of book at least twice a year. You read a book and it captivates you to the point that you lose track of time. When you finish it, you feel sad. Like getting off your favorite carnival ride, or watching a great movie. People don’t read enough for entertainment and that makes me sad.

To celebrate our first Scriblerians release, we’re giving away 6 copies of Necessary Evil (ebook only). How do you win? (1) You have to be a follower of this blog or follow TJ Akers on Facebook, and (2) be willing to post an honest review on Amazon after you’ve read it. Interested? Sign-up below!

Now, tell us, dear reader? Are you a short story fan? And which is your favorite?