Interview and Giveaway with Sommer Smith

I love interviewing debut authors! It’s is so much fun to share in the excitement of their first book hitting the shelves.

Please welcome debut author Sommer Smith!

Enter to win Under Suspicion

Win 1 of 2 prizes — Ships to U.S. Only

Sign up: Giveaway Link (click here)

 

Sommer Smith meme

 

INTERVIEW WITH SOMMER SMITH

How does it feel to be a debut author? It’s awesome! I’ve wanted to be a writer for a very long time, and seeing your name in print on the cover of your first book is kind of surreal.

 What did you do when you got “the call”?  It was a moment I will never forget. I was teaching but we were in an assembly, so I was able to go into the gym lobby and take the call. It was all I could do to quietly tell my coworkers instead of grabbing the mic and announcing it to the whole school!

 Where did you get your idea for your book? I follow a lot of agents and editors on Twitter and one of the Love Inspired editors Tweeted about a fascinating story she had read about Navy dolphins and mentioned it would be a great book idea. I looked up the article and decided she was right. I love dolphins and after reading about their heroic exploits I couldn’t wait to write about them.

How long does it take you to write a Love Inspired Suspense novel? The actual writing part itself only takes me around three months or so, but sometimes the research and editing can drag it out for much longer. It depends on how well I manage my time and how much time I have to work on it between my teaching job and attending the various activities my children have going on.

Tell us a bit about Under Suspicion? Dr. Keilani Lucas comes to the naval base to help with their dolphin training program but stumbles onto an underwater drug smuggling ring on her first day. Lt. Micah Kent is thrown into the role of protector as well as co-worker. The smugglers are desperate to silence Keilani and it will take teamwork to put a stop to their efforts. But things get even more complicated when they discover the threat is on the inside.

What is your typical day like? I teach high school from 8-4, so my writing time is usually concentrated in the evening hours and weekends. The afternoons are a good time to write since my son is usually at practice for football or baseball. I go to the gym and come home to write. I break to make dinner and take care of some household duties and then get back to writing until bedtime.

When did you start writing?  I decided to write my first novel when I was in 7th grade. I read often and one day decided I wanted to write a book of my own. It was a hilarious premise about a female pirate and I had no idea what I was doing, but I just sat down with a notebook and pen and started writing a story. I never finished it, but I also never lost the desire to write a novel. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I actually finished one.

What is the hardest part about being an author? The hardest part for me is being disciplined. It’s very difficult to stick with self-imposed deadlines and consistently work toward my goals when there is no one else to answer to about my progress. I always feel like I could accomplish more if I had more discipline. 

Who is your favorite author? I honestly have a lot of favorites, depending on the type of novel. I love Susan May Warren’s books. She is an extremely talented author with very real characters. I also really love Laura Frantz, Sarah Ladd, and Julie Klassen. Their attention to historical detail is amazing and their stories really draw you in and take you to another time and place.

Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke?  Coke, definitely!

Candy, cookies, or cake? All three! I love sweets and could never choose. Bring on the pie and cheesecake also!

Coffee or Tea? Again, I love both. I drink black coffee in the mornings and sweet tea and iced coffee in the afternoons. Sometimes I like hot tea when it’s cold out.

Favorite vacation?  Something tropical. I love warm sunny beaches. I have been on two Caribbean cruises and loved every minute of it. I really want to go to Hawaii someday.  But I do have to say I have been on some snowy Colorado vacations that I really loved as well.

Favorite TV show? I love Castle. Murder, mystery, and bad jokes are a great combination. I have yet to find a new show I like as much.

Favorite Movie? Probably Pride and Prejudice or Pirates of the Caribbean:  The Curse of the Black Pearl. I know the two are very different, other than Keira Knightly in the starring role. I love the historical worlds created in the films and the action, adventure, and romance you can get lost in.

Any hobbies? Pets? Activities? I have two dogs who run the house. One is a husky and one is a smaller mixed breed. I also have a horse. I love riding and I used to do a little barrel racing. Now, most of my exercise comes from my time at the gym. I love lifting weights and hate doing cardio, but my daughters love to run and they try to keep me balanced. I also love watching my son play sports – football in the fall and baseball in the spring.

Thank you, Sommer, for joining us!!

Interview and Giveaway with Lynn Shannon

I’m so excited to introduce you to Lynn Shannon. I’ve fallen in love with her Texas Ranger Series and now she has a book out with Love Inspired Suspense!!

Please welcome, Lynn Shannon!!

Enter to win Following the Evidence

Win 1 of 2 prizes — Ships Worldwide

Sign up: Giveaway Link (click here)

LynnShannon

Tell us a bit about your July LIS release Following the Evidence. Bringing a tracking dog to town put her in a killer’s sights. Inheriting a ranch is a fresh start for Emma Pierce, her baby, and her search-and-rescue dog—until someone tries to kill her. But Sheriff Reed Atkinson won’t let anyone hurt his first love…especially when they uncover a connection to his vanished sister. Can Reed solve both cases before he loses his sister and the woman he’s falling for all over again?

How long does it take you to write a Love Inspired Suspense novel versus a Long Novel?  It’s about the same for me. I spend a long time thinking about the crime and the tropes/hooks I want to use, which is the hardest part. Once I have the first 25% of the book written, everything falls into place and the rest is (usually) a lot of fun to write.

 What is your writing process? Write the beginning 500 times. Literally. The first 25% is the worst for me. I throw out so many words! It’s because the first 25% of the book is the initial setup. The mystery, the romantic conflict, etc. That’s critical. Finally, once I have a beginning I like, then I can move on. My favorite part is when I get to the editing stage. I can see the finish line, and it’s a race to get there. I’m with you on this one! 

 When did you publish your first book, and what was it? Ranger Protection was my first book and it was published in November 2018.

What is your typical day like? I get my kids up and to school, and then I handle a few administrative things before diving into writing. I like to get my writing out of the way first thing in the morning, otherwise, it might not get done later in the day.

When did you start writing? More than 5 years ago. I had an agent for a long time and nearly sold several books before moving into self-publishing. Then I signed a contract for a book with Love Inspired Suspense, which was a dream come true. It’s been an amazing journey.

What is the hardest part about being an author? For me, the hardest part is worrying about the readers. I don’t want to disappoint them, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to continually raise the bar when writing. I always want the latest book to be the best one.

I know I love your Texas Ranger Heroes Series. Please tell my friends a little about it. My Ranger series has been so much fun to write. Who doesn’t love a lawman in cowboy boots? Each book combines a fast-paced mystery with a sweet romance. There’s lots of suspense and danger, but there’s also great small-town moments with extended families and friends. Did I say I love this series? LOVE IT!

Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke?  Coke. But if you have a root beer, I’ll take that!

Candy, cookies, or cake?  Cookies. Specifically, chocolate chip cookies with walnuts.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee.

Favorite vacation?  I love to travel, and I’ve been to so many amazing places, it’s hard to choose one. But if you give me a gorgeous beach and an iced coffee, I’m a happy camper.

Favorite TV show?  Homicide Hunter. I’m so sad it’s over. Oh, and I really adored The Closer. I re-watched all the episodes recently. Such a fantastic show.

Favorite Movie? My geek side is showing, but any of the Star Trek movies. I love them all.

Any hobbies? Pets? Activities? I have a dog, Louisa, who is my writing buddy. She’s by my side all day and I don’t know what I would do without her company. We also have a turtle that hibernates half of the year. Recently, we’ve added two love birds to the family. My kids adore them.

Thank you, Lynn, for stopping by!!

Keep up to date with Lynn and her latest releases @ http://www.lynnshannon.com/

Join me in August for an Interview and Giveaway with Debut Author Sommer Smith!

Interview and Giveaway with Connie Queen

Connie is another MurderCon friend and suspense writer. While we were at MurderCon, Connie had to finish a manuscript and turn it in to the Love Inspired Suspense author search. She was on a deadline and hid out in her hotel room to write the final scenes. Thankfully, she finished, turned it in, and now, you all get to read it!! Yay!

Please welcome Connie Queen!

Enter to win Justice Undercover

Sign up: Giveaway Link (click here)

Connie Queen

 

How does it feel to be a debut author?  Unbelievable. Seriously, I’m not certain it’s actually sunk in yet. They can’t call me and take back the contract, can they? Haha! I’ve heard you’re not the only one to feel this way. 

What did you do when you got “the call”? I’m not a jump up and down, squealing type of person. When I’m nervous, I tend to be slow to respond because I’m afraid I’ll say something stupid. When my editor offered me the contract, I was calm and collected, but then I began to worry I might not sound appreciative enough.  Then I started talking fast and couldn’t stop, and by the time we ended the conversation, I’m pretty certain I had totally left her confused.

After the call, I drove to my husband’s work and said the three most beautiful words, “New York Called.”

Bless him, he knew exactly what that meant.

 Where did you get your idea for your book? I’d been targeting Love Inspired for a while and paid attention to their writing advice including what were popular hooks within the line. I’ve always loved secret identity stories and wondered if I could have a US Marshal fake her death and go “rogue” undercover as a nanny. Once the idea of this highly trained officer having to pretend to be the sitter for a Texas Ranger’s kids without letting the truth slip, the story took off.

How long does it take you to write a Love Inspired Suspense novel? The time varies greatly with the quickest being 4 months and 6-8 months being more realistic. I’ve never been a fast writer but I’m getting better.

Tell us a bit about Justice Undercover?

Keeping her true identity a secret is the only way to stay alive.

Going undercover as a nanny brings presumed-dead ex-US Marshal Kylie Stone closer to catching the man who murdered the witness in her protection—and also killed Texas Ranger Luke Dryden’s sister. When someone tries to kidnap the twins in her care, Kylie must tell their uncle the truth…and convince Luke to help her. But will revealing her identity put all their lives at stake?

What is your typical day like? My husband and I just became empty nesters and moved from Texas to Nebraska for his job. We have 8 kids so it’s been an adjustment to go from constant chaos to having the house to myself during the day. We travel back to Texas frequently and Facetime with the grandkids often.  I get up early but I have a difficult time writing before noon so I get my housework and other projects done in the morning. On the weekends, we enjoy remodeling our small farmhouse.

When did you start writing? Twenty years ago. I’m kind of weird for a writer because I never enjoyed reading when I was young. I didn’t start reading as an adult until I was in my thirties and then I was hooked. Not long after, I started writing my own stories which was a totally blast because I had no idea what I was doing. This was before the days of the internet where writing advice is widely available. I began to enter writing contests and realized I had a lot to learn.

What is the hardest part about being an author? I love to think about stories. I love to talk about stories. I love to research stories. Sitting down every day to put the story on paper, not so much.

Who is your favorite author? I have a lot of favorite authors, but I’d have to say Catherine Coulter because her historicals were what got me hooked on reading. When I completed my first story, I wrote her a letter and she was kind enough to write me back and even listed the writing groups who met in my area! Most authors are extremely supportive people.

Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke?  Definitely Coke. Well, make that Coke Zero. When we moved to Nebraska I found that most restaurants only carry Pepsi products. Now I carry a Coke Zero in my purse just to be safe.

Candy, cookies, or cake? Milk chocolate candy and chocolate chip cookies. I like cake, but I LOVE pies.

Coffee or Tea? Neither. It’s another thing I’m weird about.  It’s either water or Coke.

Favorite vacation?  Cruise! It doesn’t matter where, I just enjoy the ocean (even if it makes me a tad seasick) and spending time on the ship. Great place to take the kids.

Favorite TV show? I watch Perry Mason and Matlock reruns. If I could get I Love Lucy, I’d watch that too.

Favorite Movie? The Fugitive. Even though Tommy Lee Jones was trying to catch Harrison Ford, I wanted both of them to win.  If an author can make you root for both sides, that’s pretty awesome.

Any hobbies? Pets? Activities? My husband and I enjoy working on the house. We just finished making a new epoxy kitchen countertop and I really liked the way it turned out. I realize we could probably pay someone to do it almost as cheap, but where would be the fun in that? We have two super loving Great Danes!

Thank you so much for having me today, Sami!

Please check out Connie’s website http://www.conniequeenauthor.com/ for the latest information.

Thank YOU, Connie, for joining me!!

Come back in July for an interview and giveaway with Lynn Shannon!!