Interview with Darlene L. Turner

Darlene and I first meet at the ACFW conference in 2017. We were Genesis Finalist buddies and quickly became real life friends. We spend time brainstorming, chatting, and encouraging each other on a regular basis. I am so proud of Darlene and her debut novel.

Please welcome Darlene Turner!!

Enter to win Border Breach

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1 US only prize and 1 Canada only prize. (Canadian winner must answer a skill-testing question to receive prize.)

Darlene L. Turner

How does it feel to be a debut author? A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.   It’s all surreal as my dream is finally coming true. It’s also scary as there is SO much to learn, but I have amazing writer friends who’ve been helping me along the way. Of course, you get nervous about what readers will think of your “baby,” but you have to let it go and simply enjoy the ride!

 What did you do when you got “the call”?  While I was on the phone with my agent, I was jumping around the kitchen (and inwardly screaming YES!). The funny thing is my husband had the best reaction. When he came home from work (and he couldn’t get home fast enough for me!), and I told him, he stomped up and down the hall. He was so excited!

 Where did you get your idea for your book? I’ve crossed different borders into the States many times, and I’ve often thought it would be fun to put a female border patrol agent together with a police officer to solve a smuggling ring. When I started googling some ideas, the Doda drug came up and that’s when the storyline came to me.

How long does it take you to write a Love Inspired Suspense novel?  From start to finish – probably 3-4 months. It’s the editing process that takes the time because you have to go through many revisions of your novel.

Tell us a bit about your debut novel?  Kaylin Poirier and Hudson Steeves have worked together before, but it did not go well. They clashed at every turnDoda and now suddenly, they’re thrust into solving a deadly smuggling ring bent on infiltrating their country with a new powerful drug derived from poppies.

Kaylin and Hudson both have to face their pasts, learn how to forgive, and ultimately put their trust in God.

What is your typical day like?  I work full time, so after work, I give myself a break by getting on my treadmill and watching a show I PVR’d (I used to say “taped,” but someone corrected me the other day. Haha). Then I have supper and get to work either on writing, plotting, researching, marketing, or zooming with some amazing writer friends! 

When did you start writing? When I was young, I loved to read Nancy Drew, so I started writing my own version – the “Mindy Dobson” series. I wish I’d kept them as it would be fun to go back and read it (and laugh). I always wanted to write but stopped until I was older. I got more serious about writing ten years ago.

What is the hardest part about being an author?  Definitely, the marketing and social media. It’s so hard to “sell” yourself and not sound like you’re bragging!

Who is your favorite author?  I can’t just say one as there are SO many amazing authors out there. I would narrow it down to three – DiAnn Mills, Steven James, and Ted Dekker

 Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke?  Neither! Ginger ale all the way, baby! 

Candy, cookies, or cake? How about all three? If I had to choose…probably cookies.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee!

Favorite vacation?  Maui, Hawaii!

Favorite TV show? I have many (mostly suspense shows) but would have to say When Calls the Heart – it’s such a wholesome show and has a handsome Mountie in it (What more do you want?) It’s also based on books by a fellow Canadian author!  I’m a Heartie!

Favorite Movie?  Lord of the Rings

Any hobbies? Pets? Activities?  I love to tole paint – this is painting on wood pieces. Of course, I love to read. No pets, but if my husband wasn’t allergic, we’d have a cat (or two).

Be sure to check out Darlene’s website: https://darlenelturner.com/

Thanks for joining me, Darlene!

Come back in May for a special blog post discussion with Deborah Clack where we talk about our Author Fan Girl moments, and have an opportunity to enter a giveaway to win your choice from multiple prizes.

Interview with Valerie Hansen

I am always on the look out for Valerie’s latest and greatest book. So a while back, I got this crazy idea to contact her and asked if she’d be a guest on my blog and she graciously said yes.

Please welcome Valerie Hansen!!

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Valerie Hansen

Tell us a bit about your April LIS release Canyon Standoff that includes your novella Canyon Under SiegeI was surprised at how heroic National Park Rangers are once I started researching this subject. They can be police, fire fighters, rescuers and much, much more.

 How long does it take you to write a Love Inspired Suspense novel?  The answer to this question depends upon a lot of factors. A novella is shorter, which is why there are two in one for this book. If I’m on a roll, the words flow so well I can hardly type them fast enough. If not, a break or chocolate may be called for. Deadlines help too. It seems as though the more rushed I am, the better I work. Call it the “PANIC” method.

 What is your writing process? Get up in the morning, drink coffee, check email, then dive into the ms., reviewing what I wrote the day before, polishing it a little if necessary, then moving ahead. By the time I reach the halfway point I’m always sure it’s terrible but soon after that I hit my stride again and power through to the end. (It’s never really terrible. I’m just insecure sometimes)

 When did you do publish your first book and what was it?  Eons ago I wrote under a pseudonym. That person died a terrible death at the hands of my conscience and was reborn around 1986 as Val Whisenand for Silhouette Romance, beginning with “Treasure Hunters”. She then reverted to her maiden name, Valerie Hansen, for Love Inspired in about 1999 with “The Wedding Arbor”. 

Where do you get your ideas for your books?  Anywhere and everywhere. Sometimes an editor will suggest something, as happened when mine asked for a National Park Ranger novella. Sometimes I’m slower in developing an idea and it can go through multiple plot possibilities before it’s settled on.

What is your typical day like?  The dogs wake me. Every day. Without fail. They do not take weekends or days off into account, which means I have a pretty strict schedule. Up with the sun – and the dogs, then coffee and doggie treats (for them, not for me) Breakfast. Email. Maybe a little scattered web surfing if I’m not sure where the book is going, then I’ll usually knuckle down and write. Unless I don’t.  As the years have passed, I’ve discovered I’m a better writer if I’m not worn to a frazzle or obsessing over deadlines. I sometimes need to give myself permission to goof off.

When did you start writing?  I have written all my life. My first short story was published while I was in high school. I wouldn’t remember except my mother saved the magazine it was in! What I first sold was a genre romance to New American Library back in the dark ages. Everybody was trying to find the secret that made Harlequin so successful and there were many opportunities then. I also did some for Kensington and Silhouette Romance before it became a part of Harlequin.

What is the hardest part about being an author?  Convincing myself, over and over, that I really do know what I’m doing. It doesn’t take much to shake my confidence no matter how many successes I’ve had in the past. I suspect self-doubt is typical of many of us. And I’ve written over 70 books.

Who is your favorite author?  No fair asking that question. I have so many dear friends in this business I can’t begin to choose. What I read when I’m working, however, is usually out of the romance/suspense genre. It needs to be different from whatever I’m writing at that time. Otherwise it’s not pleasurable. I end up critiquing when I should be losing myself in the story. The same thing happens with TV and films. Give me a plot hole to stumble over and the whole show is spoiled for me.

Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke?   Alas, water. I used to practically live on Pepsi!

Candy, cookies, or cake? Hey, as long as it’s chocolate, I’m open to any and all.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee hot and tea iced. Raspberry iced tea is my fave.

Favorite vacation?  Anniversary trip to Norway where my dad was born.

Favorite TV show?  NCIS as long as Leroy Jethro Gibbs is on it.

Favorite Movie? “Romancing the Stone” or the “North Avenue Irregulars.” The first because she’s a romance writer and I almost got thrown out of the theater for laughing so much. The second because it’s a women’s Sunday School class vs. the mob and hilarious.

Any hobbies? Pets? Activities?  My three dogs would be disappointed if I listed them as pets. They are my doorbell, my constant companions, my guardians, my lap warmers, my food scrap cleanup crew, my critter chasers, my psychologists, and my best buddies. I also love to garden, weather permitting. The dogs help with that, too.

Thank you, Valerie for joining us!!

Please come back in April for an interview and giveaway with debut author Darlene L. Turner!

Interview and Giveaway with Christy Barritt

While attending MurderCon, I happened to sit next to Christy Barritt on the bus as we traveled to Sirchie. I enjoyed getting to know a little bit about her and her family, and I am thrilled to introduce her to you.

Please welcome Christy Barritt!

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Christy Barritt

 

Tell us a bit about your January Indie release Line of DutyLine of Duty is the fourth book in the Fog Lake Suspense series. It takes place in the eerie mountain town of Fog Lake, Tennessee. A terrible massacre occurred there decades ago, and now a fog constantly hangs over the town, giving it a haunted feel. It’s a place full of legends and folklore, as well as insurmountable beauty and adventure. This series follows a group of siblings as they all overcome obstacles—and danger—to find love. Jaxon Wilder is the youngest brother, and he’s just returned home after serving in the Army and being stationed in the Middle East. On a camping trip with his brothers, he finds an injured woman out in the middle of nowhere. When he learns this woman, Abby Brennan, has no one close to help her, he’s compelled to step in. But she has a deadly secret that puts both of their lives in danger. 

Since you write both LIS and Indie publish, how long does it take you to write a Love Inspired Suspense novel versus an Indie novel? I dictate the first draft of each of my novels, and that takes me about a week. It takes me two or three weeks after that to revise and clean them up. I would say that my pace is the same for both my Love Inspired books and my indies.

How does your planning and writing differ from LIS and your Indie long novels?  For my indie books, I usually plot as I go. So I’ll dictate some and then figure out where the story goes next, and I repeat that dictation process. For LIS, I pretty much have an outline figured out before I start.

When did you do publish your first book and what was it?  I had two titles with small presses way back when, but my first big book was Hazardous Duty. It was published through Kregel. They published the first two books in my Squeaky Clean series and then I lost my contract. That’s what ultimately led me to indie publishing.

 Where do you get your ideas for your books? Everywhere. I love watching real-life crime shows on TV. I love talking to people and hearing their stories. I’m not above eavesdropping at restaurants either. J Pretty much, I have a huge imagination, and I have more book ideas than I can possibly ever write.

What is your typical day like?  My kids leave for school at 7:30 and that’s when I start writing. I continue until they get home from school at 1:15 (it’s a private school with shorter hours so students can have more family time). My kids and I will have lunch and sometimes do errands or something as a family. If they’re occupied with something later in the day, sometimes I’ll write or edit some more. But the morning is my dedicated time. It’s rare that I let anything interfere with those hours.

When did you start writing?  I actually wrote three books while I was in high school. I’ve always loved writing. I studied communications and psychology (and Bible) in college and worked for a Christian publisher after graduating. I ultimately moved back home in my early twenties because my dad was put in hospice care, and I wanted to be near him. That’s when I seriously started writing again.

What is the hardest part about being an author?  I really love being an author. I love stories. And I love doing my indie books because I can be my own boss. The hardest part for me is probably learning not to hold onto the criticism. Ninety-five percent of the feedback I get as a writer is positive. Yet it’s the other five percent that I usually remember. I have to learn to let that go. I’ve been doing this a long time—twenty years almost. And I still struggle with this.

Who is your favorite author?  That’s a hard one. I love Mary Higgins Clark and Harlan Coben. I like Terri Blackstock also.

Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke?  I haven’t had soda in five years, but before that, I LOVED Coke with a passion back when I still drank soda.

Candy, cookies, or cake?  Potato chips. Give me all the salt!

Coffee or Tea?  Coffee.

Favorite vacation?  Scotland. My husband’s mother is actually Scottish, and he has family over there. It was fun visiting and seeing his roots.

Favorite TV show? Right now? I’ve been watching Veronica Mars reruns. I love Castle, Psyche, The Mentalist, Rizzoli and Isles. I pretty much watch shows that are very much like the books I write. J

Favorite Movie?  I love all the Marvel movies. I don’t know if this is because I’m a boy mom or what, but I get more excited about them than my kids, I think. And I’m super excited about the new Wonder Woman movie coming out.

Any hobbies? Pets? Activities?  Four dogs. I love taking pictures and walking at the beach and spending time with my family.

Check out Christy’s website for up-to-date news.  Christybarritt.com

Thanks for joining us, Christy!

Please come back next month for an interview and giveaway with Valerie Hansen.