Interview and Giveaway with Carrie Stuart Parks

Time for a change to Suspense with the amazing Carrie Stuart Parks!

Ahhh, Carrie, what can I say…I met Carrie about a year ago at the ACFW conference. She critiqued a section of my manuscript and believe it or not, she liked it. ☺We had a great conversation and as they say, the rest is history. She is so generous with her time and willingness to help. I can’t thank her enough.

Please welcome Carrie Stuart Parks!

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Carrie Stuart Parks

Where did you get your ideas for your books? Lately I’ve been brainstorming with fellow writers—Colleen Coble, Lynette Eason, Robin Caroll, Pam Hillman, Voni Harris, and my agent, Karen Solem. Several others have joined us in the past. I get a rough idea of location and problem and we all run with it. We try to get together once a year. Can I just say I’m jealous!

Tell us about your “other” career. ☺  I’m a forensic artist—I use my art to work with law enforcement and the legal community on criminal and civil cases. This includes composite drawings of unknown subjects, image modification, unknown remains, crime scene sketches, demonstrative evidence, and courtroom illustrations. My husband, Rick, and I teach these topics to law enforcement personnel.

I’m also a professional artist with watercolor as my primary medium.

I’ve heard your mentor is quite an interesting character. Do tell! Frank Peretti, the “Dean of Christian Fiction,” mentored me for eight years. What a TOTAL blessing.

How long does it take you to write a novel? The idea floats around for a few months while I finish the previous book, then the plotting, character development, and research takes about 4 months. Writing takes 8 months—so a year. I’d probably be faster, but I have a “day job.”

Who’s your all-time favorite character? Of mine? Gwen Marcey, of course.

When is your next release? Shameless plug time! July 23 is the release day for Fragments of Fear. From the back cover:

Evelyn McTavish’s world came crashing down with the suicide of her fiancé. As she struggles to put her life back together and make a living from her art, she receives a call that her dog is about to be destroyed at the pound. Except she doesn’t own a dog. But the shelter is adamant that the microchip embedded in the canine with her name and address makes it hers.

Evelyn recognizes the dog as one owned by archaeologist John Coyote because she did a commissioned drawing of the two of them. The simple solution is to return the dog to his owner—but she arrives only to discover John’s murdered body.

As Evelyn herself becomes a target, her path crosses with undercover FBI agent Sawyer Price. But the more he gets to know her, the more personally invested he is in keeping her safe. They’re desperate to find the links between these disparate pieces. And the clock is ticking.

Tell us a little bit about your typical day. My “typical” day isn’t ever typical. I wake up between 5-6 AM (depending on dogs.) After putting them outside, then in, then out, then in until I am going nuts, I do my daily devotional with my first gallon of coffee. Then I answer emails and putter on the computer before starting on writing. I write a few hours every day if possible. I keep a spiral notebook open with the projects that need to be done—ordering art supplies for classes, bookkeeping, follow-up, art delivery, enrollment, and so on.

We travel to various locations about once a month to teach our week-long classes, so as the class approaches, the list will include packing, rosters, handouts, shipping books, airline tickets, dog care, and so many other things that I get tired just thinking about it… Rick (hubby) schedules the classes, does the newsletter, books the hotel and rental cars, and handles some correspondence.

In addition to the forensic classes, I’m a professional speaker. I talk on forensic art, signs of deception, and writing. I use Powerpoint extensively and customize it for each group, so preparing, timing, corresponding with the group, booking flights, hotels, and so on may take a chunk of the day. Whew. Now I am tired…

Then there are the dogs (I’ll answer a later question here.) I have six pooches: four Great Pyrenees and two bull terriers. I completed my Pyrenees permit judging license this year and am picking up the three provisional assignments to complete the final AKC requirements. I show several of the dogs, something I’ve been doing since I was nine. On that handy list I mentioned earlier are getting ready for the shows (showing locally, judging in Chicago, New Jersey, Washington State, and California.) Add grooming, training, kennel cleaning…I’m exhausted…

Finally, there’s the routine maintenance around here. We live on the family’s 685-acre ranch in the mountains of North Idaho. We have our home, guest house (used for classes in the summer,) the 20 x 30’ studio, and dog kennel. I’m going back to bed…

When did you start writing? Probably some time in the early 1990s. Non-fiction art books and books on signs of deception.

Tell us about your first book contract.  My first was for a non-fiction, illustrated Secrets to Drawing Realistic Faces. My first fiction contract came after eight years of being mentored by Frank, around ten writing conferences, numerous online classes, two critique groups, and over 80 books on the subject. The “learning” book didn’t sell originally, so I wrote a second. A partial of the second book (which became A Cry From the Dust) was sent to seven publishing houses. One didn’t answer, one said they weren’t doing fiction anymore, and five wanted the manuscript. It went to auction between two of the big five, with Thomas Nelson/HarperCollins Christian signing me for a three book deal. That book won a Carol and finaled in the Christy’s. All of the books in that 4-book series won major awards. God is good.

What is the hardest part about being an author? Is there an easy part? Just sitting down with discipline and writing.

Who is your favorite author? Frank Peretti, of course. Dick Frances, Jonathan and Fay Kellerman, J.A. Jance, early Patricia Cornwell. Colleen Coble, Robin Caroll, Ronie Kendig, Lynette Eason, Cara Putman…oh my! So many books, so little time.

What is your favorite book? In terms of reading it the most times, the Bible.

I recall you have a big fluffy bear…oops, I mean dog. Do tell! I did mention the dogs earlier. I served as the president of the Great Pyrenees Club of America—something my mother did. I inherited the kennel and love of dogs from both my folks. They have since passed on, and I feel like I honor their memory by continuing to have them.

Anything you want to brag about? I think I’ve done enough damage….

Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke?   Coke

Candy, cookies, or cake?    Have you seen me? Yes!

Favorite food?  More like what won’t I eat…

Coffee or Tea? Coffee in the am, iced tea in the afternoon.

Favorite vacation? All of them.

Favorite TV show?  Hmmmm. I binge watch different shows based on my mood.

Favorite Movie? Do I have to choose one?

Any hobbies? I guess the dogs count as a hobby—the writing, art, and teaching are wonderful jobs.

Carrie, thank you so much for joining us and for the fun giveaway.

Please join me next month for a giveaway and interview with Lynette Eason.

Interview with Tina Radcliffe

It’s time to changes things up a bit from Romantic Suspense to Romance authors.

Please welcome, romance author, Tina Radcliffe.  Tina Radcliffe April 2019_300dpi Smaller

I met Tina at the ACFW conference then connected on Facebook with her soon after. Tina has jumped in and helped me with a manuscript and has been one of my biggest cheerleaders. I can’t thank her enough for all she’s done. I hope you enjoy her books as much as I have.

Thank you for joining us, Tina.

Giveaways: One Grand prize plus five additional winners.

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Tina R Twitter

Where did you get your ideas for your books?  The best ideas come from observing life. An overheard conversation in the airport. People watching. Once I picked up a piece of notepaper that had someone’s entire wedding planned on it in detail. It was written in childish scrawl. That is a book waiting to be told.

I keep all swatches of ideas, clippings, sticky notes and overheard conversations in an idea box. I date the paper and occasionally, when I need inspiration, I pull them out and look them all over. Unfortunately, at this point in my life, there are more ideas than there is time to write all the stories.

Who’s your all-time favorite character?  There are no favorite characters. Each one is loved for a special reason. For example:

Will Sullivan in The Rancher’s Reunion is based on a real person from my past who dealt with the possible diagnosis of Huntington’s disease

Fireman Jake MacLaughlin in Safe in the Fireman’s Arms who at the time, was the oldest hero I’d ever written. Jake gets a second chance at love.  Oooohhhh, I loved him!! Sorry, please continue. 

Rancher Joe Gallagher in Rocky Mountain Cowboy who is based on a real cowboy who has a myoelectric prosthetic arm.

Tripp Walker in Her Last Chance Cowboy is an enigmatic loner cowboy. This man of few words finally gets his own happily ever after in book four of the Big Heart Ranch series.

Right now, I’m writing about Mitch Rainbolt, a small-town sheriff with a tragic past who doesn’t believe that he deserves the love of a lifetime.

When is your next release? Do tell!  Rebel Ranch kicks off in the spring of 2020! Here’s the blurb about this exciting new series.

Four siblings who inherit their grandfather’s ranch, work to overcome the tragedy of their past and in the process, find the forever healing power of love.

Tell us a little bit about your typical day.  I wish I had a typical day. Right now, I am letting my circadian clock do its thing and that means after years of working the graveyard shift; I am back at it again. I write during the night. Fewer interruptions.

When did you start writing?  Writing evolved from a voracious reading habit and reading from a desire to escape into another world. I wrote my first complete novel at fourteen.

When did you receive your first book contract?  January 2010

What is the hardest part about being an author?  The most difficult part of being an author is trying to pretend I am normal and that my writing job can be turned off on Friday at five until I go into the office again on Monday. I am always an author. It consumes me. This explains the sticky notes with ideas that are everywhere (see the idea box above) or the dozens of stories that are in various stages on my computer.

Who is your favorite author or favorite book?  I have 1,368 books on my Kindle and at least six dozen physical books in my office. Can there be one favorite author or one favorite book? Should there be? There is a book for every mood and every stage of life. This explains why I am a big fan of keepers.

However, in the nonfiction realm, my favorite memoir is by Mary Higgins Clark’s. It’s called Kitchen Privileges. Ms. Clark is 91 years old, and she is still publishing. I want to be her when I grow up.

Anything you want to brag about?  Oh, yes. I am a collector of useless trivia. I also have somewhat of a photographic memory in small bites. This makes me a good person to bring along to a party for meaningless chit-chat.

Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke?   Sorry, neither. I drink sparkling water. I am, in fact, a sparkling water addict.

Candy, cookies, or cake?    Is this really a fair question? All of the above. I didn’t get this round figure by limiting my intake choices.

Coffee or Tea?  Interesting question. I used to bring my own carafe of coffee to work for years to ensure I received enough of the good stuff. I never drank tea. Now, I am an equal opportunity caffeinated beverage imbiber. I love coffee, especially Arbuckle brand with a splash of half-and-half. However, I also love dirty chai and a good matcha.

Favorite vacation?   I don’t vacation. I go to conferences and visit my kids. The ideal decadence, which I have only experienced a few times in my life, is a hotel room with lots of books and room service.

 Favorite TV show?  Too many to count. But I don’t like to be held hostage by a weekly show. I prefer binging a season as a writing reward. Currently, I am binging In Plain Sight, which is free for Amazon Prime. It’s about a sarcastic female WITSEC Inspector with a dysfunctional family. I love this show.

Any hobbies? Pets? Hobbies?  I collect cookbooks and don’t cook. I am fascinated with chefs. Current obsessions include Flynn McGarry who is a culinary prodigy and Christina Tosi, the owner of Milk Bar.

Ask me about my cat. Or better yet, follow me on Instagram and I will tell you. @tinaradcliffe

Tina Radcliffe:  A freelance writer for over twenty years, Tina Radcliffe is an RWA and ACFW Honor Roll member, a two-time RWA Golden Heart finalist, and a three-time ACFW Carol Award nominee.  She is a 2018 ACFW Mentor of the Year recipient and a 2014 Carol Award winner. Her 11th book for Harlequin Love Inspired, Her Last Chance Cowboy, released in February 2019.  In addition to novel-length fiction, Tina has sold over three dozen short stories to Woman’s World Magazine. A former library cataloger, Tina is a frequent presenter on writing topics and an online instructor. She currently resides in Arizona, where she writes fun, heartwarming romance. Visit her on the web at https://www.tinaradcliffe.com/

Twitter   https://twitter.com/TMRadcliffe

Facebook   https://www.facebook.com/tinaradcliffeauthor/

Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/tinaradcliffe/

Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/tinamradcliffe/

Webpage  http://www.tinaradcliffe.com/

Check out Tina’s latest: A Cowboy’s Second Chance

The last person cowboy Joe Gallagher thought he’d see on his ranch was high school sweetheart Rebecca Anshaw Simpson. Twelve years after she married another man, she’s back as his physical therapist. But healing his body is nothing compared to guarding his heart from the woman he never forgot. There’s much the single mom would rather forget, but Becca won’t let regret and a surly rancher get in the way of her job and the chance to start over with her little girl. She has only a few weeks to make peace with her past. But Becca never expected she’d fall all over again for her first love.

 

Tina, thank you so much for joining us and for all the fun giveaways.

Join me next month for a giveaway and interview with Laurel Blount.

Interview with Rachel Dylan

Giveaway and interview with Rachel Dylan!!
Rachel Meme
TO ENTER GIVEAWAY:  Sign-up for my newsletter or follow my blog. Already signed up? Leave a message for Rachel.
I hear you had a new release in February. Do tell!: Yes! Breach of Trust is the third and final book in the Atlanta Justice series. It’s about a corporate litigator who has to fight for justice for her murdered friend. I really loved this story because, like Mia, I was also a corporate litigator so I really identified with her character.
Where do you get ideas for your books? I have a very active imagination! I’m always coming up with scenarios and ideas in everyday life. I assumed that was something everyone did until I got older and realized that I wasn’t normal LOL. I love building out stories in my mind and then making them come alive on the page.
How long does it take you to write a Love Inspired Suspense novel vs. a trade novel? I only write on the weekends, but generally, I can write a category length book in a few months. It takes me about five or six months to write a trade novel.
Who’s your all-time favorite character? That’s a tough one, but I think Olivia Murray from the Windy Ridge series holds a special place in my heart.
Tell us a little bit about your typical day. I still work full time as an attorney so my typical weekday is filled with plenty of lawyer work. On the weekends though, I get up super early to focus on all my writing tasks. It helps that my animals never understand what a weekend is and serve as my wakeup call. I’m a morning person so I get my best writing work done early. I rarely ever write at night.
sammie the cat
When did you start writing? I’ve always loved to write since I was a child. But I wrote my first novel manuscript in 2010. That manuscript was never published, but I kept writing and entered a writing contest and that’s how I sold my first book with Love Inspired Suspense.
When did you receive your first book contract? I received my first contract for a Love Inspired Suspense in 2013. That book, Out of Hiding, was published in 2014. I started working with Bethany House in a few years later in 2016. I’m excited to say that Breach of Trust was my 12th book! And I’ll be starting a new series called Capital Intrigue with Bethany House coming January 2020. The first book will be called END GAME.
What is the hardest part about being an author? For me, it’s finding the time. Since I’m still an attorney, I have to be very disciplined about finding time to write on the weekends. The good thing is that it forces me to not procrastinate.
Who is your favorite author? I discovered Joel Rosenberg recently and I am completely
captivated. I love his stories. When I get done with my current edits, I’m jumping into his new release.
Now for the important questions:
Pepsi or Coke? Neither. I quit drinking “Coke” as we call all soft drinks in south years ago. I do enjoy sparkling water if I want the carbonation:)
Candy, cookies, or cake? All the above lol. But I like cookies a lot–especially chocolate chip.
Favorite food? Cheese! Carbs! That also means I love pizza.
Coffee or Tea? Coffee
Favorite vacation? Tropical beaches!
Favorite TV show? That’s a tough one. I am really enjoying Victoria and the Rookie right now.
Any hobbies? Pets? Activities? I love to sing and am very into music. I’m also a very amateur photographer. I have 5 pets, and I’m a huge animal person. I have 2 dogs and 3 cats.

Thank you, Rachel, for joining us!

To keep up with Rachel’s latest releases, please visit her at http://www.racheldylan.com

Please join me in April for a Giveaway and Interview with Patricia Bradley!