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.

Interview with Tanya Agler

PLEASE WELCOME DEBUT AUTHOR TANYA AGLER!!

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Tanya Agler

How does it feel to be a debut author? I’m so thankful to Harlequin Heartwarming. I love the imprint, and I couldn’t be happier my debut novel is published in this line. It’s been an incredible journey to get to this point. Since my first writing critique, I’ve loved networking with other authors, attending workshops, and going to conferences. Throughout the long journey, writing and creating stories has been a dream come true. Knowing others might find hope and joy from Georgie and Mike’s story is an amazing feeling.

 What did you do when you got “the call”? Fortunately, my husband and older daughter were home the morning my agent called me with the wonderful news that Harlequin Heartwarming made an offer. I remember my agent telling me to enjoy the moment as “the call” only comes once and to take the rest of the day off. The latter was great advice. My husband went to work and I picked up my other three children from school. I called them into the living room and told them we were going out to dinner because Harlequin made an offer, which I had verbally accepted. That night we celebrated at an Italian restaurant.

 Where did you get your idea for your book? When my family goes on vacation, we usually drive to our destination and we stop for a family picnic at a state park or another scenic spot. One vacation, there was a car show going on at the state park we had chosen ahead of time and classic cars kept going past the picnic pavilion. I thought about one of my favorite classic television shows, which featured a tomboy who loved working with engines and machines. From there, I kept asking questions. Why would a car need to be restored? Why would a relationship need restoring? Why would someone return after a long absence from a small town? By the time the vacation was over, I knew this would be my next book.

How long does it take you to write a Heartwarming novel? About four months. I’m a plotter so from my first rough idea to a finished synopsis takes about two weeks, but then I write the first draft in about two to two-and-a-half months. Then I work on another book for two weeks before I begin editing that book, and that takes me about a month.

Tell us a bit about your debut novel? Police officer and single dad Mike Harrison no longer believes in second chances until his former best friend, Georgie Bennett, arrives back in town. She’s a mechanic, who has also worked as a car restorationist. When the auto garage where Georgie works is burglarized, Mike is the lead investigator and all the clues point to Georgie as the main suspect. In spite of the evidence, Mike knows Georgie is his best chance to restore his grandfather’s classic Thunderbird. Like the Thunderbird, Mike finds he has some rusty parts, namely a rusty heart. They have to work together to restore the car, and that makes them wonder whether relationships also deserve second chances.

The novel takes place in Hollydale, a fictional small town in North Carolina. Tourists come to see the fall foliage and fall in love with the gazebo, the Holly Days Diner, and Miss Louise’s Ice Cream Parlor.

What is your typical day like? Oh, wow. A typical day? I have four children and a husband whose schedule changes from week to week. It depends on if it’s summer or if school is in session. My critique partner and I laugh about the fact I get more done during the school year and she’s a teacher so she’s productive on breaks. So, on a day when my kids have school, I drop my older son off at school and go write. I usually write for three hours, and that could mean plotting, writing a first draft, or editing. Then I alternate between exercising as I love to get ideas on the treadmill and spending time on critiques or social media. I do that for a couple of hours before I pick up Cupcake and Chunk from school, which is when I begin cleaning the house or folding laundry. Then the rest of the day is usually a blur of whirlwind activity. I love reading at night and throughout the day.

When did you start writing? As far back as I can remember, stories have always twirled about in my head. However, writing those stories down came later.

In my basement, I still have the first book I wrote in first grade. The teacher cut all the pages into the size of a real book and bound all of our books together with a cover made of cardboard and fabric that each student was able to choose. In high school, I loved writing stories and won an award as a junior when my teacher entered my short story in a contest.

When my two oldest were in elementary school and preschool, I started writing novels. Then I found out I was pregnant and then I found out I was pregnant with twins. When they were babies, I kept thinking about the characters in the romance I had been writing before they were born. Then they started preschool and I started going to Panera after I dropped them off to write. In 2013, I joined RWA and my local in-person chapter, GRW. Then in 2014, my critique partner and I exchanged our first chapters of our then current works in progress and I’ve been writing full time ever since then.

What is the hardest part about being an author? My answer depends on the day. If it’s when I’m plotting, it’s the day before the book comes together and clicks. While I’m writing that first draft, it’s the first couple of days when everything’s in my head and I can’t seem to make it work in actual words. And, of course, there are days when you receive a rejection. Overall, I think the rejections are the hardest part for me. That’s one reason I’m thankful for a journey to get to this point. I’ve been blessed to meet some amazing authors, including my wonderful critique partner, a great accountability partner, and my supportive Writing Sisters. My critique partner helped me when I received a judge’s feedback from a contest where the judge wrote that she “hate, hate, hated” my heroine. Having writers I can email or call at a moment’s notice has helped me through rough contest feedback and rejections.

Who is your favorite author? My favorite author of all time is L.M. Montgomery. I’m such a big Anne of Green Gables fanatic. Otherwise, I have favorite authors for different genres and subgenres. When it comes to cozy mysteries, I’m a huge Carolyn Hart fan. Then when it comes to romance, it depends on my mood. When I want to laugh, I reach for a Mary Connealy book or Sally Kilpatrick. When I want my heartstrings tugged, I reach for Rula Sinara’s books or Jodi Thomas or Raeanne Thayne novels. When I want to sit on the edge of my seat and read late at night, I’m a huge fan of Love Inspired Suspense novels as well as Lynette Eason. For historical romances, I love Kristi Ann Hunter and Julia Quinn. I’m a romance author and there are so many great authors out there. I could go on for hours….

Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke? Coke. I live in Georgia, and I’ve visited the World of Coke in downtown Atlanta. I don’t drink soft drinks very often. If I’m drinking ginger ale, I’m either at a conference or have a sore throat.

Candy, cookies, or cake? Yes, please. Saving the hard questions for last! I’m the person in my family with a sweet tooth, especially anything chocolate. While it depends on my mood, I’m a huge fan of cupcakes with chocolate frosting. And while they’re hard to find in Georgia, I love black and white cookies, the type that have vanilla icing on one half and chocolate on the other half. Hmm, I see a recurring motif of chocolate frosting running through that answer!

Coffee or Tea? Tea all the way. My favorite everyday drink is unsweetened ice tea (caffeine in the morning, decaf at night).

Favorite vacation? I hope it’s one I haven’t been on yet! Next year my family is planning to go to Canada (yes, Prince Edward Island!) and my husband and I are already planning to go to Europe after Cupcake and Chunk graduate.

I have different vacations that have been especially memorable. With my parents, I’m thankful we were able to visit family and go to a great theme park called Kennywood. My husband and I went on a cruise before our children were born, and that vacation holds a lot of sweet memories. And now some of my favorite vacations have been when all four of my children are together, and I loved spending the day at the City Museum in St. Louis.

Favorite TV show? My Three Sons. I love the episodes that involve romance, like when Robbie courted Katie or Steve fell in love with Barbara or Polly and Chip met. I’m also a huge fan of Petticoat Junction, Ellery Queen, and Psych.

Favorite Movie? Anything with Cary Grant or Irene Dunne or Jimmy Stewart. I love Sullivan’s Travels.

Any hobbies? Pets? Activities? Five years ago, a Basset hound named Vera adopted us as her family.

I love classic movies, reading, walking, and hiking to waterfalls.

Thank you, Sami, so much for hosting me today!

Check out Tanya’s website at https://tanyaagler.com/

Thanks for joining us, Tanya!

Please come back next month for an interview and giveaway with Christy Barritt.

Interview and Giveaway with Lisa Carter

I met Lisa at MurderCon this past August. We sat together on the bus and got to know a little about each other. I am most familiar with Lisa’s Love Inspired books, so needless to say I was a bit surprised to see her at a crime scene conference. Come to find out, this wonderful romance writer has a suspense side to her. I can’t wait to read her “other” books.

Please Welcome Lisa Carter!!

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Lisa Carter meme.png

INTERVIEW WITH LISA CARTER

Where did you get the idea for Stranded for the Holidays?  I started out wanting to write another Christmas story and the plot evolved from there. The standalone novel is part of an ongoing series set in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. The fictional town is Truelove—Where True Love Awaits. And three elderly matchmakers take the town motto a little too seriously. They’ve made it their personal mission to help everyone find their happily-ever-after. Whether the recipients of their efforts want them to or not!

In regards to Stranded for the Holidays, would you think I was weird if I said I heard AnnaBeth’s “voice” in my head?

A former debutante, she is running away from her own wedding when her car breaks down in the middle of a snowstorm on an isolated mountain road. And of course, who happens along to rescue her? Who else, but a handsome cowboy and his young, mini-me cowboy son.

AnnaBeth’s character type is one of my favorite to write. The banter and chemistry between the never-met-a-stranger, social butterfly and the pay-for-every-word, stoic cowboy was fun to create. When the town matchmakers get a hold of these two—by novel’s end, snowflakes aren’t the only thing falling between AnnaBeth and Jonas.

How long does it take you to write a long novel?  I love to have eight months to write one of my suspense novels. I don’t always get that, however. I’m usually writing one book, editing another and often marketing yet a third novel.

 Who’s your all-time favorite character? I’ve written three dual timeline romantic suspense novels, which is my favorite type of story to read and write. But my favorite character is probably Aaron Yazzie in Under a Turquoise Sky. There was such brokenness in him at the beginning but by the end, his character arc went through such an amazing transformation. Readers tell me that his journey touched them in a profound way. That entire project was such a joy. I may never write another book like it, but the story was a gift and an affirmation to me as an author.

 Stranded for the Holidays released December 1st. Do tell! (Shameless plug time!)

Running away led her right where she belonged.

A new mom for Christmas? She’s everything they’ve wished for.

Runaway bride AnnaBeth Cummings needs shelter for the holidays when a blizzard leaves her stranded, and rancher Jonas Stone’s happy to help. But his son’s been wishing for a mommy for Christmas, and town matchmakers are convinced Annabeth and Jonas are perfect for each other. As the storm clears, city girl AnnaBeth will have to decide: does her heart now belong in the country? 

We met at MurderCon (A conference offered through The Writer’s Police Academy). I’m used to seeing your romance novels, it’s nice to know you are part of the dark side and write suspense?  My ninth suspense novel set in the Appalachian Mountains, A Sound of Falling Leaves, will release in the Fall of 2020.

My contemporary Blue Ridge Matchmakers romance series keeps me busy, too. I’m currently writing my 25th novel—another fun Christmas story also releasing Fall/Christmas 2020. 

Tell us a little bit about your typical day. I am a morning person so I do my best writing early. My day usually begins at the computer by eight a.m. I don’t have daily word count goals. My goal each day is to write the next scene or chapter. When I finish the scene or chapter, I stop for the day. Usually, I’m done—creatively, mentally and physically—by three p.m. I may tackle other tasks like marketing or business-related obligations for a short period. Or, most days I have tea and watch the next installment of one of my favorite British mystery series.

 When did you receive your first book contract?  I received my first book contract in 2011 and a 3-book contract soon followed. Eighteen months later (2013), my first suspense novel, Carolina Reckoning, released and my first contemporary romance, Aloha Rose, released a few months later. It’s been a whirlwind ever since. 

What is the hardest part about being an author?  Working in isolation. The blank screen, a mocking cursor, and juggling the demands the publishing industry places on authors today. Keeping work and family in their proper order of importance.

 Who is your favorite author?  It depends on the genre. I read widely. And as soon as I name favorites, I realize I’ve left someone out. But initially in my career, I was inspired by Catherine Palmer’s romantic suspense adventure series, Treasures of the Heart, set in Africa. I still love those books. I continue to re-read them over and over.

Anything you want to brag about? This year one of my smaller, contemporary romance novels, the first in the Bue Ridge Matchmaker series, His Secret Daughter, was on the top 25 best-seller list. I was on the same list as Nicholas Sparks and Debbie Macomber. May never happen again. J But it was fun to see my name there.

Under a Turquoise Sky won the 2015 Carol Award for Romantic Suspense. The Stronghold won the 2017 Daphne du Maurier. Beyond the Cherokee Trail was a 4.5 star Romantic Times Top Pick.

Now for the important questions:

Pepsi or Coke?   I like Diet Pepsi because it is sweetened with stevia, a natural ingredient versus the chemical preservatives found in Coke products.

Candy, cookies, or cake?  Do I have to choose? My favorite cookies are a cinnamon chip cookie recipe I acquired from the Biltmore Inn in Asheville. My favorite cake is—for real—pig pickin cake. No pigs in the batter, but it is a favorite summer dessert at Southern cookouts. My favorite candy would always involve chocolate and/or peanut butter.

Favorite food? I love barbecue chicken.

Coffee or Tea? I’m an equal opportunity coffee or tea drinker. My favorite coffee is Kona from Hawaii. My husband’s favorite is Blue Mountain from Jamaica where we spent our honeymoon. We’ve spent the last seven years working summers with a Guatamalan orphanage and then several small communities in Costa Rica. Central America is all about coffee so we have definite opinions on what constitutes the best coffee.

My favorite tea varies per season. This autumn I’ve been drinking a lot of pumpkin spice tea and chai. My December favorite is Christmas Eve tea by Stash. My recent favorite tea finds include—a fabulous strawberry tea from France; a delicious, apple, it’s-so-fall tea from Normandy; and two teas I purchased in October from the British tea shop Whittards on a quick trip to Wales—English Rose and a strawberry mint. 

Favorite vacation? I love to travel. I’ve had the opportunity to visit so many wonderful places over the years. The most exotic—Thailand. The biggest adventure—the Amazon jungle. The greenest—Ireland. The most fun—Hawaii. The most ancient—Egypt. The most awe-inspiring—Macchu Picchu in Peru.

And then there’s the United Kingdom, Italy, France . . .

As Dr. Seuss said, so many places to go. And yet, so little time. I am addicted to travel. J

Favorite TV show? This Is Us and far too many British mystery/detective shows to name.

 Favorite Movie? Absolutely any Indiana Jones movie and The Last of the Mohicans

 Any hobbies? Pets? Activities? I read, I write, I travel. I quilted for over 15 years. I teach at a lot of writer conferences. I love teaching music at church with the preschoolers. We have a great time. I also love doing lunch with friends.

 

Lisa Carter

 

Connect with Lisa at http://www.lisacarterauthor.com/ 

Keep up with her new releases and other fun information.

 

Thank you, Lisa!!

Join me in January for an interview and giveaway with debut author Tanya Agler!!