I'm married with Springer Spaniel and make my home in western PA. I've been a reader all my life. Three cheers to moms who read that bedtime story. I like puzzles and word games and things that don't take coordination. I first published in 1997, but wasn't one of those writers where things just fell into place for me after the first hard sale. In fact, there have been two times in my life when I completely laid down the dream of writing. After the last time, God impressed upon me that writing is my spiritual act of worship to Him. (Writing, not publishing.) So with that in mind, I take joy in the publishing opportunities that open for me, and try not to stress over the ones which do not.
I attend Emmanuel Christian Church where I work in Prayer Ministry, American Heritage Girls, Kids Day Camp, and various teaching, learning, and serving opportunities as they arise. I am the director and registrar for a one day annual writing conference we hold here in western PA. I teach writing workshops. I do some freelance editing. I participate in two local writing critique groups and an online one. I'm a member of ACFW and the Christian PEN. Currently, I'm working with Desert Breeze Publishing to offer a futuristic romance series called Children of the King. The first book in the series, Washed Under the Waves, came out last August, and the second, The Fire Starter, will be available this August.
When did you first discover that you loved writing?
I was twelve when I decided that I wanted to write novels for a living. But like many authors, I have some of the stories that I wrote from the time I could print letters clear through to my first completed romance novel when I was nineteen.
I rediscover my love for writing every time a finish a rough draft. Finishing a novel, knowing it is good -- even if it still needs a few tweaks -- that's an amazing high.
Why do you write the type of books that you do?
Christian. Romance. Speculative. Contemporary. I've even written one mystery. But all have the centered premise of a love relationship.
Why, you ask. Because something in my heart thrills to showing that God writes the best story for each one of us. That when we see God working behind the scenes in a fictional character's life, it helps us to see Him working in our own lives too. So I write to encourage people to seek God, to know He is good and able, and that we can trust Him even in the crisis, the dark moment, or the climax of our lives.
What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?
I haven't overcome it yet -- knowing the full will of God and writing out of the assurance that I am in His will. I struggle with reconciling genre romance which seems to glorify man with the message of Christ's love. I struggle with how much sensuality to include in my novels. I sometimes wonder who God intends my audience to be, and if I should even be concerned about that. I still have lots of obstacles to overcome.
Has writing changed your life in any way?
As I said earlier, writing has always been a part of my life. Even when I wasn't actively writing, I was in the blue funk over not being able to write. So quitting writing would probably change my life more than writing.
I will say that being a writer and getting involved in writing activities and projects as helped me to be able to speak in public. I'm sure it helps me to express myself and to choose words that can convey my meaning more clearly than if I didn't write.
What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?
Bunches of scriptures are running through my mind: Nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. My life verse: Pray for me also that whenever I open my mouth words would be given to me to make known the mysteries of Christ.
Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?
I've read a lot of great books. I think one of the recent ones I've enjoyed the most is Jill Williamson's From Darkness Hid. I just finished The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy. Wow. Slower than my normal story preference, but wow. I love it when a book ties together in all its layers.
One that I read years ago that comes back to haunt me every so often is Tina Forkner's Ruby Among Us. As I was reading that novel, I distinctly remember thinking, "There is nothing she (Tina) can come up with that is going to make this character's actions acceptable to me." Then she did, and I realized once again what a sneaky devil we war against. Books like that are cool.
Ohh! I've been wanting to read The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy. What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
I don't know that this really rates as funny or quirky, but it's a story I don't mind telling on myself. Some years ago my sister gave me an M&M dispenser as a gift -- the kind that is filled with M&Ms and has a little slot that a person can open to get a few M&Ms at a time. I like all flavors of M&Ms, but I prefer regular and peanut butter ones. I kept the dispenser on my desk and nibbled as I wrote during the day.
Soon, I realized that I had to give up peanut butter M&Ms in the dispenser. It wasn't an occasional nibble. I was wolfing down M&Ms. When I told my sister that I would have to put away the dispenser for a while or quit buying peanut butter M&Ms, she asked why. I responded with this profound statement. "Because I eat them like candy."
I actually chuckled at that story:) Please tell us about the featured book.
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Washed Under the Waves is the first in my Children of the King series from Desert Breeze Publishing. The gist of the series is that it's set in the unknown future at a time when the King sends out his children to reclaim his lost lands. The land that he is reclaiming is the Archepilgeo of Solomnus, a group of islands unknown to us at this current point in history. Each story deals with a different island, a different romantic couple, and a different deception that keeps the people from seeking the King.
In Washed Under the Waves, Undae Island has been untouched by the outside world except for two times after the original settlers. So though the story is set in the future, Undae has a medieval, ancient feel. Prince Geoffrey is the first of the King's children sent out. An overachiever, Geoffrey wants desperately to succeed ... and he doesn't understand why the King has asked him to arrive disguised as a tutor rather than the prince he is.
Tayte, the ruler of Undae, is a wonderfully naive character whom I had a blast writing when it came to her relationship with her prince and her understanding of men in general.
The tag I've been using for this book is:
Tayte Bashan knows she's to wait for the prophesied prince, but what's a lady to do when she falls in love with the tutor sent to prepare her island for the prince's arrival?
The second in this series comes out in August, 2012 and it is called The Fire Starter. Celosia Island is only a bit more modern than Undae because its rulers have worked hard to keep it separated from the "evil" technology of the outer world. Prince Valryan Molan knows that he's been sent to marry the Princess of Celosia, so he agrees with her father and marries her by proxy when she doesn't show up for the wedding. That really doesn't make for the best start in their love relationship.
Can you please give us the first page?
Here's the first page from the Fire Starter:
Amaryllis Filippopoulos lay in the hayloft hours after her father’s second squad of warriors had left the estate grounds empty-handed. She’d sleep here if necessary. They would not find her. They would not take her to this latest dastardly farce of a wedding. Always, she would outsmart them.
And she would never marry.
Her father knew she wouldn't. Why couldn't he accept it like the man he'd once been? Age seemed to steal from men what marriage stole from women.
Electra, her bodyguard and best friend, dropped into the hay at her left. "Rasmus waits in the ferns beneath your apartment. He must believe you are in the castle."
"Rasmus is a boulder at best. A twice dead cow otherwise."
Electra laughed softly. "I know -- dried in the udder and no longer breathing. Amy, you're cruel."
Amaryllis allowed the nickname only because of the rational explanation Electra had given her the first time she'd used it. "Princess Amaryllis Filippopoulos, if I must address you formally, the danger will have struck before I complete your name."
Why couldn't everyone be so rational?
"I'm disgusted Father's trying again so soon. Just three months ago he tried to marry me off to that dense mass he swore was a nobleman."
"Your father grows anxious. He knows his time is short."
"He could live for another twenty years." She ignored her friend's pitying look because they both knew her ninety-six-year-old father had aged drastically in the last five years. Then another thought struck her. "Burn it," she exclaimed. "Electra, if you are still here, who has he taken to stand in proxy for me this time?"
"As I refused to say the vows the two times I stood in for you, I would guess your father finally accepts my allegiance lies with you, even though he is high lord of Celosia." She rubbed away a piece of brown grass that poked into her chin. "Zoe, I would guess. He's taken Zoe."
Zoe, her best maid. The one who worked quickly and efficiently without sound. The one whose wage went to feeding her four younger brothers and sisters. Zoe would not have the courage to refuse saying the vows.
"It doesn't matter. The proxy vows will disintegrate quickly enough when the marriage isn't consummated."
From the corner of her eye, Electra sent her that shrewd, pitying look Amaryllis detested. "You hope," her friend murmured. "I've already warned you I am not prepared to kill a man just because he had the misfortune of agreeing to marry you."
"I can elude a man." Of that, Amaryllis was confident.
Gloria has kindly offered to giveaway an eBook copy of her book
Washed Under the Waves. Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway.
Washed Under the Waves. Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway.
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