Welcome to Christian Book Review Blog, Beth! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Should I tell you how I said I’d never write fiction – and then God turned a season of burnout into a bend in the writing road, leading me to the “Dark Side” and writing contemporary romance? Or maybe a bit of my own romance, and how I met my husband in a karate studio when he knocked me down – but I prefer to say he swept me off my feet? I also believe God’s best often waits behind the doors marked ‘Never’ because so many of my dreams come true have happened when God pushed me through the doors I labeled “NEVER.”
When did you first discover that you loved writing?
I was the kid in school who enjoyed writing assignments – you know, the one who also was always reading a book or two. And then when I was middle school, when I ran out of books to read I started writing my own stories – and asking my English teacher to read them and give me feedback.
Why do you write the type of books that you do?
I write romance novels because those are the kinds of books I like to read. But I also believe there is more to happily ever after than the fairy tales tell us, so I like to delve into the messiness of relationships in my novels.
What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?
D. L. Moody said, “I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man.” I would have to concur with him and say that I’ve tripped myself up more along the writing road than anyone or anything else. I’ve doubted myself too much and focused on what others were accomplishing and, yes, let jealousy flare up instead of being content with my journey, my blessings. I’m thankful for my mentors, who have all modeled the importance of focusing on who God says I am –not reviews, not the bad days when the writing isn’t flowing, and not even the praise that I might get. I try to remember Psalm 115:1 NIV: Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
Has writing changed your life in any way?
I have a deeper understanding of the phrase “living the dream.” There’s a huge component of reality to “living the dream,” meaning there’s a lot of work involved to keeping your dream alive. This huge “yes” in my life has meant saying “no” to other things, and I’m learning to be okay with that. One fun aspect of my life is discovering my husband is a great brainstorming partner!
What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?
I have a number of “anchor verses,” truths that help me remain steadfast in times of struggle. One of my most favorite is Colossians 1:13 – For he rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son … I love the promise and the hope of this verse, the reminder that I’ve been rescued, that I no longer live in darkness, but instead I dwell in God’s kingdom. This verse also has the echoes of romance in it.
Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?
Oh, choosing one book is always so, so hard for me. There are so many talented authors that I admire. I did read Elisa Morgan’s The Beauty of Broken between last Christmas and New Year’s and found it so freeing – woven through with truth and hope. I love honest writing, and Elisa Morgan wrote with stunning vulnerability.
What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?
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Please tell us about the featured book.
Somebody Like You asks the question Can a young widow find love again with her husband’s reflection? Haley Ames is newly widowed and discovers that her husband had an identical twin brother that she knew nothing about. The book examines themes of grief and estrangement and family and wrestles with the question Is it ever wrong to love someone?
Can you please give us the first page?
This conversation wasn’t going to be easy.
Haley pulled off the faded fatigue-patterned ball cap, twisting it in her hands as she approached the front counter of the gun club. Thick arms crossed over his barrel chest, her boss chatted with Frank, a club regular.
“Wes, I need to talk to you—”
The man wrapped up his conversation with a gravelly laugh before clapping the guy on his back and focusing on her. “There a problem, Hal?”
A glass display case separated them, filled with two shelves of handguns—ranging from .32 caliber to 9mm—that members could rent for use on the range or purchase. “I need to talk to you about taking maternity leave.”
“Now?” Wes stopped prepping to count up the day’s take. “I thought the baby wasn’t due for a few more months.”
“Not until April.” She scuffed the faded patch of carpet with the toe of her brown cowboy boot. “But I need to get off the range.”
“What’s bothering you?” Wes dumped his unlit cigar in a spotless ceramic ashtray.
Haley twisted one of the strands of hair that had slipped free from her ponytail. “One of the women in the gun safety class asked if it was safe for a pregnant woman to be on the range.”
“Is that all?” He dismissed her concern with a wave of his beefy hand. “Of course it’s safe. We have the best ventilation system in town.”
“But what about the noise? I hadn’t even thought about that.” Repositioning the hat on her head, she rubbed the palms of her hands along the front of her sweatpants. “I wear stuff to protect my eyes and ears—but it’s not like I can soundproof my belly. I haven’t read a lot of the information online, but I do know unborn babies hear sounds.”
“So what are you telling me? You want to quit because your baby might be bothered by the noise?”
“I didn’t say quit. But maybe . . . a leave of absence? Just to be safe?”
“You know I’m short-staffed as it is, Hal. Who am I going to get to teach your classes?”
“How about I make a few phone calls? Maybe someone at the Olympic Training Center might know of a competitive shooter looking for part-time work. And maybe I can do some shifts behind the counter. Let’s both sleep on it and talk tomorrow or the next day, okay?”
A few moments later, Haley stuffed her gear bag into the backseat of her Subaru Forester, standing to stretch the ever present ache in her lower back. One more decision to make—and no one to talk it over with. She couldn’t even ask someone to help her remember to make the phone calls—except for the virtual assistant on her iPhone.
Why couldn’t that woman in her class mind her own business? Most people didn’t even notice she was pregnant, especially when she wore one of Sam’s baggy chamois shirts.
Where can readers learn more information about you?
My website features my blog, In Others’ Words, which highlights a different quote on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I love quotes and I enjoy starting a conversation and having my followers join in and share their insights. I’m also on Twitter and Pinterest and have an Author Facebook page.
(This giveaway is only open to followers of Christian Book Review Blog, so be sure you are a follower!)
Beth has generously offered to giveaway a signed copy of Somebody Like You! Print giveaway is available to U.S residents only. Giveaway ends on Saturday July 12, 2014 at midnight (Eastern time). Thanks for coming by to enter!