Monday, June 23, 2014

Author Interview and Giveaway: Forgotten Past by Mary Alford

Welcome to Christian Book Review Blog, Mary! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I’d be happy to, but first of all thank you for letting me stop by today. Okay, about me. I am a wife, mom, and grandmother. I live in Central Texas with my husband and two dogs, Callie and Tyson. We have three granddaughters that we are blessed to live close enough to see each week. When I’m not writing and spending time with my babies, I love to read. Since I write Christian Romantic Suspense, I tend to gravitate to those books, but I absolutely love reading any Christian based romance. They are so uplifting. In addition to reading, I’ve recently taken up playing the piano again as well as gardening. My seven year old granddaughter loves to plant things, so we’ve had so much fun planting and growing our garden this year, although to date, we have absolutely no crops to show for our efforts. We love the time we get to spend together.       

When did you first discover that you loved writing? 

I first started creating stories in my head when I was a kid. I think it was because I was the baby of the family and quite a bit younger than my siblings were. Making up stories came natural to me. I read every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy mystery our library possessed. As a pre-teen, I discovered Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney and I was hooked on the romantic suspense genre.    

Why do you write the type of books that you do? 

I think most writers tend to write what they love to read. Since I loved reading romantic suspense novels that was the genre, I focused on. As a Christian, I knew I wanted my hero and heroine to possess the Christian values I grew up with to guide them through their struggles. 

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it? 

I’d say my greatest obstacle was self-doubt. I constantly wonder if what I write is good enough. Selling to Love Inspired Suspense has been a tremendous help.    

Has writing changed your life in any way? 

Definitely. In the summer of 2012, Love Inspired Suspense editor Emily Rodmell hosted a Speed dating contest. I was lucky enough to secure a time with Emily. She asked for the partial, I sent it as well all the while telling myself, ‘don’t get your hopes up’. Once Emily requested the full manuscript then the wait began. In December of 2012 Emily called to tell me that she wanted to buy FORGOTTEN PAST. I was on cloud nine. I still don’t think it’s fully sunk in yet.         

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most? 
John 14: 1-4. Jesus tells us that we can trust Him and that He is going to prepare a Heavenly home for us. I love Jesus’ promise that one day we will be with Him. What amazing love. 

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

I have several authors that I love to read. I just finished Shirlee McCoy’s Safe by the Marshal's Side. I love Shirlee’s work. I’m a huge Lynette Eason fan so I read anything she puts out along with Donna Alward and Susan Sleeman. These ladies may not realize it, but they have all been such an inspiration for me as a writer. I also read Kristen Heitzmann and Dee Henderson’s books. I find when I love an author’s work I read everything they write.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?  

Buy At Amazon
I’d have to say it was the Speed Dating Contest I did to get published. My husband and I were in Colorado at the time of the contest and our internet service was non-existent at our cabin, so I did the entire pitch in the parking lot of the Ace Hardware in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. I seriously doubt if Emily understood anything I typed because my fingers were trembling so much. Still, she must have liked something because she asked for a synopsis and I sent it.   

Please tell us about the featured book.

Forgotten Past is about a woman, Faith McKenzie, who was brutally attacked five years earlier. Her best friend and her friend’s father were both murdered. The attack was so vicious, that Faith’s brain simply shut out the memory of the attack and her past life completely. Faith is running from someone she can’t remember. Each time she moves, her attacker somehow manages to find her. He lets her know he’s found her with a simple call. He never speaks, just terrifying silence from an unknown caller ID. When Faith moves to Hope Island. Maine, she changes her name and her identity thinking maybe this time she’ll be safe. She is wrong. Soon the calls begin again. When she meets her neighbor, JT Wyatt, Faith discovers he’s an ex-cop who now owns a security firm. JT can see how terrified Faith truly is and finally convinces her to trust him. But the stakes have never been higher with a hurricane bearing down on them and a attacker who is not afraid to commit murder to silence Faith forever.      

Can you please give us the first page?
ONE
She’d made a dreadful mistake. The minute the headlights of the SUV swept over the house, Faith realized it deep down in her heart.
Truth be told, she had made a whole string of mistakes, including the one she prayed wouldn’t prove to be the most costly. When she’d left the house earlier, she had forgotten to leave any lights on. Now, night had fallen, and nothing but a dark silhouette loomed before her. Just the thought of what might be waiting for her outside the safety of the SUV sent her heartbeat ballistic.
Please, Lord…protect me.
Faith clutched the steering wheel tight in an attempt to steady her trembling hands as she peered out the windshield. Nothing really seemed out of place, but then again, it was pitch-black out. There were no streetlights this far from town, and dense clouds obscured the moon and stars. While the SUV’s headlights illuminated most of the side of the house and a portion of the front, it didn’t quite reach the door.
Foolish, foolish, foolish. She couldn’t believe she’d acted so foolishly.
At the time, she hadn’t thought about anything but getting away for a little while. The walls had been closing in on her, and she knew if she didn’t find a way to clear her head, she would end up throwing everything she owned into the back of her SUV and running for her life once again.
Driving along the breathtaking stretch of Maine coastline while the setting sun painted the waters a kaleidoscope of colors helped put things into prospective. There was something about the never-ending cycle of the tide as it rolled against the rocky shoreline and then out to sea again that gave her a sense of peace. It reminded her that it didn’t matter what she went through in her life, or how scary or insurmountable her fears seemed, God was in control.
Most days, she could control the doubts. Today hadn’t been one of them. All because of the call. The reason she’d moved to Hope Island, a small town of a little more than ten thousand in population located at the southernmost tip of the Maine coastline. She had been running from him. This move was supposed to be different. Faith had banked all of her future happiness on it working this time. The call had proved her wrong. She lost track of the number of times she’d uprooted her life just to get away from him. It had become second nature whenever she felt threatened. Like she had today when the call came in and the tiniest bit of hope she still clung to evaporated.
She’d changed her name, her looks, shut herself off from the world as much as humanly possible, and yet each time he found her again.
She glanced up at the house and shivered at the possible dangers lying in wait inside.
Funny how something could appear so different when you were seeing it through the eyes of fear. Just a little more than a month earlier, she’d fallen in love with the old, two-story Cape Cod and rented it on the spot. Now, she could imagine him hiding in the enormous country kitchen, or lurking in the shadowy hallway.
Faith cracked the window and listened. Above the surging ocean waves beyond the house, nothing sounded unusual.
Yet something wasn’t right. By now, Ollie would have recognized the sound of her vehicle and started barking like crazy.
She blew out a sigh. She couldn’t stay out here all night. Maybe the call had truly been a wrong number this time.
Faith killed the engine, got out, and hurried up the steps. She barely had time to put the key into the door when she heard it. Footsteps coming quickly up the stairs behind her. A shaft of light from a flashlight bounced off the porch and up the side of the house. Her hand holding the keys jarred and they flew from her fingers.
“No,” the word slipped from her tremulous lips.
She turned toward the light and immediately the beam trained on her face, temporarily blinding her.
Faith had rehearsed this moment dozens of times in her head and yet the reality of it didn’t feel anything like what she’d practiced.
Without the keys, the SUV would be useless, which left only one option. She’d need to make it to the back of the house. There were a handful of houses scattered along the stretch of the beach behind her place. If she could reach one of them, hopefully someone would help her.
Faith raced toward the steps located off the side of the porch and away from the figure with the light.
There were three—no four—steps leading down to the grassy yard. The fence separating her small backyard from the beach would be some fifteen feet behind the house. She’d carefully counted off each step her first day here.

Where can readers learn more information about you?

You can find me at my website: www.MaryAlford.net, or on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads.  
I love hearing from readers. You can always reach me with your comments at maryjalford@netzero.com


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GIVEAWAY!
(This giveaway is only open to followers of Christian Book Review Blog, so be sure you are a follower!) 
Mary has generously offered to giveaway a signed copy of Forgotten PastPrint giveaway is available to U.S residents only. Giveaway ends on Saturday July 5, 2014 at midnight (Eastern time). Thanks for coming by to enter!

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3 comments:

  1. Looks very good!! I'm usually good at solving mysteries though sometimes I get caught off guard by unexpected twists.

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  2. Thanks, Holly. There is an unexpected twist at the end of FORGOTTEN PAST.

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  3. Hi Mary, Checking out your books and stalked you here from Facebook! :-)

    ReplyDelete