Friday, 30 November 2007

Sneak peek at some of Zondervan's 2008 releases

Click on the book titles and authors' names for more info!

Daring Chloe by Laura Jensen Walker

When Chloe Adams’ fiancé dumps her—the night before their wedding—two girlfriends from her book group decide it’s time to take charge, and suggest that a little adventure is in order for the three of them. After all, why let a perfectly good honeymoon cruise go to waste?
Adventure? Chloe Adams? No way! Chloe’s lived in one town her whole life. The closest she’s ever gotten to actual adventures is reading about them. But her girlfriends won’t take no for an answer. One good adventure calls for another as Chloe’s friends try to coax her out of her post-dumping funk, and soon she finds herself living out the adventures in her book club’s latest selections. Hiking. Sailing. River rafting. Traveling to new places and eating exotic food. The play-it-safe Chloe begins to blossom into a new, daring Chloe. A Chloe who just might be ready to take on her biggest adventure of all …

Laura Jensen Walker
has a knack for quirky heroines and real-life humor. In Chloe, she’s created another memorable character that will live on in readers’ hearts.

Black Sea Affair by Don Brown

Navy Commander Pete Miranda is chosen to lead a top-secret military operation to sneak a U.S. submarine into the Black Sea. His mission: to sink a rogue Russian freighter carrying stolen nuclear fuel. The attack brings the world to the verge of nuclear holocaust. The Black Sea Affair is one of the most dangerous games of brinkmanship since the Cuban Missile Crisis. As the U.S. Navy searches for weapons-grade plutonium that has been smuggled out of Russia by terrorists, a submarine mishap escalates the international crisis. JAG Officer Zack Brewer is called on to defend American submarine skipper Miranda and his crew at a military tribunal in Moscow. It is a heart-stopping race against the clock. With Russian missiles activated and programmed for American cities, Brewer stalls for time, as the U.S. Navy frantically searches the high seas for a floating hydrogen bomb that could threaten New York Harbor.

Author Don Brown takes
you from the Oval Office to the Straits of Istanbul to the high-stakes court-martial in Russia in one of the most dangerous games of non-stop suspense.

Controlling Interest by Elizabeth White

Matt Hogan has sworn off women—and with his Memphis detective agency in financial trouble, he doesn’t have time for them anyway. So when a wealthy investor buys controlling interest in the business, Matt thinks his prayers have been answered. That is, until he learns the identity of his new business partner.

With a degree in criminal justice and two years’ experience in a Mississippi sheriff’s office, Natalie Tubberville is determined to show she’s got what it takes to be a private investigator. And Matt is just as determined to have nothing to do with her—until Natalie offers to return her share of the company if Matt solves their next case before she does.

The race is on in this lighthearted romantic comedy—guy and gal vying for the upper hand as their reluctant mutual attraction grows … while a simple case of a runaway bride threatens to explode into an international incident. Will Matt and Natalie call off the competition—or uncover an entirely new game plan?

Elizabeth White is the author of Fair Game, Fireworks, four novellas for the HeartQuest anthology series, and The Texas Gatekeepers series for Steeple Hill’s Love Inspired Suspense line. She lives in Mobile, Alabama.

My Name is Russell Fink by Michael Snyder

Russell Fink is twenty-six years old and determined to salvage a job he hates so he can finally move out of his parents’ house for good. He’s convinced he gave his twin sister cancer when they were nine years old. And his crazy fiancée refuses to accept the fact that their engagement really is over. Then Sonny, his allegedly clairvoyant basset hound, is found murdered. The ensuing amateur investigation forces Russell to confront several things at once—the enormity of his family’s dysfunction, the guy stalking his family, and his long-buried feelings for a most peculiar love interest. At its heart, My Name Is Russell Fink is a comedy, with sharp dialogue, characters steeped in authenticity, romance, suspense, and fresh humor. With a postmodern style similar to Nick Hornby and Douglas Coupland, the author explores reconciliation, forgiveness, and faith in the midst of tragedy. No amount of neurosis or dysfunction can derail God’s redemptive purposes.

Michael Snyder
has spent the bulk of his
professional career in sales, has fallen in love, and continues to struggle with the balance between art and vocation. He’s never investigated a murder, much less that of an allegedly clairvoyant dog.

Only Uni by Camy Tang

Senior biologist Trish Sakai is ready for a change from her wild, flirtatious behavior. So Trish creates three simple rules from First and Second Corinthians and plans to follow them to the letter. No more looking at men as possible dates, especially non-Christians. Second, tell others about Christ. And third, she will persevere in hardship by relying on God. And just to make sure she behaves, she enlists the help of her three cousins, Lex, Venus and Jennifer, the only Christians in their large extended family. But Trish’s dangerously tempting ex-boyfriend, Kazuo the artist, keeps popping up at all the wrong moments, and her grandmother, who has her eye on his family money, keeps trying to push the two of them back together again. Then there’s Spencer, the hunky colleague at work who keeps turning Trish’s thoughts in the wrong direction. It just isn’t fair! She’s trying so hard, but instead of being God’s virtuous woman, she’s going nuts trying to stand firm against two hunky guys. Trish thought following her three rules would be a cinch, but suddenly those simple rules don’t seem so simple after all.

Camy Tang grew up in Hawaii and worked for years as a biologist/researcher until she felt God’s call to return to the writing that she had loved as a student. She now writes "romance with a kick of wasabi" and, with her husband, is a staff worker with the youth of her church.

The winner of What Lies Within is....

Lisa ~ on the proviso that you can wait until January as I can only afford to send the book to your Aussie address ;-)


Don't despair RBC Book Club girls as I may have to bow to all the pressure and choose it for one of our 2008 selections! I'll see if Karen is up for a telephone conference (we just won't tell her what time she will have to be awake in the Northern Hemishpere - LOL!!!

Standing Strong by Donna Fleisher

Former soldier Chris McIntyre once again finds herself in a war zone. Not in a far off land but in the heart of her new found home and community. A war in which she is weaponless and afraid.

An automatic machine gun, in the hands of a gang member, points directly at Chris who stands her ground despite her internal panic and desire to flee. Her warrior heart stays her steps as she takes the abuse and humiliation intended for a younger boy being pursued by profane and angry young men, proudly calling themselves Eastsiders.

Erin Mathis and her husband Scott willingly provide medical services to the Kimberley Square community but with their baby daughter to consider they hope, along with Chris, Cappy and Bettema that they have seen the last of the out of town gang. But the Eastsiders leave a message, their tags telling the story – no one stares them down like Chris did and gets away with it.

Jason Sloane wants nothing more than to protect Chris from harm but her determination to stand up for others and her decision to put God first in her life, leaves him devastated. God did him no favours when he lost his wife and child and he has sacrificed enough - walking away seems his only option.

Donna Fleisher finishes her standout series with a tale of life in the urban jungle, the threat that drugs and gangs bring to those living in the inner cities and the compassion and sacrifices made by people wanting to make a difference. Don't expect flowery wording or pretty descriptions in Standing Strong, Donna’s prose is gritty and authentic providing an accurate portrayal of living life under the threat of urban violence and conflict. While the "gang speak" used in the dialogue is on occasion a little overwhelming, it provides an authenticity to this glimpse into the world of gangs and the attraction they have for young wannabes, the stranglehold over reluctant members and their finished product - hardened criminals.

Woven throughout this thought provoking story is its greatest strength, the progression of Jason and Chris's tentative relationship. Their attraction is palpable yet the hurdles they face in taking their friendship a step further from Chris’ abused past to Jason’s tragic family loss, are not simplified and the characters struggles are emotive and heart wrenching. This complex look at two individuals dealing with deep grief and hurt in their lives while attempting to connect with eachother is powerful. Standing Strong is a fitting ending to a series about some unique and strong women committed to faith, families and community ~ well done, Donna!

As seen at

I will be posting a fabulous interview with Donna next week who will be offering a magnificent giveaway to three fortunate readers - check back soon!

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

After the Leaves Fall by Nicole Baart

Pitying looks from her small town neighbours have been a way of life for Julia DeSmit, a life she hopes to leave behind to forge her own destiny. Deserted by her disengaged mother at aged 9 and losing her beloved dad during her teen years to illness leaves an indelible mark on her psyche that will haunt her in the years to come.

College represents a chance to escape the confines of her small town life and the heartache of a love lost when her childhood soul mate, Thomas falls for another girl. Having created a persona of aloofness during her high school years, Julia finds it difficult to relate to her college contemporaries but makes an uneasy friendship with her engineering teacher’s assistant, Parker.

At a vulnerable time she is reminded again of all the losses in her life and makes a decision that will forever shape her future by sending her back to her past.

Nicole Baart’s debut novel is a stirring portrayal of a young woman desperately seeking her place in a world which has dealt her one heartache after another. Julia’s journey will resonate with anyone who has experienced tragedy and open the eyes of those who haven’t. Pleasingly pat answers to Julia’s dilemmas are nowhere to be seen and yet the beauty of a faithful heart is clearly shown through Julia’s grandmother. Brimming with engaging and authentic characters After the Leaves Fall is beautifully written and a stunning tribute to Nicole’s talent as a writer. I eagerly anticipate the continuation of Julia’s story in the sequel, Summer Snow, releasing in mid 2008.

CFBA Blog Tour of Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(WaterBrook Press September 4, 2007)


Jeffrey Overstreet


Jeffrey Overstreet lives in two worlds. By day, he writes about movies at and in notable publications like Christianity Today, Paste, and Image.

His adventures in cinema are chronicled in his book Through a Screen Darkly. By night, he composes new stories found in fictional worlds of his own. Living in Shoreline, Washington, with his wife, Anne, a poet, he is a senior staff writer for Response Magazine at Seattle Pacific University.

Auralia’s Colors is his first novel. He is now hard at work on many new stories, including three more strands of The Auralia Thread.

As a baby, she was found in a footprint.

As a girl, she was raised by thieves in a wilderness where savages lurk.

As a young woman, she will risk her life to save the world with the only secret she knows.

When thieves find an abandoned child lying in a monster’s footprint, they have no idea that their wilderness discovery will change the course of history.

Cloaked in mystery, Auralia grows up among criminals outside the walls of House Abascar, where vicious beastmen lurk in shadow. There, she discovers an unsettling–and forbidden–talent for crafting colors that enchant all who behold them, including Abascar’s hard-hearted king, an exiled wizard, and a prince who keeps dangerous secrets.

Auralia’s gift opens doors from the palace to the dungeons, setting the stage for violent and miraculous change in the great houses of the Expanse.

Auralia’s Colors weaves literary fantasy together with poetic prose, a suspenseful plot, adrenaline-rush action and unpredictable characters sure to enthrall ambitious imaginations.

Visit the Website especially created for the book, Auralia's Colors. On the site, you can read the first chapter and listen to Jeffrey's introduction of the book, plus a lot more!


"Film critic and author Overstreet (Through a Screen Darkly) offers a powerful myth for his first foray into fiction. Overstreet’s writing is precise and beautiful, and the story is masterfully told. Readers will be hungry for the next installment."
--Publishers Weekly
“Through word, image, and color Jeffrey Overstreet has crafted a work of art. From first to final page this original fantasy is sure to draw readers in. Auralia's Colors sparkles.”
-–Janet Lee Carey, award-winning author of The Beast of
and Dragon's Keep
“Jeffrey Overstreet’s first fantasy, Auralia’s Colors, and its heroine’s cloak of wonders take their power from a vision of art that is auroral, looking to the return of beauty, and that intends to restore spirit and and mystery to the world. The book achieves its ends by the creation of a rich, complex universe and a series of dramatic, explosive events.”
-–Marly Youmans, author of Ingledove and The
Curse of the Raven Mocker

I am only partially way through this one but am really fascinated by the characters and world Jeffrey has created. I will have a giveaway of this book when I post my review so keep checking back!

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall & Aussie Giveaway!

My sister is a huge fan of Amish fiction so I know she will enter this outstanding giveaway! Make sure you do too. I have a set of both stories from Cindy Woodsmall to give away and an extra two copies of her latest release, When the Morning Comes, so that will make 3 winners! Here are the requirements:~

1. You must have an Aussie mailing addy;

2. Tell me what it is that attracts you to stories about the Amish people; and

3. Post by midnight on Monday 3rd December, 2007

Happy posting!


Her relationship with former fiancé Paul Waddell in tatters, Hannah Lapp has fled her home in hopes of finding refuge with another Amish outcast, her shunned Aunt Zabeth in Ohio. Hampered by limited education and hiding her true identity, Hannah struggles to understand the confusing world of the Englischers and embrace unfamiliar freedoms, but a deepening friendship with the handsome Martin Palmer renews her courage to face the future.

Meanwhile, Hannah’s absence and the distressing events that led to her disappearance create turmoil among her loved ones in Owl’s Perch, Pennsylvania. Her father stubbornly refuses to search for her or to acknowledge increasing signs of instability in daughter Sarah, who suffers secret guilt over her sister’s ruined reputation. Fiancé Paul Waddell is wracked with regret over his betrayal of Hannah’s trust and is concerned with her whereabouts. He befriends Hannah’s remaining allies—brother Luke, best friend Mary, and loyal Matthew Esh—trying to convince them to help search for his love.

Rich with authentic details of Amish community and powerful in its theme of hope beyond measure, When the Morning Comes succeeds as a compelling follow-up to Cindy Woodsmall’s best-selling debut novel, When the Heart Cries.

Author Bio:~

Cindy Woodsmall
is an author, wife, and mother of three sons. Her first novel released in 2006 to much acclaim, including a Reviewer’s Choice Award from the Road to Romance website, and became a CBA bestseller. Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband and the youngest of their three sons.

Monday, 26 November 2007

For Parents Only by Shaunti Feldhahn & Lisa A. Rice and Aussie giveaway!


Shaunti Feldhahn is known for unlocking the mysteries of relationships for men
and women. Now she turns to a parent’s relationship with a child, particularly a child of the opposite sex. Drawing on the results of a nationwide survey of kids and teenagers, she explores questions such as:

  • What do moms need to understand about the “tough and tender” boy who values respect over love?
  • What do dads need to understand about their daughter’s need for affirmation?
  • What are the six biggest pet peeves teens have about their parents?

Understanding the answers to these and other important questions can help parents make the holidays a time of celebration and unity, not strife and friction.

For Parents Only offers a unique look into a child’s mind and frees readers to communicate in healthier ways as they discover that understanding their kids may not be as complicated as they think.

To buy the book from Amazon, click here or from Koorong, click here!

Author Bio:

Shaunti Feldhahn is the author of For Women Only and numerous other books, with sales totaling nearly one million copies. A nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and public speaker, Feldhahn earned her master’s degree at Harvard University. She and her husband, Jeff, have two young children. Lisa A. Rice is the associate editor of Christian Living magazine, the mother of two teenage girls, and a screenwriter and producer.

I haven't had a chance to read this one but I have enjoyed Shaunti's novels and with three daughters, I know I will need this book! I am delighted to have two copies to giveaway! You must meet the following requirements:~

1. Have an Australian mailing addy

2. Be a parent

3. Tell me the your biggest struggle as a parent!!!!

4. Post before midnight on Sunday 2nd December.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Meet aspiring authors & mum and daughter team, Sherrie Ashcraft & Christina Berry

I "met" Christina some time ago while hanging around Donna Fleisher's blog. Christina is an adventurous and brave woman - I know this as she bravely sampled my vegemite (forced to by Donna for a scurrilous misdeed, explained in detail at her blog!!!!

Christina and her mum are a fun pair and I am looking forward to reading their novels
one day! In the meantime get to know them a little by checking out their blogs and entering their fabulous giveaway ~ all the info you need is detailed below.

A special announcement from Sherrie Ashcraft and Christina Berry:

We cowrite books about relationships. We are a relationship. We want to dominate the relationship brand. And we want to have at least 500 subscribers to the Ashberry Lane Newsletter by the first of the year. Should we expect you to sign up and work hard at strong-arming your friends to sign up while you get nothing out of the deal? No way!

Compassionate as we are, we've worked up a HUGE new incentive. How better to promote our relational fiction than featuring other fiction that focuses on different types of relationship? Why don't we give our supporters a chance to win EIGHT autographed books? What a great Christmas present that would be! Or what a lot of Christmas shopping done for you!
Without further ado, we present, with a booming voice:


For the Friend Relationship: Roxanne Henke's After Anne

One of our absolute favorite books. As you watch Olivia and Anne struggle through a difficult challenge, you'll want to be a better friend.

For the Prodigal Relationship: Robin Lee Hatcher's Return to Me
How many of us have walked away from what our father wanted for us? Or away from our Father? This story will remind you that the you can go home again.

For the Marriage Relationship: Robin Jones Gunn's Wildflowers Wildflowers

Married Genevieve falls in love with the man she least expected could win her heart. It's not who you might think ....

For the Sibling Relationship: Lauraine Snelling's Ruby (Dakotah Treasures #1)

In the first of this frontier series, Ruby must deal with her new "inheritance" while protecting her sister from its influences.

For the Man's Perspective on Relationships: James Scott Bell's Breach of Promise

A heart-rending story of a man trying to keep his family together.

For the Supernatural Relationship: Tosca Lee's Demon: A Memoir

Don't let the title of this book scare you away. There is no glorification of the demonic, but an enlightened fresh look at what History means.

For the Relationships Gone Bad: Bette Nordberg's Serenity Bay

A truly terrifying story of woman who married Prince Charming and discovered he wasn't.

For the Single Among the Marriage-Minded: Camy Tang's Sushi for One? (The Sushi Series, Book 1)

You'll laugh. You'll relate. You'll be impressed with this debut novel from up-and-coming author Camy Tang.

EIGHT books. ONE winner.

Here are the ways to win:

Current subscriber and previous referrals are already in the hat. Any new subscriber or referral will gain another entry.
Publicize this to your homeys through newsletters: one entry.
Blog about the contest: one entry. (Email us if you need what to post.)
Include it in your Christmas cards: two entries.
Tuck it in the gift bag with the fruitcake you'll be leaving on random doorsteps: five entries.
Subscribe! Spread the word! Flood the blogosphere! Take over the world!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

More pretty covers....

From A Distance by Tamera Alexander

Determined to establish herself as a photojournalist, Elizabeth Westbrook travels from Washington, D.C., to Timber Ridge, Colorado. But when one of her pictures is used as evidence in a murder trial, she finds her life in peril. Meeting Confederate sharpshooter Daniel Ranslett teaches Elizabeth something surprising about herself---but what she learns about Daniel is life changing!

Deep in the Heart of Trouble by Deeanne Gist

Four years have made a big difference in Essie Spreckelmeyer's life. Then she was husband hunting. Now she's wearing bloomers and running her father's oil business. She wouldn't change anything---not even for a man. But when she and competitor oilman Tony Morgan butt heads over business matters, will their hearts reverberate with love?

The Restorer's Son by Sharon Hinck

Keiran of Braide Wood has always been different. His looks marked as a man of mixed blood, his mother coming from the hated Hazorite clan and forever setting him apart. Banished by the Council, Kieran flees from Lyric and his calling only to find his escape hampered by a strange young man he believes to be a spy.

Susan and Mark find themselves journeying back to the other world of Lyric in search of their son, Jake. Fearing he has been captured by the vengeful Chief Councilmember, Cameron they give little thought to Susan no longer having the special abilities granted to a Restorer and
how vulnerable they are.

When the One confronts Kieran and his fears, a mighty battle ensues, that draws out all his pride, anger, resentment and aggression, leaving him empty and at the mercy of the One, who he has blamed for the suffering and heartache in his life.
Will Kieran seek mercy or surrender his calling and his life?

Sharon Hinck’s first novel in ths Sword of Lyric series was mindboggling in its originality and substance. I am delighted to say The Restorer’s Son is all that and more!

Kieran, the reluctant Restorer with an anguished past, provides the first person voice for most of the story and is a testament to Sharon's talent and insight. Anyone who has struggled with God’s calling on their life will relate to Kieran’s journey. His battle with the One mirrors the Biblical struggle when Jacob wrestles with God - it is the novel's most moving and powerful offering.

Susan and Mark’s return to Lyric is fascinating with the loss of her protective powers yet her mother heart drives her to risk everything to find her boy.
Revelations regarding Tristan, Kendra and other familiar characters add interest, intrigue and some surprises to this exceptional sequel. The hint of a developing relationship and the inspired spiritual nuances has me eagerly awaiting the final instalment in this epic series The Restorer's Journey.

Check out the fabulous cover art but I am a bit nervous about who it depicts!

Forever Christmas by Christine Lynxwiler

Publisher's Synopsis:~

Kristianna Harrington always dreamed of a Christmas wedding. But after two broken engagements, she's content to forget romance and run her Christmas shop in Jingle Bells, Arkansas. She thinks her biggest fear is making it down the aisle as maid of honour in her best friend's Christmas wedding, with at least one ex-fiance! looking on. But when her beloved Jingle Bells is threatened, Kristianna struggles to sort through her jumbled feelings concerning the handsome lawyer hired to change the town name and her childhood sweetheart who has returned just in time to come to her aid. Will her heart discover the truth before both her town and her Christmas spirit is extinguished?

My take:~

Christine Lynxwiler brings the joy of the Christmas season to life in this merry tale of a traditional girl struggling to keep her town alive in the face of stiff opposition from the winds of change, stirred up by lawyer Shawn Webber. Her faithful childhood friends, Garrett & Ami, try to be supportive but Ami's in love and Garrett, well, is Garrett!

Forever Christmas is the perfect read to remind you why we celebrate Christmas. Kristianna’s love of all things Christmas will make you smile and her struggle for independence while her parents pressure her to be more “successful” will have you cheering. The romance is sweet, lighthearted and fun with an ending as magical as the twinkling of a Christmas tree.

Check back soon for my interview with Christine ~ her thoughts on writing, her 2008 novels and anything else I might think of!

Interview with Karen Ball and Aussie Giveaway!

Karen Ball is a name synonomous with the Christian publishing industry, first as an editor working with houses such as Tyndale, Multnomah and Zondervan and secondly as a multi-published author.

Karen continues to write, alongside her day job as Senior Aquisitions Editor for Broadman & Holman,and
her other major responsibilities ~ keeping hubby Don on his toes and loving her doggies, Bo and Dakota. As Dakota is an Aussie-terrier mix, I've got a soft spot for him - LOL!

To my absolute delight, Karen generously gave of her
time and personality (just read below!) to answer my questions:~

On Writing...

Why Christian fiction?

Fiction because I love telling stories. Christian fiction because I love exploring faith in God. And because my faith is a part of the fabric of who I am, so it can't NOT come through in my stories.

Your day job is as a senior acquisitions editor for B& H Publishing Group ~ tell us a little about that?

I joined B&H in January of this year, and it's been a blast. My boss, David Webb, and I are building B&H's fiction line from the ground up. Fortunately we had some great authors already on board--such as Jamie Carie, Oliver North, and Jennifer O'Neill--but we've spent the last 10 months putting together great lists for our '08 & '09 list. It's funny, I seem to have created a kind of niche for myself, that of building fiction lines. I did the same thing at Tyndale, Multnomah, and Zondervan. But that's okay with me, because I'm having a great time!

You have edited books for many of CBA's most successful authors ~ any funny stories you are at liberty to tell? story has to do with the advent of computers. When I first started editing, we actually did the cut-and-paste physically. Yup. Cut sections of the page out and shifted them around, then taped them in place. A few years after I started in book publishing at Tyndale, computers showed up. I was running the spell check on a manuscript that used the word “Mormonism.” The spell checkers at that time weren't nearly as extensive as they are now, so the only word it could suggest was “Moronism.” Gave me a good laugh.

As for my authors, they're all pretty wonderful. But I can share a few behind-the-scenes tidbits. For example, did you know:

  • Gil Morris likes to drink coffee so hot it'd give most of us 3rd-degree burns. No kidding. The man sends the stuff back to be super-nuked! I told him he was crazy. He said that's why I love him so much.
  • Francine Rivers has a hilarious sense of humor. She totally cracks me up, especially when she lets loose with this cackling “evil laughter.” And when you put Francine and her daughter, Shannon, together, look out! They're a total hoot.
  • Karen Kingsbury is a nutrition guru. She knows everything you could want to know about healthy eating. I love to travel with her because she makes me eat better. And I hate to travel with her because she makes me…well, you know.
  • Robin Jones Gunn and I have discovered the secret to effective brainstorming. You put on swimsuits then sit in an outdoor hot tub under a night sky full of sparkling stars. No kidding! It's the best way there is to talk and brainstorm.
  • Tamera Alexander can hit an operatic-style high note that will make your ears ring. And she does so, without warning. (The woman's almost as crazy as I am…)
  • Bill Myers once tried to kill me. Really. He took me to this restaurant that he raved about--and I got sicker than a dog after eating there. I'm sure it was food poisoning. He says it was just me trying to get a free meal. I said it was him getting even for my edits…

    Okay, so I could keep going. But I think that will get me in enough trouble.

How do you juggle writing and editing with all your other daily responsibilities?

Poorly. Or I did until this year, when I decided it was time to write without a contract. I needed to rediscover the love of writing rather than writing to a deadline. That's such a creativity killer, especially when you're late. Really late. Really REALLY late.

So now I work my day this way: I keep regular work hours for my day job. Then I do my best to write at least a few pages a day. I don't let myself work for either B&H or writing past 9 pm, and I don't work on weekends. So far that seems to be working.

I have every one of your books ~ please tell me there will be future offerings from Karen Ball's pen…er…laptop and if so, any sneak peeks?

Well, I haven't got any scenes I'm ready to share yet, but I'll tell you I'm working on a new book. It's the first in a series about identical twin sisters who run a pet-sitting business and get caught up in all kinds of things. It will be suspense, with a touch of humor, and the story lines will focus on some of the hard questions of faith. Questions I've been wrestling with over the years, such as why are Christians susceptible to evil's allure?

On What Lies Within...

Please tell us the inspiration behind the Family Honor (I so want to type Honour, as is proper - hehehe!) series?

My family. Specifically, my parents. They named each of us kids intentionally. For example, my first name, Karen, means “Pure One,” and my middle name, Michelle, means “Who is like God.” So, yeah, my folks had high expectations for me! But I always loved hearing about how they named us, and one day thought about what it meant to do that, to name your children with the intention that God would show himself in their lives in specific ways. The core of the series came from that. The individual stories came from a number of places. Dan's story came from reading a newspaper article. Annie's story stemmed from my time working with Search-and-Rescue. And Kyla's story came to me almost 20 years ago, when God answered my prayers for a hunger for His word. I read the book of Nehemiah, and the story was just there! So I was delighted to be able to finally use it.

Your writing has always been character based ~ how do you create a character and choose their names? (Loved the unique names of Avidan, Annot & Kyla in this series)

I've always followed my parents' lead when I name my characters (or my pets, for that matter). I search for names based on the meaning I want to show through those characters, or on the issue they're with. I take a lot of time finding just the right name, because I've discovered that having the name in place brings the character to life for me.

What was your favourite scene to write?

The scene where Kyla faces the gang. I got so up in it!

I loved both Kyla and Rafe's strength yet their vulnerabilities resonated the most ~ who was your favourite and why?

Rafe was my favorite, because of his heart. He's a man of God. A warrior from the get-go. But he's got a core of tenderness as well. I'm so weary of hearing how men today aren't real men. I know a lot of men like Rafe. Men who stand for what's right and true, who put it all on the line for faith and family. Who are strong and tender. My husband is like that. The men who were part of our Bible study in Illinois are like that. All men who make a woman feel safe and cherished. So Rafe was a kind of compilation of all those men in my life who I respect.

I liked the age difference between Kyla and Rafe and although it is a small thing, I liked that it wasn't the norm ~ did you put particular thought in to that?

Yes, I wanted something different. Something that would be a bit of an obstacle to Kyla. But eventually she'd see it's exactly what she needs: a younger guy who is all male but can help her not to take herself so seriously. J

What Lies Within is a story about “letting go and letting God” ~ what made you choose that theme?

Almost 20 years ago I asked God to give me a hunger for reading His Word. I loved reading romance novels, fantasy, all kinds of things, but I just couldn't “get into” the Bible. Well, God answered that prayer big time. I LOVE the Word now. And the first thing I read after that prayer was Nehemiah. As I read, this whole story just unfolded in my mind. I still have the notebook where I sat down and wrote out the outline. When it came time to tell Kyla's story, I knew there had to be something in her past that had made her so rigid. I dug out that outline, and realized this was her story! How cool is that? God gave me Kyla's story 20 years ago. He's just amazing.

Any ideas who you might cast in a movie of What Lies Within?

Nicholas Gonzalez as Rafe and a red-headed Rosamund Pike as Kyla.

What impact do you hope this book has upon the reader?

First, I hope they find that it's a great story. Beyond that, I hope it speaks to those hearts trapped by guilt or fear, helping them to see the past is over and done with. We can live in grace and freedom because of Christ's act on the cross. Nothing can negate that!

On matters personal...

Do you read much yourself? If so, some favourites, please?

Yes, but not as much as I'd like. In part because of eye fatigue--I spend all day reading, so my eyes need a rest. But also because of time constraints. I've been travelling a great deal--as much as three trips a month--since January. You'd think I'd read on the plane, but I find I'm more inclined to sleep. I don't get to do that as much as I'd like either! But my favorite novels are thrillers and suspense, and anything by Francine Rivers or C.S. Lewis.

What are you reading at the moment?

A wonderful new thriller by John Olson. Actually, I'm reading it as I edit it! But it's going to be simply amazing. I can't wait to get it into readers' hands. Tentative title is Shade, and it's book one in the Children of the Standing.

As for published books, I'm reading Hooked by Les Edgerton. I have a stack of novels waiting to be read, too. Big surprise.

Favourite movie and favourite line from a movie?

Oh, no! There are so many. I have always loved movies. And when a movie really connects, it imbeds in my brain. For example, I can recite, almost verbatim, the dialogue and songs from the very first movie that ever really captured me: Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella, with a 17-year-old Leslie Ann Warren. But I'd have to say The Princess Bride is one of my all-time favourites. (check it out! My spell checker keeps making my spelling Aussie!) As for favorite lines…Good heavens! There are so many. How about:

“No more rhyming, and I mean it!”
“Anybody want a peanut?”



“You keep usin' that word. I do not think that it means what you think it means.”


“Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the world - except for a nice MLT - mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is lean and the tomato is nice and ripe.” Smack smack smack! “I just love that!”

Who inspires you?

The master Inspirer, God. And my family. And my friends. And seeing God's creative flair in nature. And in the devotion and play of animals.

Life inspires me. Because everything we see, hear, feel…it resonates with God's spirit and truth.

Please share some of your faith journey...

I had a golden childhood. My memories are of laughter, warmth, love…My parents lived their faith, and it impacted me from the earliest age. I had no trouble understanding God as a loving Father, and felt as close to Him as I always have to my folks. My adulthood has been more difficult. My husband and I have had a lot of struggles (which was the basis for my novel, The Breaking Point), even to the point of being separated for a year. I walked out. But Don was determined to do what was right in God's eyes, not what was easy. This December we'll celebrate 28 years together, and the fact that I can really celebrate it is a testimony to God's grace. While my adulthood hasn't been the journey I would have chosen, it's led me to a far deeper faith than I could have imagined. I know--I KNOW--that God is who He says He is, that Christ is my Savoir and Lord, and that nothing is stronger than He is. And I've learned that life isn't about being happy, but about being obedient. And in that obedience you'll find greater joy than you ever imagined. Life is once again full of laughter, warmth, and love--and the sure confidence that whatever comes our way, we'll endure. Because God's in control.

Some essential Aussie questions....

When/if you make the trip Down Under what do you want to see first? A platypus or a koala?

Oh, definitely a koala! Yes, yes, I've heard they can be less that sweet, but they're about as cute as it gets. And I've ALWAYS wanted to go to Australia. I love the rugged beauty of the country and the humor and warmth of its people.

Barrier Reef or Uluru (Ayers Rock)?

Barrier Reef. I love water. I was a lifeguard when I was 15, and feel at home in the water.

You are visiting Australia ~ do you say yes or no to some vegemite on toast?!

Oh, why not! I'll try anything--well, almost!--once. Beside, I saw the coolest video on YouTube of some speed-painting with Vegemite on toast. So how could I pass up the opportunity to try it?

Any last words?

Just thanks for the opportunity to share. And any time you come to Oregon, let me know! I'm always happy to grab a cup of coffee and talk.

What a pleasure it has been, Karen :) Many thanks for your gracious and entertaining answers.

Bonus Features...

1. Aussie giveaway

I have a copy of Karen's latest release, What Lies Within, to give away to a reader who posts a comment about their favourite movie and has an Australian mailing address! Post before midnight on Thursday 29th November to enter.

2. Karen's Blog

Karen has succumbed to blogging and if her initial posts are anything to go by it will be a fun and challenging place to hang out! Check it out by clicking on the link:

Karen's blog

3. Karen's Books

My review of What Lies Within

Karen's books at Amazon:~

Shattered Justice, Kaleidoscope Eyes, What Lies Within, The Breaking Point, Reunion, Wilderness, A Test of Faith

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