Saturday, January 31, 2015

INTERVIEW WITH ADA BROWNELL




Ada Brownell has been writing stick-to-your-soul encouragement articles, short fiction and books since she was a teen. She spent a large huge hunk of her life as a journalist, mostly at The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado.

She has years of experience teaching youth in Christian education classes, playing the piano and organ for church services, and singing in trios.
 





INTERVIEW

SS: Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born a freckled-faced redhead, the eighth child in a financially impoverished family that had just escaped from the Great Depression and the Kansas dust bowl to Colorado’s beautiful irrigated Western Slope. Peach Country. I was born shortly after the open truck crawled over Colorado’s treacherous mountain passes loaded with household goods and the seven other children. I was the only true Coloradan.

Not long afterward, my oldest sister’s new friend invited her to the “holy roller” church where Marjorie became a born-again Christian. Mama worried about her getting involved with “those people,” especially because the woman across the street kept witnessing to Mom. Then each of all my older siblings had a friend who invited them to “that church.” Finally my parents and all the family gave their lives to Jesus and I grew up in a great Christian home with continual singing, music, laughter and love.

We’re all a bunch of achievers. My oldest brother received his doctorate in sociology and education and spent many years teaching at Evangel University. The next brother became a pastor. The youngest, a trombonist, earned his doctorate in music, headed the music department at Evangel, served as academic dean at Berean College, wrote a number of textbooks, and he and his wife served in multiple short missions around the world.

SS: When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

I started submitting ideas for youth services to a national youth leaders’ magazine when I was age 15. I was president of the youth group in our church. Then I started submitting articles to that magazine and to The Pentecostal Evangel. The editors were helpful. When my article was almost a fit, they’d send it back and say, “add another illustration,” or “cut the word length.” I did it immediately, sent it back and they bought it.

That started a free lance career I never dreamed of, and I soon branched out into newspaper work and spent a big hunk of my life as journalist. I didn’t think of myself as a writer or use the label “author” until I’d been writing at least 20 years.

SS: What are some of the challenges you face as a writer? Are there aspects of your life that are hard for family and friends to understand? What are they?

Family and friends don’t quite get the hours I need to think and to write, but they’re proud I’m a writer.  My greatest challenge is how to budget time. I believe family should be first. I like to have an organized house and my wellbeing depends partly on having things neat and in order. I also try to spend quite a bit of time with the Lord each day and believe Isaiah 40:29-31 where it says “they that wait upon the Lord renew their strength... They shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

SS: What genre do you write and why? Are there other genres you’ve written or would like to try?

My favorite books are squeaky clean historical Christian romances that uplift the soul. The Lady Fugitive is an historical romance. I like suspense and mystery, too, and Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult is contemporary and suspense. But I mix in humor and I hope my readers smile often as they read.

Non-fiction Bible studies I write are more to me than mere books. Imagine the Future You and Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal are intended to increase faith in God and lead people to salvation.

I hope to do more Bible studies and I have 10,000 words toward a sequel to The Lady Fugitive. I have ideas for sequels to The Castle and the Catapult, and Lord willing, sometime will get to them.

SS: How do you create characters? Are they based on people you know?

I create profiles of my characters but find who they are unfolds with the story. With The Lady Fugitive where I wrote all but 7,000 words of the first draft in only five weeks, part of the time it seemed I was reading the book instead of writing it. Some of my readers’ favorite characters, such as Stuart, the orphan, and the “bad guy’s” sweet little wife, popped in later in the book. The characters are what make me enjoy the writing process so much!

SS: Tell us about your current release.

The Lady Fugitive: How does a respected elocutionist become a face on a wanted poster? 

Jenny Louise Parks escapes from the coal bin, and her abusive uncle offers a handsome reward for her return. Because he is a judge, he will find her or he won’t inherit her parents’ ranch. 
  
Determination to remain free grips Jenny, especially after she meets William and there’s a hint of romance. But while peddling household goods and showing a Passion of the Christ moving picture, he discovers his father’s brutal murder. 
 
Will Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in? Will she find peace, joy and love?

SS: Where did you get the idea for this book?

From my maternal grandparents. According to some relatives, Grandma had to run from an abusive uncle, a judge. She was orphan, but unlike Jenny who rides away on her horse, she packed a suitcase and walked, finally ending up in a small community 30 miles away. My grandfather went about the country showing a Passion of the Christ picture show, and his father was murdered, instances similar to my leading man, William.

SS: Tell us about your main character.

Jenny Louis Parks is a talented, spirited, gal with plenty of spunk but she’s also confused as to why God will allow her parents to die and for her to have to run from abuse and have nowhere to go.

SS: Is there a spiritual message in your book? If so, what is it?  

William’s favorite song is “The Ninety and Nine,” that tells how God cares for His sheep—even a sheep who feels alone. That’s the book theme.

SS: What are you working on now?

The sequel to The Lady Fugitive.  I have some interesting characters already and some of the people from the first book appear in this one. I’m only about 10,000 words into it so far.

SS: Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.

1.  I have five children, all serving the Lord, some in ministry and one in heaven. 
2.  I’ve been a published writer since I was in my teens. Although I didn’t write every day, I made time to write. I am a retired journalist (The Pueblo Chieftain in Colorado). I still write for Christian publications and most recently began writing devotions for a teen devotional magazine. 
3.  I didn’t meet another free lance writer until I had been writing for many years.

SS: Favorite TV shows?

Old ones without bad language or sex scenes, and the type of people who pray before meals and attend church. The Lord told Ezekiel to “go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.” Those with a mark were spared from God’s judgment. (Ezekiel 9:5—11).

SS: Anything special you eat or drink while you’re writing

Because I suffer from dry mouth, sometimes I eat a Popsicle.

SS: How do you celebrate after completing a book?

With a sigh of relief, and enough joy to start another project.

SS: Where can readers find you on the Internet?

Amazon Ada Brownell author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/adabrownell
Twitter: @AdaBrownell
Read the first chapter of The Lady Fugitive here: http://ow.ly/CHtxB
 Stick-to-Your-Soul Encouragement

SS: Anything else you’d like to share with us?

IN ADDITION TO The Lady Fugitive, I have these other books: Imagine the Future You, a youth Bible study; Joe the Dreamer: The Castle and the Catapult; Swallowed by Life: Mysteries of Death, Resurrection and the Eternal; and Confessions of a Pentecostal, out of print but released in 2012 for Kindle. All the books are available in paper or for Kindle. Imagine the Future You audiobook is available at www.Audible.com  Free book with new Audible membership.

Thanks for inviting me to be your guest!

Ada is giving away an ebook copy of The Lady Fugitive. Leave a comment, along with your contact information for a chance to win.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Interview with Lisa Harris and HIDDEN AGENDA Giveaway!



Today Suspense Sisters welcomes Christy Award-winning author, Lisa Harris! 

We're so excited to have such an accomplished author with us. Lisa is giving away a copy of HIDDEN AGENDA. If you'd like to enter the drawing, please leave a comment with your contact information.  


LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom, Christy Award winner for Dangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 from Romantic Times. She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent over ten years living as missionaries in Africa where she homeschools, leads a women's group, and runs a non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project works in southern Africa promoting Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way for her to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves...the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice." (Proverbs 31:8)

When she's not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari.


SS: Tell us a little about yourself.

Thanks so much for having me! I’m a mother, wife, writer, missionary, taxi driver, chef, and all the other things motherhood involves. Just set in a tropical setting halfway around the world. J Yes, life is definitely never dull! My family and I have lived in southern Africa since 2004 and currently live in Mozambique where we work to plant churches and with humanitarian work. Beyond my work and writing, I love photography, cooking (when it’s not hot like it is right now) and being with my family.

SS: When did you realize you wanted to be an author?

It’s something I always wanted to do—from the time I was very young—but didn’t take that dream seriously until I was in my late twenties when I finally found time to write a book. I haven’t stopped writing since!

SS: What are some of the challenges you face as a writer? Are there aspects of your life that are hard for family and friends to understand? What are they?

My family has always been extremely supportive of my writing, something I am thankful for. I’ve always made an effort to put family first, but they know that deadlines must be met. Finding that balance can be a huge challenge—especially on my end—but with my family’s support, it’s doable!

SS: What genre do you write and why? Are there other genres you’ve written or would like to try?

I started off writing romance for Heartsong, both contemporary and historical, but always had to weave in some sort of mystery. I now write romantic suspense and love the balance between the two genres. It’s what I love to write and to read!

SS: How do you create characters? Are they based on people you know?

I don’t base my characters on people I know. Sometimes, like with Avery North from my Southern Crimes series, she was in my head for a couple years before I started writing her story. Others I get to know as I’m actually writing the story.

SS: Tell us about your current release.

Hidden Agenda is book three in my Southern Crimes series. While each book in thi

s series can stand alone, it is best to read the other two first, to get the whole story. Read on it’s own, you’ll still find it a fast-paced suspense novel with a strong romantic threat between Michael Hunt and the daughter of the man who wants him dead!

SS: Where did you get the idea for this book?

The series revolves around the Hunt family, a family of law enforcement officers in Atlanta. I wanted a series that dealt with crimes, but also one that explored family dynamics. I loved getting to know each of the siblings in this series and seeing how difficult situations changes each one of them eventually for the better.

SS: Tell us about your main character.

If you haven’t read the first two books in the series, stop reading now J

Presumed dead by friends and family, the undercover assignment Michael Hunt has been working for the past eight months has just been blown. With a hit out on his life and corruption inside the Atlanta police department, Michael finds himself hunted by both the cartel and the law. His only hope is Olivia Hamilton--the daughter of the man who wants him dead.

SS: Is there a spiritual message in your book? If so, what is it?

God wants us to rely completely on Him. And to be completely in Him. Psalm 55:22 tells us that we need to give our burdens to Him. To cast all of our anxieties on him because he really does care for us. Is this always easy? No way.  At the end of the book Michael says, “I’m struck with the profound truth that God is Good. He never promised us that life would be easy, but He has promised to walk with us.” My prayer for my readers is that you seek His face and let Him walk this journey of faith along side you!

SS: What are you working on now?

I just turned in a book to my editor that will kick off my next series with Revell, and I’ve just finished outlining book two. While I can’t say much yet, it’s another fast paced romantic suspense series that deals with a missing person task force and a heroine (and romance) that I can’t wait to reveal!  The first book will release in October!

SS: Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.

This is always so hard!

While I think every author—and person for that matter—I know drinks coffee, I don’t. (Though I have just discovered Chocolate Chai which I love!) 

I’ve studied three languages, Portuguese, French, and Eve, and currently speak Portuguese every day.

Hmm. . .My husband has got me hooked on Sci Fi, something I never liked before we got married. Lately we’ve been watching Dr. Who.

SS: Favorite TV shows?

 We don’t have TV here, but we do buy seasons to watch. My favorites are NCIS and Hawaii 5-0.

SS: Anything special you eat or drink while you’re writing? 

Popcorn with dry ranch salad dressing on it. (when I happen to have it) In fact, my daughter is making me some right now!


SS: How do you celebrate after completing a book? 

By starting a new one. Ha!

SS: Where can readers find you on the Internet? 


SS: Anything else you’d like to share with us?
 Thank you so much for having me!!


Thanks so much for joining us!
And remember, readers, if you'd like to enter the drawing for HIDDEN AGENDA, leave a comment with your contact information.