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IRENE HANNON INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY @TBCN







ABOUT AUTHOR: IRENE HANNON is the author of more than 35 novels, including the bestselling Heroes of Quantico and Guardians of Justice series. Her books have been honored with two coveted RITA awards from Romance Writers of America, a Carol Award, a HOLT Medallion, a Daphne du Maurier Award and two Reviewers’ Choice Awards from RT Book Reviewsmagazine. Booklistalso included one of her novels in its “Top 10 Inspirational Fiction” list for 2011. She lives in Missouri.

 How did you come up with the idea for Vanished?

I’m glad you asked! Usually, I have a hard time pinpointing the specific source of an idea. Most stories start as a tiny seed planted because of an article I read or a situation I observe or a conversation I overhear. In hindsight, I often can’t remember the triggering incident because typically it’s something insignificant that for whatever reason got the creative juices flowing.

In this case, however, I can tell you the exact moment when inspiration struck. I was driving home from church one night, when all at once a bicyclist appeared in my headlights. I swerved to avoid him—then started what-iffing. What if a woman was driving on a country road at night in a rainstorm, and her headlights picked up a figure with terrified eyes standing in the middle of the road? What if she tried to avoid the figure, spun out of control—but heard a solid thump that told her she’d hit this person? What if, while dazed, a hooded figure appeared at her window, said he’d seen the accident, and told her to stay in her car while he checked on the person she’d hit and called 911? What if she zoned out, then came to an hour later to find no Good Samaritan…no 911…no sign of the person she’d hit? What if the police dismissed her claims for lack of evidence and she was forced to turn to a PI for help?

That incident with the bicyclist, which lasted mere seconds, inspired not only Vanished, but the whole Private Justice series.

At the end of Vanished you have the first chapter of the second book in the series. Can you tell us what we can look forward to in the next book?

Book 2, Trapped, is scheduled to be released in October. But even though these books are part of a series, each is a complete story without any carryover plot threads. So they can be read as stand-alone novels.

Here’s the blurb for Trapped: When librarian Laura Griffin’s sixteen-year-old sister disappears on a frigid February day, leaving only a brief note behind, Laura resolves to do whatever it takes to track down the runaway teen. That includes recruiting ATF-agent-turned-PI James “Dev” Devlin to help—but the deeper he digs, the more he suspects something sinister is at work in the girl’s disappearance. And the closer he gets to uncovering the truth, the clearer it becomes that the situation isn’t just dangerous—it’s deadly.

I just saw the cover, and it’s terrific!

Private Investigators - just the mention of that word conjures up images in everyone’s mind – what are your first thoughts?

Before I started the series, I had some of the stereotypical notions about PIs—Magnum on one end of the spectrum and sleaze-ball types who spy on  cheating spouses on the other. From my research, I learned that the Magnum stereotype has virtually no basis in reality while there are, indeed, sleaze-ball types. That said, there are some very reputable PIs, many with law enforcement backgrounds, and they do on occasion handle unique cases. While their work most often involves mundane things like background checks, cases similar to the ones in my Private Justice books can—and have—been handled by PIs. Perhaps not three by one agency, but hey…that’s why it’s called fiction!  

Is there a line you won’t cross in giving details out to readers about a crime scene? There were several times in Vanished you had the opportunity to be gruesome but chose not to. I was very thankful for that. What are your guidelines?

I don’t write for shock effect. While my stories do involve crime—some of it violent—I can paint a vivid picture without all the gory detail. I’m more interested in telling a good story…and telling a good story is more about the characters than the special effects or gratuitous violence. In other words, the why vs. the what.

Because you wrote in the POV of the attacker you could have concentrated on his sinister side and creeped the reader out! You chose not to, for that I’m grateful. Do you have a code you follow when you write in a bad guys POV? Is it hard for you to write in their head? Do you get creeped out writing in their POV?



I always include the point of view of my villains, and since I try very hard to create three-dimensional characters I want readers to see that even the baddest guys (or gals) have more to them than the dark side that leads to their crimes. That’s especially true with the villain in Vanished, as several reviewers have noted. And in all honesty, seeing the normal side of a character like this can actually creep people out more. For example, after finishing Book 1 in my Guardians of Justice Series, Fatal Judgment, one reader wrote to say she was REALLY creeped out because the villain could have been her next door neighbor. As for writing in the bad guy’s POV…maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but it’s not hard at all!

 I love the cover of Vanished. It’s a real eye catcher! Did you have a say in creating the book cover? Did you come up with the title? If not, what was your original title?


I’m very excited to announce that the Vanished book trailer has just been released—my first ever. 

Here’s the link. I’d love to know what readers think! Also above.

I love the cover, too! And it’s absolutely AMAZING in real life, because it’s printed on silver paper, which makes the rainy scene glisten. You have to hold this book in your hands to fully appreciate the cover. And yes, this was my title.

FUN QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK

Name two jobs you’ve had that might surprise readers?

I've only had two jobs in my whole life besides writing. I worked part-time at a library during my high school and college years (which might not surprise people at all since I love to read and ended up being a novelist!) and I was the senior director of corporate communications for a Fortune 500 company for many years before I left that world to write full time.

Name three books that are your all time favorite?

I have many favorite books, so it would be hard to name just three. But confining the question to romance/women’s fiction, The Gamble by LaVyrle Spencer, The Guardian by Dee Henderson, and A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford are certainly on my top-ten list.

 Name three places you visit on the web daily?

Facebook, Twitter, and several writing loops.

Name three movies you could watch over and over again?

Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy. If you’ve ever built a new home or remodeled, this movie is a hilarious, timeless classic. Likewise for Father of the Bride—the original with Spencer Tracy, not the remake. Anyone who’s ever been involved in a wedding can relate to that one. And The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer—also with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, plus a teenage Shirley Temple—is fabulous. Don’t let the title put you off, either—it won an Oscar for best screenplay and is a captivating romantic comedy. (Can you tell I really )Jlike old movies—and Cary Grant?

What were three of your favorite shows you watched as a kid? If you didn’t watch T.V. or movies what were your three favorite books you read as a kid?

I loved Nancy Drew and devoured every book in the series. In terms of TV, as a family we enjoyed shows like The Big Valley, The Andy Griffith Show and The Waltons—some of them already in reruns during my younger years.

ANY FINAL COMMENTS FOR READERS IRENE?

Yes, Please visit me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Irene-Hannon/426433004084567. I’m relatively new there and still learning my way around, but I’m loving the chance to interact with readers!

Irene

THANKS for stopping by Irene. We are thrilled to have you back at TBCN for another wonderful giveaway 5 book giveaway.

THANKS to Revell Publishers for this giveaway opportunity.  Want a chance to win VANISHED??? 

Stop by TBCN Now www.bookfun.org

I can't wait to read the next installment of this series. I really liked the guys on the Phoenix team! 

ALL ENTRIES ARE TO BE MADE AT THE SITE TBCN www.bookfun.org                                                                                                                                                                                                  

HAPPY READING

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins
www.bookfun.org 

SUZANNE WOODS FISHER INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY at TBCN


 The Lesson, Book 3 in ‘The Stoney Ridge Seasons,’ released by Revell Books on January 1, 2013.


ABOUT AUTHOR: Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish for Revell Books. She hosts a weekly radio show and has a free downloadable app, Amish Wisdom, that delivers a daily Amish proverb. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find Suzanne on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com




What do you hope readers take away from this novel? Lessons you’ll hope they learn?

To frame it in an elevator pitch: the impact of love. There is a theme of unconditional love in this story that weaves its way through many characters’ lives and changes them forever.

Since you have an Amish Heritage, do any family stories make it into your novels? And/or Amish wisdom from your grandparents who were raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. If so, which ones and what novels?

Definitely! I would say that my foundation for understanding the Anabaptists is based on my relatives. I was always drawn to my relatives’ lifestyle. My grandfather was raised in a one-room schoolhouse and later taught school. There’s a collection of memories from the students that provides a wealth of knowledge for me. One story, in particular, ended up in The Waiting because my main character, Jorie King, was a teacher. The way the story went: a boy ate an apple when he wasn't supposed to, so the teacher let him eat everyone’s apples. The boy ate so many he ended up sick and had to run home, clutching his stomach.


In your Bio it states you are a columnist for the Christian Post and Cooking and Such magazine. What are your Regular meals and holiday favorite recipes? Why? What is the “and Such” you talk about in the magazine?
This is a magazine, created and edited by Sherry Gore, that is for and about the Plain people. The recipes are fantastic (those folks know how to cook!) and the columns share stories and insights about the Plain people. For example, I just sent in a new column called “Stretching the Stew.” It’s about the love of face-to-face visiting among the Amish (such a lost art!), and how to stretch a recipe if unexpected company arrived at the door.

What is the Anabaptist culture like? How is it different from the Old Order German Baptist Brethren church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania?

Anabaptist isn't a culture—it’s a doctrine. In the late Middle Ages, when Anabaptism began, it was a radical movement, born of the desire to separate church and state—then entirely conjoined—and to baptize only adults, which was then contrary to civil law. They were hunted and chased across Europe, yet despite persecution and martyrdom, the movement grew and grew. As it grew, divisions split off. Today, many fit under the Anabaptist umbrella: Mennonites, Hutterites, Amish, German Baptist, River Brethren.

I've enjoyed reading the first book in your youth series called Adventures of Lily Lapp, it reminded me of the Little House on the Prairie books. The illustrations in the book are amazing as well. What do you like most about writing that series? And/or your main character Lily?

There’s a wonderful back story to writing Lily that will answer part of the next question, too:

Mary Ann Kinsinger was raised in a happy Old Order Amish home in western Pennsylvania. A born storyteller, Mary Ann started a blog, A Joyful Chaos, as a way to capture the joy of her childhood.

Suzanne started following the blog and began to exchange e-mails with Mary Ann. She learned that leaving the Amish was a rather recent event in Mary Ann’s life. She and her husband had come to a point in their faith where they believed they needed to raise their children in a church that shared their views. It was a difficult decision, and not without its consequences. It created a rift between Mary Ann and her parents, a painful separation on both sides.

A Joyful Chaos quickly gained a following among those who are interested in knowing more about the Amish. Here was a blog of a woman who had left the Amish, but without bitterness or rancor; Just the opposite. Mary Ann’s blog captures what readers are looking for in Amish fiction books: charming family memories, a caring community, a collection of fun, quirky characters, all cast in a rural setting. And yet it’s real! All true.

One day, Suzanne e-mailed to ask if she was thinking of writing a book. “No,” she wrote back, “but I might be interested in collaborating someday.”

Fast forward a year or two. The friendship between Suzanne and Mary Ann continued to grow. So did her blog’s presence: A Joyful Chaos was receiving over 30,000 hits a month. It caught a mention in The New York Times. Mary Ann started a Facebook page. Remember, this was a woman who had stopped her formal schooling at eighth grade! But her education never stopped.

The time seemed right. The two women submitted a three-book fiction proposal for children, ages 8-12, inspired by Mary Ann’s childhood to Suzanne’s publisher, Revell. First book: meet five-year-old “Lily” and her family as they build a farm. Second book: Lily begins school in a new community. An aggravating boy, Aaron Yoder, sits next to her and enjoys teasing her. She loathes him. Third book: Lily and Aaron court and marry.

Revell came back with a “Yes!” and a few tweaks: “We want four books based on Lily’s childhood. And hold off on the courting story for now.” One more thing, they said, we want the books ASAP. So Mary Ann and Suzanne got to work.



In the Adventures of Lily Lapp series you are the co-author with Mary Ann Kinsinger. How does that process work for you? (Beautifully! See above question.) You also have brilliant illustrations depicting special scenes in the story. Do you tell in illustrator what to draw or do they read the book and say they want to draw certain parts of your book? How does that process work? Do you give the illustrator suggestions about what to draw in each chapter? Just wondering!

Our Revell editor sets the illustrations into motion by marking scenes that would translate well into sketches. I have to admit—my heart skips a beat when I see those illustrations in the first galleys. Amazing to think that words in our heads can be interpreted so adroitly by the artist and transferred onto paper. What a talent he has!

You talk about Old Order Amish women in this book, one in particular called Deborah, who became connected to the Ohio Reformatory for women by fostering prisoners’ children – an informal arrangement, was made outside of Child Protective Services but was blessed by them, not to convert them to Amish, but the goal was to keep incarcerated mothers involved in the lives of their children. Is there such a program? Have you seen it? What surprised you about this program if it exists? I didn’t expect to read about this in an Amish novel. It was interesting. If this isn’t real how did you come up with this idea? Why did you want to put this in your story?
Amish Transportation

That information is true—I read about Amish and Mennonites involved in fostering children of nearby prisoners in a couple of different locations. I wanted to weave it into a story. It’s another example to me of how the Plain people quietly go about making the world a better place without drawing attention to themselves. And so impressive that they are not attempting to convert the children of prisoners—they are leaving that in God’s hands, where it belongs. What’s exciting is that the rates of recidivism have markedly dropped when the mothers in prison can stay connected to their children. Everyone wins.

In your story Fern tries to explain to Ruthie how things would be outside the Amish Community for a woman her age, “So, what would it look like down the road, to leave Stoney Ridge? What would Ruthie do? She wasn’t prepared to do much of anything outside of the Amish life. Even if she had a car, she didn’t have a driver’s license. How could she get a job? She didn’t have a high school education. And she certainly didn’t want to clean houses for English people the rest of her life. Cleaning houses and waitressing were the only jobs former Amish girls seemed to get.”

If Amish girls decide to leave the Amish community today how do they do that? Are there more men that leave than women? How does a young lady enter the English world and not have one of these jobs and/or afford to live or go to College? Just wondering!
Not everyone wants to live amish

A complicated question! Over 85-90% of Amish young people choose to remain in the church and become baptized. I don’t have the statistics broken down into gender, but my guess would be that more boys leave than girls. It’s not easy to leave, for all the reasons you mentioned, but also because they’re leaving behind family and friends, too. The ones I’ve met who have left always feel a longing for home, a sense that they’re missing something. Leaving the Amish is a very painful topic that non-Amish can’t fully understand, and modern reality shows trivialize it. (I’ll hop off my soap box now…those reality TV shows are another topic entirely! We can save it for the next interview.)

M.K. wanted to solve the Sheep Farmer’s murder. Solving this crime would brighten her day. She didn’t think like other Amish girls that’s for sure, how did you come up with the character M.K.? What do you hope readers learn from M.K.?

Ah, M. K. Lapp. She is one of a kind. Bright, curious, amusing, with a nose for trouble. She means well, acts first and thinks later. We first meet M.K. as a young girl in “The Keeper” and “The Haven.” Fast forward to “The Lesson.” M.K. is nineteen and restless for adventure. It arrives on page one! Two young people with a mysterious past land in Stoney Ridge on the very day a sheep farmer is shot and killed. M.K., who fancies herself a part-time detective, decides the local sheriff needs a little crime-solving help. Naturally, she ends up creating all kinds of complications.

As for what I hope readers learn from M.K.…she is growing and changing and maturing throughout this story. Fern, her stepmother, never gives up on her and shows, I hope, a reflection of God’s love for us. He sees the best in us, but won’t let us rest until we become our best self. (Thank heavens!)

I thought it was interesting you mentioned in The Lesson the novel Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and how a person needed motive and opportunity to commit a crime. Do you enjoy the Sherlock Holmes books? Have you caught the new series on T.V. called Sherlock Holmes and the other one called Elementary? If so which do you like? Why? If not, what mystery did you enjoy most when you read the Sherlock Holmes books? Why was it your favorite?

Actually, I haven’t seen the movies but I did read the original books by Arthur Conan Doyle. I love the ironic humor in his writing, and Sherlock Holme’s attention-to-detail. But…I do plan to see those movies! They’re on my must-see list. I just can’t seem to find the time to watch movies. Soon, though.

What can readers look forward to reading from you in the future? What are you working on and when will it be out?

Flying onto the shelves within a few weeks is book 2 in the ‘Adventures of Lily Lapp series’, A New Home for Lily. Mary Ann Kinsinger and I are having a ball—writing for children and studying the children’s market is fascinating. (Very different than the adult market.) We have an interactive website for children: www.adventuresoflilylapp.com
We love hearing from kids!

As for other project…this summer, a new series, ‘The Inn at Eagle Hill,’ will kick off with The Letters. Set in Stoney Ridge, with a true story about the Plain people woven into the larger story arc. The Letters is about a family whose life has recently turned upside down. They start an inn for non-Amish guests on their farm. You’ll see some familiar faces!


ANY COMMENTS FOR OUR READERS SUZANNE?
New seeing eye puppy in training
A graduate 



Love these puppies









Thanks for your support and interest Nora—






I appreciate each one of you more than you might think! A small way to say thank you is through book giveaways, like this one on TBCN, and others that I host on my website/FB page. You’re always welcome to stop by www.suzannewoodsfisher.com  and toss your name in the hat. Also, I’d like to invite each of you to download my free app: Amish Wisdom. It delivers a daily Amish proverb to your iPhone or iPad. A little bit of peace and calm in the midst of your busy days.

Suzanne

Thanks for stopping by Suzanne and letting us get to know you and your novel better. I’m thrilled that Revell Publishers will be giving away 5 copies of your novel starting the 19th of JANUARY 2013. Everyone will have the opportunity to enter the drawing and you’ll have a chance to interact with readers Susan. I’m looking forward to the discussion. LAST DAY to enter is JANUARY 30th.

You need to Join TBCN in order to participate and enter this drawing. To join the fun you must join The Book Club Network, its fun, easy and free. Go to www.bookfun.org

ALL ENTRIES for the Drawing at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK www.bookfun.org

HAPPY READING
SEE YOU AT TBCN


Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins
www.bookfun.org 

Nora St Laurent

TRICIA GOYER'S NEW BOOK PARTY GLACIER BAY

Celebrate with Tricia and Ocieanna by entering their "Glacier Bay" Giveaway and RSVPing for their Facebook Party on Feb. 12th!

Glacier-Bay-300

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A gorgeous handmade “Glacier Bay” bracelet
  • A handmade cowl in "Glacier Bay" blues and greens
  • A bottle of custom-made "Glacier Bay" sparkle polish in blue
  • Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss and their two other “Love Finds You” titles {Love Finds You in Lonesome Prairie, Montana, and Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington}
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 11th. Winner will be announced at the "Glacier Bay" Author Chat Party on February 12th. Connect with authors Tricia and Ocieanna, get a sneak peek of their new book projects, try your hand at the Alaska trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be great giveaways—gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska, and join Tricia and Ocieanna on the evening of February 12th for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 12th!

Secretly Smitten | An Evening of Giggle, Gab & Prizes



The "gals" are celebrating the release of Secretly Smitten with a fun Live Webcast on February 5th. They'll be debuting the *NEW* animated Smitten trailer, giving away tons of prizes, dishing on the book and their friendship. They'll also be wrapping up the Secretly Smitten blog tour, answering audience questions and testing your trivia skills. Don't miss the fun and bring your friends. Click here to RSVP and set up a reminder.

Secretly Smitten is out!! You won't want to miss this "LIVE" Event so RSVP TODAY!!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins
www.bookfun.org 

JULIE KLASSEN INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY @TBCN





AUTHOR BIO: JULIE KLASSEN
A little about me... I worked in publishing for sixteen years (first in advertising, then as a fiction editor) and now write full time. Three of my books, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and The Girl in the Gatehouse also won a Midwest Book Award and The Silent Governess was a finalist in Romance Writers of America's RITA awards.

I graduated from the University of Illinois and enjoy travel, research, BBC period dramas, long hikes, short naps, and coffee with friends. My husband and I have two sons and live near St. Paul, Minnesota.

How did you come up with the idea for this story?

The idea came from research and Jane Austen. While I was researching an earlier novel (The Silent Governess) I came across information about private tutors. Public schools as we know them didn't exist in those days. Parents of young boys could  hire a live-in tutor, or send their sons to live with a learned man to be educated in his home. Jane Austen’s own father took in pupils, so Jane grew up with male boarders sharing her house and her father’s time. Perhaps that’s why Edward Ferrars, a character in Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility, had been sent away to be educated by a clergyman (and there became secretly engaged to the clergyman’s niece, Lucy Steele). In The Tutor’s Daughter, Emma Smallwood has grown up in a similar situation—her father is a tutor and her home is a boarding school for young gentlemen.

Your story takes place in the 1800’s, what do you find fascinating about this time period? Why write about it?

I am specifically drawn to the Regency period (1811-1820) because that was when Jane Austen’s novels, which I enjoy and admire, were published (though written somewhat earlier). I think Regency novels are a great fit for the inspirational market in particular, because they are set at a time when people, by and large, valued virtue, revered God and church, and endeavored to follow the rules of polite society—things less common today. It was a time when chivalry was alive and well. Physical contact between unmarried ladies and gentlemen was limited to the chaste touching of hands during a courtly dance at a grand ball. I find it a very romantic time, as do many, I’m happy to say!

April 1817, Emma Smallwood sets up her teacups she adores, dusts books she likes to keep around her. Do you have a favorite tea set you use on special occasions? Do you have tea parties or been invited to one? What do you look forward to at a tea party? Been to a tea party you’ll never forget?

Tea Anyone?
I haven’t given a tea party, but I've had the privilege of being invited to several teas now, put on by sweet bookstore managers or ladies group leaders where I've been invited to speak. And of course I have fond memories of drinking tea at several historical estates in England. Sigh. England is the best place to drink tea!

Emma hopes to go to Italy and France someday. Have you ever been there? Hope to go there or somewhere else? Do tell!

I have been to France, but oddly enough only for one day. When visiting England, my husband and I took an overnight ferry across the channel to visit Normandy and see the world war sites and graves there. It was a worthwhile day, to be sure, but I was sad to discover my college French failed me. If we go back, I would need to brush up first. I have never been to Italy, but it’s #1 on my best friend’s bucket list, so maybe I’ll go with her someday. In the meantime, though, I am already dreaming and hoping to return to England in the next year or two.

Would you like to live back in this time period? What would you look forward to experience? Any food you’d like to eat back then? Anything special you’d like to experience?
England
Since that’s unlikely, my husband and I have begun attending English Country dancing classes for fun—and research! I used to think I was born in the wrong era and wished I had lived during those days of grand balls, long gowns, and men in tall boots. Don’t get me wrong, it could be a romantic time—if you had money. But the more research I've done into the era’s medicine, sanitation, hygiene, and woman’s roles and  rights, the more glad I am to live now! If I did go back, I would love to go back as the belle of the ball with a man like Mr. Darcy as my partner.

When you sit down to read a Regency Romance mystery story what are the things you look forward to experiencing? Why?


Emma Smallwood
I love it when mysteries are introduced from the first pages--questions that engage my mind and make me want to read closely to figure out what’s going on. I prefer that to being able to guess what’s going to happen right away. I also look forward to meeting characters who surprise me, to watching them grow and change and win my affection. I love twists and turns. I love being swept away to another world, one different from my own—ideally an inviting, intriguing place in which to spend several hours.

In your research for this novel what touched your heart and made you say, “ I've got to put that in my story?”

Two things jump to mind. One I don’t want to specify, because it’s a spoiler. But those who already read the book can read about it in the author’s note. The one I will mention is that, during my research, I came across an account of an heroic lifesaving rescue performed by an old man on horseback, while other, younger and stronger men looked on, helpless. I found it amazing and inspiring and loved including it in the novel.

Can you tell me about two WOW—moments you've had since being published? What made it a wow for you?
Audio Book

So many highlights to choose from! Some of my favorite moments have been listening to the audio versions of my books. They audio company hires talented British actors to narrate the novels and they really perform them, using different accents and “voices” to bring the characters to life. Not quite as good as if one of my books were made into a movie, but the next best thing!

I've also been surprised and delighted to have my books published in other languages--Dutch (the Netherlands) and German. How wonderful to see the books reaching other countries, and to receive emails from people who have read them in their own language. My husband and I had the opportunity to travel to the Netherlands and Germany last fall for a mini-book tour. We loved meeting readers and publishing folks there. It was definitely a “wow” experience.

Your Discussion questions were so good I wanted to ask you a few of them. How would you compare education by private tutor with other forms of education you may have experienced (homeschooling, classical academy, boarding school, public school, etc) Would you have enjoyed being taught by a tutor? Would it have been an effective way for you to learn? Why or why not?

I went to public school. But I’m sure, being the adaptable person I am, I would have done just fine being taught privately at home. I might have escaped with fewer emotional bruises from schoolyard bullies, too. Though I’m sure it was all good for my character.

What role does Emma’s teacup from Venice play in the novel? Why is it significant?
Tea in England - Divine
The single teacup is a gift from her mother, who passed away, and is therefore special. It also represents her desire to travel and, symbolically, the future she sees for herself—that of a solitary spinster.

Imagine if you, like Emma, had grown up with a houseful of young men coming and going. How do you think this might have affected your upbringing and perspective, your relationships with both men and women in later life?

I grew up with brothers. So, when I went away to college and even in my early career, I sometimes found myself uncomfortable in a group of women. Had I grown up with men not my brothers, I might have become disillusioned about my romantic ideal of the perfect man. Now, I live as the only female in a house of males (husband, sons, even the cat!) and I am certainly well aware of both the strengths and quirks of the common man.

Were you surprised by anything you learned about Cornwall, shipwrecks, “wreckers,” or the lack of lifesaving equipment in the early 1800’s? What did you find most interesting? What did you find that disturbed you?

The research I did for this book was disturbing at times. Cornwall in the early 19th century could be a rough, lawless place in many ways. Shipwrecks were common, but lifesaving equipment was still in its infancy and often sailors drowned in plain sight of people on shore. Also, poverty was such a problem, that it was commonplace to search through the dead who washed up on shore, looking for something to salvage or sell. But, thankfully, I also found accounts of bravery and heroic rescue attempts, which I was able to incorporate into the novel as well.

Did you have a favorite character in this story? Why did you like him or her? What thoughts did his or her situation prompt about your life?
Book Signing in Netherlands

I became fond of several characters in the book as I often seem to do. Emma Smallwood, though unlike me in many ways (she is fastidiously neat and orderly, which I’m definitely not!) is likable for her studiousness, love of books, and  her stoic self-dependence until she learns to rely on others…and God.

FUN QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK

Where did you live growing up? What did you like about growing up there?

We moved from Chicago when I was eight to live in rural, central Illinois. I went to school in a town called Bath (population 400). We lived on 9 acres and could only see one house from ours across a field. No girls my age lived nearby, so I spent a lot of time alone, creating pretend worlds and playing with my many cats. I think those years strengthened my imagination, which has helped me as an author.

Name two jobs that you've had people might be surprised at.

I think most of your readers know that I worked as a fiction editor before I was a writer, so let me think of something else. When I started my first “real” job out of college (and hence rented my first apartment, bought my first car, etc.) I thought I was rich. But I soon learned it cost a lot more to live on your own than I realized. I ended up taking a second job as a waitress. I think everyone should work as a wait person at some point. It makes you a kinder patron and a better tipper.
Regency Ball - Fun



I also taught ballroom dancing through community ed. I took a lot of ballroom dancing classes in college and loved them, and later enjoyed introducing others to the joys of dancing.




You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play?

I’m one of those adaptable middle children, so I would likely end up doing whatever no one else wanted to do. I’m also a good jury-rigger, so maybe I’d end up constructing huts and helpful implements to make life easier.

What movie greatly impacted you as a child? Why? If you didn't watch movies as a kid what book affected you?

I watched movies, but cannot think of one that impacted me greatly when I was young. Two books that affected me were The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre—both of which sparked my love of books set in England.

What things would you not want to live without? (Besides your family and friends, what creature comforts would not want to do with out)

Favorite creature comforts include cats, good coffee, dark chocolate, and BBC costume dramas.

THANKS for stopping by and helping us get to know you and your new book The Tutor’s Daughter, I really enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the great pictures too! I’m thrilled that Bethany House  is giving away 10 copies of your new book at The Book Club Network’s now until the end of the month.. There is already a great discussion going on @TBCN, glad to have you there. Blessings to you in your writing adventures in 2013 Julie;

WANT TO JOIN THE BOOK FUN??? Well HURRY on over to TBCN and Enter the Contest and interact with Julie Klassen. www.bookfun.org

ALL ENTRIES for the Drawing at done at TBCN not on this blog post!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!!
www.bookfun.org 

TRACIE PETERSON'S LAND OF THE LONE STAR SERIES


TRACIE PETERSON is giving away Two box sets of this series. Stop by THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK www.bookfun.org to join the fun and the contest!

BOOK ONE IN LAND OF THE LONESTAR SERIES
REVIEWED:

Chasing the Sun
By Tracie Peterson
Published by Bethany House
ISBN#978-0-7642-0615-3
347 Pages

Book Blurb: Hannah is desperate for help...
William is determined to regain his family's land...

When her father disappears in war-torn Mississippi, Hannah Dandridge finds herself responsible not only for her younger siblings but also for the Texas ranch her father recently acquired. A marriage of convenience could ease her predicament... but is it the true desire of her heart?

Wounded soldier William Barnett returns home only to find out that his family's ranch has been seized. Though angered at this turn of events, he's surprised to discover that it is a beautiful young woman with amazing fortitude who is struggling to keep the place running.

Despite these circumstances, Hannah and William form an uneasy truce... and an undeniable attraction builds between them. In a land where loyalties are divided in a country ravaged by war, is there any hope that the first blush of love can survive?

Review: I’m thankful for the review copy of the first book in Tracie Peterson’s series. Hannah’s father is missing and she’s left with the responsibility of her two younger siblings and the task of keeping a ranch on the Texas plains going.

Mr. Lockhart, her father’s partner was the one to deliver the news! He offers to marry Hannah so her siblings and her will be taken care of.

Hannah doesn’t feel right about that, but she’s determined to trust God for direction and His provision! She turns Mr. Lockhart down. William Barnett, a wounded soldier returns home to discover his family ranch has been seized! He’s also surprised a beautiful young woman with amazing strength and determination is running the ranch in her father’s absentness. He sees she needs help and he needs a place to stay. Maybe they could work something out. He offers to help on the ranch for a place to sleep in the bunkhouse!

Hannah feels she can trust William and she’s thankful for the help. She’s desperate to keep the ranch running; she didn’t want to consider a marriage of convenience just to pay her bills. She wanted to marry for love. Mr. Lockhart was as old as her father. No love growing there. Both Hannah and William agreed to work together until ownership of the ranch could be settled. Neither one would throw the other to the street now matter how it all worked out.

The ranch was near Comanche tribes. That’s another reason William is willing to help out on the ranch. He was fond of Hannah and her siblings and felt the need to protect them from the Comanche tribes and confederate solders.

I admired Hannah and how she applied God’s word to her life. She expected others to do the same as she did. Treat them the God would. Hannah reminded me of a missionary, Elizabeth Elliott, and how she interacted with the tribe that killed her husband and others when they came to show God’s love to them. Elizabeth went on to complete the work her husband and friends started. So she went in to live with the tribe and brought her small daughter with her. She learned their language and shared Jesus with them. The Tribes people and Elliott’s lives were never the same.

Hannah does the same thing when asked. She is summoned to go into a Comanche tribe to help with the sick. She goes out of her comfort zone (leaving her siblings behind in the care of friends) to show the love of Jesus to this tribe.

Juanita Hannah’s friends says to her, “…we all were so afraid. Why you go out there?”

Hannah said, “I felt God telling me to go. I was only trying to be obedient to God. The Bible says in Romans eight, “If God be for us, who can be against us? I believe that God surrounded me with angels of protection.

…I believe our business is to know Him better, and that the right thing can only be determined by studying His word.”

Hannah is feisty and loyal to her family lays into Mr. Lockhart who won’t stop pressuring her to marry him.

“Good, Hannah thought. Its better that he realizes here and now that I’m a woman of determination. I won’t be ordered about anymore. From now on, the children are my only concern.”

I loved Tracie’s humor too. Marty, Hannah’s little sister tells her, “He’s losin’ all his hair, Hannah. You can’t marry a man who doesn’t have any hair.”

Hannah smiles and says, “Marty, it doesn’t matter as much what a fella looks like, but rather what’s in their heart- if they love Jesus and if they are trustworthy.”

I loved the spiritual thread naturally woven in this story and I enjoyed the characters. It gets suspenseful at the end when Mr. Lockhart turns into a stalker and won’t take no for an answer from Hannah. He’s also good at stirring up trouble with the Comanche. I liked how Tracie showed all sides of the Comanche issues.

This was the first historical I’ve read by Tracie Peterson. Her love of history spills out into the pages and her characters keep the reader engaged and staying up late to see how it all turns out.

ALL ENTRIES ARE MADE @ TBCN www.bookfun.org NOT this Blog post!!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network CEO

Just Finished REBEKAH by JILL EILEEN SMITH - DRAWING @TBCN FEB

My First Impressions: 

Just finished Jill Eileen Smith's new book Rebekah. I like Biblical fiction because it causes me to go back to scripture and see things in a new way and/or discover things I missed totally. For instance did you know that Abraham had another concubine other than Hagar? I was clueless. Now that had me running to get my bible and start flipping through pages in the bible to find out more about that relationship. Thanks to this author who put the scripture references on a page before she started talking about them. (Full review will be out soon)

I'm THRILLED that we will be featuring Jill Eileen Smith and this book at THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK NEXT Month! The drawing will be for 5 books! Thanks goes to Revell Publishers!

After reading this novel and searching out scripture my view of the story of Isaac and Rebekah are forever changed. This author really knows how to bring a biblical story to life!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS for FEBRUARY!!

See you @TBCN.

Nora :o)
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
www.bookfun.org

VANISHED REVIEWED 5 BOOK GIVEAWAY



Revell Publishers is giving away 5 Copies of this book.

Stop by THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK www.bookfun.org to join the fun and the contest!

REVIEWED:
Vanished
By Irene Hannon
Published by Revell
ISBN# 978-0800721237
336 Pages

Book Cover:  Reporter Moira Harrisons is lost. In the dark. In a thunderstorm. When a confusing detour places her on a rural, wooded road, she's startled by the sudden appearance of a lone figure caught in the beam of her headlights. Though Moira jams on her brakes, the car careens across the wet pavement--and the solid thump against the side of the vehicle tells her she hit the person before she crashes into a tree on the far side of the road. 

A dazed Moira is relieved when a man opens her door, tells her he saw everything, and promises to call 911. Then everything fades to black. When she comes to an hour later, she is alone. No man. No 911. No injured person lying on the side of the road. But she can't forget the look of terror she saw on the person's face in the instant before her headlights swung away. The person she hit had been in trouble. She's sure of it. But she can't get anyone to believe her story--except a handsome former police detective, now a private eye, who agrees to take on the case.

Vanished is the exciting first book in the Private Justice series: Three justice seekers who got burned playing by the rules now have a second chance to make things right.

Review:  Irene Hannon’s new novel engages the reader from the start. Action crashes on the scene literary from page one. Reporter Moria Harrison is caught in a bad storm at night. Someone runs out on the road. Moria sees her at the last minute. Tries to avoid the women but it’s too late! A Good Samaritan shows up on the scene to help. He says he’ll call 911 and see to the woman in the street. Relieved, Moria feels kind of out of it – the next she knows she’s been out of it for a few hours. When she awakes she doesn’t see police, no ambulance and no women! Did she dream all this?  She dials 911 herself and they soon arrive on the scene, hear her story and find nothing to back it up.

Did she imagine all this? Was the night playing tricks with her mind? It was dark and storming. She’s not sure what the woman or the Good Samaritan looked like. The Police think she’s bumped her too hard! She wants answers but needs help. A Phoenix PI service is recommended. All they could do was say no we can’t take the case! You’re Crazy. She already heard this from the police, so off she goes. She had nothing to lose and everything to gain if they said they’d look into it.

I enjoyed the three young men who made up the Phoenix team. They were college room mates and had history together. They reminded me of the three musketeers’. All of them had an Irish heritage and served in different parts of law enforcement before they decided to work together. The Phoenix team specializes in cases that fell through the cracks of traditional law enforcement.

This author pens a suspenseful drama that could be ripped from today’s headlines.  It’s the first novel in a new series about the Phoenix P.I. Service called Private Justice. Vanished focuses on Cal one member of the team who takes on Moria’s case. I liked reading about the mystery, suspense and the budding romance between Moria and Cal. It was playful and fun as they sandwiched it in between the drama and the surprising turns the case takes. It’s a tale that keeps you guessing right up till the end. I recommend this as a book club pick. It will create lively discussion. It’s a layered story everyone one will want to discuss, and give their opinion how they viewed the story. I’m looking forward to the next book in this suspenseful and fun series.

ALL entries for the Drawing at to be made @THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK www.bookfun.org NOT ON THIS BLOG POST!!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins

THE LESSON by SUZANNE WOODS FISHER



Revell Publishers is giving away 5 Copies of this book.

Stop by THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK www.bookfun.org to join the fun and the contest!

AUTHOR BIO: In no particular order, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a wife, mother, writer, lifelong student of the Bible, host of Amish Wisdom (a weekly radio show), raiser of puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, a gardener and a cook...the latter two with sporadic results.

Suzanne has loved to write since she was a young teen. After college, she started to write for magazines and became a contributing editor for Christian Parenting Today magazine. Her family moved to Hong Kong for four years, just as the internet was developing, and she continued to write articles in a 44-story high-rise apartment, sending manuscripts 7,000 miles away with a click of a key.

After returning from Hong Kong, Suzanne decided to give her first novel a try. For four and a half months, she worked on an antediluvian computer in a cramped laundry room. She didn't even tell her husband what she was up to. When the novel was completed, she told her family at dinner one night that she had written a book. "That's why there's no food in this house!" said her slightly insensitive sons.

Undaunted...Suzanne found a small royalty publisher for that book and wrote three more (all earned multiple). With help from an agent, she has five books currently under contract with Revell. On September 1st, Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, a non-fiction book of stories and examples about the Old Order Amish, will be released by Revell. The Choice, a novel about the Amish, will follow on January 1st.

Writing, for Suzanne, is a way to express a love of God and His word. With every book or article, she hopes readers get a sense of what faith really looks like in the daily grind. She hopes they realize that life can be hard, but God is good, and never to confuse the two.

Suzanne can be found on-line at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com 

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  In her wildest dreams, spunky and impulsive nineteen-year-old Mary Kate Lapp never imagined herself behind a schoolteacher's desk. A run-in (literally) with the schoolteacher compels her to act as a substitute teacher, just as her restless desire to see the world compels her to apply for a passport . . . just in case. The only thing of interest to M.K. in the sleepy Amish community of Stoney Ridge is the unexplained death of a sheep farmer that coincided with the arrival of a mysterious young man into the community. Frustrated that no one takes the crime seriously, she takes matters into her own hands. Unfortunately, as tends to be the case for M.K., she jumps headlong into trouble.


ALL entries for the Drawing at to be made @THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK www.bookfun.org NOT ON THIS BLOG POST!!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins
www.bookfun.org

THE TUTOR'S DAUGHTER REVIEWED 10 BOOK GIVEAWAY


Bethany House Publishers is giving away 10 Copies of this book.

Stop by THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK www.bookfun.org to join the fun and the contest!


REVIEW:
The Tutor’s Daughter
By Julie Klassen
Published by Bethany House
ISBN# 978-0764210693
416 Pages

Book Cover: Emma Smallwood is determined to help her widowed father regain his spirits when his academy fails, agrees to travel with him to the distant Cornwall coast, to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But after they arrive and begin teaching the younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen and danger mounts. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte, only to find the music room empty? Who sneaks into her room at night? Who rips a page from her journal, only to return it with a chilling illustration?

The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember Emma Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. She had been an awkward, studious girl. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her.

When the suspicious acts escalate, can the clever tutor's daughter figure out which brother to blame...and which brother to trust with her heart?

Review: From the beautiful front cover to the contests inside Julie Klassen whisks readers to Ebbington Manor high on a cliff top with the view of the beautiful coast with the water crashing below. It’s the 1800’s. Emma Smallwood and her father embark on an unforgettable journey to live at the estate and tutor two boys that live there. Emma and her father had the older Weston boys stay with them at the boarding school Emma’s father ran years ago.

The Smallwoods are not received well by the Mistress of the house. Emma ponders, “How very disconcerting to arrive at Ebbington Manor after careful planning only to find ourselves unexpected and, apparently, unwanted guests. Had we not already let our house, I would have been tempted to turn right around and return home.” And the fun begins.

At night Emma hears foot steps that stop at her room and notes are slipped under her door. Then one night she hears the most beautiful music. She sets out in the night to find who is playing. No one is in the music room when she arrives with her candle stick. She asks if anyone else had heard the music the next morning at breakfast. Nobody will admit to hearing it. They tell her it must be the ghosts that live at the Manor. They tell her their ghost stories.

The Mistress Weston wants to give the appearance that all is well in her beautiful home and lovely family. She hopes to have the older two boys marry rich well mannered girls. The Weston boys don’t necessarily agree with her plan. What family secrets were they keeping from Emma, she and the reader wonder? Where they out to scare her and make them leave? Miss Smallwood was unwavering in her decision to stay and get to the bottom of this mystery? She was scared but more determined to solve this case. The situation was making her realize God was the only one who could keep her calm and give her wisdom in the days ahead.

This author’s novel is based on real events and places. I enjoyed hearing about this in her notes to readers. This story is intriguing and kept me at the edge of my seat as the mystery unfolded, danger was near and secrets were exposed. Life for everyone at Ebbington Manor would never been the same..

This is the first book I’ve read by this Christy award winning novelist it won’t be the last. I was thankful for the review copy of this regency, romance, and mystery story. I liked how Julie brings the reader into this time period and has them see it through Emma and Henry Weston’s eyes. I like the contrast in the views. It also confirmed to me what I’ve felt all along, I wouldn’t want to live in such a large house with people I didn’t know at all. It’s spooky! Just saying!@ Grin!

So, If you like regency romance with a hint of suspense, mystery and danger, this is the book for you!!

ALL entries for the Drawing at to be made @THE BOOK CLUB NETWORK www.bookfun.org NOT ON THIS BLOG POST!!

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins