Is there a story behind this book?
I watched a movie about cave divers and I was fascinated. It got me thinking about what type of person would pursue something so extreme and dangerous for a career, and Cole McKenna was born.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I enjoy a wide range. In fiction, I read everything from the classics to mysteries to romantic suspense. Some of my favorite novelists include Dee Henderson, Terri Blackstock, Gina Holmes, Sue Grafton and Jane Austen. I also enjoy a great deal of non-fiction. I enjoy reading travel commentaries, history books, and Christian living titles by authors like Max Lucado and Alistair Begg.
If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Something with a fun melody like Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison or Bubbly by Colbie Caillat.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I won an indoor mock rodeo competition. Instead of bulls, we rode hoppy balls. Definitely the quirkiest thing I’ve ever done.
What's your favorite meal with family and friends?
Here’s a new favorite of mine. You can easily make it up ahead of time and just pop it in the oven when you’re ready.
Chicken Enchilada Casserole
1 lb diced chicken (or ground beef)
16 oz thick and chunky salsa
16 oz can refried beans
16 oz enchilada sauce (any, but I use green, medium)
16 oz cannelini beans
16 oz black beans
2.25 oz sliced black olives
3-4 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican mix cheese
4 soft tortilla shells
In olive oil, cook chicken, lightly salt and pepper
Add salsa, enchilada sauce, all beans, and black olives to chicken, simmer 10 min.
Cut the tortilla shells into strips. In a 9x13 casserole, place a layer of tortilla strips; add half mixture on top.
Sprinkle half cheese on top. Repeat this step again, making two layers.
Bake at 350 for 30 min.
Serve with sour cream and tortilla chips. Also good topped with chopped scallions.
Here’s an easy side to pair it with:
1 cup rice
1 can Rotelle
1 can black beans
Cook rice, then mix together with other ingredients.
There were so many fascinating things I learned while researching for Submerged—the amazing courage of dive rescue volunteers, the vast and beautiful landscape of Alaska, but I think what I found most interesting was Russia’s connection to Alaska. I had no idea how long Russia had a claim to Alaska, the depth of their involvement there and the amount of cultural heritage that is still present.
Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV
I love it because it explains why death is so hard for us to deal with. It is because God has set eternity into our hearts. We know He has created us for more than this life, this world.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
Shattered will be available February 2013. It is the second novel in my Alaskan Courage series and will follow Piper McKenna’s story. I am really excited about her story and had a ton of fun writing it.
You can purchase Submerged from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and CBD.