Saturday, November 30, 2013

Brother Half Angel by Martin Roth

Back Cover Blurb:
A military operation gone tragically wrong. An elite commando loses his forearm. The angel tattooed onto his arm is sliced in half. And the man acquires a new nickname.

Brother Half Angel is the leader of a secret new church military order, dedicated to helping Christians under attack around the world.

In this book, the first in the Brother Half Angel series, he is dispatched urgently to China, where an underground seminary is under siege from fanatical sword-wielding members of a local cult who still pay homage to the bloodthirsty extremists who tried to expel all foreigners from China in the nineteenth century.

But at the same time the seminary has its own internal divisions. The director, Uncle Ling, a hero of the underground Chinese church, holds secrets that he cannot reveal.

And now the tensions are threatening the marriage of idealistic young American missionary Daniel Westloke and his wife Jenny.

Relentless suspense is the hallmark of this gripping thriller.

But it is also a book that raises serious questions – how far can Christians go to defend themselves? When should they turn the other cheek? What happens when a Christian kills in self-defense? And should those who live by the sword really expect to die by the sword?


Read an Excerpt:

Fulang, China
“She turned the other cheek,” said Jenny to Daniel, back in their room after dinner. “And so they hit her there too. Her face was bleeding. Is this what you want?”

“She’s a tough lady. I’m sure she’ll be fine. She’s been through a lot worse, from what I understand.” 

“Danny, you’re not answering me. Is this what you want? Is this…?”

“Of course it’s not what I want?”

“But isn’t this what it means when you turn the other cheek? When you don’t fight back?”

“The fact is that she’s not badly hurt. I think if she had tried to fight back they would have hurt her quite badly. A skinny little Chinese lady against three thugs. It’s actually very fortunate she didn’t fight back…”

He was interrupted by a knock on their door. He opened it. “I’m meeting right now with Uncle Ling,” said Brother Yoon. “It’d be good if you came along.”

He looked at Jenny. “You’re welcome, of course, but it’ll all be in Chinese.”

“Go to your meeting,” she said to her husband. “I’ll stay here like a dutiful missionary wife doing my needlework.”

“Jen, please, don’t be like that. Come along. You know I’ll translate.”

She paused. “You go. Tell me all about it when you get back. I’ll study Chinese. Then next time maybe I’ll understand everything. Without needing you.” She smiled at him.

With some relief he blew her a kiss and followed Yoon along the corridor to Uncle Ling’s office. “I think the first thing we do is pray that Sister Lin is fine after a very nasty attack,” said Ling, after Daniel and Yoon had taken seats.

They bowed their heads and he said a long prayer. “I want to discuss what to do next,” said Yoon as soon as he had finished. “Even to the extent of calling the police. My wife has been attacked. It’s happened before during our ministry here in China, and she’s going to be okay. But we can’t continue like this here in Fulang. For some reason our seminary is under attack. People in town know what we’re doing and they don’t like it. They’re trying to close us down.”

“We are not involving the police,” said Ling. “You know that, and you know the reason. Brother Daniel called them and I have made it clear that I will send home anyone who calls them again.”

“It seems pretty clear that the attacks are going to continue,” said Daniel. “Those guys are relentless. We have to do something. It’s possible the police know already what’s really going on here. Or maybe they assume we are just an English school. Whatever. They don’t want to see people getting attacked. They’ll have to do something.”

Ling looked at Daniel for a long time with what almost seemed to be pity. Then he spoke. “You Americans are so weak.”

“It is not a question of strength or weakness. It’s a matter of common sense. I mean…”

“It is always the Americans who surrender first,” said Ling, scorn in his voice. “Because you are cowards. Yes, we are under attack. That is what it means to be a Christian. We welcome it. True Christians are always under attack. Spiritually and often physically as well. It proves we are doing God’s work. Do you know something? I heard that, in America, Christians thank God because they live in a free country. Where does the Bible tell you to do that? Here in China we give thanks that we are suffering persecution, because we know that through persecution we are receiving God’s grace and blessings.”

“We haven’t suffered the persecution of the Chinese church,” said Daniel. “But that doesn’t mean we aren’t tough. It doesn’t…”

“And you are so condescending to your third-world little brothers and sisters. We are the persecuted church, you keep telling us. While you are free. Let me tell you something. You in America are the persecuted church. Persecuted by materialism. And here in China, because we are always under attack, we have only God. No one else. Which makes us the most free church in the world. And you know something else? You come from America” - his anger seemed directed against Daniel, not against the Korean Brother Yoon - “and your church pays a lot of money to send you here. But do you think this is what we want?”

Daniel was startled at the question. That was exactly what he thought Uncle Ling had wanted. But he held his tongue.

“With the money your church pays to send you here and support you I could hire twenty Chinese to come here and teach. Do you think that we don’t have good, sound Christian teachers here in China? Do you think that only Americans know how to teach theology?”

“No, of course I don’t think that, but…”

“But you will become a multi-millionaire pastor at one of your American mega-churches, and you want it on your records that for a short while you suffered as a missionary in poor, backward China. That is the only reason you come here.”

“No, I don’t think that’s quite…”

Uncle Ling would not stop. “Are you ready to die?”

Daniel was somewhat startled by the question. “Come on, look, in all honesty, I can’t say that I’m ready to die. I mean, I have a wife…But, you know, my great grandmother died here in China. The Boxers killed her. And lots of my relatives have been missionaries, always knowing they could die in the field. I knew that too when I signed on. I don’t want to pretend that I’m actually ready to die, but when you become a missionary…”

“I think even Sister Lin will agree that today’s attack wasn’t especially serious. It was the work of punks. I have been attacked many times like that. And I never once called the police. I put my faith in God. You need to do the same. And if you are scared, then I suggest you pack your bags and go home as quickly as possible.”

It was clear that the meeting was over.


To buy Martin's book, go here:
amazon
barnesandnoble
kobo



About Martin:
Martin Roth is a veteran journalist and foreign correspondent whose reports from Asia have appeared in leading publications around the world, including the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun and The Guardian. He is the author of many books.

His Brother Half Angel international thrillers focus on the persecuted church. They feature Brother Half Angel, an abrasive former military man who heads a clandestine new military order that is dedicated to fighting for the rights of persecuted Christians around the world.

The five books in the series are "The Coptic Martyr of Cairo," "Brother Half Angel," "The Maria Kannon," "Military Orders" and "Festival in the Desert."

He is also the author of the Johnny Ravine private eye series, with "Prophets and Loss," "Hot Rock Dreaming" (Australian Christian Book of the Year finalist) and "Burning at the Boss," and the Feisty Ferreira series of financial thrillers - "Tokyo Bossa Nova" and "The Kalgoorlie Skimpy."

He lives in Australia with his Korean wife and three sons.


To Connect with Martin:
Website/blog - http://www.authormartinroth.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/martin.roth.56
Twitter - https://twitter.com/AuthorMRoth


Martin is giving away a copy of Brother Half Angel. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post)








Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown


Friday, November 29, 2013

Debut Author Justina Prima

Hello, Justina. Congratulations on your first published novel!
Is there a story behind The Pawnbroker's Ring?

This sounds odd, I know, but I dreamt the Preface. The image was so vivid that it woke me up and as my eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room, questions filled my mind—Who is she looking for out on the ocean’s horizon? And if she found the ring at that moment, how would it change her life? I got up and took notes and started it that very day. 

What started you on your writing journey?

We knew a geologist who owned a thousand acres up by Mount Shasta. We lived there for 3 years in an old, very well kept, miner’s cabin. The geologist also owned grazing land and another 1,000 acres next to us and, on that section, a bit off the road and into the pasture was a tiny trailer with electricity. The school bus did a turn around there, so from early morning to when the school bus came back at 3, I could be found in there with a little Brother computer/typewriter. My dad had bought it for me saying, “To do a good job, you need the proper tools.” This is where I wrote my first book, “Stardust.” One day I will polish it and submit. It’s a true story of my mom and dad during WWII.  Dad was a Japanese POW taken at the Baton Death March. He is the one who should have written a book!

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

I would have to say our blue heeler, Frisco. A ball will appear at my feet. If that didn’t work, a nylon bone, and before I know it all of his toys are there. Next his paw would be gently placed on my leg with an endearing look asking for a walk or quick potty break—you name it, he does it. His eyes fix on me, I look over, and he sits up and stretches out a paw. He slays me.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

If you have not had the pleasure of reading Anthony Trollope, please do so as soon as you can. Many of his books were made into movies-- “He Knew He Was Right,” the Barsetshire novels, or “Can You Forgive Her,” will open a door to magnificent writing! True representation of mid-1800 story-telling!

Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?

I have to reveal my prejudice for Aunt Zilla. She has to say what she feels to help others, even if it means jeopardizing her close relationships with others. And, of course, she is always right!

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?

It has to be living in the woods where I discovered writing. Our nearest neighbor was twenty miles away! The only running water we had was the creek right out the door, snow runoff and beaver free. We took ‘sun showers,’ which tends to be a little tricky when the temps are in the teens! But the price was right--$1.00 a year!

What is your strangest habit?

I have a pair of tweezers wherever I go—in the car, bathroom, next to the couch on the end table, bedroom. There are rogue hairs that appear overnight on my chin and it drives me absolutely batty. My kids already know that should I end up in a nursing home, they absolutely must pull them out, no matter how much I protest. My husband tells me how much he looks forward to seeing me after work. I told him that he must not be looking very closely or he would see what plagues me the most! He told me not to use the tweezers in the car while he’s driving, just in case he has to come to a sudden stop. I shudder thinking about working on my eyebrows when he is at the wheel.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

Puppies and babies. Have you ever seen the puppy super bowl on Animal Planet? I end up on the floor laughing. I could run out there and hug all of them. Then there is that commercial for the investment company that has the baby talking about what to do with your hard-earned money and something is always happening to distract him. It’s a real knee-slapper.

What is your favorite season of the year? 

Fall anywhere. In Denver we have the Indian summer effect. This one has lasted much longer and everyone must drive up into the mountains to see the Aspens in all their glory. 

Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?

Thank goodness my husband loves to do the wash.

Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?

Scotland. It’s like the United States back in the 50s. No locked cars or doors, people hanging out in pubs and visiting—real small town feel. The people are lovely.

Has some place you have traveled inspired something in your writing?

I am a direct descendant of John and Elizabeth Proctor. My husband and I went to Salem specifically to be where they walked. The Pawnbroker’s Ring is set in Salem, post War of 1812.

What's your favorite meal with family and friends?

When I would come home on leave (I was in the Army during Viet Nam) my father would make my favorite meal—Plum Roast. He baked it in the oven, but I use the crock pot. Use a real nice pork roast, about two pounds worth and sear it on all sides in butter and fresh garlic. Once it’s in the pot, take a small jar of apricot preserves and two cans of purple plums. You have to remove the seed and put all the juice and plums in a blender with the apricot preserves. Blend it up and pour it over the roast. Cook on low for eight hours.  It falls apart and you spoon it over rice. When guests come over for dinner, invariably one of them will say, “What? No plum roast?” You’ll love it.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?

I don’t see books out there that deal with our passions.  The Pawnbroker’s Ring delves into jealousy and envy. I have seen it destroy lives. My next novel will deal with stealing. Is there a time that God would approve of it to achieve something?

Would you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?

“I was glad because of them that said unto me: Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Psalm 121.  How I long to hear those words.

When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?


“Tunnels”  One day on the news there was a report looking into the past of King George IV and Queen Mary. During 1930, the Queen was walking in the tunnel which leads from Buckingham Palace to Parliament. She encountered a man there who said he had been living in the tunnels for years, completely undetected. When I heard this I thought of a three-part story taking place in London, Moscow and Washington D.C., all of which have tunnels that were important in history.  Each story line involves the tunnels which lead from the Kremlin to many churches (used in transporting Christians to camps and their deaths), Buckingham Palace, and The White House and one tunnel which leads to the Smithsonian. The research was the exciting part of writing this novel!

Thanks for sharing with us today, Justina!

Connect with Justina Prima at:



Justina Prima is giving away a copy of The Pawnbroker's Ring. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.



Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Pawnbroker's Ring by Justina Prima

A ring washes onto Salem’s shore in the year 1830, a bottle is its boat, a note its blanket and the address has long since faded. THE PAWNBROKER’S RING follows its journey in Salem.


Zachariah prays most earnestly for the people of Salem. He acts different, looks different, he is different, and he’s found the ring. Loving God above all, the money he receives from pawning it will support anonymous aid to others. He is also in the employment of Adela Seward and more than aware of upper class prejudice for this successful single mother. Mrs. Blackburn, who believes it’s her duty to purge those not deserving of high society has made Adela her cause and will oust her at all cost. Discouraged and angry, Adela falls into the dregs of those who scorn her. Further, she shuns the attentions of the pawnbroker Eldon Canfield, who could provide respectability with marriage.

As he watches the ring touch many lives, Zachariah has been keeping a secret: someone has stolen the ring…and he knows who it is.

Excerpt:

Had she but looked down, Adela would have seen it,
breaking life’s pattern of the last eighteen years—how she
lived it, viewed it, even awakened to it. The closure she
sought daily just washed onto the shore of Collins Cove, affixed to a
piece of wood―a chair leg, if she had looked―only inches from her
feet. But her unbroken gaze scanned only the ocean’s horizon that
morning, and she was oblivious of the sun making fleeting
appearances amid gathering dark clouds, illuminating the ruby just
inches from her grasp.


About the Author:

Justina Prima lives with her husband in Colorado, a full-time hospice nurse and writes as much as possible the rest of the hours of the week. She has a son and daughter in Chicago and three young grandchildren. This is her first published novel, now working on the second.



The Pawnbroker's Ring may be purchased at:


Justina Prima is giving away a copy of The Pawnbroker's Ring. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Congratulations To This Weeks Winner

Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft.

I know you want to know ... WHO WON?
But before we announce our  winner we’d like to offer a special thanks to Kimberly Rose Johnson who offered a copies of her Heartsongs Presents novel  The Christmas Promise



And now: We're pleased to announce this week’s winner:
Congratulations Merry! You have won Kimberly Rose Johnson’s Heartsongs Presents novel  The Christmas Promise


Remember, it's your responsibility to contact me  sharonalavy {at} gmail {dot} com) with your address so the author can send you a book. 


Readers, subscribing by email will ensure you don't miss seeing the winners list.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A God for All Seasons by Patti Tingen

Hope for all seasons. Encouragement for all times. Love from God for all year.

“There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

As nature’s seasons change, so too do the seasons of our soul. But God’s love never changes. He is with us through every season of our lives. Through times of sorrow, times of joy; times of plenty, times of want; times of longing, times of contentment—God’s love never leaves us.

Join author Patti Tingen in a year of exploration, as she reflects on her own spiritual journey and provides hope and encouragement for yours—month by month, season by season. Find reassurance and pause for reflection in the inspirational readings for each month of the year. In winter’s darkest days—hope, renew, wait; in spring’s blossoming beauty—change, plant, trust; in summer’s wondrous warmth—give, celebrate, rest; in autumn’s colorful coolness—harvest, believe and thank.  

In all times and in every season—may you be blessed.

Book Trailer



Book Excerpt


Introduction

“There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to rebuild.  
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak up.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.”        
                                                            Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NLT)

Life is never static. Physical, emotional, financial and spiritual ups and downs are all a part of this journey called life. More than ever before, I’m seeing how God is with us for the entire journey, through all of the highs and lows.
The seasons of the year have often been used as pictures of life; I think the months are also such pictures. Walk with me through the seasons and their months, no matter where you need to start—by the calendar or by your life-season.
            Much of my adulthood has been peppered with a variety of struggles and times spent in the cold winter season. As I am now emerging into the warmth and light of spring, I’m realizing that I have learned well how to exist in the darkness. My desire is also to flourish in the blooming seasons.
Please join me in this year of exploration and reflection. May you find hope and encouragement in every month—and in every season.
It’s time.

WINTER


“As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.” Genesis 8:22 (NLT)     

Snowflakes gently falling, icicles glistening, wood fires crackling… some of the sights and sounds of winter. Holiday celebrations and children cavorting in the snow can bring much laughter and joy to our souls. Some of my wintertime favorites include comfy sweaters, fuzzy blankets and a steaming cup of cocoa. And of course, a purring kitty to snuggle in my lap. All these help to warm my heart and lift my spirits.
            In many ways, winter is a beautiful season. It can also be a very difficult time to endure. The harsh winds, long dark nights and icy temperatures can leave us longing for the light and warmth of spring. Handling the physical aspects of winter is trying enough—but when we also “winter” spiritually, the darkness can become almost unbearable. This can be especially difficult if our “winter” continues on long past the season’s end date on the calendar.
            Whether we like it or not, we will continue to have winters—in one way or another. But there is much we can learn in winter that can’t be acquired in any other season. So in spite of the cold, in spite of the darkness, there is reason to not give up. For winter can bring us hope—it is a chance to renew—and it can be an occasion to wait.
            These are the times of winter.       

December: A time to hope

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV)

December—the season of joy. Perhaps for some. For others, it is a time of deep sadness, sorrow and hopelessness. According to the National Mental Health Association, more than one million Americans suffer from depression during December and more people attempt suicide in this month than at any other time of the year.
December surely can bring suffocating darkness. It can also bring an opportunity for hope. When the dark shadows close in around us, when all seems meaningless, when we feel like we cannot go on for one more moment—Jesus is our hope.
The Gospel of John tells us that Jesus is the light that the darkness could not overcome. “The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” John 1:4-5 (NLT)
Therefore, if Jesus lives in us—the darkness cannot overcome us either. It is in His name that we can trust, in His name that we can believe, and by His grace alone that we can find the courage to go on.

Moving from darkness to light can be a difficult process. But only when we have endured the blackest of nights and the darkest of days can we truly appreciate the light. For without the contrast, the brightness and warmth of better days are taken for granted and sorely underappreciated. 





About Patti:


Patti lives in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with her husband Doug and their cat Braveheart. Along with working full-time, she volunteers in various ministry positions at her church that include prayer, teaching and serving as an elder. Patti never planned to be an author but says, “Sometimes God has dreams for us that we know nothing about!”


To Purchase her book:

To connect with Patti:

Patti Tingen is giving away a copy of A God for All Seasons. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)


Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Warm Welcome to Patti Tingen

Is there a story behind your book A God for All Seasons?
During a time of reflection, I recognized in a deeper way than ever before, that God was with me in every single situation throughout my life. In every loss, every victory, every tear, and every joy—God was there. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.” With new revelation, I understood that we truly have a God for all seasons. Then I thought, “That would make a great book title!”

I pray my readers would also find encouragement and hope for their life’s travels. I want them to know how much God cares for and loves them.

What started you on your writing journey?
Oddly enough, I discovered I was a writer during the creation of my first book. What started out as a simple desire to preserve the stories of my extraordinary cat Knickerbocker, turned into something far greater than I would have ever imagined. He Was Never a Cat: Knick’s Story, My Story, Your Story became an incredible adventure as I honed my writing skills and formed lasting relationships throughout the writing, publishing and marketing process.

If you were a style of music, what style would you be?
Praise and worship! I pray my life reflects God’s goodness and glory and that He would be honored in all I say and do.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?
My husband can say or do the funniest things at times and it literally makes my knees weak. I nearly fell over in the grocery store one day in response to something he said. Animals also bring me great joy. One day I was taking a walk and happened upon a female mallard standing in someone’s driveway—and laughing her head off! The sound and cadence of her quacks combined with the way she was moving her head and the shape of her beak gave the appearance that she was laughing hysterically. So I decided to join her. No doubt I stood there for a good three to four minutes laughing with that duck. I have no idea what she thought was so funny but it certainly lightened my mood.  

What is your favorite season of the year? 
I love spring! The warmth of sunshine and the beauty of the blooming flowers and trees refresh and renew my soul like no other season. And to take a quote from my book—“It feels as though all is right with the world when spring arrives. Seeing the hard, frozen ground yield itself to the earliest flowers, reminds us that even in the darkest of winters, when all seems dead, new life is growing in the unseen places.” 

What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
I’m very grateful to have grown up in the beautiful countryside of Lancaster County. And I’m thrilled to now live in Lititz, recently voted the coolest small town in America! It’s fun to walk downtown and see the tourists enjoying our quaint atmosphere and think, “I get to live here!”

 Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  
Both of my books are written to bring inspiration and encouragement to readers. Using my personal experience and testimony of God’s faithfulness through difficult times, I’ve been able to offer reassurance and hope to others. I want them to know how much God loves them and that they can trust Him no matter what their circumstances may be.

Share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you. (and why it's special)  

My favorite scripture verse is Philippians 2:14-15. “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” While I can’t say that I always do everything without complaining, the thought of shining like a bright star in a darkened world brings me great joy!

Back Cover Blurb

Hope for all seasons. Encouragement for all times. Love from God for all year.

“There is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NLT)

As nature’s seasons change, so too do the seasons of our soul. But God’s love never changes. He is with us through every season of our lives. Through times of sorrow, times of joy; times of plenty, times of want; times of longing, times of contentment—God’s love never leaves us.
Join author Patti Tingen in a year of exploration, as she reflects on her own spiritual journey and provides hope and encouragement for yours—month by month, season by season. Find reassurance and pause for reflection in the inspirational readings for each month of the year. In winter’s darkest days—hope, renew, wait; in spring’s blossoming beauty—change, plant, trust; in summer’s wondrous warmth—give, celebrate, rest; in autumn’s colorful coolness—harvest, believe and thank.  

In all times and in every season—may you be blessed.

To buy her book:

About Patti:
Patti lives in beautiful Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with her husband Doug and their cat Braveheart. Along with working full-time, she volunteers in various ministry positions at her church that include prayer, teaching and serving as an elder. Patti never planned to be an author but says, “Sometimes God has dreams for us that we know nothing about!”

To connect with Patti:

Patti Tingen is giving away a copy of A God for All Seasons. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses. To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)


Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Historical Fiction Writer Elaine Marie Cooper

Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Elaine! Is there a story behind your book, Fields of the Fatherless?

When I was a young girl living in Arlington, Massachusetts, my brother and I walked by the Jason Russell House on the way to school. Like most older brothers, Bob enjoyed scaring me. As we approached the house on the corner, he’d say in his most frightening tone, “There’s blood on the floor in there, you know.”

I was a bit unnerved, but mostly I was curious. What had happened there? And why was there a sign that said it was a historical landmark? I knew there must be a story. But I didn’t learn—until I became an adult—the full depth of the tragedy that occurred there. It was a story from our nation’s history that begged to be told.

(Laughing) My brother was younger but still did things like that. Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote?

I’d have to say the heroine of the story, 18-year-old Betsy, touched my heart the most. Caught in a web of fear, frustration and powerlessness, she managed to break free and be strengthened by God while relying on His power in her weakness. It’s a journey many of us who have been through extreme difficulties can relate to.

What started you on your writing journey?

I think God instills a desire to write in many people, usually when they are quite young. In my case, I remember writing my first short story at the age of eleven. At that time, I never imagined that I would one day be writing historical novels!

In between age eleven and now, there were so many encouragers along my writing journey as well as opportunities to do more types of writing that I look back in amazement at how the Lord orchestrated these events to continually prompt my pen, even when I was discouraged and wanted to quit. God is the ultimate creative writer when we pause to peruse HIS works.

What distracts you from writing the easiest?

It’s almost easier to list what doesn’t distract! Distractions are not all bad (family needs, working to pay the bills, time in prayer and reading God’s Word) but many distractions are without value and destructive to writing time, such as excessive time on Facebook or chatting on the phone without end. It helps to organize your time (which I’m not very good at!) and be disciplined in finding ways to decrease the distractions.

What kind of books do you enjoy reading?

I recently read a very short book with an intriguing title called Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung. The title grabbed me since that is always how I describe my life. But did I really want to be crazy busy? I thought the book provided a few gems of insight about over-achieving tendencies and ways to find a better balance in life.

I also read Newspaper Code by Lisa J. Lickel. It’s her third book in the Buried Treasure series and I love her cozy murder mysteries filled with fun characters!

One of my favorite genres is (of course!) historical fiction and one of the finest ones that I have read in a long time is Burning Sky by Lori Benton. You will come away longing for a sequel!

If you could paint or sculpt like a famous artist who would it be and why?

It would be Michelangelo. His exquisite expressions of emotion in the characters he sculpts (such as the Pieta) are a visual example of what many an author aspires to create in words: gut-wrenching emotion.

What makes you smile and/or laugh out loud?

My grandkids and their hilarious personalities! They are three-year-old triplets and you never know WHAT they’re going to dream up next, whether it’s an impromptu “jam session” on their guitars and fake drums, or wearing numerous outfits (all at the same time) or begging for me to play “Piggies” on their toes and then dissolving into laughter. They are HUG-WORTHY, for certain!

What is your favorite season of the year? 

Probably spring, especially when the perennials in my garden awaken after their long winter snooze!

What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?

The historical landmarks!! I credit the history in Massachusetts for fueling my interest in writing historical fiction and I continue to savor visits to historical sites throughout New England. Since I now live in the Midwest, it takes some planning, but I make the most I can of my research trips.

What is a favorite memory from your childhood?

I have several but the one I contemplate often is playing in the woods near my home. Even if I was by myself, I remember my imagination fueling scenarios of a make-believe life as I set up my “home” among the trees. It was the perfect “school” for a future writer of fiction.

Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?  

Forgiveness and healing are frequent themes in my fiction. I think these struggles are often the nitty gritty of our walk with the Lord: What will we do with the hurts that inevitably come our way in life? Will they destroy us or renew us?

Would you share a verse or Scripture passage with us that is special to you?
Proverbs 31: 8-9
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
It speaks so clearly of our obligation to not ignore the needs of the poor but to use wisdom and compassion with those in need. There are so many verses throughout Scripture about helping the poor; their sheer number speaks loudly of God’s heart for the needy.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?

I am still writing a memoir of my daughter’s battle with brain cancer and our journey together in the last two years of her life. I pray that this story will encourage and empower others who walk a similar painful road with a loved one. It has the working title, Bethany’s Calendar.

Thank you for sharing with us today, Elaine!  

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Elaine Marie Cooper is giving away a copy of Fields Of The Fatherless. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.





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