Archive by Author | Susan Reichert

MaryAnn Diorio ~ Lady of Grace!

mary ann

We are delighted to have Dr. MaryAnn Diorio, a widely published, award-winning author of compelling fiction dealing with the deepest issues of the human heart visit us today. She also writes picture books for children. She just released Dandelion Patch.dandilion patch

The topic of the book is Eminent Domain and is written for children primarily between the ages of 3 and 8. Parents can read it to their younger children. Older children can read it themselves.

Can you give us a description?

When Yolanda Riggins discovers that the government plans to build a new highway through her beloved dandelion patch, she rises up in protest and asserts her God-given right to private ownership of property. Will she succeed against all odds to save her dandelion patch? Will tact, truth, and tough love win the day for Yolanda and the children who love her? Read this delightful book to find out.

Her latest fiction release is A Sicilian Farewell, Book 2 in The Italian Chronicles TrilogySicilian

Book 1, The Madonna of Pisano,

madonnawas published in 2015.

When is Book 3 due out?

Book 3, Return to Bella Terra, is scheduled for release in December 2017.

Your non-fiction has appeared in over 100 national magazines, newspapers, and journals, including The Saturday Evening Post, Billy Graham’s Decision Magazine, The Press of Atlantic City, and Human Events. She strives to base her writing on Scriptural truth and Biblical principles.

MaryAnn, I understand you love to help people.

Yes,  I  love to help people discover their God-given purpose in life so I maintain a life coaching practice with a special emphasis on coaching writers.

What do you do when you aren’t writing?

When not writing, I love to spend time with my family. I enjoy reading, painting, playing the piano and cello, and especially making up silly songs with my five rambunctious grandchildren.  My husband Dom and I have been married for 47 years. We reside in New Jersey and enjoy spending time together at the beach.

Tell us about your newest book.

A Sicilian Farewell
A young man, a new land, and a dream that threatens to destroy him, his marriage, and his family . . .

It was released in 2016 as Book 2 of The Italian Chronicles Trilogy. In this story, we continue to follow the adventures of Maria Landro Tonetta and her husband Luca as they embark from Sicily to America. The story takes place at the end of the 19th century.

Where did the idea come from?

The idea for this story came from my family history, particularly from the life of my paternal great-great-grandmother.  This book is a sequel to Book 1, The Madonna of Pisano, in which I lay the groundwork for the two subsequent books of the trilogy.

How long did it take to write?

The story took approximately 10 months to write.

What is the most fun for you in writing?

Without question, the most fun for me is the creative aspect of writing. When I write, I feel most like the Creator in Whose image I have been made. Also, because I know that God has called me to write for Him, I feel as though I please Him when I write.

I begin every writing project and every writing session by praying for the Holy Spirit to guide me. I proclaim His promise in Proverbs 16: 3 AMP: Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. When I get to a point in my writing where I don’t know which direction to take, I pray again, and the Holy Spirit always comes through for me.

What is not the fun part for you?

Without question the business and marketing part of writing. I would much rather be writing than marketing my books or doing the necessary bookkeeping involved with a writing business.

What is a regular day like for you when you are writing?

I write five days a week—often six—from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm—or until I finish my daily word count goal of 1000 words. I begin my day quite early—usually around 5:00 am—in order to spend time with the Lord. I find this absolutely essential and won’t write or do anything else (except have a cup of coffee J) until I have spent time with God.  I begin by worshiping Him. I usually put on peaceful praise and worship music and begin praising God. I receive His wisdom and guidance for the day. After about 30-45 minutes of worshiping God and praying in the spirit, I then read and study the Bible. I like to do this verse by verse, asking the Holy Spirit to teach me what I need to learn from that particular passage. After about an hour of Bible study, I pray for the needs of my family, my friends, and for others. I also pray for myself.

After studying my Bible, I read a portion of a book on growing in Christ. I love to read the classics of Christian literature, such as the works of Jeanne Guyon. At this point, it is usually about 8:00 am. I get dressed, have breakfast, and am then ready to begin writing at 9:00 am.

Where do you write?

Since I work on a MacPro laptop, I write in different places, depending on my mood. My usual place is my writing studio, a spare bedroom on the second floor of our home. I am greatly blessed to have this room and am so thankful for it. My desk faces the window which offers a lovely view. I also write in a spare bedroom in our home that we use as a library. Sometimes I write at the local library, and sometimes I write at a coffee shop, such as Panera’s.  Mostly, however, I write at home where it is quiet and comfortable.

What’s next for you?

Whatever God says.  I am His servant first and foremost. While I have plans for several new projects, I submit myself to God’s leading. My heart’s desire is to make His plans for me my plans for me.

That said, my plans include completing Book 3 of The Italian Chronicles. The book is almost finished and will be released in December of this year, Lord willing.  I also am in the process of compiling two books of my poetry—one for children and one for adults. I am especially excited about the poetry book for children titled Poems for Wee Ones.

In January of 2018, I plan to resume work on another novel I started a few years back titled In Black & White. I feel that the timing is now right for this story that deals with racism and its effect on the human heart.

We enjoyed your visiting us today MaryAnn. You have been such a blessing to us. I know you have been in Southern Writers Magazine a few times and we appreciate your supporting us.

Thank you again for offering me this wonderful opportunity. I deeply appreciate your kindness and generosity.

Be sure and visit MaryAnn Diorio at: http://maryanndiorio.com/

twitter.com/drmaryanndiorio

www.facebook.com/drmaryanndiorio

 

Idabel Allen~Southern Storytelling

idabel allen photo color

If you love “home cooked Southern Literature in the tradition of Eudora Welty, Flannery O’Connor and William Faulkner, you will fall in love with Idabel Allen. 

Thank you for visiting with us today. I am excited to hear about your new book and learn more about you.

Your book Rooted, tell me the story behind it, why did you write this story?

There were several reasons I wrote Rooted. One was the setting. I liked the idea of telling a story from a rural Southern perspective not tied to Memphis or Nashville or the outside world for that matter. It is very much a regional story in this way, complete with the customs and values specific to its place and time. Adding a New York punk rock character, Slade Mortimer, to the mix illuminated the Southern rural experience. Another reason I wanted to write Rooted was to allow the burdens of the fractured McQuiston family to fall on the patriarch’s shoulders. During the 1970’, the man was the head of the household – he made a living and set the rules for the family to abide by. And yet, it was the wife who managed the family and home life. I wanted explore what happened when outcomes of the patriarchs’ rules fall back on his shoulders, and not on the wife’s. Rooted is very much a story about taking responsibility for one’s actions – not just the patriarch’s character, but his descendants, as well.

Where did you get the idea for the cover?

rootedRooted is a Southern book with an edge perhaps not often found in the genre – something I wanted to capture on the book-cover. Bits of cotton grace the front and back of the book, a nod to the South’s agrarian heritage. The cow on the cover is Lucy, the last of Grover McQuiston’s grandfather’s herd. Lucy represents a connection to the past, something Grover and the South are quite keen to hold onto. On the book cover, the cow has blue hair and a nose ring, letting readers know there’s a bit more going on with this story than meets the eye. Rooted has been described as Southern grit-lit and I believe the cover conveys this message. 

Did you do research? What was the most memorable information found?

Most of my research for Rooted centered on music. With a New York punk rocker in the mix, I needed to understand the origins of the punk movement, its key players and their motivations for breaking away from traditional rock music standards during the 1970s. Turns out, punk as we know it today with the piercings and mohawks and shocking behavior bears little resemblance to punk’s origins. Fed up with mellow hippie folk rock and bloated stadium rock, a core group of poets and musicians in New York rejected music industry rules and with a do it yourself attitude created music and art that changed popular culture forever.

Does coincidence sometimes play a role in your books? If so, what is the strangest coincidence you’ve experienced and did you use it in this book?

The premise of Rooted is based entirely on coincidence. The unexpected death of Slade Mortimer’s estranged father sends him South to the town of Moonsock in search of an inheritance. Slade’s arrival, on the heels of a family scandal, sets in motion a series of unexpected events that resurrect questions regarding the mysterious of his mother’s disappearance twenty-five years before. Rereading Rooted recently, I realized it took a character with punk sensibilities to kick down the protective wall Grover built to guard the terrible secrets that had devastated the McQuiston family for decades.

I know I’ve experienced many coincidences in my life, but I cannot think of what the strangest one might be, nor have I used personal coincidence in any of my stories that I know of. But things have a way of working themselves into my work without conscious effort on my part. Only after the fact, am I able to recognize that something personal has crept into the picture.

What do you like most about writing? What do you like least?

I most like when my characters are developed to the point that they are telling the story, and I’m hustling to get it all down on the paper. When the writing is going well, I hear the characters voices in my head as if a live person were talking. That’s when the story has taken on a life of it’s own.

The opposite of this is what I like least. When the characters are not driving the story, or if I’m trying to force the story in a certain direction, the writing is cumbersome and stiff. It’s like trying to cram a square peg into a round hole. When this happens, it’s a good indication to take a few steps back and regroup. Usually, this is what is needed to get things flowing again.

Are you working on the next book?

I am releasing a middle school book this fall entitled, Cursed! My Devastatingly Brilliant Campaign To Save The Chigg. It’s about an overly dramatic eighth-grade girl, Ginny Edgars, friendless after one too many trips to the principle’s office, who decides to help class Freakazoid #1, Carrie “Chigger” Larson, uncover the devastating truth behind the Larson family curse – whether Chigger likes it or not!

I am also wrapping up edits on a historical fiction novel entitled, Strange Agonies In Some Lonesome Wilderness. In this story, a group of ex-slaves hoodooed to a Mississippi river island, turn to an anthropologist to help them pass on to the after-life, challenging what she believes about herself, her life and the one that lies beyond.

How long did it take you to write this book?

There’s a million ways to tell a story, finding the right way always takes me a little time on the front end. All told, I believe I have about five years invested in writing Rooted. I spent a bit of time experimenting with narrative and voice. I tried to write the book entirely from Sarah Jane’s point of view, and then Slade’s, and finally Grover’s. The story never really gelled for me until I landed on using all three points of view. The opening line of the book, “It all comes from the root,” was something my son once said to my grandmother. I used this line to anchor the separate narratives to the story and to let the reader know Rooted is a story about belonging to a people and a place.

Where do you think your story telling ability came from?

I’m not sure where it came from as far as my family. There’s an artistic streak on mother’s side, but not so much on either side in the literary vein. More than anything, reading everything I could get my hands on at a young age, and being born in the South where the oral storytelling tradition is still very much alive made me the writer I am today.

Listening to stories gave me a good ear for dialect and for gauging reactions. A good story gives the reader a reason to laugh, be shocked, even outraged. Too, I learned a lot from my favorite writers: passion from Faulkner, compassion from Welty and Steinbeck, possibilities from Woolfe, and fearlessness from O’Connor. Reading Toni Morrison’s Beloved is like studying a blueprint for how to construct a perfect book.

First and foremost a storyteller, Idabel’s books are all grounded in the same character-driven reality that holds the reader’s attention long after the story is finished. When not burrowing in the written word, Idabel says she is generally up to no good with her family, dogs and herd of antagonistic cows.  So visit her website and blogpost.

http://idabelallen.net/

idabelallen.net/blog

 

 

Janie Dempsey Watts Turns Curiosity Into Writing Career

janie dempsey watts photo

A Chattanooga native, Janie Dempsey Watts grew up riding horses at her family farm in Woodstation, Georgia. Her curiosity about most everything steered her to journalism and a writing career.

She was just chosen to be “Author of the Month” for June by Barnes and Noble, Chattanooga.

Her novel “Return to Taylor’s Crossing” (2015) earned an Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion and won first place in the Knoxville Writers’ Guild novel excerpt competition. Her first novel, “Moon Over Taylor’s Ridge,” was a Georgia Author of the Year Award nominee for a debut novel and nominated for a S.I.B.A. Her newest book is a collection of her short stories, “Mothers, Sons, Beloveds, and Other Strangers” (Bold Horses Press, 2017)

.mother sons

Hi Janie, welcome to Authors Visits. Tell us about this new collection fo short stories.

It’s fifteen short stories set in the South, California, and Europe. One of the stories, “Erice,” was a Faulkner Pirate’s Alley finalist. These stories feature characters facing inner and outer journeys that often do not go as expected. Why did Sadie’s mother run away? And when will she return? Must a teenage girl learn the truth about her daddy the hard way? Why must a bride’s rehearsal dinner feel like a Hatfield-McCoy moment? Can a widow escape loneliness by commiserating? On a train ride in Belgium, can a mother and son trust a postcard salesman they meet? At a laundromat in Rome, Italy, what kind of trouble can a restless wife find? In these tales, some humorous and some edgy, characters discover they do not really know those who are closest, yet a stranger may offer the gift of hope.

Oh this sounds like a must read for sure.

I also wanted to talk to you about your book, Return to Taylor’s Crossing. This book earned an Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion and won first place in the Knoxville Writers’ Guild novel excerpt competition. Tell us a little about this book.

.Return

The summer of 1959 in a small Georgia town, dairy worker Abednego Harris, 19, not only stands out for his skillful handling of bulls, but because of his color. When Lola James, 17, arrives to do day work for a nearby family, Abednego is smitten. As the young couple falls in love, racial tensions heat up, threatening their world. A violent attack tears them apart and spins their lives in different directions. This is their story, and the story of four others whose lives are forever changed by violence. One of them will return to Taylor’s Crossing seeking answers.

What drew you to writing?

My parents gave me a diary when I was eight or nine.  I started writing life events in short, newspaper style. A winter storm, the death of a newborn colt, for example. I also read constantly–-horse books, biographies, any book I could get my hands on.  In 8th grade I read “Catcher in the Rye.”  Our Civics teacher asked us to write a paper on what we wanted to be when we grew up.  I knew I wanted to be a novelist, like J.D. Salinger.

How long was it before you wrote your first novel?

The short answer is 28 years from the time I wrote my first short story in college. The long answer is this. In college, I studied English, then journalism, graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. in journalism, and later, an M.A. in journalism from the University of Southern California. I wrote for newspapers, magazines, and TV during my journalism career. When my children were little, I used my time as a stay-at-home mother to study screenplay writing at U.C.L.A. Writing five screenplays (never produced) taught me the craft of long-form fiction writing.  All throughout the 28 years, I wrote short stories and also short non-fiction pieces.  Many were published in anthologies and literary magazines, anthologies. In late 2012, my first novel was published.  I guess you could say I’m a late bloomer––and persistent!

 

What do you think made your book Moon over Taylor’s Ridge stand out above all the others to win  Georgia Author of the Year Award nominee for a debut novel?
Readers of this novel have told me that the Cherokee history, folklore, and Trail of Tears connection is why they were drawn to the story. I spent many hours researching to make sure my fictional story rested upon a solid base of facts.  The legend of the Cherokee silver mine in the area where the novel is set was passed down in my family and recounted in a history book by my late Aunt Mary. 

moon over

In your speaking engagements, do you take your book and do you sell many of your books? 
I always take about a dozen copies of each book, more if a big crowd is anticipated. I usually sell five to six copies, but I have sold as few as one and as many as 52 at an event. It’s very humbling, and you have to check your ego at the door. Many times those attending will buy my novels later in e-book format, or check it out at the library. From a marketing point of view, the best part about speaking at an event is the publicity generated.  If the event is mentioned in the media, it draws more attention to your book, and hopefully brings in more sales from those unable to attend.
Janie, you’ve been in Southern Writers Magazine a few times and we are so pleased you joined us on our Authors Visits. I know your fans will enjoy this new book that released.
Please come back and visit, and let us know the when you are ready to release another new book.

Growing Up in 1956! by Thomas Conner

3. Current Photo

Meet Thomas Conner, known to some as Tom, others as Tommy, and TC by friends and family. Although born in Florida, two miles from the Alabama state line, he spent most of his early years living on the Alabama side and went to college in Florida. 

He graduated from the University of West Florida in Pensacola with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities and since 1980  has resided in Central California’s Big Valley, where he has worked in higher education at a prestigious private university in Student Life.

Tom, welcome to Authos Visits. I am excited to talk to you about this book, Goodby, Saturday Night.

goodnight saturday nightYour book, Goodbye, Saturday Night, is very interesting, and for us who are older brings back a lot of memories.

Tell us a little about the book.

Well it’s early  May 1956 in the small South Alabama town of Farmington, and eleven year old Bobby Crosby’s life is about to change forever. He’s still anguishing over the death of his father even though it’s been five years, and he’s come to despise the life centered around his mother’s cafe, a place that turns into the revelrous hot spot of the community when the sun goes down. Bobby escapes his real world by sitting every night in the local movie theater, third row left down front. There, alone in the dark, he leaves Farmington far behind and melts into the world of the silver screen. Bobby’s best friend is Hucker Nolan, a twenty-two year old drop-out from the swamps across the tracks who drives a taxicab in the daytime and works concession at the movie theater at night. Now, Bobby’s world seems to be collapsing and there’s nothing he can do to stop it; his mother has a boyfriend Bobby desperately resents and his feelings for Hucker are confusing and ever changing, often filled with anger and jealousy Bobby doesn’t understand. Then, the worst thing possible happens to Bobby— he’s betrayed by the person he trusts the most.

Was your book research intensive? Did you find some fun facts?

Yes, definitely. The book is set in 1956 and required a lot of research because I give lots of details in my writing. My character paid 5 cents for a soda. The Western Flyer Super Deluxe bicycle he dreamed of cost $75 and was unobtainable. I also used movie and music references throughout the book, so I had to research the release dates to make sure I wasn’t using titles that hadn’t been released in May of 1956. A good example of this is Saturday night television line-up in 1956. I really wanted one of my characters to be watching Gunsmoke on T.V. when he was called away for an emergency. Well, the show didn’t air at the time I needed him to be watching it, so I had him watch “The Jackie Gleason Show” instead.

Did you find not so fun facts while researching your book?

Yes, and some very disturbing. This book is based very loosely on my childhood growing up in the Deep South. My main character has a close friend who is “colored” but they cannot sit together in the movies. My character lives in a racial bubble, just as I did at the time. When researching racial tension in Alabama in the 1950s and 1960s, I was made aware of much more racially related violence than I had previously known. I knew of the Selma marches of 1965 but I had no idea of the violence and brutality involved until I began my research. It was played down in my area and among my family and friends.

Does coincidence play a role in your book? If so, what was the strangest coincidence experienced and did you use it in your book?

Yes, most definitely. In the past, we have had two Sunday services at my church, St. Anne’s Episcopal. I always attended the 10:00am service. Early last spring our services were combined into one at 9:00am. That offered an opportunity to meet folks from the other service I didn’t know. One Sunday, I struck up a conversation at coffee hour with a woman who had just published her second novel with a small publishing house. I told her about my book, that I was planning on self-publishing because I didn’t want to go through all those hundreds of rejections until I found a house that would take my book. She suggested I submit my work to her publisher. After mulling it over for a few weeks I did and they immediately offered me a publishing contract. My friend and I had been attending the same church for many years without knowing each other or that we were both writers. Now, we are authors with the same publishing house because our church services were combined

What is the story behind the creation your book?

When I read Larry McMurtry’s The Last Picture Show in the mid 1970s, I realized I had a book in me about small town life in Alabama in the 1950s. I met Larry McMurtry at his rare and collectible bookstore, Booked Up, in the Georgetown section of Washington, DC. When I discussed my idea for a book with him he said write it, it will tell a good story. I went home and wrote the first draft. That was in the late fall of 1979. I moved to California a month later and brought the hand-written manuscript with me with the intensions of polishing and rewriting. However, it got pushed back for 35 years.

What do you like most about writing? What do you like least?

Hanging on and following where the characters take me. Some people might say I’m not telling the truth, but my books seem to write themselves. I have a beginning and an idea of an ending and I just start writing. The characters take over and the book comes to life. Sometimes, I am totally amazed that we took the turn in the road we did. Recently, in my new book, one character asked the other where they are going as they climb into the car. I had no idea as I wrote those words. The main character made a choice and the direction they took opened up the plot with a major new twist. I was amazed.

And the least?

I like promoting the book the very least. I wish I could just write and the book would sell itself. That’s not the case. I spend at least fifty percent of my writing time promoting.

Are you working on the next book?

Yes. My work is always based very loosely on something I’ve done or I’ve lived. I just make characters and a story out of it. The first book was based  loosely on my childhood. The new book is based on my first quarter in college in 1965. It’s the story of an 18-year-old freshman who is totally smitten with his single 27-year-old English professor. They become fast friends due to mutual interest and need. Soon, the friendship begins to develop into more. I am obsessed with the story and at the present time have over 52,000 words down.

Tell us how long it took you to write your book.

I wrote the first draft of the first book in three months. I wrote it in longhand because my old typewriter had keys that stuck and I could write faster than type. It was put aside as I said for 35 years. I pulled the old manuscript out and began transcription and rewrite last year. I spent nearly a year on the final book. So, the answer is 37 years in total time and a year and three months of actually writing time.

Whats next for you in writing?

To continue with the new book until it’s ready to send to my publisher. I also plan to pull out some old short stories and see what I can do with them. I spend a tremendous amount of time promoting the book and finding readers.

Thank you for visiting with us today. Can’t wait to hear about your next new book.

 

 

Heather Blanton–Lady in Defiance

Heather Blanton ph    Heather Blanton––Lady in Defiance

Heather said, “I believe Christian fiction should be messy and gritty, because the human condition is … and God loves us anyway.” –

A former journalist, and avid researcher you skillfully weave truth in among fictional story lines. I understand you love to explore the American West.

Yes, especially ghost towns and museums. I’ve walked parts of the Oregon Trail, ridden horses through the Rockies, climbed to the top of Independence Rock, and even held an outlaw’s note in my hand.

No wonder your books bring our western culture to life.

You write Christian Westerns. Besides your love of the west is there another reason?

I get to write about strong pioneer women and men who struggle to find God and then live out their faith in real ways. Romance is always a strong element in my stories because it is such a beautiful gift from God, and a perfect reflection of how he loves His children: sacrificially and lavishly.

You have been able to write Christian Westerns without being preachy or cheesy.

Like good old-fashioned Westerns, there is always justice, a moral message, American values, and lots of high adventure, unexpected plot twists, and more than a touch of suspense. I think readers find my stories heart-warming, realistic, illuminating and glorifying to God.

Where do you think this love for the west stems from?

I think it’s because I grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne movies. My fondest childhood memory is of sitting next to my father, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester!

I can relate to your love for the old west. I loved the western movies growing up. Every Saturday afternoon was movies and then home to recreate those Roy Rogers and Gene Autry movies. We loved that era.

You are the bestselling independent author of several Christian Westerns, including the Romance in the Rockies series.

This  series, Intrigued by the concept of three good sisters stranded in a lawless Colorado mining town, caused a few notable Hollywood producers to request the script for my first book in that series.

trio of heather    book1    book 2

You’ve been called “A Lady in Defiance” and your writing is gritty and realistic. In fact, your books have been compared to AMC’s Hell on Wheels series, as well as the legendary Francine Rivers book, Redeeming Love. You just released Romance in the Rockies Books 1, 2, & 3 Plus The Lost Chapters.

Readers now can get all three of the bestselling Defiance books in ONE collection, along with a BONUS, never-before-published prequel novella, The Lost Chapters.

Heather, we wish you continuing success in your writing. We enjoy reading your work so we can’t wait to read this one.

Thank you for visiting with us today.

 

To learn more about Heather visit her website: https://ladiesindefiance.com/ and get her newsletter.

https://www.facebook.com/heatherfreyblanton https://twitter.com/heatherfblanton
https://www.pinterest.com/heatherfblanton/

 

Cindy Sproles-Spirit & Heart

cindy-sproles  Cindy Sproles is  an author and a speaker. On her website,
http://cindysproles.com you will see where Cindy says, “My dream is do nothing more than craft words that speak from the heart.
Tell us about your  book, Spirit & Heart: A Devotional Journey

spirit-and-heart Spirit and Heart, we feel, has been blessed by God. It’s the little devotional that just keeps selling. It has solid writing, and devotions that soothe the heart. We hope when readers glean through this book, they find a certain peace that God is with them, warming their hearts and souls.
This book was a six-month project that included writers from our website, and published authors. It includes scripture verses, space to  journal, for individual prayers and words of wisdom from some of today’s best-selling authors.
Listen to God speak as you read His word and reflect on the stories of others. Write down your thoughts and meditate on each day’s message.

This book is a primer, a tool to get you started on the path toward spending your best moments with the Father. Christ says, where your heart is there your treasure will be. Treasure His words and whispers as you walk in the footsteps of award-winning authors.

The daily devotions included in this book are heartfelt stories, lessons, and advice from others who have traveled the devotional journey.
It was a joy to edit and compile these 30 devotions into work that we continue to sell at conferences and on the internet.
What is your personal writing schedule?
My personal writing schedule varies. But I try to write 1800 words a day. It is a goal I usually reach but sometimes, like everyone, I get pulled away.  God has blessed me to be a part of Christian Devotions. www.christiandevotions.us. Our ministry has not only allowed us to teach writers, but it has honed my personal skills as well.
Tell us about Cindy Sproles.
I’m a mountain gal, born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains where life is simple, words have a deep southern drawl, and colloquialisms like, “well slap my knee and call me corn pone” seem to take precedence over proper speech. Apple Butter, coal mining, the river, pink sunrises and golden sunsets help you settle into a porch swing and relax. Family, the love of God and strong morals are embedded into my life in the mountains. Teaching writers, spinning fiction tales about life in the mountains, history and down home ideas find their way into all I do. I love to write devotions, to seek after the deeper side of Christ and to share the lessons He teaches me from life in the hills of East Tennessee. I am a writer. A speaker. A lover of God’s Word and friend to all.
Thank you for visiting us today Cindy.
Be sure and visit Cindy’s website. http://cindysproles.com

Nancy G West~Aggie Mundeen Mystery Series

nancy_2015  Welcome to Authors Visits Nancy. We are delighted to have you.  I have so much to ask you for our readers.

One of the first questions, is why did you decide to become a writer?

When I was seven, my mother and I wrote poems to each other on special occasions: Roses are red.  Violets are blue. You are my Mom. I love you, too. Not earth-shaking literature. But the experience taught me that if you write something, it is valued.

Sounds like your mother saw a talent in you when you were young and was smart enough to nurture it.

Your Aggie Mundeen Mystery Series is such a success. What brought about the writing of this story/series?

Aggie Mundeen popped up as a supporting character in my suspense novel, Nine Days to Evil. My protagonist, Meredith Laughlin, was taking a Shakespeare class in graduate school when classmate Aggie Mundeen commanded her attention. In her late 30s, wearing a warm-up suit trimmed in a wine color that clashed with her red lips and nails, Aggie studied the professor. Her body language said, “Show me something.”

Aggie planted herself in my brain. I found myself waiting to see what she’d do or say. She shared her background, not an easy one, and demanded that I write a book about her. Or maybe a series. She was serious but humorous, smart, dangerously curious, determined, and had a wry view of life. She was multi-faceted enough to sustain a series. I could enjoy watching her infiltrate Detective Sam’s investigations and come close to driving him crazy. I was hooked.

We have a poster showing your three books in that series that are out and I want your fans to know you have a new one in the Aggie Mundeen Mysteries series coming in January titled River City Dead.

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What don’t your readers know about you?

I can be serious but have a humorous view of life. Maybe a combination of Aggie and Meredith? I’m less introspective than Meredith and a lot more cautious than Aggie.

Is there a purpose behind the story that you want your readers to know?

My stories boil down to trust. Who can you trust? Who should you trust? You can like somebody, even love them, but can you trust them? Nine Days to Evil was originally titled A Matter of Trust. Trust issues between Aggie and Detective Sam hinder their shaky relationship.

What was the most challenging part in writing this story?

I live in San Antonio, but once I decided to set Aggie Mundeen’s fourth book on the River Walk during Fiesta Week, I had to view sights and sounds with new eyes. I also had to produce a bang-up scene at the end because Aggie always manages to cause one.

Did it require a lot of research and if so what kind?

I had to know the history and details of La Villita, Arneson River Theater, Fiesta Week and the organizations behind it, and the role of the military. In addition to the history of creating the River Walk, I had to research hotels, restaurants, river barges and landscaping. I wanted readers to experience San Antonio and the enchantment of strolling the River Walk. My goal was to immerse them in the story, not deliver a history lesson.

 What’s next for Nancy West?

Aggie and Sam reach a milestone in this book, but crime complicates relationships. What’s next depends on them. Who knows?                              —————

Nancy we are so thrilled you dropped by. Can’t wait to get my hands on that new book.

Thank you, Southern Writers Magazine, for letting me share this new adventure about Aggie, Detective Sam, and their friends in River City Dead.