Saturday, September 28, 2013

Interview: Anne Mateer!

Anne Mateer
I am so excited to be posting an interview with Anne Mateer! =D So far I've read her novels "At Every Turn" and "A Home for My Heart", and I am so looking for to "Wings of a Dream", and anything else she releases in the future! :)

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started writing:
I have been married 26 years and have 3 wonderful kids, all of whom are currently in college at the moment--in 3 different states! I am a lifelong reader and writer. My goal from very early was to be an author, but I didn't seriously begin to study the craft of writing and seeking publication until 2000. After 10 years of writing novels, short stories, and articles, I finally received my first contract for a historical novel! 

What inspired you to write "A Home for My Heart"?
I went looking for a historical event or situation from the annals of my husband's hometown in central Pennsylvania. While researching, I stumbled across a few facts about a home for "orphan and friendless children" that grew out of a revival on the college campus in town. The history of that place so intrigued me that I knew I wanted to write a story with that as my setting. After burrowing into literally the attics and basements of the local college and courthouse, I found enough scattered information to create characters and a plot I felt would remain true to the time period and the institution itself. 
Wow! That is so neat. All your hard work and searching definitely payed off! "A Home for My Heart" was really interesting as well as enjoyable, and I enjoyed reading about how the children's home was run, and board meetings discussed.

What is your favorite quote from "A Home for My Heart"?
Oh my goodness! I have no idea! 

Who is your favorite of all your characters, and why?
My favorite character came to be Mrs. Fore. I loved how she "mothered" Sadie, Miranda, and Blaine, as well as the children. I also loved that she accepted each one where they were, lending advice on occasion, but mostly a listening ear. 
I loved her as well! :) She reminded me of my mom! <3

Are there any specific things/surroundings you like to have when writing?
I like listening to music while I write, mostly scores from movies. I've found that Spotify is good for always having something new and different at hand. Some of my favorites include the scores from John Adams, Lincoln, Somewhere in Time, and Little Women. 
I love listening to movie scores! I recognize Little Women- the music is really pretty!

How does your faith affect your writing?
For me, writing and faith are intertwined. My writing journey has fueled a deeper, more mature faith. That deeper faith then colors my writing. It is an endless circle. I certainly couldn't write without my faith, but my faith wouldn't be what it is today without my writing journey. 
That is so neat, Anne! God has certainly blessed you with an incredible talent- and I know He'll continue to bless you for using it for Him! 

What/Who is your favorite book/author and why?
I hate this question! Seriously, I can no more pick a favorite book than I can a favorite child. I have many books I love. Many books that have been influential in my life and my writing. I very much enjoy classics from Jane Austen, the Brontes, Charles Dickens, and even Tolstoy. I still love children's books, like Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, The Giver, and The Secret Garden. I enjoy older fiction such as The Chosen by Chaim Potok, Savannah by Eugenia Price, even Grace Livingston Hill books. And then there are newer voices that move me--Susan Meissner, Laura Frantz, Tamera Alexander, Sarah Jio, and so many others. See? It's so hard to choose! 
Haha! I know, I know, but I had to ask. ;) Lots of great authors/books! 

What is your favorite Period Drama film?
Again, so hard to choose! Of course, Downton Abbey has been awesome. The old Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth. I adored Bleak House and Little Dorrit and North and South (with Richard Armitage). Honestly, it's hard to think of a period drama I don't like! 
There are so many BBC's I love as well! North and South is one of my favorites EVER! :D

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Scotland, definitely. My husband and I dream of going there for an extended vacation, maybe renting a house and interspersing time there pretending we are Scots with traveling throughout the British Isles to see all the places we've read about in books! 
Scotland- *sigh* I'll go with you! >:)

Can you tell us a little about your current writing project?
My next book, releasing in the fall of 2014, is about a reluctant high school girls basketball coach in 1917. It's a story about figuring out who you are instead of who others desire you to be. 
Sounds great! I can't wait to read it!

Is there a verse that has especially encouraged you as you write?
The verse that has been my mainstay through these first three books is Proverbs 16:9: The mind of a man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. it reminds me that while I need to work hard and move forward, I must always stay open to the course the Lord has for me instead of clinging to something of my own making. I think in different ways most of my characters deal with that also. 

What is your favorite season, and why?
Winter, because if I'm cold, I can usually get warm (whereas if you are hot, it is sometimes hard to cool down!), and because in winter, on those early, dark evenings, I can sit in front of a blazing fire in a comfy chair with a hot drink and a good book. Ah, I love those evenings! 
My thinking exactly! (I can't stand hot weather!) 

Last, but definitely not least: tea or coffee? ;) 
Coffee! Lattes are even better! :) I can do tea, and prefer it on occasion, but I do love a good cup of coffee. 

Thanks so much, Anne, for stopping by for the chat! It was great to have you!


Wedded to War

Wedded to War (Heroines Behind the Lines, #1)
** spoiler alert ** This has to be my favorite Civil War story I've read. I haven't read many, but the ones I've read are ALL the same, so this was nice in it's uniqueness. :)

Some of the cases Charlotte dealt with as a nurse were a little nasty, but that's obviously expected, and nothing was too gory. Charlotte's devotion to and selflessness in caring for the soldiers was really sweet and I loved reading the parts where she would make her rounds of simply giving them water or talking to them.

There was in the secondary character's story the subject of the prostitution all around her (she comes from Five Points), but the author never got into the subject in detail, and "rescued" Ruby from the slums as soon as she could. ;) In Ruby's story was also a strong theme of life and mercy that was really touching, and when she's debating with herself about the option of abortion vs life ~ the message was really powerful! (Aiden O'Flannery was such a sweet baby!! ^_^) 

The tons of scriptures included were really great and had perfect timing- and it didn't seem as if the author was continually preaching at the reader, but her message was still really clear and convicting. 

The entire story was really gripping and I really enjoyed it; however, the ending was incredible! =D It was "any other great book" until I reached the last three chapters! It was like an entire new plot unfolded with new characters and intrigue. Really amazing. :) Very satisfactory ending!

As a side note, I really loved Jacob Carlisle (Charlotte's brother-in-law)! Since Charlotte has no father or brother, Jacob is pretty much her legal protector; thus when Charlotte is in trouble with the villain, it's Jacob who comes and defends her and orders the offender out. It was just really different from most novels - where the hero usually comes in, saves the day, and the light dawns on the heroine and she realizes she's in love - it was so much more realistic and was actually (I thought ;)) the best scene in the book! I just really liked that he took on his role seriously as his sister-in-laws guardian and defended her like a man- and that the heroine LET him! :P

In closing, this was a really enjoyable- though serious-themed- and touching story. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction will enjoy this immensely.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Quote-A-Day: Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss

“Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.” 

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” 

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” 

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” 

“A person's a person, no matter how small.” 

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” 

“I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” 

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” 

“You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!” 

“If things start happening, don't worry, don't stew, just go right along and you'll start happening too.” 

“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!” 

“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.”

“I meant what I said and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one-hundred percent!” 

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” 

“You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”

“They say I'm old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!” 

“I’m glad we had the times together just to laugh and sing a song, seems like we just got started and then before you know it, the times we had together were gone.” 

“Remember me and smile, for it's better to forget than to remember me and cry.” 

“Be awesome! Be a book nut!” 

“When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles 
and the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles...
...they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle 
bottle paddle battle.” 

“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” 

“You'll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You'll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.” 

“There's no limit to how much you'll know, depending how far beyond zebra you go.” 

“It's not about what it is, it's about what it can become.” 

“Try them, try them, and you may! Try them and you may, I say.” 

Stay awesome! :)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Interview: Sarah Holman

Image of Sarah Holman

With us today is Sarah Holman, a homeschool graduate and author of three published novels ~ The Destiny Trilogy. Welcome, Sarah!

Tell us a little about yourself:
Hi~ My name is Sarah and I am 23 years old. I am so blessed to still live with my amazing parents and five of my six siblings. Most days you can find me behind my computer screen typing away at a story. if I am not there, look for me out in the garden, behind a sewing machine, or on the couch with a good book.

What/Who inspired you to write Science/Fantasy Fiction?
I never thought of writing anything other then historical fiction or contemporary, until on day in early 2007. I watched Star Wars for the first time. Although I loved the adventure and the setting of the film, I wished there hadn't been so many New Age ideas in it. Trying to find good Christian science fiction is very hard. So, I decided to write a Sci-Fi book that had strong christian values, and lots of adventure.
So true- it IS hard! Thanks for making the decision to write family friendly novels for this genre- I really enjoyed your series and would recommend them to anyone!

What is your favorite quote from each of the three Destiny books?
The Destiny of One: Sometimes your destiny, what God made you to do, comes at you so suddenly that you are in the middle of it before you even knew that it had begun.

The Destiny of a Few: Your destiny isn't something that you choose, it is something that is prepared for you... The destiny of a few is in your hands.

The Destiny of a Galaxy: For God and the future generations.

Can you tell us a little about your current writing project?
I am currently putting the final touches set in a fictional country in
Europe during the Middle Ages. It is about a young girl who is taken from her home to serve at the castle of the king. She faces many challenges, make new friends, and enemies. I am hoping to release it sometime in October.

Just in time for my birthday! :) I'm really looking forward to it! 

Are there any specific things/surroundings you like to have when writing?
Good music. I make play lists for moods and characters so that I have just the right music to keep me writing. I also like to keep water or ice tea near by to drink. Sipping on that helps my writing flow.

Sounds lovely! That's a great idea to have playlists for your characters! =)

What is your favorite thing to do when not writing?
I work almost daily in the garden. We have a decorative garden in the front of our house and a vegetable garden. I love working with the soil and helping make things grow.
I read all the time. I read two books or more a week because I love it so much. I personally own over 100 books and counting, most of which I have read.
I also love to sew. I love making quilts, doll cloths, skirts, and dresses.

Where do you hope see yourself and your writing in ten years?
I hope to have at least ten more books published and have a following of readers. I also hope that even if I am not making a lot of money, I am still blessing and encouraging readers with the messages of my books.

Sounds like a great vision! You seem to write pretty fast, so I'm sure you'll far exceed that number of books! I'm gonna be part of that following! :)

How does your faith influence your writing?
Faith isn't just and aspect of my stories, it is my stories. Although I hope never to come across as preachy, I hope to always that my characters and stories encourage people to drew closer to God and stand up for what is right. I want faith not only to influence my books, by my books to influence others faith.
That's so incredible! I know I was encouraged by reading your books! I'll be praying that God uses your stories mightily in the hearts of the people reading them.

What is your favorite book/author and why?
Well, that changes often. I rarely read a book twice, other then the Bible. However, Christy by Catherine Marshall is probably one favorite books because of the profound effect on my life. It is a very hard book to read and deals with hard issues, but it really caused my faith to be built up.
My favorite author right now is Elizabeth Camden. Her characters are so well develop and her stories are just so powerful. I love her books so much.

What is your favorite Period Drama film?
This is a hard on. I love Jane Austen movies. I think my favorite would have to be Pride and Prejudice (1995)

I love that one! :)

Tea or coffee? 
Tea! I can't stand coffee, even with lots of sugar in it. I love tea though. I drink it all the time during the winter.


If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go?
England. I want to see the castles, the museums, and many of the historical sights. For the history of our nation is very much tied with theirs.
I'll go with you! ;D

Thanks so much for stopping by and chatting, Sarah!
Thank you so much for having me!