About the Author
Author Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over one hundred articles for children and adults, this is her first book. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre where they raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods and practicing archery with her bow.
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you?
Twenty one years ago, my car was hit by another vehicle. I was bedridden for weeks, barely able to walk. But, I made myself walk to the front door and back after the first week. I became depressed because I was used to manual labor and my veggie garden was growing weeds. I called my only daughter and told her the problem of my overwhelming sadness. She said, “Mom, you’ve always wanted to be an author. Why do you start writing a book?” So I did.
2. What writing project are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects?
I’m working on the sequel to Just Claire, titled Being Claire. For the month of April, I’ve entered the NaNo Writers Camp to spur me on to write six days a week. Being Claire’s theme is about forgiveness, when the Lavender Girls Club has followed Claire to her remote part of Southern Oregon. Claire is faced with choosing to be like the girl bullies or rise above and show kindness in return.
What suggestions would you give a potential author to help them become a better writer? Read, read, read, (I know it’s a clique by now) other great and later not so great books. Why do I say not so great? For me once it sank in what a great story looked like (this took about five years in my situation), I then started reading sub-par books. It actually helped me how not to write.
3. What authors inspire your writing?
Laura Ingalls Wilder with her Little House series, Valerie Hobbs’s Tender; Kirby Larson’s Hattie Big Sky; Deborah Wiles’s Each Little Bird that Sings; all books by Jane Kirpatrick, for the beautiful storytelling and spiritual content, and more recently Lori Copeland & Virginia Smith’s Rainy Day Dreams, for teaching me deeper POV.
4. What period of history interests you the most? Does this influence your writing?
The time period which I love to read is the 1800’s. Because I know the work it would take to research for a book in this era, I don’t write it. I instead enjoy this time period to read for a pleasant and needed break from my not-so-distant historicals (1960s), and my contemporary writing. There is one way it may influence my writing, is I keep my books clean and good values-based, the same as what I read. This doesn’t mean my characters don’t struggle, as we in real life struggle, but love and truth always win in my stories.
5. What inspired the idea for Just Claire?
My own mother almost died in childbirth with my little brother. And as with Claire’s mom, my own mother was never quite right after this. I wrote the book I longed to read when I was ten and struggling with the emotional loss of my mother who was never the same.
6. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming a writer ever cross your mind?
Here’s the order of what I wanted to be, with if the first career didn’t work out, there were other choicies: a wife and mother, a horse jockey, a race car driver. Becoming a writer was a secret desire that I shared with no one and wanted to do along with whatever I did in life.
7. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
I really enjoy archery, big game hunting (no, I’ve not brought home the meat, yet, with my bow), and hiking in the mountains of Southern Oregon. I love spending time on my hobby farm, and with husband, thirteen grandchildren and my two children. My youngest child, Joshua, died at the age of twenty-five, and has been greatest loss of my life, and God continues to bless me with life and love.
About the Author
Alexis A. Goring is a writer at heart and a journalist by profession.
She loves the art of storytelling! She was delighted when her first book, an inspirational romance novella called Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories, released in Sept. 2013.
When Alexis is not working on her next book or chasing down the next big story for the newspaper where she works as a freelance reporter, she can be found listening to songs by her most admired musicians, enjoying the food in cafes/restaurants, shopping at her favorite malls and spending quality time with loved ones (family and friends).
1. How long does it typically take you to write a book?
It takes about four to eight months per novella for me to write a story from start to finish. I’ve yet to write a standalone novel. My novellas usually cap at 40K words.
2. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Haha. I wrote my first “book” at age 9. I called it “Sisters.” I typed it into a word processor on the family computer, printed it out and drew illustrations for it too. Unfortunately, I cannot find it anywhere. But at least I had time to read it to my Mom’s best friend and family members before I lost it.
3. What suggestions would you give potential author to help them become a better writer?
I’d say to keep writing, develop your skill set through creative writing classes, attend writer workshops and writer’s conferences then dive in headfirst. Remember to take notes as you learn how to become a better writer and never give up!
4. How frequently do you hear from your fans?
Every now and then, someone will send an e-mail message or a leave a note on my Author page on Facebook and they’ll tell me why they love my work. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, their thoughtful notes make my day!
5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming a writer ever cross your mind?
I “knew” after writing that first “book” of mine (Sisters) that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. It was the onlycareer choice that crossed my mind. However, when I went to college, a Journalism professor pretty much recruited me and I found that I had a talent for it. So then I started to dream of being a journalist and a writer of fictional stories. Thankfully, God allowed both of those dreams to come true!
6. What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
My second passion (after writing) is photography. Right now I only have my smartphone’s camera to take pictures with but I dream of being able to buy my own Canon brand DSLR and launch a photography business on the side. I’m also a foodie. I enjoy visiting new restaurants/cafes and exploring the creative dishes.
About the Author
Charissa Stastny hails from Las Vegas, Nevada, but has never pulled the handle of a slot machine and can’t shuffle cards to save her life. After writing the creative tale of The Creature from McGool in 4th grade, she has envisioned herself an author, and continued in shame to pen some cheesy romance scenes as a teenager. Thankfully, she has matured somewhat and tries hard not to spread too much cheese around in her writing now. She graduated from Brigham Young University in Elementary Education and enjoys writing, reading, hiking and biking. She resides in Idaho’s Treasure Valley with her husband and children, where card shuffling isn’t required. Whew!
1. How did you get started as an author? What or whom inspired you? I’d always wanted to write a book, but never seemed to have time between being a mother to my kids, a caregiver to a bunch of others, and then a preschool teacher later. When my kids were spread out between elementary and high school, I suddenly found myself spending lots of time waiting for them at practices and such. That’s when I started bringing notebooks with me and hashing out my story from beginning to end (which ended up being my Bending Willow Trilogy). That hooked me on the writing process…and now I don’t want to stop.
2. What writing project are you currently working on? What can you tell us about these projects? I’m almost finished with my next novel, Between Hope and the Highway. It will be released this fall. It’s taken me way too long, and so I’d like to fine-tune my writing process this summer so that I plot my books in the future, instead of relying on the seat of my pants.
3. What suggestions would you give a potential author to help them become a better writer? There are so many great writing books out there to help you. Read as many of them as you can, and apply new techniques to your writing as you learn them. Go to a writing conference each year if you can, and learn how to plot a story. I’ve done the pantser method for my first four books, and it’s fun…but very inefficient. If you want to make money, you’ll need to get books out faster than pantsing it allows. And plotting will ensure you have all your plot points up front so you don’t have to spend months trying to figure out why a certain section isn’t working out for you and rewriting it (um…I might know what I’m talking about here. Hee hee)
4. What authors inspire your writing? There are tons of authors I adore, but the ones that probably inspire my own writing in contemporary romance the most are Taylor Dean, Amy Harmon, Sheralyn Pratt, and Jennifer Peel. I can reread their stories and never tire of them.
5. What period of history interests you the most? Does this influence your writing? I’m pretty grateful for the present. That’s probably why I tend to set my stories in it. I do love to read Regency romances when I find them, but I don’t know if I’ll ever write one.
6. What inspired the idea for each of the novels in the Bending Willow Series? My muse started with a door-to-door salesperson. An Israeli girl named Suvi, with a nose ring and a vivacious personality, knocked, charmed me into buying one of her oil paintings, and then talked to my daughters and me for an hour. After she left, a story started to form around her in my mind. As I wrote my imagined story for Suvi, I wanted to help my daughters be aware of hidden secrets people carry so that they would be more merciful in their judgment of others. We never know what awful circumstances and experiences have led someone to act in certain ways. My little brother was my inspiration for my hero. He served a mission in Guatemala and I used his letters to cast James Hinton. I tease him that James is him…only cooler!
7. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming a writer ever cross your mind?I’ve always had a love affair with books and a tendency to get lost in my dream worlds as a child. As a teenager, I wrote cheesy romance scenes between handsome cowboys and milkmaids…and I promise, the world will NEVER see these! They’re cheesier than a Walmart tuxedo.
8. What other hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing? Reading is my biggest hobby. I’m always happy with a good book and quiet time. I also love gardening (although I’m not an avid gardener). I like designing and planting things, and then sitting back to enjoy pretty flowers, bushes and trees that don’t need much (or any) babying from me. I like camping, hiking, biking, playing the piano, and painting (when I’m in the mood). I always love chocolate. It is the hobby I’m probably best at—sniffing it out and savoring it.
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