Interview & Spotlight: ALL THE THINGS WE LOST by Kayla Tirrell

Today I am happy to have as my guest,  Kayla Tirrell, author of the River Valley Lost & Found series. She’s here to tell us about her writing and All the Things We Lost, the first book in her  young adult, contemporary romance series.

About All The Things We Lost

ThingsLost_coverAfter her mother’s death, eighteen-year-old Katie finds herself in a town she never thought she’d see again. Lost in turmoil and sadness, a ray of hope shines when she comes face to face with Julian for the first time in years.

However, he isn’t the same boy she left behind. Reserved and covered in bruises, everyone in River Valley avoids him. Rumors of his activities run rampant.
Despite his cold attitude toward her and her own sadness, Katie can’t keep her thoughts from straying to her childhood friend.

Julian is barely keeping it together. He’s the sole provider for his family after his dad leaves. His dreams to go to college are ruined. Even his relationship with his older brother leaves its mark.

But Katie’s back in town and is stirring feelings in him he thought were lost forever.

Can they find hope and love in each other, or will the struggle to survive their desperate situations prove too much?

All The Things We Lost is a young adult contemporary romance perfect for both teens and adults. It is the first in a series of books, each revolving around a different couple living in the same, small town.

Tip: You can download All the  Things We Lost from Amazon for just 99 cents or read for free with Kindle Unlimited.

An interview with Kayla Tirrell

Earlier this year, you released a YA series set in Idaho. What made you choose Idaho?  Have you spent a lot of time there?  

I actually grew up in a small town called Kuna. River Valley is loosely based on this town. It was fun to relive some of my childhood experiences through Katie and Julian.

What challenges did you face in the writing process? How did you deal with writer’s block, and so on…?

Well, for one, I don’t actually live in Idaho anymore. So I spent a lot of time talking to my childhood friends. I asked a LOT of questions.KaylaTirrell

Writer’s block hasn’t been a problem as of yet. Finding the time to write is the real struggle.

Do you have any advice to offer other writers?  

It’s cliché, but don’t give up. I almost put All The Things We Lost down, never to be finished. I’m really glad I didn’t. I’ve met so many amazing authors and readers along the way. This book has really touched people. That’s an amazing feeling.

I am guessing you read a lot. What genre do you most enjoy reading? 

I actually don’t get to read nearly as much anymore. Writing takes a lot of my free time. But I enjoy young adult, specifically fantasy and science fiction. In fact, I have a science fiction idea that I HOPE to be writing early in 2018.

What writers or books have most inspired you?

Considering I write romance, Kasie West and Morgan Matson have been some of my biggest influences. Wendy Higgins is another.

What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m working on a collaboration with two other authors. I’m really excited about it. We recently released a collection of short stories (that’s available for free on all major retailers), but are co-authoring a full-length series together. Each one of us is writing a book in it, and it should be released early 2018.

What role does social media play in your life?

I have such a love/hate relationship with social media. I actually took a several-month hiatus when I was finishing up All The Things We Lost. I find it to be such a black hole for time. That said, I’ve so enjoyed connecting with readers and writers I wouldn’t have known otherwise.

What do you do when you’re not busy reading and writing?

I’m a mom of three very active boys. I spend a lot of time chasing them. I’m also very active in my church.

And last but not least, if you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?

I really, really want to visit Russia. I’m fascinated by the architecture of their cathedrals.

About the Author

Kayla has loved to read as long as she can remember. While she started out reading spooky stories that had her hiding under her covers, she now prefers stories with a bit more kissing.

When she gets a chance to watch TV, she enjoys cheesy sci-fi and superhero shows. Most days, you’ll catch her burning dinner in an attempt to cook while reading just one more chapter.

Kayla lives in the sunshine state with her husband and three boys.

You can find Kayla on:  Amazon  Website    Twitter

Additional works by Kayla include:

To subscribe to her newsletter and receive a FREE short story, click here.

Interview & Spotlight: CAT GOT YOUR SECRETS by Julie Chase

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am happy to have Julie Chase as my guest as she celebrates the release of Cat Got Your Secrets, the latest addition to her Kitty Couture Mystery series.

Interview

Welcome, Julie.  I think the best place to start would be to tell us a little about yourself. 

JulieALindsey2Sure! I’m Julie Anne Lindsey, a writer-mom who stays home with her three busy kids, ages 9, 11 & 14. My children are growing up so fast in every way. My youngest is in 4th grade tomorrow and my oldest started high school last week.

Also, I write the Kitty Couture series as Julie Chase, but it’s a pen name for the project, and I write lots of other things as myself. Beginning April 2018, I will write romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue.

What sparked the idea to write this novel?

The Kitty Couture series was inspired by a trip to New Orleans in 2015. I fell in love with the city and wanted a reason to go back as often as possible. Once I climbed aboard a street car and got off in the Garden District, I knew that was where my next novel/series belonged. It’s an enchanting place. Since I can’t take the whole world with me physically when I visit, I figured a great novel set on those streets is just as good.

How long did it take you to write?

I wrote Cat Got Your Secrets in about 28 days. Though, the writing only began after 7-10 days of extensive plotting and detailed outlining. Once I understood all the pieces and how they would fit together, I began writing one chapter a day. Twenty-eight days/chapters later, I’d finished. I normally take 2 days at the end to reread my work, then huzzah! A novel. The entire process is more like six weeks, but I have it down to a science which helps me meet deadlines and know with confidence when I can turn something in or begin a new project. For this reason, I’m a huge advocate of outlining.

What book are you reading right now?

Right now I’m reading Protection Detail by Julie Miller, it’s a romantic suspense from Harlequin Intrigue, and I’m also reading the first in the Outlander series for my book club. In addition, my high schooler and I are listening to the YA novel, Smoke & Bone, on audio disk during the hefty 45 minute commute to his new nerd school – I’m super proud of my over-achieving offspring. They talk about math the way I talk about books.

Is there anything you would like to say to your readers that my readers might want to know about you or your series?

Only that this series is near and dear to my heart and has been so much fun to write. I’ve fallen in love with each character, and had plans to see them live on for years, having new and exciting adventures in New Orleans. However, the industry is what it is, and I’m not in control of the series duration. I have my finger crossed that the publisher will ask for more tales of Lacy and her crew, but at the moment, it looks like this will be my final installment. It’s something I haven’t mentioned before because it breaks my heart to share, but unless something changes, Cat Got Your Secrets is the final Kitty Couture Mystery.

About Cat Got Your Secrets

cgys-colored-cover-2017-1-4Lacy Marie Crocker has settled into a comfortable groove back home in New Orleans, and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, she’s busier than ever running a thriving pet boutique, helping her mother organize the upcoming National Pet Pageant, and untangling her complicated love life. But when delivering a king-sized order of dreidel-shaped doggy biscuits for a Saint Berdoodle’s bark-mitzvah, Lacy stumbles into yet another murder scene—and the last person to see the victim alive was her own father.

It’s up to Lacy to clear her dad’s name from the suspect list before Detective Jack Oliver has to cage him for good. But just when she starts pawing at the truth, she receives a threatening letter from a mysterious blackmailer bent on silencing her with her own secrets. And Lacy’s not the only one with bones in her closet.

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a paperback set of books 1 & 2 in the Kitty Couture series and a themed wallet filled with mardi gras beads.

About the Author

Julie Chase is a mystery-loving pet enthusiast who hopes to make readers smile. She lives in rural Ohio with her husband and three spunky children. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. She is represented by Jill Marsal of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. Julie also writes as Julie Anne Lindsey. Learn more about Julie Anne Lindsey here.

Purchase Links:  Amazon     B&N     BAM!    IndieBound

Interview & Giveaway: WAVES OF MURDER by C.S. McDonald

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Today’s post showcases “Waves of Murder,” the latest addition to the Fiona Quinn mystery series by C.S. McDonald.  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it sounds like a great beach read.  And it is my pleasure to have C.S. McDonald on my blog today to answer a few questions about her recent release.

An interview with C.S. McDonald

C.S. McDonaldThe Fiona Quinn Mysteries are set in Pittsburgh. Have you ever been there?

I sure have! I was born and raised in Pittsburgh—and yes, I bleed black and gold. In fact, Fiona Quinn (our heroine) is a kindergarten teacher at the elementary school that I attended and she lives at 529 Oxford Street—in the very same house I grew up in. When I describe the house, it is exactly as I remember it. Now, let me be clear—my grandmother never lived in the attic, but isn’t having a ghostly grandma fun? Many Pittsburgh venues are mentioned in the books as well. Example: in book #1 Murder on Pointe the story revolves around the Benedum Center—one of Pittsburgh’s premiere theaters.

In Waves of Murder, you move the stories from Pittsburgh to Presque Isle in Erie, Pennsylvania. Why did you take Fiona there?

As a child that is where my family vacationed. It was the only place my parents could afford to take us. I loved the beaches of Presque Isle, and I still visit the area every summer. I knew that Fiona had to visit this terrific beach, but her experiences are less relaxing than mine usually are. Poor Fiona encounters a murder—I’m happy to say this has never happened to me!

If you had to choose an actress to portray Fiona, who would you pick?

Kaley Cuoco hands down! Every time I watch Big Bang Theory I think—Wow! She would make the perfect Fiona!

Do you have another profession besides writing?

No. For twenty-six years I was a professional dancer/choreographer. I retired in 2011 and have not looked back. Whether I am working on my romantic suspense series or the Fiona Quinn books, I love writing! As a child, I used to write stories all the time, and as a child, I danced. Interesting how things come full circle—I was a professional dancer, and now I’m a writer.

Who is your biggest fan?

My husband, Bill, has been such a great supporter of my work for years—both in the dance studio and at the laptop. Unfortunately, I feel the person who would’ve been most proud of my success as a writer would have been my dad. He loved to read, and as proud as he was of my dance career, the man would have burst at the seams with pride when I published my first book in 2011. He would’ve been showing my books to anyone who would look, no doubt. My father passed away very unexpectedly in 2005 so he never got to see my writing career, but I know he is watching from above with a big toothy grin on his face!

About Waves of Murder

Waves of MurderSchool’s out for the summer!
Kindergarten teacher, Fiona Quinn is looking forward to spending some quality time in her yard and with her boyfriend, Detective Nathan Landry. However, Fiona’s plans get squelched when her mother volunteers her to edit a manuscript for famous romance author, Wyla Parkes.

What’s so bad about that? The author insists Fiona must work on the manuscript at her beach cottage on Presque Isle–three hours away from her yard and Nathan. Spending six weeks in an adorable cottage on a private beach doesn’t really seem all that bad until people start turning up dead—beginning with the author! Fiona’s summer of sun and sand is instantly transformed into a murder investigation. Can Fiona and Nathan crack the case or will the murderer get away on a wave of deceit?

Join Fiona and the gang for a hot whodunit on the sandy beaches of Presque Isle, Pennsylvania!

Giveaway

Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of Waves of Murder: A Fiona Quinn Mystery by C.S. McDonald (open to USA only – 2 winners).

About the Author

For twenty-six years C.S. McDonald’s life whirled around a song and a dance. She was a professional dancer and choreographer. During that time she choreographed many musicals and an opera for the Pittsburgh Savoyards. In 2011 she retired from her dance career to write. Under her real name, Cindy McDonald, she writes murder-suspense and romantic suspense novels. In 2014 she added the pen name, C.S. McDonald, to write children’s books for her grandchildren. Now she adds the Fiona Quinn Mysteries to that expansion. She decided to write the cozy mystery series for her young granddaughters, and has found that so many adults love them too.

Ms. McDonald resides on her Thoroughbred farm known as Fly by Night Stables near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with her husband, Bill, and her poorly behaved Cocker Spaniel, Allister.

Connect with the author:  Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook 

Interview & Release Spotlight: MURDER AT SUNRISE by Kathi Daley

This week Kathi Daley releases another cozy mystery – Murder at Sunrise – the second book in her mystery series set in Hawaii. Kathi is visiting my blog today to tell us about her release and answer my questions about her experiences as a mystery writer.

SunriseKathiAbout Murder at Sunrise

Hilarity ensues when a group of seniors decide to investigate after one of their own ends up dead. Luke and Lani join the effort only to discover that they may have bitten off more than they can chew when the murder mystery becomes a lot more complicated, and a lot more dangerous, than anyone could have anticipated.

Interview

Earlier this year, you launched a new mystery series set in Honolulu.  What made you choose Hawaii?  Have you spent a lot of time there?

My husband and I vacation on Maui on a fairly regular basis and I really love the feel of the islands. I do like to place my series in settings I enjoy visiting physically and mentally, and I do try to mix things up a bit between the mountains and the ocean. Initially I thought about setting the series on Maui, but with its larger population, I felt that Oahu offered a more realistic backdrop for which inevitably will become a community with a lot of murders.

The second book in the Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mystery Book  series – “Murder at Sunrise” will be released this week.  What can you tell us about it?

Murder at Sunrise is a fun book because it involves the participation of a group of hysterically funny seniors who were briefly introduced in Murder at Dolphin Bay. The main character, Kailani Pope, lives in a small condominium complex. Her next door neighbor, Elva Chambers, is a senior citizen who has recently suffered a broken hip. Elva is unable to drive, so on her days off Lani drives her to events at the senior center. It is at one of these events, a sunrise ceremony for the summer solstice, that a murder occurs. Initially Lani isn’t going to get involved in the investigation since she got into a lot of trouble with her detective brother the last time she tried to get in the middle of things, but the investigation is moving slowly so a group of seniors decide to investigate on their own. Lani, along with her boyfriend Luke, don’t want the seniors to put themselves in any danger, so they decide to pitch in and help them out.

What are you working on right now?

I am currently working on Treasure in Paradise, one of the books from the Paradise Lake series which is published by Henery Press. Once I complete that project I plan to begin working on the Halloween stories which will be published for each of my self-publish series. On tap for Halloween is Murder at The Witching Hour: Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mystery; Costume Catastrophe: Zoe Donovan Mystery; and Count Catula: Whales and Tails Mystery. They will publish in August and September.

Wow, that’s impressive.  Based on the vast number of books you have written – you don’t seem to have a problem with writer’s block. How do you do it?

I work a lot. I know this isn’t the fun and sexy answer but it is true. I log onto my computer while I’m enjoying my first cup of coffee and I usually can be found at my computer until late afternoon. I self-publish a minimum of a book a month as a base. From this base I add books to the mix depending on my time limitations. The past two years I have published 18 books per year but this year I have had to back off a bit in order to expand into trade publishing. I plan to publish 12 – 13 self-publish books, plus I am writing two for Henery Press, and I am working on a new project for another publisher that it is too early to talk about. I also travel quite a bit so I need to carve out free time for this. I just got back from a two week writing trip to Maui where I wrote Murder at Sunrise on location, and I plan to be at Bouchercon (New Orleans) in September; Jackson MO (Mystery Train) in October; Honolulu Hi (Left Coast Crime) in March; and Bethesda MD (Malice) in April.

I am guessing you read a lot of mysteries. Do you enjoy reading (or even writing) other genres as well?

I actually read very little now that I am a writer (lack of time). Prior to writing a cozy mystery I had never even read one. A friend of mine knew I was thinking about getting into writing and suggested cozy mysteries as an option. He gave me a list of authors to read. I read them and thought to myself that I could do that and I did. Prior to writing cozy mysteries I tended to read romance. I guess that now I pick my reading material based on which of my author friends has a new book out that I want to support. I have written one stand alone romance: Road to Christmas Past, and I am currently working on another romance series. I also have 5 books in a YA mystery series – Seacliff High. Seacliff High is basically a cozy mystery with teenage characters. It is popular amongst teens and adults alike since it contains many of the same characteristics of my adult series.

What are you currently reading??

Sand Dollar Cove by Nancy Naigle.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? 
This is a hard one because if I really wanted to go somewhere I would go. I’ve been to all 50 states and have really enjoyed spending time getting to know this beautiful country. My son lives in Ireland at the moment and I haven’t seen my grandchildren since they came to visit at Christmas so I guess I would want to go there if I had the time but it is much too long of a flight to go for a short visit.

That’s all for now. Hope you get to see your grandkids and the Emerald Isle sometime soon.  It’s been a pleasure having you as my guest. And, of course, congrats on your new release!

About Kathi Daley

Kathi Daley lives with her husband, kids, grandkids, and Bernese mountain dogs in beautiful Lake Tahoe. When she isn’t writing, she likes to read (preferably at the beach or by the fire), cook (preferably something with chocolate or cheese), and garden (planting and planning, not weeding). She also enjoys spending time on the water when she’s not hiking, biking, or snowshoeing the miles of desolate trails surrounding her home.

Kathi uses the mountain setting in which she lives, along with the animals (wild and domestic) that share her home, as inspiration for her cozy mysteries.

Kathi is a top 100 mystery writer for Amazon and she won the 2014 award for both Best Cozy Mystery Author and Best Cozy Mystery Series.

She currently writes five series: Zoe Donovan Cozy Mysteries, Whales and Tails Island Mysteries, Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mysteries, Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mysteries, and Seacliff High Teen Mysteries.

Connect with Kathi:

Interview & Release Spotlight: ROGUES & RASCALS IN GOOSE PIMPLE JUNCTION by Amy Metz

Amy Metz is at again. She has just released another book – Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction – the third book in her Goose Pimple Junction Mysteries series.  Amy is visiting my blog today to tell us about her release and answer my questions about her experiences as a cozy mystery writer.

About Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction

GPJ4CoverLike any good Southern belle, Caledonia Culpepper was raised by her mama to be gracious, charming, witty, and above all, a devoted mother and loving wife, so she’s baffled when her marriage falls apart.

Wynona Baxter is a master of disguise but is often a ditzy airhead. A hit woman wannabe, when she’s hired for her first job in Goose Pimple Junction and things don’t go as planned, she’s forced to resort to Plan B. She’ll also need Plan C and D.

Crooked lawyers, restless husbands, a teenaged hoodlum – it seems there are rogues and rascals everywhere you look in Goose Pimple Junction.

When Caledonia and Wynona’s paths cross, they prove there isn’t a rogue or a rascal who can keep a good woman down. Mama always said there would be days like this . . .

Interview

What’s your favorite thing about the writing process?
After the first draft is done, I like to go back and add the layers. More dialogue, more description . . . if a draft is the bones of a story, I love adding the clothing.

Where did you get the idea for this book?
Real life. I went through a divorce last year, and my ex-husband’s attorney was so horrible I wanted to kill her. Since I didn’t want to go to jail, I put her in a book.

What books do you currently have published?
Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction is book 1 in the series. Book 2 is Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction. Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction is book 3 (but falls chronologically between books 1 and 2). And Rogues & Rascals in Goose Pimple Junction is book 4.

Is writing your dream job? Yes, at the moment, it is. My first dream job was being a mom. Now that my boys are grown, writing is my dream job. The only other job I’d love to have would be to have someone pay me to travel and take pictures of the places I visit. That would be awesome.

What five things would you never want to live without? Trees, flowers, sweet tea, makeup, and my computer.

What’s the biggest lie you ever told?
That would probably be when I was trying to convince my mother—who had dementia at the time—that she needed to move to an assisted living facility. I told her she was just going there for rehab when in fact it was for good.

Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
I love, love, love the Stockbridge, Massachusetts library. Besides the beauty of the building (it was built in 1864), it has a wonderful room upstairs that is usually vacant. You can go up there and work or read among all those books and all that history. Beauty, solitude, and books. What could be better?

Who is your favorite fictional character? (Not your own.)
Probably Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice. She’s so smart and quick-witted, and in the end she gets a man who loves her madly.

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
It’s Calvin & Hobbs making faces. It reminds me not to be too serious about things.

What’s your favorite treat for movie night?
Junior Mints or chocolate covered raisins. Popcorn is always a good choice too.

Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?
Of course! Tess is a klutz like I am. I’m sure there are other subconscious ones as well.

How did you get the amazing cover art for this book?
I was trolling through the Internet, just looking for something that jumped out at me. I can’t remember the search word I used, but as soon as I saw “Emerico” Imre Tóth’s “Bowler Hat on a Rainy Day” painting, I fell in love and I knew it was the cover for my fourth book. I contacted him, and he was kind enough to sell me the rights to use it.

AmyMetzpicAbout the Author

Amy Metz is the author of the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. She is a former first grade teacher and the mother of two sons. When not actively engaged in writing, enjoying her family, or surfing Facebook or Pinterest, Amy can usually be found with a mixing spoon, camera, or book in one hand and a glass of sweet tea in the other. Amy lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Guest Post: BRANDY, the Chocolate Lab, Shares His Story

Today, I am happy to have Brandy as my special guest. Brandy is the chocolate labrador retriever from Think Murder. He’s here to tell us a bit about Adina and her friends at the Cutie Pie dog rescue.

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labrador-805856_1280croppedWhen I was just a puppy,  a lady came and took me away from my mother and my sisters and brothers. The lady was really nice and tried to take good care of me.  But her man didn’t seem to like me much.  A couple of weeks later, he took me for a ride in the car, then put me out on the side of busy road and drove away.  The noise from all those cars was scary.  After I’d wandered around a while,  a different man stopped his car and picked me up.  This man took me to Cutie Pie.

The people at Cutie Pie were nice, especially Adina. Bruce and Stacey were cool, too, but Adina was my favorite. Trust me, she’s good people. We dogs have ways of knowing these things.  She took me on long walks and gave awesome belly rubs.  I could tell she loved me, and I really hoped she’d take me home with her.  I’d have done almost anything for Adina.  Alas, she didn’t take me home (sigh), but she did help me find my forever home.  I was adopted by a wonderful family with two kids, and they take great care of me.

I am one lucky puppy.  Remember, there’s no greater gift a shelter/rescue animal can receive this holiday season than a loving family and a forever home. 

Before you go,  here’s an excerpt from Think Murder:

ThinkMurderfinalHilary had pretty much wound down by the time we reached McSweeney’s. A popular spot among men and women in their 20s and 30s, the pub was standing room only and the scent of Guinness hung in the air. Most of the guys were scoping the scene seeking out potential hookups – but that was nothing new. Petite and pretty, with strawberry blond hair and sparkly blue eyes, Hilary was a magnet for male attention.

We made our way to the bar and each ordered a glass of white wine. I even managed to grab a small dish of chicken wings for us to share. We did our best to eat, drink, and talk, while standing, constantly jostled by the crowd. Just as one guy was on the verge of striking up a conversation with us, we snagged a small table in the back corner.

More often than not I enjoyed watching the flirtations or even flirted a bit myself, but today my attention was on our conversation. Hilary’s mood had changed since our arrival. Seated at our relatively secluded table, she fidgeted in her chair. After we had both ordered a second glass of wine, Hilary took a few rapid sips, then confided, “Something’s going on with Duncan, he’s been acting strange.” She hesitated, then stammered, “Do you think he’s cheating on me?” Continue reading

Author Spotlight and Interview: TERESA HIRST

TeresaHirstHeadShot2014-250x300I am pleased to spotlight Teresa Hirst on my blog today. Teresa’s latest novel, Flowers of Grace, will be released on February 20th.  Set in an upscale St. Louis boutique amid a fragile economic climate when retail customers are trading brick and mortar stores for online shopping, Flowers of Grace is a story of love and loss, friendship and forgiveness.

Interview

Teresa, I understand that you are about to release your second book, Flowers of Grace.  What inspired this moving story?

I inherited a beautiful hibiscus plant from a woman just before she died from cancer. Despite all of my best efforts to water, feed and care for her plant, it died. The idea for Flowers of Grace developed and her plant gained a new life in this novel.  Grace, the manager of an upscale boutique, also receives a hibiscus from a departing friend and is sure that she will kill it if she is left to care for it on her own. She rallies the women on her staff to help it bloom, and their dynamic personalities fill the clothing store. Grace and the plant blossom through a wedding and a birth, but its unexpected death pushes her to face false assumptions, opening a path for new love to appear.

What challenges did you face in the writing process? 

Because I also write nonfiction and use source material topically, I struggled to write scenes for a novel chronologically. When I discovered that I could write scenes as they came to me and then insert them together, the story unfolded at a good pace.

Do you have any advice to offer other writers?

Pursue a genre that speaks to you. Be cognizant of your audience as you write, because you will need to sell it to someone, but don’t write according to the trends just to ride on those. Also, write in a variety of formats—long and short, fiction and nonfiction, creative and informative. Writing in this way generates good skills but it also helps you practice one of the most challenge tasks —really communicating with a reader.

What genre do you most enjoy reading? What are you currently reading?

I enjoy women’s fiction—both contemporary and historical. I also love biography. Although I don’t generally read young adult fiction, I just finished the first book in the new series, Citizen of Logan Pond: Life by Rebecca Belliston and enjoyed the characters and imagining what survival skills I might use in the event that the Great Recession had become an impetus for unchecked government control.

What writers or books have most inspired you?

My husband introduced me to the short story or novella Babette’s Feast many years ago by author Isak Dinesen. In this quirky remote Scandinavian setting a congregation of devout followers have a famous chef living among them and do not even know what they have. Clever stories like that inspire me to find similar connections and twists that characters work to uncover.

As a contrast, in my young mom days I read a lot of Maeve Binchy novels because I liked getting involved in the family settings she develops. In my own writing I like the themes of family life and working through relationship issues. I read widely from old classics to new indie published authors.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the sequel to Flowers of Grace, which is Open to Joy. I shared a chapter with my writing group last month, which wasn’t a resource I had when I wrote Flowers of Grace. It was fun to workshop with other writers, and I would encourage writers to gather with other writers to do this. It doesn’t need to be a list of best selling authors who meet in a premiere location. Some of the best writing groups simply look like six to eight writers (published and unpublished) who share their work face-to-face and receive feedback from each other.

What role does social media play in your life?

Social media plays a huge role in my life. I studied journalism, worked for a newspaper and worked in public affairs. Social media allows me to stay informed and develop my own channels to communicate with people in a professional but social way as I build relationships and share content.

I’m pretty authentic in what I share about my personal life online. I received a rare cancer diagnosis last year, just after I released Twelve Stones to Remember Him, an inspirational nonfiction book about how individuals and families managed through the financial crisis. That was sort of ironic to receive my own new crisis as I was marketing that book. Cancer brought an unexpected twist to my life and added a new dimension to how I use social media.

What do you do when you’re not busy reading and writing?

I have great conversations, of course! I love to connect with women to talk, talk, talk. I still call old friends on the phone at least once a week. I gain so much from my female friends, my sisters, and my daughters. The women I’ve come to trust have a way of talking through things with me that helps me make decisions and feel connected.

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Books by Teresa Hirst

  • Flowers of Grace – available for preorder (special price) at Amazon and other online retailers.  (Enter the Goodreads giveway to win a free copy of Flowers of Grace and add it to your shelf on Goodreads.)

Twelve Stones to Remember Him (available on Amazon)

About Teresa Hirst

Teresa lives in Minnesota with her husband and teenage children. She is a Mormon choosing faith and gratitude to cope with neuroendocrine cancer. She enjoys cooking, sentimental movies, Sunday afternoon walks and great conversations.

To learn more about Teresa and her books, please visit http://www.teresahirst.com or follow her on social media.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/TeresaHirstAuthor
Twitter https://twitter.com/TeresaHirst
Instagram http://instagram.com/teresa_hirst/
Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/teresahirst/
Google + https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TeresaHirst/posts