Category Archives: writing

Lunch with Author Sylvia Stewart

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I had a lovely lunch date a few weeks ago with author Sylvia Stewart. I had just finished reading the first book in her middle-grade Mysteries in Malawi series.  Kondi’s Quest is a fascinating story set in the East African country of Malawi.  I was anxious to get to know Sylvia better and learn about her journey as a writer. kondisquestfrontcoverfinal

Sylvia’s writing is rich in descriptive language, with finely drawn characters.  You fall in love with twelve year old Kondi right from the start.  Kondi faces many of the same struggles that children encounter around the world. Sylvia tackles these tough issues with honesty, and shows the peace and joy that can fill our lives despite our trials when we live for Christ. This story will resonate with readers young and old alike.

Her insight into her characters and the setting of her book does not come from hours of meticulous research. No, Sylvia is intimately familiar with Malawi and it’s people, as she and her husband served as missionaries there for twenty-one years. Her love for Africa and especially the people of Malawi shines through her writing.  This is a wonderful book for children and adults.

The best thing is, the story doesn’t end with Kondi’s Quest!  There are two more books in this great series that you will want to read:  Kondi’s Joy, and Kondi’s Secret. If you want to expose your child to a different culture, open their eyes to issues that all children face, and show them the path to peace and joy during the trials of life, then this series would make an excellent gift for the young or young-at-heart.

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Sylvia also has a contemporary sweet romance set in Seattle called, Seattle Rayne.  I LOVE the cover on this book!

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Along with some of my other favorite authors, she is included in a newly released Christmas Boxed Set, Mistletoe Kisses and Christmas Wishes.  I love curling up with a cup of cocoa and a lovely Christmas story on a cold fall day.

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I so enjoyed my conversation and lunch with Sylvia, that I forgot to ask all my interview questions! That just gives me another reason to spend more time with her, which I look forward to doing soon.

To learn more about Sylvia, what influences her writing, and about her upcoming books, connect with her on her website, blog, Facebook, Goodreads or Twitter.

 

 

Lunch with Author Lynnette Bonner

I first became acquainted with Lynnette Bonner in 2009 when I read her first book, “Rocky Mountain Oasis“.  I loved the book and knew I would be looking for more books from this author.  Thankfully, Lynnette is a prolific author with a total of eighteen books published to date.

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Equally fascinating as her book, was her author blurb on the back that informed me she lived in the Pacific Northwest (local!), was born in Malawi, Africa to missionary parents, and attended boarding school growing up.  I never imagined that I would one day meet Lynnette, let alone get to take her to lunch and learn about her writing journey.

Lynnette has been writing since her school days. After marrying her college sweetheart and moving to Idaho, she got the idea for Rocky Mountain Oasis while researching the history of the small town where they lived.  She wove her story from historical facts and her fictional characters to produce a compelling story that is true to the time period.  Her book was originally traditionally published by OakTara Publishing.

Lynnette has since become an indie author and her most recent publication is a serialized historical Christian romance set in East Africa.  “On the Wings of a Whisper” is the first installment in the Sonnets of the Spice Isle series. It is FREE on Amazon for Kindle, so click on the link and get your free copy today.  Much research into the time period makes this book a fascinating, historically accurate read.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the first installment, and look forward to reading the entire series.

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When asked about how she finds time to write, this busy mom of four and pastor’s wife, told me that she schedules time each day day to write. She uses an app called Freedom to block the internet, email, Facebook, etc. while she writes.  Otherwise, as we all know, it is too easy to think we will just check Facebook for a few minutes, and then look up and realize several hours have gone by and nothing has been accomplished.

Lynnette also shared with me a tidbit from James Scott Bell about writing 500 words first thing every morning, sort of like “priming the pump”.   James Scott Bell calls it “the furious 500“.  Too many times I think I need to pound out 2,000 words a day and some days it is too overwhelming to even start.  Small is better.  I am definitely going to apply the furious 500 to my writing.

Lynnette also recommends books on the writing craft by Randy Ingermanson, and a new video series called “The Creative Way” by author Ted Dekker.

Lynnette is not only an accomplished author, she is a great mentor and friend.  Looking for a good book?  You can’t go wrong with a Lynnette Bonner book.

Lunch with Author Dawn Kinzer

I recently had a wonderful lunch meeting with author Dawn Kinzer.  We met a few years ago when I first joined Northwest Christian Writers Association.  At my very first meeting, when I was standing there feeling out of place and awkward, she reached out to me and made me feel welcome. Don’t you just love people like that? Since then, we cross paths at monthly meetings and conferences, but I wanted a chance to get to know Dawn better as a person and an author.

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Like many of us, Dawn found a love for writing at a young age.  Her creativity with words manifested itself in many different ways through the years: from writing for her high school newspaper, to short stories, devotionals, full-length plays, blogging, and this fall, the first two historical romance novels in her series: The Daughters of Riverton.

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You can read more about Sarah’s Smile and Hope’s Design by clicking on these links.  I can hardly wait for the books to come out!  They are exactly the kind of story that I love to read.

Dawn began to take her writing seriously about ten years ago.  She has attended many writing conferences and belongs to several writing associations, to include the Northwest Christian Writers Association and the American Christian Fiction Writers.  She originally thought she was writing women’s fiction, but found she is greatly enjoying the research involved in writing historical romance.  Not content to just write a wonderful story, she wants to get every historical detail just right. As a reader, I love that attention to detail.

Dawn feels she writes in partnership with her husband, Sonny, who gives her support and encouragement.  They make decisions together.

Check Dawn’s beautiful website and subscribe to her newsletter for her FREE short story, Maggie’s Miracle.  Did I just say FREE?

Dawn recommends several books for writers: Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson, Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors by Kathy Ide, and The Christian Writer’s Manual of Style.

She shares these words of wisdom for aspiring authors, “Don’t underestimate yourself. Follow the path to publishing that feels right for you. Although our writing lives may have similarities, no two journeys will be exactly the same, so try not to make comparisons.” On the dreaded writer’s block, Dawn recommends a healthy dose of daydreaming to chase it away.

Dawn’s life is busy and full as a mom, grandma, freelance editor and writer.  I asked how she finds time to write each day, and Dawn encouraged me to try to consistently write a page a day.

Look for Dawn’s books: Sarah’s Smile in October of 2016, and Hope’s Design in November of 2016. You won’t want to miss them!

Lunch with Author Sonja Anderson

Like many writers, I am a bit of an introvert (truthfully, maybe more than a bit).  I love people, but I am happiest at home reading a book or working on my own writing endeavors.

A few months ago, I felt God encouraging me to get outside of my comfort zone and connect on a deeper heart level with people. While I had been a member of the Northwest Christian Writers Association for several years and attended three of their annual writing conferences, I had yet to really get to know anyone on a deeper level. I made the (somewhat scary) decision that each month I would invite one author from our group to lunch. My goal was to get to know them, learn about their writing journey, and ask for any words of wisdom that they had to share with me.

My first victim, er…guest, was the lovely Sonja Anderson, author of the wonderful children’s book, Sophie’s Quest. It is a charming story of Sophie the owl, and her mouse friend, Timley, as they travel the world on a great quest. The story of their friendship and adventure is enchanting and enlightening.  I recommend this book to parents and children alike.

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Sonja and I met at a local restaurant, and between bites of our meal enjoyed some great conversation. We connected over our shared love of books as children, and our dream to write books of our own.  She shared her love for the children’s classic, Heidi, and the Nancy Drew series. I confided that the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary were my refuge as a child. In a moment of vulnerability, I blurted out my lifelong dream of being the next Beverly Cleary for children. Gulp! (Did I actually just say that out loud?) Sonja didn’t laugh at my outrageous dream. She graciously encouraged me by telling me her own writing journey, which I will share with you now.

Sonja got the idea for her first book, Sophie’s Quest, many years ago. It took her six years to write it, doing copious research, and another six years to find a publisher. Sonja works as a school librarian, so I asked her how she found the time to write while raising her own children and working full-time. (Finding time to write is something I really struggle with myself.) Her secret was to commit to adding just one more inch of writing to her manuscript page each day. Setting such a small goal makes it easy to stay committed to your dream. I found this advice very encouraging.

Sonja also recommended a book on writing: Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication, by Ann Whitford Paul. Sonja shared her belief that anyone who uses this book from beginning to end while writing their story will have a publishable manuscript at the end. Of course, I went home and ordered the book right away, and I am finding it just as helpful as Sonja described.

We talked about self-publishing and traditional publishing. As a librarian, Sonja believes that traditional publishing is the best way to get your book in front of children. She explained the difficulty of getting a self-published book into school or even public libraries. This was something I had never thought about before.

Sonja is hard at work on a sequel to Sophie’s Quest, called Sophie Topfeather, Superstar!  It should be out in October of 2016. I can’t wait!

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Make sure and visit Sonja’s website: www.sonjaandersonbooks.com to learn more about Sonja and her writing.  Don’t miss the free online Bible Study for children called Sophie and Timley’s Bible Time, a great resource for parents and teachers alike.