Author Interviews

4 Questions With New York Times Bestseller Tosca Lee

She’s an incredible and engaging storyteller who brings to life whatever subject she chooses to write on. Poignant, fascinating, impactful and engaging are a few more words to describe the work Lee creates. And she’s a New York Times bestseller, so guess what? It isn’t me just being nice ;)! So excited to have her on the blog today!

Tosca Lee is a New York Times best-selling novelist whose works include the critically acclaimed Demon: A Memoir, Havah: The Story of Eve, and The Books of Mortals series (Forbidden, Mortal, Sovereign) with best-selling author Ted Dekker. Iscariot, Tosca’s highly-anticipated novel about the infamous betrayer of Christ was recently released. She is best known for her exploration of maligned characters, lyrical prose and meticulous research. Tosca received her B.A. in English and International Relations from Smith College and has also studied at Oxford University. A former first runner-up to Mrs. United States and lifelong world adventure-traveler, Tosca makes her home in the Midwest.

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
That I’d be doing what I love (writing stories) for a living and have the words “New York Times Bestseller” in front of my name. How crazy is that??

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
You know, I would have finished my last semester of college. I graduated a semester early just because I could, and because I somehow thought that was better, but it’s such a special time in life with friends that you never get back–if I could do it all over, I’d enjoy those few extra months before venturing into the real world. 🙂

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
This may sound cheesy, but they’re all happy in some way. I love going to eat brunch with my friends. Or going to ballet (after being quite serious about becoming a ballerina as a teen, I now do it just for fun and the spiritual practice of returning to the barre). Making dinner, or meeting my readers out on the road–that is a real highlight. But I choose to be happy every moment that I think of it!

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
That we all get to make choices, but we don’t need to take them so seriously. There are a few really important ones–about faith, about our life partners–that are big ones. But in general we need to lighten up. Choose to be happy. Don’t be a victim. Do what you love. Make no excuses. Love extravagantly and without condition. Be love to all you meet.

Thanks so much Tosca for joining the blog today! You can connect with Tosca through Facebook, Twitter and her website!

 

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Author Interviews

4 Questions With Bestselling Author Stephanie Grace Whitson

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories of people, life, and adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

I simply love how authors can come across one little tidbit of the past and turn it into a novel that not only opens up readers to a piece of forgotten history, but can be so creative that it grabs the reader from the start. As bestselling author Stephanie Grace Whitson mentioned in her book Sixteen Brides (I’ll share my review soon!), it only took the words “Another cargo of war widows arrived…” while researching in Nebraska Historical Society to create her story (and it was a good one!).

Such an awesome skill to be able to envision the cast and characters from that point on! And Whitson knows how to make it work! So of course I was super excited to have her join us here with 4 Questions!

And she speaks French, which makes you automatically rad.

A two-time Christy Award finalist, author Stephanie Grace Whitson pursues a full-time writing and speaking career from her home studio in Lincoln, Nebraska.

With the spring, 2013, release of the third and final book in The Quilt Chronicles series (The Message on the Quilt), best-selling, award-winning Nebraska author Stephanie Grace Whitson will have over twenty novels and two non-fiction books to her credit. Whitson is a frequent guest speaker and lecturer on a variety of historical and inspirational topics for civic and church groups. Her church, her grandchildren, her motorcycle (named Kitty), old stuff (antique quilts, sepia-toned photographs, etc.), women’s history, and French and Italian language and culture all rank high on Stephanie’s list of favorite things.

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
That I would find such joy in being a grandmother.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
I’d have learned to speak more languages in addition to French.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Seeing the first copy of my first published book.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
That God loves them so much that he was willing to watch his own son die on a cross so that they could not only know forgiveness, peace, and joy in this life but also so that they could begin an eternity of bliss in the blink of eye after their last breath.

 

Author Interviews

4 Question with Bestselling Author Robin Lee Hatcher

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories. Of people. Of life. Of adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

I love food. I do. And I’m very protective of my favorites. Weird, I know, but if you go to Del Taco and hate it, don’t tell me unless you want to lose my friendship. I sometimes get nervous suggesting Del Taco to anyone (especially Texans who sometimes only love all things Texan 😉 ), because what if they don’t like it, my heart might be crushed a little. Also, can you tell by my dramatics I’m the baby of the family?

You know how it can be though, someone suggests a movie, a restaurant and then you go yourself and it’s totally lame…It can be a total let down right?

But when I kept seeing Robin Lee Hatcher’s name and books pop up as must reads, I figured if more than one person talks about how awesome she is (especially from fellow best sellers like herself), then I bet she has some pretty good books. And no let down here folks! I read her book Belonging (review coming soon) and thoroughly enjoyed it! Her newest book Betrayal was just released this Fall, so don’t miss out on that one either.

Hatcher is the bestselling author of over sixty-five books. Her well-drawn characters and heartwarming stories of faith, courage, and love have earned her both critical acclaim and the devotion of readers. Her numerous awards include the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, two RITA Awards for Best Inspirational Romance, Romantic Times Career Achievement Awards for Americana Romance and for Inspirational Fiction, and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. Robin currently resides in Idaho.

To connect with Robin, visit www.robinleehatcher.com, her Facebook page or follow her on Twitter @robinleehatcher!

And now onto my favorite part! Thank you again Robin for the inspiration and sharing with us!

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined?
I have been bowled over in the past year and a half by the unexpected way God kept a promise. He has done a number of amazing things in my life through the years and has answered many prayers. But five years ago, I would never have even prayed for what He has done because I wouldn’t have thought it possible. I can’t say more because I’m safe-guarding my personal story while I let a fictional story percolate to the top so that it can become a novel.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
Oh, wow! One? Lots of wrong choices that I might want to change. I guess if I could do one thing differently it would be to follow Christ at an earlier age and then to never wander off that path in the years that followed. However, I have learned that those mistakes I’ve made, the lessons I’ve learned “the hard way,” have been the tools God has used to refine me. Sometimes the best way to mature in faith is to walk through the fire with the Lord at your side. It is comforting to realize that God knew the choices I would make, and because of His love for me, He used those things for His good purposes in my life. So in the end, I just have to trust that God has been, is, and will be in control and that He won’t let me go too far astray as long as I look to Him.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
So many happy moments in my life to choose from. Asking me to name one of the happiest moments is a bit like asking me to pick my favorite child. Can’t do it. I’ve been blessed with a husband I love (our wedding day), daughters I adore (their births), sons-in-law I treasure (my daughters’ wedding days), and the greatest most beautiful grandchildren ever born (their births, especially the three I got to be present for). Okay, others might argue with me on that last one (most beautiful grandchildren), but I’m sticking to my story.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Don’t look at your circumstances and judge God based upon what you see happening in your own life or the lives of those around you. He is who He says He is. He sees the whole completed tapestry. We can only see a small piece of the back of it with its messy loose threads. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Author Interviews

4 Questions with Bestselling Author Diane Chamberlain

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories. Of people. Of life. Of adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

I’m a fan of people who are honest and real. It’s refreshing and inspiring. And I love it when that spills over into their work. The perfect example? Diane Chamberlain!

First, just check out her blog. I like that it’s a bit of everything, whether writing ideas, book clubs or posts about personal life, it’s awesome to follow and be encouraged by. Second, read her books! One of my book club reads was The Secret Life of Cee Cee Wilkes and it was a great read. I look forward to reading more of her books!

Diane Chamberlain is the best-selling author of 20 novels. Her books, frequently set in the southeastern United States, are complex stories about love, compassion and forgiveness with a touch of mystery and suspense. Diane’s background in psychology and her work in hospitals have given her a keen interest in understanding the way people tick, as well as the background necessary to create real, living, breathing characters. More than a decade ago, Diane was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, which changed the way she works: She sometimes types using voice recognition software. She feels fortunate that her arthritis is not more severe and that she is able to enjoy everyday activities as well as keep up with a busy work and travel schedule. Diane has three married stepdaughters, three grandchildren, and two shelties. She lives with photographer John Pagliuca in North Carolina where she’s at work on her 21th novel.

And now on to the 4 Questions! Thank you again Diane!!

Photo credit: John Pagliuca

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
I’ve been published for more than twenty years, so I didn’t think anything could surprise me, but a year ago publishers in the United States and United Kingdom started bidding against one another for the rights to my next book. After a fairly quiet career with a few nice ups and a few depressing downs, it was amazing to suddenly to be in hot demand. The first book in that new contract, Stealing Tomorrow, will be out next summer and I can’t wait.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
Hmm, in life or in writing? There are thousands of things I’d do differently if we’re talking about life, but I think I’ll stick with career to be on the safe side! I wish I’d realized much earlier how important it is to have a great agent. My agent is fabulous, but she and I didn’t hook up until a few years ago. Her passion and her business savvy made me wish I’d found an agent like her long ago.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
The simplest things can make me happy. My family is fairly spread out geographically, but a couple of years ago we got together at my sister’s house, and one evening we all started singing. A few of us played instruments and we had a little impromptu sing-along. It filled me with love for my family and the joy having us all together for a change. I wish I could have bottled up the experience to carry around with me.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
That we’re all connected. One of my favorite things to do is to imagine myself in the shoes of everyone I see during the day. It’s an eye-opening exercise and reminds me that life is not all about me me me. We’re all in this together.

Author Interviews

4 Questions With Bestselling Author Liz Curtis Higgs

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories. Of people. Of life. Of adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

Her website is Liz Curtis Higgs, An Encourager and that couldn’t be more true! By simply perusing her website, I felt like Liz Curtis Higgs was a friend and we were meeting over tea (sorry, not a coffee kind of girl) while she was encouraging in me as a woman, as a believer and as the person God made me to be. Plus we’d 100% be friends, because our cats would probably be friends.

Seriously, check out the “Liz’s Journey of Faith” section on her website. She’s open and honest about her life, her past and journey! I can only imagine the encouragement and truth people have been blessed with who have met her! I’ve read a couple of her books years ago (Bad Girls of the Bible  and Really Bad Girls of the Bible), but I’m excited to start some of her historical fictions and other bible studies.

She’s the author of thirty books in several genres, with more than three million copies in print (New York Times Bestseller!). Her fiction includes two contemporary novels, six Scottish historical novels, and her new Victorian Christmas novella, A Wreath of Snow. Connect with her online at http://www.MyScottishHeart or @MyScottishHeart on Twitter.

I’m so excited to share with 4 Questions with Liz Curtis Higgs! I hope you are as encouraged as I am!

Photo courtesy of Liz Curtis Higgs

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never have imagined 5 years ago?
Though I’ve been to Scotland fifteen times to do research for my novels, I would never have pictured myself leading a tour there! With the release of A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella, I took a leap of faith and put together two week-long tours for my readers. We’ll land in Glasgow, then tour Loch Lomond, Stirling, and Pitlochry, before taking the train (very Victorian) into Edinburgh. I’m SO excited. Is it December yet?

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
Depends on how far back we’re talking about. ;>) From a very personal standpoint, I wish I’d taken better care of myself physically in my thirties, so I wouldn’t be dealing with bad knees in my fifties. From a career standpoint, I wish I’d listened to my heart in the early years and not been pulled this way and that by the opinions of others. But I’m not someone who wastes time with regret. The past is gone, and tomorrow is yet to come. Whatever paths my life took, they were meant to be taken. All we can work with is this day, this hour, this minute.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
All the usual ones: the day I married my wonderful Bill, the days I gave birth to our dear son and daughter, the day we moved into our nineteenth-century farmhouse, the day I held my first published book in my hands, the first day I stood on the platform for Women of Faith. The list is really, really long! But THE happiest moment of my life was February 21, 1982 when I made a confession of faith and embraced the grace God freely offers.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
That the God of the Bible is real and his words are true. That he loves us with an everlasting love. That we were created in his image and meant to live in relationship with him. That nothing the world calls pleasurable can measure up to the peace of knowing and loving a God who knows and loves us completely.

A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Liz Curtis Higgs

Thanks so much for sharing Liz! A pleasure to host you on the blog!

Author Interviews

4 Questions with New York Times Bestseller Marissa Meyer

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories. Of people. Of life. Of adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

I’m really glad the publishers (Macmillan) of Marissa Meyer‘s books decided to offer the first five chapters of Cinder for free on the Kindle because that’s all it took to get me hooked and now I’m counting down the days until Book 2 (Scarlet) is released. You can read my full review of Cinder here, but one of my favorite things about the book is the twist to the tale of Cinderella. The rest of the books (The Lunar Chronicles will include SCARLET (2013), CRESS (2014), and WINTER (2015)) will bring in other fairy tales and I can’t wait to see how they turn out and all their worlds collide.

Not only is Meyer’s a fantastic writer, but it’s refreshing to see young adult fiction out there that’s incredibly creative, engaging and not about the same ol same ol that seems to be coming out in masses these days.

I’m definitely a fan and I’m so excited to share another installment of 4 Questions with you, with Cinder‘s creator (and also New York Times Bestselling author) Marissa Meyer! Thank you again Marissa for taking the time to share with fellow readers and fans (and hopefully new ones)! Enjoy and be inspired!

Photo Credit: Kali Raisl

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?

Oh gosh, you start out with a difficult one! I think for me the most jaw-dropping moment was when CINDER started getting interest from Hollywood producers and writers. The idea of a movie being made out of my book is both thrilling and bizarre and something that most writers can only ever fantasize about. Although it’s still a loooong ways from being a sure thing, I’m happy just to know that someone in the movie industry saw potential in my story.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?

I would have had the idea for The Lunar Chronicles much sooner! Except, no, I’m not sure that’s even true, because any earlier and I may not have had the skills necessary to write it or some other element just wouldn’t have been RIGHT. All things considered, I’m pretty happy with the steps I’ve taken to get to the place I am now. I’m not sure I would change anything.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?

My wedding day! My husband and I will be celebrating our first anniversary this October so we’re still technically newlyweds. Therefore it isn’t too cheesy to say that. 😀

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?

There will always be room in the world for more ideas, more inventions, more art, more beauty, more talent. Figure out what makes you excited to get up each morning and find a way to keep doing it.

And here’s a bonus question for y’all!
5. What’s one of the most surprising things about the Lunar Chronicles that you didn’t expect to happen after Cinder was released?

I’ve been floored with all the fan interactions the series has sparked. There’s fanfiction, fan-made book trailers, Cinder-inspired costumes and fashion design, and tons of fanart. Although I would have hoped to see some of these things after the second or third book were out, I didn’t think it would be so soon! It’s amazing to see how much readers have fallen in love with the world and the characters and how they’ve been inspired to take that and create something of their own. I hope that will continue to grow with the story.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyers

CINDER (2012), SCARLET (2013), CRESS (2014), and WINTER (2015)

If you don’t believe me and don’t want to spend a few dollars to enjoy Cinder, you can read 5 chapters for free here! But I promise that you’ll be like me and immediately go back and download the rest of the book. So just save yourself the step and get the full version here.

Be on the look out for Scarlet this coming February too!

Author Interviews

4 Questions with Author Diana Wallis Taylor

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories. Of people. Of life. Of adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

I’m so so soooo excited to share this post with you! I kinda don’t even know where to start, so I’ll start with saying people are awesome! On a past blog, I loved working on a personal project called 4 Questions. In the cliff notes version, I ask people four of the same questions and include some portraits I took. I love it because everyone has something to share, no matter what their story is and you can learn so much from people. The purpose behind 4 Questions is to simply tell stories. Of people. Of life. Of adventure.

Since this little blog of mine is something more than just book reviews, I thought of bringing 4 Questions to Books and Beverages. What started as me hoping I’ll get at least one response has turned into awesomeness! I’m so thankful for authors who are willing to take time and share a bit of their journey.

Photo courtesy of Diana Wallis Taylor

I’m honored to introduce y’all to Diana Wallis Taylor, an incredible writer I first encountered reading Journey to the Well: A Novel. Writing since she was 12, Taylor has garnered such honors as Writer of the Year and numerous first place finishes for her novels. She even writes lyrics and melodies. One word: Talented! While I’ve only read one of her books (so far), I look forward to reading more.

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview Diana! I wouldn’t have chosen anyone else to kick off this new series and I hope you’re inspired by her answers as much as I was!

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?

That I would be the author of 4 books with a major publisher and receive awards on them!

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?

Follow my heart and major in journalism and creative writing in college instead of being pressured to choose a teaching career. I liked kids, but that wasn’t what I wanted to do.

Three of her novels: Martha, Mary Magdalene and Journey to the Well

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?

Marrying my present husband just at sunset on the deck of a friend’s house with little hummingbirds flying around and a view of the entire San Diego harbor.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?

It’s never too late to follow your dream. My first major novel was published by Revell when I was 71. I’d been writing since I was 12.

Hope you enjoyed hearing from Diana!