Monday, June 1, 2020

Faith Blum on Love Lifted Me

Faith, welcome back to Homeschooled Authors. What have you been up to?
Writing, getting married, getting pregnant, and having a baby. :) I don’t remember exactly when I was here last, but I have published over 20 books now since the first book, A Mighty Fortress. Then in September 2017, I got married to a wonderful guy. We had our rainbow baby, David, in March!

Tell us about Tales of the East series.
It started out with my Beauty and the Beast retelling. I had an idea for one set during the time of King David and I wrote it. Fast forward a few years and I had some more ideas for fairy tale retellings set during Bible times. So I started writing more and was able to interconnect them. Even though they are interconnected, you can still read each one individually.

What is the latest book in the series, Love Lifted Me, about?
Love Lifted Me is about a young Shullamite who lives in a small village in Israel. Her parents die suddenly and very shortly after each other and she is left alone with her two lazy brothers. This is a dual retelling combining the Cinderella fairy tale with the Song of Solomon from the Bible. The idea was inspired by my mom after she read the Song of Solomon and told me how she thought it could work as a Cinderella retelling.

What was your favorite part of writing this story?
My favorite part of writing the story was putting elements of Cinderella and Song of Solomon into the story.

What are some of the challenges of writing biblical fiction?
Finding research for certain aspects of the way they lived. For instance, for one of my books, I wanted to put some of the wedding traditions into the story, but it was hard to find details.

What is the fun part of writing biblical fiction?
The fun part is reliving parts of the Bible in a new way. I get to read the Bible as research. What could be better than that?

What's the best book you've read in the last year?
That is the hardest question here. I’m not sure what to say. To be honest, it was probably, The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth by Genevieve Howland. It was a really good book for the season I was in.

Any final thoughts?
Thanks for having me here! I really appreciated the opportunity to come back!

Faith is giving away a ebook of Love Lifted Me. Enter below!
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Monday, May 25, 2020

Erika Matthews on Promise's Prayer

Erika, welcome to Homeschooled Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thank you! I'm honored to be here. I write family-friendly Christian living books, both fiction and non-fiction, that demonstrate the power of the kingdom of God through ordinary people, transforming daily life into His resting life. I'm also a freelance editor. I live in the farm country of Minnesota with my husband and two young children. I was homeschooled K-12, then earned my Bachelor's in Communications at home before getting my Master's in Biblical Ministries from a tiny Bible school in Texas. Sharing Jesus Christ is my passion. I enjoy inspiring deep abiding relationships with God, reading, outdoor activities, music, organizing, and running my author and ministry website,

I recently read your book Promise's Prayer. What inspired the story?
Three thought processes converged to inspire Promise's Prayer. First, during my last few semesters at Bible school, God taught me so much about the power and importance of prayer. It is where relationship with God happens. The war of life is fought and won in the prayer closet. It is Jesus' mission - He ever lives to make intercession for us. It's our calling as priests. It's the purpose of holiness. I wanted to encapsulate some of what God had taught me in a fiction story. Second, I wanted to write a book that turned the typical "saving the world" plotline on its head in a Biblical way. I wanted to show what that could look like from an ultimate Biblical standpoint. Third, I wanted to challenge myself to write an adventure novel without any romance, violence, or magic. Combining these three ideas resulted in Promise's Prayer.

What are some interesting facts about Taerna (the country where Promise's Prayer is set)?
1. The only thing fictional about it is that it doesn't exist. :) It's completely realistic. Science, the laws of nature, the workings of God, and so forth are all in accordance with the real world.
2. Because autumn is my favorite season, I wanted to give Taerna (TAHR-na) a long, colorful autumn. Winter and summer are both very short and spring and autumn are both long.
3. Taerna is one of the Four Countries in their part of the world. To the west is the wild West Taernan Hills; to the east are three countries. Taerna gained independence from the southernmost one about 150 years before Promise's Prayer begins, and Taerna's now ruled by two kings together.
4. Taerna's considered "primitive" by surrounding countries, yet their advancement varies widely between the poorer and richer areas. The culture glorifies pleasure and is built around gratifying personal desires.
5. Adon Olam is Taerna's title for God. It's Hebrew for, roughly, "lord and master of eternity and of the universe extending far beyond the horizon." Taernan believers follow Yeshuah (Adon Olam's Son), read precious copies of the Book (the Bible), meet together for fellowship, begin mornings with prayer (usually outside, alone, or by a window if possible), and end prayers with "So be it, even so."

Any idea when we can expect the next book in the Truth from Taerna series? 
Yes! I'm planning a summer 2020 release for Victory's Voice! In fact, I'm currently accepting beta readers. Now that all six books are written, my plan is to edit and release each one as quickly as possible. We'll see if that means a yearly release schedule or twice a year release schedule, in between mothering responsibilities and my non-fiction releases. I always give the latest book updates on Instagram and my newsletter.

Do you have a favorite character from the series?
Two of them. Liliora, Kaelan's four-year-old sister in Promise's Prayer. She's twenty-four in Book 4, Sustainer's Smile, and that's her story that touches on issues of life, value, and personhood that are very near to my heart - and I can't wait to share that book with the world. Liliora (unintentionally) has the same personality type as I do, and I relate to her so much. Also, I love Ellrick, the wise old friend. He's just grandfatherly and godly and everything wonderful. He might ask for a spin-off novella of his own one of these days...

Who is the targeted audience for this series?
First, Promise's Prayer wasn't supposed to be a series. But when NaNo writer's block hit hard on Day 2 the year after Promise's Prayer, I suddenly realized that my story fit perfectly for Carita's little sister. Then all Kaelan's siblings demanded their own stories... All that to say, the series matures. Promise's Prayer (main characters ages 19 and 20) and Victory's Voice (17) are targeted a bit younger. Surrender's Strength (20) is a step up, and Sustainer's Smile (24), Memory's Mind (29), and Romance's Rest (27) are targeted a bit older. Overall, the entire series is meant to be enjoyed by Christian readers of all ages who want to be challenged or encouraged in their relationship with God. It's something a family could comfortably read together. I've had young teens and folks in their sixties tell me they enjoyed Promise's Prayer. For younger readers, it's an interesting Christian story. For older readers, the books are meant to challenge them to think deeply about practical Biblical concepts that aren't always preached by today's church.

Any final thoughts?
The best advice I've ever been given for writing and for life goes back to the heart of our purpose: meditate on God's Word day and night. It comes with a no-fail guarantee of good success. As Christian authors, it's easy to write stories the way we think they ought to go, to work out our outlines and plot points on our own, to obsess and edit until our manuscript matches the image in our minds. However, "Except the Lord build the house [or write the book], they labor in vain that build it" (Psalm 127:1). This isn't just a quiet time in the morning, or a quick prayer for wisdom when we get stuck - it's a moment by moment relationship. It's fixing our minds on His Word day and night. It's learning to live a prayer - praying without ceasing. It's relying on God each moment. It's letting Christ live His life through us. It's seeking Him every moment as we type our stories or plan our plots. It's immersing ourselves in His Word so that it comes out in every aspect of our writing and our lives. As Brother Lawrence said, it's learning to practice the presence of God. That's true success, that's true life, and that's kingdom writing.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Alicia Ruggieri on A Holy Passion

Alicia, Welcome to Homeschooled Authors. Tell us a little about yourself.
Thanks for having me here! I grew up breathing in the salty air of coastal New England, but I now write grace-filled, Christ-centered fiction from my home in Wisconsin, where I live with my pastor-carpenter husband and sweet second-hand mutt. I love old graveyards, dusty libraries, and excellent cannolis ~ not necessarily in that order.

What draws you to historical fiction?
The people of the past pull me toward it. How God has worked His mysterious and good purposes throughout history intrigues me. I love tracing His good handiwork through the tapestry of the past.

What are some of the authors/books that have inspired you in your historical fiction writing? 
George MacDonald's work encourages me that we don't need to sacrifice an intensely spiritual message for the sake of well-written and engaging fiction; in fact, such a message can actually elevate fiction. I also look up to writers like Bodie and Brock Thoene, Francine Rivers, Michael Phillips, Beverly Lewis, Tolkien, Mesu Andrews, T.H. White, George Eliot, Robin Lee Hatcher, Catherine Marshall, and Angela Hunt. Not all of these write historical fiction, but each has taught me something about writing in general.

What do you find the most challenging part of writing historical fiction?
Specific to historical fiction, a difficulty I've come up against time-and-again rises from various interpretations of a historical person, event, or situation. I want to present people/events/etc. truthfully, without sugarcoating or tar-and-feathering. So these are times when I need to go before God in prayer and seek His direction.

What is the easiest part?
Dreaming up new story ideas!

Do you have a favorite book you've written?
Oh, no. I truly don't. Each one of them, from The House of Mercy (my first one) to Each Perfect Gift (my most recently published one), holds a special place in my heart for different reasons.

What has God been teaching you?
That He usually - always! - has a purpose for me in the writing of each book, usually something He is trying to teach me. He's good at teaching through stories, isn't He? :-)

Any final thoughts?
For fellow writers, don't be afraid to let a story "ferment" in your imagination, mind, and heart for a long time. The initial idea for the story I'm working on now - The Evolution of James Tilney - first tiptoed into my imagination more than a decade ago! I didn't start working on it in earnest until recently. Bring your ideas to the Lord and see where/when He leads you with them.

Readers can find me at:

Alicia is giving away one paperback copy to one lucky USA reader. Enter to win below
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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Pardon the Mess

Pardon the mess...

We are adding some new and exciting features to our blog.

Sorry for the mess while we put it all together.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Stories Day 24: Hartly Manor

There were six of them…

And these six children have an important lesson to learn when it comes to Mr. Hartly and his manor. Is he the scary man that Rees says he is? Or will the children discover something else as they get to know him?

Monday, December 23, 2019

Christmas Stories Day 23: Christmas Carol Society

How Do You Impersonate a Christmas Ghost?

The Christmas season has arrived. The members of the newly-formed Christmas Carol Society are beginning their weekly meetings. Charlie Baker finds the first meeting odd enough, but when the assignments start, he has to wonder why he allowed himself to get roped into attending. Miss Dartmoor tells her members to impersonate the Ghost of Christmas Past for their own personal Scrooge. Just how does a mere human accomplish such an absurd task? Charlie tries to figure it out, but begins to see the Lord might plan for the assignments to have a deeper impact on him than he expected. An impact that Charlie isn’t sure he wants to face.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Christmas Stories Day 22: First Christmas in America and A Police Force for Christmas

Klara Ivanski arrives from the Old Country with her Papa, Mama and ten brothers and sisters. “All vill be vell,” Papa assures them, but Mama and several of her brothers and sisters must remain at their aunt and uncle’s because of sickness. With barely enough money for food, Klara is quick to assure her papa that they only need Mama and the other to make Christmas special. But will the family be together for their first Christmas in America?

These weren't the Christmas surprises they expected... Christmas chaos at the Melson house usually involves wrapping paper and toys, not a broken window and a bare space under the tree. After a morning of questioning officers and chattering children, Amanda resigns herself to a very un-Christmasy day. But can the heroes on the Pineville police force find a way to save the family's Christmas?