Monday, October 15, 2018

Hannah Christensen on Should any Calamity Behall


Hannah, welcome to Homeschooled Authors. What makes your homeschooling experience unique?
My mother was the major influence in forming my homeschooling experience. She was always trying out new things, adding and replacing and experimenting. After the first few years, we mainly settled on Sonlight curriculum. I really enjoyed its emphasis on reading and its scope of the whole world in history. Still, there was no telling from year to year what Mother may have found to try out in language arts or PE or art.
Two other major factors were that I was the oldest in a large family, which lent itself to learning to do a lot of school independently and in partnership with the sister just younger than me, and moving to a community when I was 13 where the public school allowed us to join classes just for music.

How did homeschooling prepare you to write?
In writing assignments, while I was given parameters and specific assignments, I was also given plenty of freedom and was able to enjoy writing. It was never about a word or page count, or regurgitating a book or article in paraphrase. Sometimes I didn't like the assignment ("Comment on a current event? But I don't want to read any of these articles in the newspaper."), but there was always enough leeway to use creativity, and the biggest emphasis was just 'Get it finished.'

What caused you to start writing?
I've always loved reading and stories, and it just seemed natural to try my hand at making my own. Besides that, I have had great encouragers from my youth in family and friends. I am reminded of Dad bringing home information and an entry form on the 'Written and Illustrated By' contest for kids where the winners were published. A family friend helped by typing up the words; Dad sewed the pages together in a cover; the librarian looked it over before I sent it off. I didn't come near winning, but still have that bound copy of Hungry Joshy.

What inspired Should Any Calamity Befall?
One of our assignments in High School was to listen to a set of history tapes. In them was a brief mention of the Tripolitan War, which intrigued me as a whole chapter in history I had never heard of. Later, when I decided to write a historical fiction novel, that event presented itself as an interesting point to start at and a good excuse to do some reading on it.
One might also say Stephen Bly's Nathan T. Riggins series was an inspiration. Growing up, I really enjoyed the humor and adventure in them, and admired the way his character Nathan was just a Christian boy living out his faith, in fellowship with the Lord in an everyday type of way.

Would you give us a synopsis?
It is 1804, and Ezra has just come to Boston for apprenticeship to a merchant. Despite his high intentions, he and the other apprentice, George, just can't seem to stay out of trouble. Even dressing for Sunday is not free from disaster. Their master has finally had enough. He sends them on board his ship the Opulence to learn some discipline. Ezra is mortified, but George is terrified. He has lived near the sea his whole life, and knows the perils of sailing. He prevails on Ezra to enter into a vow to each other that, come what may, they will come to each other's rescue should any calamity befall. And plenty of calamities lie ahead: storm, squid, and disgruntled shipmates to name a few.  As he gets farther and farther from home, Ezra strives to do right in the face of every difficulty. But the closer they draw to their destination, the Mediterranean, the closer they draw where Rais Majid and his pitiless corsairs prowl the the waters. Through it all, Ezra must lean on God.

Who will enjoy Should Any Calamity Befall?
If rollicking misadventures catch your fancy, if you enjoy characters whose camaraderie is touched with humor and occasional wrangling, if you yearn for cleaner adventures in the Young Adult section, this is for you.

Where can people buy your book?
It should be available through Barnes and Noble as well as Amazon. You could find links to buy it at ambassador-international.com. Or you could try my website, hannahchristensen.net.

Do you plan to write more books?
I hope to. I'm a slow finisher, so it's hard right now to know what will come to fruition. Two stories I hope to try my hand at eventually are a princess trying to raise allies to defend her dowry land, and a band of warriors defending their city and country with inspiration drawn from Robin Hood and King David's mighty men.

Where can people connect with you online?
The best place I have right now is my website, Octopencil, at the address hannahchristensen.net.

Any final thoughts?
May Jesus Christ be glorified.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Ryana Miller on Land of Cotton


Ryana, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself. 
Thank you for having me! Well, I am a twenty-something-year-old author who lives in the great state of North Carolina. I'm the 3rd oldest out of seven children and one of six girls in that bunch :) I love to write (Haha) and read historical fiction and biographies and while I don't watch TV, I do enjoy watching documentaries and historical films on my laptop every now and then. I also enjoy crocheting, though I'm not that great at it, card making, beginner graphic design and spending time outdoors. I love America, so if it's Red, White and Blue, count me in :) Fun fact, my birthday is almost always on Memorial Day or Memorial Day weekend!  I used to live near a military base and support our troops proudly :) My dad is a preacher and family represents the Fundamental Broadcasting Network, traveling full time telling about our Network of 40+ stations. We have free apps for apple and android devices and have been heard in 224 countries and territories! God is so good!

Everyone’s homeschooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique? 
I think what made my homeschool experience unique in part is that we moved four times during my schooling. It can be challenging, even for Homeschoolers to adjust to starting school in a new location! My mom always allowed us to learn at our own pace and in our own way (Auditory, visual, hands-on, etc.). And my parents always encouraged my love of history from a young age, keeping me in plenty of books to read after school and during the summer. I also got to graduate a year ahead of most kids my age, which was kinda fun :)

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write? 
Wow...let me see if I can narrow this down :) I've never been much into spelling or English...in fact, they were two of my harder subjects. But in 3rd grade, I read a history course about famous Americans and I was hooked! The next year, it was about the presidents. Hooked even stronger. I started asking questions and diving deep into our nation’s past history and politics (kinda funny, I probably know more about 1800s politics that 2000s!). When I did start writing for real, my mom made one of my books into my English course, so I had to keep a list of the words I misspelled (thank God for Spell-check!) and common grammar mistakes I made. I would then have to practice them along with my school.

What caused you to start writing? 
My sister is actually the one who got me to start writing. As I said, I love American History, so I tend to be one of those readers every historical fiction writer hates...the one who points out every historical inaccuracy they can find :( I mean, I can ignore a wrong era phrase or a too early invention. I'm mostly referring to just out-and-out wrong historical information. For example, saying that weren't Christians, or giving incorrect reasons for a war beginning or having a staunch feminist in the Plymouth colony :) I was reading a particularly irksome book on the Civil War that was driving me crazy :) I complained to my older sister, Gera, that I wished there were just good, clean, Christian and accurate Civil War books out there. Her reply? "Write your own."

I was stunned. I'd never really thought about that before. I mean, the idea had kinda gone in and out of my head, but I had never seriously considered it. But I took her seriously and in 2010, I started my first story ever. No plot, no plan, just an idea and a dream of what my story would look like...but no plans to publish. I was writing for me.

That changed in 2011 when my mom overheard me read my fourth attempt at writing (The first three were total flops, so I started over) to my younger sister, Faith, who was sick. My mom called to me from the kitchen and asked what book I was reading. I was scared to death because we are pretty strict readers and I was afraid maybe I had writing something wrong. I told her "It's my book." She said she knew it belonged to me, but she wanted to know the title and author. I said, "No, Mom, it's my book, the one I'm writing, The Land of Cotton." She came around the corner to look at me and said, "Really? That's good!" Words cannot express my relief and pleasure at her statement! That day, mom talked to me about giving my writing to God and pursuing publication. It would be five years before that book was published, but it did happen!

What inspired The Land of Cotton?
Well, like I said earlier, I have a hard time finding good books about the Civil War. They either focus on slavery, romance or only the Union. I am the descendant of *tries to count but fails because she can't keep up with everyone* several Confederate soldiers and I knew there had to be more to what they fought for than slavery. I remember telling my mom, "Somethings wrong here. I mean, would you encourage Dad to go fight and die just so you could force someone to work for you?" She said, "No, that would be ridiculous." So we started digging for answers. Before I say more, let me state that I believe slavery was wrong and I am glad we are a united country :)

I found that there was far more to the war than met the eye. And as the old adage goes, "The Winner writes the history." So, I began to write The Land of Cotton to explain the real reasons that the South fought in the Civil War. My desire is to lovingly explain the differences between the North and the South and why we all fought. I have good and bad on both sides of the conflict. But most importantly, I want to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the readers. If they don't agree with me on the War Between the States, that is totally fine! We can agree to disagree. But if they throw out our Lord and Savior...that's another story.

The neat thing is that my books had a very good sales base in the Northern states, so thank the Lord, I have been able to present my story without offending anyone. It's not my goal to offend anyone or attempt to divide our nation again. I just want the truth to be known.

Would you give us a synopsis?
Sure! The Land of Cotton is the first book in The Battle for Heritage Series. It takes place in 1861 in a little town called Four Tree Springs, in Davidson County, N.C. Silas Mason, the father in my story, was born and raised there. His wife, Ellen, whom he met while working for the Underground Railroad, was born and raised in Philadelphia, Penn. As the clouds of war come closer, their two oldest sons, Richard and Seth, are 18 and 16, old enough to fight if they choose. They must decide which side they will take and how to keep peace with the family members who oppose them. The Land of Cotton covers 1861 from January to December and chronicles the Mason family's struggles during that time. Growing up is hard enough without a war on, but can they handle the strain? Will Richard go with Sheriff Gallimore to South Carolina to take back Ft. Sumter? Will Seth ever get to fulfill his dream of being a doctor? Will Dixianna (15), their younger sister, figure out what she can do to help in the war effort that is befitting to a lady? Will Michael conquer growing feelings of resentment and hatred for the other side? We can only begin to answer these questions in The Land of Cotton!

Who will enjoy The Land of Cotton?
The Land of Cotton is written on a 10-14 level (is that even a thing?), but I've had people as young as 4 and as mature as 85 enjoy the book. It was my goal to write it in a way that the whole family could enjoy it. I have women who love it and men who come back ready for the next book. I have homefront "Girl scenes" the young ladies like and enough battlefield and camp life action for the boys to enjoy. (Please note, this isn't an adventure book per say. It is war, so there will be action, but war is not an adventure. It's a serious matter.) I have northern and southerners alike who love. And I have readers who come from many backgrounds (German, Japanese, Jamaica, Trinidad, and Mexico to name a few.) So I guess the bottom line is, if you enjoy or are interested in History and family-friendly reading material, you'll like my book :)

Where can people buy your book? 
At this time, they can only be purchased from me through my website or direct contact. I'll list that info below :)

Do you plan to write more books?
Oh, yes! The Battle for Heritage Series is going to be a five book series, one book for each year the war took place. The second book, Our Heritage to Save, was published in November of 2016 and the third book, The Rivers of Sorrow, was just released! I also have a Novella called Coffee Shop Christmas that was published last November. It's a modern-day story set in 2016 and is a tribute to our Police Force :)

After I complete my current series, I plan to write Novellas honoring our Firefighters, EMTs, and Dispatchers. Then, who knows? I have so many ideas! I'm leaning toward a World War Two idea that I've been jotting notes on, so we'll see!

Where can people connect with you online?
 My website is www.lifeofheritage.com and I do have a blog. I usually post once a week (normally on Friday) but since we travel a lot, it can be a bit sporadic. I post on history, writing, and devotions mostly. Also, my email is lifeofheritage@gmail.com. If you have any questions, I'd be more than happy to try and answer them!

Do you have any final thoughts?
I think that just about does it! Oh, fun fact, my favorite verse (that I sign everything with!) is Jude 22 "And of some have compassion, making a difference:" (KJV) This is my writing missions statement if you will. I want to make a difference for the cause of Christ, with compassion! Thank you so much for interviewing me, Sarah! I've enjoyed this so much! God Bless!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Emily Mundell on The Sorceress and the Squid

Emily, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi there! As stated, my name is Emily Mundell. I'm 20 years old and a homeschool graduate. I've always loved reading and telling/absorbing stories. I wrote my very first "book" at age 8 and haven't stopped writing since. I love fantasy fiction, particularly the classics of Tolkien, CS Lewis, and George MacDonald, who are my writing idols. In addition to writing, I love art and photography, horsebackriding, hiking and adventuring, singing, sprinting, and just being out in beautiful places with beautiful people. 

Everyone’s homeschooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
I think there are a couple things that made my experience unique. For one, I grew up on a farm and spent as much time working and making money for myself as I did studying and learning. For another, I did spend a few years of elementary school at a public school and have had the chance to compare the two. I infinitely prefer homeschooling and am so glad of the path my parents chose to put me on.

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
I always loved reading and writing, ever since I had just begun schooling. It was only natural to fit that love into my curriculum. Aside from taking an English 30-1 diploma course in grade 12 and a Lord of the Rings inspired curriculum in grade 10, I went through high school with no official LA/English curriculum to speak of - it was just reading and writing books. Because of that, I had so much extra time and opportunity to work on and perfect my craft. I think that was ultimately very beneficial and helped me refine my writing skills at a younger age.

What caused you to start writing?
I can't be sure because it was so long ago! As mentioned, I've always loved stories, and I think that when I read them as a child I was consumed with the idea of creating a world of my own. Although I was initially more of a copycat, I eventually became more and more original as time went on in my creations and I'm quite proud of my creative abilities now.

What inspired The Sorceress and the Squid?
A late-night Facebook conversation between myself and my then-boyfriend-now-husband, Jonathan, was what inspired this book. We were hypothetically discussing his secret "ninja squid" alter ego and later came up with a sorceress character to embody me. Eventually we decided I was the sorceress who had turned him into a squid. Being the writer I am, I took this plot bunny and ran with it, even farther than I initially anticipated! In the beginning it was meant to be a silly thing for the two of us, but as I wrote and the story grew, I fell more and more in love with the world and the characters I had created, and so I pursued publishing.

Would you give us a synopsis?
In the magical land of Perth, divisions between the Old Kingdom and the New have waged for centuries. The humans have long harbored a mistrust of the spell-casting Fae and vice versa. In the midst of this conflict, Estrella the Sorceress lays waste to the Training Academy for Human Warriors, making an enemy in the soldier, Jalen. During their standoff, Jalen is turned into a squid and Estrella, unable to restore him to his original form, takes sympathy on him and travels west across the Sea to bring him to the Wizard in hope he can be saved. But is there more to the unrest in Perth than meets the eye?

Who will enjoy The Sorceress and the Squid?
I think all ages can enjoy this book, depending on whether they enjoy light-hearted fantasy or not. I would recommend a mature ten year old or higher reader, due to some heavier subject matter and some more intense personal themes, but it is not dark or any sort of moral quagmire.

Where can people buy your book? 
Here is a link to the Amazon sales page where you can purchase Kindle and paperback copies! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072MGPNSN

Do you plan to write more books?
Absolutely! The Sorceress and the Squid is my second completed story, and I'm currently working on my fourth. I plan to write for a career and will keep telling stories probably until I am too old to type!

Where can people connect with you online?
My blog/website is writeremilymundell.blogspot.ca. I also can be found on Facebook @emundell97, Twitter @e_mundell, and Instagram @emundell97.

Do you have any final thoughts?
If you're a homeschooler who loves to write, take advantage of the extra time and opportunities you are given by being away from the public school system! Take your free time to write and better your craft while you're young and have the chance! I cannot stress that enough - it's so much harder to get into this lifestyle when you're older as opposed to continuing a habit started in youth. Persevere and push ahead in your work, the world needs to hear your stories. :)

Monday, April 30, 2018

Isaac ben Levi on Our First Locomotive


Isaac, weclome to Homeschooled Authors. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a 16-year-old, born and raised in the suburbs of Indianapolis, who now lives and writes in the Ozark Mountains.  I’ve been homeschooled my entire life and am now a sophomore. When not reading, writing, doing school work or homestead chores, you’ll find me researching railroad history, model railroading and target shooting.  I also love spending time with my family and animals.

Everyone’s homeshooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
My experience is unique because I’m an only child. This allowed my chief instructor (mom) to devote her full time and attention to me, and I got the full benefit of it.  My dad taught me how to be a man, and many other practical life skills as well.

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
Being homeschooled prepared my attitude in writing a book. That is, desiring wholesome content that is family friendly, and allowing parents to not worry about having to “censor” or about anything inappropriate.  Being homeschooled also brought me a love for history, and this definitely influenced my choice of era (about 1948) and subject (a steam locomotive)

What caused you to start writing?
That is a rather interesting story, because up until recently, I didn’t enjoy writing.   My desire to begin to write was a good example of the power of having a story that I really wanted to tell, and wanting to tell it until I finally sat down, wrote it for a little while, and then discovered that I enjoyed writing.

What inspired Our First Locomotive?
There were several factors that influenced the decision to put pen to paper and write.  The way things truly began was wanting to write a book series about a railroad through the Ozarks.  What really started the ball moving was finding a photograph, and drawings, in an old book from 1950 of Cotton Belt #412.   In reading that section of the book I found that the locomotive had formerly operated in Arkansas, and probably was retired in the era I wanted the book to be in.  So, it was a perfect fit.  Worked in an area reasonably close.  Likely retired in about the right time.  In addition, I just flat out liked the engine.

Would you give us a synopsis?
The book is 5 short stories about the retirement and sale of Cotton Belt #412 followed by his use in the construction of the Ozark Mountain Railroad.   The book ends shortly before the line opens, just after the engine is named after one of the line’s initial investors.  (Coincidentally, my great-great-grandfather Andrew).

Who will enjoy Our First Locomotive?
Parents and children who desire wholesome entertainment as well as train lovers of all ages.  Being a train fan myself, I’ve tried to, with the exception of the trains talking, make the stories as realistic as possible to the way a real American railroad operated.

Do you plan to write more books?
Most certainly.  I am working on book 2 in the series as I write this, which should be out soon.  I hope to venture into non-train subjects sometime in the future (fiction and non-fiction both).

Where can people connect with you online?
GreatRailroadSeries.com is where you’ll find my blog and information about upcoming books.
Great Railroad Series: Our First Locomotive - Kindle edition by Isaac ben Levi.

Do you have any final thoughts?
With only one book published, I have much to learn and am grateful when others are willing to share.
In all things, I seek the Lord’s will.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Taylor Bennett on Porch Swing Girl

Taylor, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m a seventeen-year-old daydreamer with a love for literature, music, travel, and, most importantly, my Lord Jesus Christ. I live in the beautiful state of Oregon with my mom and dad, as well as a handful of rambunctious animals. Though I’ve been telling stories since before I could write, I got serious about pursuing publication just before I entered high school. When I’m not writing, I’m most likely playing violin, taking walks, or snapping pictures for my Instagram.

Everyone’s homeschooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
My homeschooling experience was unique because of my amazing teacher—my mom. She was my first and only teacher, and she was the best one I could ever have asked for. When I “went to school” every day, she didn’t just make it educational—she made it fun. Though we weren’t one of those families where I studied science by feeding chickens and learned math by counting their eggs, I had plenty of hands-on educational opportunities.

I also had a lot of fun. We went on field trips to the beautiful Oregon coast and every week ended with a “Fun Friday,” where learning and playtime connected. I might have dressed up as a pioneer or Southern belle, then spent the day getting an in-depth look at life in a past era. Or maybe it was time for me to don a lab coat and become a mad scientist for a day…whatever my mom came up with was always a hit—and I was learning, too. Even if I didn’t always realize it.

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
Aside from allowing me to travel and explore the world more than a publicly schooled child, homeschooling prepared me to write by teaching me how to write. When I was about eight years old, my mom discovered the Institute for Excellence in Writing and I began studying English under the astute and sagacious Andrew Pudewa. After only a few years under his instruction, I was fully enchanted by the world of writing.

What caused you to start writing?
I started writing before I could write—when I was just a tiny toddler with a brain full of ideas and a love of stories. I would sit with a parent and dictate stories while they typed them up at the computer. When I was finally old enough to write by myself, I was indomitable. No one could keep me from scribbling out pages and pages of prose. I wanted to make my own stories—and more. The older I got, the longer my stories got, until I attempted my first novel at the age of thirteen.

What inspired Porch Swing Girl?
Porch Swing Girl was inspired by just that—the title. I woke up one morning with those three words rattling around in my brain. I’d been chasing after half-baked story ideas for weeks, trying to find one that I could grow into a full-fledged novel, but Porch Swing Girl—elusive as it was—was the first thing to truly spark my creativity. I spent a few hours asking myself questions about this strange girl on the swing. Before long, I knew exactly what I wanted to write.

Would you give us a synopsis?
 Of course! Here’s the back cover copy…a synopsis might give away too much 😉

What if friendship cost you everything?

Stranded in Hawaii after the death of her mother, sixteen-year-old Olive Galloway is desperate to escape. She has to get back to Boston before her dad loses all common sense and sells the family house. But plane tickets cost money—something Olive gravely lacks.

With the help of Brander, the fussy youth group worship leader, and Jazz, a mysterious girl with a passion for all things Hawaiian, Olive lands a summer job at the Shave Ice Shack and launches a scheme to buy a plane ticket home before the end of the summer.

But when Jazz reveals a painful secret, Olive’s plans are challenged. Jazz needs money. A lot of it. Olive and Brander are determined to help their friend but, when their fundraising efforts are thwarted, Olive is caught in the middle. To help Jazz means giving up her ticket home. And time is running out.

Who will enjoy Porch Swing Girl?
Porch Swing Girl will be enjoyed by teen-and-preteen girls who love contemporary fiction, as well as a good cry. While Porch Swing Girl is considered a YA book, the cleanness and lack of mature content make it appropriate for younger readers, as well. Girls who dream of traveling the world, walking on the beach, and trying new, unusual things, will be intrigued by the book’s Hawaiian setting. If readers are drawn to quirky characters with a bit of sass, they will fall in love with Olive Galloway, a grief-stricken teenager with a short fuse and a big heart.

Do you plan to write more books?
I absolutely plan on writing more books! Sand Castle Dreams, the sequel to Porch Swing Girl, is already in the works, and my publisher and I are throwing around ideas for a third book, as well. If Porch Swing Girl and Sand Castle Dreams both perform well in the market, we’ll discuss the possibility of another series, too!

Where can people connect with you online?
People can connect with me just about anywhere! I blog once-a-week-ish on my website, and I’m kind of an Instagram nerd. You can also find me hanging out on Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, and Twitter. I’m also working at getting my YouTube channel off the ground.
Do you have any final thoughts?

If you’re interested in learning more about Porch Swing Girl, you can read a sample for free by signing up for my newsletter. (http://taylor--bennett.com/contact/my-newsletter/) You’ll instantly be sent the first chapter. I know this might sound like a marketing ploy (okay…it kind of is…) but I promise I won’t flood your inbox with emails that beg you to buy my book. In fact…I have been known to forget that my newsletter even exists!




Bio:
Homeschooled since kindergarten, Taylor Bennett is the seventeen-year-old author of Porch Swing Girl, which will be released by Mountain Brook Ink on May 1st. When she’s not reading or writing, Taylor can be found playing her violin or taking walks in the beautiful Oregon countryside. She loves to connect with readers via her author website, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (her favorite!), Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Links:
Website: http://taylor--bennett.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TaylorBennettAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/writer__taylor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/taylor.bennett.author/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/Taylor__Bennett/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/66039360-taylor-bennett
Order on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Porch-Swing-Girl-Tradewinds-Book-ebook/dp/B079QM574Y/

Monday, April 16, 2018

Ruby Mae on Seeking Refuge


Ruby Mae, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thanks so much! I'm feel so excited and blessed to be here! Okay, well, I was born into the kingdom of God when I was eighteen, in the year of 2012. I have a wonderful dad and momma. I'm the eldest of eight children in my family. Besides writing, I love to sing, read, draw, paint, craft, fish, hike, camp, etc. . . Just about anything really. Let's see, oh, and I also write romance while never being on a date before in my life.

Everyone's homeschooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
Oh wow, tough question. Like most homeschool families, I'm sure it's hard to compare because everyone has their school, their way, in their homes. But my journey as a homeschool student was an amazing blessing that I wouldn't trade for anything. I traveled to many different states while homeschooling; seeing a lot of God's magnificent creation. The flexibility while doing homeschool allowed me and my family to go on many fun adventures, abundant with unique experiences I wouldn't have experienced otherwise. Including: singing southern gospel at the Great Smoky Mountains Welcome Center, Singing to and visiting folks in the nursing homes, helping the poor and homeless, doing a traveling children's entertainment business, and many more. Of course, many of those scenarios end up in my stories in some way or another and those that haven't, will probably sneak into my future novels. Homeschooling with a large family for me has also allowed me to teach my younger siblings so I continue to learn and prepare for my future family.

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
Oh, it has prepared me for this in many ways! By being homeschooled, I experienced so many more adventures than I could ever imagine, which has inspired many scenes in my novels. I always had plenty of time for my favorite hobby—reading,  which every writer knows is crucial to being a good writer. I was always encouraged to be creative in my studies and it passed into my love for arts and crafts, which helps me to pay attention to the details. Most importantly, if I hadn't been homeschooled, I may not have received Christ as my Lord and Savior and without Him, I couldn't write any of the novels I write. I'm merely the pen in God's hand.

What caused you to start writing?
The simplest answer is: God. Shortly after I got saved in 2012, I felt called to teach others teens and young adults the importance of purity—a vow I've made myself. So while studying on the subject, I found myself writing the study notes in sort of a story form so-to-speak. I've always loved to read for as long as I can remember and I found myself thinking, it would be so cool to write and publish a book. So, I wrote the opening of what would come to be my debut novel, Hidden Treasures. After the first couple pages though, doubt that it would ever be good enough crept in, so I hid those pages. Two years later, I was working in Tennessee, Dollywood in Pigeon Forge to be exact, when I stumbled upon those hidden pages. I tweaked them a bit and wrote a couple more, then I let a friend read them. She said they were a bit cheesy for her taste(she didn't like romance, but I still felt discouraged and not good enough), then shortly after, my papaw passed away and my seedling of a dream was put on hold once again. Two more years passed before the desire to write came back full force after coming across those pages again. In August of 2016, I studied and researched all I could on the topic. My parents' anniversary was coming up the end of the month so I decided to write a short story version of their wedding day as an anniversary gift(and also to test the waters of what they thought of my writing abilities). They absolutely loved it, everyone who read it, loved it! It gave me the courage and the confidence that this was a gift God had given me and wanted me to use to bring glory and honor to Him.

What inspired Seeking Refuge?
Again, the simple answer is: God. My Savior Yeshua is my sole inspiration for all my novels. His Holy Spirit is who whispers the stories in my ear so I can write them down. He does this in so many miraculous ways! It may be a member of my family, meeting and talking with a stranger, something I've experienced first hand, even something from a broadcast. In the instance of Seeking Refuge, I honestly have no explanation; I have no idea where the idea came from, other than from God. I just felt led to write this story(perhaps I overheard a news' story or something and forgot). In my debut novel, Hidden Treasures, I introduced my readers to the eldest Sawyer child, Sheriff Isaac. I knew he was to be the hero of book two but the plot line came as a surprise to me and I hope it takes my readers by surprise as well. So far, Seeking Refuge is my favorite and most inspiring to me. Especially, where the topic of faith is concerned.

Would you give us a synopsis?
I'd be happy to! Seeking Refuge is a romantic Christian mystery following the story of Joyce, a young woman on the run from Maine to escape a troubled past—but trouble seems to have followed her to Tennessee. Then there's faithful and caring Isaac, the sheriff of the small town of Cascade Valley, Tennessee where Joyce ends up. As the story unfolds, Joyce must learn to trust God again and this man He has placed in her life to overcome the danger-seeking to destroy her.
Here's the blurb:

TRUST NO ONE!

Running for her life, Joyce Watson has a very short list of people she can trust—God and herself. Because she has discriminating evidence against him, her pursuer will go to extreme measures to silence her before it’s turned over to authorities. Despite the nosy sheriff living on the property, hunkering down at an isolated guest ranch feels like the safest option. Drawn to the handsome sheriff, she struggles to keep her heart under lock and key. What if he’s working for her enemy and plotting a way to capture her?

Sheriff Isaac Sawyer can't help but feel suspicious of the Cascade Valley Guest Ranch's newest lodger. It's clear she's hiding something, but what? Her bright, blue eyes are so full of fear, his heart longs to take care of her; but Joyce doesn't trust him. Can he win her trust before her fears become reality? Will he be able to protect her without risking his heart?

Murder, secrets, and danger throw Isaac and Joyce together. They must learn to trust God and each other to overcome the dark clouds of peril circling around them. Will evil prevail, or will God pull them through and kindle a love both believe is impossible?

Who will enjoy Seeking Refuge?
Almost anyone. Everyone who has read it so far has said they loved it! My sisters, parents, friends, costumers young and old, men and women alike. I write my novels clean and friendly for all ages. The romance level is even or lower with the amount of suspense and action in the story and faith always exceeds every other characteristic of the plot.

Do you plan to write more books?
Oh, absolutely!!! I can't imagine not writing more and more books! I actually have eighteen I'm working on right now. Seeking Refuge is only the second installment of my Faith in the Valley series, which is a series of twelve novels. So ten of those are part of that series. The other eight are part of two other series I'm working on and a few independent novels as well. Ha, ha, ha, with God supplying the stories there's no telling how many novels I'll write! The adventure awaits!

Where can people connect with you online?
I love to connect with fellow authors and readers! The can connect with me on my website/blog at: trulyinspiredbooks.wordpess.com or the can email me a: rubymaeodell@gmail.com

Do you have any final thoughts?
I would like to say to all who read this, may God be with you and bless you in all that you do in honor to Him. I'd also like to share my favorite verse with you. Luke 12:34, which says, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” is very special to me. As I wrote in my debut novel, Hidden Treasures; That verse tells us that whatever treasure we seek, with the most time and energy, is where our heart lies. It serves as a reminder to ask myself now and then, “What treasure am I seeking? Knowing God and His will? Or worldly goods that won’t last?” It helps us to continuously seek the most valuable treasure we can possess, a close relationship with God Himself and serving Him by following His will for our lives.
My biggest prayer for all my novels is that they will encourage others to seek the true treasure: Salvation through Jesus Christ and living a life close to Him. May God bless all who read them and remember, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Many Blessings to you all!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

A Big Announcement



The website for the Colorado Christian Writers Conference: http://colorado.writehisanswer.com/