Monday, September 16, 2019

Jessica Glasner on The Seabirds Trilogy


Jessica, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello! I am a writer living in the beautiful space between the Colorado Rockies and the Plains. As a homeschool graduate, I grew up hungry for books that were historically accurate, entertaining, and creative. Finding literature that was enjoyable and entertaining was difficult and over the last few years I determined to fill the gap.

Everyone’s homeschooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
My parents gave me room and time to explore my creative skills, applauding my successes and offering much needed feedback and criticism when my work needed improvement. If not for their constant encouragement, I would never have been able to pursue a creative career.

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
I am a firm believer that reading good books is the key to good writing. My experience homeschooling opened up the world of literature. I read everything growing up: the Inklings, Dante, classic British Lit, and a lot of historical fiction. Inspired by these authors and mentored by my father (a lawyer) and several amazing writing coaches, I learned the importance of flexibility and having a teachable spirit.

What caused you to start writing?
What started out as a summer job in my teens proofreading for a local publisher grew into a fulltime passion to tell stories that are faith-building, historically accurate, and entertaining. From proofreading, to editing, to ghostwriting, to screenwriting, to coaching, it feels like I’ve had my hand in just about every writing pot possible. However, it was only recently that I had the courage to branch out and publish my own work. It is not what I planned to be ‘when I grew up,’ but I wouldn’t change it for the world. God sometimes leads you down surprising paths to get you where He wants you.

What inspired The Seabirds Trilogy
It all began as a simple picture in my head of a lighthouse and a tall, middle aged red-headed spinster-novelist who paints birds obsessively and hasn’t finished a book in two decades. What started as a simple summer story set in 1939 grew beyond my wildest dreams. The series is now an epic saga inspired by true historical events as well as my own family’s story.

Would you give us a synopsis?
The Seabirds Trilogy tells of how a young American girl on the verge of womanhood and her three Jewish cousins navigate their radically changing world over the course of WWII.

In Book One, Voyage of the Sandpiper, Piper and an unlikely group of friends set out on an adventure against time and across continents during the summer of 1939. When all hope seems lost, Piper discovers that the God of hope still performs miracles, and in the process, grow up.

In Book Two, Flight of the Seahawks, wounded and battle weary, Peter and Piper return to Maine, expecting a quiet winter. With the arrival of Grace and Edie’s new manuscript, they discover their journey has only just begun and God's plan, though mysterious, is always good.

In Book Three, Song of the Storm Petrel, Piper and the Adleman girls set out on a new adventure in the South Pacific. As the war draws to a close, each must choose faith over fear when it appears their story might not end the way they imagined.

Who will enjoy The Seabirds Trilogy?
While geared towards young women aged 12-16, the series has been enjoyed by young and old alike.

Where can people buy your books? 
My books are available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Do you plan to write more books?
Absolutely! The next book in the series, Saving Grace, will be available in the Spring of 2020!

Where can people connect with you online?
You can see what I’m up to on Instagram @jesskateglasner.
You can read what I’m up to at Glasnerhouse.co.
You can hear what I’m up to on the Glasnerhouse Podcast on Spotify or itunes.
And… you can check out The Seabirds Trilogy Pinterest Page

Do you have any final thoughts?
In the words of Piper from Song of the Storm Petrel:

“Look, Peter!” I pointed out the windshield. “A rainbow!”

Like a curtain between the acts of a play, it fell across the sky, separating the past from the present, and the present from the future. Like Noah, I felt God’s promise that our future would be good and filled with joy rest on my heart like a seal. The war was over. We were stepping into his plan, his good and perfect plan that had not changed from the beginning of time.

And as I got out of the car, I felt my feet touch solid earth for the first time since I had first set foot on the Grey Goose six years before. The old season was over.

The scene was finished, to be sure. The story, however, was far from done.

Yes, the play had only just begun. And the next act promised to be much better than the first because that is the way it works when God is the writer.

Jessica has put the first book of this series, Voyage of the Sandpiper, on for free on Kindle!
Pick up a copy HERE


Monday, September 9, 2019

Hosanna Emily on The Torch Keepers


Hosanna, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello, and thank you so much for this opportunity!  My name is Hosanna Emily, and I’m an ordinary girl following an extraordinary God.  I seek to share the Lord’s beauty through my writing from poetry, blog posts, novels, and more, and I believe young people can change the world if they’re fully surrendered to Christ.

Everyone’s homeshooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
Good question! I think the biggest difference in my homeschooling experience was that my parents were diligent to seek out my giftings and talents and cultivate them specifically.  For instance, I was able to start earning college credit at age 13, and I graduated with a BA in English through Thomas Edison State University a year after graduating from High School.  Being homeschooled helped me pursue the degree quicker, cheaper, and I learned about topics I wanted to pursue in English.
Also, as my parents and I realized that I had a gift for writing, we were able to focus on that.  They selected curriculum that highlighted areas of writing that were not only educational but also exactly what I needed in my writing journey.
Overall, being homeschooled gave me a big boost in my writing, and it helped me to see that teenagers and young adults don’t have to wait to do big things in life!

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
If I wasn’t homeschooled, I wouldn’t have discovered my passion for writing.  So that’s kinda big.  =)
I was a pre-teen when I wrote a short story that sparked an excitement for writing.  My mom proof-read it and came back with critiques.  But she also had huge encouragement for me.  From that day on, I realized the power of words—I could write stories that blessed people.
So I did.  As a young teenager, I threw aside grammar books and instead wrote a novella.  Because of being homeschooled, I was able to find curriculum that taught me how to write books instead of only sticking to strict grammar guides. The Mystery of the Midnight Trespasser, a mystery story, came out of that time, and I learned so much more about grammar rules than I ever would have in years of bookwork!  Since then, my homeschooling schedule allowed me to both finish highschool, pursue college, and still have time to write the stories God put into my heart.

What caused you to start writing?
I started writing when I was young.  With a notebook paper, I wrote short stories with no dialogue (because the extra words wouldn’t fit on the paper).  When my little brother began to copy my stories, I got upset and tried not to read them to him anymore.  That being said, we’re best friends now.  =)
What really got me writing was a middle-school curriculum called Jump In.  It was the best. school. book. ever.  Through that book, I wrote my first “good short story” that sparked ideas for others.  And it taught me more—poetry, outlining, articles.  I dipped my feet in the water, and soon I began to lunge in.
Simply put, God kept giving me stories.  I had to continue writing them down.

What inspired The Torch Keepers?
Somewhere along the time of busyness of school and writing stories, I read an article online.
The news story had a picture of two beautiful girls.  But the words below them made me stare in shock.  The teenagers had decided to run away from home and join an Islamic terrorist group.
I remember reading those words, wondering how on earth two lovely, gifted girls could do something like that.  Yet eventually time passed, and I forgot.
Then, during a course in creative writing, I needed to write a short story.  Accidentally, I wrote those girls’ story.
I wrote a story about someone who made mistakes.  Someone who was beautiful and treasured and loved but chose the darkness instead of the light.  I wrote the story I wanted those two girls to read—to tell them that one is never too far gone.  There is always hope.  They are still loved.
But the short story ended, and I put it away.  Until God gently pulled it back out.  He woke me up with story ideas until I stopped arguing and began to write them down.  And in a two-month novel contest, I wrote Kadira’s story, The Torch Keepers.  In every single step of the way, God lead me and blew me away with His amazing love.
Because He never forgot the two girls in the article.  He cherished them, despite their decisions.
So He let me put them in a fantasy world and write their stories.

Would you give us a synopsis?
The King's blue flame quivers as a new fire arises, and Kadira must hold fast to his torch. It's destiny; she's a Torch Keeper. 

A fiery revolution sweeps across the kingdom of Érkeos, and each person must choose a side. Kadira, a girl set apart to serve the King, finds her city engulfed in the Liberation's emerald flames. Her blue eyes mark her as the enemy, and she flees from death. It stalks her anyway. When she meets Rekém, the Liberation warrior sent to kill her, she rebels against the King's ways. Two armies collide; indecision isn't an option. As hearts and lives hang in the balance, Kadira and Rekém could bring destruction or liberation to the entire kingdom.

Who will enjoy The Torch Keepers?
I wrote The Torch Keepers for young adult fantasy-lovers who want to experience a new world.  Through the allegorical story, I want readers of all backgrounds and beliefs to know that they’re never alone, and they can be redeemed and forgiven always.

Where can people buy your book?
My first novella, The Mystery of the Midnight Trespasser, is available on Amazon in both Kindle and paperback format.
The Torch Keepers, is to be released on the first of September, and it will also be available on Amazon as well as other possible sites to be announced!

Do you plan to write more books?
The question is, will God stop giving me stories?  =)
The Torch Keepers has a sequel coming soon (!) as well as possible other stories.  And the Lord hasn’t stopped giving me scenes and books and adventures.  So I don’t see an end date of writing books in sight.  I’m so thrilled to discover them!

Where can people connect with you online?
You can connect with me on my blog: Havingaheartlikehis.blogspot.com
Or to see a glimpse into my real life + book announcements + deeper thoughts, you can follow me on Instagram: @hosanna.emily

Do you have any final thoughts?
Thank you so much for allowing me to share my story and the ways God has moved in my life!  And friend, no matter what your story is, it’s beautiful.  God has an amazing plan for your life.  It might not be what you think or want or expect, but when we surrender to His will, give our all to Him, it’s good.
He is a good, good Father.  God writes the best life stories; and you’re always loved.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Sarah Brazytis on Lighten our Darkness


Sarah, Welcome back Homeschooled Authors. What have you been up to since you were last here (August 2016)?
Thank you for having me back! I’ve been doing a lot of writing, and just enough publishing - namely, the release of three new books, including Lighten Our Darkness!

What inspired your book, Lighten Our Darkness?
The first phrase of a prayer from the Book of Common Prayer: "Lighten our darkness, we beseech Thee, O Lord..." It sent me searching for the prayer itself, which so perfectly fit the challenges and fears of World War II! The idea of basing a story on it kept nagging at me, and as time went on, I found that the story itself began to form in my mind.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this book?
The research was so incredibly intense! For a good part of the book, I was actually using a site operated by the Battle of Britain Historical Society that gave the weather, operations, and military action for each day. The comforting part of it was that you really can't go wrong with that much information; the hard part was the constant checking and rechecking to make sure I was staying on track!

Did you come across an interesting piece of information during your research that stuck out but couldn't work into your story?
The men of the Polish Air Force helped to save Britain…but after the war they were abandoned by the people who once lauded them as heroes. Far too many Polish aces were forced to return to a now Russian-controlled Poland, where far too many died in prison or were executed for perceived ‘treason’ or ‘war crimes’ against the Soviet government. Lighten Our Darkness does not extend that far in history, but it’s heart-breaking to think what men like Jedrick and Stan would have faced when the war was over.

What is Helen Smith's most unique quality?
Probably the fact that since her father was involved in international business, Helen is in essence a woman without a country. She's an American abroad, but was never really in one place long enough to settle in. It makes her both vulnerable, and the perfect friend for Jedrick, who is an old-world Pole whose world is no more - she knows what it is like to be alone and without family or community.

What is Jedrick's most irritating characteristic?
Well, I have to admit that my goal as an author is to make my characters as non-irritating as possible! But the trait that is one of his best - his dedication to his work - is what is also his greatest weakness: he knows what kind of fighting he's going into, and he knows he's going to die. He wants his death to bring as little sorrow to as few people as possible – so in his eyes, his life is over.

Resolution can be first cousin to obstinacy!

What is next for you as a writer?
More advertising for Lighten Our Darkness and my latest release, The Making of a Man; as well as publishing my next work, which should be coming out any week now.

Where can people get Lighten Our Darkness?
It's available on Amazon, as a Kindle eBook or a paperback.

Any final thoughts?
My favorite historical quote regarding the Polish pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain:


Had it not been for the magnificent material contributed by the Polish squadrons and their unsurpassed gallantry, I hesitate to say that the outcome of battle would have been the same.
Hugh Caswall Tremenheere Dowding,
1st Baron Dowding
Air Chief Marshal, Royal Air Force

Monday, August 26, 2019

Melissa Little on The Book of Secrets


Melissa, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hi! I've read your blog for awhile and I'm happy to be here! I live in Alabama near the Appalachian Mountains (something many people do not realize is in Alabama) and right on the edge of the woods. My author bio says I live in the woods, but this was met with disapproval from the 11-year-old I tutor, who demanded complete accuracy. So, for him, I will say I live on the edge of the woods. Unlike my characters, I don't live in the wilderness despite how all that sounds. I've been a little slower than most people to get through college but I'm almost done with my theology degree and I'm working to pay for grad school next year. I write for an online publication called Kid Lit Exchange, which enables me to get advanced copies of everything from picture books to YA novels. I also recently got Netflix and immediately hopped on the Stranger Things bandwagon.

Everyone’s homeshooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
I think a lot of factors made my experience unique. Both of my parents are teachers (my dad has a doctorate in it). We didn't use one curriculum, but had a large blend of different ones. We did a lot of extracurricular activities. I was in plays and music and co-op classes. We moved several times when I was growing up and were in different groups or cover schools depending on where we were living. It was a very fun experience for me. I had a lot of friends and we went on tons of field trips.

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
Being homeschooled gave my brother and me a large amount of free time. We played together for hours and hours every day. We had these detailed families and storylines with our stuffed animals, who lived next door to each other in our fantasy world. That was actually the groundwork for the first stories I ever wrote. I also had so much time to read whatever I wanted. We went to the library all the time and I got so many books every week. I think being homeschooled gives you the gift of time and I used that time to eventually start writing.

What caused you to start writing?
When I was 9, my brother and I spent a whole day playing outside in these playhouses we had built out of scrap 2-by-4's. We had some kind of story going on with the stuffed animal characters we had made up. When we came inside that evening, I was struck with the inspiration to write down what we had played and turn it into a book. I got paper from my dad's printer, stapled it together, and began writing on the couch while my dad watched a foreign-language film on TV. Like a lot of my childhood, that moment is so vivid to me. I had no idea it was the start of something I would do for the rest of my life.

What inspired The Book of Secrets?
The major thing that inspired The Book of Secrets was the fact that I was working in a library. I was going through a really bad time mentally and my writing felt dull and lifeless. One day while sorting donations, I was struck with "what if I found some kind of magic book?" which is exactly what happens to Gabriel in The Book of Secrets. It all took off there.

Part of the inspiration also came from my childhood with my brother, which I think will influence whatever I do for the rest of my life. For example, the Nullians (a creature group in the book) are actually something my brother invented when he was probably six. The Nullians living in a cave, the long trunks, the tide warnings--all of that was from my brother and me as kids. We had a computer game from the movie Cars and would always drive into a cave in the game and pretend we were in the Nullians' home.

Would you give us a synopsis?
Sure! Here's part of the back cover blurb:  After Gabriel Draven smuggles home the Stone of the Seven Realms, his fear of facing consequences launches him and his oddball family on a rollicking run for their lives across the world they only thought they knew. As his journey takes him out of his realm and into another, Gabriel discovers that the deepest mystery lies at the heart of his own family, and he must do whatever it takes to find his way back home. 

Who will enjoy The Book of Secrets?
I call it a YA-crossover because I think it's marketed for ages 11-14 or younger kids who are more advanced readers. However, my hope is that anyone who wants an nontraditional, funny fantasy will enjoy it. I haven't read a lot of fantasy myself, which is kind of weird considering I wrote it, but I think most of it is boring. Hopefully, people who are tired of typical fantasy books will enjoy this one. I've had readers from age 8 to middle-aged adults.

Where can people buy your book?
It is currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from the publisher at blackrosewriting.com.

Do you plan to write more books?
I'm in a bit of an inspiration drought currently but hope to come out of it eventually. The Book of Secrets has two sequels, which I am getting polished with plans to eventually submit them to my editor for consideration. But the world of traditional publishing is extremely unpredictable, so we'll just have to see.

Where can people connect with you online?
I have public Facebook page which I literally never use but if you're somehow that intent on finding me, you can just search my name. My often-used Instagram is @mllittleauthor and a great place to contact me. My scarcely-used Twitter is @mllittle4. I'm on Goodreads which is most easily discoverable by searching my name and my book's title. Finally, I have a blog where I interview authors and a website for my books.

Do you have any final thoughts?
This might have been more prevalent in my life than the average, because I grew up around a lot of educators, but I have faced prejudice both in real life and online because I was homeschooled. Often I'm careful to come across a certain way or avoid the topic of where I went to school. This is actually the first interview where I've mentioned it. I hope that I can prove where you go to school doesn't define you. I was able to get through college and become traditionally published, and if I can do it, so can any homeschooler. I hope to show people that truth. Parents know what's best for their kids and I don't think any kind of school--public, private, charter, online, or homeschool--is better than another.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Kellyn interviews book characters Adele and Troy


Hello there! I’m Kellyn Roth, and today I’m honored to be allowed to post an interview with two characters from my latest series, Kees & Colliers, Adele Collier and Troy Kee.

The first book, The Lady of the Vineyard, came out in June, the second, Flowers in Her Heart, came out in July, and the third, From Now ’Til Forever, came out this August. I’m working on some spin-off novellas now!

Let’s get into the interview.

Me: First off, could you two introduce yourselves?

Adele: Of course! I’m Adele Collier, and I was born in Kent but have lived in London since I was eighteen. I love bright colors, loud noises (you know, as long as they’re not raucous), happy people, and tea. But not coffee.
Troy: And I’m Troy. I was born in London, but I … partially grew up in France. My uncle owns a vineyard. And, um, I like muted colors and no noises and—
Adele: Don’t say you like sad people just to be opposite.
Troy: I wasn’t! I do like sincere people, though. So whatever they’re feeling, let them feel it. And I like coffee. But not tea.
Adele: *sigh*

Me: Okay, you two. Next question. What are some of the most important things in life to you?

Troy: Well, God comes first, always. But my family is the most important thing on earth to me, and I do care greatly for my vineyard. And my dog. Everyone ought to have a dog.
Adele: What Troy said, except the dog and the vineyard.
Troy: Are we just going to keep answering the same things?
Adele: What did you want me to say? “Oh, no, I hate God and my family.” Of course I wasn’t going to say that.
Troy: You … have a point.

Me: Here’s something I know you’ll answer differently on. What’s one thing you learned during the course of your books that has really stuck with you?

Adele: Oh, heavens.
Troy: There’s a lot.
Adele: Definitely! I suppose I’d start with … how do I describe it? Letting go of selfishness. Focusing on God then on my family then on everything else. What love is and what it isn’t.
Troy: I learned to play the accordion.
Adele: You did not! We’re putting that thing back in the attic where it belongs.
Troy: Okay, but really, that love isn’t letting someone hurt you, that God is there even when you don’t feel Him or when you rebel … I mean, can you summarize a life in a paragraph? I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.

Me: Well, we’re here to listen! But let’s move on. If you could visit any country, where would you go?

Troy: France.
Adele: But you live in France.
Troy: I like it here.
Adele: I can see that. Well, I’d probably visit Italy or New York.

Me: What are your thoughts on animals? Do you have a favorite?

Adele: I might like a nice quiet cat. And horses are sweet, too—I always wanted a pony when I was small. But I’m not really an animal person overall. Especially dogs.
Troy: This is why you are such a horrible person.
Adele: TROY!
Troy: Who wouldn’t love dogs? Dogs are great! They’re man’s best friend.
Adele: Well, maybe they’re just not this woman’s best friend.
Troy: Hmph.


Me: Favorite colors?

Adele: Blue.
Troy: Brown.
Adele: No comment.
Troy: It’s a warm and pleasant color. Like chocolate and dirt.

Me: And our last question for today: what do you like most about the other? (I’m trying to banish your constant negativity.)

Troy: Well, definitely not her dislike of dogs, coffee, and all other very important things.
Adele: Oh, shush, you. I’ll go first if you’re going to be stubborn. I love his sense of honor and his sense of humor, and I love that he is strong and trustworthy and loving even when I’m, well, difficult. And he’s a good dad.
Troy: Well, gosh, you’re going to make me cry.
Adele: Be serious. I was.
Troy: *deep breath* I’ve always thought I’ve loved everything about her, but I think if I had to pick a favorite thing, it would definitely be the intensity she throws herself into everything. Sometimes that’s not good—but oftentimes, it is. That means she can be a warrior, and I’m proud of her for that. It’s passivity, no matter what it’s in, that you have to look for.
Adele: Aw!

***

And that’s the interview! Before you go, I have a giveaway … a paperback copy of the first book in the Kees & Colliers series, The Lady of the Vineyard! And some bookmarks, of course. Can’t live without ’em.


Well, that’s it for today! Thanks for reading this post.


Saturday, August 3, 2019

Given Hoffman on The Eighth Ransom


Given, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thank you so much for the opportunity to be here! I’m a Minnesota writer and novelists, who loves suspense and stories with significance. I’m passionate about homeschooling and about mentoring and encouraging young adults in their faith. I have been pursuing fiction writing for ten years. Due to my love of homeschooling and my involvement with my state’s homeschool organization, I took on a non-fiction project and compiled the book The Voices of the Pioneers: Homeschooling in Minnesota. After that I shifted back to fiction, a friend also got me started writing flash fiction. In 2016, I authored the flash fiction stories: “FBI Apprehends Mole” and “Mrs. Fanny Delmor” both published by Splickety. I launched my first novel in October of 2018, and so (after ten years of learning and investing) really I am just getting started. So to all you who are still dreaming and hoping, don’t quit. If writing is a gift God has given you, He will use it.

Everyone’s homeschooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
My mother always told us kids, “Anything you put your mind to, you can do.” Out of the five of us kids, I was always the one saying, “I can’t.” “I can’t learn to read.” “I can’t do math.” “I can’t figure out paper writing.” Etc. I was easily overwhelmed and would often throw up my hands and declare the pursuit impossible. At which point my mother would start her simple yet powerful campaign: “I know you can do this. You can do anything you set your mind to.” I learned far more than school because of her unique approach.

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
Homeschooling gave me the foundation for writing: grammar, spelling, etc.  But most of all homeschooling introduced me to reading. My mother read YA historical fiction to us on our homeschool lunch breaks, and I read all kinds of fiction, everything from Nancy Drew to Stephen Lawhead. With the flexibility of homeschooling, my mother took me to my first writers guild when I was sixteen and my first writers conference the following year. Being introduced to the world of professional authors and getting to learn from them at conferences grew my writing skills by leaps and bounds.

What caused you to start writing?
I’ve always had trouble falling asleep, and one night about mid-high school I got this scene stuck in my head. In the next couple of months that scene snowballed into the plot of a contemporary suspense novel. I couldn’t help myself. I started writing a book.

What inspired The Eighth Ransom?
To be honest, I never set out with the intention to be a young adult suspense novelist (which is now ultimately my market). My first book was an adult suspense novel based around white collar crime in Chicago. I was a total novice determined to get published. I pitched to publishers and got rejected over and over, but each time I learned something. Eventually, I had a couple of different publishers interested enough to request my manuscript. None of their interest turned into a publishing contract, but one of the reasons they said they were rejecting my work was because they didn’t feel a teenager (which I was at the time) could market a book to adults. So I started brainstorming book ideas with teenage protagonists. That eventually lead me to write The Eighth Ransom. My inspiration for the book was the question: “What would happen if a bunch of teenagers from different backgrounds, worldviews, families, etc. got thrown together and had to work together to save themselves and others? Could they do it?” It grew from there into the story of the kidnapping of eight young people whose ransoms play a part in an international plot against the US.
As a writer you’re often unsure whether you’ve accomplished your goal in your writing. For me that confirmation came from an independent reviewer from Readers’ Favorite. She wrote about The Eighth Ransom, “This story was so much more than I expected, and the characters with their individual problems and attitudes were very well done!”  You can view her full review here.

Would you give us a synopsis?
The Eighth Ransom focuses on two main characters: Trent Soris and Ashley Rye. Trent is the eighteen-year-old son of a single mom who has just gotten married. He isn’t coping well with being dumped into a new life with a stepfather, step-sister, and rules that are definitely cramping his style. He’s pushing his mother for information about his birth father and trying hard to drive his stepfather away.
Ashley, on the other hand, is a seventeen-year-old homeschooler who has grown up in a solid home with both parents and four siblings. With a stay-at-home mom and a dad who’s a private pilot, Ashley’s biggest stressors are deciding what major to choose for college and how to survive being the center of attention at her graduation party. But that’s before she’s kidnapped and held for ransom.
Unlike the seven others who are taken, Trent wasn’t one of the kidnappers’ targets. In the wrong place at the wrong time, he doesn’t have a ransom. He figures he must either escape or find a way to make himself important to their kidnappers otherwise he might be the only one not going home. But when escape proves futile and all eight of them face the possibility of not making it out alive, they find enough common ground and attempt working together to figure out who’s behind their kidnappings and how they can fight back.

You can watch The Eighth Ransom’s Book Trailers here.

Who will enjoy The Eighth Ransom?
My target audience for The Eighth Ransom is Young Adults age 12-19, particularly teen boys (since The Eighth Ransom is a suspense-driven action adventure that does not include romance). As far as who has enjoyed it? I’ve had a variety of people (kids, parent, and even grandparents) who have all liked it.

Where can people buy your book?
I’d recommend going to my website GivenHoffman.com and following the buy link directly to my publisher’s sales site, but you can also find The Eighth Ransom on Amazon, Barns & Noble, iBooks, etc.

Do you plan to write more books?
Yes, I’m currently in the process of editing the first book in my new period medieval trilogy written for teenage boys. I will also be continuing to write contemporary suspense, similar in style to The Eighth Ransom, and I do have plans to someday write a sequel to The Eighth Ransom, though both would remain stand-alone novels.

Where can people connect with you online?
My website is a great place to learn more about me and subscribe to my email newsletter to get updated on my book discounts, book news, and events. I also have a list of resources for writers on my website and a link to my blog on practical Christianity.
My public author Facebook page is a good place to connect and contact me.
I’m on twitter .
You can also find me on Pinterest, where I’ve collected pictures of some of the places and things I mention in The Eighth Ransom.

Do you have any final thoughts?
As a final thought, I would say strive after the calling God has given you (whether that’s writing or something else entirely), and don’t let the expectations or judgements of other people keep you from doing what you know God has called you to do. I’ve wanted to give up many times because of the way others have responded to me as a writer. Even after my book was published people would say things like, “Wow, this is actually good.” As if they are surprised I really had something to offer. But we ALL have something to offer. So my exhortation to you all is don’t ever hide away the gifts God has given you. Be who God created you to be. To quote McNair Wilson, one of my past writing instructors, “When you don’t do you, the world is incomplete. But when you do you, you inspire me.” I hope we can all learn to embrace who God has made us to be and inspire others to do the same.
Thank you again for the opportunity to be here. God bless!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Naomi Jackson on Otherworld: The Book of Things That Are

*Post contains affiliate links*

Naomi, welcome to Homeschool Authors! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello, thank you for having me! I’m Naomi Jackson, a proud homeschool graduate and the author of two children’s books—Hobo Stew and Otherworld: The Book of Things That Are.

Everyone’s homeshooling experience is different. What do you think made yours unique?
One thing that made my homeschooling experience a little different is that for a time I was bedridden. I have a couple of chronic conditions, from about eleven through almost thirteen I really struggled physically. Being able to learn when I was able and fit lessons around my much bigger physical needs made homeschooling a really good fit for me and a huge blessing.

How did being homeschooled prepare you to write?
You know, being homeschooled often means that not only are you a student, but you also function as your own teacher sometimes. That aspect of being homeschooled taught me how to be self-motivated and to set my own schedule and pace myself.  I think those skills have been some of the most important to my work, because being a freelancer means you are your own boss.

What caused you to start writing?
I started writing when I was seven for a school assignment, and I’ve not stopped since!

What inspired Otherworld: The Book of Things That Are?
Otherworld grew out of my love for children’s fantasy and my desire to sort of put a whole bunch of magical places and characters together and see what would happen. When I started writing Otherworld, I thought it was just going to be this amazing joy ride. You know, a sweet and simple story. In the end, though, there are some very bittersweet moments in it. I think it ended up being a lot more about the love and loss between siblings than I knew it would be.

Would you give us a synopsis?
Sure! Here’s the back of the book description:
Someone is granting Mavis’ wishes.
Desperately tired of being bed-ridden, Mavis wished she could go on an adventure. That very night, a ticket appears on her pillow. Train 627 is departing the garden shed at midnight—or so it appears. The destination?
Otherworld
Otherworld is better than Mavis or even Roger could have imagined. There’s the train station and the Gullumgall’ad’s Cave and the Moon. There are Lay Agatha and Esperanza and Harnswiggle and Bollygoggle. Even better, there are so many stops left to explore!
Unfortunately, Mavis makes a dangerously careless wish. And Roger does a very brave and yet very foolish thing to save her.
Will they be able to find The Book of Things That Are and change what is written in time?

Who will enjoy Otherworld: The Book of Things That Are?
You! xD But in all seriousness—Otherworld is a children’s fantasy marked for eight to twelve-year-olds that is being enjoyed by entire families. So it’s cliché, but it really is a book for the young and the young at heart!

Where can people buy your book?
Otherworld: The Book of Things That Are and my first book, Hobo Stew, are both available on Amazon.com.

Do you plan to write more books?
Yes! I am writing a new book currently and have a tentative publishing date of October 2019.

Where can people connect with you online?
You can find my blog at naomijacksonwrites.com. There are some cool short stories published there so you’re really going to want to check it out!

I’m also on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for those of you who like to hang out on social media!


Do you have any final thoughts?
Homeshcooling was a great opportunity for me, and I’m very grateful to my parents for investing so much time in my education. So I’d just like to say to all the homeschooling moms and dads reading this—keep going! It’s so, so worth it.
And to all of the homeschooling students considering going into writing themselves—read as much as you possibly can and write as much as you possibly can. It’s the best advice I’ve ever been given for this career!