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Interview with Linda Maran, Author of The Stranger

Today’s guest is Linda Maran, the author of The Stranger. Linda began writing poetry as a teenager and then turned to food and self-help article writing in her adult years. Now, in her sixties, she is blessed to have her first novel published, which has been her goal for many years. She enjoys reading, writing, research, painting, music, playing drums, walking, contemplative prayer, and sampling new eateries. Her personal experiences, both good and challenging, have become material for stories. This helps her to write about what she knows best, which lends authenticity to her platform. She has been married for thirty-eight years, is a practicing Catholic, and has been surrounded by musicians most of her life. She resides in both city and country settings. Wherever Linda is residing, you can find her on Facebook, on Twitter, on her blog, and you can learn more about her debut novel here.

Thank you for being with us, Linda. I’m excited for your brand-new release, a unique Amish story that I’ve seen described as “bonnet” fiction with a suspenseful twist. We discussed the story with your heroine, Kristen Esh, earlier this week, but I’m anxious to hear how you came to write The Stranger.

I have wondered the same thing, until I went back and reviewed my childhood and teen years. I grew up as an only child and the others who were my age on our block had siblings. I loved going over to my friend’s house two doors down to be in a lively household, especially during holidays. I enjoyed having a friend as added company to come over and eat dinner with us. One time my parents allowed a friend to come on vacation with us so I had a companion my own age. I suppose there’d been a sense of loneliness that I can relate to in my main character. It amazes me how it comes forth in the writing.

Kristen’s story is one of a modern-day teen, almost a woman, who is unfamiliar with the ways of the Amish, yet she finds herself living among them. If you were to find yourself in the same situation as Kristen, how do you think you would do?

I am a creature of habit, and the thought of moving away from friends and relatives seems unthinkable. One of my critique partners said that Kristen’s panic upon arriving at the home of her Amish relatives comes forth loud and clear. That must be my own feeling about it coming through.

There is a subtle message in the story concerning appearances and truth and how misunderstandings can separate people from the ones they love. In the Amish setting it is a plot that shines brightly. When I write, sometimes the message or the theme finds me, so I’m very interested in how you may have discovered the theme that fits so well into the story.

Throughout my life I have tried to be ‘me’ in not only how I behave but in how I present myself. Many times, especially before I knew who I was on the inside fully, I’d worn various “masks.” I had many pairs of high heels never worn, flashy jewelry, and other outer adornments that were purchased to impress or to fit in. I never gravitated toward makeup. I guess I was more of a “Plain Jane” and a sweat shirt and jeans kind of gal. So, I loved going where the artsy folks lived because our tastes are similar. I came to know where I fit. It’s a good feeling when you find it and I wanted Kristen to find her ‘fit’ as well. And in my experience, that can only start on the inside, then it just all falls into place.

I smiled when I saw you mention “Plain Jane.” I have to admit it takes an Amish story with a good twist like The Stranger, to get my attention in the genre. One of my other favorite Amish stories is entitled Plain Jayne.

You write so well about the Amish life that I had to ask Kristen these same questions. Today, I’d like to know what things in the Amish life that you would have trouble with accepting, and what would you embrace?

I have trouble with their lack of affection both in public and within the home. Being Italian, we hug and kiss our greetings and older women tend to take your arm when walking. Children are very openly affectionate. I would not do well in a household with an outhouse. I’d have to come up with something to avoid that issue, sort of like Kristen’s under-the-bed chamber pot.

I respect their work ethic and how they help one another in times of trouble with repairing homes, caring for farms and erecting barns. And as a woman, there’d never be a problem with deciding what to wear!

Are you working on a new project, and if so, what can we look forward to seeing from you next?

I am currently editing two novels. One is a contemporary inspirational romance about the world of entertainment and the struggles within such an environment in maintaining a relationship and Christian values. The other is an Amish suspense novel that takes place in the same area as my first novel.

Well, I’m hoping to get the chance to read those novels. Please keep us advised. We’d love to have you visit us again on Inner Source.

More About The Stranger:

When Kristen Esh loses her mom in a tragic accident months before her eighteenth birthday, she suddenly finds herself among Amish relatives she never knew she had. The dramatic change from the Jersey Shore to the remote Stone Arabia in upstate New York is difficult enough, but abiding by the Amish rules and lifestyle is a challenge unlike any other.

When anonymous notes begin to arrive for her to go back to where she came from, Kristen longs for her past life and her mom. As she discovers secrets that unravel her true identity, she finds an unlikely ally in John Wagler, the step-son of her aunt. He lessens Kristen’s fears and encourages her faith.

Interwoven with gradual revelations is the growing love between Kristen and John. One that encourages forgiveness and helps seal Kristen’s fate.

 

Interview with Kristen Esh, the Heroine of Linda Maran’s The Stranger

Today’s guest is Kristen Esh, the heroine of Author Linda Maran’s The Stranger. I’m so glad to have you here with us Kristen since your story was released on Friday.

Will you tell us a little about your life—as it was and what it has become?

I was alone a lot due to my mom working so much and the arrangement of our living situation. Mom was the live-in help for Ross Maddock, who was a wonderful man, but he was the employer. There was no eating around the table together for meals or holidays. I had no extended relatives so my best friend, Cindy, invited me to her home for dinner and Christmas. Living close to the beach was the bonus of our situation. I loved everything about it…the scent, the sounds, the sunsets and having a great place to hang out with my friends and to walk with Mom on her Sundays off.

Now I live in the country without my ocean. But here there’s a whole set of different smells and views that I have come to love too. I have family…aunts, uncles and cousins. This is still so amazing to me. Especially eating every meal in the company of all or most of them. Cell phones and television are not missed as much as I’d assumed they’d be because I’m too busy and not alone and needy for Social Media.  I also learned how to pray and not until I came here did I realize the importance of prayer.

It’s been a while since I was your age, but as I read your story, I couldn’t help but to think of how I would handle your situation. How difficult was it for you to adapt to the Amish life?

I was totally panicked. Everything and everyone I knew before I arrived to live with my Amish family, was gone. I dressed different, spoke different and came from a completely different background. I was literally a stranger among them. And on top of that, to not have the modern conveniences like electricity or an indoor bathroom was more change than I thought I could deal with. During those first weeks, I cried myself to sleep.

What are some of the things that you miss from your life outside of the Amish community? What in the Amish life do you embrace?

I miss the Jersey Shore environment of sand, ocean and boardwalk activity. I miss wearing my hair down in summer and jeans in winter. I miss getting to places by public transportation or by car. And I miss kissing people ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye.’

I love the feeling of belonging. Of having family and of growing in my faith. I like having simple choices now in what I wear and what to do. I like the clean natural living.

Based on your life experiences, both outside and inside the Amish community, what is one thing that you feel young adults need to know about life in general?

That no matter what changes happen you will be able to get through it and come out OK in the end. That even if you feel you don’t belong or are not one of the crowd, there is a place and others just like you where you do fit and belong and God will lead you there. Trust in who you are on the inside. Pray every day.

More About The Stranger:

When Kristen Esh loses her mom in a tragic accident months before her eighteenth birthday, she suddenly finds herself among Amish relatives she never knew she had. The dramatic change from the Jersey Shore to the remote Stone Arabia in upstate New York is difficult enough, but abiding by the Amish rules and lifestyle is a challenge unlike any other.

When anonymous notes begin to arrive for her to go back to where she came from, Kristen longs for her past life and her mom. As she discovers secrets that unravel her true identity, she finds an unlikely ally in John Wagler, the step-son of her aunt. He lessens Kristen’s fears and encourages her faith.

Interwoven with gradual revelations is the growing love between Kristen and John. One that encourages forgiveness and helps seal Kristen’s fate.

More About the Author:

Linda began writing poetry as a teenager and then turned to food and self-help article writing in her adult years. Now, in her sixties, she is blessed to have her first novel published, which has been her goal for many years. She enjoys reading, writing, research, painting, music, playing drums, walking, contemplative prayer, and sampling new eateries. Her personal experiences, both good and challenging, have become material for stories. This helps her to write about what she knows best, which lends authenticity to her platform. She has been married for thirty-eight years, is a practicing Catholic, and has been surrounded by musicians most of her life. She resides in both city and country settings. Wherever Linda is residing, you can find her on Facebook, on Twitter, on her blog, and you can learn more about her debut novel here.

 

Those Girls Have Got Grit by Linda Shenton Matchett

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA – CIRCA 2002: A stamp printed in USA dedicated to Women in Journalism shows Nellie Bly circa 2002

“I have too frequently received the impression that women war correspondents were an irritating nuisance, and I wish to point out that none of us would have our jobs unless we knew how to do them and this curious condescending treatment is as ridiculous as it is undignified,” wrote journalist Martha Gellhorn to military authorities in 1944.

To be allowed in a war zone, the government required reporters to attain accreditation, a long and tedious process. In exchange for adherence to regulations, the military would provide transportation, meals and lodging, and transmit the writer’s article. Unfortunately the 127 accredited women correspondents often found themselves up against attitudes of ridicule, contempt, and hostility combined with miles of red tape as officers refused to take the “girls” behind the lines. Instead, these women had to coerce, bribe, or charm their way onto jeeps, trucks, or ships.

Given the excuse it was too dangerous for a woman to fly from England to North Africa, Margaret Bourke-White’s request to cover the campaign was denied. Eager to see the action, she secured passage on a ship which was torpedoed almost immediately. Undeterred, she grabbed her camera and climbed aboard a lifeboat where she produced an article about the dangers of wartime sea travel.

Dickey Chappelle, a petite, bespectacled blonde was determined to cover the Battle of Iwo Jima. When a testy general argued that he didn’t want one hundred thousand Marines pulling up their pants because she was around, Chappell countered, “That won’t bother me a bit. My object is to cover the war.” Known for her pluck and tenacity, Gellhorn stowed away on a hospital ship and hid in the head (bathroom) to get to Normandy to cover the invasion. Ex-fashion photographer Lee Miller managed to make her way to Dachau where she captured pictures of the camp’s liberation. Months earlier, Miller broke the rules and arrived in Paris before it was liberated. As a result, she was confined by the Allied command until the Germans retreated.

The grit and gumption of these ladies and others enabled them to provide eyewitness accounts to the harrowing events of WWII. Because, as BBC Correspondent Lyse Doucet says, “They did it, not just because they were exceptional women, but because they were great journalists.”

 

About the Author:

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, journalist, speaker, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. Active in her church, Linda serves as treasurer, usher, choir member, and Bible study leader.

Follow Linda on her website, her Facebook Author Page, on Pinterest, and on LinkedIn.

About Under Fire

Journalist Ruth Brown’s sister Jane is pronounced dead after a boating accident in April 1942. Because Jane’s body is missing, Ruth is convinced her sister is still alive and follows clues to war-torn London. By the time she uncovers the truth about Jane’s disappearance, she has stumbled on black marketers, resistance fighters and the IRA – all of whom may want her dead for what she has discovered.

As I noted, Linda has been a busy writer. Here are her other works:

Love’s Harvest, a Modern-Day Retelling of the Story of Ruth: Noreen Hirsch loses everything including her husband and two sons. Then her adopted country goes to war with her homeland. Has God abandoned her? Rosa Hirsch barely adjusts to being a bride before she is widowed. She gives up her citizenship to accompany her mother-in-law to her home country. Can Rosa find acceptance among strangers who hate her belligerent nation? Basil Quincey is rich beyond his wildest dreams, but loneliness stalks him. Can he find a woman who loves him and not his money? Three people. One God who can raise hope from the ashes of despair.

Love Found in Sherwood ForestAward-winning Broadway actress Leighanne Webster has it all until an on-stage panic attack brings her career crashing to the ground. Returning to England to help produce the annual Robin Hood Festival play, could be the diversion Leighanne needs. But with ex-fiance, Jamison Blake, as the play’s director, focusing on her new job won’t be easy. Breaking his engagement with Leighanne so she could pursue her dream of being a Broadway star was the hardest thing Jamison Blake ever did. When she returns to Nottingham, his heart insists he made a mistake. Can he convince her to give their love a second chance, or will he have to let her go again? This time, forever.

On the Rails: A Harvey Girl StoryWarren, Ohio, 1910: Katherine Newman loves being a teacher, but she loves Henry Jorgensen more, which is why she’s willing to give up her job to marry him. But instead of proposing, Henry breaks up with her. Devastated, Katherine seeks to escape the probing eyes and wagging tongues of her small town. A former Harvey Girl, Katherine’s mother arranges for Katherine to be hired at the Williams, Arizona Harvey House. Can she carve out a new life in the stark desert land unlike anything she’s ever known?

Henry Jorgensen loves Katherine with all his heart, but as the eldest son of a poor farmer can he provide for her as she deserves? The family’s lien holder calls in the mortgage, and Henry must set aside his own desires in order to help his parents meet their financial obligation. But when Katherine leaves town after their break up, he realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. Can he find her and convince her to give their love a second chance?

A Love Not Forgotten (part of The Hope of Spring collection): Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She’s still in love with her fiancé, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her?
It’s been two years since Charles “Chaz” Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past?

WWII Word-Find: Enjoy hours of fun with 78 WWII-themed word-find puzzles. Descriptive paragraphs include facts and information about each topic.

To read Inner Source’s interview with Linda’s heroine, Ruth Brown, from Under Fire you can find it here.

Linda’s Inner Source interview can be found here.

Author Interview: Linda Shenton Matchett, Author of Under Fire

Today’s guest is Linda Shenton Matchett, author of Under Fire, a World War II historical. Linda is an author, journalist, speaker, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. Active in her church, Linda serves as treasurer, usher, choir member, and Bible study leader.

Follow Linda on her website, her Facebook Author Page, on Pinterest, and on LinkedIn.

Welcome, Linda. I have to confess that I loved your story when I read it before its publication, but I only recently learned about your flourishing career. Congratulations.

Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad we reconnected. You were a great encouragement to me when your publisher was considering my manuscript. I also learned a lot about craft from you, especially about how to look at story and character arcs.

Thank you so much. I am always humbled and blessed when someone says that the Lord used me in their writing career. I know our readers would love to hear a little about your novel, Under Fire.

Under Fire was the result of a lot of different experiences. I was an HR professional for many years, and I’m fascinated by the history of women in the workplace and their taking roles traditionally held by men which began en masse with WWII. I was enrolled in Jerry Jenkins’ Christian Writer’s Guild at the same time I was reading a biography of Margaret Bourke-White (WWII photojournalist). As part of my assignments, I devised the plot about a female war correspondent/amateur sleuth. In addition to being a mystery, Under Fire follows Ruth’s crisis of faith.

What drew you to write a World War II historical?

I have always loved all history, but because of the incredible Wright Museum of WWII which is located in my town, about fifteen years ago I began to focus my interest on the WWII era. I’m impressed by the stories of ordinary folks doing extraordinary things because their country asked it of them. I wanted to explore issues that people were experiencing because of the war: deprivation, women entering the workforce in droves (whether they wanted to or not), choices they were forced to make, etc. I also wanted to explore the concept whether it a valid assumption to believe that crime, especially murder, would diminish during wartime. Or does violence begat violence?

Your heroine, Ruth, is truly on an epic journey, both dangerous and one of self-discovery. Did you model her after a person you know or an historical figure?

Ruth is a composite of my great-aunt Dorothy Holland Hatter, my paternal grandmother Margaret Nagel Shenton, and my imagination. Aunt Dot lost her husband, Norman, a few years after he returned from WWI. He had been exposed to mustard gas and spent his last two years in a sanatorium. She lived her life with a quiet strength yet had an independent streak. She did a lot of international traveling by herself which was unusual for a single woman of her generation. She had a delightful sense of humor that often caught us unawares. My grandmother lost her father when she was five years old, but adored her step-father and would often talk about how grateful she was for him. She and my grandfather struggled through the Great Depression, and as a result, she was highly resilient and self-sufficient. I hope that I have captured some of their essence in Ruth.

I usually don’t get political in my interviews, but because Ruth has faced so much in her quest for justice, and she has seen war as a civilian, what do you believe someone like her would say in regard to what is going on in our football stadiums today?

Considering that in Under Fire Ruth covers union negotiations at a manufacturing plant and the issue of rights is a large part of the discussion, this is a very pertinent question for her. I think she would be conflicted about the situation. As a journalist, Ruth would defend the players’ rights to freedom of speech, and her own willingness to “go against the grain” by taking what was perceived as a man’s job would give her empathy for the men. But as product of her era, Ruth would disagree with their actions. In the 1940s (and before) there was a hierarchy and a definite “chain of command,” so for the players to go against the grain (and against owners) to protest, especially something as sacred as the flag, Ruth would say they have a right to their opinion, but not a right to display it on the job. And then she’d dig around until she got the full story!

Ruth, like so many Americans of that time, was etched with the scars of war. For her, those scars came in different ways. Do you believe that Ruth’s generation faced a greater threat then than we do today?

Perhaps because I didn’t live through the war, it feels as if we are facing a greater, multi-pronged threat today. Terrorism is attacking from without, but disagreement and leaders who seem intent on their own agendas rather than the greater good of the country are dividing (attacking) us from within. Ruth’s generation seemed to only have one common, obvious enemy that threatened.

Please tell our readers about your writing career. I’ll share your growing list of works in this post, but I’m excited to hear what’s coming next.

I have been writing since I was in elementary school, but I didn’t get serious about publication until about ten years ago. I stumbled into several freelance opportunities which awakened my desire to create stories again. I submitted a manuscript to Barbour and received an encouraging rejection letter from Senior Fiction Editor, Rebecca Germany. She took time to give me specific feedback on what worked and didn’t work with the story and also suggested that attending conferences or classes, reading books on the craft, and securing a critique group would help me improve my skills. She then indicated I was welcome to resubmit. That was the glimmer of hope I needed. Those words told me she thought I had what it took to get published. I spent the next few years studying. I enrolled in Jerry Jenkins’s Christian Writer’s Guild, attended ACFW and SinCNE writing conferences, subscribed to a couple of writer’s magazine, and devoured books about writing. After having Under Fire professionally edited, I researched publishers and began to submit. After almost three years of submitting, eLectio picked it up, and the book came out this summer. Prior to that I had a mix of experiences. A small publisher put out my contemporary novella, but closed the business a couple of months later, so I got the rights back. I independently published that novella and two historical novellas. Another small publisher published a historical novelette with a second on the way in November 2017. As far as what’s coming next, Under Fire is the first in a trilogy, and I’d love to see books two and three get picked up. Meanwhile I keep writing, and I’m now working on another mystery, tentatively titled Murder of Convenience about a young woman who joins the USO to get out from under an arranged marriage. When her fiancé is found murdered, she must prove her innocence.

Thank you for sharing today on Inner Source, Linda, and congratulations on your fantastic writing career. 

More About Under Fire

Journalist Ruth Brown’s sister Jane is pronounced dead after a boating accident in April 1942. Because Jane’s body is missing, Ruth is convinced her sister is still alive and follows clues to war-torn London. By the time she uncovers the truth about Jane’s disappearance, she has stumbled on black marketers, resistance fighters and the IRA – all of whom may want her dead for what she has discovered.

As I noted, Linda has been a busy writer. Here are her other works:

Love’s Harvest, a Modern-Day Retelling of the Story of Ruth: Noreen Hirsch loses everything including her husband and two sons. Then her adopted country goes to war with her homeland. Has God abandoned her? Rosa Hirsch barely adjusts to being a bride before she is widowed. She gives up her citizenship to accompany her mother-in-law to her home country. Can Rosa find acceptance among strangers who hate her belligerent nation? Basil Quincey is rich beyond his wildest dreams, but loneliness stalks him. Can he find a woman who loves him and not his money? Three people. One God who can raise hope from the ashes of despair.

Love Found in Sherwood ForestAward-winning Broadway actress Leighanne Webster has it all until an on-stage panic attack brings her career crashing to the ground. Returning to England to help produce the annual Robin Hood Festival play, could be the diversion Leighanne needs. But with ex-fiance, Jamison Blake, as the play’s director, focusing on her new job won’t be easy. Breaking his engagement with Leighanne so she could pursue her dream of being a Broadway star was the hardest thing Jamison Blake ever did. When she returns to Nottingham, his heart insists he made a mistake. Can he convince her to give their love a second chance, or will he have to let her go again? This time, forever.

On the Rails: A Harvey Girl StoryWarren, Ohio, 1910: Katherine Newman loves being a teacher, but she loves Henry Jorgensen more, which is why she’s willing to give up her job to marry him. But instead of proposing, Henry breaks up with her. Devastated, Katherine seeks to escape the probing eyes and wagging tongues of her small town. A former Harvey Girl, Katherine’s mother arranges for Katherine to be hired at the Williams, Arizona Harvey House. Can she carve out a new life in the stark desert land unlike anything she’s ever known?

Henry Jorgensen loves Katherine with all his heart, but as the eldest son of a poor farmer can he provide for her as she deserves? The family’s lien holder calls in the mortgage, and Henry must set aside his own desires in order to help his parents meet their financial obligation. But when Katherine leaves town after their break up, he realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. Can he find her and convince her to give their love a second chance?

A Love Not Forgotten (part of The Hope of Spring collection): Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She’s still in love with her fiancé, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her?
It’s been two years since Charles “Chaz” Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past?

WWII Word-Find: Enjoy hours of fun with 78 WWII-themed word-find puzzles. Descriptive paragraphs include facts and information about each topic.

To read Inner Source’s interview with Linda’s heroine, Ruth Brown, from Under Fire you can find it here.

Character Interview: Ruth Brown from Linda Shenton Matchett’s Under Fire

This week, I’m happy to introduce you to author Linda Shenton Matchett. Linda has been very busy since I first met her via the book we’re featuring.

Today’s guest is Ruth Brown, the heroine from Linda’s World War II historical, Under Fire. Ruth tell us a little about yourself and your story.

I grew up in Hazelton Falls, a small town in central New Hampshire. My best friend is Varis Gladstone, and she’s been with me through thick and thin. She’ll tell you I’m too curious for my own good, so she has to keep me in line. (laughs) She’s probably right, but I’d say that’s an asset to my career as a journalist. My sister and I were very close, so when she went missing, I knew I was the one who had to find her. Traveling to England in the middle of the war was scary, but I didn’t have a choice. That’s where the clues led me. The destruction and death caused by Axis powers made me angry at God. I didn’t understand how he could allow the war to happen.

You are a strong, determined heroine. To what do you owe your intrepid spirit?

My dad believed in me even when he didn’t understand why I pursued some of the things I did. He made me realize I could do or be anything I wanted to, which is unusual in our day and age. That gave me a lot of confidence. I’m also the oldest, so I felt like I had to take care of my younger sister and brother at school. On top of that I’ve always been a bit stubborn, so when it feels like someone is against me, I dig in my heels and try even harder to succeed.

You are drawn to a career that is not exactly considered a woman’s job in your time. Did you look up to other women from your time that perhaps paved the way for you? If so, I’d love to know a little about them and why you were attracted to that career?

Some would call me nosy. I’d like to think I’m merely inquisitive, but I want to know the story behind an incident. Why did something happen? Who caused it, and how did they do that? When I was in high school I discovered Ida Tarbell and Nellie Bly. They were tenacious at ferreting out injustice and social ills. Nellie went undercover as a mental patient at an insane asylum to shed the light on the poor conditions patients were subjected to. Ida’s reporting led to the breakup of the Standard Oil monopoly. I wanted to be just like them. I wanted to make that kind of an impact, so it was only natural for me to follow them into journalism.

Your travels took you away from America and truly under fire. How did your journey to war torn Great Britain change your ideas about the world?

I didn’t realize how sheltered and protected I was at home in New Hampshire. In England, I experienced bombings and saw terrible destruction of property and human beings. Deprivation was everywhere. Many people didn’t have enough to eat and lived in constant fear of invasion and death. I had no idea evil was so rampant in the world.

In your travels and in the things that occurred to you, there had to be a lesson that you’d love to pass along to your readers. What words of wisdom would you like to give to future generations?

Even when things are at their worst, God is in control. He can bring good from evil and his plans, though sometimes unfathomable, are for mankind’s best. Have faith.

More About Under Fire

Journalist Ruth Brown’s sister Jane is pronounced dead after a boating accident in April 1942. Because Jane’s body is missing, Ruth is convinced her sister is still alive and follows clues to war-torn London. By the time she uncovers the truth about Jane’s disappearance, she has stumbled on black marketers, resistance fighters and the IRA – all of whom may want her dead for what she has discovered.

About the Author:

Linda Shenton Matchett is an author, journalist, speaker, and history geek. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry, Linda has lived in historical places most of her life. She is a volunteer docent at the Wright Museum of WWII and a Trustee for the Wolfeboro Public Library. Active in her church, Linda serves as treasurer, usher, choir member, and Bible study leader.

Follow Linda on her website, her Facebook Author Page, on Pinterest, and on LinkedIn.

As I noted, Linda has been a busy writer. Here are her other works:

Love’s Harvest, a Modern-Day Retelling of the Story of Ruth: Noreen Hirsch loses everything including her husband and two sons. Then her adopted country goes to war with her homeland. Has God abandoned her? Rosa Hirsch barely adjusts to being a bride before she is widowed. She gives up her citizenship to accompany her mother-in-law to her home country. Can Rosa find acceptance among strangers who hate her belligerent nation? Basil Quincey is rich beyond his wildest dreams, but loneliness stalks him. Can he find a woman who loves him and not his money? Three people. One God who can raise hope from the ashes of despair.

Love Found in Sherwood Forest: Award-winning Broadway actress Leighanne Webster has it all until an on-stage panic attack brings her career crashing to the ground. Returning to England to help produce the annual Robin Hood Festival play, could be the diversion Leighanne needs. But with ex-fiance, Jamison Blake, as the play’s director, focusing on her new job won’t be easy. Breaking his engagement with Leighanne so she could pursue her dream of being a Broadway star was the hardest thing Jamison Blake ever did. When she returns to Nottingham, his heart insists he made a mistake. Can he convince her to give their love a second chance, or will he have to let her go again? This time, forever.

On the Rails: A Harvey Girl Story: Warren, Ohio, 1910: Katherine Newman loves being a teacher, but she loves Henry Jorgensen more, which is why she’s willing to give up her job to marry him. But instead of proposing, Henry breaks up with her. Devastated, Katherine seeks to escape the probing eyes and wagging tongues of her small town. A former Harvey Girl, Katherine’s mother arranges for Katherine to be hired at the Williams, Arizona Harvey House. Can she carve out a new life in the stark desert land unlike anything she’s ever known?

Henry Jorgensen loves Katherine with all his heart, but as the eldest son of a poor farmer can he provide for her as she deserves? The family’s lien holder calls in the mortgage, and Henry must set aside his own desires in order to help his parents meet their financial obligation. But when Katherine leaves town after their break up, he realizes he’s made the biggest mistake of his life. Can he find her and convince her to give their love a second chance?

A Love Not Forgotten (part of The Hope of Spring collection): Allison White should be thrilled about her upcoming wedding. The problem? She’s still in love with her fiancé, Chaz, who was declared dead after being shot down over Germany in 1944. Can she put the past behind her and settle down to married life with the kindhearted man who loves her?
It’s been two years since Charles “Chaz” Powell was shot down over enemy territory. The war is officially over, but not for him. He has amnesia as a result of injuries sustained in the crash, and the only clue to his identity is a love letter with no return address. Will he ever regain his memories and discover who he is, or will he have to forge a new life with no connections to the past?

WWII Word-Find: Enjoy hours of fun with 78 WWII-themed word-find puzzles. Descriptive paragraphs include facts and information about each topic.

 

Walking and Talking by Gay N. Lewis

My latest book, Mattie’s Choice is now available. Mattie’s story unfolds over several decades. Her marriage wasn’t a happy one to begin with, but as she made wiser, decisions, it grew better. Mattie had seen her parents in a satisfying marriage and assumed hers would be also.

Mattie’s relationship with her husband grew as a result of honoring her faith and commitment to the Lord. If she’d been wiser to begin with, she would have saved herself heartache. Before you marry, take time to know the guy. Does your family have reservations about him?

The choices we make in life bring consequences.

Let’s look at a lady from Scripture. Ruth is one of my favorite women in the Bible. She became a young widow and eventually remarried. Boaz, her second husband, was familiar to her mother-in-law and well-respected in the community. His actions proved him a good and Godly man. The consequences of Ruth’s choices led to the birth of King David, and later on, Jesus.

After the death of her husband and two sons, Ruth’s mother-in-law, Naomi, decided to return from Moab to Bethlehem. Ruth, her daughter-in-law chose to go with her.

Here’s a devotional I recently posted on my blog.

As we think about Naomi and Ruth taking that forty-mile journey from Moab to Bethlehem, what did they walk and talk about?

Ruth must have asked, “What’s it like there? Will your people accept me? Any idea where we will live? What will we eat? Does my clothes look okay?”

Ruth was walking into the unknown. Courage joined her faith for the journey. She had no idea that one day she’d be King David’s grandmother.

She was clueless that she’d be an ancestor to Jesus.

Hang tight. God blesses faith and courage.

Don’t you know Ruth was surprised and thrilled when God gave her a husband? Can’t you imagine amazement today as her good deeds continue to follow her?

We may not know how wide reaching our influence is until our earthly road takes us to heaven. Our deeds and actions will bring results far into the future that we’ll never see down here.

When Ruth began her journey with Naomi to a foreign country, she left her comfort zone. She couldn’t sense the bend around the road. So why did she leave the familiar and branch out into the unknown?

  1. Love for her mother-in-law.
    The obvious reason is love. Marches for women’s rights hadn’t begun back in those days. Such a thought would never cross a female’s mind. Social Security and Medicare didn’t exist either. Men in the family were to take care of the widows and orphans. Naomi had no husband and no sons. Naomi had a faithful, loving daughter-in-law who shouldered the responsibilities. Ruth was willing to take on duties that should have belonged to her husband. She loved Naomi.
    Hmmm. She sounds like a modern lady, right? Many women these days are assuming men’s responsibilities. Is that good or bad? Remember, Ruth wouldn’t have stepped in if she’d had a husband.
  2. Faith in her new God.

Ruth’s previous Moab god, Chemosh, was not real. Through the testimony of Ruth’s new family, Ruth came to believe in the One and Only God.  In Ruth 1:16, she tells Naomi, “Your people will be my people and your God my God.

Wow! What did Ruth see in this Jewish family that made her want what they had?

Would your lifestyle bring someone to your faith? Do you have someone willing to give up parents, country, and privilege to move away with you?

  1. The Commitment is Certain. The Decision made.

Ruth tells Naomi, “Where you die, I will die. Where you are buried, I will be buried”

In other words, Ruth says to Naomi,

“I’m not going back. I’m staying.”

FAITH MOVES FORWARD. NEVER BACKWARD.

Hebrews: 11:1 says “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” KJV.

Ruth hoped and had faith in God that she and He could take care of Naomi. Even though Ruth couldn’t see around the bend in the road, or what was over the mountains, her faith kept her plodding forward. One step at a time. Doing what she needed to do.

Ruth set a good example for us, didn’t she?

Take heart dear woman or man of God. Even if you don’t know how to get across the hardship, God already knows.

We can see multiple lessons in this story, but the one I want to focus on today is this:  These two widows had no idea I’d be talking about them today. They’d be shocked to read their names in Scripture. And they’d be more amazed to how see Ruth is in the genealogy of King David and Jesus.

I don’t know if I’m touching lives as I go about my day daily existence, but God knows. Maybe one day from on high, I’ll be flabbergasted to see some of the choices I made down here helped to transform a life. I believe if my fictitious Mattie were real, it would be the same with her.

Choices, good and bad, make a difference.

You don’t know the influence you have either. But like Ruth and Naomi, make the journey. Even if you can’t see the road you’re on.

BUT USE A GPS IF YOU HAVE ONE!

Follow my blog for faith and humor insights. http://gaynlewis.blogspot.com/

About the Author:

A native Texan, Gay lives in Fulshear, a small town west of Houston.  She loves to travel and engage in artistic ventures. Two videos she produced —The Canadian Rockies, English and Japanese translations, and Psalms from the Mountains, sold well in international markets. Graphic skills kept her busy as a portrait photographer, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field.

As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals. She also writes articles for Texas Hill Country.  Gay is also a published author for Pelican Book Group in romance and fantasy fiction. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles.

All of the Sarah books have appeared on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List. The Sarah series is available in eBook format as well as print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Pelican Book Group, and other book sellers. Some additions are available in Amazon Audible. Each book in the series is a standalone novel.

Her latest books, Mattie’s Choiceand Clue into Kindness are not fantasy and romance. These books are women’s fiction. The stories are about abusive men and women who are addicted to an unhealthy relationship.

The books are available in print, eBook, and audio.

For more information, please go to http ://gaynlewis.com/

Gay would love to have you see her video trailers and become a follower of her blog.

http://www.gaynlewis.blogspot.com

https://www.amazon.com/author/gaynlewis
www.facebook.com/GayNLewis and also on Twitter @GayNLewis2.

Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand

About Mattie’s Choice:

It’s 1925 in rural Oklahoma. A naïve seventeen-year-old Mattie chooses to elope with Jesse, leaving behind an ideal life with her wealthy and loving family. With hope for a happy future, she vows to stay with her husband through good times or bad, but the wonderful life Mattie dreams of is shattered by Jesse’s abusive nature and his refusal to allow her to see her family.

When Jesse’s brother, Joe, brings home his new wife–the vivacious Ella–Mattie believes Ella is living the life Mattie prays to have with Jesse. As the years grow harder and Jesse and Mattie’s growing family struggles to survive The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl and illness, Jesse’s abuse worsens.

Life also unravels for Ella and Joe as he begins to abuse his wife. Ella makes the choice that Mattie has never considered.

Will Mattie keep her vow to stay with Jesse at the risk of her own life and the life of her children or will she leave him despite the vow?

 

 

Interview with Gay N. Lewis, Author of Mattie’s Choice

Today’s guest on Inner Source is Gay N. Lewis, the author of Mattie’s Choice. A native Texan, Gay lives in Fulshear, a small town west of Houston.  She loves to travel and engage in artistic ventures. Two videos she produced —The Canadian Rockies, English and Japanese translations, and Psalms from the Mountains, sold well in international markets. Graphic skills kept her busy as a portrait photographer, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field.

As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals. She also writes articles for Texas Hill Country.  Gay is also a published author for Pelican Book Group in romance and fantasy fiction. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles.

All of the Sarah books have appeared on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List. The Sarah series is available in eBook format as well as print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Pelican Book Group, and other book sellers. Some additions are available in Amazon Audible. Each book in the series is a standalone novel.

Her latest books, Mattie’s Choiceand Clue into Kindness are not fantasy and romance. These books are women’s fiction. The stories are about abusive men and women who are addicted to an unhealthy relationship.

The books are available in print, eBook, and audio. For more information, please go to http ://gaynlewis.com/ Gay would love to have you see her video trailers and become a follower of her blog. http://www.gaynlewis.blogspot.com. Also catch Gay at https://www.amazon.com/author/gaynlewis and www.facebook.com/GayNLewis and also on Twitter @GayNLewis2Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand

Gay, I’m so glad that I have this opportunity to interview you. Mattie’s Choice is an historical novel which deals with a difficult issue, one that has troubled Christians and even divides Christians. I believe that the story is a true example and an outreach for women in a similar situation as Mattie.

First of all, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Would you share the issue you deal with in Mattie’s Choice and tell us why you wrote it?

With my newest book, Mattie’s Choice, I’ve departed from my sweet, whimsical, fantasy genre about a dyslexic angel. Oh, Sarah is still up to her bumbles and antics, but I’ve put her in time out for a while.

Mattie’s Choice is a Christian women’s fiction book about two women married to abusive brothers. This story was inspired by my mother-in-law and an aunt by marriage. The book is not biographical, but many of the events in this book actually happened to these women.

Here’s an example. One of Paul’s (hubby) older brothers had to be hospitalized many times. Paul’s dad wouldn’t let his mother be with a five-year-old during multiple surgeries. Hard to believe, right? Most of us ladies today would say, “No way, buster. Out of my way.” On the other hand, too many women live with a controlling man and are forced to do as they say. Choices are not easy in these circumstances.

My father-in-law wasn’t physically abusive but emotionally cruel. Paul’s mom wasn’t allowed to visit her twin brother or any family members. She couldn’t go to her dad’s funeral. My mom-in-law was a strong woman who managed to live with this claustrophobic existence and reared eleven children. All of whom are emotionally healthy—none took after their dad’s controlling ways. They are successful and respectable citizens.

I’ve met women who live with abusive husbands. I’d hoped this book would give them courage to face up to the danger and find alternative ways to deal with it. I believe we often see ourselves by looking at others. One woman I know was actually awakened from a deep sleep when her husband pulled her from her bed by her hair. Another one was forced to sit up all night and read Scripture. Women shouldn’t feel threatened. Scripture tells husbands to love the wife as Christ loved the church. I hope men will read this book, too, and understand how a woman feels. If he is controlling, I hope he sees the need to change. If a woman is in an unhealthy situation, I hope she’ll get help. It’s out there these days.

The title of the novel strikes me every time I hear it. Mattie, like everyone, has choices to make in her life, and the choice she makes reveals her courage and her faith in keeping with her promises, although those promises come at a great cost to her. Your novel actually has two choices. Mattie’s sister-in-law’s way of dealing with the problem is much different and more quickly remedied than Mattie’s. I’m going to step aside, and I’d love for you to provide your thoughts on the choices set before your main character and your secondary character.

Thanks for asking that question. The original title of the book was Choices. The story is about the choices all the characters made. Mattie eloped and chose to keep her promises. Jesse, the husband, chose to control his wife’s thoughts and actions. Mattie’s father chose to decline help. Maury, Mattie’s brother, chose to support from afar. Society chose to ignore a woman’s circumstances. Joe, Ella’s husband, chose alcohol. Ella chose to stand up to her man. Pelican Book Group, my publisher, already had a book titled Choices. My title had to be changed, and I chose Mattie’s Choice since she is the central character.

What would you tell someone who is embroiled in a situation such as the one that Mattie faces?

Get help. Leave. Protect yourself and your children. Secret shelters exist today where abusive men can’t find you. The best possible scenario is to avoid a marriage with a controlling or abusive man. Find out about him. Hire a detective if necessary. What are his parents like? How does he treat others?  If investigation pulls up nothing alarming, and a fearful situation emerges, get out as quickly as possible. God wants a wife protected, loved and cherished. Not fearful for her life.

Mattie’s family loved her, but they made some tough choices themselves. I think about what I would do if someone I loved was in a relationship like Mattie’s. What do you think a family should do when someone they loved is being harmed by the one person who should love and protect them?

We had this situation with a daughter. We were on vacation when we learned that our son-in-law had taken all monies from a joint account. Our daughter had written checks for bills and they were destined to bounce. We quickly put money into her account, and then my husband called the father of our son-in-law. He was a reasonable man. These two older men spoke about the situation and agreed our daughter and his son needed to end the marriage. The couple agreed. They separated and locks were changed. The son-in-law broke into the house. Our daughter called us and the police. We got there before the officer did. The officer said he couldn’t make the husband leave. The law was on his side because his driver’s license had the address on it. This guy came from a lovely home, and he had parents we liked and respected. In divorce court, we learned the son-in-law had a history of abusing women. He’d kept it a secret even from his parents. Why? I have no idea, but if an investigation had taken place before marriage, that detail would have emerged. As parents, we were active in supporting our daughter and protecting her.

Thank you for sharing your heart. I know that it takes a lot to share family troubles, but your words could help someone who is going through something similar.

Will you let our readers know what you’re working on now and what is in store for them in the future from the pen of Gay N. Lewis?

I have two Sarah books ready for publication to add to the existing series. My dyslexic angel comes to earth to help humans and she bungles each mission. God gave Sarah empathy for humans. Jesus was the only Divine/Man on earth, but Sarah is given a few earthly traits while she visits us. That’s how she relates to us and our doubts, baubles, and bumbles.

I also have a sequel to Mattie’s Choice. It’s going by the title, Rebecca’s Family Secrets. Mattie’s daughter, Rebecca, is the star in this book. It’s pure romance with a great deal of suspense. It’s also historical. There’s no domestic violence in this one. Just pure fun.

Thanks for having me. You asked me soul-searching questions, and I enjoyed answering them.

Thank you, Gay. I don’t believe I said this to you through our work on this story, but I have, from the start, admired your heart and your tenacity for making sure that those who are suffering from spousal abuse know that there is hope for them.

More About Mattie’s Choice:

It’s 1925 in rural Oklahoma. A naïve seventeen-year-old Mattie chooses to elope with Jesse, leaving behind an ideal life with her wealthy and loving family. With hope for a happy future, she vows to stay with her husband through good times or bad, but the wonderful life Mattie dreams of is shattered by Jesse’s abusive nature and his refusal to allow her to see her family.

When Jesse’s brother, Joe, brings home his new wife–the vivacious Ella–Mattie believes Ella is living the life Mattie prays to have with Jesse. As the years grow harder and Jesse and Mattie’s growing family struggles to survive The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl and illness, Jesse’s abuse worsens.

Life also unravels for Ella and Joe as he begins to abuse his wife. Ella makes the choice that Mattie has never considered.

Will Mattie keep her vow to stay with Jesse at the risk of her own life and the life of her children or will she leave him despite the vow?

Character Interview: Mattie Colby from Mattie’s Choice by Gay N. Lewis

Today’s guest is Mattie Colby from Gay N. Lewis’s novel, Mattie’s Choice. Welcome to Inner Source, Mattie. Would you mind telling us a little about yourself, about your life, and anything else you feel is important for us to know?

Thanks for asking me to introduce myself to your readers. I’m a little shy, but I’ll try. My name is Mattie Colby. I grew up in a loving home in rural Oklahoma. My father is English and my mother is Cherokee. My dad is a builder, and he patterned our home after Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Most of Osage Country admires and envies it. My father acquired land in Oklahoma Territory during the land rush of 1893. My mother’s ancestors endured the Trail of Tears. I have a twin brother, Maury, and three sisters. Maury and I are the first born. By intuition, we know what the other thinks and feels. Maury is my best friend. We were looking forward to graduating high school together, but I eloped with Jesse Colby and quit school. Maury is grieved over it.

I love my family and I love my husband. I’ve wanted to be is a wife and mother for as long as I can remember. Maury tells me I shouldn’t have quit school to elope with Jesse, and thinks I should have waited to marry. He even wanted me to go to college with him, but in my day and time, women didn’t have many opportunities. Careers? Those were unheard of. Heavens to Betsy! In 1925, our goal was to become wives and mothers, and that suited me just fine. What about you in your modern day? Have times changed much? Do women have careers in your day?

Yes, women have many more opportunities in this age to become anything they want to be. We even have women serving beside men in the battlefields. Not all charges are good, though. For a while, a stay-at-home mother was considered inferior to those who were out in the work force. Along the way, especially in America, we have lost our way. Our children are sometimes not the most important commodity for parents. Slowly, though, some are beginning to realize that raising children is an important task.

Your author placed you into the center of a very controversial and difficult subject for an author to tackle. You’re a stubborn lass, Mattie Colby, and you’re made of stronger stuff than I am. You were offered choices to make, but you stayed the course. Tell us why that was important to you.

My father taught his children to keep our word. I made a vow to God and Jesse that nothing but death would separate us from our marriage. I was a naïve, seventeen-year-old when I married. My parents had a good marriage and I thought I would too. I didn’t believe anyone’s tales that Jesse had a temper. Looking back on it, I should have investigated more about him. Courted him longer, too. I might have chosen differently if I had, but what was done was done. I gave my word, and that was that.

Your sister-in-law, Ella, made a different choice. I got to know you well, and I know that the two of you stayed friends, but I want to know what you were thinking about her choice deep down inside?

Now that’s an interesting question. Ella and I are lifelong friends, and we’re opposite in personality. She chose a nursing career while she lived in Galveston, and she continued to work in a hospital after she married Jesse’s brother and moved to Oklahoma. She’s outspoken and opinionated. You always know where you stand with Ella. When she left Oklahoma to move back to Galveston, I admired her. Truth be told, I wished I could escape my life and move far away., too. We had different ideas on commitments, and to this day, I can’t say which one of us was right. In some ways, we both were.

I agree with your assessment. You were clearly a victim of historical precepts and interpretation of Scripture. This is something your author, Gay, and I spoke of quite a bit. Shh, don’t tell her, but I agree that there was a time in history where the theological thinking concerning the protection of women, especially in a marital relationship was skewed. In the end, though, I think that your choice took a lot of courage, but if you had to do it over again, would you make the same choice?

Your comment about Gay makes me giggle, and I won’t tell her you asked this question. I’m pretty good at keeping secrets. As you know, I kept many over the years. Thank you for saying I have courage. That means a lot to me. Early on in marriage, I was stubborn to a fault. I think my pig-headedness was what kept me going. I didn’t believe my dad would help me, and I learned too late that he would have. I had too much pride to ask for help. Courage? I think I developed it as I grew older. Courage comes with self-confidence, and as I became confident, I became courageous. Does that make sense? If I could do it over, I’d have chosen to become assertive much sooner than I did. Keeping my beliefs and standing up for myself turned out to be the best choice in the long run.

Mattie, everyone who reads this blog understands that the verse I stand upon, even when it hurts to grasp hold of it, is Romans 8:28. That does not mean that I approach others who are hurting and declare this truth. I feel that, for the hurting, this verse’s truths can be very hard to grasp, but that very God declared the depth of it when He sent His Son to the cross. That verse tells us that all things work to good to those who know God … So, as a woman who has had a life of extreme hardship I’d like to ask two difficult questions: what good do you see coming from the choice you made, and 2) what good do you believe came from the choice Ella made?

Heavens to Betsy! I have to ponder that one. Yes, I had hardship. My husband was not easy to live with. In fact, he was downright awful at times. Life circumstances were difficult, too. The Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, all the world events made life unbearable at times, but my faith grew stronger through the trials. That was a good thing. Some, like Jesse, grew angry with God. I chose to stay close to Him and trust. Another good thing. My marriage with Jesse brought me eight children. Eight blessings. And guess what? Every one of them are productive, successful, God-fearing adults. Four are in the ministry. Like a rock thrown into water, the circle grows bigger, and in my case, a lot of good is in the circle.

Good came from Ella’s choice too. After seeing the way most of us women lived in our day, she started women’s shelters in Texas and became a crusader for women’s rights. I think all contemporary women owe Ella and women like her a debt of gratitude. Their lives are easier, thanks to Ella and others like her.

You are so right about Romans 8:28. I can look back on my life now and see the good God brought about with Ella’s and my choices. I believe I won’t see all the good until heaven. Scripture tells us our works follow us. Revelation 14:13 says, “…Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works follow them.” KJV To me, this means that what we do here continues to influence, bad or good, to those who come after us—like that rock thrown into water, impact lasts, good and bad. What I began with my children carries on to future generations, and most of it was good. Same with Ella. Women will continue to be helped with better lives as a result of her influence. I believe we both did more good to follow us than we did bad.

Mattie, thank you for being with us today. On Wednesday, your author, Gay, will be sharing a little more behind the inspiration for your novel.

About the Author:

A native Texan, Gay lives in Fulshear, a small town west of Houston.  She loves to travel and engage in artistic ventures. Two videos she produced —The Canadian Rockies, English and Japanese translations, and Psalms from the Mountains, sold well in international markets. Graphic skills kept her busy as a portrait photographer, and for over ten years, she used her imaginative insight in the interior design field.

As a pastor’s wife, she writes Faith Features for various church periodicals. She also writes articles for Texas Hill Country.  Gay is also a published author for Pelican Book Group in romance and fantasy fiction. Her current series is about a dyslexic angel who comes to earth to help humans, but Sarah, the angel, is more like Lucy Ricardo with humorous antics and bumbles.

All of the Sarah books have appeared on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List. The Sarah series is available in eBook format as well as print at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Pelican Book Group, and other book sellers. Some additions are available in Amazon Audible. Each book in the series is a standalone novel.

Her latest books, Mattie’s Choice, and Clue into Kindness are not fantasy and romance. These books are women’s fiction. The stories are about abusive men and women who are addicted to an unhealthy relationship.

The books are available in print, eBook, and audio.

For more information, please go to http ://gaynlewis.com/

Gay would love to have you see her video trailers and become a follower of her blog.

http://www.gaynlewis.blogspot.com

https://www.amazon.com/author/gaynlewis
www.facebook.com/GayNLewis and also on Twitter @GayNLewis2.

Sarah has her own Facebook page. Follow Sarah on Facebook@ Sarah Wingspand

More About Mattie’s Choice:

It’s 1925 in rural Oklahoma. A naïve seventeen-year-old Mattie chooses to elope with Jesse, leaving behind an ideal life with her wealthy and loving family. With hope for a happy future, she vows to stay with her husband through good times or bad, but the wonderful life Mattie dreams of is shattered by Jesse’s abusive nature and his refusal to allow her to see her family.

When Jesse’s brother, Joe, brings home his new wife–the vivacious Ella–Mattie believes Ella is living the life Mattie prays to have with Jesse. As the years grow harder and Jesse and Mattie’s growing family struggles to survive The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl and illness, Jesse’s abuse worsens.

Life also unravels for Ella and Joe as he begins to abuse his wife. Ella makes the choice that Mattie has never considered.

Will Mattie keep her vow to stay with Jesse at the risk of her own life and the life of her children or will she leave him despite the vow?

The Corn Plant Saga by Julie B. Cosgrove

People have asked me to tell this true story. It’s long, but here goes….

Back in 1974, I bought a small corn plant at a local nursery because, well in the 70’s, everyone had a jungle in their apartment. But it didn’t thrive, so I put it in the bathroom to get more moisture. Every time my to-be-hubby came over, he’d been down, waggle his finger and tell the scrawny four-leafed heap, “You better grow, little guy, or I’ll make her pitch you out.” Yes, we talked to our plants back then. It was a 1970’s thing.

Fast forward through the years. We moved twenty-two times in thirty-three of them, and the corn plant was always last on the truck and first off. Then in 2005, we had to leave because of Katrina. All of our salvageable items were put in a storage pod and sent to San Antonio. Only some of our clothes, the “very breakables” and our prized possessions (well, and the cats) would travel with us. People from our church gathered to help us pack and bid us farewell. Corn plant by then was over seven feet tall…a scrawny-trunk thing we tied to the wall with string and thumb tacks.  No way would it survive months in a storage unit. Six men stood in our garage constructing a container to house the plant, which would travel in the bed of my husband’s truck. Using cardboard and plywood they encased it as if it was Michelangelo’s David.

As I followed in my car, I watched through the windshield wipers as the the wet winds whacked the carefully plotted-out tower. When we crossed the border into Texas, I gasped as it bent into a jack-knife. Tears welled. For three hundred more miles it bounced and bowed toward the bed of the truck. About 1 a.m. we arrived at my family cabin in the Texas Hill Country, which would be home until he found a new job. That’s when my husband analyzed the damage. I blubbered as he dismantled what remained of the tower and confirmed my worst fears. All the angst over the past few days following the hurricane poured down my cheeks. I took the top of the plant and jammed it into a gallon jug, filled it with  water, and set it by the window. My husband, instinctively knowing not to question my futility, carried in the pot with the bare trunk and plopped it next to the same window. Somehow, we just couldn’t toss it down into the ravine gully.

The snippet grew roots inside the plastic jug. Hubby found a job in Florida, so we moved – this time with plant-jug steadied on the floor board of my car. We left the scraggly trunk behind. Later my cousin opened the cabin for the spring and found it had sprouted! She kept watering it and the next summer we snipped it off the trunk, jugged it, and took it back to Florida. Now we had two corn plants, side by side in the same pot.

My son no longer lives with me, but often when he comes over, he bends down, looks at the corn plant and says, “Well, I guess God wants us both to live a bit longer. Lookin’ good, plant.”

On the “bad days” when my chronic pain gets to me, I see the lush green plant and it helps me put things in perspective. It is as if God is telling me He still wants me to “bloom where I am planted.”

In 2008, we moved back to Texas. For reasons I will not go into, my husband developed medical problems and grew more and more ill. During this time, one of the corn plants wouldn’t thrive. It’s leaves were lighter in color, the other was lush and green. As he diminished, so did the plant. One by one the leaves yellowed and withered. I planted it in it’s own pot but no amount of soil, food or horticultural care would stop it’s decline. Eventually, two years later, the scraggly one died. The last leaf dropped off. It left me with an eerie feeling, to be realized forty-eight hours later when my husband died in the shower getting ready for work.

I moved with the healthy one to an apartment, and my son later moved in with me to ease my widowhood. Lo and behold, a “shoot” began to grow off the surviving corn plant. An offspring. Here is the plant today, June 2017.

More About the Author:

Besides being an award-winning suspense and cozy mystery writer, Julie is also an Internet missionary for Campus Crusades Canada. The articles and devotionals she writes and edits reach over 600,000 people a month and lead many of them to contact mentors who guide them through life issues and into a deeper relationship with Jesus. She writes for several other faith-based devotional sites as well, and her blog Where Did You Find God Today has readership in ten countries.

More About Baby Bunco:

Who would leave a newborn baby in the bathtub of a condo in Sunset Acres, a retirement community, and why? And was a young woman slain behind the convenience store across the highway it’s mother? Janie and the Bunco Biddies want to find out, but soon they discover sleuthing can get a bit dicey.

Julie’s First Book in the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries is Dumpster Dicing

As Janie and Betsy Ann go for their morning jog, the city sanitation vehicle follows its normal five-mile Tuesday morning route through their retirement community of Sunset Acres. The two Bunco-playing biddies spot a leg dangling out of the dumpster when the truck lifts the trash container high in the air. Someone diced up one of their newest residents—a grouchy loner named Edwin Newman. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past when he moved in last weekend?

About Julie’s next release, Three, Sixies and Thieves

In Sunset Acres, some of the condos with threes and sixes in their house numbers are being robbed. The police see it as random, but Janie thinks otherwise. When she and her Bunco friends catch the thieves red-handed, one of the robbers is arrested. However, the next morning he is found hung in his cell. With her son-in-law, Chief Detective Blake, on vacation, can she trust anyone in the department to reveal what really happened?

If you missed our interview with Janie Manson, the heroine of the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries, you can find it here. The interview with author Julie B. Cosgrove can be found here.

Interview with Julie B. Cosgrove, Author of Baby Bunco

Today’s guest on Inner Source is author Julie B Cosgrove. Besides being an award-winning suspense and cozy mystery writer, Julie is also an internet missionary for Campus Crusades Canada. The articles and devotionals she writes and edits reach over 600,000 people a month and lead many of them to contact mentors who guide them through life issues and into a deeper relationship with Jesus. She writes for several other faith-based devotional sites as well, and her blog Where Did You Find God Today has readership in ten countries.

Welcome to Inner Source, Julie. I’m so glad to have you here today. My first question has to be about the game of Bunco. In your cozy mysteries, I get an idea of how the game is played, but how did you come up with it as a backdrop for a cozy mystery series?

Thanks, Fay. I am honored to be asked to be here. I play Bunco with other Christian ladies whenever I can, so it seemed like a different theme…and a fun way to bring in all the characters.

A senior community in Texas is also a very good backdrop and allows you to create some sweet and quirky little characters. Did this setting spring from any experience or did you just make it up and run with it?

I had a book booth at a festival several years ago at one of these graduated retirement communities and toured their facilities. These communities are really popping up as all of us Baby Boomers get up in years. So I asked an editor at a writers’ conference, where I was holding a workshop, if that would be a unique setting. Her eyes lit up, so I went with it. The first in the series, Dumpster Dicing, came out in August, 2016 and won Best Cozy Mystery by the Texas Association of Authors.

In Baby Bunco, the mystery deals with quite a serious subject. I don’t want to give the story away because it is definitely worth the reader waiting to find out what’s going on. In the backdrop of this sleepy little area, which I understand is growing but sits out away from some the metropolises in that area of Texas, do you find a lot of crime to draw from in your stories?

We raised our son in one of these bedroom communities in Central Texas, and as it grew (from 4,500 to 50,000 in eleven years), our security and sense of safety diminished.  It became “new territory” for crime gangs whereas those territories are often well established and marked out in metropolitan areas. Also because these towns are spread out, it is easier for the crime syndicates to go unnoticed, believe it or not.

And I have to ask this one because I interviewed her on Monday. Janie is a former police officer’s wife, and she’s pretty handy with getting herself into trouble while doing some pretty mean investigative work. Is Janie based upon someone in your life?

No, not really. I think she is a composite of who I’ll want to be in another decade or so, along with some pretty gutsy Texas matrons I have known through the years. I basically wanted to show that just because you have gray hair, it doesn’t mean you have dementia or are feeble. With many folks living well into their eighties and nineties, seventy is the new forty.

I know that you have a new novel in the series which is about to be released. Would you like to tell us a little about it? When can we expect it? I’d also love to hear about any other works in progress we can look forward to seeing from you.

There are two more Bunco Biddies Mysteries under contract, in various stages of being edited and proofed.

Threes, Sixes and Thieves, God willing, will launch later this summer. The publisher has had scheduling and staff issues. I chose the title because when three sixes are rolled in Bunco the game ends. But “Three Sixes” didn’t exactly work for a Christian fiction title (for obvious reasons.) So the Editor in Chief came up with the new title.

In Sunset Acres, some of the condos with threes and sixes in their house numbers are being robbed. The police see it as random, but Janie thinks otherwise. When she and her Bunco friends catch the thieves red-handed, one of the robbers is arrested. However, the next morning he is found hung in his cell. With her son-in-law, Chief Detective Blake, on vacation, can she trust anyone in the department to reveal what really happened?

Early in 2018, number four, ‘Til Dice Do Us Part releases. Yes, Bunco Biddies fans, there is a wedding in the works at Sunset Acres. But while decorating for the bridal shower, Ethel falls from a ladder. While in the ER, she overhears a crime being plotted. Janie believes her, but will anyone else? When the two of them get the groom-to-be involved in their hospital sleuthing to keep him from seeing the bride on their wedding day, he disappears along with a hospital employee. Can Blake, Ethel and Janie, along with the security guards, find them both alive before the organ cranks up the wedding march?

And, I am under contract for a spin-off series, The Case Files of Jack Manson, set in the Austin area in the 1970’s when Janie is a newlywed and her sleuthing skills are just beginning to develop as she helps her husband climb the police ladder from beat cop to detective. Look for Blame Games, Same Games and Name Games to launch in 2018-2019 through Write Integrity Press.

More About Baby Bunco:

Who would leave a newborn baby in the bathtub of a condo in Sunset Acres, a retirement community, and why? And was a young woman slain behind the convenience store across the highway it’s mother? Janie and the Bunco Biddies want to find out, but soon they discover sleuthing can get a bit dicey.

Julie’s First Book in the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries is Dumpster Dicing.

As Janie and Betsy Ann go for their morning jog, the city sanitation vehicle follows its normal five-mile Tuesday morning route through their retirement community of Sunset Acres. The two Bunco-playing biddies spot a leg dangling out of the dumpster when the truck lifts the trash container high in the air. Someone diced up one of their newest residents—a grouchy loner named Edwin Newman. Did he unpack too much of his dicey past when he moved in last weekend?

About Julie’s next release, Three, Sixies and Thieves

In Sunset Acres, some of the condos with threes and sixes in their house numbers are being robbed. The police see it as random, but Janie thinks otherwise. When she and her Bunco friends catch the thieves red-handed, one of the robbers is arrested. However, the next morning he is found hung in his cell. With her son-in-law, Chief Detective Blake, on vacation, can she trust anyone in the department to reveal what really happened?

If you missed our interview with Janie Manson, the heroine of the Bunco Biddie’s Mysteries, you can find it here.