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One Word at a Time, Sweet Jesus by Anna Kittrell

The Commandment is my “one word at a time, sweet Jesus” book. I didn’t realize it when the story began to surface in my mind five years ago. I didn’t realize it as I began to outline and sketch out my characters. I didn’t even realize it in the middle, when my world shattered, and vital pieces of life were forever lost. Nor did I realize it at the end, when the last word was written. It wasn’t until much later—lately, in fact, that I came to recognize this book for the miracle it truly is. Not miraculous in and of itself, of course. After all, it’s just a fictional story built by my limited imagination. But the fact it was ever finished is a miracle. And a testament to God’s divine provision.

It was October, 2014. The idea for The Commandment was swimming around in my head when my husband and I decided to take a road trip from Oklahoma to Nevada to visit his parents. I love my in-laws, and love for my husband to be trapped in a car with me for hours, so I was rearing to go. On the road, I spent my time gazing from the passenger window, soaking up the surroundings. I was especially entranced by the lonesome beauty of the desert hills. In my story notes I wrote: blond jagged earth; haze on the peaks; pinks, sandy beige and rose; cactus plants; green bleached to yellow; cracks and valleys, sculptures without faces; her soul, dry and thirsty as the scrub on the hills. The terrain was so magnificent, even my scattered description notes sounded like poetry. By the time we reached our destination, I knew the book would be set in Nevada.

During our wonderful visit, more images began to form. An isolated medical laboratory could easily be nestled behind the Nevada hills. And those dangerously beautiful cactus…I wonder what their nectar is like? Wouldn’t it be amazing if it had a numbing quality to it, in order to create a brain-dulling serum in my story? I googled it and, lo and behold, it does! And what about a hot air balloon festival in the desert? Beautiful, vibrant colors dotting the extra-blue sky as far as the eye can see. What better place to set a main character’s abduction than in a hot air balloon? A riveting scene that just might go on record as the world’s first slow-motion kidnapping. I had heard the Nevada desert described as barren and desolate, but to me those endless hills and valleys were rich and bountiful, fertile with story ideas.

The vacation ended and we came back home to Oklahoma. The next week, my daughter-in-law and nine-month-old grandson moved in with us. I was thrilled to have them and immediately adjusted my writing schedule to accommodate having extra people in the house. I began rising at 5:00 a.m. to write—and they began coming downstairs at 5:00 a.m. to visit with me. And because nothing compares to holding a grandchild, not even authoring a book, writing would just have to wait. For ten months, I had the thrill and privilege of spending time with my little grandson every day. In that span of time, he grew and learned so much. His mother and I grew close, developing a special mother-daughter relationship filled with heart-to-heart talks, grocery shopping, shared meals, and lots of laughter. She started calling me, “Mom.” I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

In August 2015, they moved out. And though I knew I would continue to see them daily—I cried. And then I started writing again. I began writing every morning before work, and writing some more on my lunch hour. I loved my characters and the story, and was happy about how well the book was coming along. I had already told my editor about it, and she seemed excited. I couldn’t wait to submit it. At this rate, it would be finished soon.

And then, on December 30, 2015, the book—and my life—stopped cold. At ten thirty that night, my little grandson and I had gone to pick up my daughter-in-law from work, and were told she never showed up. I drove to her house and banged on the door, but she didn’t answer. From outside her home, I called my husband, who came and discovered her lifeless body inside. Our daughter-in-law, the girl who called me “Mom,” the mother of our only grandchild, had taken her own life.

We loved her as if she were our own daughter and were devastated. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and with the exception of the obituary, eulogy, and funeral poem, I certainly couldn’t write. Life would never be the same. Days passed, and I had to return to work. My son and I developed a routine of dropping off and picking up my grandson. And, after three months had gone by, I dragged myself back to the keyboard. In another three months, the book was finished.

I share this story as an encouragement to others who are dealing with personal tragedy. Put one foot in front of the other, even if that’s all you can do right now. And pay attention to God’s provisions. The gifts He has provided—those things that you love to do way down in your soul. Gifts of distraction. Gifts of diversion. Activities that allow your mind to reset and recharge. Maybe it’s gardening. Maybe it’s sewing. Maybe it’s painting, playing a musical instrument, or singing. Or something much less artistic than that. Maybe it’s rolling change, cleaning house, or waxing the car. I have a friend who picks up rocks when life gets to be too much.

For me, that gift is writing. In that aspect, The Commandment is a miracle. A testament to how God’s gifts give life purpose and bring healing to the broken.  The loss is still there, and forever will be. But so is God’s love and concern, and personalized provision.

So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them? Ecclesiastes 3:22 (NIV)

One word at a time, sweet Jesus.

More about the Author, Anna Kittrell:

Anna works as a middle school secretary in her beloved hometown of Anadarko, Oklahoma, where she resides with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, Tim. She has nine books in publication, including her new Christian futuristic thriller, The Commandment.

Anna has written for as long as she can remember. She still has most of her tattered creations—stories she used to sell on the playground for a dime, written on notebook paper. Her love of storytelling has grown throughout the years, and she is thrilled her tales are now worth more than ten cents.

Author Points of Contact:

As an author and in speaking with many authors, we love to have readers contact us on social media. If you want to learn more about Anna Kittrell and her awesome writing, be sure to visit the following: Anna’s website, appropriately entitled Anna Kittrell, her Facebook Author’s pageThe Commandment Facebook pageAmazon Author Central, and Anna invites you to e-mail her. You can also take a look at Anna’s wonderful book trailer for The Commandment.

More about The Commandment:

Ten years ago, Briar’s body rejected a government mandated vaccine known as SAP (Serum to Advance Progressivism), formulated to erase God from the mind. Briar was seven years old. She’s been on house arrest ever since.

Now, just weeks from becoming a legal adult, Briar remains non-responsive to her mandatory SAP injections. Along with her rapidly approaching eighteenth birthday looms a grim reality: by order of the Commandment, adulthood means institutionalization for those resistant to SAP.

In a matter of days, Briar will become a permanent resident of the ARC—a facility shrouded in dark rumors of torture, experimentation, and death. Her only alternative is to accept a last minute ultimatum to become a laboratory test subject for a new God-dissolving serum.
With a decade of solitude behind her and a lifetime of confinement before her—what does she have to lose? Except maybe her soul.

The Commandment is available for pre-release this week, not only from Anna’s publisher, Pelican Book Group, it can also be purchased from other fine book retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Anna’s newest novel will release this Friday, August 24.

If you missed Inner Source’s Monday interview of Anna’s heroine, Briar Lee, you can read it here, and also be sure to check out our Wednesday interview with Anna here

Today is the official release date for The CommandmentBe sure to get your copy!

Meet Anna Kittrell, Author of The Commandment

Today’s guest on Inner Source is a phenomenal author of young adult fiction, Anna Marie Kittrell. I have followed Anna’s career because her books have always struck a chord with me. Her stories transcend generations, and that’s what a good story does, no matter the genre. Her novel, The Commandment, is a unique perspective for all generations and actually had me asking a very important question of myself: what do you do when “God is not an option”?

Anna, I’d love to hear a little about you. Where are you from? What do you do when you’re not writing?

Hi Fay! It’s always a pleasure to be on Inner Source.

I reside in my hometown of Anadarko, Oklahoma, where twenty-nine years ago I married my high school sweetheart, Tim. We’ve since raised both of our children, renovated a home, and are now helping to raise our four-year-old grandson here in Anadarko. This month I began my eighteenth year as secretary of Anadarko Middle School, the greatest, busiest—and most days, craziest—place on earth this side of Disney World.

Fortunately, I’m not a person who believes a writer must pen words every single day to be considered a “real” author. Because I work fulltime and daily care for my grandson, most of my writing is done in snatches of time before work, on my lunch break, or on the occasional weekend. In other words, I write when I can and I don’t when I can’t. The seasonal and holiday breaks from school are extremely beneficial to my writing process. Although few and far between, my favorite writing days are those when I spend hours at a time in front of the keyboard.

As I noted, The Commandment is a very different kind of story, and the message of the story is one that will cause the reader to pause and think about where our nation—where the world—is going in its desire to pretend that God does not exist. Anna, what made you think of this concept?

Several years ago, when the premise for The Commandment began to surface, the story seemed to be some type of reverse-amnesia tale. I kept picturing a girl in a hospital bed, coming out of anesthesia. A doctor asked the girl if she “still remembered,” to which she replied, “yes.” This made her mother cry hysterically. Why, I wondered, did the girl’s mother not want her to remember? And what did the girl’s mother so desperately want her to forget? Only when I began to outline, did the story start to take shape. As it turns out, the book takes place thirty-five years in the future, and is the story of a girl who faces elimination on her eighteenth birthday because her body rejects a mandatory, God-erasing vaccine. As far as what exactly made me think of this particular concept, I can only speculate. Maybe the idea was sparked by the stories my great-grandmother shared with me as a child about the future hardships believers would endure. Perhaps the persecution of believers right here at home no longer seems so far-fetched as it did back then.

In your novel, the “Agathi” as a part of our brain is very important. Would you explain that for us without giving too much of the story away?

In The Commandment, it has been discovered that there is a specific area of the brain that houses Christian-related information. This fictional area of the brain is called the “Agathi.” The name is plural, because there are two matching areas or “God Zones,” one located in each of the temporal lobes. Main character Briar Lee’s brain is resistant to SAP, a serum formulated to numb the Agathi and block all God-related thought and emotion. Because of Briar’s resistance to SAP, her Agathi are alive and well, and in fact glow with color whenever she thinks on the things of God.

Interestingly, while doing story-related research, I learned that there was actually a research tool invented to investigate the brain’s role in religious experiences called the “God Helmet” (originally known as the Koren Helmet, after its inventor, Stanley Koren.) Apparently, some people have had “visions of God” while participating in experiments with the helmet. The helmet applies complex magnetic signals to the head of the wearer, exposing them to a very weak magnetic field near the temporal lobes.

Your character, Briar, despite the life she had been forced to live is very dynamic and hopeful. Is she based upon someone you know?

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Briar is based on me, but I would say her doubts and fears, in many ways, resemble my own. I would like to think that in a time of adversity such as Briar’s, I would be unwaveringly strong and faithful. However, I believe the bouts with fear and confusion Briar experiences would be closer to my own reactions. She wavers when choosing between what is right and what is easy. She is frustrated, and half-wishes the SAP would have done its job and numbed her Agathi, so that she wouldn’t have to face the torment that lies ahead. She is afraid of what will happen if her God Zones light up—and more afraid of what will happen if they don’t. Contrary to being based on a particular person, I think Briar’s dynamic and hopeful nature is derivative of the faith we have as Christians. Sometimes strong, sometimes weak, but always there. Always constant. And as long as we hold to Christ, there’s always hope.

As I said, I follow your career closely. What comes next on Anna Kittrell’s wonderful journey of writing?

I always say my writing style is as eclectic (a nice word for mismatched) as my wardrobe. My collective work is a mixed bag of genres that include Christian futuristic romance, Christian YA, romantic suspense, poetry, short stories, and my new obsession—screenwriting. Over the past two years, I’ve penned four feature length screenplays in assorted genres, and have absolutely fallen in love with the process. In a screenplay, the writing is sparse and succinct, and the word count is much less than a novel. At this point in my life, screenwriting just makes sense. That’s not to say I’m stepping away from novel writing forever—just for a season. A genre-spanning dream of mine is to see The Commandment on the silver screen.

I’ll be following your career as I have for years. And,yes, The Commandment would be a great adaptation for a movie, a story to make the audience truly think about the cost of the loss of our ability to worship God as He intends for us all to do.

More about the Author, Anna Kittrell:

Anna works as a middle school secretary in her beloved hometown of Anadarko, Oklahoma, where she resides with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, Tim. She has nine books in publication, including her new Christian futuristic thriller, The Commandment.

Anna has written for as long as she can remember. She still has most of her tattered creations—stories she used to sell on the playground for a dime, written on notebook paper. Her love of storytelling has grown throughout the years, and she is thrilled her tales are now worth more than ten cents.

Author Points of Contact:

As an author and in speaking with many authors, we love to have readers contact us on social media. If you want to learn more about Anna Kittrell and her awesome writing, be sure to visit the following: Anna’s website, appropriately entitled Anna Kittrell, her Facebook Author’s page, The Commandment Facebook page, Amazon Author Central, and Anna invites you to e-mail her. You can also take a look at Anna’s wonderful book trailer for The Commandment.

More about The Commandment:

Ten years ago, Briar’s body rejected a government mandated vaccine known as SAP (Serum to Advance Progressivism), formulated to erase God from the mind. Briar was seven years old. She’s been on house arrest ever since.

Now, just weeks from becoming a legal adult, Briar remains non-responsive to her mandatory SAP injections. Along with her rapidly approaching eighteenth birthday looms a grim reality: by order of the Commandment, adulthood means institutionalization for those resistant to SAP.

In a matter of days, Briar will become a permanent resident of the ARC—a facility shrouded in dark rumors of torture, experimentation, and death. Her only alternative is to accept a last minute ultimatum to become a laboratory test subject for a new God-dissolving serum.
With a decade of solitude behind her and a lifetime of confinement before her—what does she have to lose? Except maybe her soul.

The Commandment is available for pre-release this week, not only from Anna’s publisher, Pelican Book Group, it can also be purchased from other fine book retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Anna’s newest novel will release this Friday, August 24.

If you missed Inner Source’s Monday interview of Anna’s heroine, Briar Lee, you can read it here, and on Friday (the release date for The Commandment), Anna shares a heartfelt blog about her journey in writing the story.

Meet Briar Grace Lee from Anna Kittrell’s The Commandment

Today’s guest on Inner Source is Briar Grace Lee from Anna Marie Kittrell’s latest novel, The Commandment.

Briar, it’s good to have you here today. Tell us a little about your life. Where are you from? What is life like in the time in which you live? What difficulties do you face?

Thank you for having me, I’m honored to be a guest on Inner Source. Your site is such a wonderful and informative resource for believers. However, just weeks ago, you would not have been allowed to host me on your blog without being harshly interrogated and likely, arrested. Although drastic changes have taken place in the U.S. since the fall of the OLG, in the back of my mind those old fears still linger. In fact, at this very moment, I find myself wondering how long it will take for this interview to be flagged and reported to authorities. Until recently, Operation Level Ground ran surveillance on every email, video stream, blog, social media site, text message, phone call, and all other means of electronic communication to ensure nothing Christian-oriented slipped past. The severity to which you would have been punished by sharing my story disturbs me even now, though the threat of Christian persecution no longer exists.

As you earlier stated, my name is Briar Grace Lee. The year is 2050, and I am currently eighteen years old. I am an only child, born and raised in Greenfield, Oklahoma. My middle name, Grace, is in honor of my grandmother, with whom I was extremely close. She lived with my family up until the time of her death, when I was seven. She died just three days before she was scheduled, by order of the Commandment, to receive the government-mandated vaccine known as SAP (Serum to Advance Progressivism) an injection formulated to erase God from the mind. I’m convinced she asked God to take her before that day arrived.

Immediately following the death of Granna Grace, I was placed under house arrest and ordered to wear an ankle monitor (or, shackle, as I preferred to call it) because my body rejected the SAP vaccine. Every six months from the age of seven to seventeen, I was forced to undergo another vaccination. My body resisted the serum each and every time. A few weeks before turning eighteen, my mother and I were informed that because of my body’s continual resistance to SAP, I would be institutionalized on my birthday. I would become a permanent resident of the ARC (Alternative Research Center), a facility shrouded in dark rumors of torture, experimentation, and death. My only alternative was to accept a last minute ultimatum to become a laboratory test subject for a new God-dissolving serum. And that’s where my real story begins.

Your story is a compelling one, a warning to those of us who live in a world where God’s Truth is being seen as the enemy, where God’s people are called self-righteous and our values are degraded. Your grandmother was a strong influence on your life, so I’m not going to ask what you would do. I’d like to know what your granny, who lived in this time, would tell us to do in order to prepare or to resist what would be coming our way.

In order to prepare for or resist against what is coming our way, Granna Grace would have first and foremost encouraged believers to read the Bible. Having spent her life in God’s word, she knew the day was quickly approaching when the Bible would be stripped from our hands and banned from our eyes. What she didn’t know, until shortly before her death, was that God’s sovereign word would also be erased from the minds of most of our country’s population. Nonetheless, Granna Grace had prepared me for this occurrence not only by teaching me to memorize scripture, but by sewing a miniature Bible into the small stuffed animal that hangs on my keychain. Who knows whether you have come here for such a time as this? This verse from Esther, chapter four, was one of Granna Grace’s favorites. I will always believe that my body’s resistance to SAP is a direct result of my grandmother’s prayers. She believed God places us where we are for a reason—and that all of our attributes are vital to His purpose. There are no accidents.

The one aspect of the story that I noted was that despite the world’s dislike for Christians, there were those who still believed in God. Yet there were individuals who had been a part of what your world required of them so that God would, in the world’s misdirected belief, cease to exist, but they were good and kind. In your world, what did that mean to you?

I believe that in this aspect, my future world of The Commandment and your current world are relatively the same. Despite the dislike and disrespect Christians (Unlevels, in my world) sometimes endure in society, believers continue to place their faith in God. Just as those resistant to SAP in my world, the believers in your world feel Christ in their spirits and experience His presence in their souls. How is it possible to deny a part of one’s own being? In The Commandment’s future world, the entire population is injected with a chemical that numbs the area of the brain that houses Christian beliefs. We who remain resistant to the vaccine know that we will endure experimentation and death. Even so, the “God Zones” in our brains light up like Christmas trees every time we think about Jesus. The belief can’t be shrugged away or brainwashed from existence—even if, on a superficial level, we wish it could be. It’s there to stay.

On the other side of the coin, are those who do not believe in Christ, but are still good people. Your world (and mine) is filled with unbelievers who sacrificially give to and provide for their fellow man—oftentimes out-serving those of us who are Christian. Thank God for these people. I can only imagine how much more they would bless and be blessed if influenced by the power of the Holy Spirit that comes through believing in the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

In The Commandment, as in today’s society, people have many “good reasons” for not believing in God. Lukas, the medical scientist I’ve been assigned to, leans upon science, the medical field, and his own intelligence as practical proof that God doesn’t exist. It is only through building a relationship with me, a believer, that Lukas is ultimately persuaded to seek a relationship with Christ. Witnessing my faith at work, watching as God directs my life and shapes my future, is a truth he can’t reason away. And just like in your world, when Lukas earnestly seeks Christ, he finds Him, and is able to experience not only the transformation of his own life, but aide in the transformation of countless other lives.

On the other hand, there were individuals who were, for lack of a different way to say it, gnashing their teeth and spitting at the face of God, angry and vengeful. Why do you think that is?

As in your society, many people in The Commandment resented any mention of the existence of God and—more specifically—the existence of sin. In my world, this resentment came from the detestation for being told what to do. Not only did society not want to be held accountable, they did not want accountability to exist. Period. I suspect these sources of resentment in relation to God are not so different in your world.

Briar, you are a strong heroine, but at times you shared with us that you felt weak. Then strength would return. Can you explain why that occurred?

I believe the times when I am strongest and most victorious, are the times I let go of myself and depend fully upon God. The moment I begin questioning my strength and abilities, fear and weakness set in. Acknowledging that God is strongest when I am weakest perplexes my mind. It is for that reason that I leave my mind—God Zones and all other zones—to God.

 More about The Commandment:

Ten years ago, Briar’s body rejected a government mandated vaccine known as SAP (Serum to Advance Progressivism), formulated to erase God from the mind. Briar was seven years old. She’s been on house arrest ever since.

Now, just weeks from becoming a legal adult, Briar remains non-responsive to her mandatory SAP injections. Along with her rapidly approaching eighteenth birthday looms a grim reality: by order of the Commandment, adulthood means institutionalization for those resistant to SAP.

In a matter of days, Briar will become a permanent resident of the ARC—a facility shrouded in dark rumors of torture, experimentation, and death. Her only alternative is to accept a last minute ultimatum to become a laboratory test subject for a new God-dissolving serum.
With a decade of solitude behind her and a lifetime of confinement before her—what does she have to lose? Except maybe her soul.

The Commandment is available for pre-release this week, not only from Anna’s publisher, Pelican Book Group, it can also be purchased from other fine book retailers including Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Anna’s newest novel will release this Friday, August 24.

About the Author, Anna Kittrell:

Anna works as a middle school secretary in her beloved hometown of Anadarko, Oklahoma, where she resides with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, Tim. She has nine books in publication, including her new Christian futuristic thriller, The Commandment.

Anna has written for as long as she can remember. She still has most of her tattered creations—stories she used to sell on the playground for a dime, written on notebook paper. Her love of storytelling has grown throughout the years, and she is thrilled her tales are now worth more than ten cents.

Author Points of Contact:

As an author and in speaking with many authors, we love to have readers contact us on social media. If you want to learn more about Anna Kittrell and her awesome writing, be sure to visit the following: Anna’s website, appropriately entitled Anna Kittrell, her Facebook Author’s pageThe Commandment Facebook page, Amazon Author Central, and Anna invites you to e-mail her. You can also take a look at Anna’s wonderful book trailer for The Commandment.

Be sure to join us here at Inner Source on Wednesday when we discuss Anna’s latest release with her, and on Friday (the release date for The Commandment), Anna shares a heartfelt blog about her journey in writing the story.

Author and Reader Connection

Up until the New Year, I was using a newsletter to connect with readers and writers each week, but that felt too intrusive. Yet, I had promised several great authors and wonderful readers that I would include them on a newsletter. What better way to start the New Year then meeting some refreshing authors and some wonderful readers?

WONDERFUL AUTHORS

MARJI LAINE CLUBINE:

Marji Laine Clubine is more than an author. She’s a publisher. She’s my publisher, and I’m her cohost, and so blessed that she asked me to join her each month on Down Publishing Laine. If you haven’t caught the show, be sure to mark your calendar and join us on the first Tuesday of every month.  I’m so delighted to get to introduce you to her (if you don’t know her already). Even though Marji and I haven’t met in person–or we did and don’t remember–we have had some misadventures over blog talk and on the phone. All of them fun.

Marji’s a former homeschooling mom who’s not looking forward to an empty nest. Thankfully, her final two graduates are gracing her with their presence for a little while longer. She loves family game night, hosting a weekly high-school/college Bible study, directing her church’s children’s choir, and singing harmony in the adult choir. When she’s not publishing others’ books or working on her own, she’s taking spontaneous road trips with her trusty camera and a couple of besties, or she’s scrapbooking or cover-making with a Hallmark movie on in the background. She love nanograms, Marvel movies, Hand and Foot, worship music, Tim Hawkins, “When Calls the Heart,” and “Live PD.” She prefer mountains to beaches, dogs to cats, winter to summer, and cookies to any other dessert. I have a passion for encouragement and spreading hope, and my goal is to show that through all of my stories.

Why Marji believes readers will enjoy her work:

I was editing my latest book, Ain’t Misbehaving a couple of days ago. I hadn’t read the manuscript in probably 2 or 3 years and was reduced to tears at least 4 times. The take-the-glasses-off and find-a-tissue type of tears. The characters in my stories are raw, broken, and struggling to follow the Lord just like I am. Just like most readers are. I swear they are real. In fact, the building where I situated CJ Whelen – my hero in Ain’t Misbehaving – is in downtown Dallas in the Arts District. And every time I drive past it on the freeway, I can’t help but glance up to the 18th floor, northwest corner balcony. One of these days, I’m just sure I’ll see him standing up there.

JAMES CRESSLER:

I’ve connected with and stayed connected with many authors I’ve met at conferences. James and I have been in contact for three or four years. I was intrigued by Jim’s Diary of an Oak Tree, a unique story for children, which is also a learning tool. James is multi-faceted in his writing.

James is a 2012 graduate of Valencia College. He lives in Orlando with his wife, Julia. His twenty years of Army service in the Cold War and Desert Storm gives Jim some of his writing inspiration. He is currently writing Demimonde, a fantasy fiction about a mysterious entity that traps and enslaves people in its half-world where reality, insanity, and addiction reign. Ben Astray escapes from Baser’s corner bars and Shantytown vices to Ism Harbor and boards a Treatment Ship to Sobriety Island. Will he die at sea, find truth and recover or is it all madness?

Why James believes readers will enjoy his work:

Diary of an Oak Tree is illustrated and LifeRich did a perfect job on the cover and pagination. But more importantly, like all of my work, it’s different. The reader gets to live the life of Notch, the governor squirrel, Dagger the cat, or the wayseer raccoon, Sage. They time travel to post-Edenic Earth. They learn a new language. They escape our world and live in another where everything is possible, even animated mother oak trees.

I write to create a legacy, something that will endure the test of time.

SHARON K. CONNELL

Sharon K. Connell was born in Wisconsin and lived there for five short days. From that time through college, she lived in Illinois. For over twenty years, Sharon made her home in Florida where she graduated from the Pensacola Bible Institute. She has also lived in California, Ohio, and Missouri. Now retired from the business world, she resides in Houston, Texas, enjoying every minute of her writing career.

Except for six, Sharon has visited every state in the United States. She has also travelled to Canada and Mexico. The stories in her four published novels reflect some of the experiences she has had in her travels. Sharon writes stories about people who discover God will allow things to happen in your life that will help you grow and/or increase your faith. Her genre is Christian/Romance/Suspense, with a little mystery and humor added for good measure.

Why Sharon believes readers will enjoy her work:

Readers love to read my books because the stories are written in a way that draws the reader into the lives of the characters. My characters have flaws just like real people, and struggle to find answers, just like real people do.

The style of writing I have adopted helps the reader to feel the emotions of the characters. I also include twists and turns which makes the story suspenseful and adds an element of mystery. But of course, I always have moments of humor, because laughter is good for the soul.

JUNE FOSTER

June is a good friend of mine. We have gone on a few adventures, some planned and some accidental, but all of them fun. We met when I fell in love with her hero in Ryan’s Father, and our friendship grew from there. I love June Foster’s quirky characters and plots.

An award-winning author, June Foster is a retired teacher with a BA in education and MA in counseling. June has written four novels for Desert Breeze Publishing. The Bellewood Series, Give Us This DayAs We Forgive, and Deliver Us, and Hometown Fourth of July. Since then she’s also written Ryan’s Father, Red and the Wolf, a modern day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, The Almond Tree Series: For All EternityEchoes From the PastWhat God Knew and Almond Street Mission. Also available is Lavender Fields InnChristmas at Raccoon CreekRestoration of the HeartLetting Go, and Prescription for Romance. Find all June’s books at Amazon.com. June enjoys writing stories about characters who overcome the circumstances in their lives by the power of God and His Word. Find June online at junefoster.com.

Why June believes readers will enjoy her work:

Great question. First I need to think about my target audience—people who might read my books. If I’m correct, women between eighteen and ninety read my work. Many are Christians, some are seeking the Lord, and others are working through spiritual issues in their lives. I believe they will like my work because they can identify with the struggles, the aspirations, the joys, the blessings, and changes God is making in their hearts. My characters deal with anger, obesity, low self esteem, abortion, loss, and even homosexuality, not to mention some who just enjoy life. And finally, others will enjoy my work because they will read a great story that keeps them engaged.

LINDA MARAN

I met Linda Maran through acquisitions, and fell in love with her style. 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, painting, 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.

Why Linda believes readers will enjoy her work?

I think readers will enjoy the book because it seems that at one time or another in our lives, we long to be part of something. We want to fit in. For some of us this happens as children or as teens, and for others at various times in our lives. When we get a new job. Join a new church. Meet our future in-laws. A part of being human, for me, is to know I am loved and belong to specific people. Be they my spouse, family or good friends. The heroine in the novel, Kristen, is trying to find herself and see where she fits in while experiencing the new sense of family and people who rally around her. I think we all want that, and for those of us who do not always have it, it encourages us to not lose hope. God provides for all of us in His own time and sometimes in the most unexpected ways.

SHIRLEY CROWDER

Born in Nigeria, West Africa, where her parents served as missionaries, Shirley is passionate about disciple-making, which is manifested through a myriad of ministry opportunities that include biblical counseling, teaching Bible studies, speaking at conferences, writing, co-hosting a radio/TV program for women, and serving on the national advisory team for The Addiction Connection. Three published books and two soon-to-be released devotionals were contributed to, authored, or co-authored by Shirley. She has written a newspaper, Student Life, Seek Magazine, and Woman’s Missionary Union. Shirley has spiritual children and grandchildren serving the Lord in various ways throughout the world.

Why Shirley believes readers will enjoy her work:

Writers are busy people who usually have a gazillion projects in the works a the same time. These three devotionals examine what the Bible says through explanation and personal stories that the Holy Spirit can use to ignite or deepen the readers passion to now Him better. “Hope for New Beginnings” adds in-depth challenges to the reader as he or she interacts with the biblical principles and develop concrete steps for spiritual growth. The “Study Guide on Prayer: It’s Not About You by Harriet E. Michael” guides you, as you read a chapter in Harriet’s book, to delve deeper into the teachings, principles, and/or practices from each chapter.

Why Shirley’s publisher, Write Integrity Press, loves her work:

Shirley’s Bible study guide allows readers to go even deeper as they are studying Prayer: It’s Not About You. Her devotions include personal stories, some heartwarming and others full of humor. She writes encouragement and comfort for Christ-followers. And in all of her writings, she persuades the reader to draw closer to God.

AWESOME READERS

While we know that all authors should be readers, not all readers are authors. However, where would an author be without someone to read their work? Here are a few readers, I’ve asked the same questions to–purposefully. I wanted to see the variety of answers and introduce authors to the audiences for their chosen genres.

TINA BOYER

I met Tina online through our mutual friendship with author, Linda Maran, and she gladly accepted my invitation to answer these questions.

In what state or region do you reside?

I live in Arizona.

Besides reading, what is of major interest to you?

I am also interested in Film and Digital media/graphic design.

What is your favorite genre, and why?

Favorite genre is Inspiration Romance, which includes both historical and modern equally. I am a sucker for a good romance, but I prefer a “clean” and non-graphic romance, which is why I am drawn to the Inspirational Romances.

What is the book that you consider your all-time favorite?

All-Time favorite would be Christy by Catherine Marshall.

What book are you reading right now?

I am currently reading Sweetbriar Cottage by Denise Hunter.

MARJI LAINE CLUBINE

Marji’s back–this time as a reader, but she’s also a publisher, so authors might want to take note.

In what state or region do you reside?

I live in North Dallas. I group up in the suburbs on the east side and have lived in Northeast Texas (including college years) since I was 2 years old.

Besides reading, what is of major interest to you?

My major interest is publishing other authors’ books – I really love my job. But I also love leading our high school/college Bible study and directing our church’s children’s choir. Oh, and family game night – LOVE family game night!

What is your favorite genre, and why?

Romantic suspense and romantic mystery have always been my favorites. Phyllis A. Whitney, Mignon Eberhart, Agatha Christie, and Trixie Belden Mysteries when I was growing up. Now that I’m older, I enjoy Dana Mentink, Lynette Eason, Dani Pettrey, Kristen Hogrefe, Elizabeth Noyes, and Fay Lamb! 🙂

What is the book that you consider your all-time favorite?

I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to one. I love the story of Pride and Prejudice, though I confess I only read half of the book. I’ve only read a handful of books more than once – most of them children’s chapter books when I did read-alouds as a teacher. I think my current favorite, though is the Rogue series by Kristen Hogrefe – masterfully written and full of action, mystery, and suspense – and romance. Yep. Gotta have some romance in it!

What book are you reading right now?

Another confession, now that my new job requires so much reading (editing) I seldom read for enjoyment. I find I’m correcting too much. But I do listen to books on Audible. I just finished Eason’s Elite Guardian series and am now listening to Joanne Fluke’s Hanna Swensen mysteries. I love the Hallmark movies based on these books and having fun with more of the stories.

ELIZABETH “BETTY” NOYES

Elizabeth “Betty” Noyes and I met as critique partners and we have become fast friends. I have been privileged to listen to her provide in-person critique, and I have been blessed to have her critique my work. I know she reads with a different eye, and I’m excited for you to meet her as a reader.

In what state or region do you reside?

Atlanta, Georgia.

Besides reading, what is of major interest to you?

Bible studies, Travel, Crocheting, Baking, Grandkids

What is your favorite genre, and why?

Favorite genre to read is sci fi; to write is romantic suspense.

What is the book that you consider your all-time favorite?

Gone With The Wind followed closely by The Stand.

What book are you reading right now?

The Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn

SARAH BLANCHARD

Sarah is one of my favorite persons in the world. We met when were very young teenagers. She and her brother lived next to my grandmother’s “vacation” home on Merritt Island, and we spent a lot of time on the river and in Sarah’s house. Sarah’s beautiful mother, Nancy, was the one who encouraged me to keep writing all those years ago. We reunited for a sad day last year, but we’ve stayed in contact since, and I was very interested in getting Sarah’s answers to these questions.

In what state or region do you reside?

Tampa Bay, Florida

Besides reading, what is of major interest to you?

Florida’s environmental preservation, Christianity, and studying piano

What is your favorite genre and why?

Murder mysteries. I love to hide under the covers and lock all the doors and windows.

What is the book that you consider your all-time favorite?

Hiroshima, John Hersey.  A tough read and life-changing reading experience.

What book(s) are you reading now?

Dawn of The Belle EpochThe Paris of MonetZolaEiffelDebussyClemenceau, and Their Friends By Mary McAuliffe.

FAY LAMB:

Fay Lamb writes emotionally charged stories with a Romans 8:28 attitude, reminding readers that God is always in the details. Fay donates 100% of her royalties to Christian charities.

Storms in Serenity is the first book in Fay’s Serenity Key series, which will release in March of this year. Fay’s other series include, Amazing Grace and her novels, Stalking Willow, Better than RevengeEverybody’s Brokenand Frozen Notes. The Ties that Bind Series includes Charisse, Libby, and Hope. Delilah, is coming soon.

Fay’s is also the author of The Art of Characterization: How to Use the Elements of Storytelling to Connect Readers to an Unforgettable Cast.

Why do I believe readers will enjoy my work?

When I sit down to write, I don’t plan on writing a book. I plan on creating a world inside of my readers’ imaginations where they can escape and unwind. I imagine my characters on stage, that I’m a part of the cast, and I’m in the midst of the story with them. In that way, I am sure that my readers will be in the story as well and not simply watching the stage from the audience.

A special thank you to all who took part in the spotlights.

I’m praying that reader and authors alike will have a very Blessed and Happy New Year!

And that pesky newsletter? I think I’ll bring it back in another format pretty soon. For now, here’s a little bit about me:

 

 

 

 

 

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?