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Author Interview: Nike Chillemi

NikePixInner Source welcomes author Nike Chillemi. Like so many writers, Nike started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT, is scheduled to release in the spring of 2014.

She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Christian Indie Novelists (CHIN) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). You can meet up with Nike on her blog, Crime Fictionista, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

Nike I have to tell you that I read Harmful Intent in almost one sitting. I enjoyed it very much.

This first question is one that I’ve been wanting to ask since we met online. Your first and last name are very unique. What is their origin?

My parents were looking for a name beginning with an “N” in honor of my uncle Nicolas who died in the Pacific during WWII. He was in the Air Force and his plane went down in the ocean. We’re of Eastern European stock (Ukrainian, Czechoslovak, and Yugoslavian). Among the Eastern European community at that time, Natasha was an extremely common name or girls, much like Chloe or Madison are today. So, they chose an obscure Greek name with an “N” ~ Nike. They were aware of the Nike of Samothrace when they named me, as they knew a bit about mythology. I’ve only met a handful of women named Nike and they were all born in Greece. Chillemi is Italian and is my husband’s surname. It’s not uncommon, but it’s also not the “Smith” of Italy.

Because I know you’re a New York gal, and you like the nitty-gritty of the big city in your stories, I was surprised to find your character facing her dilemma and her mystery in Abilene, Texas. How in the world did one of your characters end up down South?

It started due to a writing challenge I came upon. I started playing around with it thinking how interesting to put my heroine out of her geographical element. At the most, I thought I’d have a short story. Then the idea of the series hit me and I thought HARMFUL INTENT would turn into novella (about 35K words) introducing the series. Well, as sometimes happens with my characters, they started running away with me and before I knew it, I had 66,000 words.

The series I’m envisioning is quite ambitious. There will be four couples who are all involved in law enforcement or who have military backgrounds. Each couple will have their own novels, solving murder cases, terrorism threats, and the like. A main character in one novel may show up as a secondary or minor character in another.

Having been a foster mother and adoptive mother of children who had been in foster care for some time, I’m keenly aware of what long-term damage can be done to children due to parental neglect and abuse. So, as a subtheme in this series, at least one member of each couple will be emotionally damaged due to some type of childhood trauma. Naturally, as I usually do, I will be crafting characters who are likeable in spite of their flaws. And as always, some of my characters will be quite quirky.

I love Deputy Sheriff Dawson Hughes from his Stetson hat to his very Southern moniker. Is he sketched from someone you know, from an actor, or from any other venue or does he solely come from the imagination of Nike Chillemi?

Dawson Hughes came solely from my imagination. At the beginning of the novel, Ronnie thinks he looks like a famous country-western star she saw on the cover of People magazine who looks fabulous in a tux. However, I leave it entirely up to the reader who that singer might be. Hughes evolved as I was writing him and became deeper emotionally. In the second draft, I went back and layered in the trauma of his divorce. He’d always been a decent man, but having survived a nasty divorce during which he made some mistakes, he grew into a truly honorable man.

This novel is not an in-your-face Christian mystery/suspense, but it works, and it works well. In your novel is there a key scripture or biblical concept that you explore? If so, what scripture or concept do you hope to bring to the light for your readers?

Neither Ronnie nor Dawson are committed Christians, although I do have committed Christians in the story as secondary characters who walk-the-walk. I use Ronnie and Dawson to appeal to Christians who have backslidden or to those who come from a loosely Christian background. Dawson’s faith was shaken during his short marriage. I won’t explain exactly why as I feel that’s a bit of a spoiler. He tells Ronnie the Bible won’t do her wrong, but she doubts he spends much time reading it. There are moments he wishes he had more faith, but then life sweeps him up and he functions by rote. Ronnie is angry at God, doesn’t trust him due to her childhood trauma. But she asks a lot of spiritual questions as the novel unfolds. She wonders about the comfort of God. She’s not quite a seeker. She’s just beginning to admit to herself there is One she might want to seek.

I want to first of all thank you for naming a character in Harmful Intent after me, but do you think you could have made her a bit nicer.  J

Oh, yes, La Mayor. Faylene Hunt. She marches rather than walks, sort of like power walking. Her red framed glasses sit on her pug nose and she’s got harshly cut razored bangs. Hughes thinks they look like someone put a bowl on her head and wacked them off. She’s a manipulator as the mayor of Arroyo and in her personal life as well. She likes to play power games, that’s for sure.

Sorry I didn’t make your name sake nicer, but she’s so much more fun this way.

Do you have any future projects in the works, and if so, what issues do your characters deal with?

When HARMFUL INTENT ends Ronnie’s adulterous husband has been deceased only a little over two weeks. She’s falling in love with Hughes but is definitely not ready to jump into another relationship. She plans to come back to Texas for their mutual friends’ Thanksgiving wedding. And Hughes intends to travel to New York City for Christmas. However, as book two starts at the end of August, Hughes finds himself on the east coast in an official law enforcement capacity and gets drawn into a missing child case Ronnie is working on that might have terrorism implications. And that one is entitled DEADLY DESIGNS.

That sounds like it might be a page turner just like Harmful Intent. I hope you’ll come back and visit with us to share the Inner source on Deadly Designs.

Sheriff's CarAbout Harmful Intent (Soon to be Released):

Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.

Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.

Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.

Be sure to meet Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels.

Character Interview: Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels from Nike Chillemi’s Harmful Intent

Texas Lone StarToday’s special guest, Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels is the heroine in Nike Chillemi’s delightful romantic suspense, Harmful Intent.  Ronnie, I’m so glad you could be with us today. I loved your story. Please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do?

I’m a private investigator. I was born and raised in Bay Ridge Brooklyn. My father was a successful stockbroker and my mother was a stay-at-home mom until I was in college. One of my best memories is of being a Girl Scout. Mrs. Gosner was my leader, and she had the troop repeat lines from the manual so many times they seem to be etched into my memory. A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency. That had a great influence on me. I think whatever I commit to doing, I commit to giving my all.

I’m a Southerner, and well, your story just begs this next question. How much of a culture shock is it for a Brooklyn gal when she’s in Abilene, Texas?

Let me say this about that, you guys and gals never get into a conversation you don’t think couldn’t be made better with more conversing. What’s that about? I mean, I’m standing in line in a donut shop in Abilene, or in some gulch town, dying for coffee to the point my tongue is sticking to the roof of my mouth. Then, I hear the clerk asking the lady at the counter how her day has been. The lady begins to tell him, chapter and verse. It’s only eight-thirty in the morning. How much is there to tell?

Yes, we do love to chat, but it’s about the gossip, you know.

You suffered a devastating betrayal by your husband and the woman you considered your best friend. The truth is, they really weren’t the people you thought they were. How do you recover from not only the loss of your husband but also the betrayal?

I’m the type who believes you just put one foot in front of the other and somehow muddle through. I got a lot of support from my mother’s quiet grace. I’m not at all like my mom. I’m a klutz and have a talent for messing up social situations. I had always thought my mother to be too timid and a bit of a push-over. You might call her a type of Ms. Manners. Mom is quite at home with a pair of pearl earrings and a matching string of pearls around her neck. During my own personal tragedy, I came to see that her penchant for good manners was a kind of bulwark that protected her. Faced with some of the cruelest and rudest people I’d ever met, I came to appreciate the role of etiquette in smoothing the rough edges of life. I can’t say my social skills improved much, but my esteem for good manner did.

The betrayal you experienced was made more devastating to you because you had suffered this type of betrayal and abandonment as a child. Do you think that you made this choice subconsciously because of your past?

One thing I never wanted was to be was like my mother. Then I went and married a man just like my father, a womanizer. I suppose it’s hard to get away from the negative patterns of childhood. I prided myself that I was so different from my mom, and much stronger than she was. I guess pride goeth before a fall.

What advice would you give to someone who has suffered from betrayal and abandonment at any time in their lives?

When you’re down and out, you’ll find out who is in your corner. As I’ve said, I had my mom, but I also had my boss at the PI agency, Jack Cooney, who’s kind of a Dutch Uncle to me. Stern, but always has my back. Then I met a whole slew of eccentric and loving people in the hill country of Texas who turned out to be true friends. There’s an old saying on the streets: Keep you friends close, your enemies closer. What I learned is you ditch your enemies (don’t turn your back on them, but tell them to take a hike) and keep your friends close.

Thank you, Ronnie. I’m so glad I got to know you. I loved your tale of betrayal and “displacement.”

More about the soon-to-be released Harmful Intent:

Betrayal runs in private investigator Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels’ family. So, why is she surprised when her husband of one year cheats on her? The real shock is his murder, with the local lawman pegging her as the prime suspect.

Ronnie Ingels is a Brooklyn bred private investigator who travels to west Texas, where her cheating husband is murdered. As she hunts the killer to clear her name, she becomes the hunted.

Deputy Sergeant Dawson Hughes, a former Army Ranger, is a man folks want on their side. Only he’s not so sure at first, he’s on the meddling New York PI’s side. As the evidence points away from her, he realizes the more she butts in, the more danger she attracts to herself.

NikePix

About Author Nike Chillemi:

Like so many writers, Nike Chillemi started writing at a very young age. She still has the Crayola, fully illustrated book she penned (colored might be more accurate) as a little girl about her then off-the-chart love of horses. Today, you might call her a crime fictionista. Her passion is crime fiction. She likes her bad guys really bad and her good guys smarter and better.

Nike is the founding board member of the Grace Awards and is its Chairman, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011, 2012, and 2013 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. Her four novel Sanctuary Point series, set in the mid-1940s has won awards and garnered critical acclaim. Her new contemporary whodunit, HARMFUL INTENT, is scheduled to release in the spring of 2014.

She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Christian Indie Novelists (CHIN) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). You can meet up with Nike on her blog, Crime Fictionista, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

 

A True Romance by Sherri Wilson Johnson

9781602902862-Perfect.inddIn Victorian times, young debutantes waited for gentlemen to deliver their calling cards and take them for a stroll in their fancy teacarts. They picnicked and spent leisurely Sunday afternoons together after church talking about simple things. They spent evenings on the veranda sipping lemonade or warming by the fire nursing a cup of hot tea and reading literature. Any time together was special.

Because an accomplished gentleman might have traveled often, a lady would wait for a month or longer to receive a letter stating his interest or an invitation to an upcoming ball. Hours were spent pining away for the object of a lady’s desire, reading a poem he wrote, and if another lady set her eyes on him, clever (and sometime vicious) means were used to distract the competitor.

The suffrage movement of the late 1800s caused some women to shun traditional ways. In an effort to be recognized as a vital and equal part of society, women moved to the cities, went to work, learned to read, and went to college. For those who wanted the company of a man, they didn’t wait on calling cards to dictate with whom they spent their evenings.

Not long after the turn of the century, women began to see the fruit of their suffrage labors and experienced more freedom than any woman in the past. But at what cost? By the ’20s, the conservative upbringings of their mothers faded away and many women allowed themselves to be called a broad, a dame, the cat’s meow, or a doll to gain popularity, dates, and respect. A “charity girl” was a girl who didn’t save herself for marriage—or even for one man. Of course, the vast majority held true to the traditional courting ways and those who didn’t eventually realized that the respect they longed for couldn’t be found in a loose sort of lifestyle. They missed the days of hand-written love notes and spontaneously-picked flowers.

My novel, To Dance Once More, is a Victorian Inspirational Romance set in Florida in 1886. Lydia Barrington wants to leave her father’s plantation and the humdrum life of a debutante. The last thing she wants is to be betrothed to a man she doesn’t love. She wants adventure far from home and the freedom to choose her own spouse—if she decides she even wants one. However, this choice comes with sacrifices that Lydia may not be willing to make. She learns to trust God in every area of her life, especially in love.

No matter what the standards have been in the past and will be in the future for dating, one thing is for sure: women love to be romanced—to have a gentleman tell them how lovely they are and that their fragrance intoxicates them. To have a gentleman hang on their every word is better than a pot of gold. To hear the words “I love you” will never go out of style regardless of the fashions, the pastimes, or the etiquette. These desires stem from a deeper need. A need for the love of the Creator.

The love of the Heavenly Father is far better than the love of a man. Lydia discovered that without God, her life was meaningless and it mattered not who or if she married. Women today can experience this joy and freedom as well, and can know what it’s like to be valued for who they are on the inside and not what they look like on the outside or what they do or say. There’s freedom in the love of Jesus!

About the Author:

Sherri Wilson Johnson lives in Georgia with her husband and two children. She loves to dream of romantic places and romance in general–good, clean romance. She is a bird-watcher, loves the ocean, roller coasters, ice cream, her family and her Chihuahua, who faithfully sits by her side every day when she writes. She is a blogger, virtual assistant, freelance editor and a former homeschooling mom. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once More (OakTara), Song of the Meadowlark (OakTara) and To Laugh Once More (ChooseNOW Publishing, Dec 2014), and is a columnist for Habits for a Happy Home and Choose NOW Ministries.

Catch up with Sherri at her website, on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads You can also find Sherri’s columns at Choose NOW and Habits for a Happy Home.

sherri-wilson-johnson-promo-pic (640x425)More about To Dance Once More:

All Lydia wants is to travel the world before she has to settle down with a husband. But she may not have that choice anymore.

When Victorian debutante, Lydia Barrington, accidentally discovers that her father has promised her to the son of an unscrupulous businessman in payment for his own debts, she must make the biggest decision of her life…to concede or to fight. To Dance Once More explores the possibilities for a young woman, who longs to find God’s will for her life, yet is faced with a decision that will change her life forever. If she follows her heart, she disobeys her father; if she abides by her father’s wishes, she betrays herself.

Catch us with Sherri’s heroine Lydia Barrington and read Sherri’s interview.

Author Interview: Sherri Wilson Johnson

sherri-wilson-johnson-promo-pic (640x425)Today’s special guest is my friend, Sherri Wilson Johnson, author of To Dance Once More, an historical romance set in Florida in the 1880s.

Sherri, thank you for joining us today. As a fifth generation Floridian who has lived in the same small town all of my life, I was happy to see a historical novel set in my native state. I’d love to know why you chose to write a novel set in the post-Civil War South and why you set it in Florida.

To Dance Once More is set in Victorian-era Florida, bringing the romance of the beach, Victorian times, and debutante balls together because I’ve always loved the Victorian era, ball gowns, calling cards, carriages and gentlemen. I adore the beaches of Florida and grew up going there every summer for family vacation so I rarely tire of visiting the state.

Your heroine in To Dance Once More is a young woman who doesn’t want to live life the way that the society in which she lives would have her live. I wasn’t sure if Lydia was an adventurous or a discontented soul. How would you describe her?

Lydia Jane Barrington is quite discontented, and I think that makes her appear to be more adventurous than she really is. She definitely wants things in her life to change but she doesn’t know how to go about doing it so she comes across spoiled and self-centered. She doesn’t want to be like all of the women in her family. She wants adventure and travels and anything contrary to the ordinary life of a plantation owner’s wife. What she cannot see through her naiveté though is that in her day and time, if she wasn’t the wife of a plantation owner or a governess then more than likely she’d be cast into society as a worldly woman, left to fend for herself, subject to the charms of gentlemen who had something less than honorable in mind for her. She has a lot of maturing to do and even in the upcoming sequel, she’s still dealing with some of these issues.

How much of Lydia’s nature is something you have dealt with whether it is a soul yearning for adventure and unable to experience it or discontentment?

I can relate to both a yearning for adventure and discontentment. If you could label me as a character from Winnie the Pooh, I’d be more like Tigger than Eeyore or Rabbit. I love interaction with people and I love doing things I’ve never done before. So when the opportunity comes, I’m usually ready to try things. To me, that’s better than being stuck at home and bored to tears. However, just because I want to do something doesn’t mean I’m always able to drop what I’m doing and do it. I have family, work, writing deadlines, and church responsibilities to think of. If I become stuck in selfishness, I very quickly become resentful of my responsibilities and discontentment settles in. So having a soul-yearning for adventure and not being able to experience it can lead to discontentment but it can also, if used properly, lead to a goal-oriented, well-focused life. That’s what I strive for!

In your novel, is there a key scripture or biblical concept that you explore? If so, what scripture or concept do you hope to bring to the light for your readers?

Psalm 30:11-12 is the scripture I picked out for To Dance Once More. It says, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” It’s quite fitting for this book because Lydia has no hope of ever feeling joy again—and of ever dancing again. But God is faithful to her. I also explore the concept of purity, remaining pure until married. There are characters that do and characters that don’t in this book. My hope is that readers will feel inspired to wait upon the Lord for all of his goodness, to have hope that there’s a better day ahead.

Do you have any future projects in the works, and if so, what issues do your characters deal with?

The sequel to To Dance Once More is scheduled to release in December. Its prospective title is To Laugh Once More. Lydia struggles with many of the same issues she struggled with in the first book but from the perspective of a married woman and not a debutante. This book addresses the issues that many modern women deal with, such as: infertility, purpose, jealousy, grief. I hope it will be an inspiring read for all its readers.

I’m sure that it will be. Thank you for sharing with us today on Inner Source. If our readers missed Monday’s interview with your character, Lydia, I hope they will visit and learn a little more about her story.

More about the Author:

Sherri Wilson Johnson lives in Georgia with her husband and two children. She loves to dream of romantic places and romance in general–good, clean romance. She is a bird-watcher, loves the ocean, roller coasters, ice cream, her family and her Chihuahua, who faithfully sits by her side every day when she writes. She is a blogger, virtual assistant, freelance editor and a former homeschooling mom. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once More (OakTara), Song of the Meadowlark (OakTara) and To Laugh Once More (ChooseNOW Publishing, Dec 2014), and is a columnist for Habits for a Happy Home and Choose NOW Ministries.

Catch up with Sherri at her website, on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads You can also find Sherri’s columns at Choose NOW and Habits for a Happy Home.

9781602902862-Perfect.inddMore about To Dance Once More:

All Lydia wants is to travel the world before she has to settle down with a husband. But she may not have that choice anymore.

When Victorian debutante, Lydia Barrington, accidentally discovers that her father has promised her to the son of an unscrupulous businessman in payment for his own debts, she must make the biggest decision of her life…to concede or to fight. To Dance Once More explores the possibilities for a young woman, who longs to find God’s will for her life, yet is faced with a decision that will change her life forever. If she follows her heart, she disobeys her father; if she abides by her father’s wishes, she betrays herself.

Character Interview: Lydia Jane Barrington from To Dance Once More by Sherri Wilson Johnson

9781602902862-Perfect.inddToday’s guest is heroine, Lydia Jane Barrington, from Sherri Wilson Johnson’s historical romance, To Dance Once More.

Lydia, thank you for being with us, and please tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak beyond the pages of the book. I am from Gulf Resort, Florida, and I live on my father’s plantation, Live Oaks, with my parents and older siblings. One of them is my twin brother, Nathan.

What are your aspirations?

 I want to make a difference to someone in this world. While I understand the value of being a wife and a mother, I long to do something extra special, something beyond the confines of the walls of my home. I’ve dreamed of being a nurse or a writer. Someday I will do something grand with my life.

My great-grandparents settled in Central Florida before the Civil War, and our family is rich in Florida history. Your story is set in the 1880s in Florida. What is it like living here during that time?

Living on a plantation in Florida far away from the city can be quite isolating at times. Although we are considered one of the wealthiest families around these parts, we don’t travel much. So we spend a lot of time here at home or with the families in our church. My father runs a lumber and turpentine business so our plantation is full of trees. My favorite thing to do is ride my horse, Gabriel, all over the plantation. My second favorite thing to do is fish in the pond, although my mother says it’s not ladylike. When I read, I sit in our gazebo out in front of our mansion. All too often, I daydream about my future and don’t get as much reading done as I should. Isabel Ann is our cook but she is like a second mama to me. I listen to her scolding more than I listen to Mama’s. She’s such a wise woman and never leads me astray. A few times a year we have social events with dancing. Sometimes we have bonfires and picnics. Life on the plantation is fun although I do dream of living in a city one day. Although I do not live as near to the beach as I would like, it is my favorite place to visit. I love to visit Shell Island with my family and with my hero, Hamilton Scarbrough. It’s a lovely place with crashing waves and beautiful shells.

You are a young lady with a lot of ambition for the era in which you live, and you run into quite a problem of your father’s making. What is it like living in a society where your parents define what and who you will be?

At times, it can be quite frustrating to be such a forward thinker in a time where women have little voice. My father is stern and my mother rarely argues against what he says. I often feel like a bird in a cage. I want to spread my wings and fly to a faraway land. However, when I listen to the wise words of my dear Isabel Ann, I understand that father has seen much more in his lifetime than I have and that he knows best. I am still young and I have the rest of my life to accomplish the things I want to accomplish. Time has a funny way of making you see that what you want today may not be what you’ll want tomorrow. I know that some of the things I’ve wanted to do have been nothing more than the hopes and aspirations of a little girl and that as I mature I will grow into the woman I’m supposed to be.

I have to tell you that I didn’t like the way that young Hamilton treated you during most of the story. I don’t want to give the story away, but tell me, how do you feel about the way Hamilton treated you?

I hated it! If I had been smarter and had a little more confidence in myself, I probably would have punched him in the stomach or socked him in the face. That’s what I would have done to my brother, Nathan, if he’d treated me that way. But Hamilton has grown a lot and matured and I have nothing but forgiveness for him in my heart now. However, don’t think I won’t give him a lashing with my tongue if he ever treats me poorly again!

Lydia, you learned some valuable lessons during your search for freedom and/or contentment. Would you mind sharing with our readers the biggest lesson learned?

I’ve learned a lot of lessons in the past few years. I’ve learned to sacrifice my own comfort for others. I’ve learned to make decisions wisely and not based off how my heart is feeling. Mostly, though, I’ve learned to seek God in all that I do. I can ask others what they think about a situation and I can go into a situation like a raging bull, but the best thing to do is to wait upon the Lord. He will never steer you in a wrong direction and he always wants what’s best for you.

Thank you for visiting with us. I look forward to speaking with your lovely author, Sherri on Wednesday.

More about To Dance Once More:

All Lydia wants is to travel the world before she has to settle down with a husband. But she may not have that choice anymore.

When Victorian debutante, Lydia Barrington, accidentally discovers that her father has promised her to the son of an unscrupulous businessman in payment for his own debts, she must make the biggest decision of her life…to concede or to fight. To Dance Once More explores the possibilities for a young woman, who longs to find God’s will for her life, yet is faced with a decision that will change her life forever. If she follows her heart, she disobeys her father; if she abides by her father’s wishes, she betrays herself.

sherri-wilson-johnson-promo-pic (640x425)About the Author:

Sherri Wilson Johnson lives in Georgia with her husband and two children. She loves to dream of romantic places and romance in general–good, clean romance. She is a bird-watcher, loves the ocean, roller coasters, ice cream, her family and her Chihuahua, who faithfully sits by her side every day when she writes. She is a blogger, virtual assistant, freelance editor and a former homeschooling mom. Sherri is the author of To Dance Once More (OakTara), Song of the Meadowlark (OakTara) and To Laugh Once More (ChooseNOW Publishing, Dec 2014), and is a columnist for Habits for a Happy Home and Choose NOW Ministries.

Catch up with Sherri at her website, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads You can also find Sherri’s columns at Choose NOW and Habits for a Happy Home.

Divorce and the Grudge Factor by Sharon Srock

MeHi, my name is Sharon Srock and I am a recovering grudge holder.

That admission does not come easily. I’m a Christian. I know about forgiveness since I’ve been forgiven. I’ve heard all the sermons, read all the scriptures, and  I understand the concept. God forgave me and He expects me to forgive others.

In fact, if I don’t forgive others, I might have my own forgiveness revoked. Seriously? Let’s look at a Bible story.

Matthew 18:21-35.

This is a story Jesus told about a servant who owed a huge debt to the king. When it came time to pay up, the servant begged for forgiveness because he had no way to pay the bill, the king took pity on him and forgave the debt. The servant skipped out of the throne room a debt free man.

Now here’s where the story gets real interesting. It says that the forgiven man went out of the presence of the king and found a fellow servant who owed him a much smaller debt and demanded to be paid in full. Not months later, after he might have had time to forget the kings generosity, but right then, the same day. He went out from the king’s presence, grabbed this second servant by the throat, and demanded his money, right now, in full, down to the last penny, with interest.

The servant fell down and begged for forgiveness. And it was refused. What was the king’s response? Verses 33-35.

“Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not everyone his brother their trespasses.”

And one more verse for good measure. Mark 11:26. “But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

Wow, that’s pretty powerful stuff. Now, I know that we tend to try and rationalize this out. What if someone destroys your family? What if someone breaks your heart? What if someone murders your child or grandchild? Surely God didn’t mean we had to forgive those things. If you step on my toe…if you steal my money…if you tell a lie about me…if you hurt my feelings…I can forgive those things, but the big things…I’m supposed to forgive those things…even if you don’t ask?

Funny thing about God. When he tells us to do something He usually doesn’t give us a lot of qualifiers. He just says do it, and I think He has a good reason for that.

When my first husband and I got divorced, there was a lot of hurt and anger in the situation. He said, she said. He did, she did. There was a lot of unclaimed baggage and finger pointing and our three children were caught right in the middle. Now, I like to think that as the years marched by some of those feelings mellowed out on both sides. We are both happily remarried, we continue to attend the same church. Our spouses get along with each other better than we ever got along together. But I have to be honest with you. There wasn’t a lot of mellowing, but there was a whole lot of indifference. You stay in your little sphere of friends and I’ll stay in mine.

That’s a trap! Indifference is not forgiveness.

Did you read the sentence in the paragraph above that said we continue to attend the same church? My ex-husband, his wife, me and my current husband and the kids when they are all in town. How’s that for a potential soap opera? I’ll be the first to admit that this hasn’t always been a good thing.

A few years ago my girls asked a favor of me. They wanted to have one big family Christmas instead of two partial ones. I balked for a lot of reasons, but when I examined my heart, I realized that unforgiven hurts lay at the base of my hesitation. Old words and actions that had never been apologized for and, if I’m honest, probably wouldn’t have been sincerely forgiven if he had offered an apology. I had a choice forced upon me. Grudge or forgiveness. I’m happy to report that we’ve had four family Christmas celebrations and no one died. Forgiveness is always the right answer even when it takes twenty years to get there.

About the Author:

Author Sharon Srock went from science fiction to Christian fiction at slightly less than warp speed. Twenty five years ago, she cut her writer’s teeth on Star Trek fiction. Today, she writes inspirational stories that focus on ordinary women using their faith to accomplish extraordinary things. Sharon lives in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma with her husband and three very large dogs. Her books include: The Women of Valley View: Callie and The Women of Valley View: Terri, both of which are currently available. The Women of Valley View: Pam will release 11 April 2014.

Receive Sharon’s newsletter; connect with her at www.sharonsrock.comFacebookGoodreadsPinterest:

Please visit her AMAZON page to find current info on her books:

Get a free PDF: MEET THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW.

Get a free Novella: FOR MERCIE’S SAKE

perf5.500x8.500.inddAbout Pam (The Women of Valley View):

Pam’s divorce broke her heart. The cruelty of her ex-husband broke her spirit. A bottle of sleeping pills almost took her life. Four years later the scars of Alan Archer’s emotional abuse are beginning to fade under the love of her new husband. When Alan returns to Garfield, Pam must learn that buried secrets and carefully cultivated indifference do not equal forgiveness.

Alan Archer has returned to Garfield with a new wife and a terminal heart condition. His mission? To leave a Christian legacy for his children and to gain Pam’s forgiveness for the sins of his past.

Two hearts hang in the balance waiting for the delicate touch of God’s healing hands.

Pam and the other books in The Women of Valley View series can be purchased at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and from Pelican Book Group.

CallieAbout Callie (The Women of Valley View):

Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all.

Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.

Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.

Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing. And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.

For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.

TerriAbout Terri (The Women of Valley View):

Despite a bustling day care center and a new foster child, Terri Hayes hungers for a family of her own. Then a plumbing mishap leaves her homeless and questioning God’s plan. Steve Evans’s gracious offer of his basement apartment as a temporary solution is an answered prayer.

Steve is a successful writer and a good father, but Terri is horrified when Steve’s book research leads him to a harsh confrontation with the parents of her foster child. She needs to distance herself from Steve, but her efforts fall short as his two scheming daughters plot to make Terri their new stepmother.

Will harsh words and sneaky plans drive a family further apart and put a wedge between Terri and Steve, or does God have another plan in store?

Inner Source interviewed Pamfrom The Women of Valley View series, on Monday and her author, Sharon Srock on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

Author Interview: Sharon Srock

MeToday’s guest is the author of the fabulous series, The Women of Valley View, Sharon Srock. Sharon went from science fiction to Christian fiction at slightly less than warp speed. Twenty five years ago, she cut her writer’s teeth on Star Trek fiction. Today, she writes inspirational stories that focus on ordinary women using their faith to accomplish extraordinary things. Sharon lives in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma with her husband and three very large dogs. Her books include: The Women of Valley View: Callie and The Women of Valley View: Terri, both of which are currently available. The Women of Valley View: Pam will release 11 April 2014.

Receive Sharon’s newsletter; connect with her at:  www.sharonsrock.comFacebookGoodreadsPinterest:

Please visit her AMAZON page to find current info on her books:

Get a free PDF: MEET THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW.

Get a free Novella: FOR MERCIE’S SAKE

Sharon, thank you for visiting with Inner Source this week. As I mentioned on Monday’s interview with Pam, I love the women of Valley View, but Pam’s story is the one that I identify with. I’d love to know if Pam was born from your own experience or if she is a bit of some women you might know.

Fay, thanks for helping me promote Pam’s story this week. I think Pam’s story is more me than either of the first two. I’m divorced, and while I was never abused in the way Pam was, I think the hardest part of any marriage gone wrong can be forgiveness. Most of the time we don’t realize that until we get that part  worked out in our hearts, we will never, completely move passed it.

Pam’s issue is divorce and dealing with the anger and hurt over her husband’s actions. My first thought is that “divorce” is a taboo subject for most Christian publishers, though, it is a reality in the lives of many Christian families. Is there anything that you discovered about this issue and the views of Christians about this subject?

Not while writing the book, but certainly by living the life of a divorced Christian person. People can be very judgmental about situations they have no concept of. I feel like I should place a small disclaimer here just in case my kids or my church family should read this. My first husband never cheated on me. (SMILE)

Pam really didn’t have a choice in her divorce. I won’t spoil it for the readers, but I rejoiced that she was able to move forward and have a life beyond the first marriage. In “real life” I find that it is often hard for a Christian woman who has moved on and remarried to admit that there was a first marriage. What advice would you give to these women?

It happened and that experience contributed to the person you are now. Divorce is a horrible thing for anyone to face, but if you can use that experience to strengthen and encourage another person going through the same thing, I think you should. Sometimes that sharing is the only good thing that comes from these experiences.

In your novel, is there a key scripture or biblical concept that you explore? If so, what scripture or concept do you hope to bright to the light for your readers?

Forgiveness. There is so much in God’s word about that one thing. It’s the thing God freely gives to us and we hoard it to ourselves. I wish everyone could see the damage we’re doing to ourselves by not extending Biblical forgiveness to others. It’s a concept I’m still working on.

Do you have any future projects in the works, and if so, what issues do your characters deal with?

Let’s see, THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW: SAMANTHA is currently under review. I’m writing book five of the series now, THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW: KATE. There will be at least one more, THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW:KARLA

I won’t say who deals with what, but we’ll look at death and loss, God’s ultimate protection and provision, and overcoming disillusionment. Forgiveness will rear its head in more than one place as well.

perf5.500x8.500.inddAbout Pam (The Women of Valley View):

Pam’s divorce broke her heart. The cruelty of her ex-husband broke her spirit. A bottle of sleeping pills almost took her life. Four years later the scars of Alan Archer’s emotional abuse are beginning to fade under the love of her new husband. When Alan returns to Garfield, Pam must learn that buried secrets and carefully cultivated indifference do not equal forgiveness.

Alan Archer has returned to Garfield with a new wife and a terminal heart condition. His mission? To leave a Christian legacy for his children and to gain Pam’s forgiveness for the sins of his past.

Two hearts hang in the balance waiting for the delicate touch of God’s healing hands.

Pam and the other books in The Women of Valley View series can be purchased at AmazonBarnes & Noble, and from Pelican Book Group.

CallieAbout Callie (The Women of Valley View):

Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all.

Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.

Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.

Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing. And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.

For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.

TerriAbout Terri (The Women of Valley View):

Despite a bustling day care center and a new foster child, Terri Hayes hungers for a family of her own. Then a plumbing mishap leaves her homeless and questioning God’s plan. Steve Evans’s gracious offer of his basement apartment as a temporary solution is an answered prayer.

Steve is a successful writer and a good father, but Terri is horrified when Steve’s book research leads him to a harsh confrontation with the parents of her foster child. She needs to distance herself from Steve, but her efforts fall short as his two scheming daughters plot to make Terri their new stepmother.

Will harsh words and sneaky plans drive a family further apart and put a wedge between Terri and Steve, or does God have another plan in store?

Be sure to catch Inner Source’s interview with Pam Lake.

Character Interview: Pam Lake from Pam by Sharon Srock

perf5.500x8.500.inddToday’s guest is Pam Lake, from the novel Pam, by Sharon Srock. Pam is the third novel in The Women of Valley View series written by Sharon. If you haven’t read these stories, you’ll want to add them to your reading list.

Pam, it’s good to talk to you. Would you please tell us a little about yourself, what you do, where you live?

Fay, thanks for having me in for a visit. I’m a wife and mother in my early forties. I’m divorced and remarried to a wonderful man. Together we’re raising my two children from my first marriage. Jeremy is fourteen and Megan is thirteen. Harrison is a lawyer and I work four days a week as his legal researcher. We live, work, and worship in Garfield, OK.

I feel as if I know you since I’ve met both Callie and Terri in their own stories, which I love, but your story is the one that I can identify with most. Would you share a little about the issues you brought to your author?

I was abused in the final months of my first marriage. Not physically abused, but mentally and emotionally abused. You don’t hear a lot about that sort of thing and in some ways I think words are more dangerous than any physical weapon. I wanted other women to know that they aren’t alone, that they don’t have to bear this burden by themselves.

You were treated horribly by someone who should have loved and cherished you. The consequences were dire, but you overcame. Is there a scripture that you leaned upon to get you through those times and to help you to forgive?

God’s word is full of Commandments and instructions on how we’re to treat others, especially in the area of forgiveness. I’m afraid I was too stubborn to see my own disobedience in this area until Dr. Sylvester finally got through to me. So, one scripture…no.  I think it was a combination of many.

Friends can be wonderful in times of need. They can comfort and exhort. How did your friends help you deal with your issues?

By just being there. Even before I had the courage to let them into the dark places of my past, I knew they were praying. Once I was able to share with them, they loved me in spite of the secrets. Love and prayer are powerful things.

I ask this question of either the author or character in most of my interviews, but I am particularly interested in hearing your thoughts on this: Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” When God says, “all things” I believe He means even the bad things that happen to us. Did you discover this on your journey, and if so, how?

I think it’s hard to admit, but we bring so much of the bad stuff on ourselves. I didn’t ask to be abused, but I didn’t have to carry the weight of ugly secrets and unforgiveness around on my own for as long as I did. I chose to do that. I’m so glad that God never wastes anything in our lives. If I can help one woman recognize the abuse she’s going through for what it is…if I can help one woman move beyond a lifetime of pain, then to God be the glory.

To God be the glory… Pam, thank you so much for being with us today. I look forward to speaking with your author, Sharon, on Wednesday’s edition of Inner Source.

More about Pam (The Women of Valley View):

Pam’s divorce broke her heart. The cruelty of her ex-husband broke her spirit. A bottle of sleeping pills almost took her life. Four years later the scars of Alan Archer’s emotional abuse are beginning to fade under the love of her new husband. When Alan returns to Garfield, Pam must learn that buried secrets and carefully cultivated indifference do not equal forgiveness.

Alan Archer has returned to Garfield with a new wife and a terminal heart condition. His mission? To leave a Christian legacy for his children and to gain Pam’s forgiveness for the sins of his past.

Two hearts hang in the balance waiting for the delicate touch of God’s healing hands.

Pam and the other books in The Women of Valley View series can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and from Pelican Book Group.

CallieAbout Callie (The Women of Valley View):

Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers. One miracle to save them all.

Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.

Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.

Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing. And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.

For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.

TerriAbout Terri (The Women of Valley View):

Despite a bustling day care center and a new foster child, Terri Hayes hungers for a family of her own. Then a plumbing mishap leaves her homeless and questioning God’s plan. Steve Evans’s gracious offer of his basement apartment as a temporary solution is an answered prayer.

Steve is a successful writer and a good father, but Terri is horrified when Steve’s book research leads him to a harsh confrontation with the parents of her foster child. She needs to distance herself from Steve, but her efforts fall short as his two scheming daughters plot to make Terri their new stepmother.

Will harsh words and sneaky plans drive a family further apart and put a wedge between Terri and Steve, or does God have another plan in store?

MeAbout the Author:

Author Sharon Srock went from science fiction to Christian fiction at slightly less than warp speed. Twenty five years ago, she cut her writer’s teeth on Star Trek fiction. Today, she writes inspirational stories that focus on ordinary women using their faith to accomplish extraordinary things. Sharon lives in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma with her husband and three very large dogs. Her books include: The Women of Valley View: Callie and The Women of Valley View: Terri, both of which are currently available. The Women of Valley View: Pam will release 11 April 2014.

Receive Sharon’s newsletter

Connect with her at www.sharonsrock.comFacebookGoodreadsPinterest:

Please visit her AMAZON page to find current info on her books:

Get a free PDF: MEET THE WOMEN OF VALLEY VIEW.

Get a free Novella: FOR MERCIE’S SAKE

Be sure to return on Wednesday for Inner Source’s interview with  Sharon Srock.

Eight Things Every Kid Should Hear by Mary L. Hamilton

Mary HamiltonMy novel, Hear No Evil, was inspired by young teens I knew who felt unloved by one or both parents, usually as a result of divorce. These kids heard their parents say, “I don’t want you” by their actions, if not verbally.

No child should ever hear those words from a parent. But what words should they hear? What words and phrases do kids need to hear in to help them grow into confident young adults? Here’s a list of eight “words” I believe every child should hear.

I love you. Sounds basic, right? But try saying it when the toddler is throwing a tantrum in the grocery store. Or when your tween is sassing you, your teen is rebelling. Kids need to hear “I love you” even—no—especially when they don’t deserve it. Isn’t that what God did for us?

I’m proud of you. When your child has lost the game or didn’t make the team, or brought home less than stellar grades, look them in the eye and say, “You’re my son/daughter, and that makes me really proud.” Children need to hear those words to know their worth is not based on what they do, but on who they are.

What happened? Your preschooler has redecorated the wall…in Sharpie. You’re teenager wrecked the car. And your first impulse is to scream, “Who did this?” or “What have you done?” Both of those questions immediately assign blame. On the other hand, “What happened?” invites communication. There will be time for blame later, but asking this question instead of the others will keep the lines of communication open and make for better relationships.

It doesn’t matter. A lot of what I thought monumentally important with the first child really didn’t matter by the time I had my third child. I’d learned to take the long view by asking, “Will she still want to do this when she’s sixteen?” “Will this be an issue with his employer when he’s twenty-five?” If the answer was yes, then it mattered and I needed to deal with it. If the answer was no, I could relax because it didn’t matter. Consequently, I put up with annoyances like a child sleeping in my bed for longer than I wanted. But I was pretty sure that would change sometime before they turned sixteen!

Yes! It’s easy to say no when our children ask to do things. We’re tired. We don’t want to make the effort. It seems dangerous, or it takes too much time. Train yourself to say yes unless there’s a good reason to say no. You’ll make a lot more memories, and your children will be more willing to accept an occasional no because you’ve said yes so many other times. They’ll trust there’s a good reason for saying no, even if they don’t like hearing the word.

No. Sometimes, we have to be the adults and say no. But don’t make that the end of the conversation. Explain why you’re saying no. Children live in the moment and don’t think about possible consequences. When you explain your reasoning behind your “No” answer, they learn to think farther ahead than the immediate desire. You help them see the process for making wise decisions. Help them see that something may not be an issue right now, but giving in will likely have negative consequences in the future and you want to spare them that experience.

I’m sorry. Children don’t need perfect parents. They need parents who teach by example. If we want them to be quick to admit fault, quick to seek forgiveness, they need to see us modeling that behavior. Every time we react in anger, or fail to keep our word, every time our words or behavior pierce a child’s heart, we need to get down on their level and say, “I’m sorry,” and beg their forgiveness. When we do, something is set free in the relationship that allows it to deepen and grow. Be quick to apologize, and quick to seek forgiveness.

You’re good at __________. It’s often difficult for children to see their own strengths. So tell them where they shine. My children’s strengths and interests were evident from early childhood. At 18 months, my athlete was bobbing a basketball in the toilet. At the same age, my brainiac kid figured out how to get on the Internet (when the Internet was still new and required several steps). And my servant-hearted daughter constantly pretended to be a waitress taking my order. A lot of sibling rivalry might be defused if each child knows his or her strengths, and understands God has gifted each of them for different tasks. There’s no need for competition. In addition, a child who knows where his strength lies has confidence to try other things. If they fail, it’s no big deal because they’re still good at something else.

I believe children who hear these affirming words and phrases will grow up to be confident and secure. Can you think of any others?

About the Author:

Mary L. Hamilton is the author of Hear No Evil, Book 1 in the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series for tweens. She grew up at a camp much like the setting for her book. When not writing, Mary enjoys knitting, reading and being outdoors, though not all at the same time. She and her husband live near Houston, TX within range of their three grown children who will attest to the power of these words in their life.

Connect with Mary at her Website/blog, on Facebook, on Pinterest, and at Twitter.

HearNoEvilModifiedFront5-5x8-5More about Hear No Evil:

Summer camp is no fun for Brady McCaul. The girl with the cute dimples thinks he’s immature and childish. The camp bully targets him with cruel taunts and teasing, and flips Brady’s canoe to keep him from winning the race. But worst of all, his mom won’t let him come home. She doesn’t want him living with her anymore. Brady wonders if even God cares about him.

Can Brady figure out what he did to earn Mom’s rejection and change her mind by week’s end? Or will he have to live with his workaholic dad, the guy who left when Brady was seven?

All seems lost until a surprising secret changes everything.

Hear No Evil can  be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Be sure to catch Inner Source’s interviews with Mary and her character  Brady McCaul.

Author Interview: Mary L. Hamilton

Mary HamiltonToday’s guest is Mary L. Hamilton, author of Hear No Evil, the first book in the must-read young adult series, Rustic Knolls Bible Camp. Take it from me, this is a story for all ages.

Mary is the author of Hear No Evil, Book 1 in the Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series for tweens. She grew up at a camp much like the setting for her book. When not writing, Mary enjoys knitting, reading and being outdoors, though not all at the same time. She and her husband live near Houston, TX within range of their three grown children who will attest to the power of these words in their life.

Connect with Mary at her Website/blog, on Facebook, on Pinterest, and at Twitter.

Mary, thank you for joining us here at Inner Source. I have to tell you, I enjoy young adult novels, and I especially enjoyed Hear No Evil. In fact, I’m looking forward to the second in the series.

I never attended camp of any kind as a kid, but you brought me right into the atmosphere. I was there in the bunk house, in the cafeteria, as part of the games. Tell me. Did you have much experience with camp as a child or are you involved in any camps now as an adult?

My dad was a camp director, and we lived on the grounds from the time I was six months old until I was almost twenty. It was a bit like living at Disney World—everyone came to my “home” for vacation. As a kid, I wasn’t involved in every camp activity, but it was my world.

As a parent, I sent my kids to our church’s camp and even volunteered as a counselor one year. That was enough to realize I was too old for that sort of thing! While most of my ideas came from the camp where I grew up, I used some of my kids’ experiences when it came to certain things that have changed over the years, such as meals and food service.

I was touched by Brady. The kid had a heart filled with pain. You provided the reader with such an insight into the inner workings of a young boy’s brain when it comes to hurtful things he doesn’t understand, yet you showed him as a tender young man who adapts to his surroundings and the handicaps of others very easily. Is Brady modeled after someone you know?

Brady is a composite of several kids I knew who struggled with their parents’ divorce and feeling unwanted by one or both parents. Two of my children had friends who were great kids, but their mothers didn’t want them to live with them anymore and sent them to live with their dads. That was the catalyst for writing the story, but I also served as a counselor in a support group for kids in pain. All the girls I worked with experienced deep emotional pain over feeling unwanted by a parent. So I saw firsthand how kids are affected when parents are working through their own issues and are unable to provide the love and support kids need.

Steven is another character that I enjoyed meeting. I particularly loved the way he shared with Brady the things that his dad did to prepare him for life. I found myself thinking, I don’t know if I could do that to a kid, even if he didn’t have a handicap like Steven’s, yet his father loved him enough to do things that must have made him ache inside—great things, it turned out. I’m wondering where you obtained the insight to bring that to life?

While writing Hear No Evil, my heart ached for Brady, but I loved writing scenes with Steven. I believe that insight came from my own family, where my husband is tougher with our sons than I am. He understands the things our boys will face and what responsibilities they’ll need to take on. So he expects more of them. My mother-heart wants to continually see them as my little boys and do things for them. But that won’t help them when they’re out on their own and having to figure things out for themselves. My husband was smart enough and tough enough to ask them to take on some of those responsibilities while they were still at home, so that they could fail safely. I think that’s what Steven’s dad did—provided opportunities that allowed him to fail safely.

Brady’s issue really stems from his parents and parental figures. He learns some valuable lessons while at camp, but I’d love to know the central Scripture around which you based Hear No Evil, and I’d love to know why you chose that theme.

The theme actually evolved as I was writing it. I kept asking myself, what does Brady need to hear? What does he need to know about God? The answer was he needed to know God loves him personally and will never leave him. So the verse I chose as the theme is Isaiah 49:16. “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” That speaks of a permanent love that never fails.

I know that Speak No Evil is coming out soon, and I’ve already invited you back for that one because I can’t wait to read it. Do you have any other projects in the works right now?

I just turned in the manuscript for Speak No Evil, which will have most of the kids coming back the following year and will feature Taylor, the bully from Hear No Evil. While I wait for the edits on that, I’m beginning to plan the third book in the series, See No Evil. The kids will come back to camp again for a third year and this book will focus on Steven. I’m excited about getting to know him better. He’s such a strong personality, it will be interesting to discover his weak spot.

HearNoEvilModifiedFront5-5x8-5More about Hear No Evil:

Summer camp is no fun for Brady McCaul. The girl with the cute dimples thinks he’s immature and childish. The camp bully targets him with cruel taunts and teasing, and flips Brady’s canoe to keep him from winning the race. But worst of all, his mom won’t let him come home. She doesn’t want him living with her anymore. Brady wonders if even God cares about him.

Can Brady figure out what he did to earn Mom’s rejection and change her mind by week’s end? Or will he have to live with his workaholic dad, the guy who left when Brady was seven?

All seems lost until a surprising secret changes everything.

Hear No Evil can  be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

Be sure to catch Inner Source’s interview with Mary’s character, Brady McCaul.