Author Interview/Giveaway With Melinda Evaul and a winner!

Yay! We have a winner of Melinda Evaul’s new release “Grow Old With Me.”

Drumroll please…the winner is Pegg Thomas. Pegg, Melinda will be contacting you soon by email. Congratulations! Thank you again to all who entered and don’t forget, for those of you who didn’t win, Melinda’s book is available on Kindle on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Grow-Old-Quilt-Trail-ebook/dp/B004IE9VEU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1301063336&sr=1-1 or the paperback version at www.melindaevaul.com

Please join me next Thursday when I’ll be hosting nonfiction author Stephanie Shott for an interview and another giveaway. In the meantime, check out the post https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/the-fifty-cent-prayer/ about God hearing our every prayer.

Below is the interview with Melinda…

I am thrilled to have author Melinda Evaul as a guest on my blog. I am in the middle of reading her novel Grow Old With Me and it is fantastic! Already it has earned the highest five-star rating  from me and I can’t wait to finish reading it. Plus, Melinda is giving away an autographed copy to one lucky commenter, so be sure to leave a comment before the March 24 deadline. 

And now, without any further ado, I introduce to you – Melinda Evaul!

Melinda Evaul

Please tell us a bit about yourself.  Thank you for asking me to be a special guest today. It’s an honor to be your featured author. I appreciate the invitation to interact with your blog readers. Born and raised in NC, I’m a transplant to TN. I’m a pastor’s wife, mother of two, and Mimi to my three grand children. Life is busy in the town of Soddy Daisy. Yes, I get many questions about that name. It’s a suburb of Chattanooga. I’m a part-time RN in a doctor’s office. Most mornings you’d find me teaching water aerobics. During the afternoon, I’m at my keyboard, marketing my novel somewhere, busy with church activities, or rambling along some back road in search of quilt barns or interesting rural photos. If quilt barns leaves you clueless, visit my website and photo galleries after you read the rest of this post.

I love quilts and am amazed at the detail and time that goes into them! So, Melinda, tell us about your writing journey.  I won writing awards during my school years but I never considered pursuing it as a profession. I began writing when my mother needed full-time care and moved in with us. Her soap operas and game shows didn’t interest me. Writing became a pastime and a medium to share my Christianity. After my mother’s death, I continued the newfound career and my regular jobs. Several of my articles were published and I sought homes for two of my four novels. It’s an arduous task to find an agent or publisher. After much prayer and thought, I chose to form my micro-publishing company, Winding Road Ink, and have Snowfall Press print Grow Old With Me. I knew there was a good market for the book among quilters, the areas around Love Valley, and people who support agri-tourism along the quilt barn trails.

As I mentioned before, I am really enjoying your debut novel “Grow Old With Me.” Can you give us a short blurb? Grow Old With Me is the first novel in my Quilt Trail Series. Here is a short blurb:

A modern day Beauty and the Beast meet in their fifties when a disfigured carpenter becomes a guest at a bed and breakfast in the western-style tourist town of Love Valley, NC.

Benjamin Pruitt plans to repair the town’s buildings before retiring to a solitary life. Sarah Campbell longs for freedom since her long task as caregiver has ended.

Can Benjamin and Sarah piece the tattered remnants of their lives into a beautiful design to warm their waning years?

I really like the plot line. Can you tell us about the setting? I set Grow Old With Me in the real town of Love Valley, NC. Most descriptions are true to the town. You’ll find pictures of Love Valley on my website. The characters and some structural details are fiction. Mosey Inn doesn’t exist. The house on the cover is many miles from Love Valley. I found that house while following a quilt barn trail. When we pulled in the drive, I discovered that The Unicoi County Heritage Museum in Erwin, TN was the exterior of the house I saw in my head while writing. A bed and breakfast near New Orleans inspired the interior layout of Sarah’s home.

The cover is beautiful. So, what advice would you give to other writers who want to publish a book? Be certain your readers can relate to your characters. Identify your target audience and establish roads to reach them. As publishers shrink their yearly acquisitions, the field for new writers becomes very narrow. If the traditional publishing route isn’t working for you, publish your own books. Be prepared to market your books via many avenues. In this day of e-books and POD companies, the cost can be reasonable and your story won’t languish in some draw or hard drive. I believe I have a book worth reading. God will place it in the hands of those He wants to reach with its Christian message.

What role does faith play in your writing? Huge! God gives every person talents and gifts. He expects us to use them. I enjoy writing about real life in small-town American. I love flawed characters that need God’s healing touch. I’m not in this for money or fame. (That seldom happens in the publishing world) God can reach someone through a work of fiction who would never open a Bible. My goal is to show readers a personal relationship with Christ in a non-preachy way. As I write, I try to find God’s theme for the book. The Holy Spirit leads me to write words that will honor our Creator and further God’s kingdom.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? I can’t say that any one verse is my favorite. God provides different verses to further my faith, strength, and spiritual growth on a daily basis. My focus verses for Grow Old With Me came from Heb. 4:15-16. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (KJV) Just think about it! Christ faced every tough question and temptation of life. God lets us boldly ask questions. He can equip us to face every need and never turns us away when we seek answers. What an awesome promise. That was the message Benjamin and Sarah needed to learn. I’ve faced some tough questions in my Christian walk too. My works of fiction allow me to share some answers with readers who face similar fears and questions.

Where do you see yourself in five years? In other words, what are your hopes, dreams, and goals? I don’t want to handle the stress of a huge writing contract. I’d love to keep writing Christian fiction and living my life much as I do now. That’s another advantage to self-publication. I’m under no obligation to fulfill a deadline or contract unless I self-impose one. Time with family and travel are high priorities. My children want to take a long excursion across America when the grand children are older. 

What’s next on your writing agenda? I have five books planned for the Quilt Trail Novels. Each book will focus on a different aspect of quilting and rural American life. Several readers have asked about recurring characters. Each book will be a stand alone held together by the common thread of quilts. I may bring a former character back from time to time. I’m still planning and plotting. I didn’t start Grow Old With Me with a series in mind. It happened as I became interested in Quilt Barn Trails and met people with stories worth telling. My target audience influenced my plans for the series. The next book in my Quilt Trail Series will feature a Christmas tree grower and a quilt barn painter.

I’m looking forward to reading the next books in the series, Melinda. Can you tell us where can readers connect with you? My website is www.melindaevaul.com and my blog, Road Ramblings, is located there as well. I send out a newsletter at least quarterly to update my readers about events, appearances, or happenings in the Evaul family. Readers can contact me through the website or my publishing company email windingroadink@att.net My FB page is Melinda Evaul-Author. I have an author page on www.goodreads.com I also post a monthly writing lesson for teens on Lynn Dean’s website www.aNOVELwritingsite.com

Can you tell us how and where readers can order a copy of Grow Old With Me?Readers can order Grow Old With Me as an e-book from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Grow-Old-Quilt-Trail-ebook/dp/B004IE9VEU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300372086&sr=1-1  or in paperback via my website at www.melindaevaul.com 

Thank you again, Melinda, for being my guest.  It was great to have you here. Now don’t forget, readers, to leave a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of Grow Old With Me. Giveaway ends March 24.

Author Interview/Giveaway With Katie McCurdy (and a winner has been chosen)

*Update*

We have a winner of Katie McCurdy’s book “Journey of Faith” …the winner is Meredith! Congratulations and thank you to everyone who entered. If you didn’t win, you can find Katie’s book on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Journey-Faith-Legacy-Purpose-Book/dp/1432726013/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1298679944&sr=1-1

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I am thrilled to have guest Katie McCurdy with us today as she discusses her book “Journey of Faith.”  Katie has graciously agreed to bless one lucky person with a copy of her book, so be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win! (Contest ends Thursday, February 24, 2011).

Hi Katie! It’s great to have you here. Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

Well, I am the third oldest in a family of ten children – two boys and eight girls. (Yes, the boys are pretty outnumbered in my house!) Recently my family went through a big change in our household when the oldest, my brother, moved not only out of the house, but out of the state. 😦 We are all still trying to get used to him not being with us as he attends law school. Every day one of my little sisters complains that they want their brother to return – its sad at times, but we know that it only for a season. He’s a really awesome brother. But anyway, I am getting off track! So sorry!

As you might guess, I am still having trouble with this new faze of my life – growing up and leaving. I turned 18 a few months ago, so I am getting used to officially being an ‘adult’. 🙂 I write excessively – my family often tease that I am on the computer 24-7. But they are a really awesome support team and I love each and every one of ’em! I self-published my first book, Journey of Faith, when I was 16 and have been working on my second book ever since then. I’ve learned a lot since publishing that first book and, if the Lord wills it, I would like to try to find a publisher for my second book. But I will just have to wait and see where the Lord leads!

Your first book is Journey of Faith.  Can you give us a short blurb?
 
Sure! Faith Martin is growing up just outside of a prosperous town in Missouri, enjoying her life and her family. When her parents suddenly decide to move out west to newly-settle town in Wyoming, Faith is shocked. She had always imagined remaining in Missouri her whole life. Struggling with her inward feelings, they soon pack up and leave her childhood home and friends.
 
When they arrive in the new town of Prairie Grove they undergo many adventures as they try to get settle and begin a ranch. Things don’t come easily in Wyoming. Faith keeps her favorite verse, Romans 8:28, close to her heart amid all the trials. But when she and her brother end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, she struggles to remain true to that verse. Will they succeed at starting a life in Prairie Grove, and more importantly – will they make it back to their family alive?
Product Details
 
You are a teen author, which I think is awesome! What advice would you give to other teens who want to publish a book?
 
To keep writing. Even when you think you have perfected the craft – keep learning and keep writing. I wrote my second book in a matter of months, but am still working on it today. 🙂 I keep honing my writing and making it better: adding this, taking out that. Right now I am re-writing the beginning of the book, as I wanted it to be more of an attention grabbed than I originally had it. So…keep writing! And keep depending on Christ. Trust in Him and determined perseverance is the key here! 🙂
 
Excellent advice, Katie. Speaking of depending on Christ, what role does faith play in your writing?
 
Wow, big question! But I will try to keep it short. My faith in Christ has grown so much since I began writing. I knew when I began writing that I wanted to have an underlying message within the adventures, as I personally enjoy books so much when I am able to learn something from it and apply it to my own life. As I began writing more and more, I found myself praying over the characters. Might sound strange, but I would pray that the Lord guide my characters and allow them to experience an adventure that would impact someones life and encourage other Christians. For example, in “Journey of Faith,” the main character struggles with contentment and trust when she finds out that her whole life is about to change. Throughout the book she learns how God puts things in people’s lives for a reason – for his own perfect plan.
 
That’s an awesome testimony, Katie! So do you have a favorite Bible verse?
 
Yes! I use it in my first book, Journey of the Heart. It is Romans 8:28 – “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.” It has helped me get through many problems and trials in my life. It has so much truth and promise in that verse!
I agree, that is a wonderful verse. So,  where do you see yourself in five years? In otherwords, what are your hopes, dreams, and goals?
 
Hmm…I see myself as married (if the Lord wills it) and beginning a life with my husband somewhere nearby – both to remain close to my family and my church. I will have continued writing and, Lord willing, have a few books published through a traditional publisher. (I can dream!) A baby on the way would be really sweet, too, if God blesses me with children. And I would love to be an Aunt by then, as I have a brother and sister older than myself. 🙂 So…nothing big or extravagant in my dreams and hopes – but they are my dreams nonetheless….! 🙂
 
If you were given a million dollars to start a charity, what type of charity would you start and why?
 
If I could, I would want to give it to child or teen suffering from Cancer. (If that would count.) A dear friend of mine is now battling cancer, and she is just one month younger than myself. While I pray for her healing continually, I know that money to help cover the cost of chemo would be helpful. So, if I had a million dollars, I would love to find children and/or teens who are fighting life-threatening diseases and help support them financially. 🙂
 
I love your idea of helping children with life-threatening diseases, like cancer. A little friend of ours is a cancer survivor and I know a charity like the one you mentioned would be so helpful to his family as they pay toward the extensive medical bills for his treatment. So, Katie, What’s next on your writing agenda?
 
Well, I am working on finishing the sequel to Journey of Faith. I just recently wrote up a romantic suspense plot that I am determined to write, so as soon as I am finished with the sequel I will begin on that manuscript. Along with my personal writing, I am co-authoring a historical fiction set in Persia right after the reign of King Xerxes. The title we have for it is Scattered Tears and it focuses on the reign of Persia after Xerxes murder.
 
Wow, Scattered Tears sounds like it will be a great book. I’m looking forward to having the privilege of reading it 🙂 Before we go, where can readers connect with you and/or learn more about your book?
 
I have a website for my writing, www.booksbykatie.webs.com. But I don’t keep up with it very much. So, if you want to connect with me, check out my blog, Legacy of a Writer – www.katieslegacy.blogspot.com. You can find my Facebook page on my blog and follow me – I will be keeping that updated with where I am in my writing world! 🙂
 
Thank you, Katie, for being here! Now be sure to leave a comment by clicking on “comment” at the top of this post for a chance to win Katie’s awesome book. In the meantime, Journey of Faith  is available at http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=journey+of+faith