Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Anne Clare

Good morning. Welcome to another edition of Women of Faith and Fiction. This morning, the lovely Anne Clare is joining us. Please give her a warm welcome and show your love by joining the conversation and sharing. Let’s get started.

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Good morning, Anne! Tell us about Anne Clare.

Hi Gail—thanks so much for inviting me over today!

I’m a native of Minnesota’s cornfields and dairy country. I graduated with a BS in Education in 2005 and set out to teach in the gorgeous green Pacific Northwest, where my husband and I still live. I also serve as a church musician, singing in and occasionally directing choirs, playing piano, organ, and coronet (the last only occasionally, when I forget how bad I am at it.)

After the birth of my second child, I became a stay-at-home mom, and after the birth of the third I became reconciled to the fact that my house would never be clean again, which allowed me to find time to pursue my passion for history and writing while the little people napped. Although I’m back to teaching part-time at my church’s school, I continue to write historical fiction and to blog about WWII history, writing, and other odds and ends at thenaptimeauthor.wordpress.com.

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Thank you for allowing us to know you better. What is your latest book about and where did you get inspiration for writing it?

Since I write fiction set during WWII, I draw much of my inspiration from the real events of that era. While I read history, I can’t help thinking, “But what if THIS happened?!”

As to my upcoming book…well, first, here’s a little background. At the end of January, 1944, the Allied advance up Italy had stalled. Since breaking through the German lines wasn’t happening, Allied leaders decided to try going around. On January 22nd, about 40,000 Allied troops landed near the resort town of Anzio.

Shermans disembarking from LST at Anzio

The landings went great, but German reinforcements moved in so quickly that in less than a week the Allies on Anzio—soldiers, support staff, and hospital staff including women of the American Nurse Corps—were surrounded and stuck, holding the low ground while German guns fired down on them from the hills. They wouldn’t break off of the beach head until the end of May.

German prisoners at Anzio, Italy

One of the first-hand accounts of Anzio I was reading through mentioned that, due to the close proximity of Allies and German forces, lots of soldiers were taken as P.O.W.s on both sides. He also mentioned that, as everything was so close, many American troops were able to escape and make it back to their own lines. On reading that, the “What ifs?” started. Hmmm, what if my group of G.I.’s—and maybe one of the Army nurses, in the wrong place at the wrong time—wound up behind enemy lines?

A Lieutenant in Nazi paratrooper forces steps out to pose. 

I’m working hard on answering that “What if,” and I’m hoping to publish Where Shall I Flee? sometime next year!

And that is one of the reasons I love visiting Anne’s blog, dear reader. Okay, moving on. What is your writing process?

Before writing, I have to have a strong idea of where the story will start and where it will end. I usually have an idea of the middle, but it might change. Then, I write! I try to pound out a first draft without getting stalled on technicalities. As I write, I make notes of questions I have/things I’ll need to look up later.

I also read history books and first-hand accounts of the period and place I’m writing about to help get the “flavor” of the story right—slang, terminology, all of that.

Once there’s a first draft, the editing begins! Currently, I’m a couple of drafts in, and I’m working my way through the 75 questions I found that need to be answered…for my first 6 chapters. Uf.

(Uf is a shorter version of “ufda” which is a VERY Minnesotan way of expressing that there just was or soon will be a lot of exertion of some kind needed. 🙂 )

After I’ve sorted out the research and polished enough that I can’t see what else needs to be done, I send my work on to fresh eyes. I have some fantastic beta readers who are a tremendous help. Once I get their input, it’s back to editing, until it’s ready to go to an editor!

Thank you for sharing that with us. Now, who is your all-time favorite fictional character?

Oh Gail, that’s a hard question! I’ve loved books since before I could read them myself, and the characters in my favorites are more like old friends than anything—I’d hate to leave any out!

Still, I suppose, if I had to pick just one person, I’d say Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. She’s poor, unattractive, and badly treated by most of the people in her young life. In spite of it all, she has a strong will that grows and matures as she does until, when she’s faced with the choice of getting the life she wants at the cost of her self-respect or walking away from it all, she walks. I appreciate characters like hers, who grow through the struggles they face.

Anne, I’m thrilled you chose Jane Eyre. Jane is my daughter’s favorite. Do you have a marketing tip for us?

Take time to get to know your genre and other authors in it. Networking and building relationships are both great ways to find places to get the word out about your writing—plus you get the benefit of support and friendship from people with similar interests. 

Please share your advice with our aspiring writers.

It’s important to take time to learn the craft of writing and the ins and outs of the publishing industry, whether you plan to go traditional or indie. However, take writing advice with a grain of salt. Many people try to prescribe “right” schedules, routines, or writing styles for success—some will work for you, some won’t. Work hard but be kind to yourself and remember that no one else is walking the same path God has put before you.

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Great advice, Anne. Last question. Do you have Scripture in mind when you begin a story?

I have had a Scriptural theme in the back of my mind as I’ve written both of my books. In the first one— Whom Shall I Fear?—the characters were waiting to see what God’s plan was for them. How could all of the suffering and struggles they were enduring turn out for good? (Sounds applicable today, doesn’t it?) The Scriptural theme I chose for the book was Psalm 27. The entire text is wonderful, but I focused particularly on verses 13 and 14:

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord

in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (NIV)

For the second book, I’ve been keeping Psalm 139 in mind as I remember how God is always present, wherever I go, and whatever my situation. In particular, I’ve focused on verses 7-12:

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” (NIV)

My encouragement for all of us is to remember that, whatever your personal journey right now, you’re not walking alone!

I also read history books and first-hand accounts of the period and place I’m #writing about to help get the “flavor” of the story right—slang, terminology, all of that. ~ Anne Clare via @GailJohnson87

Anne, thank you so much for joining us today!

Book

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1943

All that Sergeant James Milburn wants is to heal. Sent to finish his convalescence in a lonely village in the north of England, the friends he’s lost haunt his dreams. If he can only be declared fit for active service again, perhaps he can rejoin his surviving mates in the fight across Sicily and either protect them or die alongside them.

All that Evie Worther wants is purpose. War has reduced her family to an elderly matriarch and Charles, her controlling cousin, both determined to keep her safely tucked away in their family home. If she can somehow balance her sense of obligation to family with her desperate need to be of use, perhaps she can discover how she fits into her tumultuous world.

All that Charles Heatherington wants is his due. Since his brother’s death, he is positioned to be the family’s heir with only one step left to make his future secure. If only he can keep the family matriarch happy, he can finally start living the easy life he is certain he deserves.

However, when James’s, Evie’s and Charles’s paths collide, a dark secret of the past is forced into the light, and everything that they have hoped and striven for is thrown into doubt. Weaving in historical detail from World War II in Britain, Italy and Egypt, WHOM SHALL I FEAR? follows their individual struggles with guilt and faith, love and family, and forces them to ask if the greatest threat they face is really from the enemy abroad.

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About the Author

Anne Clare is a native of Minnesota’s cornfields and dairy country. She graduated with a BS in Education in 2005 and set out to teach in the gorgeous green Pacific Northwest, where she and her husband along with their children still live.

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Candace West

Welcome to a new edition of Women of Faith and Fiction. Thank you for joining me. I’m so glad you’re here! Today’s guest is Candace West.

Good morning, Candace. Tell us about yourself.

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I’m a preacher’s daughter, a wife, a homeschooling mama, and a friend. I tend to be shy in large groups of people. A little bit of an introvert. Chocolate is my go-to dessert! I love animals, particularly cats. Family means everything to me. I’m always ready to go antique shopping or browse for books. Exploring or touring old houses is one of my passions. I’ll sit all day long and listen to someone telling a story about the old days. Bluegrass, Big Band, and classical music flow through my veins. I hoard old photographs, especially family ones. The Ozarks are my favorite place in the world other than home. I’m an avid reader. And I love to write stories.

I’m with you on the antique shopping and book browsing. Please, tell us about your writing.

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When I get a story idea, I’m usually doing something else besides writing. I might be cooking, cleaning, or driving. A character pops into my imagination, and a story blooms. I’ll jot notes on whatever is handy. Whoever said paper towels were only for cleaning up messes? Later, I’ll type a rough outline. When I start writing, I let the characters take me to the place and action. I guess I’m a mix between a pantser and plotter.

I guess we’re both plantsers. LOL. Now, what is your latest book about?

I’m excited and a bit nervous about my new writing venture. I have two books scheduled for next year. One will be the third book in the Valley Creek Redemption series. The other is a historical for The Mosaic Collection. Prayers appreciated!

Congratulations on the new adventure! From where does your inspiration come?

Many places. I’ve been blessed to have men and women of God in my family who have overcome trials and obstacles. My mom, my grandmothers, and my aunt have shown me their bravery, their steadfastness, and their love. Special friends have weathered storms along the way. Most of all, my faith inspires me because “with God, all things are possible.” Hope and redemption are things I love to write about because they’re real and lasting. Available to anyone. Eternal.

It is truly a blessing to have others encouraging us along our way. Would you share a word of encouragement with our readers?

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I would love to! In my launch team, I recently shared a thought with the ladies (they are amazing) that I hope encourages someone here. You know, we’re moms, sisters, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, granddaughters, mothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, daughters-in-law, nieces, and friends.

We’re ladies and we’re doers. We’re caretakers. We’re the shoulder that someone needs to cry on. We’re helpers. We desire to minister to the needs of others. And we should.

“We’re ladies and we’re doers. We’re caretakers. We’re the shoulder that someone needs to cry on. We’re helpers. We desire to minister to the needs of others. And we should.” ~ @candacewest111 via @GailJohnson87 #WFF #interview

Sometimes the load gets tough. In the busyness of life, we sometimes forget there is One who has shouldered the burdens before we did. We get so accustomed to carrying the load that we forget to ask for help.

Breathe, ladies of God. Take a little time to rest in Him. No matter what you’re facing, remember that it’s OKAY to lay your burdens on the Lord. You don’t have to shoulder it alone.

Thank God we don’t have to possess all the answers. We can cast all our cares on the One Who does. He will see us through.

Candace, thank you so much for joining us and for that word of encouragement. Readers, you can connect with Candace here:

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Book Blurb

A shattered heart.
A wounded spirit.
A community in crisis.

Lorena Steen gave up on love years ago. She forgave her long-time estranged husband, but when circumstances bring her to the Ozark town of Valley Creek, she discovers forgiving is far from forgetting.

Haunted by his past acts of betrayal, Earl Steen struggles to grow his reclaimed faith and reinstate himself as an upstanding member of Valley Creek. He soon learns that while God’s grace is amazing, that of the small-town gossips is not.

When disaster strikes, the only logical solution is for Earl and Lorena to combine their musical talents in an effort to save the community. But even if they’re willing to work together, are they able to? Or will the shadows that descend upon Valley Creek reduce it to a ghost town?

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Trisha Robertson

I love reading a book review because I enjoy hearing the reader’s ideas. Every reader will bring something different to the table. So this year for Women of Faith and Fiction, I wanted to give a shout-out to the book reviewers. They do a marvelous job! Let’s begin.

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Who is Trisha Robertson?

Hi, my name is Trisha Robertson. I am a book reviewer/blogger. I have always loved stories. My love of reading began around age 8 and I’ve had my nose in a book ever since. I started writing stories of my own in elementary school. Stories that have never seen the light of day, and many that are lost to the dust of time. I especially enjoy reading and learning about History. Be sure to stop by my blog and say “Hello!” You can find me at www.joyofreadingweb.wordpress.com

You can also follow me at these locations:

Twitter: www.twitter.com/JoyOfReading7

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JoyOfReadingBlog

Instagram: www.instagram.com/trishrobertson

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/trishrobertson1

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Your love of reading shows, Trisha. Tell me, who is your all-time favorite character?

Honestly, I enjoy all the characters I meet in books. My favorite character changes with each book I read! 😊

I hear ya! What is your latest read about?

As I write this, I’m currently reading The Blizzard Bride by Susanne Dietz. The story is part of the Daughters of the Mayflower collection from Barbour. Each story stands on its own and can be read in any order, but it is fun to read the stories down through history from the Mayflower! This story takes place during the Blizzard of 1888 in Nebraska. It is quite a page-turning story!

I will definitely have to check it out. Please, tell us about your reading process.

I don’t really have a reading process. I just pick up a book and read it!  I do have little sticky flags to mark favorite quotes or things I want to remember. Or in my digital books, I use the highlight feature.

Where would we be without our highlight feature? I like marking my favorite quotes. Moving on… What is your best marketing tip?

Give signed bookplates to members of your influence team. I’m always more inclined to buy a print copy over a digital copy if I have a signed bookplate to add to my book!
Share your book on various social media platforms. The more people see your book, the more likely they are to buy it.

I like both ideas, especially the signed bookplate idea. Do you choose a word or scripture for each year?

No, I don’t really choose a word or scripture for each year.  I know it’s a rather popular thing to do. For me, I feel that just one word or one verse doesn’t fit the entire year.

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I believe it’s important to encourage each other in our daily walk. Would you share a word of encouragement with our readers?

Keep your focus on God. It is so very important to have a daily relationship with God! I have found that when I lose my focus on Him, I start to fall. But as long as I’m keeping my focus on Jesus, even when bad things happen, even when I don’t understand, that He gives me the will to keep going. On my own, I’m not enough. But He is enough! Always!

Thank you, Gail, for inviting me to participate in this interview and visit with your readers today!

I agree, Trisha! Thank you for visiting and sharing. You are a gift to your readers and to authors. Keep up the good work, dear friend.

“Give signed bookplates to members of your influence team. I’m always more inclined to buy a print copy over a digital copy if I have a signed bookplate to add to my book!” ~ @JoyOfReading7 via Women of Faith and Fiction @GailJohnson87 #interviews #reviews