Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Linda Brooks Davis

Good morning, dear reader! I’m excited to share author Linda B. Davis in this Women of Faith and Fiction episode. Believe me when I say, you’ll want to stay until the very end.

If this is your first time meeting Linda, check out her blog. I enjoy reading about her family history and book recommendations. Let’s get started, or as Linda would say, “Let’s chat!”

Personal

Good morning, Linda. Thank you for joining us for a “gab session”. Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and reared on a farm in the southernmost tip of Texas–the Rio Grande Valley. I attended Christian colleges and worked 40 years in special education. I have two grown children–a son and a daughter–who are both veterinarians practicing together in San Antonio. We live minutes from one another, and I love it. My husband Al is my hero. He and I worship and minister at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio.

Professional

Why did you choose to write in your particular genre?

When my first grandchild arrived in triplicate form in 2005, and they were fighting for their lives in the NiCU, I vowed to the Lord that I would devote the rest of my life to them and leave them a legacy of faith in writing. Because family history interests me–and I find preserving and passing it on to be important–the choice of historical Christian was an easy one. When my daughter named my one granddaughter Ella after my grandmother Ella, I knew the heroine of my first novel had to be an Ella. Hence, The Calling of Ella McFarland.

What a beautiful idea, Linda. Please share something you wish the reader knew about the books.

The Calling of Ella McFarland was born from my brainstorming about how to present my family’s history as fiction. I asked myself “What if?” questions: What if my grandmother Mama had gone to school beyond 3rd grade? What if she had gotten a college education . . . What might her life have looked like?

And the story of Ella McFarland was born.

The second novel, The Mending of Lillian Cathleen, follows a victimized young girl from Ella’s story into adulthood and along the path of healing from childhood abuse.

The third novel, The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, follows Ella’s and Lily’s friend as she pursues her dream of the opera in Italy, only to be embroiled in the Great War and the Great Influenza. All three women discover the importance of the vote for women. Their stories highlight some key rights denied them as a result of being denied the vote.

Wow! What an amazing series. Love the covers.

Reader,The Calling of Ella McFarland, Book 1 of the Women of Rock Creek series won the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel Award under the title Greater Still. It debuted on December 1, 2015 and won the 2016 American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award in the Debut Category.”

Linda, in your opinion, what is the hardest part of the writing/working process?

For me, the hardest part of the writing is keeping the world at bay while I write. Demands live around every corner. So I’ve learned I must set aside writing time that’s beyond the reach of everyone except my husband.

I think all writers can relate to time issues. 🙂 Let’s have some fun. When writing your first draft, do you use pencil or keyboard?

I absolutely use a keyboard. Aside from arthritic hands, the keyboard action seems to stir the creative juices for me. So much do I depend on the feel and sound of key clickity-clacking that I find myself unable to think well with my fingers off the keys. Is that crazy or what?

Not crazy at all. I can’t seem to get words on paper unless I use pen and paper for the first draft. Plotter or pantser?

I thought I was a plotter for years, but I’ve discovered how freeing flying by the seat of my pants is, so I’ve learned to incorporate the two in a process. My current process involves planning the key points along the story, character, romantic, and spiritual arcs before I begin and then writing pantster-ish from each of those points to the next. I find myself most creative within this framework.

Tea or coffee?

Both! Coffee with plenty of caffeine in the morning and herbal tea in the afternoon.

Favorite thing to do when not working?

Family, Netflix, and reading!

Love doing all three!

Inspirational

Thank you for helping us to know you better! Moving on . . . . This year’s theme is sharing hope. In Hebrews, the writer tells us to encourage each other while it is called today. Would you please take a moment to share a brief testimony to encourage our readers?

Life is composed of seasons far beyond those we find evidence of on trees and in the air four times per year. These special seasons represent periods of change usually preceded by shocking loss or unexpected gain or alterations of our personal landscape that require us to grow in ways we never imagined. Sometimes such seasons knock the props from us. At times like that I’m especially grateful for the hope found in Christ’s presence, his footprints alongside mine or alone because He’s carrying me. His immovable love for me allows me to rant and rave, accuse and question, and discover He never lets go.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.” Romans 15:13 AMP

That is one of my favorite scriptures. What a beautiful testimony. Thank you for joining me, Linda.

Book: The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, Book 3 The Women of Rock Creek series

Giveaway

Linda is giving away the Women of Rock Creek series (two novels and a novella collection) in digital format, plus the 3rd novel in the series–The Awakening of Miss Adelaide, when it releases on July 9.

We can all agree this is a generous giveaway! With that said, I’m asking the winner to please post reviews for the books to show her gratitude. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you? Thank you.

Be sure to leave a comment to have your name added in the drawing!

Author Links

Linda loves meeting new readers and interacting with them through her website email: linda@lindabrooksdavis.com.

Click to Tweet: Life is composed of seasons far beyond those we find evidence of on trees and in the air four times per year. #Interview with @LBrooksDavis via @GailJohnson87 #giveaway

Thanks to all who participated in the giveaway. The winner of Linda’s Rock Creek Series is Dorothy (dotluvs2write). Thank you for participating Dot. Congratulations!

Warrior ~ Linda K. Rodante

The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it. ~ James Bryce

Linda Rodante WarriorFor three years, Kati Walsh has hunkered down at a new place of worship to dab at church-inflicted wounds. Her one outreach is to her kickboxing friends at the gym, but she’s been praying for God to stir her heart again. But she’s not sure that the new assistant pastor and his friend Reece Jernigan are what she asked for—because Assistant Pastor Josh Corbin plans to win the hearts of the north-side neighborhood, mostly described as “the hood.”

When Josh plans a prayer walk in the neighborhood, both the congregation and the police are wary, but Josh insists that prayer works. He believes in spiritual warfare—prayer, praise, and the Word of God. Reece, on the other hand, has been on the streets before, and his weapon of choice is a 9mm Glock. Two close friends with differing perspectives and both with an eye on Kati. But they’re not the only ones—the gang leader from the north side has taken an unexpected interest in Kati, too.

My thoughts:

I enjoyed this story. The characters were believable. The plot was plausible, ripped from today’s headlines. And the spiritual warfare was perfect. Not overdone or underdone for this story.

The setting is a local congregation. There are two heroes, one heroine, and several supporting characters. My favorite scenes were the church services. During the preaching, I wanted to stand and shout, “Yes! Praise the Lord!” The call to service, I cried, “Lord, help us.” And during the prayers, I whispered, “Yes, Lord.”

One of my favorite quotes came from Pedro.

 

“Are those in our neighborhood not worthy of your love and concern? Where is this Christianity you talk about? Is it only for you? Your family and no one else? Or is it for everyone, as Jesus has said?”

Although the suspense and the spiritual threads were more than satisfying, I wasn’t crazy about the romance thread. However, I am incredibly picky when it comes to this subject. As a reader, I know what I like and don’t like. As a writer, I struggle in this area. I suggest reading the book for yourself.

This review is based on the suspense and the spiritual threads alone. And for those two threads, I give the book 5 stars because it made me question my love for others and my willingness to share the gospel. Am I doing enough?

We’ve all lived so long with Satan’s attacks that we no longer see them as such. We possess weapons of divine power that can demolish strongholds, and yet we don’t use them. Prayer, praise, God’s word. The name of Jesus. Weapons. He’s calling us out of our comfort zones, out of our safe zones, and asking if we are willing to take up the fight for our families, our neighbors, and for Him.~ Josh Corbin, assistant pastor at New Life Church

See what I mean?

In Warrior, Linda shares the truth of the Word and explains how to wield the weapons of the Spirit. Through her characters, she teaches us how to love the lost in our communities. I seldom find a book that challenges my heart and mind as much as this story did. It’s been two weeks, and I can still hear several quotes.

To you, dear reader, I apologize. I know I have to be the weirdest reviewer ever. I tend to judge a book by what I take from it, not on what I like or dislike about it. If it touches me emotionally and spiritually, well then, the writer has done her job. And in the case of Warrior, Linda did a great job.

Now . . . if you’d like to read an awesome review of this book by someone who knows what she’s doing, then please visit readingismysuperpower.

Warrior is free! That’s right! From today 10-26 until Monday 10-29. Check it out.

Linda’s Christian romantic suspense novels can be found on sale at Amazon. http://amzn.to/2rcrWHK Author website and blog: http://lindarodante.com/ Personal Blog: Writing for God; Fighting Human trafficking: https://lindarodante.wordpress.com/

Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Karen Jurgens

Welcome to Women of Faith and Fiction. Author Karen Jurgens is with us today, and  she is giving away a copy of A Perfect Fit to one lucky winner. Be sure to leave a comment and your name will be placed in the drawing. Let’s get started, shall we?  Karen, tell us a little about yourself.

picmonkey-photoPersonal

I was born in Cincinnati, where my growing up years are my sweetest memories. As a young child, I became a devourer of books, and I promptly got hooked on The Bobbsey Twins series. Since the stories were about solving mysteries, I expanded my appetite to Nancy Drew, and later, to Agatha Christie.

Since I had no siblings my age, I occupied myself with paper and pencil, writing all kinds of stories. After reading Gone with the Wind at age ten, my love affair for writing romance began. At age eleven, my first “novel,” Love is Forever, flowed from my imagination and is still tucked among my stacks of early handwritten stories.

In high school and college, I pursued creative writing courses. But when a non-fiction piece of mine was published in a national magazine, the desire to write professionally grabbed me and has never let go. After retirement as a secondary English and French teacher, the time was right to pursue my dream.

Today I live in Texas along with my two adult daughters and my mother, who will soon celebrate her 96th birthday.

Professionalliterature-3060241_1920

I love a good mystery too. On to the next question. Where did you get the idea for your latest WIP or your current book?

My idea for my books comes from my ministry, Touched by Him. I write Christian stories that reflect God’s Scriptures about His recipe for love and marriage. A Perfect Fit is about finding a Christian mate based on 2 Corinthians 6:14: Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? My current WIP is titled Stained Glass, which deals with infidelity in marriage. God makes a way back to original commitment through repentance, forgiveness, and rebuilding trust.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you ~ Ephesians 4:32 NKJV.

Can’t wait to read it! This next question from a reader. Where did you get the inspiration for your setting?

My setting comes from my hometown, Cincinnati. It’s modeled after real places and a mindset typical of the Midwest. The characters attend an actual college—Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Since I had visited Miami only once or twice, I delved into research about it. Although a public institution, it’s highly respected as a substitute ivy-league school for students who can’t gain acceptance into places like Harvard or Yale.

My research also led me to some surprising discoveries, such as an interesting tidbit about a ghost who supposedly haunts Peabody Hall at night. But romantically speaking, a campus landmark, Upham Arch, lent itself well to the book’s ending because of its tradition: if a couple kisses there at midnight, it means they will marry. I found that to be the perfect time and place for God to heal my protagonists’ broken relationship, and it lent a satisfying ending to their romance.

Ooh, I like the arch story. Time to have some fun. Favorite thing to do when not writing.

My other love besides writing is gourmet French cuisine, born from my undying love of France, its culture, and beautiful French language. As a teenager, I experimented from some state-of-the-art cookbooks, watched chefs on TV including Julia Child, and enrolled in French cooking classes.

I experienced only one disaster during those learning years—the time I set the oven on fire. The made-from-scratch Danish hadn’t been sitting at 375 degrees for more than five minutes before the butter melted and ran off the cookie sheet, igniting into flames. Of course, my perfectionistic mother almost never allowed me into her kitchen again. But, after the scorched oven regained its original color, she relented but forbade me from making puff pastry in the future.

Today, I only put on my chef’s apron for birthdays and holidays when I enjoy creating beautiful table settings and flower arrangements to compliment a culinary experience. One major wish twinkles yet on my bucket list—to dine at the Tour d’Argent atop the Eiffel Tower.

I’m with your mother on this one. LOL! Please share a writing quirk—a ‘must have’ or a ‘must do’ to get words down on paper.

In college, I couldn’t sit down to study at my desk until my room was tidy. Today, I’m the same with my computer. Before I can write, I must go through email, check social media, and play catch-up. Absolute silence with no interruptions is a must. The best time for me to be creative is at night when I’m the only person awake. My sleep schedule is really terrible, but that’s when inspiration drives me to work well into the wee hours.

stones-451329_1920Inspirational

This year’s theme is “First Things First.” Setting our priorities is a must if we are to be about our Father’s business. What advice would you offer someone struggling to spend time with Him? And, how has spending time with Him changed your life?

I have a long-established habit of tithing the beginning of my day to the Lord. I read His Word at breakfast before I look at anything else. Afterward, I always pray. When I used to drive to work, I prayed in the car—just because that was the only place I could be alone. The habit is so natural to me that I still always talk to Jesus while I’m driving.

Spending time with the Lord is my lifeline, my way of survival as I sojourn through this world. My relationship with Him brings me grace and peace in my daily life. The My ultimate desire is to write and speak His words of encouragement and comfort to those who are hurting, and to be used to bring God’s truth and hope to a lost world.

Karen, thank you for joining us today on WFF. Readers, don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win Karen’s book.

Click to Tweet: The made-from-scratch Danish hadn’t been sitting at 375 degrees for more than five minutes before the butter melted and ran off the cookie sheet, igniting into flames. #Interview with Karen Jurgens @GailJohnson87 #WomenofFaithandFiction


Formally titled Desire’s Promise – Newly revised and expanded. Carlie Livingston is steering into her last year of college in Oxford, Ohio, confident that she and Lance Holloway are headed to the altar after graduation. Those plans are wrecked, however, by her dad’s infidelity, causing her parents to walk through a messy divorce. Will she have the same fate if she marries her college sweetheart who comes from a secular family? Her mother insists she will.

She tests God’s Word by letting Him take the wheel of her life. But if God is in control, why are all her close relationships crumbling?  Nothing makes sense.

Just when it appears hopeless, Clay McKinney two-steps into Carlie’s life, promising to provide everything she’s looking for in a Christian mate. But if he’s God’s answer, why can’t her heart release Lance? Where will her final destination be on this journey of trust?


picmonkey-photoLiving in Texas for more than 30 years has been an adventure, but Karen still proudly claims her Cincinnati roots. She spent her career as a high school English and French teacher and will always be a lifelong learner. She loves everything French, especially creating gourmet cuisine for birthdays and holidays, and you will likely find French culture and language in whatever she writes.
She began a new ministry, Touched by Him, where she blogs monthly. Her passion is to share answers from God’s Word about life’s trials and to incorporate those answers into her fiction stories, especially written for women seeking God’s best in marriage.
Her greatest accomplishment has been raising two lovely daughters who are now grown and living out their own adventures. Along with her mother who is now 95, the four of them enjoy fun times together shopping, dining out, and traveling.

Connect with Karen:

Website
Fb Author Page
Twitter
LinkedIn
Instagram
Amazon author page
A Perfect Fit Link