Women of Faith and Fiction ~ Tamera Lynn Kraft

This morning I am happy to introduce you to friend and author, Tamera Kraft. Tamera is a wife, mother, children’s ministry consultant, and writer. Tamera, tell us a little about yourself.

ResurrectionOfHopeCoverArtI have always loved reading adventures. I love to write historical fiction set in the United States because there are so many stories in American history. There are strong elements of faith, romance, suspense and adventure in my stories. I have received 2nd place in the NOCW contest, 3rd place TARA writer’s contest, and am a finalist in the Frasier Writing Contest. My two novellas in print are A Christmas Promise and Resurrection of Hope. My first full length novel, Alice’s Notions, was released in April, and my next full length novel, Red Sky over America will be available February, 2018.

I’ve been married for 38 years to the love of my life, Rick, and have two married adult children and two grandchildren. I am also a children’s ministry consultant and revivalist and the founder of Revival Fire for Kids ministry. You can find out more about me and my books on my website at http://tameralynnkraft.net.Tamera Kraft

Congratulations on your marriage and your awards! And your new house is gorgeous. I know you are exciting about this coming year. Time for the next question. This month’s theme is self-control. Please share your thoughts with our readers.

Wow, that’s a hard one. Self-control is not really controlled by our own selves. As Romans 7:19 says, ” For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” The only way any of us can control our speech, actions, and thoughts is by being God-controlled. That’s why it is part of the fruit of the Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit to guide my life, I am fooling myself to think I can control my own actions.

In my own life, I have noticed the closer I am to God, the easier it is to control my tongue and my unruly emotions.  That means I need to focus my mind on the things of God and yield myself to Him. As Romans 8:5 says, ” For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” So I don’t have self-control. I yield to God, and He has control.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. God-control is the key. Next question. Life is a continual journey of learning, applying, and transforming. Have you ever experienced a season when you found it difficult to have self-control? How did you overcome?

Only one? I’ve had many times where I’ve had difficulty with self-control. I would blurt out something I shouldn’t or eat that candy bar I shouldn’t eat. Yes, gluttony is a sin. In particular, I remember a season a long time ago where I was constantly falling into one particular sin. No matter how much I tried to control myself, I stumbled back in. The way I got through it was by being honest with God and surrendering to Him. He told me to make myself accountable to another sister in Christ. That was a humbling experience, but when I obeyed God and yielded, it wasn’t long before I was even tempted in that area.

We all have those seasons of diffictulty. Having a prayer partner makes a difference during those times! Now, in what genre do you write and how does your faith influence your writing?

AChristmasPromise_medI write Christian historical fiction. All of my historicals are set in American history. That’s an interesting question because I don’t know how to separate out my faith. My faith influences everything I do. It comes out organically in my stories. I was once asked if I will always write Christian fiction. I had to laugh because I don’t set out to write Christian fiction, but my faith is so much a part of my life, it turns out that way.

In Alice’s Notions, my current novel, Alice is a WW2 war widow going back home to a sleepy West Virginia town where she believes she’ll be safe. She finds out there’s nowhere we can hide and be safe. She relies on her faith in God to give her the courage she needs to face the struggles she’s faced with. It also deals with racism and anger when Alice finds out the European refugee she was sent to work at her shop is German. She is angry with all Germans for the death of her husband. She has to forgive and let this go before God can heal her grief.

In my novella, Resurrection of Hope, Vivian has lost everything including her hope. She finds hope again in the form of a friend of her dead fiancée who wants to marry her and take care of her. God weaves hope back in her life as she learns to love again in a marriage of convenience.

In my first novella, A Christmas Promise, Anna learns to trust God with her family’s safety. She and her husband are Moravian missionaries to the Lenape Indians in the Ohio frontier.

I agree.  As Christian writers, our faith should shine forth in our writing. I’ve read Alice’s Notions and recommend it to my readers! Tamera, thank you so much for taking the time to visit and sharing your heart with us.AlicesNotionsCoverArt

To learn more about Tamera visit:

http://tameralynnkraft.net

http://tameralynnkraft.com

http://facebook.com/tameralynnkraft

Alice’s Notions buying links:

Amazon

Desert Breeze Publishing

Barnes and Noble

Resurrection of Hope

A Christmas Promise

 

A Reluctant Melody ~ Sandra Ardoin

ARM Cover

 

Gail: I’m excited to have with me today, Sandra Ardoin, author of The Yuletide Angel and her latest A Reluctant Melody. And let me take this moment to say if you haven’t read it you don’t know what you’re missing. I recommend picking up a copy today for your next summer read.

 Hello, Sandy. Glad you could stop by and talk with us. I loved A Reluctant Melody! It had everything you could want in a novel. History, Suspense, Romance, and the Gospel. I enjoyed watching your characters grow in their Christian walk.

For those who haven’t had the chance to read it, would you please take this moment and tell us a little about it.

Sandra: Thank you for your kind words, Gail, and thank you for having me on your blog.

A Reluctant Melody is set in North Carolina in 1892. It’s a story of two people with a shared and sorry past. Joanna is haunted by the consequences of her sins. Kit knows he’s been forgiven of his sins, but can’t give up the idea of atoning for them. It’s a story of grace, redemption, and second chances. Here’s the back cover copy, which explains a little more:

Kit Barnes’ alcoholism ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. But the most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past.

Friends of her late husband blame Joanna for his death. Although eager to flee from the rumors, she will let the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she allows Kit back into her life.

When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Joanna’s long-held secret, will she risk losing everything she owns to Kit … including her heart?

Gail: Nothing like a second chance story. In fact, it’s the story of our lives. I absolutely love reading them. I would love to hear why you chose to write one.

This story began with the Christmas novella The Yuletide Angel. I needed a problem for my hero Hugh, so I created a drunken brother, a rift between them, and a need for forgiveness. I decided to reform that brother (spiritually and physically) and have him visit Hugh, forcing Hugh to either forgive Kit for once dallying with the woman he’d hoped to wed (the rift), or not. If so, the brothers are given a second chance at a relationship.

As I wrote the novella, I became curious about Kit’s relationship with Joanna, the woman who caused the estrangement between the brothers. I guess I’m just a romantic, but I saw them as needing to be together and knew I had to write her story. In A Reluctant Melody, Joanna is in dire need of a second chance at understanding salvation and living a good life, however, she can’t see Kit being part of either one. However…well, it is a love story.

Gail: I know when I’m researching a story, truths often fall into my lap that I wasn’t looking for, but somehow it was the very thing I needed for the story and for myself. While researching the spiritual thread, did you come across something that made an impact on you?

You’re so right when you say truths fall into your lap. I love it when I’m working on a manuscript and the pastor says something during a sermon or I read something in my daily reading that stands out and I know the gist of it has to be put into my story. To me, those are faith-building moments, times when I witness God as my writing partner.

For A Reluctant Melody, I think the spiritual thread that stands out to me is Kit’s thinking he has to make amends for his mistakes in order to make everything right. Yes, there are consequences for sin, but he can’t “make everything right” and neither can we. He can’t do something good and wash away the past. Only Jesus can do that.

Personally, I’ve found my faith and my Biblical knowledge has grown stronger as I’ve written of characters who find that God can bring them through their struggles.

Gail: Let’s talk about research. I love history. I could get lost in researching the past! Of course, I know you love old pictures. What else did you do to prepare for your story?

Ha! Yes, I think my Facebook page shows how much I love the old photographs.

In choosing my setting, I came across information about a community in Charlotte, NC, and its creation. It had some unique elements—a park and manmade lake with recreational activities, a variety of housing and businesses, stops on the trolley system. Then, I spent a while drawing a map of my fictional town so I’d have my directions right in the story and could picture the sights my characters saw as they traveled from one place to another.

I also used a business directory for my area. In it, businesses were listed (both types and names), churches, government and law enforcement offices/titles, products raised and made. It was a wealth of information and allowed me to add little historical tidbits to the story as well as choose to center things around a broom factory. I researched the industry and watched numerous videos about the craft of broom-making. That was fun.

Gail: I enjoyed getting to know all of your characters. Not just Kit and Joanna, but the supporting cast. What made you decide to incorporate a used up boxer?

Ah, Donovan “Dynamite” O’Connor. What a sweet guy…sort of. As a writer, you know you can be writing along, minding your own business, when bam!, an unplanned character pops up. As Kit walked through town, he came across a man sleeping in an alley. The next thing I knew, the man hit him—not through meanness, it was simply a reaction when Kit tried to wake him from a sound sleep after a night of drinking. I asked myself why someone would strike out like that at a total stranger for no reason. That’s when I realized Dynamite was a former fighter down on his luck. He turned into an important player in the story and one of my favorite characters. Don’t you love it when that kind of thing happens?

 Gail: I noticed Joanna’s love for music and her propensity to play an imaginary piano on her lap. Do you play?

I don’t play any instrument, but my daughter took piano lessons for years and we own a piano. However, I love music and will often surreptitiously “direct” the choir while seated in the pew. J Joanna has an amazing ability, but playing is also her way of escaping things that trouble her. So when she’s nervous or in the midst of some kind of difficulty, she plays the piano, even when one isn’t around.

Gail: Thank you, so much, for sharing your thoughts with us today, Sandy! Congratulations on the 5-star reviews. I’m looking forward to your next project.

 

Sandra Ardoin_HeadshotSandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, and antique store prowler. Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

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