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.

Personal

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.

Professional

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.

Inspirational

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.

Personal

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.

Professional

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?

Inspirational

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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Facebook Author Page

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Amazon Author Page

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 ~ Jodie Wolfe

Welcome to Women of Faith and Fiction. Readers, if you haven’t read Jodie Wolfe’s latest, you are in for a treat! Let’s get started.

Who is Jodie Wolfe?

Hi! I’m Jodie, my husband and I have been married for 32 years and have two grown sons who are married, giving us six grandchildren from the ages of 7 down to three months old.

I’ve been writing since I was a little girl. When I’m not writing, I’m likely reading, knitting, or spending time with my best friend, my husband.

Jodie, you are a blessed woman. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

Yes, since I was in grade school and wrote my first story. I was hooked and knew I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.

I’m so glad you followed through with that dream! From where does your inspiration come?

Most definitely from the Lord. I pray before I sit down to write, and as I’m writing. Then again when the book is sent out to a publisher, when it goes through the editing process, when it’s actually released.

I believe it shows in your writing. 😊 Tell us about your latest book baby.

My latest book is Taming Julia. Here’s the back cover copy:

In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery’s sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation’s ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy.

Jules Walker strides into Drew’s life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle–more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she’s not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.

I adored Taming Julia! Now, who is your all-time favorite character? This can be one of your own or another author’s character.

It would be a toss-up between Jules Montgomery, the heroine in my recent release and Laura Ingalls.

Julia is definitely one of my favorites. Please, tell us about your writing process.

I spend a bit of time researching the potential setting, time period, and developing my characters. I generally have a loose idea where the story will go, but often once I start writing, my characters develop a mind of their own and take the story the way they want it to go.

I can see where Julia would do that. LOL. Do you choose a word or a scripture for each year or each story?

Yes, each of my stories has a scripture that it revolves around. I find that I often learn a lot more about the verse in the process of writing the story.

Discovery is my favorite part of writing. Especially when it leaps off the page and smacks you in the face. 😊 What is your best marketing tip?

Once you finish the editing process, figure out different sentences from the story that you can use as tweetables. Also have some physical tie-in to an object that you can use for marketing. In my book, Love in the Seams, my heroine was a seamstress, so I was able to use sewing items as a giveaway during my launch party.

Great idea, Jodie. Thanks for sharing that. What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Trust God’s timing and direction. He knows what’s best.

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

Trust God and His timing. (Are you noticing a pattern? J) Sometimes we spend a long time praying about something and get discouraged when we don’t see any answers. I wrote Taming Julia over eight years ago, and I had a long wait before God brought the right publisher to accept it. I’m so thankful I didn’t give up year five, six, etc.

Jodie, I’m glad you didn’t either. It is a wonderful story. It would be a shame to have missed it. Thank you for preserving. And thank you for joining me and sharing more about you and Taming Julia.

Social Media Links:

Website: https://www.jodiewolfe.com

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/jodie-wolfe

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jodie-Wolfe-553400191384913

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JodieAWolfe

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/JodieAWolfe

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15220520.Jodie_Wolfe

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jodie-Wolfe/e/B01EAWOHXO/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Purchase Links:

Barnes and Noble Purchase Link

Pelican Book Group Purchase Link

Google Play Store Purchase Link

I wrote Taming Julia over eight years ago, and I had a long wait before God brought the right publisher to accept it. I’m so thankful I didn’t give up year five, six, etc. @JodieAWolfe @GailJohnson87 #interview #writerslife