Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Interview and GIVEAWAY with Joanna Davidson Politano

Hi guys! V. Joy Palmer here! Since we are all friends here, you guys can call me Joy. ; ) And since we are all friends, one of my favorite things to do is talk with my friends, family, the teens I mentor, and everyone else at coffee shops/bookstores. Books and yummy drinks are the perfect combination, after all. So, consider this our virtual coffee shop. I’ll wait a second for you to get your warm drink and a fuzzy blanket before we chat with today’s guest. ;-)

We are prying into the private life chatting with THE Joanna Davidson Politano, author of the amazing Lady Jayne Disappears (You can read my raving review here!) and A Rumored Fortune, which I am reading right now. IT'S AMAZING!


Joanna Davidson Politano spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, released October 3 from Revell and A Rumored Fortune releases in July 2018. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods and shares stories that move her at www.jpdstories.com.
 
Connect with Joanna on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, too!

Interview ~

First things first, what is you go-to yummy drink when you sit down to read and/or write?

Ok, this is weird - grapefruit juice! I mostly drink water, but a real good and sweet pink grapefruit juice is my absolute favorite treat. I don't often do tea/coffee, but this tall glass of sugary goodness is my weakness.

I honestly did not expect that! Mind blown! Hahaha! What is your favorite snack when you sit down to read or write with your imaginary peeps?

Actually cereal is my go-to! It's a real easy snack to sit next to me and not drip on the couch. Cinnamon cereal of any kind is my fav. :-)

Cereal is a pretty common snack in my house, too! And I love all things cinnamon, much to my husband's dismay. Haha! Confession Time: do any of your characters have any of your own "odd" habits? Safe space. ;-)

Oh, definitely! My first heroine, Aurelie Harcourt in Lady Jayne Disappears, wrote the people around her into stories and while everyone recognized themselves in the stories, no one knew who was writing about them. I did the same thing in gradeschool when I was intensely bothered by certain kids being overlooked (they became superheroes in my little stories) and bullies never seeing justice (they saw payback in my stories too). I wrote them for myself, but somehow a few ended up circulating around the classroom and I was surprised at the impact it had on a few kids. So that was cool, and I was excited to play that out in a novel.

This is one of the coolest author-to-character quirks I've ever heard of! What inspired you to write your latest release, A Rumored Fortune?

Two real-life stories, actually. The mystery came from a family friend whose grandfather didn't trust the (highly corrupt) Italian banks...or his family, apparently. He hid his sizeable fortune and promised to tell them where it was before he died - but passed away quite young of a heart attack. In real life, the money was never found. I won't tell you if it plays out that way in the book! The romance was also inspired heavily by my own love story, from the time I first met my husband (and couldn't stand him) to the time I nearly speed-walked down the aisle toward the man of my dreams. I combined the two because the family friend in the mystery story is the one who convinced me to give my very Italian man a second look.

I love, love, love this! #allthehearts Such a cool look at the story behind the story! What is your favorite thing about writing in this genre?

To be honest, I'm not even sure what genre I write! I've seen it pop up in half a dozen different ones, and I'm fine with that. I just sat down to write for fun one day, and I let it flow into the type of story I wanted to read, complete with a little mystery, a little romance, and an atmospheric English country house. The mystery angle keeps me asking, "What's going on? What in the world??" and keeps me pressing forward to find out. The romance portions just delight my little heart.

Hahaha! Your stories do reach into a lot of genres, but that just makes them even more amazing! What is the hardest thing about writing in your super-genre (rabbit trail, but this should be a thing, yes?)?

It can be really hard to connect all the intricate pieces to make a full picture and have all the pieces work together. Although that's also the most fun part, because it's such a thrill to watch all the elements God's given me fit together to create a larger story than I'd imagined.

YESSS!!! It is awesome to see how God works the story! What message do you hope to convey to your readers with A Rumored Fortune?

I'd really love for people who are dry, or living in survival mode to find the difference between a full life and actually being full of life. It took me the length of this book project to reach a place where I was living well, and not being driven by daily tasks, attending to needs, and stomping out the flames of my to-do list. There's so much that God intends to communicate to us through vineyards, and I hope that people understand those Scripture passages - and what God says about how they receive life and grow fruit - so they know how to live more richly. It was such a needed "message," if I can call it that, for my young-mama heart while I faced a little burnout and exhaustion. Trying to keep up with life can be draining, and most of us KNOW there has to be something more out there.


 
Those are powerful truths that I know I need to be reminded about! <3 Can you tell us a little about your next project?

Of course! This is one I'm super excited about. The heroine is a rag vendor who switches places with her lookalike, who is a lady, and ends up in a very bookish romance. That's all I can say right now, but I think it may be my favorite - and most suspenseful - story yet.

I can't wait for this story!!! *squeals* What is your (current) favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level?

My guiding life verse is Matthew 6:33, about seeking God's kingdom first and letting everything else fall into place. Isaiah is my favorite book because it most clearly shows the duality of God's nature - the holy righteous judge and the protective, gracious father. Proverbs is currently slapping me upside the head and making me examine my speech and the heart from which it comes!

Oh, man! I have gotten many spiritual slaps from Proverbs! LOL! What are you currently reading? Inquiring minds - mine - want to know! :-)

I'm reading an older novel called Edenbrooke and LOVING it. My last great read, however, was Kristy Cambron's The Lost Castle book, which is probably one of my favorites of all time.

LOVED The Lost Castle, and I'll have to check out Edenbrooke! *adds eight hundred and thirteenth book to Amazon cart*

Thank you for answering all my prying questions, Joanna! Such a blast talking with you! <3

Giveaway ~

Joanna has generously offered to giveaway one (1) copy of A Rumored Fortune.

 
Tressa Harlowe's father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn't take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they're really up to. She'll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father's fortune--before someone else finds it first.

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they'll not soon forget.

Rules, Info, and Such ~

The author is giving away one copy of A Rumored Fortune!

This giveaway is open internationally. If an international winner is drawn, they will receive an ebook. If a US winner is chosen, they will receive a print copy.

This giveaway will close on August 22nd, 2018, at 12:00 A.M. for all the night owls.

A winner will be drawn within four days of close of giveaway. If the winner does not respond to our e-mails within one week of notification, then a new winner will be drawn in their place.

May the odds be ever in your favor. ;-)

Enter using the handy Rafflecopter here ~

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks for stopping by, my writerly, bookish friends! <3 See you next time!

Hugs,

V. Joy Palmer 

V. Joy Palmer is the author of Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is also an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. In her spare time, Joy is an unprofessional chocolate connoisseur/binger, and she loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens she mentors. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.
 
Connect with Joy on her website, personal blog, devotional blogFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Meet Award-Winning Author MERRILLEE WHREN


Good morning everyone, I’m delighted to introduce y’all to my new friend and Award-winning Author Merrillee Whren

Merrillee! I’ve cursed technology in the beginning years of my writing journey, but the time has come to confess…I just love meeting and interviewing my author friends from all over the globe via cyberspace. Welcome to the Diamond Mine!





DiAne, thank you for having me here. I appreciate the opportunity to share my experiences and books with your readers.

In preparation for this interview, Merrillee, I took at walk through your Amazon trail and gracious girl, I find numerous books bearing your name…award-winning books…books I want to read, especially your Front Porch Promises Series. But then the paper trail led me to the Love Inspired Series and the Village of Hope Series. Either you began writing at the age of two or you don’t ever sleep.

From the time I was in elementary school, I made up stories. When I was in high school, I wrote a novel and shared it with my friends. It was like a serial because I would bring in the pages I had written the night before. Somehow, I did that and my homework, too. I never thought of writing a novel for publication until I was married and had children.

I had read a lot of romance novels because I always love a happy ending. I decided to write one of my own. I had no idea what I was doing, but I started writing. I wrote and submitted manuscripts to publishers for 20 years before I finally got a book contract with Steeple Hill, which eventually became Harlequin’s Love Inspired line. I wrote 14 books for them. I believe in God’s timing. Then I started on my indie publishing journey, mainly because I had stories I wanted to write that didn’t fit with Love Inspired. Those books are my Front Porch Promises series. I have loved writing these stories.

Books I read make me want to know more about the author than the back-cover copy allows. Tells us about the behind-the-scenes Merrillee. Husband? Children? Grandsugars?  (Caryl McAdoo’s sweet label for her reason for parenting) Things you do for inspiration and relaxation?

I’ve been married to my husband for forty-two years. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long. We met in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I was a school teacher and he was a pharmacist. He eventually became an executive for several healthcare companies, and his job took us on a journey around the USA from small town Ohio to Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, and Chicago, until he started his own company when we moved to Florida. We have two daughters who share the same birthday, June 18, but they aren’t twins. They were born a year apart. We now have two granddaughters, 6 and 9, who keep us on our toes. We moved to Arizona to be near them, but then five years later they moved to New Jersey. We are not following them there. Too cold in the winter.

I’m an avid tennis player. You will find me on the courts three or four times a week, even in the heat of summer here in Arizona. I play mostly doubles, and I’ve been playing competitively for over 35 years.

I find inspiration for my stories in every day events. Anything can trigger a story idea.

Those story trigger affirmations are true with me too. My Roped Series came from years attending rodeos while learning to write and then spending time in the ring as a photographer for a local youth rodeo association.

I firmly believe writers stand on the shoulders of those who’ve blazed this trail before us. For all those wannabe authors, just writing their first book authors, and those fortunate enough to have a book in line for release authors, please give us some sound, sage counsel from your experience. Things you wish you’d known before that first synopsis was sent, contract was signed, or release day dawned.

My first bit of advice is: Don’t compare yourself to other writers. We are all individuals, even in the writing world. I always tell newer writers to find their own process. You can listen to advice on how to write, and use that advice to find the way that works best for you. For years I listened to people tell me how to plot, and I tried. But that doesn’t work for me. It was so freeing to learn there were others out there who didn’t have a clue what was going to happen in the story until they started to write it.

Merrillee, when you pick up a book by a new author what are you looking for and what would cause you to close the book after a chapter or two?

I’m looking for a story that makes me care about the characters and what happens to them. I like an emotional read, a story that makes me laugh and cry. If I don’t care about the characters, I don’t continue to read the book. My reading time is too valuable to waste it.

With all the changes in the publishing, technology, and advertising industries do you believe we run the risk of seeing fewer hold-in-your hand books published? I know ebooks are handy and more economical…which do you prefer?

I don’t know what will happen to print books. I believe they won’t disappear completely. Fewer may be printed. I love reading on my tablet. I don’t have to worry about carting around a pile of books when I go on vacation. I don’t have to worry about a bookmark or losing my place if the bookmark falls out. I still prefer print books for reference books and children’s books. I often do my Bible reading online, but I still take my Bible to church, while my hubby uses his phone during the sermon.

What’s running circles in your mind or marked WIP (work in progress) on your computer…what’s next?

I’m at a crossroads right now. The fifth book in my Front Porch Promises series, A BABY TO CALL OURS, has just released. I plan six books for this series, and I have a page written for #6. But I’ve also just received the rights back from Love Inspired for my Kellerville series, which I plan to rename, Kellersburg, (my original name for the town in the books). I plan to reissue these books and would like to expand the series. I’m debating about whether to start book six of the Front Porch Promises series or start book four of the Kellersburg series. And I have two novellas set in a fictional town in Maryland. I’d like to add a third to that series. Decisions. Decisions.

It’s been interesting and entertaining having you visit with us today. I’ve seen your name on correspondence through the years, but have enjoyed getting to know you today…at least a little or ’til we have that glorious Writers’ Conference when we all get home. Do you think writing will be easier in our eternal home? I’m bettin’ it’ll be lots more interesting, fun, and factual, when we get to see Jesus—face to face.

 ‘Til then, thanks for being with us today. And y’all Merrillee’s offering her ebook, A Place To Call Home, from her Front Porch Series as a give-a-way drawing. All you have to do is answer in your comment, what did you want to be when you were in high school, and did you follow through? Go to Amazon.com and shop through Merrillee’s vast selection of summer reading fun.

Merrillee Whren, USA TodayBestselling Author
Front Porch Promises
A Baby to Call Ours, Book 5
Connect with Merrillee:  Website  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest  Google +