Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Second Chances with Ada Brownell

Second Chances: Ada Brownell on the Diamond Mine

Please join me and welcome Ada Brownell to the Diamond Mine! She's giving away a copy of her latest release, The Lady Fugitive. See details following the interview. Well, come on, everyone...gather round. I have coffee and cookies...somewhere. Oh, well, let's get started!

Welcome to the Mine, Ada. I’m so glad you’re here. I hear you have a new book? Can you tell us a little about it?

The book is The Lady Fugitive. Jenny Parks, my main character materialized from memories of my maternal grandmother, whom some relatives say had to run from an abusive uncle, a judge.

Grandma, as is Jenny, was a talented orphan who graduated from high school at 16 in about 1896 with a teaching certificate.  She was an elocutionist and performed her poems and songs on stage in Pueblo, Colo.

The leading man, William O’Casey, has similarities to Grandpa. Grandpa died before I was born, but I heard how he used to travel around the country showing one of the first Passion of the Christ picture shows. My brother has the reel. Grandpa’s father was murdered, as William’s was.

That’s so amazing. What a cool story! Well, not the murdered part…although it makes for great drama. In the plot, Ada! I’ll take my foot out of my mouth now.
Back to the book, what inspired you to write it?

I’ve wanted to write this novel for decades. I spent a big chunk of my life as a newspaper reporter, and wrote for Christian publications since my teens. After I retired from The Pueblo Chieftian I joined American Christian Fiction Writers. I took the courses that come with membership. I joined critique groups. I was active on the loop where seasoned writers share vital information and tricks of the trade. I wrote a teen novel, The Castle and the Catapult.

Then I joined ACFW’s Novel Track where you write as fast as you can without stopping to change anything or edit.  You keep going until you reach the end. I had about 7,000 words to begin with, and in five weeks I had 80,000 words and The End. It took another year or more to edit it.

The book now has more than 30 reviews, a majority 5-star.

Now that’s quite the accomplishment. Do you have a favorite scene or part of the book? If so, can we get a glimpse?

After peeking in a dirty window and seeing an empty room, Jenny opened the rickety door. Her footsteps echoed on the crude wood floors. Emptiness, dust, and cobwebs filled the place. She took a stick and tore webs away as she walked.
A rumpled blanket wiggled on the bed. “Perhaps we have a kitty here.” She lifted the corner. A soft rattling noise erupted and a snake shot toward her. It grazed her sleeve as she jumped back, the blanket still in her hand. The reptile flopped on the dirty floor where it coiled. She threw the blanket on it.
Jumping on top of the bed, screams came from Jenny’s mouth like blasts of dynamite from a mine. Over and over she screamed. Then the snake’s head emerged at the edge of the blanket.
"Oh, God, help me!” The prayer pulsed through her as her thumping heart made her head ache.
The reptile slithered out from under the cloth. The head hovered first this way and that, its tail jiggling the rattles. She gasped for breath and shrieked again. She’d seen snakes climb poles. He might be up the bedpost any minute.
Loud footsteps shook the old house. Jenny’s scream died in her mouth. An explosion and flash of fire caused Jenny to almost jump out of her boots. Pain pierced her ears. For a moment, everything went black. She leaned against the wall, and then her vision returned.
The rattlesnake was dead—shot through the head.
The man hovered beside her. Curly reddish-brown hair stuck out beneath his cowboy hat.
Still dizzy and shaking so much she could barely stand, she started to fall.
He grabbed her, pulled her off the bed into his arms, and stepped away from the rattler. “Are you all right, ma’am? I heard you screaming clear up on the road.”

Ohhh…wow. Can you tell me more? No, wait…let’s get back to the interview first. What made you want to write books?

The Lord set my soul on fire. I was the youth leader and started writing youth ideas for a leaders’ magazine at age 15, and soon sold articles to Christian publications. I went into the news business about five years later.  My first book, Confessions of a Pentecostal, was published in 1978 by the Assemblies of God. My first journalist work was in the 1960s, I took out nearly 20 years to stay home with children and then earned my journalism degree and was hired again. All the while I freelanced for Christian publications.

That’s amazing. I don’t know if I could write for a newspaper. It has to be hard. I’m glad you’re in the novel writing business now, though. Do you have a pearl of wisdom for those just starting out? What about those struggling along the way?

My advice to a Christian writer is to draw close to God, study the Word, and pray for wisdom and guidance. Then learn writing techniques and THINK. Look at everything from a different angle. Write down your ideas, study people, make a plan and write.

If one word could describe you, what would it be? Why?

Worker. I take seriously the scripture, “Whatever you hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no work or device, or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10)

Jesus said, “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.” (John 9:4) Scripture repeatedly warns sluggards.

Writers or any Christian should work to support himself and family, but also do the work that doesn’t pay in money, such as at home. Go the second mile for others, and be a witness through words and actions.

Whoa, that hit home for me. It seems as if there’s not enough time in a day. Not so much laziness as poor time management. I definitely need to work on that. My husband would appreciate it, I’m sure. Thanks for the reminder, Ada. We need it.
Back to writing and reading…if you could pick three authors from the crowd, who would they be and why?

There are so many authors that I’ve reviewed books for that are superb writers that I love, but if I must share here are a few.

Josh McDowell
Non-fiction: Josh McDowell author of Evidence that Demands a Verdict; Ralph Riggs, theologian; Dr. Donald F. Johns, author of the Sunday school youth teachers quarterly, “The Bible and Science,” that I taught in 1963. He was way ahead of his time, and I’ve used what I learned from him many times. I love the truths and solid doctrine presented by all these authors.

Frank Peretti

Fiction: Frank Peretti and the The Nightmare Academy (an unusual YA book on truth); Catherine Palmer and her Prairie Rose Trilogy, Melanie Dickerson, author of The Merchant’s Daughter; and there are many other fiction authors I love. My favorite genre is inspirational historical romance in a story with substance.

Rebecca McClanahan
On Writing: Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan. I should also mention Terri Main, an ACFW member, who has wonderful writing courses for $5.

For many, writing’s a lonely trek…for a short time. Soon, you realize the path’s far easier with a little bit of help. Who do you give the most credit in your writing journey and why?

Dick Champion who edited youth magazines and Robert C. Cunningham who edited The Pentecostal Evangel for years. They showed me respect, even when I was in my teens, and if I had an article or story that almost fit, they’d write and tell me to shorten it, add another illustration, or that sort of thing. I did the work the same day and sent it back and they bought it. Editors don’t have time for that now.

They sound like a couple of great men. In some ways, your writing life's been a story of second chances and hard work. Although times have changed, writing's stayed the same. Maybe not styles, or even form, but the words get on the page the same way. From a writer.

I can't help it. I need to know more about your story. Do you have a funny part of The Lady Fugitive to share with the readers before you leave? (Stop it, everyone. I can hear the giggling. I can always unplug the coffee pot. Better yet, no more chocolate chip cookies for you.)

Maude stood on the edge of the pasture, bellowing so loud her belly convulsed with the exertion. Jenny grabbed a bucket. After three years singing, reciting poetry, and performing on stage along with her studies, she hadn’t done much milking. But surely she didn’t forget how.
She rinsed the milk bucket by the windmill. She was ready.
Jenny herded Maude into the homemade stanchion that kept the cow’s head immobile, but allowed her to eat. After forking more hay into the feeding trough, Jenny found a little stool and placed it beside the black-and-white spotted cow.
To relax the animal, she rubbed the bristly hair on her neck and along the backbone. Then she positioned the stool. In response, the cow lifted her tail and splat! A big cow pie landed behind Maude, splattering up her legs.
Jenny nearly gagged. Her dizziness and nausea didn’t need that smell! She held her nose and considered holding her breath
Adjusting the three-legged stool a little, she sat and promptly toppled backward. How could a man sit on a seat so dinky? Certainly, her backside wasn’t that big.
She replaced the stool and milk bucket and tried again. With the seat finally firm and settled, she reached for two of the four teats. Maude raised her hind foot and kicked. There went the milk bucket. The thing, banging into posts along the way, rolled and rattled halfway across the barn floor.
Hold your temper, Maude. Just for that, you can be uncomfortable a little longer. I’m not going to drink dirty milk. Jenny stomped to the windmill to rewash the bucket.

How adorable! I’ve never milked a cow before, but I can see it now. I can’t stop laughing. Thanks for another glance into your book. That was great. Now that you’ve blessed us, can you tell how the Lord blessed you with this book?

I have a good publisher (Elk Lake, a division of Book Club Network). I’ve had super reviews, amazing feedback from readers, and satisfaction that I finally wrote it. The greatest contentment is that it’s squeaky clean and spiritually uplifting.

Thank you for being a part of the Diamond Mine, Ada. You are a true blessing. Oh, one last question! Do you have anything in the works?

I have over 10,000 words on a sequel that has interesting characters, too, and I’m working on a non-fiction book, Common Sense, Propaganda (Spin) and Faith, almost ready to be published.

Well then, I can’t wait for what comes next! Come and get the rest of the cookies!


DRAWING ON 3/11/2015
(one winner by random draw selected from commenters)
(Rough Diamond Writers are ineligible to participate in giveaway)

About the Book:

How does a respected elocutionist become a face on a wanted poster?
Jenny Louise Parks escapes from the coal bin, and her abusive uncle offers a handsome reward for her return. Because he is a judge, he will find her or he won’t inherit her parents’ ranch.
Determination to remain free grips Jenny, especially after she meets William and there’s a hint of romance. But while peddling household goods and showing a Passion of the Christ moving picture, he discovers his father’s brutal murder.
Will Jenny avoid the bounty hunters? Can she forgive the person who turns her in? Will she find peace, joy and love?
Get it on Ada Brownell’s author page or at

About the Author:

Ada Brownell
Ada Brownell, a devoted Bible student, has written for Christian publications since age 15 and spent much of her life as a reporter for The Pueblo Chieftain in Colo. She also is a veteran youth Christian education teacher. After moving to Missouri in her retirement, she continues to write books, free lance for Sunday school papers, Christian magazines, write op-ed pieces for newspapers, and blogs with stick-to-your-soul encouragement. She is a member of Ozarks Chapter of American Christian Writers and American Christian Fiction Writers. She and her husband have five children, one in heaven, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Blog: Stick-to-Your-Soul Encouragement
Ada Brownell Amazon Author page


Robin Bunting said...

what has been shared from the book sounds heartpounding good. would love a copy.

Renee Blare said...

Thanks for stopping by the Mine, Robin. It does sound like a great book, doesn't it? I can't wait to read more. :) And you're in the running to get a copy!

Ada Brownell said...

Thanks for inviting me to be your guest, Renee. Enjoyed the interview!

Renee Blare said...

You're welcome, Ada. It's great to have you here this week. :)

nancy bolton said...

Welcome to the Mine, Ada! Wonderful interview, and oh! those excerpts! Your writing style is lovely and really pulls the reader in. I'll bet your non-fiction is wonderful, too!

Renee Blare said...

Robin Bunting's the winner! Yippeeee!!!!!!!!!!

Renee Blare said...

Robin, I need your email! :)