Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Interview and Giveaway with Delia Latham!!

Today we welcome multi-published author Delia Latham to The Diamond Mine!!
Our giveaway will be the choice of the drawing winner, between one of three of her novels:
Destiny's Dream (First book in the Solomon's Gate series),
Goldeneyes, or 
Jewels for the Kingdom (First Heart's Haven book). Leave a comment after the interview for a chance to win your choice of one of these books!!
A long-held dream is finally coming true…and becoming a nightmare that pits the gentle heroine against great evil.
Who is the golden-eyed stranger who moves in the shadows of their broken lives?
Her past could destroy her future. His could destroy his soul. Divine intervention may be their only chance at love.

Welcome to The Diamond Mine, Delia!! Let's begin with some information about your latest books.
My most recent release was At First Sight. It’s part of Pelican Book Group’s Pure Amore lineAt First Sight just won The 2016 Laurel Award from Clash of the Titles!! The books in the Pure Amore line are wonderful, sweet romances that celebrate purity before marriage—without being preachy or making abstinence the central focus. However, since those books are available exclusively through book club subscription, let me focus on the traditional release just prior to At First Sight.
Love in the WINGS is part of the Heart’s Haven (HH) collections. HH books are all set in the same East Texas location—Angel Falls, a small, fictional town nestled along the edge of the Angelina National Forest. Heart’s Haven is a cottage-rental facility owned by crusty old Andrew Hart, who has the greenest of green thumbs and a kind heart. He doesn’t talk much, but folks often see him chatting away with…apparently nobody. It is said he sees and speaks with angels, but Hart neither confirms nor denies that rumor. Rumors aside, it’s a fact that the majority of folks who move into the charming HH cottages fall in love…a whole other legend that’s a part of the HH charm.
Love in the WINGS is part of the third four-book HH collection. It takes place around Easter at Heart’s Haven, during a time of spiritual oppression that affects the entire town. Here’s the short blurb:
When a spiritual attack on Angel Falls lands barely civil Aria and Corbin on the battlefront as part of a team of Prayer Warriors in God's Service (WINGS), they must fight for their town, their church, and their pastor. Some battles can only be won in a prayer room…can love be won there too?

Note: Heart’s Haven books are individually written by myself and three other authors: Mary Manners, Tanya Stowe, and Marianne Evans. Each collection includes one book by each of us. There are currently three collections, with another awaiting release dates. Tanya Stowe and I also co-authored A Cowboy Christmas, as well as Love Comes Lately, which is a short FREE READ from Pelican Book Group.

Wow, you're a busy writer, aren't you? It's obvious that you love to tell a good story! 
So, which part of story writing do you enjoy most: Crafting the plot, developing the characters, describing the setting, delving into the inner workings of the main characters and their motivations, or another aspect of story-telling?

I have to confess…I love it all. The whole world of writing has me in its grip, from the first seed of an idea to the grueling edits that some writers detest. But if I had to choose just one favorite part, it would be developing the characters. My books are very much character driven. I love getting inside their heads and finding out who they are and what makes them tick…and then putting them in situations outside their comfort zones. Fun stuff!

Absolutely! I'm right on that page with you. That part is always fascinating to me, too.
You’ve written quite a few books! I’m curious about how you get your story ideas. I know that when writing for a series, there is a general framework the story fits into, but what comes to you first? The idea for the plot, or the characters in the story, or something else?

It varies, but most of the time I get an idea for a plot, and then build characters around that central idea. For instance, my upcoming series is Paradise Pines. It’s an old fishing lodge someone revamped, creating one dwelling on the bottom floor and another on the top floor. Miss Angelina Love (who may or may not be an angel) “lives” in the ground floor unit and rents out the large upper apartment on a seasonal basis—all three months or not at all. That’s the hard-and-fast stipulation.
I love Cambria, California, which is a little town on the Central Coast. During one of many visits to the area, I decided I simply had to set a book there. But as I started to work on ideas, they tumbled in hard and fast, and since I didn’t want to toss so many great story possibilities, it became a series. Most of my books incorporate angels in some way. (This wasn’t in my writing plan originally, but God seems to guide me in that direction. Who am I to question Him?) No one can state for a fact that Miss Angie is an angel, but everyone loves her, whoever or whatever she is. She may or may not own Paradise Pines Lodge. But she is, for a fact, a beloved character who loves to quote scripture and who quietly guides the lives and loves of her tenants during their three-month stay at the Lodge.
I know this is a lengthy answer, but I couldn’t think of a simple one. I’ll just wind it all up in a little nutshell: God leads. I follow. He dictates. I transcribe. From the first idea to the last edit, He’s at the helm. I’m just along for the ride.

Good answer, and a very interesting one as well. Do you work from an outline, or craft it as you go?

I think of myself as a pantster. When I first started writing, I’d sit down in front of my computer, think up a killer opening sentence, and just start writing. But after I sold the first couple of books, I hit an industry wall. Turns out, you can’t sell publishers and editors on a contract by saying, “Hey, big news! I’m going to write a book about a man and woman falling in love on the coast of California.” They want a fairly detailed synopsis of the overall story. So I’ve reached a point where I at least think through the plot enough to come up with a synopsis gripping enough to hook an editor into asking for an entire manuscript. Then I sit down and start writing off the top of my head. J Sometimes the resulting story veers considerably from that original synopsis, but I now believe having the synopsis fuels my enthusiasm and gives me the impetus (sometimes sadly lacking!) to sit down and write.

Sounds like you've got a good system in place!
I'm curious. What books did you love as a child?

It would be easier to think of books I didn’t love! (LOL) Back then, I read everything I could get my hands on—including the backs of shampoo bottles and Comet containers…and the dictionary. (LOL) But a few stand out in my mind. Early on, I lost myself in The Bobbsey Twins and Trixie Belden. Then I became enthralled with Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. Later, it was Emilie Loring and Grace Livingston Hill. I carried the latter two into adulthood with me. I often see Grace Livingston Hill reflected in bits and pieces of my writing, so I must have been greatly influenced by sweet, clean love stories.

I always love finding out the authors that inspire other writers.
When you write, do you need quiet, do you listen to music, or can you write anywhere no matter what’s going on?

When my four children were young, I wrote at one end of the kitchen table while they played or watched television. Their background hoots and hollers and laughter didn’t bother me in the least, and I always came up out of my writer’s fog if one of their cries was a distress cry. (Weird how a mother can tell the difference in a mad yell and an “I need help” cry, isn’t it?) Then the kids were all in school, and I went to work as a staff writer at a large daily newspaper. It wasn’t exactly quiet there, but it was certainly more peaceful than a house full of children. I did well with that. But when I finally went for it—set out to reach a lifelong dream, and started writing novels—my kids were all adults. It was just hubby and me at home, and I absorbed the quiet like a sponge. I discovered I couldn’t write with background music, or the television on in the same room, or a conversation going on outside my open office door. I really needed complete quiet. Now I can write with some distractions, but I still prefer not to. I want uninterrupted silence. Leave me alone while I create fictional people and other worlds…thank you very much. J

I hear you!
Have you ever based a character on you or another person in real life?

The closest I’ve come to doing that was in Jewels for the Kingdom, the first of the Heart’s Haven books. My heroine in that book, Pia Peretti, was based loosely on a woman I’d met online and whose life and story fascinated me. She owns a Christian-based jewelry company, and often gives away specific pieces to specific people based on a specific nudge of the Holy Spirit. She’d shared some of those experiences with me, and I’d received one of those “Spirit-filled gifts” from her myself. I was absolutely enthralled with what she did, and how it worked for her, so I asked permission to use that premise in a story line. I seriously wanted to name my heroine Christy, as an honor to my friend, but for legal reasons, my publisher wouldn’t allow it.

Do you have a favorite character from your stories?

Oh, wow…that’s really hard to answer. I loved Jack Kelly’s odd role(s) in Goldeneyesat least, I did in the book’s Part Two. I loved Pia Peretti, who was a dim reflection of my cyber-friend, Christy. David Myers—Pia’s love interest and the minister of the Falls Tabernacle in the Heart’s Haven books, tugged at my heart with his ministerial wisdom and humor. (Of course, being a handsome hunk with mismatched eye color made him hard not to love!) It’s really hard to choose a favorite, but I’ll say this: Gypsy Lovell, from Gypsy’s Game (Solomon’s Gate series, Book 3) was so much fun to write. She’s unlike any other female character I’ve written, and it was interesting to explore that off-the-beaten-track kind of personality.

Some characters are such fun to write!
Now, is there a common underlying theme to your work that you hope the reader will benefit from?

Well, there are the angels that keep swooping into my books… (LOL) But overall, I consider my writing a ministry. I hope readers find something to encourage them when life threatens to overcome; to give them hope when the world feels hopeless; and to lead them toward the cross, when that’s the last direction they ever planned to take.

That's wonderful, Delia! Do you have a life motto or favorite scripture?

I have several favorite scriptures. The two I most often share, because they’re most on my mind are these:
Psalm 51:10—Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
That’s my prayer each morning, because I’ve come to realize that I need a brand new, clean heart at the start of every day. And that right spirit thing? Oh, yeah. It definitely needs renewal on a constant basis.
Philippians 4:8—Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
I love this one because it lays out in clear, impossible-to-misunderstand detail, exactly what should be within the mind of a Christian. Nothing ugly or impure…just goodness and truth and all things godly. If my mind strays into areas that don’t fit this roadmap, I know I’m off course and need to change my direction.

Those are two precious scriptures to live by. Thanks for sharing that.
What are you working on now?

With one book left to write, I’m taking a short break from the Paradise Pines Series to work on The First Noelle, a Christmas novella for Pelican Book Group’s annual Christmas Extravaganza. Here’s a blurb. This one should be available sometime around Christmas this year:

Noelle Joy stopped celebrating Christmas ten years ago, when Trevor Holden skipped out on their long-planned Christmas Eve wedding. He destroyed her trust in men, crushed her belief in God, and left her cynical about love. Gone is the bright, cheery spirit of the girl she thinks of now as “the first Noelle.” Stronger and savvier, the new Noelle would never be found waiting at the altar for a groom who didn’t show.
When a famous-but-mysterious architect commissions her to decorate his mansion for a holiday event, Noelle finally returns to her hometown. Even as she finds an unexpected peace in facing ghosts from the past, her fiercely private client disturbs her. Michael Holliday is kind and considerate, but far too handsome…and hauntingly familiar.
Holliday didn’t choose Noelle to make his home a Christmas wonderland by accident. She’s the only one who can do the job he has in mind—and he hopes she’ll never leave. But he’s hiding a secret that could destroy any chance of a relationship with the beautiful decorator.
A false persona. A shattering secret. Can love break down these insurmountable walls?

Sounds like a wonderful story. 
I'm so thrilled to have shared this time with you!
Thanks Delia!!

Thank you, Nancy!

Here's a short bio for Delia, along with her social and purchase links:

Delia Latham is a born-and-bred California gal, now living in East Texas with her husband Johnny. She’s a Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister, friend, and author of inspirational romance. But above all, she treasures her role as child of the King and heir to the throne of God. She’s got a “thing” for Dr. Pepper and absolutely loves hearing from friends and readers.
Follow Delia at any of the following locations:


Delia Latham said...

Thank you for allowing me to hang out with you and your readers, Nancy! It was fun answering your questions and getting a feel for who you are, as well. I meant to ask a question of readers at the end of my interview, and I forgot. Maybe a few of them will see it here, and open a bit of discussion.

The forces of evil seem to grow stronger and more gripping with each day. Have you ever experienced severe spiritual oppression, and how did you overcome it?

Diana montgomery said...

I enjoyed the blog. I love reading books by Delia. Those are some of my favorite verses. Philippians 4:8 helped me through a rough time in my life. Also Philippians 4:13. I love how Delia takes a stand for our Lord. I know God is blessing her.

Sheryl Davis smith said...

Prayer is the only way! If we keep an open line of prayer to him he is always there to answer our prayers. It's easy in our world today to become oppressed, but God is above all evil that can surround us. His name is above all others, and he is so willing to answer, whatever the situation.

Renette steele said...

Great job Delia! Just love reading your GOD given stories!

I love Phil 4:8 my hubby had it as his license plate THR PLG. He worked in the oil field so it would really throw people and they'd ask questions about it. Great chance for him to talk to them about GOD.

Oppression; We have had a few different times in our lives and the best thing was to submerge ourselves in the word. GOD seem to lead us to words of comfort and advise. Our redeemer and councilor. Prayer is a must as well.

Delia Latham said...

Diana, thank you for stopping by! So glad you enjoyed the interview. We take that stand for our Lord together...all of us who love Him. :)

Delia Latham said...

Sheryl, you're right on target, my friend! (Sounds like we may have shared some spiritual training in our early years...) :)

Delia Latham said...

Renette, your support and loyalty are so appreciated! Thanks for stopping by - and I love your husband's license plate!!!

Sheryl smith said...

I believe we did! God is good all day everyday!

Pauline said...

Enjoyed reading the interview. You truly are an inspiration! I do so enjoy reading your books, and it's an added bonus that I "knew" you when I was younger. :-) I love telling people I have a friend who is an author! God bless you and keep writing those inspirational novels.

Delia Latham said...

Pauline, you're so sweet! Thank you for stopping in to say hello. By the way, I love that I knew YOU when you were younger too! ;)

Sheila Holman said...

Fascinating interview of such a fascinating author!! Am looking forward to reading all the Paradise Pines adventures, and The First Noelle sounds like such a delightful holiday read!! I love how Delia's books always lift my spirits and transport me to the throne of God!! He has truly gifted this amazing woman with writing in a way that instills hope and promise, and leaves the reader feeling closer to Him.

Responding to Delia's question...during numerous times in my life that I've experienced oppression, the power of prayer, God's Word, inspirational books, journaling, and the support of fellow Christians have been my lifelines.

Delia Latham said...

Sheila! How wonderful to know you've stopped by! Your visits always leave me feeling like plugging on, no matter what. :)

I agree...spiritual oppression can be overcome only through prayer, wielding the Sword of Truth (God's Word!), lots of support from Christian brothers and sisters...and whatever other tools one finds to encourage and uplift. Oppression can be devastating and debilitating in the spiritual realm, and we all should possess a toolbox of weapons to combat its effects.

Gay Lewis said...

I'm not sure which of Delia's books are my fav. All make good reading!

Jan Hall said...

I have not experienced it. I pray I don't. I liked the interview.

Delia Latham said...

Gay, you're too sweet! Thank you for stopping by.

Delia Latham said...

Jan, you are blessed! I pray you never experience spiritual oppression. It isn't something one wants to remember. So glad you enjoyed the interview!

Tanya Stowe said...

Great books and a great lady! Thanks for sharing!

KayM said...

Very interesting interview. I've always loved Psalm 51:10. It's been one of my favorite verses, since I was a child. It would be a great way to start each day. I loved Jewels for the Kingdom and I'm sure I'd enjoy your other books. Blessings...

Delia Latham said...

Thank you, Tanya! I appreciate you coming by.

Delia Latham said...

Hi, KayM! Thank you so much for stopping in. I'm thrilled that you liked Jewels for the Kingdom, and I sincerely appreciated your review!

Deanne Patterson said...

I really enjoyed reading the interview. It's always so fun to meet new authors and learn about their books. I would be most interested in reading GoldenEyes. I can not get through my day without committing it to prayer. It gives me peace of mind in my day.

Cnnamongirl at aol dot com

Delia Latham said...

Deanne, thank you so much for stopping by, and for leaving a comment! Goldeneyes is the book of my heart. It's set in Weedpatch, the small farming community where I grew up. All the names of characters in the book - although mixed up and turned around a bit - are people who were important in my life as a child. I like to think I'm a better writer now - it is to be hoped that a writer grows with every book he/she writes - but I don't know if I'll ever love a story more than Goldeneyes. Good luck in the drawing! :)