Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Interview and GIVEAWAY with Starr Ayers, Author of For the Love of Emma and Emma's Quest!

Hi, guys! V. Joy Palmer here! Since we are all friends here, you guys can call me Joy. ;-) And one of my favorite things to do is talk with my friends at coffee shops then head to the bookstores. Yes, plural. After all, books and yummy drinks are the perfect combination! 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. <3

Today we are going to pry into the private life of CHAT with Starr Ayers, author of For the Love of Emma and Emma's Quest!

Starr is a third-generation artist, an award-winning author, Jesus follower, incurable night owl, java junkie, rainbow chaser, Bible study leader, retreat speaker, and avid iPhone photographer who seeks to make the ordinary extraordinary.

She began her writing journey in 2011 and cut her teeth on learning the craft through writing devotions. She has contributed to two published anthologies: Hopelifter: Creative Ways to Spread Hope When Life Hurts, and Reasons to Smile, Celebrating People Living with Down Syndrome, and in December 2020, Mountain Brook Ink released her debut novel, For the Love of Emma. Its sequel, Emma’s Quest, releases April 5, 2022.  Starr is in the process of co-authoring a book with Stephanie Pavlantos — Room at the Table: Stories of Encouragement from Special Needs Families. The release date is TBA.

Starr is a member of a Word Weavers International online critique group and attends several Christian writers conferences a year, where her devotions and debut novel have garnered numerous awards. She wrote a devotional page for Thrive magazine for seven yearsa monthly magazine distributed throughout central North Carolina. She currently writes a monthly devotion for an area newspaper, The Randolph Hub. 

She attended Atlanta School of Art and Guilford Technical Institute and holds a degree in commercial graphics. Before retiring in 2002, she owned and operated her own company through which she sold her art prints and stationery nationwide. She is active in her church, has served on several special-needs client rights committees, and has led a women’s Bible study in her community since 2003.

Starr lives with her husband, Michael, in Asheboro, North Carolina, and they have two adult daughters and a son-in-love.

Connect with Starr on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, and Bringing Life into Focus Blog!

Interview ~

This may be the most important question I ask -- no pressure or anything, LOL! 

*drum roll*

What are you drinking in our virtual coffee house? Coffee? Tea? Hot chocolate? Something else altogether?

Without a doubt—coffee. Although I’m a sweetaholic, one thing I don’t want sweetened is my coffee. I do insist on a bit of cream and a tablespoon of coconut oil, though. I suppose I could start my day without coffee, but I like being able to remember things—like words and speak in coherent sentences.

LOL! I completely understand. If you could order anything in the world to eat (we can dream, can't we?), what would it be?

If I don’t have to cook it, I’m happy with most anything outside of things that taste fishy. If I must choose, it would probably be a pasta dish. Olive Garden’s Ravioli di Portobello in a creamy sundried tomato sauce with salad and garlic breadsticks sounds pretty good to me right now. But if the truth was known, I’d eat dessert first—chocolate. Yes—anything chocolate. 

Yum! Where is your favorite place to write, and why is that your favorite place? 

I have a lovely writing space on the second floor of our house. It sits over the garage, so I have a birds-eye view of our driveway and the road. I enjoy that perspective, but it’s not my favorite place to write. Usually, you will find me stretched out with my laptop on the L-shaped sectional in our family room. My resource materials spread out around me. It’s unorthodox, I know, but I don’t feel as isolated. I’ve found I can write anywhere and prefer to be in the same room as my husband in the evening. In warmer weather, I like to write outside. Either at the table on the back porch or on the patio near our lake.

Both spots sound lovely. Do you have an odd habit that is only explained by your bookish, writer tendencies? Safe space. ;-)

Perhaps hauling a red stool around in the back of my car, carrying it down city streets, and across sandy beaches to photograph it could be considered quirky. I’ve certainly gotten quite a few looks that indicate it probably is.

Years ago, my husband salvaged a red chrome stool from my aunt’s estate. Although it sat in the corner of our garage for years, I’d failed to notice it until a few years ago, when we pulled into the garage after church. The moment I saw the stool, I envisioned a series of inspirational photos with the stool as the subject. I pulled it from the corner, carried it out into the sunlight, and took a series of pictures before I ever entered the house. I love iPhone photography, and taking the stool out for a photoshoot is one way I like to wind down. Odd? I suppose. But for me—not so much. I’m in the process of adding these photos to my “Bringing Life into Focus” blog at

How fun! What inspired you to write Emma's Quest?

Emma’s Quest, Book 2 in my Dream Beyond Tomorrow series, is the sequel to For the Love of Emma. The two-book series was inspired by a box of letters I found in my mother’s trunk a couple of years after she died.

In 1938-1940, my mother worked as a waitress at the Rainbow Restaurant in Fayetteville, North Carolina. While there, she met a soldier from neighboring Fort Bragg, and they planned to marry. After reading this young man’s letters to our mother, my sister and I knew they contained the seeds of a fascinating novel.

What an amazing story! What led you to write in this genre?

I was a devotion writer, and I’d never entertained thoughts of writing fiction. At times I’d struggle to write 500 words for a devotion, so thoughts of writing 85,000+ words for a novel overwhelmed me. When God called me to write fiction, no one was more surprised than me —but I’m happy he did. I’ve worn many hats during my life, but beyond being a wife and mother, none have fulfilled me as much as writing—especially writing fiction.

After writing The End to my series, I found it hard to say goodbye to my characters. So I recently wrote the first of hopefully several short stories about them. My goal is to write a story on each of my main characters and gift them to my blog subscribers. There’s also something else in the works centered around these stories, but it’s too early to spill the beans.

Love when God calls us into the unexpected! What message do you hope to convey to your readers? 

Christian principles and values are woven throughout my series; however, I’d like to convey personally to readers of this interview that we’re never too old to begin something new. I was sixty-three when God called me to write, and my first book, For the Love of Emma, was released on my 72nd birthday. We can’t outgive or outdream God. His dreams are far greater than anything we can ever ask, think, or imagine for ourselves. This is why I reference Ephesians 3:20-21 in every book I sign.

That's a powerful message. Can you tell us a little about your next project(s)?

Yes. I’m glad you asked. The ink was barely dry on Emma’s Quest when God gave me a glimpse of the next thing he had in mind for me.

After hearing author, Stephanie Pavlantos share her story on PJNET.TV about the challenges of rearing a special needs son, I reached out to her. As the mother of a daughter with Down syndrome, I could relate to her on every level.

Today, we are co-authoring a book titled Room at the Table: Stories of Encouragement from Special Needs Families. Again, it’s another out-of-the-box assignment from the Lord, but we are incredibly excited to not only share our stories but over fifty stories from families members, guardians, and caregivers of those with special needs. This collection of life stories is rooted in the 2 Samuel account of King David, who extended kindness to Jonathan’s disabled son, Mephibosheth, granting him a seat at the king’s table.

Our vision is to increase awareness of how mental and physical disabilities impact families and those who care for them. We aspire to promote understanding, diminish fears, and provide suggestions for ways those who know and love special needs individuals and families can minister to them. 

What a gift! This news blesses my heart so much! Do you have a favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level?

Oh my, there are so many. Each season and life challenge seems to usher in a Scripture verse that God uses to encourage and sustain me. I could never have written two novels without God’s inspiration and guidance. A verse I reference when signing my first book, For the Love of Emma, is Ephesians 3:20-21: Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”

How true! What are you currently reading? Inquiring minds -- mine! -- want to know! ;-)

Although I have little time to read, I always have a stack of books at my fingertips and prefer to read in my genre. Currently, I’m reading Avenue of Betrayal, Spies of the Civil War by Sandra Merville Hart. For years, Sandra was in my online Word Weavers critique group, so reading her books and sharing in her success is especially meaningful. 

It's so fun to support fellow writers and celebrate with them! Thank you for answering all of my prying questions, Starr!

Giveaway ~

Starr has generously offered a paperback copy of For the Love of Emma, Book 1 in her Dream Beyond Tomorrow series!

For The Love of Emma

Dream Beyond Tomorrow Book 1

“I dreamt of Noah last night. He was going to ask me to marry him….”

A rose-covered grave, seventy-nine letters, and a scribbled note unearth

buried emotions and the timeless beauty of first love.

When Caroline Myers discovers a box of letters in her deceased mother’s trunk, she’s captivated by the romance that unfolds between her mother, Emma Rose Walsh, a nineteen-year-old waitress, and Noah Anderson, a handsome young soldier.

Determined to read between the lines, Caroline and her sister, Kate, set out on a search that leads them to the North Carolina foothills and the padlocked gate of the Anderson family cemetery. Will the one who holds the key keep them from unearthing long-buried secrets and fulfilling a request their mother tucked inside the box sixty-four years earlier? Will they find closure—or encounter a surprising revelation that plunges them deeper into the past?

Based on a true story from the author’s family.

Purchase For the Love of Emma HERE!

Emma’s Quest

Dream Beyond Tomorrow Book 2

This time, she’ll cling tighter, pray harder,

and fight longer for the man she loves.

When Caroline Myers and her sister Kate find a wilted red rose on their mother’s headstone, the door to Emma Rose Walsh’s past swings open.

AS THE DARK CLOUDS OF WAR escalate in Europe, Emma leaves her North Carolina home and the soldier whose heart has never stopped longing for hers. However, when Andrew Brown, the charming Scotsman who’d won her affection, fails to meet her train in Chicago, Emma questions her hasty decision. Hundreds of miles now separate her from all that’s familiar and the people she loves.

Has she misread Drew? Did her rush to heal her past prompt her to dismiss warning bells and ignore common sense?

Perhaps her sister is right—happy endings are only found in fairy tales.

Based on a true story from the author’s family.

Purchase Emma's Quest HERE!

Rules, Info, and Such ~

The author is giving away a paperback copy of For the Love of Emma!

This giveaway is open to the US! 

This giveaway will close on 4/8/2022 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. This will only be done once. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

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

See you next time, and God bless you guys!!!


~V. Joy Palmer

V. Joy Palmer loves to write romantic and comedic stories that proclaim God’s deep love for us. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and an avid blogger. In her spare time, Joy loves to sing (especially Disney songs), drink large quantities of coffee, and take flowery photos for Bookstagram. When Joy isn’t fighting with fictional people, she’s hanging out with her husband and their adorable little girl. Connect with Joy via!

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Welcome Sarah Loudin Thomas

Win a signed copy of Sarah's book by leaving a comment.

I've read several of Sarah's books and loved them all. Her latest, The Finder of Forgotten Things is a wonderful story she'll tell us about in this interview. She's also giving away a signed copy of her new book. Post a comment about the book or the interview and be entered to win.

I asked Sarah a few fun questions. I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I do.

Do you prefer coffee, tea, or water?

Tea. I drink cups and cups of hot tea. Real tea, not that herbal stuff. Decaf, no sugar. My dad called it, “aggravated water.”

M&Ms or Skittles?

WHY would anyone choose little balls of sugar coated with food coloring over chocolate??

Cat or Dog Person?

I’m a mammal person. If it’s warm-blooded I want to get my hands on it. That said, I’m MORE a dog person. I have to leave the room if there’s a service dog I can’t pet. We just gaze at one another longingly mourning all the belly rubs and ear scratches going to waste.

Favorite Song?

Theme from a Summer Place by the Percy Faith Orchestra. It’s the loveliest thing I’ve ever heard. I just went and played it because of this question.

Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?

I used to be all about fall but as I get older, I’m leaning more toward spring. I adore wildflower hunting in Appalachia and April/May is the best time for that.

Here we'll hear more about Sarah's latest book:

Do you have a new release you'd like to tell us about?

I recently released The Finder of Forgotten Things—a story about a water dowser who’s really more of a scam artist. The story is centered around the Hawks Nest Tunnel disaster in West Virginia—the worst industrial accident in US history that hardly anyone has ever heard about. I’d been wanting to build a story around it for a long time and finally found the right one. It was challenging since the tragedy of the tunnel was never really redeemed, but several readers have commented on how hopeful they found the story in spite of its sad background—so I like to think I did alright!

Did you enjoy creating one character more than another? If so, why?

My favorite characters are always the ones that are most flawed! Which means, in Finder, it was Sulley Harris. He’s loosely based on my great Uncle Celly (Marcellus) who was quite a scoundrel in our little community. My great Aunt Bess, who remembered him, once told me he liked to draw pictures but only of the devil and naked ladies. Her brother asked Celly how he knew what the devil looked like, and he said, “Seen him many a time.” Now that’s a character I HAD to put in a story! Of course, I sanded some of his rough edges and gave him a chance to be redeemed.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I started writing stories set in the 1940s and 1950s because it meant the bulk of my research was simply listening to my parents, grandparents, and their peers talk about the “old days.” I’d always loved doing that anyway and now when I needed to know, say, what sort of wood stove my character might cook on all I had to do was call up Dad and ask him what Grandma’s stove was like. Of course, Finder is set in the 1930s and, I’m sorry to say, all of my grandparents as well as my father are gone now. I still have their stories stored up in my heart, but now I need to do some actual research to go along with that. Which is no hardship since I LOVE reading about West Virgnia history. I found several books dedicated to the tunnel disaster that offered excellent information as well as online videos, articles, and more. I suppose I researched this book for several years because I kept coming back to it and reading more. And once I was writing, I’d look up specific details. I often don’t know what I need to research until I get into the story so ideally, I develop a general foundation then build on it as needed. This was the first time I offered a list of books for additional reading at the end of the novel. There’s excellent information about the tunnel disaster for anyone who wants to dig deeper.

Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Sarah is the director of Jan Karon’s Mitford Museum in Hudson, NC. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Coastal Carolina University and is the author of the acclaimed novels The Right Kind of Fool–winner of the 2021 Selah Book of the Year–and Miracle in a Dry Season–winner of the 2015 Inspy Award. Sarah has also been a finalist for the Christy Award, ACFW Carol Award, and the Christian Book of the Year Award. She and her husband live in western North Carolina. To learn more, visit

Catch up with Sarah and her latest news @

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Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Say hello to Kathi Macias, and stick around for a giveaway!


Hi, Kathi. Welcome to the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction!

 Kathleen L. Maher, here as this week's hostess. 

It’s an exciting time, with spring just around the corner, and one of my favorite holidays, St. Patrick’s Day, here. But the most exciting celebration happening is our new release coming up on the 29th, now available for preorder, Cowboy Cousins! But more about that later.

Kathi, please tell us about your writing and three fun or unique facts about yourself. 

Of the nearly sixty books I’ve had published (both fiction and nonfiction), I’ve been blessed with a few bestsellers along the way. Though semi-retired now, I still do a bit of writing, editing, and collaborative writing. I am no longer traveling for speaking engagements, but still do some occasional local speaking at churches and writers’ groups.

1.      I have been involved in prison ministry and once spent an entire day on Death Row in San Quentin.

2.      I was once introduced as Rosey Grier’s bodyguard (which probably won’t mean much to you if you aren’t at least close to my age).

3.      Back in the day, I rode a Harley with my husband, Al, and my “road name” was Easy Writer. 

I    That's amazing! I remember the football giant Rosey Grier from an episode of the Brady Bunch. Funny the associations that trigger a memory.

I was delighted when Molly Noble Bull told me you were also participating in this sweet western romance collection, because I have seen your name around the writing watering holes for years but have never had the pleasure of working with you until now. I have very much appreciated your wit, wisdom and professionalism, not to mention your talent!

I know parents aren’t supposed to have a favorite child, but if you were to have a special book baby, which one of the many stories you have written would it be and why?

That’s a tough one. For nonfiction, it would be my flagship book: Beyond Me: Living a You-First Life in a Me-First World. For fiction, it’s a toss-up between Red Ink, a novel that won the Golden Scroll 2011 Fiction Book of the Year Award and was an ACFW Carol Award finalist, and No Greater Love, which has been optioned for a movie (which, of course, may or may not ever happen).

What is one thing you know now that you wish younger you knew then when you were starting out in this writing calling/ministry/business/craft?

Oh my, so many things! I suppose, to narrow it down to one thing, it’s this: You don’t become a successful writer when you make the bestseller list, but rather when God calls you to write and you say “yes.” Taking that first step can be daunting, but obedience to God’s calling is always the first step to a successful life, whatever that calling may be.

Do you have a bucket list? If so, what does that look like?

As far as bucket-list goals in this life, I think my husband and I have achieved most everything on that list. However, my ultimate bucket-list goal is to hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Beautifully said, Kathi.

What or who has influenced and mentored your writing the most?

 I had a wonderful English and Creative Writing teacher in high school, who wrote in bright red ink on one of my essays, “So long as you can write like this, your life is on!” The best part was that he invited me to come back to my alma mater and speak to his creative writing class about my experiences.

If you had any advice for a struggling or new writer, what would it be?

I was once at a book-signing (trying to look busy and praying someone would show up) when a young man of about 16 or 17 came up to me and said, “We were studying about the history of South Africa in school, and my mom told me to read your book No Greater Love. I did, and I just want you to know that it made me want to lead a noble life.” May it always be your goal to write things that bless and honor God, as well as inspire readers to want to lead honest, pure, noble lives.

Oh, that's so moving. I'm sure he has been a blessing to many.

Cowboy Cousins is available for preorder on Kindle here for only $3.99, but on release day March 29 the price will go up to $4.99.

Please tell us about your novella, “Panhandle Sunrise.” 

I’ve never written a cowboy story before, but when one of my co-authors, Molly Noble Bull, asked me if I’d consider it, I was torn. Then she said it would be set in Texas. My hubby and I were married at the ripe old age of 18 and immediately left California to go live in Amarillo, TX (he had just joined the Air Force and was stationed there). Our two oldest sons were born there, and the Panhandle has special memories for me. I said yes, and have thoroughly enjoyed developing this story and incorporating many of those memories into it.

A Panhandle Sunrise depicts the life of Jake Matthews, 

one of three Cowboy Cousins in this book. He has only recently become foreman of a large cattle ranch just outside Amarillo. The rancher’s daughter, Anabelle, is interested in him but can’t seem to get him to respond to her in any meaningful way. Jake is completely taken with Anabelle and would like nothing better than to court her, but he feels inadequate and unworthy, so he doesn’t even try. Then a tall, handsome cowboy named Clint shows up and begins to pursue Anabelle, causing Jake to examine his own actions—or lack thereof—toward the fiery red-haired woman both he and Clint are interested in. It seems he has no chance at all until a near tragedy forces his hand….

I know our readers will thoroughly enjoy your story. There's something so appealing about a quiet, unassuming hero...

Well, these past few years have been a challenge to say the least for so many. Is there a particular message you hope readers take away from time spent with your characters, and the trials they must overcome by faith and God’s help, whether this story or others?

Like so many, Jake was raised by godly Christian parents and assumed that he too was a Christian, though he often wondered why he lacked the fire and conviction he saw in his parents and others. It wasn’t until he heard a well-known story from the Bible—one he’d heard many times before but never applied to himself—that he realized he had to take that first step toward making his faith personal. We all have to do that at some point, and as writers, we need to be sure our intentions are to enable our readers to do the same—whether for the first time or as a step toward deeper commitment.

How can people find you and follow you on social media? 

My website is and I have two Facebook pages, one personal and one an author page, both under Kathi Macias.

Finally, our readers here at DMoCF are so terrific, we love to offer them a GIVEAWAY, chosen randomly among the commenters. We will notify the winner the following Tuesday, in this case March 22, by the email they leave in the comments *youremail(at)server(dot)com* 

I will offer two signed copies of Cowboy Cousins.

Wonderful! Okay, Readers, you heard it! ***extra chances to win if you share this blog on their social media.*** Just let us know in the comments where you shared (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc) One extra entry for each share.

Kathi it has been a delight getting to know you better and collaborating with you and Molly on this project. I’m sure I speak for us all that we pray our messages of faith, hope, and love will not only entertain, but also bless many.

Molly's interview about her novella in the collection was posted on January 18, and can be read here

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Becky Van Vleet-Children's Author

Hello Diamond Miners! Our author today is one after my own heart with her children's picture books. Let's get to know her! 

Meet Becky Van Vleet, award wining author of the adorable children’s book titled Talitha, the Traveling Skirt. Becky creates a wonderful tale of a skirt that travels through a family for seventy years. Her unique story telling with this book will continue to the next book in her “Traveling Series”, Harvey, the Traveling Harmonica. She has received the Purple Dragonfly Award and the EIE Award. 

Let’s get started Becky.  Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

I'm a sixty-something newbie at writing. I've been married to my college sweetheart for forty-six years. After raising four daughters (yes, my husband survived hormone hill), we are now enjoying life as empty nesters. Our eight grandchildren are an added blessing!

How long have you been writing?

I did very little writing in my younger years. I completed writing assignments in high school and college, and that was about it. However, when I started teaching writing in my sixth-grade classes in 2005, I felt the bite of a writing bug. I enjoyed teaching writing and I worked on my own writing skills with my students cheering me on. When I retired in 2016, I finally had the time to connect my thoughts to my keyboard at a very personal level for the first time. And I’ve been writing as a hobby ever since.

Your book Talitha, the Traveling Skirt sounds adorable. Do you want to write in any other genres? 

When I wrote my first four children’s picture books, I never imagined I’d hop around with genres. But I recently completed my first adult historical novel, and I surprised myself for how much I enjoyed writing at a whole new level. My debut novel is slated to be published in 2022. I’m currently working on a devotional book. And that’s a new path for sure. But I’m quite certain I will go back to children’s picture books!

Order your copy of Becky's book here

Writers always have favorite authors. Who is your favorite author?

Going back to my childhood, Beverly Cleary, author of the Henry and Ribsy and Ramona books, unquestionably advanced my love of reading and I truly admired her. I would save my babysitting money and purchase her books for fifty cents, and my childhood book collection grew. Today, Patricia Polacco is one of my top favorite children’s book authors. I love her writing style, and I really appreciate her talent for bringing her personal family stories to light in the forms of creative books for children to enjoy.

What is the hardest part of writing a book for you?

Hands down, the hardest part for me is coming up with ideas and then expounding upon them for creative and clever writing. When I read other authors’ books, I think to myself, how did they ever come up with that idea?

Do you have a favorite spot that helps your creative juices flow?

I’m as snug as a bug in my swivel chair in front of my desk and computer. No fancy answers here! I sip on a cup of tea and tell Alexa to play classical music, and I’m good to go.

Are you a night owl writer or an early bird or some bird in between?

I typically take a walk in the morning after breakfast, and then I dig into whatever writing project I’m working on. I’ll work more after lunch as well. Not much writing comes out of me in the evenings.

If you could talk to any author for a sit-down chat, who would it be?

I’ve love to sit down with children’s book author Patricia Polacco and bend her ear for how she comes up with her ideas for her personal family stories. I’d ask her for tips for how she develops the storyline and lessons for children to learn.

Tell us about any hobbies you have before we're done today. 

I enjoy gardening, oil painting, hiking and biking around in God's great playground He designed in Colorado. Oh, and I love to eat cotton candy! 

This has been fun, Becky! Thanks for sharing your new book series with us. I look forward to future installments of your "Traveling Series". 

Diamond Miners, be sure and visit Becky's website to read some of her personal stories on her blog and check out her other books that are coming soon. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Meet Debut Author Danielle Grandinetti

One of the great things about being an author is you get to meet so many other great authors. I met Danielle Grandinetti through an editing Facebook group and then through a Word Count Sprinting group this year. Yesterday she released her prequel novella, To Stand in the Breach, and in April, A Strike to the Heart will release. Both books however are already available to purchase/preorder.

I am so excited for you to meet Danielle and to get to know this wonderful person and author.

Danielle Grandinetti is a book blogger at Her short stories have appeared in several publications and her writing has won the University of Northwestern Distinguished Faith in Writing Award. Originally from Chicagoland, she currently lives along Lake Michigan’s Wisconsin shoreline with her husband and their two young sons. Danielle especially loves quiet mornings served with the perfect cup of tea.

You can check out her landing page for To Stand in the Breach here.

Connect with her through her newsletter, on Instagram, Bookbub, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, her website, or her blog.

CC: What are you reading right now?

DG: I'm reading Malicious Intent by Lynn H Blackburn. It's the second book in the Defend and Protect series.

CC: Oh! That one is on my TBR pile. I heard the series includes the Secret Service, which sort of has a special place in my heart. ;-).

CC: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

DG: I think of my first draft like a skeleton. It’s short of my word goal and needs much fleshing out, which I do during the second draft.

CC: I just giggled at the very punny image of a skeleton and “fleshing” it out. I’m familiar with the terms, but it never fails to amuse. 🙂

CC: What is your favorite Bible verse? Why?

DG: It’s hard to narrow it down to just one, so I’ll pick a whole book. The Psalms. They always express what my heart is saying better than anything else.

CC: I do love how the Psalms really show the unrestrained emotion of man, and yet how it is always brought back to God.

CC: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

DG: Since I’m a mama of littles, I snag writing time whenever and wherever I get a chance, but mostly during naptime.

CC: Bless you! Writing with littles is so hard. I am amazed you are able to do it.

CC: What is your writing Kryptonite?

DG: Description does not come naturally to me, but it’s fun to layer it in during the editing process.

CC: Praise the Lord for editing processes, and for your willingness and desire to layer it in, even when it is hard.

In October, Danielle released her novella To Stand in the Breach as a prequel to her upcoming release A Strike to the Heart. Let’s talk a bit about the novella.

She came to America to escape a workhouse prison, but will the cost of freedom be too high a price to pay?

1933, Wisconsin – Large animal veterinarian Katy Wells takes her patients’ welfare personally, so it’s no surprise when she stands up to angry farmers planning a milk strike or takes in an injured draft horse to save its life. But after a visitor from the past discovers her location and reveals a threat, she must choose between her work and her freedom, and whether to trust a man to keep her safe.

To Stand in the Breach is the prequel novella to A Strike to the Heart, releasing April 2022 from Heritage Beacon Fiction/Iron Stream Media.

CC: Who was the most challenging character to create? What made them so difficult?

DG: The bad guy. Making his reasoning logical when it … isn’t.

CC: Villians are so challenging because they always are the hero in their minds.

CC:Which character was the most fun to create? What makes them fun?

DG: Katy. Her character began to develop while writing A Strike the Heart and I knew I had to tell her story.

CC: I love when side characters take on their own life and demand their own story.

CC: What was some of your favorite research you discovered while preparing for To Stand in the Breach?

DG: Cow health issues, such as udder infections, and the prevention and ramifications of them.

CC: That would be fascinating. . . and kind of gross.

CC: How did this story affect you as you wrote it? Did God teach you anything through the writing?

DG: Not so much taught as provided an outlet for my own wrestling through what it looks like to stand between those with power and those without in a given situation.

CC: Writing is a great way to wrestle through those tough topics!

CC: How do you select the names of your characters?

DG: In the case of the animals, Clover, Nessa, and Glenn, I purposefully chose Irish names as a nod to Katy’s Irish heritage.

CC: That is fun! I love looking up names for characters, and I love how you connected the animals to Katy’s heritage.

Thank you so much for joining me today and providing all of us with a wonderful distraction. As my final question, I have my usual “Fun Question”.

If you could travel anywhere without worry about cost, where would you travel?

DG: My list is too long! I’d probably pick New Zealand because it’s the only hemisphere I haven’t been to yet.

CC: I want to see the hobbit holes there!!! One day we will both make it!

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