Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Welcome~ Author, Kathleen Friesen, to the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction

I met Canadian author, Kathleen Friesen through the ACFW critique groups. She has written several novels and has a heart for women’s fiction.

Let’s get to know Kathleen with a few quick get to know you questions:

Which do you prefer—M&Ms or Skittles?

M&Ms, once in a while.

Are you a cat or Dog Person?

I like both but am allergic to cats. My sweet dog is Lacy, and we got her just after Christmas last year.

Do you have a favorite Song?

It’s hard to choose, but the first one that came to mind is Great is Thy Faithfulness.

Let's learn a bit more about Kathleen's writing and her process:

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve always doodled little poems to express my feelings or investigate them, and my first published piece was a poem. Novels grabbed my “wants” when I took an online writing course that included starting a novel. The characters wouldn’t leave me alone, so I had to complete their story, which led to another, and another. And here we are!

Where do you like to write?

Usually, I’m sitting in our living room with my laptop, where I can see bits of our neighborhood.

What is your favorite childhood book?

I’ve always loved reading and read many, many books. I’d have to pick two: Little Women and Beautiful Joe.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

That also depends of what’s happening in my life. I may write for several hours, or it may just be a few minutes.

Which is your favorite book you’ve written so far? Why?

They’re all my favorites! Melody’s Song is the story that began it all, so it holds a special place in my heart. Like grandchildren, the first one grabs your heart first, but you love them all.

If someone were reading your books for the first time, which book would you recommend they start with?

Either Melody’s Song or Hearts Unfolding, since they each begin a series. Melody’s Song is followed by Nila’s Hope and Redemption’s Whisper.

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

Hearts Unbroken, book 2 in the Rockwell Chronicles, is my new release, and it shares Logan Rockwell’s and Paige Donnelly’s story. Paige has had a crush on Logan for years, but a choice she made has destroyed her dreams of ever being worthy of love. Hearts Unbroken deals compassionately and honestly with the touchy subject of abortion and its aftermath.

Hearts Unbroken releases in e-book form July 1, 2022, and I hope to have the print version ready a month later. I’m also re-releasing the first book in the Rockwell Series, a second edition with a new cover. That’s supposed to happen this summer also. When they’re all ready to go, I plan to have a sale on both!

Here is a blurb for the book:

Hearts Unbroken:
To Logan Rockwell, Paige Donnelly is his younger sister’s flirty friend—nothing more—until he rescues her from a horrific accident and yearns to be more than her hero.

Paige’s crush on Logan and dreams of catching his attention began years ago. Although the crash brought them together, her dreams died with a choice she’d made and would always regret.

Can Paige find forgiveness for what she feels is an unforgivable wrong? Can Logan be her forever hero, or will his ambition destroy their chance at lasting love?

Hearts Unbroken embraces the aftermath of abortion in this story of faith, love, and abundant grace.

Purchase on Amazon:

Do you find yourself returning to a similar theme in your novels or do you have a new message with each release?

In each of my books, faith, forgiveness and hope are vital, and I love watching my characters grow to realize that God is waiting to heal their brokenness.

Is there a certain Bible passage or verse that goes along with the theme of your book?

2 Corinthians 7:10 talks about the difference between a godly grief that leads to repentance and salvation and the worldly grief that can lead to death – such a vital difference! Paige needed to learn this lesson.

Ephesians 1:7 goes with the theme, too: In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.

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

Because Paige was a troubled character, I loved watching her grow, but I’d have to say I enjoyed Logan more. He appeared in Hearts Unfolding, and this story gave me the chance to get to know him better.

If you could be any of your characters, which one would it be? Why?

Tough question! I guess I’d love to be more like both Miss Glorie and Stacey Rockwell. Their wisdom and compassion inspire me.

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

That depends on the topic. For the Rockwell series, because the family runs a concrete business, my research is asking my in-house expert, my husband, any question I may have about that subject.

Online research is a favorite source of information, and for previous books, I interviewed police officers, social workers, tree-planting crew bosses and others.

How do you select the names of your characters?

I look up baby names for the years they would have been born and try them out. Some I have changed mid-story, because the original names didn’t fit their emerging personalities.

Thank you, Kathleen, for joining us today!

I’m excited about your book and can tell readers I enjoyed Hearts Unbroken. I love how Paige and Logan’s story begins and ends. The way God’s love and forgiveness works through Paige and Logan’s life is beautiful. Kennedy’s little boy, Levi, is a favorite of mine, he’s a sweet boy with a caring heart. Kathleen has written a wonderful story of forgiveness and starting over as Paige walks the path of grief and redemption.

I’m giving away a $15 Amazon Gift Card. Make a comment by August 10, 2022 to be entered to win.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Interview with Beth E. Westcott, with Giveaway


Greetings from hot and dry New York State! This is Kathleen L. Maher, and today I am delighted to have a fellow New York author with me, and a Scrivenings Press associate. Please help me welcome Beth E. Westcott to the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction!

Beth, thank you for joining us, especially on short notice. Congratulations on your new release! Please tell us about your newest book, A Heart’s Journey. 

 When Haleigh Abbot returns to Greenlawn, her childhood home, seeking forgiveness and renewed friendships, Willie White hires her to work in his florist shop. Drawn to Willie by his kindness, strength, and faith, Haleigh refuses to allow their relationship to go beyond friendship. Although forgiven and accepted back into the Greenlawn community, shadows of fear and guilt from the past still cling to her. When a little boy and his dog under her care are hurt in a terrible accident, she goes into an emotional tailspin.

Haleigh has held a special place in Willie’s heart since childhood. When she left Greenlawn and shut him out of her life, it hurt, but he never forgot her. Her return gives him an opportunity to win her heart, but is he willing to risk his? Will her determination to prove she can handle life’s challenges on her own stand in his way?


What has your publishing journey been like? I’m sure it was as easy as lighting a bottle rocket—soaring straight up the charts, right? Or has it been more of a long and winding road of God’s grace and inspiration?

My publishing journey has been a long, winding road. I’ve always loved books and reading. I didn’t seriously consider becoming a published writer until after I finished college. My first interest was in writing for children, and I sent in a few stories that were rejected. When my older daughter began her senior year in high school, in 1992, I took the basic course from the Institute of Children’s Literature, and then I attended the Montrose Christian Writers Conference. Wow, did I have a lot to learn!

Through the years, a few of my church programs and devotions were accepted for publication. In 2012, my short story for preteens, “Sadie and the Princess,” was accepted for publication in a multi-author collection, Heartwarming Horse Stories. My first Christian romance novel, Meadow Song, was accepted for publication by Mantle Rock Publishing in 2018, republished by Scrivenings Press in 2020. It took six years and many edits from writing to publication. Books one and two of The Three Sisters Series were published by Scrivenings in 2021 and 2022, with book three scheduled for publication in 2023.

Christian publishing has gone through many changes since I began my journey, becoming much more competitive and demanding. I’ve been tempted to give up from time to time, only to be reminded that God has called me to write.

My goal has been to glorify God and help readers through my writing. Although I write fiction, I want to reflect God’s truth.


Who are three people who have been touchstones in your writing ministry? How did they keep you, bless you, inspire you, or motivate you?

It’s difficult to choose just three.

There’s my husband, Frank, whose support has been essential. He’s good at marketing my books to friends and acquaintances, and he helps me with in-person book signings, and he attends the Montrose Christian Writers Conference with me each year, where he tends the book table. Without his willingness for me to pursue a career in writing, I couldn’t have done it.

Jim Hart, with the Hartline Publishing Agency, accepted me as a client in 2017. He connected me with Mantle Rock Publishing, and Meadow Song was published in 2018. His belief that my writing had merit kept me writing at a time when I was ready to give up. He’s no longer my agent, but I am thankful for his work on my behalf.

Marsha Hubler as an editor accepted my story to be included in her book, Heartwarming Horse Stories. Marsha wrote the Keystone Stable Series (horses and foster kids) with Zondervan and wrote and published a few romance novels. Her Tommi Pockets Series has been popular with preteens. She has a heart for God and for kids, and she’s been a friend and mentor for many years.

What is your favorite story, (book or movie) and why is it so precious to you?

I fear being asked this question because I have trouble choosing a favorite. Through the years there have been so many good books I’ve read by good authors. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice has been a favorite for many years. She wrote her characters and plot with authenticity, and she created realistic, interesting, and muti-faceted relationships,

Do you have any words of wisdom for an aspiring author who might be reading this?

Go to a writer’s conference and connect personally with the people-- the writers, editors, agents, publishers, etc.-- who are the industry experts. Be humble, but don’t be afraid to approach them and ask questions. From my experience, they are loving, caring, Christians who want to see you succeed. And, if you are called to write, keep writing! Don’t give up.

GIVEAWAY TIME! I am excited to offer a free e-book copy of Beth’s book to one lucky commenter. Winner will be drawn Tuesday, July 26. You may enter by answering Beth’s question for you.

“What are your thoughts on how you maintain a long-lasting friendship?”

 Extra entries are given if you share this post on your social media. Just comment FB, Twitter, Pinterest, or what-have-you with your answer.

 Thank you once again, Beth for joining us! How can readers find you?


A life-long lover of books and reading, A Heart’s Journey is Beth’s third contemporary Christian romance novel, after Meadow Song and Heart’s Desire. Some of her church holiday manuscripts were published in Lillenas Drama’s Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving Program Builders, and several devotions appeared in Penned from the Heart and The Secret Place.  Her short story for preteens, “Sadie and the Princess” is included in Heartwarming Horse Stories, available from Amazon.

A Heart’s Journey is the second book in the Three Sisters Series, following Heart’s Desire. The third of the Three Sisters books, Her Heart’s Longing, is scheduled to be released in July 2023.


Blessings, and good luck in the drawing, everyone!

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Meet Jessie Mattis

 Summer is here, and so is author Jessie Mattis. Her interview was filled with fun tidbits for me. Especially, her "writing shed". That had me filled with excitement. Let's find out more about her and her work. Jesse's middle grade fiction novel, Power Up, won second place the 2020 Selah Award, and also first place in the 2020 Christian Indie Awards. She's also written in other genres. Since my interest began with middle grade fiction and has moved to adult fiction, I couldn't wait to learn more in our interview. So first things first, lets get to know her by learning more about what inspires her. 

Hello Jessie. Can you tell our Diamond Miners a little about yourself?

Sure. I'm married to my best friend Chip, and we have three kids ages 14, 12, and 10. We love being together and spending time with extended family too. I love black coffee in the morning, mid-morning, and afternoon. It makes life possible...with Jesus, of course.

I know a lot of coffee drinkers. They seem to be like you! Do you have any pets to round out your crew?

Yes, we have a two-year-old labradoodle (or labradoofus, as my husband affectionately calls him) named Guster. He has the curliest hair of any dog on the planet, and keeping him groomed is a nightmare, but he's loveable and my kids adore him. We also have eight chickens, but I'm not sure I would call them pets, haha.

I'd love to hear about your writing. What is your reason for writing?

I'm always inspired to write things that will draw people closer to God. My first book, a middle grade novel called Power-Up, was written because I craved good fiction that would show mychildren how to listen to and lean into the Holy Spirit's guidance, and I found little to nothing available. I wrote it to fill the gap in what my family needed, and pary it meets that need for someone else too.

I've always heard if you're looking for a certain kind of story, and don't find it, you should write it. You did it! That's really amazing. It won the Selah Award also. What a great encouragement. What are some other things you've worked on?

Last year I contributed a short story in a book called Christmas from the Heart: A collection of Christmas Romances. My story, titled Almost Christmas Again, was inspired by a mash-up of friends and family's experiences, imagination, and a delightful vacation we once took to Colorado.

What is your current WIP, Work in Progress? Is it another middle-grade novel?

No, these days I'm working on historical fiction, and my writing is very much inspired by my own family history. For example, I'll think of a situation my grandmother faced and think, "What if...?" The story takes off from there. Always, the ultimate goal is to inspire others in their walk with God.

Have you considered writing in any other genres? You've covered a few so far!

Yes I have. Christian fiction is my broad genre, including middle grade, contemporary, and historical. I have considered non-fiction, but will probably only jump into that if I feel strongly called.

Who would you say has been the biggest influence in your writing?

Francine Rivers is the author who first made me truly love Christian fiction. Her books are truly works of art, and as a writer, it's fun to read them and study her technique.

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

The hardest part of writing is finding the time! :) As a homeschooling mom of three, my days are full, so I have to get creative to make space for writing. It is also difficult to make sure I'm somewhat following the writing "formula" for successful fiction. I see why it's important to do so, but I don't always like it.

As a former homeschool mom, I can relate to how hard it would be to find time to write. I didn't begin writing fiction until many years after my girls left home. Do you have a favorite spot to write?

Two years ago, my sweet husband, dad, brother-in-law, and friend transformed our run-down garden shed into a writing shed, complete with mini fridge and coffee bar. It's one of my favorite places in the world, and it's the easiest place for me to focus and get my work done.

A writing shed?! I'm so jealous. Well, I guess I shouldn't say jealous but how exciting for you to have such a great spot! So, are you a night owl or an early bird out in your writing shed?

Night owl! My head is clearest when the entire family is in bed and I only have one thing to focus on.

Tell us about your all time favorite book.

Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry by Mildred D. Taylor is one of those childhood books that really stuck with me, so I'll always call that one a favorite. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin is probably my all-time favorite, which is funny because I generally have a hard time getting into books from that period.

Let's change direction for a minute and talk turkey, or whatever else you like to cook. Do you like to cook? Tell us some of your favorites.

I don't love to cook, but I do it! I'd rather be doing something else. I prefer simple, tasty things, like throwing a roast in the crock-pot with carrots and potatoes. Baking is a different story; I much prefer baking to cooking. It can be difficult because I try to limit sweets so I'm constantly making substitutions...but all bets are off in December. :) I have also developed my cake-decorating skills over the years, and that's a lot of fun for me. 

Thanks Jessie for a wonderful chat. I look forward to reading your next novel, whatever the genre might be.

For a chance to win Jessie's book, Power Up, enter the rafflecopter below.

To connect with Jessie, check out her website. She also has a free e-book available there! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway