Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Small Town Romantic Suspense with Lori Altebaumer (and book giveaway!)

Hello, readers! Drive your 4-wheelers, your golf carts, and your lawn tractors up here in my back yard. Park there, next to the the burn pile or the stump. Then let's sit on the porch a spell, 'cause I'm bringing you a Texas author this week, specializing in small town romantic suspense. Now, if that don't peek your interest, you know, suspenseful mayhem in a small, sleepy town, what would? And I'm especially fond of small towns. Everyone welcome in Lori Altebaumer! 

Book giveaway following the interview!


PT: Howdy, Lori. Good to have you. Let the readers know what lured you to writing and what genre do you write in?

LA: An overactive imagination and a love for story are probably the two factors most responsible for “luring me into writing.” Saying I was lured almost makes it sound like a devious form of trickery was involved… ha-ha! There are times when that might feel like a more accurate description. Writing is a painfully exposing thing to do. And when you’ve lived your life trying to hide all your imperfections, it’s difficult to start putting them on permanent display. But honestly, all I can say to this question is that I can’t not write.

Romantic Suspense is an unexpected choice for my genre. I willingly admit I’m afraid of things that go bump in the night, and I pass out at the sight of blood. But I’m passionate about the message of good overcoming evil. We may not get to see it this side of heaven, but I am confident that it does. Until then, we all have a unique role to play in the larger story God is telling. Like the characters in my books, we can choose to embrace those roles or run from them.

 PT: Yep. Hard to hide in these small towns. So tell us some difficulties you’ve had to overcome to become a writer.

LA: DOUBT has been the biggest obstacle for me to overcome. I doubt I have anything to say worth reading. I doubt could I ever write an entire book. I doubt I’ll be able to learn enough in the time I have left. Trust me when I say, not even Thomas could out doubt me. But when the desire became too strong to ignore, I took one brave little step by attending a small writing conference close to home.  I even entered a piece of writing in their contest. I didn’t win, but I placed second. And I was able to sit down with an agent who was very encouraging. It was a small drop of confidence, but it was enough to keep me going. And that’s what I would say to anyone who dreams of writing. The Christian writing community is filled with others who can help you up at each step… and talk you off the ledge when you need that too.

 PT: Do you have a favorite theme you focus on in each book? What about your new one, A Far Way to Run?


LA: For my first two novels, the theme grew and materialized as I discovered the story for myself. I think it’s because God wants to teach me something through my own exploration of the story. My first novel, A Firm Place to Stand, dealt with a theme of forgiveness. A Far Way to Run is more about understanding the “for such a time as this” truth in our lives. Sometimes we just have to say, “Yes this happened but it doesn’t define me or determine my worth.” Overall, when I write I have in mind the idea that I want women, no matter what their past or present circumstances, to know that they can overcome, that they have truly been created for such a time as this. They are more capable than they realize.

 PT: Give us a little insight to the setting, plot, and yummy tidbits of A Far Way to Run.

LA: A Far Way to Run is set in the small West Texas town of Turnaround. I grew up in such a town and my roots will always keep me connected to the people who live and work and make their homes in rural Texas towns like my imaginary Turnaround. The sense of community there is almost a character of its own.

This book is about a woman who left town carrying with her a terrible secret. It has transformed her life, but has the transformation been a good one? She returns for the funeral of an old friend and finds herself in the middle of a series of events she couldn’t have expected. These events will force to her to decide who she really wants to be and the kind of life she is meant to live. A jaded ex-boyfriend, a wayward brother, and a teenager on the brink of pain she doesn’t see coming would be more than enough conflict and turmoil for most people. But she also manages to stumble into the middle of a human trafficking ring that first gets her shot, then gets her stalked. Of course, the antisocial stranger who rents her grandparents’ old house is attractive in ways she’s not comfortable with. And the feeling is mutual. And did I mention the town mascot, Buster the steer?

 PT: Buster the steer? Interesting. Here we just do with cats. Lots of cats. Do you have a current favorite Bible verse?

LA: While writing this book “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) kept showing up all around me. I heard it in sermons, read it in devotions, and saw it painted on the outside walls of brick buildings (seriously). These past few years have been trying and difficult for people, but God isn’t surprised that this is the time we live in and the circumstances we face. He knew what we would be walking through, and we can take comfort in knowing we were each created specifically for such a time as this.

 PT: Tell us a bit about your favorite things:

 Coffee, Tea, or Water? Iced tea.

M&Ms or Skittles? Oddly enough, I was never a real fan of either, although if I had to choose, I suppose it would be M&Ms. Of course, now that I’ve attained a certain age, it’s carrot sticks for me.

Cat or Dog Person? Dog… I currently have a hilarious little buddy, a long-haired Dachshund named Badger. But don’t tell him he’s a dog. He’s convinced he’s one of us.

Favorite Song? O Holy Night. I listen to this song year-round.

Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter? It’s tie between Spring and Fall. I live in Texas, so the heat keeps me from loving summer. And we don’t really get much winter. Winter is really just a second Fall with a few really cold days that I will be completely unprepared for.

 PT: Tell us 5 things about Lori Altebaumer that have nothing to do with writing:

LA:

1. Even though I am a lifelong Texas, I don’t like sweet tea. I live in constant fear that they might revoke my residency status for this serious character flaw.

2. I have ridden on a camel. It has given me an all-new level of respect for the three Wiseman and the journey they made. 

3. I have held a Bible that was brought over by the Pilgrims on the Mayflower.

4. I once took a road trip from Texas to Colorado with two other women. Now I tell people that’s how I ended up in prison LOL! It was on this trip that I met a lady who is involved with the Called to Change Women’s Prison Ministry. God’s persistent urging on my heart led me to join the ministry.

5. One of my favorite sounds is the laughter of my grandsons. A close second is when they call out for “Nana.”

 PT: Tell us where your writing is leading you next.

LA: When you don’t know who you are, you start questioning why you are or where your life is headed. And you start believing that any road will take you home.

This is the overarching thought that is guiding me in my next story. This experience will be different from the others in that I felt the theme early on. Over the past few years, many people have sort of lost their way in a world that is changing faster than most of us can keep up. What are we supposed to do when everything we thought we knew about our future becomes uncertain and often just impossible? This story will center around a child’s abduction and a town’s need to overcome its divisive past. Again, I’ve placed it in rural Texas and populated it with characters representative of the small town Texas mindset. But the real question will be how my heroine decides to face life… with a larger purpose than herself or merely as something to be survived.

PT: Sounds like an intriguing start! Thanks so much for joining us this week.


Lori is giving away one copy of her new book, A Far Way to Run to one blessed person who leaves a comment (with email) or enters on our contact form.

Curious about how to buy Lori's books? Check out these links:

Bookbaby

Amazon

Book-A-Million

Thanks for driving by my house. That's two cars, y'alls' small town ATV's and a five cats for today's traffic. A regular bumper-to-bumper day. Hey, take some tomatoes and some of those hot peppers before you go. We're swimming in them right now. And here's grandma's salsa recipe. Don't forget to drop off me off some of your brown eggs next time through. See y'all soon!

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Interview with Hope Bolinger, co-author of Finding Harmony!

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 Hope Bolinger, co-author of Finding Harmony!

Hope Bolinger is a Managing & Acquisitions Editor at End Game Press.

More than 1300 of her works have been featured in various publications ranging from Writer's Digest to Keyes for Kids to HOOKED to Crosswalk.com.

She has worked for various publishing companies, magazines, newspapers, and literary agencies and has edited the work of authors such as Jerry B. Jenkins and Michelle Medlock Adams.

Twenty-one of her books are under contract or out now with traditional publishers, and she hopes more of her stories will find a home soon. She has also contributed to ten other books.

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?

Alas, I am allergic to coffee, so I will opt for tea. I do know some good teahouses in the Ohio area.

Love a good teahouse! If you could order anything in the world to eat (we can dream, can't we?), what would it be?

Baklava. Every time. It’s such a high-maintenance dessert to make, so if you have any, I’ll take some.

I wish I did because that sounds really good right now! Where is your favorite place to write, and why is that your favorite place?

I’m not insanely picky, but I do like somewhere quiet. I am sadly not one of those coffee shop writers. I would get too distracted.

Quiet is always a plus! Do you have an odd habit that is only explained by your bookish, writer tendencies? Safe space. ;-)

I know way too many useless facts, and may spout them at random times. It earns me several odd looks for sure.

Haha! Love that! What inspired you to write Finding Harmony?

Alyssa Roat and I both are musicians, and we had experienced burnout from saying “yes” to too many things. We realized many people in their twenties struggle with the same ordeal. We’ve all been told that if we ever say “no” in an artistic endeavor, we’d get blacklisted from said arts industry. So we wanted to create two characters who play music, for a good cause, but struggle to play what they want. Or to give into the crowd. It was a really personal work for both of us.

That's so relatable! What led you to write in this genre?

It’s funny, because Alyssa and I wouldn’t have pegged ourselves as sweet romance gals a few years ago. We do enjoy romance, but had never thought about writing it. Then we wrote some YA romance together, and we wanted to challenge ourselves by trying on a new genre. We ended up falling in love (buh dum tssh) with it.

Love how you both challenged yourselves! What message do you hope to convey to your readers?

In Finding Harmony, we want to show that it’s okay to say no to the things that will lead to burnout, especially in artistic endeavors. We live in a society that doesn’t respect borders. So it’s fine to say no to excessive productivity, and take time to just enjoy things for what they are, not what monetary gain they can get you.

Absolutely LOVE this message! Can you tell us a little about your next project(s)?

Absolutely! The third book in the Roseville Romances, Curtain Call, releases this November. If you love sweet, Christmas romances, this’ll be right up your alley. I also have a contemporary YA out next spring with End Game Press, A Country of Their Own. If you were a fan of the movie The Notebook, I have a feeling you’ll really like this book.

Ooo! I can't wait to read them! Do you have a favorite Bible verse or story that inspires you on a soul level? 

I feel like it always changes based on my morning devotionals. I will say that lately I’ve really enjoyed the story of Joseph in Genesis. It’s crazy to think how much time he waited on the Lord, and how the Lord provided in such a big way. We live in a I-want-it-now culture, so the story of Joseph is reminding me about how sometimes good things take a long time to come, and that doesn’t make the Lord any less good or any less holy.

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

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk. I’ve been on a middle grade binge lately, and I love the idea of a Great Depression book set in the wilderness. It’s beautifully written, too.

How fun! 

Thank you for answering all of my prying questions, Hope!

Check out Hope's new release, Finding Harmony!


Elijah can't seem to catch a break with his church's congregation. As a worship leader, he struggles to find a way to make everyone happy, especially Don, a man who drove out the last worship leader.

Liv says yes to everything, music lessons, extra shifts at She Brews, to the point where she can't seem to maintain her balance, literally and figuratively. Too bad jobs keep falling through and bills keep piling up.

Together they'll enter an indie songwriting competition, with a Grand Prize amount of $20,000, enough money to help Liv's dad recover and pay his hospital bills. 

But winning the competition might mean losing themselves in the process. They'll have to find a way to strike harmony between writing songs they love and songs the audience actually wants to hear.

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

Hugs!

~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 daughters. Connect with Joy via www.vjoypalmer.com!