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Posts Tagged ‘Christian romance’

51yrkeijldlThe Reluctant Duchess is the second book in the Ladies of the Manor series by Roseanna M. White. I thought the first one — The Lost Heiress — was a great read, and wondered if the sequel would be as good. It did not disappoint.

In this second story, we meet Rowena Kinnaird, the daughter of the proud and harsh Earl of Lochaber, also chief of the Scottish clan Kinnaird. In order to retain both titles, he offers Rowena, his heir, to Malcolm Kinnaird, who is heir to the chiefdom of the clan. However, when Malcolm treats Rowena shamefully, she tries to disappear inside herself.

Rowena’s maid, Lilias Cowan, a distant relative and loyal friend, conspires with Rowena’s father to protect Rowena from Malcolm.

Rowena is terrified of men, including her new husband. He, however, is committed to the Lord Jesus, and does his upmost to calm her fears and give her time to come out of her shell. It’s a long and bumpy journey, fraught by intrigue, pride, jealousy and greed from several quarters.

This novel is written in a manner fitting the time and place: Scotland and England in 1912. Rowena’s speech, clothing and manners are contrasted with that of the proper English aristocracy, in which she finds herself.

The reader is treated to a strong sense of place, whether in the wild wind and slashing rain of the Scottish Highlands or the staid English gardens and homes.

I enjoyed these contrasts, as well as the intensity of the plot as it progressed with several unexpected twists. But most of all, I was drawn into the beautiful love story between two strangers: the fear and anger on one side, the patience and unconditional love on the other.

Book Three, A Lady Unrivaled is now also available on Amazon.

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Today it’s my pleasure to welcome author Carolyne Aarsen to my blog. Carolyne is a fellow Canadian, so we’ll include a hooray for Canada!

JANICE: Thanks for agreeing to do this interview with me, Carolyne. I’m excited for the readers of my blog to meet you.head-shot-copy

To start, how long have you been writing and how did you come to it?

CAROLYNE: I’ve been writing since 1991 after I took a writing course and went on to publish a weekly column in our local paper. That paid for another writing course, which helped me craft my first romance novel. I sold that in April of 1997 – almost twenty years ago!! – and I’ve been going strong since. I’ve always loved reading and, as many writers, I came to a point where I figured I could write easily as good as the author whose book I just read.

JANICE: Who are some of the people who most influenced your decision to write?

CAROLYNE: I loved reading books by Mary Stewart and I knew I wanted to create the same world she did. I was also encouraged by a children’s author who had come for a library visit — I wish I could remember her name — she was the one who gave me the push when I told her, somewhat apologetically, that I wanted to write Christian romance. She said to me, “Well, why not? Of course you can write this.” So I did. Sigmund Brouwer was also an inspiration as was Linda Hall, who also came from a small town and had been published.

JANICE: That’s a great example of determination and courage. What’s your preferred genre?

CAROLYNE: I love writing romance but love reading murder mysteries and women’s fiction.

JANICE: Why do you write? What’s your motivation?

CAROLYNE: It’s my identity. Who I am. What gets me out of bed in the morning. I sometimes think I would love to quit but then try to imagine what my day would look like. Oh sure, I would probably goof off on the internet the first couple weeks or so, go visiting, do some shopping and then I would start thinking about characters or something I would read would make me wonder and soon I would be coming up with a story. May as well skip the goofing off and keep writing.

JANICE: That’s exactly how I feel too. So how and where do you write? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

CAROLYNE: I write in my office mostly. Sometimes outside on my laptop if it’s a nice day and words won’t flow. Sometimes on my couch for the same reason but mostly in my office. And I am a plotter to the n’th degree. I’m too distractable to write by the seat of my pants. I would run madly off in all directions. I do all the brainstorming and playing around in the outlining stage but then, once that’s done, it’s off to work and following the outline.

JANICE: Where do you get your ideas? What inspires you?

CAROLYNE: Ideas are always floating around. Sometimes it’s a picture, a song, a movie, something in a television show that gets me thinking and wondering. Inspiration? Deadlines. Truly.

JANICE: How do you research and how do you know you can trust your sources?

CAROLYNE: I do a lot of ranch stories so I have a base of knowledge that I work from, plus my husband is a great resource. I know what I don’t know and try to fill in the gaps by talking to other people. I found out from one fellow that stopped by our house that he used to be a saddle bronc rider and so I quizzed him about all kinds of stuff. We go to horse shows and training events and I’m always asking questions.

JANICE: Sounds like the coming together of life and work. What do you like most / least about writing?

CAROLYNE: The least? The relentlessness of it. Deadlines. Having to work every day in order to produce. The most? That fun buzz I get when my book is done and I can send it off to my editor. That other buzz when my editor gets back to me and tells me that she LOVES my book.

JANICE: We all know that books don’t usually sell themselves. What are some of the best methods of promoting your work?

CAROLYNE: Harlequin does so much promo for me that I couldn’t begin to replicate but I do my small part with Twitter blasts (though I don’t spend as much time there lately) Facebook and my blog (which I’ve neglected). Lately I’ve been getting into building my mailing list so that’s been one. I’ve also branched into indie publishing on the side so e-mail lists are crucial. I do contests on my site and that seems to help with the list. With the indie publishing, I’m slowly working my way into that. I’ve done some paid promo, which has done well.

JANICE: What are your favorite / most effective social media?

CAROLYNE: I like Facebook. It’s fun and easy and I get it. I don’t have a ton of followers so I don’t know how effective it is.

JANICE: Here’s a big question I wrestle with: How do you balance professional time with personal time?

CAROLYNE: Hard to find a balance sometimes but I do hold to a work schedule. I start at 9:00 in the morning and work until 4:30 or 5:00 depending on whether leftovers are on the menu for supper or I have to start from scratch.

JANICE: Ah yes, that incessant need for meals.

I believe that reading is extremely important for a writer. What are you currently reading? Do you prefer digital or print?

CAROLYNE: I am reading two books. One on my Kindle called Red by Joy Ohagwu, and one print book called Ordinary Grace. This is the second time I’m reading Ordinary Grace and it’s as lovely as the first time.

JANICE: What are some of your favorite things? What makes you unique?

CAROLYNE: I like dolls and making doll clothes. Also love making cards and paper crafts. I like my camera and taking pictures and fooling around with them, though I don’t spend as much time on it as I’d like. Unique? I don’t know. I’ve been me so long this is what ordinary feels like. I talk a lot when I’m out and about but that’s not unique, that’s rather boring at times. For the listener I’m thinking. I procrastinate, but that’s not unique. I guess I’m just me.

JANICE: “Just me” is good! What keeps you going in your writing career?

CAROLYNE: I love being able to produce a book that gives someone else some joy and some moments of happiness. Sometimes though it’s just the basic reality of needing to make a living.

JANICE: How is your faith reflected in your writing?

CAROLYNE: I always like to make my characters deal with things I struggle with. Forgiveness. Joy. Contentment. As I read my Bible, listen to other Christians talk about their faith life, listen to sermons, I’m always thinking that this could be something my characters could deal with. If I struggle with it, I know my characters would.

JANICE: What are some things you’ve learned from your own writing?

CAROLYNE: Persistence. Stick to the work and fight resistance. Do what’s in front of you and don’t look too far ahead.

JANICE: What is your ultimate writing goal?

CAROLYNE: To write a book that so connects with readers that they tell everyone else “you have to read this book” and then everyone else does.

JANICE: I love that!

Do you have any advice for beginning writer?

CAROLYNE: Read. Study the genre you want to write in. Treat it with respect. Take courses. There are so many online there’s really no excuse not to. Study the good writers and try to figure out what about their stories makes you want to keep reading. Listen to criticism and don’t take it personally. Write. Write. Write.

JANICE: Thank you so much, Carolyne, for spending time with us today and for giving us a glimpse into your life and your writing. Blessings as you continue to create good Christian romance.

Here is one of Carolyne’s books: For her extensive list of others, click HERE or google her name: Carolyne Aarsen.51kaigmjbwl-_sy346_

 

 

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51uvZAWyVxLThe Red Door Inn is the first book in the Prince Edward Island Dreams series, so we can look forward to more experiences with this fine set of characters. This first book is endorsed by Max Lucado, Colleen Coble and Becky Wade, so I was expecting a well-written tale, and I was not disappointed.

Marie Carrington is troubled and alone, running from a traumatic experience that has left her unable to trust anyone. She meets Jack Sloane on the ferry to Prince Edward Island and he offers her a temporary place to stay. Jack is an older man who is determined to carry out his dear late wife’s wishes to transform the place he’s bought into a B&B.

Jack’s nephew, Seth Sloane, also lives at the B&B. Trying to get back on his feet after his fiancé conned him out of his construction business and everything he owned, Seth is severely suspicious that Marie is up to stealing everything from his too-trusting uncle.

Even though Marie and Seth feel strong attraction to each other, their past experiences won’t allow them to trust.

Several other of the village’s unique inhabitants play parts in this captivating story of the healing power of Christ’s love and His plan for His children.

My favorite character is Jack, who trusts people and believes the best in them, even putting himself and his inn at risk to help them. Marie’s gifted interior design abilities piqued my interest, and also brought the setting into greater focus.

I found both the cover and the title intriguing, as well as the setting. As a Canadian, I’m happy to see a series set in my country. I’ve visited PEI, and it’s a completely different pace of life than the mainland. The author has done an excellent job of portraying that.

Johnson’s writing is tight and clean, the characters are realistic—I especially love the quirks that differentiate them from one another—and I learned to love them as I read. The author uses tension well, from hidden secrets to romance, from financial struggles and time constraints to trust issues.

I love it when the first chapter of the next book in the series is featured at the end of the story. Looks like the next part of the series will focus on one of the secondary characters from the first book: chef Caden. I look forward to more time spent at The Red Door Inn.

This book is published by Revell and I would classify it as a Christian Romance. A worthwhile read. For more information on Liz Johnson and her writing, visit her website.

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