NANCY LANNI CELEBRITY AUTHOR INTERVIEW

“QUEEN OF THE MONTH”

CELEBRITY AUTHOR

NANCY LANNI

Welcome! Let me pour you a cup of Ceylon Black Tea and we’ll get started. Please help yourself to an egg and olive finger sandwich. We’re having Lemon Pound Cake for dessert. Readers may find your recipes at the end of the interview.
Thank you for having me, Nancy. I just love having afternoon tea. I’ve been looking forward to having a chance to sit down and talk with you.
Tell me about your tea set.
The tea set was my grandmother’s. This is a good example of how a genealogist confirms or discredits a family story.
 
The story that went with the tea set when my mother gave it to me was that it was the set given to my grandmother by her mother when she was married in 1914. I found a contemporary newspaper article which said that her mother had given her a teapot, and people had stuffed money in it for their wedding gift to her. That much was right. Then I checked the bottom of the teapot and traced its origin. The codings identified the pattern, its date of production and the place of production. The date ended up being 1945; therefore, it wasn’t the same pot. My great grandmother died in the 1920’s. She couldn’t have bought it for my grandmother.
 
At least that one I could solve. One I’ve yet to clarify is the family story about my great great aunt who either sang in New York City in the opera or burlesque, depending on which side of the family we consult. 

Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live in Leander, TX currently. I was born and raised in Central New York where I met my husband.
Our daughter graduated from the same school district as I did. Once she was off on her own, my
husband pursued his dream of becoming a school administrator, and I followed him to downstate New
York and later out to rural Eastern Oregon where lived for 13 years. During that time I wrote daily,
developing the novel series I am now publishing.
Are you a traditionally published or Indie author?
I am an Indie author.
What are your hobbies?
I’ve been an active gardener, traveler, and cook.My main hobby now is genealogy. For 47 years I have chased down information on ancestors, mainly
in New York and New England, but I have traveled as far afield as England, Scotland, Canada, Italy
and Barbados to research. I have put together an extensive family tree which I am now publishing
on a blog at www.nancylanni.com. It’s been a satisfying hobby, and I’ve been able to view history in
some sense through my ancestors’ eyes. I love their stories.Tell us about your current book. What was your inspiration?

My current book, Ysabet I: The Two-Edged Sword, is science fiction. I was inspired to write it because
of a fascination for the character of the empath, one who senses emotion. The first I ever heard the
term was in a Star Trek episode. A number of authors have treated the subject since. Ysabet is my own
interpretation of that psychic ability.

How did you become a writer? When did you start?

As a child I told stories and wrote poetry. I didn’t begin seriously trying to write a novel until long into
my adulthood. I remember thinking to myself… What would happen if…, and it flowed from there.
Once I started, I didn’t stop.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Years… It went through many, many rewrites, and sequels and other novels filled in between. As I
learned the craft of writing, I knew I wanted to share it with others.

Where do you like to write?

I have my own library/den where both the genealogical and novel writing take place. It’s quiet at
home with a minimum of distractions, and I have all my tools at hand.

Favorite author(s)?

In historical fiction, I have always loved Walter Edmonds. His most famous novel was Drums Along the
Mohawk. I watch for new books from mystery writers such as: Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s,
Michael McGarrity, James D. Doss, Lee Child and Janet Evanovich. Of authors’ of science fiction/
fantasy, I like Sharon Shinn, George R. R. Martin, Sarah Monette, Elizabeth Moon, and I’m currently
reading Michelle Sagara. I think it’s the idea of the series that attracts me to them. That’s why I like
your character, Jillian Bradley. We really get to know her over the course of the series.

How many books have you written, so far? Do you plan to write more?

In the Ysabet series I have completed five and am working on a 6th. I also have a fantasy completed,
and another science fiction.

Would you like to share a link where we can purchase your books?

It’s available in paperback and the Kindle version on: amazon.com

What about a link to your website?

You may also find the links at: http://www.nancylanni.com

It has been such a pleasure to have you over for tea. Thank you so much for sharing about your new book. I wish you every success!
Nancy Lanni’s Recipes:
EGG AND OLIVE SANDWICHES (simple to make)
Hard boiled eggs diced   
Green olives, sliced
Mayonnaise for binding

LEMON POUND CAKE

Cream together:
2/3 cup solid shortening (if using butter, cut milk to ½ cup)
1 ¼ cup sugar
Add:
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon peel
1 tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp salt
Beat in:
2/3 cup milk
2 ¼ cups flour
3 eggs, one at a time
Place in buttered loaf pan. Bake 300° 1 ¼ hrs.
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RHONDA PATTON CELEBRITY AUTHOR INTERVIEW

“QUEEN OF THE MONTH”

CELEBRITY AUTHOR

RHONDA PATTON

Welcome! Let me pour you a cup of Lemon Lift tea and we’ll get started. Please help yourself to a chicken salad sandwich and a raspberry walnut scone. We have Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecake for dessert.

Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

 I live in Shreveport, Louisiana.  I am a mother of two beautiful children, a girl 11 and a boy 2.  I am married to my best friend, my illustrator, and my co-writer.  We love camping, anything outdoors with the kids, we love to go to the diamond mine (digging in the dirt).  I have always had the love of writing.  I love kids so it was easy to make my kids’ books.

 

Are you a traditionally published or Indie author?

I am self-published.  With low funds and year and a half of research what companies fit my budget, I decided to self-publish.

 

What are your hobbies?

 I love writing, photography (anything with butterflies or nature), face booking, and social networking.

 

Tell us about your current book. What was your inspiration? 

My current book is “Searching for the Unknown”.  It is a story about a couple who moved to a small town after the husband was transferred for his job.  They bought a nice house they had to fix up.  They loved the property, the fishing, and everything but there was something they didn’t like, the other people who lived in the house.  They have passed and started haunting them. The inspiration for this story was some happenings that has happened to my husband and I.  And then our imaginations ran.

 

How did you become a writer? When did you start? 

I have always loved writing poetry.  When I was in high school and had a crush I would write.  I could not express my feelings aloud like I could on paper.  I am not a good talker.  So if I had a feeling deep within me I would write.  I divorced in 1999 and lost someone dear to me in the split, he was my stepson.  He had many difficult situations in his life that I wanted to write something positive for kids.  Now with my own two kids I write things that I would want them to read instead of all the fake stories out there.  These are based on our lives only where children can relate. 

 

How long did it take you to finish your first book? 

My first story did not take long at all.  It is a kid’s short story so not many pages.  For “Searching for the Unknown” it took a couple of months.  It is also a short story for teens to adults.

 

Where do you like to write?  

With two kids it is hard to find a nice quiet place to relax and write.  So I have to take time when my husband gets off from work and go to our room and write.  I either write when our two year old is taking a nap (like now), or late at night while he is sleeping.

 

Favorite author(s)? 

I can’t really say I have a favorite.  Every author out here is putting so much work together to strive for a good book.  The work an author does to research everything for their book to publishing, editing, etc. is very hard work.  Once published then you have to find your audience and then put a lot of time into social networking.  I respect every author out there.

 

How many books have you written, so far? Do you plan to write more? 

I have written over 11 books.  I have put my Ted and Raymond Series together as 3 books in one.  The projects are coming, more Ted and Raymond Series books.  We have another paranormal book almost finished “The Spirits of ChesterVille General Store”.  They all will be great reads.

 

Would you like to share a link where we can purchase your books?

 http://www.amazon.com/Rhonda-Patton/e/B008QX4XO2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Barnes and noble, books-a-million, amazon, CreateSpace, and many more sites.

What about a link to your website?

www.rhondapattonauthor.weebly.com

Rhonda, thank you so much for joining us and allowing us to get to know you better. May you continue to enjoy success in your writing endeavors.

Our winner for Micki Peluso’s book “And the Whippoorwill Sang” is Deirdre Tolhurst. Congratulations!

 

 

 

 

MATT PATTERSON CELEBRITY AUTHOR INTERVIEW

“KING OF THE WEEK”

CELEBRITY AUTHOR

MATT PATTERSON

Welcome! Let me pour you a cup of Prince of Wales tea and we’ll get started. Please help yourself to my version of your Captain Harvey’s Steak Sub Sandwiches. I made sliders for tea! We also have the Turtle Chocolate Cake you like for dessert.

M.P. Thank you so very much for having me. I don’t believe I’ve ever been a “King of the Week” before, so I consider this an honor!

Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Home, sweet home is currently Gilbert, Arizona – a growing suburb of the Phoenix area. I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland – youngest of two children.  I have been married to my wife, Bonnie, for 27-plus years. We’ve had three daughters – Emily, Lauren and Kimberly.

I’m an absolutely huge sports fan – especially, baseball and college football. I’m also a little bit of a movie geek.

I’m a fan of food as well. I love Maryland steamed crabs or crab soup! It they’re not readily accessible, a really good, back-home cheesesteak or cheeseburger sub with loads of hot peppers and grilled onions. Probably not the perfect compliment to tea, but they sure are yummy!

Are you a traditionally published or Indie author?

I’m very proud to say I am a self-published indie author! Given the current publishing and economic climate – any and all marketing efforts an indie author is performing on their own behalf is also going to be required by a traditional publisher. I’m a very hands-on person and would prefer to make the call on certain aspects of my book(s). At the end of the day if I have anyone to complain about – it’ll boil down to the fella I see in the mirror.

What are your hobbies?

I’m reasonably boring fella. I read, listen to audio books, try my hardest to work out, watch college football and write. Boy, after writing that I have to say – I’m not a reasonably boring fella. I’m a VERY BORING fella!

Tell us about your current book. What was your inspiration?

I’d be happy to. My Emily was released in late November/early December of last year.

My inspiration? My daughter – Emily.  The actual idea for the book came from a newspaper column I wrote almost 20 years prior.

Emily was born with Down syndrome and just two years later was diagnosed with leukemia.  I try to take the reader by the hand and walk them through our journey with our little one – from birth, diagnosis, treatment, her eventual passing and our efforts to move on without her.

I’ve been so very touched by the wonderful response to our story.  Numerous readers have shared notes containing such heartfelt words of encouragement as to how Emily’s story has affected them. It’s been truly humbling, considering many of these notes come from families with special needs children or those who are actually fighting the fight with cancer/leukemia. It’s been quite an emotional and gratifying time.

How did you become a writer? When did you start?

I have a background in journalism and marketing communications that totals some 20-plus years. I’ve written everything from straight news stories and columns to news releases and annual reports. Thing is, I really don’t believe I became a “writer” until I sat down and tried to write my first book. So, I have to say I have two answers – 1986 and 2010, but let’s go with the latter.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

It would kill me to say 20 years, but I have to agree the timing was right for when it finally came to pass.  In actuality, it took me three to four months to write, edit, rewrite, edit, rewrite, edit and finally have friends say, “Let it go for crying out loud.”

Where do you like to write?

As funny as it may seem – I prefer to write at our public library here in Gilbert. It’s quiet. I have a large table to work from and I have any and all the comforts of home.

Favorite author?

This is an easy one – Mitch Albom.

He has such a simple and clean delivery to his work. He creates the perfect blend of humor, sensitivity and spirituality (without being preachy) that truly makes you laugh, cry and be inspired. I have to say I try to pattern my writing after his. When I grow up – I want to be Mitch Albom.

How many books have you written, so far? Do you plan to write more?

I have written one book – My Emily. Yes, I have two books on the horizon – one, which will be co-authored with my wife Bonnie and the second will be a book about how men deal with grief.

Would you like to share a link where we can purchase your books?

The easiest link, offering the most options, is most likely on the My Emily website:  http://www.my-emily.com/Buy_My_Emily.html

What about a link to your website?

I invite folks to stop by and visit www.my-emily.com and learn a little bit more about our little girl and our story.

Links:

Websites:  http://mattpatterson.me   http://www.my-emily.com

Twitter: @myemily_thebook

Facebook: Matt Patterson, Author  &  My Emily 

Matt, thank you so much for sharing your journey with us – I’ve admired your courage and wonderful spirit from afar. So good to finally connect! 

This week’s winner of Matt Patterson’s book “My Emily” was won by Paulette Harper Johnson. CONGRATULATIONS PAULETTE!!

CONGRATULATIONS TO LAST WEEK’S WINNER OF C.L.RAGSDALE’S

“THE MYSTERY OF HURTLEBERRY HOUSE”

DEBORAH MALONE!!

DEIRDRE TOLHURST CELEBRITY AUTHOR INTERVIEW

“QUEEN OF THE WEEK”

CELEBRITY AUTHOR

DEIRDRE TOLHURST

             

Welcome! Let me pour you a nice cup of Honeybush Mandarin Orange tea and we’ll get started.

Please help yourself to an egg salad sandwich and a mini-empanada. I made your recipe for the egg salad. And thank you for bringing the Carrot Torte for dessert and providing the recipes at the end of our interview.

Hi there, Jill, nice to see you again!

Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I live in Central Texas, about an hour north of Austin.  I was born in the Bronx, NY, but we moved across the GW Bridge to Northern NJ when I was three.  I am the middle of five children, one sister and three brothers.  My father (who is featured on the cover of my book) was a Crime Reporter for the NY Daily News for 38 years and then NBC until he died in 1987. 

I have been married for 31 years to a wonderful man, who is my greatest supporter and the love of my life.  Before he retired from the US Army we lived in Germany for three years.  We have one daughter together, and I have a step-daughter as well.

I work as an editor for a government contractor on Fort Hood, the largest Army base in the free world.  I have been there for almost 23 years now.

Are you a traditionally published or Indie author?

I am traditionally published through Tate Publishing and Enterprises LLC.

What are your hobbies?

I like to make things for my husband to surprise him.  On his birthday two years ago I had people email me what he means to them.  What an amazing tribute with some going back 50 years!  I bound it and added pictures.  It was beautiful, and he just loves it.  I put together little books for him every now and then.  The surprise is the best part for me.  Other than that, writing is my main hobby.  I wish I could make it a full time job!

Tell us about your current book. What was your inspiration?

My current book, A Christmas I Remember came about because my girlfriend asked me to write something for her for Christmas 2010.  She said she loved the way I wrote and wanted something, anything really so that she could frame it.  I agreed and later that evening (26 days before Christmas) I sat down and wrote “To Kindra with Love.”  That was as far as I got for weeks.  I wrote prayers asking God to help me find the words, or to bring me memories of Christmases past.  On the 17th of December the memories started coming, and the next day the poem that became a book was born.  I read it to another friend at work and she declared it was a book!  I told her no, it was a poem for Kindra.  She insisted, as did I a few times, and then she said, “No, it’s a book for children!” Then I looked for a Christian publisher, found Tate, and was accepted.

Deirdre Christmas 1963

How did you become a writer? When did you start?

I have always loved to write.  I really got into writing in high school.  Years later I took a course from Long Ridge Writer’s Group in Connecticut, but chickened out when the freelancing lesson came.  I dropped the course out of fear of rejection. I loved to read letters that my father wrote.  He had a unique style that I haven’t seen anyone else have.  Maybe it’s genetic.

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

Once my prayers were answered the book was written in just a few days, five, I think.  Of course it’s a children’s book, a poem, so it isn’t like writing a novel. But inspiration must still be there, and prayer is a good way to be inspired!

Where do you like to write?

I like to sit on the easy chair in my office.  My best writing seems to come first thing in the morning.  I also like my front porch, which faces east, but only when it is not terribly hot. I write everything long hand first and then type it later. I know doing it this way takes that much more time, but when I type first I don’t ‘feel’ anything. When I write with a pen (or pencil), I see the words come from God through me onto the page. It is then my inspired work. To me, typing is so impersonal, the words look the same no matter who wrote them. Do you know what I mean?

 

Favorite author(s)?

I don’t have a favorite author.  I enjoy different genres, it’s really what my mood happens to be when I start looking for a new book to read.

How many books have you written, so far? Do you plan to write more?

I have only completed A Christmas I Remember.  I am in the process of writing another book, but not a children’s book (that was such a surprise to me).  I am compiling my thoughts and experiences into either a devotional or book of Christian encouragement.  I am covering topics like trust and things I wish I knew when I was younger.

Would you like to share a link where we can purchase your books?

I certainly would!  People can purchase hardcover and Color Me coloring books as well as the standard soft cover book on my website.  Even my publisher doesn’t carry the hard cover or coloring book.  They sell quickly because children really love them!  I will list my website in the next question.  Also, they can purchase directly from my publisher at: http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-61346-422-9, or Amazon or Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, etc.. Just about any on-line book store has it.  One quick mention, my book (both hard and soft cover) come with a free audio download, so it is like getting two books for the price of one.  Once downloaded a child can listen to me read the book and they are prompted to turn the page when Christmas bells chime.  It frees up Mom to do other things, especially if the child wants to hear it again and again!

What about a link to your website?

My book is for sale at http://www.deirdretolhurst.com.  I also have a link to my blog in there (Thoughts and Prayers Page – http://www.deirdretolhurst.blogspot.com ), for anyone who needs a pick-me-up and to be reminded that God’s love is all around them.   I do not sell the ebook at my site, but the readers can purchase it at Tate – http://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/search.php?search=christmas+i+remember

I hope that your readers will visit and come to love my book and my blog!  And thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity, Jill!  I hope to meet up with you again one of these days and maybe go to lunch together!  God bless you for helping us authors out!

It’s been my pleasure Deirdre, and best success with your writing endeavors!

Deirdre Tolhurst’s Recipes

Good sandwich. I just like an egg salad sandwich made by smashing the eggs and then adding a little diced onion, diced celery, S&P, chives, mixed with a little Hellmann’s mayo and a touch of Dijon mustard.  Spread it on some fresh whole wheat or whole grain bread with a little romaine lettuce and voila!  Fabulous!

Favorite DessertMy mother used to make this and now I do, and it is absolutely my favorite dessert.  I’m sorry I don’t have a picture; it gets eaten too fast to take one when it is still fresh!

Carrot Torte

4 eggs separated                                   grated rind of 1 lemon

1 C sugar                                                juice of ½ lemon

1 C  grated raw carrot                          ½ C  flour – sifted

1 t  baking powder                               ¼ t salt

1 C  heavy cream, whipped

 

Beat yolks until thick and lemon colored.  Gradually beat in sugar, a few tablespoons at a time.  Add carrot, lemon rind, and juice.  Sift together dry ingredients and fold into yolk mixture.  Beat egg whites until stiff but not dry, and fold into first mixture.  Pour into 2 ungreased 8-inch layer pans. Bake in preheated moderate oven (350º) for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let stand in pan until cool.

Remove and spread sweetened whipped cream layers on top.  Sprinkle a little fresh grated carrot on top.

NOTE:  I usually double this recipe so that I can have 4 layers.

PAULETTE HARPER JOHNSON CELEBRITY AUTHOR INTERVIEW

“QUEEN OF THE WEEK”

CELEBRITY AUTHOR

PAULETTE HARPER JOHNSON

Welcome! Let me pour you a cup of mango passion tea and we’ll get started. Please help yourself to a finger sandwich – I made tuna today, one of my favorites and yours too, you said. For dessert, I’m serving a freshly baked, Chocolate Chunk cookie topped with two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream and served in its own deep dish which you’ve labeled as a “Pizookie.”

Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello Everyone! I am originally from Northern California by way of the San Francisco Bay Area.  For the past year I’ve transplanted to sunny central Florida. My husband and I pastor Word of Faith Worship center in Bradenton and North Port Florida. I am the youngest of eight children, first published author and preacher. I am the mother of two adult daughters and two beautiful granddaughters. I am a radio host and owner of Write Now Literary (WNL) Virtual Book Tours.
Are you a traditionally published or Indie author?
My first book That Was Then, This Is Now was published by Tate Publishing and with my current book Completely Whole I’ve become an Indie author.

What are your hobbies?
Besides spending time on the beach, shopping and traveling, I absolutely love playing cards.
Tell us about your current book. What was your inspiration?
My current book is Completely Whole. The inspiration came from a nudge from God. I had gone through a bad ordeal, which left me broken and scared.  In order for me to write about becoming whole, I had to experience it myself.  There were areas in my own life that I needed to confront and deal with. Those areas that hindered me from moving forward needed to be addressed. Once God began to point out those areas and I accepted where I was spiritually, the healing and restoration began.  The process of becoming Completely Whole is continual for any believer desiring to live, walk, and pursue a life on purpose. Completely Whole is one of those books that will challenge the reader to do a self-examination of where they are as it relates to their own spirituality.

How did you become a writer? When did you start?
My publishing journey began in 2007 with my first non-fiction book That Was Then, This Is Now. In this book, I candidly share my own personal story of God’s power to heal and restore. A nudge from God to share my story opened up greater opportunities to write and speak to more women. From that year  I’ve gone on to pen several other books.
How long did it take you to finish your first book?
My first book took me all of three months; however with Completely Whole that took me about six months to complete.
Where do you like to write?
I have made my kitchen table my place of meditation and inspiration.
Favorite author(s)?
In the inspiration genre a few of my favorite authors are T.D Jakes, Miles Monroe and Joyce Meyers. I enjoy their writings because they are filled with the wisdom and knowledge that helps me to grow spiritually. And of course God, who has written the greatest book of all “The Bible”. In regards to Christian fiction I enjoy the writings of Michelle Stimpson and Wanda B. Campbell just to name a few but that list is growing.
How many books have you written, so far? Do you plan to write more?
Currently my library has three of my published books along with two non-fiction anthologies. Yes, Nancy I am working on two more books. My first Christian fiction book “The Sanctuary” will be out later this year. I’m also working on a young girl’s teen book “My Sista Girl, A guide to loving you, will be out early 2013. This year I released my first Write Now Author’s Manual which is a guide that I use to teach my seminars and workshops. Also available on Amazon.
Would you like to share a link where we can purchase your books?
I sure will, people can purchase copies of my books on Amazon using the following links
Completely Whole: http://tinyurl.com/425euh7
That Was Then, This Is Now: http://tinyurl.com/3lxa5au
Write Now Authors’ Manual: http://tinyurl.com/7krbwt4What about a link to your website?
I have two websites one for my ministry which is: http://pauletteharper.com and http://writenowlit.blogspot.com is used for my Virtual Tours.

Thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your writing journey. It’s been such a pleasure! Blessings on your writing, Paulette.

For a delicious recipe click the picture for the link. Thanks, Mary!

MARY ANN BERNAL CELEBRITY AUTHOR INTERVIEW

“QUEEN OF THE WEEK”

CELEBRITY AUTHOR

MARY ANN BERNAL             

                                                          

Welcome! Let me pour you a nice cup of white peach tea and we’ll get started.                

Please help yourself to a finger sandwich – I’ve included smoked salmon and dill, too. I heard it was one of your favorites. And we have fruit tarts for dessert today.                                                                             

Where do you live?

I currently reside in Omaha, Nebraska, having moved from New York several years ago to be closer to my son and his family.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a very energetic senior citizen, having started my dream career as a published author upon my retirement from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 2010.  With years of experience in time management, it is not difficult to juggle writing, volunteering in various programs supporting the U.S. military and spending time with my children and grandchildren, especially cheering in the stands at sporting events and dance competitions.

 

Are you a traditionally published or Indie author?

 

My first novel was traditionally published, but my subsequent novels went the Indie route.  I prefer being an Indie author with its perks, specifically retaining all rights in addition to having complete control over content and the look of the book (cover design).  In today’s economy, the traditional publisher expects the author to provide a marketing plan to sell his/her book, and there are little, if any advertising funds available for unknown authors.  If the author is aggressively promoting/marketing his/her work, then he/she should receive higher royalties, which is only possible through self-publishing.

 

What are your hobbies?

 

Since retiring from the work force, I have been able to travel to the United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy, and am planning a trip to Greece later this year.  Reading and period movies are also favorite pastimes, but I also love science fiction, James Bond and solving murder mysteries.

 

Tell us about your current book.

 

“The Briton and the Dane: Legacy,” the final installment of the “The Briton and the Dane” trilogy, is an action-packed adventure, sprinkled with a dash of romance, where deception, treachery and betrayal impacts not only the reign of Alfred the Great, but also the lives of Lord Richard and his family in the ongoing struggle to keep the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Wessex free from Viking rule.

 

What was your inspiration?

 

My inspiration comes from the Hollywood blockbusters of the sixties, when Vikings roamed the seas and King Arthur defended the realm, and from Sir Walter Scott’s “Ivanhoe,” which was required reading in my sophomore year of high school.

 

How did you become a writer? When did you start?

 

After reading numerous historical fiction novels over the years, I wanted to create my own characters in historical settings of my favorite century – the Dark Ages.  Erik, the Viking, found his way into my psyche, demanding a story, but it would take years before I could find the time to write his epic adventure.  In the meantime, I attended creative writing classes and workshops, and also completed online novel writing courses.

 

How long did it take you to finish your first book?

 

My first book took about ten months to complete, and subsequent novels have taken the same amount of time to write, edit, and publish.

 

Where do you like to write?

 

In my home office, which is a great commute, especially during inclement weather.

 

Favorite author(s)?

 

Stephen King, James Patterson, Josephine Tey, Frans G. Bengtsson, Jacob Abbott, Thomas Carlyle, Steven Saylor, Derek Wilson,

 

How many books have you written, so far? Do you plan to write more?

 

The third book of the “The Briton and the Dane” trilogy was launched earlier this year.  I am currently writing “The Briton and the Dane: Concordia,” which will be available in 2013.  My next project will be “The Briton and the Dane: Timeline,” which will be available in 2014.

 

Would you like to share a link where we can purchase your books?

 

Amazon US

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mary+ann+bernal

Amazon UK

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=mary+ann+bernal

The Literary Underground

http://www.litunderground.com/MaryAnnBernal.html

What about a link to your website?

http://www.maryannbernal.com

Book Trailer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fH1qSGHOSMA

Mary Ann, it was such a pleasure to meet you today. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. I wish you wonderful success with your writing!

SHARON LEAF CELEBRITY AUTHOR INTERVIEW

“QUEEN OF THE WEEK”

CELEBRITY AUTHOR                                                                                

SHARON LEAF

Welcome! Let me pour you a cup of Red Rose tea and we’ll get started. I have an assortment of finger sandwiches, but honestly, I couldn’t bring myself to make the peanut butter and banana sandwiches. But I do have your Peanut Butter and Banana pie for dessert. I’ve included your recipe at the end of the interview. Thanks for sending it!

Q  Where do you live? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

A  I was born in sultry South Carolina and raised in sunny Southern California.  Growing up, I divided my summers between Huntington Beach, California and Surfside, South Carolina, so I’ve always considered myself a beach gal.  I was living the good life in Huntington Beach with my husband of twenty-four years when, six years ago, an inner desire surfaced to return to my southern roots.   Now, instead of waking up to palm trees and the Pacific Ocean, here we are, waking up to pine trees and a pond in our back yard in Lexington, South Carolina.  Besides my children, a few accomplishments I’m proud of is finishing a half marathon and living to tell about it—that small victory gave me the confidence that I could accomplish anything; receiving a degree in theology when I was sixty; and publishing my debut novel, Lady and the Sea, at sixty-five, proving that it’s never too late to fulfill another dream.

Q  Are you a traditionally published or indie author?

A  After much research and prayer, I indie-published because it empowers me to have more control of my book.  Instead of waiting months (or years) for my book to be accepted, then waiting one (or two) more years for publishing, Lady and the Sea was published in seven months.  The whole process is on my time schedule—including the marketing—which is a plus for me since I find myself moving a bit slower at sixty-six.

Q  What are your hobbies?

A  I love to travel—by boat, plane, train, car, bike—as long as I’m moving.  Since turning forty, I have traveled to over fifteen countries, including living in Sweden for a year while attending Bible college, traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway, trekking through Israel, and volunteering on a World War II ship that allowed me to sail the seven seas and a few oceans along the way.  Our last three-week trip took us to Sweden and Istanbul.  Other hobbies:  reading, writing, watching my favorite movies over and over, spending time with family and friends, and drinking lots of coffee.

Q  Tell us about your current book, Lady and the Sea.  What was your inspiration?

After volunteering fourteen months on the World War II vessel MS Restoration in 1994-95, I knew I had to tell the story of this miracle ship—her story was my inspiration.  When the government put the lock-knot ship in mothballs after the war, she thought her glory days were over, until forty years later when a retired Alaskan sea captain bought her, then gave her to a church in Sweden to transport Russian Jews from the Black Sea to Israel.  God saved the best until last for the old gal, showing the reader that the best is yet to come for us 40+ gals and guys.

Rosie Atkisson is the main character in Lady and the Sea, a novel based on a true story.  After two failed marriages, forty-eight-year-old Rosie struggles through the process of rebuilding her life with husband, Jesse, in Southern California.  But the settled rhythm of her newfound comfort is interrupted by a tug in her heart when she encounters a haunting photo of another aging lady, the World War II vessel MS Restoration.  A special mission to transport Russian Jews from Sochi, Russia, to Haifa, Israel, means an adventure of a lifetime; does she dare pass up this dangerous assignment that will take her thousands of miles from her family and comfortable life?  In spite of her fear of water and the unknown condition of the ship, Rosie says yes to that inner Voice that is saying GO!

After surviving fourteen months on board the old ship—from a hurricane to symptoms of a heart attack, from miracles to the M word – menopause – and now being held at gunpoint in the Haifa harbor—Rosie wonders if she will ever return to her own safe harbor.

Q  How did you become a writer?  When did you start?

A  In sixth grade when my mother gave me a diary for Christmas.  I’ve been writing ever since.

Q  How long did it take to finish your first book?

A  After finishing a half marathon some twenty years ago I was inspired to write my first book which took five months to finish on my Smith-Corona typewriter.  I dropped the phone when Zondervan called to announce that they were considering publishing Lady on the Run, a story that parallels running your spiritual race with your physical race.  A week later I dropped a few tears when they called to inform me they had chosen a well-known author’s manuscript with a similar theme.  Due to several personal events, I had to shelve the manuscript, but now I’m dusting off Lady on the Run so she can run the race that is set before her.

Q  Where do you like to write?

A  In my cozy office on my iMac that my husband gave me, on the back porch overlooking the pond on hubby’s Book Air; in local coffee houses on my man’s iPad; on the west coast, on the east coast, and anywhere in between, on my little iPhone.  I guess you could say I live in an Apple orchard!

Q  Favorite author(s)?

A  Bodie Thoene is my all-time favorite because I love historical fiction, sprinkled with adventure and romance. I devoured the Covenant Chronicles series while I was a volunteer on the MS Restoration for fourteen months because the purpose of our journey was to transport Russian Jews from the Black Sea to Israel. Her books gave me tremendous knowledge of Jewish events surrounding the holocaust.

Q  How many books have you written so far?  Do you plan to write more?

A  I have written three books.  Lady and the Sea was published September 2011; I am rewriting/editing Lady on the Run, and Victory Run (YA), and somewhere in between I will write a sequel to Lady and the Sea.

Would you share a link where we can purchase your books?

http://www.amazon.com, http://www.sharonleaf.com, http://www.westbowpress.com

What about a link to your website?

 http:// www.sharonleaf.com, http://www.sharonleaf.blogspot.com http://www.facebook.com/sharonleafwrites

Here’s the first chapter from Lady and the Sea

Chapter One ~ July 1995

Within minutes of the MS Restoration entering the Haifa Harbor, an Israeli gunboat sped from the port and circled the World War II vessel.  As two soldiers aimed their deck-mounted machine guns at the ship, another shouted instructions in Hebrew through a loudspeaker.

The captain of the MS Restoration responded over the ship’s radio, “Please, speak to us in English!”

Rosie grabbed the rail.  “Do they think we’re terrorists?”

Jesse touched her arm.  “Rosie, calm down.”

“Do they think we’re pirates?”

“Just calm down,” her husband repeated, holding out his hand.

“Will they make us jump overboard?  I don’t have my life jacket,” she spoke fighting back her fear of water that was trying to surface once more.

“Rosie, you must get hold of yourself.”

Her mind raced as she gazed up at the man who had brought her on this unpredictable journey.  Jesse’s right; what’s come over me? Rosie asked herself, all the time wishing she didn’t have to go to the bathroom.  She didn’t dare leave his side.

The ship, her fellow crewmembers, and their special passengers—the Russian Jews—had finally reached their destination.  No more troubled waters.  No more hurricanes.  No more delays.  On this hot July morning, they were home free—or so they thought.

Rosie looked at the crew, poised as if they were ready to hit the deck.  “Isn’t this ironic?  We’ve traveled halfway around the world, and this is the welcome we get.”

“Stop your engine!” the soldier shouted.

Within seconds, they were dead in the water.

Rosie’s stomach churned.  She hung her head over the side of the ship and let it rip.  After wiping her mouth with a hankie, she grabbed hold of Jesse’s arm.  She’d heard stories about people who had experienced close calls.  Her seventy-year-old father once told her about the time his ship almost went down in the China Sea during the war.  “At that moment, my whole life passed before me,” Talmage said.

Now feeling lightheaded as the Israeli soldiers glared at the Restoration through their binoculars, Rosie knew that this was her moment.

Here is Sharon Leaf’s favorite dessert recipe:

Peanut Butter & Banana Pie       

Recipe:

1 ready-made piecrust (found in the frozen section)

5 large bananas (found in the produce section)

2 large jars of peanut butter—smooth or crunchy, depending on if you have dentures (found in aisle 6)

Smash bananas, then stir and smash in peanut butter; pour into pie shell; eat immediately before bananas turn brown—a good excuse to eat the whole pie in one sitting.

Serve with banana tea (slice half banana into your favorite tea).

All I can say is “YUM!!”

FYI: This recipe is also my favorite tea sandwich–just serve on crust-less bread!

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