Author Interview and Giveaway- Nancy Mehl

Nancy Mehl

I’m beyond excited to introduce you to one of my all-time favorite authors, Nancy Mehl! Not only is her Kaely Quinn Profiler series one of the best I’ve read, but she’s been a personal blessing to me over the last few months. Without further ado, let’s dig into the interview.

  1. Are any events/people in your books based on reality, or is it pure imagination?

A combination. I believe we put some of ourselves and our life experiences in our stories. It’s what we know and what we understand.

2. Have you visited any of the locations in your books?

Yes. When my stories were based in Kansas, I almost always visited the places I wrote about. Most of the towns weren’t real, but I wanted to make certain they could exist in areas where I put them. When working on a series set in Sugarcreek, Ohio, I actually traveled there and was able to visit local shops and places I’d written about. It was a lot of fun.

3. Who was your favorite character to write and why?

Kaely Quinn, the main character in my Kaely Quinn Profiler series. She is so unique I loved writing about her.

4. What is your favorite genre to read?

Mystery and suspense. I’ve always loved it since I was a little girl. Still do.

You absolutely have to read this one! And isn’t the cover beautiful?

5. Do you hide secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Sometimes I put the names of friends in my books without telling them. I love it when they find themselves in my story.

6. What is your most unusual writing quirk?

I can’t think of anything that’s really unusual. I do listen to music when I write. My dog is always in the room with me. I have a bird feeder outside my window and like to watch the birds while I’m writing. Not sure those are very unusual. Sorry.

7. What do you most hope your readers take away from Dead End?

Of course, I want them to enjoy the book. I’ll be wrapping up Kaely’s story so I pray they will be satisfied with the way I did it. I think Dead End offers a lot of hope. My prayer is that they’ll take that away with them.

Another winner

8. What is your favorite word and why?

My favorite word? That’s easy. Jesus.

9. If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

Alaska! I dream about taking a cruise there. I want to see the northern lights and watch a whale swim past the boat. Anyone who knows me knows I love snow. I think I could be happy there for a year!

10. Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Thank you for buying my books and for all your kind comments to me. They mean more than you will ever know. Their encouragement is almost as good as chocolate!

Releasing 3/31/2020

I’m so thankful Nancy took the time to give us a peek into her process and her life.

In honor of her newest release, Dead End, I’m hosting a giveaway. Comment below (with your email address) to be entered for a chance to win one of three e-book copies of this amazing story! Be sure to drop your comment before midnight Saturday, April 4th. I’ll draw names on Sunday! To be honest, I’m a low key jelly of whoever wins. I pre-ordered a paperback, and Amazon said I won’t get it until April 30th. That is way to long to wait, considering I’ve been rather impatiently biding my time since December to find out how the series ends . . . But, I’ll take the moral high ground and be over the moon happy for the three lucky winners!

Author Interview and Giveaway- Tom Threadgill

I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend Tom Threadgill! He’s authored the Jeremy Winter trilogy and, most recently, Collision of Lies. All four ebooks will be up for grabs, but I’ll get to that part later. Hope you enjoy reading Tom’s responses to my questions as much as I did.

1. Are any events/people in Collision of Lies or the Jeremy Winter series based on reality, or is it pure imagination?

When I look back on the Winter series, I can see a lot of myself in the main character, particularly as far as his opinions and sarcasm. I didn’t plan that, but I think it’s impossible to write without including part of yourself in there somewhere. A lot of the banter in the story is typical of conversations my wife and I have. Oh, and Maggie’s penchant for mangling idioms is based loosely on my wife. “Loosely.”

2. Have you visited any of the locations in your books?

I have, but not specifically for research purposes. West Tennessee, St. Louis, and San Antonio are all on that list.

3. Who was your favorite character to write and why?

I enjoyed writing Amara in Collision of Lies a lot, but I think my favorite was the Medical Examiner, Douglas Pritchard. I still haven’t figured out what the deal is with that guy. I love his quirks but not sure I could ever tolerate being around him for long. He’s kind of a combination of Monk, House, and Quincy (you youngsters will need to look that one up).

4. Did you have to edit any fun scenes from Collision of Lies before publication?

Not really. Collision is my fourth novel and I’ve pretty much learned when something isn’t going to work. If I can’t figure out a way for the scene to move the plot forward, it won’t be in there. Plus, my first drafts are almost always way shorter than the final manuscript, so there’s not a lot to cut. I prefer to flesh out the story in the edits rather than fret about what needs to go.

5. Do you hide secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Nah. I mean, there may be inside jokes that only certain friends or family will recognize, but nothing earth-shattering. I did have several readers comment about a cameo in Collision that they enjoyed, but that’s not really a secret.

6. One of your characters in Collision of Lies is a Downton Abbey buff. Did you watch the series for research, and if so, did you love it?

I do research a lot of things in my stories, but I have my limits. That said, I have been exposed to second-hand Downton Abbey (which I believe the Surgeon General has issued a warning about) because my wife loved it. But I had to Google the information on the show’s scenes that are mentioned in my novel.

7. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

About a year, although the sequel to Collision is taking a lot longer due to life getting in the way. My goal for 2020 was to finish the sequel as well as another novel before the year ended. Not sure I’m going to make it.

8. Do you personally eat Cheetos with chopstick or know someone who does?

I’m way too uncoordinated to use chopsticks and I’m not a fan of Cheetos. Cool concept though, right?

9. What are your five favorite movies and why?

That’s such a hard question because I tend to have favorite scenes rather than movies. Like Infinity War when Thor shows up in Wakanda or the final battle in Endgame (the unforced parts of it). I do like all the John Wick movies and most of the Jason Bourne ones too. The LOTR movies are good (skip the blasphemy that is The Hobbit), but can be quite slow in parts.

10. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Ah, the old “what did you want to be” question. I’ll give the same answer I always do. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an adult. Now I want to be a kid again. 😊

11. Which of your characters do you most relate to?

I think it’s still Jeremy Winter. There’s a lot of his character still to be explored if I ever decide to go back there.

12. How long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

None. I don’t plot at all. I work out the first chapter from whatever idea I’m using and go from there. All research is done during the writing phase.

13. Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Please leave reviews when you read books! It helps authors in lots of ways. And writing can be lonely, so don’t be afraid to fire off an email to your favorite writer and let them know you enjoy their work. Nothing brightens our day/week/month more!

Thank you all for joining me as I interviewed one of my favorite authors! Now to sweeten the pot. On March 1st, I will be drawing names, and one lucky winner will receive all three Jeremy Winter books and Collision of Lies in ebook format. I’m sure you’re dying to know how to enter, and it’s simple. Just comment below and tell me why you love reading suspense. Be sure to include your email address so I can contact you if your name is drawn.

Be sure to subscribe, since I’ll be conducting giveaways every month, and I’d hate you to miss anything!

Author Spotlight- Sharee Stover

Meet my good friend, Sharee.

Happy Friday, Friends and Neighbors! Hope you all are doing fantastic. I’d like to introduce you to a great author and an even better friend, Sharee Stover. She also lives in my town, and I’ve been to lunch with her, so . . . yeah. I know a real-life celebrity. Her newest release, Silent Night Suspect, will his the shelves on December 1st. Can you believe that’s only nine days away?!? I can’t.

If you’re like me, you prefer your romantic suspense with a realistic amount of romance. Not the ooey-gooey, fall-in-love-with-a-stranger-you-know-literally-nothing-about in two days stuff that I can’t seem to escape. That was a major run-on sentence. My apologies. Anyhow. I absolutely loved the realism in Silent Night Suspect. Everything about this story was on point, and I highly recommend. Also, I have a little surprise at the end for you, my faithful readers.

I won’t waste anymore of your valuable time with my drivel. Let’s get on to the main event, shall we. Here was my interview with Sharee for your reading pleasure.

1. What is your favorite under-appreciated novel? My all-time favorite novel is Safely Home by Randy Alcorn. It’s the kind of book that stays with you. I own it in multiple formats. Ebook, Paperback, Audio…yep, it’s that good. Definitely one I’d recommend to anyone.

2. Are any of your characters based on real people? All names have been changed to protect the innocent. Giggle. Just kidding. Actually, all of my characters have certain features or characteristics of people I know. I think it helps to write a better character when I can picture or hear him/her in my mind. I might pick a friend or foe and take features from them to develop the dialogue.

3. Which of your characters do you most relate with? Asia Stratton from Silent Night Suspect is the most relatable for me. She’s raw and honest with her scars. I love that she’s still healing and though she’s come a long way, she’s willing to work on that healing. Asia is far more courageous than I would be too. There’s a line (NO SPOILERS) where she believes it’s the end and prays for courage to face it.

4. What kind of researching do you do, and how much time to you spend researching before beginning a book? Research is often done throughout the book especially as I come upon situations where I need more information, or like in Silent Night Suspect, needing to know drug actions/reactions. I’m always plotting several books at a time so if I see things that apply to a particular story I’m working on, I’ll tuck those away in my Scrivener folder or print them out and keep a file to reference later.

This is Sharee’s debut novel. You’ll want to check this one out too 🙂

5. Stephen King advises authors to ‘Kill their darlings.’ Have you edited any scenes out of your books that you particularly loved? If so, would you give an example? Editing and deleting things isn’t much an issue for me. I know I have a lot to learn and I want to maintain a teachable spirit, so I trust if I’m told something’s gotta go, it’s the best decision for the book. I can’t think of any particular scenes, but I do have a couple of books (yes, entire books) that are my darlings and I hope they’ll someday get their limelight.

6. How do you select your character’s names? I absolutely LOVE naming characters and I keep a spreadsheet of all my books to try and ensure that I don’t use the same name twice. One huge factor is checking that the name isn’t a famous person. Especially an infamous person. I use lots of different references, websites, and sometimes football players or credits from movies. I like unique names so I’m always on the lookout. I even keep a list for future reference. I’m a total name nerd.

7. Do you read your book reviews?

Book reviews are tricky things. I write many reviews myself for books I read so I appreciate the time and effort that goes into them. I’ve heard repeatedly at writing conferences that authors shouldn’t read our reviews. Especially the mean ones. I’m amazed sometimes at how cruel people can be. They forget there is a person behind that book.

However, it is a lot of fun to see how a book affected a reader and what things they especially liked. In the words of Mark Twain, I could live two months on one good compliment. Unfortunately, the reverse means those bad reviews also stick and can be discouraging. My husband runs interference for me by reading them first.

8. How long does it take you to write a book? Because I start plotting books way in advance, I usually write an entire book within a couple of months but then I need another two months to edit, re-edit, and re-re-edit my edits. I have trouble letting go.

9. Do you believe in writer’s block? Yes, but not for ideas. I always have too many of those bouncing around in my brain. I do have times when I just can’t seem to get my brain and fingers cooperating to put words on the page. When that happens, I take a break, Netflix binge and then try again.

10. What was your favorite childhood book? Rainbow Garden by Patricia M. St John. It’s the first book I specially ordered. I think I was

11. What is your favorite genre to read and why? I read almost all genres but my favorites are women’s fiction and suspense/mystery. Women’s fiction has deep characters that stick with me and I appreciate the changes they must endure. But I also need suspense/mystery because I get antsy for the plot action and nail-biting, page flipping that must happen.

12. How many drafts of you book do you generally write before publication? Depends on how many revisions I have to do. Giggle. There’s always a least two, but sometimes it’s a major overhaul.

13. If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose? I would love to go to South Korea and travel the country.

14. Do you have an unusual writing quirk? Not really. I always keep a glass of ice water beside me and generally speaking I’m chewing cinnamon gum. It helps me think.

15. What is your favorite word and why? I do love the word juxtaposition and try to put it in at least once in every book. It’s such a fun word to spell and I love the definition. For quick reference, dictionary.com says: an act or instance of placing close together or side by side, especially for comparison or contrast. I don’t know why it’s my favorite, it’s just groovy.

Sharee, thank you so much for answering my burning questions! I can’t wait to read your next book, Untraceable Evidence!

Would you like to win a free copy of Silent Night Suspect? That’s the only stupid question I’ll ask today, I promise. Receive an entry into the drawing for every comment on this post. Winner will be drawn on November 30th, so comment, comment, comment. You’ll thank me later!

Author Spotlight- C.C. Warrens

Meet the Holly Novels

Hi, friends! Welcome to the party! Today, I’m introducing one of my favorite series while conducting an interview with the author. I’m not gonna lie, ya’ll, I’ve gotten a little picky when it comes to suspense in the recent past. I don’t know if it’s the sheer abundance of mystery books I’ve read or that my mind takes a very investigative turn, but I can usually pick out the villain in any mystery as soon as they’re introduced. I’ll be reading with a cat in my lap and say, “There he is. I’ve got my eye on you, ya little scamp.” After getting a super judgmental look from my furry friend, I hope against hope that I’m wrong. I want to be surprised, I do, but that seldom happens. Then, I feel the bitter sting of disappointment. In the words of Adrian Monk, ‘It’s a gift . . . and a curse.’ Let me tell you, the the only disappointment I felt while reading C.C. Warren’s Holly series was due to the fact that I am gainfully employed and couldn’t read the whole lot in one sitting. #adulting

Without further ado, here is my interview with the lovely C.C. Warrens. At the end, I’ll share how you can get a free copy of ‘Criss Cross!’ Huzzah!!!

  1. Are any of your characters based on real people?

My husband would tell you yes, and on an unconscious level I suppose some of them are. It wasn’t my intention, but reflecting back, I can certainly see it.

Marx and my dad have a similar temperament. My dad (Mark) is technically my stepdad, but like Marx is for Holly, he’s my father in every way that matters.

Jace is in a wheelchair like my husband, and like him, she’s insanely competitive in her sports.

Jordan (the man and the cat) is based off a gray, blue-eyed cat I had when I was a teenager. From there, Jordan did pick up some of my husband’s better qualities—his patience and understanding, and the gentlemanly way he comports himself.

Holly, appearance aside, has quite a few of my quirks and characteristics (including her love of coconut shampoo and marshmallow hot chocolate), but as a whole, she’s designed to represent a lot of abused and neglected children that I’ve worked with.

2. Which of your characters do you relate most with?

I relate the most with Holly. Her social awkwardness and mischievous attitude are similar to mine. As a kid, I used to cut the centers out of the cakes and brownies mom baked just to drive my dad bonkers.

I’m also a disaster in the kitchen, and I occasionally catch things on fire. I could set off the smoke alarms by boiling water, and frequently did in our old apartment.

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

I do things a little backwards by researching as I’m writing. I’ve never calculated the time it takes, but I’m sure it takes a while. An example of this is Criss Cross, which is set in New York City, a place I had never been at the time. After I finished writing some of the scenes, I did some research to figure out where things might have taken place.

4. Stephen King advises authors to ‘Kill their darlings.’ Have you edited any scenes out of your books that you particularly loved? If so, would you give an example?

Oh yes. Every book is a struggle because I write scenes that I love, only to realize that they just don’t fit with the overall manuscript. In my current WIP, I had written a scene where Shannon takes Holly shopping for court attire, and Holly gets frustrated because she’s so petite that all of the suits make her look like a kid playing dress-up. Unfortunately, while it was a cute scene, I had to take it out.

5. How do you select your character’s names?

There is no method to my madness there. Jordan and Holly have existed in my head since I was a teenager, and I knew I would want to write a book with them in it someday. The others… your guess is as good as mine!

6. Do you read your book reviews?

I do. Some authors say you shouldn’t, but I find the positive feedback from readers motivating.

7. How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Before my current WIP, I would say about six months. This one though, it’s a tangled web of complication, and it’s taking a lot longer.

8. Do you believe in writer’s block?

Absolutely. Though for me, writer’s block isn’t so much a lack of ideas. It’s when my brain gets stuck on one particular idea that I just can’t seem to maneuver around.

9. What is your favorite childhood book?

Pocahontas.

10. What is your favorite genre to read? Why?

I love suspense. I’m drawn to cop shows like Blue Bloods and NCIS, and having them in book form is even better!

11. How many drafts of your book do you generally write before publication?

Haha… I couldn’t even tell you. Truly. I lose count. I think I had about eighteen versions of Criss Cross before I settled on the final copy, but that’s just a guess.

12. If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

I’ve never thought about it, but I loved forests and rolling hills. So someplace like that.

I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed learning some of the aspects of C.C. Warren’s creative process! If you haven’t read her series yet, you are missing out in a big way. I’m attaching a link to her website below. Sign up for her newsletter and she’ll give you a free copy of Criss Cross in e-book format. The characters are unforgettable, and the plot will leave you on the edge of your seat, breathless, and reaching for book two. You won’t regret it!

https://www.ccwarrensbooks.com