Author Wednesday – Rebekah Lyn

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Welcome to Author Wednesday and an interview with Rebekah Lyn, the author of several Christian novels. Her stories are filled with faith, hope, and adventure. Today, she’s here to tell us a little bit more about her latest release, Jessie, the second book in the Coastal Chronicles. Jesse, a young adult coming-of-age story, is set in the 1960s in Indian River City, Florida, near Cape Canaveral where the race to the moon captured the hearts of and minds of young and old. As a result, Rebekah scheduled the release of the book to coincide with the forty-fifth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing mission.3d cover Jessie

Welcome Rebekah. I love meeting new authors and finding out how they discovered their voice as authors. When were you first able to call yourself a “writer” or “author?”

I’ve always considered myself a writer, but I never really talked to anyone about my writing until 2001 when I met another friend who enjoyed writing. The conversations we had, coupled with some difficult times I was going through, really sparked me to write more. It took ten years for me to decide I had anything I wanted to publish, but without that friendship, I may never have pursued this path.

I know that you write Christian fiction and have two series. Are there any special themes or messages that you try to convey to your readers?

I write inspirational fiction because I want people to have hope and know joy. I’ve been through dark times and struggled with my faith, so I understand how others can lose hope. I want my stories to be entertaining and, in the case of Jessie, mixed with humor. My characters are overcomers, and by the end of the book, I want my readers to feel that way, too. When a reader lets me know how a book touched their heart I feel like I’ve done my job well.

Yes, that’s a very important aspect of being an author. It can keep us going for a long time. Tell us a little bit about your current projects.

My new release, Jessie, is my first foray into historical fiction, as well as what may be considered young adult fiction. The main characters are teenage boys, but the message is something everyone from age five to ninety-five can benefit from. I am also starting to work on the third book in the Seasons of Faith series

What’s your one sentence pitch for Jessie?

From tide pools to technology, follow Jessie’s emotional journey from a young boy enthralled with the United States race for the moon taking place just a few miles from his home to a young man overcoming many obstacles to pursue his dream.

How did you choose the title? Has it been the title from the very beginning?

The first book in the Coastal Chronicles was Julianne so I decided to keep all of the books the name of the lead character. I’ve toyed with the idea of making all the leads in the Chronicles start with J, but I don’t know if that will pan out. The characters usually tell me their own names.

That’s true. It might be difficult to pin yourself down. I’m always asked about how long it took me to write a book so I’ll ask you the same question. How long do you estimate it took you to take the book from an idea to a finished, published?

I don’t remember when exactly the idea first came to me, but I started research in October 2012, and the book was finally completed in April  2014. I chose to release the book to coincide with the forty-fifth anniversary of the moon landing since that event is a crucial element of the story.

That’s an excellent idea. Tell us about the antagonist of the book.

Jessie’s father, Eugene, would probably be considered the antagonist. He’s an alcoholic and has abused both Jessie and his older brother Max. Even though Eugene isn’t a very active character in the story, he is always present in Jessie’s mind.

If you listen to music while you’re writing, what is it?

I tend to choose music that fits the storyline of the character I am working on that day. For Jessie, I listened to music from the 1950s and 1960s. For my Seasons of Faith books, I have different bands for each character that I listen to when I am writing in their point of view.

That’s interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a writer doing that before, but it makes perfect sense. How does your immediate family feel about your writing life?

Since I am a single lady, my parents are my biggest supporters, and I couldn’t do this without them. My mom helps with marketing and brings me food when I’m in a really good writing groove. My dad is handy and has made me some beautiful easels for my book as well as a prize wheel I can take with me to the variety of festivals in my hometown where I’ve started selling books. I have also enlisted my teenage niece and her friend to make signature jewelry to give out at teas where I meet with readers and talk about books. I think my cat gets a bit annoyed when I am in the zone and don’t take time off the computer to give her attention. She gets over that pretty fast when I fill her treat bowl, though.

How wonderful to have such a supportive family. If a movie was made about your success as a writer, who would play you?

Connie Britton of Friday Night Lights and Nashville. She is a fighter and never gives up, but most of all I love her Southern Exasperation, the way a southern woman can say more with facial expressions than most can with words, a tilt of the head or a pat on the hand.

She’s a good choice. Rebekah, it’s been wonderful having you visit today, and I wish you tremendous success in your writing career. The world needs as much hope and inspiration as possible.

author Rebekah LynAbout Rebekah Lyn – Rebekah is a popular Indie Author with a strong following of loyal readers who enjoy her inspirational novels of faith, adventure, and hope. She is a Christian with a heart for new beginnings, and her desire is to reflect that in each of her books. Rebekah writes character-driven novels, which she hopes will engulf the reader in a great story and leave them stronger in their faith. One Summer Storms reviewer said, “Something about this author’s writing style reminds me of Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove series.” Her first published novel was released in October, 2011, and three of her current books have received solid ratings in the Christian Fiction category on Amazon.com. She has two distinct series developed, with further books planned for each series.

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Blog Tour – The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman

I’m happy to have Carole Brown stop here for a guest post during the blog tour for her novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the post to enter the giveaway.

Redemption of Caralynne HaymanTitle: The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman 

Author:  Carole Brown

Published:  October 21, 2013

Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

Word Count:  90,000

Genre:  Women’s Fiction – Christian Suspense, Romance

Content Warning:  Contains adult subject matter, such as abuse within cults

Recommended Age:  16+

Synopsis: How far would YOU go to avenge the murder of a daughter?

Caralynne Hayman is angry and bitter over the abuse and death of her eleven-year-old daughter from the hands of her religious group, The Children of Righteous Cain. When her husband suffers a sudden heart attack, she does nothing to help him. In her eyes someone needs to pay, and if that means all of the men in the group, then so be it.

Dayne MacFarland is sent away to college by the senior elder of the group to learn ministry. When he returns after finding salvation, determined to bring the truth to the people he’s known all his life, he rediscovers Cara and realizes the love he once felt for her is still deeply embedded within his heart.

Dayne faces men unwilling to turn their backs on the cult training he despises. Cara faces men who follow their leader in abuse toward their wives and the young girls of the group. Cara is considered rebellious and inappropriate to befriend. Dayne is the apple of Elder Simmons’ eye—until he takes a stand against their teachings.

Can Cara overcome the feelings that have governed her most of her life? Can she learn to trust Dayne, and most of all a God whom she sees as uncaring—if he’s really there at all? Only Dayne’s prayers and love can reach Cara and show her the way to redemption, and Cara must recognize and accept God’s love and forgiveness before she goes too far.

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How the Redemption of Caralynne Hayman Came About

By Carole Brown

My husband and I have traveled a lot through the years. We’ve run across some interesting and unusual situations, counseled some odd cases, and ministered to some strange people. We enjoy it, and I suppose that’s why we enjoy keeping up with different current events throughout the country.

One such event caught our attention awhile back: the Texas cult. As I was looking for another plot idea (I’m a suspense writer) my husband, Dan, came up with the plot of a cult. But we needed to answer certain questions to develop the plot fully.

  • What was it about the cult that was unusual?
  • Ÿ Who would the primary character be?
  • Ÿ What would cause a conflict between them?

Answering those led us to these questions that needed answers.

Since we’d decided on an abusive cult, what habits/rules did they push? I wanted something that could be (supposedly) traced back to ancient Biblical days (which I didn’t go into great detail in TRofCH, but hope to in the sequel.

I wanted to show how twisted misguided people can become when they “overdose” on too much authority and power and also a mild warning against believing everything promoted to us, even when it comes under the name of church, leadership, or well-known.

ŸThe main character, we decided, needed to be–not just a woman–but a mother who loses a daughter because of the actions of the cult. It intensified the emotions and created a problem that was at once humongous and dangerous.

I had to make Caralynne likeable, hence her great love for her two remaining daughters, her fierce loyalty to her friends, and her strength even when faced when fear from her circumstances and wicked people.

Yet to make her realistic, I also had to show her anger and bitterness: the major reasons for her lust for revenge. How can a mother lose a daughter–anyway is hard, but from abuse? It’s beyond thinking about. How much blame does a mother shoulder? Is it hard to forgive the perpetrator? Of course. Some can never get to that place. Some don’t want to. Yet I hold to the belief that for a person to have peace, there must be some kind of forgiveness. For the purposes of this book, that’s what I aimed for.

The death of a daughter would evoke emotions in a mother: anger, bitterness, and for Caralynne–a woman who has never seen real Christianity–a desire for revenge. Misguided, yes, but feelings that could easily rise up in any normal mother although most would rein in those feelings.

Once we’d brainstormed these the plot exploded.

I researched tattoos and shopped for just the right one that would symbolize what I wanted for a “cult brand.” It also had to go along with the first chapter, and be the right tattoo that would bring fear in certain situations. In this case, for a child. Ordinarily, the eye I chose wouldn’t bring fear, but for a child, seeing something fearful along with that, it was the perfect tattoo.

As I gathered more information about cults, This was vital because to bring the story alive, I needed to see how they tick. What brings people to the place where they will give their lives for a cause–in normal people‘s eyes, wrong causes? Why do people believe their leaders are correct? What kind of background could cause members to honestly think their group correct?

I needed just the right names for Appalachian people.

The setting had to hold an atmosphere of closeness and secludedness that would seem real, scary, and appropriate for the events in the book.

It was a tough book to write in many ways. I acknowledge it’s also a tough book to read to many–definitely not for the weak-hearted. I tried to show hope shining through the darkness throughout the book, and if I succeeded, if I caused readers to show more sympathy for the hurting people in the world, if I encouraged one abused soul that there is hope, then writing this book fulfilled its goal.

CaroleBrownAbout Carole Brown: Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

 Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads | Blog

Giveaway Details:

Blog Tour for The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman Giveaway. Prizes include the following:

  • If the winner is in the U.S., they will receive the following: Copy of The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, Copy of West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, $15 Amazon Gift Card, Handmade Table Runner, Handmade Apron, and Hand decorated recipe box.
  • If the winner is INT, they will receive the following: eBook copy of The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, eBook copy of West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, an eBook copy of Hog Insane, and a $15 Amazon Gift Card.

Click on the link below to enter the giveaway:

A Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review Friday – Hidden Under Her Heart by Rachelle Ayala

5.5"X8.5" Post Card TemplateBy Patricia Zick @PCZick

Hidden Under Her Heart by Rachelle Ayala takes the reader up and down the emotional scales in the lives of Maryanne and Lucas. From their first meeting, the ride begins when Lucas plays a ridiculously immature prank on Maryanne who’s on duty in her job as a nurse. Maryanne is equally immature in her vow to remain celibate until she finds the right man, but then when she and Lucas go on their first date, she teases, flirts, and makes it seem as if she’d like more. As the story moves forward, the reader learns that all she wants is to be loved. She also needs to find peace with her past. When confronted with a life-altering decision, she finally starts to grow into her skin.

As the book proceeds, choices made by both Lucas and Maryanne force them to grow up and face their demons as well as the reality of grown-up lives faced with grown-up decisions. Their past catches up to both of them. It’s often said that it’s not what we have to deal with, but how we deal with the what is presented to us either based on our own decisions or the decision forced on us by others.

I admit I wasn’t sure I’d like this book because of its pro-life bent, but I decided to give it a chance because I’d read and enjoyed Michal’s Window by Ms. Ayala, which is the story of King David and his first wife, Michal. The Biblical story was intriguing as well as sensual. The premise for Hidden Under her Heart also sounded interesting. As a pro-choice woman, I found the book an interesting study of the choices we make when life hands us rotten eggs.

The author does not shout her beliefs, which allowed me to continue the story. She merely shows through her characters that when it comes to pregnancy, adoption, abortion, and parenthood, consequences ensue, which means the choices require extreme consideration and soul searching.

Subtle religious overtones emerge throughout the book; yet again, there was no shouting. I’m a spiritualist, open to many religions, even though I was raised Christian. The religious aspects of this book only confirmed my own belief that faith in God helps us through the worst of times.

I give Hidden Under Her Heart five stars for its honesty. I also give Ms. Ayala five stars for her bravery in writing a story on a controversial subject in such a thoughtful and considerate way. Our discourse on divisive topics should always remain as civil as it does in this novel. I may believe differently than Ms. Ayala, but with her prose, she made me pause and think. If only we could all get back to this type of discourse in this country, we’d be able to solve a bundle of problems facing us today. Thank you, Ms Ayala, for helping confirm my own beliefs on not shouting our opinions through writing.

What other books have you read that put forth opinions without shouting?

See interview with Rachelle Ayala on Writing Whims

 

Author Wednesday – Rachelle Ayala

typewriterWelcome to the very first Author Wednesday on Writing Whims. I am very pleased to introduce Rachelle Ayala, author of Michal’s Window, Broken Build, and her latest release, Hidden Under Her Heart. Rachelle was kind enough to answer a few questions about her new book and about herself as a writer and a person.

Hidden_Under_Her_Hea_Cover_for_Kindle

 

Good morning, Rachelle, and welcome to Writing Whims. Please tell me about Hidden Under Her Heart. Who or what was your inspiration behind it?

Hidden Under Her Heart is a heartfelt novel written to examine abortion, post-abortion guilt, and the unborn baby’s right to life. I was inspired by my friend, Melisa Hamling, who is the author of Twenty Weeks, another story dealing with abortion. Matt Patterson, author of My Emily, provided encouragement for me to look into my own experiences to shape and craft this story into an uplifting one with a happy ending.

What are some of your favorite genres to read and to write?

I love dramatic fiction with heavy emotional overtones centered around women coping with big problems in their lives. My favorite authors are Anne Rivers Siddons, Melissa Foster, and Mary M. Forbes. Their books take you into the harrowing lives of women facing huge challenges with unexpected twists and heartrending emotions. I like to be surprised and not see things coming a mile away or feel like the author is steering me in a particular direction. So the problems have to be gigantic, the characters mucho flawed, and the dilemmas in conflict with horrid villains.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What was the biggest compliment? Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?

My stories reflect me, and not some vague genre-specific market segment. I’m a born-again Christian after age forty; I lived in a rough neighborhood growing up; I spent a lifetime in computers and the tech industry; I don’t have the cleanest vocabulary, but I read my Bible from cover to cover; and I have a vivid imagination. My books include characters who are Christian as well as ones who are not, but the overall message is uplifting and someone gets saved in each of my books. Ironically, the worst criticism comes from Christians. All they see are the cuss words and sex and not the theme about brokenness, redemption, healing, changing lives, and finding God.

My biggest compliments come from readers who write me and tell me how my book impacted them, even if it was to keep them from sleeping. Michal’s Window got people to empathize with a strong woman who was suppressed by her time in history. 5.5"X8.5" Post Card Template5.5"X8.5" Post Card TemplateBroken Build deals with grief over violent crimes and shows the power of forgiveness.

Since I published Hidden Under Her Heart, many have shared with me their personal stories, or those of their friends and relatives. My story is compassionate and shows how people who are burdened under layers of guilt can find peace.

 

Have I changed anything? I’d be lying to say I haven’t. Hidden Under Her Heart has no overt sex scene. Sorry to disappoint everyone, but it is safe for mature teens. It also has no Bible verses, the other objection from Christian readers who did not like Bible verses next to cuss words. Oh, and my main character does not cuss, not that I can remember.

What is your favorite junk food vice?

Dark chocolate: Lindor extra dark truffles, Guittard’s semi-sweet chocolate chips, Lady Godiva’s. Anyone want to send me some, I’ll be your best friend.

I didn’t realize chocolate was a vice, especially dark chocolate! We all have our little things when it comes to reading, is there anything that bugs you when you read a novel? What is it?

The number one thing that bugs me is author manipulation. I can tell if an author tries too hard to get me to like a character. Everyone praises that character, says how good looking she is, how sensible, how wise. The character also has a high fallutin’ sense of her own that adds to the misery. I hate lame stories where the male hero is too perfect, or only has one tiny flaw, which is minor. And mostly, I don’t like it when the story lacks conflict, glosses over detail, and explains away complications. Even worse is when I identify with the character we are all supposed to hate. Ha, then, I start wishing bad things would happen to the supposed good character and am ultimately disappointed when the story ends.

Who was your current novel dedicated to? Any particular reason?

Hidden Under Her Heart is dedicated to my son, Ross, who was born at 26 weeks gestational age and lived three weeks in the NICU. I have an important message in my book about the sanctity of life, no matter how small or maimed, and I wanted to give Ross’s short life meaning. He would have been a senior in high school this year and applying to college. This is my way of sending him into the world, on the wings of my book.

That’s lovely, Rachelle. I’m sure he’s flying safely. Is there anything else that you would like to share or say to those who will read this interview?

First of all, thank you for reading this far! And mostly, be yourself and accept yourself the way God made you. I truly enjoy hearing from readers and hope my stories inspire you and make you feel good about yourself. God bless you, and thank you, Patricia, for letting me visit with your readers.

You’re very welcome, Rachelle. It’s been a pleasure to get to know you a little better.

About Rachelle Ayala writes dramatic fiction crossing genres and boundaries, featuring strong but flawed characters. She writes emotionally challenging stories and is not afraid of controversial topics. However, she is an optimist and laces her stories with romance and hope.

Rachelle is currently working on a romantic suspense that touches on disability. She is a very happy woman and lives in California with her husband. She has three children and has taught violin and made mountain dulcimers.

Links to Rachelle’s books: Michal’s Window  Broken Build  Hidden Under Her Heart

Website: http://rachelleayala.me

Blog: http://rachelleayala.com
Twitter: @AyalaRachelle