3 Questions Wednesday with Shawna Robison Young

Today we are joined by Shawna Robison Young, who draws from her varied life experience to write great stories. Let’s get to know her better with three questions. Our first question, what do you love most about the writing process? The least?

Shawna: I love the excitement of creating a new story, making up the characters and the world they live in. I love getting so wrapped up in it that the day is nearly done and I still have more I want to write. As far as what I like least about the writing process is when I’ve finished the book and I put it in the hands of another writer, editor, or reader to give me their feedback. Those days or weeks are the hardest waiting to see if all my hard work amounted to something others will enjoy reading.

I love those days when we totally immerse ourselves in our writing, characters, and story. Next question, if you could give a novice writer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Shawna:  Write. Just keep writing even when it gets hard, even when you get discouraged, even when life gets busy find some time. Never give up. God gave you this gift for His purpose, use it and keep writing for Him. The words on the page may only be for you or maybe God had you write them to touch another person’s heart or perhaps thousands. Whatever His Will is for your writing journey remember Colossians 3:17, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Amen! You are so right. Just keep writing and let the Lord lead the way. Final question, give a shout out to a writer friend and your favorite book they’ve written.

Shawna: Mikal Dawn writes funny relatable characters. Her debut novel, Count Me In is my favorite book she’s written. I read it in a day and a half. This rarely happens due to my busy life, but I couldn’t put it down. She also has written several novellas and is in a few book collections with other fantastic authors.

I’ll have to check her out. Thanks for sharing with us today.


Click to tweet: I love the excitement of creating a new story, making up the characters and the world they live in. I love getting so wrapped up in it that the day is nearly done and I still have more I want to write.


Shawna Robison Young Bio

Shawna is the mother of four, a preschool owner and teacher, and a former children’s minister. She is the wife of a navy veteran, and lover of all things chocolate. Whether it’s singing the ABCs, sharing what she’s learned with new writers, or passing along Bible truths to her children’s ministry classes, she’s a teacher at heart. Her novel Waiting among Ashes was a finalist in the 2012 Women of Faith contest, and her short story Michael was a finalist in the 2012 Christian Choice Writing Contest.

Shawna enjoys writing a little bit of the unexpected. Why be normal? In a world of conformity, a touch of something out of the ordinary can make a work of art astonishing.


If you would like to connect with Shawna, here’s how:


Book Overview for the Unsuspecting Heather Meyers:

What if you’ve returned home to start your life over, only to discover you’re there to finish it?

Ready for a fresh start, Heather Meyers flees from not-so-sunny California to her hometown in Indiana. But fate has other plans—stage IV cancer and three months to live. Determined that one more kick from life won’t destroy her faith, Heather fights against its schemes. Before she can take her final rest, redemption must be found for someone she loves.

Physical therapist Dr. Jack Jones (JJ) would do anything to change the past, to not have let his high school sweetheart getaway. Now that Heather’s back, he’d do anything to keep her from leaving. With her time running out, he may never get his chance to set things right.

By a twist of fate and with an extra dab of this and a little bit of that, nurse Anna Ingram sets out to prove that JJ is more than his past mistakes and Heather can find hope and love in the midst of the biggest battle of her life.

Book buy link:  https://amzn.com/B082S5HDQ9

O Romeo, How Many Are There of You?

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Love, Love, Love.

It’s floating all around us this February, and here on Inspired Prompt, the crew is looking at some of the best love stories ever written.

For me, the one that rises to the top without question is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Now, you might call “Foul, sweet writer. ‘Tis not a novel nor a book. You, fiendish foe.”

And I would answer, “Tis true, but no sweeter love hath any two, then Juliet and her Romeo.”

Though a tragic play, the story of Romeo and Juliet has been reproduced in books, movies, and television shows throughout the twentieth and twenty-first century, making it one of the most popular and beloved plots of Shakespeare.

A few of the more popular versions from the past of the Romeo and Juliet plotline are West Side Story, When You Were Mine, and Love Is All There Is.

More modern versions include Romeo and Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Shakespeare In Love which talks about the writing of the play, and Warm Bodies which turns the issue of the feuding families into the issue of zombies and humans.

Not to be outdone by the zombies, even the animated world has a version of this play called Gnomeo and Juliet.

Some of the best-loved TV series have also done their own take on the Romeo and Juliet plot including Still Star-Crossed, Bones, and Castle. If you watch for it, you can find it in most series at least once if not as two teenagers in love from feuding families, then the classic Hatfield and McCoy type of scenario. Where Pa would never allow it.

According to the International Movie Database, there are thirty-four movie adaptations alone of Shakespeare’s tribute to young love. What a story!

So, in true Shakespearean form, I will leave you with this thought:

“A glooming peace this morning with it brings;

The sun for sorrow will not show his head:

Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;

Some shall be pardoned and some punished:

For never was a story of more woe

Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.”

Prompt: Bernice sighed as she read over the playbill. She wanted to see Romeo and Juliet so bad she ached. It had been the last play that they had seen together.

Click-to-Tweet: #Love. It’s floating all around us this February, and here on Inspired Prompt, the crew is looking at some of the best love stories ever written. A classic look at love via @InspiredPrompt #ValentinesDay2020

Gaudy Night: A Different Kind of Love Story

By Jennifer Hallmark

For any of you that know me at all, it’s no secret that the “Golden Age of Detective Fiction” is one of my favorite genres to read. I think it has something to do with my dad and I watching PBS together on a little black and white television, timeless stories about Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and Lord Peter Wimsey.

But what does that have to do with our month of love stories? For crying out loud,  it’s Valentine’s Day. The perfect time for an epic romance. I understand. And for a book to be extra-special to me, there has to be an element of romance. I need the hero and heroine to feel the spark between them, for them to agree and disagree, fight and love. Add to that, the main characters working together to solve a mystery and it can’t get any better.

Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers combines all of the above and more. Our hero, slash crime solver, Lord Peter Wimsey, loves Harriet Vane, a woman he saved from being falsely accused of the murder of her lover. Harriet is sick of all men and won’t even pretend to love Lord Peter. But he never gives up pursuing her. (I love that!)

In this tenth book by Dorothy Sayers, the third to involve Miss Vane, Harriet goes back to her old Alma Mater, Shrewsbury All-Female college as part of a journey of self-discovery. She raises all the questions: Who am I? Why have I struggled? What do I really want to do in my career? Who do I love?

Harriet’s bravery to attempt this inner journey while trying to solve a mystery at the college creates a wonderful story. Peter’s ability to let Harriet find her own way without his help is masterfully written and makes me enjoy his character even more.

To me, what makes this novel work is the chemistry between Harriet and Peter. They both are learning about themselves and each other and the world they live in that is moving toward World War II. Dorothy Sayers dives deeply into their inner thoughts and makes it all so real I feel like I know them. That’s great writing.

And the perfect ending with all the ooh’s and aah’s, the romance, the kiss. I’ve read the book countless times, sometimes just skipping around to my favorite parts. It might just be time to read it again.

If you have time, read all of Sayer’s books starting with Whose Body? and you’ll find the experience of reading Gaudy Night even richer.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Click to tweet: Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers. Mystery or romance or both? @InspiredPrompt #amwritingromance #ValentinesDay

Do you like mystery and romance combined better than romance alone? I’d love for you to share a favorite mystery/romance with our readers. 

3 Questions Wednesday with Julie Cosgrove

Today we are joined by Julie Cosgrove, an award-winning novelist of 15 books. Let’s get to know her better with three questions. Our first question, what do you love most about the writing process? The least?

Julie: The thing I love most about the writing process is the rough draft. I’m mostly a panster, meaning I have a basic idea of my plot, but develop it as I go. It is fun to see the twists and turns emerge as I go along. It’s similar to piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. I get stoked when the story comes together, and the ending make sense! (And surprise my readers, too.)

I used to say the editing process was the least favorite, but I have come to appreciate my editors and see that it’s like polishing silver. We all apply hours of elbow grease in order to make the manuscript shine and I am truly indebted to them.

Marketing is my least favorite because with so many books out there, and many so unfortunately poorly written, I think readers are inundated. It’s hard to persuade them to buy mine when it is the 50th post on that particular Facebook book lovers’ page that day or the 1,500th tweet. I find targeting Christian and mystery readers helps, but even then, I often feel as if I am shouting in the wind. So, I greatly appreciate guest blogs like this. Thank you!!

You are right, the rough draft can be like a puzzle, but in the end there is a beautiful story told. Next question, give a shout out to a writer friend and your favorite book they’ve written.

Julie: Oh, that is so hard because there are quite a few faith-based authors who I have come to know and love professionally and personally. Each has been so supportive of my books. I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of Anna Kittrell’s books and her newest, The Commandment, is thrilling. I honestly stayed up into the wee hours to finish it. She is also an amazing Christian poet.

It is so encouraging on this journey to surround ourselves with other authors who will encourage us along the way. Final question, were you a young writer, late-bloomer, or somewhere in-between?

Julie: Young. I took creative writing in school, won awards, and was actually published in a national magazine. Then life, marriage, work, churchwork, and child-rearing wrestled for my time. Then I bloomed again eleven years ago at the age of 55 when three friends suggested I try writing for a living. But, that’s still young, right?? Since 60 is the new 40, I figure I am entering my prime.

That’s great. I’m sure the years of child-rearing gave you wisdom and inspiration for your writing. Thanks for sharing with us today.


Click to tweet: The thing I love most about the writing process is the rough draft. I’m mostly a panster, meaning I have a basic idea of my plot, but develop it as I go. It is fun to see the twists and turns emerge as I go along. It’s similar to piecing together a jigsaw puzzle.


Julie Cosgrove Bio

In addition to being an award-winning novelist of fifteen published books, Julie writes devotionals for several publications and websites. Her own blog, Where Did You Find God Today? has readership in over 50 countries. She is a professional speaker for women’s and writers’ groups. Visit her website at www.juliebcosgrove.com.


Book give-away! Comment on this post and if your name is drawn, Julie will send you the book of your choice.

If you would like to connect with Julie, here’s how:


Book Overview

Book 3 in the Relatively Seeking Mysteries: Leaf Me Alone. Four days ago, the biggest worry for Shannon Johnson, owner of Pampered Pets & Plants, was Fluffy eating a fizzy antacid while under her care. Then, her bible study teacher enters hospice and asks Shannon and her hubby, Jayden, to locate her long-lost nephew. But doing so not only put’s Jayden’s job at risk, but possibly their lives as well.

Romancing Jane Eyre

Which came first, Beauty and the Beast, or Jane Eyre? There are definite similarities between the two stories. The answer to this question is, of course, Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête – fairy tale by French novelist Suzanne Barbot de Villenueve, published in 1740).

In Jane Eyre, Rochester is a bit of a beast when Jane first meets him. Really, he’s just angry all the time, and for good reason. Like Belle, Jane “tames” the beast with her kindness.

This famous Gothic romance is still a best-seller today, so let’s examine some of my favorite story elements that in my mind at least, make this story great.

Our heroine is an outcast, rejected by her family. Her ill-treatment among those who should have loved her seemed to prepare her for what lay ahead. Most children sent to Lowood School don’t survive, which may have been the main reason her aunt sent her there.

But Jane did survive. Rather than allow herself to rot away as a teacher at Lowood Academy, Jane Eyre advertises for a suitable position as a governess. She desires adventure, and she certainly finds that at Thornfield Hall.

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.

Like Beauty and the Beast, Jane Eyre is a societal tale. Belle’s father is a merchant, Beast is a prince. Jane’s situation in life is far below that of Mr. Rochester, during a time when the class system was ironclad. A titled man of property never dared to marry a governess. It was frowned upon.

Jane Eyre also presents the reader with situations that require acceptance and forgiveness. According to Bronte, Rochester is not an attractive man in the usual sense. He’s ugly and brooding. Though he is in possession of a good income and a fine estate, bad decisions have left him in an unfortunate condition. I’m leaving the poor man’s history at that, in case you haven’t read the book or seen one of the movies. I don’t wish to spoil for you. 😊

Our heroine is plain. But in my opinion, she’s not a typical plain Jane. Though in the beginning, she is reserved and seems overly prudish, she exhibits inner beauty and peace that is awe-inspiring. She’s a gifted artist and speaks fluent French. The reader can’t help but admire her, and Rochester is immediately drawn to her character. It’s a classic case of “opposites attract.”

The romance element is strong in Jane Eyre. The attraction begins early on as the unlikely couple banter about ordinary subjects. Rochester is not put off by her reticence but draws her out. Her intelligence and wit inspire many brow-arching moments on his part. As their relationship deepens, their two souls seem almost intertwined, prompting him to remark that their hearts are connected by an unbreakable cord.

It’s a Gothic tale, for all is not as it seems at Thornfield Hall. The manor house is pokey and dark, but still ten times better than Lowood School, where she’s spent most of her life so far. Then there are times when Jane hears maniacal laughter and piercing screams. Her doorknob rattles as though someone is trying to open it. Is the house haunted? Or, is it a more ordinary circumstance, as the housekeeper assures her? A laundress with a propensity for over-imbibing alcohol.

Days of sunlit gardens give some relief from the dark interior of the house, along with Jane’s growing affection for Adele, the little girl in her care, who is Rochester’s ward. But just when things seem to be headed toward happily-ever-after, something terrible happens that nearly drives Jane over the edge. She must leave Thornfield Hall at once!

Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you.

She takes the coach to the end of its route and finds herself alone on the moors. Now in a completely different world, she’s living another life with a new suitor, though I never accepted him as suitable for Jane. 😊

It is evident that the writing of this tale must have taken years. Jane Eyre is a well-thought-out story filled with symbolism and truths that you may not catch the first time through. I’ve read it more times than I can count, and I’ve watched several film versions. Still, the original novel is stunningly detailed.

One of Jane’s strongest character traits is a direct result of her religious upbringing. She can seem closed and judgmental at times, but those deep, spiritual roots keep her moving forward and on more than one occasion, keep her from making a really bad decision that would most certainly destroy her.

Oh, to pen such a story as this one! Though some modern readers will find the language stilted and the narrative a bit wordy, others will discover as I did, the beauty of a timeless theme. Love banishes darkness.

All my heart is yours, sir: it belongs to you; and with you it would remain, were fate to exile the rest of me from your presence forever.

If interested, you’ll find an excellent study of Jane Eyre here:  Jane Eyre Study Guide

Click-to-Tweet: “All my heart is yours, sir: it belongs to you; and with you it would remain, were fate to exile the rest of me from your presence forever.” – Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre from Romancing Jane Eyre via @InspiredPrompt

Writing Prompt: “You say your heart belongs only to him. How then can you leave him? What terrible thing has he done to break your heart and bring your world crashing down?” How would your fictional heroine answer this question?