3 Questions Wednesday with Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read classics to her as bedtime stories. Let’s get to know her. Our first question for Janalyn is what do you love most about the writing process? The least?

Janalyn: Writing allows me to live vicariously in a fictional world I create. That’s amazing for any genre but especially when writing medieval epic fantasy. It’s heady to realize that you can write about anything you can dream up. In Tales of Faeraven, readers can experience what it’s like to climb onto a winged horse and lift into the sky. They can walk through a vanishing gateway into a place between worlds, seek salvation in the Vale of Shadows, wield a two-edged sword, and reach into another soul.

I’ll call upon the late Walt Disney to answer the second part of your question. The famed founder of Disneyland once confessed that he resented the limits of his imagination. I share his frustration. The options for what I can create within a fantasy story world are endless, but my mind is finite. There’s almost too much freedom, and it’s easy to become intimidated.

I counter that feeling by establishing parameters for my world. I follow the advice of Orson Scott Card, bestselling author of Ender’s Game (and many other books), who explained in an article that the best fantasy worlds are most like our own. If a book has ever jarred you with its unfamiliarity, you already understand why. Readers relate to a world containing cool elements not found on Earth, but without being distracted by unnecessary strangeness. Adopting this philosophy helped establish parameters. I researched 13th-century Europe when writing Tales of Faeraven.

Wow, you have thought this through thoroughly! Next question, if you could give a novice writer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Janalyn: This might seem hackneyed, but it’s the truest advice I can give: believe in yourself as a writer. If you don’t, no one else will. That’s so hard in the beginning when no one acknowledges you. I can remember being embarrassed to call myself a writer. I still don’t announce it except for a specific reason, but shyness no longer holds me back. I just prefer not to be stared at as if I’ve sprouted a second head or gazed at with awe. Unless the other person is another author or aspires to be one, others can’t relate anyway. But I digress.

While researching a post for Live Write Breathe, my website for writers, I discovered that I suffered from the very affliction about which I was writing. Impostor Syndrome is when you sabotage your efforts due to the misguided belief that you don’t deserve success. I felt like I was fooling everyone by claiming to be a writer, even though I had several books published and contracts with two publishers. The good news is that simply identifying Impostor Syndrome is the first step to eliminating the problem. That is proving true more and more as I leave self-doubt behind.

I’ve had to apply this advice in my writing also. Trusting that the story will tell itself, even when I think I’ve painted myself into a corner has saved me many times. This mindset produces authentic stories that aren’t predictable, and what’s not to love about that?

You are right, we do second guess our own talent many times before moving forward boldly. Final question, who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Villain?

Janalyn: I love Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings books. His curiosity gets him into hot water with Gandolf and carries him into adventure. Ah, but loyalty makes him stay. I can relate to that, which is why Kai in Tales of Faeraven has an overweening sense of duty. In this, Kai is most like his author.

George Warleggon from the Poldark Saga is by far my favorite villain. His flaws make George a complex character I want to hate but just can’t. I’m in awe of that kind of writing. So far, I’ve only seen the Masterpiece Theater production, but I plan to read the Poldark books by Winston Graham. I’ve learned a lot about storytelling from reading classics that have stood the test of time.

Strong choices in characters. Thanks for chatting with us.


Click to Tweet: My favorite fictional character: I love Samwise Gamgee in the Lord of the Rings books. His curiosity gets him into hot water with Gandolf and carries him into adventure. Ah, but loyalty makes him stay.


Janalyn Voigt Bio

Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read classics to her as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with her own made-up tales. Her sixth-grade teacher noticed her love of storytelling and encouraged her to become a writer. Today Janalyn is a multi-genre author. Janalyn writes the kind of novels she likes to read – epic adventures brimming with romance, mystery, history, and whimsy. She is praised for her unpredictable plots and the lyrical, descriptive prose that transports readers into breathtaking storyworlds. Janalyn Voigt is represented by Wordserve Literary. Learn more about Janalyn and her books at http://janalynvoigt.com.


Thanks so much, Janalyn, for dropping by!  If you would like to connect with Janalyn, here’s how:


 

3 Questions Wednesday with Leeann Betts

This week we hear from Leeann Betts, who writes contemporary romantic suspense. Pique your interest? Read on.

Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Missing Deposits is the 11th title in her cozy mystery series, and together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels. They ghostwrite, judge writing contests, edit, facilitate a critique group, and are members of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Christian Authors Network, and Sisters in Crime. Leeann travels extensively to research her stories, and is proud to be represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary LLC.


Our first question for Leeann, if you could give a novice writer one piece of advice, what would it be?

Leeann: I think it would be the same piece my husband gave to me, although it wasn’t advice so much as it was a question: “If you knew right now that you’d never be published, would you quit?” My answer was “no”. And he said, “Then it doesn’t matter how many rejections you get.” I think if my answer had been, “yes”, he’d have said to me, “Then you’d better move on now and do something else.”

Staying power! Authors have to be ready for the rejections and the acceptances. Next Leeann described her writing space.  

Leeann: I write at a desk in my home office in my basement. My husband sits about five feet away. Every day. My space is uncluttered, most of the time, because I can’t stand piles of stuff. His space looks like Mount Kilimanjaro about to collapse under its own weight, because he likes to have everything close to hand. But once a week, I have an appointment at a local coffee shop to write with friends. Or by myself. Doesn’t matter. I just need to get out and be around people once in a while. Not to actually interact with them—the introvert in me shrinks at the thought—but just to be able to pretend I’m a little normal.

A little time out and about with others sometimes spurs writing ideas. Last question, were you a young writer, late-bloomer, or somewhere in-between?

Leeann: I was a late bloomer. In most things. I graduated college at 36, got married at 40, wrote my first novel at 44, published my first book at 57. Now, at 61, I’m just hitting my stride.

Click to Tweet: Advice I would give a novice writer would be the same piece my husband gave to me, although it wasn’t advice so much as it was a question: “If you knew right now that you’d never be published, would you quit?” My answer was “no”. And he said, “Then it doesn’t matter how many rejections you get.”

Thanks so much, Leeann, for dropping by!  If you would like to connect with Leeann, here’s how:


About her book Missing Deposits

Carly looks forward to a vacation when Mike is hired to assist a rancher family in western Colorado catalogue their various mineral rights following the discovery of a large copper field on their property. However, Carly soon learns that the real wealth—and the real danger—aren’t below ground. Someone is out to keep a secret bigger and more profitable than copper. And they’re willing to kill for it.

 

3 Questions Wednesday with Martin Wiles

Martin Wiles joins us this week. Before we get to know him, how’s it going with you and your goals for the new year? Stay after it, hard-work, focus and discipline will help you accomplish many things this year. Now, let’s get to know Martin and how he has worked to achieve in his writing.

Martin Wiles lives in South Carolina and is the founder of Love Lines from God. He is a freelance editor, English teacher, minister, and author who serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and as a proof-editor for Courier Publishing. He is the author of six books and has been published in numerous publications. His most recent book, A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapades in a Busy World, released in December 2019.

Let’s get to know a little more about Martin. For starters, what do you love most about the writing process? The least?

Martin: The least is easy: marketing. I would imagine this is every writer’s least favorite thing to do. We’d rather sit down and pen the words than have to promote what we have written or had published. Unfortunately, marketing is a vital part of the writing process, so I suck it up, make a regular schedule, decide where and how I will promote my writing, and get busy. Consistency is the key. After all, I’m the only person—unless I pay someone—that I can count on to do this with regularity. And like most writers, I have limited funds. So, I rarely pay anyone to promote my writing, and I take advantage of every free resource I know about.

My favorite thing is the freedom to put my thoughts on paper when and where I want, and to know they have the potential to be read the world over, hopefully changing lives in the process. Each day, I check my Blogger statistics to see how many people have visited my website and read my post and to see which countries they reside in. I am very humbled when I see how God uses me and how He uses other writers in ways we could never imagine. Technology has opened numerous doors for writers.

You are not alone with marketing challenges. The industry is changing and whether or not you self-publish, the author has a big role in marketing. Next question, describe your writing space.

Martin:  My writing space began as a secluded spot in my quiet office. Currently, it is nestled in a part of our small patio townhome between the den and the dining room. Since my children are grown and gone—and since the grandsons my wife keeps leave after supper—I have plenty of quiet time if I need it. My main time for writing, however, begins at 4:30 a.m. I’ve always been a morning person—my brain shuts down around 8:30 p.m.—so my inspiration comes before the sun rises. My desk is the bottom iron table on which once sat a sewing machine that belonged to my great-grandmother. The top is a thick piece of plywood that either my father or my grandfather mounted on it. It’s a small space, but with most everything I need stored on my laptop, I don’t require much space.


Click to Tweet: Marketing is a vital part of the writing process, so I suck it up, make a regular schedule, decide where and how I will promote my writing, and get busy. Consistency is the key.


It sounds like your desk alone carries a few stories. Were you a young-writer, late-bloomer, or somewhere in-between?

Martin: As a serious writer, I was a late bloomer. I suppose I wrote in school as every other child is required to do—and I wrote many papers in college—but writing in the genre I do now came much later. My writing in earnest started shortly after my dad died in 2009. What the connection was between his death and my writing, I’ve never been able to determine. I just know it began then. Dad was not a writer, except for his sermons, so I wasn’t following his example. I had written many sermons myself, but in 2009, I began writing devotions. Since then, I’ve branched out to nonfiction articles and two nonfiction books, but devotions are my mainstay.

Get to know more about Martin Wiles. Here’s how to best connect:


Just Released: A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapades in a Noisy World

Martin’s latest book A Whisper in the Woods: Quiet Escapades in a Noisy World, combines his love for the outdoors and his passion for devotions. Since the “silence” of nature seems to be the place where God speaks the loudest to many people, he decided to filter through the many devotions he’s written and selected those that dealt with his hiking, backpacking, and camping experiences—especially those that had spiritual implications.

Available on Amazon, for purchase and download.

A Few Minutes with Author, Susan Neal

There’s news of a book release being shared today!


 Meet Susan Neal

Susan U. Neal RN, MBA, MHS is the author of seven healthy living books. Her mission is to help others improve their health so they can serve God better. She is  a Certified Health and Wellness Coach with the American Association of Christian Counselors. I am also Certified Writer Coach with the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

My best-seller 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates, a Selah award winner, sold over 5000 copies in its first fourteen months. The sequel Christian Study Guide for 7 Steps to Get Off Sugar and Carbohydrates won the 2019 Directors Choice award. The third book in the Healthy Living Series, Healthy Living Journal, won the Golden Scrolls award “2019 Best Inspirational Gift Book.”

Connect with Susan on her website, SusanUNeal.com.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I enjoy several aspects of the writing process. First, I enjoy the research that goes into writing my healthy living books. I love to learn, and I take what I learn and put it onto the page in an understandable format for the reader. Another aspect of writing that I enjoy is attending Word Weaver writing groups so others can edit my submission. Their critiques improve my writing.

If you could give advice to your younger writing self, what would it be?

If I were serious about getting a book published, I would hire a professional editor. I called the director of a writer’s conference and asked her who she recommended. Since then all three of my books in my Healthy Living Series have won first place in contests. If I could have afforded it, I would have taken coaching lessons from the editor too.

What does literary success look like to you?

When my books help readers improve their health, that is success. Here is feedback from one of my readers:

“I can’t even begin to tell you how much BETTER I feel since I read Solving the Gluten Puzzle. This truly is the first time in YEARS that I have gone days without stomach pain, upset, etc.  I believe it has to do with understanding what really contains gluten.  So much stuff I never thought about. You are a blessing to many. Thank you for your ministry, and I know, beyond a doubt, this book will change lives.”

What projects can tell us about?

Last year, I finished my Healthy Living Series of books. Earlier this month I released the first book in the Reclaim Your Health series, Solving the Gluten Puzzle.

My 2020 goal is to write the second book in the Reclaim Your Health series about healing food sensitivities and leaky gut. It breaks my heart that 50 percent of Americans have a chronic illness and 40 percent are obese. My mission is to decrease those devastating statistics.


Click to tweet: Recommendation to writers: Since then all three of my books in my Healthy Living Series have won first place in contests. If I could have afforded it, I would have taken coaching lessons from the editor too. Earlier this month I released the first book in Susan’s Reclaim Your Health series, Solving the Gluten Puzzle.

3 Questions Wednesday with Lenora Worth

Welcome to 3 Questions Wednesday! Today Inspired Prompt welcomes author Lenora Worth.  Thanks for taking the time to join us.

First question:
Who is your favorite author?
Lenora: Well, that’s a tough one. I love Pat Conroy‘s books. I also enjoy Mary Kay Andrews. I love a good Southern book.

Mary Kay Andrews is totally fun reading! Next question…

If you could write about anyone or anything fiction/nonfiction who or what would you write about?

Lenora: I’d write about Jesus coming back to earth now and how he might handle all the horror of today’s world. He might surprise some of us!

No one knows the hour or the day, I’m sure he will surprise us. Last question: If you could spend time with a character from your book or another book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?

Lenora: There is one character who has always stayed with me. Eli Trudeau fromHeart of the Night.” It was out years ago, but he was one of my first really tormented heroes and while he was bitter and broken, he also had a good heart and was redeemed by faith and love.

Where would any of us be without faith and love? Thanks for stopping by. 

If you’d like to be entered to win a print copy of Lenora’s book, Amish Christmas Hideaway, please leave a comment below…

Click to tweet: There is one character who has always stayed with me. Eli Trudeau from “Heart of the Night.” It was out years ago, but he was one of my first really tormented heroes and while he was bitter and broken, he also had a good heart and was redeemed by faith and love.


About Lenora Worth

A member of the Romance Writers of America and American Christian Fiction Writers Honor Rolls, Lenora Worth writes romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin’s Love Inspired and sweet romance for Tule Publishing. Her books have finaled in the ACFW Carol Awards. She also received the Romantic Times Pioneer Award for Inspirational Fiction. Lenora is a NY Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling writer and a 2019 RWA RITA® Finalist. With eighty-plus books published and over three million books in print, she enjoys adventures with her retired husband and loves reading, baking and shopping… especially shoe shopping.


Connect with Lenora on Facebook @LenoraWorthBooks or sign up for her newsletter at, www.lenoraworth.com.

Her books are available on Amazon. Some great choices for Christmas reading and gift-giving!