3 Questions Wednesday with Sandra Byrd

Author Sandra Byrd is a best-selling author who has published more than fifty books. She also mentors and coaches new writers. Please visit www.novelcoaching.com to learn more. With great pleasure, we welcome her to 3 Questions Wednesday!

First question–

What inspires you?

Sandra: Art, in all its forms, and kindness.

Kindness is big for me also. My blog promotes small acts of kindness. 🙂 Now…

You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?

Sandra: I love those pebbled crayons – the ones that have little beads and bubbles of colors all squashed together into a mosaic. Do you remember making those when you were a kid? You’d scrape up bits of leftover crayons and melt them together? Life is such a fusion of love, joy, pain, waiting, rejoicing, sorrow and grief, hope and renaissance.  I love to write about the full human experience – and I’d want me, the crayon, to represent that!

I love this answer! The perfect crayon. Last question…

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Sandra: I knew that I wanted to be a writer at six years old, as soon as I’d learned to read chapter books. Really! Then, I thought I’d better explore. So, as a kid, I wanted three careers: to be a hair stylist, to be a waitress, and to be an author. After I mohawked my Barbie I knew I wasn’t cut out for the hair stylist career. I was a waitress in a Jewish deli when I was a teenager and I then worked for a caterer till I went to college, both of which I truly enjoyed. Writing, however, was the real passion. And it stuck.

I know your readers are glad you did. Thanks so much for stopping in! 

Sandra has graciously offered a print copy of A Lady in Disguise to one reader who leaves a comment. (U.S. addresses only)


A Lady in Disguise

Daughters of Hampshire, Book 3

In this intriguing novel of romance, mystery, and clever disguise set in Victorian England, a young woman investigates the murder of her own father.

After the mysterious death of her father, Miss Gillian Young takes a new job as the principal costume designer at the renowned Drury Lane Theatre Royal. But while she remembers her father as a kind, well-respected man of the Police Force, clues she uncovers indicate he’d been living a double life: a haunting photograph of a young woman; train stubs for secret trips just before his death; and a receipt for a large sum of money. Are these items evidence of her father’s guilty secrets? His longtime police partner thinks so.

Then Gillian meets the dashing Viscount Thomas Lockwood. Their attraction is instant and inescapable. As their romantic involvement grows, Gillian begins to suspect even Lockwood’s motives. Does Lord Lockwood truly love her? Or is his interest a front for the desire to own her newly inherited property? And what should she make of her friend’s suggestion that Lockwood or men like him were involved in the murder of her father?

Soon Gillian is convinced that her father has left evidence somewhere that can prove his innocence and reveal the guilty party. But someone wants to stop her from discovering it. The closer she comes to uncovering it, the more menacing her opposition grows. With her life on the line, Gillian takes on an ingenious disguise and takes on the role of a lifetime to reveal the true killer—before it’s too late both for her and for those that she loves.


After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than fifty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne BoleynTo Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick, as was The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr.
A life-long lover of Victorian Gothic romances, Sandra’s new series, Daughters of Hampshire, weaves elements of that mystical, traditional genre with inspirational and literary threads. Mist of Midnight, the series’ first book, was honored with a coveted Editor’s Choice designation from the Historical Novel Society. The second book in the series, Bride of a Distant Isle, launched in March, 2016 and the third, A Lady in Disguise is just out in 2017.
A devotionalist as well as a novelist, Sandra’s best-selling devotional for tweens, One Year Be-Tween You and God  was followed up with her first devotional for adults, The One Year Home and Garden Devotions.  The One Year Experiencing God’s Love devotional will publish in Fall, 2017.
She is passionate about helping new authors develop their talent and their work toward traditional or independent publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to edit and coach dozens to success each year.
Please visit www.novelcoaching.com to learn more.

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Gatehaven by Molly Noble Bull

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Today, Christian author, Molly Noble Bull, joins us to talk about her Christian Gothic historical, Gatehaven. Let’s start at the beginning.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Molly: I was a storyteller from early childhood, but I never thought to sell my stories until I was an adult and teaching kindergarten. I would read those little storybooks to the children and think, I can do this. It is not surprising that my first sales were to magazines for very young children. Then a friend and fellow-writer started selling adult romances, and she told me that I should write romance novels too. So I wrote the first three chapters and a synopsis for one, and my friend sent it to her editor. The editor said, via my friend, that my writing was good, but my heroine seemed more like a twelve-year-old child than a young woman. So I had to learn to write adult characters, and I did. But even today there is a fun-loving child in all my adult main characters whether male or female—even in a scary Gothic historical like Gatehaven.

The switch from children’s books to romance would be a leap. 🙂 One question I like to ask authors for my own information is:

What’s your favorite method for keeping a story’s middle from sagging? 

Molly: I try to make every chapter in my books end with a hook. When I do that, there is no sagging middle. To me, sagging middles indicate a weak plot. To prevent the weak-plot blues, I suggest outlining the entire book, chapter-by-chapter, even if you don’t end up following that outline to the letter. Forcing yourself to write an outline will help prevent those sagging middles.

Before I write an outline, I write the first three to five chapters by the seat of my pants. In other words, I just sit down and write. Second, I decide approximately how many chapters I will have in all. Let us say I plan to write the first three chapters with ten chapters in all. I get a long yellow pad, and I write Chapter One at the top of that yellow pad. I skip four or five lines and write Chapter Two, and I keep on skipping and naming chapters until I reach Chapter Ten.

Then under Chapter One, I tell in two or three sentences what happened in chapter one of my manuscript, and I do the same with chapters two and three. Next, I skipped down to Chapter Ten and tell how the story ends in two or three sentences. In Chapter Nine, I tell what must happen in order for Chapter Ten to end as I wrote it. Then I simply backtrack by writing what must happen in Chapter Eight and keep backtracking until I reach Chapters Four and Five. Those chapters must blend the first few chapters to the ending, and then I continue writing my book in the knowledge that I know where I am going and how I intend to get there. That gives me to confidence to write the entire book.

Great advice! I do something similar when working on my own novels. All right, you’ve written your novel.

How do you market your book?

Molly: I do interviews like this one and belong to several writers’ groups. But frankly, marketing is not easy for me. I would rather just write.

I understand. Now on a lighter note.

Have you ever had a funny experience connected with being an author?

Molly: My life is a series of funny experiences, and I laugh a lot more often than I cry. Though I can’t think of a funny experience connected with writing, and I do have an experience I can share.

I wasn’t teaching when our youngest son was in kindergarten; and I remember that he had complained about his leg hurting. He was playing out in the barn when I called him to get in the car so I could drive him to school, and when I dropped him off, I noticed that his leg was very stiff. Maybe I should drive him to the doctor’s office instead of letting him go to school. But he went on into his classroom, and I soon forgot about the leg.

Then I got a telephone call from the school, demanding that I come to the school and pick up my child at once. Apparently, he took an antique sword that my husband kept in the barn and slipped it inside his pants, and he removed the sword just in time for Show and Tell.

At the time, the principal and all the teachers thought what happened was funny. But today, if a child did that, he might be expelled.

Wow. Only a child would think of that. Last question.

Is there anything else you would like to tell us?GHStudy Guide (Students) Front 72_dpi

GHStudy Guide (Teachers) Front 72_dpiMolly: I would like for everyone (especially home school teachers and students) to know that Gatehaven, my Christian Gothic historical, now has two companions—two study guides based on Gatehaven. Both were written by my friend, Jeanette Pierce, and here are the titles—The Gatehaven Study Guide for Teachers and The Gatehaven Study Guide for Students.

 

Gatehaven is available right now in paperback and as an e-book. http://bit.ly/Gatehaven, and readers can read samples from all three by going to my website, scrolling down and clicking on Molly’s Free Downloadswww.mollynoblebull.com

GATEHAVEN

Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil. (Ephesians 6:11)

ShGatehaven051513[1]annon Aimee, a young peasant woman living in Luss, Scotland in the late 1700s, is pleasantly surprised to receive a marriage proposal form the wealthy Earl of Northon. With the reluctant consent of her parents, Shannon agrees to accompany the young earl to Gatehaven, his residence in northern England with a dark history. Escorted by her livelong friend, Ian Colquhoun (who has his own reasons for visiting the haunting mansion notorious for its disturbing secrets and occult practices) Shannon embarks on her journey. But before long, she realizes that there is more to Gatehaven than meets the eye.

When deadly deception is revealed and the truth comes to light, will Shannon and Ian be able to save themselves and their loves ones before it is too late? Or will the forces of darkness win?

 

Molly Noble Bull was born in Kingsville, Texas, where she and her husband live today, and her father and grandfather were real Texas cowboys. Molly has published novels with Zondervan, Love Inspired and Tsaba House. Though Tsaba House is no longer in business, they published Sanctuary. Sanctuary won the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award in the inspirational category and also tied for first place in a second national contest for published authors that year. Gatehaven, Molly’s Gothic historical, won the Grand prize in the 2013 Creation House Fiction Writing Contest as a manuscript, and it was published in trade paperback and as an e-book in March 2014. Elk Lake Press will publish Molly’s Christian western romance, When the Cowboy Rides Away, in 2015, and she is working on the sequel to Gatehaven.

Molly Noble Bull

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Welcome, Molly Noble Bull, to 3 Questions Wednesday!

 

(1) What is your favorite book?

Molly: Besides the Bible, I would have to say that Little Women is my favorite. I read it for the first time when I was about twelve years old, and it changed my life. I cried when Beth died, and that surprised me. I’d never cried because of what happened to a character in a book previously. I learned from Little Women too—learned that books can create emotion and make one care what happened to a character in a book. Perhaps the fact that I read Little Women at an important time in my life was also part of the reason that later, I became a novelist.

(2) If you could walk into any book, what literary character would you be?

Molly: I love the world of Jane Austen. I like the characters in her books, the country where these characters lived and the romantic tone of the Regency era. Jane’s novels caused me to want to read other books set in the Regency period by other authors. So what character would I be? Elizabeth Bennett. However, I would give my heart to Mr. Darcy much sooner than she did.

(3) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Molly: I would go to the Holy Land, Israel. To walk where Jesus walked would be wonderful. The good news is that one day I will not only walk where Jesus walked, I will see Jesus face-to-face in Jerusalem during the 1000 years—the seventh day. And there is no other place on earth that I would rather be.

Thank you, Molly, for taking part in 3 Questions Wednesday. Molly is giving away 10 e-book copies of Gatehaven, her Gothic historical with a strong Christian message. Leave a comment for a chance to win!

Set in Scotland, in a scary mansion in the north of England and ending in the state of South Gatehaven051513[1]Carolina in 1784, Gatehaven by Molly Noble Bull is the story of Shannon Aimee, a young peasant woman who is pleasantly surprised to receive a marriage proposal from the wealthy Earl of Northon. With the reluctant consent of her parents, Shannon agrees to accompany the young earl to Gatehaven, his residence in the north of England with a dark history. Escorted by her lifelong friend, Ian Colquhoun, Shannon embarks on the journey. But before long, she realizes that there is more to Gatehaven than meets the eye.
When deadly deception is revealed and the truth comes to light, will Shannon and Ian be able to save their loved ones before it is too late? Or will the forces of darkness win?

Molly Noble Bull was born in Kingsville, Texas, home of the famous King Ranch, where she and her husband live today. Both her father and her maternal grandfather were ranch mangers (real Texas cowboys) and she lived on a sixty thousand acre Texas cattle ranch for part of her growing up years. Molly and Charlie Bull have never been married to anyone but each other, and they have three grown sons and six grandchildren. All three of their sons are involved in ranching in Texas today.

Molly has published with Zondervan, Love Inspired and Tsaba House, and so far, West Bow Press published her only non-fiction book. Though Tsaba House is no longer in business, they published Sanctuary, and Sanctuary, a long Christian historical sent in France and England, won the 2008 Gayle Wilson Award in the inspirational category and also tied for first place in a second national contest for published authors that year.

Gatehaven, Molly’s Gothic historical with a strong Christian message, won the Grand prize in the 2013 Creation House Fiction Writing Contest as a manuscript, and it was published in trade paperback and as an e-book in March 2014. Since then, Molly sold a Christian western romance to Elk Lake Press, and When the Cowboy Rides Away will be published in 2015.

To find all Molly’s books, write Molly Noble Bull in the search slot at online and walkin bookstores.

www.mollynoblebull.com

http://writersrest.blogspot.com

http://bit.ly/Gatehaven