Saturday, March 24, 2012

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions-Theresa Sneed


Theresa Sneed's debut novel, No Angel,, was one of our Whitney Finalist. No Angel, is a beautifully told story of good and evil, angels and demons, and heaven and earth.



What is your favorite line, scene, or character from one of your books and why? 
I love this question, but I cannot answer it quite yet, because my favorite scene is in From Heaven to Earth and it hasn’t gone to press yet. I can tell you about a scene on pages 19-21 in  that I love though. It’s where the main character, Jonathan Stewart arrives back on earth as Faith’s guardian angel. I love the part where Celeste, who is Faith’s premortal spirit, meets her earthly mother’s spirit as she departs back to heaven after dying in childbirth—I really love the part where Celeste enters her tiny body and begins her mortal probation as Faith.

Why do you write in the genre you do? 
I love to write spiritual fantasy, because I spend inordinate amounts of time imagining what heaven must be like or will be like when we return—it naturally follows that I’d write about something that intrigues me so much.

What are you working on next? 
I’ve already written three more angel books in the No Angel series, one of which is due to go to press soon! Currently, I have been busily engaged in marketing and have created www.theresasneed.com as a place to drive internet traffic to in hopes of getting my name and my books out to more of the world. My current WIP is a fantasy called Sons of Elderberry which is not part of the No Angel series, but a fantasy with wizards and fairies. 

Do you map out your stories beforehand or do you let the characters direct the story? 
I would have to say that I always “begin with the end in mind” and know exactly how the story is supposed to end, although all of the “in between stuff” is mostly driven by the characters.

In one word describe the best thing about being an author. 
Validation

In one word describe the worst thing about being an author. 
Marketing

When did you know you wanted to be an author? 
I knew I wanted to write from third grade on, but didn’t imagine that I’d become an author of novels until much later, probably only five or six years ago. 

How do your beliefs shape how/what you write? 
My beliefs are carefully woven into everything I write, because I believe that the talent I have directly comes from God. Also, as a mother, grandmother and an educator, I take my words very seriously and hope to only inspire and uplift rather than any of the many destructive things you could do with words.

What's the last book you finished? 
The last book that I have finished reading is John Hauserman’s, Retirement Quest: Make Better Decisions, a great resource for anyone wanting to ensure financial security in their retirement years. You can read my review at bestauthorsread.blogspot.com

What's on your nightstand now? 
I’m currently reading Stealing Mercy by Kristy Tate.

Which author (dead or alive) would you most like to have lunch with? 
Not counting religious authors, I’d say without a doubt J. R.R. Tolkien—and hopefully he’d have his good buddy C. S. Lewis with him!

Book you read that you wish you hadn't. 
There are a few books that I’ve read that I wish I didn’t have to, but none I would mention here, as any book written comes from someone who put a great deal of effort into it no matter how poorly it turned out. I would not publicly defame any author.

Book that changed your life. 
Notwithstanding scriptural works, believe it or not – Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, because of the beautiful insights embedded within his words, and also C. S. LewisScrewtape Letters, which was an assignment in college or otherwise I’d never have picked it up—it was a surprise and a delight to me.

If they were to make a movie of your favorite book, who would play the leads and why? 
I patterned the main character  in No Angel, an angel with an attitude, after Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, so I’d have to say him—Jim Parsons.



Book you most want to read again for the first time. 
I’m a very picky second-time reader book, and if I choose to read a book more than once, then it’s a book I’ll read more than twice even. My favorite rereads are Tolkien’s, Lord of the Rings, Charlotte Bronte’s, Jane Eyre, Emily Bronte’s, Wuthering Heights and though I haven’t done a reread yet on all seven of Rowlings’s, Harry Potter series, they are on my list!

What book would you give to a child? 
That depends on the child and its age, but other than scriptural, I’d say all children should have Dr. Seuss’, Cat in the Hat—for the pure gift of imagination it so joyfully brings.

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions-Anna Jones Buttimore


Multi-talented Anna Jones Buttimore hails from across the pond (England). 


With her beautiful descriptions you almost feel like you're in Wales (No Escape) or rural England (Easterfield).


What is your favorite line, scene, or character from one of your books and why? 
My favourite character is probably Rodney from Honeymoon Heist, because he's geeky and uptight, but he's also an absolutely brilliant guy who really loves his wife and blossoms in a crisis. He's not your usual romantic hero and I like that about him. People keep commenting that he's a lot like my husband, but ironically I wrote the book before I met Roderic. But naturally my husband is lovely and brilliant too.

Why do you write in the genre you do?
I write in lots of genres! So far I've done two gentle hard-to-define novels, one historical and two suspenses. I really must pick a genre and stick to it!

What are you working on next?
I am seeking a publisher for a sci-fi/fantasy YA novel at the moment. I'm also working on a novel about an LDS woman whose RM son joins another church, and the changes that happen in their family as a result. That's really challenging and interesting.

Do you map out your stories beforehand or do you let the characters direct the story?

I just start writing and see what the characters do. I usually only have a rough idea what will happen at the end as I start, and some of what I write just peters out before it gets very far. But it's great when a story weaves itself naturally.

In one word describe the best thing about being an author.
Writing. See my blog post http://www.vformation.blogspot.com/2012/03/best-thing-about-being-writer.html

In one word describe the worst thing about being an author.
Rejection. Ouch.

When did you know you wanted to be an author?
When I was very, very young, probably when I discovered that books are written by people. I grew up saying I wanted to be an authoress.

How do your beliefs shape how/what you write?
I will never write a sex scene. I very much believe that intimate moments should be kept private between husband and wife, even when the couple is fictional. Even though not all my books are specifically LDS, I really want my writing to uplift and inspire.


What's the last book you finished?
I just finished reading The Violets of March by Sarah Jio for my book club. We - the book club - didn't think it was very well written, it was too cliched and unbelievable, but nevertheless we quite enjoyed it.

What's on your nightstand now?
I have a huge pile on my nightstand. There are several Ensigns in there, a couple of books I am reviewing, two collections of short stories by John Wyndham (one mine, one from the library) and topping it all is my Kindle which includes the next book I have to read for book club, two more I am reviewing and two I am beta reading. And a couple of Terry Pratchettsreally want to read but can't justify until I've read everything else.

Which author (dead or alive) would you most like to have lunch with?
Kerry Lynn Blair. She's a wonderful lady, a talented author and a great friend, but she lives in Arizona and I only see her once a decade at the moment. Failing that, Stephenie Meyer. She lives in Arizona too. Perhaps I could have lunch with both of them?

Book you read that you wish you hadn't.
I can't name it because it wouldn't be fair to the author, but it was absolutely dreadful. I struggled through it, convinced that somehow it had to have one redeeming feature somewhere or it wouldn't have been published. I later found out it was self published. It convinced me that all self published books are a waste of money, badly written and filled with mistakes. I have been told many times that I am wrong in this assumption. If I had never read that book, I might not have such a jaded opinion.

Book that changed your life.
There have been many, but the books that changed my life most recently were Twilight by Stephenie Meyer and The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. After my degree (in English Literature) I took a break from reading, as though it had all been too much effort during my degree. I cared for my small children and watched far too much television, but only occasionally read books. When I did pick up a book it would often
have lurid sex scenes or something else unpleasant, so I largely gave up on reading. But I joined a book club because my friends went, and one of the first books on the schedule was The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency. It was a wonderful book, beautifully written and an absolute joy from start to finish. I bought and read the entire series and there were many wonderful lessons and inspiring scenes in those pages. And Twilight, of course, enthralled me just as it has millions of others. I think it is these two books which have turned me back into the avid reader I was as a child. I am now once again reading into the small hours.

If they were to make a movie of your favorite book, who would play the leads and why?
My favourite books have already been made into films, so can I cheat and pick one of my own books? In order to write my as-yet unpublished sci-fi/fantasy I picked actors for the parts so that I could better imagine the characters. 

I'd have Freddie Highmore as Emon


Thomas Sangster as Titan (the baddie)



David Hewlett as the mad scientist just because he absolutely stole the show in Stargate Atlantis and I'd love to give him another opportunity to do what he does so well.

Book you most want to read again for the first time.
I recently re-read The Chrysalids by John Wyndham which I first read as a teenager. It's such a powerful book and it had such an effect on me that I remembered parts as I read it again almost thirty years later. I'm now excited about re-reading all the other amazing John Wyndham books. In fact, I don't know that I've ever read The Kraken Wakes.

What book would you give to a child?
That would depend on the age of the child. Pre-school children love The Gruffalo and anything by Julia Donaldson is wonderful. As a child I really liked The Farthest Away Mountain by Lynne Reid Banks and Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions-Betsy Love





Betsy Love's website is SweetBetsyLove and not only does she write "sweet" stories she's one of the sweetest persons you'll ever know. 



Identity is a fast paced LDS mystery, while the soon to be released Soulfire is a inspirational Book of Mormon novel built around the story of Alma the Elder.


What is your favorite line, scene, or character from one of your books and why?
My favorite scene is from Identity when Shawn is sitting in the airport waiting to leave for his mission and sees a picture of his sister, only the picture is of a woman who looks like his sister and then realizes that his sister is in danger. The reason I love this scene so much is that I picture my brothers being that kind of brother...to stick up for their family.

Why do you write in the genre you do?My problem is that I am so eclectic that I write in several genres. To me I just want to tell a great story. 

What are you working on next?Aside from finishing up the edits for Soulfire, I'm revising a YA general fiction written from the view point of Jake the Jerk (as I fondly call him). When Penelope, a homely, awkward seventeen year old with a secret, moves to Palmdale and is in four of Jake's six classes, he is put in a position to either be a great benefit to her or to save face with his football team by steering clear of Penelope. I'm still working on the pitch for this one.

Do you map out your stories beforehand or do you let the characters direct the story?A little of both. When I write, I know the premise and how it's going to end. I like to interview each of my characters and learn as much about them as I can before I start writing my story so that I am very well acquainted with them. 

In one word describe the best thing about being an author.Readers!

In one word describe the worst thing about being an author.Weight-gain 

When did you know you wanted to be an author?The desire to be published actually happened when I was in my junior year of high school. I had this amazing creative writing teacher who thought everything I wrote was brilliant and encouraged me to send my work into literary magazines. I chickened out. At that point in my life, I was afraid of rejection.

How do your beliefs shape how/what you write?Being LDS I want my stories to uplift and build testimony of Jesus Christ. Even in my Non-LDS stories, I want my readers to come away wanting to be a better person. 

What's the last book you finished?Variant by Robison Wells. I couldn't put it down! 

What's on your nightstand now?Isaiah for Airheads by John Bytheway, my Book of Mormon, and my Kindle--I'm reading Shifting by Bethany Wiggins

Which author (dead or alive) would you most like to have lunch with?Janette Rallison--She is my fellow yellow after all. 

Book you read that you wish you hadn't.I can't think of one. Most books that I just can't get into I put them down, or give them away, or even **don't gasp** throw them in the trash.  

Book that changed your life.The Book of Mormon 

If they were to make a movie of your favorite book, who would play the leads and why?I'd want to open it up to LDS actors and give them a shot at a movie! 

Book you most want to read again for the first time.Stargirl by Jerri Spinelli 

What book would you give to a child?You are Special by Max Lucado-this book still brings a tear to my eye. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions-Kelly Nelson

The Keeper's Calling from Kelly Nelson is young adult time-travel that's guaranteed to take you on one fantastic journey







What is your favorite line, scene, or character from one of your books and why? 
It is a tie for me between the opening line of The Keeper's Callingng when Chase Harper thinks, "I would look back on that summer as the defining moment of my earthly existence. Everything prior fell within the realm of normal. Everything to follow didn't..." and the line, "Slowly I turned into the wind. And for the first time in more years than I can remember, I cried." The first line draws me in, letting me know this high school senior's life is about to take a drastic detour. The second makes my heart ache for the rough and tough teenage boy who has lost someone worth shedding tears over.

Why do you write in the genre you do? 
I write romance, because I firmly believe there is nothing in life more enjoyable, more fun, or more invigorating, than falling in love, and nothing is more satisfying  than staying in love.

What are you working on next? 
The Keeper's Quest- the exciting sequel to my first novel (The Keeper's Calling), along with a contemporary LDS romance.

Do you map out your stories beforehand or do you let the characters direct the story? 
I've done both. I mapped out book 1 of The Keeper's Saga (The Keeper's Calling), but then the characters propelled me along through books 2 & 3 of the series.

In one word describe the best thing about being an author. 
The exhilaration that comes from creating characters, their lives and their stories.

In one word describe the worst thing about being an author. 
The never ending waiting. Being an author is bursts of activity and excitement sprinkled between long periods of waiting.

When did you know you wanted to be an author? 
I first wanted to be an author when I was 15, but the dream got put on the back burner while I took care of the necessities of life. I resurrected the dream in 2008 and set to work making it a reality.

How do your beliefs shape how/what you write? 
Because of my strong LDS beliefs, I want what I write to reflect my high moral standards and to encourage others to live them as well. I believe literature and other forms of media can be entertaining while still being clean and uplifting.

What's the last book you finished? 
The last book I finished reading is Count Down to Love, by Julie N. Ford.

What's on your nightstand now? 
The List by Melanie Jacobsen (I'm reading the finalists in the romance category for the Whitney Awards).

Which author (dead or alive) would you most like to have lunch with? 
I'd love to visit with Stephenie Meyer over lunch.

Book you read that you wish you hadn't. 
The Time Traveler's Wife.

Book that changed your life. 
Most definitely The Book of Mormon.


If they were to make a movie of your favorite book, who would play the leads and why? 
Since I wrote what I would most want to read, I'd have to say The Keeper's Calling

with Liam Hemsworth as Chase Harper 




and Channing Tatum as Garrick. 



And while I'm at it, I might as well have Taylor Swift take the female lead as Ellie, then I'd have a power-packed cast. :) 



Book you most want to read again for the first time. 
Rarely do I want to read a book again, but Deathwatch, by Robb White, I'd want to experience again for the first time.

What book would you give to a child? 
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss, one of my all-time favorites. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions--Joyce DiPastena




Joyce DiPastena is our resident medieval expert. Her love of the middle ages vividly comes through in the details of her novels, Loyalty's Web, Illuminations of the Heart, and Dangerous Favor.



What is your favorite line, scene, or character from one of your books and why?
"I am absconding with you, carissima," from Illuminations of the Heart. It's one of my favorite lines, because it literally came out of nowhere when I wrote it. I never saw it coming, it was just suddenly there on the page. It is a symbol to me of how the greatest delight of writing is the unexpected things your characters think up to do.

Why do you write in the genre you do?
That's always been a mystery to me. I don't really know why I love writing about the Middle Ages. I remember as a little girl, I enjoyed pulling out our World Book Encyclopedias and turning to the entry for the Middle Ages and looking at the pictures. Why? I don't know, but from there it was probably inevitable that this is where I'd end up.

What are you working on next?
I have two projects going on at the moment. I'm writing a romance for the character of Acelet from
Illuminations of the Heart, and I'm also attempting a novella set some years earlier during Queen Eleanor's Courts of Love.

Do you map out your stories beforehand or do you let the characters direct the story?
My characters prefer to tell me where they want to go, although I have been known on occasion to reign them in and say, "No, you can't do that. Choose something else." After a little resistance, they'll usually obey.

In one word describe the best thing about being an author.
Writing

In one word describe the worst thing about being an author.
Writer's-block

When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I knew I wanted to write in high school, but I didn't admit to myself that I actually wanted to be an author (i.e., publish) until the end of my college years.

How do your beliefs shape how/what you write?
I know how much it means to me as a reader to find romantic historicals that aren't filled with bad language, sex, and/or graphic violence, how happy I am when I can close the covers on a book and still feel as if my mind is "clean." And I know how very difficult it can be to find such books today. That is one of my greatest desires as an author, to provide an entertaining, well told story that is also a "safe" read.

What's the last book you finished? Letters in the Jade Dragon Box, by Gale Sears

What's on your nightstand now? Fires of Jerusalem, by Marilyn Brown. I'm trying to read my way through the historical novel finalists for the 2012 Whitney Awards.

Which author (dead or alive) would you most like to have lunch with?Georgette Heyer. Someone who could write such laugh-out-loud dialogue scenes in her books would surely be a delight to lunch with!

Book you read that you wish you hadn't.
A few months back I read a book called
Here Lies Arthur, a retelling of the King Arthur legend. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but there are scenes from that book I'm still trying to forget.

Book that changed your life.The scriptures? But everyone will probably say that. I'd have to say that Georgette Heyer's books most influenced my desire to write, so in that respect, I guess they changed my life.

If they were to make a movie of your favorite book, who would play the leads and why?
I don't know. I never picture actors for any of the books I read or write. I guess I'm content with my own imagination.

Book you most want to read again for the first time.
I was actually reflecting just the other day on how excited I remember being when I read the
Book of Mormon for the first time. Meeting all those wonderful men and women for the first time, living their stories with them... Of course, the years have deepened my understanding of and love for that wonderful book, but sometimes I think it would be nice to be able to experience the thrill of that first reading again.


What book would you give to a child?Any book that had a parent attached to it to read the book to them. I think there are few greater gifts a parent can give a child than to read with them. The memories will truly be timeless. I know, because my mother read to me.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Walnut Springs Press March Madness Sweet 16 Questions-Stephanie Humphreys





The ever talented Stephanie Humphreys hails from north of the border. While Stephanie uses her current home (Canada) for inspiration in Double Deceitshe draws upon her roots (Utah) in Finding Rose.









What is your favorite line, scene, or character from one of your books and why?

My favorite character is Sandra Hill from Double Deceit. She is quirky, has an interesting past, and begging to have her own story told.


Why do you write in the genre you do?
It is just the way my mind works. I always see a mystery or a little suspense in everything around me. The other day my sister-in-law said that her renters hadn't been seen for a few weeks, their car hadn't moved, and there were never any lights in the house. Immediately I started wondering what had happened to them. Who would have come after them? Was it a simple robbery gone terribly wrong or were they being held hostage in their own home? What sort of nefarious deeds had taken place in my quiet little town? It turns out they were just on an extended trip to China (a much happier ending than what I came up with.)


What are you working on next.
I have several projects on the go. The first one is a companion book to Finding Rose about Rose's younger sister. The second project is a cozy mystery that I plan to work into a series.


Do you map out your stories beforehand or do you let the characters direct the story?
I do both, depending on the story. Sometimes when I map the story out, I get stuck and have to put the map away so the characters can do what they want and other times the characters go silent and make me work on my own. When I do map the story out, it is the barest of outlines. With a series, I generally map each book out so I know how the story will unfold over multiple books.


In one word describe the best thing about being an author. 
Writing.


In one word describe the worst thing about being an author. 
Writing.


When did you know you wanted to be an author?
I was in kindergarten and someone told me that somebody wrote every book that we read. I decided than that I wanted to be one of those people.


What's the last book you finished?
Not My Type by Melanie Jacobson


What's on your nightstand now?
A stack of books I am reading for the Whitney awards. Next on my list is Letters in the Jade Dragon Box by Gale Sears.


Which author (dead or alive) would you most like to have lunch with?
Phyllis A. Whitney. She has always been one of my favorite authors and I still love to reread her books.


Book you read that you wish you hadn't. 
My math textbooks in highschool. Didn't get it then, still don't get it now.


Book that changed your life.
I'd have to say there were two series. The Little House on the Prairie books and the Narnia books. I read both series mulitiple times as a youth and knew that I wanted to be a storyteller that could touch people's lives like that. I always loved how Laura Ingalls Wilder was able to make such a compelling series out of the daily events of her life.


Book you most want to read again for the first time. 
The Angels of Morgan Hill by Donna VanLiere.


What book would you give to a child?
I would give a child a library card, then take them to the library and explore all the books together and take home our favorites. There are so many wonderful books, I have a hard time picking just one.