Monday, June 21, 2010

Amanda Flower's MAID OF MURDER

We're happy to have Amanda Flower with us today talking about her book, Maid of Murder. To learn more about Amanda and her book, read on!

Your title: Maid of Murder
1) How did this story come to you?
The main character of Maid of Murder, India Hayes, inspired me to write her story. Several years ago, I was sitting in a Blockbuster parking lot on the Fourth of July, and India’s mildly sarcastic voice popped into my head. Although it’s been revised many times since, the first paragraph of Maid of Murder is what India said to me that day. From her remarks, a novel and series was born.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
My sale wasn’t the typical route, if there is such a thing. After my first literary agent and I parted ways, I decided to submit to Five Star because I knew that they didn’t require a literary agent. They requested a full manuscript and a few months later they rejected me. I was disappointed, but by that point, I had been seeking a publisher for Maid of Murder for many years and had been rejected so many times, I wasn’t heartbroken. Then about a year later, a different acquisitions editor from Five Star emailed me and asked if my novel was still available. I said that it was. She sent me the original editor’s comments about the book which clearly stated why the novel was rejected the first time. She said if I could make those changes Five Star would reconsider my book. I spent the next month tearing the book apart and putting it back together; and in the end, Five Star was pleased and acquired Maid of Murder. I know how blessed I am to have this second chance with a publisher.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
It might surprise my readers to know the following:
1) I’m a birder. I even have a bird list I keep updated on my computer. I drive my family and friends a little crazy because if a bird flies by I am instantly distracted by it. I have been known to wander off in pursuit of a bird I’d never seen before.
2) I hate to cook, but I find the Food Network fascinating. My favorite show is The Barefoot Contessa.
3) I’m a traveler and have been to seventeen countries and forty-eight U.S. states. The last big international trip I took was to Israel and Jordan. I have dear friend, who is a travel agent, and she knew I wanted to go there. She placed me as a tagalong on a trip with a group of retired Southern Baptists from Mississippi. They welcomed this twenty-something Yankee with open arms, and it was amazing to be in the place where Jesus lived and walked. However as far a language acquisition went, I picked up more Southern dialect than Hebrew or Arabic.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
Currently, I’m working on the second India Hayes Mystery. In the second book, India, much to her chagrin, is working at a folk art festival as a face painter. She does it as a favor to her older sister, Carmen, and gets tangled up in a murder investigation as a result. I am in the revision stage of this novel and have begun to research the third in the series.

In addition to the India Hayes Mysteries, I have written a middle grade children’s mystery called, The Mystery of the First Andora. I’m currently looking for a publisher for this title. It was important to me to write a mystery for children because I enjoyed them so much as a child.
5) Parting comments?
If you are looking for a fun read this summer and wedding season, Maid of Murder could be the right book for you. Patricia H. Rushford, author of The Jennie McGrady Mysteries, said about the novel, “Maid of Murder is delightful with likable characters and quirky details. Author Amanda Flower did a great job with the plot. It’s a winner!”

In Maid of Murder, India Hayes, a college librarian and reluctant bridesmaid, is thrown into the role of amateur sleuth as she hunts down the person who murdered her childhood friend and framed her brother for the crime.

When bride-to-be Olivia turns up dead in the Martin College fountain and the evidence points to India’s brother Mark, India must unmask the real culprit while juggling a furious Mother of the Bride, an annoying Maid of Honor, a set of hippie-generation parents, a police detective who is showing a marked liking for her, and a provost itching to fire someone, anyone—maybe even a smart-mouthed librarian.

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
Fans can find me online at my website . You can also follow me on Facebook at or Twitter at .

Joseph Bentz' GOD IN PURSUIT

We're happy to have Joseph Bentz with us today talking about his book, God in Pursuit. To learn more about Joseph and his book, read on!

1. How did this story come to you?
God in Pursuit: The Tipping Points from Doubt to Faith, originally started as a book on Doubt. I wondered, what role does doubt play in the life of a Christian? Should Christians fear it? Should they try to stamp it out? Or are there ways in which doubt plays a role in leading a Christian to deeper understanding?
As I worked on those doubt issues, I began to wonder, what leads people to faith in the first place? Why—and how—do people who are downright hostile to Christianity end up as passionate followers of Jesus Christ? Are there common factors that allow them to make that leap of faith? The factors (or “tipping points”) that allow people to move from disbelief to faith are now the central focus of the book, and I also deal with how those same tipping points operate later in the Christian life as believers work through crises of doubt to reach deeper levels in their walk with God.

2. Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I had already written two books for Beacon Hill Press (When God Takes Too Long: Learning to Thrive During Life’s Delays, and Silent God: Finding Him When You Can’t Hear His Voice), so this book seemed like a natural follow-up. I read dozens of spiritual memoirs of Christians from the last two thousand years, from Augustine to Anne Lamott and everyone in between. I also interviewed lots of people about their own spiritual journeys. It was inspiring to do this research. Even if I had never written a book as a result of it, the research itself made the whole project worth it for me.
What surprised me most is how persistent God is at pursuing even the people who are least receptive to him. It is not safe to give up on anybody. For all we know, they may be right on the brink of a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ, even after years of running from him. God is full of surprises. Anything can happen.

3. Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
1. My kids sometimes force me to attend WWE wrestling events.
2. I have only had one pet in my whole life, a goldfish.
3. I have broken my collarbone three times—twice falling out of bed and once flying off my daughter’s scooter.

4. What are you working on now and what’s next for you?
I am secretly working on another novel, and I am also under contract for another book for Beacon Hill Press. It is about those times when the veil between us and eternity, between us and the Holy Spirit, between us and the world beyond us, seems thin, and we sense the Holy Spirit in a remarkable way. The extraordinary movements of the Holy Spirit highlight the ways he can also be fully present with us in ordinary moments.

5. Parting Comments?
God in Pursuit is intended not only for individual reading, but also for small group study. A free downloadable study guide is available at the Beacon Hill Press website and also on my personal website.

6. Where can fans find you in the Internet?
My website is . I am also on Facebook.

Janice Hanna and Kathleen Y'Barbo's "I KNOW I'M NOT ALONE, LORD"

We're happy to have Janice Hanna with us today talking about a book she co-authored with Kathleen Y'Barbo, I Know I'm Not Alone, Lord. To learn more about Janice and her book, read on!

Your title: I Know I’m Not Alone, Lord – Rediscovering Joy and Contentment after Divorce
(by Janice Hanna and Kathleen Y’Barbo)

BOOK BLURB: Find yourself in a season of singleness? Need some comfort, encouragement, and advice for this transition? Look no further than Turning Points for divorced women, an inspirational roadmap to help you find new direction, power, contentment, and joy! Written by “single-again” bestselling authors Kathleen Y’Barbo and Janice Hanna, this navigational guide is packed with proven pointers, successful strategies, and faith-filled concepts, as well as stories by women who have walked a mile in your shoes. Divorce is a detour, not the end of the road. So get ready for an amazing adventure!

1) How did this story come to you?
The idea for “I Know I’m Not Alone, Lord” came from my own personal experience of going through a divorce after twenty-seven years of marriage.

2) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
I had approached my editor at Barbour to see if she would be interested in doing a book for women who’d experienced the pain of divorce. When she wrote back with the offer to publish the book, I quickly asked if my friend Kathleen Y’Barbo could sign on as my co-author. Kathleen has been through the pain of divorce, too. Her story is completely different from mine. I felt that, between the two of us, we could bring a balanced perspective. We wrote the book together over a period of about two months. This wasn’t an easy task. Writing a book about such a personal subject often dredges up things from the past you’ve already laid to rest. Still, the Lord got us through it, and I honestly believe depth of our experience shows in the pages of the book. I also believe the Lord is going to use this book to minister to the hearts of women who’ve been wounded by divorce.

3) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
Here’s one interesting thing that most people don’t know: I have a younger brother who’s younger than my oldest daughter. My step-mom gave birth to my brother Josh five weeks after my daughter Randi was born.
Here’s another thing people don’t know: I have A.D.D. tendencies. I’m completely scattered! That’s why I always have to plot my books, because I’d never keep up, otherwise.
The final thing most people don’t know is that I’m a wedding coordinator. My four daughters all got married within four years of each other. I coordinated their weddings, and have done several others, besides. I’m currently the wedding coordinator for my church. I even bake wedding cakes! I find it wildly ironic that I’ve written a non-fiction book for divorced woman when most of my novels are about weddings and wedding planning.

4) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I’m just wrapping up “Love Finds You in Camelot, Tennessee” (a romantic comedy) for Summerside. My third and final book in the “Weddings by Bella” series just released from Revell. It’s titled “It Had to be You” and is also a romantic comedy. I’m anxiously awaiting the release of “Love Me Tender,” a 1950s romance set in Laguna Beach, California. That book is one of the kick-off books in a new line from Summerside called “When I Fall in Love.”

5) Parting comments?
Aside from writing books, I also do a lot of public speaking and teaching. My freelance writing course just debuted online in April and is selling well. For more information, check out my site:

6) Where can fans find you on the internet?
I love to hear from my readers! Here’s where you can find me:
My website:
My courses website:
My blog:
My facebook page: