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This Ancient Parable Has A Modern-Day Twist

Beverley Rayner
Beverley Rayner Author Interview

Barclay & Berk Builders retells the parable of the wise and foolish builders with charming illustrations and easy to understand language. What inspired you to retell this specific parable from the Bible?

As a children’s school librarian I am always on the lookout for good, read-aloud stories.

This ancient parable has a modern-day twist. The story is about working together, caring for one another, helping each other and primarily life’s choices. I wrote this story to appeal to a wider non-Christian audience but the sounds of a busy worksite will especially appeal to boys.

I enjoyed the art in the book. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator James Hensman?

James is a professional artist who has his own colorful style and humor. This is his first illustrated picture book, and his seagull character, Gulliver S Gull, is now showing up in his most recent paintings. View and purchase his art at www.jameshensman.net.

What do you hope young children take away from your story?

Stories are always multileveled, so whatever a child takes away from the reading experience is good. I hope children will enjoy the characters, and the art while perhaps discovering what a parable is. If a child remembers to help others–that’s a bonus! and on a deeper level to comprehend that this story that Jesus told is about our everyday choices and building a firm life-foundation by following God.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

My next two projects are a historical Canadian novel for grade five, and a gift/picture book for children and adults, on the Promises of God. Possibly both published in 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Award-winning children’s author Beverley Rayner and artist illustrator James Hensman have teamed together to produce a cleverly-told and colorfully-illustrated children’s adaption of the well-known parable of the wise and foolish builders. Based on Jesus’ parable in Matthew, chapter seven the book teaches with a narrative that will appeal to a young audience ages five-eight, without diminishing the integrity and intent of Jesus’ words.

A Powerful Story To Tell

Author Interview
Forest Hutter Author Interview

The Prodigal Father follows a man who lost his wife and his faith and slowly learns that God can do anything and no one is past saving. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

My primary inspiration for the redemption story is from my own life and my struggles with God. There have been times in my own life where I have strayed and felt as though I had wondered beyond a place of being found. My childhood with an abusive parent fed into many life problems that I faced including my own struggles with alcohol and feelings of abandonment. I realized no matter how far I felt I had run or how unworthy I felt I had become, God had never left my side and waited patiently for me through it all.

Tom is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character’s development?

When I originally started writing the story I thought that Eli was going to be my main character. Within only 2 chapters of the original version I realized that Tom had a powerful story to tell because it was real and raw and I knew people would connect with a lot of the complex feelings and changes he faced. I wanted to be honest with myself and readers about how we can start out with the greatest intentions and life can twist us up. I wanted to show that even though we can travel a dark path it doesn’t mean we have to be a bad person forever. Oftentimes who we have been can cast such a large shadow over what we can become that we feel like we don’t deserve to change. I wanted to write about Tom in a way that showed all his flaws and showed he was aware of them, then I wanted to show the struggle of overcoming the flaws and CHOOSING to accept them and ask forgiveness and truly move forward for the sake of others and not ourselves.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Something that was very important for me was to show what happens behind closed doors in families. Often what we see in public can be drastically different from what goes on in private. My own childhood seemed to be split into public life and family life and keeping the secrets of what happens when no one can see. While my siblings and I had a drastically harsher upbringing compared to what I wrote in the book I wanted people to feel some of the feelings from both the perspective of the abused child as well as from the abusive parent. I did not want to write Tom as a complete villain so I did not make some of the harder chapters nearly as intense as my own experiences, but I did want people to feel uncomfortable and dissect how it made them feel about his actions.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am not currently writing another book. I have a few ideas but I do not start writing until the idea hasn’t left my head for several months. I had the idea for this book in my head for almost a year before I started writing because I wanted to see if the idea would be good enough to stay with me. I often write poetry or short stories but I do not publish them.

Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Kirkus

When his oldest son was born, Tom had stopped drinking completely. Now with two children and his wife, he had closed the chapter on that part of his story.

Life was never simple or easy for Tom, but he had all he needed to get him through it. Until he didn’t.

In the blink of an eye, he lost the person he loved more than anything… the one thing that always made him a better man, and his reason for everything that he did in life. His wife and soulmate, Emily. Along with her went his faith in a caring God.

The pain of losing Emily was too much to bear, and he found himself consumed by more darkness than he could handle on his own. He became unrecognizable as a father and a man, and each day continued down a path that there was no coming back from, or so he thought.

Even though Tom believed God had truly abandoned him and there was no way to make it Home, Tom learned that we are never alone and there is nothing God cannot do.

In an amazing and emotional story of hope, heartbreak and redemption, Tom’s story shows us that there is always a way back Home and nobody is ever past saving…

Inspired By A Trip

Eleanor Tremayne
Eleanor Tremayne Author Interview

The Agape Journey follows an journalist on a globe trotting race to find the a powerful historical artifact. What excited you about this story and motivated you to continue writing?

All of my female protagonists are strong women that are challenged to pursue various paths in their lives that ultimately establishes their credibility. Imani Lewis has always been surrounded by impressive role models. Both her mother and grandmother gave her the inner confidence. Nevertheless it is her father’s letters, perhaps ironically and unexpectedly that guides Imani to accepting her calling in life. As I was creating the Imani character I was able to include many of my own personal experiences as well as others who have learned how to move beyond their own limitations.

Imani is a unique character that felt authentic. What were some character traits of hers that you most relate to?

Imani is determined to face any obstacle that she meets as long as it does not require her to become emotionally involved. Her relationship with Phoenix is her Achilles Heel, and she realizes this while at Santander. I believe many strong women have this same apprehension and must learn how to move forward.

I enjoyed the history and culture in this story. What research did you undertake for this novel to get it right?

I have been very fortunate to travel the world using personal experiences in many of my novels. Thesituation that Imani has at the Cairo Marriot was inspired by a trip that my daughter Alexandra and I took in 1994, where we stayed in that hotel for one week.

Many of the spiritual lessons alluded to in the novel were learned during Bible lessons and sermons by the two pastors that I dedicated tis book to.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

There are two projects on my schedule. The first is an adaptation of my novel, High Tea with Ophelia, to a play script. I have always thought this novel would make an entertaining play and several theatre actors agree. My next novel is, The Saint Augustine Sisterhood. It will be a story of five ladies from very diverse backgrounds containing DNA from powerful historical women. Together these ladies dedicate themselves to making significant cultural improvements in the ancient city of Saint Augustine. There will be supernatural events blended with new medical research to offer readers some fascinating answers to immortality. This novel is scheduled to be released late 2022.

Author Links: Amazon | Twitter | Facebook | Website

If Ann Frank had the Agape Carpet would she be still alive today? How many lives did the Agape save from its conception in 200AD? Phoenix Baldwin has been hired by the Firm, a group of wealthy investors who are anxious to discover Agape’s powers. But, will Imani Lewis, the determined independent journalist, from New York be the one to discover Agape?
From Cairo, to Machu Picchu, to a small city in the Midwest the race to find the Agape continues.

I Needed To Tell Ruth’s Story

Author Interview
Peggy Wirgau Author Interview

The Stars in April is based on the real life story of a Titanic survivor and the journey that led her to the ship. What inspired you tell Ruth’s story?

In 2012, during the hundredth anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking, I discovered among the survivors the name of a girl whose parents were missionaries in India. Twelve-year-old Ruth Becker was separated from her family as the Titanic lifeboats were loaded, yet she managed to share her blankets with others and offer a handkerchief to a stoker who had injured his finger.

What would make this young girl act so bravely when she must have been terrified? How did she feel about leaving her home in India, and what led to her decisions in a lifeboat full of strangers that cold, dark night? As I asked myself those questions, I began researching and realized I needed to tell Ruth’s story.

What were some aspects of the story you felt had to be accurate and what were some aspects you took creative liberties with?

 I knew I wanted to tell what happened as truthfully as possible, so I gathered all the information I could on Ruth and her family’s life in India, their long voyage to England, their stay in London, and their experiences aboard the Titanic. I paid particular attention to Ruth’s recollection of the events after the collision with the iceberg and what took place in the lifeboats and following their rescue. I filled in the story with fictional characters Ruth could have met, along with several subplots to show Ruth’s development and gradual change of heart from when she leaves India up to the most terrifying night of her young life.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

 It’s a coming-of-age story, with courage being the most important theme throughout. In the beginning, Ruth knows she has none. On her long journey, she observes it in others and learns from them, taking small steps and seeing her world in a new light. Then, everything culminates as the Titanic sinks, and Ruth must draw from the well of her own newly-acquired courage as she fights to survive and face an unknown future.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

 My next book is also based on a true story, set in New York City during the American Revolution. It’s still in a rough draft stage and I have a lot of work and research ahead, but I’m hopeful that it can be published within a year.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

Based on the True Story of Twelve-Year-Old Titanic Survivor, Ruth Becker 

“Sometimes we have to go a long way to find out who we are.” 

The year is 1912. When doctors in India are unable to treat her baby brother’s illness, Ruth’s missionary parents decide there is one solution: move her mother and the children across the world—to Michigan. 

But India is the only home Ruth knows. In a matter of days, she must leave Papa and all she loves behind, abandon her dream of one day playing violin in the Calcutta Orchestra, and embark on a rollicking, four-week journey across the Arabian and Mediterranean Seas, followed by the voyage to New York aboard the luxurious, ill-fated RMS Titanic

Ruth’s story is one of courage and self-sacrifice as she earns her sea legs and faces the unknown, culminating in a desperate, tragic night she will never forget.

The Prodigal Father

The Prodigal Father by [Forrest Hutter]

The Prodigal Father by Forrest Hutter is a touching story about family and faith. The novel tells the story of Tom Davis, a man who was a drunk in his youth, and when he wasn’t drinking he would be angry constantly. Everything changed when his wife got pregnant and had their eldest son. Tom became a different man, a loving husband, and a devoted father. Even though they struggled financially they had each other and that’s all they needed to be happy. Everything came crumbling down when he tragically lost his wife. And with her passing, he also lost his faith. The years went on and Tom felt like he was only sinking deeper and deeper with no escape. This impassioned story of heartbreak and redemption tells readers that no one is past the point of saving and we can always find our way back to ourselves and our loved ones.

The author writes effortlessly and readers can feel the powerful emotions conveyed in the story. As we dive into this inspirational Christian fiction story we are more than just readers, we are a part of the book and the characters. Even though the book follows two timelines, the present and the past, the author manages to keep the narrative straightforward while simultaneously creating an ocean of emotions for us to experience with the characters.

As a reader who is interested in character development, I am pleased with Hutter’s approach to writing. He took the time to develop every character so that they feel as real and raw as possible, giving them flaws and weaknesses as well as just good characteristics. We see all aspects of our main character, Tom. At the beginning of the book we see him do extra work on a client’s car and not charge him, even though he had to pay the extra out of his own pocket and that even caused him to get fired. We see his love and grief. We see his flaws, however, my favorite thing, as a reader, about this character is how he is aware of all his flaws, weaknesses, and wrongdoings.

Yet another plus of The Prodigal Father is the length of the chapters. Hutter keeps his chapters concise and quite short. He brings each one to a fitting end that urges the reader on to the next for more. This captivating book is a quick read and difficult to put down.

The way Hutter captures and describes faith is incredible. In a world with so many religions, agnostics, and atheism, he manages to write a spiritually uplifting book fitted for any kind of belief. The Prodigal Father is a thought-provoking Christian story worth reading. This is an emotionally-charged novel that will stick with readers long after they put the book down.

Pages: 213 | ASIN: B08ZLLWW6T

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The Penitent: Part III

The Immortality Wars The Penitent Part III is the epic conclusion of The Penitent Trilogy. In a battle between good and evil, Pall Warren is in the middle of it all, fighting evil demons to save humanity from the tyranny of an occult priest. Set in a world reminiscent of the Middle Ages with a fantasy spin, Pall continues on his quest to reconnect with his friend, John Savage, and find his place in the world.

The story begins with Pall helping Tom in the aftermath of the Ünger attack. He travels with Tom and his daughter to their new home in Gullswater. While in Gullswater, Pall puts feelers out to see where he can find the bowman, aka Savage. Leading Pall on a quest to Seascale, where he joins forces with Mercer, an ex-member of Gregor Mordant’s Marauders.

Once in Seascale, Pall and Mercer begin their mission to track down Savage and quickly find themselves deep in battle. Meanwhile, Savage works with his boss, Peredurus, the King’s Minister of Affairs, to update him on West Fündländ. Savage also alerts Peredurus to his views that Mordant is a traitor to the King. Peredurus begins his mission to validate Savage’s belief. All parties start to build the forces up for the impending war.

What I loved most was the multiple POVs, especially during the battle. I love when authors utilize this writing style as it gives me a better insight into the motives of the characters. A. Keith Carreiro is a strong writer, at times his style is more formal to help set the tone and add depth to the characters personality. I benefited from learning multiple new words as he has an expansive vocabulary.

The Penitent by A. Keith Carreiro is a thrilling adventure novel written for fans of fantasy and science fiction. The author is skilled at world-building and excels at keeping the reader engaged. Overall a strong finish to this riveting trilogy. Readers will enjoy finding out how Carreiro wraps up things.

Pages: 292 | ASIN: B07WCHGRKC

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When I Decided To Write A Fantasy

Ian Conrey
Ian V. Conrey Author Interview

Haelend’s Ballad is an epic fantasy novel that follows an ensemble cast that are trying to survive in a war torn land where fate conspires against them. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Definitely history. Our own world is full of war and atrocities, and yet we often only see one side of the story. But when we look at these historical events from various perspectives, we see a much more complex (and often darker) reality. When I decided to write a fantasy, I felt that having a large cast from different backgrounds and perspectives would be the best way to reflect that reality.

Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

On one level, I simply wanted my characters to be real. I wanted them to be flawed, multi-faceted, and to sometimes just make really bad decisions. They needed to wrestle with their own sins and as well as the sins other against them, and that, in turn, should impact the choices they make. On another level, music was a big influence that helped shape each of my characters. I listened to a lot of early American ballads and classical composers, as well as more recent musicians such as Mumford and Sons, Radiohead, and Josh Garrels. Every character represented something that spoke to me in that music.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The biggest theme is probably suffering (how it impacts our worldview, the decisions we make, etc.). Other themes include the consequences of racism, nationalism, and political/economic corruption, as well as the power and freedom found in forgiveness, love, and self-sacrifice.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m currently working on a series of short stories that explores some of the mythology and other events in the world of Haelend’s Ballad. Also, I’ll be collaborating with my cover illustrator at the beginning of next year to create a series of illustrations for a hardback edition of Haelend’s Ballad that I hope to release at the end of 2022.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

“Some call me Murderer, others call me Lord. I’ve been called Savior and Enslaver. But no one has ever called me Child.”
A young man signs his own death warrant when he joins an already failing militia. A teenage girl is haunted by her childhood abuse and begins to crave the very things she hates. A childless mother finds herself on the run as a convicted murderer. Yet they are all unaware that their own fates are tied to a young orphan who has drowned and come back to life in a foreign land where he will be the death of everyone he meets.
Hælend’s Ballad is a tale about what happens when men and women from two colliding cultures realize they may not be on the right side. Heroes are villains. The persecuted are oppressors. And when rumors begin to spread that the world is dying, the darkness of their own hearts betrays them.

Who You Gonna Serve?

Who You Gonna Serve? by [Aaron Pullins III]

In Who You Gonna Serve readers are faced with a conundrum, do you suffer through the bad situation until it passes? Or, do you contend with the necessary evil then atone for it later? It is a tough situation to be in. One that Daz Brooks knows all too well about. He is fresh out of prison and has a dream to be one of the best rappers alive. He could see no other way to achieve his dream other than the grey area resident, Andre Paul Zaayer.

APZ is a lawyer. Unlike other lawyers, he does not exactly practice the law. He practices around it and out of it. He is also deep in the drug trade. The exact thing that got Daz Brooks into prison to start with. APZ seems like everything a lawyers should not be. He is also the last person Daz Brooks should be engaging with. Will he be able to untangle himself from this web he walked into? Will APZ let him?

Authors Aaron Pullins III and Cathy Clark have written a captivating Christian fiction novel following two contrasting characters. One determined to get out of a dark hole and another willing to go to any lengths to keep him in there. It is a book about seeking the grace of God when the only solution you can come up with is a bad idea.

The authors have put names to the good and bad angels on your shoulder who pull you in different directions. Daz Brooks and APZ represent the two types of people in the world. You cannot help but root for Daz Brooks as you hope that the 40-day rule applies to guys like APZ and that his are almost over. Although, learning about his childhood in the beginning sort of eases the abhorrence you might develop for him.

Who You Gonna Serve starts an interesting conversation about the decisions people make and how they change their lives. Many times, people will take the path that gets them what they want despite the risk of losing more. However, with the grace of God it is easier to foresee the regret and pain that will come afterwards before the mistake is made.

This riveting crime fiction story lures readers in with a well written and descriptive story and then delivers some thought-provoking ideas. Readers will able to relate with a variety of moments throughout the story as well as the characters. It is especially interesting how the authors have used little bits from scripture to help drive the point of the story home.

Who You Gonna Serve is an absorbing urban Christian fiction novel with an entertaining storyline and a fascinating cast of characters.

Pages: 176 | ASIN: B08J3PVJX3

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