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The Because Fiction Podcast

The Because Fiction Podcast

Author: Chautona Havig

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Taking the pulse of Christian fiction, Because Fiction explores the lastest trends in Christian fiction, discusses genres, specific authors, new releases, and classics as well. If it's Christian fiction (or something readers love), we talk about it.
71 Episodes
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Biblical fiction, first-person perspective. The books have everything against them, but M.D. House got me excited about reading The Barabbas Trilogy before we'd spoken for five minutes.  House offers us a look at what could have been based on what we know of what was. Just reading the "Look Inside" on Amazon gives you a hint of where House's Barabbas came from and where he'll go on his redemptive journey. From what I've read, these books might make my top books of 2021 list!
In this episode, I chat with historical romance author, Carrie Turansky about her McAlister series and the British Home Children who came over from England to Canada. This series began with No Ocean Too Wide and continues in her June release, No Journey Too Far. Learn what inspired this story and what kind of research she did and also what got her started in historical fiction in the first place. Hint: The first book in her Edwardian Brides is the one to find out about! Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. How an Unfortunate Time in History Inspired a Fabulous Series I’d never heard of the British Home Children, which feel to me like a bit of the follow-up to the Barnardo boys of London, but talking to author Carrie Turansky, I learned a lot.  Like over a hundred thousand kids being shipped across the ocean to Canada as indentured servants! Whoa… As Carrie tells us, sixty percent of those kids were mistreated or worse.  And the statistics on how many people in Canada have a known relative who came over on one of those ships?  Well, you’ll have to listen to find out but it’s staggering! Carrie also talked about how she switched from contemporary romance to historical fiction from the Edwardian era through World War I (I think I have the years right!).  Hint: it involves Jane Eyre, an editor, and Downton Abbey. From that, we get her Edwardian Brides series beginning with The Governess of Highland Hall, which Carrie says you should read if you’re waiting on book two to arrive (or when you’re finished with the McAlister series. About No Journey Too Far A family long divided, a mysterious trunk, and a desperate journey across the ocean—all in the name of love. The epic saga of the McAlisters continues in this riveting sequel to No Ocean Too Wide.   In 1909, Grace McAlister set sail for Canada as one of the thousands of British Home Children taken from their families and their homeland. Though she is fortunate enough to be adopted by wealthy parents, the secrets of her past are kept hidden for ten years until someone from her long-buried childhood arrives on her doorstep. With this new connection to her birth family, will she be brave enough to leave her sheltered life in Toronto and uncover the truth? After enduring hardship as an indentured British Home Child, Garth McAlister left Canada to serve in World War I. His sweetheart, Emma Lafferty, promised to wait for his return, but after three long years apart, her letters suddenly stopped. When Garth arrives home from the war to unexpected news, he is determined to return to Canada once more on a daunting mission to find the two women he refuses to abandon—his long-lost sister and his mysteriously missing sweetheart. You can learn more about Carrie Turansky at her WEBSITE where you can also get a free novel by signing up for her newsletter. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher and more! If you’d like to be on the Because Fiction Podcast, please go HERE and submit your topic idea! I’d love to hear about it.
A master of creating relatable situations and characters you feel as if you'd know if you met them on the street, Rachel Fordham began writing at the advice of her husband for a "creative outlet" and hasn't stopped since! Her latest release, A Lady in Attendance, releases today and you won't want to miss the story of a dentist you won't dread seeing and his assistant with a sketchy past she's trying to keep a secret. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide us with a small commission at no extra expense to you. This Author Gives Us Excellent Historical Fiction One Book after the Other I had a delightful chat with Rachel Fordham about her books--especially her latest release A Lady in Attendance. We discussed her favorite part of writing and especially how authors' books reflect what the Lord is doing in our lives at the time we write them. Since that conversation, I've examined several of my books, trying to see what He is doing in my life, and it's illuminating. No one but me could usually pinpoint it--things aren't that direct. From seeing people in the past as fellow humans and realizing how similar our lives really are to theirs at the core, to understanding life through those similarities, Rachel's books cut to the core of humanity and show the beauty of what God can do with those characters. You can find out more about Rachel on her website. About A Lady in Attendance Five years in a New York state reformatory have left a blemish on Hazel's real name. So when she takes a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts's lady in attendance in 1898, she does so under an alias. In the presence of her quiet and pious employer, Hazel finds more than an income. She finds a friend and a hope that if she can set her tarnished past in order, she might have a future after all. As Gilbert becomes accustomed to the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, he can't help but sense something secretive about her. Perhaps there is more to this woman than meets the eye. Can the questions that loom between them ever be answered? Or will the deeds of days gone by forever rob the future of its possibilities? Rachel Fordham pens a tender tale of a soft-spoken man, a hardened woman, and the friends that stand by them as they work toward a common purpose--to expunge the record of someone society deemed beyond saving--and perhaps find love along the way. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher and more! If you'd like to be on the Because Fiction Podcast, please go HERE and submit your topic idea! I'd love to hear about it.
Romantic women's fiction author, Lila Diller had a short chat with me about her "Love Is" series. Beginning with a contemporary romance through the first year of marriage, this four-book (so far) series is a labor of love placed on Lila's heart by the Lord. We had a quick chat the other day and it was a delight to get to know her better. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Are There Pitfalls to Using Your Life as Inspiration for Your Books? Lila Diller can tell you.  Yes.  Author of four books in romantic women's fiction, Lila has used her own life and marriage in a fictional way.  No worries--names and other things have been changed to protect the innocent?  The guilty?  Both?  Something like that. I'm excited to read this series. Lila has infused her books with the themes from I Corinthians 13, and considering the themes of the books, I'm pretty sure I'm going to love the depth and richness that Diller puts in them.  The characters sound amazing--especially the mentor in book four, Her Heart's Disappointment, is a hoot. Even if I wasn't already excited about the series, anytime an author says he or she had "so much fun" writing said character, I know it's a killer. And let's face it, as I said in my blog post here, mentors can be good and bad--even the bad ones who were also... good! About Lila Diller's Her Heart's Disappointment. A disappointed newlywed. A confused husband. Will Morgan learn how to communicate her true feelings or drive Jason away for good? Her Heart's Disappointment continues Morgan's search for agape love in the newlywed phase. Now that the honeymoon is over, Morgan finds her newlywed life turning out to be less perfect than she expected. Now all the statistics about most divorces happening in the first two years suddenly seem realistic. Morgan wants the perfect fairy-tale marriage but was unprepared for how much hard work it takes for a marriage to just survive. All the little annoyances and disappointments take their toll, leaving Morgan blindsided by the big problems — a friend's failed marriage and possible infertility. She tries a mentor, a marriage conference, and a baby to right their relationship. But she's forgetting one thing. Will Morgan save her marriage? Find Lila Diller at her website where you can get the first book FREE when you sign up for her newsletter. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher and more!
It all started with a joke. Lisa Phillips (not Harris) and I were teasing each other on Avid Readers of Christian Fiction one day, and we challenged each other to use the other’s name in a book.  Well… Let’s face it. I got the easy job I mean, Lisa Phillips… or Chautona Havig. Which is easier to insert into a novel?  And like the slacker I am, I didn’t take that challenge as seriously as I should have. Well, Lisa Phillips is NO slacker. That woman rose to the challenge and went far and away.  Thanks to her diligence, I’ll be upping my game in the book I’m writing now. You’ll see my pathetic attempt in Flipping Hearts (July), but watch out for what happens in Finding a Memory (January). That’s all I’m sayin’. Anyway, I’d only read about 40% of the book when we chatted, so I even gave a hint at what she’d done.  That’s because that’s all I’d seen.  “Toni” as the character’s name.  Few people know this, but when I was little, some in my family called me Toni.  It was even one of the pseudonyms I’d considered before giving up and deciding I’d just have to use a hard-to-spell name and folks would have to suffer. #becauseChautona. Just sayin’. Well, there’s more than just “Toni” in this book, but you’ll have to read to figure out who Chautona Havig is in here and why she’s got the characters all confused. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Guess What! I Found My Name in a New Favorite Author’s BOOK! And no, she’s not a new favorite author because she used my name.  It’s because she’s a fabulous writer! Expired Flight is a no-holds-barred story that kicks off with a guy, a gun, and a woman without any idea who she is. Lisa Phillips (#notHarris as I’ve typed three times already) has five series available for your adrenaline-rush pleasure, and another one is starting soon! Lisa Phillips ‘ series are: Northwest Counter-Terrorism Taskforce Double Down WITSEC Town Legend Hunters Secret Service Agents Denver FBI As a Love Inspired author, Lisa Phillips says their preference for high-stakes action and cliffhangers has kept her other series just as fast-paced and with romance that takes time to build. You can find more about Lisa and her books at either her regular WEBSITE or at LastChanceCounty. About Lisa Phillips’ Expired Flight She can’t remember who she is. He’ll never give up the life he knows. Jeff Filks lives life as a ghost. It’s the only way to keep the people he cares about safe. But a lifetime of training doesn’t just go away, even when he’s suffered a life-altering injury. When he spots a woman fleeing a gunman in the middle of the night he steps in to help, determined to remain anonymous. But the secret she’s forgotten is deadly—to both of them—and the past won’t quit coming. The hunt is on. A woman with no memory on the shore of the Last Chance lake. A man who must remain nameless to survive. Welcome to Last Chance County *Christian romantic suspense* Book 1 – Expired Refuge Book 2 – Expired Secret Book 3 – Expired Cache Book 4 – Expired Hero Book 5 – Expired Game Book 6 – Expired Plot Book 7 – Expired Getaway Book 8 – Expired Betrayal Book 9 – Expired Flight Book 10 – Expired End Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher and more!
If there would be any point in history that I would not enjoy reading about, it’s usually the first three centuries AD.  So, of course, what do I do?  I fall in love with a historical mystery by Lisa E. Betz taking place in mid-first-century Rome.  #becausereasons Death and a Crocodile by is seriously my biggest reading shock of 2021.  Hilarious book, great mystery, and fun settings that have me rooting for people from the first page. What’s not to love? Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Why I Knew I’d Love This New Series Reading the Cast of Characters I’ll confess. I opened the Kindle and swiped with lots of fear and even more trepidation.  Just keepin’ it real. We all know I love historical mystery.  Proof HERE.  But… First-century Rome. Oh. Joy. When the cast of characters stretched out past page one, I actually started reading it.  Then I started laughing. Seriously, guys. SO funny.  That was my first inkling that I might like it. By the end of the first page or two, I was hooked. Before I finished recording the podcast, I’d ordered a paperback.  Seriously, guys. This book is this good. Lisa E. Betz has seriously pulled me into a fascinating world with amazing characters and an intriguing, multi-layered plot. Perhaps that’s why Lisa won the Illumination Book Award in her category!  If you love historical fiction, you might want to snag this book. Forget that, if you love Elizabeth Peters and her delightful Amelia Peabody… don’t hesitate. Run, don’t walk those fingers across the keyboard and snag your copy.  The Kindle price is just 2.99.  Can’t complain about that. Lisa E. Betz also has great taste in reading material. She and I agree on Elizabeth Peters, Dorothy Gilman, and Barbara Rosenblat as a great narrator for both of those. We also agree on more historical and mystery and less romance.  WOOT!  In fact, she joked that if there’s a pretty girl in a historical dress, she won’t bother with the book. However, give her a guy with a sword, and she’s all over it. Is it any wonder I like this gal? She also recommended Linda Davies as a mostly clean author to try.  Do you guys have any great Christian historical authors she needs to try?  Preferably heavy on the mystery and adventure and light on the romance? Here’s more about her book. Death and a Crocodile Sensible women don’t investigate murders, but Livia Aemilia might not have a choice. Rome, 47 AD. When Livia’s father dies under suspicious circumstances, she sets out to find the killer before her innocent brother is convicted of murder. She may be an amateur when it comes to hunting dangerous criminals, but she’s determined, intelligent, and not afraid to break a convention or two in pursuit of the truth. Plus, she’s adopted a radical new faith that encourages her to believe a woman and a handful of servants can actually solve a murder. Can she uncover the culprit before powerful men realize what she’s up to and force her to stop? Or will her snooping land her in deadly peril? A lighthearted historical mystery set in first-century Rome, featuring a feisty amateur sleuth, a cast of eccentric characters, and an unrepentant, sausage-snatching cat. You can find Lisa E. Betz at her WEBSITE where she also blogs about intentional living, authenticity, standing up for your values, pursuing your dreams, and more. There you will also find her social media and such! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher and more!
I Love Being Totally Surprised in Romantic Suspense What does a reader do when she thinks an author writes historical fiction and opens her Kindle to find herself in the middle of nail-biting romantic suspense?  SHE SQUEALS! Or, at least this reader did!  For reasons I cannot fathom, I’ve always thought Elizabeth Goddard wrote historical romance, so when I opened Present Danger and found it set… well, not to put too fine a point on it… IN THE PRESENT… I kind of did a jig right there in my living room. My dog, Neville, is still traumatized by it. Anyway, I had a chat with her about her latest release, Present Danger, and guys.  Let’s talk books! Note links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. I Love Nothing Better Than Being Totally Surprised in Romantic Suspense Elizabeth Goddard’s Rocky Mountain Courage series takes off with a crash-bang in Present Danger. Loosely related to her previous series, Uncommon Justice, this one combines the forces of an ex-FBI agent and a US Forest Service Special Agent to outwit archaeological artifact traffickers. Wow.  All I can say is WOW.  This book will have you gripping the arm of your chair and wishing it had a life vest attached! Note: This special agent is not with quite the same outfit as in the book I talked to Patricia Bradley about in episode 55. Elizabeth spoke of her love for romantic suspense, the layers and twists and turns she puts in her books… But my favorite part was when she started talking about how characters popped up and said, “Hey! Tell my story.”  And so she did! Good news! There are at least three books in this series, so keep your eyes peeled (book 2 is already up for preorder!  YAY!) In addition to these books, Elizabeth Goddard also has thirty-some-odd books with Love Inspired Suspense. You can find all of her books on Amazon or your favorite book retailers (including some in-store at Barnes and Noble) Elizabeth Goddard is also a great and eclectic reader! She reads widely and many genres including romantic suspense, fantasy, and sci-fi!  I suggested that she check out D.C. Marino’s Kingdom of Ruins since that combines fantasy with archaeology. She says she carves out time to read every day just like she makes time to write every day.  That sort of discipline is what makes for great writing, so it’s no wonder I loved the book so much! You can learn more about Elizabeth Goddard at her website, where you will also find links to follow her on social media and sign up for her newsletter. About Present Danger Former FBI Special Agent Jack Tanner is working as a detective in Montana when he comes across a body in the national forest during a search and rescue mission. He’s committed to finding the killer, even if it means working alongside his old flame, US Forest Service Special Agent Terra Connors. When Terra discovers that the murder victim had ties to a powerful and dangerous trafficker of archaeological artifacts, the investigation takes a deadly turn–one that hits too close to home. As Terra fears she lacks the courage to face what comes next, Jack is more determined than ever to protect her. But he’s failed her before. And if he fails this time, it will cost them far more than just their hearts. Join bestselling and award-winning author Elizabeth Goddard as she plunges you into a web of deceit made of hidden crimes, open threats, and long-buried family secrets in this gripping first book of an explosive new series. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher and more!
All Great Historical Fiction Has One Thing in Common BY CHAUTONA HAVIG · LEAVE A COMMENT (EDIT) The second of our compilation interview episodes (first HERE), this episode features three historical fiction authors. Join me as I chat with Amanda Cabot about her latest release, Dreams Rekindled.  I also spoke with Jill Eileen Smith about her latest release, Miriam’s Song. Marguerite Martin Gray discusses her Revolutionary Faith series as well as upcoming new series. Three authors, three very different writing styles and time periods, and three great books or series to keep you entertained and encouraged for hours! And as I studied the different stories,  time periods and themes, I realized something important about historical fiction. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you All Great Historical Fiction Has One Thing in Common It teaches us how no matter how different times and places are, people remain the same.  We love, grieve, hate, fear… People wage war and reconcile.  We sin and repent. In the end, all we have is faith or we flounder trying to understand why life is the way it is. In today’s episode, I spoke with three authors and learned what they wrote, why, and got to know a little bit about each of them.  First up: Amanda Cabot and her Mesquite Springs Series Though she hopes for a quiet, uncomplicated life for herself, Dorothy Clark wants nothing more than to stir others up. Specifically, she dreams of writing something that will challenge people as much as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin seems to have. But in 1850s Mesquite Springs, there are few opportunities for writers–until newspaperman Brandon Holloway arrives, that is. Brandon Holloway has seen the disastrous effects of challenging others and has no intention of repeating that mistake. Instead of following his dreams, he’s committed to making a new–and completely uncontroversial–start in the Hill Country. As Dorothy’s involvement in the fledgling newspaper grows from convenient to essential, the same change seems to be happening in Brandon’s heart. But before romance can bloom, Dorothy and Brandon must work together to discover who’s determined to divide the town and destroy Brandon’s livelihood. With this second novel in the Mesquite Springs series, bestselling author Amanda Cabot invites you to discover the healing power of truth. You can find out more about Amanda, sign up for her newsletter, and follow her on social media from her WEBSITE. Next up!  Jill Eileen Smith and her Biblical Fiction in Miriam’s Song In her eventful lifetime, Miriam was many things to many people: protective older sister, song leader, prophetess, leper. But between the highs and the lows, she was a girl who dreamed of freedom, a woman who longed for love, a leader who made mistakes, and a friend who valued connection. With her impeccable research and keen eye for detail, bestselling author Jill Eileen Smith offers this epic story to fill in the gaps and imagine how Miriam navigated the challenges of holding on to hope, building a family in the midst of incredible hardship, and serving as a leader of a difficult people, all while living in her brother’s shadow. Follow Miriam’s journey from childhood to motherhood, obscurity to notoriety, and yearning to fulfillment as she learns that what God promises he provides–in his own perfect timing. You can find out more about Jill, sign up for her newsletter, and follow her on social media from her WEBSITE. And last but not least, Marguerite Martin Gray and her Revolutionary Faith Series A town besieged by the enemy with just one Sovereign order: wait. Charles Town, South Carolina, 1780 With the inevitable occupation of Charles Town by the British pounding at the gates, Louis Lestarjette braces for possible imprisonment or worse. How can he provide for his growing family with the evil chains of the enemy binding his source of existence? The scenarios of imprisonment and starvation force him to realize he has no control over the outcome of the stronghold of the British. All that remains is a sense of survival at almost any cost. Elizabeth Lestarjette faces looming confinement with both a drive to protect her children and a desire to do her part to undermine the enemy.  They must thwart the British plans to imprison more men, but how?  Who can they trust? Just how long will Elizabeth’s confidence in justice withstand the constant battering of war and circumstance? Discover the destiny of the Lestarjette family in the final book of the Revolutionary Faith Series as they hope and wait upon deliverance from a world under siege. You can learn more about Marguerite, sign up for her newsletter, and follow her on social media from her WEBSITE. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher And many more!
If I have a favorite genre, it's definitely mystery and/or suspense, and cozy mysteries like Pint of No Return by Dana Mentink is a perfect read--especially with summer coming.  Add to this fun, quirky whodunnit, a release fun FREAKSHAKE contest, and what more could you ask for? This mystery in Upper Sprocket, Oregon will have you in a fine kettle of... corn-y situations and laughing about silly things like... well, metatarsals for one! Find out about this series featuring the Shimmy and Shake Shop, Trinidad Jones, and her weasel of an ex-husband's superfluity of ex-wives! (who knew?! She didn't!) Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. How Is a Fabulous Freakshake Related to Murder and Mayhem? When I learned that Dana Mentink had a new cozy mystery series coming, I knew I'd be the first in line to read it. When I discovered that the publisher's name was Poison Pen Press, well... I'll admit it. The temptation to write a cozy and submit it just to be under that name came over me. Never fear. I didn't do it.  But man, I was tempted. Enter your next favorite cozy mystery sleuth, Trinidad Jones!  This woman has been through some rough stuff, but with her service dog school flunkee dog, Noodles, she's taken Upper Sprocket, Oregon by storm! Or, at least has shimmied her way into a new career as a shake shop soda jerk.  Or something like that.  Upper Sprocket, home of some fabulous kettle corn and an "Alpine Fest" we'll see in book two, has a new business!  The Shimmy and Shake Shop and their awesome freakshakes are here to keep your dentist in business and your insulin levels at an all-time high! So how else would Dana celebrate but by having a freakshake contest?! Find out all about the freakshake contest that goes with the release of Pint of No Return, the first in this new cozy mystery series, in this video:... and get your entries in HERE (hurry, there are only four days left!)   The prize package with an Amazon gift card, shake glasses, apron, syrups... all the stuffness!!! You want this, guys! Meanwhile, as you wait for Pint of No Return to release, don't forget Dana's first cozy mystery series, Finny's Nose. Or, if your tastes run to suspense, THIS EPISODE talks about her latest that takes place in Death Valley!   About Pint of No Return The first in a new dessert cozy mystery series! A murder in town is bound to shake things up... After her divorce from her thrice-married embezzler husband, Trinidad Jones is finally ready for a fresh start. So when she's left one of ex's businesses in Upper Sprocket, Oregon, she decides to pack up her dog, cash in her settlement, and open her dream business: the Shimmy and Shake Shop, introducing the world to her monster milkshakes. And even with a couple of sticky situations underway, namely that the other two ex-wives also call Sprocket home, Trinidad's life seems to be churning along smoothly. That is until she discovers her neighbor, the Popcorn King, head down in his giant popcorn kettle. When one of Trinidad's fellow ex-wives is accused of the murder and Upper Sprocket descends into mayhem, it's going to take a supersized scoop of courage to flush out the killer. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher And many more!  :D
Romantic Suspense author, Jerusha Agen is the second author in a new series from Love Inspired.  This new trade series offers full-length novels, and Rising Danger is a doozy!  Whooeee!  Hold onto your hats and grab your life vests, this novel will flood you with action, danger, and an explosion or two!  Add a few cool pooches, and what more can we ask for?  Squee!
I never imagined that T.I. Lowe could possibly outdo herself after the Carolina Coast series, but... Under the Magnolias...wow. This combination coming-of-age and women's fiction novel offers a serious look at mental illness in a novel set back in the eighties.  That combination of a relatable topic combined with a bit of distance from our time gives us a unique perspective that allows us to take in more than we might have thought possible. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide a small commission at no extra expense to you. Only a Master Storyteller Handles Mental Illness with Delicacy, Humor, and Grit Bestselling author T. I. Lowe releases her newest book today. Under the Magnolias is set in South Carolina in 1980. At a time and place where addressing mental health is even taboo than it can still be today, this book shows the real pain endured by those who don't feel as if they have anywhere to go. Lowe focuses heavily on trying to answer the question we all have when someone we love or respect gives up completely.  Her heart for those who didn't feel as if they could ask for help shines through every word on the page. And yet, with such a difficult topic, this book doesn't weigh heavy on the reader. If anything, it offers hope and promise, with a twist of Lowe's particular brand of humor. I gushed about T.I. Lowe 's Driftwood Dreams in Episode 15. Don't be surprised if another episode follows this one in a few weeks--one of me gushing about this book.  There's just so much to it. T.I. Lowe even created a Pinterest Board full of fun things from the eighties and things pertinent to her book. And one of the best things she shared was this fabulous song by Matthew West that really inspired her as she wrote the book. Under The Magnolias by T.I. Lowe This night not only marked the end to the drought, but also the end to the long-held secret we’d kept hidden under the magnolias. Magnolia, South Carolina, 1980 Austin Foster is barely a teenager when her mama dies giving birth to twins, leaving her to pick up the pieces while holding her six siblings together and doing her best to stop her daddy from retreating into his personal darkness. Scratching out a living on the family’s tobacco farm is as tough as it gets. When a few random acts of kindness help to ease the Fosters’ hardships, Austin finds herself relying upon some of Magnolia’s most colorful citizens for friendship and more. But it’s next to impossible to hide the truth about the goings-on at Nolia Farms, and Austin’s desperate attempts to save face all but break her. Just when it seems she might have something more waiting for her—with the son of a wealthy local family who she’s crushed on for years—her father makes a choice that will crack wide-open the family’s secrets and lead to a public reckoning. There are consequences for loving a boy like Vance Cumberland, but there is also freedom in the truth. T. I. Lowe’s gritty yet tender and uplifting tale reminds us that a great story can break your heart . . . then heal it in the best possible way. Find more about her and her books at tilowe.com Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher and more!
Last month, I had the privilege of chatting with Christian author, Tom Threadgill about his Amara series (Collision of Lies and Network of Deceit) and about his Jeremy Winters series (for just a bit). Mostly, I gushed about the awesome characters he's created and the unique situation he gets himself and them into, and he graciously put up with it! See, here's the thing.  Tom's books hold most of my favorite elements! Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. My Favorite Suspense Books Keep Me Up at Night & My Fingernails Trimmed Hold onto your seats, folks, it's going to be a bumpy ride to justice!  Want proof?  I actually typed "seets."  Yeah. That.  *rolls eyes at self.* As I state in the episode, I first learned of  Tom Threadgill when I found his first Amara Alvarez book in a Christian bookstore in Indiana--Amish central. Just sayin'.  As I'm doing videos about the great store and the books I found, and chat with #1daughter, this poor Amish woman kept glancing my way, probably wondering why I'm so enamored with the title, Collision of Lies. But seriously, an entire busload of kids are presumed dead... but then not?  WHAT? Tom and I chatted (for far too long... I only recorded about half of it), and boy do we agree on a lot of things about books, writing, and what makes both fun and great.    Call it "discovery" writing, "organic" writing, or the old tried and true, "pantsing," we both tend to start out on a book journey with some kind of idea where WE think we want the story to go and then get to find out if the characters agree or if they have minds of their own.  Neither of us are much into gore.  Both really hate preaching in books. As a Christian author, Tom Threadgill hints that his faith might show in his work, but his goal is to provide clean fiction for readers.  He says, and I agree, that good fiction doesn't need profanity and smut, and he wants to provide that for any reader.  Like I often say, keeping a Christian worldview out of a Christian's book is (and probably should be) almost impossible, but his intention isn't to provide spiritual depth but an alternative to the glut of content that readers might be embarrassed to be caught reading. So what is the Amara Alvarez series about? Take a property crimes officer, put her in a situation out of her element, let her flounder around figuring out how to do this thing, and bam!  You have San Antonio's next homicide detective.  Tom Threadgill's newest release, Network of Deceit, shows her at her first case as a detective, and whoa... is she thrown to the wolves.  The medical examiner is confident the death they've ruled an accident is, in fact, murder.  It's her job to prove it.  She's not happy, and her boss is giving her very little time to figure out what is going on. Plus hackers.  And life problems. And seriously, one of my newest and most favorite characters.  Starskey.  Oh, my.  Love this dude.  He's such a perfect blend of confidence in his own skin without being obnoxiously arrogant.  WOOHOO!  Okay, so I really like that medical examiner a lot, too, and we got a hint there might be a lot more of him in the next book.  Squee! So what is Network of Deceit about? After her rescue of nearly fifty kidnapped children made international headlines, Amara Alvarez gets what she's worked for: a transfer to San Antonio's Homicide Division. Reality sets in quickly, though, as her first case, the suspicious death of a teenager at a crowded local water park, brings chaos to her personal life. As the investigation moves forward and she increases the pressure on the suspects, Amara finds herself under attack by cybercriminals. Her every move is being potentially watched online, and she's forced to resort to unconventional methods to find the killer. With few leads, she fights to keep her first murder investigation from ending up in the cold case files. Tom Threadgill is back with another riveting page-turner featuring the detective who is willing to put everything on the line to see that justice is served and lives are protected. Tom Threadgill also has another series--Jeremy Winters While a bit "grittier" than the Amara Alvarez series, Tom assures us that it isn't gory or over-the-top. He doesn't enjoy that himself.  I suspect I'll handle it all just fine. In fact, while trying to compare it to other authors, he pointed out that it was a lot tamer than say Ted Dekker.  I thought that was helpful. ALSO!  Both of Tom's series are available on audiobook (and Audible folks?  You can get the Jeremy Winters as part of your subscription!) You can find out more about Tom Threadgill on his website, and as he pointed out, he loves reviews! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
I've never searched for a book longer or harder. Where on earth could it be?  Rather than pulling out every book on my shelves, looking under tables and behind furniture, I had to search emails, computer files, accounts, and my Kindle. But it wasn't there.  Around two o'clock, I gave up and went for a walk.  Alone in the darkness, with a mystery playing through my headband, I felt like the world's worst detective. After all, you're supposed to follow the clues and nab the crook.  There was one problem with that plan. I didn't have a clue! Somewhere there was a great romantic suspense book playing hide and seek with me, only no one told it the rule about "olly, olly, oxen free!" So when I called out.  It remained silent.  Sigh Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. What's Better Than a Suspenseful Book? What about a Romantic One? Okay, aside from her love of Jane Eyre, Melissa Koslin and I have a lot of things in common.  We love suspense, and as long as it isn't "electric cheese," as one friend of mine calls it, we even love romantic suspense. With only the first pages from the "Look Inside" and the synopsis of Never Miss to go on, we started the interview and boy was it fun. First, let's talk about these characters.  Kadence is an ex-CIA sniper who comes from a family of assassins.  Did you read that?  Think about it.  You're at a party somewhere and one woman says, "My family is in real estate."  Another says, "Oh, my family has been in the hospitality industry for decades."  They turn to you and you say, "We're in problem eradication" and pray they don't ask for specifics. Awkward! But wait.  There's more. How about a geeky scientist and a wild ride across the country because Kadence is on the "No Fly" list.  EEEP!  What about Biological Warfare?  A threat on the president?  (what else would you call releasing said warfare at the State of the Union Address?) Multiple personalities (okay, so just aliases but it sounded better the other way)? Guys, this book has it all. I spent a significant amount of time begging her for a series.  Maybe Revell will listen and give us one, no? In addition to Never Miss, Melissa has another Christian Fiction suspense title under the name Melissa Kosci.  She finished a series for author Mike Nappa, and I naively thought, "Oh, that's nice.  I'll have to read those." Seriously... Look at these titles! Annabel Lee.  The Raven.  Dream within a Dream! It's the Coffey & Hill series, and I'm in love with the synopses. Must buy all the books! So, while you're waiting for the 24-book series I'm just SURE Melissa Koslin will end up doing--all about this assassin family, of course, you have these three books.  Isn't it perfect? Meanwhile, let's look at Melissa Koslin and Never Miss. Former CIA sniper Kadance Tolle possesses a special set of skills and a rare pedigree. She comes from a family of assassins, and by saving Lyndon Vaile's life she risks being found by them. Despite the danger, Kadance feels compelled to help Lyndon discover who is after him--and his research that seems to prove that the Ebola virus was manmade and is about to be weaponized. With shadowy figures pursuing them and a Mastermind watching their every move, Kadance and Lyndon must scramble to stop an impending bioattack at the State of the Union address. But their warnings fall on deaf ears, and it becomes increasingly clear that there's no one they can trust--except perhaps each other. EEEP! You can find out more about Melissa, her books (like the one coming out in the fall of 2022), and where to find her on social media (hint: she says she is Instagram challenged) by going to Melissa Koslin. In episode 55, I gave you 3 great springtime reads?  Well... how about four? Oh, and I ended the interview by going to bakerbookhouse.com and preordering my paperback copy for ten bucks--no shipping charges.  Ten bucks.  That's cheaper than the Kindle version! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
One of the best ways to temper the heaviness of a book dealing with hard subjects is the judicious use of humor.  Cynthia Ruchti is a new author to me (forgive my stupidity, won't you?) but the brilliant use of humor to open this novel set up a beautiful way to see the personality of a character before her world was turned upside down--genius. Facing the Dawn should be on every women's fiction lover's "next to read" list or at the top of the tottering TBR piles. 
In Erin Bartels' latest release, All That We Carried, two sisters go on a journey not only of reconciliation but of spiritual discovery as well. This book spoke to me on so many levels and I can't recommend it enough. Listen as we discuss her why--her heart behind the story and how it still affects me weeks after reading. Note: Links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. How a Relational Journey Became an Amazing and Beautiful Spiritual One When I received All That We Carried and began reading, I didn't realize that a couple of years earlier, I'd purchased another book by Erin Bartels. That book has been sitting, languishing in my TBR pile since then.  I bought it because of the cover--stacks of books with the title, The Words Between Us.  How on earth could I not love a book like that? Yes. I buy books based on covers and titles.  I'd tell you to sue me, but I'd really rather you didn't. ;) Erin Bartels has an almost lyrical quality to her writing but without the disappointing descent into purple prose that some authors end up with.  Instead, you're taken on a journey up hills, over rocks, sometimes kicking and screaming, and all the while, she shows the flawed, fragile souls of two people with very different outlooks and yet trapped and mired in the exact same place. All That We Carried explores relational healing, spiritual awakening, and what forgiveness really means in the nitty-gritty. In the end, you're left satisfied and yet wanting more--more from life, more from relationships, and more of the Lord. Isn't that what great fiction is all about? What is All That We Carried by Erin Bartels about? Ten years ago, sisters Olivia and Melanie Greene were on a backcountry hiking trip when their parents were in a fatal car accident. Over the years, they grew apart, each coping with the loss in her own way. Olivia plunged herself into law school, work, and a materialist view of the world--what you see is what you get, and that's all you get. Melanie dropped out of college and developed an online life-coaching business around her cafeteria-style spirituality--a little of this, a little of that, whatever makes you happy. Now, at Melanie's insistence (and against Olivia's better judgment), they are embarking on a hike in the Porcupine Mountains of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. In this remote wilderness, they'll face their deepest fears, question their most dearly held beliefs, and begin to see that perhaps the best way to move forward is the one way they had never considered. Michigan Notable Book Award winner Erin Bartels draws from personal experience hiking backcountry trails with her sister to bring you a story about the complexities of grief, faith, and sisterhood. You can find out more about Erin at Erinbartels.com Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher Or even HERE in my sidebar!
Romantic Suspense is always a fabulous read, and this spring, we've got three fabulous ones to read.  I had a short chat with three authors to learn more about their latest books and the series they are a part of. Patricia Bradley, Dana Mentink, and debut author, Kathleen J. Robison each have a fascinating book for us to hear about! Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. 3 Great New Romantic Suspense Novels for Your Springtime Reads The first of our mini-reviews, today we have three fabulous romantic suspense authors.  First up: Patricia Bradley with her latest release, Obsession--part of the Natchez Trace Park Rangers Series. Natchez Trace Ranger and historian Emma Winters hoped never to see Sam Ryker again after she broke off her engagement to him. But when shots are fired at her at a historical landmark just off the Natchez Trace, she's forced to work alongside Sam as the Natchez Trace law enforcement district ranger in the ensuing investigation. To complicate matters, Emma has acquired a delusional secret admirer who is determined to have her as his own. Sam is merely an obstruction, one which must be removed. Sam knows that he has failed Emma in the past and he doesn't intend to let her down again. Especially since her life is on the line. As the threads of the investigation cross and tangle with their own personal history, Sam and Emma have a chance to discover the truth, not only about the victim but about what went wrong in their relationship. Award-winning author Patricia Bradley will have the hairs standing up on the back of your neck with this nail-biting tale of obsession, misunderstanding, and forgiveness. Visit her at patriciabradley.com Mystery and Romantic Suspense Author, Dana Mentink The first book in a new series, Framed in Death Valley opens the Desert Justice series with a bang! A killer who will stop at nothing… Framed for a murder he didn’t commit, firefighter Beckett Duke gave up on everything—including his marriage to spirited Laney Holland. That is, until Laney’s life is threatened. Knowing the real killer is still at large, Beckett now has one purpose: protecting the woman he loves…and their unborn child. But sometimes an innocent man’s second chance comes with a deadly price. From Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense: Courage. Danger. Faith. Desert JusticeBook 1: Framed in Death Valley Find her at danamentink.com Next up is a debut romantic suspense author, Kathleen J. Robison. I'm pleased to know Kathleen from my ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) group. She's a lovely woman with a fabulous talent for storytelling. Like me, she likes to write in a variety of genres, but her heart seems most strongly fixed in romantic suspense. You can join her newsletter and get her novelette, Essential Ingredients, free.  Or, you can order it in paperback from Amazon. Shattered Guilt by Kathleen J. Robison When they told her about Southern hospitality, no one mentioned human trafficking. The move to Bay Town, Mississippi was supposed to be a fresh start for single-mom Melanie and her daughter, Lacy. The quiet Southern town offers a nice relief after the frenetic-paced life of Los Angeles, but something sinister lurks beneath the surface. Her bridal business struggles to take off, and instead of turning to the Lord, Melanie makes a desperate plea for help--from her ex-husband. Lacey and a friend are attacked, and while Lacey is hospitalized, her friend goes missing—a victim of human trafficking out of New Orleans. With her ex-husband showing true signs of repentance, the pastor she'd begun to fall for taking a step back, and her daughter's friend lost to the animals who stole her, Melanie goes on a desperate, dangerous mission to rescue the girl and get their lives back. And she'll do it with or without the Lord's help. How can Melanie find the girls and rescue them without getting caught herself?  Why can't she trust the Lord to keep them all safe, and which man in her life is the right one--if either? Read this heart-gripping, pulse-racing novel and see how the Lord's hand is on us, even when He seems so very far away. Find her at danamentink.com Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
Whether you love cozies or procedural, forensic or amateur sleuth, or just get nostalgic about your childhood and Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys (Trixie Belden anyone?), mysteries are a great way to keep the mind sharp and the entertainment flowing. When I had the opportunity to review author Kay DiBianca's newest release, Dead Man's Watch, I jumped at it. Then, I had the pleasure of chatting with her about her books, why she writes mysteries, the struggles inherent in all that, and more.  Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. A Great Mystery Author for You to Watch Out For! There are few things better than a great mystery, so when I run across one I love, I'm all about it.  Well, Kay DiBianca has written one that managed to get me to guess the WRONG culprit without cheap shots. Dead Man's Watch is also on sale right now, so snag it before the end of the month! A lot of what we talked about in the interview, I discussed in my review of Dead Man's Watch, but there is so much more to this interview.  Kay DiBianca shared the frustrations of writing a complex and compelling mystery in this age of armchair forensic experts (my words, not hers).  I mean, I know everything there is to know about how to kill someone. I got my degree in it from Forensic Files, after all. (Removes tongue from cheek... OUCH! ) The episode Kay mentions about the differences between mysteries, suspense novels, and thrillers is Episode 47. Additionally, we chatted about her inspiration for the series and her tagline. Part of the charm of this book is the inclusion of messianic Christians and the influence it had on Kay DiBianca and her husband (although, I'm sure her time in Israel didn't hurt).  Part of the inspiration for the book came from an older mystery series, The Rabbi Small Series by Harry Kemelman.  With those in mind, is it any wonder that Kay paraphrased a saying from the Talmud as her book's tagline? SAVING ONE LIFE IS LIKE SAVING THE WHOLE WORLD We even chatted about how one man giving His life ended up truly saving the whole world.  Wow. Confession time: Though Kay DiBianca had made me doubt, at the time of our recording, I thought I'd figured out the whodunnit and I had a couple of theories why. I was wrong--completely.  While I'd considered the true culprit, I'd tossed aside the idea as not as strong as someone else's. Of course, by the end of the book when I realized how very wrong I was, that suspect made more sense than anyone else I cannot wait to see what Kay does with this series. I hope for quite a few more from her! About Dead Man's Watch by Kay DiBianca SAVING ONE LIFE IS LIKE SAVING THE WHOLE WORLD Half-sisters Kathryn Frasier and Cece Goldman stumble into another mystery in this second book in the Watch series. When a former acquaintance of Kathryn's is accused of murder, she and Cece go on a mission to prove his innocence by finding the real killer. But things are never what they seem in this tangled web, and Kathryn's spunky determination to solve the mystery pushes her closer and closer to a deadly climax. Join the adventure as these two young women commit themselves to live up to the quote from the Jerusalem Talmud: "Whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world." And it's on sale through March 31, 2021!!! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
I promised that in March, the podcast would expand to more episodes, and I couldn't think of a better way to kick off this expansion than with a book that releases tomorrow on Palm Sunday! Our first Saturday episode is a full-length interview with Romantic Suspense author, Katie Vorreiter, talking about her release tomorrow of 50 Days. What would happen if Jesus’ death was yesterday instead of two thousand years ago? Katie explores this question through the eyes of the women we know so little about but in a setting we know better than that of the Bible—ours. She does this with insight, sensitivity, and without encroaching on the truth of Scripture. Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Why You Might Want to Read this Book As Soon as Possible It's that time of year--the one where the events of a Passover Saturday years ago are remembered with extra care and attention to detail. Palm Sunday gives way to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and a host of arguments as to what day Jesus actually died before Resurrection Sunday and the joy that comes with the realization that He is risen--just as He said! This year, Palm Sunday includes an extra special treat for lovers of Christian fiction--especially romantic suspense. I spoke with Katie Vorreiter about her release tomorrow--Fifty Days. This speculative fiction novel examines the lives of the women who served Jesus, their relationship with Him, and what it would be like to find His body missing.  And she wrote it as if it happened just a couple of days ago. In the tradition of books like Eli by Bill Meyers and Yesterday Framed in Today by Grace Livingston Hill's aunt, Isabella Alden, Fifty Days looks at the period between the resurrection and Pentecost and what it might mean for those who thought they'd lost their dearest Friend. Katie Vorreiter and I agreed that this book is a perfect one for those who might reject the Bible. It explores all the depths of that time but in a contemporary setting with a riveting story that would keep anyone interested.  So, perhaps that friend at work or that neighbor who rejects any mention of faith or the Bible might consider the story about a guy in trouble with the government for speaking out against corruption, evil, and oppression. Katie got the idea for the book while trying to focus on the crucifixion and resurrection story one Easter Sunday and says that she was jealous of the relationship that Mary Magdalene had with Jesus. I imagine exploring what that would look like probably brought her closer to the Lord.  I know that kind of writing always does beautiful things in my heart. Fifty Days by Katie Vorreiter releases tomorrow! A young fugitive embarks on a search to find the one person who can clear her name but discovers he’s a lot harder to keep up with now that he’s been murdered. Maggie runs into Jarrett Adams on the street three days after the nation watched him die. Either she’s gone mad—again—or Jarrett really is back. As the US loses its grip on democracy, government thugs eager to contain what Maggie knows hound her every step, while the good intentions of a man from her past only tighten the noose. But Maggie’s worst nightmare has an upside, and in the next fifty days, she’ll find what she seeks in the most unexpected place. You can find out more about Katie, her books (including No Turning Back), and get a free short story on her WEBSITE. Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
Christian romance author has branched out into women’s fiction, and wow has she done a brilliant job!  Her first book in the Driftwood Bay series releases today in the 12-author collection, A Place to Belong. Her book, The Rosewood Diary is a wonderful sister story of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and old hurts coming to the surface.   Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Meet a Brand-New Women’s Fiction Author in an “Old” Favorite When Historical and Contemporary Christian romance author, Kari Trumbo, decided she wanted to write women’s fiction, she knew that her romance readers would not necessarily be eager to jump into another genre, but seeing her name would tell them, “Oh! A new Kari Trumbo book!” So, for her new genre, she chose a new name–one to ensure her women’s fiction readers would be satisfied with the content, and one that would mean when romance readers saw Kari Trumbo, they didn’t end up with something they don’t actually want. Sometimes, a pseudonym like Teri Blake is the best answer to an author’s genre woes! The Rosewood Diary by Teri Blake is a heart-rending and uplifting women’s fiction novel.  No, those aren’t contradictory statements. It really is a beautiful combination of both. Two sisters–estranged, but not–have little time to overcome trials that one sister doesn’t even knows exists. Through loss and heartache, pockets of humor and laid-bare honesty, Quinn (the oldest sister), grows in such beautiful, heart-aching ways that blessed me as a reader.  The prose is beautiful (without being heavy-handed), and the story keeps you turning every single page. The Rosewood Diary is available in the A Place to Belong collection right now (released today 3/23/21) and is just .99 for 12 books!  The authors are striving for the USA Today Bestseller’s list, so please consider spending a dollar and helping them out.  But do it fast. It’s only a dollar for this week. A Place to Belong: 12 Heartwarming Novels with Animal Sidekicks Family and friends you can depend on, close-knit communities who embrace you, and the special animal companions that have a knack for changing lives and bringing us purpose… A PLACE TO BELONG has them all, ready and waiting for you. Immerse yourself in this 12-book collection of stories about women who rose to the challenges life threw their way and emerged stronger because of it. New York Times bestselling author Melissa Storm joins established and emerging talent in the genre of Women’s Fiction to bring you a heartwarming set of novels to entertain, inspire, and to show you the ones you love amidst its pages. Because home isn’t a place. It’s the people (and the animal friends) who give life its purpose. The Rosewood Diary: Author: Teri Blake Despite being inseparable as kids, the Morris sisters grew apart with age. Yet when Ryla sends Quin an urgent plea, Quin makes her long-overdue return to Rosewood House. To her great regret, she didn’t realize why her sister had called her back until it was too late. Lost and alone, Quin can’t see beyond her own grief. Comfort comes from an unlikely source when Paxton, Ryla’s hospice nurse and neighbor, offers a shoulder to cry on when she needs it most. His support comes with no strings attached—something Quin has never experienced before. Finding her sister’s diary churns up memories of their childhood and what it was like growing up in Rosewood House. Will this, along with Paxton’s soothing guidance, be the beacon of light that helps her through the darkest moment of her life? Or will she find new hope in a life she never dreamed possible at Rosewood? Get the beginning of the Driftwood Bay Series, focusing on family, relationships, and healing from life’s scars. Note: The Driftwood Diary will be available on ALL retail platforms next week as well as on Audible!  EEEP! Like to listen on the go? You can find Because Fiction Podcast at: Apple  Castbox  Google Play Libsyn  RSS Spotify Stitcher
After years of good intentions, I finally read my first Sarah Sundin book, When Twilight Breaks, and oh my word!  Amazing book! This combination book gush and author chat discusses what history has dubbed Kristallnacht, WWII fiction, family inspiration, and When Twilight Breaks in particular. Just a couple of chapters made me a fan! Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. You’ll Love This Delightful Novel Inspired by Family History I had a delightful time talking with Sarah Sundin a couple of weeks ago.  We discussed war, bigotry, and how family and their stories impact our lives. All because I read the first several chapters of her latest release, When Twilight Breaks, and I’m still gushing about it. Look, sometimes we hear amazing things about different authors, but for inexplicable reasons, we don’t actually take the time to try one of that author’s books.  Maybe we have one or two (or eight) of their books on our shelves or our Kindles  (or both!), but somehow we’ve not managed to click the right one before. Well, today I challenge you to take one of those books and start it!  I sure wish I had ages ago. Sarah Sundin began writing contemporary fiction (that she says should be burned) and a happy (for us, anyway) accident landed a story idea that needed historical fiction to be realistic.  The rest is… well, you know. In When Twilight Breaks author Sarah Sundin shows a side of Nazi Germany we don’t often see. In a world that cannot imagine the appeal of a man like Adolf Hitler, Sarah Sundin shows how even Brits and Americans could be taken in by the restoration of order, lawfulness, and apparent prosperity in a world that crumbled around them. Germany under the early years of Adolf Hitler was a prosperous place in contrast with the depression the rest of the world endured. Through amazing characters who will steal your heart, Sarah draws you into that world and makes you cheer, grumble… all the feels.  She makes you care about what happens not only to the people but to a country and a people we tend to see as “the enemy.”  Sundin humanizes them in a way that I think is important. Did Germany commit atrocities to the Jews within their reach?  Definitely. So did Stalin.  So did other countries to other groups–just as our country did to people before and since that war.  It’s the nature of humans to be cruel to those we deem inferior… or at least more inferior than we feel ourselves. Is it horrible?  Yes.  But it’s reality. You can learn more about Sarah Sundin at her WEBSITE.  There you’ll find links to her social media accounts including Pinterest boards about her books and research. That’s something else we discussed–research! From words that are anachronistic to phrases that are much more modern than they sound to how to hotwire a car before cars used keys!  Sarah Sundin describes it all. She even lists just a few amazing WWII fiction authors you might want to try… like Cathy Gohlke, for example. Oh, and we laughed… a lot.  Because, guys?  Sarah is funny! When Twilight Breaks Munich, 1938. Evelyn Brand is an American foreign correspondent as determined to prove her worth in a male-dominated profession as she is to expose the growing tyranny in Nazi Germany. To do so, she must walk a thin line. If she offends the government, she could be expelled from the country–or worse. If she fails to truthfully report on major stories, she’ll never be able to give a voice to the oppressed–and wake up the folks back home. In another part of the city, American graduate student Peter Lang is working on his PhD in German. Disillusioned with the chaos in the world due to the Great Depression, he is impressed with the prosperity and order of German society. But when the brutality of the regime hits close, he discovers a far better way to use his contacts within the Nazi party–to feed information to the shrewd reporter he can’t get off his mind. This electric standalone novel from fan-favorite Sarah Sundin puts you right at the intersection of pulse-pounding suspense and heart-stopping romance.
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