Welcome to Author Spotlight! Each week will feature a different author. We’ll get the scoop behind their writing life and dish a little. The authors will also be giving away a copy of their latest book. FUN.
The winner from last week’s Author Spotlight with Carolyne Aarsen is June Shirey! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing address!
This week we are featuring Mary Ellis! To win a copy of her new book, A Little Bit of Charm (Harvest House Publishers, 2013) leave a comment on this post.
Rachel King has always wanted to work with horses, but when her handsome boss sweeps her off her feet, she starts to doubt everything in life, including her Amish faith. Horse breeder and trainer, Jake Brady dreams of winning the Kentucky Derby with his new colt. But how much is he willing to risk for a chance at fame and fortune?
A Little Bit of Charm—a story about making choices that will last a lifetime. This book involves Thoroughbred horseracing, expensive “hobbies” in a Christian’s life, the Amish working in an English world, dating outside your faith, and the lure of money for young people.
How can readers find you and your books?
My books are available at on-line outlets, in both print and electronic versions. They’re also available at brick-and-mortar Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and at Christian bookstores, chain and independent.
Anything new for you on the book horizon?
I have some new historical romances coming. I’ve always loved American history, and this series is set during the American Civil War. Look for A Heart Divided in January of 2014 from Harvest House.
Why do you write?
I can’t help myself. Stories keep popping into my head and demand to be written down.
If you could wish one thing for your future, what would it be?
That everything in life would stay as it is now, which we all know is impossible. Life keeps changing, but I’m not fond of change.
Best author moment?
My best author moment came at the end of a multi-author, all-day seminar for new writers. I’d given two workshops, and everyone was in the auditorium for the student award ceremony. I was named “Author of the Year” by the University of Akron, Wayne College. I cried all the way to the podium. It was such an honor.
Worst author moment?
My worst author moment came when a small, independent Christian bookstore hosted me for a signing and no one came. I felt so bad for the owner because she’d baked cookies and went through a lot of trouble.
If you weren’t able to write, what would you do?
Walk around the yard talking to myself. I’m not joking. I love to tell stories and can’t see myself stopping.
Describe your ideal circumstances to write.
I love to write scenes or chapters away from my office. Anywhere really—a coffee shop, lawn chair in the shade, on my deck. My ideal would be a condo at the beach for a month. I would write all morning and swim or ride my bike all afternoon . . . with no cooking involved.
Right this moment, what does your office look like?
A mess. My office doubles as the guest room and my Labrador retriever just hopped up on the bed with wet paws. Now that quilt has to be washed . . . again.
How would you describe your writing style to a reader?
I am a plotter who likes most of the story figured out before I begin. I do change things as I go along, but I must have a skeletal outline to hang my story on.
I once had a 1-star review of the first Amish novel I wrote. Blessedly, it came a year after the book’s release. It wasn’t hard to let it roll off my back since the reviewer didn’t like all the “Christian stuff” in my book. Obviously, he doesn’t know Amish people very well.
What’s one thing you learned about the publishing industry in last five years? Last year? Last six months?
Change is inevitable. Publishing keeps changing at lightning speed. It’s hard for an author to stay current.
Are you an introvert? Extrovert? In between?
I like to think of myself as shy, but it’s not true anymore. I am an extrovert when I get around people, because I spend so much time locked away in my office.
Do you enjoy public speaking as an author? Why or why not?
I love public speaking. As a former schoolteacher, I’m quite used to getting up in front of rascally crowds and waxing on! There’s no better way to interact with readers and up-and-coming writers than a library or community speaking engagement.
Can a person make a living as a writer?
Hmmm, that’s a loaded question. I’m blessed to have a working husband to help pay the bills. I now write full-time, but if I had to pay all bills alone, some serious adjustments to my grocery cart would have to be made!
What are you working on now? Newest release?
My newest release is A Little Bit of Charm, which is book 3 of the New Beginnings series. I so enjoyed writing that series. Right now I am working on A Plain Man, which picks up Caleb’s story from Sarah’s Christmas Miracle. Revisiting those characters is like having lunch with old friends, without all the calories. It will release from Harvest House in April 2014.
Any last thoughts to share?