Ask BHP: Who Are Some New Authors I Should Know?

Love this question from our Ask BHP poll: “Sometimes I tend to default to my favorite authors, but I want to branch out. Who are some up-and-coming authors I should be aware of?”

Well. I’m so very glad you asked!

I enjoy nothing more than introducing new authors to the world, so without further ado, here are three authors whose first Bethany House novel released in the past year and a half or so. They may be new to you since they haven’t been in the inspirational fiction world for long, so go ahead and add their novels to your TBR list!

Meet Susan Anne Mason…

Susan Anne Mason

Connilyn Cossette…

Cossette_Connilyn

And Kristi Ann Hunter!

Hunter_KristiAnn

I decided to ask all of the authors a few quick questions so you can get to know them and their writing.

Amy: Tell us what inspired your novel. Did you start with a character? A situation? An image?

Susan: The first whisper of Irish Meadows began with me wanting to create a sweeping saga about a big Irish family, along the lines of The Thornbirds. Part of the idea for the story was based on my own grandfather’s family who came over from Ireland and settled in Brooklyn, New York. They had many children, some of whom were born after they came to the USA. But instead of living in the tenements of Brooklyn, I wanted my fictional family to have achieved success and be members of the upper class. And so I came up with the horse farm, Irish Meadows, and the assertive patriarch, James O’Leary, who would wreak havoc on his children’s lives in order to maintain the status he had achieved.

Connilyn: Counted with the Stars was inspired by a study I was doing on my own into Exodus and the roots of my faith. I ran across the verse in Exodus 12:38 that said “a mixed multitude went up with them.” I thought to myself—who were these people that went with the Hebrews on the Exodus? I wondered whether some of them might be Egyptian and what would have inspired them to follow an invisible God into the wilderness when all they had ever known were the gods of Egypt? In my mind an image appeared—an Egyptian woman standing on the bank of the Jordan River waiting to enter the Promised Land. Kiya’s story was born from that vision and from my curiosity about the motivations by those we would call “Gentiles” who journeyed with the Hebrews.

Kristi: I started A Noble Masquerade with Miranda. I got to know her while writing A Lady of Esteem. She was a much more guarded person that I originally thought she would be and I knew that someone would have to get under her guard in order to really get to know her. That meant she had to meet Ryland in such a way that her normal defenses would be shaken. Continue reading

Prayer for Authors: August 2016

Normally these posts happen on the first Sunday of the month, but this time I accidentally scheduled the post for 2017, which is not helpful at all to our lovely August 2016 ladies with new releases. Since I’m sure they’d still appreciate prayer, here’s the post a few weeks late!  To read more about the reasons behind this time of prayer, go to this post.

Prayer

Authors with Books Releasing in August:

Melissa Jagears
Laurel Oke Logan
Janette Oke
Judith Miller
Sarah Loudin Thomas

Verse of the Month: Feel free to use the text of this verse to guide your prayers for these authors, as well as other people in your life who you want to remember in prayer today.

Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son….The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.– Hebrews 1:1-3, NLT

General Suggestions for Prayer:

  • For sustaining grace to get through deadlines, to-do lists, and the craziness of release month without losing focus.
  • For God to use these books to change hearts and minds.
  • For words and ideas to come for any current writing projects.

We appreciate you, BHP blog readers! Thanks for taking some time to remember these authors in your prayers.

Seven Annoyances Every Reader Understands

Being a reader can be tough. Not only do readers face trials and tribulations in their quest to finish as many great books as possible, but non-readers just don’t get it. They can’t even begin to relate, and you’re left wishing your closet would take you to [insert favorite fictional world here], despairing because your favorite fictional hero is, in fact, fictional, and occasionally praying for main characters on accident.

This post is for all the bookaholics out there who need some reassurance that they are not alone. (Tweet this!) If you’ve ever craved a little sympathy, if you want to diagnose your novel addiction, if you just want to hear that you’re not crazy, read on, my reader friend. Read on.

Seven Annoyances Every Reader Understands

One: Too many books, not enough time.

This is a big one, folks. Of course, you have your favorite authors who are always a must-read. But then friends recommend their top picks, and you see a lovely cover at the bookstore, and really, you should be better at catching up on the classics, and what about nonfiction…and your list of books to be read grows steadily longer, until there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

We feel your pain. But keep adding to that TBR pile, keep buying that series on sale planning to get it someday, keep turning your “office” into a giant sculpture of book stacks, because those are the actions of hope.

And friends, readers should never, ever give up hope.

And all things considered, it’s a good problem to have, so keep that in mind as you stare valiantly up at your mountains of books.

Two: So. Many. Emotions.

As if real life weren’t stressful enough, we readers also heap on the conflict, intrigue, and impossible choices of dozens of fictional characters. Whether it’s a sobbing-by-the-last-page sort of ending or a story so tense that you felt like you might have a heart attack yourself before it was all over, the emotions of reading can be intense. Some books should come with a warning label.

This is really only an annoyance, though, when a non-reader, observing your vicarious emotional breakdown, says something dangerously flippant like “Those people aren’t real, you know” or the dreaded “Um…it’s just a book.”

“Just a book? Try 400 pages of beautifully written angst and agony as these people I love go through trials of all kinds and I barely hang on to hope for a happy ending.”

Sigh. Normal people just don’t get it. Continue reading

One Good Book Deserves Another: August New Releases

Time to talk series! Obviously, each book in a series should be a complete story with a satisfying ending, but after that, there are many different kinds of series. Are they connected by one central protagonist, a family, a setting, or a chain of historical events? Do they have a thread of unresolved suspense that leaves you waiting anxiously for the next release date, or are all the plot questions resolved by the last page?

For Bethany House, August was a month that does a good job displaying different kinds of series. Of the books listed below, The Artisan’s Wife is closing out a trilogy with a similar cast of characters, the McKay family, but with each story following a different protagonist. A Tapestry of Secrets is not technically in a numbered series, but it gives us a sense of closure about some of our favorite characters’ future—and past. Where Hope Prevails is the conclusion to Beth Thatcher’s journey in the Canadian frontier. And A Heart Most Certain is the first in a series set in the same town, each featuring the love story of one of the women there.

To get a behind-the-scenes peek into the making of these novels, the authors share a few more details about the place this entry has in the series as a whole, and how it came about. (And, as usual, click on the cover if you want to read an excerpt.)

Artisan's Wife

Judith: In this final book of the series, one of Ewan McKay’s twin sisters, Ainslee, takes center stage as the protagonist. All of these books have been centered around clay deposits in the state of West Virginia. The Artisan’s Wife depicts yet another use of those clay deposits: the family’s newly acquired tile works. As in the previous books in this series, the McKay family is confronted with issues that threaten to fracture the family. As the story unfolds, it looks at the issues of genuine forgiveness and the ability to consider change a positive factor in our lives.

Tapestry of Secrets

Sarah: The mystery that’s lingered since Miracle in a Dry Season is the identity of Sadie’s father. My favorite part of writing this latest novel, A Tapestry of Secrets, was going back to the 1940s and revealing that secret by telling Perla’s story. Anyone who’s read the previous books knows she had a child out of wedlock, but how that unfolded was never discussed. So many readers wanted to know about little Sadie and what happened to her later in life. Not only will they find that out, but they’ll also learn who her father was—something Sadie herself is conflicted about discovering.

A Heart Most Certain

Melissa: This book was actually the one I was editing in hopes of putting it out on submission when Bethany House contracted A Bride for Keeps. Now, all I thought I’d have to do was finish editing where I left off, but I had grown as a writer over the course of the Unexpected Brides series, so I had to rewrite some things as well. Be sure to keep a lookout for secondary characters in A Heart Most Certain—some will be featured in the next romances of the series, set in the same town.

Where Hope Prevails

Laurel: Because this is a collaboration with the television movie and TV show which derived from Mom’s book When Calls the Heart, we grafted a new branch into her first Elizabeth Thatcher’s family tree for this novel. These new characters weren’t mentioned in the original series of stories, but we made Beth a much younger cousin to the woman she refers to as “Aunt Elizabeth.” In Where Hope Prevails, Beth wrestles with her internal struggles and sense of calling…but readers will leave with a sense of completeness about what God has for her future.

Readers, do you have a favorite go-to series that you read and re-read?