5 Authors in 5 Days & How They’ve Inspired Me: #5 Francine Rivers

 I haven’t read as many books of Francine Rivers as I would like–but what I’ve read has been amazing.

Her stuff is a bit more edgy, in my opinion (if you can think of a better word, let me know)…at least for Christian writing, but I think in a good way. Her characters are very real, and so are the life events that lead those characters along their plotted courses. And in general, I tend to be drawn to books that have that raw edge to them. Mostly I stick to Christian fiction, but some non-Christian books that have stayed with me are Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden and The Judas Tree by A.J. Cronin (a terribly depressing book), where I realized that you could write about characters that are so flawed, there’s no turning back from it…where the author chooses not to fix what’s gone wrong–it just goes wrong, and there it is. That was a sort of fascinating concept to a girl who’d stuck to Janette Oke books most of her teenage years.

But back to Francine Rivers. My favorite of hers has been the Mark of the Lion series. There’s so much in there, and the evolution of some of the characters is really raw and sad to watch. She hints at a lot of things that it seems most books in her genre shy away from, but I think, again, that’s why I enjoy her writing so much. There’s a lot there to pull you in.

Her setting was another character with which her characters had to contend…and that inspired me to strive for the same in my own writing. I settled on the Black Plague as the backdrop for my book for this very reason. Desperate times bring out the best and worst in people like no other, and that can set you up for some very dynamic characters.

So, what’s your favorite Francine Rivers’ novel/series? Do you like an edgy novel, or is it a place you’d rather not go?

Here’s a YouTube interview with Francine Rivers…short but sweet 🙂

I’ve enjoyed sharing my 5 author inspirations with you. Stay tuned for the next top 5 current authors I’m reading.

 Blessings and happy reading!

5 Authors in 5 Days & How They’ve Inspired Me: #4 Linda Chaikin

  Linda Chaikin, I’m forever in your debt. This is the woman that finally got me off my hiney and writing…actually, actively writing.

Her Heart of India series was a game changer for my young mind because the main love interests didn’t get together after the first book. Whaaat?! You may be thinking, Oh, that’s no big thing, lots of books series are like that. But none that I’d read up until that point. Because up until that point I had only read series that ended with a neat and tidy little bow…followed by a sequel about their children, then their’s…and on and so forth.

Okay, I take that back. Janette Oke’s Canadian West series kind of did that, though they still got together after the first book, but the following three were about them as well. With Linda, though, oh man, she milked that romance for everything it was worth through three thick books, and then she did the same with her Trade Winds trilogy.

Now, I don’t know how much research she put into her Trade Winds trilogy, but from a readers point of view, it seemed to be a lot…and it  made all the difference in my enjoyment level of the book. It was because of this, that I chose to invest myself in the proper kind of research it would take to write a quality novel, and to make it a series that drew out the relationship of its main characters to the end.

I’d read the Trade Winds in high school and then again 2015 or so…and that, along with the Lord’s prompting, got my own series up and running. You can find more about this on one of my homepage tab entitled, Down Memory Lane. and just for an added bit of news, I just realized this year the she graduated from Multnomah University, which is where I received my degree from! I feel so connected, haha.

While looking online, I just realized that for as much as I enjoy Linda Chaikin, I’ve read surprising little of her titles overall. I’m thinking I’m going to change this sooner rather than later. What’s your favorite Linda Chaikin novel? And do you share the same feelings I have about the drawn out romance, or would you rather have them short and sweet?

I wanted to find a good YouTube interview with her, but there seems there are none to be found. But here is a Q&A from her website. And just so I’d have something for your to watch, a YouTube interview with Bodie Thoene, author of the Zion Covenant and many more. She’s another amazing author I grew up with–and another testimony to what good research does for a book! Let the Lion Roar Interview. Mom, you’re going to love this!

5 Authors in 5 Days & How They’ve Inspired Me: #3 Gilbert Morris

 Gilbert Morris was the first male author I’d ever read. Whereas, Janette Oke introduced me to historical fiction and Lori Wick to the swoony romance (expanding the historical settings I was used to), Gilbert Morris took his history a whole lot deeper, as well as his plots. More action–more intrigue. I was lovin’ it!

Up until his writing, the male love interest I was used to was…mostly perfect. Always saying the right things, always doing the right things…again, only for the most part. But Gilbert Morris’s male characters were a little less than perfect, and also his women characters were a little more on the bold side. 😉 Always good to get the perspective of a male writer!

Dreamy heroes who always do the right thing have their place in light and easy reading, but we all have our failings, and so heroes with character flaws really make for a much more three-dimensional character.

Also, since I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, his House of Winslow series really gave new meaning to what historical settings could mean. The first book in the series starts out on the Mayflower, if memory serves me correctly, with Gilbert Winslow and Humility Cooper (yes, I still remember the names of the first characters in this hundred book series…okay not quite that long, but there’s a lot! …and did he name his first character after himself for any particular reason? Hmmm…), and each subsequent book winds its way throughout history in the lives of their offspring. So many offspring that there was a family tree in the beginning of each book so that you could keep everyone in order.

Gilbert Morris also used real historical events throughout these books, as well as historical characters…I remember Benjamin Franklin having a decent sized role in one or two of them. If I wasn’t hooked on historical fiction before, I certainly was after his series–constantly wondering, did that really happen? or I wonder how accurate that event is?

Most of this reading was done in my later teen years. I’ve tried reading his Appomattox series since , and like Lori Wick, it just didn’t capture me the way that it used to… I found myself skipping sentences and putting it down, not to remember what I was reading or to pick it up again, but still, I think that his House of Winslow series is right up there with my favorites, and forever changed my perspective of what the series could be…for its vivid use of history, as well as its deeper plots and more manly set of characters.

What’s your favorite Gilbert Morris book from the House of Winslow series…or any other for that matter?

Found a fascinating little YouTube interview with Gilbert Morris. He dictates his books and then has someone else write them out, making him an extremely fast writer. Could you dictate your book? I’m seriously wanting to try.


An Aversion to Advertising

If I could afford to pay someone else to market my books for me, I would…I have five children and a German Shepherd…help a sister out!

I’m looking through some websites my publisher sent my way. Has anything worked out especially well for any of you Indie publishers out there?

“Hello friend, have you read Beneath Outstretched Arms yet?”

“Why, yes…and I beta read the sequel. It was even better than the first.”

“How fortunate! …What’s beta read?”


5 Authors in 5 Days & How They’ve Inspired Me: #2 Lori Wick

31yORGTkl0L__UX250_ Lori Wick, was the romance author of my youth… I have to say that I actually hesitated to list Ms. Wick as an author I wanted to write about because I have such mixed feelings about her books today. But back in the day, I read them and LOVED them! I mean I absolutely–read until 4am to finish it, can’t put it down–loved them! The Californian.  The Kensington Chronicles. Swoon! They are the perfect romance starters for the early teens…Exotic places, inspirational stories, and very clean.

She really is such a talented and accomplished author, but about six months ago, my mother and I were at a church garage sale and we found piles and piles of Christian fiction…and among them, Lori Wick and someone named Stephen Bly, who I’d never read before, but discovered I really enjoy. I was thrilled, as I hadn’t read anything of Lori Wick’s for years, and since there were plenty of titles that were new to me, I dove right in. Sadly, I was a little disappointed.

There was a LOT of fluff. A lot. I found myself skipping sentences, then entire paragraphs and even a chapter or two. One of her books didn’t even get me past the first two chapters before I set it aside as too far-fetched and unbelievable. I was really sad, actually. I don’t remember her older books having so much fluff, but perhaps her style has changed. But regardless, I still hail them as being foundational to my early love of reading, and so I wanted to include her here as one of the five authors who inspired me to want to write.

As  much as I love Janette Oke’s books, I think I might actually remember more of Lori Wick’s stories. I can look at some of her older covers and think, oh yes, I know what that one’s about. I can still picture Mikhail playfully running down the beach away from the husband she’d been pressured to marry. The romance between them had been building, so when he caught her, they fell to the ground in laughter…followed shortly after by their first kiss. Be still my young beating heart! I want to write like that. I want to have a story that lasts long after it’s read in the mind and heart of the reader. For that, I will always have a fondness for her books, even if I’ve since moved past them.

But! There’s always my eleven-year-old daughter to consider…it’s only a matter of time and then I’ll be able to enjoy them all over again through her eyes. I can hardly wait!

What do you think of Lori Wick’s books? Do you have a favorite?

YouTube interview I found with Lori Wick.

5 authors in 5 days & How They’ve Inspired Me: #1 Janette Oke

  Janette Oke is an icon in her field! I grew up LOVING to read, and as much as I’d like to say that I’m well-read, probably I’m not. I pretty much stuck to the one genre: christian historical romance. My gateway book was Janette Oke’s Roses for Mama. It was a gift from my Aunt Belinda one Christmas when I was about thirteen or so. Before that it’d been The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins all the way, baby (anyone…anyone?).  Roses for Mama was the first “grown-up” book I can remember reading, and once I did, I was hooked! And fortunately for me, I had a mother who had a whole shelf full of them. It was like finding a gold mine!

I quickly read through Janette Oke’s entire Love Comes Softly, Canadian West, and Seasons of the Heart series, as well as singles such as A Woman Named Damaris and Julia’s Last Hope… It was through these books that I realized I loved historical fiction. Contemporary fiction has its appeal, but for me, the historical element just adds that adventurous bit of flavor that I find myself seeking out again and again.

Now, that I write historical fiction, myself, I’ve had people comment, “Wow, you must love history.” …meaning, do I love learning about history in general? Um, surprisingly, not so much, but I’m getting there. For example, after reading a series about Pirates sailing the seas around Port Royal, I didn’t immediately rush over to the library to learn all I could about that time or place… But just this last year when I read Gideon’s Call by Peter Leavelle, a book set just after the Civil War in the Carolinas–near Port Royal–I was like, “What?! Port Royal’s near the U.S. coast? Or is it? I have no idea–how do I not know this?!” Since then, I’ve been wanting to go pick up a book on the history of Port Royal. I haven’t yet…but like I said–I’m getting there 🙂

My husband, on the other hand, will download podcasts on Rome and the Carthaginians just because, and will listen to them while he woodworks in his spare time. And thank God for him, because it’s comments from him that really spur me on to do the kind of research I ought to.

Eg. I read him a  chapter from my first book (pre-release, of course), and it had my character being served tea. “Woa, woa, woa,” he says. “They can’t be drinking tea.” I roll my eyes, because everyone knows the English drink tea. Then he continues, “Tea originated in China, and it hasn’t made it to England yet…oh, and Velena’s brother being in Jerusalem won’t work either because Jerusalem was closed to outsiders during that time.” What?! Who’s writing this book, him or me??? 🙂 That would be a resounding “us!” haha. Well, at least he’s a great big help and I love him to pieces for it.

So, who else out there has read Janette Oke’s books? Do you have a favorite? …and is that even possible 😉 It’s been years since I’ve read anything by her…any recommendations of her newer stuff that I should read, now? How are the co-authored books she’s written with her daughter? I regret to say I haven’t read any of those.

YouTube interview with Janette Oke. So, what do you think of her writing?