One of my passions is to discover new authors. Yes, there’s a few clunkers along the way, but not many in this tight economy, even publishers are cutting back, which means you, dear reader, get the best of the best from the publishers. Not one, but two publishers kept touting Ronie Kendig as an author to watch…and with good reason. So far, her new book, Dead Reckoning, has received 14 five star reviews and her newest book, Nightshade, coming out next month, has already received (2) 5 star reviews! After reading Dead Reckoning, I can understand why she’s being so highly touted! Dead Reckoning has so many layers of suspense and intrigue, all converging to one end point…a nuclear bomb that’s set to explode. It was a perfect read for a a>rainy Sunday, and one that I also highly recommend!
Hurricanes in Paradise transports you to the exotic, luxurious Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. Not only can you read this captivating story of four unlikely women meeting, sharing raw moments and ultimately bonding; but when your eyes get tired, (because you won’t want to put the book down, at all, even until the wee hours of the morning!) you can go on the Atlantis Resort website and envision yourself running or walking on the beach in the early dawn or having a sip of tea, unsweetened, (since you’re not in the
south) on your beautiful balcony surrounded by the sound of soft rolling waves, and your exquisitely decorated suite; at least until a hurricane comes rolling in. If you’ve read any of the Yada Yada series, or Neta Jackson’s newest series, Yada Yada House of Hope and you enjoyed the characters, you’ll love the characters in Denise Hildreth’s new book, Hurricanes in Paradise.
Speaking of Yada Yada, I’m sad to say that, Who Do I Lean On? is the last we see of the Yada Yada girls…at least for awhile until there’s enough requests by Neta Jackson’s loyal audience for another one. You won’t be disappointed with this finale. My favorite part of the book, if I can choose a favorite, is that Gabby truly learns the lesson to not “lean on her own understanding, ” a verse and life lesson which has been an incredible solace to me in the past year. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) 5Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Enjoy!
Her final installment of The RiverHaven Years is coming in the New Year. Here’s B.J.’s interview for Song of a Silent Harp:
Many of your readers may not know that you had a background in music before you began to write historical fiction. In fact, you don’t do many interviews at all, so in this one would you tell us a little more about yourself?
B.J. Hoff: I was a church music director and music teacher before I started writing. Music has always been a hugely important part of my life—and my writing. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever written a book—except possibly one of my very early novels—in which music isn’t in some way related to the story. Many of the comments I most often hear from my readers have to do with the role music plays in the lives of my characters and my stories.
I try to keep a fairly steady routine in my work days, but I might as well admit that it’s difficult. Life has a way of intruding into the “routine.” Down time is rare. I use it mostly for family, reading, and listening to music. I’m also a care giver to a spoiled Golden Retriever and a slightly demented cat.
When did you become interested in historical fiction?
B.J. Hoff: I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t interested in fiction, and I’ve always been drawn to biographies and historical novels. I still love reading—and sometimes writing—about some of my early “heroes:” Fanny Crosby, Florence Nightingale, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, D.L. Moody, Daniel O’Connell, Thomas Moore, and others. Over time, historical fiction and biographies seemed to blend into one compelling source of interest for me, and that’s never changed.
How did you come up with the concept for the Emerald Ballad Series?
B.J. Hoff: Because of the many family stories passed along as I was growing up and a near obsessive interest in the 1800s “potato famine” and its effect on my ancestors, I began to research Ireland and Irish Americans years ago—a research project that extended well past a decade. I was fortunate in coming across some journals and diaries written during the famine, and the fascination about the country and its people continued to grow. At some point I knew I had to write about my own people and this part of their history. So I finally stopped researching and began writing.
Why is this series so close to your heart?
B.J. Hoff: My own family tree is exceedingly green. Stories from their lives and the lives of their ancestors were passed down like heirlooms from one generation to the next. The tradition of the Irish Seanchai—the Storyteller—was a familiar and revered one in my family, and although my own heritage definitely fired my interest in Ireland and Irish America, I began to realize that in writing about some of my ancestors’ experiences—their struggles and dreams, their faith walk and their love stories—I would also be writing about the ancestors of over 44 million Americans and the people who played an enormous role in building our country. In a way, I suppose I’m writing about all of us.
Is any part of Song of a Silent Harp factual?
Although a few “real persons” from history make brief appearances throughout the Emerald Ballad saga, think of these stories as “fictionalized fact.” Many of my characters’ experiences and struggles are based on factual events or similar events in the lives of the Irish and the Irish immigrants who helped to settle America.
Any surprises that particularly struck you while you were writing Song of a Silent Harp?
B.J. Hoff: Not surprises, exactly, but I was caught up in the remarkable faith of these people, who braved unimaginable horrors and difficulties in making the ocean crossings and establishing new settlements once they reached America. So many seemed to possess an indomitable spirit and an unshakable faith, even though their struggles and tragedies were at times beyond comprehension. I also was brought face to face with evidence that time after time one person made a very real difference in the lives of others. Too often we hold back, distance ourselves, thinking we can’t possibly effect a change in another’s life. But we can—and we need at least to try.
What other projects do you have on the horizon?
B.J. Hoff: I’m currently working on the third and final novel (River of Mercy) in my historical Amish series, The Riverhaven Years. More than anything else, this is the love story of the young Amish widow, Rachel Brenneman, and the “outsider,” Jeremiah Gant, an Irish American riverboat captain.
Next I move on to develop a new series, also historical, and also written mostly within an Amish community. I’m finding that I really enjoy working with historical settings that feature Amish characters, as well as a few folks who aren’t Amish. I’ve been especially pleased to see just how well this fits into my “brand,” to use a publishing term that captures the kind of fiction I write.
With the release of my earlier Mountain Song Legacy, I began to move into a genre I refer to as “historical Appalachian fiction,” and the settings for the Riverhaven series and the upcoming new series fit right into that genre. Of course my readers know that there will always be one or more Irish characters (and probably some music) in my novels—that’s a given!
What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
B.J. Hoff: Lack of time. Struggles with deadlines. The health issues that can result from a too sedentary lifestyle. Keeping up with the research as well as the writing.
Can your readers find you on the internet?
B.J. Hoff: It’s always been important to me to connect with my readers. For me, the most effective ways of maintaining contact are through my web site at http://www.bjhoff.com, my web log at http://wwwbjhoffgracenotes.typepad.com, and personal correspondence. I try to answer letters and emails as promptly as I can, and I do encourage readers to get in touch with me. I love hearing from them!
Josh McDowell is well-known for his non fiction writing but how well will he translate to writing fiction, suspense and intrigue at that! The answer is: Brilliantly! Josh McDowell’s debut novel, The Witness, starts with a meeting between two very influential people; one is shot in front of the other…by whom? The witness is being hunted, but why? The Witness seamlessly transports you to Casablanca, Morocco, North Africa; all the while a love story happens. Marwan, the main character sees his friend who became a Christian and now smuggles Bibles. Their conversation is riveting! From beginning to end, The Witness is impossible to figure out…and impossible to put down!
Glowing reviews abuzz about Sarah Sundin’s, A Distant Melody, so I read her book; no wonder so many accolades are heading her way! She writes a story set in World War II, and beautifully describes what experiences a fighter pilot did face, a poignant love story and some interesting facts and anecdotes thrown in to make her debut novel a must read! A Distant Melody has received 24 (TO DATE) 5***** reviews.