Have you ever connected with someone through e mail and it was just a click? You felt like you knew the person and wanted to have coffee with them? That has been my feeling towards author and blog talk radio host Patti Shene. Through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers,) we somehow crossed paths online and touched base because of the Adirondack Mountains.
You probably know my Surrendering Time series, ENTRUSTED, ENTANGLED, and ENGAGED are all based in the Upstate NY region that features 1 million acres. Patti has history there as well, so I always enjoy when I hear from her.
Tomorrow Patti and I are going to have a chat, and YOU are invited! Patti hosts STEP INTO THE LIGHT, a program on Blog Talk Radio. My interview will be live at 10am Eastern. We plan to talk about surrender issues, chocolate, and Valentine’s Day. I’m sure we’ll talk about writing, too.
If you would like to learn more about any of these things, or, if you’re just curious to hear what an Upstate NY accent sounds like, come check it out!
Listeners can access show via telephone or over the internet
Internet URL: http://ow.ly/yk19308Yh9G
Guest call in: 646-564-9712
I’m thankful for people like Patti that have a passion to share her time to encourage others. She has a great roster of speakers who have given their personal stories to share in hopes of helping listeners. I hope you check it out!
Tags: author, author interview, Blog Talk Radio, chocolate, Chocolate and Interview on Blog Talk Radio, engaged, Entangled, Entrusted, Julie Arduini, overcoming, Patti Shene, Step Into the Light, Surrender Issues, testimonies, Valentine's Day, Valentine's Day 2017, Valentine's Day: Surrender
Today we’ll sit down to chat with Shoba Sadler, author of
the contemporary title Child of Dust. Shoba will take us behind the
scenes of her unique new novel and give us a glimpse into her
Shoba, why did you choose to write this type of novel?
Social status and cultural barriers makes for great conflict. Child
of Dust is like a modern-day classic of Romeo and Juliet only instead of
opposing families, these lovers, Kim and Bryan have cultural and social
barriers to contend with.
Kim, the rich and spoilt socialite who loses her money is taken under
the wing of her reluctant chauffeur, Bryan, who has his own struggles to
deal with. They find love under the most unexpected circumstances.
Can you tell us why you started with an Asian setting for your first
I was founder of Agape Christian magazine in Malaysia. I also freelanced
for the leading English, secular newspaper in Malaysia, The Star. My
feature stories forThe Star were several page write-ups with gorgeous
photos. Many of my stories were selected by the features editor to be
cover stories as well.
As I interviewed people all over the world for Agape, I saw God moving
powerfully in Asia and yet there were so few stories coming from there
especially in the Christian romance genre.
In Asia, Christianity is seen very much as a Western culture. Yet so
many Asians have had powerful encounters with Jesus Christ. Then there
is the struggle to validate their faith in the midst of culture,
tradition, loss of identity, social stigma and so on.
There alone you have so much material for backdrop, tension, drama,
conflict and final resolution.
An example of what I mean can be seen in my short story Finding
Enlightenmentthat was awarded second place at faithwriters.com. It can be read
description of the setting subtly woven into the story is what makes the
difference between being a narrator who takes a person on a journey
through his “telling” and a facilitator who steps out of the way
altogether to allow the reader to explore the journey on his own. The
writer should aim to be the facilitator and not the narrator.There is nothing like a great setting to make the reader feel like they
are there with the characters. It is like the difference between
watching a 2D and 3D movie.
Unfortunately, many formulaic romance novels that are churned out in
quick production-line succession fails to capture this allure of setting
because it takes research and time. It is also not easy to write setting
discreetly in the background and that is the only way to write it.
Otherwise it will seem like reading lecture notes instead of a story.
I read one review of a multi-cultural romance set in an Asian country
where the reviewer said she felt like she was reading a tour company’s
brochure and that is the wrong emotion to invoke.
So another reason I wrote Child of Dust was to give romance readers a
chance to explore unique settings and backdrops not normally experienced
by a reader in the current trend of romance novels available out
We’d love to hear a little about the historical background for your
novel. Will you talk about that?
The main character, Bryan, Kim’s chauffeur has been deeply affected by
the Vietnam war in the sense that he is the illegitimate child of an
American GI and a Vietnamese woman. This historical background sets a
different dimension to the story and adds intrigue and authenticity.
Who would you say is the audience for this novel?
Child of Dust is an appealing read for anyone. As I have also
written for the secular press, I am able to write in a manner that
appeals to all walks of life both Christian and non-Christian. I have
had non-Christians tell me they were so engrossed in the story that they
didn’t not notice the message of the gospel woven into the story. Yet
that message is undoubtedly there.
I am an inspirational writer and everyone loves a good inspirational
story just as they love watching a Hallmark movie.
What readers have to say about the novel:
“Make sure when getting ready to read Child of Dust that you don’t have
anything else planned for the day, you won’t be able to put this book
down. I could go on and on about this book. Highly and strongly
recommend it. Is it possible to give a book 10 stars?” — Debra Dunson,
reviewer at The Edgier Christian Fiction Fan
“I found the writing of this story to be close to excellent…. I found
this book to be one of the most enjoyable books I have read in a long
time. It was interesting, the story kept moving along, and I learned a
lot as I read this story. I found myself intrigued with the constant
difficulties faced by the protagonists – and their stories were
presented so much more like real life stories than any other book I have
read in a long, long time.” — Marina, Community Writer, California
“This novel has a consistent rhythm, adding surprise after surprise,
twisting our emotions at each new difficulty Kim faces. I couldn’t put
this book down, waiting to see if any or all the ends would be tired up.
I would actually like to see the novel transcend into a movie. An
amazing read.” — Brices Mice Christian Book Reviews
About Child of Dust:
Beautiful but spoilt Vietnamese
socialite, Cao Kim Lye, learns of her parents shocking death from the
dashing Amerasian family chauffeur, Bryan Nguyen.
Kim steps out of a world of crystal
and chandelier to enter the dust and chaos of working-class Hanoi. She
finds herself living under the roof of a shop cum living quarters with
Bryan and his adoptive family.
conscious of the privileged class, Kim struggles against the emotional
ties she forms towards Bryan, the reluctant saviour, who considers her
an unnecessary hitch to his already complicated life.
He still bears the scars of
abandonment by his mother and his American GI father when U.S. troops
pulled out of Vietnam.
Eventually Bryan and Kim’s powerful attraction to each other
begins to break down the wall between them.
About the author:
Shoba Sadler has been a journalist
for 20 years and founder of Agape magazine in Malaysia. She is a
versatile inspirational author that likes to write in multiple genres.
She has pioneered a new genre in Christian multi-cultural writing with
her novel Child of Dust and her many award-winning short stories can be
read here http://shobasadler.com/?page_id=250
Her passion for writing is matched only by
her passion for cooking with farm fresh produce. She lives a healthy
lifestyle on a farm with her husband, Kevin, a talented musician, who
also loves to surf and ski. They grow their own vegetables and fruits
and share their home with a multitude of animals and wildlife. They are
passionate about buying directly from local farmers who practice organic
This week we’re proud to introduce Sylvia Bambola and her beautiful book,
The Daughters of Jim Farrell! With a wonderfully unique background
and several published novels to her name, see the advice she offers other
First, a peek at her latest book:
The Daughters of Jim Farrell by Sylvia Bambola
Pennsylvania 1873: When, in the harsh world of Pennsylvania coal country,
Jim Farrell is hanged for murder, his wife and three daughters must turn
their beautiful home into a boarding house in order to survive. But
struggling beneath the shadow of shame becomes too much for eldest
daughter, Kate, who resolves to clear her father’s name, and in spite of
her mother’s admonition to “let it go,” convinces her sisters to help. All
too soon their dangerous quest rips the family apart. Will it also cost
them the men they love?
Q&A with Sylvia:
Q. What are the main themes in your new historical novel, The Daughters of
the most important, is the issue of forgiveness even in the face of the
ultimate sin—that of having a loved one killed unjustly. All of us will
have opportunities in our lives to forgive wrongs. And the importance of
doing so cannot be understated. Jesus says in Luke 6:37 “Forgive and ye
shall be forgiven.” That’s a stunner. And means what it says. So we cannot
afford to harbor unforgiveness of any kind. And forgiveness isn’t a
feeling, it’s an act of will.Another theme is the tension between labor and management. And this tension
seems to be intensifying as politicians seek to divide us by income and pit
us against each other. The Bible cautions us that “if a house be divided
against itself, that house cannot stand.” Labor needs management (and
entrepreneurs, etc) to create jobs and management needs labor in order to
make their companies successful. We are ONE nation under God. We need each
other to succeed.
Finally, what family hasn’t seen its share of sibling rivalry? The
Daughters of Jim Farrell touches on this as the three sisters struggle to
find their identity and place in the family.
Q. What is the one thing that influences your writing the most?
A. In a word—Scripture. The thing I love about writing fiction is that it’s
a nonthreatening way to share spiritual truths. Like the parables in the
Bible, story and characters can bring these truths to life.
Q. You now have eight published novels. What would you say to those writers
just starting out?
conferences and become an on-line member of associations like ACFW
(American Christian Fiction Writers) and others.
2) Learn your craft. Take no short cuts here. Learn and employ good writing
techniques and understand that good writing means LOTS of rewriting.
3) Learn about marketing. You the author will be required to do most of it
even if you are fortunate enough to be picked up by one of the Big-5
4) And finally, NEVER give up. This is generally a long and bumpy road full
of ups and downs. I personally don’t know any “overnight wonders” those who
have taken about a year to write their first book which then becomes an
over night success. Most published authors have written for years before
getting published. Remember, the spoils go to those who
Meet the author:
Born in Romania, Sylvia Bambola lived her early years in Germany. At seven
she relocated with her adopted family and saw the Statue of Liberty and
America for the first time. But the memory of those years in post World War
Germany inspired her to write Refiner’s Fire, which won a Silver Angel
Award, and was a Christy Finalist. Her frequent moves as an “army brat”
gave her an opportunity to see America and fall in love with her new
country. Bambola has authored eight novels, has two grown children, and
teaches women’s Bible studies.
Connect with Sylvia Bambola:
This week Clash of the Titles is proud to feature Stephanie Landsem,
author of The Living Water biblical fiction series. She will carry you back
into the times of Jesus and explore beautiful truths that resonate deeply
Let’s hear from Stephanie about her books and how she handles the
interesting challenge of writing about Jesus.
1.) What was your favorite part of writing The Living Water series?
Research is the part of writing I love best. I usually spend about a month
just doing research before I start plotting a book. I find some of my best
plot twists, characters and settings right in the pages of history. Maps
and pictures of archeological finds really help me get the feel for the
setting. As I craft the story, this research comes out and helps the reader
become fully immersed in the story.
2) How do you balance the real person of Jesus with the other characters
in your story?
I like to think of every encounter with Jesus recorded in the Bible as a
stone thrown in a pond. We know the initial splash — the cure of the man
born blind, or the raising of Lazarus — but I want to write about the
ripples. I love to imagine how these personal encounters with Jesus moved
outward in ever-widening circles to touch more people than we can even
imagine. So I start with the event described in the Bible and move outward
into imagination, always keeping in mind that Jesus knew exactly what
ripple-effect his actions would have and they would always be for his
3.) What are the binding themes throughout the Well, The Thief and the
Tomb and what do hope to bring to your readers in this series?
I love the gospel of John and how it shows the very personal way in which
Jesus connected with the people of his time. Each of the stories in The
Living Water Series begin with an encounter with Jesus from John—the
Samaritan woman, the man born blind, and Jesus’ relationship with Martha.
Each of these encounters were intensely personal and led to deep
conversion. I hope that in reading about these one-to-one meetings with
Jesus, readers can imagine themselves face to face with our Lord and come
to know him more deeply.
The Living Water Series are a set
of intersecting stories based on personal encounters with Jesus in the
gospel of John. The first book, The Well, is the story of the Samaritan
woman at the well told from the point of view of her daughter, Mara. Mara,
a desperate Samaritan girl, must make a dangerous journey across Galilee to
find Jesus and save her dying mother. The second book focuses on Jesus
ministry in Jerusalem, starting with the healing of the man born blind and
continuing on to Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion and resurrection. It is told
from the perspective of a poor Jewish girl and a Roman centurion – both of
whom don’t know what to think of the so-called Messiah. The Tomb, A Novel
of Martha, is—of course—about the family of Lazarus in Bethany. It focuses
on Martha, her doubts and anxieties, and finally the desperate decision she
must make to save her brother’s life.
~ * ~
Stephanie Landsem, author of The
Living Water Series, writes historical fiction because she loves adventure
in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s explored ancient ruins,
medieval castles, and majestic cathedrals around the world. Stephanie is
equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband, four children, and
three fat cats. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde,
avoiding housework, and dreaming about her next adventure—whether it be in
person or on the page.
Connect with her online:
Erik Rees is the author of Never Ever Give Up, his personal story about losing his daughter to cancer and how in that fight, she decided to help others.
I had three goals for sharing Jessie’s story; increase awareness of childhood cancer, give people facing personal hurdles in life hope and to create a wave of compassion through personal acts of kindness.
Where did Jessie come up with the idea of creating JoyJars? Why did she do this, instead of focusing on herself?
Jessie came up with the idea after she started treatment and learned there were lots of children that couldn’t leave the hospital. She just had a burden for them and wanted to help them. The name actually came from taking her middle name “joy” and adding it to “jars”. She choose to spread joy because she knew life was about giving not getting.
How did your kids handle their grief? What advice do you have for parents who are dealing with a tragedy?
Grief is a powerful emotion that everyone processes differently. Some get quiet and some get loud. Our job as parents were to simply walk with them through their grief and let them know we were there for them no matter what. My only tip for parents is don’t hide your pain from your kids. Let them know you are hurting too and together with God’s help you will all heal.
Do you have advice for other Christians who may be questioning God’s plan?
I don’t know if I would call it “advice” but I would let them know they are not alone in their feelings. I questioned God many times and still do. I don’t question His love for me or Jessie. I questioned His choice in using Heaven as a healing agent. But now that time has past, I see His plan. Jessie was an Angel sent to Earth with a message (Never Ever Give Up) and a mission (childhood cancer). How else can you explain how one twelve year old girl, fighting cancer, choose to give to other kids and started a global movement of compassion that has raised millions of dollars to “care” for children/families fighting cancer around the world. My only answer is, God had a plan!
In addition, I would encourage them to realize God’s plans don’t always match up to our own plans but He is still a loving and caring God. Faith in God is all about “believing” in our hearts and heads that God loves us no matter what and when we fully depend on Him, He will show us the way.
Jessie had a strong faith in God. How did she draw strength from her relationship with God during her treatment?
Jessie did have an amazing faith in God which inspires me daily. She would pray for herself, listen to worship music during treatments and do her nightly devotions with her mommy. She drew her strength from Phil. 4:13 and asked God daily for support.
It started with a simple question: How can we help them? It became an international movement called NEGU: Never Ever Give Up. When Jessica Joy Rees was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at age 11, she chose to focus not on herself but on bringing joy and hope to other children suffering from cancer.
During the ten months she battled cancer, she and her family worked in the “Joy Factory” (originally their garage) making JoyJars®—packages filled with toys, games, and love for other kids with cancer. Jessie first handed them out personally at the hospital where she was being treated, but the effort blossomed quickly and there were soon thousands of JoyJars® being distributed across the United States and to over fifteen countries. Today, more than 100,000 kids have received JoyJars®, and they continue shipping each week to kids in over 200 children’s hospitals and 175 Ronald McDonald Houses.
Jessie lost her battle with cancer in January 2012, but her message lives on in the Jessie Rees Foundation, which has become a beacon of hope for families fighting pediatric cancer.
Join the movement at www.negu.org.
To purchase Never Ever Give Up, click here.
Please welcome, novelist, Gina Holmes. Gina is the founder of popular literary site, novelrocket.com. She is a two-time Christy and ECPA Book of the Year finalist and winner of the INSPY, Inspirational Reader’s Choice, and Carol Award. Her books regularly appear on Christian bestseller lists.
Gina, tell us a little bit about your newest release, Driftwood Tides.
Driftwood Tides tells the story of an aging, alcoholic driftwood artist turned beach bum, Holton Creary, and young Libby Slater. Libby grew up with an absent father and a loving but cold, socialite mother. Leading up to her wedding, Libby and her groom-to-be go through genetic testing and she learns her blood type doesn’t match either of her parents. She confronts her mother and is reluctantly told that she’s adopted. She goes searching for her mother, Adele, only to find her husband, Holton Creary lying face down on the carpet of his Nags Head beach shack.
She lies about her real identity until she is finally found out. Holton does not welcome the news. He never knew the wife he had given saint status too had given up a daughter for adoption. Together the two search to find the truth about Adele, Libby’s father and themselves.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
At its heart, Driftwood Tides is really about discovering who we are, whose we are, where we belong and the need to accept and bestow forgiveness.
Why did you set the novel in Nags Head?
Oh, how I love that place! I’m not sure there’s a more peaceful setting in all the world. And the further out I get from civilization, the happier I am. I love the sand dunes, the untouched nature, the quaint towns. Just everything! (Well, except sand in my bathing suit maybe J)
You seem to have a recurring theme in your novels about absent fathers, if it’s not too personal, why do you think that is?
It is too personal, but I don’t mind answering (wink!) When I was 6 years old, I was packed up by my stepfather and driven to my father’s house. Overnight I had a new Mom, new sisters and brother, house and life. It was as traumatic an experience as I can imagine. There were few explanations that made sense to me and I missed my other family desperately. I think ever since I’ve been trying to settle some pretty deep-seated questions. Writing books is wonderful for that.
The novel you’ve written that seems to be a fan-favorite is Crossing Oceans, do you ever see yourself writing a sequel?
I love that book too. Makes me cry just thinking about certain scenes. I would love to write a sequel, prequel or off shoot stories. I love those characters dearly. I’m under contract for three different novels, so I’m not sure when I’ll have the time, but I’d love to explore Craig’s story and of course, Bella’s. I miss Mama Peg very much!
You’ve said that your favorite novel you’ve written is Wings of Glass. Why is that your favorite?
Well, for storyline, I think Crossing Oceans is the strongest. I think my writing in Wings of Glass was my best, plus when I was very young I watched my mother in one abusive relationship after another, and then two of my sisters. I had been there too, despite thinking I was better than that. I know the mindset that keeps a woman (or man) in a relationship like that and I wanted to give insight to those who don’t understand. I’ve received enough letters to know I did what I set out to do.
You’re originally from NJ but write all your novels from the South, why do you set your novels down South if you’re from up North?
Ha, you found me out! Yes, I was born and raised in NJ. As much as I love my friends and family, I am definitely more suited for the slower pace of the South. I’ve lived in Southern VA for half of my life and I plan to spend the rest of my life here if I can help it. I try to write books from settings that make me happy. So I write where I want to be. (Although, I’ve got to say, NJ food is amazing and you’ve got to love a boisterous NJ laugh!)
What do you like most about being a writer? Least?
Most, I like being able to have a platform to share lessons I’ve learned in my life that I know others would benefit from. And more than that, I just love to tell a good story.
Least, would be the unpredictability of the business. Sometimes it seems so random and the lack of control makes me uncomfortable sometimes. (Which is probably right where God wants me!)
Do you have any advice for aspiring novelists?
My advice is pretty much always the same. 1. Write. So many people want to have written but don’t actually do the work. 2. Get to a writers conference because there’s so much you don’t know, that you don’t even know you don’t know. If you don’t you’ll be spinning your wheels for years, wasting valuable time. 3. Run, don’t walk, to the nearest bookstore and buy yourself a copy of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Then apply it. (Best money I ever spent!) 4. Join a good critique group and get a nice thick skin, ‘cause you’re sure going to need it!
If you could go back to the pre-published writer you were, knowing what you do now, what advice would you give her?
Well, I wouldn’t have told myself how many novels I’d write that would never see the light of day, because I would have given up. I wouldn’t have told myself how little money there is actually to be made or how lonely writing can sometimes be. I wouldn’t have told myself that I’d still have a day job with 4 novels out in stores, including 3 bestselling novels… okay, but that wasn’t your question… I would tell myself to relax. Some of this, most of this is, is out of your hands, and that’s okay. It’s not going to be at all what you think it is, but it’s going to be so much more. You won’t get rich, but you will touch lives. At the end of the day, that’s going to be exactly what will fulfill you.
Where can readers find your books and more about you?
Thanks for asking. My books are in B&N, BooksaMillion, Amazon, Lifeway, Parable, Family Christian and hopefully a good number of independent bookstores. You can find me at Ginaholmes.com. Thanks so much for hosting me!
Surrendering Time Series
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