Interview with Marianne Evans

Today we have the opportunity to chat with White Rose Publishing author Marianne Evans, winner of last year’s WRP contest with her book HEARTS CROSSING. This Friday she has a new release debuting, which we’ll tell you more about in awhile. Before we get to that though, let’s find out a bit more about the person behind the stories she writes.

Marianne, can you tell us where you were born?
I’m a complete and total Michigan native. I was born in Flint, spent my childhood in Grand Blanc (a little town between Flint and Detroit) and am now happily settled in suburban Detroit.

Can you tell us what some of your favorite things are?
I love peaceful Saturday and Sunday mornings on my deck with a cup of coffee and the sun coming up. That’s bliss!! I love getting together with friends and family – that’s always a highlight for me. I’ve worked at the same place for over 10 years now, and am very close to several of the wonderful people I work with, so we socialize as friends as well as colleagues. I love travel, I love being near the water in summer, and near a fireplace in winter. I love the smell of baking bread (my mom’s onion bread is a recipe I can replicate, and have enjoyed sharing!) munching fresh-made, stove-top created popcorn with my husband, but most of all, my favorite thing is sharing the truth of God’s love and grace through the written word, in the genre of romance. After all, love celebrates what’s best in all of us. Being able to create stories based on that truth is a huge blessing I don’t ever take for granted!

Uh no, before I get hungry with thoughts of fresh bread and popcorn tell us, if you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Know what? I love living in Michigan. The “Mitten” state has the best of everything – the bustle of the big city, if you’re so inclined, the Great Lakes, the primitive seclusion and peace of the northern half of the state. That said, however, I’m a big-time lover of travel. My dream place to visit is, without question, the Holy Land. I haven’t been there yet, but hope to visit someday. I get shivers even thinking about it!

Visiting the Holy Land has been my husband’s dream as well and I can understand your love for travel and home. Can you tell us what is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or you witnessed that made you laugh so hard you couldn’t catch your breath?
Well – I was married only six months or so. I wanted to make my husband this delicious spinach/butter/garlic sauce to dip crusty Italian bread in. Typically, this sauce is served over escargot, but since the DH and I both detest escargot, but love the sauce, we made it without the squiggly occupants. Anyway, the recipe called for three cloves of garlic. I mistakenly created the sauce with three HEADS of garlic. Needless to say, it tasted pretty foul – but DH choked some down and complimented my efforts (that’s when I knew our marriage was a forever union!!) I’m ashamed to say that I disgraced my Italian heritage that day, however, it gives my family wonderful ammunition for family dinners. The story never dies – unfortunately! LOL!

That’s a riot! Of course, with the smell of garlic permeating everything, you probably didn’t want to get anywhere near him for the next week, but we’ll save that story for another time. Do you have a favorite color?
Pale blue!

That’s the color I just painted my mudroom last week! Lets talk a bit about your writing and what inspired you. What was your favorite book growing up?
Anything by Nora Roberts, from her days as a Silhouette Romance author, is what kicked me off as an inspiration. Stephenie Meyer’s style and the ‘sweet’ yet rich, and evocative sense of romance she created in the Twilight Series brought me back, inspiration wise, after a very long dry spell.

What or who inspires you to write?
May sound a bit creepy, but the voices in my head. My characters begin as scenes/dialogue in my head, or a dream that remains with me in vivid detail. After that, the ideas refuse to leave me alone until I put it all down on paper (or, computer chip, as it were! LOL!)

I’ve heard of other artists who have that same experience, so it doesn’t sound creepy to me.  What do you find most rewarding about writing?
Touching people’s hearts with something that began as nothing more than an idea in my head. Pretty amazing stuff! I love portraying God’s love, mercy, and redemption in the world of romance.

And we love reading how you portray all those things in your books! I’m curious, what music groups/artists blast from your CD player while you write?
Too many to mention!! I love using music as a means by which to inspire my writing. It evokes so much emotion, and great lyrics can put you right into the head and heart of your characters. I’m a fan of The Fray, Five for Fighting, Billy Joel. Michael W Smith, Mark Schultz and Twila Paris are favorites I go back to time and time again. Really, though, it depends on the atmosphere I’m trying to create. If my characters are in a tough spot, I want something playing that gets me to that ‘place.’ Music is so powerful!

Okay, so tell us, I know your next book is due out on Friday. What’s it about?
Right now I’m supporting book two of the Woodland Series, Hearts Surrender. The Woodland Series came about as the result of my White Rose Publishing debut, Hearts Crossing. Books 3 and 4 of the series are titled Hearts Communion and Hearts Key. Hearts Communion revolves around Collin Edwards’ brother, Jeremy, and Monica Kittelski, the owner of a daycare center. Did I mention Jeremy (JB) comes from a large, tight-knit family? And that his lady-love, Monica, is unable to have kids of her own? Their dilemma is finding God’s hand when it seems their most dearly held wishes and prayers are destined to remain unfulfilled. Hearts Key is all about second chances at your first-ever love, and the role-reversals life can throw at you. You’ll meet Amy Maxwell and Tyler Brock in Hearts Surrender. Amy is the High School cheerleader and leader of the pack, and she’s fallen on hard times. Meanwhile, Tyler, the shy and gangly sweetheart of a boy who has loved her forever has become a Christian music phenom with a star on the rise. They’ve never forgotten one another…and Tyler is headed back to town for a benefit concert at Woodland…

About Hearts Surrender:

How did you come up for your premise of Hearts Surrender?
True story: When I wrote Hearts Surrender, and submitted it to White Rose for consideration in the Hearts Crossing contest last year, I couldn’t get two of the secondary characters, Kiara Jordan and Ken Lucerne, out of my mind. I set up a bit of groundwork in Hearts Crossing that Kiara is on the hunt for meaning, and deeply respects Woodland’s pastor, Ken Lucerne. Plot ideas formed, and both characters spoke so strongly to my heart that I began to create Hearts Surrender – a sequel to a story that I had no idea would even end up going anywhere! Pretty Risky on my part, but I couldn’t get the story out of my head. I had to write it!

For those who are not familiar with this story, would you please give us the blurb?

Absolutely! Here you go!
Kiara Jordan is a sophisticated modernista, but beneath an engaging personality and super-model looks, her heart hungers, and she longs for deeper meaning in her life.
Ken Lucerne is the charismatic young pastor of Woodland Church; he's adjusting to life on his own following the death of his wife and copes by keeping as busy with parish life and mission work as he can.
A home-building mission in Pennsylvania brings them together, and forces them to look hard and deep at the relationship they share, and where God means for it to go. Already bound by mutual respect and caring, love dawns, a love that takes them to a life-point neither would have expected.
After all, can a chic, vivacious woman find fulfillment within the quiet, mission-centered life of a clergyman? Can they trust God's hand strongly enough to surrender their hearts to one another…forever?

How did you decide on the setting?
Well, since Hearts Surrender is book two of a series, the setting was already in place. However, I will say that choosing St. Clair Shores, Michigan as a location was very deliberate on my part as the setting. I love this area of Michigan, and Lake St. Clair is stunning!

What is the purchase link (and cost)?
$4.99 Digital / $11.99 Print

Marianne, it’s been great having you here with us today and I look forward to seeing your book out on Friday. (Make sure you folks check back here and I’ll put up the special promotion code for this weeks release day offer right here!)

Have a great week~

New Release - Mended Heart

This week, White Rose Publishing welcomes another first-time White Rose author. Mary Manners tugs at the heartstrings in this contemporary tale of lost loves and second chances. This title was a finalist in the Finally a Bride contest. You won't want to miss it.

Mended Hearts
Jade McAllister returns home to Pineyville, Tennessee to help nurse her estranged mother back to health. She's grateful her friend found her a job as an administrative assistant at Pineyville Church. That is, until she runs into Shane Calkin-the bad-boy-wannabe who broke her heart.

Shane's job as Youth Director at the church is a far cry from his high school days as the town's privileged rich kid. The death of his sister has left him with a young niece to raise and a rambunctious puppy to tame. He's not the self-centered person who once hurt Jade, and all he wants now is a second chance to love her. But how can he prove it to her?

Come to the Party!

Long and Short Of It Romance Reviews is hosting an all weekend party on their Yahoo group to celebrate their 3rd Anniversary.There will be lots of prizes given away including books, LASR mugs and tote bags and more.

Marianne Evans and Kara Lynn Russell will host a two hour block at this anniversary bash tomorrow, Saturday the 28th, so stop on by! Kara and I will be looking for you from 12 to 2 Eastern. There will be giveaways, tons of information about what's new and coming from White Rose Publishing, plus lots of chat and the company of fellow inspy romance authors and fans!

Marianne Evans is the winner of the Hearts Crossing contest. As an encore she wrote the sequel Hearts Surrender which will be available soon. Kara Lynn Russell is the author of the Orchard Hill Romance series and the holiday romance Nick and Noelle.

To join the Long & Short of it Romance Reviews Yahoo group, head over here:

Long and Short of It Romance Reviews

  Hope to see you there!

Authors are often asked about what they read and which writers have influenced them. But the truth is that inspiration is all around us and there are many influences upon our writing and our life.

As most of you know, I write the Orchard Hill romance series. All of the stories take place in a small town and many of the characters show up again in the series. I love that I don't have to say 'goodbye' to these characters after I finish their stories.

Recently I spent a relaxing evening watching TV. It was a rare occasion when everyone in my family was busy and the remote was up for grabs. And of all the things I could have watched on the many, many channels we get, I chose sitcom reruns.

I admit it. I love situation comedies - Full House, Family Matters, The Nanny, Everybody Loves Raymond, etc. Now, in the hey day of reality TV,  brutally realistic crime shows and movies on demand, I still want to watch these cozy, corny stories where all problems can be solved in half an hour. I enjoy getting to know the characters and how they relate to each other and watching them go from difficulty to difficulty, secure in the knowledge that it will all end in a group hug.

While these shows may be silly and at times even unrealistic, I do get something wonderful from them. I come away with the affirmation of the importance of family, friendship and community. These are values that I hold dear and try to build into every Orchard Hill story.

Does anyone else find inspiration in televisions shows? Please leave a comment and tell me which show or type of show and how it influenced you.


Kind Words

I hate dealing with tech support (I know, hate is a strong word). To begin with, it invariably means there's a problem, which is never good, and then I'm prone to get the tech who insists on treating me as though I don't understand the word "and" (which is frustrating)...and he/she tells me to go through steps A,B,C when I went through A,B,C before contacting support, and I made that clear in my initial correspondence, (which is frustrating) and  that just makes me think nasty thoughts like: can this technician read? (I know, not a very Christian attitude) and  then I have to repent...and Oh, how I love having to do that instead of just having a right mind to begin with! Can you relate?

But, today I had to contact tech support and the tech not only helped me solve my issue, but he was courteous, prompt, and answered my questions. (See, I do understand the word "and" LOL.) When the issue was resolved (lickety-split and painlessly, I might add), I thanked him and told him how courteous and prompt he was. I really appreciated that.

I didn't expect a response. Our business was concluded, and my closing email letting him know that everything had worked out didn't really require a response. Yet, he replied and thanked me for my kind words.

Now, first of all, I didn't realize I had been kind. I mean, I wasn't "mean," but I didn't think he would consider my words "kind." I was just being honest and appreciative, partly because of the many negative experiences I've had with tech support. But his response made me think. We deal with people every day. If you're like me, many of your dealings are via email to strangers or to people with whom you don't really have a close relationship. It's easy to shoot off a curt response that may sound rude to someone who doesn't know you so can't "hear" your voice, or even to blast someone. (It's so much easier to be rude when you're not looking into someone's face, don't you think?)

But, it's just as easy to say something pleasant. It didn't hurt me at all or take any extra time to tell the support tech that I appreciated his efforts; yet, judging by his reply, it did make a difference in his day. Maybe he hadn't gotten any kind words thrown at him for a while. Maybe he was having a bad day--or week.  Maybe, he was just being courteous back, which was nice in itself. Who knows? What I do know is this: I appreciate getting kind words said to me, and so I should be willing to dish out a few kind words every now and again--often, even! So I urge you, the next time you have to deal with someone on the phone, via email, in person: Smile, think of something encouraging to say and uplift someone. Even if they are being nasty to you. You never know what someone is going through. Maybe your kind word will lift their spirits and they'll be nicer to the next person they deal with.

Standing on the Edge of Goodbye - Mary Eason

Release Day Special offer! 10% off Standing on the Edge of Goodbye by
Mary Eason--The latest release from White Rose Publishing--Offer good 13
August 2010 Only. Use Code: NR4843
BLURB: Matt Stevens is finished with life. Grieving the death of his son, Matt withdraws from humanity, sequestering himself in a mountain cabin far from the reaches of anything human—anything that may remind him of the life he can no longer have…that is until Kate Alexander arrives on his doorstep and begins to strip away the bitterness he carries in his heart.

Running from an abusive ex-husband who tried to murder her, Kate Alexander’s life is turned upside-down. Learning of her grandmother’s death—the only woman who ever believed in her—is almost Kate’s complete undoing, especially when the devastating news comes from a man so lacking in human emotion he may as well be a robot. Yet, Kate is drawn to Matt Stevens in a way she’s never before experienced. Could there be more to this unlikely friend of her Grandmother’s—something beyond the cold surface he presents to the world?

Back From Conference

I am back from the Oregon Christian Writers Conference where I represented both White Rose Publishing and announced our new venture - Harbourlight Books.

The conference was awesome, the OCW Hospitality crew was the greatest and every single person involved in making this come about deserves a huge THANK YOU from all attendees. A huge amount of work went into making this year's conference a wonderful success.

We had morning devotionals and evening services and every event opened with a prayer. God was everywhere - everyone I met is devoted to God first, and many feel this is their ministry, to bring Christian books to every single person we can reach.

I presented a workshop and had a table in the Writing Center. I was able to meet many authors, a few agents, and editors of other houses.

The setting at Canby Grove is a beautiful retreat. Douglas firs reached to the heavens, the temperatures were perfect (high 60s to low 80s) and the workshops were artfully scattered about the campus to give attendees time to leisurely the walk to and fro.

I truly enjoyed meeting everyone and will be very pleased to welcome some of the authors I met into the White Rose and Harbourlight families.

Waste Not, Want Not

This morning God knocked on my heart and revealed how wasteful I've been lately. I was brushing my teeth when my gaze followed the trail of running water. Immediately I turned off the faucet and finished brushing before I turned on the water to rinse my brush. I don't have cups in my bathroom since I use my hands to catch the water for that purpose. Again, a big waste. And, I'd been grumbling about receiving the highest water bill ever this month.
Imagine, I waste water unconsciously, taking the blessing for granted, while children in other countries rely on mud puddles for survival. I have a glass of "filtered" water from the refrigerator, along with ice cubes to keep it cold. I don't worry about contracting a fatal disease by quenching my thirst.
As I look around my house, I see many things for my pleasure and enjoyment, all taken for granted. I live in a country of abundance. No wonder others look on me as a "rich" American. I may not be rich monetarily by the standards of our country, but I am rich in all the things that matter. God has provided all that I need, and while I give him thanks every day, I haven't realized the extent of how I'm wasting what He has so generously provided.
Currently, there is a shake-up in the publishing world with large conglomerate bookstores and publishers. Welcome to the new digital world of publishing. While we might look on digital books and ebook readers as extravagance, I'm looking at it another way. We are conserving God's gifts by purchasing digital books. I wonder how many trees it takes to make a production run of print books? While I believe print books are wonderful, POD seems a much better method of publication. No unnecessary waste. A book is produced only when there is a purchase.
I'm thrilled to be an ebook published author. And, I thank God every day for his gifts, and for this path to publication he has provided.
How about you? Have you purchased a digital book lately?

Carol Ann Erhardt
Available now at White Rose Publishing: JOSHUA'S HOPE

Free Novella Coming Soon

White Rose Publishing will soon be serializing another novella. Award-winning author, Elizabeth Pina, brings us CROSS MY HEART, a wonderful story of love, redemption and second chances. To receive this free story, just become a member of our wonderful readers' group. This story is especially for subscribers and won't be available anywhere else. Look for it beginning 1 October 2010 -- White Rose Publishing's anniversary.

Here's a little more about CROSS MY HEART
The judicial system may have cleared Kate Carlson, but those she thought loved her still doubt her innocence. Finding strength in her faith, she hopes a fresh start in glorious Colorado will restore peace and serenity to her broken heart. When history repeats itself, will her new friends stand by or desert her?

Robbie Sutherland’s secret threatens to tear him apart, so he’s learned not to rely on God for anything.  Kate may appear sweet and innocent, but he’s been fooled before. 
Either her selfless love will help him find forgiveness, or his anger and bitterness will destroy their relationship and suffocate him forever.

How can Kate convince Robbie her love is real and, like God’s love, will endure no matter what?

Win a B&N Nook!

Long & Short Romance is celebrating its third anniversary - and some White Rose authors are joining the party! The gifts, however, are all yours! Participate in a scavenger hunt where LASR is giving away THREE Nook eBook Readers, along with a $50 gift certificate. Bonus? The Nook comes pre-loaded with dozens of romance and juvenile fiction eBooks.
The scavenger hunt runs every weekday from August 2 - August 27 and culminates in a two day chat at the LASR Yahoo groups, during which Nook winners will be announced. Participating White Rose authors include Pamela S. Thibodeaux, Marianne Evans, Wendy Davy, Elizabeth Pina, Teri Wilson, Delia Latham and Kara Lynn Russell. You will also find some of us at the two day Yahoo group chat on August 28 & 29. More info on that to come.

So what are you waiting for? Click, and go huntin'!!!  Have fun, and good luck!!