Aussie Authors in America – Paula Vince.

imogenschancees Imogen’s Chance

Imogen Browne longs to make up for past mistakes before she can move on. She quietly resolves to help the Dorazio family, whose lives she accidentally upset. Her biggest challenge is Asher, the one person who may never forgive her. And he is facing a crisis of his own. Imogen must tread very carefully, as trying to fix things may well make them shatter. A sensitive story about misplaced loyalty, celebrating life and falling in love. Can family secrets concealed with the best intentions bear the light of day?

What I thought: 

From cover to cover this story had me wondering, searching and contemplating it’s many complex issues and characters. There is a twist at the end of this book which blew me away. It was so well done and entertaining. This story has stayed with me.

I asked Paula a few questions about Imogen’s Chance. Please leave a comment to go into the draw for a copy of this great read. (Copy offered worldwide in either paperback or electronic form).

1.  Imogen begins her story as a simple girl with a simplistic goal – to help a family she feels she has wronged as a child. It’s only as the story progresses that we start to understand the complexities of this goal as well as her past mistakes. What are the main themes you had in mind when writing this novel? And what do you hope the reader takes away from Imogen’s story?

One of my favourite themes in this story is regret, and whether or not any mistakes are ever left too long to make amends. Imogen has lived for years with the conviction that she might have been able to prevent something bad from happening, not once but twice. She feels challenged to try to make amends, because regret is eating away at her, even though she’s worried that stirring up memories may make things worse.

For Imogen, back-tracking means returning all the way from America to South Australia. She finds that one of her old friends, Asher, has a problem which seems impossible for her to help with. As he’s one of the people she felt most wary about facing again, she’s unsure how she should behave around him.

The other main theme is divine healing, which I’ll discuss in question 2.

I’m hoping that readers will be encouraged to see that nothing need ever be final, in spite of the way it may appear, whether in the area of relationships, health or career.

  1. The connection between faith and healing is a major theme in Imogen’s Chance. Was there some event or research you did when incorporating this theme into the novel?

I have researched this connection for several years before starting to write the novel. Dealing with physical problems was a definite spur. I suffered multiple miscarriages, and later, my eldest son was diagnosed with a peanut allergy when he was small, along with eczema and asthma. These occurrences filled me with intense fear. I hated to think that serious sickness could strike at any time. That’s why I started to study divine healing, and the material I’ve come across has been phenomenal.

Some of the true testimonies of healing I’ve discovered could only have been miracles from God. Reading these has been enough to convince me that simply accepting every bad prognosis, based on limited data gathered by humans, is a shortsighted choice. I’d rather err on the side of optimism than simply give up hope.

Several of the books I’ve read propose reasons for faith in healing such as this. If Jesus died on the cross to cover our sins, then His death must also cover the consequences of our sins, and sickness is a prime example. There was no sickness before sin came into the world, so there should be none for forgiven believers. The physical bodies of true believers, which are temples of the Holy Spirit, should be out of bounds for sickness and disease. No matter how we feel about simple arguments like this, it is interesting to at least be aware of them.

I’ve had healing experiences in my own life that convince me every believer ought to keep their faith boosted. Just last year, I had a sore patch on my face. Two doctors were certain it was a skin cancer, but before the appointment with a plastic surgeon came around, I watched it spontaneously fade and disappear in the week following prayer. Personal experiences like this are enough for us to hold onto, keeping our faith for bigger issues elevated, because God never changes.

Most of my research came from non-fiction texts by healing evangelists. I wanted to add to the encouraging books out there in the form of fiction, one of my favourite ways of communicating truths to readers. As far as I know, there are not many novels which deal with the ins and outs of divine healing. As soon as I had the idea, I was anxious to start one.

Together, my characters Imogen and Asher figure out ways to deal with a serious prognosis he’s given. One of the questions they ask themselves is whether there is actually some action required from patients in their approach to God? What should our attitudes be? They find themselves thinking about things which have never crossed their minds before, as they learn the extent of what is in the grace package God offers us, and how our faith may help to activate it.

  1. Imogen is an American and the family she is living with is Australian. What are some of the challenges you found in writing characters from different nationalities?

This actually worked out really well. I’d automatically intended to make Imogen an Aussie girl, as all my former heroines have been. My publisher and editor both suggested that I make one of the main characters American, thinking that it may appeal to international readers, especially those who are searching for somebody they can more easily relate to.

I’ve never visited America so found that idea fairly daunting. I’m so glad I took their advice, as Imogen being American turned out to be crucial to the plot in several ways. If she’d simply lived in a different Australian state to the Dorazio family, it would have been too close for the plot to work. Some of the characters would have behaved quite differently and the drama would have fallen flat.

My biggest challenge was having nothing but my lifetime with movies, books and the media to base her on, especially since she’s the main character. I referred to charts of American versus Australian words. My biggest fear was that, although I knew several of these words already, I would inadvertently miss a few. That’s why I thought it wise to run the story past a few American friends.

I’m pleased that some international readers have told me that Imogen does come across as American to them. One day I may actually be able to visit, and learn some extra things for myself.

 

paula promotional photoMore about Paula Vince:

Award-winning author, Paula Vince loves to evoke tears and laughter through her novels. A wife and homeschooling mother of three, she resides in the beautiful Adelaide Hills of South Australia. Her youth was brightened by great fiction and she’s on a mission to pay it forward.

Her novel, Picking up the Pieces, won the religious fiction section of the 2011 International Book Awards.

Her novel, Best Forgotten, was winner of the 2011 CALEB Award in the fiction category and also recognized as the best overall entry for the year, chosen over memoirs, devotionals and general non-fiction.

Paula’s books are a skillful blend of drama and romance tied together with elements of mystery and suspense.

Find out more at www.justoccurred.blogspot.com.au and www.vincereview.blogspot.com.au.

Paula is the author of Picking up the Pieces, The Risky Way Home, A Design of Gold and Best Forgotten. Her new novel, Imogen’s Chance, will be published in April, 2014.

Paula is also one of the four authors of The Greenfield Legacy.

Vision Radio Interview – Talking about life and Book Fun.

Karen and me at Dreamworld 1If you missed my catch up chat with Karen on her Morning Coffee program (Vision Radio Network Australia), here it is:  :-)

(And a photo of us at Dreamworld. We got wet. lol).

 

If you would like to hear more interviews from the Morning Cafe click here to listen online:

http://www.vision.org.au/morningcafe

 

An Invitation to YOU

Aussie Summer PackBook Fun have invited me to be a part of another Chat. I’m so excited, because the series of chats I did earlier this year were so much fun.

There is a small give-away – a few Aussie Summer items and a ‘Resolution’ book of the winner’s choice.

Also some extra signed copies of each of the books to give-away too.

I can’t wait to chat with all my new friends across the Pacific again, and I invite all Aussie Authors and Readers to join me.

Find out more here:

http://www.bookfun.org/group/reviews-by-readers-only-group-public/forum/topics/rose-dee-special-contest-the-winners-will-be-announced-here

In Australia the chat will be on from 10am Tuesday 19th.

Hope to see you there.

 

Aussie Authors in America – Narelle Atkins.

The_Nurses_Perfect_Match_coverTwo books in my ‘Resolution’ series have American main characters. I have been asked – Why American? There are a few reasons. One is that I enjoy creating American characters that fall in love with my country the way I fell in love with theirs.

But I am not the only Aussie having an American love affair. My friend, Narelle Atkins has just released her second novel, ‘The Nurse’s Perfect Match’ (Mills and Boon, Heartsong Presents). This novel follows her first release, ‘Falling for the Farmer’. Like my novels, Narelle’s books are also set in Australia, and are written with both Australian and American audiences in mind.

I asked Narelle a few questions about writing for a global audience. Here is what she said:

  1. What made you want to write for both the Australian and Overseas market?

I write category romance in the contemporary inspirational romance genre. There aren’t any publishers in Australia who sell category romance books in my specific genre. Writing for an international audience, and targeting the Harlequin Love Inspired lines based in the USA, was a logical decision.

The Australian Christian romance market is small when compared to the overseas market based in North America. From a business perspective, it makes sense for Australian Christian authors to have a vision for selling their books to overseas readers, irrespective of the location of their home market. My home market is North America, and my sales in  Australia are considered foreign sales. The rising popularity of ebooks will help Australian authors reach international readers.  

  1. What will an International reader learn about our country from your novels?

Australian books have a unique cultural flavour. My books are edited in the USA, with a North American audience in mind. As a result, there are more American expressions and less Australian expressions than you’ll probably find in the typical Christian fiction book published in Australia. It’s important that your international readers are not thrown out of the story by foreign expressions, or word usage that doesn’t translate or make sense to overseas readers.

The foreign setting is a selling point for Australian books. Readers have the opportunity to travel to Australia through our books, and explore our wonderful country with our characters in the story. My first three books are set in the gorgeous Snowy Mountains region of Australia. Readers will see native animals, and experience country life in a small town setting.

  1. The Heartsong Presents division of Mills and Boon presents great inspirational stories. What would you say to a Christian Fiction Reader who hasn’t explored this brand before?

Heartsong Presents is part of the Harlequin’s Love Inspired brand. The ebooks are sold under the Mills and Boon brand in Australia and New Zealand.

Love Inspired books are category romances. The focus of the story is on the developing romance between the hero and heroine. The faith element is woven into the story, and may be more subtle than the longer books, or books in other Christian fiction genres. Love Inspired books are clean romances, and suitable for younger readers. The stories explore the hero and heroine’s spiritual journey as part of the developing romance plot. They are written from a Christian worldview, and the stories provide role models for Christian romantic relationships.

Thank you, Narelle for visiting me on my blog and telling us a bit about your work. You can find out more about Narelle by visiting her website: 

 http://www.narelleatkins.com/

Narelle has also very generously offered one person a copy of her new release, ‘The Nurse’s Perfect Match’. Just leave a comment here, or on my Facebook Link to this blog post to be in the running. 

 

NarelleA fun loving Aussie girl at heart, Narelle Atkins was born and raised on the beautiful northern beaches in Sydney, Australia. She has settled in Canberra with her husband and children. A lifelong romance reader, she found the perfect genre to write when she discovered inspirational romance. Narelle’s contemporary stories of faith and romance are set in Australia and she is thrilled to have the opportunity to write for Heartsong Presents.

 

NURSE AMY WILKINS HAS COME HOME  After her marriage ends in tragedy, Amy returns to Snowgum Creek to rebuild her life. There she meets widower Ben Morton, who's not looking for romance, though his young children are eager for Amy's attention. She's given up on her dream of being a mother, but can't ignore how she's drawn to Ben's little ones, and to their handsome farmer dad.  As love kindles between Ben and Amy, she worries how she'll ever measure up to the wife he lost. And Ben is concerned about how Amy will ever truly fit into life on the farm. They could be the answer to each other's prayers—if the secret Amy is keeping doesn't tear them apart.

NURSE AMY WILKINS HAS COME HOME
After her marriage ends in tragedy, Amy returns to Snowgum Creek to rebuild her life. There she meets widower Ben Morton, who’s not looking for romance, though his young children are eager for Amy’s attention. She’s given up on her dream of being a mother, but can’t ignore how she’s drawn to Ben’s little ones, and to their handsome farmer dad.
As love kindles between Ben and Amy, she worries how she’ll ever measure up to the wife he lost. And Ben is concerned about how Amy will ever truly fit into life on the farm. They could be the answer to each other’s prayers—if the secret Amy is keeping doesn’t tear them apart.

More Stories – More Snakes.

A friend emailed this to us in 2011.Gives me the horrors. :-(

A friend emailed this to us in 2011.Gives me the horrors. :-(

My Book Fun article has inspired more sharing of stories in my family. My mother had me in fits of giggles this week over the antics of my father. She reminded me of the time my Dad expertly fixed her broken windscreen wiper with a ball of Hubba Bubba chewing gum. It stuck fast, fooling the Queensland Transport inspector who had come to town to issue fines for all non-compliant vehicles. The wiper stayed happily in place until the next downpour of rain, when (forgetting it was held on by chewing gum), my mother turned on the wipers sending the broken arm flying off the glass and in the direction of the main street footpath. It narrowly missed an unsuspecting pedestrian. My mother, and sister, (who was in the car at the time too), didn’t realize what had happened until further down the road when they put the events together. It was fits of laughter all around for that tale, and for every retelling of it since. :-)

Another amazing family event was the story of my cousin. In his youth he and his mates were on their way back from a night out. He leaned out the window of the car to give a spontaneous ‘Ya Hoo’, and the car hit a bump forcing his hat from his head. Now, an Acubra hat is a vital piece of clothing for a country man. In country Australia hats are used for far more than keeping the elements off one’s head. They are also used to fight fires, direct livestock, swipe at something attacking you, and to hold a drink of water from a creek if needs be – so a hat was something to retrieve. The problem with retrieving this hat was that, when they reversed the car they found the bump in the road had been a massive carpet snake. The snake spanned the road with the hat resting next to the snake’s head. My cousin thought the best idea was to pull the snake off the road by the tail, thus gaining enough space between head and hat for the retrieval.

He started pulling the tail when suddenly the snake whipped around and latched onto his hand. If this wasn’t a dire enough situation, seconds later the local drunk screamed around the corner, collecting both my cousin and the snake. The force of the blow from the vehicle dislodged the biting reptile and sent both snake and man flying into the air. The good news was that the hat was retrieved. The bad news was that my cousin suffered a broken leg, (thankfully that was the only injury). To our knowledge the snake went on his way, but he left his mark – the really bad news was that for years to come my cousin’s hand would swell up with little sores. From these little sores a carpet snake’s tooth would emerge.

This story was so amazing that it made the national news. It was certainly a series of unfortunate events, with really quite a fortunate outcome.

If you would like to hear some more of my family stories please have a look at my article in this month’s Book Fun Magazine. Scroll down the index until you find ‘”Yabberin'” – Page 159.

http://www.bookfunmagazine.com/i/304623

I must also say that it is due to the great protection of the Lord that our family are able to tell these stories. I do not advise anyone to pull a snake (even a carpet snake) by the tail.

 

 

 

 

 

You are Invited to Visit My Country – Australia (Inspy Romance).

I really enjoyed guest blogging on Inspy Romance this week. It was a piece very close to my heart.

Please click on the link below and read why I love writing about my country – Australia. :-)

http://www.inspyromance.com/you-are-invited-to-visit-my-country-australia/