Friday, February 5, 2016

"Q & A With Maia Chance" Blog Tour

Today I would like to welcome Maia Chance, author of "Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna, to The Reading Corner.  Thanks for stopping by Maia.

1. Describe Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna in 140 characters or less.

Beauty, Beast, and  Belladonna, is a fun, adventurous, and romantic historical mystery set in a secret-riddled French chateau in 1867.

2. What is the best reaction over a book that you've ever gotten from a fan?

Fans who say my book gave them pure pleasure--that's happened a few times--makes me so happy. It's my aim to give people something to read that's a pleasurable and absorbing diversion from Real Life. Real Life is hard.

3. What's your favorite part of  Ophelia's quirky personality?

I like the way Ophelia compensates in creative and gutsy ways for her lack of a good formal education. She's smart and resourceful and she uses her unusual skill set--farm girl, circus performer, actress--to help solve the mystery.

4. What inspired you to marry fairytales and mystery?

I was searching for something that hadn't been done yet, and I was reading a lot of fairy tale criticism for school at the time. It sounded like a deliciously fun project, so I plunged in.

5. Is there a type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

Dialogue definitely comes more easily for me. I find action scenes more challenging--I paranoid that they'll get buffed down. (So if I can, I add dialogue to my action scenes!)

6. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Sticking to strict schedules. I don't like to keep people waiting, but there is something to be said for giving yourself creative or restful wiggle-room during the day.

7.  Which of the characters in this novel do you feel the most drawn to?

I became more attached to Professor Penrose in this book. He's more vulnerable and at a loss than in the previous two books--and more deeply in love.

8.  Can you describe for us your process for naming characters?

For historical American characters I use census records. I collect names from cemeteries whenever I visit one, and I often borrow names from literature. Since my books have lots of characters, I try to give them all distinctive names that hint at their personalities, to help the reader keep everyone sorted in their mind. 

9. Who is your most loved hero of fiction?

Indiana Jones.

10. What are you working on next?

I just completed a humorous contemporary mystery that does not yet have a publisher, and I'm working on a historical fantasy adventure with a co-author. After that, the next thing will be book #3 of the Discreet Retrieval Agency series.

WOW!  It sounds like you will be a busy lady! Again thanks Maia Chance for visiting The Reading Corner today.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

"Q & A With Jodi Thomas"

Today I have a visitor in The Reading Corner. I would like to welcome Jodi Thomas, author of the book, "Rustler's Moon.

1. Jodi, this is your second book in the Ransom Canyon series. Tell us about the town.

In RUSTLER'S MOON the town of Crossroads has grown. After allowing their museum to sit empty for a year, the book opens with a new curator coming. The museum comes alive and brings the town together as Angela Harold wakes up to life and loving for the first time. The quiet, shy curator carries a secret that will threaten the whole town and leave rancher Wilkes Wagner fighting for his life as he protects Angela.

2. We've heard you have an inspiration room for your writing tell us about the spot.

Ransom Canyon room: When I began the series, I moved my computer to a little room out back of my house. We call it the bunkhouse. It's not big, mission designed and almost a hundred years old. I took down all the western art and put up white boards. Removed all books except those on ranching, horses, Texas, or research I might need. Family histories of characters fill one wall. Plot lines another. When I step into the bunkhouse, I step into the world of Ransom Canyon. One by one my characters come in and sit down to tell me their story.

I even have pictures of the flowers of Texas taped up in the bathroom and a Jack Sorenson print of horses running into the canyon on the door.
Here's a look into my Ransom Canyon Room
3. Are there any characters in the series you'd consider for a spin-off?

Yes. There are characters outlined on one board of my study that may not make it into this series. Who knows? Maybe they'll find their way in the future.

4. If RUSTLER'S MOON were made into a movie, who would you cast as the lead characters?

Like many of my readers I spent my Christmas holidays snowed in and watching Hallmark movies. Almost every movie I'd say, "That actor would be perfect as this character." I'd like to hear from my readers about who they see as playing Wilkes Wagner in RANSOM CANYON.

5. What's up next for the series?

Coming this Spring will be LONE HEART PASS. Another modern day ranching story set in Texas. It opens with a woman giving up on a career and taking what she thinks is her last chance to survive by coming to a small ranch her grandfather left her. She hires a cowboy to help who has a pickup full of baggage, a five-year-old daughter and a determination that surprises her.

6. If you had to wear a t-shirt with the same saying every single day, what would it say?

That is an easy one. When I started writing I went to a writer's conference in Oklahoma one year and bought a t-shirt. Every night when I stepped into my closet sized study, I put on that shirt. I wore it out, but I wore it until I sold. It said, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER, in training.

7. If you were a punctuation mark, which one best suits your personality? 

If I were a punctuation mark I think I'd be a semi-colon. Half the time I don't know where I belong. No one really understands me. I think I'm kin to a comma. Which were left on earth millions of years ago by aliens just to confuse us so we'd never evolve completely.

8. If you didn't live in Texas, where would you most like to call home?  

I love traveling. Wherever I go, I always think I'd love to live there. I was twenty-one when I first crossed the Mississippi heading east. I spent so much time pointing out all the trees my new husband stopped the car. "We're heading to Fort Mammoth, New Jersey. There are trees from now on, Jodi, so stop yelling every time you see one." The next three years we crossed the USA several times in a 1970 Camaro and everywhere we went I was excited at all there was to see.

But, in truth, when the time comes, bury me in Texas with the open sky and land so flat you can see the curve of the earth. It's where I belong. It's in my blood.

9. I'm sure you hear this question a lot, but here it goes anyway. If you weren't a writer, what would you be?

I'd be a teacher. Teachers change the landscape of your life. Mrs. Dickerson in the fourth grade saw that I couldn't read. She took the time to learn why and send me to a school for two summers. She opened the world of fiction for me. Without her, I would have been fine. With her, I've lived a much richer life.

I'm the writer in residence at West Texas A&M University and the best part of my job is sitting down with students in my office and beginning our journey with, "So, you want to be a writer?"

10. What authors do you most like to read?

I can't answer that question because the answer changes every day. I love curling up with an old book and reading it for the second or third time. I love discovering an author and seeing a new fresh voice. 

I have a loose grip on reality. Give me a good story. Take me away into another world for a few hours. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Make me fall in love again for the first time.

I so agree with that reasoning. Thank you, Jodi Thomas, for taking the time to the visit The Reading Corner today.

A fifth-generation Texan, JODI THOMAS sets the majority of her novels in her home state. With a degree in Family Studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A & M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer in Residence. When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, Tom, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo, and "checking up" on their two grown sons.

Monday, February 1, 2016

"Marrying Christopher"

Having seen both his sisters Grace and Helen happily married, Christopher Thatcher is free to pursue his dream of life in America. 

With adventure in his heart and mind, he boards one of the first steamships set to cross the Atlantic in the record breaking time of only twenty-five days. Within the first two of those, his resolve—to avoid women and the complications they often bring to a man’s life—falters when he meets Marsali Abbott, a young woman with a past even more troubling than his own. 

Whether from years of habit protecting his sisters, or simply because he feels drawn to Marsali, Christopher chooses to help her and becomes her friend. As the truth about what awaits Marsali in America becomes evident, he is faced with a more difficult choice, one that will impact their lives far beyond four weeks together at sea. 

My Thoughts....

I really enjoyed this trilogy about, Grace, Helen and now Christopher. Even though "Marrying Christopher" started off a bit slow, it wasn't long until I was drawn right into the story. I have to admit...last night I couldn't put the book down and read most of the night away until "The End."

I read these three book in this series back-to-back. It was a fun joy ride following each characters own personal story. However, this can be read as a stand-alone book, but so much better if you read the other two first.

This book is a part of my Nook library, and I enjoyed it enough to award it 4 'Marrying' stars.