April McGowan

Author Interview with Emma Broch Stuart

WendyI just finished reading a new book by author Emma Broch Stuart called Broken Umbrellas. This book really touched my heart and brought about a healing in my life. I know it will touch you, too. Emma wants to share this book with as many people as possible and is giving away an autographed copy this week on my blog. I’ll be doing a drawing next Wednesday from the pool of comments below–so don’t forget to hop down there and say hello or ask her a question. She’ll love getting to know you, too!

Please join me in welcoming author Emma Broch Stuart to my blog.

Welcome, Emma!

Thank you, April, for having me on your blog! This is truly an honor for me.

Your book really touched my heart. I’ve also struggled with broken relationships. I think that’s a topic just about everyone has more experience with than they want! Tell us a bit about your latest book. What was your inspiration?

Well, April, once upon a time, brokenness claimed so many areas of my life, and every one of those areas were relational in nature: bitterness and shame from past intimate relationships; wounds and scars from abuse; insecurities from relating with women I felt had it together when I did not; feelings of failure as a mother. It was all relationship stuff. When I realized that humanity tries to relate with one another in spite of their brokenness, God asked me to write about my own personal struggle with broken areas of my life. And voilà! Broken Umbrellas was born.

What was my inspiration? Let me just say, I feel most people are really bad at one thing or another in life like sports, or math, or sewing. For me it was relationships. Even becoming a Christian didn’t save me from a broken marriage. And I kept asking myself, “Why can’t I get this right?” And God showed me that when we have unhealthy hearts, we have unhealthy relationships. (That goes for friendship relationships, too.) Then he took me on an incredible 13-month journey that healed me in the most radical way. I wrote Broken Umbrellas because I don’t believe I’m the only one who has struggled with relationships.

What inspired you to start writing in the first place?

God gets all the credit here. He says write, and I obey! And I’m always blessed when I do.

Where do you get your ideas?

One way God speaks to me is through the pages of his Word, and I have incorporated that into my children’s series. Of course, my past brokenness and journey to healing prompted Broken Umbrellas, so a lot of “life research” went into that one. And I really enjoyed coming up with ideas for chapter titles. I loved your titles, too!

Broken Umbrellas

Do you write fiction, nonfiction, or both?

For now, I write nonfiction and children’s books. I don’t know where God will lead in the future, but my plate is pretty full with these genres.
I’m working with WhiteFire Publishing on a fun and inspiring piece called Barn Doors. Barn Doors is a collection of short stories about everyday life and how God speaks to me . . . and how I hear him. It releases next spring.

I also have a children’s series with DeWard Publishing called The Keeper Series. The Windkeeper is the first in the series and looks to be ready for this fall. An illustrator has it as we speak, bringing my words to colorful life. The Starkeeper will follow, and The Rainkeeper will complete the series.

I find it fascinating to learn about other author’s writing styles. Do you use an outline, or do you prefer to write by the seat of your pants?

There is no rhyme or reason to how I write. For example, with Broken Umbrellas I wrote the beginning to the middle and then took a few days to process all of that. Lots of tears as I relived those old wounds. Lots of grateful prayers for how far I’ve come. When I was ready to start where I left off, I felt led to write from the end and meet up in the middle. No outline, just wrote what leapt out of my heart and organized as I went along, which goes against my OCD for organizing, list making, and “going in order.” I can totally get behind that! Outlines kill stories for me!

What are your interests/hobbies (outside of writing!)?

April, I’m a crafty kind of person and always have a project out on the craft table. I also like to visit my son and his family in France. And it may surprise you to know that I love to read! But then again, I don’t know many writers who don’t love to read.

I’m so glad you stopped by to visit with us. Before you go, let me ask one last question. You’ve mentioned God’s Word as inspiring your writing. Would you share a Bible verse with us you find especially meaningful–and why it’s so meaningful to you?

It seems my favorite passage changes as often as the rising of the sun. But let me share my favorite passage THIS week. Psalm 103:14 says “[God] remembers that we are dust.” That is so powerful to me, and very humbling. And it has helped me extend grace more easily when I ponder this verse in relation to people who are difficult to love. Oh, I love that!

Where can readers find you on the web?

Blog/website: http://emmabrochstuart.com/

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/emmabrochstuart

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmmaBrochStuart

Email: emmabrochstuart@gmail.com

To order her book from your favorite online site in paperback or ebook form:

Amazon HERE

Barnes & Noble HERE

Thanks so much for stopping by, Emma!

My pleasure! Thanks again for inviting me.

Don’t forget to comment below for your chance to win an autographed copy of her new release, Broken Umbrellas!

Broken UmbrellasMy review of Broken Umbrellas:

“Oh, but when we are covered with Gods umbrella, we are accepted and safe. We have but to step under, and His protection shelters us.” Broken Umbrellas is a refreshingly transparent and heart touching re-telling of one woman’s facing divorce–in marriage, in spirituality, in friendships, and family. Emma Brock Stuart walks us through her steps of healing and points the reader to the path of The Healer for the ultimate restoration. Highly recommended–MUST READ.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Getting to Know you Author Elaine Marie Cooper

JPH04.14.0006HighRes (6 of 14)Elaine Marie Cooper is the author of Fields of the Fatherless, a historical fiction based on a true story from the American Revolution. She has also penned three historical romances: The Road to Deer Run, The Promise of Deer Run and The Legacy of Deer Run. Her passions are her family, her faith in Christ and the history of the American Revolution, a frequent subject of her fiction. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her novels. Her new release is Bethany’s Calendar, a memoir of her daughter’s battle with brain cancer.

I recently read her new title. Here is my reviewBethany’s Calendar is a touching memoir of a mother’s last days with her dying daughter. It’s woven with raw emotion, tragic moments, and unbreakable threads of Godly hope. Each chapter begins in Bethany’s own words as excerpts from her journal, continues with the author’s heartfelt, hard-earned experiences and memories, and closes with a thought or devotional, always pointing back to The Comforter of our sorrows for strength needed for the next day—or the next hour. A good book entertains, but an excellent book changes how we feel and offers a new perspective that unobtrusively works its way into our consciousness. This is such a book. A must-read for anyone dealing with cancer or chronic illness in their own lives or the lives of a loved one.

Please join me in welcoming Elaine!

Tell us a little about your background and how you became interested in writing. I think most authors confess to a childhood passion for writing. J My early attempts at the craft were an assortment of short fiction, poems, and a television manuscript! I’m sure they were quite amusing. I never thought this interest would lead to becoming a writer but the Lord kept leading me onto that path, regardless of my own plans.

What led you to write “Bethany’s Calendar?” I have to say it was the Lord impressing the idea on my heart during praise and worship time at a writer’s conference. I had no intentions of 8ever writing the painful saga of my daughter’s battle with brain cancer. I thought I would only continue writing historical fiction. But like Bethany’s illness changed her plans, God changed mine.

What is “Bethany’s Calendar” about? It’s the story of facing my worst fear: losing a child. It’s also the story of how we helped her through that painful journey and how others in similar situations can be strengthened in their role as caregivers. This memoir is geared toward families dealing with serious illness, cancer sufferers, nurses, and friends of caregivers. I pray that what my husband and I learned during this crisis will give hope and help to others.

That must have been unimaginably hard to write. Reliving that painful time was at times excruciating. I had many prayer warriors lifting me up to help me through the writing of the chapters. What a blessing to feel the prayers of others.

In the book, you say ” Be aware that many times, the people who you think would be the most supportive and helpful, will let you down in one way or another. If there are friends or family who are draining you of emotional energy, it is OK to keep them at a distance until you are capable of dealing with them.” Why do you feel that way? I have spoken with others in similar circumstances and I receive nods of understanding. I feel that way because as the caregiver, you have to keep your patient the priority for your energy. If you allow others to sap your strength with their unhelpful behavior, you end up of hurting yourself as well as your loved one. But I also add that it is important to forgive. Usually these people are grieving as well. That’s excellent advice. It’s like on the airplane and you’re told  in case of emergency to place your oxygen mask first and then help those around you.

What’s the most important thing readers will learn from “Bethany’s Calendar?” I pray that readers will see how faith in God can help them through the most dire of circumstances. Life is not easy but the Lord has promised us He will never leave us or forsake us. I also pray that caregivers will learn ways to be advocates for their loved ones who are ill. Every patient, weak from illness, needs a strong supporter who is willing to go to bat for them.

Now that you’ve shared about your journey with Bethany, do you have any upcoming plans for new novels? Yes, I’m working on a historical fiction set in Saratoga, New York in October of 1777. And in October of 1977. And no, it is not a time travel novel. 😉

Would you share a Bible verse that is particularly meaningful to you? A verse that means a great deal to me is 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so our comfort overflows through Christ.” HCSB 

A friend from church sent me these verses during Bethany’s illness and it made such an impression on me. I realize now that the message of this passage of Scripture seems to have come full circle in writing “Bethany’s Calendar,” and I pray it brings comfort to others.

Finally, can you tell us when you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing? Being with my family. Crocheting. Going to quality movies. Drinking tea and eating scones. Oh, scones, tea and movies. I’m all over that. If you’re ever in the PacNW, look me up 🙂 Thanks so much for joining us! I am so grateful you’ve taken the time to read this interview. And I pray that, should your family ever be impacted by cancer, that “Bethany’s Calendar” will help you in some way through your difficult journey.

Bethanys Calendar CoverYou can find Elaine Marie Cooper’s novel, Bethany’s Calendar on Amazon here http://buff.ly/12izRBy

Don’t go yet! If you have any questions of Elaine or myself, don’t forget to comment below!

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JASMINE: Carol Award Finalist!

Jasmine front webWhen you write a novel, you hope it will connect with readers and make some kind of impact. When I wrote JASMINE I prayed for that, and from letters, comments and reviews, those hopes are being fulfilled. But my fondest hopes never imagined JASMINE would be recognized in a contest. And certainly not a contest like the Carol Awards through American Christian Fiction Writers. To see the official announcement, click HERE. Jasmine is one of three finalists for debut novel!

So today, I’m going to highlight some of JASMINE’s reviews, and ask you to celebrate with me. If you’ve read JASMINE, would you please consider popping over to Amazon (here) and leave a review? Just a line or two. If you’ve read JASMINE or MACY and they touched your heart, would you recommend them to a friend?  And if you leave me a comment below, I’ll enter you into a contest for a signed copy of JASMINE to give to a friend or keep for you own.

Thanks so much to my readers for sharing and getting the word out! You guys really are the best.

JASMINE review highlights:

“McGowan’s well-developed characters honestly portray the cost of abuse and victimization on the streets few escape from. It’s a tale of hope, restoration and budding trust wrapped in God’s love and grace.” –Gail Welborn

“I highly recommend this book! My heart ached, grieved, even feared through this novel – April McGowan has a true gift from the Lord for writing, for understanding the human heart, and for demonstrating what the Lord can do in the most painful situations of life. Typically I would anticipate any great non-fiction work to be one that does not leave the reader unchanged. Jasmine, a work of fiction reflective of that which is played out in cities across America today, also does not leave the reader unchanged.” –Jeanie

“A captivating read with passages that melt your heart with the pain of Jasmine’s past and the struggle to find normalcy when her life has suffered from the deviant behavior of others. This is a story unafraid to ask the difficult questions about why bad things happen. It does not provide all the answers–but directs readers to the One Who will never leave or forsake us, even in the darkest hours.”–Elaine Cooper

“This book is one I will long remember, and I’ll remember Jasmine and the women she helped. I’ll wonder what they are doing and how they are…The story is that real. April McGowan is a wonderful writer with a heart for women trying to escape abusive situations. Her love and dedication shine through as she weaves the ugliness of abuse and desperation of the victims into a beautiful story of rescue and redemption. This is a good read I highly recommend.” –D. Durrett

“I highly recommend this book if you yourself are a survivor of childhood abuse, if you have someone in your life who is, or if you just want to read a really good fiction book.” –Kim Counts

“Jasmine is a book to be read by so many–those who are hurting from abuse, sexual or any other kind. People who work with emotional scarred individuals will also love this book. But aside from being socially relevant, Jasmine is a really good story for its mystery, suspense, romance, and the redemption of lives and family.”–Christine Lindsay

“Jasmine is the story of a girl who runs away from an abusive father, only to return to her birthplace of pain as an adult. Though she may have left town years ago, she finds the love of friends and family didn’t go away, and to her surprise, neither did God’s love. Jasmine offers hope to many women who have ever felt alone in their pain. It’s a powerful story with hope and healing woven throughout. I especially enjoyed the way it ended! Very satisfying!”–Melody Roberts

A huge thanks to everyone for reviewing! Did JASMINE touch you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below! I’ll draw from the comments below for a winner next Friday, June 11th.

 

 

 

 

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