Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Unbreakable by Nancy Mehl

A few years ago I read my first Nancy Mehl book. I'm so excited to welcome her to Sleuths and Suspects today.

Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Norman and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored fourteen books and is currently at work on a new series for Bethany House Publishing. The first book in her Road to Kingdom series, “Inescapable,” came out in July of 2012. The second book, “Unbreakable” released in February of 2013.
All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”

Readers can learn more about Nancy through her Web site: www.nancymehl.com or her blog www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com. She is also active on Facebook.






Nancy, how did you get your start writing fiction?

I started writing in my forties. Two things kicked off my decision to give writing a try. The first was an inspirational message I heard about finding your destiny, and the other, believe it or not, was the television series, Murder, She Wrote! I realized that more than anything, I wanted to be Jessica Fletcher. LOL!







Were you an avid reader as a child? What did you read?

Absolutely. I’d check out four or five books from the library and read them at night with a flashlight, under my covers! I couldn’t get enough.
I loved Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, The Bobbsey Twins, and anything with a touch of mystery in it.



What part of a writing career do you find most difficult?

Finding time to get everything done. Writers spend time doing a lot of other things besides writing. Authors are expected to promote their books, write blogs, and connect with readers. I do really enjoy getting to know my readers, but a lot of the other busy work gets me down sometimes.



What’s your favorite genre of writing?

Mystery first. Then suspense. I love what I’m writing now because my publisher encourages my mystery side. I get to combine both genres and that makes me happy.


Please tell us five random things we might not know about you.

I just became a grandmother for the first time! Aidan Jackson Mehl was born on Christmas Day. So, my new name is…Nana!

I’m a huge Doctor Who fan. In fact, one of the characters in Unbreakable, Ebbie Miller, was patterned after the tenth Doctor, David Tennant.

Although I’m writing Mennonite fiction, I’m not Mennonite. I have a lovely friend who is a Mennonite church historian in Goessel, Kansas. Judy Unruh keeps me on track. (Thanks, Judy!)

So far, all of my books have been set in Kansas. But the new series I’ll be writing for Bethany House will take place in Missouri.

Why?

Because sometime in 2013 my husband and I (and Watson) will be moving to Missouri. My son, his wife, and my new grandson live there. It will be a little bittersweet to change settings, but I look forward to doing some research in the “Show Me” state.

I love animals. All of our pets have been rescued. I’m a big believer in adopting animals that need to be rescued.

Who is the most fun character you ever created?

Well, I love Hilde Higgins, hairdresser for the dead. She is featured in my Curl Up and Dye mysteries. But I think my all time favorite is Ruby Bird. She ran a cafĂ© in my Ivy Towers series. Ruby was eccentric, loud (she couldn’t hear well), and she didn’t suffer fools gladly. I adored her! Still do.

Do you have a favorite book you’ve written?

You know, I just can’t pick one. Do I pick one of the cozies that helped a woman get through chemo because it made her laugh? Or the Harmony book that had a character with Down Syndrome? A woman wrote to tell me that the character reminded her of her uncle Drew who’d passed away. My character’s name was Drew, btw. Or what about the book that made another reader turn her life back to God? Those kinds of reactions mean more to me than any story ever will.

Does your faith affect your writing? How?

Absolutely. I pray over every book before I start and ask God what He wants to say through my story. I believe He uses fiction to touch people. Every book is dedicated to Him first.

Would you tell us about your current book release UNBREAKABLE?
UNBREAKABLE is the story of Hope Kauffman, a shy, quiet girl who lives in the Mennonite town of Kingdom, Kansas. When churches and people of faith are attacked in the county, the residents of Kingdom have to decide how to protect themselves. The core belief of the Mennonite faith is nonviolence, but will sticking to this doctrine put them in danger? Hope is engaged to a man who refuses to take up a weapon to defend himself – or anyone else. But another man Hope is drawn to makes a different choice. Hope’s heart is as divided as her hometown. Before the end of UNBREAKABLE Hope’s faith will be tested as her life hangs in the balance.

Where did you get your inspiration for UNBREAKABLE?

I started thinking about the Mennonite belief in nonviolence, or passive resistance. Mennonites believe it is right to resist evil, but they do not believe it’s right to resort to violence to obtain their goals. I began to wonder what would happen if a Mennonite town was attacked by violent men. Would everyone respond the same way? How much would the citizens of Kingdom risk in order to stand by their convictions? UNBREAKABLE was born from these questions.

What is it about your lead character that will make your readers care about her/him?

Hope is the kind of person who isn’t satisfied to accept what others tell her. Once she begins to question her church’s beliefs, nothing stops her from searching for the truth. She is incredibly honest and true to herself.


What is the main theme or spiritual message of this book?

The main theme is that we can disagree on doctrine but still love each other. There are some tenants of Christianity that shouldn’t be compromised. But there are others that aren’t so clearly defined. In UNBREAKABLE I tried to present two sides of an issue without demonizing brothers and sisters who chose different paths of faith.


Would you share with us what you are working on now?

I’m just starting a new series for Bethany House. It’s Mennonite-themed romantic suspense, but this time, it will be set in Missouri. I look forward to new locations to research. It should be fun.


Nancy is willing to give away a book if we get twelve comments from people not related to this blog. Be sure to leave us your comments.

Nancy, thanks so much for visiting with us today.










25 comments:

  1. Nancy, Unescapable was fabulous ! Would love to win Unbreakable !!

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  2. I would love to read this book!

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  3. Looks like a fun book to add to my reading list.

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  4. I ADORED "Unescapable." I would love to read Unbreakable!

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  5. This is definitely on my list to read. Would love to win a copy. I think it is AWESOME that you are moving to be close to your new grandbaby. & family. - Donna Harmon

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  6. I would like to win your book Nancy! Know you will miss your long time home, but you will get to watch you grandson grow. Think this series sounds good. Maxie
    mac262(at)me(dot)com

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  7. I've loved getting to know Nancy as much as I love her characters in the Road to Kingdom series. I've read both in this series and they are excellent. Please don't enter me in a drawing as I have the book. Blessings and thank you for sharing, Susan Fryman

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  8. I would love to win and read your book. Thanks for your great works.
    inspiremichelle@yahoo.com

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  9. I am currently reading 'Unbreakable' and am challenged each day as I read that each of us are on a spiritual journey. In this book we have the privilege of traveling with Nancy's characters through their journey of learning to explicitly trust God. Guns, power, intelligence are no match for our big Heavenly Father. Thanks, Nancy for writing for us! Abby would love to get a copy of your book. She picked up mine and acted interested which is alot for a teenager!!

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  10. I will gladly comment on here for a chance to win this book, I discovered it yesterday and it sounds great!

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

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  11. Thanks for all the nice comments.

    Yes, moving at this stage of life is daunting. To be honest, I had a little breakdown last week thinking about leaving a house I've lived in for 36 years. But this week I'm beginning to get excited. Hope that feelings lasts! LOL!

    My son said something that really impacted me. He said he thinks we're "brave" to make a change like this.

    I liked that. :)

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  12. I would love to win this book. Thank you for the chance.

    griperang at embarqmail dot com

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  13. I love reading Nancy's books.
    Would like to be a winner.
    Carolyn Jefferson
    carolynj63@att.net

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  14. I have read this book! I wish everyone good luck on winning it. You will love it! I love page turners and this one certainly was. Plus, I love mysteries!

    Blessings!
    Judy

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  15. THIS IS NOT A COMMENT FOR THE GIVEAWAY!

    I just wanted to congratulate Jackie on a well done interview, and I enjoyed reading about you and your writing, Nancy. I'm actually reading a Mennonite fiction book: In Plain Sight by Amy Wallace. Personally, I attended a Mennonite house plant in Nashville for a couple of years.

    Hope you all have a great day.

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  16. Nancy is an awesome author and I am so excited about the books she is working on now. Congrats Nancy on becoming a Nana and I hope that you enjoy Missouri. If you want to chat about the Mennonites that I knew in Missouri feel free to email me! Thanks for the book giveaway too : )
    God bless!
    makeighleekyleigh at yahoo.com

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  17. I really enjoyed reading your interview, Nancy. I am a grandma too, my grandson will be two soon. I think it's awesome you love animals and all yours are rescues, we have three and have helped rescue lots more to other homes. While it's sad to be leaving your home, it will be well worth it to be closer to that precious little grandbaby of yours. I pray you have a stress-free move and that you will get settled into your new home quickly. God bless!! Sherri christianbookreviewer at gmail dot com

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    1. Sherri, congratulations, you're the winner. I'll be in touch with Nancy.

      Happy Valentine's Day.

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  18. Thanks, Jeff. I'd also like to thank Jackie. She was so great to work with, and I also think she did a super job.

    Thanks, Megan and Sherri. And I might take you up on that sometime, Megan!

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  19. Hoping to win this for my church library.

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  20. I'd sure like to have a Nancy Mehl book, to date have not read one. Thank you. :)

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  21. Nancy, you are a new author to me. I loved Inescapable & would love to win Unbreakable. Thank you for the opportunity.

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  22. Love your books and would love to win! God Bless.
    donnac.taylor@hotmail.com

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  23. Looks like a great book...would love to win!

    truckredford at gmail dot com

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  24. Sherri is our winner.

    Thanks so much to everybody who stopped by.

    I hope you all have a great Valentine's Day.

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