Sunday, November 24, 2013

Giveaway and Interview With Bryan Powell

Let me introduce my friend and fellow author Bryan Powell. This is Bryan's fist time being on Sleuths and Suspects. Welcome Bryan! Without further ado let's get started with Bryan's interview. Oh, I forgot to say that Bryan is offering a free e-book to a follower who leaves a comment and email address.

Bryan Powell
              Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, my name is Bryan Powell, I’m a 63-year-old white guy who sometimes writes from a black guy’s POV, that’s point of view, for the writers among us. But before I tell you why and how I do that, let me finish introducing myself. I’m a full-time writer. To me, that means, I write all the time, and as a means of paying my bills. This is not a hobby or an avocation. It’s what I do. Before that, I was a full-time choir director. As a part of that position, I wrote music. I’ve written over 80 choral pieces ranging from children’s songs to youth, choral and adult choir numbers. Many of those, I’ve orchestrated and some have actually been published. My wife is my biggest fan and first reader. She and I read (out loud) everything I write, and we edit it together. We’ve done it that way since my first book in 2011. Three of my seven grandchildren are my second biggest fans. I tell folks, these are G-Rated books, meaning. The G stands for my grandchildren. If my 16, 14,and 11 year old grandchildren can’t read it, I won’t write it. But enough about me.
             Tell us about your most recent book.
My most recent book was one that I tried not to write. I write Adult Fiction/Suspense, and to say I’ve read a Biography or Auto-biography would be a stretch. So when my pastor approached me about writing his father’s story, I resisted. I didn’t think there would be enough; conflict, drama or intrigue. I was wrong. Reluctantly, I accepted the challenge along with 126 pages of handwritten notes to read over the Christmas break. I found myself drawn into Mr. Gillis’s life, and yes, there was plenty of conflict, and drama. Plus, there was a paycheck at the end of the tunnel and that was exactly what I thought I needed at the time. Little did I know, the lessons I would learn from this dear man. So I wrote Faith, Family, and a Lot of Hard Work…the Grady Gillis Story.
Why did you choose this genre?
Faith, Family, and a Lot of Hard Work…the Grady Gillis Story is way outside of my usual genre. It’s a creative memoir, and my genre is Mystery/Suspense/Action/Thrillers. I’ve written 16 of them. But this book took on a life of its own as I began to see life from Mr. Gillis’s POV. For those precious moments as I wrote his story, I actually became Grady Gillis. I began to speak and express my thoughts as I might have. It’s called a Creative Memoir because I wrote it like a novel rather than a straight Biography. It is chock-full of Mr. Gillis’ wit and humor with enough wisdom for us all to learn.
             What was your journey to publication like?
My journey to publication began as I, as a raw-boned newbie, began to look for a publisher. Sorry to say, at that time, I knew nothing of agents and traditional presses. I looked up publishers and found a plethora of “For Fee” publishers. After reading their various programs and statements of faith, etc. I settled with Tate Publications, located in Mustang, OK. In 2011, submitted my manuscript, Stranger in the Pulpit, and to my amazement, it was accepted. Of course, it took a little under $4,000 to lubricate the presses, but what’s that among friends. They did a great job of designing a cover and layout, not so good on the marketing. So I learned really early, if was going to get done, I had to do it myself. Thus, I became a marketing guru over-night. My second mystery novel, Stranger in the White House, was submitted in 2012 and after negotiating a better “Author contribution,” it was accepted and published in late 2012. When it came time to submit book three in the Stranger Series, I felt like I’d made Tate enough money for them to publish it with no “Contribution.” That didn’t work out and so I sought another publisher. I was at a big signing event down in Carrolton, GA, and met John Bell with Vabella Publishing. I found out that we had much in common. That Vabella was a small, independent, traditional press. I submitted The Stranger Among Us, and again, to my amazement, it was accepted. It was released this past October.
       What is a couple of your favorite books and what are you reading now?
               My wife and I have read all of the Joel Rosenburg novels, along with the Left-Behind Series, and I’ve got to say, Joel is my favorite author. That said, I just finished reading Don Brown’s Black Sea Affair and totally enjoyed it. Patty and I are reading (when I say reading, I mean, she is reading and I am driving the car…listening). Currently, she is reading Joanie Bruce’s thriller, Marked for Murder. It’s a nail-biter.
             Can you give us a little peek inside what you are working on now?
Currently, I am working on the second book in the Jared Russell Series. Book one, Sisters of the Vail, is a Kindle Direct Publishing book. It has been widely distributed in an E-book, but is awaiting its physical, soft-cover debut. Book two, Blood Brothers, picks up where Sisters left off. Jared Russell (a black, former Marine, turned architect) and his wife Fatemah go to Lebanon. Xavier and Wright Architectural Group has contracted with Lebanon International University to do their expansion and Jared is the liaison. He is provided with a lavished salary and expense account. Fatemah sees this as an opportunity to open the Harbor House, a “safe place” for new converts. However, when a “Fatwa” is declared, they and soon find themselves caught in a web of intrigue and deceit. The more they learn about Anita, their housekeeper, the more they are drawn into an international conflict. When it is discovered that Anita is Fatemah’s cousin and the daughter of the prime minister, things begin to spin out of control. You will fall in love with Anita, my feisty, out-spoken and endearing character, just as Habib did. Oh, did I tell you there is, as in all my novels, a romance percolating. Yes, big time. Guess who’s falling in love. To complicate matters, Anita has two brothers, thus the name. You will have to wait to discover their plot, but suffice it to say, America, watch your back, because the Blood Brothers are coming.
            What advice would you give to those who are on their own journey to publication.
       My advice to aspiring writers is this. Buy Velcro. You may question the wisdom or sanity of my absurd statement, but let me explain. Buy some Velcro, open the package, and follow the instructions. Sew one side to your chair and the other to the seat of your britches and sit. Don’t get up until you’ve written something. So my advice is simple. Writers write. And after they’ve written, they re-write, and re-write. Don’t get discouraged. Writing is a lonely business, so join a writers group. They will be your biggest supporters.
Can you share any books or websites that have helped you with your writing? 
      Let me recommend Renea Winchester’s book Stress-Free Marketing: Practical Advice for the Newly Published Author. For a fun read, check out her book In the Garden with Billy, as well.
              Please give us some links where you can be found.
You can find me by going to My website is with the header Author Bryan Powell’s Books. I can be reached by e-mail by pasting in

Author Bio: Deborah Malone’s first novel Death
in Dahlonega, finaled in the American Christian Fiction Writer’s Category Five writing contest! Deborah was also nominated for 2012 Georgia Author of the Year in First Novel category. She has worked as a freelance writer and photographer, for the historic magazine “Georgia Backroads.” She has had many articles and photographs published, and her writing is featured in “Tales of the Rails,” edited by Olin Jackson. She is a member of the Georgia Writer’s Association as well as Advanced Writer’s and Speakers Association. As a current member of the American Christian Fiction Writer she has established a blog where she reviews Christian Fiction.  


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Interview and E-Book Giveaway With Janet Sketchley

by Jeff Reynolds


Ladies and gentlemen, today's interview is with Janet Sketchley. She'll be giving away an e-book copy of her debut novel (and also her latest release) Heaven's Prey. More about that later.

Jeff Reynolds:  Welcome to Sleuths and Suspects, Janet. I'd like to ask first about your testimony and your family.

Janet Sketchley: Thanks, Jeff, I'm glad to be here. I've read some fun interviews at Sleuths and Suspects. Hmm...

Faith: I'm thankful to have been raised in a Christian home and that God gave me a believing heart at a young age. It doesn't mean I haven't struggled, but Jesus has kept me out of a heap of trouble that I'd otherwise have created. The tenacity of God is one of my themes in writing, because it's something I've experienced in my own life.

Family: My husband and three sons are wonderful men who add warmth, encouragement and laughter to my life. Everyone's still at home, but our sons may all leave the nest within the next year. Major adjustment!  

JR:  Your debut novel has just come out. Would you like to tell us about Heaven's Prey? (I'm in complete suspense on how you'll answer that question -- any chances of you saying "no" to that one? LOL)

JS:  (Smiling) Why, this question is a complete shock, Jeff. What can I say? Despite her husband’s objections, 40-something Ruth Warner finds healing through prayer for Harry Silver, the serial killer who brutally raped and murdered her niece. When a kidnapping-gone-wrong pegs her as his next victim, Harry claims that by destroying the one person who’d pray for him, he proves God can’t—or won’t—look after His own. Can Ruth’s faith sustain her to the end—whatever the cost?
JR:  One thing that made an impression about your book, released Nov. 1, 2013, is that the Amazon page mentioned it received a third place finish in Risen Book's 2011 contest and was on the short list for the 2008 best new Canadian author award. Considering these awards were accomplished years before its release, it sounds like getting this published has been a journey. What was the process like?

JS:  Long! These and a few other "so close" moments began to feel like all I'd ever find. Heaven's Prey needed the right timing and the right publisher, and I needed to learn a lot about crafting a novel. Truth told, I got so used to "no" that I wasn't sure what to do with a "yes" when it came.

JR:  The accolades I mentioned in the previous question weren't the first for a book you've been involved with. You also have a true story published in A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider, which won the 2012 Christian Small Publishers Gift Book Award Winner and also received six 2012 The Word Awards and seven Awards of Merit. Would you like to tell us about your contribution there?

JS:  I loved being part of A Second Cup of Hot Apple Cider. The 37 authors worked as a team, and we learned from one another. My story, "The Road Trip that Wasn't," shares how God showed Himself faithful when my car died on a remote stretch of highway—when I had three young kids and no cell phone.

JR:  Another outlet of your writing is reviews, including some by authors I've interviewed on this blog (Kerry Nietz, Sandra Orchard, Jayne Self, and Lynette Eason, for example.) What advice would you give to writing a review? And how has your review writing (both fiction and non-fiction) helped with your fiction writing?

JS:  Main piece of advice: never give spoilers. Introduce readers to the book, give your impressions of what worked and what didn't, and let readers know where they can find the book/author. If the book is outside of what you usually review, make sure readers are aware of the difference in case their tastes aren't as broad. (eg. I mention any language issues if reviewing a mainstream book, since my readers are used to me reviewing Christian books)

The biggest thing review-writing has done for my own fiction is to help me pick out the key details for a plot summary. It also gives me practice looking at the overall book structure instead of getting bogged down in the details.   

JR:  You've written an excellent guest blog on praying for others ( I don't know if you keep up with what's going on down here in the United States, but what trends in Canada prompt the greatest prayer? Any other comments on intercession?

JS:  Cyber-bullying and teen suicide. Abuse and violent crime. The need for integrity and wisdom in leadership. Right now, typhoon devastation in the Philippines. I could go on. In interceding for such high-level needs, we need to be careful to bring them to God and leave them in His hands. If we start carrying them ourselves, we'll break. We don't have the power, and often we don't even have the words, but we know our God does. And we know He cares. A key part of my prayers for such big needs is that in some way He will reveal Himself to the ones in pain, that they'll see His love and the difference He's making.

JR:  Back to your reviews -- I noticed two of the contemporary fiction works you reviewed have "Dog" in the title. Is that a hint that I'm interviewing an animal lover?

JS:  It's actually a coincidence, but I'm very fond of animals. We have a pet-free house due to allergies, so I have to visit friends for my animal fix. I'd love to have a cat, but I'd rather keep my husband. :)

JR:  Thank you for your time. Could you pass along your website and any other information you'd like us to know that I haven't mentioned?

JS:  Jeff, thank you for putting so much thought and research into preparing these questions. I hope your readers realize the effort that goes into making an interview like this. My website is I guess I should say, Heaven's Prey is book 1 in the Redemption's Edge series, and book 2 will release in 2014. Thank you again for having me here at Sleuths and Suspects.

Jeff to the reader: Now it's time to give away an e-book copy of Heaven's Prey. Here are the simple rules:

  1. Leave a comment, as usual.
  2. Include your e-mail address -- again, as usual. 
  3. Janet mentioned using the news as a prompt to intercede for others. What news stories have led you to prayer?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Welcome Christy Barritt

Last year I met Christy Barritt in Dallas at the annual ACFW conference. She's very sweet, and I'm excited to have her join us today.

Thanks so much for having me here on Sleuths and Suspects! I’m Christy Barritt, I’m the author of more than twenty books, and my latest book is called High-Stakes Holiday Reunion. This romantic suspense novel released this month through Love Inspired Suspense.

Today, I wanted to talk a little about how to keep writing during the holiday season. In the writing life, keeping the pages cranked out during the holidays can be difficult. There are added events on our calendars, shopping to do, family to visit, and meals to cook! But it is possible to keep writing and meet deadlines, even when Christmas lights are strung outside.

I’ve actually written ten books this year. People always think they’ve heard me incorrectly when I say that, but it’s true. Their next question is how? I have two young kids, I homeschool one of them, lead the children’s choir at my church, and I freelance for a couple of other publications.

I’d like to say there’s some magic secret to how I get so much accomplished, but the truth is that I make myself work hard. Every week, I write between 10,000-15,000 words. I usually continue this over the holidays, although I do try to take some time off. This year, I have a book deadline on December 31, so I’m not sure I can cut myself any slack.

Writing that many words a week, I can finish the first draft of a book in roughly four to six weeks. I usually start another book then, set the other book aside for a few weeks, and then write the first draft of another book. I got back to the first book, edit it, and I continue to work on new projects. It’s quite a bit to juggle, but I’ve gotten into a good routine with it.

Another secret is the fact that I really enjoy what I’m doing. I love creating new stories and characters and dilemmas. I give myself deadlines, and I have people to hold me accountable. Doing something you love makes it feel less like work. I’m definitely blessed to get paid for something that is so much fun!

So, keep writing at the holidays. Jot down notes about your senses during the season. Remember the smells, the tastes, the emotions, the strange events, or quirky neighbors who celebrate in ways different than you. Enjoy life, but tuck away memories for your stories.

One final thing I thought would be fun to share a recipe. This is a super simple one for Caramel Apple Cider, but I love it. At Christmastime, I buy a gallon of apple cider, some caramel topping (one of those bottles that can be squeezed on top of ice cream), and a can of whipped cream. I put the apple cider into a crock-pot and add about half a bottle of the caramel topping. I heat it up most of the day (makes the house smell wonderful!). I then serve it in mugs and top it with whipped cream. I drizzle a little more caramel across the top. It’s yummy and sweet and requested every year!

Thanks for letting me share.

God bless, and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

USA Today has called Christy Barritt’s books “scary, funny, passionate, and quirky.” Three of Christy’s books have been Amazon bestsellers and others have won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery, been nominated for the Romantic Times’ Reviewers Choice Award, and finaled for a Carol. She writes two genres: quirky first person mysteries and romantic suspense. For more information on her books, visit her website at

Please be sure to leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win a book from Christy. Paperback or ebook, your choice.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Review of Eyes Wide Open by Ted Dekker

I just finished Eyes Wide Open by Dekker. 

Eyes Wide Open by Ted Dekker. A pair of cracked spectacles are on the front cover.

This story is written in an episodic nature, though I read it like a novel, from front to cover. Dekker is offering the first episode of this novel for free on Amazon Kindle. The first episode is also available for free on Amazon in audiobook format.

Eyes Wide Open is the story of Christy Snow and Austin Hartt, two young people in love; the story is relayed using third person POV. Christy sets out to find a lost locket but becomes trapped. When Christy goes missing, Austin goes to look for her. In an eerie twist, the two become victims of mistaken identity and encounter a mysterious figure named Outlaw.

The phrase, ‘things are not what they seem’ might be the best way to sum up this novel. Vision is a common theme throughout the story, and Dekker uses symbols like lamps to demonstrate this theme. This story made me think of the Scripture, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18a KJV). The Christian symbolism used in this story is very evident. I’m curious to see where Dekker goes with the rest of the series. My only criticism is that perhaps the symbolism was a little overemphasized so that I felt pulled out of the story ever so slightly, but that could just be because as a believer, I immediately recognized the symbols. Perhaps the symbolism wouldn’t be so obvious to a mainstream secular audience. I don’t fault Dekker for making sure his message is clear. 

The story starts out more with a Boneman’s Daughters/The Bride Collector feel and ends with more of a Paradise series vibe. The beginning definitely hooks readers right away and, in a typical, Dekkeresque, spine tingling, nail biting fashion. Few books can do that. 

Dekker fans and other readers who enjoy suspense should appreciate this novel. I look forward to the other books in this series.

*Please note that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own.

Check out this gripping back cover copy from Eyes Wide Open

Who am I? 

My name is Christy Snow. I'm seventeen and I'm about to die. 

I'm buried in a coffin under tons of concrete. No one knows where I am. My heart sounds like a monster with clobber feet, running straight toward me. I'm lying on my back, soaked with sweat from the hair on my head to the soles of my feet. My hands and feet won't stop shaking.

Some will say that I m not really here. Some will say I'm delusional. Some will say that I don t even exist. But who are they? I'm the one buried in a grave. 

My name is Christy Snow. I'm seventeen. I'm about to die. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Interview with C.S. Lakin

Recently, I interviewed author C.S. Lakin, who is published in several genres, including mystery/suspense.

female author C.S. Lakin

How many books have you written?

I’m completing my fourteenth novel this week, and have already gotten a bit into book fifteen, which is my last book of my fantasy series (#7). I’ve also written two nonfiction writing craft books that my agent is shopping around. I’ll be doing another one of those this winter, to run on my blog all year as my writing course, which I do each year. I love “blogging my books.”

a red rose is shown on the cover

Which authors have influenced your writing the most?

Patricia A. McKillip is my favorite author. She is an amazing fantasy writer and is a master at wordsmithing. I try to write as well and as beautifully as she does but I’m sure I fail miserably. When you read her fairy tales, you feel shifted into a different dimension of time and space. I like a lot of writers, but not any as much as her.

I also love Elizabeth George, the mystery writer, known for her Inspector Lynley series. She delves deep into all her characters and creates unique voices for them, with a great stream of consciousness style. I would put Orson Scott Card in this group as well. I’m enamored with his character development and deep POV.

a man, a wolf, and a mountain are shown on the cover

Who is your favorite character (out of all the novels you’ve written) and why?

Adin, from The Map across Time. He embodies all my hopes, fears, insecurities. He is a flawed character but with a heart for truth and loyalty. I absolutely love him. But I fall in love with many of my characters. And I’m especially close to Ruyah, my wolf in The Wolf of Tebron, because he represents Jesus and how he loves, protects, and sacrifices for us. Funny, I’m not so attached to the characters in my contemporary psychological suspense novels. Most of them are pretty pathetic, but I do feel drawn to Matt and Irene and Casey in Someone to Blame.

Not only are you an author, but you do coaching, freelancing, blogging, teaching, etc. on the side. What does your writing schedule look like?

I get up early, run two miles on my treadmill, check e-mail, post tweets, throw the ball for the dog, then get to work (in between throwing the ball and Frisbee for the dog). I edit manuscripts for writers—all kinds of books: fiction (poetry, novels, short stories) and nonfiction. Usually work for about 6-7 hours, then cook dinner, do laundry, clean up, watch Star Trek with my husband when he comes home (or something compatible). When I’m writing a novel, I work in the evenings after doing my “real” job.

a filmstrip is shown on the cover.

You write in a variety of genres. Do you find it easy to switch between different genres? What is your favorite genre?

I love writing in different genres. People have told me forever that you can’t do that, it’s bad and against the rules. Come again? Writing is a joy and exploration. The more a writer can stretch her abilities and tell different stories, the better. I think fantasy/sci-fi is my favorite because I can create worlds, and I’ve been reading those genres my whole life and love the imaginativeness of it all. But I love many genres. I’m writing a historical romance right now, a western, since I love horses and raised them for many years.

On your website, you mention that “My prayer is to keep focused on God.” What advice can you give to aspiring Christian authors to help them keep things in perspective and continue to focus on God?

Such an important question. I could write volumes on that. But one thing I’ve learned on this long, hard journey as a writer is you write what’s in your heart, do the very best you can to learn to be the best writer you can be, then let go of the outcome. It’s way easier said than done. What if God’s will is to spend your entire life writing books and you never sell even one or no one buys them. Are you going to be okay with that? You have to be, for the only thing that matters is being faithful to your calling. What God does with all that is up to him. Enjoy the writing, give it as a sacrifice of praise to God, and don’t fret about the outcome. God has the right to do what he wants with your sacrifice, and if you are not a success by worldly standards, you (we) should know that’s not the measure of God’s love for you. He always does things different from what we want and expect. Not always comfortable or helpful, but it’s all about trusting him and being faithful.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Review of Stolen Legacy by Diane and David Munson

a woman is shown running on the front cover. Two pieces of art are shown; one contains a windmill.

Do you like history? Do you like thrillers? Then you should enjoy Stolen Legacy, the 8th thriller written by authors Diane and David Munson.

Agent Eva Montanna visits her grandpa Marty and hopes to help him write his memoirs, using his WWII journals. During Eva’s visit, Marty is threatened. Eva must try to protect her grandfather and find out who is after him. She hopes Marty’s journals will provide a clue.

Stolen Legacy is a fast-paced journey that takes the reader back in time to WWII and resolves in the present. I read The Joshua Covenant, an earlier thriller written by the Munsons, and I liked that Stolen Legacy contains characters from the previous book.

authors Diane and David Munson, aka the ExFeds

The authors bring a lot of experience to the table. Diane is a former federal prosecutor, and David is a former NCIS special agent. I think it’s cool that they are a husband and wife writing team. I’m a professional technical editor, and I’ve been asked to ensure that documents written by different authors maintain one voice. While reading Stolen Legacy, I couldn’t tell which chapters were written by David and which were written by Diane.

Not only was this an interesting story, but I learned more about history as a result of having read the book. Also, the book just felt sort of timely. 

As a special bonus feature, readers are encouraged to email the Munsons and request a copy of the epilogue.

*Please note that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. However, I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed here is my own. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Review of Trapped by Irene Hannon

Cover of suspense novel, Trapped, by Irene Hannon. A girl is shown walking along in the cold. Trees are in the background, and a snowy scene with a lone park bench are in the foreground.

I recently read Trapped by Irene Hannon. It reminded me more of something written by Ted Dekker (e.g., Boneman's Daughters or The Bride Collector). The book is told in third person deep POV using five POV characters. The book tells the story of librarian Laura Griffith, who is raising her teenage half sister, Darcy. When Darcy disappears, Laura contacts James Devlin, a PI and former ATF agent. James and Laura race to find Darcy.

This is definitely creepier than most of Hannon’s books. I like Hannon and Dekker’s writing, so I enjoyed the book. However, I can see where some of Hannon’s fans might not like the darker edge to this story.

I liked that the novel moved along at a fast pace and was suspenseful. From what I can tell, Hannon did a good job of researching law enforcement details, and she masterfully handled POV. 

I didn't like that a character cried out to God in what appeared to be in vain (though it was lowercase, so as not to refer to God, but I still didn’t think it was needed). 
This book will appeal to Hannon (and perhaps even Dekker) fans as well as anyone who hasn’t read Hannon but enjoys suspense and romantic suspense.

To learn more about Hannon and her writing, please visit her Website –

*Please note that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. 
However, I was not required to write a positive review. 
The opinion expressed here is my own. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Interview and Book Giveaway with Kerry Nietz

by Jeff Reynolds


This month I have the honor of interviewing Kerry Nietz, who's published by Marcher Lord Press.  We'll be giving away your choice of any of his books, in your choice of print or e-book. The three rules are below.

Jeff Reynolds: How did you come to faith and how did you start getting into writing?

Kerry Neitz: I’m one of those fortunate individuals who came to faith in Christ at an early age. My parents were (still are) very dedicated Christians, and while not perfect, were great models for me growing up. Plus the church we attended was like family. 

I usually say I was eight when I came to know the Lord, but it might have been even earlier. Best decision I ever made. Doubtless saved me from a lot of poor decisions and heartache. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 3:6 “In all your way acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” In the course of my Christian walk I’ve found nothing more accurate than that. God gives straight paths to those who acknowledge Him.

As for the second part of your question, in some respects, I have been writing most of my life. Scraps of things I wrote as a kid still turn up at my parents’ house. I didn’t get serious about it until fourteen years ago, though. My first book (non-fiction) was published in October of 2003, so this month marks a writing anniversary for me.  It has been an interesting ten years.

JR: Could you tell us about your latest book and how did you get the idea for that book?

KN: Love to!

The story’s genesis goes back a couple years. Amish novels were all the rage, and my publisher, Jeff Gerke, sent out a mock cover to the Marcher Lord Press authors. An obvious spoof. It featured a bonneted female vampire with some Amish paraphernalia behind her. Also behind her was a large window with a view of an orange planet. Enough to make it clear that the setting was in space. The novel’s title was Vein Pursuit and it was part of the Amish Vampires in Space series. Jeff said it was the ultimate speculative novel! A genre crossover that was sure to be a hit. It was a joke he shared at writing conferences he attended, as well.

A year or so passed, and at one point I told him that someone should write that Amish Vampire in Space book. I didn’t think it was me, because I tend toward hard science fiction, and the title screams: Camp! Plus, I had a trilogy of my own to finish. (The DarkTrench trilogy, which started with A Star Curiously Singing.)

Then last year I got this idea about how it all might work, and not be campy. A theme emerged along with a couple key characters, so I started writing. Before I knew it, I was 30,000 words in. I emailed Jeff to tell him what I was doing. When he stopped laughing, he encouraged me to continue. I finished last June and sent it to him. He liked what he read, so here we are.

JR:  Was this book as fun to write as it sounds? What was the greatest challenge you faced writing it?

KN: It was great fun to write. It felt like a speculative novelist’s playground to me. Plus the characters really drove the plot. They just started showing up on the page and took over. The book is my longest, but I felt it could’ve been much longer if I hadn’t reined them all in a little.

The biggest challenges were a) creating authentic Amish characters, and b) contriving plausible science fiction vampires. I had some help with the first one, in the form of a friend who’s an Amish romance writer. With the second, I was pretty much on my own....but not really. God is always gracious to me when I’m doing research. Providing just the right science or intriguing idea when I need it.  It is a difficult process to describe, but it has happened with all my sci-fi books. It is typically like “Well, Lord, I’ve written myself into a corner here...whoa, oh wait, this will work. Thanks!”

JR:  You mentioned your name's in half a dozen other books. Could you tell us about them? And is one of them "But Who Would Be Dumb Enough To Even Try It?"

KN: Sure! I’m fond of all my “children.” I have a sci-fi trilogy that speculates a world under sharia (Islamic) law. The main character is this technological slave named Sandfly. He has an implant in his head to connect him to the future version of the internet, while also keeping him on the straight and narrow via little shocks called “stops.” 

The trilogy starts with A Star Curiously Singing. The third book in the series, Freeheads, won the Epic award this year, and was just named a medalist in the Readers Favorite award competition. What is neat there is that in both cases the book was entered in the mainstream science fiction (not Christian-specific) category, even though it is clearly a Christian book. 

This February my standalone sci-fi novel Mask was published. It takes place in the Pacific Northwest in the not-too-distant future where everything is decided by a vote. The main character, Radial, is a collector. If you get voted out of the city, he’s the one to come get you. It was just named a finalist for the 2014 Epic award.

I also rereleased my memoire FoxTales this summer. New cover, new revisions, and the addition of some fun souvenirs from my files (maps, funny memos, and whatnot).  I’m happy with how it turned out.

That brings us to the two collaborative projects I’ve been a part of. One of those is a short story anthology, Ether Ore, which showcases many of the Marcher Lord authors. I think my story, "Graxin", is tons of fun, but all the stories are great.

Finally, there’s the collaborative fantasy story that many of the Marcher Lord authors helped craft: But Who Would Be Dumb Enough To Even Try It? Each week, for fourteen weeks, a different author would pick up the reins of the story—often from the perspective of a different character—and run with it. It was terrific fun and really seat-of-your-pants writing. There was very little overall planning, so you were at the mercy of whatever the last author left you the week before. Challenging, fun, and a bit chaotic. Despite that (or maybe because of it) I think story turned out quite well. 

That’s one advantage of being part of the Marcher Lord fold. Literary experimentation is encouraged. 

JR:  Probably, for anybody coming up with a new novel is having a tough act to follow. For a novelty story that stretches a genre, I'd guess the challenge is greater. What's next on the agenda? Or are you planning a historical romance next?

KN: LOL. No, no historical romance planned as of yet. You know, I’m at one of those places where I’m open to wherever God wants to take me, writing-wise. There are several things I could do—step back into any of the worlds of my other books, but right now I’m really busy with promotion of what I’ve written already. That takes more time than you might think. 

After that...we’ll see.

JR:  Thank you for your time. Is there a web-page people can keep in touch with you at?

KN: Absolutely. My website is I’m also regularly on my Facebook author page here:

Thanks for inviting me!

Jeff to Reader:
Now, for the giveaway. You have your choice between the books he's mentioned, in your choice of format. You just have to do three simple things:

1. Leave a comment. 
2. Include your e-mail address.
3. Tell us what you would consider a title for a book that would grab people's attention like Kerry's Amish Vampires In Space