Category Archives: Author Interviews

Interview with Amy Clipston (Plus Giveaway!)

A Mother’s Day Q&A with Author Amy Clipston

Amy and sons

Amy Clipston with sons Matt and Zac

What was your favorite Mother’s Day? 

My favorite was after Matt was born because I had my two wonderful boys.

What was your most favorite book to read to your boys when they were little?

Zac absolutely loved Big Joe’s Trailer Truck by Joe Mathieu! He knew it by heart! It’s the cutest book, and I read it to Matt also. We kept it and will pass it on if they have children.

Do you get any book ideas from your sons’ shenanigans?

I haven’t really included any of their shenanigans, but I did model a character after Zac. In my young adult book Roadside Assistance, Logan, who is Whitney’s younger brother, was inspired by Zac. Logan likes Star Wars and video games, and his room is decorated similarly to how Zac’s room used to look.

What’s one of your favorite memories/stories of your boys with your books?

For the past four years I’ve spoken to the 6th grade at my boys’ middle school. I don’t think I embarrassed them too badly when they were members of the audience. One of my sons doesn’t tell many people that I write books, but my other son proudly shares it with friends and teachers. He frequently comes home from school and tells me that the girls in his classes are reading my books. I’m thankful he’s not embarrassed by me or my books.

As a mother, what is your prayer for your boys?

My prayer is that they stay healthy and they find a profession they love. I also pray that if they chose to marry, they find someone who is nice and who will treat them with love and respect. I tell them repeatedly that love should never make them feel bad about themselves. I pray with all of my heart that they will be happy.

About Amy

Amy

Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and three spoiled rotten cats.

Amy Clipston’s Website
Amy Clipston at Zondervan

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Don’t Miss Amy Clipston’s May Giveaway!

Click through on the photo to enter for a chance to win the prizes shown below, including Amish doll clothes that fit American Girls size dolls!

Amy Clipston May Giveaway

Author Interview: Q & A with T. A. Barron, author of Atlantis Rising

I’m excited to be presenting a Q & A with T. A. Barron, the author of Atlantis Rising, the first in a trilogy of books about the origins of the legendary lost land. The paperback release of the novel is this Thursday, September 25. (If you missed my recent post about the free prequel to the Atlantis Saga, Never Again: The Origin of Grukarr, it’s here.)

Widely known for his bestselling Merlin Saga, in 2000 Mr. Barron founded The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, a national award that “honors outstanding young leaders who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet.” Be sure to visit the Barron Prize website and meet the current and past winners.

And now, on with our interview!

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Let’s start at the very beginning:

Q: Why did you choose to write about Atlantis?

A: No word evokes more of a feeling of tragedy than the word Atlantis. It stands for almost, what might have been. The tale of Atlantis is such a beautiful story, and for the 2000 years since Plato first wrote about it, people have wondered and dreamed about it. But one thing that has never changed is that the island of Atlantis was utterly destroyed. I started to wonder, though, about something else—how Atlantis began. How did a place that rose to such a level of near perfection get destroyed by the flaws and weaknesses of its people? Ultimately, how did that happen? This big unknown question is what got me to write Atlantis Rising. I wanted to add a new thread to the tapestry of myth about Atlantis—how it all began, the secrets of its origins.

Let’s talk about names:

Q: First, the bad guy. I asked this on Twitter, but I’ll ask again because I know I’m not alone in wondering: How do you pronounce Grukarr’s name?

A: It’s “Gru” as in “Gruesome”…which he truly is.

Q: Now the heroes. Before I knew his name was pronounced PRO-mee, I thought Promi could be derived from either Prometheus or ‘promise’. Are you tipping your hat to the Greeks with his name (Prometheus was a thief who stole fire from the gods)?

A: Yes. Promi’s full name (which is revealed in Book 2, Atlantis in Peril) is Prometheus. Like the mythic fellow who brought fire to humanity, young Promi will bring something very special before it’s all over. And Atlanta, of course, is the inspiration for the name of her beloved homeland, Atlantis.

Q: What other significance do Promi’s and Atlanta’s names hold?

A: Did you know that the Atlantic Ocean got its name from a mapmaker who thought it was where the island of Atlantis once existed?

(ReadLove: No, I didn’t! Very interesting!)

Q: Can you elaborate on the importance of the Ellegandian translation of Atlanta’s name as “voice for all”?

A: The magical forest is more than the place Atlanta lives—it’s her home. And all the creatures who live there are her family. So she took that name when it became clear that she could be the voice for those creatures and the home they shared.

Let’s talk about faith and other themes in the novel:

Q: Your description of the prayer leaves hanging from The Bridge to Nowhere paints a vivid mental picture. Are these leaves inspired from any specific real-life religious practice or ritual you’ve encountered in your travels?

A: When I’ve traveled in Himalayan countries like Bhutan, I’ve been very moved by the Buddhist prayer flags strung from bridges everywhere. They are continually flapping in the mountain wind, sending their blessings to the spirit realm. That’s what inspired the prayer leaves of this story.

Q: For Atlanta and others in The Great Forest, there is no conflict between natural magic and religion/spirituality. Can you talk a bit about how Atlanta’s world view differs from that of the sanctioned religion imposed by those in power like Grukarr?

A: The core difference is this: Atlanta believes that all creatures belong to the community of life, that every living being deserves respect from humanity. But Grukarr sees things very differently:  To him, everything exists for the benefit of humanity. The other creatures and the land itself only have value if they serve the needs of one species—humans.

Q: This segues into the topic of nature. Your love and respect for nature comes through loud and clear in Atlantis Rising. Can you tell us about your favorite way to enjoy the outdoors?

A: My favorite spot in nature is the mountains, especially in the Rockies near my home in Colorado. Being up in the mountains combines two vastly different but equally wonderful experiences for me. One is tranquility—I’ve never felt so peaceful as I have sitting beside a mountain stream looking at the fresh track of a newborn fawn, sensing the sounds of the river and the softness of the moss. The other experience is adventure—the thrill of climbing up to a ridge, stretching myself both physically and emotionally to go farther and higher than I’ve ever gone before. When I am in the mountains I feel fully alive.

One last question:

Q: I enjoyed Never Again: The Origin of Grukarr. Do you have any plans to explore other characters or the Ellegandian/Atlantean world in future stories outside the main narrative arc of the Atlantis Saga?

A: No plans as of now. But I never know if one of those characters will make a surprise appearance in my dreams and whisper a secret that changes everything.

ReadLove: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us about Atlantis Rising. I’m really looking forward to reading future installments and getting better acquainted with the characters and world!

T. A. Barron: You’re welcome! And I am looking forward to sharing that world with you.

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Author Interview: Q & A with Nicole O’Dell

 
I’m so thrilled to be presenting the first Read LoveAuthor Interview!

Joining us is Nicole O’Dell, author of The Wishing Pearl. If you missed my recent review it’s here.  
I’m grateful that Nicole was willing to take time out of her busy schedule as an author, mother of six, and radio host to answer some questions. The Wishing Pearl is part of a new series called The Diamond Estates novels.  Each book will introduce readers to a different girl whose life circumstances drive her to Diamond Estates, a residential home for troubled teens.  Book Two, The Embittered Ruby, is scheduled for release in April 2012.

Q: Let’s start with your newest release, The Wishing Pearl.  I really enjoyed reading about Olivia and watching her journey unfold.  In what ways is Olivia’s story based on or inspired by your own experiences as a teen?
 
A:When I was a young teen, I started making some really bad choices in response to some things that happened to me. My life spiraled out of control, and I got to the point where I didn’t think I’d get it together unless I got out of my circumstances. I went to live at a residential home for girls called Teen Challenge. I lived there for about eight months, and so much of what you read about Diamond Estates is how it was at Teen Challenge.
 
Olivia’s story is not completely my own, but her life and the lives of the girls she meets at Diamond Estates (and the ones in books two (The Embittered Ruby) and three (The Shadowed Onyx) are sort of a conglomeration of all I saw and experienced. 
 

Q: I particularly enjoyed Olivia’s relationship with her brother Jake, and later with Tammy.  How the deaf are perceived and treated is very important to Olivia, and her interactions are respectful, kind, and compassionate.  It’s interesting that Olivia may be best heard by these deaf characters.  Is there a real-life inspiration for Jake or Tammy?

 
A: No, there’s no specific real-life inspiration from my own life. But everyone who steps beyond physical limitations and other things that people might see as setbacks inspires me. The inner strength and resolve to overcome is a beautiful picture of human strength. Also, in Olivia’s case, you’re completely right in identifying the connection between Olivia only feeling truly heard by the two deaf characters. Being heard is a real struggle for Olivia, and we find out toward the end of the book that much of the pain from her past is rooted in misinterpretation of the facts.
Q:  Tell me about Teen Talk Radio and the work you do with and for teens.
 
A: Teen Talk Radio is a weekly talk show that airs live at www.choicesradio.com on Thursdays at 10PM EST. Listeners can also subscribe for free on iTunes and receive each show in their iTunes folder. You can do that right here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/teen-talk-radio/id372833535?ign-mpt=uo%3D4
 
On the show I deal with topics like peer pressure, sex, relationships, dating, friendships, loyalty, self image, etc. Anything that pops up of interest to teens. I also have guests on each week whom I believe will be an inspiration to my teenage listeners.
Rockome Gardens, photo copyright Outdoor.com

Q:  On your Facebook Page, you mentioned going to Rockome Gardens in Arcola, Illinois.  You said you planned to hang out among the Amish…and do some research for a book.  Are you planning to write an Amish novel? Please share!

 
A: Ah! Very observant. lol Yes. I can’t share the details just yet, but I will say that this won’t be your typical Amish series. Definitely not what you’d expect from an Amish story.. 🙂

Q:  Okay, for our last question let’s talk a bit about reading.  What was your favorite book as a teen? And what do you enjoy reading now?

 
A: The Hiding Place, anything by Bodie and Brock Thoene, Randy Alcorn’s The Deadline…. Funny enough, I’d still pick any of those up for a re-read. Most of my reading now is to review books for the radio show, my blog, or for my friends. I love having access to so many books!! 
Nicole O’Dell on the Web: 
 
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