Big thanks to Sharon Cook Leaf for inviting me to join this blog book tour. Today is my turn, and I am answering questions about the first book in my Sandy Cove series, Out of a Dream.

1.     Where did the idea come from for the book?

I spent my teens and twenties immersed in New Age thoughts and beliefs as I searched for a spiritual foundation. When I was almost thirty, my father committed suicide. His death awakened me from the fog of the New Age and began my journey to faith in Jesus Christ.  One day, as I reflected on all the years I had wasted in false beliefs, God put a vision in my heart to redeem the years the locusts had eaten away by sharing the tale of another young woman’s journey to faith.

2.     What genre does your book fall under?

Out of a Dream is contemporary, suspenseful fiction with a powerful spiritual message. It has been reviewed and recommended at huge annual gatherings of pastors’ wives across the United States.

3.     Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I’ve had a lot of fun considering this question and asking for feedback from my readers. Here are some ideas for casting:  Daniela Ruah (Michelle); Matt Lanter or Bradley Cooper (Steve);  Zach Roerig (Trevor) Nicole Kidman (Michelle’s mother, Sheila); Colin Firth or Hugh Grant (Michelle’s father, John); and Ralph Waite (Grandpa Phil).

4.     Give us a brief synopsis of your book.

As newlywed Michelle Baron seeks to find her bearings in a new city, she wrestles with a series of nightmares and searches for answers at the New World Bookstore. There she becomes intrigued with New Age thoughts and beliefs and succumbs to relationships that threaten her marriage. It takes a personal family crisis to awaken her to Truth.

5.     Who is your publisher?

Out of a Dream was released in 2011 under the banner of Westbow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishing. It launched my Sandy Cove Series, which now includes Through the Tears (released in 2012) as well as the upcoming novel, Into Magnolia (to be released in early spring of 2013).

6.     How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Out of a Dream was a journey spanning 17 years from the initial concept to the completed manuscript. Through the Tears and Into Magnolia were both approximately 12-18 months in the first draft stage.

7.     What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I would say the two authors who have most influenced me in my writing genre of realistic, contemporary Christian fiction would be Karen Kingsbury and Francine Rivers. Atonement Child (Francine Rivers) would be a good example of a book that uses fiction to communicate a contemporary message regarding Truth. Shades of Blue (Karen Kingsbury) would be another example of a similar type of story.

8.     What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

I’ve been told that my characters come to life in ways that cause readers to think about them even when they are not reading the books. My editor confessed that she actually dreamed about one of the characters in the third story. Because of the continuity of time and characters from one story to the next, readers express their eagerness to find out what is happening next in the lives of those people they have come to love. The characters have been described as real life – our neighbors, friends, and family members.

The overriding goal of my novels is to address contemporary issues people face in our culture on a daily basis through the lives of very real and believable characters. These stories give faces to challenging life struggles while also giving the reader a deep sense of hope.