An Interview with Author Charlotte Snead: The Why behind her Novels

Charlotte Snead pic

I am pleased to have my friend Charlotte Snead as a guest on my blog. I meant Charlotte a few years ago at the Write to Publish Conference. I was impressed with her enthusiasm about life. She had a novel written and she was going full speed ahead. She was new to the writing scene after retiring from a nursing career and raising a passel of kids. Her idea was gritty and she shared her storyline with passion.

Charlotte has published that novel His Brother’s Wife, and its sequel Invisible Wounds. She has begun her new series with Book one of the Sing Over Me Series. Each with a controversial topics, romance and redemption. She keeps it real in a tasteful and fun way.

Charlotte when did you decide to take up this writing life?

I took up writing at the urging of an elderly aunt, who loved our Christmas letters and my stories about my various ministries, urging me, “You ought to write a book.” My first book, an imperfect offering, self-published in 2008 was a response to a need I saw in the prolife community. Called Missy’s Choice, it portrayed a young Christian teenager who was raped by three boys and chose life for her baby. I was unwell at the time and hurried to complete it, thinking my time was limited. As flawed as that book was, I heard from those who chose life and even some who found Christ. Now that I am a better writer, my publisher has suggested a rewrite, so it will be published as Gracie, Goodbye, the first of a 5-6 book series called The Hope House Girls.

What’s your writer’s day like?

My perfect day begins at 6 or 7 AM, down in my basement. I have a hide-away I call “The Salt Mines,” because I work hard, and I desire my writing to be salt and light to the world. When no one is home, I work uninterrupted until lunch, and return after a break. Unfortunately some days I must attend to social media and a blog—marketing is the bane of my existence! One day a week is set aside for Mothers of Preschoolers. (I serve as the mentor mom.) I love being snowed in because errands wait and I do what I love.

What ministries are you involved in and how does that experience play into your novels?

I consider my writing to be my ministry, but I also serve on the Board of the Central West Virginia Center for Pregnancy Care, which I founded in 1985. I no longer volunteer on a daily basis, but I remain in close contact with our director and share in decision-making. I am also the mentor mom for the Mothers of Preschoolers group that meets in our church and devote every Thursdays to them. I give devotions at our meetings and when the team has its monthly meeting. I often speak at women’s gatherings.

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In your first book His Brother’s Wife and Invisible Wounds you set your story in the midst of wounded warriors and wounded women. Where did you get the ideas for these books?

My military books flow from my life experience. My son served in the Army for 22 years. My husband was in Viet Nam, and his brother was as well. My dad was a career military officer. When my daughter-in-law had two surgeries, I was in and out of Walter Reed. Seeing those Wounded Warriors getting on the elevators, struggling with their missing limbs, I wanted to tell their stories. Our son, now retired from Special Forces, carries a burden of grief for the over 60 close friends he has laid to rest in Lot 60, that part of Arlington Cemetery set aside for Iraq and Afghanistan fallen. I tithe the proceeds of His Brother’s Wife and Invisible Wounds to the Wounded Warriors Project.

Enjoying intimacy in marriage and understanding our sexuality are issues you address in these first two books as well. From a Christian perspective why is this important?

As the MOPS mentor, I have helped many women with marital intimacy. Their favorite presentation—we usually have guest speakers, but I take the helm each February to give my “Sex Talk.” We are crowded that day! Married 52 years, I know how important a healthy sexual relationship is in marriage. Tragically, the church doesn’t portray the joy God intends in his sacred gift. I want my books to encourage women to enjoy the gift God has given us.

Your settings are beautiful and often rural. Do you use photographs? Are they places you’ve been to?

You have given me an idea here. I should use photographs. Yes, these are places I know and love. I live in West Virginia on 20 beautiful wooded acres. West Virginia is a beautiful state, and Arlington Cemetery is a sacred place where my father and uncle lie. I have lived in the D. C. area as an “army brat,” and I have bowed my head at Lot Sixty to honor those who have laid down their lives so that we might be free. I have researched other places—I’ve never been to an opulent penthouse in New York, but to write His Brother’s Wife I went on line with real estate sites and took virtual tours of various properties. What a great age to be a writer!

Recovred and Free  book cover

Your newest series Singing Over Me focuses on a musical family. Book one Recovered and Free: The Song Of A Prodigal Father is about a recovered alcoholic. Tells us the why behind the story.

Recovered and Free also flows out of life experience. My mother was alcoholic, and I know the pain of the child of an alcoholic. I had to understand the disease to forgive. Sadly she surrendered to Christ on her death bed and I did not enjoy life with her “recovered and free.” I processed my forgiveness after her death, realizing she loved me to the best of her ability, given her handicap.

Is it a spin-off from another story?

The Singing Over Me series spins from my first book, Missy’s Choice, picking up with a healed, grown up Missy who helps her father return to the family he abandoned. Through his music, she finds her way to her own ministry.

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What is the next topic you will be covering in this series?

The next book in the Singing series, due out soon, is When I Am in Your Arms, also a song title. The hero of this book is the incorrigible producer of O’Malley Productions, a Hispanic man who survived years of abuse in foster care. His healing, like Ian O’Malley’s, comes in the arms of his wife, where he feels God’s love.

Charlotte is giving away a copy of her book Recovered and Free: The Song of a Prodigal Father to a lucky commenter. Leave your comment with your e-mail address written as follows: my email at server dot com.

I will notify the winner to get your snail mail to send to Charlotte. I am running this give away until the end of the week. Wednesday  Charlotte will return as a guest blogger.  My father is having surgery as this blog is posting and will be hospitalized for the week. I will watch the comments. Please feel free to comment on Wednesday’s post to be added to the same give-away.

Charlotte Snead, published by Oak Tara, has three romance novels in print: His Brother’s Wife, Invisible Wounds, and Recovered and Free. Married to Dr. Joseph Snead, they have five adult children and one foster daughter. They have seven grandsons and live on twenty acres in rural West Virginia

Book links.

His Brother’s Wife

Invisible Wounds

Recovered and Free

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Interview With Author John Turney And Book Giveaway

Author John Turney

Author John Turney

 

 

I am welcoming to my blog today my friend and awesome author John Turney. I mentioned him in a previous blog as an author who followed writer’s guidelines before pitching a story idea. He got his book contracts at Write-To-Publish so he seemed like someone we should get to know. When he’s not wearing his writer’s superhero cape he works as a CAD Technician for a pharmaceutical company in Ohio. Simply put he is an engineer. He’s had several articles published in e-zines as well as several flash fiction in Splickety Magazine. He attends Liberty Heights Church with his wife. They have two grown sons. Before we get started with this interview John has offered to send a copy of his book to one lucky winner who comments on my blog.

Cindy Huff: John is a delight to have you with us today. I just recently finished reading Innocent Blood and was drawn into the epic story. I felt like a movie playing before my eyes. Now, briefly tell us about your book for those who have not read it.

John Turney: My first novel is Innocent Blood: Reckoning of Equinox and was published by OakTara in 2013. Based on the Celtic legends of Halloween, it’s the tale of a young man—a college student—who has his life mapped out. When events force him to look at his plans, he has to decide if he’s going to pursue his dreams or make the sacrifice to do what’s right.

CH: Tell me, why did you choose to use Halloween as the place in time? That day is not very popular within Christian circles.

JT: First, I love the Fall. Foliage comes alive in multiple colors. Football. Warm days blend into cool nights. Football. Wearing jean jackets. Did I mention football?

CH:Okay, okay we got that you love football. You’ve even added a football player as the enemy of your hero, not to mention a pivotal scene taking place on the grid iron. Sorry, I am just so excited about your novel. Continue please.

JT: Second, when the church avoids something—whether it’s a style of music, a people group because they’re not like us, or a particular holiday—it creates a spiritual vacuum. Rather than ignore Halloween, we should embrace it without embracing its darker elements. Give out candy, and not the cheap stuff. You might even have something for the parents as well. Have a Harvest Party at church and invite the neighborhood to your church for the event. Have goodies for the kids, perhaps bouncy houses, face painting, puppet shows and so on. Have fun with it. Instead of being against something, be for something.

So I chose Halloween, introduced some of its Celtic elements and wrote a story where the protagonist stands against the darkness. For the last 2,000+ years, the church has stood against the darkness of its time. We need to do so today. As a writer, this is one way I can do that.

CH: Good point. I appreciate your candor. Now, I have to know. As a mild-mannered engineer where did you learn about karate, sword fighting, police procedure, dwarfs, elves and the walking dead. And let’s not forget believable fight scenes.

JT: One writing motto is “write what you know.” However, if you don’t know something, then you can learn. And we live at a time where learning—or research—can be done by anyone, anywhere at any time. The internet provides a rich source of materials to help learn. For example, the internet offers videos of men and women in armor fighting with various swords. And they give explanations of the various moves. So I spent several hours watching these videos. I may not be able to physically handle a sword, but I learned how it was done. I’m not a cop, but I attend a writer’s conference (Mad Anthony in Hamilton, Ohio) that one year took its conferees to a community college that trains cops. Another year, it had three women from the TV show Police Women of Cincinnati explaining the ins and outs of their jobs. Other years various police agencies have sent officers to explain their duties. I also attended Lee Lofland’s Writers Police Academy and read his blog “The Graveyard Shift.” This weekend, I will be touring the crime lab in Columbus, Ohio with a Sisters in Crime writers’ group. If you don’t know something, go forth and learn. As to the elves, dwarves and the undead, I signed a nondisclosure agreement not to divulge their locations or how to contact them. They’re very private, so I respect that.

 CH: Why base Innocent Blood in Ohio?

I based Innocent Blood in the southwest region of Ohio. At one time, Cincinnati had a large influx of both Irish and German peoples. So with, the Celtic culture comprised of western and northern Europe, it just seemed a good fit to start the series there. Plus I live there, and the cost for visiting potential sites for settings was much cheaper.

CH: The conclusion of Innocent Blood leads right into a sequel without missing a heartbeat. When is that coming out?

JT: I don’t have a date from Oak Tara the publishers of Innocent Blood regarding the sequel. But I will tell you this: Patrick and his friends go into the Celtic Otherworld

CH: You also write flash fiction and have had a few stories published. Why flash fiction?

JT: It’s fun. It’s short, so there is no long time commitment. You come up with an idea. You write it and it’s done. 1000 words makes you focus on using the right words. The plot and character development have to explode onto the story.

CH: What would you tell writers trying to break into publication?

JT: Pursue your dreams…unless your world is being invaded by monsters from the Celtic afterlife. Then do the right thing. Listen to the advice of those who’ve gone ahead of you—and tell them thanks—and help those coming behind you. And never give up. Also, take time to watch a football game.

CH: Wise words to ponder. Well, accept maybe the football. 🙂

Your next book Whiskey Sunrise is coming out in a few months and I plan to have you visit us again.

JT: Look forward to it. By the way Lighthouse Publications of the Carolinas will be having a giveaway in July for Whiskey Sunrise.

Book Giveaway to one lucky commenter.

Today I am offering an opportunity for all those who comment on this post to be entered in a drawing for an autographed copy of Innocent Blood:Equinox of Reckoning. Feel free to ask John any questions you may have on writing, Celtic lore or football. Be sure to leave your email in the comment section so we can contact the winner. ( type it using the word at for @ and the word dot for .) If you are reading this interview via Facebook be sure to go to my blog to comment if you want to be in the drawing.

Innocent BloodI will be drawing the winners name in a week. I have found  not all my comments post right away.