A “spotlight” is defined as “intense scrutiny or public attention.” “A lamp projecting a narrow, intense beam of light directly onto a place or person.” Or in my case, possibly a great author. Come back regularly to check out my latest Spotlight!
You have to meet author Amanda Barratt!!
ECPA bestselling author Amanda Barratt fell in love with writing in grade school when she wrote her first story – a spinoff of Jane Eyre. Now, Amanda writes inspirational historical romance, penning stories that transport readers to a variety of locales – from the sweeping coastline of Newport, Rhode Island, to the rugged landscape of Central Texas. Her novella, The Truest Heart, was a finalist in the 2017 FHL Reader’s Choice Awards.
A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she lives in the woods of Michigan with her fabulous family, who kindly put up with the invisible people she calls characters.
These days, Amanda can be found reading way too many books, watching an eclectic mix of BBC dramas and romantic chick flicks, and trying to figure out a way to get on the first possible flight to England.
Amanda has written several books, and has just released her newest, My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, NY. The newest in the “My Heart Belongs” series, I can’t wait to read it. I’m hoping it’s in my mailbox today!
I’m so excited to have Amanda on my Author Spotlight page! I asked her some questions so that we can all get to know her better. Amanda, thank you for sharing bit about your new book, and about yourself.
Thanks so much for having me! I’m so happy to be hanging out with you and your readers! 🙂
- Your new book, My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, NY, was just released. Why Niagara Falls? – I became incredibly fascinated with the history after visiting the Falls on vacation. Its popularity during the Victorian era as a vacation destination for the wealthy, plus the daredevils who performed at the Falls, seemed like the perfect place to set a historical romance. It’s not a location that’s been done often in Christian fiction, and I hope readers enjoy learning about its history as much as I did!2. You’ve written several novellas. Which one was your favorite to write? I love each of my stories, but one that stands out as a favorite is The Truest Heart (Seven Brides for Seven Texans Collection). The plot of the collection revolves around seven brothers who are given an ultimatum by their father to marry within a year. Collaborating with the authors to create our family of brothers was so much fun!
3. What is your favorite Christmas tradition? – Just one? LOL I’d have to say going to a candlelight service on Christmas Eve is my favorite. It’s such a special time to meet with other believers and focus on the true meaning for Christmas. A close second would be preparing special foods for Christmas Day. Since I’m a health nut, and don’t often indulge in decadent desserts, I love treating myself to something special. This year, I’m making pecan pie bars and peanut butter pie. Yum!
4. Complete this sentence: “If I dared, I would __________.” – Hop on the next flight to England, travel to the set of Victoria, and demand to be cast as an extra. 🙂 It’s one of my favorite shows, and I’d love being able to wear an elegant gown.
5. What makes you unique, beyond the fact that God only created one of you? – I think God calls us all to endure unique struggles to find our unique purpose. When I was a baby, my mom took me to one of my checkups, and the doctor noticed there was something wrong with my eyes. After seeing a specialist, it was said I would probably go blind. They finally found a pediatric ophthalmologist willing to work with us, and my vision improved, but every day, I had to wear a patch over one eye to strengthen the other one. As a little girl afraid of the darkness, my mom would read to me while I wore the patch. Because of this, I was introduced to books at a very early age and developed a voracious love for words. I’m grateful to say that today, my vision is better than it was ever expected to be, and I now not only read books, but write them too!
That was fun. Thank you so much, Amanda! You can find Amanda on Facebook at – https://www.facebook.com/AmandaBarrattauthor
Sign up for her author newsletter on her website— http://amandabarratt.net/
Here’s a look at Amanda’s newest book, just released on December 13!
Journey to Niagara Falls, New York, 1870
She avoids danger at all costs. He makes his living by rushing headlong into it.
Outwardly, Adele Linley’s trip to visit her American cousins is nothing more than a summer vacation. In reality, she’s the daughter of an English aristocrat with barely a penny to her name seeking a rich American husband.
Having grown up in an overcrowded orphanage, Drew Dawson is determined to make a name for himself. He’ll take any honest job to provide for his sister—even crossing Niagara Falls by tightrope.
Adele meets incredibly wealthy and pompous Franklin Conway who takes an immediate fancy to her. But she would truly like to marry for love. When she encounters the mysterious Drew in the garden, Adele is confused by her feelings for someone who is everything she is NOT looking for. Will they both stay the course they have chosen for themselves?
Now available for purchase at Amazon.
I’m so excited to introduce you to my friend, Catie Cordero. Catie has released her new children’s book, just in time for Christmas! The illustrations are beautiful, and you’re sure to love the story as you join Willow and Wendell Potter on a Christmas adventure to magical lands, where they will discover the real secret to Christmas magic.
Meet Catie and The Magic Snow Globe.
I love Christmas.
I begin listening to Christmas music in July and set up my tree on the first of November. The atmosphere that surrounds the season makes me warm inside and puts a smile on my face. That’s why writing a children’s Christmas story appealed to me. I wanted to capture the beauty of the holiday in a book and share it.
When I sat down to write The Magic Snow Globe, I knew I wanted it to have a vintage feel like ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. It’s a classic. That’s where the poetic cadence of my book was born. As I wrote the story, I pictured a twin brother and sister traveling to magical lands, places they never dreamed existed before. A Fairy Forest. A Factory Run by Toy Soldiers. And then, I wrote the last land. This one was real. It didn’t have the mystique like the other places. It seemed dull on the outside. A stable? How boring. And then, the twins entered the doorway and the animals spoke. Tears welled in my eyes. These animals were in awe of what had just happened in their little barn. “A cow mooed a welcome, and a pony whispered, “Neigh.” They came upon a manger, where a special baby lay. A sheep baaed, “This baby, will help everyone on earth. That’s why on this midnight, we’re celebrating his birth.” The twins stared speechless. They never expected to meet, a baby named Jesus. They humbly bowed at his feet.”
When those words hit the page of my computer screen, I wished I were there, kneeling by a manger, staring into the face of Jesus.
The culmination leading to this scene humbled me as an adult. The music, the lights, the trees, the decorations, they are all nice, but they can never outshine the splendor of the birth of Jesus. Nothing compares to Jesus’s great entrance into this world. An entrance that would change the course of humanity and make a way for us to be reconciled to God. What love. What tremendous love.
I truly hope that if anyone reads my little Christmas book that this is what they might take away: Let the magnificent love that compelled Christ to come in a lowly form as a baby, in a small stable, compel us to love others magnificently.
You can purchase The Magic Snow Globe at Baker Book House, the Word Shop at Resurrection Life Church, and online at Amazon.
Jaime Jo Wright
Professional coffee drinker & ECPA/Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author, Jaime Jo Wright resides in the hills of Wisconsin writing spirited romantic suspense stained with the shadows of history. Coffee fuels her snarky personality. She lives in Neverland with her Cap’n Hook who stole her heart and will not give it back, their little fairy Tinkerbell, and a very mischievous Peter Pan. The foursome embark on scores of adventure that only make her fall more wildly in love with romance and intrigue. Jaime lives in dreamland, exists in reality, and invites you to join her adventures at jaimejowright.com
Social Media Links:
Web site: www.jaimejowright.com
Outstanding Debut Novel from an Author to Watch!
Kaine Prescott is no stranger to death. When her husband died two years ago, her pleas for further investigation into his suspicious death fell on deaf ears. In desperate need of a fresh start, Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather’s Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house’s dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide.
A century earlier, the house on Foster Hill holds nothing but painful memories for Ivy Thorpe. When an unidentified woman is found dead on the property, Ivy is compelled to discover her identity. Ivy’s search leads her into dangerous waters and, even as she works together with a man from her past, can she unravel the mystery before any other lives–
including her own–are lost?
Jaime is a “new to me” author. I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have!
Why did you write “The House On Foster Hill”?
I have always been fascinated by old “things”. Whether a building structure, old photographs, antiques, they make me feel as those time has been trapped within them and if they could only speak, the stories they tell would be stunning. I really grasped onto the old saying “if walls could speak” and envisioned an abandoned house with an unsolved mystery that spanned a century. How would that affect the generations? How might it create future individuals affected by a history they knew nothing about? So, I determined to explore that in the telling of Ivy and Kaine’s story, and most all, in the unknown life of a dead girl named Gabriella.
What faith message do you want readers to take away from your book?
Hope! One of the central themes in the novel is asking the questions, “what is hope when life offers none?” and “where does a person find hope in tragic life events that God could have stopped?” I really want readers to travel through the gritty hardships of three women’s lives and to come to understand that our limited vision can underestimate God’s far more magnificent vision. We must learn to look with hope beyond our life’s circumstances, and to promises not limited by this world.
You mention on your website that you write, “suspense stained by history’s secrets”. What does this mean?
I created that phrase when I was repeatedly asked what I wrote and when I answered “suspense”, I received questions about the FBI, police, murder investigations, and so on. So I wanted to define that my stories are far more vintage in nature, and that while there are present day mysteries and suspense, they’re all very stained and saturated with the secrets of the past.
In many suspense novels, the victim of a murder is merely a launching point for the story. Why, in “The House On Foster Hill”, do you make the victim such a central and active part of the book?
It sounds weird, but Gabriella demanded to the be central figure of the book. She is the tie between the house, Ivy, Kaine, and the story that is aching to be told. Gabriella, as victim, had as much to tell as the house on Foster Hill, and together, their story unraveled in a unified tale.
Explain how romance can fit into a story as eerie sounding as “The House On Foster Hill?”
The human story doesn’t stop when mystery and suspense abounds. Sometimes it is those circumstances that thrust individuals together and creates an unbreakable bond. I enjoy incorporating romance as a subset to the mystery in my stories. Sometimes, honestly, a darker theme needs that lighter reprieve and hope is laced throughout romance. Hope for a future, for love, and for belonging.
Do you personally relate to any of the characters you created in “The House On Foster Hill?”
I relate a lot to Kaine. I’m a fierce protector of those I love, but not so much for myself. I question myself often, have a very distinct awareness of common sense and despise emotionalism in myself. Yet, in spite of that, I find I am far too often a bit irrational and inclined to respond from my heart versus my head. It’s almost an unrealistic pairing, so I figured if I must suffer with it, so would Kaine.
Thanks for sharing with us, Jaime!
I love what author Colleen Coble says about The House on Foster Hill; “Unputdownable and highly recommended!” I know you’ll want to read it!
Kayla Dienner has suffered her fair share of heartache, which is why she vows to protect her heart at all costs . . . until she meets Jamie Riehl.
Along with his volunteer work at the local fire department, running his Amish farm keeps Jamie Riehl busy. He barely has time to eat at the family table, never mind find someone to date. But when he meets Kayla Dienner, he is smitten.
Kayla tries hard to deny her attraction to Jamie. After all, she’s spent the last year discouraging her younger brother, Nathan, from becoming a firefighter. The death of their older brother in a fire a year ago is fresh in her mind—she can’t bear the idea of putting her heart on the line every time the sirens blare.
Then tragedy strikes, and Jamie wants to extinguish any flame between him and Kayla. Can Kayla set aside her own fears to save the love she was determined to deny?
The first book in the Amish Homestead series, A Place at Our Table invites us to a quiet community in Lancaster County where love burns brightly no matter the cost.
Amy Clipston‘s new book, A Place at Our Table, is scheduled to be released on November 14, 2017. In view of that, Amy answered a few questions about her family table. Enjoy getting to know Amy a little better!
What is your family’s favorite dinner?
One of our favorites is my mother’s sauerbraten, which I always request on my birthday. We also enjoy having breakfast for dinner, such as eggs, pancakes, or French toast.
What would your husband say is your best and worst cook attempts?
Joe would say my best was Parmesan chicken. He says I once tried to make a roast when we were living in our first house, and it turned out as a disaster. I don’t remember this, but he insists we laughed about it.
What’s something you have wanted to cook but fear cooking?
I wish I had more time to bake. I’d love to try more Amish recipes, such as whoopie pies or pretzels, but I really don’t have time.
Does everyone have to try new foods or is it okay to pass (my dad always made me take one bite of anything new – so I’m always curious what other parents do when their kids don’t want to try something new)?
We usually allow people to pass on trying new things, but my younger son is much more adventurous than my older son when it comes to trying new foods.
Thanks, Amy! It’s always so great to hear from you!
If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Amy’s new book, along with some other great goodies, simply click here.