Meet the Characters in Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden with Author Interview

January 22, 2014

Into the WhirlwindThis is one of the most outstanding and fascinating historical romance books I’ve ever read.  The historical aspect of the story adds depth and dimension, while providing details of some the issues people faced post Civil War and during and after the Great Chicago Fire. The characters are as interesting and complex as the plot, and I felt as if I really knew them by the time I finished reading the book.

 Meet the Characters:

Mollie Knox inherited the 57th Illinois Watch Company from her father, and her life has been totally focused on the business and its employees ever since. Her concern and sense of responsibility for her “family” coupled with her faith presses her forward to overcome the devastation caused by the tragic fire. One cannot help but admire Mollie’s tenacity as she struggles to rebuild her business and her life.

Some of the employees of 57th Illinois Watch Company:

Frank Spencer – The blind attorney for the 57th is like a second father to Mollie.

Ulysses Adair lost a leg during the Civil War and, like the other faithful employees of the 57th, depends on the 57th Illinois Watch Company for his livelihood.

Alice Adair, wife of Ulysses and artisan, creates stunning designs for the watches.

Declan McNabb, metal polisher for the company, has post-war panic attacks.

Zack Kasmarek has admired Mollie from afar for three years. As the powerful attorney for the prestigious Hartman’s department store, he knows how to get what he wants. His obligation to the rich owner of Louis Hartman may jeopardize his chances with Mollie when he’s required to make an offer to purchase the 57th  from Mollie—“an offer she can’t refuse.”

Jozef and Joanna Kazmarek –Zack honors and protects his immigrant parents who have made it their life’s work to try to help restore autonomy to Poland, the country they loved and in which they were born.

Colonel Richard Lowe has his sights set on Mollie, is a handsome, cultured, heroic soldier.  He intends to help Mollie rebuild her business—and win her heart.

Sophie, homeless and hungry, is rescued from the fire by Zack and Mollie. Stubborn, demanding, and impatient, I was conflicted as to whether I wanted to hug her or choke her.


Elizabeth Camden is author of four published novels and four non-fiction books. She has won RITA, Christy, and Daphne du Maurier awards for her writing. She was kind enough to allow me to interview her so you can get to know her better.

Elizabeth Camden Pat: Elizabeth, I know you’ve written some nonfiction books. How long have you been writing fiction?

Elizabeth: I started writing fiction around seven years ago.  Five of those years were “practice years” while I learned the ropes.  It took a while before I had something that was ready for prime time.  My first novel, The Lady of Bolton Hill, was published in 2011, and I haven’t had time to take a breath since.

Pat: Which do you prefer writing: fiction or nonfiction?

Elizabeth: Although they seem similar, writing fiction and nonfiction are very different art forms.  I enjoyed the rigor of academic research that is necessary for nonfiction, but oh….the creativity, the adventure, the sheer exuberance of writing novels is surely my favorite.

Pat:  What inspired you to write historical fiction?

Elizabeth: My background as a research librarian gave me a leg-up in this area.  Research does not intimidate me, and I think I had a natural advantage when I tackled historical subjects, but I wouldn’t mind writing contemporary novels someday.  Right now there are practical considerations in building an audience that require I continue writing historical novels for a while, but perhaps someday I’ll have the opportunity to release some contemporaries.

Pat: How do you choose what historical events you write about?

Elizabeth: I like the late 19th century because I am naturally drawn to heroines who are working in the professions.  The late 19th century was an era where women were beginning to go to college and serve in respectable careers.  It was also an era that has the whiff of glamour and nostalgia for an earlier era, but with attitudes that are not so alien to modern sensibilities.

Pat: How much time do you spend researching for a book?

Elizabeth: After I pick a topic (which is usually something hugely vague like “a late 19th century catastrophe” or “a medical mystery”) I’ll start reading books about the era until I can hone in on an interesting angle.  Then I read more targeted books.  All this takes around six months.

Pat: What resources do you use in your research?

Elizabeth: Are you familiar with Google Books?  This is priceless for people writing in my era.  A few years ago Google began the noble, somewhat quixotic quest to scan the world’s books into the internet.  Because of copyright concerns, they began primarily with 19th century books, which means I can get my hands on what I need to know from the comfort of my living room.  For example, my current book is set in Washington D.C., 1891.  Low and behold, I was able to find a copy of the Rand McNally tour guide to Washington from that year (  This guide book gives me maps of the city, rates for local streetcar service, local attractions, really….almost anything I need to know.  This is merely the tip of the iceberg.  I use Google Books to hunt down historically accurate cookbook recipes, medical beliefs, slang, and curious facts to pepper throughout the book.

Pat:  What’s coming next?

Elizabeth: My next novel is called With Every Breath, and is due August 2014.  Here’s the blurb:

Washington D.C., 1891.  In the shadow of the nation’s capital, Kate Livingston has a respectable job as a government statistician when she encounters a rival from her past, the insufferable Trevor McDonough.  A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, so why did he track her down after more than ten years apart to recruit her onto his medical team?  In a daring move, Kate agrees to Trevor’s risky proposal to work side-by-side in a quest to rid the world of tuberculosis, a disease so deadly it could kill anyone coming too close.

As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor’s past, she begins falling in love with this fascinating man…but she soon learns his terrible secret.  Meanwhile, a shadowy enemy lurks in the background, threatening to destroy everything they hold dear.   A story of courage and betrayal, triumph and redemption, Kate and Trevor will risk everything to overcome the barriers between them.

Pat: Elizabeth, that sounds exciting and a book that I won’t want to miss.  Thank you so much for visiting us here!

Meet the Characters in The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman by Carole Brown with Author Interview and Giveaway

December 8, 2013

Teh Redemption of Caralynne Hayman ABOUT THE BOOK:
The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman is a novel of hope shining through the darkness with strong elements of suspense and romance. This novel was a semifinalist in the Genesis contest and is receiving raving reviews!

I can certainly see why Carole Brown got so many endorsements for her debut novel. She has created an outstanding book that deals with the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of the dark issues of cult activity, (spousal abuse and child abuse), in a straight-forward yet respectful manner. Although this is a fictional story, we’ve all heard of brainwashing by cults and this story reminds us of the reality that it exists.
In Carole’s book,the suspense builds chapter after chapter, and the reader is totally engaged throughout the entire book. You’ll find yourself cringing at times, crying, rejoicing, and perhaps even looking around to make sure your doors are locked.

                  See below to find out how you can win a digital copy of this book, but first:


Caralynne Hayman – Once freed from the control and abuse of her husband, Donald Hayman, she must escape with her two daughters from the Children of Righteous Cain, but not before she avenges the death of her oldest daughter, Lori. And not before she helps some of the other women trapped within the cult.

While Dayne MacFarland was away at seminary, he discovered the truth of God’s love and committed to a relationship with Christ. As the pastor of the church in this small West Virginia community, he’s determined to enlighten its members to the Truth, and help Caralynne regain her faith in God.

Elder Simmons will let nothing stand in the way of his authority over the group. He’s convinced the members that God talks only to and through him, and whatever he says becomes law for the members. To what lengths will he go to maintain total control?

Emery Hayman has had his sights on Caralynne for a long time, even before is brother, her husband, died. Now he’s determined to have her and bring her “under subjection.”

Professor Moore had studied cults for years. As Dayne’s instructor and mentor in seminary, they had established a close friendship. Would Professor Moore’s investigation bring out enough information to be able to put a stop to the insanity once and for all?

Carole Brown
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?


Pat: Which genres of books do you most enjoy reading?
Carole: Is there anything but suspense (mystery, thriller)? Lol. I love an excellent romance, but add it to a suspense book, and that makes it perfect. Love great and fun mystery books, and thrillers keep you on the edge of your seat with the building suspense. My type of books!

Pat: How has being published changed your life?
Carole: Busier than ever. Marketing takes a lot of time, but fortunately, I began learning before The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman released so that helped. Still, there’s lots to do to keep on top, and I try hard to stay in that position. I also always have more than one book to work on at a time which keeps me interested and inspired. I think all authors could say they feel more responsibility in meeting deadlines, keeping on top of everything, writing and life in general. I wouldn’t trade it for any other job!

Pat: Tell me something about yourself that would surprise readers.
Carole: This is crazy, but I’m terrified of heights and snakes yet I’d rather live in the woods (Snakes!) and mountains or hills (heights!) than on flat open land. Makes no sense, but there you have it.

Pat: What is the funniest, weirdest, or most interesting thing you have learned when doing research?
Carole: Oh, my, it’s all interesting, fascinating and fun.  I love research. In my first suspense, I used the Native American tribe of Blackfoot (part of my husband’s way-back ancestry) and enjoyed learning so much about them. In my current novel researching tattoos probably stood out the most. I wanted something unique and different, but the more I searched, the less I was satisfied. There were so many options but nothing resonated. At last I realized that the emblem of an eye would be perfect. It fit the story line and would also work well with the first chapter–particularly important.
Just as a fun tidbit, the first novel I wrote, I had a notebook filled with close to three inches of research I did. Now although I still love it, it’s not quite that extensive.

Pat: Where can fans find you on the internet?
Carole: Connect with me here:
Personal blog:
I also am part of several other blogs:
Stitches in Time:
Barn Door Book Loft:

What’s next?
My agent will be shopping a planned three book contemporary suspense series–the first book is finished and the second begun.
I’ve also finished a WWII novel (with two more to follow), that is dear to my heart
and have published the first book in a fun, lighthearted mystery series called Hog Insane (and no, it’s not about pigs! LOL). For 2014, I’d love to finish the second books in these series, plus finish a historical I’m working on too. So I have my work cut out for me!

Carole, I’m so happy you stopped by to talk with us. Wishing you the greatest success with your writing. You’ve certainly started out with a bang and I can’t wait for the next one!

You can purchase Carole’s book at:
Kindle version:
Print version:

Carole is giving a FREE ebook to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment here by December 15th to be entered into the drawing.

Meet the Characters in Charisse by Fay Lamb with Author Interview

August 14, 2013

Charisse-Cover-FRONT-FINAL-4-192x300Charisse is an awesome story with great characters. Spiritual lessons abound in this book of life, love, loss, hope, and forgiveness, while well-woven word pictures clearly show the settings and actions of the people in this book. This sweet contemporary romance flows naturally and is a heartwarming book romance readers everywhere will enjoy.

Readers (particularly women) immediately connect with Charisse Wellman and her adorable son. As she struggles to maintain her home and provide for her son, she finds herself in a most perplexing circumstance: remain unemployed and risk being homeless and hungry or accept a position with a person for whom she’s harbored bitterness and anger for some time.

“V. J.” (Vance, Jr.), a lovable seven-year-old missed his daddy terribly, even after he’d been gone a whole year. V. J.’s friendship with Cletus was instant, as was his affection for Cletus’s master, and the connections seemed to begin to bring V. J. out of his grief.

Libby Overstreet and Charisse have been best friends since high school. They worked together planning the high school reunion and confided in each other about the struggles in their lives. A twist involving Libby toward the end of the story will have you giggling.

Gideon Tabor never married. A man of character and integrity, his heart belonged to the girl he’d loved in high school. Trouble was he’d never told her. Their friendship had ended on a sour note. Then he’d made a legal decision, as a judge in criminal court that unbeknownst to him had deepened her wound. Gideon’s has a plan to reveal his true feelings in a most unusual place. Will he be able to pull it off without blowing his chances at realizing his dream?

Judge Delilah James, tactless and self-assertive, coveted Gideon Tabor’s affection. However, he wanted no personal relationship with Delilah and had every right to banish her from his life. But he didn’t, consequently inviting trouble into his plans to reconnect with the love of his life. Why did he continue to tolerate her shenanigans, and will Gideon connect with this mysterious person at the high school reunion, or will Delilah sabotage his plans?

Fay Lamb author picAuthor Fay Lamb was very kind to answer a few questions I thought you might enjoy:
Read the rest of this entry »

Meet the Characters in Stalking Willow by Fay Lamb

June 13, 2013

Stalking Willow book coverBeneath her professional persona, Willow Thomas’s heart harbored resentment. She had reason to be bitter—in fact, many reasons. As much as she loved Granny, she’d lied to Willow, concocting a story about her parents. The truth was her mother hadn’t wanted her, and her father’s devotion to his wife and his ambition were stronger than his love for his daughter. Her aunt hated her. Her cousin, Laurel, whom she’d grown up with, had turned on her. Even Quentin had ignored her all through high school.

After the paparazzi created chaos in Amazing Grace revealing the story of the starlet who’d abandoned her daughter, Granny died. Willow fled the little town for New York City without even as much as saying goodbye.

So, why would a stalker be the catalyst that brought her back home? Who was he and what did he want from her? It seemed she couldn’t hide from him, not even in Amazing Grace. Amidst her fear and confusion, could she trust her first and only love for support?

Fay Lamb has created plenty of action and suspense to keep the plot moving at a perfect pace and the reader intrigued. There are so many interesting characters in this book, it’s difficult to condense the list. However, here are some of the main ones:

Meet the Characters:

Willow Thomas couldn’t rely on anyone. She didn’t even trust God anymore. After all, she thought, what kind of life had He given her? One of deceit, loneliness, and resentment. And now–fear.

Quentin McPheron lived next door to Willow as she grew up under Granny’s care. They’d played together as children, practically inseparable. As a teenager she’d hidden in the woods and sketched him as he relaxed on the dock with his fishing pole. She loved him, but she couldn’t seem to get his attention until…

Laurel Thomas was Willow’s cousin and nemesis since high school. Why did the two cousins dislike each other so? Some time during the ten years of Willow’s absence, what had happened to change Laurel’s life and what effect would it have on the prodigal cousin?

Granny Thomas raised Willow from infancy. From what was she trying to protect Willow by fabricating the lie about her parents? Would the snippets of wisdom left around her house be enough to begin the healing process for her granddaughters?

Agatha Thomas, “Aunt Aggie,” lived with bitterness and jealousy for so long, she couldn’t seem to get along with anyone. But why? She hadn’t smiled in years, let alone laughed. And now Willow was back in town. Harrumph!

Bear – Who was this man who lived in the cabin behind Granny’s house? And how did he know so much about Willow?

LeBlanc thrived on terrorizing women a little at a time then killing them and watching the life seep from their bodies. He focused his sights on Willow Thomas. Why Willow? Where had he come from and what evoked this psychotic mentality?


Fay Lamb’s career has escalated to new heights in the past year, and she’s definitely an author to watch for more Fay Lamb author picexciting Christian fiction. After the release of Because of Me last year, she co-authored The Christmas Tree Hunt and signed with Write Integrity Press for two series.  Stalking Willow is the first in her Amazing Grace series.  The first book in The Ties That Bind series, Charisse releases next month.

Fay’s heart and ministry are in helping other writers achieve their dreams and be the best writers they can be. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she has served as secretary of the operating board and moderator of the Scribes critique group within the organization. She’s a founder of the ACFW Central Florida Chapter and currently serves as advisor to that group.

Learn more about Fay and read her blog, On The Ledge, at her website,, and purchase her books at, www.Barnesandnoblecom,, or at your local bookstore.

Meet the Characters in No Way Out by Susan Sleeman

June 5, 2013

No Way Out book coverAlsyssa Wells had been dealt some hard blows in life.  Trouble in her marriage. The loss of her police officer husband.  Coping with her children’s grief while dealing with her own. When she stumbles on the fact that her husband was framed for an illegal activity at the time of his death, and his murderer pursues her, Alyssa’s faith is tested beyond anything she could have imagined.

After discovering the one person she trusted most with her children is not as upright as she thought, can she trust a total stranger to protect them? And what is it about this new acquaintance that has her guarding her heart?

Meet the Characters:

Alyssa Wells –after all she’s been through, Alyssa maintains faith that God is in control. Her positive outlook puzzles her new friend. How can she help him see that her strength comes from God, and help him trust the Lord again?

Nolan Saunders  had been Todd Wells’ partner in the Pacific Bay Police Department. After Todd’s death, he clearly had his sights on Alyssa for more than friendship. While she wasn’t ready for another relationship, she’d trusted him completely after he’d helped her so selflessly after her husband’s death.

Frank Gibson, an officer with the local police department, was involved in methamphetamine distribution. After his son’s remission from leukemia, wanted to get out of deal, but the “boss” wasn’t going to let him out, at least not alive.

Cole Justice carried serious baggage from two tours of duty in Iraq. His partner had died, and Cole blamed himself. He’d given up on God two years ago. Or maybe God had given up on him? His siblings insisted he take some time off from the Justice Agency to deal with his issues at the beach. What he discovered there would change his life.


Ms. Sleeman is a very talented and prolific writer whose characters warm your heart and whose stories of romanticSusan-Sleeman-228x300 suspense make it difficult to put her books down.  One of the things I like about her books is that they’re long enough to tell an exciting story, but short enough to read in a sitting or two.

I’ ve read all Susan Sleeman’s Justice Series books, and I love the Justice siblings, all five of them: Ethan, Cole, Kat, Derrick and Dani.  In my humble opinion, I believe these books could easily become as popular as the Hannah Swensen Series by Joanne Fluke.

I had the pleasure of meeting Susan Sleeman at a book signing event a year and a half ago. Little did I know I’d immediately become one of her biggest fans. Having read her Garden Gate series books, I started the Justice Agency series, and eagerly await each new release.

If you’d like to learn more about the author and her books, please visit her very interesting website at


Meet the Characters in The Icecutter’s Daughter by Tracie Peterson

June 1, 2013

This is an intriguing novel that begins in the bitter cold winter in Minnesota with our heroine attending one of their Belgian mares as she struggles to give birth. She got my heart in the first paragraph.

The story contains interesting references to the German and Swedish cultures throughout, which adds to the delightful tale. The family’s ice cutting business held a fascination for me and gave me a clearer understanding of life in the late 1800’s. Like many other readers, I’d never realized that, back in the day, ice was obtained in that way. (Read the book to find out.)

Ms. Peterson is an expert word painter whose vivid prose readily invites you to enter into the world of her story. The characters are well-developed and one will easily be enchanted by the hero and heroine while fittingly disliking the antagonists.

This was one book I had a hard time putting down. The pacing was just right, and the plot  with interesting twists held my attention to the end. This one is definitely on my recommended reading list.

Merrill Krause possesses all the characteristics of a good wife and mother, only she’s all but given up on that dream. Caring for her father and brothers for the last ten years, her life is full. Now that she’s reached the ripe old age of twenty, she feels some are beginning to consider her a spinster. Merrill shies away from the pampered, frilly persona expected of ladies of that day, and she remains a woman of strength, virtue, and compassion.

Rurik Jorgenson is a man of gentle strength, and is not easily intimidated by anyone, least of all Merrill’s brothers. Thinking this journey to help his uncle Carl in his cabinet business is temporary, he soon finds that there are more reasons than one to consider remaining in Minnesota.

Granny Lassiter takes care of everyone, and Merrill holds a special place in her heart. She is the one person to whom Merrill can go to bare her heart and get trusted, Godly, feminine advice. Granny and cousin Corabeth are trying to convince Merrill to “gussy up” a bit and see if they can find a suitable match for her.

Nils Olsson and Rurik’s were best friends growing up back in Kansas. What is it that prompts Nils to take advantage of that friendship and pressure Rurik to become business partners?

Svea Olsson has marriage on her mind. Marriage to Rurik. What secret does she hold that motivates her to take advantage of his integrity and make an outrageous claim that initiating a scandal that will only hurt the one she  claims as her own.


Tracie Peterson

Tracie Peterson has just been added to my favorite authors list. Having written more than ninety-five novels, she begins a new series, “Land of Shining Water” with  The Icecutter’s Daughter. I can hardly wait to read the rest of the series.

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, she was awarded their  Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. She has won numerous other awards and currently writes exclusively for Bethany House.

To learn more about Tracie and her books, visit

Meet the Characters in Sweet Sanctuary by Kim Vogel Sawyer

May 20, 2013

Sweet SanctuaryThis is anything but a formula romance novel; rather this story contains suspense, mystery, faith, hope, and a whole lot of God’s grace. It clearly demonstrates a favorite Scripture:  Jeremiah 29:11: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

The memorable characters will pull you in, the story line will keep you involved and wanting to know what happens next. I was sure it would go one way, and to my delight, discovered a surprise worth waiting for. The book incorporates some very interesting historical information about people in NYC during World War II.


Meet the Characters:

Nicholas Allan Eldredge, III, “Nicky,” is a precocious and lovable four-year old who instantly captures everyone’s hearts. He is the central focus of the only family he’s ever known.

Lydia Eldredge is a nurse who had a crush on Dr. Micah Hatcher when they worked together in Oahu. However, she knew a relationship with the handsome physician was out of the question. Now, back in Boston, her life is focused on her son.

N. Allan Eldredge – Lydia’s father is a man who relies solely on himself to get through life. He lets no one stand in his way of what he wants. On top of his priority list is his desire to protect his grandson.  Unfortunately, the child’s father has other ideas.

Nicolai Pankin wants his son, but for what reason? His morphine addiction dictates his priorities and his life, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to find his son and take him from whomever it is that is hiding the child.

Micah Hatcher, amidst a hectic schedule of working a clinic for immigrants in NYC, receives a surprising and disturbing missive from someone he’s never met. Micah wants to know what makes Lydia’s father think that he is Nicky Eldredge’s father, and he makes a trip to Boston to find out. What transpires after his trip substantially impacts his life and the lives of others.


Kim Vogel SawyerKim Vogel Sawyer lives in Kingman Kansas with her husband, Don, and four resident cats. Together they run a quaint, historic bed and breakfast called The King’s Inn Bed and Breakfast Inn – Retreat Center,  in which, interestingly, each room or suite is named for a famous author.

Having written over twenty novels and contributed to several others, Kim has won awards for her work and been on best-sellers lists numerous times. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and an inspirational Christian speaker,  she writes “gentle stories of hope.”



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