Monday, September 17, 2018

Candid Moments with CFRR author Bethany Turner

Thank you for providing us with such a fun candid photo Bethany!

About Christian Fiction Readers Retreat...

In what ways have you participated in CFRR?

BT: I attended CFRR in 2017 as a reader, and I’m so excited to be taking part as an author in 2019!

Rachel: Yay! I am so excited to see you again!

What is your favorite aspect of CFRR?

BT: I have to share my favorite CFRR memory—and the reason it’s my favorite. When I attended as a reader in 2017, The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck was already slated for October release, but no one had heard of me. Of course. Why would they have? I really was just there to get to know people, and of course to be a fangirl like everyone else. (Plus, it was an excuse to visit my parents and sister, who live in the Cincinnati area!) But Becky Wade (Becky Wade, y’all!) used some of her time when we were divided into groups and chatting with the authors to turn the spotlight on me, and introduce me to some of her loyal readers. It was such a humble, selfless act…but it also wasn’t an act at all! It was just Becky being the kind, generous person she is, and it made a huge impact on me. As a new author in the Christian Fiction world, it was just such a lovely example of how important it is to shine the love of Jesus all the time.

Rachel: Oh my goodness! I absolutely love this! (And this makes me love Becky Wade even more now!)

Are you a hugger?

BT: Hugs, high fives, fist bumps, dance-offs, rap battles…I’m open to all of it!

Rachel: Consider this an official challenge for a dance-off then! Bahaha!!!

Just for fun...

What secret talents do you have?

BT: I don’t know if you’d call it a talent, really, but I have a ridiculous amount of pop culture trivia in my head. I’m someone you definitely want on your team at trivia night! (But really ONLY for the pop culture stuff. I’m useless when it comes to almost everything else.)

Rachel: You may be my new favorite person! So I can call you if I need help right? Haha!

What is something you want to accomplish before you die?

BT: I really want to see one of my stories as a movie. While I’m dreaming of things I want to accomplish, I should also state that ideally a) Colin Firth, b) George Clooney, or c) Chris Pratt will be in the aforementioned movie. And if we get that far, I totally expect there to be a conversation which plays out roughly as follows:
Colin, George, or Chris: “Hey, are you in the movie?”
Bethany: “Nah…I’m just the author.”
CF, GC, or CP: “That’s perfect! The actress I’m supposed to dance with in this scene came down with the flu. Why don’t you step in? Also, I love everything you’ve ever written. You’re hilarious, and we should totally hang out in London/at my villa on Lake Como/at my farm in Washington.”
You know…something like that.

Rachel: AHHHH YES!!!! I vote Chris Pratt...and, not just cuz he is from my home state. Haha!

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?

BT: Hopefully, I’d still be doing the other thing I already do for a living, working in church administration. Of course, if I didn’t like writing books, I may have never left my old job as a bank vice president. I would rather not think about that possibility!

Rachel: Ooooh! I didn't know this about you. Admin stuff makes my heart so happy. The organization, forms, lists, and lots of boxes (like in a spreadsheet) hehe!

About reading...

What's your favorite genre to read?

BT: I’m not very original, I suppose, but my favorite genre to read is also my favorite genre to write: romantic comedy. I always have been and, I imagine, always will be such a sucker for a good rom-com.

Rachel: I don't blame you. You write what you know right? Rom-Com is such a fun genre!

When reading, do you block out the world around you or seek a quiet retreat?

BT: I need quiet. I’m too easily distracted as it is, even in my own mind. Outside distractions completely undo me!

Rachel: I get that. However, I have trained myself to block out the world around me...thanks to my two rambunctious children.

About writing...

How many books have you written? published?

BT: I’ve completed six books. So far, one of those has been traditionally published, but one will be out in 2019. I self-published three, pretty much just for fun, quite a few years ago.

Rachel: Oh how fun! (Another thing I didn't know about you.)

What genres do you write?

BT: Right now my emphasis is definitely romantic comedy, but I’ve written some straight contemporary romance as well.

Rachel: Good choice!!!

What are you working on now? What is your next release?

BT: We’re in the editing stage of my next rom-com for Revell, which will be released summer of 2019. Another will be released by Revell a year later, so I’ll be getting to work writing that one pretty soon!

Rachel: YAY! Oh this makes me so excited for you!

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?

BT: It’s less of a habit, more of a technique, I suppose, but music plays a huge role in my writing. When I first start writing a story, I start a playlist. That playlist gets developed as I get to know the characters, and I play the playlist every single time I work on that story. Before long, the music helps me save time. As soon as I hear those songs, my thoughts and emotions are where they need to be in order to write.

Rachel: Oh the power of music! I can't express in words how much I love this concept. I am totally stealing this for writing my blog posts.

What part of the publishing/writing process do you most struggle with? And which aspect is most natural for you?

BT: I struggle with editing because I always think I’ve written the story pretty much as I want it, the first time. Having said that, I’m always proven wrong in that! My editor makes everything so much stronger in ways I never could have on my own. The aspect of the publishing process that is the most natural for me is actually marketing. I love trying new things and thinking of new approaches to getting the word out there.

Rachel: I love this little inside peek. It truly takes a team to publish a book.

Are you more comfortable working in solitude or among a crowd?

BT: Solitude. Always solitude! If I am among a crowd, I want to be visiting and talking and spending time with people. No writing will ever happen for me in a crowd. (What will happen: hugs, high fives, fist bumps, dance-offs, and the occasional rap battle.)

Rachel: Oh you extroverted types. Ain't no controlling you. Hahaha! But I love it. And it is good to recognize what does and does not work for you.

Thank you so much for joining me today Bethany! I can't wait to hug you in April!!!

About the author...

Bethany Turner is the director of administration for Rock Springs Church in Southwest Colorado. A former VP/operations manager of a commercial bank and a three-time cancer survivor (all before she turned thirty-five), Bethany knows that when God has plans for your life, it doesn't matter what anyone else has to say. Because of that, she's chosen to follow his call to write. She lives with her husband and their two sons in Colorado, where she writes for a new generation of readers who crave fiction that tackles the thorny issues of life with humor and insight.

Say "hi" to Bethany in the comments and let's chat about some of the moments we've enjoyed with her and her stories!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Candid Moments with CFRR author Carole Towriss

Thanks for sending this great candid of you on the beach, Carole!

About Christian Fiction Readers Retreat...

In what ways have you participated in CFRR?

CT: This will be my first year.

Beth: Yay! So exciting!

What part of CFRR are you most excited about?

CT: Meeting readers who love biblical fiction.

Beth: I'm sure you'll find a few. 😉

Are you a hugger?

CT: Sure!

Beth: Great!

Just for fun...

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't yet?
CT: I’d love to go to Greece. My next four books are set in ancient Greece.

Beth: Oh! The history and beauty! I'd love to visit Greece as well!

If you could have an accent from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?

CT: Scottish.

Beth: That is on my top ten list for sure!

About reading...

What's your favorite genre to read? 

CT: Biblical fiction. I fell in love with it when I read The Robe as a young teenager.

Beth: I discovered biblical fiction as a young adult and it's one of my favorites (although I tend to be quite picky about what I like and don't like)!

When reading, do you block out the world around you or seek a quiet retreat?

CT: I seek quiet. Not easy in my house!

Beth: Oh, I hear ya there!

How often do you pleasure read?

CT: Not as often as I'd like.

Beth: Amen to that!

Why do you think reading Christian Fiction is so important?

CT: It keeps your mind in a Christian worldview. We are so bombarded all day, every day, with anti-God messages, it’s a great way to reset your thinking.

Beth: You are what you read!

About writing...

How many books have you written? Published?

CT: I have written nine and published seven.

Beth: That's wonderful! 

What genres do you write?

CT: Mostly biblical fiction. I have written some contemporary romance novellas, mostly as a break from the research-intensive historicals.

Beth: I love to mix up my reading, sounds like variety is a good plan for writing, too!

What are you working on now? What is your next release?

CT: I have a biblical novella releasing in September. It’s part of “The Psalm Series” with two other authors. I plan to release another full-length historical in early winter.

Beth: That is exciting news!

Why do you think writing Christian fiction is important?

CT: People learn facts better when they are presented as a story. Christian fiction is a great way to impart the Truth, to those who already know Him and those who are still seeking.

Beth: I completely agree! I've learned much more about history through fiction than I ever did in an academic setting.

What are your must-have writing supplies?

CT: A computer with internet access. I end up researching as I write, so I need the internet.

Beth: I need the internet, too!

Are you more comfortable working in solitude or among a crowd?

CT: I can work anywhere as long as people leave me alone! I’ve gone several times to a crowded fast-food restaurant nearby. It’s busy, but no one tries to talk to me.

Beth: Oh, I know that feeling of being interrupted all too well! 

About the author...

An unapologetic Californian, Carole Towriss now lives just north of Washington, DC. She loves her husband, her four children, the beach, and tacos, though not always in that order. In addition to writing, she binge-watches British crime dramas and does the dishes for the fourth time in one day.

Say "hi" to Carole in the comments and let's chat in the comments about some of the moments we've enjoyed with her here and in her stories!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Candid Moments with CFRR author Becca Whitham

About Christian Fiction Readers Retreat...

In what ways have you participated in CFRR?
BW: I haven’t been to CFRR yet.

Rachel: Oh the adventures that await you!
What part of CFRR are you most excited about? Are you a hugger?
BW: I’m going to answer both of these together because, yes, I’m a hugger and it’s the thing I’m most looking forward to. Many of the CFRR authors and coordinators are my blog-land buddies. I’ve never met them in person. I can’t wait to pull them into a great big hug to show them just how much I love and adore them.


Just for fun...
If you were a superhero, what would your name be? What costume would you wear?
BW: I would be Weather Woman. I’d take the torrential rain flooding one part of the world and divert it to areas suffering drought. Or I’d blow a particularly fierce hurricane back out to sea or a tornado away from densely populated areas. As for my costume, it would be either teal or burgundy (because those are really good colors on me) and—most importantly—it would cinch, tighten, and lift until I was shaped like Scarlett Johansson.

Rachel: Oooooh! I love this!
What secret talents do you have?
BW: If I told you, they’d no longer be secret.

Rachel: Sneaky, sneaky.
Photo by Rob Bye on Unsplash
Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before?
BW: Israel. Hubby and I have been planning it for years but, until he’s out of the army, I doubt we’ll go. We want to spend a month there…maybe longer. We also want to visit the Dominican Republic to meet our Compassion child. Of course, I still want to get to Italy. And Germany. And I would love to visit Sweden and the Netherlands. Oh…and Prince Edward Island, Canada. And let’s not forget Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine because then I’ll have been to all fifty states. You see the problem?

Rachel: Indeed I do....And I must say that I feel the same way.
If you could have any accents from anywhere in the world, what would you choose?
Photo by Jack Anstey on Unsplash
BW: France. My daughter and I went to Paris several years ago. The language is so beautiful. Even their word for “toilet” is lovely. Latrine. How very elegant.

Rachel: I do love French.
If you were a spy, what would your code name be?
BW: Agent 355 in honor of the woman who was part of the Culper Ring during the Revolutionary War.

Rachel: YES! This is perfect. Did you see the post Roseanna White shared 2 weeks ago here? Create your own spy name! Inspired by the Cupler Ring. Mine is Mildred Bell.

About reading...

How do you organize your books?
BW: My husband is in the army, so we move often. I’m constantly given a chance to organize (and reorganize and re-re-organize) my bookshelf. Currently, my books are divided by shelf in the following categories: non-fiction research books; books about how to write books; books I’ve read organized by author; more books I’ve read shoved to the back with books I haven’t read in front of them; more books I haven’t read piled on the floor of my office, and even more books I’ve either just finished reading, am in the process of reading, or plan to read next piled beside my bed. And there are a few books here and there in other parts of the house because…well…because I’m not a great housekeeper, and they tend to stay wherever I was last reading them.

Rachel: Organizing books is soothing for me. Everytime we have moved, the books are what I look forward to unpacking the most.
How often do you pleasure-read?
BW: I try to read for an hour a day, usually before bed. Sometimes that backfires on me and I end up reading late into the night…or the next morning.

Rachel: Been there...Done that...
Why do you think reading Christian Fiction is so important?
BW: Because it has the ability to reach inside and imprint your soul so that, once you close the book, you are different for having lived through the character’s journey. Some of the best theology I’ve ever heard has come to me through fiction.

Rachel: This is a beautiful description. And I agree 100%!

About writing...
How many books have you written?
BW: Are you counting the ones I’ve started, the ones I’ve only written inside my own head, or ones I’ve actually sat down and typed out? Oh—who am I kidding?—I wouldn’t be able to count the number in any category. Published? Now that’s easier. I currently have eleven listed on my author page. I have two more coming in 2019, although they will most likely release after CFRR.  

Rachel: That is exciting news. And you can never have too many story ideas.
What genres do you write? What are you working on now? What is your next release?
Novella - Amazon
BW: Published writing I’ve limited myself to Historical Romantic Suspense, but I have several ideas for Contemporary Suspense. Once I’m more established, I’ll consider publishing in both genres. I’m currently working on the third novel in a three-book series that Gina Welborn and I have co-authored. We ended Book One with a pretty big cliffhanger, most of which we solve in Book Two, so now it’s time to wrap up the last remaining romance and mystery. Book Two in this series releases in October 2018 with the promotional e-book only novella releasing three months prior in July. We haven’t yet been given publication dates for the final novel and promotional novella releasing in 2019.

Rachel: I have recently started reading Romantic Suspense and I LOVE IT!!!
Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)?
BW: I don’t write in the shower, but some of my best ideas come when I’m shampooing my hair. I’ll act out dialogue between characters or work through a knotty motivational problem. If I’m suffering from writer’s block, sometimes I’ll take a second shower to allow the steam to open up my brain cells.

Rachel: Steamy showers are truly inspiring aren't they? Hehe!
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What part of the publishing/writing process do you most struggle with?
BW: Before I was published, I could concentrate on writing. Now my days are divided amongst writing the current book, promoting the book I wrote two years ago, editing the book I wrote last year, putting out proposals for the books I hope to write in the future, and building relationships with readers through newsletters, social media, and personal appearances. Now do you see why I’m such a lousy housekeeper?   

Rachel: Totally in the same boat.
Which aspect is most natural for you?
BW: Brainstorming. Hands down. I can chase rabbits down holes for hours on end! I have a natural ability to see disparate pieces of plot and organize them into a linear progression that builds conflict and/or suspense.

Rachel: Imagination is a beautiful thing. I love opening the doors to the mind.
Are you more comfortable working in solitude or among a crowd?
BW: I usually work in solitude, but when the deadlines are pressing and I’ve been locked inside my house for five days straight, sometimes I’ll shake things up by going to a public place.

Rachel: Getting out of the house, away from the kids and housework, definitely help me to concentrate!

Thank you so much for joining us today Becca!

About the author...
Becca Whitham (WIT-um) Award-winning author, paper crafter, and Army wife, Becca currently resides in Virginia with her husband of over thirty years and a twelve-foot long craft cabinet she thinks should count as a dependent. So far, neither the army nor the IRS is convinced. In between moves from one part of the country to the other, she writes stories combining faith and fiction that touch the heart. You can find her online at

Say "hi" to Becca in the comments and let's chat about some of the moments we've enjoyed with her and her stories!