Friday’s Feature with Suzy Parish

Flowers from Afghanistan

by Suzy Parish

Today is Suzy’s much anticipated “Release Day” of her debut novel, Flowers from Afghanistan. I’m thrilled to have her here today answering a few questions and letting us get to know more about her new novel.

Welcome, Suzy! Let’s get started.

Q: Tell us about your favorite character in your new book.

Suzy: My favorite character was a surprise to even me. As I wrote, one secondary character kept stealing lines, butting his way into scenes and asserting himself quite boldly. He is a riot. He worked so hard to claim his space that I decided to give him his own book. The next book will feature him.

Q: Do you read the reviews and comments of your readers?

Suzy: I do. I like to remind myself of this quote by Benjamin Franklin; “Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.” If we take the good reviews too much to heart, we risk getting the big head. If we absorb the negative reviews, we risk shutting down our creativity.

Q: How much of yourself do you put into your books?

Suzy: That’s been a question I’d like to research among authors. If we write what we know, then there are bound to be many experiences and emotions that we share with our characters. When I have a character that is going through something, I think back over my life to times I felt similar emotions. I want my writing to be authentic.

Q: Some people believe that being a published author is glamorous, is that true?

Suzy: Being a published author is hilariously fun! It’s like a trip to Disney. But to arrive at Disney, there is a great deal of sacrifice. You must plan, save, educate yourself on the layout of the park, or you possibly will miss some of the most thrilling rides!

Q: Who are some of your favorite authors? Have you met any of them and found yourself having a fan-girl moment?

Suzy: Homer Hickam and Andrew Greer. Fan-girl, no, but I was impressed by both of these author’s down-to-earth demeanors. Homer resides in my city, and he and his sweet wife Linda regularly volunteer at a cat adoption center. They clean the cages and play with the cats.

I met Andrew Greer at a retreat. He was engaging and just a regular guy. I think those humble qualities say a lot about both of these authors.


Weighed down by guilt following the death of his two-year-old son, Mac McCann accepts a year-long position training police officers in Afghanistan. Leaving his wife Sophie to grieve alone, he hopes the life-or-death distractions of his self-imposed exile will build a wall between him and his pain.

As camaraderie builds between Mac and the men on base—including a local barber and his precocious little boy—Mac’s heart becomes invested in stories beyond his own tragedy and he learns he is not the only one running from loss. But when the hour of attack arrives, will he be able to see past his guilt to believe there’s still something—and someone—worth living for?

With touching details based on true events, Flowers from Afghanistan is a redemptive journey of healing, a chronicle of hope in crisis, and a testament to the faithfulness of God through it all.

Get your copy today!

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About Suzy

Suzy Parish wrote as a Community Columnist for the Huntsville Times and has been published in Splickety Magazine. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Suzy discovered her love of books as a child in Richmond, Virginia when she took refuge from the summer heat in the local Bookmobile. She believes strongly in the power of literacy to improve the lives of individuals and stewards a Little Free Library in a local park.

You can find Suzy online here:

Suzy Parish Web Site

Suzy Parish on Facebook

Suzy Parish on Goodreads

@SuzyParish on Twitter

Suzy Parish on Instagram

Suzy Parish on Pinterest

Wednesday’s Writer with Suzy Parish

Hope blooms in unexpected places

Weighed down by guilt following the death of his two-year-old son, Mac McCann accepts a year-long position training police officers in Afghanistan. Leaving his wife Sophie to grieve alone, he hopes the life-or-death distractions of his self-imposed exile will build a wall between him and his pain.

As camaraderie builds between Mac and the men on base—including a local barber and his precocious little boy—Mac’s heart becomes invested in stories beyond his own tragedy and he learns he is not the only one running from loss. But when the hour of attack arrives, will he be able to see past his guilt to believe there’s still something—and someone—worth living for?

With touching details based on true events, Flowers from Afghanistan is a redemptive journey of healing, a chronicle of hope in crisis, and a testament to the faithfulness of God through it all.


Thank you for being here today, Suzy. Your book sounds like a very touching and emotional read. I absolutely love the cover. PBG always has the best covers! Let’s get started with our interview.

When you were young, did you ever see writing as a career or full-time profession?

When I was eight or so, the local bookmobile rolled onto our street and set up shop on hot summer days. A clanky air conditioning unit kept the vehicle crisp-cool. I remember pulling a book off the shelf and sitting on the floor, reading for hours. Most days I found a raised medallion on the book jacket. It was the John Newbery Medal, a literary award given by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association (ALA). I’d run my fingers across that medal and dream I was being awarded one for a book I’d written.

Out of all the characters you’ve written about, is there one that is your favorite?

One of the characters in Flowers from Afghanistan turned out to be a particular favorite of mine. He was outspoken and uncontrollable. I never knew what he’d do or say next. He will show up in another book!

Have you ever won any awards for your writing? Pip, Tuppence and George won a spot for publication in Splickety Magazine’s Flash Fiction contest. Flowers from Afghanistan was a semi-finalist in the Genesis Awards at ACFW, American Christian Fiction Writers.

Do you have a special place where you like to write?

A local coffee shop called Angel’s Island is my current hang-out. The atmosphere is laid-back and the aroma wonderful!

Have you ever received a rejection?

Let’s put it this way, I once started a pile back when paper rejection slips were mailed. My most treasured rejection came from Guideposts Magazine. The editor took time to send a very encouraging note, which we know is rare. Unfortunately my dog ate the rejection slip. (Really) I took that as a sign that I shouldn’t track rejections, but encouragements.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to an unpublished writer?

“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.”Winston Churchill

Do you take time to plot and outline your books? Or do you write by the seat of your pants?

I am a plotter.

Do you ever talk about your next project or do you like to keep it a secret?

I will drop a few hints, but for the most part I prefer to keep it a delicious secret.

How long does it take you to write a book? Someone recently said, “As long as it takes.” I love to research, so that time will vary from project to project.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Spend time outside in God’s creation. Give away books through Nonni’s Place, a Little Free Library in our local playground.

Where do you get your ideas for your books? Inspiration comes from brave and honorable acts that people carry out during my lifetime.

Is there a message in your book you hope readers will relate to?

A quote from one of the characters, a local barber in Afghanistan named Gul Hadi: “Awlaad-hoy-e watan, omeed-e watan.”A nation’s children, a nation’s hope. Edward Zellem was kind enough to translate my character’s parable into Dari from English. This quote was picked up and re-tweeted by Afghan citizens. I think I am happier with this line than any other in the book. I employed traditional Afghan proverbs in my novel with permission from Mr. Zellem, but this proverb was one original to my character. The first time it was tweeted out by Afghans was the first time it was read by the Afghan people! The other reason this quote means so much to me is this: it embodies a theme in the book: that nations are not all that different when it comes down to the common people. We all want to raise our children in safety and provide the best life we can for them.


Where to find Suzy

Suzy on Facebook

www.suzyparish.com

@SuzyParish on Twitter

Wednesday’s Writer with Kathryn J. Bain

www.kathrynjbain.com Writing Clean Fiction with an Edge!

 

Meet Kathryn J. Bain

 

Today I have Kathryn Bain answering some fun questions about her book, Take Her Breath Away, as well as how she comes up with ideas and what she does when she’s not writing. Thank you for being here today, Kathryn.

Author Interview Questions

Some people listen to music when they write. Some people write outside, near a window, etc. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk? I’m not sure I have a real quirk since I work at a desk. However, when I get stuck or want to work on a scene to make it deeper, I walk around my house and pretend to be one of the characters. I’m sure my neighbors think I’m crazy as I pass my window waiving my arms or using my hand as a gun.

How long does it take you to write a book? That would depend on the length. My short suspense only takes about two months whereas my Lincolnville Mysteries take about eight months. However, there are others that take years. There is no set rule as to time, so don’t feel bad it it’s taking you longer than someone else.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my four-year-old granddaughter. I love watching BBC Mysteries, and am a fan of Midsomer Murders. I’ve also just discovered Shetland.

Where do you get your ideas for your books? Ideas can come from anywhere. Commericials, other books, etc. My Lincolnville Mystery was inspired by the song “God Love Her” by Toby Keith. In each of my mysteries, I use male country singers as some of my characters. For instance, Toby Keith is Matthew Winters, the minister, Chris Young is Riley Owens, the sheriff, and in Take Her Breath Away, Lee Brice is my inspiration for DEA Agent Ty Davenport.

Is there a message in your book you hope readers will relate to? The biggest thing in most of my books is forgiveness. I write inspirational, and I think forgiveness, not just by God, but forgiving yourself is very important.

What are your future projects? Right now, I’m writing a contemporary book based on A Christmas Carol. It’s titled The Chain You Forge and should be out in late November/early December 2017. I also have a non-fiction book titled Holding the Hand of a King coming out in September 2017.

What kinds of research do you do for your books? It depends what’s needed. In Beautiful Imperfection, I spoke to a nurse and a couple breast cancer survivors. I also belong to Sisters in Crime which is a good resource for police procedural information.

Did you always want to be a writer? I’ve always enjoyed reading, but never saw myself as a writer. One reason is I never did well in English class in school. However, about fifteen years ago I discovered this word “editor,” and the world of writing opened up to me.


Kathryn J. Bain is an award-winning author of Christian, mystery, and suspense, including the Lincolnville Mystery series and KT Morgan short suspense series.

Ms. Bain has garnered several awards, including First Place for Short Suspense in the IDA (Independent Digital Awards), two Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Awards and a First Place Royal Palm Literary Award for Inspirational Fiction.

A past President of Florida Sisters in Crime and Public Relations Director for Ancient City Romance Authors, Kathryn enjoys doing talks and teaching about writing.

Kathryn has also been a paralegal for over twenty years and works for an attorney who specializes in elder law.