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Author Interviews

Wendy Rich Stetson Author Interview

1. What was your inspiration for the series?

I guess you could say that Oprah made me write it!  In the early 2000s, I was just out of acting school and waiting for the big audition that would change my life.  In my tiny, sixth floor, studio apartment, I caught an episode of The Oprah Winfrey show featuring romance writers.  I thought, "Hey, I could do that," every bit as naive as I was to think a starring role on Broadway would land on my doorstep tied up in a satin bow. 


Still, inspired by those Oprah writers with the often-heard advice to “write what I knew” I came up with a simple premise: what would happen if a girl moved back to her hometown in Pennsylvania and fell in love with an Amish guy. 


Ten years later I made my Broadway debut.  After another ten years, Hometown, my sweet, small-town romance about a red-haired girl trying to find her place in the world, was published.  A year later came the second book in the Hearts of the Ridge Series, Heartsong Hills.  Book 3 is with my editor right now!


2. How much of your personal life is in the series?

Though the characters and events in Hometown are completely fictional, Green Ridge is definitely based on my hometown of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.  Local residents will recognize nearly all of the locations in the story.


Like Tessa, the heroine of Hometown, I grew up traveling the country in a 1979 pop-top camper van.  I don't think too many are still on the road!  Let me tell you, they are every bit as cool as my book makes them out to be.  As a tall, curly-haired redhead, I see some of myself in Tessa, but she is braver and ultimately more generous than I am.  Her best friend Jenn is definitely inspired by my spunky college roommate of the same name.  All the rest of the characters are entirely made up.

3. Describe the series you'd like to highlight:

The Hearts of the Ridge books are sweet and funny contemporary Amish romances with a 21st Century vibe.  I like to say they aren’t your grandma’s Amish romances, but she’ll love them too! Each book features a love story between a member of the Amish community and an Englischer, and wrestles with how people from different backgrounds and with different life experiences can overcome obstacles through love and a little bit of faith.


4. Tell us a fun fact about you:

My sweet and naughty Maine Coon mix kitty is also named Tessa.  Was she named after my heroine or was my heroine named after her?  Honestly, I don't know!


5. What’s next for you?

I have three projects I’d like to work on…and I am not sure which will win!  I’m plotting a novella prequel to the Hearts of the Ridge in which one of the side characters is featured, I’ve got an idea for a sweet and fun Christmas romance set in Alaska that I researched on a recent family vacation, and I have another sweet romance set on the Eastern Shore of VA that I wrote years ago that needs to be updated and revised for submission!  I have to pick one!

Megan Byrd Author Interview

1. How long have you been writing? How did you get started?


I’ve been a writer for most of my life. I’ve kept a journal since first grade. I wrote short stories and a couple of self-illustrated children’s books in elementary school (unpublished). Like many girls, I dabbled in poetry in high school and college. But I didn’t start seriously writing until after college, when I wrote a nonfiction advice book for Christian women preparing for college. I continued writing nonfiction, working on another book about motherhood and faith (unpublished),  and writing devotions and faith-based articles for an online publication called The Glorious Table.


When I moved from Atlanta, GA to Asheville, NC in 2019, I joined a creative writing group at my local library where a group got together, wrote short prompts, and shared our stories. I wrote a short story based on an experience I’d had in the local chocolate shop. When our group leader told us about NaNoWRiMo (National Novel Writing Month), I thought I’d give it a try. I wrote 65,000 words during NaNo, and kept writing after until I finished the book at almost 90,000 words.


And then I was hooked. I’ve participated in four NaNoWriMos and have written five novels (four romance and one middle-grade fiction) since 2019, two of which are published.



2. What is your writing routine or process like?


When I’m writing, I get the kids off to school, then sit down at my desk and write for three to four hours, striving for 2000-3000 words. If I am happy with my progress, then I give myself the afternoon to rest my brain, otherwise I work some more after lunch until the kids come home.


While I’m writing, I like to take walking/exercise breaks and mini adventures to stoke the creative fire. Since I’ve been writing about Asheville, I may go downtown and wander the streets or visit a particular location. Sometimes I’ll have lunch with a friend and talk through things for more ideas.


3. Are you a plotter or a pantser?


My first book, I pantsed it all the way through. And the editing process was long and arduous. Since then, I’ve written an outline and major plot points, so I have an idea of where the story’s going. I have enjoyed having a map to follow and will continue to create one before I write.


4. How many books/series do you have and where can we find them?


Right now, I’m working on my first romance series, City Love. All the books are based in Asheville, NC, and are sweet, clean romances. I have two books published and three more planned. You can find links and information on my website and also on Amazon.


5. What was your inspiration for the series?


The first book came from an encounter I had at my local chocolate shop. Afterward, I imagined the scene as a meet-cute, and made a book around it. I liked the idea of setting it here where I live so that it gave me an excuse to explore my new town more.


6. Who is your favorite of your characters and why?


I don’t know if I have a favorite, but I really like Jayson from One Sweet Love. He’s a really good guy who cares about his family and making a positive difference in the world. He does a lot of sweet things to show he cares about Julie and even faces his fears for the chance at love.


7.  Which character do you relate to most and why?

I relate most to Rachel Price from Take a Chance on Me, because we both want to be writers and have some baggage from previous relationships. We both love chocolate and reading. Some of the scenes in the book are based on my own real-life experiences.


8. How much of your personal life and experiences find their way into your stories?


Like I mentioned previously, the first book came out of a real-life experience. And I definitely use people I know in real life in my characters (as inspiration). You can probably find tiny bits of me in each of my books.


9. Any examples?


In Take a Chance on Me, Tom teaches Rachel how to properly throw a frisbee. When my husband and I were just friends, he took me to a field and gave me a lesson. Rachel gives her nieces a new ornament each year. My aunt did that for me and I do that for my nieces and nephews. Rachel has a twin sister and so does my IRL friend Racheal.


Little Shop of Sugar in One Sweet Love and Take a Chance on Me is based on my favorite place downtown called The Chocolate Fetish. The Jackson Building in OSL is a real place as is the N.C. Arboretum. And Blue Goose Taco Shop is an ode to my favorite White Duck Taco Shop.


10. What do you like most about being an author?


I love talking to other writers about our books along with the joys and challenges of being a writer. I love sharing my stories with other people and hearing what they liked about them.


11. What is the most challenging or frustrating thing about being an author?


The most challenging thing for me is letting go of a story. I’m a perfectionist and so it’s hard to know when the story is finished and ready to be shared with readers through publication. No book is ever perfect, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.


12. What is something the average reader may not know about authoring?


It’s waaaay more than just writing a manuscript, especially if you’re an indie author. You also have to edit the manuscript, create a cover, write a blurb that draws the reader in and makes them want to read the story, and market the book. There are so many aspects to authoring that you don’t really think about.


13. What inspires you as a person?


Other authors’ success inspires me. I love reading great books by other romance authors that make me feel a range of emotions. It helps me to keep going on my own journey and believe that I can get there too.


14. What’s on your bucket list?


I love to travel so, if I haven’t been there, I probably want to visit. I’d love to see La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona again. I really want to see the Northern or Southern Lights and visit all 50 U.S. States (I have 9 to go).


15. What’s your next project?


I’m currently in the middle of a Christmas-themed novel, Merry & Brett. It’s scheduled to publish in early December, but I’m hoping to get it out by mid-November if I can finish things up by then. Brett Jacobs works at Page Turner Books with Rachel Price, so if you’ve read Take a Chance on Me, he’s familiar. Meredith Larson is a new character in this grumpy/sunshine workplace romance.


Once I finish that, it’ll be time to work on Abbie and Carlos’s story. Abbie Price is Rachel’s twin sister and Carlos Vega is Jayson’s best friend. Abbie is in both Take a Chance on Me and One Sweet Love. We meet Carlos in One Sweet Love, where we also learn that the two of them share a not-so-great history (enemies-to-lovers anyone?).

Kara Eriksson Author Interview

1.       How long have you been writing? How did you get started?

Other than a short story I wrote when I was in the fourth grade, I never even considered writing until shortly after my daughter was born. I was reading a book that I literally tossed across the room. I said, “I can do better than that!”


Writing is not as easy as reading makes it look. Anyway, I wrote—well, began—story after story from that day forward. Many (most) I’ve never finished. Some I’ll probably go back to one day, others, I doubt I will. Long story short, I finally got up the nerve to publish my first book two years ago. It’s a story I began roughly ten years earlier, and honestly, of all the books I ever began, it would not have been the one I’d ever have predicted would become my first published novel. 

2.       What is your writing routine or process like?

My process? Well, I get an idea and I start writing. Usually, the first quarter or so of the story comes pretty easily. Eventually, however, there comes a point where I have to really start thinking through where I’m going with the story. I never intended to write a series. In fact, I used to say I didn’t like series. In a way, as a reader, that’s true. Sometimes, standalones feel more organic and series can feel contrived. But not always—and, as an author, series are a lot of fun!

3.       Are you a plotter or a pantser? (For those who don’t know - pantsers wing it. They write by the seat of their pants.)

I’m a pantser. Yes, I have to begin some level of plotting midway through a story, but I still mostly wing it. Of course, that means going back later and filling in gaps and smoothing out inconsistencies and such.

4.       How many books/series do you have and where can we find them?

Right now, I only have one series published. Books four and five will be out this summer. At this point, this looks to be the end of the series.They are available on Amazon.

5.       Describe the series you’d like to highlight today?

It’s called the Really Truly Series. It began as a standalone novel. Book two happened quite by accident about eight years later. The series grew from there. 

In the first book, Who You Really Are, I didn’t intend for it to be a suspense novel (and in my opinion, it isn’t, not fully), but it does have some suspense elements. Book two is similar, but the third book, Truly Together, has zero suspense. Four has a touch of it, but five has none at all.

6.       What was your inspiration for the series?

My inspiration? I have no idea specifically where it came from except…I’ve always loved TV shows and movies that had characters who were working undercover or had some sort of secret identity. This started when I was a kid and discovered reruns of the old (even for me) television series The Fugitive. 

I loved the idea of a good guy who had a secret, couldn’t be himself, and whom everyone else thought was bad but was really a great guy. Many of the unfinished stories in my ‘backlist’ contain some version of that theme.

7.       Who is your favorite of your characters and why?

I think right now, my favorite character is Marco in the second book, Who I Really Am. He’s a good guy at heart but needs some transformation, too. He’s also gentle, patient, and completely nonjudgmental with Annalise.

8.       Which character do you relate to most and why?

Um, let’s see. Which of my books has the most boring good-girl?

9.       How much of your personal life and experiences find their way into your stories?

I would say that the longer I write the less the characters I write about have much in common with the world immediately around me. (Refer to question 8—boring. Plus, eventually an author has to get creative.). 

Seriously, I’m not down on myself, but I don’t live the most exciting life. I will say, however, that there are little elements of my surroundings or small events that make their way into stories here and there.

10.   Any examples?

My family is on the tall side, so you might find many of my characters are tall as well. Be looking for a book with a super tall heroine one of these days…

11.   What do you like most about being an author?

I like being able to work from home. Also, it was so nice years ago to finally realize that I could get the stories that were in my head out.

12.   What is the most challenging or frustrating thing about being an author?

A big challenge for me as an author is consistency. As a self-published author, pretty much all my deadlines are self-imposed, so it can be difficult to stay on task sometimes. 

Oh, and marketing. Definitely not a fan of marketing. On that note, I think that many authors are naturally introverted, which is likely one of the characteristics that drew them to writing. Unfortunately, to actually sell books, an author has to get out there and interact with people, even complete strangers.

13.   What is something the average reader may not know about authoring?

Unfortunately, you can’t just sit around and write all the time!

14.   What inspires you as a person?


As an author, positive, personal feedback inspires me. Does that count?

15.   Is there anything you’d like to share about your region, your family or your background?

I live in North Texas. I’ve been here most of my life. It’s a nice area, but I’d love to travel more. (It’s way too hot here this time of year.) 

My mother is originally from Sweden. I visited once when I was a teenager, but I would LOVE to go back as an adult.

I’ve been married for thirty years and my husband and I have a son and a daughter. My daughter is making her way through college, and my son recently married—so now I have a wonderful daughter-in-law, as well.

16.   What’s on your bucket list?

Bucket list—Travel.

17.   What’s your next project?

I’m currently editing the final two books in the Really Truly series. After that, I’m looking at polishing up (which will include updating) one of the first stories I ever wrote. I’d like to begin working on a Christmas story soon, too. I’m still brainstorming that one.

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