Part of the fun about being an author is meeting other authors. I recently read Desire of the Heart, by Anne Perreault. I connected with Anne and Facebook and enjoy her friendly and encouraging spirit. Following is my review, where to get her books, and an author interview. Enjoy!
On vacation in Yellowstone National Park, Cady Jackson and her cousin, Ashely, take in the spectacular sights, but when an accident occurs, Cady gets carried away, literally, by two handsome men.
Unused to the attentions of the opposite sex, ultra-conservative Cady keeps the “hounds” at bay. However, Ashley falls quickly for Clint, a western cowboy, and is tempted to set aside her tight morals the cousins were raised with.
Ranger Grant McClintock, one of her rescuers, checks up on Cady after her accident, and Cady lowers her guard enough to get to know him. Grant, bearing a grief he thought he’d never recover from, finds his heart drawn to the feisty, natural beauty Cady exemplifies. As their hearts grow closer, family tensions and a tragic accident threatens to separate them.
Will Cady and Grant trust in God’s timing and purpose for their future? Will the opposition, guilt, and misunderstanding from Cady’s family be great enough to split Grant and Cady apart or only serve to draw them closer together?
How will Ashley react when her world tips upside down? Her story continues in book two in the Yellowstone series.
Desire of the Heart is an unusual, Godly tale of true love within boundaries and rising above the past to embrace the future. Readers of Christian Romance and Christian contemporary fiction will be pulled into the story by the growing feelings of Cady and Grant and their desire to submit their lives to God. A good smattering of adventure and suspense awaits readers as well.
Perreault has a way of making the characters and the challenges they face real and is skilled at crafting individual, unique traits for her characters, which make them stand out from the crowd.
Although I don’t usually read romance or contemporary Christian fiction, I enjoyed this sweet, well-crafted tale and can easily give it a five-star rating.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW WITH ANNE:
What sparked your interest in writing Christian Fiction?
That would be the desire to show God’s love and presence with us in good times as well as bad. I want to be a light when I’m writing. I’m sure that there is a ton of other genres I could explore but it wouldn’t be me. I’m a Christian. I want to lift other Christians up. I want to encourage my brothers and sisters not to give up and let this life overwhelm us. I want to show a way to God, make Him a personal God, which is what He is to me.
Which authors have inspired you the most?
I would have to start with Ronie Kendig. She’s a MASTER storycrafter. I identified with her because she had a similar background as I had. She traveled a lot as an army brat, lived in different countries with her army husband. And her fiction books on Military Working Dogs really caught my attention. She also homeschooled her kids and started writing when she was still schooling them. I identified with her characters and loved how she can write the darkness in us and still bring out hope. Because of her own courage to write, I was inspired to give it a go also.
I’ve also been encouraged by Tessa Afshar’s writings. Her beautiful words and similar background (again) drew me to her. She grew up right across the sea from where I spent my teens, a place where I consider home. She’s from Iran, and I lived in Dubai. That kind of spark an interest. She also lives one town over from where we used to live in Connecticut, although I didn’t know that at the time. I’ve met her in person and she’s a riot and has the ability to bring God into the story like nobody I had ever met. Her book, Pearl in the Sand, brought me to tears and worked a lot of things inside me. When I read her books, it’s like I know I’m going to learn something about myself and my relationship with God.
I’m so blessed to have found Tamara Leigh. She writes amazing medieval romance that even my husband enjoys. Her messages are often deep and her words… ooooo… they make me want to wrap them around me and just savor. She’s become a mentor and friend to me.
Recently, I have been studying an author named Susan May Warren. I came across her books about a year ago and couldn’t stop reading anything by her. The way she brings out the emotions in her characters without forcing it, the way she expresses them so beautifully has been an inspiration to me. I’ve been so blessed to sit at her feet and absorb so many of her pearls of wisdom through her online writing courses. It’s helped me grow so much as a writer.
My first mentor was an author named Patricia Bell, who came along side me when I was ready to chuck it all. She introduced me to all the bells and whistles and is a wonderful friend and mentor even now.
All these women are important to me as a writer. They have contributed so incredibly much to my courage to be an author as well as to my craft.
Favorite fiction book? Bible verse?
I would have to say Pearl in the Sand is my favorite. I re-read it often. My favorite Bible verse… 1 Jn 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”
Please tell us about your publishing journey and why you chose to self-publish.
It began with the prodding of the Spirit. I hadn’t planned on ever being an author. I was a wife and mother, homeschooling my kids. My life was pretty full. But I’m not one of those people to shy away from a challenge. God issued it to me when I was done writing a story for my daughter. It had taken me a long time to write it. At the time, I felt I was qualified to bring her a story that would encourage her in her walk with Christ. I had always been a storyteller.
I was sitting in our library, writing ‘The End’ when I asked, “That was fun. Now what, God.” Of course it was a rhetorical question. One does not actually expect the Lord to whisper into ones heart, “Write the story.” I was stunned, first of all. Then, I laughed. And once I had come to my senses, I plugged my ears (like that would help) and said, Nanananananana… not listening.
I knew which story God wanted me to tell, write. I wasn’t going to because it was a very personal story, one that had stayed with me for 30 odd years and had been my crutch, until Christ became my Savior. I wasn’t going to go back to tell that story. Over the next couple of months, I asked the Lord to please show me that He was the one guiding my thoughts and that this journey wasn’t of my own desire. He showed me over and over again in little things. Until that neon sign was waved in front of me, I still didn’t believe it.
It was at a woman’s retreat with out old church from CT. I wasn’t even supposed to be there that year. We had no money and I knew that if God wanted me to go, He’d have to make a way. He sure did, and I went expecting to hear from Him. I did. I walked into the chapel for our first speaker, whose topic was… wait for it… Write your story. The rest is history. I took 4 years in which I wrote and wrote like a mad woman. I would average a 100K novel a month. I have over 40 books that still are waiting to be published.
My publishing story was more… difficult. It seemed that once I was ready to have someone else read my first book, Skating for Grace, the one that started it all, I approached a friend to see if it was even good enough. She immediately handed it to someone who ran a publishing company. I was NOT ready for that! But it gave me a huge jolt of adrenaline when this publisher called me to tell me that she wanted to publish this book. I was on cloud nine and floating until she told me that it would be around $4,000 to publish one book. I nearly passed out and then I was angry. I remember the conversation between me and God went something like, How dare You put me on this road and then yank it out from under me?
The Lord was not at least bit offended or surprised but gently guided me to self-publish. I loved it. He provided me with my editors, my graphic designer (my daughter, who still does my covers for me), and then I was off. And the books sat on Amazon. I rapidly published 3 books and thrummed my fingers on the desk. Nobody was reading them.
Two years ago, I was once again at the same retreat and I went for a specific reason. I had decided that the place that started it all, was going to be the place where I ended it. I was tired. I was disappointed in what I had done. I had a few readers, but nothing to write home about. God knew. When I came back home, I was flipping around the internet and came upon a group for writers. I have no idea how I got there. Suddenly, my eyes were being opened to this thing called promotion and marketing. I met my first author friend through another freak accident. She was so entirely wonderful and encouraging… I learned soooo much from her that first year.
The rest… well, that is still being written by the Lord.
Your latest series is set in Yellowstone National Park. Why did you choose that setting?
I didn’t consciously set out to write a story set at Yellowstone. I love animals and wildlife. I’ve always been so intrigued by wolves and the way nature has put them into place. When you think of wolves, you think Yellowstone. I also wanted to write a story for my daughter, a story based on her character. I had written something for my boys, why not her? The thing about my daughter is, she loves to travel. She and her cousin took a trip alone to Scotland a few years ago. All alone.
So, I thought, hey, why not have two cousins travel to Yellowstone. I have to say that my niece is NOTHING like Ashley, Cady’s cousin from Desire of the Heart. Both my daughter and niece are these lovely young women of God, with this smile that’ll melt your heart. And that was how I wanted Cady to be. I wanted her to be sweet and a bit naive in the ways of the world. Oh, disclaimer… My husband and I are NOT like the parents in that story. Just needed to clear that up. We have taught our children to wait for the one God has chosen for them, to wait for intimacy. But NOT like the parents in that story.
So, I set this adventure Cady was on at Yellowstone because, come on… we have to meet Ranger McYum. This is the nickname one of my readers had chosen for Grant McClintoch.
What five tips would you share with other indie authors?
- Don’t isolate yourself, thinking you can do it alone. Find a community of like-minded authors who will help you in your journey.
- Don’t push it. You will know when it’s your time to publish. I didn’t publish my first book until I was in my 40s. It’s okay. There’s a season for everything.
- Pray often and pray hard. This will be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. When you’ve published that first book, you’ll bawl like a little child because you’ve done it.
- If you’re writing to honor God, if you want to encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ, know there will be attacks from the enemy. It happens to me all the time when I head to publishing. I have surrounded myself with a team that prays for me during that time. It’s helped so much!
- It’s a MARATHON, not a sprint. If you expect to publish your first book and have a thousand readers, you might want to start your marketing way, way, way before the book comes out. You will gain readers… slowly.
What do you desire for readers to take away from your books?
What are you working on now?
I’m working on two things. My next book is supposed to be out in March… YIKES! I’m now going over our first edits because, remember, I’ve written this book about 4 years ago. It’s already gone through one set of edits by my amazing editor. It’s slow going because I’m still in that publishing rush of book 3 in the Yellowstone series, which released December 31. I love getting reacquainted with more beloved characters. This one, called Finding Courage, has some very intense scenes and I’ve been working through them to perfect them. There is also part of me that wants to rewrite the whole ending, so I’m working my way through to that part. It’s been fun.
I’m also working on writing a descendants of Yellowstone book. It’s very slow going since I have to focus on Finding Courage first. But there are moments when I just need to sit down and write something original or else I get a wee bit stressed. Writing is stress release for me.
What is your favorite thing to do, besides writing?
Honestly, my favorite thing to do is to write. But I know I have to have a life. I love being with my family. Our youngest and our daughter still reside with us and I love hanging out with them. I love to travel again. My parents and cousins and aunts and uncles all live in Germany still and I was slated for a visit in 2020. ‘Nough said. My passport expired in the middle of everything and I can’t get a new one, since the German Consulate was closed down form most of the year. Besides, I’m not going into Boston right now, thank you. Other than that, I love watching movies and TV shows with a good story-line and interesting characters. And I love to read, although I’ve really not been able to read as much as I like.
What ten adjectives would you use to describe yourself?
What’s an adjective? I’m kidding, I’m kidding. I know it’s something describing a person, place or thing… No? Okay, I’m just playing with you.
Here we go:
Thank you so much!
Thank you, Anne for being my guest author on my blog today! Many blessings to you as you continue to bless others with your well-crafted and inspirational stories.
CONNECT WITH ANNE: