Author Spotlight – Ryana Lynn

Today on the blog, Ryana Lynn (Miller) Peterson is joining us to share about her journey as an Author!

Kylie: Ryana Lynn, will share with us about yourself?

Ryana Lynn: Hey! I’m Ryana Lynn (Miller) Peterson and I’m originally from Central North Carolina, currently living in Northern Maryland! I married Jacob Peterson on December 19th, 2020, thus transferring my base of operations! As the third born of seven kids, I am the only red head! I am an Independent Fundamental Baptist and staunchly Pro-Life.

When I’m not writing Historical Fiction or a Christmas Novella about First Responders,  I might be found reading (probably historical fiction, a devotional or a mystery), trying out a new recipe (while adding to a list of kitchen mishaps!), making a blanket for the newest niece or nephew on the way (a tradition I accidentally started and adore!), researching Creation Science (Did I mention that the Geologic column is a hoax?), singing with my husband (conservative, Christ-honoring music!), learning about web design (I must stress the learning part!) and spending time outdoors (I love a good walk in the great outdoors!).  I am also learning about household logistics and continue to help in our family’s ministry,  fbnradio.com.  (Please check out our site!)

I graduated from homeschool in 2013. I knew that I wanted to be an author, but I had no idea how much work was involved! My first novel was published in 2015/2016 (Printing around Christmas and New Years is not a good idea!) four years after I wrote the first draft.
It’s a pleasure to meet you!


Kylie: Tell us about your books, what is your favorite era to write in and why would you say that it is?

Ryana Lynn: I write about controversial topics apparently, though that wasn’t my intent XD The Land of Cotton follows the Mason family through the year 1861. They are a family somewhat divided. Silas, the father, is from North Carolina, and Ellen, the mother, is from Philadelphia, Penn. Thus the cousins find themselves fighting each other. I cover almost the entire year, showing what the war looked like from the Confederate POV. I’ve done a ton of research and I work hard to make sure my information is accurate. The subsequent books follow the Mason through the war: Our Heritage to Save (1862), The Rivers of Sorrow (1863), A Song of Home (1864) and The Battlefield is Silent (1865: Coming Soon!).

My other book, Coffee Shop Christmas, is set in 2016 and is a tribute to our Policemen and follows Police Widow Katherine Shannon as she tries to cope with her first Christmas Eve alone. She finds joy in helping others and the readers get a peek at life in the Police community. My goal is to encourage respect for the Police and a desire to go looking for work to do for the cause of Christ!

My favorite era to write in is hard to say! I love writing about the War Between the States, but I’ve really started to write about modern-day! I have many ideas for stores in the 2000’s so I’m very excited to explore them. Though I also enjoy writing short stories in the WWII era!

As for why, I enjoy writing about the War Between the States, because it gives me a chance to share my heritage with the world! For people to see things through another set of eyes. Things aren’t always as they seem 😉

Modern-day would be more about the topics I chose: First Responders, Military, and Pro-Life. All are things I am passionate about and I love sharing them with others! As for WWII, who doesn’t adore the time when America and our allies pulled together, set aside our differences, and won?


Kylie: Can you share what inspired you to become an writer?

Ryana Lynn: Well, I’ve always been fascinated by books and thought it would be fun to write one. But what got me to take writing seriously was my sister. I was complaining about how books weren’t historically accurate and there were no books on the War Between the States from Southern perspective. True Southern perspective. Meaning, States Rights, not slavery (not saying this wasn’t a very serious issue! It was, it just wasn’t what sparked the war. But that’s another conversation for another time). And she looked at me and said, “Write your own.” And so I decided I would! After that, God used two special people to show me that I needed to consider publishing. In 2016, my first book, The Land of Cotton, was published.

Kylie: What book are you most excited about reading in 2021?

Ryana Lynn: Ooh this is a hard one! If Kassie Angle publishes another this year, then her’s! But another book I am eager to read is When Twilight Breaks by Sarah Sundin! I’m very curious to see how she handles this story and I need me a good WWII read!


Kylie: Are there any Authors or Books that have given you inspiration on your journey as a writer?

Ryana Lynn: Yes! Isabella Alden, Rachel McBride, Kassie Angle, Amanda Tero, and Rebekah Morris are huge inspirations! And even though she isn’t published, Katja Lebonté’s writing is amazing and I’d love to be able to put things into words as she does.

As for specific books, there’s The Holy War by John Bunyan, Three People by Isabella Alden, Stop the Rain by Kassie Angle and Manhunt by James L. Swanson are big inspirations for me.


Kylie: Outside of writing, what are things you enjoy spending your time doing?

Ryana Lynn: Well, writing is my main pass time, but I enjoy reading, making cards, and doodling in my bullet journal! I also enjoy crocheting!

Kylie: Do you have any new projects coming up in the near future to be watching for?

Ryana Lynn: I do! Lord willing The Battlefield is Silent (Book 5 in my series on the War Between the States) will be releasing this year, as well as a secret project and a Christmas Novella, but that’s not set in stone yet.


Kylie: Where can readers connect with you and purchase your books?

Ryana Lynn: They can connect with me and purchase my books at www.lifeoheritage.com


Thank you so much to Ryana Lynn for stopping by to visit with us today!

Guest Spotlight – Tessa Emily Hall

I am so excited to be interviewing Author, Actress, and Speaker – Tessa Emily Hall on the blog! Tessa & I became acquainted many years back & it has been so exciting to see the work the Lord has done in and through Tessa during that time.

Tessa Emily Hall is an award-winning author who wrote her debut novel when she was sixteen. She is now a multi-published author of both fiction and non-fiction inspirational yet authentic books for teens, including her latest release, LOVE YOUR SELFIE (Ellie Claire). Her passion for shedding light on clean entertainment and media for teens led her to a career as a Literary Agent at Cyle Young Literary Elite, YA Acquisitions Editor for Illuminate YA (LPC Imprint), and Founder/Editor of PursueMagazine.net. Tessa is guilty of making way too many lattes and never finishing her to-read list. When her fingers aren’t flying 128 WPM across the keyboard, she can be found speaking to teens, teaching at writing conferences, coaching young writers, and acting in inspirational films. Her favorite way to connect with readers is on her mailing list, social media (@tessaemilyhall), and website: www.tessaemilyhall.com.


Kylie: I know you’re an Author, Actress, and Speaker, – can you share with us what made you choose these occupations for your career?

Tessa: Acting and writing have remained a passion of mine since I was a kid, so I always knew my career would be centered around those two. It’s funny, because I never went through a time as a kid or teen when I wondered what I would do as an occupation. My mom helped me believe that, if it’s God’s will for me to pursue writing, then why should I set limitations on myself? 

I’m a firm believer in finding a career that allows you to utilize your gifts and passions, especially if it involves ministry or helping others in some way. Acting, writing, and speaking give me the opportunity to do just that. There aren’t many other areas in life that I excel in, honestly, haha. And it’s through these outlets that I can speak into the lives of teenagers. 

It’s my hope that, through the books I write, teens will draw closer to Christ, establish a relationship with Him, and be encouraged to pursue their role in God’s Kingdom. My heart has always been for ministry, and I feel like I would be neglecting this impact if I were to walk down another career path.  

Kylie: How does your Faith come into play not only in your writing, but your acting and speaking, as well?

Tessa: My relationship with Christ is the core of everything I do. As I mentioned above, I view writing, speaking, acting as my ministry outlets. With that being said, in every book that I write, I hope to whet my reader’s appetite for God in some way—even if the fiction book isn’t even considered to be in the Christian genre. It’s my goal to write stories that will enable teens to feel less alone in their lives. The same applies with my acting career as well. I want to be apart of projects that are meaningful, stories that portray authentic characters who can connect with the audience and help them in their own journey through life in some way. 

Speaking gives me the opportunity to reach teenagers face-to-face and be more direct in my approach to point them to Christ. But I never hope to come across as “religious,” preachy, or judgmental; rather, I want to show teenagers that I understand where they’re coming from—considering I was a teen just ten years ago—and I hope to connect with them by using a friendly and conversational approach. That way, they can see that someone gets them. And not only that, but I want to help them see that Christianity is far more than just another religion. It’s an invitation to join in a love relationship with Christ and to live a life of freedom. He is the only One who can provide them with the fulfillment that they crave.  

Kylie: What would you say are some of your favorite things about doing what you do?

Tessa: Every aspect of this career excites me, so it’s difficult to choose a favorite! I’m passionate about the overall craft of writing, speaking, and acting. I also love the networking aspect and connecting with others within these fields. 

However, nothing encourages me more than when I hear from readers. Even though I am passionate about writing, acting, and speaking, it wouldn’t be enough for me to simply do these things for myself. There has to be a greater purpose involved for me to stick it out to the end—especially since the publishing and film industries are not for the faint of heart! When I hear from those who have been impacted by my ministry in some way, it gives me a reason to keep persevering, and it confirms that I am doing what I believe I’ve been called to do.     

Photo Credit: Caroline George

Kylie: What are some things you enjoy spending your time doing outside of writing, acting, and speaking?

Tessa: Ha—great question! Especially since these three can be completely time-consuming. But because of that, I do try and be intentional about taking breaks and living life. My favorite way to do this is by traveling. I love going on adventures with family and friends—seeing new experiences, meeting new people, and getting out of my daily rut at home. But when I am at home and not working, I enjoy grabbing breakfast or coffee with friends. And, of course, reading books and watching movies. 😉 I’m interested in art as well, so it’s always nice when I can find a project that allows me to express my creativity in a hands-on outlet. 

Kylie: What advice do you have for Young Ladies who would like to one day become an Actress, Writer, or Speaker?

Tessa: I remember, when I was about fourteen years old, reaching out to a best-selling author to ask if she had advice for an aspiring author. Her response wasn’t exactly what I had expected to receive. She said, if there was any other career I was interested in, pursue that instead, because the writing career was not as glamorous as it seemed.  

Her feedback discouraged me at first—but then I realized why she had said that: Because it’s only those who are truly passionate about the craft who will be determined to make a career out of it. It’s only those who truly feel called into this field who will persevere in spite of obstacles and challenges. 

In that aspect, it’s no different than any other field, really. Any career we choose ultimately presents its own challenges. So why not choose the one you’re most passionate about, the one that allows you to utilize your strengths, and the one that you feel most called into?

All that to say—if you feel like you are, in fact, called into acting, writing, or speaking, be sure that you are doing it for the right reasons. Do you want to pursue it simply because you can’t not pursue it? 

If so, then do everything you can to be a professional. (And by professional I’m referring to the opposite of an amateur.) There must come a time when a dream becomes a goal, and the process in between should involve both research and planning. 

Sure, it might sound dreamy to become an author or an actress—but what does that process actually entail? Learn the small steps you can take this week that will bring you further in your journey, even if it’s just a small step. 

Really, it’s all about keeping the vision alive and then creating goals that will keep you moving forward. So whatever you’re interested in pursuing, keep the vision alive by reminding yourself of why you chose to pursue this field and what you hope to accomplish with it. Then do everything you can to move in that direction.

One last thing: You must have faith in yourself. That might sound cheesy, but it’s so true, especially when it comes to the writing and acting industries. If I didn’t have parents who believed in me, then I wouldn’t have had the courage to believe in myself. I realize that I’m not the best writer, actress, or speaker. But I’ve learned that it’s not the ones who are absolutely gifted who will succeed. It’s the ones who learn how to overcome their weaknesses, who learn how to grow, and who continue to move forward. If I believed that one must be a 100% natural in a field in order to pursue it, then, well, I wouldn’t be pursuing anything right now—lol! 

Kylie: What are some things you are looking forward to in 2021?

Tessa: First of all, I’m looking forward to not having to live with the same COVID restrictions that 2020 introduced. Most of my teaching and speaking events in 2020 were cancelled, which was disheartening. But this summer, I will be speaking at Shine Camp, which is a Christian camp for teen girls in Black Mountain, NC. I can’t wait to have the opportunity to help teens discover their identity and purpose in Christ!

I also look forward to furthering my acting career. Over the past several years, acting has taken more of a back burner as I have pursued both writing and a career in publishing. But during quarantine last year I enrolled in a virtual acting class and immersed myself more in this field. I look forward to apply what I’ve been learning in more projects this year!

Photo Credit: Caroline George

Kylie: Do you have any upcoming projects to be watching for?

Tessa: This week I am actually headed to Atlanta, GA for the shooting of a short film project that I’m starring in, titled Good & Faithful. You can check out that project and find updates on Facebook here. These are the type of projects I’m passionate to bring to life—stories that ring true to real life yet weave in a thread of hope. 

I did finish a fiction manuscript last year and am currently working on its revisions. Hopefully it will find a publishing home soon! I am also working on a new Christian non-fiction project for teens that I’m excited about. I plan to send that off to publishers soon as well. There is one more secret project that I’ve been working on, but I can’t share about it yet until it becomes officially official! 😉 

Kylie: Where can readers connect with you and find your books & films you have been a part of?

Tessa: Readers can connect with me on my website, www.TessaEmilyHall.com. On my website, readers can have access to my reader’s only page, which includes monthly giveaways, behind-the-book bonus features, and more. They can also find a page that lists all of my books, a page for my acting career, and a list of my social media accounts. 

Kylie: Thank you again, Tessa for stopping by to visit with us today, looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for you next!

Tessa: Thank you so much for having me, Kylie! =) 

Links:

Website: www.TessaEmilyHall.com

Instagram: www.Instagram.com/TessaEmilyHall 

Facebook: www.Facebook.com/TessaEmilyHall 

Twitter: www.twitter.com/TessaEmilyHall

Books: www.TessaEmilyHall.com/books-1 

Small Business Spotlight – Shack On The Rock

I am thrilled today to be doing a Small Business Spotlight on Shack on the Rock and it’s owner Traci Cornell!

Traci Cornell is a small business owner of products that are crafted with naturally derived ingredients. She is a wife and mother of 3 boys. Having grown up in the City, she finds Country living to be an adjustment but one worth making. 

Kylie: Traci, can you tell us about your Small Business and what your mission is?

Traci: Shack on the Rock started out like every side hustle does. Looking for a way to supplement my family’s income. However, I wanted to be sure that it was something I loved. One day a good friend invited me over to watch her make soap. I instantly fell in love with cold process soap making THAT day! From there, I researched, practiced and gobbled up every resource I could get my hands on. As time went on, I branched out to other products. As I grew more experienced, a result of that was growing more aware of how many ingredients were in products that didn’t sit well with me.You see, I believe that while eating organic is important, it is equally important, perhaps more so, to be careful about what your skin is consuming. The saying goes that 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed straight into your blood stream. Even if that statistic is off by even half, that isn’t good. That means those toxins are by-passing God-given filters like your saliva, digestive acids/enzymes, and your Liver.

Just straight into your blood.  Here’s another example that women often don’t think about; I, personally, have a long lasting love affair with fragrance. From the time I was young, I adored the magazine samples of expensive perfumes. I would tear them out of the magazines and place them in my dressers and closets (mostly because I couldn’t afford to buy them on my babysitting salary). Every product I chose, down to my shampoo, was largely in part to how good it smelled!  Scent has always played a HUGE role for me and I don’t think I’m alone in that. Of course, little did I know that it likely was harming my body, specifically my endocrine system. You see, I struggled with infertility for years and a large part of that was due to hormone imbalances. In fact, I once heard of a story where a women who loved a certain brand that specializes in great smelling products, was trying to get pregnant. Her Doctor told her to eliminate ALL scented products, both personal & cleaning items for 3 months, which she did. She conceived shortly thereafter. Again, if there is just an inkling of truth to this story, why would we risk it as women? Research shows that Synthetic Fragrance can have a lasting, damaging effect on our bodies. That’s bad news for men and children but it’s a huge no-no for women who have a multitude of hormones fluctuating in a tightly choreographed dance sequence every month. So the first thing I did was switch from using Synthetic Fragrance to Essential Oils. My business took a hit, because like me, many women buy product based on how good it smells and Essential Oils limit you on what you can create/offer fragrance-wise. Since then, I have discovered 100% Certified Plant-based scents that are derived from Essential Oils and Other Organic plant matter. This has opened up a whole new world for me AND my Customers!

Wildflower Natural Artisan Soap

Traci: My ultimate goal is to be able to offer products with versatility, that smell amazing, and are as close to plant-based ingredients without compromising in performance. I want my customers to feel good about using my products. I want women to grow more aware of the dangers lurking in many of their products. Lots of money is spent on marketing/advertising to women because we are the MAIN shoppers for our homes and families. However, most of those products are not created with our health in mind. (though we are beginning to see a shift in that direction more and more) 

Kylie: Shack on the Rock is such a unique name, what was the inspiration behind it?

Traci: I actually prayed long and hard about what to name my business. My biz name is inspired by the Casting Crowns song “The American Dream”. It’s about a man that works all day, neglecting his family, so he can achieve the American Dream of wealth. I heard that song and instantly knew that if I had a business, I wanted it based on debt-free principles. I wanted a business that I could grow from home so that I wouldn’t need to sacrifice time with my family. Perhaps something my family could even participate in. 

Kylie: Of all the products you have created, what are some of your favorites and why?

Traci: It took me years to finalize my favorite products so narrowing them down to just a few is hard for me to do. I ADORE the creative variety that  Cold-Process soap allows me to achieve. I liken it to cooking/baking/decorating a cake from scratch! I also LOVE my Solid Shampoo bars because they are so eco-friendly and how gently they wash your hair without stripping and leaving hair greasy.

There is the uniqueness and versatility of my Lip & Body balms too! You can’t find them anywhere else! As my business grows, my hope is to offer more multi-purpose products as a way to keep costs down for families. I remember when I was a Teenager, one of my favorite products was Max Factors Lip & Blush stick (I think Cody made one too). I loved that my hard earned babysitting money could buy one product that performed in two different ways! It was like getting two products for the price of one! (because it was!)

Lip + Body Balm – Honey, Honey

Kylie: Do you have any new products coming up to be watching for?

Traci: At this time, I am just looking to expand my Certified Plant-based scent blends so my customers can have more natural fragrance options to choose from!

Kylie: Are your products available in any brick & mortar stores? And where online can your products be purchased and readers connect with you?

Traci: I only offer my products at two actual brick and mortar stores. The Hello Sunshine Market (a fantastic little clothing boutique in Granby, Mo.) is owned by two equally fantastic moms, Sarah Kimbrough James & Andrea Wald. They started there business with the same debt-free principles I believe in. The second shop is “Forage” in Grove, Ok. It’s owned by Krista Sampson and she is an equally amazing mom of 3 boys! Her vision is Farm to table and helping her local community! Otherwise, I can be found at the Neosho Farmers Market, the Handmade Holiday Market in Nov. and of course, I am online. I have an Etsy shop right now and I am in the process of building a Website to establish more of an Online presence. I can also be found on Instagram (I’m experimenting with that one), Facebook and Pinterest

Visit Shack On The Rock On Etsy

Thank you again to Traci for stopping by to visit with us today and sharing more about Shack on the Rock!

Author Spotlight – Angie Thompson

I am so excited to be featuring the talented Angie Thompson on the blog today!

An avid reader and incurable story-spinner, Angie Thompson also enjoys volunteering in her church’s children’s program and starting (but not always finishing) various kinds of craft projects. She currently lives in central Virginia near most of her incredible family, including two parents, six brothers, one sister, and five siblings-in-law—plus four nieces, six nephews, and several assorted pets!

Kylie: Can you share with us what inspired you to become a writer?

Angie: I’m not sure anyone could tell you that, actually.  According to my mom, I used to tell stories from pretty much the time I could talk.  Eventually, I moved from the adventures of my dolls and stuffed animals to other imaginary friends, and it was only a matter of time before I started writing down the stories that were always swirling around in my head.  I guess the part of writing that’s always attracted me is taking a group of characters that I love and spending time with them, watching to see what they do next. 🙂

Kylie: Tell us a little about your books!What is something you hope readers take away from them?

Angie: It’s taken me a while to figure out my brand because my genres are a bit all over the map (sometimes within the same story!).  But whether it’s historical, contemporary, or futuristic, I write stories centered around simple faith, solid friendships, and strong families, and I especially love to explore the various bonds that tie my characters together.  I was an advanced reader from a very early age (literally got Little Women for my fifth birthday–and read it!), so I’m sensitive to the plight of younger readers who need a more challenging read without a lot of edgy content.  At the same time, I’ve never lost my love for a good, sweet story without a boatload of unnecessary drama, and I hope my books can be that for older readers as well.  I recently had a reviewer call one of my books “comfort food,” and I love the descriptor!
The biggest thing that I’d like readers to take away from my books is a deeper sense of the way that God works in and through all kinds of different people and circumstances to bring about what He knows is best.  Like the characters in a story, we often can’t see beyond our immediate wants or fathom how anything good could possibly come out of a particularly hard spot.  But God’s ways are truly amazing, and He is more skillful than the most accomplished author at weaving together all the tangled and knotted plot threads to make a whole more beautiful than we could imagine. ❤

Kylie: What book are you most excited about reading in 2021? 

Angie: That’s a really hard one!  Most of my favorite authors I’m not entirely sure what they’re planning to release this year, so I’m sure I’ll have some great surprises coming!  If we’re talking books I haven’t read yet, the last book in P.D. Atkerson’s AKA Simon Lee series is coming out this year, and I’m very excited for that one.  And Playgrounds and Black Markers by Libby May, which I had the privilege of alpha reading last year, is also coming out this year, and I’m really looking forward to reading it again!

Kylie: Are there any Authors or Books that have given you inspiration on your journey as a writer?

Angie: Oh, my…  I don’t know that I could give you an exhaustive list but I’ll take a shot at it. 😉  Louisa May Alcott’s and Margaret Sidney’s books were early favorites (and are still favorites).  Out of a slough of new favorite (particularly indie) authors, Rebekah Morris rises to the top for writing the kind of sweet, simple stories I’ve always loved and reminding me that there are people out there who will love my stories as much as I love hers.  I also have to give a big thanks to Bill Myers, who I’ve never read much from, but who was such an encouragement to a young writer completely overwhelmed by her first taste of a writers’ conference when he started his session by assuring us that the only difference between him and us was that some of us weren’t published–yet.  And I guess I should mention The Bobbsey Twins, which–in a weird and pretty much unrecognizable way–inspired my first ever totally imaginary set of characters. 😀

Kylie: If you could sit down and have lunch with a favorite Author, who would you choose?

Angie: Ohhh, man, that’s hard!  There are so many authors I would love to meet in real life!  I’ll go with my gut on this one and say J. Grace Pennington.  She was one of my early introductions to the world of Christian indie fiction, and she was also the first author I ever worked up the courage to message directly and let her know just how very much I was enjoying her work.  (Plus…maybe she would slip in some spoilers for the rest of her Firmament series?  I can always hope…)

Kylie: Outside of writing, what are things you enjoy spending your time doing?

Angie: Well, reading.  (Yep, that was obvious.)  I have spurts where I enjoy crafting, although if a project stretches too long, I have a bad habit of losing interest and leaving it half-done. :S  I also enjoy music, spending time with my family, and working with kids.

Kylie: Do you have any new projects coming up in the near future to be watching for?

Angie: I’m currently working on the second book in the Quiet Valor series, but it’s being a bit of a slowpoke lately (or maybe I am…).  But I do have a collection of short Christmas stories coming out in July that I’m very excited about!  It’s titled Glad Tidings: A Flash Fiction Advent Calendar, and the pre-order is currently on sale for $0.99.  I love these tiny little stories so much. ❤

Kylie: Where can readers connect with you and purchase your books?

Angie: You can connect with me through my website and newsletter (https://quietwaterspress.com) or on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/angiethompson)  My print books are sold on Amazon, and my ebooks are sold pretty much everywhere, so you can look for me in your favorite store or visit my website for all the links.

Kylie: Thank you for stopping by to visit with us today, Angie. I enjoyed learning more about you and your writing journey!

Angie: Thanks again for hosting me, Kylie!  It’s been a lot of fun! 😀

Author Spotlight – Erika Mathews

I am excited to be featuring the talented Erika Mathews on the blog today!

Erika Mathews writes Christian living books, both fiction and non-fiction, that demonstrate the power of the kingdom of God through ordinary people, transforming daily life into His resting life. She’s a homeschool graduate with a Bachelor’s in Communications, a Master’s in Biblical Ministries, and a passion for sharing Jesus Christ and His truth. Outside of writing, she spends time with her husband Josh, mothers her little ones, reads, edits, enjoys the great Minnesota outdoors, plays piano and violin, makes heroic ventures into minimalism, clean eating, and gardening, and uses the Oxford comma.

Kylie: What was your biggest “aha” moment that you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Erika: I began writing in a giant notebook when I was five years old, and I enjoyed penning stories, poems, journal entries, and school notes. When I was ten, I had the idea of beginning what later became my first middle-grade novel. So I already enjoyed writing when the biggest “aha” moment hit me at age thirteen. One evening, I heard God’s Spirit speaking, telling me that I would write many books that glorify Him. From that moment on, I haven’t questioned His calling to me as a writer.

Kylie: What would you say is your favorite thing about writing?

Erika: My favorite thing about writing is rereading previous works. Whether it’s a novel, a journal-style entry, or a devotional, I love revisiting what God has taught me and put into words through me! Often I’m encouraged, challenged, and inspired (as well as surprised that I actually wrote that particular thing!). People say to write what you want to read, and when you add a spiritual dimension to that writing advice, it’s amazing. 

Kylie: Are there any books or authors who have inspired you as a writer?

Erika: In my childhood, the Five Little Peppers series and the Elsie Dinsmore series were majorly inspiring to me. Rod and Staff storybooks heavily influenced some of my earlier fiction writings, as well as books by G.A. Henty. My current genre, kingdom adventure fiction (like historical fiction but set in a place that doesn’t exist), was inspired by Jessica Greyson and her books in the same genre – after reading her books, I realized that was the perfect genre setting for the message God had given me to write. The Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight influenced my characterizations. In general, I’m inspired by vintage fiction (1800s) and deep spiritual non-fiction writers such as Andrew Murray and Brother Lawrence.  

Kylie: Do you have any books you are looking forward to reading in 2021?

Erika: I am looking forward to reading the upcoming Fellowship of Light series by Chelsea Burden – I’ve heard so many wonderful things about the series. I also hope to find time to read Katja Labonte‘s Colours of Life series! I also plan to read the collection for A Very Bookish Fourth of July once it gets closer to publication.

Kylie: When you’re not writing, what are some things you enjoy doing?

Erika: If I’m not writing, I’m probably editing or taking care of my children and home. In rare free time, I spend time outside (I love lakes, autumn trees, and sunrises!), read avidly, and cross stitch Christmas stockings for my children.


Kylie: I know you had a new book “Victory’s Voice” release yesterday, can you tell us more about the story and the series “Truth from Taerna” that it is from?

Erika: Truth from Taerna is a six-book kingdom adventure fiction series born from a heart to communicate the truths of God’s kingdom—the spiritual realm hidden from our physical senses—in an engaging story format. Each book focuses on an aspect of spiritual truth that today’s church often downplays. Each book can be read as a standalone and follows a different sibling as they learn these spiritual truths. My desire is to demonstrate how the powerful, life-changing truths of God’s kingdom could play out in a fictional setting. My goal is that God will use this series to reveal His kingdom to the reader. My prayer is that by spending time seeing and knowing God within these pages, the reader may know and experience Him more intimately in daily life.

Victory’s Voice is Book Two in Truth from Taerna. It follows Ellisia as she learns the power of spoken words in the spiritual realm and it’s a story I am enthused about. (Every time I reread the climax, I still get excited – it’s so powerful!)

When an extroverted bookworm discovers the hidden power of spoken words, death and life tremble in the balance on the tip of her tongue. But not only figuratively.

At seventeen, Ellisia’s passion for learning and books dominates her small-town existence. No wonder she’s elated when an opportunity to attend Academy arises: she can finally fulfill her lifelong goals to further her education and see the famed Palace BookHall. But as she begins to discover the true power of the spoken word, she faces a choice: join forces with a foreign physicist or relinquish her dream to someday work in the BookHall. Loyalties and ambitions war within Ellisia once the scientist’s projects begin to threaten her family’s safety. When impending crisis brings a clash of spiritual kingdoms, Ellisia must once for all choose how she’ll harness the power of words. Spoken words transcend her reality, uniting heavenly with earthly and commanding the forces that drive the physical world, and Ellisia’s voice will be the catalyst for sure defeat—or decisive victory.

Kylie: Where can readers connect with you and purchase your books?

Erika: You can connect with me at restinglife.com. The best way to stay connected is to sign up for my email newsletter – I only send newsletters when I have news. 😉 If you prefer, you can find me on your favorite social media through the links here, and information about purchasing my books is here. You can also find my books (currently kingdom adventure fiction, a poetry collection, a fables retelling collection, some short historical fiction, and a Christian living non-fiction book on spiritual rest) in paperback and ebook on Amazon. I love meeting new friends who love books!

I want to thank Erika for taking the time to visit with us today and I encourage you to check out her books!

Author Spotlight – Rebekah A. Morris

I am so thrilled to be interviewing the talented Rebekah A. Morris here on the blog today!

Rebekah A. Morris is a homeschool graduate, an enthusiastic freelance author and a passionate writing teacher. Her books include, among others, Home Fires of the Great War, The Unexpected Request, Gift from the Storm, and her best selling Triple Creek Ranch series. Some of her favorite pastimes, when she isn’t writing, include reading and coming up with dramatic and original things to do. The Show-Me state is where she calls home.

Kylie: Can you share what the moment was when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

Rebekah: You know, I never wanted to be a writer. I hated writing in school, and it wasn’t until after I had graduated that I “accidentally” found out writing could be fun. But I still wasn’t planning on being a writer. The whole idea seemed to come about gradually, and it was a startling thing when I published my first book and realized just how much I enjoyed it. So, I guess I can’t say there was one specific moment that I knew I wanted to be a writer. If there was, it was after I had published my first book. 🙂 


Kylie: I recently finished reading your books “Gift From The Storm” and “Unbroken” and I’m currently reading your first book “Home Fires Of The Great War”. They are all so different and also equally wonderful reads. Do you have a favorite time period to write in?

Rebekah: Oh, favorite time periods to write in is hard. I have tried so many and enjoyed them all. Perhaps my favorite, if I have a favorite, might be the late 1800s, but then I also enjoy later on too. There are things I like about different time periods, but I guess I like not having to include cell phones and computers the best. 🙂 Back when things were simpler and a bit slower paced.

Kylie: What books and authors would you say have had the most influence on you as a writer and author?

Rebekah: One author who has influenced me the most is Isabella Alden. Known as “Pansy,” Mrs. Alden wrote in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Her books are very strongly Christian and were the first books I remember reading where the characters didn’t just go to church or read the Bible and pray a little. They lived their lives for Christ, talking about Him was as normal and natural as talking about a close friend. They aren’t just romance books, or all for children, and I think that helped me realize that my stories didn’t all have to be one kind of book for one specific group of people, and that yes, I could write about real people living real lives who didn’t just “put on Christianity” now and then, or who only prayed when danger threatened.

Kylie: What are some of your must haves when getting ready to write your books?

Rebekah: I have to have my NEO, since that’s what I do my writing on, my water bottle, and some paper to keep track of how many words I write, and to jot down anything important like names of new characters. Other than those things, and either inspiration, or just a determination to write something, I just need some quiet.


Kylie: When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy spending your time doing?

Rebekah: I love to read (all authors should love to read), play music (piano and violin), play with my nieces and nephews, and walking with my sister. I knit, hand quilt, design the covers for my stories, and reading. Did I already mention reading?


Kylie: Do you have any new books or projects coming up in the near future?

Rebekah: Yes, actually, I do. I am currently working on the next Woodbreak book titled “Phil Wood” and have an idea for the next book in the series. I also have a few short stories that I’m hoping to get done in the not too distant future, as well as a new Christmas Collection book for this year, and possibly other stories or books. If I were to show you the list of my started stories, you’d probably wonder how I keep them all straight. 😉


Kylie: Where can readers connect with you and purchase your books?

Rebekah: My books can be found on Amazon, my website: Read Another Page  and on Light of Faith  (Light of Faith only carries the physical books, and any books ordered from my site, come from Light of Faith since it’s my brother’s business.) Readers can connect with me on my website: www.readanotherpage.com and on Goodreads.

I want to thank Rebekah so much for stopping by the blog today and I encourage you to check out her wonderful books!

Author Spotlight – Courtenay Burden

I am so excited to be able to share with you an Author Interview with Courtenay Burden!

Courtenay Burden is a homeschool graduate, an unconquerable bookworm, and a Victorian enthusiast. She is passionate about good and great literature—writing that embodies both literary and spiritual excellence. She believes that good and great books are a powerful tool in Christ’s kingdom and she seeks to use that tool for His glory in her vintage-style historical fiction.

Kylie: When did you first decide you wanted to be a writer?

Courtenay: Creating stories is something I have always loved. As a child I spent hours upon hours creating characters and acting out their adventures with my dollhouse and my siblings.

Through elementary school, I still had this love of story-crafting and was a ravenous bookworm but the manual part of writing a story down was challenging enough that I didn’t find writing a very interesting subject. At that time, I thought I would like to be a seamstress after I finished high school. However, sewing for a living demands painstaking attention to detail and highly inflexible deadlines—two things that make a job very stressful, in my opinion!

Right around the time I started Grade 9, I began typing confidently enough to get my thoughts onto a page without too much difficulty. My interest in writing started to grow proportionately. By the time I graduated from high school I had finished the first draft of As the Heavens Are Higher and was confident that writing was something I wanted to pursue as a long-term occupation. Well-written, spiritually-challenging fiction has had a powerful influence on my own life and I hope that my writing can have the same kind of impact on others!

Kylie: If you had to pick a book(s) that influenced your writing style the most, which would you choose?

Courtenay: If I had to pick a single book, it would have to be Charlotte Mary Yonge’s The Daisy Chain—most famous as the novel credited with inspiring Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. As a child, the Little House series and the Five Little Peppers stories both had a huge impact on me as well.

Looking back, all of those books are about daily life in the 1800’s, with strong character development, wholesome values, a hearty emphasis on family, and delightfully accurate historical details—traits that still define my favourite books today!

Kylie: I just finished your book “As the Heavens Are Higher” and it was lovely! Could you share with us what made you choose to write historical fiction?

Courtenay: I have always loved history—particularly Victorian history. I am, in fact, a Victorian fanatic.

My favourite books have always been Victorian. My favourite clothes have always looked Victorian. For many years, I regretted the fact that I wasn’t born Victorian. Today, I can see a little better that God knows what He is doing when He picks the century we get to live in! But I don’t mind admitting that I am still passionately fond of anything that can claim a connection with the 1800’s.

So I am not even sure if the choice to write historical fiction was really a “choice” at all. It was just something that grew up out of the books I loved to read—and the settings where I liked to place my characters.

Kylie: Besides writing, what are other things that you enjoy spending your time doing?

Courtenay: In addition to reading (which is maybe an obvious one!) I love drawing, knitting, crocheting, and sewing. Pretty much any creative hobby that doesn’t require getting your fingers all covered with sticky stuff! (Although I have learned to really enjoy painting in the last year or so, too—as long as the paint stays where it belongs on the end of the brush.) I also love hymns and old pictures and little children!

Kylie: Do you have a favorite author(s) whose books you would say inspire you?

Courtenay: I think the authors who inspire me fit into two categories.

The first are authors of fiction with vivid characters and a challenging Christian perspective. For me Charlotte Mary Yonge stands first on that list—and as I discovered her books at just the age when they were likely to have the strongest influence on me, she will probably remain my favourite author of all time!

The second category is made up of non-fiction writers who give a glimpse of everyday life in the past. Isabella Beeton in Britain and Eliza Leslie in America, with the generation or two of homemaking writers that followed them, are ladies whose books give me a springboard for visualizing historical backdrops.

Kylie: Where can readers connect with you?

Courtenay: I am the main writer (although not the main tech support!) for the Sheep Among Wolves blog.

Sheep Among Wolves Publishing as a company is dedicated to producing and promoting high-quality, Christ-centred literature. You can find us at www.sawpublishing.com.

As the Heavens Are Higher is available on that site, as well as on Amazon and the Kobo Store.

I want to thank Courtenay for stopping by to visit with us today and I am looking forward to seeing all the Lord has in-store for her and her writing in the future!

Artist Spotlight – Joanna Lower

Award winning actress and singer/songwriter Joanna Lower has always had a passion for singing and what started with her voice soon developed into a full fledged passion for the performing arts. Joanna released her debut album “Go Live It” in 2018, featuring 11 original songs written by Joanna herself. In early 2020, Ms. Lower also filmed her first official music video for her original song titled ‘Hope Song’ which has reached over 85,000+ views on YouTube, and her radio show ‘The Wake Up Call’ airs Tuesdays and Thurdays (10am EST) on internet radio station RacMan Christian Radio. 

As an actress, Joanna’s recent bookings include the role of the unscrupulous Ann Foster Melton in historical drama ‘Laura’ and antagonistic Caroline in the Christian feature film, ‘The Renegade’. Joanna is excited to see what the future holds as both singer and actress and she welcomes you to come along for the ride! 

Check out the interview with Joanna Lower below!


Kylie: What would you say was your biggest inspiration for becoming a singer and actress?

Joanna: My Mom introduced me to Christian music at an early age and I just loved singing along to the music, especially if it was Rebecca St. James or Jaci Valesquez songs! (They were both huge inspirations for me as a singer!) When I was still very little I decided I wanted to sing professionally and I just never stopped wanting it. I believe the Lord put the desire in my heart and it just grew from there and before long it included acting and modeling as well! I believe its a calling, to spread the Good News through the arts!

Kylie: If you had to pick a favorite song, what would it be and why?

Joanna: I have so many favorite songs haha, so I will just go with the “Most Listened To” song on my iPod… Surprisingly it’s “Don’t Dream Its Over” by Sixpence None the Richer. I’m not sure why I like this song so much (its not my typical favorite genre) but I really enjoy it! I also find it interesting because I never liked Sixpence None the Richer as a child even though I heard their music all the time on the radio, but I love their music now! Some of their music has really blessed and impacted me in the past couple years and it just goes to show that something you create now can have a major impact on someone’s life a decade or two down the road! 

Kylie: What are some hobbies you enjoy outside of singing and acting?

Joanna: I am a mixed media artist and I really enjoy sitting at my art table, listening to music or  maybe a sermon by Joseph Prince and just creating these unique works of art! Here are a couple of my Disney projects that are now hanging in my room! (Note: I did not paint the photos on the inside but the entire frame is my work.) Fun fact: I added a few “Hidden Mickey’s” to each project! Disney World is known for having hidden Mickey Mouse sillouettes throughout their theme park so I added a few Mickey Mouse faces/shapes to my projects just for fun!

Kylie: How would you say you incorporate your faith into your career?

Joanna: Anytime I perform I pray for the Lord’s anointing to be upon me and my performance. I’ll pray for the Lord’s help to do whatever I need to do with excellence. I even had one experience where I was performing with a friend for a Zoom acting class and moments before we were going to perform I felt so disconnected from the character and the scene. I called out to the Lord for His help and anointing, and the moment we began the scene I felt the connection, I felt the nuances of the character and was even able to bring a genuine tearful emotion into the scene! I believe in preparation, practicing and putting your all into what you do but I believe when the Lord’s anointing is poured over it He will help us do things that are above and beyond anything we could do on our own! 

Kylie: I know you also host and are a spokesperson for several exciting things, can you share with the readers about them?

Joanna: Yes, absolutely! I am the host of a radio show called “The Wake Up Call” on RacMan Christian Radio! It plays every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am Eastern/7am Pacific, and its an hour of music/ministry and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to host! Also I have a new show called “The Joanna Lower Show” which also includes ministry and music on an upcoming TV Channel called KTV! (This show is still in the works and we’ll have more information soon!) This show came about through a company/ministry called Coming Soon Jesus who has officially endorsed me as a Coming Soon Jesus Artist!! Anytime someone purchases a t-shirt on their website (comingsoonjesus.org) and they type my full name into the comment box in step 4 of the checkout process, they are supporting me and my music and helping me to create new content! I’m very thankful for their support!

Kylie: Do you have any upcoming projects we can be watching for in the near future?

Joanna: We will be filming a short film for a historical drama called “Laura” in the spring which I am very excited about! It will be a proof of concept short for the full-length feature film we will be shooting later in the year (or perhaps shooting in early 2022)! Also, my music will be making an appearance in some upcoming feature films such as the faith-based movie “Through Eyes of Grace!” I’ll be sharing more details about these projects and more in the coming months on my social media pages! 

Kylie: Where can people connect with you?

Joanna: So many different places haha! Here is my website and other social media sites:

Website: https://www.joannalower.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joannalower.fanpage

YouTube: www.youtube.com/c/joannalower

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/joannalower/

Savior Connect: https://saviorconnect.com/joannalower

You can also find my music on various sites, including:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3uMpEzqcGuXCAzPO6jByYC

Amazon Music: https://www.amazon.com/Go-Live-Joanna-Lower/dp/B079B3TVGR

iTunes: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/joanna-lower/1340897284

YouTube Music: https://music.youtube.com/channel/UCnuuSwE9dq8RxQQgnCDqwVQ

Hope Song Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2w4Nxn6K7A

Kylie: Thank you for taking the time to share with us today, Joanna. Excited to see all the things the Lord has in store for you in your career & ministry!

Joanna: Thank you so much for the opportunity to do this interview! It was a pleasure and a blessing!


Author Spotlight – Hannah Mae Linder

Today on the blog our Spotlighted Author is Hannah Mae Linder.

Hannah Linder is an agented, twenty-one-year-old, Regency-era author residing in the beautiful mountains of central West Virginia. At the tender age of twelve, she unknowingly found her passion as she sat down to type the first words of her debut novel, Love Unknown. Under the pen name Willowy Whisper, Hannah writes in several different genres: historical, contemporary, western, and medieval. Recently discovering her passion for all things Regency, Hannah has decided to pursue her writing career in an era of elegance and grace. All Regency-era novels will be penned under her real name, Hannah Linder. When not writing, she enjoys playing her instruments, songwriting, painting scenery, laughing with little kids, and collecting vintage hats. Her greatest desire is to please her Savior, and to write in a way that glorifies and uplifts Him. 

Check out the interview below!


Kylie: What would you say inspired you most to become a writer?

Hannah: When I was twelve, I heard news that my second cousin was endeavoring to write a novel. I then told my mom, “Hmm, I think I’ll do that.” I never imagined when I sat down to type my first chapter that I was discovering my life passion. 

Kylie: Do you have any favorite author(s)? What about them stands out you?

Hannah: Most definitely! Terri Blackstock is one of my all-time favorites, because she writes books you just plain can’t put down. Kristen Heitzmann is another favorite. Her descriptions and her way of “pulling you in” are so incredible, and her stories stay with me long after I’ve finished reading. As for poetry, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Edgar Allan Poe are hard to beat!

Kylie: If you were to pick an all-time favorite book, which would you choose and why?

Hannah: That’s a hard one! Out of all the books I’ve read, though, Michael Phillip’s “The Heather Hills of Stonewyck” has probably affected me most emotionally. I couldn’t stop thinking about it, couldn’t stop feeling sad, even long after I’d finished the book. Such a deep, incredible story! I don’t think it’s one I’ll ever forget. 

Kylie: What are some things you enjoy spending your time doing outside of writing?

Hannah: Playing instruments, painting, photography, dressing up in vintage hats and gowns, and watching black-and-white movies! 

Kylie: How does your faith come into play in the books you write?

Hannah: I love to write stories where the characters face real-life struggles. Like forgiveness. Like trust. Like faith or lack of faith. But in the end, there’s nothing better than letting my characters use all the hardships, all the mess-ups, and all the tragedies to bring them closer to God. 

Kylie: I have read several of your historical and contemporary fiction books and they were all excellent – can you share with us some things you enjoy about writing in different eras?

Hannah: Oh, this is such a fun question! I have always been fascinated with so many different eras—and each time period has different aspects about it that I love. From the early days of Regency England clear down to the more modern-American life of the 1950s, I love delving into the past and imagining what it might have been like. I may have been born in the wrong era, but at least I can write in anyone I wish. 

Kylie: Do you have any upcoming projects or books we can be watching for?

Hannah: I have two Regency romantic suspense novels that are unpublished, which my agent is still sending out to publishers! Hopefully one of those novels will find a home with a publishing house in the near future! I am also currently writing another Regency novel, and am excited for the day I get to share it with the world! 

Kylie: Thank you for stopping by to talk with us, Hannah – looking forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for you and your writing!

Hannah: Thanks so much for having me here today, Kylie! 


You can connect with Hannah and find out more about her books at –

Her Website: https://hannahlinderbooks.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hannahlinderbooks/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hannahlinderbooks/

Pinterest: https://pin.it/21fPvbh

Author Spotlight – Michaela Bush

Today on Kylie Hunt- The Film Director’s Wife blog, I am spotlighting Author Michaela Bush.

Michaela Bush is an independent writer of Christian fiction.  She graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 2019 with a degree in English and minor in Psychology. 

She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, and when she isn’t writing, freelancing, or building her own editing business, she’s out with her horses or playing violin. 

Writing has been her calling from an early age and she hopes to touch lives and inspire readers with clean, thoughtful, and impactful novels. 

Check-out Michaela’s interview below!

Kylie: What would you say was your biggest inspiration for becoming a writer?

Michaela: Ever since I was little, I was fascinated with storytelling, and by the time I was six, I decided I would become a writer.  My mother reading bedtime stories to me every night definitely deepened my appreciation for a good story and the themes that can be learned from books.  I think that’s part of my inspiration — that someone can be so affected by words that you’ve written.

Kylie: If you had to include one book in your yearly to be read pile for the rest of your life, which one would you pick and why would that be your choice?

Michaela: Ooh, this is a tough one.  Does this include books of a series that are combined into one large volume, thereby *technically* being contained in one single book?  *sheepish grin*  Because I’d have to either choose the single-volume entirety of The Lord of the Rings or The Hunger Games.  I know those are wildly different genres, but much can be gleaned from between the covers of those books — and I can’t choose just one out of either trilogy! 

Kylie: What are some hobbies you enjoy outside of writing?

Michaela: I enjoy riding horses, sketching, playing violin, and reading!  And if there’s a Star Wars or Marvel movie marathon going on, I’ll probably be watching it.

Kylie: How would you say you try to incorporate your faith into your books?

Michaela: I always try to incorporate some element of my faith in my books.  God has blessed me with an ability with the written word, so I always try to point my work back toward Him.  A lot of prayer goes into each project, and I try to let go of my own plans for the book if I feel that God’s guiding it in a different direction.  That happens a lot!  Especially with The Lady of Lanaria, I found myself extremely propelled toward the themes of light overcoming darkness.  When I began writing it, I didn’t know how relevant that theme would become as the book became available to readers.  Oftentimes, I’m learning more about God whenever I’m writing, and that’s one aspect that I enjoy about writing.  I can’t do it without His guidance, and it really gives me a perspective switch when I’ve been stubbornly trying to go my own direction.  

Kylie: I read The Lady of Lanaria in 2020 and it was so wonderful, in my top 5 books for the year in fact – what was it like writing that book? Can we look forward to more fairytale inspired retellings by you in the future?

Michaela: First of all, it’s such an honor to hear that this book was one of your top 5 for 2020 – thank you so much!  And to answer your question…I absolutely love fairytales and retellings, so it’s definitely within the realm of reason to expect more fairytale retellings from me in the future.  In fact, I may or may not have an idea in the works which is centered around Horace, one of the secondary characters from The Lady of Lanaria…so stay tuned.

“The Lady of Lanaria” is available on Amazon in both print and Kindle book format.

Kylie: Do you have any upcoming projects or books we can be watching for?

Michaela: I have several ideas in the works over a variety of genres — contemporary, romance, sci-fi, some historical, and maybe fantasy…but I’m sadly still in the very early planning stages for all of them and don’t have a lot of info to share yet!  

Kylie: Where can readers connect with you?

My blog: https://tangledupinwriting.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/tangledupinwriting

Facebook: https://facebook.com/tangledupinwriting

Kylie: Thank you for taking time to share a little bit more about you with the readers, I cannot wait to see what the Lord has planned for you and your writing in the future!

Michaela: Thank you so very much for having me!  

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