Hope-in-Christ Book Club had the pleasure of interviewing Author Ann Marie Bryan. She has authored an amazing novel titled "Mirrored Hearts - Sealed by Fire." Listed below are the interview questions and her answers.
1. Mirrored Hearts is an amazing read. It addresses a very serious topic. What made you choose this very needed topic?
I am a member of the Tallahassee Authors Network (TAN) Christian Sub-group and we decided to write an anthology about the consequences of sin. We were given various topics and some how I ended up writing about infidelity. I knew it would be challenging but it’s a topic that cannot be addressed enough. There are so many couples who have gone through this heart-breaking experience.
2. Have you thought about completing a small group with couples and discussing this painful topic? I think that it would be awesome.
That's a great idea. I'd love to be a part of that group. It would be awesome. I would need more stakeholders, like pastors and counselors. I would also need a towel. I would be crying the whole sessions. breaks my heart the things couples go through.
3. What authors have inspired you to write?
I love reading. I particularly enjoy reading Christian Fiction. Authors who have inspired me to write include Waletta Mason Dunn, J.L. Campbell, Marsha Malcolm, Rhonda McKnight, Michelle Stimpson, Kim Cash Tate, Melissa Mallory, Vanessa Riley, Genevieve Woods, Danyelle Scroggins, Melinda Michelle, Angela Hodge, Barbara Joe, Adrienne Thompson, and countless others.
4. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I am am excited about my writing journey, and I am thankful for the opportunity to share with others. Firstly, whatever I write must bring honor to God. Secondly, my writing projects must educate, inspire and empower others. Thirdly, I desire to tell great stories with fascinating characters to show the awesome power of God in the lives of people and places.
In ten years, I hope I would have written many more books. I believe in working together, exchanging ideas and sharing of resources, so I hope that my writing adventures will take me all over the world to share at conferences, seminars and workshops. I would also love if some of my books are made into movies.
5. What is your work schedule like when your writing?
Authors are encouraged to write every day. I have to admit that I don’t, because of my schedule, but hoping to change that. I like to write in the morning… early morning, when it is quiet.
6. What was one of the most surprising things that you learned when creating your books?
Writing a book was not on my list of things to do. However, I learned that God will use you when you make yourself available. I discovered how much I like writing. Most surprising and delightful are the connections that I continue to make with amazing readers and authors. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
7. Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I use a basic outline but I pretty much like to see where the story takes me. I find that to be very liberating.
8. Do you plan to write any non-fiction?
9. Any tips on what to do and what not to do as an author?
My Advice for Aspiring Authors are as follows:
1. Determine why you desire to write. After you have completed that task, do an outline of your ideas.
2. Ask for help. Don’t be overwhelmed by your lack of knowledge about writing or the publishing industry. Select an individual, group or organization with the knowledge or ability to help you succeed.
3. Educate yourself. Do research to obtain information on how you can best leverage your knowledge and abilities to fulfill your dream of writing. The internet is filled with information of all sorts about writing, publishing and marketing your book.
4. Determine the genre of your book.
5. Benchmark against the best in the area of your writing assignment. Nevertheless, be a trend setter. Do not be afraid to break new ground.
6. Research your publishing options (traditional publishing, assisted self-publishing, do-it-yourself publishing) before making the decision.
7. Remember to budget for editing and promotional activities. Create a marketing plan.
8. Create your author platform (website and social media) to connect with readers.
9. Be enthusiastic about your book. It will help you to move forward when things are not going as planned.
10. Stay away from negative people and those who will talk you out of writing your book.
11. Celebrate the milestones you have achieved during the process of completing your book.
12. Stay expectant. Trust God. He will bring it to pass.
Ready! Set! Go!
10. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of your family members?
My church folks! My Pastor & his wife. Yep, they all rock. ;) I can't leave these good folks out - Tallahassee Authors Network (TAN), Tallahassee Authors Network (TAN) Christian Sub-group, Tallahassee Writers Association, Hope-In-Christ Book Club and others.
11. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
The ideas for my books come from many sources - a moment in time, being in particular places, family members, friends, and the list goes on. But I believe that my best writing ideas come from God and my interaction with people.
We truly enjoyed Ann Marie and pray many blessings over her book ministry!
"Mirrored Hearts - Sealed by Fire" by Ann Marie Bryan is an amazing novel! This particular novel deals with the topic of adultery. I loved reading this book because adultery is not a topic that many authors address. Ann Marie breaches the topic from a Christian perspective. The characters in the novel face very serious consequences and have to choose to forgive or continue down their destructive paths.
The main characters in the novel are: Larry, Chandler, and Rozene. Ann Marie did a great job developing each character. Many times while reading the novel I could feel their emotions, and I wanted to shake them a few times. There were shocking revelations, but in the end true love and forgiveness overcame every obstacle.
This story is very well written. You won't be able to put it down. The characters will touch your heart, but most of all you will be able to feel the love of God. It is also very clear that this author is woman of God and her heart seeks to help couples heal through her writing.
I would recommend this novel to believers and unbelievers alike. This novel would also be great for couples to read together. They could address this difficult topic neutrally by discussing the characters, their actions, and their overall choices.
I gave this book 5/5 stars. This is a great work of Christian Fiction. Thank you Ann Marie Bryan. Your obedience will help many marriages.
Hope-in-Christ Book Club interviewed Waletta Mason-Dunn, author of "More Than Sisters." We enjoyed reading and discussing her novel. It was indeed a page turner. Here are her answers to our questions after the book study:
Question 1: You having an amazing novel that could easily be turned into a movie! If your novel was chosen for the big screen and you could choose the actors and actresses, who would you choose to play the characters?
Answer: Wow! I didn't anticipate that question. If "More Than Sisters," was chose for the big screen, I would love to see Kiki Palmer as Dani, Taraji Henson as Gayle and Della Reese as Olivia.
Question 2: For those that are aspiring authors, what does your writing process look like?
Answer: First, I start with an outline. Then I fill in the parts that I know at the time. It keeps me organized. But it usually changes because I am open to whatever the Holy Spirit has in mind.
Question 3: Which character of "More Than Sisters" do you identify with the most?
Answer: I can identify with all of the sisters, but I identify with Dani the most.
Question 4: What other authors have inspired you to write?
Answer: I am inspired by Kimberly Lawson Roby, E.N. Joy, and Mary Monroe. However, my biggest inspiration was my sister, Judi Ann Mason. She is with the Lord now, but she taught me many things while she was here. I have my memories of her until we meet again.
Question 5: What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
Answer: My least favorite part of the process is publishing. I know that this is an important part, but it feels like work to me. The process of preparing the manuscript before submitting it for publishing requires meticulous formatting such as margin requirements, line spacing, etc. I would much rather spend my time writing.
Question 6: What advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
Answer: Never give up! God's Word says that your gift will make room for you. My journey began years ago, but I believe it started with a seed that God planted in my heart. As long as I was obedient to his Word, He continued and continues to open doors. For instance, who would have thought I would have connected with this group. God opened this door. He's good like that.
Question 7: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Answer: I enjoy reading, working crossword puzzles and playing scrabble. My kids are grown, but when they were younger, most of my time was taken with their activities. My advice to all parents is to enjoy your kids, because time moves very quickly. I also like to sing. But that's not my gift either.
Question 8: What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview? How would you answer that question?
Answer: If you were to ask me why I choose to write Christian Fiction, I would say that it is my way of sharing the love of God. People are hurting and we can help each other. When I think of how the Lord has manifested His love in my life, I want to share it. Maybe one of my readers will be inspired to find out more about Christ. He must receive all of the Glory.
Question 9: How long did it take to write your novel?
Answer: "More Than Sisters," was my first book. It took me four years to complete the manuscript. My second book, "Faithful Father," will be released this month and I worked on it for about six months. I am currently working on Book 3. I'm curious to find out how long it will take to complete the manuscript.
Question: What is your favorite motivational phrase/scripture?
Answer: Philippians 4:13, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Won't He do it?!!!!
Mrs. Waletta Mason Dunn has a great talent and a beautiful! Her literature will cause many to Hope-in-Christ!!
"More Than Sisters" by Waletta Mason-Dunn is a must read! This novel is one that you won't be able to put down. I read this with my book club and we all loved it. "More Than Sisters" falls under the genre of Christian Fiction. Waletta Mason-Dunn introduces the reader to three sisters, Olivia, Gayle, and Dani. Olivia is the older sister that is left with the task of raising her two younger sisters and training them up in the Lord. Olivia also comes to realize that in addition to covering her family in prayer and teaching them God's way, she must also protect them from danger. She finds herself fighting for one of her sisters after evil comes knocking.
This story is very well written and the plot line is very different from other novels. The author adds a touch of suspense to keep you guessing what will happen next. It is also very clear that the author is woman of God. Her characters display the characteristics of true Christians living in an evil world. In the end, the love of Christ and love for one another caused them to triumph and overcome their difficult times.
Overall, I loved, loved, loved this book! I would recommend it to believers and unbelievers alike. When you come to the end, you will begin to reflect on what God has brought you through and those whom He placed in your life to love you through it all.
I gave this book 5/5 stars. This is a great work of Christian Fiction Waletta Mason-Dunn!
"One of the Few" by Jason B. Ladd is an amazing book about the Christian world view. Jason B. Ladd describes how he comes into the knowledge of Jesus Christ after years of struggling with belief in the Christian faith. In his book, he addresses many of the different world views versus the world view through the lenses of God's holy word. For example, he addresses how the world minimizes alcohol abuse, but the Word of God addresses it more seriously and as Christians, we are to walk as the redeemed in Christ. Jason uses scripture extensively as support of God's perspective verses man's view.
I truly enjoyed reading this book that would fall under the genre of apologetics, of which I love dearly! Mr. Ladd writes in a simple way for any individual to understand. He also uses the analogy of being a marine which prepared and equipped him to persevere and walk without fear as he searched for the truth. He clearly shows his passion for those that walk blindly to the truth of Jesus Christ. I am looking forward to more publications by this author.
Overall, this book is very well written and should be read by believers, skeptics, and unbelievers alike. The military comparisons will assist you in understanding what our walk with Christ truly resembles. I gave this book 5/5 stars, and I would recommend it to those that are seeking the truth of Christ, our only hope.
"The Sound of Diamonds " by Rachelle Rea is an amazing story set in the 1500's during the Reformation Era. The main character is Gwyneth, a Catholic, who left her homeland in England after losing her parents. She was later rescued from a convent, during an attack on those who practiced Catholicism, by the one man that she believed did the unthinkable. She was returned to her uncle in England where she begin to unfold the truth. In the midst of all the chaos, Gwyneth began to realize that she had found true love but she didn't want to risk him losing everything for her. In the end, love prevailed.
This story is very well written. It is a page turner from beginning to the end. The author offers a hint of mystery in addition to the theme of love conquering all. She goes into great detail which reveals that she completed extensive research before writing this novel. This is a wonderful way for one to understand church history and the extreme conflicts during the early church.
Overall, I truly enjoyed reading this novel. I always love reading Christian fiction, but never was interested in romance novels. This novel made me desire to read more like it because it included many other aspects of fiction. This is not your typical novel. The author did an amazing job unfolding the plot.
If you would love to learn about church history, with a little mystery, and a great love story all in one. Then this is the book for you! I give this novel 5 stars. There aren't many novels out there that are written in such a creative manner. Kudos to Racelle Rea for a job well done!!
"Closer Than Close" by Dave Hickman
is a book about our oneness with Christ. Dave describes how he has been a Christian for many years, yet for many years, he felt empty and distant from God and worked to try to draw closer to God with no such luck. He goes on to explain that it wasn't until he stopped doing and realized that he was already as close to God as he could ever be in union with Christ. In this amazing book, he states, "Being the beloved of God is not something you do. It's an eternal posture of being."
I truly enjoyed reading this book because it spoke to me in so many ways. I was able to relate to what he described as doing to get God's approval. I found myself trying to do good works in exchange for God loving me more. I, like Dave Hickman, came to understand that there is nothing that we can do to make God stop loving us or to love us any more. For He already loves us unconditionally and desires to be in relationship with us in Christ Jesus. Hickman uses great quotes from well known theologians. He also uses examples of childbirth to get the point across to the reader. He adds some humor, but delivers a heartfelt message: Our union with Christ is not that we are equal with Him but that we are made whole in Him.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I would recommend it to all believers and unbelievers alike. It is a very easy read and has includes discussion questions. It could be used in a book club and even a Bible study small group.
I gave this book 5/5 stars, and I would recommend it to all believers and those that are seeking relationship with God in Christ Jesus. Tyndale House Publishers
has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Connect with Dave Hickman:
Author’s Official Website: http://davehickman.org/
Author’s Official Blog: http://davehickman.org/blog/
"God's Pursuit of Man" by A.W. Tozer is a book about the misconception of who man perceives God to be. In this book, Tozer talks about the need for man to truly understand and acknowledge the true and living God. He explains how mankind doesn't truly reference God but only fits God into their day. In the book, he states, "He is that "dread, unbeginning One," self-caused, self-contained, and self-sufficient." He assists the reader in understanding that God is and always will be. He also records that mankind must think rightly of God as the only eternal One who loves us unconditionally. He doesn't need man's permission or our acceptance. Man is not in control, God is. Finally, he concludes that God's pursuit of man is simply bringing man to the end of himself to full dependence upon Him. This is what he describes as the surrendered heart or self-crucifixion.
I love reading Tozer's works. I enjoyed this one as well, but I had to read some parts more than once. This was due to the fact that he is a very deep thinker and his words caused me to ponder and reflect. The language of the book is not modern and is similar to reading the King James Version of the Bible. The tone is very serious and straightforward, so some may see it as a lecture.
Overall, I did enjoyed reading this book. I selected it to review because I was curious about the title. It took me a few chapters to understand how the content related to the title he chose. At the end, Tozer
emphasizes that God's love is so vast that He would allow us to feel pain as He brings us to the end of ourselves and gives us the most precious gift of all, relationship with Him through Christ. This is what we truly long for without even knowing.
I gave the book 4/5 stars, and I would recommend it to those that are desiring a deeper relationship with God.
*I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.
The HCSB Notetaking Bible is a beautiful Bible for those that are visual and artistic. It is filled with images to enhance one's Bible study. Many designs are included in this Bible. However, they also provide spaces for you to add your own images. It is wrapped in British Tan Leather and small enough to carry around with you. The HCSB Notetaking Bible also contains a place holder for you to mark where you left off. The chapters are divided into chunks or paragraphs.
I really did not enjoy this Bible for myself. I believe that the font is too small. Also, some of the images didn't seem to relate to the scriptures. I was looking for more visuals that connected to the text. I would also like to see more room to design. I would have liked to see it more enhanced as a study bible with cross references between the scriptures and commentary. I did enjoy reading this particular translation. It is an easier to understand version but it does not compromise God's Word.
Although this notetaking Bible was not my favorite, it is a good resource for those that are starting out with Bible journaling. Some of their images are great and they connect beautifully with the biblical text. Those images could assist the beginners with creating their own designs.
Overall, I didn't really enjoy reviewing this Bible. I selected it to review because I wanted to see if I would be interested in trying out Bible journaling. I am an analysis girl. I like to break down the words in scripture and getting down to the meat of God's word. I thought that this would appeal to me as another way to dive into scripture, but to no avail!
I gave the book 3/5 stars, and I would only recommend it to those individuals that love journaling and those that don't mind the smaller font. I pray that overtime they will make improvements.
*I received a free copy of this book from B & H Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
"Not of This World" by Jessica LeeAnn is a story about a young lady named Tamar. Tamar is saved, sanctified and Holy Ghost filled. She was raised by her grandmother and has grown into a beautiful, God fearing young lady. In this story, Tamar struggles with desiring to be independent from the watchful eye of her grandmother and loving herself. After landing her dream job, Tamar begins to drastically change and her family and friends try to understand why.
This story is a page turner from beginning to the end. The plot line is unique and does not have your typical ending. This is a wonderful eye opener of how conforming and desiring the things of this world can draw us away from those who care most about us and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Tamar's conflict will help you understand that any one of us could find ourselves in her situation. We must draw near and grow in our relationship with Christ and His keeping power!
Overall, if you enjoy reading a good story with a little drama, but a serious message, then "Not of This World" is the book for you! I give this novel 5 stars. There aren't many novels out there that teach on holiness and a closer relationship with Christ. I can't wait for Book 2.