Ask Away!

I want to engage with my readers. I want to connect with you and let you get to know me in whatever way you want. I am open to questions about anything. I will answer whatever questions you have, whether they are about me, my writing, my view on political ideas, even a would you rather question.

Email me; comment on this post; message me on facebook; respond on twitter; whichever way you want to contact me, do! All I want are questions and I will respond to them. Depending on the questions, I might devote a whole blog post to them. Or I may just respond with a personal note to you.

Ask away! The more questions the merrier!

Author Denise Hunter

On the beautiful island of Nantucket, salt and roses scent the air, waves sparkle over hidden currents, and a storm-tossed soul seeks safe harbor.

When Samantha Owen’s estranged stepfather dies, she inherits his cottage in Nantucket–a place she left years ago, never planning to return. As a single mom, Sam can’t afford to pass up on a financial windfall like ocean-front property. So she travels home to fix up the house and sell it . . . never suspecting that Landon Reed still lives two doors down. As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn’t know why she left the island. Will the secrets she’s hidden all these years tear them apart . . . or is Landon’s love really as unconditional as he claims?

Denise Hunter weaves a heart-tugging tale of shattered trust and enduring love . . . all in a romantic seaside setting.

Here is another interview (email style) that I had the privilege to do. Denise Hunter writes mainly Christian romance and I asked her the same questions as the other interviews.

Would you recommend an aspiring author to get some kind of formal training?

Denise Hunter: Formal training really isn’t necessary. You definitely want to learn about writing, but that can be accomplished with books, conferences, workshops, and critique partners.

How often and how long would you recommend a starting author to write?

Denise Hunter: However much time the writer has. But it should be regular. I only wrote during my boys’ nap times when they were little. The important thing is to set a goal – no matter how small – and stick to it.

What do you do when you have writer’s block?

Denise Hunter: I’ve never had writers block. Sometimes I get stuck in a story and I don’t WANT to write, but I just keep at it until. I figure out what happens next.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Denise Hunter: From Chapter one until The END, 4 months. Then another month for rewrites.

How often do you publish a book?

Denise Hunter: Currently I’m publishing 1 book and 1 novella every 9 months.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Denise Hunter: Romantic books and movies, and compelling songs.

How do/did you build your voice/brand as an author?

Denise Hunter: I just wrote the books I wanted to read and let the rest happen. I’m a die-hard romantic, so I’ve stayed in the romance genre. I like emotional, evocative reads, so that’s what I write. The voice takes time and develops as you grow and gain confidence in your writing.

How often do you edit/rewrite before you believe your manuscript is read for publishing?

Denise Hunter: I do a total of 6 drafts before my editor gets hold of it. 🙂

Do you do any of your own marketing for your books and if yes, what do what do?

Denise Hunter: Oh, yes. It’s expected these days. I’m active on Facebook and Twitter, I place Facebook ads, guest post on blogs, do my own blog, etc.

How did you know you wanted to be an author?

Denise Hunter: I wondered for years if I could write a book, but I kept putting it on the back burner. My grandpa’s death inspired me to get going, and now here I am, 20 plus books later. I never dreamed what wonderful things God had in store.

For those of you who wish to find out more about Denise Hunter or want to check out her books, you can visit her website

Other Author Interviews
Irene Hannon
Robert Whitlow

Author Robert Whitlow

Robert Whitlow is the best-selling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the prestigious Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. A Furman University graduate, Whitlow received his J.D. with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. A practicing attorney, Whitlow and his wife, Kathy, have four children. They make their home in North Carolina. Robert Whitlow’s biography via his website

Life-SupportHow can Attorney Alexia Lindale support the wishes of her client when the goal is a near-certain death?Baxter Richardson epitomizes the American dream: good looking, wealthy, and recently married to a beautiful woman. But when Baxter plunges off a cliff and onto the rocks below, his life and the lives of those around him are forever changed.

Bright young attorney Alexia Lindale never knew Baxter. But she knows the law. And she’s used to winning. As a prominent local divorce lawyer, she’s used to the men of Santee, South Carolina cringing when their soon-to-be ex-wives hire her. But then her firm assigns her to Rena Richardson and Alexia’s life turns upside down.

Rena doesn’t want a divorce. She wants to unplug her husband, Baxter, from life support, claiming its what Baxter would have wanted. But Baxter’s father is threatening to legally override Rena.

Everyone involved has ulterior motives. Yet God has higher plans. Filled with legal twists, deep questions about life and death, and truly memorable characters, this fast-paced, two-part series delivers a story that will stay with you long after the last page.

Here is another interview (email style) that I had the privilege to do. This time I asked Robert Whitlow the same questions I asked Irene Hannon. If you want to read her answers, you can click here to read that post.

Would you recommend an aspiring author to get some kind of formal training?

Robert Whitlow: If available at a reasonable cost. There are a lot of good books on writing. You might want to check out Self Editing for Fiction Writers as a place to start.

How often and how long would you recommend a starting author to write?

Robert Whitlow: It’s important to write every day if possible. One hundred good words is better than no words. I aim for a 1000 words a day.

What do you do when you have writer’s block?

Robert Whitlow: Review some of what I’ve written the previous day. That usually does the trick and triggers a thought or snippet of dialogue to build on.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Robert Whitlow: Ten-eleven months, including editing.

How often do you publish a book?

Robert Whitlow: One per year

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Robert Whitlow: Either life experiences of imaginative thoughts about characters or plot.

How do/did you build your voice/brand as an author?

Robert Whitlow: Voice emerges as you write.

How often do you edit/rewrite before you believe your manuscript is read for publishing?

Robert Whitlow: I edit daily, then go through at least two full edits of the manuscript. I like editing because it is a chance to make a book better.

Do you do any of your own marketing for your books and if yes, what do what do?

Robert Whitlow: I maintain a website. There is publicity related to the film versions of the stories.

How did you know you wanted to be an author?

Robert Whitlow: I wrote my first novel, The List, for my wife. It was accepted for publication, which launched my career. Writing is part-time. I still practice law as my primary profession.

For those of you who wish to find out more about Robert Whitlow or want to check out his books, you can visit his website

Growing Up Country

Me when I was about one and a half years old with our two puppies who have both passed on now.

Me when I was about one and a half years old with our two puppies who have both passed on now.

I am a country gal and not a girly one at that. I grew up on an acreage with lots of room to play. For me, I don’t think I could handle living in a city where I don’t have a yard.I have also had numerous dogs and cats and have always had at least one dog. We never chain up our animals either but rather let them run free but we also never take them inside. They are always outdoor pets.

We don’t often have much traffic that goes by our place except during farming time. My dad used to be a farmer so when I was little, I would go for rides on the combine during harvest season as well as the grain trucks. I enjoyed looking for the mice that would try to scramble away from the combine.

I grew up loving the smell of burning fields when farmers would burn the straw that was left after combining and I still love that smell.

When my brothers and I were younger, we would sometimes sit outside and play while my dad played his banjo and sang. I grew up listening to country music with my dad and I love country music to this day.

My dad, two of my brothers and I having a picnic on the field. At this time I was about 3 1/2 years old.

My dad, two of my brothers and I having a picnic on the field. At this time I was about 3 1/2 years old.

We used to have picnics on the tailgate of the truck while on the field. We would hope into our vehicle and my mom would take us to the field where we would eat picnic style as a family.

I watched, fascinated as the grain would somehow make its way up the auger into the grain bin.

As I got older, I was the one to bring food to those on the field as my mom helped with harvest.

We live by a creek and our ditches merge into the creek. When we were younger and the ditches were swollen, we used to go swimming in them even though the water was really dirty but we didn’t mind at that age.

However, the farming wasn’t the only thing I got to experience as a country girl.

We also got to see lots of wildlife. Over my years of living in the country I’ve seen foxes, raccoons, skunks, deer, muskrats, various types of birds (I won’t name them because there would be too many and I don’t know the names of all of them), ducks, geese, beavers, mice, rats, all types of insects, squirrels, owls, hawks, rabbits, frogs, fish, worms, and there are probably others I haven’t mentioned.

I have also heard coyotes but haven’t actually seen one and the past couple of weeks there was a bear in the bushes close to our place but I never actually saw the bear but my neighbor did and two of my neighbors saw evidence that it was there. It makes sense though because in the last couple of weeks we have seen quite a few deer on our side of the bushes; more so than usual so they were probably trying to stay away from the bear. Also, last week when I went for a walk in the morning, my dog was marking his territory every couple of meters which I thought was weird but didn’t know why he was doing it. I’m guessing he might have smelt that there was a bear or something and was marking his territory because of it.

When my mom heard about the bear in the bushes, she told me not to walk through the bushes like I did last summer.

I can’t tell you how many ticks I’ve had over the years either because I’m pretty sure I’ve had at least one every summer and when I was younger, I got a lot more because then I would sooner walk among the long grass we have in our backyard.

I’m not scared of animals nor insects as is evident by some of the stories I have about my encounters with animals.

Three of my brothers and I standing in the field while my dad combines in the background. I would have been close to five years old at the time of this picture.

Three of my brothers and I standing in the field while my dad combines in the background. I would have been close to five years old at the time of this picture.

When I was four years old, I saw a skunk close to our house and I went to pet it because I love animals. When I reached out my hand to pet it, it bit me and had to get rabies’ shots. I have scars on my fingers where it bit me.

I also once tried to save a duckling because it was hurt or something and my dog was going to eat it. So I had my brothers help me distract our dog while I tried bringing the duckling away to the creek where it could swim away and hopefully escape my dog.

I also enjoy killing some animals. I’ve killed mice and just the other day, I picked up a dead mouse to throw it in the bush with my bare hands. I also one time tried to “rescue” a mouse that was a window sill but he bit me so I left him there.

I enjoy killing frogs by throwing them against concrete and if they still aren’t dead then I step on them. I kill flies with my bare hands. I don’t need a fly swatter. I also kill crickets in whatever way I can. We have also had infestations of some sort of beetle that looks kind of like lady bugs that usually just stay around our window sill. Those I often kill by putting them in a bowl filled with water and spray raid in the water. I also kind of like squishing ticks that are full of blood after plucking them off my dog because the blood squirts out.

Yet, I often won’t kill spiders until they are bugging me or crawl on me which isn’t very often. They eat mosquitoes and mosquitoes try to eat me so I think I’ll let the spiders live.

When I was younger, I also used to enjoy cutting earth worms and see how long they lived.

As you can tell, I am not your average girl, and don’t call me a girly girl because I am not.

Author Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon is a Christian fiction author. One of whom I have read numerous books. She writes Romantic Suspense novels and Contemporary Romance books. She has also won many awards for her books. Her books contain a faith aspect to them but they are not preachy. So far I’ve only read her Romantic Suspense novels which some people don’t even know is a genre of novels.Sidebar: A little while ago while working in the library, someone asked me what type of novels I like to read and I told them I generally read Romantic Suspense and they asked if that was a genre. She asked what the suspense was; were the characters going to get together. So I had to explain to someone what the Romantic Suspense genre was all about which I found interesting.

In Harms WayFBI special agent Nick Bradley has seen his share of kooks during his fifteen years with the Bureau, from the guy who insisted he’d been abducted by aliens to the woman who claimed God had told her to assist the FBI by acting as His intermediary on difficult cases. But Rachel Sutton is an enigma. She seems normal when she shows up at the FBI office in St. Louis—until she produces a tattered Raggedy Ann doll she found and tells him it gives her bad vibes. Nick dismisses her—only to stumble across a link between the doll and an abducted infant, setting in motion a chain of events that uncovers startling connections…and puts Rachel’s life on the line.

Here is the book of hers that I’ve read most recently titled In Harms Way. It is the third installment in the series Heroes of Quantico. However, all her books can be read as stand-alone novels even if they are in a series. I found In Harms Way to be intriguing and suspenseful. It kept me guessing and kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next and how the story would play out. I would recommend anyone who enjoy Romantic Suspense to check out Irene Hannon’s books.

Recently, I emailed her with a few questions about writing and she was gracious enough to respond. I also wanted to share her responses with you. Below, in blue are the questions I asked and in red are her answers.

Would you recommend an aspiring author to get some kind of formal training?

Irene Hannon: I think writers are born, not made. No amount of formal training will make someone a writer. But if you’ve been blessed with the gift of writing, by all means join a writers group and attend conferences and workshops. Also, polish the basics – spelling, grammar, etc. Romance Writers of America has much to offer, even if your main genre isn’t romance, and there are chapters everywhere. But there are many other fine writing organizations, too.

How often and how long would you recommend a starting author to write?

Irene Hannon: The length of time doesn’t matter if you’re trying to shoehorn writing into a day job. But consistent writing does. That means it’s important to set aside X hours per week to write and to establish weekly or monthly word count goals.

What do you do when you have writer’s block?

Irene Hannon: Can’t afford to get this with deadlines looming! Seriously, writers write. Period. If words aren’t coming easily, write anyway. As Nora Roberts likes to say, you can fix a bad page; you can’t fix a blank page.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Irene Hannon: I write full time – and I do mean full time – all day, every work day. My romantic suspense novels require huge amounts of research, so I like to allow about 8 months for those. My women’s fiction/romance novels aren’t as research intensive, so I try to set aside 6 months for those. Both genres actually take less time to write, but I like to build in time for vacations, family emergencies, etc.

How often do you publish a book?

Irene Hannon: This year I have four books out. That’s unusual. For the past several years I’ve done three books a year. One or two of those, though, have been shorter series romance.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Irene Hannon: Everything. A snippet of conversation, a news story I read, a situation I observe. The idea for Vanished, my latest suspense novel, came to me one night when I was driving home along a two-lane road and came upon a bicyclist. I swerved to avoid him…and started what-iffing. What if a woman was on a country road in a rainstorm and a figure suddenly appeared in her headlights? What if she swerved, but felt a thump, and knew she’d hit the person? What if a good Samaritan stopped to help and promised to call 911 before she passed out from a bump on her head? What if she awakened an hour later and found no 911, no good Samaritan and no trace of the injured woman. All that from a quick glimpse of a bicyclist on the road!

How do/did you build your voice/brand as an author?

Irene Hannon: Your voice gels the more you write. So write, write, write. As for brand building, keep writing great books that your readers come to love and look for. If you’re known for sweet romance, don’t suddenly throw a vampire fantasy at readers!

How often do you edit/rewrite before you believe your manuscript is read for publishing?

Irene Hannon: I edit as I go, revising the previous day’s work until it’s ready to go into my master file. Sometimes that’s one pass, sometimes several. When I finish a manuscript, I do one final polish.

Do you do any of your own marketing for your books and if yes, what do what do?

Irene Hannon: I maintain a website (and keep it updated!) and do twitter and facebook. My publisher also does a lot of advertising and promotion, for which I’m very grateful, as that isn’t very common anymore.

How did you know you wanted to be an author?

Irene Hannon: This goes back to the first question. I was born an author.

I enjoy Irene Hannon’s books and I look forward to reading her Private Justice series which so far includes the book Vanished and the second book Trapped which is coming out later this summer.

For those of you who wish to find out more about Irene Hannon or want to check out her books, you can visit her website

Alpha Women and Beta Boys

I found this article by Mary Kassian intriguing. Alpha Women and Beta Boys

The article talks about the alpha woman and beta man and how in a marriage this doesn’t always work. It is hard for the woman to switch from being the main breadwinner to being the submissive and loving wife at home. More and more women in North America are finding themselves being the main breadwinner in the family and this takes a toll on their marriage and they aren’t satisfied.

They either gripe on their husbands to earn more money because they don’t like the strain it puts on them or they act like the alpha woman and expect their husbands to give them more power. This sometimes results in the man to back down and be the beta boy.

I feel like I’ve been raised in a household where I was supposed to be the woman but not in a way where I was taught that I couldn’t do some of the things men do. I had a role and my brothers had a role. They weren’t necessarily the same but that doesn’t mean they meant any less.

That’s why I’m not so sure about the feminism thing. Sure, it was great that we, women, got more rights and are treated more equally with men but that doesn’t mean we are exactly the same. We were made different. If we were exactly the same that would almost be a scary world. So, in a way I agree with feminism but there are also lots of things about it that I don’t agree with.

I don’t know about you guys (male and female) but I’ve always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I know it may not work out that way but in the past couple years when thinking about what I’ve wanted to do with my life, I always tried to keep that in mind. If I were to do this career, would I be able to take off fairly easily to stay home with my kids? If the answer was no, it was a red flag to me that maybe I shouldn’t go for that career.

I want kids. This desire has always been there but it has grown especially since I went to Mexico and spent so much time with children. There have been times I’ve told myself that I would be okay with the possibility of not getting married but I’m not okay with the possibility of not having children.

So maybe I’m a little old fashioned but I’m okay with that. I want to get married and have children. I’ve imagined myself cooking, cleaning, raising my children and loving my husband. I also want my man to be a man and I’m perfectly fine with him being the breadwinner. Knowing myself, I would probably be like one of those women who are not satisfied with being the breadwinner and would get irritated with my husband if I had to work during the day and then come home to clean, cook and raise the kids.

But kudos to those who can do this and are satisfied with it.

Introversion is From This World and Not Wrong

tumblr_mfrlgpSLjm1rb8prjo1_500Being an introvert in an extrovert world is hard. It’s grueling work and often leads to introverts believing there is something wrong with them.

I am an introvert. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told to talk more. Or how many times I’ve been made to think that there was something wrong with me because I prefer to spend time alone, read a book and/or write. I’ve had people look at me like I’m from a different planet because when they asked me what I was doing, I told them I was writing. My brothers bug me because I read so much. My dad has even commented on that I have too many books. I’ve had people ask me if I could be loud because they had never heard me be loud before.

The Western world is geared towards
extroverts. Classrooms, offices, even theintroverts-comic
media overload we get. Extroverts often look at introverts as if they are from another planet because they don’t want to interact with people all the time. They’d rather be alone and read a book. Extroverts can’t understand this. Because of this, introverts often think that there is something wrong with them.

I do this to myself as well. I’ve been asked many times if I have any exciting plans for the weekend or for the evening and I tell them no unless I have something planned where I will be hanging out with people. I’ve been led to believe that unless I am socializing with people, it’s not exciting. If I don’t have plans to hang out with people, my plans aren’t exciting. Yet, to me, my plans energize me, whether I plan to read a book or two, watch a hockey game or one of my shows on TV, or even getting things done that I know need to get done and I want to get them done.

introvertIn schools now, they give away marks for being extroverted. Whenever I saw that I was going to get marked for participation, I cringed inside. You mean I’m going to get a lower grade just because I don’t talk as much as the extroverts? Participation marks made me mad sometimes. As an introvert, I need to process what I hear before talking so in class discussions, by the time I had thought of something to say they were past that point and it would make no sense to say what I had been thinking. This happened quite often and there were times when I would not even pay attention to the discussion because I knew I would never have the chance for any input. So, of course, I would get a low grade for my participation.

I would also cringe when I say that there was going to be a group project in class. I would have much rather done the assignment by myself and take on the extra workload that it would have meant. In group projects, I either found I did everything or contributed nothing because I didn’t speak my opinions. I’ve ended up failing two group projects in myintrovert-manifesto
school life (which are the only two assignments/tests/exams I’ve ever failed in my whole life). One was because I wouldn’t speak up and take charge of the assignment when my opinions would have differed from the three guys’ in my group. Another assignment I failed was because my partner didn’t let me help and then by the time she wanted me to help, the assignment was late and I had no time to do it. So forgive me if I don’t like group assignments.

Here is a TED Talk video that talks about introversion which my brother sent me a while ago and now I recently listened to again.

We, introverts, need to embrace our introversion and not the extroverts make us think there is something wrong with us because there is not we are just different from them.


Related Articles
Give it up for the
Write Out Those
Introverts – Extroverts: Change Takes
It’s okay to want to be
Introvert Spring: Rise of a quiet