Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Count it All Joy with April McGowan (Giveaway!)




Hello, there, folks! I'm excited to interview a very special lady today...April McGowan. In addition to the interview, April is hosting a fabulous giveaway of Hold the Light so check out the details at the end of the post. Right now, let's get started!


Renee: Hi April, welcome to the Diamond Mine! I'm so happy you're here. For those new to the Christian Fiction world, how about a quick introduction?

April: My name is April McGowan, and I am a contemporary women’s fiction author with a heart to write about the wounds we carry and God’s great healing providence.

Renee: And quite the gifted author you are! I'd love to talk about how you do that...write about our wounds and God's healing. What makes your latest book, Hold the Light special, possibly in that regard?

April: My book centers on a young artist and her dealing with losing her sight, finding her place again in the world, and reestablishing her footing with God. She feels like He’s taken the gift He gave her away—I think it speaks to anyone who had plans for their lives and were forced to change them due to circumstances outside their control. I’m not afraid to ask the hard questions—and I am secure knowing God has all the answers.

Renee: Yes, He does have all of them, doesn't He? If we are brave enough to accept them, no matter what they may be. Your artist sounds like an interesting character, a deep one. How do you make and keep your characters "three-dimensional," if you understand my meaning?

April: I make sure to really know my characters inside and out before I begin writing. They have flaws and wounds. They suffer from brokenness—but they also harbor hope. I usually draw on real experiences around me to embed them in, and write from my own pain and hopes and joys.

Renee: That's a great place to start any story...the characters. I've tried other places as well as techniques but they just fall short. What would you say is your biggest challenge as an author?

April: My biggest challenge comes from living with chronic illness. I have Common Variable Immunodeficiency Disease—a genetic condition that keeps my body from producing antibodies, so I can’t fight colds or infections. Because of sickness and fatigue, I can’t write every day, and that makes is difficult to finish….anything! But, by God’s grace, He lifts me up and strengthens me for the tasks He puts before me. Even if I don’t get to do what I want to do, I know He is with me.

Renee: Wow, April, that's called "walking through fire." I admire you for remembering who gives you the strength to face the day and to write your stories. God is so good. What would you do if you couldn't write anymore?

April: I’ve thought about that often—which is embedded in my story about Amber and losing her sight. What would it be like if I got so sick I couldn’t do what I loved anymore? I’ve had to give up many things I’ve loved due to illness. So far, though, writing has stayed. And I’m going to keep going, even if it’s only a chapter a month, until I’m done.

Renee: And enjoy every minute of it! Do you have any hobbies?

April: I love reading and I enjoy drawing and playing board games. I’m also a novice drummer—with high aspirations, but little energy. Still. I love it.

Renee: I remember the time we bought our son a drum set. His aspirations for being the best neighborhood drummer didn't last long. Maybe two months? Thankfully! (Did I say that?) Anyway, the drum set was sold the next summer in a garage sale, and I was the happiest mom on the block. LOL I love my guitar although I wouldn't say I'm the best, but, yes, I love it especially high in the to a crystal clear lake. Do you have a favorite spot like that?

April: I LOVE the ocean. It’s so peaceful and yet wild and untamed. You can’t stand against it, and you have to respect it. It is a place where I feel the closest to God because every aspect reminds me of Him—the expanse, power, beauty, and life.

Renee: Kind of like my mountains, huh? I love the water, too. So does my dog. In fact, he's a little obsessed about it. He went ballistic this last week when it rained. In and out, in and out of the house...all day long! The cat watched him as if he was a complete idiot. He finally collapsed on the living room floor around five o'clock and didn't move the rest of the evening. Animals. Do you have any pets?

April: Ha! After a near two-year hiatus from having cats, we were ready again (our last two passed on from illness and old age). In July, I went to a shelter to adopt two male littermates, but they were ill—and we’d had enough of that for a while. I made a cursory walk around the shelter and this little black leg with a white paw kept reaching out through the bars to me. Before I knew it, I walked out with a feisty tuxedo female, Saorise (seer-sha). Then a month later, I went to find her a friend, a younger male (so she could keep her princess standing) and found Xander, an all-black, 5-month-old kitty. But, Xander had a cage mate who he’d been with for most of his little life—Liam (4 months). So, I came home with them both (you can’t break up besties!) So, we went from no cats to three kittens in the space of three weeks!

Renee: Three cats! My husband would kill me. He only tolerates my Shasta. At least, that's what he says. But I can't say much, the man has suffered a lot due to her. I've lost count of the surgeries...April, you are a true inspiration to me. Is there a special quote or saying that comes to your mind in times of need or adversity?

April: “Count it all joy.” The phrase is taken from James 1: 2-4. I’ve learned to submit my ways to the Lord and face each challenge with Him. My suffering has absolutely produced perseverance and a joy that surpasses all understanding. Through each trial, each new diagnosis, each sickness or loss, I grow more reliant on the Lord. I get to see His power worked out in my weakness—my illness has become a blessing.

Renee: As I said, an inspiration. Thank you for that. If you could say one thing about your books, what would it be?

April: My books deal with the brokenness we all face, and point us to the Healer and holder of true Hope, Jesus.

Renee: Thank you so much for being with us today, April. And if anyone is having a rough day, remember...Count it all joy!



April McGowan

Rules: Entrants must comment on this post and include at least their first name and email address to validate their entry. Prizes include one signed copy and one e-copy of Hold the Light by April McGowan. Two winners will be selected from eligible entries approximately seven days following post date by random draw with signed copy winner selected first followed by e-copy winner. Winners will be notified via email. If winner does not respond with 72 hours, another winner will be selected. Contest only valid within the United States.


About the Book:

To an artist, the light is everything. So, what is Amber supposed to do when facing blindness?
Amber spent her life adapting first to being abandoned by her birth mother as a toddler, and then to the death of her adoptive father in her teen years. Now she's moved past all that, loving life as an independent woman: she has a job as an art instructor and the perfect apartment.
But when a routine eye appointment reveals she's losing her sight, life comes to a halt. Pressures come at her from all sides. Her mother, her boss, her boyfriend and her closest friend, Shannon, all have ideas about what’s best for her.
Even after her blindness counselor, Ethan, befriends her and opens her eyes to new opportunities and the possibility of a deeper relationship, one haunting question remains: How could the God she loved all her life turn everything upside down again?


About the Author:

April McGowan loves to write stories of hope, courage, and inspiration. She, her husband, and two teens live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. April is an award-winning author, member of Oregon Christian Writers, the Christian Author’s Network, and American Christian Fiction Writers. She's also the publicity coordinator for Oregon Christian Writers. When she's not writing, reading down her book list, homeschooling her son, chasing her kittens, Saoirse, Xander, and Liam, or playing board games, you might find her at her drum kit, imagining she's on a world tour. Hey, it could happen.

Visit my website
Follow me on Twitter at!/AprilKMcGowan
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Interview with Susan Davis and Giveaway!

Good morning, Diamond Mine readers! Today, I'm so excited to bring you an interview with Susan Davis, multi-published romantic suspense author you won't want to miss! 

She just completed her fifth book, The House Next Door, which released this month in The Maine Justice series. Let me tell you, I've delved into the first book and I'm hooked. AND... Susan is giving away a copy of The House Next Door to a lucky commenter! Details for the giveaway after the interview.

First, here's a bit about the latest book.

The charming stone house next door is for sale! How could there be a down side to that?

As his wife Jennifer’s due date approaches, Captain Harvey Larson decides to invest in real estate, unaware of the terror this will cause his family. The neighboring house seems ideal for Jennifer’s brother Jeff and his wife. A hidden cupboard isn’t so bad—in fact, it’s almost fun to try to solve the little mystery inside it. But will any of their loved ones want to live next door after they learn what’s in the basement?
The men of the Priority Unit might be wasting their time, trying to prove one dead man killed another. Or is the murderer still alive, and ready to strike again?



So Susan, you have written in several difference genres. What inspired you to write mysteries?

I first started writing in the mystery and suspense genres. My first published books were historicals, however. Readers will find that many of my historical novels have mystery and suspense elements, too. The Maine Justice series has been on my heart for a long time.

I love when a mystery/suspense thread is added to historicals! 

With your family and many activities, when do you find the time to write?

Our children are all grown, and my husband is retired. Writing is my full time job now. I usually spend most of the morning writing, and most of the afternoon doing other writing-related tasks, such as research, editing, and marketing. I like being able to set my own schedule and take time off when I want to.

You include wonderful details about the police investigations in the Maine Justice series. How do you do your research?

Research is a never-ending part of writing, and when you write about crime solving you need to get it right! I recently attended the Killer Nashville conference, for mystery and crime writers, as one way to increase my knowledge in this area. I also keep up-to-date reference books and do a lot of research online. I cultivate friendship with law enforcement officers so that I can ask them questions, and I call liaisons in various agencies to get details on particular law enforcement units.

Was there a particular Bible verse or experience from your own life that shaped any of the books in the series?

In the first book, The Priority Unit, Harvey and Jennifer go looking for God. I think the verse in John 6:44 inspired that quest: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. (ESV). I wanted to show how a person might be drawn in by God.

How important is it to you to include a spiritual emphasis in your books?

In this series, it is a very important part of the theme, plot, and takeaway. Spirituality isn’t as overt in a lot of my books, but for these, it was a main goal for me to write the unbeliever’s journey in a believable way.

What do you hope your readers take away from your stories?

In addition to being entertained, I hope my readers find some encouragement in my stories. The people in my Maine Justice books are everyday people with everyday problems (outside the mysteries, of course).  A lot of my books touch on the theme of forgiveness and reconciliation.  The House Next Door touches on fear and security. In each book, I hope the reader will see how the characters handle a problem and either apply it to their own life or think of a way to handle a problem better than my characters did.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Read widely, not just in the genre you’re writing, and be sure to get an edit before you send off your manuscript.

Thanks so much for being a part of the blog today and sharing your stories. Excited to read the rest of the series!


Susan Page Davis is the author of more than 70 published novels and novellas, in romantic suspense,mystery, and historical romance. A native of Maine, she now lives in western Kentucky with her husband Jim. They have six children and ten grandchildren and two temperamental cats.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterFacebookNewsletter


All you have to do is leave a comment on the blog for a chance to win! If there are at least three people who comment, we'll be picking a random winner to receive a copy of The House Next Door. (Paperback for the US and electronic for those out of the country) Good luck!