Why We Need Hope in Fiction

As I was exercising the other day, the lovely auto-play chose which song I would next listen to. A secular song, one I never before heard, came on, and while there was nothing inherently bad about it, it got me thinking.

The song could easily be a character song, and I may use it for that purpose one day. But what really struck me was how most of the lyrics contained no hope. Music possesses the ability to control our moods, whether that is uplifting or evoking sadness or nostalgia. This song did not uplift me. Instead, it reminded me of a faceless soul standing on the edge of a cliff, staring at the swirling, misty hopelessness below and asking, “Would anyone care if I jumped off?”

It struck a chord. Whether good or bad, I cannot say. But I went from trying to be positive and telling myself to survive the workout to thinking about that sad, almost dark song for the rest of the day.

I then listened to a Christian song, Valley of Death by Skillet, and compared the two. Valley, unlike the other song, contains hope. A surge of it that tells the listener no matter how trying a time or how dark the valley they’re currently in, God is in control.

The songs are similar genres. But I rather listen to Valley because it gave me hope.

There’s not that much difference between books and songs. Of course, in songs, the words are set to music, but they both carry the power to affect our emotions. I was rereading Resistance by Jaye L. Knight recently and found the book altering my mindset. I’ll admit the sorry state of affairs our country is in often gets me down, and I have to work to keep my eyes on the Light and not the darkness inhabiting the world.

While Resistance is fantasy, and thus set in an fictional world with fictional events and characters, it gave me hope. The characters endure all types of trials and difficulties, some similar to what we may experience in the near future. What keeps the book from becoming dreary and depressing is the hope Knight infuses through the characters’ faith. I finished the book feeling encouraged. Just as the characters had hope because they knew Who was in control, I could have hope because I know nothing will happen outside of God’s plan.

That’s the power of words, which is why it is so, so important for writers to infuse their stories with hope. There’s nothing wrong with approaching heavier topics, or digging into how fallen and evil humanity is, but we cannot only include those topics. We must offer hope.

Hope can strengthen faith. Brighten an otherwise-difficult day. Provide a reminder that, though the world can and will worsen and grow even darker, the Believer’s end is not death, but eternal life with Christ.

I’m not saying don’t include heavy topics—merely, don’t let those themes be the only topics you include. If I did not include hope in my stories, they’d be too dismal to read.

Words are possibly the best medium through which to convey hope. Writers, we have been given a duty to infuse hope into our stories, no matter how heavy they may otherwise be. Our end goal should be to uplift and encourage, not depress.

Let’s guide our readers toward the Light, not the dark.

Too Much Faith?

I have a shameful confession to make:
I considered removing most of the faith from “DECEIVED”. Just so I could submit it to a “clean” publisher.

Don’t misunderstand me. I have nothing against clean books or Christians who just write clean fiction. But that’s not where God has called me. That’s not what He’s impressing upon me to write.

That was a painful lesson, one I still regret. But God, in His mercy, allowed me to emerge stronger in my faith and my dedication to writing faith-filled fiction.

WRITERS:
I want encourage you to remain strong and firm in your desire to write Christian fiction. Don’t be afraid to get “preachy”. Don’t be afraid to stand strong and proclaim the Gospel. Don’t be afraid to include that salvation message.

Dear writer, there is a risk to writing faith-filled fiction. We’re either “not Christian enough” or we’re “too preachy”. Most of these accusations, disgustingly, come from Christian readers.

Don’t let them get to you. Don’t let them dampen your fire, your resolve, your faith. Be unafraid. Be bold. Stand up and proclaim the truth. I’m not saying have half of your book be a sermon. But, if there are sermons, don’t be afraid to include snippets. Remember, we do not write for worldly accolades. We write so our stories may be used by God to plant seeds.

READERS:
I’m going to be harsher on you. As I said above, most of the “too preachy” comments come from Christians. This is shameful. We are to spread the Gospel. Why is it deemed necessary to rag on an author who is unafraid of spreading Truth? Of obeying God? We should be applauding, not complaining.

You are free to have your opinion about a book. But please reconsider any statements about “too much faith”.
Because there can NEVER be too much faith.

On my author website, I have Romans 1:16 beneath my author picture. Not to brag, not to be sanctimonious. But to remind myself of the path I almost veered from. To remind myself how I should be on fire to proclaim the truth about our Lord. He suffered and died for us. We shouldn’t have any issue telling others about Him.

Writers, don’t be afraid to include your faith. Readers, be grateful for authors who are unafraid of sharing the Word.

DECEIVED: Q&A with Characters

Greetings, everyone. Today is another interview with the main characters of DECEIVED. There are extra snickerdoodle cookies on the log table over there, as well as some hot chocolate since springtime has not yet truly arrived in this area.

The setup is similar to the last interview’s. Holder, Therese, Ivelle, and Rogan, in that order, join me around the campfire. All wear degrees of wariness, and Rogan looks like he’s going to ignore my rules, again, and bolt. In addition to the campfire, blankets are provided to stave off the day’s chill.

I adjust my notes and greet them. Only Holder and Ivelle offer a verbal reply. Therese nods. And Mr. Grumpus selects to ignore me.

A dangerous move considering I’m in the process of writing BETRAYED.

“This is from Olivia G. Holder, she would to hear some stories from when you and Rogan were growing up. Preferably funny.”

Holder’s shoulders lose a tad of their tension. He’s not as wane and worn as he was last time, and his eyes aren’t as tired. “There aren’t really that many. The first one coming to mind was when we were crossing a stream and Rogan face-planted in the bank. He refused to wash off because he dislikes wearing wet clothing. By the time we returned to the castle, the mud was so dried on him no one recognized him and he could barely speak and move.”

Rogan crosses his arms. “You had it worse when you snuck into the kitchen. The cook was so mad to find you filching those cookies he threw raw eggs and flour at you. You looked like a ghost.”

“Juan told me they were for the taking. How was I to know they were for some celebration?” A smile hinting at Holder’s hidden orneriness crossed his face. “What about that time you fell in the manure pile?”

“I refuse to talk about that.”

Ivelle leaned forward. “I want to hear this.”

“An older soldier told us there was a chest of weapons in the stable’s loft. Rogan ignored my warnings and climbed up there to see what he could find. A pigeon scared him so badly he screamed like a scared toddler and toppled over the loft’s edge. Right into the manure pile.”

Rogan arches a brow, pointedly ignoring Ivelle’s laughter. “You’re the one who screamed when you saw a rabbit.”

“I thought it was a snake.”

“I told you it was a rabbit.”

“You also told me a squirrel would eat my fingers if I tried feeding it some bread. There’s a reason I didn’t believe you.”

I clear my throat as the debate escalates. “You were rather bratty, Rogan. Not as bad as Ivelle, but still a brat.” Paying no heed to his indignant glare, I locate the next question. “The remaining questions are from Brooklyn O’Brennen and K.R. Mattson. Brooklyn wants to know, ‘At what point of the book did you laugh so hard at anything (could be a mistake or just a funny look) that you could have snorted milk through your nose?’ I believe the answer to that is when I was writing Rogan’s interactions with Redwing.”

Rogan scowls. “Those weren’t funny.”

“They were to me, and that’s all that matters. Brooklyn next wants to know if any scenes made me cry. The answer to that is no. I came close a few times, but rarely do I cry while writing.”

Rogan, who apparently does wish for me to make things worse on him in BETRAYED, mutters, “That doesn’t surprise me.”

“Brooklyn also wishes to know which scene was the hardest to write.” I cough as all four glare at me. “I plead the fifth on that. Next question. She wishes to know which scene was easiest. That would be the final chapter.”

If looks could kill, I’d be buried in the Mariana Trench. Holder and Rogan are not pleased. Probably for good reason.

“K.R. wants to know if I regret writing any scenes. That would depend on your definition of regret, I suppose. Do I regret any scenes that are in there? No. Do I regret writing about what’s happened to you four? Yes, if regret means being the unfortunate soul who’s had to jot down your painful pasts.”

“No one forced you.”

One of these days, Rogan’s lip was going to land him in some hot water. “To the contrary, Rogan Cetrin. You four forced me. You especially.”

His brows lower. “Why? Do you really think I’d want”–he gestures to himself–“anything about me written down?”

There is a brewing storm in his eyes, but behind that is undimmed pain. One of these days, he’ll realize he’s far more than the unwanted pestilence his father has treated him as.

I flip to the next questions. Rogan’s grumpiness is more than a personality defect. It’s a means of protection. Now isn’t the time to tear those walls down. ‘These are still from Brookly. “Which character was the hardest to write? Which character required the most research’?.

“The answers would be Rogan and probably Therese.” I don’t elaborate aloud on my answers. Rogan because, well, it’s not easy to research emotional trauma and how an adult who grew up emotionally abused and neglected behaves. Therese because I had to dig in and find poisons and killing methods.

I turn to the next set. “Brooklyn would like to know if any of you ever tried eating dirt. Holder, we’ll begin with you.”

He shrugs. “Rogan and I wrestled when we were little. There was probably more dirt in us than on the forest floor. And, before they replaced the training grounds’ floors with sand, there was packed dirt. Pretty sure I consume a lot from there too.”

“And you, Therese?”

She shifts, though her expression is not so wary. “I’m sure I did when I was a toddler. I don’t remember doing so, though.”

Ivelle grins before her humor fizzles out, like a sudden stain demolished a good memory. “I know I ate dirt. One time my brother and his friends had a contest to see who could eat the most soil. They said I was too little to join. I beat them all.”

I can only imagine how many worms and grubs she consumed in the process. “That’s disgusting.”

“It was nasty. But the point is I won.”

Can’t argue there. I shake my head and turn to Rogan. “And you?”

His mulish demeanor hasn’t lessened one iota. “What Holder said.”

“Any other occurrences?”

Holder pipes up. “I think he ate some when Redwing threw him. It was in mud form, but that’s still dirt. Just…wet dirt.”

Rogan opens his mouth, likely to protest. I interrupt. “Again from Brooklyn. ‘When was a time in your childhood you felt super important’? Rogan, you go first.”

“Why?”

“Because I’m the author and I said so, that’s why.”

He huffs but complies. “When Captain Geros congratulated me during training. It happened once and I don’t remember for what, but I do remember it happening.”

“Ivelle?”

A soft smile crosses her face. “When Ma let me bake biscuits on my own for the first time. She told me she trusted me enough to let me loose in the kitchen.”

Therese almost balks when I indicate it is her turn. But, like Ivelle, a smile softens her countenance after a moment. “My name was the first word Nora said.”

“And you, Holder?”

“When Father let me ride by myself. Looking back, I realize we were in a sturdy corral and I was on the oldest horse in all of Orm, but I felt like an accomplished rider the first few minutes into the ride.”

“Next question. She would like to know if any of you know what a paper plane is.”

Blank expressions provide an answer.

I find the next page. The wind is picking up, creating disorder despite the numerous paperclips and staples. “K.R. would like to know what weapon you would pick if you could pick any weapon in the world.”

Ivelle’s smirk puts me on edge. Last time she said she wouldn’t kill anyone unless they harmed Claudine or Emmy, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t opposed to introducing noggins with blunt objects.

Holder answers before Ivelle can. “The sword is fine. A knife is the best though. I can throw one with more accuracy than I can a sword.”

I turn to Therese. “And you?”

She shifts, eyes on her hands, which are clasped and resting in her lap. “A knife, I suppose.”

Rogan eyes her like she’ll pull said weapon and begin threatening Holder with it.

Ivelle rubs her hand, expression gleeful. “Cayenne pepper.”

Something tells me she’s used this as a weapon before. “Pardon?”

“Cayenne pepper. It’s hot, spicy, and when you put an overabundance in someone’s food, unbearable. It feels like it’s searing your esophagus and burning through your tongue.”

I stare at her. She smiles, not bothering to pretend innocence.

Characters. Give them a page and they’ll take a book. I never authorized her to be this crazy.

“Alright, then. We’ll know not to eat your cooking. Rogan, what about you?”

“A sword.” He crosses his arms and stares at the fire, refusing to speak one more word.

“You sure it’s not the bow and arrow?”

Rogan harrumphs.

Well. At least Holder is laughing at my joke.

Unfortunately for Sir Grumps-A-Lot, he won’t be able to stew in his cantankerousness for long.

I snap the papers and clear my throat. “What is your favorite color? Rogan, go first.”

“Blue.”

Ivelle answers green, Therese, pale pink, and Holder agrees with Ivelle.

Raindrops have dirtied my glasses, and I take them off to clean the lenses, sparing a scowl for the gray clouds. “This next question is for me, courtesy of K.R.. ‘Why did you pick the season that you did for the book? Did you want them all to freeze to death in the second one’?”

“I chose late winter/early spring mostly because I needed BETRAYED to begin with snow. Do I want them to freeze to death? No. Will that happen? I hope not.”

Four horrified expressions are aimed my way.

“K.R. also asks, on a scale of one to ten, where does DECEIVED fall regarding being hardest or easiest to write? DECEIVED has been the easiest book to write, rough draft-wise, thus far. Reworking the issues with it places it on a six out of ten for difficulties, but it’s by far not the hardest book I’ve ever written.

“The final question is from Brooklyn. First, she’d like to know which ice cream flavor you like best.”

The four had been presented sample-sizes of a variety of flavors. Some were automatically spit in the trash. Others were embraced.

Chocolate marshmallow, coffee, rocky road, and butter pecan were automatic absolutely nots. I knew my characters had good taste.

Holder likes chocolate, Therese prefers mint chocolate chip, Ivelle could probably eat an entire tub of cookies ‘n cream (like yours truly), and Rogan favors vanilla. I knew he was my favorite for a reason.

“We’re done with these, interrogations, right?” Rogan twirls a knife as he stares at me.

Interrogation, thank you very much. And you’re done for now until Book Two releases.”

“Assuming we’re all alive,” he snarks.

“Yes, assuming you all are still breathing an in decent enough condition to hold an intelligent conversation.”

Ivelle inspects her nails, not-so-surreptitiously smirking at Rogan. “I know of someone who’s already disqualified. His mind is never in decent enough condition to converse with a rock, let alone be in an interview.”

I pass out the packets of cookies and cups of hot chocolate before ushering these minions of mayhem from the scene. “I’ve an outline to firm up, evil to scheme, and a book to write. Off with you.”

They leave with minimal encouragement, like they’re afraid I’ll nail them with more questions should they linger.

I clean up before gazing at the mountains. Snow still decorates their jagged peaks. They’re not the High Mountains, not as sharp and steep, but they’re my mountains. Hopefully, after Book Two ends, the four will feel some love for their mountains. Mountain truly are the best geological formation, and a wonder of God’s handiwork.

Silencing my musings, I grab my bag and leave. BETRAYED won’t write itself.

***

Thank you for joining me for the final group interview! Which type of ice cream is your favorite? If you could choose any weapon to be your favorite, which would it be?

Be sure to enter the giveaway, and there’s still time to sign up for the preorder goodies.


PREORDER INFORMATION

If you have preordered DECEIVED or order it during the duration of this blog tour (April 25 – May 7), and want some swag (character card and autographed bookplate), go here.



Giveaway Information:

Want a chance to win an autographed copy of DECEIVED and a character card? Be sure to go here. Or, if you don’t have social media, leave a comment at every blog post to be entered. Giveaway ends May 10th. (PDF will be sent to international entrants).


DECEIVED BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

Monday, April 25

Madisyn Carlin | Intro + Book Spotlight

Joy Woodbury | Book Review

Tuesday, April 26

Madisyn Carlin | Release Day! + Fun Facts

Vanessa Hall | Author Interview

Autumn | Book Spotlight

Wednesday, April 27

Esther | Book Review

Saraina | Character Interview: Therese

Joy Woodbury | Guest Post

Thursday, April 28

Madisyn Carlin | Group Interview

Kristina Hall | Book Review

Friday, April 29

Vanessa Hall | Book Spotlight

Olivia | Book Review

Saturday, April 30

Madisyn Carlin | Character Spotlight: Holder

Olive Creed | Book Spotlight

Monday, May 2

Vanessa Hall | Book Review

Grace Johnson | Guest Post + Book Spotlight

Tuesday, May 3

Madisyn Carlin | Meet the Characters

Stephanie | Book Review

Wednesday, May 4

Grace Johnson | Author Interview

Saraina | Character Interview: Rogan

Thursday, May 5

Madisyn Carlin | Character Q+A

Issabelle Perry | Character Spotlight: Therese

Friday, May 6

Grace Johnson | Book Review

Autumn – Author Interview

Jenavieve Rose | Book Review

Saturday, May 7

Madisyn Carlin | Blog Tour Wrap-Up

Olive Creed | Author Interview

Katja Labonte | Book Review

Saraina | Author Interview

DECEIVED: Meet the Characters + Character Spotlights

Greetings, everyone. Today you get to properly meet the four main characters in DECEIVED: Holder Lygor, Therese Westa, Rogan Cetrin, and Ivelle Quade.


HOLDER LYGOR

Image from Pinterest. Credit goes to the original photographer, of whom I do not know the identity of.

Favorite hobby: Reading

Least favorite person: A toss up between King Eligor and Svetalna

Introvert or Extrovert: Ambivert.

You can read Holder’s character spotlight here.

And no, Holder does not have facial hair unlike the character inspiration picture. No facial hair allowed on my main male characters.


THERESE WESTA

This amazing character art was created by Paige Coffer.

Favorite hobby: Right now she’s focused on providing for her sisters, but she wouldn’t mind taking up sewing.

Least favorite person: King Eligor.

Introvert or Extrovert: Introvert

Therese’s character spotlight will be available on Thursday.


ROGAN CETRIN

Sorry, folks. No picture available. I haven’t found adequate character inspiration for him.

Favorite hobby: Practicing his weapons.

Necessary hobby: Evading Holder’s “homicidal equine” of a horse.

Least favorite person: His father.

Introvert and Extrovert: A hardcore introvert. Being around people does nothing for his already cranky demeanor.

Appearance: 6’1” and strong; blond hair and blue eyes

Age: Twenty-one

Personality: Serious, often grumpy, and intense

Positive Traits: Loyal, protective, and focused

Negative Traits: Too stubborn, cynical, has a tendency to be rude

Character Song: “Back to Life” by Skillet and Broken by Lifehouse

ABOUT ROGAN:

Rogan was the only character I knew about when the idea for DECEIVED first came to me. I knew he was loyal and good with weapons. I also knew he’d eventually one day be fighting for his life. I originally had his and Holder’s personalities swapped, with Rogan being the gentler one and Holder being rude and more sarcastic. That didn’t last long, for as soon I wrote the first four chapters, it became evident these characters were going to be quite different from how I first imagined them.

Out of the four main characters, Rogan defied me the most. He came with a different personality, was far more mulish and stubborn than I anticipated, and refused to get along with most of the other characters. Another thing which surprised me about him was his past. Out of the blue, I learned he did not have a good home life. Beneath that gruff, rough, cantankerous exterior was a wounded heart, one that makes me want to wrap him in a blanket, give him a big cup of hot chocolate, and tell him everything will be okay.

Regarding character development, Rogan is the easiest of the four. His hidden wounds—physical, emotional, and mental—and his strong determination to do what is right, even if he does have misplaced loyalty, make him easy to develop. His full character arc will take all three books to fully come about, and, even though it may not look like it at the end of DECEIVED, he has already made great strides.

Rogan is an interesting character. I much imagine him as that meme where an introvert is in their bubble and hissing and snarling at the extrovert reaching in and attempting to drag them out. Only in Rogan’s case, he has no tolerance for most people and does not appreciate others coming into his space and pestering him, whether they be friend, still-to-be-decided, or foe. He can talk for hours about weapons if he wishes, but unless he trusts you and genuinely desires to spend time with you, he’ll not say more than the most necessary of words while in your presence. His hobby is practicing with his weapons and his least favorite thing to do is deal with those who irritate him.

One of Rogan’s greatest foes is Holder’s horse, a red roan with a colossal attitude and dislike toward Rogan. I have no idea why this horse despises him so, but I do feel for Rogan. The horse has bitten him at least three times despite his attempts, albeit half-hearted, to be nice.

While the other three characters have senses of humor, particularly Holder and Ivelle, Rogan is my least humorous main character.  His intense personality and reluctant willingness to smile may play part in that. Where others would laugh, Rogan would remain frowning. Not much amuses him. I hope in the future two books he will add some humor, but he’s defied me before and he’ll likely defy me again.

What I want most for Rogan is for him to come to faith. Right now, he is firmly entrenched in believing what he shouldn’t. Currently, his broken, wounded self is almost beyond the ability to realize there is a Father that loves him. I know he will, eventually, but I hope both for his sake and mine he realizes that sooner rather than later.

My favorite quote of Rogan’s:

“No one with a touch of sanity would sacrifice themselves for others. People aren’t worth it.”


IVELLE QUADE

Art found on Pinterest. Belongs to the unknown artist.

Favorite hobby: Anything to do with plants; irritating Rogan.

Least favorite person: Anyone involved with King Eligor.

Introvert and Extrovert: Extrovert.

Appearance: 5’9”; black hair and gray eyes

Age: Twenty-One

Personality: Extroverted, kind, and sarcastic

Positive Traits: Protective, intelligent, thinks quickly on her feet

Negative Traits: Sometimes too sarcastic, willing to lie, can be grim

Character Song: “Foreigner” by Ledger

ABOUT IVELLE:

Ivelle was a surprise character, and also my final MC to be developed. I knew I needed four, but I wasn’t sure who the other main female character would be. Then she waltzed into Therese’s first chapter in the form of a young woman with a hearty rebellious streak, a heartbreaking past, a sarcastic sense of humor, and the kindest heart ever.

Unlike the other MCs, Ivelle was born in the High Mountains, and she has the accent to prove it. She’s sturdy in build and strong in determination and stubbornness. Two things surprised me about Ivelle: her past and her profession. At age ten, Ivelle watched her village be slaughtered. She barely survived and bears nasty, raised scars on her inner forearms from the burns she sustained during the attack. Enter in Ivelle’s profession. After she escaped to Varway, she was taken in by a businesswoman named Claudine DeGrim. Not only does Claudine own an emporium, a store specializing in novelty items, but she is deeply entrenched in the black market. Claudine raised Ivelle to assist not only with the Emporium, but also in the smuggling business. Ivelle is now an adept smuggler and handler of illegal goods, most of which are weapons.

Ivelle has a kind heart. She genuinely cares about others, which is evident as she helps Claudine care for a young orphaned girl with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. What she does not possess is the ability to amiably interact with those she dislikes, one of whom is Rogan. This is where her sarcastic streak emerges, and she nearly lands herself in trouble a few times.

For a long time, Ivelle has known there’s something not quite right about the religion fostered in the kingdom. Couple that with her penchant for rebellion, and she has no issue decrying the religion (worshipping the stars) and the king who fostered that religion.

Ivelle’s character arc is subtle in DECEIVED. Her recognition of the wrongness of worshipping the stars is the most overt. However, if you really watch her internal musings and the way she interacts with certain characters, you will witness the change in her.

What I want most for Ivelle, aside from her recognizing her need for a Savior, is for her to redirect her strong personality so she can effectively help others. She already has a kind heart, as is seen throughout the book, but she lets her past, her pain, and her surroundings prohibit her from reaching her full potential.

My favorite quote of Ivelle’s:

“He may be your king, but he is not mine.”


Based off this information, who is your favorite character? Or, if you already have a favorite, what was one interesting fact you didn’t know about them?

To see which DECEIVED character you are, go here.

To see the inspiration for DECEIVED, along with more character songs, go here.


PREORDER INFORMATION

If you have preordered DECEIVED or order it during the duration of this blog tour (April 25 – May 7), and want some swag (character card and autographed bookplate), go here.


Giveaway Information:

Want a chance to win an autographed copy of DECEIVED and a character card? Be sure to go here. Or, if you don’t have social media, leave a comment at every blog post to be entered. Giveaway ends May 10th. (PDF will be sent to international entrants).


DECEIVED BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

Monday, April 25

Madisyn Carlin | Intro + Book Spotlight

Joy Woodbury | Book Review

Tuesday, April 26

Madisyn Carlin | Release Day! + Fun Facts

Vanessa Hall | Author Interview

Autumn | Book Spotlight

Wednesday, April 27

Esther | Book Review

Saraina | Character Interview: Therese

Joy Woodbury | Guest Post

Thursday, April 28

Madisyn Carlin | Group Interview

Kristina Hall | Book Review

Friday, April 29

Vanessa Hall | Book Spotlight

Olivia | Book Review

Saturday, April 30

Madisyn Carlin | Character Spotlight: Holder

Olive Creed | Book Spotlight

Monday, May 2

Vanessa Hall | Book Review

Grace Johnson | Guest Post + Book Spotlight

Tuesday, May 3

Madisyn Carlin | Meet the Characters

Stephanie | Book Review

Wednesday, May 4

Grace Johnson | Author Interview

Saraina | Character Interview: Rogan

Thursday, May 5

Madisyn Carlin | Character Q+A

Issabelle Perry | Character Spotlight: Therese

Friday, May 6

Grace Johnson | Book Review

Autumn – Author Interview

Jenavieve Rose | Book Review

Saturday, May 7

Madisyn Carlin | Blog Tour Wrap-Up

Olive Creed | Author Interview

Katja Labonte | Book Review

Saraina | Author Interview

DECEIVED Blog Tour: Release Day! + Fun Facts

Greetings, everyone, and welcome to the second day of  DECEIVED’s book tour. Today is also release day! My book is now released to the world. The ebook is available for purchase, and the paperback will be up soon.

So…happy book birthday, DECEIVED! You put me through a lot, and I’m relieved you’re finally here.

If you haven’t signed up for the giveaway yet, or if you’ve purchased the ebook and would like some swag, scroll until you see the giveaway and/or swag graphics. There you will find the information you need.

Onto the fun facts!

Fact #1: DECEIVED took a long, long time from start to finish.

DECEIVED took over three years to reach completion.

Fact #2: DECEIVED was almost shelved indefinitely.

I began DECEIVED on Thanksgiving Day, 2019 and ended it in late January-early February 2020. It was by far the quickest story I’ve ever written. A few months later, I sent DECEIVED’s proposal to a Christian fantasy publisher. It was rejected. I then shelved DECEIVED. Although I almost sent its proposal to a few other publishers, my faith in the story had fizzled to an almost non-existent spark.

Then, in October 2021, my mom suggested I self-publish. The only finished story I had that didn’t require a complete rewrite (or two) was DECEIVED, so I set to editing and getting a cover designed. Then, in November, I handed it off to some extremely brave betas. Fast forward five months, multiple prayers, and a lot of screams and threats and tears later, and DECEIVED is released.

Fact #3: Very little of the plot went according to plan.

Oh, the basic idea stayed the same, but when I look back on my early notes, it is obvious this book hadn’t traveled the course I originally intended. Which is fine. How it ended up is much better.

Fact #4: DECEIVED was not originally an allegory.

I was quite surprised when, one day, I reread what I had written and discovered I had an allegory in the works. I’d never considered writing an allegory, nor had I begun DECEIVED with the intention of making it an allegory. This is what happens when characters ignore the writer’s directives.

Fact #5: I have a favorite character.

Shocking, I know, that an author would favor one main character over the others, but it does happen. In this case, Rogan is my favorite. He’s always been and always will be my favorite, from the moment he sparked the idea for DECEIVED to the very end of the third book. I know there’s a Holder Fanclub, where most of the current readers are, but there is a small (as in three person) Rogan Fanclub. If you read DECEIVED and want to join the Rogan Fanclub, let me know! This dear boy needs more love.

Fact #6: DECEIVED has a map.

Rather, the lands of Orm and Uri have a map. You won’t find said map in the book, though, or anywhere online. The map, contained in my map sketchbook (yes, I actually have one; yes, it contains about twenty different maps from my various writing projects), may or may not be smeared with chocolate cake. I may or may not have been snacking on said cake as I began the basic outline for the book.


PREORDER INFORMATION

If you have preordered DECEIVED or order it during the duration of this blog tour (April 25 – May 7), and want some swag (character card and autographed bookplate), go here.


DECEIVED BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

Monday, April 25

Madisyn Carlin | Intro + Book Spotlight

Joy Woodbury | Book Review

Tuesday, April 26

Madisyn Carlin | Release Day! + Fun Facts

Vanessa Hall | Author Interview

Autumn | Book Spotlight

Wednesday, April 27

Esther | Book Review

Saraina | Character Interview: Therese

Joy Woodbury | Guest Post

Thursday, April 28

Madisyn Carlin | Group Interview

Kristina Hall | Book Review

Friday, April 29

Vanessa Hall | Book Spotlight

Olivia | Book Review

Sherrice | Author Interview

Saturday, April 30

Madisyn Carlin | Character Spotlight: Holder

Stephanie | Character Spotlight: Rogan

Sherrice | Book Review

Olive Creed | Book Spotlight

Monday, May 2

Vanessa Hall | Book Review

Grace Johnson | Guest Post + Book Spotlight

Stephanie | Book Spotlight + Character Spotlight: Ivelle

Tuesday, May 3

Madisyn Carlin | Meet the Characters

Stephanie | Book Review

Wednesday, May 4

Grace Johnson | Author Interview

Saraina | Character Interview: Rogan

Thursday, May 5

Madisyn Carlin | Character Q+A

Issabelle Perry | Character Spotlight: Therese

Friday, May 6

Grace Johnson | Book Review

Autumn – Author Interview

Jenavieve Rose | Book Review

Saturday, May 7

Madisyn Carlin | Blog Tour Wrap-Up

Olive Creed | Author Interview

Katja Labonte | Book Review

Saraina | Author Interview

DECEIVED Blog Tour: Welcome + Book Spotlight

Welcome to the first day of DECEIVED’s blog tour! I am so excited for you to learn more about my debut novel and to introduce this story to the world. DECEIVED releases tomorrow.

At the bottom of this post, you will find giveaway information and the blog tour schedule. Be sure to stop by each blog!

To start off the fun, take this “Which DECEIVED Character are You?” quiz and let me know who you scored!

SPOTLIGHT:

ABOUT:

Genre:

New Adult Christian Allegorical Fantasy

Blurb:

In a land built upon lies and deception, uncovering the truth can be deadly.

Therese Westa is sick of death, but taking lives is what provides for her younger sisters. When a client approaches her with an unusual request, Therese takes the job offer, which includes the condition of “no questions asked”. As Therese uncovers the reason for the request, she is faced with a choice: kill an innocent man or save her sisters.

Therese’s hesitation to carry out the assassination thrusts her into the aftermath of a dangerous chain of events. Caught between security and truth, Therese must choose where her loyalties lie, for the answer will determine who survives.

Find:

Paperback and Barnes and Noble links coming soon!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Madisyn Carlin is a Christian, homeschool graduate, blogger, voracious bookdragon, and author. When not spending time with her family or trekking through the mountains, she weaves tales of redemption, faith, and action.

Want to connect? Find her social media links here

PREORDER INFORMATION

If you have preordered DECEIVED or order it during the duration of this blog tour (April 25 – May 7), and want some swag (character card and autographed bookplate), go here.

Giveaway Information:

Want a chance to win an autographed copy of DECEIVED and a character card? Be sure to go here. Or, if you don’t have social media, leave a comment at every blog post to be entered. Giveaway ends May 10th. (PDF will be sent to international entrants).

DECEIVED BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:

Monday, April 25

Madisyn Carlin | Intro + Book Spotlight

Joy Woodbury | Book Review

Tuesday, April 26

Madisyn Carlin | Release Day! + Fun Facts

Vanessa Hall | Author Interview

Autumn | Book Spotlight

Wednesday, April 27

Esther | Book Review

Saraina | Character Interview: Therese

Joy Woodbury | Guest Post

Thursday, April 28

Madisyn Carlin | Group Interview

Kristina Hall | Book Review

Friday, April 29

Vanessa Hall | Book Spotlight

Olivia | Book Review

Sherrice | Author Interview

Saturday, April 30

Madisyn Carlin | Character Spotlight: Holder

Stephanie | Character Spotlight: Rogan

Sherrice | Book Review

Olive Creed | Book Spotlight

Monday, May 2

Vanessa Hall | Book Review

Grace Johnson | Guest Post + Book Spotlight

Stephanie | Book Spotlight + Character Spotlight: Ivelle

Tuesday, May 3

Madisyn Carlin | Meet the Characters

Stephanie | Book Review

Wednesday, May 4

Grace Johnson | Author Interview

Saraina | Character Interview: Rogan

Thursday, May 5

Madisyn Carlin | Character Q+A

Issabelle Perry | Character Spotlight: Therese

Friday, May 6

Grace Johnson | Book Review

Autumn – Author Interview

Jenavieve Rose | Book Review

Saturday, May 7

Madisyn Carlin | Blog Tour Wrap-Up

Olive Creed | Author Interview

Katja Labonte | Book Review

Saraina | Author Interview

DECEIVED Blog Tour Sign-Up

It is officially one month and four days before DECEIVED releases! Am I nervous? Yes. Am I scrambling to keep my sanity? You bet. Am I excited? Definitely.

DECEIVED’s blog tour is open for sign-ups! It will tentatively run 4/25-5/7.

ABOUT DECEIVED:

Title: DECEIVED (The Deception Trilogy, Book One)

Releases: April 26, 2022

Comparables: Resistance (by Jaye L. Knight) x Dare (by Tricia Mingerink)

Genre: New Adult Christian Allegorical Fantasy (it is not YA)

Inspiration Board:

Blurb:

In a land built upon lies and deception, uncovering the truth can be deadly.

Therese Westa is sick of death, but taking lives is what provides for her younger sisters. When a client approaches her with an unusual request, Therese takes the job offer, which includes the condition of “no questions asked”. As Therese uncovers the reason for the request, she is faced with a choice: kill an innocent man or save her sisters.

Therese’s hesitation to carry out the assassination thrusts her into the aftermath of a dangerous chain of events. Caught between security and truth, Therese must choose where her loyalties lie, for the answer will determine who survives.


WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:

“If you like to walk with characters through their struggle for survival in an ever darkening world, you’ll have the read of your life time.” – K.R. Mattson

“Very impressive worldbuilding and good characters.” – Cat Williams


I would be very much honored if you joined me in celebrating the release of my debut novel.

The form can be found here.

Liebster Award 2.0

I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award again, this time by the wonderful Alyssa (thank you!).

RULES:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you
  • Answer the eleven questions given to you
  • Nominate eleven other bloggers
  • Ask your nominees eleven questions
  • Notify your nominees once you have uploaded your post

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

If you could time travel, where would you go and who would you meet?

This is a difficult question for a history nerd to answer.

I think it’d be amazing to travel back to the War for Independence and meet Nathan Hale. Every since first hearing about him on Adventures in Odyssey, and subsequently learning about him in history, I’ve wanted to learn more about this brave patriot who gave his life for our country.

What is your favorite bookish quote?

“But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass.” – Samwise Gamgee, Lord of the Rings

This quote is a good reminder that, though the darkness may appear to be overtaking everything, in the end it is the light (and Light) which ultimately win.

What is one place in the world you would never visit?

Just one place? The Middle East, although the West coast, UK, Australia, New York, and New Jersey are close seconds.

One unique symbol that represents your country/state/province?

The bald eagle. While Benjamin Franklin was against nominating the bald eagle as the U.S.’ avian symbol, he was obviously in the minority of that opinion (though I do see why he opposed it), and now we have a grand and majestic bird as representation of our nation. Plus, here in my state we have bald eagles, and it’s so cool to see them perched on the trees.

Animal that you fear the most?

I am not fond of mountain lions, which does not bode well for me since we have several.

Do you call it pop or soda?

Pop. Put a can in your garage during winter and you’ll see why.

A book that you wish you could have changed the ending?

The Hobbit. I know why Thorin and his nephews had to die, but I was fond of them, and I dislike characters I’m fond of perishing.

Book genre/ trope that you don’t like reading?

Love triangles. Books where everyone loves the main character. Books where immature teens save the day. Amish. Books where characters automatically master weapons and powers (I know this is spec fic, but c’mon, authors. Be realistic.). I’m a picky reader in genre/trope regard.

One song that drives you crazy?

Let it Go in Frozen. Stupid song, stupid movie. I regret wasting those minutes of my life watching it, and I really can’t fathom why anyone likes it. Tangled is far superior.

Favorite type of character to write/ read?

Considering my plethora of half-finished manuscripts, I find I like writing the hero seeking redemption. For reading, I really like sibling characters, especially those with some sarcasm (which may or may not be why I also include them in half of my stories).

If you could ask your favorite person from history one question, what would it be?

I don’t have a favorite favorite, but I wouldn’t mind asking any particular Founding Father their opinion on Romans 13. I’m ninety-nine percent certain of their stance (since we’re our own nation), but I’d like to hear how they support their view so I could learn from them and perhaps use those arguments myself. They were solid men of faith who also believed in liberty and freedom, and I admire them greatly.


NOMINATIONS:

Jovey @ Jovey’s Journal

Saraina @ Kindling Hope Through Stories

And anyone else who wants to do it.

QUESTIONS:

Who is your least favorite character of all time?

Do you use milk or water in your hot chocolate?

Would you rather face off with a rattlesnake or water moccasin?

What is one upcoming book release you’re looking forward to?

What is your favorite genre? Your least favorite?

Do you like to run for exercise or are you someone who only runs if your life depends on it?

Tea, coffee, or neither?

What toppings do you prefer on pizza? What toppings do you dislike?

If you were lost in the woods/mountains, who is one character you’d want to have with you? Why?

Would you rather survive a tornado or the worst blizzard in history?

Who is one literary villain you like but others don’t?


I just reached halfway on my Snow Queen retelling, which I’m working on as I let DECEIVED rest and slip from my mind so I can edit it with fresh eyes. Only 40,000 words to go. My brain is fried, but I do love these characters. Those questions about what type of characters I like to read? Yeah. There’re some heavy redemption themes in Shattered Reflection (which hopefully will release later this year). This is a raw, gritty tale, and has been difficult for me to write in certain places, but it’s heartfelt and will be full of hope at the end.

How are you all doing? How’s your writing/reading coming along? If you do the tag, let me know!