Author Interview: Eliza Noel, Author of Dawn Chandler

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Hey everybody and welcome back to the blog, Reading, Writing, and Living for Jesus! Today I am super excited to be bringing you an interview with author Eliza Noel, whose debut middle grade novel, Dawn Chandler, is releasing THIS WEEK. I had the opportunity to send Eliza an e-mail and ask her about all-things-Dawn, but before we get into that let me give you an introduction to the wonderful author and share all the details about the book and where you can pre-order it!

IMG_1489About the Author:

Eliza Noel is a home school graduate with passion for Jesus, people, and literature. Growing up, her favorite books were always Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, and Pride and Prejudice. Around age twelve she wanted to read something with positive values in a modern setting, but couldn’t find what she was looking for. So she wrote it.

When not doing something book-related (reading, writing, blogging, bookstagramming), Eliza works at her day jobs, spends time with her many younger siblings, longboards, has coffee with friends, eats chocolate, and listens to music. California is home, but she would like to travel more and feels she could learn to be content anywhere.

You can follow her writing journey and see snippets of her everyday life on elizanoelauthor.blogspot.com or by following @elizanoelauthor on social media.

Alright, blogging Jenna has to interrupt here because those were some of my favorite books when I was growing up too!!! 😀 Anyways, back to your regularly scheduled programming…

About the Book:IMG_1490

Dawn Chandler likes the way her life is— or was. She liked going to the mall with her best friend, excelling at middle school, and attending church with her family. Typical life for a twelve-year-old in the city of Fresno.

When Dawn’s parents announced they were going to homeschool her, on her birthday no less, she felt like her world was falling apart. Normal kids are supposed to go to school, not read books at home. To make matters worse, they may be leaving the only home she’s ever known.

What are her parents thinking?

Before making the final moving decision, the Chandler family visits Lone Pine, a small town between Mt. Whitney and Death Valley. While there, Dawn and her siblings become acquainted with their eccentric great uncle, explore the new area, and meet a large homeschooling family. All of this makes the ‘vacation’ more bearable. Still, Dawn isn’t sure if she can make the move and leave everything she’s familiar with behind.

Can Dawn learn the values of faith, family, and contentment?

Okay, now for the fun part! The interview!!! I hope you enjoy the questions and answers! Since I know I have a variety of people who follow my blog (both readers and writers) I tried to balance out some reader-questions as well as some writing-questions. Without further ado, *que the fun intro music* here is the interview!!! You’ll find my questions in bold, and Eliza’s answers in italics.


 1. Tell me about the title character, Dawn Chandler. Are you similar to her in any ways? Different? Dawn is a twelve year old girl who loves her friends and isn’t a fan of change. I’ve been told that she’s the sassier version of me, hahaha. I personally don’t think we’re that similar, but our life experiences are. Kinda. Dawn lives in Fresno and is possibly moving to Lone Pine. I lived in Lone Pine then moved to Fresno around the same age. I think I took the change a bit better than she did 😉 I’m also very much a people-person and I don’t see that in Dawn quite as much. Aw, haha! Well it’s super cool that the story was partly inspired by some real-life experiences, even if you and Dawn do react differently to those! 

2. What made you choose to write her story and set it in Lone Pine? I guess I chose to write Dawn’s story because I wanted to look at my situation (moving from a small town to a big city) from a different viewpoint and see what would happen if I changed things. It’s set in Lone Pine because, like I said, I used to live there. After moving, it took me years to stop missing the charming small town atmosphere and the fond childhood memories I had made there. Writing this book helped me deal with my homesickness and it also came quite naturally because I know the town so well. That is such a great story, and I think it’s incredibly inspiring that your writing helped you work through those emotions. I’d like to think that your book might fall into the hands of a girl experiencing the same thing, and hopefully bless her as much as writing it blessed you!

3. Your book cover is GORGEOUS! Can you tell me about the cover design process? Thank you, I think so too! I messed around with different cover ideas on my own way before I was ready to publish. When it came time to have an official and professional looking cover I messaged a few different art accounts on Instagram. The three things I knew I wanted were a cute drawing of Dawn, at least some Lone Pine scenery, and beautiful hand-lettering. I found several talented artists who could do one or two of those things, but not all three. Eventually, someone recommended Liza Proch so I texted her to see if she was interested in doing it- she was! After that I chose what size the cover needed to be, wrote a description of what I thought I wanted, and sent Liza pictures I found on Pinterest for inspiration. She sent me about a total of three different drafts. Each draft had slight changes, hair color, mountains, fonts…eventually, it was perfect! I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s definitely PERFECT and truly represents the genre.

4. I believe you are self-publishing (correct me if I’m wrong), what are some challenges you’ve faced? Yes, I am! You’re correct. Underestimating how much time various aspects are gonna take, silly formatting mistakes that took me forever to figure out the easy fixes, and the fact that the whole process can feel a little lonely sometimes. I’m still glad I chose this route though! That’s great! I think we’re all a little guilty of underestimating how much time something will take, even outside of writing and publishing, but it’s lovely that you have such a great perspective on it.

5. What are some advantages about self-publishing? What have been some of the best parts of the process? An advantage would be being in control. I hired an editor (Abigayle Claire) who made it so much better than I could have ever made it, but ultimately the decisions were left to me. Same with the cover. I was able to get exactly what I wanted. One of the best parts of the process has been reading the advanced reviews! It’s so rewarding to know people are actually enjoying my story now. Woohoo for great reviews!!! It sounds like the self-publishing path was and is perfect for you.

6. How did you decide that you wanted to write inspirational/Christian fiction? I typically categorize it simply as children’s fiction, but Dawn is a Christian and she grows in her relationship with God. As a Christian I want everything I do (writing included) to glorify my father in heaven. I can’t imagine writing a story without God in it. That’s a great answer! I definitely feel the same way. 🙂

7. How did you incorporate faith into Dawn Chandler? This was something I struggled with a little bit. In an earlier draft, the reader didn’t know much about Dawn’s faith until towards the end when she was suddenly acting like a fairly mature Christian. I did want to show growth, but I didn’t want it to be so sudden. I ended up going back through the beginning and adding a few prayers and thoughts about God here and there to help fix that. I don’t know if that necessarily did, but I hope it answered your question! Oh yeah, definitely! It’s especially interesting hearing about your writing process and how those aspects changed in the various drafts. 

8. Finally, what is your favorite chapter that you wrote in Dawn Chandler, and without spoilers, why is that your favorite? What should readers be looking out for? Any funny/endearing moments? Sweet scenes or surprises? I can’t wait to hear what people say about it! The prologue is actually one of my favorites. It’s the only part not told from Dawn’s perspective. It portrays the craziness of a Sunday morning in a large family. Several of my beta readers said it was truly relatable. I was happy to know my family wasn’t the only one like that, haha! I also especially enjoyed the playful banter that takes place between the main characters and the good old-fashioned fun they have in a chapter about sledding. You can actually read an earlier version of it on my blog here: https://elizanoelauthor.blogspot.com/2019/01/snow-daydawn-chandler-series.html Ooohhh I can’t wait to read it! Yep, you’re definitely not alone! XD I’m ALL FOR the relatable, big family moments!!!

Thanks so much for interviewing me, Jenna! I loved answering all your questions and I’m honored to be featured on your blog ❤ Of course! Congratulations on your upcoming release! I hope we get to see you here on my blog again someday!!!


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Alright, y’all! If you’re ready to pre-order Dawn Chandler, then here is the link to do so!

You can also enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win!!!

I hope you guys take the time to check out this book and support an indie author. If you or someone you know (a mom, a sister, a friend) may enjoy reading this book then please consider sharing it with them. This truly sounds like a wonderful story and a charming start to a great new series for young girls.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and if you’re new here (referred from a friend, or heard about my blog as a part of the blog tour for Dawn Chandler) then it would mean the world to me if you’d pop your e-mail address into that subscription box and subscribe to my blog so you never miss a new post. I’m an inspired writer and an inspirational fiction reader who posts about all things reading, writing, and living for Jesus. If that sounds like your thing, then I’d love to have you a part of the RW&L family.

Until next time,

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Book Spotlight: Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn

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About the Book:

From the author of the best-selling Christy Miller and Sisterchicks series comes a refreshing novel that celebrates the gift of friendship.

Five young women, including beloved Gunn characters Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen, gather for a simple Christmas party and soon become unlikely best friends. Told from the viewpoint of Emily, a timid young mom going through a difficult season of life, the regular gatherings provide the much needed community she’s longed for. As the women begin sharing their life stories in Becoming Us they are endeared to each other and find ways to challenge, encourage, and help each other become the nurturing mothers they wished they’d had when they were growing up. They see themselves as Haven Makers and unite to be remembered for what they do and not for what was done to them.

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Haven’t heard of the Christy Miller series? (psst… It’s okay! Until I started book blogging, I’d never heard of them either! Shh! Don’t tell!) What rock have you been living under! The Christy Miller series is a series of books following – you guessed it – Christy Miller, from her whimsical teenage years, through college, and all the way through adulthood as she face’s life’s challenges and embraces its many blessings. There are TWENTY, yes, you read that right, TWENTY books in the series, so if this kind of thing sounds like something you’d enjoy, you’ll be able to enjoy it for a longgg time!

 

About the Author:

Robin Jones Gunn has written over 100 books with sales of over 5.5 million copies sold worldwide. She and her husband have two grown children and live in Hawai’i.

Her best-selling Father Christmas novels have been made into 3 Hallmark Movies. Get a behind the scenes look in her book, “How My Book Became a Movie”.

Robin’s best-selling, award winning novels include the Christy Miller series for teens as well as the Sierra Jensen and Katie Weldon series. The characters in these series continue in Christy & Todd: The College Years, The Married Years, The Baby Years and in The Haven Makers series. More details at http://www.ChristyMiller.com

The Glenbrooke series by Robin features 8 gentle love stories and her Christy Award winning Sisterchicks(R) novels are a book club favorite. Her popular non-fiction titles include “Victim of Grace”, “Praying For Your Future Husband”, co-authored with Tricia Goyer and “Spoken For”, co-authored with Alyssa Joy Bethke.

Becoming Us, the blending of new characters and the continuation of old favorites, releases May 7, 2019. So… SOON! Head on over and purchase a copy at this link.

There are sooo many new, fantastic releases coming up this year and I can’t wait to share about all of them with you!

Until next time,

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P.S. – I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook & Multnomah, in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my opinions, all thoughts are my own.

A Recap of CFRR – My First Ever Reader/Author Event

I’m sitting here working on my book, “UNTITLED,” because despite the fact that I’ve written 70,000 words, I still haven’t figured out which three I want on the front cover! Beside me is Alysha, fellow blogger and good friend from the blog For the Love of Christian Fiction, who is talking to her parents on the phone and telling them about the many mishaps and adventures we’ve had on our trip.

I look up, there’s bugs on the ceiling. I look down, there’s holes on my bedding. The outlets fell out of the wall. Alysha nearly lost her life to a picture frame, followed by a terrifying encounter with a vending machine. To my side, there is a lamp with a broken lampshade that won’t even turn on. Stains on the sheets. I’ve had nothing to eat but ramen made with warm sink water (GROSS! The hotel lied about microwaves and fridges… Don’t get me started on the shuttle that they were supposed to have that also doesn’t exist). As I’m sitting here in this mess, all I can think of is, “One day I’m going to be a published author, and then I won’t stay in motels like this!” At the same time however, it’s been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Went to CFRR (Christian Fiction Readers Retreat) with Alysha. We had such a good time, and I met so many amazing authors and bloggers!
  2. Explored Washington D.C. with Alysha!
  3. Favorite stops included the library of congress,
  4. and the Museum of the Bible!!! I promise one day that I’ll do an entire post about the Museum of the Bible, but for now I hope you enjoy this.
  5. Alysha and I also filmed a couple of collaborative videos on this trip. You can watch the one that went up on my channel HERE. (It’s a vlog of our travels, as well as a fun challenge we did: hiding books in Washington D.C.!)

I know one day I’ll look back on these days of pulling change together to make it to my first reading/writing event, editing while stuffing my face with Cup-of-Noodles, and walking ten miles JUST to see the Washington Monument, and be so happy. It will all be a part of my journey, a part of my story. Of course, hopefully by then, I’ll be at another event, staying in a hotel that actually has a microwave, and maybe even signing some books of my own.

Until next time,

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Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews

F5428F3A-D9A6-4497-9686-CE80768E57A9This past week I was captured. I was a stranger in a foreign land. I was scared. I had my heart broken a few times. I found myself trapped in a fiery furnace, with no way of escape before me. I was thrown into a den of lions, terrified for my life. I was angry. I was bitter. I was in denial. And, in the end, I was restored and filled with hope. All between the lines and within the pages of Of Fire and Lions by Mesu Andrews, her newest release, coming out on March 5, 2019.

Let me share with you the synopsis of this book before I get started with my review:

The Old Testament book of Daniel comes to life in this novel for readers of Lynn Austin’s Chronicles of the Kings series or Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series.

Survival. A Hebrew girl first tasted it when she escaped death nearly seventy years ago as the Babylonians ransacked Jerusalem and took their finest as captives. She thought she’d perfected in the many years amongst the Magoi and the idol worshippers, pretending with all the others in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Now, as Daniel’s wife and a septuagenarian matriarch, Belili thinks she’s safe and she can live out her days in Babylon without fear–until the night Daniel is escorted to Belshazzar’s palace to interpret mysterious handwriting on a wall. The Persian Army invades, and Bellili’s tightly-wound secrets unfurl with the arrival of the conquering army. What will the reign of Darius mean for Daniel, a man who prays to Yahweh alone?

Ultimately, Yahweh’s sovereign hand guides Jerusalem’s captives, and the frightened Hebrew girl is transformed into a confident woman, who realizes her need of the God who conquers both fire and lions.

As usual, one of the things I love most about Mesu Andrews’ writing is how detailed and well-researched it is. She truly makes history come to life! From the horrors of Jerusalem under siege, to the city bursting with people that is Babylon, I felt as though I was with Belili (the female lead) every step of the way. No, I was Belili. That’s how much the writing drew me in.

Daniel’s faith is matchless. How could he have doubted? He had seen the Lord deliver men from fire, and he would one day see himself delivered from lions. Could you go there? Even in the lion’s den, would you have faith in God? This book showcases total faith, absolute surrender to God, and the undeniable grace that covers all things, that only He can give. Full of deep emotion, passion, intrigue, and mystery, this is one Biblical fiction book you won’t want to miss!

Be inspired to deepen your own faith and pre-order Of Fire and Lions today!

I vlogged my reading experience for this book! Watch my reactions to Of Fire and Lions here:

Did I mention I’m also hosting a GIVEAWAY to win a copy of this book?  Head over to my Instagram to read all the details and enter! One winner (U.S. ONLY!!!) will be chosen at random on March 5th, 2019 at 8 PM EST. Best of luck! Trust me, you won’t want to miss this book!

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Special thanks to Waterbrook & Multnomah. I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review of this book, all opinions are my own and I do not receive compensation for leaving a positive review.

Until next time everyone, happy reading!

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In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar

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The best endings are only the beginning! And the ending may have been my favorite part of this novel, because it wasn’t an ending at all.

You all know the familiar tale of Ruth and Boaz. One of the great love stories of the Bible, the story of a kinsman redeemer who honored his duty and the story of a faithful young woman who refused to give up in times of hardship. These two figures come to life layer by layer in Tessa Afshar’s skillful writing, revealing deep spiritual truths that anyone can relate to.

And for real, I mean anyone! I listened to the audiobook version of this while my dad and I were working together on some home renovations. Even he enjoyed listening to the story, the writing, and the inner monologue of each character (Also, hi dad!!! I heard you read my blog posts sometimes! 😀 ).

There’s a little surprise in this novel as well for those who have read Pearl in the Sand, also by Tessa Afshar. It’s an “Easter egg,” if you will! Those who are “in on it” will thoroughly enjoy the message it carries over from Afshar’s previous work.

I meant what I said however, the ending of this book was only the beginning. Spoiler alert, but God used Ruth as one of the few recorded women in the lineage of Jesus Christ. The ending of this book was the beginning of a chapter in history, a part of God’s glorious plan to bring His people back to Him. Like all of Tessa Afshar’s books, this book points you back to Him in a way that leaves the reader feeling fulfilled, inspired, and hungry for more.

As I’ve said before, Tessa Afshar was my favorite discovery of 2018 which is when I first came across her books. If you haven’t already had the chance to read any of her work, then let 2019 be the year that you discover her books, and devour them all, as I am slowly but surely doing! You won’t be disappointed.

Until next time, happy reading!

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