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Category Archives: Conversations with Editors

Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations by V. Joy Palmer

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weddingphoto.jpgI’m super excited to chat with Joy Palmer today about her novel, Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations, her writing process, and how she drinks her coffee!  Just as a heads up, the girl is hilarious and I have loved getting to know her.

Here’s the rundown on Joy: V. Joy Palmer is an avid blogger and co-founder of Snack Time Devotions. She is a youth leader at her church, and loves acting crazy and drinking coffee with the teens. When Joy isn’t urging the elves that live in her computer to write, she’s hanging out with her husband, their adorable baby girl, and their socially awkward pets.

So let’s chat!!

1. Tell me about your publishing history! How did Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations come to be?

I’ve always been obsessed with weddings, and I was single and frustrated with the man who is now my husband (that is a long story) when I first started writing and brainstorming. I started venting writing, and suddenly I just heard Izze chattering in my head. The idea of a single woman in the wedding business who wanted to get married and was fed up with the leading man fascinated me. I’ve really struggled with trusting God (especially with the events that inspired this story), so my heart is really for readers to see that they can trust God with their hearts. Because He has the very best in store for them. He loves to give us beauty for ashes.

  1. Give me a little rundown of your main character and what you love about her.

I largely based Isabel “Izze” Vez on myself. Very original, I know. 😉 However, I made her quite a bit feistier than I am. I’m an introverted bookworm. I tend to keep my adamant opinions to myself. It takes a ridiculous amount of internal arguing and anti-nausea medication for me to even broach the outside rink of social. Izze doesn’t really have those problems. In a lot of ways, she’s the bold person I wish I could be.

However, Izze also tends to be more of a loose cannon. She struggles with acting first, then thinking. While this makes for fun dialogue, it also is very eye-opening since this is something most of us struggle with in one way or another, at one time or another. I guess what I really love about Izze are her flaws! She’s imperfect. But those imperfections are a wonderful stage showcasing God’s awesomeness! All His forgiving, merciful, gracious, and loving awesomeness.

And we both like our coffee to resemble a liquid candy bar. ❤ I love that.

  1. Liquid candy bar! Lol! I love that. So what authors are you reading right now? Anything you recommend?

Oh, so many books! Haha! Since I also review books, that can be and dangerous question, and I’ll read almost anything if there’s a romance.

Right now, I’m finishing up Unraveling by Sara Ella, which is AMAZING! Then I’ll be reading The Memory of You by Cathy West, A Matter of Trust by Susan May Warren, and Solo by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess.

I’m pretty proud of myself for not listing twenty books. *eats brownie as a reward*

  1. I should eat a brownie too. Just thinking out loud here… 🙂 What’s your writing process? Outline? Fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kinda girl? Scenes in order or out of order?

While I’m an everything-in-its-place perfectionist in most areas, I’d say I’m more of a pantser with my writing. When I started writing LLaMA, I wrote the scenes in order, and it was killing my creativity, not to mention I overexplained every mundane detail in the setting. Unsurprisingly, stuff came to a screeching halt. Then I went to my first American Christian Fiction Writer’s conference, and I heard seasoned authors talk about different techniques, including jumping from scene to scene. I wholeheartedly embraced that technique! So much so that I even came up with a major plot twist at that conference while chatting with an editor! “What’s the big conflict?” “Oh, this is going to happen!” Voila! 😉

I had to write some basic plot outlines recently, and it was SO hard! However, even with a basic plot written, I still allowed myself plenty of room to be creative with the scenes while I type my way to “The End.”

  1. I’m the same, but sometimes scenes come to me out of order. (Usually when I’m sitting in church! Ha! Then I’m scribbling down everything.) What book or series made you fall in love with stories?

I’d say there are four different books/series that have shaped me as a reader and a writer. I’ll just tell you about them in the order that I discovered and read them…

Wings of the Morning by Lori Wick. This story gave me a fresh love for reading. I can’t tell you how many times I have read this beautiful story. I stopped counting after thirty. LOL. Pirates. Adventure on the high seas. Romance. Mystery. This story has it all!

The Christy Miller Series (and all of the spin off stories!!!) by Robin Jones Gunn. I’ve always related to Christy. I started reading these stories when I was eleven, and since Robin Jones Gunn is amazing and keeps continuing the story, I get to go through life, marriage, and children with this dear friend. Christy and I even have baby girls!

The Dragon Keep Chronicles by Donita K. Paul. Speaking of characters I can relate to!! Kale!!! She is one of my favorite characters ever! I’ll think something, turn the page, and Kale is thinking the same thing. My husband relates to Kale’s husband, Bardon, and we would swap these books back and forth when we were teenagers. ❤ I see these books as another facet of our love story. ❤

Match Point by Erynn Mangum. ❤ I love, love, love Laurie. I get her, I relate to her, and I share her sense of humor. Yet I want to as bold as she is. Plus, we have the same married name! (That wasn’t planned. 😉 ) But I also owe my writing career to this story and author. I’ve heard so many writers talk about a book that changed things for them. Well, this is that book for me. Once I read Match Point, I knew what kind of stories I wanted to write. Funny. Real, flawed, lovable characters. Filled with God.

Oh girl! The Christy Miller series basically helped shape my worldview in middle school and made all the difference in my life going forward. Not to mention, made me want to be a writer! Robin’s writing made me realize that one good novel can actually make an impression for a lifetime. And I’m such a fan of Erynn as well! I especially love the Paige Alder series.

Thank you SO much for sharing with us today, Joy! I’m so glad to know you.

Here are all the ways to connect with Joy and to check out her novel:





Six Weeks from The Last Summer

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I cannot believe we’re six weeks out from the launch of The Last Summer! How is this even possible?! It’s actually already available for pre-order on Amazon. The publisher is working on the cover. Final corrections are being made to the proofs. And this is feeling really real, y’all.

I’m scared.

I was putting together a list of early readers this weekend, and the thought of people actually READING this story started to give me a little anxiety. Remember, these characters first came to me when I was 18 years old. A lifetime ago. They’ve been living in my head all this time. Now their story is finished and about to be available for people. I think nerves are just part of the process.

Nerves and excitement. I’m thinking of a book launch party and other fun, book-release things and excitement is part of all that. I’ve loved every book I’ve written–of course I have. You pour yourself into the writing and spend hours upon hours with your characters.  But this book, lovey. This book.

It’s just different.

I love it in a nostalgic, memory-filled, roots kind of way. Because I remember forming these characters on the bottom of a bunk bed while living in a dorm room with five other girls, one of whom has already gone to heaven, which breaks my heart. We were just young girls then.

And then I remember re-writing it, living with Leah in dorm 23. Then Courtney and Kat. Dave Matthews or Matchbox Twenty on the radio. And then in our apartment while living with Laurie. Staying up late in my room, typing away on this same story.

Then becoming an intern for a publishing company and letting Mick and Kathy read it, getting feedback and feeling terrified as real, grown-up editors read my writing. Working on it while sitting with Samantha Krieger in one of the houses I was staying in during our internship. I think back on that and smile, thinking that’s what it looks like when you’re writer-friends. Come over, and bring your laptop, and we’ll sit together and type!

Then taking a break from it and writing Looks Like Love. Time passed during those years and life changed and I became an editor and lived out my dream job. Babies came. Then I wrote Table for Two, then Second Chance Café, then Recipe for Love. All while editing the books of so many others.

And finally, while pregnant with my third baby, I decided to start with a blank page, and rewrite this novel (in first person this time, which I loved while working on Looks Like Love).

So as Lily grew inside me, I wrote, for the last time, Sara’s story, The Last Summer.

And now, we’re six weeks out from release date.

But in my heart, we’re twenty years in. And I could just about cry.

So I’m scared and excited and happy and relieved and ready. I could use your help, loveys, to get the word out about this story. I hope to do a cover reveal in the next few weeks. And you can see the hashtag in the photo above. Once the book is out, I’d be so thankful to see readers with it, and please include that hashtag. Please leave reviews–you don’t even know how invaluable that is for authors. Share the book announcement on your pages. Contact me with any questions about how you can help!

It’s nearly time. The COUNTDOWN is beginning.

Oh gosh. I’m so happy!









Book Blog Hop!

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Hi, loveys! So the very talented Mrs. Susan Mathis tagged me in a book blog hop and I’m super excited to be part of it. The deal is that we answer questions about books we’ve written so I’m talking about Looks Like Love. Fun! Here we go:
What is/was the title of your book? Looks Like Love
Where did the idea come from for the book? Well, the title is actually taken from a line in the book. The entire premise of the story is about finding out what love looks like. I wanted to write a story that explores the different forms love takes–you know, friendship, family, romance, faith. I wanted to delve into the fact that our perspective of love can sometimes be limited. And the truth that taking a closer look at what love really looks like can change your life.
What genre does your book fall under? Contemporary romance, chick-lit
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? After a devastating break-up, Kasey Addison embarks on an adventure to discover what real love looks like.
How was your book published? Since I’m an editor myself, I took the plunge and self-published my book. Lucky for me, I had editor friends to help copyedit my manuscript and I already knew the process of proofing and writing back cover copy. To be honest, I had a lot of fun with the process.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? About a year.
What other books would you compare this work to within your genre? A Girl’s Best Friend by Kristin Billerbeck, Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones, Dreaming in Black and White by Laura Jensen Walker, Bridget Jones’s Diary, etc.
Who or What inspired you to write this book? I took a trip to Europe about ten years ago that caused me to fall in love with all things British. Several years after the trip, I decided to write a story where I could incorporate some of my experiences (not the romance experiences, FYI. I was already engaged by that point! The travel aspects.).
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? For anyone who’s a travel lover, a large part of my story takes place in England. So if you like fiction that takes you on overseas adventures, Looks Like Love will be right up your alley. My main character is a relatable girl who sometimes feels lost in her own life. She’s a fun character and I had a blast writing her.
You can find Looks Like Love on Amazon or at all Tattered Cover locations in Denver, Colorado. It’s also available (very affordable) for Kindle and Nook. And I think there are some used copies on Amazon at the moment for really great prices. So if you’re looking for a gift for Christmas, check it out!

Tina’s Book Reviews!

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Hello friends! Hope everybody’s having a fantastic Saturday. Mine consists of packing and more packing with a little procrastinating thrown in. 🙂 So listen, hop over to Tina’s Book Reviews to see my latest interview and for a chance to win a free pdf of Looks Like Love!

More excitement!

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So, hop over to Mick Silva’s blog for my latest interview! Mick and I have been friends for a really long time and he’s one of the best editors I know–and just an all-around fantastic guy. Doing the interview was lots of fun. So stop by and join the discussion!

Girls for God Blog Post

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Hi everybody! So I wanted to let you know that I did a super-fun blog interview on Girls for God.  Girls for God is a really cool blog all about fashion, faith, relationships, and real life. Be sure to check it out and leave a comment! I really appreciate your support!

Blog interview! Ashley Mays

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So Ashley Mays is super cool. Really. So cool, in fact, that I wanted to interview her for my blog! 🙂 And she was sweet enough to say yes. Ashley’s a writer. She worked for Brio Magazine and currently freelances for SUSIE (an online and print magazine). She’s also an active blogger. Ashley’s an amazingly gifted young woman who writes what’s on her heart.

BB: So you’re a writer, when did this happen? Were you one of those kids practically born with a pen in your hand? Did you discover it in college?

 AM: Fourth grade. We had a writing competency test and the prompt was something to the effect of, “You find a paper bag. When you pick it up, the bag jumps. Write a story about what you find in the paper bag.” My answer was a very involved story about finding Mexican jumping beans hidden inside a Chinese takeout box. When I put my pen down I felt alive. From that moment on, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I went on to write my own “romance novels” (as a ninth grader…ha!) and ended up majoring in Creative Writing in college. 

 BB: Give me a little peek into your Brio history.
AM: I attended the Focus on the Family Institute (now the Focus Leadership Institute) in 2006. Part of the program included a practicum, or internship. When our practicum assignments were handed out, I found out I had been placed as the BRIO intern, which was such an honor for me, a BRIO reader. I spent the semester writing a few articles, researching, and working on web stuff, then left thinking that was the end of my time with BRIO. God had other plans.
Right before I graduated college I found out BRIO had a job opening so I applied and had two phone interviews (in my pajamas! Don’t tell.) Then the HR department called me again and said the BRIO people had a couple more interview questions for me.
Ashley B. started off with something like, “Do you like dogs?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“Can you make chocolate peanut butter no-bake cookies?” Martha asked.

“Yes.” (Here’s where I started thinking, Are these people crazy? What kind of interview questions are these?)

“Are you willing to pack your bags and move out here to work for us?” Susie practically screamed into the phone.

And then I knew I wasn’t really being interviewed again. They were offering me the job. So I took it and moved out the day after my college graduation! The others quickly became my BRIO family. Now I can’t imagine life without them or my time at the mag. (PS: If you were a fan of BRIO, a lot of us still write for Susie Shellenberger’s new magazine, SUSIE. It’s just as good as BRIO was, so definitely check it out!)

 BB: I’m definitely a fan of your blog. What inspired you to start blogging? 
AM: I love blogging for the community it provides. I’ve been a blog reader for a long time now and follow something like 250 different blogs. It’s so fun to see how people are able to rally around each other in times of need and celebrate with each other. Blogging for me is really a way to stay connected with a fantastic community.
BB: I know that both you and I are fans of Compassion International. What’s it like to be involved with an organization like Compassion? How has that enriched your life?
AM: I love Compassion! I sponsor three kids and they’re fabulous. For me, it’s been amazing to hear about how they’ve grown since I started sponsoring them. They’ve gone from kids who think they don’t amount to anything to kids with dreams like playing professional  baseball. It melts my heart when they call me Mom and tell me they love me. But the greatest part of it all? Their circumstances won’t limit their potential. They might still have things they worry about, but poverty isn’t one of them.
BB: Since you’re a writer, I’m assuming you’re a reader. What books have inspired you? What’s a ‘read over and over’ book on your bookshelf?
AM: Yes, I am definitely a reader! But I’m so not a cerebral reader, so it’s kind of sad…but, as a writer, a few books I’ve found inspiring are from Kristin Billerbeck’s Ashley Stockingdale series. (Don’t laugh at me if your favorite book is The Great Gatsby or something else intellectual.) I’m a lover of the fine art of sarcasm. And those books are absolute sarcasm Picasos. Also, you can pretty much guarantee that if it’s Young Adult fiction, I’m going to love it. I’m a huge fan of The Giver and To Kill a Mockingbird, so I’d definitely say those are my “read over and over” books.
BB: Don’t worry. Girls who read novels about sparkly vampires don’t laugh at girls who love books like The Giver and To Kill a Mockingbird. Those are classics! Okay, so tell me one of your goals for the future.
AM: To visit L’Oceanografic, an aquarium in Spain. And to remember to clean out my refrigerator on a regular basis.
BB: Gotcha. I’m working on that whole “clean out refrigerator on a regular basis” myself. What’s another interesting fact about you? 
AM: On my first birthday I cried when they sang me the Happy Birthday song. I still have the same reaction twenty-five years later. (Okay, not exactly the same, but I do find it incredibly awkward when people insist on singing to me on my birthday.)
BB: What books are you currently reading?
AM: Kind of boring (to other people), but I’m reading James Scott Bell’s Revision and Self-Editing. And, yes, I find it to be an extremely enjoyable read. There’s also a pile four or five books tall on my bedside table of books I’m reading through at the moment. But I can’t remember what they all are, so there you go.
BB: What’s the most recent movie you absolutely loved and why?
AM: Not extremely recent, but the first thing that came to mind is Sherlock Holmes. I think the acting is superb, and the writing is so spot on. It’s such a great example subtle humor and intriguing mystery; it’s grabbed me. I’ve always been a fan of the well-written mystery and you don’t get a whole lot better than something originally from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
BB: I loved Sherlock Holmes too! Seriously, Robert Downey Jr. is a genius. What are you currently working on (writing-wise)?
AM: Right now my main project is about a Bible-thumping teacher’s pet and a hell-raising juvenile delinquent who test the limits of their patience when they’re forced into an unlikely partnership. I wrote it from the perspectives of both girls, too, so it’s a little different from most.
BB: Sounds great! Keep us posted! Thanks so much for stopping by, Ashley!