In the second of three pairs of novel giveaways, today you have a chance to win a pair inspirational novels. These are two signed books that RT Executive Editor Faygie Levy brought back from this year's national RWA conference. If you are the lucky winner, you will be receiving two Love Inspired novels, Running Scared by Shirlee McCoy and Loving Bella by Renee Ryan.
Whitney Sullivan: What's something you love about the process of writing inspirational romances?
Renee Ryan: I really enjoy the beginning of a novel, when I’m thinking about the theme of the story and exploring my characters’ dark secrets they might not even understand. I love searching for the perfect Scripture that will capture the essence of the story and touch my readers’ lives. I always end up learning something amazing about our God in the process. It’s as if I get to go on the faith journey with my characters.
WS: Can you share a detail that you know about one of your characters that did not make it into Loving Bella?
RR: Here’s something even Bella doesn’t know about Shane. Although he loves listening to his wife sing, he absolutely abhors opera--far too much tragedy for him. As far as he’s concerned, life is hard enough without watching other people experience unhappy endings. Since Bella is a former opera singer and Shane loves his wife to distraction, he would prefer it if we kept this little secret between us.
WS: Your heroine, Bella, is an opera singer and then a doctor's assistant in 1885. How did you research these two careers to make them really a part of Bella's character?
RR: I’m a research geek at heart so digging into both topics was a joy for me. I trolled countless websites and went to the library to read numerous books on the subjects. There’s an amazing amount of information on the Web these days. Same goes for the library. Archives are the best! Diaries from the time period are not only fascinating but a plethora of information. What can I say? The hard part for me isn’t finding the information. The hard part is paring down the many details enough to make the characters feel real and not over-the-top or boring.
WS: What was something about your hero, Shane, that has stayed with you even after you finished writing his story?
RR: Shane’s internal struggle with his motivation for becoming a doctor has stayed with me. Throughout the book he wrestles with a concern that his “service” to help others is selfishly motivated, a way for him to assuage his guilt for not saving his mother’s life. He ultimately has to learn that God can use our selfish motives for His purposes. I often worry about my own motives as well. Then I remember Shane and the lesson he taught me. God is bigger than our selfish desires. If we work on our relationship with the Lord the rest will sort itself out in time.
WS: Can you share something from your next upcoming series novel that our readers can keep their eyes open for?
RR: The next Charity House book will hit the shelves April 2011. In the meantime, the first book in my new WWII series will be out September of this year. Dangerous Allies is a departure from my usual historical romances. It’s a spy thriller set in 1939 Nazi Germany. The hero is a British operative and the heroine is his contact inside the Third Reich. It’s a high-tension, action-packed story with a strong spiritual lesson in the end. It was a lot of fun to write.
GIVEAWAY ALERT: One lucky winner will receive signed copies of Running Scared by Shirlee McCoy and Loving Bella by Renee Ryan. To enter, leave a comment on this blog post about why you love series novels or e-mail here with your comment, mailing address, and the subject line "A Pair Of Inspirationals Giveaway.” One entry per person, please. The contest winners will be revealed on August 30th.
BLOG UPDATE 8/30/2010: And The Winner Is ... Booksreader7