Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Guest Author and #Giveaway from Crystal Joy

We're happy to introduce guest author, Crystal Joy today!!! Help us welcome her and stay tuned for a giveaway below!


Thank you so much for visiting us today here at the CCC blog! Can you tell us about your latest release and what inspired you to write the story?

Completely Yours is a collection of fictionalized love stories about real-life couples. The inspiration for the book began years ago at a festival when I met a writer who wrote poems for people. As festivalgoers walked by his stand, he would ask if they wanted a poem, but not just any poem—a poem written about them. After having a brief conversation and getting to know the people, he would write a poem, and then give it to them as a keepsake. I thought it was a fantastic idea! What a great way to connect with readers by creating something special for them.

Keeping that idea in mind, I started writing fictionalized love stories for couples and posting them on my website. In the last couple of years, I’ve met many wonderful couples with such captivating stories, and I wanted to give them more than just a published story on my website. I wanted to give them something they could put on their bookshelves and read to their children and grandchildren.

I’m thrilled to have Completely Yours in print and e-book, so that friends, family, and romance readers can enjoy these special memories forever. I hope these love stories touch your heart as much as they did mine.

Of all your characters in this story, which one did you enjoy writing the most and why?

I really enjoyed getting inside Meghan O’Brien’s head to write her story, “Fighting For Us.” When I interviewed her, she was comfortable sharing the doubts and fears she had while she was separated from her husband. As a writer, I appreciate her raw honesty because a lot of women can relate to her. During the separation, she wonders: Does Tom love me anymore? Can we rebuild our marriage? Is the relationship worth fighting for? Even if you’ve never been separated from your spouse, these are very real worries that plague wives. I’m so glad Meghan was willing to put herself out there.

If you could cast your characters in a Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play them?

Since I answered the previous question about Meghan and Tom, I’ll stick with this couple to answer this question, too. I asked Meghan who she would pick, and she chose Chip and Joanna Gaines. Tom is always the life of the party and Meghan is really sweet.

Speaking of Chip and Joanna Gaines, I’d love to feature them in a future Love Story Collection. Their banter would be so much fun to write!  

How did you decide on the setting/location for this novel?

The settings in Completely Yours are based wherever the couples’ stories take place. Many of the stories are set in Iowa—mainly because I live in Iowa and some of the stories are based on couples I know. A few stories take place in Florida and Colorado, and one scene takes place in England.

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it and why?

I would never write erotica romance. I enjoy writing about the butterflies in your stomach or the first sweet kisses—nothing that would make my mom blush. However, I once received an anonymous email from a couple who wanted their story featured in a collection. Their story was sensual and detailed. After I read the email, I just stared at my computer, and my mouth dropped open. I don’t think this couple read my website too carefully. Needless to say, their story will not appear in a future book!

Moving on from your story, tell us a little about yourself. We’ll help! What literary character is most like you and why?

Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. She can be sweet at times, but she also knows when to speak her mind. I haven’t always been this way, but I’m getting better at speaking my mind if I know it will be helpful. Hermione also loves school and learning. If I could be a life-long student without any debt, I would totally do it! And lastly, she’s passionate and dedicated—nothing gets in the way of what she wants. I feel that way with writing. I’m always striving to be the best author I can be.

What strange writing habits do you have? Like standing on your head while you write with a pen between your teeth?

I’ll start off with the not-so-weird one—I often write with a cup of Chai tea or coffee on the table. It feels very “writer-ish” to have a mug sitting by my computer. I also write better when I’m chewing gum. I used to grind my teeth together while I was writing, so chewing gum prevents me from degrading my teeth. The weirdest writing habit I have is my sock fetish. When I’m working from home, I must have socks on. My favorite socks are tall and thick. I have no idea where this fetish came from—no one else in my family enjoys wearing socks like I do.

Do you have a writing mentor, or another author who has inspired/encouraged you in some way?

This might be cliché for a romance author, but Nicholas Sparks inspires me. He’s the only romance author who gets away with publishing novels that don’t always end happily. I respect him for taking a chance and going against the grain.

We talk a lot about faith and how it weaves throughout our fiction, here at the blog. How has your faith affected/or not affected your writing?

I resigned from my teaching position because I knew God was calling me to purse a writing career. I loved my job as an 8th Grade Language Arts teacher. The students were fun and quirky, and I worked with an amazing staff. But God kept pushing me in another direction, and I knew I had to follow. It was really scary leaving a secure, well-paying job to pursue a career that wouldn’t make any money at first. I know I’m doing what I was called to do because every day when I sit down at my computer, I feel a sense of peaceful contentment wash over me. 

Because Jaime has some darker elements to her split-time historical and contemporary romantic suspense coming out this year, she likes to ask weird questions. So, if you were responsible to write your own epitaph for your tombstone, what would it say?

Loving wife and mother.

Anne is an insatiable romantic with a serious vintage aura in all she writes. Do you have fabulous love story in your family history that you could share with us in a few words? If not, what about your own?

Readers always ask if my love story is in a collection. The answer is “No, not yet.” But here is a glimpse: We met during a Greek Philanthropy at the University of Iowa. His fraternity organized an event to raise money for children with disabilities called “Pi Kapture the Flag.” I’m not very athletic, so I stood on the sidelines for most of the game, cheering on the girls in my sorority. A tall, handsome guy walked over to me and struck up a conversation. It was then that I learned he was a cheerleader for the University of Iowa. I had never met a male cheerleader in person, so I remember feeling shocked. My husband says I looked like I was in awe of him … funny how men and women remember things differently … Despite my initial shock, I was intrigued by him and I wanted to get to know him better. We dated for five years before we got married. Now, we have a three-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter. Our life is very hectic with two little ones only seventeen months apart, but we love being parents. I’m so glad I have a career that allows me to at stay home with them. I get the best of both worlds!

Erica and Gabrielle both write sweet historical romances. How does romance influence your own writing?

I like to refer to my writing as Deep Rooted Romance. Between the Love Story Collection series and my upcoming sweet romance novels, all of them include deep issues. In the Love Story Collections, all of the couples face internal struggles with their relationships. They wonder if they are loveable or if their relationships are worth the fight. In my romance novels, the characters must learn to forgive themselves and others in order to fully love with all their hearts. Romance is such a big part of my writing, and I want it to be as realistic as possible, which means my characters deal with deep, difficult issues of the heart.

And for some extra fun . . .

If you could pick one superhero to save you from impending doom, who would it be and why?

I’ll be honest—I had to search for a list of superheroes to answer this question. But now that I have a list in front of me, I would definitely pick Thor. Why? He’s one good-looking hunk!

If you could guest star in one TV show, what would be and what would your ideal role be?

This might not count as being a guest star, but ever since I was a little girl, my mom and I have been obsessed with the reality TV show, Big Brother. My mom even tried out for the show one year. She dressed up in a one-piece swimming suit and played a song on her accordion. It was hilarious, and I’m still disappointed she wasn’t chosen for the show. I would love to be on the show, too, if I didn’t have to be away from my husband and kids for that long. Maybe one day!

Name one significant heirloom or keepsake you have and why it’s important to you:

When we started dating, my husband kept a memory box of our time together. It included movie tickets, anniversary cards, athletic event tickets, and letters we wrote to one another. We still have the box and we both add to it now. It’ll be fun to look at it in the future!

We’d love you have you share a snippet from your novel to entice us and hook us! J Please share something below:

Stephenie Thomas stood in front of the youth group, her hands shaking as she held the monologue in front of her. Over the rim of the paper, twenty eyes stared in her direction.
Heat flamed beneath her cheeks. How had Tony Liston talked her into this? He was the youth ministry intern now, so when he’d asked her to play Ruth, she couldn’t tell him no.
Get it together, Steph. Everyone’s waiting for you. Squaring her shoulders, she looked down at the paper and started reading. All of her prepared words tumbled out of her mouth. By the time she was done a few minutes later, she expelled a relieved breath. Thank God it was over.
The youth group clapped, and she sat back down at a table near the back of the small room. Dawn took her place on the makeshift stage, reading the Queen Esther monologue with confident eloquence.
Steph crossed her arms. Too bad Tony hadn’t asked her to play Queen Esther. At least she could’ve felt better about being the beautiful queen compared to the young widow. Tony obviously thought Dawn was better suited to be the beautiful one. Dawn did look like Barbie. Not that it really mattered—it wasn’t like she cared what the pastor’s son thought about her.
Dawn finished her monologue and the youth group clapped wildly. Steph sunk down further in her seat. Maybe she should’ve practiced more.
Tony stood and addressed the group. “That was a lot of fun. Let’s wrap up with a prayer. Does anyone have any prayer requests?” He listened as several people raised their hands, asking for prayers regarding sick grandparents, grades, and rocky relationships with parents. When no one else raised a hand, he bowed his head and led the group in prayer.
Steph closed her eyes and tried to focus on Tony’s slow, calming tone instead of all the negative thoughts eating away at her confidence. He had the perfect pastor’s voice—he knew just when to raise his voice excitedly and when to sound serious, making each word resonate deep within you. It made his lessons engaging and his prayers meaningful. Any church would be lucky to have him as a pastor one day.
Steph opened her eyes as Tony raised his head. His gaze met hers across the room. He weaved through the chairs in the room, stopping in front of her. A proud smile spread across his face. “That was really good, Steph.”
“Yeah right.” She folded the paper in half, running her thumb along the crease. “You’re just saying that because you asked me to read one of the monologues.”
“That’s not true. I thought you conveyed Ruth perfectly.”
She glanced up from the folded paper. “Really?”
“Yes.” He sat down next to her, crossing a leg over his knee. “Can I tell you something?”
“Ruth is one of my favorite women in the Bible.”

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  1. This was a really great interview! I enjoyed reading about a "new to me" author!

  2. Thanks for sharing! I have a fetish with fuzzy socks. I adore wearing them and collecting them. So I hear you on that one!

    1. Yay, I'm so glad I'm not alone. Fuzzy socks are the best!

  3. It would be scary to leave a well paying job and take up writing. I'm glad you followed God's leading. Enjoyed hearing about this book.

    1. It truly was. But I love what I'm doing now, and I enjoy staying at home with my kids while I pursue my dream. Thanks for commenting!

  4. My daughter and I collect unusual socks. I have a pair that looks like foot bones. I wear them when I go to the orthopedic doctor. I also have some that look like bare feet in flip flops. My daughter-in-law is a school librarian and I found her some that look like the old fashioned check out cards that used to be in the back of the books.
    My daughter is a big Big Brother watcher. She even subscribed to the after hours feed one year.
    Your book sounds like it would be fun to read.

    1. I love how you and your daughter collect unusual socks together. That's awesome! It sounds like you have a good collection.

      I have several relatives who have subscribed to the after hours Big Brother feed as well. If I didn't go to bed so early, I probably would to!

  5. What a fun interview! And my choice of superhero always goes back and forth from Thor to Captain America to Hawkeye...

  6. If you can do what you love do it, I would. I love the interview.


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