I really love this book. Here is my review link if you would like to read it. http://thelifeandtimesofwanda.blogspot.com/2011/12/ellies-haven-by-sharlene-maclarena.html
Tell us about Ellie's Haven the featured book.
Ellie’s Haven is book two in my “River of Hope” series set in Wabash, Indiana in 1928. Here’s the book blurb taken from the back cover:
A courageous young woman seeking refuge...
Ellie Booth was never the type to run away. But she'd witnessed her stepfather commit a heartless crime, and, knowing he'll stop at nothing to keep her quiet, she has no choice but to flee. Soon, she finds herself in Wabash, Indiana, scrambling for a cover identity to evade her stepfather. For lack of a better option, she answers an ad for a wife/housekeeper/nanny, praying that her lack of experience won't be obvious.
A widowed father with no domestic skills to speak of...
Gage Cooper is reaching the end of his rope. With four children between the ages of three and ten, he needs a reliable nanny, yet each one he's hired has thrown up her hands and deserted her post. When an attractive, spirited young woman applies for the "job," he knows he should pray about the matter, but his desperation for help propels him headlong into a marriage of convenience.
A trial by fire of their wedding vows...
Ellie immediately falls in love with the Cooper children, and, not long after, with their father. Soon, the "marriage of convenience" becomes less of a business arrangement as husband and wife yield to an attraction neither one had expected. When secrets of the past and dangers of the present arise in their lives, their marriage is put to the test, and God alone knows what will become of their union.
Can you tell us how many books you have in print in the Christian market?
When Ellie’s Haven releases in February that will bring my total to 11 books. Number 12, the final installment in my “River” series, will hit shelves in late 2012.
Is there a particular book among those you've written that you would especially recommend to our readers? If so, why?
Haha, that’s sort of like asking a mother, “Which of your 12 children is your favorite?” I don’t really recommend any in particular other than if someone wants to read one of my three historical series, it’s best to start with volume one of each set. The first in my “Little Hickman Creek” Series is Loving Liza Jane, number one in “The Daughters of Jacob Kane” is Hannah Grace, and in the “River of Hope” Series, you’d want to begin with Livvie’s Song. If a reader prefers stand-alone contemporary fiction then Long Journey Home, Through Every Storm, and Tender Vow are all available and I’m thrilled to add have received excellent reviews.
The Christian fiction field has rapidly expanded over the past few years. What would you like to see happen in this field in the years to come?
Just ten years ago, Christian fiction, or as it’s more commonly referred to now, faith-based fiction, is definitely on the rise. Authors are developing relatable, imperfect characters and realistic, page-turning plots. I think folks appreciate being able to read a book that contains these elements minus all the sex, unnecessary violence, and vile language. Even non-Christian readers have voiced their appreciation for cleaner fiction as long as it doesn’t come off too preachy. Authors are finding ways to present the gospel so that it draws readers to Christ rather than turns them off to His message of love and redemption. This gives faith-based fiction a more positive “face” with the average reader. My hope is that this trend will continue. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t believe in watering down the gospel, but I also don’t believe in making fiction so preachy that even Christian readers want to toss the book aside for something more realistic. Let’s face it; Christians aren’t perfect. If there’s a way we can show the world that God provides answers in an imperfect world, then that should be our main thrust. I always pray that when my readers finish one of my books they won’t so much go in search of another Sharlene MacLaren book as go in search of their Bibles. I want my readers to realize there can be true purpose and meaning to their days; that there’s a God out there who solves real-life problems and hears their cries for help.
How can readers and fans encourage you as you pursue what is sometimes a challenging and solitary job?
I love receiving fan mail! It is the highlight of my day when someone drops me a line in my website guestbook or sends me an email. It is like getting a whiff of the best smelling perfume on the market – it just lifts me to the heights. Writing IS a solitary job, so I connect myself to others via Facebook. When I take a quick writing break I’ll often log into FB and see what’s ‘cookin’’ with my friends. I compare it to going to the teacher’s lounge during a recess break, something I did for 31 years. That’s where I got re-energized, refocused, and rested up for the next stretch of the day.
Many writers are also avid readers. Do you have any favorite authors? If so, could you name a few?
In non-fiction, I love anything by Beth Moore (who doesn’t?), Anne Graham Lotz, Sarah Young, and numerous others. In fiction, I enjoy almost too many to name, but for starters, Jody Hedlund, Julie Lessman, Marcia Gruver, Francine Rivers, Lena Nelson Dooley, Loree Lough, Kim Vogel Sawyer, and several others. Sadly, since taking up writing, I have little time for reading unless I’m between projects. I tell people the only author I have time to read is Sharlene MacLaren. I sit at my computer and say, “Oh, I wonder what’s going to happen next?” because, truthfully, as a seat-of-the-pants writer, I usually don’t know!
If you could only take five books with you on a journey of ten years, which ones would you take?
Obviously, my Bible first! What would I do without the Book of Books? I’d probably choose to take Sarah Young’s devotional book, Jesus Calling, perhaps Hannah Whitall Smith’s The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love, and maybe John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. (That was a tough question.)
If you had 48 hours to hang out with any TWO people (besides Jesus), alive or dead in the history of the world who would you hang out with and what would you do?
Oh, my goodness, Beth Moore for sure and Billy Graham! I bet in two days time I could learn so much from those two.
What three things are you most thankful for in your life?
Love these easy questions! My precious relationship with Jesus, my wonderful husband, and my adorable children and grandJOYs!
What is the most fun thing you have ever done?
It’s difficult to pin that down to just one thing, but when I think of FUN and EXCITING things in my lifetime – aside from getting married and raising wonderful daughters – I’d have to say that before I got married I stopped teaching for a year and traveled all over the U.S. and parts of Canada with 7 other singers. We performed concerts for large conventions, small and large churches, high school assemblies, and numerous other events. We recorded albums in the Bill Gaither studio, hit the road, listened to ourselves on Christian radio, and generally had a blast spreading the gospel message in song wherever we went. In that year, we visited approx. 40 states, so it was a whirlwind year packed with experiences I will never in my lifetime be able to duplicate.
What are you writing now?
Currently, I’m writing book three in my “River of Hope” series titled Sofie’s Song. This book won’t release till winter of 2012, but I will have to turn it in to my editor by June 1. After that, I will jump into my next series! The writer’s life (at least MY life) is eternally busy – just the way I like it!
How can readers find you on the Internet?
*You will find my website at http://www.sharlenemaclaren.com
*You can find me at Facebook by going to http://www.facebook.com/sharmaclaren. Let me know you read this interview and then request my friendship!
*Check out my MONDAY MUSINGS and THURSDAY THOUGHTS and other miscellaneous tidbits at my blog at http://www.sharlenemaclaren.blogspot.com
*And feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com
Hope to hear from y’all VERY soon!
Thank you so much Sharlene for the wonderful, entertaining interview.
Sharlene has agreed to give her book Ellie’s Haven to one of you followers.
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