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Friday, September 19, 2014

Author Interviews: Christmases Past Series, Andrea Merrell and Patti J. Smith

Anne: My New Series has been launched, Christmases Past, and the first author to be interviewed is Andrea Merrell, author of the first volume of that series, a short story called The Gift, available from Amazon. Andrea is an Associate Editor for Christian Devotions Ministries and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas (LPC). She is also a freelance editor and has led workshops at the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, Writers Advance Boot Camp, and the CLASS Christian Writers Conference. Andrea has been published in numerous anthologies and online venues. Her first book, Murder of a Manuscript, is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Her next book, Praying for the Prodigal, will be released by LPC in 2015. To learn more about her, visit or
Amazon link:
Barnes & Noble link:

Andrea's going to begin by telling us what inspired her story.

Andrea: I’m a Little House on the Prairie fan and love stories from that era. With that inspiration, it was easy to imagine a young couple losing their first child and how the husband struggled to hold on to his faith as his wife toppled into a deep depression. The Gift is a classic example of how God can take a devastating situation and turn it around for good when we put our trust in Him.

Anne: Why do you write?

Andrea: Someone once said that if you think about writing when you get up in the morning, go to bed at night, and all during the day, you’re a writer. Writing is my passion. There are ideas all around us and characters to fill the pages of our books. I enjoy taking the situations and circumstances of everyday life and turning them into devotions and stories that touch the heart and bring hope and light into a dark and hurting world.

Anne: What is the most tense scene in the story?

Andrea: After being shut out of Hannah’s life for weeks because of her silence, John finds himself moving toward the gazebo he built for her with the intention of tearing it down. As he releases all his built-up anger and frustration and hurls his questions toward heaven, he has an encounter with God and comes away with renewed peace and the assurance his wife will soon come back to him.

Anne: What would readers find surprising about you?

Andrea: I am the grandmother of five beautiful little girls, a Hallmark movie junkie, and addicted to dark chocolate, Candy Crush, and Scrabble.


Anne: Next on the interviewee list is Patti J. Smith, a married grandmother of three. She recently retired as background investigator to become a caregiver to her father and uncle and pursue her passion of writing. She has written poetry since childhood but heard the calling to write devotionals to spread the message of God's endless love, mercy, and compassion. In addition to devotionals she has also written and had published some light romance and mystery/thrillers. Her ministries include co-leading Rachel's Hope Post-Abortion retreats in San Diego County and serving as a Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. In her spare time she enjoys reading, travel, and spending time with family and friends. She also openly admits to being a diehard Seattle Seahawks fan and fantasy football addict.

Amazon author's page:

Patti's story will be Volume Four and be called The Pearls of Christmas. It's scheduled to be released on October 23. Tell us, Patti, what inspired your Christmases Past story?

Patti: When I was asked to participate in this wonderful project and told to base it on a historical event during the Christmas season. My thought immediately went to the war in Vietnam and the Christmas bombings that finally brought it to an end. Several classmates of mine served in Vietnam; in fact, one is still listed as missing in action. I saw fear in the faces of those waiting to hear the fate of their loved ones, I witnessed the angry demonstrations on a college campus, and I cried tears of joy watching prisoners of war walk down the steps of planes that brought them home.

Anne: Why do you write?

Patti: Writing, for me, is a release. I take all my hopes, dreams, fears, and pain and put them into my work. When I finish I feel peaceful, rested, and refreshed.

Anne: What is the most tense scene in your story?

Patti: When Sarah lashes out at Pastor Rick and “his” God.

Anne: What would readers find surprising about you?

Patti: I've been writing all my life but never had the courage to pursue getting published until I was 60 years old.

Anne: I love interviewing--I never know what surprising things I'm going to find out about people I thought I knew pretty well! I hope you readers will return to read the next two people's interviews next Friday, and I hope you will grab all the volumes when they come out. Since each is only 99 cents, it shouldn't break you up too bad in business.

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