Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Shawn Smucker | Exclusive Excerpt: THESE NAMELESS THINGS
Author Guest / June 29, 2020

Through Me, the Way Lightning struck and I flinched. The rain came down in hard pellets, but I kept watching Abe and Miho as they drifted away. I waited until they disappeared into town before I walked inside my house, dripping wet. The sound of the storm was a steady roar on the cedar shingles above me, but the stone walls, silent and still, filled me with a sense of safety. I didn’t light any lamps, and the gray afternoon filtered in through the windows. There was a small open area inside the front door of my house. To the left, a fireplace along the outside wall. To the right was a rather long, galley-style kitchen, and at the end of it a narrow space where I ate and wrote and spent time thinking. The wide double doors that faced out the back were open, but they were sheltered by the eaves of the house so the water wasn’t coming in. I stared at the plains sweeping away in a graceful downhill for a long, long way, covered in a dense curtain of rain that hit the ground before rising in a ghostly mist. I went into my bedroom, the…

Susie Finkbeiner | Exclusive Interview: STORIES THAT BIND US
Author Guest / June 5, 2020

Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Susie! Please introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your new book, STORIES THAT BIND US. Thanks for having me! Oh, where to start. I live in West Michigan with my husband and our three super cool kids (not to mention the cat, Flannery). I am so excited for readers to get their hands on Stories That Bind Us! It’s a novel about Betty Sweet and her nephew Hugo and how story brings them together.  Set in the 1960s in the Midwest, STORIES THAT BIND US offers a unique perspective about a changing society. What made you want to explore this time period in American history? What do you think will surprise readers about this setting and time? I’ve always been fascinated by the 1960s. I think, in part, it’s because that was the decade in which my parents came of age. They’ve always shared stories of what it was like for them and, as I researched for this book and All Manner of Things (set in 1967) it was really great to connect with them even more about their teen years.   I think it might surprise readers to know that in the 1960s…

Valerie Fraser Luesse | Exclusive Excerpt: THE KEY TO EVERYTHING
Author Guest / June 5, 2020

The cottage appeared to be abandoned, but something about it took hold of Peyton. The tall flight of steps leading up into the trees was worn but solid, taking him onto a deep porch that encircled it, framed with gingerbread bannisters. Between the water and the edge of the yard, if you could call it that, was a stand of mangroves so thick and tall that they would likely block the water view eventually, but for now they just made the house feel protected. He could hear Finn advising him: If there ain’t no other shelter, why, head for the mangroves. They’ll hold back the tide. Walking the circumference of the cottage, Peyton could see that it was more porch than house. On the porch ceiling, he spotted two sturdy hooks about five feet apart. They likely had held a swing or a hammock at one time—long gone now. The whole structure from floor to ceiling was built of cypress. Its tall windows were all shuttered. Peyton unfastened the shutters covering one of them and peered inside. The place looked empty. He tried the front door, which immediately creaked open into a large room with a little kitchen built into…

Suzanne Woods Fisher | 20 Questions: ON A COASTAL BREEZE
Author Guest / May 1, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  On a Coastal Breeze, book 2 in the Three Sisters Island series 2–What is it about?  The overall storyline of the series is about a dad who realizes his young adult daughters are growing estranged, and takes a bold step to unite the family. He purchases a nearly bankrupt island off the coast of Maine. His three daughters think he’s lost his mind. Each daughter takes a turn as the main character. Madison Grayson, the middle daughter, is the lead in On a Coastal Breeze. Newly certified as a Marriage & Family Therapist, opening a practice, Maddie is also gaining the upper hand on her tendency toward high anxiety…until her worst-case scenario comes true. The one person in the world she never wants to see again, Rick O’Shea, arrives by parachute onto Three Sisters Island. And he’s there to stay. 3–What word best describes your heroine, Maddie Grayson?  Earnest. (And anxious.) 4–What makes your hero irresistible, Rick O’Shea?  He’s a risk-taker. Rick O’Shea’s skydive onto Three Sisters Island is both literal and figurative. His main objective is to pastor the island’s start-up church, but he’s also arrived to mend his relationship with Maddie…

Irene Hannon | Title Challenge: STARFISH PIER
Author Guest / April 3, 2020

For those of you who’ve been yearning to return to my little seaside Oregon town of Hope Harbor—the wait is over! If you haven’t visited, I hope you’ll stop by. Starfish Pier is Book 6, but every story stands alone. So please drop in! In my latest novel you’ll meet Holly Miller, who’s new in town. Moving to Hope Harbor was a big step for her for several reasons, but she’s settling in as a first-grade teacher. Life is good…but a little romance wouldn’t hurt. Enter Steven Roark, who’s left the military behind and now runs fishing charters. He’s in town on a mission—a personal one this time—but his take-charge manner isn’t helping him achieve his goal. And he definitely isn’t looking for romance. Funny how that works, though. Sometimes when you least expect it Ms. Right can show up—even if she’s nothing like the kind of woman you thought you’d fall for! So let’s see where this game takes us. S is for Starfish. Matchmakers don’t always have to be human. 🙂 T is for traumatic. Holly and Steven have both had their share of tough times. A is for antagonistic. Which captures the mood of their first meeting….

Davis Bunn | Exclusive Interview: UNSCRIPTED
Author Guest / October 14, 2019

Welcome to Fresh Fiction! Please tell us a little about yourself and your latest novel, UNSCRIPTED. These past several years have been a time of transition for me.  After writing with Janette Oke for going on a decade, she retired.  I decided this was my last-best opportunity to do what I had always dreamed of ‘someday’ – writing for the screen as well as novels.  So I obtained a degree in screenwriting and got to work. UNSCRIPTED is the outcome of these first experiences within the film world. Both of the main characters are trying to prove something about themselves – Danny, that he wasn’t at fault for what landed him in jail and restart his career, and Megan, to show she can do things on her terms and still be successful. Talk a little bit about what their struggles tell readers about them as people.  There is a saying you often hear in the film world:  ‘Hollywood likes to bury their dead while they are still breathing.’  I think Clark Gable was the first to say this, but I’m not sure.  Anyway, what they mean by this is, many people are looking for an excuse to write you off.  To be…

Pam Webber | Exclusive Interview: MOON WATER + GIVEAWAY!
Author Guest / August 21, 2019

Welcome back to Fresh Fiction! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and your book, MOON WATER?  Hi! Many thanks to Fresh Fiction for the warm welcome. Career-wise, I’m a family nurse practitioner and a long-time nursing educator. In 2015, I switched from writing nursing research articles and texts to writing novels. Creating meaningful historical fiction is the more difficult yet most rewarding writing I’ve ever done. It is an art form that requires a significant amount of time and skill to develop, especially if you want to write literary fiction. While completing my first novel, The Wiregrass, I knew I had a good story, but needed help with designing the infrastructure supporting the story. Consequently, I began taking creative writing classes with a New York Times bestselling author. The classes were difficult but incredibly valuable.  Hopefully, what I learned is evident in Moon Water, a stand-alone sequel to The Wiregrass. Interestingly, the classes also made me a more astute reader of fiction as well. In Moon Water, the protagonist, sixteen-year-old Nettie, comes home to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and gets hit with sucker punches coming from all directions. Her boyfriend since grade school wants to…

Carrie Turansky | Who Were the British Home Children?
Author Guest / June 28, 2019

Many readers are familiar with the Orphan Trains that took impoverished children from large cities in the East to live with families in small towns and on farms in the Midwest. But did you know during that same time period more than 100,000 poor and orphaned British children were sent from England to Canada as British Home Children? This child emigration scheme was started by those who had good intentions and who hoped to clear the streets, children’s homes, and workhouses of orphaned and abandoned children in England’s overcrowded cities and towns. The children were promised a better life in Canada, but sadly that was not the case for all of them. Most of these children were not adopted and welcomed into families. Instead, the boys were taken in as indentured farm laborers and the girls worked as household servants called domestics, even at very young ages. Those who took them in simply filled out a form and paid a small fee. There was little screening and often no follow up. Because of this, and prevailing attitudes of the time, many of these children suffered neglect and mistreatment. Many slept in barns or other outbuildings and were not given adequate…

Lori Benton | Stalking Story Landscapes
Author Guest / June 7, 2019

Tucked into the interstices of the writing life, I’ve cultivated a creative hobby—landscape photography. This requires me to travel around the Pacific Northwest visiting rugged coastlines, mountain lakes reflecting snowy peaks, cascading waterfalls, and most recently the wildflowers blooming along the Columbia River that divides the states of Oregon and Washington. On this most recent venture I hunted for previously unexplored hillsides splashed with the vivid yellows and purples of Balsam Root and Lupine, as well as searching out new vistas in a few places I’ve visited before. No matter if the setting I’ve driven hours to see and shoot is new to me or a favorite spot, I’ll often prowl around and observe how the light, weather conditions, and my movement through the terrain changes the landscape, thus the potential composition of a photograph. When I find a composition that feels strong and balanced (two years of art college put to use!), I’ll stop and set up my tripod and camera. More than once I’ve found myself wishing that a novel, a chapter, or a scene could be a three-dimensional landscape I could physically move through with the same ease. Whether I’m engaged in photography or writing, the process…

Rachel Hauck | Exclusive Interview: THE MEMORY HOUSE
Author Guest / April 26, 2019

Here’s a chat between award-winning author Rachel Hauck and Fresh Fiction Editorial Manager Danielle Dresser! A dual timeline novel is always so interesting – how the two time periods both juxtapose and complement the other. How did you come up with the connection between these two different women? The connection is always the most difficult and most important part of a dual time novel. Since I can’t always have the connection be a grandmother or an aunt, or some other family member, I imagined two women being connected by a family friendship. The heroines also share a common experience of tragically losing people they love. New York City cop Beck Holiday is having a rough go of it – after a mistake at work she’s suspended and she’s not sure what to do next. Then she finds out she’s inherited a mysterious Victorian house in Florida. Why was it important for Beck to have the experience at this point in her life? Beck is lost and bitter. She can’t remember large portions of her childhood. She’s trying to make a career for herself, trying to be tough, but when her own actions return to her with a demand, she’s forced…