Saturday, March 17, 2018

Author Interview with Courtney Hilbert

Hi again! Very excited today to introduce you to author C. E. Hilbert. Here is a little about her:

C.E. Hilbert is a Christian novelist who made her debut with The Wooing of Jane Grey. Her second novel, From Scratch released in 2016.
Her latest novel, Life on the Porcelain Edge, debuted November 2017.
Her writing career began when she had to wait a WHOLE week in between Bookmobile visits. To fill the gap, she pulled out a pen and some paper and began to jot down stories while she awaited the next round of books delivered on wheels. And a passion began.
She enjoys the opportunity to share God's love through her writing in a tangible, real and somewhat quirky way. She is convinced God has a sense of humor equal to the size of His patience level!
Outside of writing, she heads up the youth program at her church and one of her greatest passions is reaching young people on behalf of Christ. She is a sports fan (bordering on nut) and is happiest at a hockey game when her team is winning, a Spring Training baseball game soaking up the sun or at a college football game cheering on a victory.
She currently lives in a 110+ year-old fixer upper with her dog Daisy and she believes that life goes best with Jesus, a cute outfit and SportsCenter! 

What made you decide to become a writer? 

I began telling stories when I was very small, but kept my writing to myself until my job was eliminated in 2009. I took the opportunity to focus on writing while I was looking for long term employment. But I truly believe writing is a calling. Whether I ever earn enough to write full time or never earn another dime, I am compelled to write because it is the best way I can honor the gift God gave to me.

What is your favorite thing about being an author? 

 I love living in another world. I like meeting the characters, learning about their lives and seeing how the stories unfold.

I also love the delete button. With one button, a character’s bad choices can be undone. Lives can be instantly shifted in a new direction. If only “real life” was as easy.

Where did the inspiration for your latest book come from? 

I was in between two cross country meets for two of the students in my youth program. Instead of watching dozens of teens I didn’t know run for two hours I went to Barnes & Noble and was walking through the aisles. I happened to glance at the sign for the restroom and the opening line, “Tessa Tarrington’s life was in the toilet” popped into my mind. I went home after the second race and could barely type as fast as the words were flowing.

How does your faith and spirituality work in with your writing? 

I believe that God inspires all things. I believe my writing is an offering to God in response to the gift He has given me. I pray before each time I write that God will be with me and that we will write the project together. It is my prayer that the stories He shares with me will be written in such a way that someone will meet Jesus through those words.

What do you want readers to come away with after reading your books?  

1. God is in control. 2. Life is only worth living with God, love, laughter and excellent baked goods.

What is one of your favorite scenes in Life on the Porcelain Edge? 

 One of my favorite scenes happens in the opening chapter of Life on the Porcelain Edge. Tessa has to return to her high school alma mater as a substitute teacher. On her first day, she runs into her childhood nemesis, Ryland Jessup. The feeling of dread that washes over her at the sound of his voice gives me the biggest chuckle.

When you are stressed, maybe a deadline’s approaching too fast, what is your favorite snack food? Or so you have another way to cope?  

I actually bake when I’m stressed. I bake and then I give all (or most) of the baked goods away. When I hit a particularly rough patch of writer’s block on my current novel I made up three new cookie recipes in a weekend, took the cookies into the office and a co-worker looked at the boxes, shook his head and asked, “Writer’s block?” It is impossible to worry if you are elbow deep in butter.

If time and money were not a concern, what one skill would you like to learn?
I would love to learn how to fly a helicopter. I’ve only been on a couple flights, but each time the exhilaration of flying so freely in the air was like being a bird. Definitely tops on my bucket list.

What is your favorite thing about where you live? 

 Central Ohio has so many lovely small towns surrounding Columbus. We have the advantage of living in a place where you feel like you know everyone, and yet you have all of the cultural trappings of a large city.

What are you working on next? 

I am working on a Christian Romantic Suspense called “The Girls of Summer”. The story centers on two half-sisters who inherit their father’s company, including a minor league baseball team, upon his death. The older of the two sisters is running head first into the new living and working environment, as she tries to escape the ties her mother has created for her with the Russian Mafia.

Tessa Tarrington's life is swirling out of control. No job. No apartment. Sick Dad...And she's back in high school! Teaching at her Gibson's Run alma mater would be tolerable, except she's sharing purgatory with her mortal enemy, Ryland Jessup. But eight years post-high-school, and after tragedies she can barely understand, Ryland no longer fits her mental image of the over-sized bully he once was. In fact, much to her disgust, he's finding his way into her heart. After the sudden death of his wife, Ryland hung up his professional shoulder pads and picked up a whistle. Now he's focused on coaching the high school football team and raising his daughter. The sudden return of his childhood crush, Tessa Tarrington, has reawakened long-ago feelings. But if God's giving him a second chance to impress Tessa, the Man Upstairs has a funny way of showing it. Just when Tessa starts to lighten up, Ryland's best friend returns. Will the always-irresistible Joey Taylor stifle any hope Ryland has to ignite the dream of a relationship with Tessa?

Friday, March 16, 2018

My Hope Next Door

by Tammy L. Gray

This romance sucked me in right away. The proverbial preacher’s kid gets mixed up with the bad girl in town. But this almost-cliché is not what it might seem. I love how the author shows the depth of struggle in both characters. The bad-girl who wants to be good, and the good-guy who lost his reputation help each other discover more about the God who created them both, and who continues to draw them each near to Himself.

It’s a beautiful story about second chances and becoming the person God wants us to be. It addresses the difference between caring what others think, and caring for others. It’s about miscommunication, lack of communication, and communicating truth to the ones we care most about.

I love the ins and outs of this budding relationship, the uncovering of secrets from the past, and the handling of guilt. I think everyone can relate to this story on some level – because we’ve all been the bad girl and we’ve all been the goody-two-shoes for at least a moment, if not years at a time. It’s about the wrongs others dish out to us, and forgiveness, whether they are sorry or not. More than anything, it’s about how we love.

Highly recommend! No wonder this title won the Rita award! The author’s style is so pleasing - the story is easy to read, and the characters still linger in my mind. What’s great about that? Well, she wrote another book with some of the same characters! Yay! My Unexpected Hope is the next one.

Do you have a favorite bad-girl character? How about a preacher's kid character? Leave us a comment to be entered to win A Flute in the Willows by Stitches author, Carole Brown.

Jennifer Fromke writes from NC, where she pines for colder temperatures all year long. Northerners by upbringing, she and her husband of 26 years have raised three Southern-ish children. Jennifer reviews books at and you can download a free short story from her website when you sign up for her newsletter at