Author: Iola Goulton

Quote from Athens Ambuscade by Kristen Joy Wilks: I closed my eyes and thought of kittens frolicking with butterflies under a rainbow. All the good and fluffy things God had made.

#ThrowbackThursday | Athens Ambuscade by Kristen Joy Wilks

It’s Throwback Thursday, and I’m resharing a review which originally posted at International Christian Fiction Writers.

I requested Athens Ambuscade for review for two reasons:

  1. It obviously featured Athens, Greece, which makes it perfect for a post at International Christian Fiction Writers. Also, I enjoy reading novels in different settings.
  2. I’ve never heard of “ambuscade” before, so I had to find out what it meant (it’s an antiquated term for ‘ambush’ for those who are interested).

But then I read the book description and wasn’t so sure …

What happens when a strapped-for-cash bridal designer needs a stuffed animal…and fast? Up-and-coming bridal designer, Jacqueline Gianakos must fly a Montana taxidermist to Greece in order to stuff her Grandmother’s cat. If Chrysanthemum isn’t preserved within two days’ time, Jacqueline will lose the home that was her childhood sanctuary. But will she survive the next 48 hours when the taxidermist ignores her pointed request and then shows up wearing flannel?

This sounded a little weird. And perhaps it was. But it worked.

Jacqueline is in Athens dealing with the estate of her recently deceased grandmother. Ya-Ya left what could have been a to-do list in the envelope with her will, and the lawyer decrees that Jacqueline must complete all the tasks on the list before she can inherit the house. This would seem ridiculous and unbelievable, but the writing and the setting makes it seem almost logical.

Anyway, Jacqueline (never Jackie and definitely not Jack) is a lady with Plans. She has emptied the attic, cleaned the gutters, built a tasteful orange tree house (if that’s not a contradiction in terms then I don’t know what is), and baked a watermelon pie (I have no idea how you bake a pie from a fruit that is basically water).

Now she has to get that nice taxidermist from Montana to stuff her grandmother’s dead cat.

He’s arrived in Athens, and they’ve got two days to stuff the cat and show the lawyer. Shouldn’t be difficult …

Jacqueline and Shane collect the cat from cold storage (it’s been dead three years, and Ya-Ya wasn’t crazy enough to keep it in her own freezer. Yes, this is a good time for crazy cat lady jokes). Then their troubles begin as thugs in black vans want to steal the cat. Yes, you read that right. It’s the “ambuscade” promised in the title.

What follows is a fast-paced cat chase through the streets and sights of Athens, including a visit to the Parthenon, the Gate of Athena, the Monastiraki Flea Market, and the Cave of Aglauros. It’s also funny, in a laugh-out-loud kind of way, not a how-stupid-is-this-woman kind of way.

Jacqueline is a little strange (I guess she takes after Ya-Ya).

As I said, Jacqueline is a lady with Plans. She has plans and lists and is perhaps a little over the top. For example, when she arranges to meet Shane, the taxidermist, in an Athenian cafe, she doesn’t tell him what she’ll be wearing. She tells him the width of her belt, and the three shades of eyeshadow. I try to be organised, but Jacqueline takes planning and organisation to a whole new level.

Athens Ambuscade is a quick read, both because of the fast pace and because it is relatively short. But it packed a lot of punch: lots of great lines:

And:
It also had a strong Christian theme, with Jacqueline learning a definite lesson about the nature of God (a lesson that had nothing to do with kittens or rainbows or fluffy things). And the location … Wilks did a great job with the location:

So much color. A swipe of robin’s egg blue across the Mediterranean sky, ancient white marble, and the flush of green growth clinging to the mountain. God seemed to create His most glorious splendors in hard to reach places.

Some books are set in exotic locations, but you read them and get the feeling they could have been set anywhere—the setting comes a distant third behind the plot and characters. Athens Ambuscade is different. It almost felt as though the setting were a character, and I loved that—although I am glad my own short visit to Athens wasn’t nearly as exciting as Jacqueline and Shane’s.

I recommend Athens Ambuscade for those who enjoy romantic comedy from authors such as Kara Isaac, and those looking for a Christian novel equivalent of My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

Thanks to Pelican Books and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Kristen Joy Wilks

Author Photo: Kristen Joy Wilks

Kristen Joy Wilks lives in the beautiful woods of the Cascade mountains with her camp director husband, three fierce sons, and a large and slobbery Newfoundland dog. She spent her misguided youth falling in love with Commander Spock via Star Trek reruns, being suspended upside down over a homemade pit filled with gardener snakes, and stampeding herds of elk while on horseback. Now most of her adventures consist of preventing her hubby from filling another wall of their dining room with board games, thwarting her 3 boys’ efforts to sneak their pet chickens onto their bunk beds whenever she turns her back to fold laundry, and trying not to trip over the random teenagers that swarm her house to play all those board games. Kristen can be found tucked under a tattered quilt in an overstuffed chair at 4:00am writing a wide variety of dramatic tales.

Find Kristen Joy Wilks online at:

Website | Facebook

Read the introduction to Athens Ambuscade below:

Do you have a book budget? Do you stick to it?

Bookish Question #92 | Do you have a book budget? Do you stick to it?

No, I don’t have a book budget, although perhaps I should.

However, I don’t spend a lot on books because most of the books I buy are Kindle versions, especially when it comes to fiction (which is most of what I buy). The only novels I regularly buy in paperback are those I’ve edited (when the authors don’t gift them to me). I like owning the paperback when it’s something I’ve worked on!

I do buy non-fiction books in paperback or hardcover. They are reference books, and I find it’s easier to read and highlight paperbacks, or to search through physical copies of style manuals.

My enormous to-read pile means I try not to buy books (try!) because I already have so many I’ve bought and haven’t read. And it seems wrong to buy more books when I haven’t read the ones I already have.

What about you? Do you have a book budget? Do you stick to it?

Quote from More than Gold: He couldn't be set in his ways yet. He was only thirty-four. He didn't plan on being set in his ways for at least another ten years.

Book Review | More Than Gold (Escape to the West #6) by Nerys Leigh

Gabriel Silversmith is the gold miner we first met in The Truth About Love, where his mail order bride left him for another man. Not that we blamed her—Gabriel is rough around the edges, to put it politely.

Now he’s married to Grace Myers, and married life isn’t exactly going as planned.

Grace has opinions of her own and isn’t afraid to express them. And she’s refined … perhaps too refined for a gold miner living in a one-room shack with no running water. Will Grace stay, or will this be another disaster?

Grace chose to become a mail order bride to get away from her jealous and selfish stepmother.

She’d thought anything would be better than marrying Felicia’s choice for her, the ancient Mr Howard who has hair growing out both ears. Gabriel is younger and probably more attractive … if she can get him to shave off that awful beard and stop chewing the tobacco that makes him smell like an outhouse.

I have to admit that while I wanted Gabriel to get his happy-ever-after after the way Jo treated him, I also see Grace’s point. She’s a lady, and Gabriel is certainly not a gentleman. Or an angel. And is he really a successful gold miner? If so, wouldn’t he live somewhere nicer that a one-room shack?
But Grace and Gabriel are both determined to make the marriage work, and that’s a great starting point for an enjoyable marriage of convenience story with a touch of suspense.

The first five books in Nerys Leigh’s Escape to the West series can be read in any order, because they all take place simultaneously. More than Gold is the exception—it’s best to read The Truth About Love first, because that covers some of Gabriel’s history, and shows why Grace arrives alone, after the other brides.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

About Nerys Leigh

Nerys LeighNerys Leigh writes thoroughly romantic Christian historical love stories. She loves heroes who are strong but sweet and heroines who are willing to fight for the life they want.

She’s from the UK, which you would think puts her in a unique position to not write about mail order brides in the American west, but the old adage of writing what you know has never appealed to her. She has an actual American read each book before publishing to make sure she hasn’t gone all English on it.

No One’s Bride is the first in the Escape to the West series which tells the stories of a group of women willing to travel across America to find happiness, and the men determined to win their hearts.

You can find Nerys Leigh online relaxing and generally enjoying the view at:

 Website | Facebook

About More Than Gold

Does “second time lucky” apply to mail order brides?

Let’s just say that Gabriel’s first attempt at marriage didn’t go well. But his new bride, Grace, she has curves he can’t keep his eyes from, and he’s determined this time will be different. Until he ends up sleeping in the barn.

Why are women so difficult to figure out? All he wants is someone to cook, clean, and warm his bed. But Grace wants more. She wants respect and someone to care about her. She wants love.

So now Gabriel has to learn how to court his wife just so he can sleep in his own bed again. As for falling in love, though, he just isn’t the type.

But he’s been wrong before.

You can find More Than Gold online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | Goodreads

You can read the introduction to More Than Gold below:

And don’t forget to click here to check out my Amazon shop for my top picks in Christian fiction!

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week #76 | The Baggage Handler

It’s First Line Friday! That means it’s time to pick up the nearest book and quote the first line. Today I’m sharing from The Baggage Handler by debut Australian author David Rawlings:

First Line from The Baggage Handler by David Rawlings: The sense of dread that began with Becky's email pressed Gillian Short deep into her seat as passengers filed past her down the aisle, a line of eye-rubbing yawns and bouncing impatience.

What’s the book nearest you, and what’s the first line?

About The Baggage Handler

When three people take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, their lives change forever.

A hothead businessman coming to the city for a showdown meeting to save his job.

A mother of three hoping to survive the days at her sister’s house before her niece’s wedding.

And a young artist pursuing his father’s dream so he can keep his own alive.

When David, Gillian, and Michael each take the wrong suitcase from baggage claim, the airline directs them to retrieve their bags at a mysterious facility in a deserted part of the city. There they meet the enigmatic Baggage Handler, who shows them there is more in their baggage than what they have packed, and carrying it with them is slowing them down in ways they can’t imagine. And they must deal with it before they can leave.

In this modern-day parable about the burdens that weigh us down, David Rawlings issues an inspiring invitation to lighten the load.

You can find The Baggage Handler online at

Amazon US | Amazon US | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click the link which will take you to the master page of all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

And don’t forget to click here to check out my Amazon shop for my top picks in Christian fiction!

#Throwback Thursday | A Defense of Honor (Haven Manor #1) by Kristi Ann Hunter

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of A Defense of Honor by Kristi Ann Hunter, which first appeared at International Christian Fiction Writers. The Christmas Heirloom novella collection started with a Haven Manor story, and the second official book in the series releases next week.
The Honourable Katherine FitzGilbert (I’m sorry, but the title is British, so it should be Honourable not Honorable) is now known as Mama Kit. She shepherds a group of not-quite-orphans in a forgotten house in the country. Her anonymity and remote seclusion are her weapons, the way she protects those in her charge.
Graham, Viscount Wharton, is bored … at least, until he notices a beautiful lady in green at a ball, a lady he then rescues before she disappears. He has no idea how to find her again, as he doesn’t even know her name. So he’s more than a little surprised to come across her in an out-of-the-way almost-abandoned manor house near the small market town of Marlborough.

As first meetings go, Kit and Graham’s first meeting is definitely memorable. So is their second.

But it’s when they meet in Marlborough that things get interesting. Graham is trying to locate his best friend’s missing sister, and he realises Kit must know where she is. But Kit has spent the last twelve years protecting women and hiding their illegitimate children, and she’s not about to stop for some random Lord who finds her secret home. No matter how attractive he is.
And the end … I’m not going to give spoilers, but I am already looking forward to the next book in the series.

A Defense of Honor is the first full-length novel in Kristi Ann Hunter’s new Haven Manor series, but it’s not the first book. There is a prequel novella, A Search for Refuge, which is available as a free ebook. It’s not necessary to read A Search for Refuge first, although I did, and I can assure you it will provide needed backstory to A Defense of Honor. It’s also an excellent story on its own.

Recommended for all Regency romance fans, because it’s close to perfect. And Kristi Ann Hunter is a wonderful witty writer.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Kristi Ann Hunter

Author photo: Kristi Ann Hunter

Kristi is the RITA® award winning author of Regency romance novels from a Christian worldview. Her titles include A Noble Masquerade, An Elegant Façade, and An Uncommon Courtship. Beyond writing, she is also speaker, teaching classes in writing as well as Biblical and spiritual topics. She has spoken to writers’ groups, schools, and young women’s groups at churches.

When she is not writing or interacting with her readers, Kristi spends time with her family and her church. A graduate of Georgia Tech with a computer science degree, she can also be found fiddling with her computer in her free time. A born lover of stories she is also an avid reader. From very young she dreamed of sharing her own stories with others and praises God daily that she gets to live that dream today.

You can find Kristi Ann Hunter online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Twitter

About A Defense of Honor

When Katherine “Kit” FitzGilbert turned her back on London society more than a decade ago, she determined never to set foot in a ballroom again. But when business takes her to London and she’s forced to run for her life, she stumbles upon not only a glamorous ballroom but also Graham, Lord Wharton. What should have been a chance encounter becomes much more as Graham embarks on a search for his friend’s missing sister and is convinced Kit knows more about the girl than she’s telling.

After meeting Graham, Kit finds herself wishing things could have been different for the first time in her life, but what she wants can’t matter. Long ago, she dedicated herself to helping women escape the same scorn that drove her from London and raising the innocent children caught in the crossfire. And as much as she desperately wishes to tell Graham everything, revealing the truth isn’t worth putting him and everyone she loves in danger.

You can find A Defense of Honor online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

You can read the introduction to A Defense of Honor below:

Click here to find A Defense of Honor and other great Christian fiction at my Amazon shop!

Should Christians read fiction? Why ... or why not?

Bookish Question #91 | Should Christians read fiction? Why … or why not?

Yes, some people honestly believe Christians shouldn’t read fiction. After all, they say, fiction is made up and Christians should be focused on truth. Christ’s Truth.

I agree Christians should focus on truth.

But Christ told stories—the parables. Preachers often tell stories—they call them sermon illustrations. Non-fiction writers often tell stories to make a point.

Writing instructor Lisa Cron says this is because our brains are wired for story. As Christians, we believe God wired our brains, not evolution. So if our brains are wired for story, why would listening to or reading stories be wrong?

So, yes, I believe it’s all right for Christians to read fiction.

But not all fiction. And perhaps not all Christians.

The Bible tells us “whatever is right, whatever is pure” (Phil 4:8). I believe this should apply to our reading. What we read can influence what we think and what we believe, so we need to be sure we’re not subconsciously adopting unChristian values and beliefs based on what we read. We may also need to be wary of the sexual content of the fiction we read (Song of Songs), or excessive violence.

Also, not all things are good for all people.

Paul tells Timothy it’s all right to take a little wine occasionally on account of his stomach, but that’s not a license for Christians to get drunk. Indeed, those who are susceptible to alcoholism or addiction would be better to avoid wine or other alcohol, because they can’t stop at “a little”.

Equally, people with some health issues shouldn’t drink alcohol, either because alcohol makes the problem worse, or because the prescribed medication shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol. But that doesn’t make “don’t drink alcohol” into a blanket rule for everyone.

In the same way, there may be some Christians who shouldn’t read fiction—whether that’s general market fiction, Christian fiction, erotica, romance, violent thrillers. But that doesn’t make it a blanket rule for all Christians. The key is to listen to God and be obedient to His calling. If he calls us to not drink alcohol for a year or for life, we should give up alcohol. The same goes for coffee, or chocolate. Or books.

I suspect some of the Christians who say Christians shouldn’t read fiction are those who’ve had a personal directive from God, but who have mistakenly thought it applies to all Christians, not just to them. They shouldn’t read Christian fiction, but that doesn’t apply to everyone.

What do you think? Should Christians read fiction? Why, or why not?

Book Review | Enchanting Nicholette

Nicholette Everstone was widowed on her wedding day, two years ago. Now she’s back in Boston, and has been introduced to Mr Cal Hawthorne. They have something in common—Cal has also lost a spouse, and now he’s interested in Nicholette.

This was not my favourite of the Everstone Chronicles. I think that’s because neither Nicholette nor Cal are Everstones, and while I know Nicholette has been mentioned in earlier books (and Cal probably has as well), I don’t remember either of them.

It’s a perfectly nice romance. The writing is solid, the sense of time and place is excellent, and I’m always a fan of novels written in the third person. But I didn’t engage with Nicholette the way I’ve engaged with some of the other Everstone brides.

This could be because she didn’t seem to have any major obstacles to overcome. She is well out of mourning for her husband, and there is nothing stopping her developing relationship with Cal Hawthorne—especially as her parents are in favour of her marrying again, as long as it is for love.

Overall, fans of the Everstone Chronicles will enjoy Enchanting Nicholette. It is a standalone romance, but there are a lot of characters from the previous novels, and the relationships can easily become confusing. I’d recommend anyone who hasn’t read the earlier books start the series at the beginning, with The Hesitant Heiress.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

First Line Friday

First Line Friday | Week #75 | One Thing I Know by Kara Isaac

It’s First Line Friday! That means it’s time to pick up the nearest book and quote the first line. Today I’m sharing from One Thing I Know by Kara Isaac:

First Line from One Thing I Know by Kara Isaac: Rachel Somers wasn't sure what bothered her more: conning most of America, or the fact they'd been doing it for a decade and no on suspected.

Well, that’s got me reading on (when I should be loading this blog post!). What about you?

What’s the book nearest you, and what’s the first line?

About One Thing I Know

She has the whole world fooled. But the one man who just may see through her holds not only the key to her success, but also her heart…

Rachel Somers is America’s #1 relationship coach—America just doesn’t know it. Rachel writes the books, but her Aunt Donna plays the face of the operation. Living in fear of their secret being exposed, Rachel has no choice but to keep up the charade or lose the big money required to care for her father. With the deadline for their next book closing in, Rachel finds herself out of inspiration and running out of time. The last thing she needs is her aunt and publicist concocting a harebrained scheme to join forces with some radio star in the hope it will help deliver the elusive next book idea.

Lucas Grant is a star of late night radio—though it’s come with an unexpected price of hoards of women who keep calling his sports show to ask him for relationship advice. They make his ratings look great, but they also mean he has to waste hours talking to people like Dr. Donna Somerville about feelings instead of his first love: football. When a big-time producer calls, it looks like his hard work is about to pay off. But the offer comes with a catch—the producer is convinced Dr. Donna is not what she seems and he wants Lucas to discover her secret. To do that, he needs to win over her tight-lipped assistant who holds the key to his success and—he begins to suspect—his heart. Can love find a way through the lies that force them apart?

You can find One Thing I Know online at:

Amazon US | Amazon AU | ChristianBook | Goodreads

Click the button to check out what my fabulous fellow FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

You can then click the link which will take you to the master page of all this week’s #FirstLineFriday posts.

And you can click here to check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

And don’t forget to click here to check out my Amazon shop for my top picks in Christian fiction!

#ThrowbackThursday | Death at Thornburn Hall by Julianna Deering

It’s Throwback Thursday! Today I’m resharing my review of Death at Thornburn Hall, which originally appeared at International Christian Fiction Writers.

Drew and Madeline Fathering are back. They are visiting Drew’s distant relatives, Lord and Lady Rainsby of Thornburn Hall, and planning to watch the Open at Muirfield, Edinburgh. They are not the only guests—there is also a married couple, and a Russian artiste seeking his muse.

Death at Thornburn Hall is the sixth book in the Drew Fathering series. Each book is a standalone murder mystery, which means you don’t have to read the earlier books first (although there are some plot threads that trail though the series). It follows the pattern established in the first book, Rules of Murder.

  • Drew arrives somewhere (Thornburn Hall, in this instance).
  • There is a death (sometimes there is more than one).
  • Drew investigates.
  • The local police force don’t appreciate Drew’s efforts.
  • Drew solves the crime with help from Nick and Madeline.

It has almost has a Scooby-Doo feel, albeit in a different time and place, and without the inevitable, “and I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids.” Yes, there is humour in here:

There is plenty of witty banter between Drew, a member of the British aristocracy,  Madeline, his American wife, and Nick Dennison, Drew’s best friend and the son of the Fathering Hall butler (a friendship that continues to raise eyebrows).

And Carrie is back: Madeline’s American best friend, who Nick would like to persuade to stay forever … However, Carrie is not stupid. She’s realised the same thing the rest of us have realised:

Drew Fathering attracts murder. Murder attracts risk and danger.

But that’s the fun! Well, that’s the fun for me, as a reader. Carrie doesn’t see it quite the same way …

The writing is excellent, as usual. There is a cast of characters ranging from mysterious to suspicious. Some things are not what they seem, and there are plenty of genuine clues scattered among the red herrings. The ending is satisfying on several levels (well, satisfying to the core characters. The murderer, as usual, is less than satisfied with being caught by Drew).

I love this series because it is so British. It reminds me of driving through the English countryside, of camping in Scotland under the shadow of Ben Nevis, of taking the train to Edinburgh and disembarking at Waverley Station.

The Drew Fathering mysteries are an echo of England in days gone by.

They remind me of childhood favourites such as The Famous Five, and Swallows and Amazons, and of Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Georgette Heyer, and other 1930’s murder mystery writers.

But it’s also an echo of the England I lived in … because I’ve visited many of the places Drew and Madeline visit—Winchester, Beaulieu, Edinburgh. The beauty of England is that it is old, and a modern visitor can see many of the same sights as Drew and Madeline see.

Death at Thornburn Hall by Julianna Deering is an enjoyable murder mystery that's a reminder of England in days gone by #ChristianFiction #MustRead Click To Tweet

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Julianna Deering at her website, and

About Julianna Deering

Author Photo: Julianna Deering

Julianna Deering (also writing as DeAnna Julie Dodson) has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness, and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuted from Bethany House with Rules of Murder (2013).

Find Julianna Deering online at:

Website | Facebook | Twitter

About Death at Thornburn Hall

The Fartherings’ Scottish Holiday Takes a Dark Turn

Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield hoping for a relaxing holiday, but he soon finds a mystery on his hands. Lord Rainsby, his host at Thorburn Hall, fears his business partner may be embezzling and asks Drew to quietly investigate. Before Drew can uncover anything, Rainsby is killed in a suspicious riding accident.

Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each might have had a motive to put Raisnby out of the way. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.

Find Death at Thornburn Hall online at:

Amazon | ChristianBook | Goodreads | Koorong

Read the introduction to Death at Thornburn Hall below:

Author Interview - Erin Unger

Author Interview | Introducing Erin Unger and Desolate Paths

Today I’m interviewing Christian romantic suspense author Erin Unger about life, writing, and her new release, Desolate Paths. Welcome, Erin!

About You

First, please you tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from?

Hi! Thanks for having me. I’m from the hills of Virginia, where farms flourish and people are kind.

It’s said that authors should write the kind of book they like to read. What is your favourite genre? Who are your favourite authors?

My favorite genre does happen to be the genre I write. There’s nothing like a great romantic suspense. And I love to read. My favorite authors are Harlan Coben, Irene Hannon, and Erynn Newman.

What was the last book you read? Would you recommend it? Why/why not?

I just finished Julie B Cosgrove’s book called Dumpster Dicing and it was such a fun cozy mystery. I would most definitely recommend it to others because it was well-written and had a neat perspective. The main characters were Bunco partners who lived in a retirement community. I can’t wait to read the next one.

I see Bunco mentioned often in novels, but had to look up what it is.

About your book

What kind of books do you write? Where and when are they set?

I write contemporary romantic suspense for the Christian market. Some of my novels are set in the Virginia mountains while others are in tight-knit urban communities.

Tell us about your latest book. Who will enjoy it?

My book, Desolate Paths, which is coming out on January 11, 2019, is for women who love suspense driven by real life issues, with a love story wrapped in too.

What was your motivation for writing Desolate Paths?

When I was growing up, a wagon caravan of teens came through my small town every summer. These teens were troubled and working through hard life issues most people never have to face. They had to survive the whole summer in tents with no electricity and no running water as they received counselling. I always wondered what it would be like to live the way they did. This spurred my imagination into action for years and led to the creation of Desolate Paths.

Where did the characters and story come from? What were your influences?

One summer, our church had a singing group from a rehab center visit. Once again, the same kind of treatment that the wagon caravan used was put into action with these girls. I began talking to one of them and I just knew she was meant to be my main character. I wish I could see how she’s doing today. And I hope I did her justice in my story.

Who is your favourite character and why? Do you have anything in common with him/her?

My favorite character is Kyle Reston. He is such a complex character who is still working his way through rehab. If only he could do right when he should… I’m not sure I have much in common with him but I do love the depth he adds to the story.

What are you working on at the moment? What other books do you plan to write?

I’m glad you asked! I am getting ready to start the second book in a series about a tight-knit urban community. This is an eight-book series where all of the characters will win my readers over, and they’ll have the hardest time deciding who’s their favorite.

I love a great series!

About your writing

What motivated you to start writing?

I’ve always had a story brewing in the back of my mind. But it wasn’t until I was in my late twenties before I actually started a writing. It’s been years of learning and waiting, but I’m so glad to finally be on the cusp of seeing my dreams of being a published author a reality.

What made you choose to write for the Christian market?

I’d never consider doing it any other way. I know this gift God gave me is meant to glorify Him and help others through my stories.

Amen! It’s important that some Christians write for the general market—but it’s even more important that we all use our gifts as God would have us use them.

Do your novels have an overt faith element?

Yes. My faith and how I can show God’s unfathomable love is most important to me.

About your publishing journey

This book is self-published, but you also have a book coming out from Pelican Book Group in March next year. What made you choose to self-publish this title and seek traditional publication for this next novel?

Pelican is such a great house to publish through, and I’m so glad to have the opportunity to work with them, but I like the autonomy of self-publishing also. I think I get the best of both worlds by going both ways.

What advice do you have for someone seeking to write and publish a novel?

An author should take the time to learn how to write first! Be willing to make changes and be easy to work with. Seek the help of other writers and take their advice.

I agree! We can’t learn to write in a vacuum, and the best stories are brought to life by great writing. Thanks for joining us today, Erin!

About Erin Unger

Erin Unger was raised in the hills of Virginia, exploring abandoned houses and reading the scariest books she could find. After marrying so young it would make a great romance novel, she has enjoyed an exciting life with her hubby. But her fast-paced life sometimes rivals the suspense in her books thanks to all her mostly grown children and a couple grandkids. Her novel, Desolate Paths, releases January 11, 2019.

You can find Erin online at:

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Do you enjoy Christian romantic suspense? If so, check out this interview with author Erin Unger about life, writing, and her new release, Desolate Paths. #ChristianFiction Click To Tweet

About Desolate Paths

When rehab is Brooke Hollen’s only chance at redemption, she runs straight to it. But can she survive the serial killer who hides amongst the damaged and healing? And can she trust Kyle Reston, another rehab resident, who wants to take her under his wing? Or is he responsible for the residents who keep disappearing?

You can buy Desolate Paths at Amazon.