Hello, all! Guest author Friday is here again. Today, I have author E.A. West talking about her latest release, Redeeming Honor. I won’t spoil the fun by telling you about the book prematurely though. You have to read on for that 🙂
I met E.A. West through a publisher we have both worked with called Clean Reads. Not only is Stephanie (the owner) a wonderful person to work with, she has created a Facebook page for the Clean Reads authors. We share advice on all kinds of things and anyone is free to ask questions. We help encourage and spur one another on. It’s pretty unique and very helpful. I just love it! Anyhow…that’s how I met E.A. West. She is here with me today sharing about this latest release. So, without further ado, let’s jump right in…
Redeeming Honor is an inspirational romance novel featuring an American heroine and an Afghan hero. Here’s the back cover blurb:
Meghan Carpenter loves God, her yarn business, and her twin brother Ryan — a former marine who currently lives with her. When she agrees to let his wounded buddy live with them on her small Indiana alpaca farm, she expects an American marine. What she gets is a former Afghan interpreter who’s painfully shy around women.
Scarred from the war, both physically and emotionally, Basir Hamidi is grateful for a place to live. But his attraction to Meghan is a problem. With his honor destroyed by events in his homeland, and nothing to offer her but his broken, scarred self, he vows to avoid her and protect her reputation. Yet he is drawn to her with a strength that can only be God’s leading. For a man who has lost everything, letting go of the past is a difficult process. When he must also redeem his honor, his only chance of success is to rely on God.
Wow! What a great blurb! I am intrigued… What was the inspiration for Redeeming Honor?
I’ve included combat veterans in several of my books, and in the course of researching those characters, I learned enough of about Afghan culture to be intrigued. I watched several interviews and documentaries on PBS that mentioned interpreters, and my imagination had one of its infamous “what if” moments. In this case it was, “What if an Afghan interpreter got injured and sent to the United States? What if he met the sister of someone he’d worked with in Afghanistan?” The story grew from there.
Love it. Inspiration comes from all kinds of places… Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?
I actually hating writing when I was a kid, even though I’ve always loved to read. I have learning disabilities (including dyslexia) that made expressing myself with words difficult, so becoming an author never even entered my mind. When I was a kid, I dreamed of being an artist, a horse trainer, or a vet. Sometimes I wanted to be a farmer.
I guess there is truly never a challenge that can’t be overcome with determination. What an amazing testimony! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
My freshman year of high school, I took a writing class for English. I wasn’t excited about it since I’d spent my entire school career up to that point avoiding writing as much as possible, but my mom insisted I had to take the class. One of our assignments was to make up a character and write a profile for him/her. Something about creating my character and writing about him unlocked my ability to express myself through writing. I no longer hated writing and started creating stories for fun. I haven’t stopped since.
Good. I’m glad this assignment connected you to your future. I always have to pick other authors’ brains…do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer?
Read excellent writing, including in the genre you write. The more you read, the more you learn what works and what doesn’t. It also helps to study the work of popular authors to figure out what makes readers keep coming back for more.
Great advice! What about you? What are you currently reading?
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve loved the Lord of the Rings movies for years, but I’d never read the books. Now that I’m reading the first one, I wish I would have read the series a long time ago. It’s an excellent book, but so different from the movie!
I read them a long time ago. I should look into them again. Interesting enough, I am listening to the score from the movie right now. It’s part of my writing playlist. I generally (but not always) need music to get in the writing mood. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?
It varies. Sometimes I need silence to write. Other times I write with anything from classical music to heavy metal playing in the background. It all depends on my mood.
Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?
I do most of my writing in the late afternoon or at night. I’ve always been a night owl, so I work with my internal clock. My favorite place to write is anywhere with few or no distractions. If there are other people around or a lot of noise, I have a hard time focusing.
I hear you! My kids can be uber distracting…as can be the house. I find evening to be most productive, but because my kids are at home in the evening, I’ve shifted to writing more during the day.
I usually ask this just for sheer interest: how long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on the book. I once wrote a novella in a week, but one of my novels took around seven years to finish.
This question is for my readers. Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
Basir’s family had to cut ties with him to keep themselves safe. Working as an interpreter for the American military has made a lot of Afghan people and their families targets for the Taliban. Including that bit of reality in Redeeming Honor is my way of acknowledging the often unrecognized sacrifice those brave interpreters have made.
Wow. How sad. You really have got me with this one!
Thank you again for being on my blog today! I have enjoyed learning a bit more about your newest release and about your process. Now, I’ll get out of the way and let you all get more into Redeeming Honor.
Enjoy an Excerpt
The oven timer dinged, and Meghan grabbed a hot pad. Golden-brown cookies filled the air with the delicious scents of vanilla and chocolate. She set the tray on the granite counter, shut off the oven, and then turned to the task of transferring chocolate chip cookies to the cooling rack.
As she set the baking sheet in the sink, the front door opened. Meghan’s heart jumped, and she hurried from the kitchen, eager to see which of Ryan’s friends would be living in her house. She stepped into the hall and spotted her brother and a swarthy-skinned, black-haired man wearing huge dark sunglasses. Each of them carried a black suitcase.
Ryan grinned as his friend closed the door. “Hey, Meghan, this is my buddy Basir Hamidi. Basir, meet my sister, Meghan.”
The black-haired man removed his sunglasses to reveal a pair of wire-rimmed glasses and scar tissue around his tawny-brown eyes. “Thank you for letting me stay in your home.”
Meghan swallowed her surprise at his heavy accent and pushed aside her sorrow that he had endured something terrible to cause the scars. Regardless of what he had been through, the only thing that should matter to her was helping him to feel comfortable in her home. She offered a warm smile and clasped her hands at her waist. “I’m glad I had an empty guestroom for you. I’ll let Ryan give you the grand tour of the place while I put the finishing touches on lunch, but remember that this is your home, too, for however long you need it.”
“Thank you.” He inclined his head, his right hand over his heart. Then, he lowered his hand and glanced at Ryan.
Her brother slung an arm around Basir’s shoulders and guided him to the stairs. “Your room’s up here.”
Meghan returned to the kitchen and struggled to wrap her mind around her new houseguest. She’d expected an American marine, but her brother had brought home an Afghan man. Had Basir somehow become a marine? Had he been part of the Afghan army? Questions flowed in a steady stream as she chopped hardboiled eggs for the chef’s salads she’d planned.
More About the Author
Award-winning author E.A. West is a lifelong lover of books and storytelling. In high school, she picked up her pen in a creative writing class and hasn’t laid it down yet. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, knitting, and crocheting. She lives in Indiana with her family and a small zoo of pets.
Connect with E.A. West and her books
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/EAWestAuthor