It is nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?
I was born and raised in Indiana, and I still live there today. When I’m not writing, I love to read, knit, crochet, draw, watch movies and TV, spend time with my family. I have two dogs who demand a lot of attention as well.
How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?
I loved making up stories but hated writing until my freshman year of high school. An English class assignment required me to create a fictional character and write a biography for him/her. Thinking about the character and details about his life, and then writing it down to share with others showed me how much fun writing could be. I’ve been writing down the stories in my head ever since.
What genre do you enjoy reading? What’s your favorite book and why?
I enjoy reading a variety of genres, everything from romance to thrillers, historical fiction to fantasy. I also love a good nonfiction book now and then. Basically, the next book I read is whatever catches my eye, regardless of genre. I don’t really have a favorite book, although I’ve read a lot of great books. A few that come to mind are the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan, The 13th Tribe by Robert Liparulo, and When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon.
If you’ve published a series, what is the series about?
I have a series of inspirational romances called the Veteran Hearts series. It’s about military veterans in college who find love. So far there are only two novels (Battlefield of the Heart and Trust of the Heart) and a short story prequel (Wounds of the Heart) in the series, but I have ideas for a few more novels.
What was it like creating back to back stories that link?
It was a lot of fun to get immersed in the world of the Veteran Hearts series. The hero of Trust of the Heart started out as an important secondary character in Battlefield of the Heart, so it was great to get to know him better. By the time I finished both novels and the prequel, I’d spent so much time with the characters that I missed them.
Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could, what genre would you like to dabble in?
Actually, I’ve done more than think about it. I’ve published inspirational romance, sweet romance, contemporary young adult, and I’m in the midst of serializing a women’s fiction novel. I also have a few speculative fiction ideas partially written. You know, science fiction and fantasy. My tastes in writing are as varied as my tastes in reading.
Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?
I’m a total pantser. Every time I’ve tried to outline a book, it’s killed my creativity and made it impossible to write. So, I start with a vague idea and a character or two, and see where it goes. Sometimes that method enables me to write quickly. I wrote my new adult romance Covered in a week and Bogota Blessings in three weeks. But sometimes the ideas drift off into the ether midway through a book, and I have to set it aside until I know what happens next. That happened several times with Battlefield of the Heart. It took over five years to finish the first draft of that one. The good news is that I always have another partial manuscript I can work on.
What are you working on now? What will you release next?
As I mentioned earlier, I’m in the midst of serializing a women’s fiction novel. The title is Out of Her Element, and it’s about a Palestinian immigrant who learns that living a life of luxury may not be as great as it sounds.
So… where can we get your books?
You can find them on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes. But the easiest way to see all of my books in one place (and find links to buy them) is to visit my website: http://eawest.mcphitty.com/books.html
If you want to read Out of Her Element, a new chapter gets released every Friday on my blog (http://thewestcorner.wordpress.com) and Tapas (http://tapas.io/series/Out-of-Her-Element). You can also download the Tapas app and read it there.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
My research methods are kind of fluid. I may do a little research before I start writing, but most of the research happens while I’m writing the story or during the revision stage. Since I write by the seat of my pants, I rarely know what I need to research in advance. I have to wait until it pops up in the story and then learn enough to write that bit so I can continue on. It’s probably not the best way to do research, and it’s definitely not what the experts recommend, but it works for me.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I do read them. The good ones always provide a little boost to my mood. The really good ones I like to share with others. I may have even done a happy dance while reading some of the best. When I read a bad review, however, I learn what I can from the reviewer’s comments and move on. I’ve actually learned quite a bit about how to improve my writing from less-than-stellar reviews.
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
All my characters are figments of my imagination. I sometimes get inspiration for reactions to things from real people, usually by asking various family members or friends, “If this thing happened, what would you do/say?” But all those answers get tossed together and something that works for the particular character involved comes out. My characters tend to take on a life of their own during the writing process and become unique individuals. If anyone reads one of my books and thinks, “Hey! That sounds just like (whoever)!” I can assure them that it’s entirely coincidental.
What was the inspiration for your latest work of fiction?
I started writing Out of Her Element at a time when Israel and Palestine were in the news often. There was a lot of tension between the two countries at the time, and I couldn’t help wondering about the individuals trying to live their lives with all the political turmoil and terrorist attacks. There was also a lot of anti-Muslim, anti-Middle Eastern sentiment floating around in the US. A character and a situation to toss her into popped into my head, and the story was born.
Which one of your characters is your favorite and why?
I have several favorites, but for now I’ll go with Basir Hamidi, the hero of Redeeming Honor. I learned a lot while writing him, and he’s got a romantic side that I would totally swoon over if he were a real person.
What would you like readers to know?
Readers are some of my favorite people on the planet. Without you guys, I wouldn’t be in this business. After all, what’s the point of writing stories if you don’t have anyone to share them with? So, thank you for reading and sharing your favorite books with others. I’ve discovered more than one favorite author because someone recommended a book to me.
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/EAWestAuthor
One man’s honor is another man’s shame.
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.
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.