Today, I’m welcoming Regina Tittel, author of Abandoned Hearts, to Infinite Characters. Regina is a homeschool mom to her two daughters and has been married for almost eighteen years. She and her husband are still madly in love, which gives her a lot to work with in romance. She admits she has an overactive imagination, which helps in creating suspense. She has written and published Abandoned Hearts in ebook. The paperback version will soon be released. You can find Abandoned Hearts on Amazon.com, Smashwords.com, and Pubit.
Here’s the back cover copy for Abandoned Hearts:
Stranded by flood waters in the heart of the Ozarks, Ann McHaven is forced to stay with a rugged farmer, Jacob Durham. Her annoyance with him soon turns to attraction. The magnetic pull between them puts her faith to the test as temptations tease her thoughts.
Independent and stubborn, Jacob’s eyes and heart are opened to all he has to lose when a fearless mountain lion turns him into the hunted. Will his life be spared long enough to restore his trust in God, and admit his love for Ann?
And a short teaser from the book:
Had she unknowingly entered the cougar’s lair?
The light changed, as if a shadow passed by. Ann’s breath froze. “Is someone else here?” Above, loft boards creaked. Dust sprinkled into the shafts of light around her. Her mind raced as a rapid pounding claimed her heart. Don’t panic. She forced a breath against the tightening of her chest. Frantic eyes searched for an exit. The stall door held her only escape. Ann took shallow breaths as she moved toward the other side of the room. The dirt floor softened her footsteps. Once there, she paused and twirled her hair. The open front of the barn stood partially visible. Ann strained to see or hear something…anything outside the opening. She started forward. Thump. A startled shriek escaped her lips. Had something heavy fallen from the loft? She held her breath. A crash followed a blur of movement. Something large made a quick retreat. Ann screamed.
How exciting! That would certainly keep me reading. Thanks for sharing that.
Tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
First, my husband once told me there’s nothing I can’t do without a manual. So with that in mind, I took the manual to his ’66 GTO and removed the leaky radiator and took it to the shop. When he got home, he mentioned we needed to do just that. I said, actually, we just need to pick it up! (He’s still proud of that one!)Second, I’ve tanned hides. (Not very well, but I tried.)And third, I’ve bungee-jumped. (And screamed the entire time!)
I’m impressed, Regina. Even with a manual, I’d be lost under the hood of a vehicle. As for the bungee-jumping, no way! My head is spinning just thinking about that! No wonder your characters are so brave.
So getting back to earth, as a child or teenager, did you ever dream of being an author?
Never. I couldn’t even manage an A in English. In fact, English, Language Arts, basically anything to do with words, were my least favorite classes.
Share something about your day-to-day life that might help a reader feel as though they know you a little better.
I get up at 5am, start writing at 6am. Children are up around 7 or 8. I have very little time for writing (I homeschool), yet I make it work.
When did you first begin writing, and why do you write still?
Three years ago. I would read Love Inspired books as I nursed our baby, once she was weaned, the ideas began to flow. I write to deliver a message. Each book has a purpose. In Abandoned Hearts, I wanted people to understand God still desires us to be pure. I wanted to take the reader to a place of physical temptation they could relate to and show them how to step back and why they should. It is possible to remain abstinent before marriage in this day and age. But, we need to speak up and encourage our young people, else how will they know?
In my second of this series, Unexpected Kiss (not yet released), I wanted to create a very flawed person. My heroin made tremendous mistakes in her past. She was a bad girl, that never had a father figure, thus always sought of approval from males. This is a scenario all too familiar today. Through her story, I show the reader God’s unconditional love and forgiveness.
Still, my third work-in-progress, Coveted Bride, I have a purpose. It’s odd actually, because it’s a very small part of the story. But I want to convey the importance of protecting your children. The world is full of bad people that want to hurt them, have they been informed? Do they know what to do if approached? Do you have a code word between them that signifies danger? Will they know where to run? My critique partners haven’t gotten far enough to know where I’m going, but that is one of the main purposes of this book.
How many books do you have published and where can they be found?
I currently only have one available. Abandoned Hearts can be found at Kindle, Pubit, and Smashwords. It will also be available in print by the end of July. My second book, Unexpected Kiss, I hope to have out this fall.
Tell us about the journey to getting this first book published.
I started with submitting to agents. Most of them told me to join American Christian Fiction Writers, so I finally did. Wow, I never knew there were so many rules to writing. I’ve gleaned a great deal from being a member and would recommend it to any aspiring writer. Next, I joined small writing contests. I paid attention to the feed-back from judges and my full manuscript landed on the desk of Melissa Endlich at Love Inspired. Exactly where I intended it to be. However, she decided although the story was what her readers would like, my writing needed to be strengthened. I spent many more months doing just that and decided to self-publish rather than try a publisher again. I’m not much on patience and didn’t want another three month wait. Plus, there’s no stress involved with self-publishing. The only deadlines I have to meet are the ones I put on myself.
What inspired you to write this particular book?
A gravel road beside our house. I thought we’d driven on all of them, but somehow this particular turn off was overlooked. It’s exactly how I describe it in the book, Abandoned Hearts.
Where do you get ideas for your books?
They mainly come from two directions. Either I’ll be inspired by another book I’ve read or from someone’s trials their sharing with me. I don’t copy from either, but my eyes will suddenly be opened to a new, oft-times challenging idea.
How do you choose names for your characters?
Sometimes in the phone book, or movie credits.
In three words describe your style of writing.
Edgy, descriptive and relatable.
How do you get to know your characters?
By having known them. I use loved ones from my youth, pieced together neighbors, parts of myself, etc.
You mentioned homeschooling so I’m sure you have to juggle writing with family responsibilities as well as other obligations. How do you balance everything?
I’m a juggler. I write an hour or two before the kids awake. Maybe for an hour in the afternoon and that’s about it.
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
Completely. I want to honor God in all that I do. That is my sole purpose for writing under my own name and not a pen name. I want to be able to hold my head up without shame if someone from church (particularly where I grew up) reads one of my novels.
Regina, thank you for taking time to answer my questions. I’ve enjoyed having you on Infinite Characters.
Regina can also be found at A Mustard Seed of Faith where she shares her thoughts and information on self-publishing as well as her faith. She currently has an interview up with Victorine Leiske, who is the best-selling author of Not What She Seems. Victorine’s book climbed to the top 100 rank at Amazon and further spent 6-weeks on the New York Times Best Selling List, a feat almost unheard for a self-published ebook.
Regina will be giving away a copy of her ebook, Abandoned Hearts. Leave a comment below to be included. Please check back here on Thursday for the announcement of the winner, who will need to follow the instructions to receive the ebook.