Clarice James

Smart, Fun, Relatable Fiction


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Author Melinda Inman — A Prodigal Now Returned

Official Author Photo Melinda Viergever Inman

Melinda Viergever Inman was raised in the tornado capital of the U.S.—Wakita, Oklahoma, of “Twister” fame. There her roots were sunk in a storytelling family. During years of relocation, tragedy struck. Wounded and heartbroken, Melinda forsook her roots and ran from herself and from God. A journey of trial and heartache brought her home again. A prodigal now returned to her secure foundation, she writes with passion, illustrating God’s love for wounded people as he makes beauty from ashes. Refugeher first novel, is published by Koehler Books Publishing.

CLARICE: What lessons have you learned from this writing journey? 

MELINDA: I’ve learned that God comforts believers in hardship, equipping us to illustrate his goodness in trial. This requires suffering. We are then able to encourage broken people, showing how God orchestrates beauty from our ashes. I wanted a rosy, sunshine-filled, pain-free life, but God continues to equip me to write for this particular audience.

My heart overflows with compassion for those who suffer from their own choices, from situations outside their control, or from the actions of others. I am one of them. If the Lord can orchestrate my messy life for good, I know he can do the same for my readers.

CLARICE: As a committed Christian, do you plan to seek publication solely in the Christian market? If not, how do you see yourself fitting into the general publishing market?

MELINDA: This raises a question. If we write raw, emotional content for broken people like us, should we aim solely at the Christian market? Or should we try to embrace the secular market as well? Penning this type of material shapes how we seek to publish.

RefugeRefuge is the story of Cain, Abel, Lilith—the sister Cain desires to marry, and what happens next. It deals with sibling conflict, a relationship we would consider to be incest, fratricide, immorality, cutting, attempted suicide, revenge, and redemption. It’s gritty.

I made the decision to seek a broad audience. So I was thrilled when I received a contract with Koehler Books, a traditional publishing house owned by a Christian publisher. For distribution we chose to label Refuge as both Christian and open-market historical fiction. Straddling both made for tricky marketing and a learning experience.

CLARICE: How has your faith played a role in helping you share your story? 

MELINDA: Authors and publishers must learn to think creatively for the good of our audiences—the people who need the uplifting themes of our stories. We must move outside our comfort zones. This isn’t easy. There will always be people who don’t understand why we’ve written or marketed our stories as we have, but the impact these novels have on broken lives makes it worth the challenge.

My publisher and I have walked a fine line in moving Christians to buy a novel from a traditional house while prompting the open market to respond to a novel that has “Christian” attached. As we discuss publishing Fallen, the next novel, we tweak our strategies.

CLARICE: What else have you written? And what are you working on now?

MELINDA: There are three books in this first series, but I have also written stories in other genres. All of them deal with faith issues from the perspective of a protagonist who is wounded or suffers within the story. My lead characters make tragic mistakes, have had crushing childhoods, or have been hurt by religious people. They have an ax to grind with God.

These types of stories appeal to both church-injured, world-weary Christians and to those who don’t claim to have faith, have been hurt, and yet still yearn for God.

CLARICE: How do you plan to get these stories to your target audience? What if you can’t find the right publisher?

Melinda ay B&NMELINDA: I love and trust my publisher, but I believe we also need to have open minds about quality self-publishing. He agrees. We may want control over the details and timing of a novel, we may plan to publish an off-genre tale from our usual niche, or, just maybe, we don’t want a Christian label on a project we’ve aimed at a wider market. This business decision is especially true if we’ve written a book that draws unbelieving people to Christ.

To target this audience we must be willing and able to avoid preaching. We don’t have to supply every detail about God or faith within each story. We have to let our characters be true to themselves without our author voice intruding to moralize. Consequences, both good and bad, must be shown, not told. Or, as we did with Refuge, we have the option of including a study guide that has reflective faith content, if the reader desires it, leaving the story more accessible to a general audience.

In whatever ways we yield as finely honed tools in the Lord’s hands, he draws the reader. Writing for both markets has been difficult, but rewarding. When I hear how my story has touched hurting or discouraged readers, believer or nonbeliever, I am full of joy.

Serving the Lord in the area to which he has called us as writers provides great reward, whoever the audience or whatever the subject matter.

Have you found your niche? Do you seek to write outside the boundaries of the typical Christian market? What are your experiences?

SPECIAL NOTE: Enter the Refuge holiday giveaway and e-book sale at Deck the Shelves for the giveaway. To order an e-book for $.99,  click on  Kindle or Nook.


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Meet & Greet Author Nancy Ferrin

MnGNancy Ferrin is one of seven published authors who’ll be featured at the MEET & GREET LOCAL CHRISTIAN AUTHORS event scheduled for Saturday, November 1, 2014 from 3:00 to 5:30 pm at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin St., Nashua, New Hampshire. Guests will enjoy FREE admission, refreshments, book-signings, special discounts, and a chance to win a Kindle Paperwhite! Click HERE to register!  
Nancy Ferrin

CLARICE: What do you want readers to experience while reading your books, Nancy?

NANCY: My books, Where is My Baby and When a Prodigal Breaks Your Heart: The Search for Understanding and Hope (Westbow Press, 2012) address difficult life situations, so my desire is that readers find hope and encouragement as they relate to what is shared. Each book recounts my personal experience, ties it to scripture, and includes application questions to further engage the reader. Ideally the reader will be surprised by what we have in common and then optimistic that the Lord will provide the strength needed for their journey.

CLARICE: What do you want your readers to know about you?

NANCY: I am an ordinary woman, serving an extraordinary God. There is nothing commendable about me except that the Lord saw fit to enable me to share from the heart about my broken places. I am available via email for those who desire some personal support. Future plans also include the formation of support groups for parents of prodigals.

CLARICE: Tell us a little bit about your book When a Prodigal Breaks Your Heart: The Search for Understanding and Hope (Westbow Press, 2012).

NANCY: It’s a book for those who are experiencing the heartbreak of a wayward child or young adult. Each chapter addresses a common emotion felt by the parent in this situation, along with biblical truth to anchor the heart.

CLARICE: What inspired you to write this particular book?

NANCY: When one of my sons chose the prodigal path, I was worried about his choices and had no thought of writing a book. Over time, the Lord showed me the outline and I was ready to write. However, He closed the door on my ideas and I sensed in my spirit that I should wait. A few years later, my daughter choose a similar path and I realized I had more to learn before writing. One summer, the floodgates opened and I wrote the first nine chapters in less than two months. Another “hold” was placed by God so I waited nearly a year before writing the last chapter. In the years following, another one of my five children chose a different, but equally divergent path. So this life journey continues to challenge me to trust God’s plan despite what I see – to walk by faith and not by sight. I know He will be faithful.

Ferrin ProdigalCLARICE: If you could impart one thing to your readers, what would it be?

NANCY: You are not alone. God has not forgotten you or your prodigal. He can be trusted to complete what He has begun in each one of us. Keep looking to Him!

CLARICE: How have your readers responded to your personal stories?

NANCY: Readers have been extremely supportive and kind. Many have told me they could relate to what I shared and have found hope in their own struggle. My two children whose stories are shared in the book are glad to know their troubled past is being used to shed light and spread hope to others.

One reader wrote: “I appreciate your insights and your honesty. You have walked a long and often lonely road and found victory in Christ. I’m grateful for the praying and encouraging friends God put in your life. He does indeed take care of His own.”

Another shared: “I read your book and felt such encouragement as I read it… Thanks for writing this book. Your sweet sweet spirit and strong faith shine like a beacon of hope. May God bless many lives with this book.”

CLARICE: How has your faith played a role in helping you write/share your story?

NANCY: God directed the process for each book. They were written according to His timetable and sometimes the words just poured into my mind as my fingers tried to keep up. Much prayer has surrounded the project, asking that He would use my words to encourage others. Funds were also miraculously provided for the expenses involved with getting the prodigal book into print.

CLARICE: What did you do before you became a writer? Or what do you do besides write?

NANCY: Besides writing, I enjoy leading ladies’ bible studies and speaking at retreats and workshops. Occupationally, I was a computer programmer for many years, and now teach math at a public high school.

CLARICE: Where can our readers (or listeners) meet you and get a copy of your books?

NANCY: At the Meet & Greet Local Christian Authors Event, 3:00 to 5:30 pm. Saturday, November 1, 2014 at Bonhoeffer’s Café & Espresso, 8 Franklin Street, Nashua, NH. They can register online by going to www.EventBrite.com and searching Meet & Greet Local Christian Authors. If they have questions about this event, they can the Event Planners Clarice James at 603-578-1860 or Cindy Saab at 978-821-6547.

“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. ~ Luke 15:22-24 (NIV)

MORE ABOUT NANCY: Nancy is the mother of five adult children, two of whom chose a prodigal path. Her ministries include Bible studies, speaking at retreats and workshops, and overseeing discipleship and women’s ministries. Formerly a computer programmer, Nancy teaches math at a public high school.  www.steppingcloser.com