Author Interview with Laurie Lucking – Traitor Blog Tour


Title: Traitor
Series: Tales of the Mystics #2
Author: Laurie Lucking
Publisher: Love2ReadLove2Write Publishing LLC
Release Date: 
April 27, 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy

Princess Penelope has finally found a way to redeem her past mistakes—if only it didn’t require betraying her new fiancé.
Princess Penelope has been the object of gossip and ridicule ever since she returned home in disgrace following her failed engagement to the Crown Prince of Imperia. When her father offers a new start in a country far across the sea, she has no choice but to accept. Even if it means another betrothal, this time to a total stranger.
Penelope arrives in Delunia determined to avoid bringing further shame upon her family.
But her devoted, caring fiancé makes it harder to guard her heart than she anticipated, and
rumors of dark magic haunt her with memories she’d rather keep buried far beneath her
pristine exterior.
When a poverty-stricken village outside the palace gates looks to her as their hope for a
brighter future, Penelope embraces the opportunity to make amends for her
transgressions. But in order to help, she must manipulate her new fiancé, putting her
reputation on the line once more. And her heart. Can Penelope rise above the failures of her past, or will she forever be branded a traitor?

Thank you so much for hosting me today, Riella! I so appreciate the opportunity to share a
bit about myself and Traitor. 🙂

  1. What first made you start writing?

    I’ve loved books ever since my earliest memories. My active imagination devised plots for
    every form of play, from the sandbox to American Girl dolls. I enjoyed writing stories
    (complete with dreadful illustrations!) until about mid-grade school, when sadly I let a few
    class assignments convince me I was a bad writer.
    The stories never left my head, but I didn’t bother to write anything down until much more
    recently. When I left my job as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom back in 2012, I
    desperately needed a project to occupy my mind while I spent precious but long days at
    home with my newborn. Eventually, I summoned the courage to start typing one of my
    favorite daydreamed stories, and I fell in love all over again!
  2. What genre would you categorize your books and what made you choose that?

    I would categorize my books as young adult fantasy, or to be super-specific: young adult
    Christian fairy tale fantasy. Ha, what a mouthful! I write for young adults because that’s still
    my favorite genre to read, and growing up those were the books that had the greatest
    impact on my life. As a pre-teen or teenager, if I found a book that really resonated with me
    I read it again and again, living in that storyworld as much as possible. Now I hope to
    provide that kind of home-away-from-home for my readers!
    To be honest, I didn’t originally intend to write a Christian series. But the main character in
    Common (Tales of the Mystics, Book One) had a faith element to her journey I couldn’t
    ignore, and when my worldbuilding led me to mystics who channel power from God (or the
    Luminate, as He’s called in my fantasy world), I decided to embrace it!
    As for fantasy, I love adding at least a few fantastical elements to every story. It allows me
    to stretch my creativity and makes for plots with higher stakes and less predictability. I use
    fairy tales as my primary inspiration because they’re so timeless and beloved, and it’s so
    fun to see how putting new twists on a familiar tale can add layers of meaning and
    complexity. Plus, fairy tales lend themselves so well to clean romance with happily-ever-
    after endings!
  3. What are some of your steps to creating a fictional world?

    I don’t spend much time worldbuilding before I start writing, so my fictional worlds come
    into being organically as the stories fall into place. Usually I just add new countries,
    traditions, historical events, etc. as they’re needed while I’m writing, then go back and tighten the elements of my storyworld while editing. But I definitely have a strong sense for the feel of my setting before I get started! For Common, I envisioned a medieval-esque fairy tale kingdom with prim manners and tight social constraints that the main characters would have to work around. Traitor starts out there as well, but then I had fun creating a contrasting country for Princess Penelope’s new home filled with vibrancy and commotion that challenged her to grow beyond her comfort zone.
  4. How did you choose the title Traitor?

    I have to give my editor credit for that one! I originally had a different story planned for Book Two (which will now be Book Three instead!), but my editor suggested I write a book centering on Princess Penelope since the epilogue of Common hints at her journey to a faraway country for a new engagement. She proposed the title Traitor, and I loved it! Each title in my series is one word that describes a misconception the main character has about herself. So Traitor not only has an intriguing ring to it, but it also encapsulates Princess Penelope’s inner struggle as she strives to redeem her past mistakes while stumbling along the way.
  5. What was the hardest part about writing this book?

    The hardest part of writing Traitor was finding the creative energy to move forward during some challenging life situations. Writing provides such an exciting outlet when I’m caught up in my fantasy world and the lives of my characters, but I find it very draining. Shortly after Common released, our family experienced a loss that sent me reeling for months. For a while it was hard to imagine ever pouring myself into a story again when my heart felt so broken and my mind so numb. Then I became pregnant with our third child, and I was overjoyed but exhausted in an entirely different way. It took a lot of strength and prayer to rebuild to a point where I could funnel energy and passion back into my writing.
  6. Was it easier or harder to write this book as opposed to the 1st one?

    They were each challenging in their own ways! Common practically wrote itself at times because I was so engaged in the story and characters and had more downtime to write. But because I was still so new to the craft, it needed tons of rewrites and edits at every step along the way. Traitor’s first draft was much harder to complete since I didn’t feel as close to the story at the beginning and didn’t have as many aspects of the plot fleshed out in my mind. But although I still have a lot to learn, thankfully the editing for Traitor was much more straightforward and my later drafts didn’t need nearly as many revisions!
  7. Did you always plan to write Penelope’s story?

    I didn’t! As I mentioned above, I originally planned to write a different story, tentatively titled Scarred, as the second book in my Tales of the Mystics series. The idea for Traitor was inspired by my editor, and I’ll admit my first inclination was to dismiss it. Scarred was already halfway written, and I wasn’t sure I could connect enough with Penelope to write an entire book about her. But the idea stuck with me, and soon I had the outline of a plot. I’m grateful for my editor’s brilliant idea and that I took the time to pursue it for so many reasons. Princess Penelope’s story had so much for me to learn, as both a writer and as a flawed person longing for forgiveness and redemption. And this addition to the series balances the rest of the books out really well, adding a layer of depth I couldn’t have achieved if I’d jumped straight into the next story. Now I’m working on completing Scarred as Tales of the Mystics, Book Three!
  8. Which was your favorite character? Is it the one you most related to?

    Interestingly, my favorite character in Traitor is probably the one who’s the least like me! Princess Dionne, the younger sister of Penelope’s new fiancé, took me by surprise as I was writing because I expected her to be a very minor character. But her bluntness and sense of humor made me curious to explore her personality more, and I enjoyed giving her opportunities to interact with Penelope both as a friend and as someone who wasn’t afraid to voice harsh truths. I think the fact that I’m her opposite—a shy peacemaker—is what made her my favorite character, because I got to explore what it would be like to react to situations so differently than what I’m used to with only fictional consequences. 🙂

    I hope you enjoy Princess Dionne and the rest of the cast of Traitor! I’m so grateful to my readers for sticking with me during this long writing process—I did my best to make the story worth the wait! Thanks again for inviting me to visit today!


Laurie Lucking loves hoarding books, singing at the top of her lungs, playing games that
don’t involve too much strategy, and spending time with her husband and three energetic
kids. A recovering attorney, she now spends her days as a stay-at-home mom and has
discovered writing young adult romantic fantasy is way more fun than drafting contracts.
Her fairy tale–inspired stories combine the excitement of discovering new worlds with the
timeless enchantment of falling in love. Find out more about Laurie and her writing
adventures at

A Brother’s Promise

Welcome to the Blog Tour for the A Brother’s Promise by Mindy Obenhaus, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Title: A Brother’s Promise
Author: Mindy Obenhaus
Publisher: Harlequin Love Inspired
Release Date: 
February 23, 2021
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance

A little girl will change his world…

He didn’t realize he wanted a family…

until he suddenly became a single dad.

After his sister’s death, rancher Mick Ashford’s determined to ensure his orphaned niece, Sadie, feels at home. And accepting guidance from Christa Slocum is his first step. But just as Christa and Sadie start to settle into Mick’s heart, Sadie’s paternal grandparents sue for custody. Now Mick must fight to keep them together…or risk losing the makeshift family he’s come to love.

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookDepository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub

We were so excited to be able to interview Mindy Obehaus, here is our interview.

Author Interview

  • Is it easier or harder to write a continuation of a series? Why or why not?

I think it’s a little easier because there are things that have already been
established, like many of the characters and the setting.

  • How did you decide to write about who to write about next?

You know, I’m not really sure. One book in the series is a Christmas story, so
I had to work around that. Of course, I also had to look at what time of the
year each story was set, so that was likely the biggest factor when choosing.

  • Is it more difficult to write children than adults? Why or why not?

Kids are definitely easier to write, at least for me. I love writing children
and old people because you never know what they might say, so they can
really put the hero/heroine on the spot.

  • How did you come up with the idea for this story? 

I knew Christa had been a savvy tech industry exec who’d walked away from
it, looking for a simpler life. So in coming up with a partner for her I took
the opposites-attract approach. Throw in a little fish-out-of-water by having
a single cowboy suddenly become a father and it seemed like the way to go.

  • Are you a pantser or plotter? How did this tendency show up with this book?

I’m a pantser at heart, but I’m forced to plot. However, if I’m writing along
and something deviates from the plot, I usually take it as a nudge from God
and go with.

  • As you were writing, did you always know how the story was going to go? Were there any surprises for you?

The ending was actually a surprise for me. I had envisioned it much
differently. It turned out much better than I’d anticipated.

  • Do you have a favorite character in this book? Who is it and why?

Definitely Sadie because I never knew what she was going to say. And she
made a pretty good voice of reason, too.

  • Do you have ranch/cowgirl roots? Is there any inspiration for Mick and his ranch from your own life?

I actually live on a working cattle ranch, though my husband is not a rancher.
We lease the land. That said, I know lots of ranchers and have watched
them work cattle, aid with birthing calves when a cow is in distress and all
sorts of other things. It was inevitable I put that knowledge to use one day.
Though I’m glad it was only through storytelling. Those ranchers are some
tough people.


Mindy Obenhaus

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer and the occasional coyote, mountain lion or snake. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking and watching the Hallmark Channel. Learn more at

CONNECT WITH MINDY: Website | Facebook | Instagram


(1) winner will receive a “Drink Tea, Read Books, Be Happy” teaspoon, English Breakfast tea, a $15 Amazon gift card, and a signed copy of the book!

A Brother's Promise JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight March 1, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on March 8, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

An Unlikely Proposal Blog Tour

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour for An Unlikely Proposal by Toni Shiloh, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Author: Toni Shiloh

Publisher: Love Inspired

Release Date: February 1, 2021

Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance

Their friendship can survive almost anything…

For two best friends, marriage could be their greatest test yet…

Trinity Davis must not have heard firefighter Omar Young correctly. Did her handsome widowed best friend just suggest they get married? Omar needs a mom for his adorable little girls, and it’ll fix Trinity’s financial woes. But saying “I do” isn’t just business. Especially when the only vow they’re in danger of breaking is their promise to not fall in love…

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | Christianbook | BookBub


Author Interview:

  1. What made you want to be a writer?
    I’ve always enjoyed reading and dabbled in writing throughout my school days. However, after I
    took a creative writing degree in college, that love of writing was really nurtured and developed.
  2. What was the hardest part of writing An Unlikely Proposal?
    The revisions!! They were painful at times but certainly stretched me as a writer. Now that
    they’re done with, I can appreciate the process. But during that time, I probably ate more
    chocolate than necessary.
  3. Where did you get the idea for An Unlikely Proposal?
    I love marriage of convenience tropes. They’re my favorite to read and you don’t see them as
    often in contemporary setting. I knew I wanted to write one so I brainstormed until the idea
  4. Did you base your characters off of anyone?
    No. I don’t think I’ve ever done that in my stories.
  5. What do you want people to take away from An Unlikely Proposal?
    That you can trust God with your pain. He’s willing to take you through the healing process,
    whatever that looks like for you.
  6. What character do you relate to most?
    Oh good question! Probably Trinity. I’ve never suffered the depth of lost that Omar has so
    Trinity was easier to relate to.
  7. How do you deal with writer’s block?
    If I’m stuck, I’ll listen to music, talk to one of my critique partners for possible ideas on how to
    move forward, and pray!
  8. How do you create characters that people can connect to?
    I really get to know my characters and what triggers and things elicit strong emotions. Once I
    know those details, I’m able to pants my way through the story.

Book Review:

I was super excited to read this book because I always find marriage of convenience stories super sweet and enjoyable. And I have to say, An Unlikely Proposal was an amazing book! Trinity Davis never expected to find herself in a marriage of convenience to her best friend, Omar Young, but that is where she found herself. Omar Young wasn’t looking for love, however his girls need someone to care for them and he needs help. Will Omar and Trinity be able to make their relationship work or will they stay in a marriage of convenience?

Trinity had suffered through a horrible break up, she didn’t want to risk her again. But then her best friend suggests marriage, she finds herself in a totally different situation. I liked Trinity, I thought that she was so sweet. I loved how much she cared for Omar and for his girls. She had diabetes, and it was really affecting their life. She had learned how to care for herself, but she needed the insurance to pay for her insulin. 

Omar was a great guy, I loved reading about his care for his daughters. He was a strong firefighter but he was also grieving. He had lost his wife a couple of years ago, and now he finds his mother-in-law gone. He needed the help to care for his girls, Faith and Joy. However Omar really cared for Trinity, and it was sweet to see it grow into love. 

Omar and Trinity were a lovely couple and I really liked how they were friends first. Their love grew from friendship to something more. They had to work through their past hurts, in order to actually make their marriage work. I loved Omar’s daughters, they were so sweet and cute. I also liked Rock, he was so steady and a stronghold for Omar. 

I found An Unlikely Proposal awesome! I loved the characters. They had to work on their relationship, and go to God for guidance. I would definitely recommend this book! I can’t wait to see what else she writes. An Unlikely Proposal was a sweet, Christian, clean read!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion, I was not required to write a positive review.


Toni Shiloh

Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and multi-published Christian contemporary romance author. She writes to bring God glory and to learn more about His goodness. Her novel, Grace Restored, was a 2019 Holt Medallion finalist and Risking Love is a 2020 Selah Award finalist.

A member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and of the Virginia Chapter, Toni seeks to help readers find authors. She loves connecting with readers and authors alike via social media. You can learn more about her writing at

CONNECT WITH TONI: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


(1) winner will receive a paperback copy of An Unlikely Proposal, a Texas bluebonnet mug, and a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

An Unlikely Proposal JustRead Giveaway

Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway began at midnight February 1, 2021 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on February 8, 2021. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

JustRead Publicity Tours

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Author Interview with Mindy Obenhaus

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for A Father’s Promise by Mindy Obenhaus, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for Mindy Obenhaus’s new book, A Father’s Promise! I adored this book, it was so good. I can’t wait for you guys to read the book, and today I am so lucky to be able to share an interview with Mindy.


Title: A Father’s Promise
Author: Mindy Obenhaus
Publisher: Love Inspired
Release Date: June 16, 2020
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Romance

He doesn’t think he deserves a family…
but now he has a daughter.

Stunned to discover he has a child, Wes Bishop isn’t sure he’s father material. But his adorable daughter needs him, and he can’t help feeling drawn to her mother, Laurel Donovan — a woman he’s finally getting to know.

But can this sudden dad overcome a past tragedy that has him convinced he’s not meant to be a husband or a father…and make a promise of forever?

PURCHASE LINKS*: GoodreadsAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Book DepositoryChristianbook

Now to the Interview:

Riella: Where did you find the idea behind this book?
Mindy: I think it found me. I had a single mother with a baby, and she had no idea where
the father was or even his last name. So that begged the question, what if he
showed up one day?

Riella: What made you want to be a writer?
Mindy: That is something that’s a challenge to figure out. You see, I was never a reader.
Even though my mother devoured romance novels my entire life, I had no
interest in reading. Then she moved in with us and brought hundreds of books
with her. All romance, but newer. As I sorted through them, hoping to get rid of
some, I became intrigued and the next thing I knew, I was reading book after
Over time I realized that even though I hadn’t been reading for all those years, I
was always making up stories in my head. Soon I began to wonder if could
actually write one of those stories. So, I gave it a try. Of course, I knew nothing
about the craft of writing, so I had to learn. But God used that time to impress
upon me that He wanted me to write for Him. So, that’s what I’ve always tried to

Riella: What character are you most like?
Mindy: Hmm… Good question. I would say there’s
a little bit of me in each of my heroines, but I’m probably most like Paisley, one of
Laurel’s friends who happens to be in the process of getting her own story.
Paisley is nurturing and loves to bake and entertain.

Riella: What do you want people to take away from this book?
Mindy: I want them to understand that no matter how big our mistakes, God can turn
them into blessings.

Riella: How did you get the ideas for the characters?
Mindy: That’s a tough question because they just kind of come to me. Then I have to get
to know them and find out what makes them tick.

Riella: Do you take inspiration from your life for plot points, characters, etc?
Mindy: Quite often, yes. 🙂

Riella: Is this book connected to the other series that you have written?
Mindy: It is not. A Father’s Promise is the first book in a new series entitled Bliss, Texas.

Riella: Which character do you relate to the most?
Mindy: I think I can relate to each of them in some way, shape or form. Or, at least, put
myself in their shoes.

About the Author:

Award-winning author Mindy Obenhaus is passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining and sometimes adventurous manner. She lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, two sassy pups, countless cattle, deer, and the occasional coyote, mountain lion, or snake. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, cooking, and watching copious amounts of the Hallmark Channel.

CONNECT WITH MINDY: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads |  Bookbub


(1) winner will receive a signed copy of A Father’s Promise, a $20 Amazon gift card, and a James 1:17 mug!

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule linked below. Giveaway will begin at midnight July 6, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on July 13, 2020. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.


Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!

Dust Blog Tour Stop #1

Hi Lost Boys and girls, I am so excited to have you here on my blog. I know you are going to have so much fun with us in Neverland as we go on a mad treasure hunt. This is stop #1 of the Dust Tour, in this tour you will collect 36 clues. Each clue will stitch together to create a passage, and each stop will lead you to the next until you end up where you started again!

Previous stop: Dust Blog Tour Kickoff!

I am so excited to be able to share this interview I had with Kara. Kara is a teen writer and her fairytale retelling of Peter Pan, Dust, comes out on July 21st, 2020. Read on to learn about her novel, Dust and her writing journey, and how she found her own treasure in writing. Dust (Heirs of Neverland) (9781621841265): Swanson ...

Title: Dust
Author: Kara Swanson
Publisher: Enclave Escape
Release Date: July 21st, 2020
Genre: Teen and Young Adult Fairy Tale Retelling

The truth about Neverland is far more dangerous than a fairy tale.

Claire Kenton believes the world is too dark for magic to be real–since her twin brother was stolen away as a child. Now Claire’s desperate search points to London… and a boy who shouldn’t exist.

Peter Pan is having a beastly time getting back to Neverland. Grounded in London and hunted by his own Lost Boys, Peter searches for the last hope of restoring his crumbling island: a lass with magic in her veins.

The girl who fears her own destiny is on a collision course with the boy who never wanted to grow up. The truth behind this fairy tale is about to unravel everything Claire thought she knew about Peter Pan–and herself.


Now here is the interview with Kara!

1. Tell us about yourself?

I write whimsical, raw, adventure-filled YA novels. I grew up overseas in the jungles of Papua New Guinea as the daughter of missionaries, spending my childhood running barefoot through tropical jungles. That sense of unique adventure eventually let me to spin stories of my own and I love the creative aspects of writing fantasy. I now work full time in the publishing industry as an author, marketing consultant, and author coach. I’m passionate about telling powerful stories, helping others find their voices, and living out a beautiful story in my own life.

2. How old are you?


3. How did you start writing?

I’ve been storytelling since I can remember, but I started writing novels at about sixteen.

4. What made you want to be a writer?

I love being able to craft worlds and characters and pouring my heart into pages that might just resonate with someone else. It wasn’t until I was a teen a co-authored a fantasy novel with a dear friend that I realized I really wanted to pursue this as a full time career.

5. How did you get ideas for the characters?

I’ve always thought that there was a lack of Peter Pan retelling that stayed really true to the original Peter that we all know and love, so I set out to craft a retelling of my own that built off J. M. Barrie’s foundational Peter, while letting him grow and expand a bit. I also created a character named Claire Kenton, who has grown up too fast and has pixie dust dripping from her fingertips—but refuses to believe in magic. Claire kind of represents the rest of us who never had a chance to escape to Neverland and had to see more of the world’s shadows than we might have chosen. And as Peter helps Claire begin to believe in magic again, she pushes him to step outside his selfish existence and truly become a leader who fights for his Neverland.

6. Which character are you most like?

Claire, probably. In the sense that I wove a lot of my own insecurities into her, and as Claire comes to realize where her identity is truly found, I was preaching a lot of that truth to myself.

7. Do you take inspiration from your life for plot points, characters, etc?

Absolutely! My characters all have a bit of me sprinkled in, while still being developed people all their own. Growing up in the remote jungle village where I did, I’ve also woven in some of those experiences into my representation of Neverland, etc.

8.What do you want people to take away from this book?

Hmmm…. a bit of hope and a sense of magic, maybe? To be reminded that we are never alone and that with a bit of faith and trust, anything is possible. ❤

9. What advice do you have for people who want to start writing?

Practice, practice, practice. The more you write, the faster you will grow and the more skills you will internalize!

10. What is your favorite fairy tale?

Not sure I have an absolute favorite, but I have always loved The Little Mermaid. ❤

Thank you so much Angeline for having me! And if you want to connect with me, I’m on Instagram (@karaswansonathor), Facebook (Kara Swanson, Author) and Twitter (@kswansonauthor) Thank you so much! Have a great day! Kara

I hope you Lost Boys and Girls had fun learning about Kara and her new book, Dust. You first clue in our exciting treasure hunt is “You

Your second stop is at Allie’s blog and opens up on June 2nd, good luck and enjoy flying around Neverland!

Author Interview with Olivia Smit

I am very excited for this post, today we have an author interview with Olivia Smit. Her debut novel , Seeing Voices is coming out in April 15th, 2020. I can’t wait for you all to read it! I will have a review out on the blog, closer to the release date of Olivia’s amazing book.

 Title: Seeing Voices
Author: Olivia Smit
Publisher: WhiteSpark Publishing
Release Date: April 15, 2020
Genre: Teen and Young Adult Christian Relationship Fiction

Image result for seeing voices olivia smit

Skylar Brady has a plan for her life…until a car accident changes everything.

Skylar knows exactly what she wants, and getting in a car accident the summer before twelfth grade isn’t supposed to be part of the plan. Although she escapes mostly unharmed, the accident has stolen more than just her hearing from her: she’s also lost the close bond she used to have with her brother.

When her parents decide to take a house-sitting job halfway across the province, it’s just one more thing that isn’t going according to plan. As the summer progresses, Skylar begins to gain confidence in herself, but as she tries to mend her relationship with her brother, she stumbles upon another hidden trauma. Suddenly, she’s keeping as many secrets as she’s struggling to uncover and creating more problems than she could ever hope to solve.

Now here is the interview with Olivia!

Image result for olivia smit

1. Tell us a little about yourself.

Ooo there’s so much I could say! I’ll start with some fun facts: I ADORE small towns, I love baking bread (the kneading is my favourite part!) and I recently started horseback riding (I’m hoping to enter a few competitions this spring)!

I’ve always been a reader (I read the Chronicles of Narnia for the first time when I was 6 years old) and I started writing books when I was in elementary school. Some of my favourite authors are Maggie Stiefvater, C. S. Lewis, and L. M. Montgomery.

2. How old are you?

I am 22 – turning 23 in just a few months!

3. How did you start writing?

I started telling stories before I knew how to write them down – we have a few little booklets full of stories I dictated to my mom as a child (one of them was about a skunk who has trouble making friends … but don’t worry, it had a happy ending)! Then, in grade 8, I took the One Year Adventure Novel course, and it changed everything. Finally I knew how to write a book! And I haven’t stopped since.

4. What made you want to be a writer?

I loved the way reading stories made me feel … how books could entertain me, make me laugh, help me heal, or encourage me when I felt sad. I started writing so long ago that I can’t fully remember what drew me to it, but I think it was partially because there were some stories that I wanted to read but just couldn’t find. So I wrote them instead! I think another reason I wanted to be a writer was because I loved books so much: writing, to me, was just another form of reading (where I could control the story!! What a power trip!! LOL) and I wanted to consume and reproduce stories in as many forms as possible!

5. How did you get ideas for the characters?

Sometimes they just appear in my head … I think Skylar and her brother Mike were like that. They just showed up one day, these two sibling/friends who couldn’t figure out how to talk to each other anymore. There was something so sweet about the way they loved each other – and something that touched my heart about the pain that had driven them apart – and I was CAPTIVATED. It took me almost a year to actually start writing, but I had Skylar and Mike turning around in my brain that whole time. I think Cam appeared because I wanted a friend for Skylar, and I knew she’d respond well to someone like him. And Anastasia and her sister were actually recycled from a childhood story idea that never got off the ground (in their original story, they were going to be teenage fairies), but I so enjoyed exploring their sister relationship in Seeing Voices, instead.

6. What gave you the idea for Seeing Voices?

There are so many different ways to answer this question! But really, I wrote Seeing Voices because it’s the story I was aching for. I so badly wanted to read a HAPPY Young Adult novel (I’d been in a difficult rut and kept picking up really dark, tragic stories that ended badly). I desperately wanted to see a family go through a traumatic experience and come out okay at the end of it. I wanted to read Christian fiction where God was more than just a plot device. And I wanted to see a character with hearing loss portrayed accurately, in an authentic, non-gimmicky way.

When Skylar and Mike appeared in my mind, it was a “perfect storm” … and I poured all of this aching and wanting into this story. I remember finishing it and thinking that maybe it was “the one” … maybe this was the book I’d finally polish and fix and send off to publishers, I loved it THAT much. And here we are!!

7. Which character are you most like?

I’m so torn in answering this question … because in little ways, I relate to each one of my characters. Many people who know me in real life see me in Skylar (and I’ll admit, I borrowed some of her internal monologue from the way my own mind works). When I was writing, though, I identified so strongly with Mike (emotionally, not literally – I never went off the rails like he did) that I almost wrote the entire book in his perspective, instead! I see bits of myself in Cam, too, and in Anastasia and her sister … but I guess really, I’m a cross between Skylar and Mike.

8. Do you take inspiration from your life for plot points, characters, etc?

Yes! Absolutely! I think you can kind of see this in my earlier answers, but I pull little pieces of myself and shape them into characters, and often, whatever is going on in my life will find its way into my writing!

Seeing Voices grew out of my own family experience with medical crisis/diagnosis as well as my struggles to grow up, wondering if I was outgrowing old friends. As Skylar and Mike figure out the different pieces of their lives, I was working through events from my own life, too. To be honest, sometimes when I’m figuring out something in my life these days, a line from the story will float through my head. In some ways, Seeing Voices inspires me more now than I inspired the original story while I was writing it! (does that make sense???)

9. What do you want people to take away from this book?

Most of all, more than anything, I just want people to know that they’re not alone. So often, we go through something tough and think that no one else in the world thinks the way we do, or asks the questions we’re asking, or hurts in the same places we hurt. And my favourite thing to do is read a book that reminds me that there are other people in the same place as me, so I hope Seeing Voices can be that story for someone else. I want to give people hope that families can go through tough stuff and recover, and still love each other, and come out stronger on the other side. And I want people to know that it’s okay to ask big questions about God. It’s okay to get mad and confused and upset. I hope Seeing Voices makes space for the messy, complicated bits of life … and I hope people feel like they can use that space to figure things out for themselves, too.

10. What advice do you have for people who want to start writing?

Read! Lots! Read so much! And then write often. Even if it’s just a little bit every day! Take a writing course, if you can, or check out a “how-to” book on writing from the library. Post little snippets of your work, or share them with friends and get feedback. Find a writing community and learn from them! EXPECT TO FAIL – but keep going! Keep growing … and don’t give up. Writing is fun and rewarding, but also difficult! And I’m learning all the time that it’s a long, slow game – not a short sprint.

That was a lot of jumbled-up info … but, in short, read. Write. Don’t give up. (repeat).

Angeline, thanks so much for having me on your blog!! I’m so excited to share all about Seeing Voices on Books and Everyday Life! Readers can find me at my website: and on Twitter and Instagram as @oliviamsmit if they’d like to stay in touch. 🙂 I love making new friends and I’d be just thrilled if they reached out!

I hope you guys enjoyed the interview. I had so much fun, getting to know Olivia.

You can preorder Olivia’s debut book here:

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