Books by Friends: Countenance, by Joy Ross Davis

One of the pitfalls (for me), of being a successful writer has been the diminished time I’ve spent reading. It surely isn’t for lack of desire because I love to read. It isn’t even so much a lack of time, either, because I believe you can always find time for things you really want to do. My problem seems to be physical, related to spending so many hours at a screen, putting together stories. There are days when I close my eyes and literally see words running across my vision like statistics on a ticker tape.

Vision problems aside, I want to read more than I have been, and I want many of those books to be the ones written by my writer friends. I have quite a stash.

Today, I post about Countenance, by Joy Ross Davis. This is her debut novel, published earlier this year by Ecanus Publishing. Joy refers to her book as “paranormal”, but these days, that genre conjures up images of vampires, werewolves and zombies, all of them so overdone that the majority the reading public is exhausted by it. I think the content of this book can more aptly be described as “supernatural”.

While I thoroughly enjoyed Countenance and found it well-written, I want to be honest and say it is not a quick, easy read. The story is unique and intriguing, drawing the reader in after a few pages. There are some terrifying moments between the covers of this book. Souls trapped in an old inn, strange comings and goings, and flashes into other times can confuse a reader who is easily distracted or not fully engaged in the story. So I recommend you read this book when you have some quiet reading time; you don’t want to miss out on the details that enrich this story.

Here is a video trailer for Countenance:

The author and I shared some conversation recently, and I now share with you a few tidbits on how this story came to be:

  • Where did the idea for Countenance originate?
    • The idea came from a voice I heard while standing on my porch one night. It said, “Countenance.” From there, the story ideas took hold and by the next morning, I knew all of the characters.
  • Why this story?
    • Countenance came at a time when I needed relief from the grief of losing my mother. It kept me sane and occupied, and the story blends all the elements of my family and experiences.
  •  How long did it take you to write it?
    • I wrote it in eight months then spent another four months with an editor to revise and polish it.
  • Do you believe in angels and demons (bright spirits and dark spirits) and were you taught to believe as a child?
    • I do most certainly believe in angels and demons, but I was not taught that as a child. I was discouraged in those beliefs, but when I was six, I had an experience that cemented my belief in angels.
  •  Do you believe you’ve ever had encounters with either side?
    • Oh, most certainly. I believe that when I was a child, an angel saved me from a deadly lightning strike. Lightning struck at my feet just as an angel appeared and told me to run. I ran and suffered only minor blisters from the strike. When I looked back, the angel was gone, but the ground where I had been standing was completely charred.
  •  I know you told me some people refuse to read Countenance because of its supernatural theme. What do you say to those who think your story is “of the devil”?
    • This sort of makes me laugh. I know that some people choose what to read based on their beliefs, and of course, that is their right. But I would say to everyone that Countenance is a work of fiction. It is not intended for any purpose other than to entertain…and possibly uplift. I really don’t believe that a work of fiction can test anyone’s faith.
  • What’s next?Next on the agenda is finishing the sequel, which takes place in Ireland.
    • My original idea was that Countenance would be three books: one in Tennessee, one in Ireland, and the last in Tennessee. But, that vision has changed a bit. I still see it as three books, but there will be more blending of the characters and places. The major characters from the first book will remain in all three books with a deeper look into the family history and a few extra ghosts and angels sprinkled throughout!

Thank you, Joy, for taking a few minutes to let us know a bit about the background of your story. Good luck with the sequels!

You may visit the author’s website: JoyRossDavis.com Or follow her on Facebook: Joy Ross Davis as Angelwriter I encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself or if you prefer, download to your e-reader.

 

 

 

THE NEXT BIG THING BLOG HOP (Second time around)

Welcome to the NEXT BIG THING Blog Hop. (Yes, I did this just the other day, but someone else asked me to participate and since I have plenty of books that I can talk about, I agreed to do The Next Big Thing once more. This time I talk about the debut to my new mystery series, the “Eastgate Mysteries.”  So here we go – again.)

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way for readers to discover authors new to them.  I hope you’ll find new-to-you authors whose works you enjoy.  On this stop on the blog hop, you’ll find a bit of information on me and one of my books and links to three other authors you can explore!

My gratitude to fellow author H. W. “Buzz” Bernard for inviting me to participate in this event.  You can click the following links to learn more about Buzz and his books.

Website:  BuzzBernard.com    and    Buy his books:

In this blog hop, I and my fellow authors, in their respective blogs, have answered ten questions about our book or work-in-progress (giving you a sneak peek).  We’ve also included some behind-the-scenes information about how and why we write what we write – the characters, inspirations, plotting and other choices we make. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the working title of your book?

Eastgate Keeps on Singing

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

It just seemed to me a unique, fresh way to approach a mystery would be to use an unexpected sleuth. Who would be an uncommon “detective”? How about a minister? I don’t like most portrayals of preachers and churches in literature or movies because they are usually wild-eyed fanatics or creepy sleazoids. I’ve known some really good ministers who have the heart of Christ and take their calling seriously. I wanted my sleuth to be one of the good guys.

3. What genre does your book come under?

Humorous, cozy mystery

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Reese Witherspoon for the role of Carrie Lockwood.  Patrick Dempsey as Carrie’s husband, Dan. David Boreanaz for Carrie’s brother, Garry;  Martin Mull for Pastor Avery.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When the obnoxious new choir director is found dead in the church sanctuary, Assistant Pastor Carrie Lockwood unearths a few secrets that shake up the town and bring Eastgate Church to its knees.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

All my books are represented by Jeanie Loiacono of the Loiacono Literary Agency.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

If I had written it from beginning to end in one stretch, it probably would have taken me about two months. As it was, though, I had other irons in the fire, plus was just “testing the waters” of my ability to write a mystery when I wrote this one.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I haven’t read another mystery quite like mine, but the elements of the mystery story are usually the same in all of them: a dead body (usually a villain), several suspects and each one with something to gain or lose by the death of this person.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I find inspiration in everything, and this book was no different. The story just occurred to me one morning as I was taking my daily walk.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The variety of characters in this book, from the dithering stay-at-home mom to the  trio of meddling old women, have been created to engage readers’ thoughts, reminding them of “I know someone just like that!”

Below you will find authors who will be joining me by blog, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases! Happy Writing and Reading!

E.A. Aymar’s Blog: https://eaymar.com/blog 

Joy Ross Davis’s Blog: https://.joyrossdavis.com

Sidney Archer’s Blog: https://sidneyarcher.com

The Next Big Thing

It is my pleasure to have made a wonderful online friend who is a terrific writer and a genuine good guy. Gordon Bonnet (https://skeptophilia.blogspot.com) asked me if I’d like to be part of an “author-centered ‘blog hop.’” He explained that it is something like a “chain letter for bloggers” that is passed to three authors, and those authors pass it along to three of their own author friends. No, you don’t get $50,000 by next Friday. Your luck will not markedly improve. I seriously doubt mayhem and maladies will befall you if you don’t participate. What it does do, is let authors share a bit about themselves and their writing lives with anyone who cares enough to read.

Shortly after Gordon invited me to participate, so did Andrew Butters (https://potatochipmath.blogspot.ca/2012/12/the-next-big-thing.html), who just proves there’s a good reason (reasons) that I love Canadians.

The questions that follow are all related to “my next book.” This is rather tricky for me to write about because I write for several different publishers, and I have several “next books.” For the purpose here, though, I have chosen to talk about only one.

So here are the questions put forth in this “blog hop extravaganza.”

1. What is the working title of your next book?
I have several books in the wings, but I think the next one I will be working on when I’m finished with my current WIP is Charlotte and Mr. Abernathy. I hope to turn it into a new series of kids’ books.

2. Where did the idea come from for your book?
I’ve had the idea for this series for a long time, so I really don’t recall where it came from initially. However, I like ghost stories, and I thought a story with plenty of humor and a lonely, dearly-departed who has all kinds of human frailties teaming up with an artistic, gutsy kid could be a lot of fun to write.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
I’m pretty sure it will either be considered “tween” fiction or young adult.

4. What is your synopsis or blurb for this book?
When Charlotte Porter spots Mr. Abernathy at her breakfast table one morning, it doesn’t take long to realize the grumpy old guy in peculiar clothes died long ago, and he can’t “move on” until he finds out why someone killed him in his own kitchen almost ninety years earlier. Is Charlotte up for the challenge? You better believe it!

5. What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Until the book is written, this is a question I can’t answer.

6. Will your book be self-published, or represented by an agency?
I am represented by Jeanie Loiacono of Loiacono Literary Agency, and she has sold a lot of books for me. She is all excited about this new series and is pretty sure she’ll be able to find it a home.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Let’s step away from Charlotte and Mr. Abernathy for this question, and talk for a moment about the very first book I ever wrote. It was 600+ pages and took me only 7 weeks to write. That’s because I’d bottled up my stories for so long that when I finally let the creativity flow, it came in a massive flood. I understand this happens a lot with first books. The novel was awful, but most first books are. That’s OK. Writing an entire book is a significant accomplishment.

8. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Inspiration is everywhere. It’s far easier for me to answer “What did not inspire you?”

9. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I honestly do not have an answer for this. The other children’s series I wrote, The Confessions of April Grace” involves a spunky heroine who plays detective a lot, but no ghost is involved, and the setting is rural, not city. The books will not be silly, or slap-dash. I hope they will be humorous but also have heart and some redemptive value. That is, I hope when a kid finishes reading, he or she will have learned a little something about life.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
How a girl of the 21st century can relate to a stodgy old banker from the 1920s and how they help each other ought to create a dynamic that appeals to others and draws a reader in. Each book will have a mystery that Charlotte must solve, along with the help of Mr. Abernathy.

11. Who’s next in the Blog Hop?
The lovely and talented mystery author, Lin Waterhouse https://www.linwaterhouse.com
The beautiful Dr. Fab, Shay Fabbro https://www.linwaterhouse.com
The gorgeous author of romance, Valerie Haight www.thewriteoneval.blogspot.com