Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well, by day I am a wife to a disabled veteran and homeschooling mama of 3 amazing kids. By evening/night, I am a fantasy writer, freelance editor, and social media consultant. It’s a precarious balance and keeps me on my toes, but I love it!
What prompted you to start writing? Are you one of those authors who knew you were meant to write since childhood, or did it come as a discovery later in life?
Yes, I was one of the authors who knew I wanted to be a writer as a child. However, I didn’t actually get into writing as more than a hobby til after I was married and was staying at home with our first child.
Which authors have had the most significant impact on your writing?
Growing up, I loved all kinds of writers, from C.S. Lewis to Shel Silverstein to Lois Lowry to Carolyn Keene. As I got older, I dove into mysteries and suspense. It wasn’t until my late 20s that I started getting into speculative fiction more, even as a writer. Many writers contributed to who I am as a writer. I’m not sure I could say any one influenced me more than another. Though I will say that Frank Peretti is the reason I write speculative fiction.
Since you're not only an author but also a fantastic resource for fellow writers, please share a favorite editing tip and a favorite marketing tip.
Favorite editing tip: Give yourself at least a couple of weeks between finishing the first draft and diving into editing. This gives your mind and your eyes time to “forget,” so you can approach the story with a fresh perspective.
Favorite marketing tip: Social media is social. Do not expect a “buy my book” mentality to garner much interest from the masses. Instead, reach out and engage with your followers. Get to know them. Provide value by sharing stuff that interests them. And share bits about you as a person and a writer.
We're all about exploring new worlds here - if you could choose one place to visit, real or fictional, where would you go?
I would love to have a month or more to explore Middle Earth. The Shire, Rivendell, Gondor—they just all seem like such amazing places.
No visit to Lands Uncharted is complete without Top 3s! Give us a Top 3 list, in the category of your choice.
My Top 3 Books of 2016:
1. The Story of WITH by Allen Arnold
2. Progeny by Tosca Lee
3. Emissary by Thomas Locke
You recently signed a 3-book contract with Elk Lake Publishing. Congratulations!!! Can you tell us a little bit about the upcoming trilogy?
Thank you! I’m super excited.
The upcoming trilogy is based on the premise question “What if the armor of God were real?” An orphaned priestess must retrieve the armor of Elohim, scattered throughout the Three Kingdoms, in order to banish an ancient evil bent on taking over their world. There’s more to it than that, but that’s a taste for ya!
Now, let's talk about Bellanok since that's what we're celebrating on this blog tour! What inspired you to write this story?
A prayer. I was trying to figure out my next story, spent time praying, and at some point this story popped into my head, and then it wouldn’t leave me alone! Ironically, the story echoes many of my own struggles, which I think is why I needed to write it.
If you had to choose, who would you say is your favorite character in Bellanok?
Brian is my favorite character, probably because he is most like me. We have many of the same doubts, fears, and struggles. Even when we take steps forward, we still doubt that is where we are supposed to be. But, God uses us anyway.
Finally, please share a favorite line or passage from Bellanok with us.
“A sword is just a sword. I am the weapon.”
I won’t go into detail as to the background of this statement because that would give too much away. I’ll just say that it’s a very powerful moment in the story. You’ll just have to read Bellanok to find out!
Intriguing, isn't it? I should mention that Bellanok isn't specifically geared towards young adults, but it's appropriate and enjoyable for any audience! Here's the back-cover blurb:
A haven for myths and legends . . . until evil discovers a way in.
With evil darkening the mountains to the north, the fairy queen, Fauna, must journey from the island realm of Bellanok to the modern world to find the man the Creator appointed to save their kingdom. A man she has been dreaming of her whole life.
Brian is a down-on-his-luck pastor on the verge of giving up on God. He's tired and frustrated--a failure. No sooner does he make a decision that jeopardizes his career than an unusual blonde woman shows up and tries to convince him he is some kind of savior.
Fauna must open Brian's eyes to a different reality, and Brian needs to embrace the haven's secrets. If neither of them succeeds, Bellanok will succumb to evil and the world will lose all trace of innocence.
You can purchase Bellanok on Amazon here.
Thank you so much for joining us and letting us be a part of your release celebration, Ralene! You can find out more at raleneburke.com, or by connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.