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23 March 2011

Yay! It's Reveal Day!

Today's host: Jennifer Slattery

And the winner is...ha! Nice try. You'll have to come back Friday to find that one out, and to see who won a copy of Mary Connealy's Sharpshooters in Petticoats. Today we pull back the curtain and reveal our finalists! Starting today, going in alphabetical order, you'll get a chance to know these great, emerging, soon-to-be-famous I'm sure, authors. And remember, there's still time to win a free book. There are six ways to get your name thrown in the hat: 1) leave a comment 2) fb share us and send us an email telling us about it 3) tweet us and send us an email 4) Write a short blurb about our clash on your blog or website and link to us, then shoot us the post's url in an email 5) become a new subscriber 6) join our blog alliance.

Excerpt One belongs to...Diane Graham. (I'll introduce her in more detail in a tomorrow.)

Excerpt Two belongs to...Jodie Bailey. (I'll introduce her in more detail in a moment.)

Excerpt Three belongs to...Jessica Patch. (I'll introduce her in more detail on Friday.)

Jodie Bailey was Playwright of the Year in Methodist University’s annual Hail! Dionysus competition and has written plays performed by the Monarch Playmakers. She has been published in Teen magazine and collaborated on PWOC International’s latest Bible study. She has a B.A. double major in literature and writing, and an M.Ed. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Middle Tennessee Christian Writers. She lives in Tennessee with her husband and daughter.

She is an avid reader, a life-long writer, and an aspiring beach bum. She is also a stubborn child who resisted God’s calling for two decades until He hit her over the head with a Beth Moore Bible Study book, and she finally figured out He wanted her to be a writer. When not tapping away at the keyboard, she watches NCIS reruns, eats too many chocolate chip cookies, wishes she were at the beach, roughhouses with her daughter, and follows her Army husband around the country.

Jodie, we're thrilled to have you on Clash of the Titles! How long have you been writing?

All my life! (Isn’t that what all writers say?) Okay, officially since 2007. God yanked me up and told me it was time to put this talent to use for His glory.

Tell us a little bit about this story.

Physician Assistant Kate Thomas hasn’t been whole since the day she lost her lower leg to a surgeon’s scalpel. She thought her scars were merely physical, but when a young patient is stricken with the same cancer that stole her childhood, the spiritual devastation festers. Kate flees her career and seeks refuge with her brother, a rookie NASCAR driver whose teammate seems bent on challenging everything she believes. Ryan Dellinger only makes her want to run faster… Until she realizes he is everything she ever needed.

Sounds awesome! Where did you get the idea?

Ryan was a secondary character in my first book, and all of my female beta readers fell in love with him. When the hero in that book told a story about his sister Kate, I realized she was Ryan’s opposite in every way and knew it would be hugely interesting to put them together. It has been so much fun to watch Ryan’s out loud love for life push up against Kate’s fear.

What do you hope your readers will take away from your writing?

God has delivered me from some pretty major stuff. I want readers to see the many aspects of His healing power. We tend to think of healing as a physical thing, but it’s so much more. I’ve written about spiritual healing, relationship healing, physical healing... God’s unlimited and awesome! And no one is too far gone to be saved.

Which character did you most enjoy creating?

Ryan Dellinger. No doubt about it. He says what he thinks, has a wicked sense of humor, and occasionally lacks tact. I have loved writing the things that come out of his mouth. He has this insane ability to love with everything in him, and yet he holds back because he’s a little bit afraid. He lives out loud in a way that makes him seem almost flippant on the outside, but his inside runs deep. I think I’m in love with him. Is that bad?

How do you go about creating your characters?

Typically, they start to form, and I sit down with a LONG list of questions and fill in the blanks. Then I write a character sketch. I’m character-driven, so they show up before their story does, and I put them in some scenes. Sometimes, their reactions totally change who I thought they were! After I see how they behave, I pick the scenes that strike me hardest and form their story.

What other writing projects are you working on?

I am wrapping up the revision on Ryan and Kate’s story now, and have just turned in a military suspense. It was a bit of a departure for me. I struggled with it at first (and that’s putting it mildly), but wound up really liking it in the end. The idea for another is brewing, and we’ll see if I go with it. I have the first draft down on my fourth novel. It’s a family-centered Southern thing, but I’m still working out some of the kinks. I don’t plot. I write a first draft, which is essentially a series of loose scenes, then revise the fool out of the thing. I work backwards. Write, then plot. Like I said, it’s how I get to know my characters.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse?

SO many! This week it’s Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)—“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Next week, it might be something else.

Who is your favorite author?

Again, SO many! Rachel Hauck gets me deep inside a character. Kaye Dacus makes me think I know what’s coming, then yanks me in a different direction. Siri Mitchell is the mistress of description and boy, can she make me fall in love with her heroes. We could go on forever here.

How do you overcome writer's block?

I am music-driven. I get in the car, plug in my iPod, and wander aimlessly. Each story has a soundtrack all it’s own. But, oddly enough, no matter what story I’m working on, singing along to old-school Brooks and Dunn seems to unlock something in my head. Someone needs to psychoanalyze that one.
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Item Reviewed: Yay! It's Reveal Day! Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jennifer Slattery