Posts Tagged ‘interview’

Written Interview with J.D. Rempel

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For those of you following along, Ambassador International has started interviewing its authors. Most of the interviews can be found on our YouTube channel here

However, today we are honored to have an author of Melanie on the Move here in written form!

J.D, please introduce yourself to our listeners.

Hi, and thank you for this opportunity to share about my book, Melanie on the Move. I’m J.D. Rempel and I write contemporary and speculative fiction for all ages.
My husband, Matt, and I have been married for 28 years. We have a turtle named Applesauce who loves to play peekaboo. I’m an Anglophile (a person who loves British culture). When I’m not writing or spending time with my family and friends, I watch British TV – mostly mysteries, play games, and read.

Please describe your book, its message, and tell us why you wrote it.   My book, Melanie on the Move, a contemporary middle-grade fiction piece is for girls ages 8-13. My tagline for the book is a modern-day Little House on the Prairie. Melanie on the Move is based on the verse Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” It’s the first in my series, The NorCal Girls. In Melanie on the Move, Melanie’s life seems perfect. She’s the star on her swim team, she has great friends, and she’s turning thirteen in just a few weeks. But when her family is forced to move to Northern California, her world starts to unravel. Isolated in a new town, Melanie misses her father, her friends, her pool, and even her bossy older sister. While visiting a church, she hears the message that God loves and cares about her. But it’s hard to believe when more and more troubles fall on her family.

 

I wrote Melanie to show readers we can trust God when He allows bad things to happen and that God can bring something good even from the difficulties in our lives. Another reason is that I wanted to give middle-grade girls a story similar to the ones I grew up on but for today’s readers. When I was that age, I spent most of my time in my room reading The Elizabeth Gail Series by Hilda Stahl and the In Grandma’s Attic series by Arleta Richardson.

What inspired you to write Melanie on the Move?

Growing up, my family went to Family Camp at Alliance Redwoods Conference Grounds almost every summer. Melanie on the Move is set in that area. Our family had such wonderful times at ARCG. Every time I visit there, I feel my relationship with God deepening. ARCG means so much to me and I want others to have a similar experience. Part of the proceeds from all of my books is donated to Alliance Redwoods Conference Grounds for camp scholarships and maintenance. I hope readers will fall in love with the book and want to visit Alliance Redwoods too.

Did you name any characters after people you know?

Yes, I did. Quite a few in fact. Cindy, who is Melanie’s friend is named after my younger sister. In the book, Cindy has brothers named Trevor and Tyler but those are actually my nephews. Bonnie and Rachel are based on good friends of mine. Also, Mr. Carlisle is named after an English professor who really encouraged me in my writing so I wanted to honor him.

Are there any characters in the book who are similar to you?

Yes. Some of the characters have different aspects of me, but Katie is the most like me. Also, much of the story itself encompasses my beliefs, ideas, and experiences.

The character Melanie is interested in birds, did you have birds as pets?

Yes, we did. We had a few parakeets. When I was first married, I had a pet bird named Duke (after John Wayne since I love westerns) who was trained. I could take him anywhere and he would always fly back to me whenever I called his name. When I’d watch TV, he would sit on my shoulders and around my neck and preen me just like Paco does to Melanie.

What is the hardest part of the writing process?

Since I write in multiple genres and for different age groups, the hardest part of writing is choosing which project to work on. I’m constantly distracted by new ideas. Writing is a passion for me and even at a young age, I was always making up stories. It’s hardest to find the one God wants me to write and then finishing it.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on the second book in the NorCal girls series. It’s tentatively called Melanie at Camp Redwoods. I’ve also been doing the narration for the Melanie on the Move audiobook. Recently, I finished my audiobook for another one of my books, Marigold and the Snoring King which I hope to release soon.

Has there been any exciting news in your life?

Yes, my other book Marigold and the Snoring King, a children’s picture book won Honorable Mention in the 2020 Writer’s Digest Self Published Awards.

How can we connect with you or purchase your books?

Melanie on the Move which was released with Ambassador International on April 23, 2020, is available from most major retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and christianbook.com. My website is jdrempel.com where you can find out more about me and my work, as well as purchase signed copies of my books. I host on my website a Give-A-Book contest where I draw names to give out a free book to a school or library of an entrant’s choice.
You can connect with me through Facebook at jdrempel. I am also on Instagram at j.d.rempel and Parler @jdrempel.

If you have a chance to read one of my books, I hope that the lessons Melanie learns about God find their way into your heart too!

Like what you read? Be sure to follow Ambassador International on Facebook and YouTube!

Brett Parks, Miracle Man Shares Story on HIS Radio

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Author Brett Parks shared his miraculous story of how God used a bullet to strengthen his faith on HIS Radio. Brett writes about the medical battle that included a 20-day coma, multiple surgeries, and an unexpected amputation in his book Miracle Man. Brett talked about his athletic career, his service dog Freedom and if he ever wishes he’d minded his own business. You can watch the full interview here:

Flash Sale: Two Books, One Common Theme

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The book of Mark tells of a woman who, despite suffering great personal pain and tragedy, never lost her love for Jesus Christ. This story has inspired many struggling with personal suffering, including two great authors from Ambassador International, both of whom wrote books about this biblical story.

Despite drawing from the same source, these two authors definitely didn’t write the same book. Cynthia Goyang wrote Just One Touch, which tells the fictional account of a woman similarly maintaining her love for Jesus through hardship. Elizabeth Johnson, in her book Touching the Hem, tells of her personal struggle with illness, and how she never lost her faith because of it.

All this week (Aug. 1-7), you can pick up both of these books in one of our great deals! Own both books, with shipping included, for just $16.00 in our flash sale. You can also get either Just One Touch or Touching the Hem for the Kindle for just $2.99!

Though one is fiction and the other is nonfiction, there is a common thread running through both: keeping faith in God even when times are hard. These two books will deepen your understanding of biblical suffering and how one woman in the Bible is a great example to Christians.

Ambassador International asked both of these authors a few questions. Here is how they responded:

Touching the HemYour books both focus on the story from Mark 5 about the woman who pushed through the crowd in order to touch Jesus’s garment. How can your books complement each other?

Cynthia: I believe both Just One Touch & Touching The Hem, focus on: 1. What life changing things occur during suffering. 2. How a soul is to act/ react in the midst of suffering. 3. How one grows and grows closer to the Lord while suffering. 4. How a believer is used of God while suffering. 5. How one walks in healing (whatever that may entail).

Elizabeth: I loved reading Cynthia’s story, Just One Touch, and seeing through that story how this woman responded correctly to her suffering. Her focus on Christ as the great Healer, her action based on faith, and her persistence in trying to reach Him despite horrible circumstances — these are all part of a biblical response to physical suffering, which I cover in Touching the Hem. The two books complement each other quite nicely, first by seeing biblical truths regarding our response to suffering, then by seeing a depiction of that response from real life.

 

When did you first discover the story told in Mark 5?

Cynthia: I’ve known the story since childhood Bible Study Classes.

Elizabeth: I’ve known this story as long as I can remember, but a few years ago my pastor started preaching a series from the Gospels about “Personal Encounters with Jesus.” When he started teaching about this woman’s encounter with Christ, it was like I was hearing it afresh. It became the inspiration for my book, and the model for my own response to personal physical affliction.

 

just one touchWhy did you feel such a strong connection with this story?

Cynthia: The Woman with the Issue of Blood has always fascinated me. After studying, I found that a person with such a problem would most likely have been shunned by her family, friends and community. She was certainly a person living in an extreme crisis, but like that saying suggests: “Our extremity is God’s opportunity.” I feel a connection with her simply because like the Woman with the Issue of Blood, we each have “Issues” issues that can only be resolved by reaching out, by pushing through with faith-filled determination to touch Jesus Christ the Lord.

Elizabeth: Mark 5 tells us that this woman had spent all she had in search of a cure, yet was nothing bettered, but instead grew worse. I’ve experienced that same struggle in my own journey with chronic illness. Doubtless, I have not faced the utter social rejection or complete financial loss that this woman faced, but I have had severe physical problems – life threatening ones, even – that doctors could not seem to fix or even determine the root causes. It feels hopeless sometimes, as I imagine this woman felt with her ongoing suffering.

 

EJWhy does it stand out to you over other biblical stories of suffering?

Cynthia: All the stories of suffering are quite dramatic but the story of this woman in the midst of such a dire crisis has been for me one of the greatest examples of a soul’s humiliation, sickness, suffering and a soul’s determination, faith and subsequent healing.

Elizabeth: This woman was a social outcast. She had no money or other resources. Her health was almost non-existent. She literally had nothing, except what was internal – her character, her faith, her persistence. Her story is one of poverty to wealth, not monetarily, but spiritually. She reached out in faith that Christ would heal her, and He turned her life completely around by giving her immediate healing, social recognition, and restoration to usefulness. This story, more than most, displays the contrast between our poverty without Christ and our wholeness with Him.

 

CGWhat struggles has this story helped you through in your own life?

Cynthia: This story has helped me to have faith in Christ no matter how dire the circumstance. It has taught me to be quiet in my spirit, to know that He is God! This story has helped  me to truly know:  that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose. Romans 8:28. The Lord can and does use suffering to bring about His purpose. The Lord has an everlasting love and affection for each of his children and desires to see our ultimate healing.

Elizabeth: The story in Mark 5 nudged me into a deeper study of what Scripture says about physical suffering. It has encouraged me, as I’ve reflected on the fellowship of suffering we share with other believers. It has convicted me, as I’ve come to understand the courage and faith expressed in the woman’s actions. And it has comforted me, to see how willingly and completely Christ healed her – and to know that I will someday experience that full healing for myself, at least in heaven!

National Autism Awareness Month: An Interview with Author D’Ann Renner

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Dancing From the ShadowsIn celebration of National Autism Awareness Month, Ambassador International spotlights author D’Ann Renner and her book Dancing From the Shadows that discusses her firsthand experience with having her child diagnosed with autism. During National Autism Awareness Month, D’Ann’s book is available on Amazon.com or ChristianBook.com for only $3.99 for your eReader. In the United States alone, an estimated 1 out of 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls are diagnosed with autism according to austismspeaks.org. Renner provides inspiration for parents everywhere who experience similar difficulties and pleasures of having a child with autism.

Ambassador: What were the main signs from your child that ultimately lead to the autism diagnosis?

D’Ann Renner: He didn’t play with toys typically- he’d spin the wheels of a toy truck without doing anything else. He would spend hours spinning a mixing bowl or watching a ceiling fan. He didn’t make much eye contact, was speech-delayed, and didn’t seem to feel pain.

Ambassador: How did you find peace with God after the autism diagnosis?

D’Ann Renner: I was angry and depressed at first, because I knew God could heal him, but wasn’t choosing to do so. I wondered how I had so displeased God that He would choose to punish my son. That’s just plain bad theology! Eventually, I came to the place that I could trust that God loved my son more than I did, and had a good plan for his life. Autism is not a punishment. It’s a challenge, but it’s also a gift. We all have challenges that God can turn into gifts if we allow Him.

Ambassador: Do you still struggle with finding peace? How do you deal with those moments?

D’Ann Renner: Yes, especially at transition times- like entering high school, or when other kids are getting their learner’s permits. At those times, I see a Grand Canyon sized gap D'Ann Rennerbetween reality and what my expectations were. I deal with it by reminding myself: God is Sovereign, God is good. Only He knows how beautifully our lives are being woven into the tapestry of eternity.

Ambassador: After immersing yourself into the special needs world for autism, what information do you wish was more widely known?

D’Ann Renner: Children with autism DO want to have social relationships. They DO have senses of humor. One just has to work harder to discover how to interact with them, and it takes time and patience.  And- kids with autism, even if they are non-verbal, understand a lot more of what is being said and what is happening, and they can be badly hurt by it.

Ambassador: What similarities do you share with the main character in Dancing From the Shadows?

D’Ann Renner: I did have a successful career in marketing, although not nearly as brilliant as Tori’s. We did adopt children from Bulgaria, and I’ve experienced many of the incidents she does in the book, although I fictionalized them and merged them with the experiences of others. THERE IS NO SIMILARITY BETWEEN MY HUSBAND BRUCE AND TORI’S HUSBAND PHILLIP!  Bruce is a wonderful, supportive husband, but that’s not true for many parents with special needs children. The character Phillip was based on the ex-spouses (male and female) of many friends and acquaintances.

Ambassador: Do you have any advice for parents who recently received the autism diagnosis?

D’Ann Renner: I’m going to go against the norm here, so understand this is just my feeling. It’s more important, in my opinion, to concentrate on expanding the child’s ability to think flexibly and communicate than it is to teach rote skills. I feel we concentrated so much in the early years on getting Luke to speak that I neglected working on his desire to communicate, and expanding his ability to think in a flexible way.  If I had it to do over again, I’d embrace more therapies like Floor Time, Relational Development Intervention, Neurodevelopment and programs like the SonRise protocol, rather than ABA. But that is just my opinion and many wonderful parents disagree with me.

Through the month of April, National Autism Awareness Month, pick up a copy of Dancing From the Shadows for your eReader for only $3.99! Shop now at Amazon.com or ChristianBook.com.