Posts Categorized: utah authors

Utah Author Interview- Rachael Renee Anderson

06 Oct, 2010 by in luck of the draw, rachael renee anderson, utah authors 17 comments

Tell us what books you have published and what you have in the works.

Two books so far, Divinely Designed and Luck of the Draw. I’m working on a third right now about a guy who gets the surprise of his life when he finds out a girl he barely knew had left him her only child. I hope to have it submitted by the end of the year–hopefully sooner, but with little kids still keeping me busy during the day, I try to keep my goals realistic.:)

What inspired you to want to be a writer?

Reading. I LOVE to read and one day, years ago, I had the thought, “I wonder what it would be like to write one of these?” So I gave it a try and found I loved writing too. Now I only wish I had more time to read. 🙂

Any favorite authors or books?

Too many to list all of them. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter, C.S. Lewis, Shannon Hale . . . any light, fun, clean reads that take me away to another place and make me smile. And I love, love, love children’s books! Max Lucado, Leah Wilcox, Richard Schnieder’s Why Christmas Trees Aren’t Perfect. There is nothing better than a well-written or humorous children’s book, I tell you. They even have pictures. 🙂

Luck of the Draw brings up Dani’s parents and their draw towards looking perfect and achieving status. Do you think there is a lot of that in today’s society and what do you think is the solution?

This is a difficult question for me because I don’t want to sound judgmental, and I hope that Luck of the Draw doesn’t come across that way either. I’ve known several people who have had that tummy tuck, that breast augmentation, that nose job, who drive that expensive car, or live in that lavish house. And do I think less of them for it? NO! I do not. But I do think there is an overall perception in our society that how you look, what you drive, and who your friends are, is somehow a reflection of who you are, which is sad. Is there a solution for this? I don’t know. Personally, I think the real change has to start with individuals. My mom has a cross-stitch hanging on her wall that I love. It says, “I’m somebody special, cause God don’t make no junk.” That is plain and simple truth right there. I think the challenge is getting people to actually believe it.

Tell us about your favorite character or scene to write

Mmmmmm . . . this is another difficult question. I love Brighton for his over-confidence and as well as his humility. That sounds like a contradiction, but really it’s not. I also adore Dani for her spunk, her inner strength, her desire to do good, and her genuine concern for others. My favorite scene to write was probably the one where Brighton shows up at Dani’s house in Colorado. I loved how it showed their personalities, differences, and growing attraction. I also loved introducing Nana–the most darling of grandmothers, don’t you think?

Do you have any upcoming events?

Other than a book signing at 10:00 on Saturday at the American Fork Seagull book, I don’t have anything else on the calendar yet–which is kind of a relief (if you want the honest truth). Book signings sound far more glamorous than they really are. For me, they mean feeling silly and conspicuous, although I do love meeting and talking to wonderful people who share my interest in books. After all, I wouldn’t have met you, Heather, had I not attended Authorpalooza, so I can’t complain too much. 🙂

What message do you want to portray to readers who pick up your books?

My goal as a writer is to create fun, uplifting books that will somehow leave readers feeling happy, entertained, and with any luck, inspired. Those are my favorite kinds of books to read, and I’m grateful for the many authors out there who have written so many of them.

We are giving away signed bookmarks donated by Rachael. Leave a comment here or on our review of Luck of The Draw to enter. Ends November 6, 2010 and is open internationally.

Waiting on Wednesday- Ever’neath by Brodi Ashton

06 Oct, 2010 by in utah authors, YA fiction 2 comments

Photo of author Brodi Ashton by Heather Zahn Gardner

Our Waiting On Wednesday is

The Ever’neath
by Brodi Ashton
To Be Published Winter 2012
by HarperCollins
Book 1 of a series

“The first book in the deal, The Ever’neath, is partially based on the Greek myth of Persephone: a 17-year-old who’s been banished to the underworld escapes to her former earthly existence with her family and boyfriend. The catch is that she only has six months in the real world before being sent back to Hades, this time forever. “

Add Ever’neath your Goodreads to read list here:
Follow Brodi @brodiashton in twitter and Visit her blog here

Luck of The Draw by Rachael Renee Anderson

05 Oct, 2010 by in book review, rachael renee anderson, utah authors 4 comments

Paperback, 214 pages
Published August 8th 2010
by Bonneville
5 stars

Four weeks. Three roommates. Two dates each. Brighton Andrews has never had a problem getting a girl to go out with him. So when his friends dare him to ask out three roommates at the same time, he figures this will be the easiest bet he’ll ever win–even with the added clause that the girls can’t find out they’re all dating the same guy. And with a whole month free from laundry at stake, who could resist? Of course, that’s before he meets the girls. Rachael Renee Anderson’s charming Luck of the Draw puts a hilarious twist on a modern-day love story. Fast-paced, witty, and full of fun, the odds are stacked that this is one book you won’t be able to put down.

The first thing I love about Luck of the Draw is the cover. It reminds me of modern day, modest Charlie’s Angels. The second thing I love is the author. I stopped by her table at authorpalooza two weeks ago but didn’t have much time to chat. So, I was thrilled when she and her publicist sent me a copy of her book for review. Since finishing the book I have found out what an amazing person Rachael is. She’s down to earth, humble, and kind.

I turned the last page on Luck of The Draw three days ago and still have not been able to enjoy anything else I’ve picked up quite as much. It has an underlying message and good feeling that will slowly seep in and wrap around you as you read. The plot starts out light and funny as a bet is made that involves laundry and girls. Brighton Andrews has his hands full trying to ask three girls out at the same time without them finding out they are dating the same person. His life gets even more complicated (and hilarious) when he accidentally plows Dani, one of the roommates, into the snow and finds out how feisty and stubborn a woman can be. The bet may not be as easy to win as everything else for Brighton…but he is bound and determined to win.

The plot to Luck of The Draw has lots of surprises, fun dialogue and lessons of life. What impacted me the most was seeing how Dani sticks to her guns and lives as she believes best in spite of her superficial parents. I also enjoyed how Brighton matures and changes after his laundry bet goes awry. Both main characters most learn to trust in something outside of themselves and follow their dreams wherever they may lead.

Rachael Renee Anderson has created a parable for our time and a fun read that will take you back to your college days. The characters will melt your heart and the message will bring you to tears. Five stars and a thank you for a squeaky clean read. This is one I will pass on to my daughters. I ordered her other book Divinely Designed and am excited to read more from Rachael.

Enter to win a copy of Luck of The Draw on Goodreads here read an excerpt from the book here and visit Rachael Renee Anderson’s site here.

Ladies’ Night Author Signings

03 Oct, 2010 by in Heather Gardner Photography, utah authors 2 comments

Saturday October 2, 2010 Deseret Book stores hosted Ladies Night with giveaways, live music and book releases. We were able to meet these local authors as they signed:

G.G. VandagriffPieces Of Paris
Nancy AndersonLeaning Into The Curves
Sheralynn Pratt- City Limits
Wendy Paul101 Gourmet Cupcakes and Cookies
Heather B. MooreOut of Jerusalem Series
Merrilee Browne BoyackStrangling Your Husband Is Not An Option
Heidi S SwintonTo The Rescue: Thomas S. Monson biography
Brenda L HopkinLion House Pies
Catherine Rae Purves & Tuesday Mourning- Libby Boom
Gale Sears
The Silence of God
Laura F. Willes Christmas With The Prophets

View the photos one by one on Twitter at
All rights reserved Heather Gardner Photography

Thanks so much to Deseret Book for hosting an amazing night!

Utah Author Event- Authorpalooza 2010

20 Sep, 2010 by in utah authors 21 comments

Saturday was the huge Authorpalooza event at Barnes and Noble for over 40 Utah authors. What a blast…treats, book signings and readings. My kiddos thought it was Halloween with all the cupcakes, candy and freebies! Special thanks to Kristyn Crow and Sharlee Glenn for reading to them. Here’s a list of the authors we got to meet:

Jessica Day George Princess of Glass

Becky HallMorris and Buddy

Heather Justesen Rebound -Read our review of Rebound here

Sheralyn Pratt –Rhea Jensen Series -Read our interview with Sheralyn here

Dene LowPetronella Saves Nearly Everyone -YA Historical fiction

Kristen LandonThe Limit -YA Dystopian

Nancy J. MilesIn Good Taste -Family History Cookbook

Steve GashlerThe Bent Sword

GG VandagriffPieces of Paris -NEW Fiction

Rachael Renee AndersonLuck of the Draw

Frank L.Cole Hashbrown Winters – See our author spotlight here

Heather Horrocks How To Stuff a Wild Zucchini -See our book review here

Sydney Salter Swoon At Your Own Risk – YA Fiction…currently reading now!

Lisa MangumThe Hourglass Door- See our reviews for books one and two in her series

Marilyn Bunderson The Mark -see our review here and book based photo gallery here

Dragon Lance The New Adventures

Chef Shawn Bucher The First timer’s Cookbook

Sterling B. NixonThe Sea Kings of Rome
Berin Stephens –The Dragon War relic

Alan BellowsDamn Interesting

Terri Ferran Having Hope

Dan Wells Mr. Monster
Aubrey Mace -My Fairy Grandmother- see our book review here and author interview here

Ronda Gibb HinrichsenTrapped-see our book spotlight here and author interview here

Brandon Sanderson Wheel of Time

Alicia Buck Flecks of Gold- YA fiction, currently reading

Camille FunkCooking for One
Emily Wing SmithThe Way He Lived-Contemporary YA fiction- see our book review here
Jillayne Clements The Diet Rebel’s Cookbook & Deadly Treasure
John BrownServant of a Dark God
Kristen ChandlerWolves, Boys and Other Things that Might Kill Me- YA fiction- bought this book, review coming soon
Kristyn Crow Cool Daddy Rat-see our author interview here

Mettie Ivie HarrisonThe Princess and the Bear
Nathan Hale –Rapunzel’s Revengesee their launch party coverage here
Nichole Giles The Sharp Edge of a Knife-see our review here
Sharlee Glenn
Just What Mama Needs
Stephen GashlerThe Bent Sword
Wendy Paul101 Gourmet Cupcakes

We are giving away author signed bookmarks. To enter to win: simply comment below with the book or author which interests you most. Contest Ends October 20, 2010 and is open internationally.

Recent Book Events

30 Aug, 2010 by in utah authors 4 comments

This month I attended two really fun book events, The BYU bookstore signings for Education Week and the Book For Every Child Writing for Charity event hosted by Shannon Hale. Here are some of the photos I took. See our twitgoo feed @fireicephotos for all of them. And be sure to check out Brodi Ashton’s and CranberryFries blogs for more coverage of the Writing For Charity event!

James Dashner author of The Maze Runner and 13th Reality with our button.

Sara Zarr, author of Once Was Lost, Sweethearts and Story Of A Girl

Shannon Hale with all of our signed books

Jessica Day George author of Dragon Slippers and Princess of Glass

Bree Despain with Staff from the Charity Extravaganza

Ally Condie’s gift basket and ARC of Matched

Manager or The Kings English bookstore with our pin on her shirt

Me With Bree Despain Author of The Dark Divine series and Cranberryfries Blogger

Emily Wing Smith author of “The Way He Lived” and up and coming YA author Brodi Ashton

J Scott Savage author of the Far World Series

Us with Sheralyn Pratt, author of the Rhea Jensen Series

Ester Rasband author of Remembering Christmas

Ally Condie author of Matched

Author Interview Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen

09 Aug, 2010 by in Missing, ronda gibb hinrichsen, trapped, utah authors 11 comments

What things inspire you as a writer?

I’m assuming you’re talking about what sparks an idea? If so, the answer is anything. Scriptures, passing conversations, dreams, miscellaneous events—just anything.

Where did the idea for Trapped come from?

Actually, TRAPPED is the result of two vivid yet very different dreams I had a couple of years ago. The first involved a child caught in a deadly trap where her father had to sacrifice himself so she could live, and the second portrayed a fantastical scene of sacrifice, complete with character motivations, that ultimately became the basis for my finale.

What research did you do for the book and have you visited any of the locations?

My family and I went to Salzburg, Austria in 2006. We also traveled through the Alps to both Slovenia and Germany during that visit, and I loved it! It’s so gorgeous there. But to further answer your question, I used personal experiences and the settings from that event, but I also did a lot of book and online research.

Who are you mentors/ heroes?

My heroes include anyone who uses their talents to further goodness in this world, but I also look to an English professor from Ricks College, Dorla Jenkins, as the woman who most set me on my path.

Describe your favorite scene to write in Trapped.

That’s a toughie. There are so many scenes I really enjoyed writing, even some that weren’t fast-paced, because they were so important to Emi’s story. However, if I have to choose one, I’ll say the scene where Emi and Daniel reveal their love for each other, even while dangers, not to mention Lucas’s relationship with her, still threaten them.

Any new books in the works?

Yes. I’ve begun a historical, romantic suspense novel, but I’m also thinking strongly about writing a sequel to TRAPPED with new characters. Emi’s story—the Traugott and Tillman story—has really only just begun.

If you could recommend three books to us what would they be?

Besides the Book of Mormon, I’d advise you to read anything that YOU love. Go to the bookstore and find a book you want to read. Not your kids or your spouse or your neighbor. YOU. That way, you will find something that speaks to YOU, and you will be enriched.

What has been the most rewarding experience as an author thus far?

This is a toughie, too, because I feel I’m richly blessed to be doing what I’ve been working toward for so many years. But you know, even with my magazine articles, my greatest reward has always been hearing from readers that my writing has touched their heart or blessed their lives.

Ronda has generously offered us five author signed bookmarks. We have the FIRST ones out there! To Enter to Win: simply comment blow with your email address. Contest ends September 9, 2010 and is open internationally.


City of Angels by Sheralyn Pratt

07 Jul, 2010 by in rhea jensen, sheralyn pratt, utah authors 25 comments

book data: City of Angels (The Rhea Jensen Series, #1)
published: June 8th 2010 by Bonneville
details: Paperback, 224 pages
isbn: 1599554046
4.5 stars
Rhea Jensen is your typical twenty-something single girl if by typical you mean a private investigator who studies ways to escape from handcuffs while waiting to take down another serial sleaze. But when a seemingly open-and-closed embezzlement case goes awry, her on-again-off-again boyfriend starts fooling around behind her back, and some Mormon missionaries stop her on the street during a stakeout, Rhea realizes her life is anything but typical even by her standards. This exciting first installment of the Rhea Jensen series by Sheralyn Pratt boasts a fair bit of suspense, just enough romance, and a whole lot of heart. City of Angels is a great read for the amateur detective in all of us

I picked up this book by sheer luck at the Eclipse movie premier Party on the Plaza hosted by Twilight MOMS and Events by Alice. Sheralyn was there signing books and I was there taking pictures. When I stopped by her booth she generously offered two signed copies of her book for our site. Must say that once I picked this book up I couldn’t put it down. (No matter that I was already in the middle of another read) The first chapter sucks you right in with snarky and sassy detective Rhea Jensen. We meet her on the scene of a bust in her every day job as a Private Investigator. Rhea is a force to be reckoned with…brain and brawn meet a fun sense of humor. Reading her life story from start to finish will be easy for anyone. Sheralyn Pratt’s writing is brilliant and funny. The characters are well developed and even thought they have flaws like the rest of us; you will fall in love! Ben, Rhea’s main interest is one worm his way deep into your heart.
The plot is full of twists and turns as our heroine meets a set of Mormon Missionaries on one of her stake outs. Her path towards religion is a believable one. Readers of all walks of life will be able to relate. When I read the end of the book I thanked my lucky stars it is a series, because I want more! Book two “Welcome to Stalk Lake City” comes out in August.
Meanwhile, we have one signed copy of City of Angels to give away! Simply comment below to enter to win. Contest ends August 7, 2010.
Thanks so much to Cedar Fort Books and Sheralyn Pratt for introducing us to the Rhea Jensen series. This is one amazing author to watch! Check out her website for an excerpt from the first chapter and to hear Rhea’s music playlist.

Book Review-Rebound By Heather Justesen

30 Jun, 2010 by in rebound, utah authors 4 comments

published May 8th 2010 by Cedar Fort, Inc.
details Paperback, 1st, 256 pages
isbn 1599553635
5 stars

Lily’s life is perfect–a perfect lie.

With a successful husband, a gorgeous home, and a growing family, Lily Drake has it all. But when the FBI shows up, she realizes her husband is not the man she thought he was.

Meanwhile, Lily’s friend Curtis is about to be drafted by the NBA, but he suddenly feels pulled to find his birth family, and no one is prepared for what he’ll discover. With so many obstacles in their way, Lily and Curtis must learn to rely on each other if they’re ever going to find peace and learn to love again.

In this heartwarming family drama, Heather Justesen, author of The Ball’s in Her Court, weaves a stirring story of hope. Reunite with your favorite characters and discover how determination, love, and faith can overcome even the toughest trials

I received this book for review and blog tour after meeting the author at Authorpalooza at Barnes and Noble. Hands down, Rebound is one of the best books I have read in along time. Heather Justesen creates a mix of harsh reality with slow paced romance that will entrance you.
Lily, the main character, is pulled from her life as a stay at home mom with one young child and one on the way by the poor choices of her husband. Everything changes overnight as dreams turn into disappointment. She has no choice but to pick up and start over, yet does so with courage and faith.
Rebound left me wanting to be a better person, and believing that when life throws you struggles, add some hard work and hope and things will bounce back. Woven through out the story are themes on love, trust, adoption, honesty, stamina, and acceptance.
Here’s an excerpt as a little teaser from the author… “John tuned out the babbling of other Realtors that poured through his office door and focused on his computer screen. If things went well that evening, he would have to buy himself a celebratory present. The Baccarat Tornado Vase on the screen before him was exquisite, and worth every bit of the nearly $3,200 price. It’s a pity I’ll have to tell Lily I picked it up at a yard sale or something. She’s far too straight laced. Naiveté works for her, however. In this case, it will work for me, too. He whistled as he bookmarked the page for later…”

Rebound is at the top of my recommended reading list from this year. I gave it 5 stars. To learn more about the author and read her blog, go to

Utah Author Interview Kim Williams-Justesen

14 May, 2010 by in my brother the dag, utah authors 3 comments

Where were you born? In Salt Lake City – I’ve lived here my whole life.

Did you graduate from college, if so from where and in what major? I have a bachelors in English and Theater from Westminster College, and a masters from Vermont College

What are your hobbies? I love knitting, crocheting, reading, singing in the shower. I don’t know if camping is a hobby, but I really like camping.

What are your favorite all-time books? Paul Zindel’s “My Darling, My Hamburger” was always a favorite; Tim Wynn-Jones “The Boy in the Burning House”; the “Betsy Tacy” series was one of my first favorites; Alison McGhee’s “Rainlight”; Christopher Moore’s “A Dirty Job” – gosh, too many others to list!

When did you start writing your book and how long did it take to get it published? “My Brother the Dog” was written as my creative thesis for my MFA. I finished it in May of 2003. It circulated through several publishers, underwent a few more revisions, and was finally purchased by Tanglewood Press in 2005. It was published in spring of 2006.

Who is your hero/ mentor? I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have many wonderful mentors. Carol Lynch Williams was one of the first people to encourage me and teach me about the world of writing. Tim Wynn-Jones and Alison McGhee were two of my advisers in my MFA program who really guided my writing. Jan Czech was also a great friend and hero to me as I began publishing. And Mrs. Shirley Saenz Lohnes, my third grade teacher is a hero and mentor. She was the person who planted the seed in my mind of becoming a writer. She is still a friend today.

What suggestion would you give young writers? Just write. The market changes, success comes and goes, fads change. Just write. Write because you love it, because you want to, because it’s the only way to express your thoughts. Don’t listen to people who tell you no, or you can’t, or you should find something more practical to do. Just write.

Where did the inspiration for your books come from? “My Brother the Dog” is based on family stories of my mom and my uncle. My mom was 10 years older than my uncle, and he was really a pain in her side. She got so frustrated with him running away from her when they would be waiting at the bus stop that she put him on a leash. One day I just wondered, what if he wanted to be on a leash because he liked pretending to be a dog? And that’s how it started!
The three “Hey, Ranger” books came out of the fact that my family loves camping in the national parks. One day I was listening to a park ranger in Yellowstone talking to tourists and I said, “I bet you get asked some funny questions.” He proceeded to tell me some of the wacky, silly, funny, and interesting questions that he’d been asked over the years, and I started taking notes. I sent the book proposal to several publishers. Globe-Pequot thought it would make a great series for kids, and the one book turned into three.

Are you working on any books right now? I always have three or four books that are in different stages of being written. I’m working on one called “The Afterwards” that is set in the not-too-distant future when the United States Government has collapsed and fallen into a second civil war. I have a picture book called “Tilly the Pirate” about a little girl who wins a pirate ship in a contest that I am sending out right now, too. I have a middle grade novel that currently doesn’t have a title, but is the story of a girl’s adventures at a crazy summer camp, and a young adult novel entitled “Namesake” about a high school girl who tries to solve the unsolved murder of her mom’s best friend.

What do you aspire to do before you die? Write at least one book that wins an award like the Newbury or the Prinz. I would also really like to visit Egypt and see Karnak, the pyramids at Giza, and the Valley of Kings.

How do you fins time to write/illustrate with other responsibilities? I commit to doing something writing-related each day. It might be creating a character sketch, or a plot outline. It might even be reading. I also write at weird hours. I find I’m very productive between 11:00 and 12:00 at night. The last thing is that I bought myself a little laptop (it’s tiny!), and I take that with me almost everywhere. If I have to sit at the doctor’s office for 20 minutes, I write while I wait. If I find a few spare moments while I’m waiting in the car for one of my kids, I write.

What was your road to being published like? It was an uphill climb. I wrote articles for small publications (often for free) just to earn published credits. I wrote for Internet sites such as City Search to earn professional credits (and a little money). I wrote for local publications who would hire me to do freelance writing. I attended every conference, every workshop, every seminar that I could afford to go to. Eventually, I began achieving success. Then, after finishing my masters, I began submitting manuscripts frequently. Every week it seemed I had something going in the mail.

What is your all-time favorite children’s book? It’s a Sesame Street book called “There’s a Monster at the End of this Book.” It features the character Grover. I love this because it is a bit outside the norm – the character actually addresses the kids, and the pages are illustrated to make the kid feel as if he or she is actually interacting with the story. It’s wonderfully fun.

Independent booksellers and why? If you mean do I like them and support them – absolutely! Independent stores represent quality and sanity. Many of the big chain stores have become bland and flavorless, and they offer the same thing to everyone. Independents still take the time to read books, to know what they are recommending, and to give their patrons personal attention. Despite doomsday predictions to the contrary, I think independent stores will survive. The current will shift and readers will once again value that personalized approach.

Do you have a writer’s group?

I’m fortunate to be a member of a wonderful writer’s group which meets once a month. There are nine of us who get together, and we have so much fun, but we are also very productive. It’s an incredibly supportive group that includes: Carol Lynch Williams, Cheri Pray Earl, John Bennion, Lisa Hale, Kerry Spencer, Ann Cannon, Louise Plummer, and Ann Dee Ellis.

To learn more about her books visit Goodfreads at

has generously donated a copy of My Brother the Dog to our blog readers!
To Enter to win:
Leave your name and email address below

Winner will be drawn on June 14, 2010 and is open to U.S. and Canada residents. International entries are welcome if you are willing to pay the shipping charge upon winning 🙂 Good Luck! Thank you Kim for taking the time to do an interview with us and share your talent!