I am excited to host author, Lisa Bilbrey, in my consecutive weeks of “The Next Big Thing in Authors!” In the following weeks, I will host authors in all types of genres, hopefully with something that may catch your eye and get you reading!
Check out what Lisa has to say about her work, her passion of writing, and read an excerpt from her newest novel, Angel’s Heart.
An Excerpt from Angel’s Heart: The Keeper
The closer they got to Sayar Island, the more anxious Sophie found herself getting. Her toes tingled, and her hands shook; the feeling seeped up her arms and into her chest. Soon the feeling had spread throughout her body. Sophie’s heart began racing. Reaching up, she wrapped her fingers around the small heart-shaped charm hanging around her neck.
The stone burned under her hand at the same moment she heard a familiar voice whisper in her ear, “Don’t fight it.” Gasping, Sophie brought her other hand up, covering her mouth. It had been her father’s voice, like he’d been sitting right next to her. “Let go, honey.”
“Dad!” Sophie yelled, scrambling to her feet. Everyone turned, staring at her, but she didn’t care.
“Sophie, sit down,” Tabitha ordered, throwing herself onto Sophie and trying to drag her down onto the seat. “You’re going to fall overboard.”
“Didn’t you hear him?” Sophie wailed, struggling to free herself from the arms wrapped around her. Before she knew what was happening, Sophie found herself being pulled from Tabitha’s arms. Looking up, she saw Henry holding her. “He’s here.”
Henry didn’t argue with her. Instead, he settled back on the bench seat with her in his lap, holding her even tighter. Sophie’s nails dug into her palm while she gripped her necklace, ignoring the fiery burn scorching her flesh. Still the tingle inside of her grew, intensifying at an agonizingly slow pace. By the time Oliver pulled the boat up to the docks at Sayar Island, Sophie was nearly gasping for air. Scrambling out of Henry’s arms, she jumped off the side of the boat, landing on the dock, and took off running toward the crystal white sand.
“Sophie, stop!” Deva yelled, but Sophie ignored her.
She stepped off the wooden dock, letting her foot touch the sand. Just as on the boat, the feeling inside her increased. Falling onto her knees, she brought her hands up, eyes popping open when they began glowing. The glow shot up her arms, wrapping around every inch of her body. Crying out again, Sophie tumbled forward, seeing everyone run toward her just before everything went dark.
Find out a little more about Lisa:
1.) How did you get the idea for Angel’s Heart: The Keeper?
The inspiration for Angel’s Heart came from a dream. I’d been having trouble sleeping, as I seem to have a lot, and I had a dream about a woman standing on the shore of a beach, her arms were wrapped around her body and she was sobbing. A light mist was falling over her and the waves were crashing upon the shore. I don’t know why, but I knew that the storm was tied into her emotions. When I woke up, I had this urge to write it out, so I scrambled to my laptop and began writing. This whole new world opened up to me and swept me away.
2.) Why did you choose Sophie as the name of your main character?
One of the hardest tasks I had with Angel’s Heart was coming up with the name of my main character. To me, the name of a character sets the stage for how the book is written and I have to love it. I went through a long list of beautiful names such as Grace, Olivia, Hannah, but none of them were right. Then one day, while I was complaining to my husband about it, I looked in the backseat of our car and watched my daughter, who was around five at the time. Her name is Sophie and I knew I wanted her to be my heroin. Of course, now she’s convinced that she’s a witch, but who am I to argue with her.
3.) What’s your favorite sport?
Oh, that’s a hard one, but I have to say that I am a huge fan of football. My oldest son, who is fifteen, plays and I love watching him. In fact, he was the inspiration for my novella from Harvest Treats, Book Three of the Candy Collection. The Journey Home is the story of a professional football player who is facing the end of his career, but still loves the game. Suddenly, he finds himself trying to figure out what he’s supposed to do now. It’s not until he goes home for the first time in ten years that he finds his true path in life.
4.) Have you been to Hawaii or Ireland, since the book was set there? Would you like to go?
I haven’t been to either places, and had to do a ton of research on both locations while writing Angel’s Heart. I tried to convince my husband that I needed to go for research purposes, but he wasn’t keen on the idea since it meant him having to stay at home with our three kids. One of my dreams is to be able to go to both places and see for myself the inspiration that brought Angel’s Heart to life.
5.) How did you come up with the appearance of Henry?
When I started coming up with my supporting characters, one of the decisions I made was to make Henry and his family Chinese. Though they are native from the small island in Hawaii that I created for the Angel’s Heart, their backstory is important to the second book and I wanted to set that in motion from the beginning.
6.) When did you start writing?
I started writing about seven years ago, once again after having a severe bout of Insomnia. Unable to handle just lying in my bed, staring at the ceiling, I opted to write out the stories I often had running through my head. I’ll be honest, they weren’t very good, but I learned and grew as an author, as I still am. I believe that with each book I write, I hone my craft a little more.
7.) How do you handle writer’s block?
Writer’s block is such a huge issue for most of us, and for me, I find that starting a new project often helps to get the creative flow going. Sometimes, it becomes my next book and others, it becomes trash in my recycle bin, but I find that focusing on something new and different works for me.
8.) Do I listen to music when I write? If so, who?
I always have music on. My iPod is a permanent part of my body. I find that different music helps to inspire different types of writing. When I’m finding myself in a particularly emotional passage, I turn on what I call my Endless Awakenings playlist. It has a bit of everyone from Evanescence, to Nickelback, to A Fine Frenzy, but all of them are gut-wrenching and help feed my emotions. When I am in a more upbeat story, I hit my Sing Me to Sleep playlist, which has Linkin Park, Fran Healey, Amos Less, Timothy Bloom, and more.
9.) What’s next?
Well, I always have a new project on the line. Right now, it’s getting the next three novellas in The Journey Collection ready to be released. The first book, The Journey Home is, as I mentioned before, a part of Harvest Treats. The second book, The Journey of Champions will be released in April as an eBook, while the third book, The Journey to Forever comes out in June, also as an eBook. The fourth book, The Journey to a New Life is scheduled for release in September as an eBook. Also, I have the second book in the Angel’s Heart series, The True Enemy to finish, and another two-novel series, the first of which is entitled What Should Have Been to complete. There’s never a dull moment for me.
I’d like to thank Jessica for having me on her blog and I hope that y’all will check out my books.
Lisa Bilbrey books:
Angel’s Heart: The Keeper:
Sophie Crenshaw always knew she was different, but the last thing she expected was to find out that she was a witch. Now, with the world literally in her hands, she must come to terms with her new found position in a society that she never knew existed. Henry Chang is tied to her by an unbreakable bond. Will he be able to help the woman who holds his heart?
Life’s Unexpected Gifts, part of Life is More Than Candy Hearts, Book One of the Candy Collection:
With the recent loss of her father, Emma Dawson struggles to get from one day to the next. When she starts receiving gifts from a secret admirer, she finds herself being forced to reevaluate everything she thought she knew. Will she open her heart to the mystery man of her dreams, or will a blast from the past sweep her off her feet? Can they be one in the same?
A Season of Change, part of Summer Confections, Book Two of the Candy Collection:
Meredith Murphy ran when life became difficult. Ten years later, she once again finds herself rolling down the highway, and seeking refuge in the arms of her father. When Jonathon Wentworth shows up at Camp Willow Pines, she must decide if she’ll wallow in the past or follow where fate takes her.
The Journey Home, part of Harvest Treats, Book Three of the Candy Collection:
Travis had it all until a hit threatens to end his career. Upon receiving an invitation to return home, he realizes that not everything in life is as simple as he thinks. Will he be able to handle learning that the greatest gift in life has been just an arm’s reach away?
Broken Hearts & Dusty Dreams, part of Sugarplum Dreams, Book Four of the Candy Collection:
Riley Farris and Natalie Sloane were the best of friends who spent every summer together on the sandy beach of Mustang Island. Then, just when Riley is getting set to spend another summer with Natalie, she disappears. As the years pass, he struggles to understand what happened to the girl he knew. Until, one night while walking on the beach, he stumbles upon a woman who is broken and lost.
Lisa Bilbrey is a mom of three and has been married to her high school sweetheart since 1996.
Finding a love in the written word, she started writing as a way to express herself. From the first word she wrote, she’d found her heart and soul. Always willing to learn, she’s spends much of her time trying to improve as a storyteller.
In late 2011, Lisa opened Renaissance Romance Publishing with Michele Richard and Laura Braley.