Author Interview with Lindsay Harrel, author of The Heart Between Us + Giveaways

Lindsay Harrel is making her debut chat on Just Commonly today!

*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years, and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. She loves to watch God work in ordinary lives to create something extraordinary, and she writes to bring hope to those who may have lost it along the way.

CONNECT WITH LINDSAY: website,  facebook,  twitter,  instagram,  pinterest

Interview with Lindsay

Hi Lindsay! Welcome to Just Commonly! Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a stay-at-home mom to two little boys—a 3-year-old and an 11-month-old—and we live in Arizona. Between taking care of them (and two crazy golden retrievers), keeping the household mostly running (just ignore the piled up laundry), freelance editing, and writing, I’m pretty busy! In my “spare time,” I like to lose myself in a good book, spend time with my husband of 11 years, or binge watch my latest obsession.

What kind of books or subject matter do you like to write about?
My books are women’s fiction, which just means they usually deal with issues relevant to women—specifically, I like to write about mended relationships and spiritual journeys that lead the main character back to or toward faith. Of course, I love every story I read to have a romance of some sort, so I can’t possibly write a book without romance too. It’s just not the driving thread.

In about 10 words, can you let us know what The Heart Between Us is about?
A heart transplant recipient fulfills her donor’s bucket list.

What was your inspiration? 
What made you think you had to write this story? I actually heard a radio story about a woman who went sky diving because her heart donor had always wanted to go, but never had. That sparked my idea. I started thinking about this poor teenage girl who had all these dreams, and never got to live them because she died. Then, there’s another girl—a woman now—whose life was saved by the gift of a new heart. I asked myself how this gift, and the girl’s inspiration, might change the woman with the new heart. And the foundation of The Heart Between Us began to form.

I love stories about broken relationships, be it with family or romantically. What can you tell us about the development of these relationships in The Heart Between Us
The book was originally all about Megan, the heart transplant recipient; her twin sister Crystal was going to be the typical antagonist (since the sisters start out being as good as estranged). But when I told the idea to my agent, she challenged me to go deeper with Crystal and see if she had a story to tell. Turns out, she did. Her story started with her childhood years, growing up with a sick sister shaped and molded how she saw herself. As an adult, she has come to a tipping point; her past has seeped into her present, and it will soon ruin her future if she doesn’t do something to resolve the past. Thus, her decision to accompany Megan on her journey around the world comes to be.

Can you tell us a little more about your main characters? How about 3 words each to describe them?
Megan is self-conscious, compassionate, and brave (even if she doesn’t think so!). Crystal is driven, protective, and strong.

Which part of the book is your favorite? Can you share a line/paragraph (without a spoiler)? 
I think one of my favorite parts is when Megan runs with the bulls in Pamplona (despite everyone else’s blatant objections!). Here’s a little glimpse of that moment: “Blood pumped through her veins, and instead of circulating the fear she expected, another feeling made the rounds inside of her. Amanda’s heart in Megan’s chest sang with the pounding of her blood, beating out a new rhythm Megan wasn’t familiar with. The song invigorated her limbs, and as she readied her body to leap into action, a fuzzy calm tingled in her fingertips and toes.”

And which character of a book will you think would make a great "faraway best friend" to one of your characters and to which one? 
I could see Megan hanging out with Melissa Tagg’s Raegan Walker*. They both are small-town girls dreaming of something bigger, but struggling with the courage to take risks and move beyond what they’ve always known. I think they’d be able to encourage each other!


Now let's talk about the travel aspect of this book. What made you decided on these particular locations for your characters? Have you been to these places? If so, which is your favorite? If not, which would be on your bucket list to go to? 
When plotting the book, I looked at a lot of “must-see wonders of the world” lists and chose some locations from there. I’ve been to England, Ireland, Scotland, and Paris, but none of the others! My top bucket list item would be Italy—specifically, Rome, Venice, and Florence.

What do you want readers to come away with after reading The Heart Between Us besides a few hours of total enjoyment? 
I hope they see the true heart of this book. While the travel aspect is fun, and the romance is at times swoony, I pray that people come away feeling hopeful and inspired to live their own lives to the fullest.

Now on to you a bit more. What book or books are on your nightstand currently? 
I just finished Jaime Jo Wright’s The House on Foster Hill, and up next is Jessica Dotta’s Price of Privilege trilogy. I’ve also got Kristy Cambron’s The Lost Castle, an ARC of Sara Ella’s Unbreakable, and Katherine Reay’s The Austen Escape on my Kindle just waiting for me! As you can see, I like both historical and contemporary, YA and women’s fiction. And always, always romance. ;)

If you had to choose 1 book you've read this year so far that is an absolute must read, what would it be? 

I read an ARC of Catherine West’s Where Hope Begins*, and wow. It’s powerful. It releases in May, so everyone should go preorder it. I do warn you, though—make sure you’ve got a box of tissues handy. It’s gorgeous and lyrical and haunting and inspiring all at once. I got all the feels while reading it!

And last, a fan favorite, can you give us 5 random facts about you? Ooo, fun! Okay, here goes:
  1. I was in a Christian rock band in college.
  2. When I was young, I hated the color pink because I was determined to be a tomboy. Now, hot pink is my favorite color (just see my website to confirm this!).
  3. I am named after both my mom and dad—Lynn is both of their middle names!
  4. For the longest time, I hated chocolate. It wasn’t until my first job out of college that I started liking it, because a coworker kept filling the snack bowl with chocolates. When you’re hungry enough for a sugar hit in the afternoon, you turn desperate—and I discovered I really liked it!
  5. On the other hand, I have always hated coffee and don’t anticipate this ever changing. :P

THANK YOU, Lindsay for stopping in on Just Commonly for this interview. 

I personally really enjoyed The Heart Between Us! If you haven't read it yet, go check it out. And be sure to scroll on down for info on the book and some amazing giveaway opportunities!


ABOUT THE BOOK

Title:  The Heart Between Us: Two Sisters, One Heart Transplant, and a Bucket List
Author: Lindsay Harrel
Publisher: Thomas Nelson & Zondervan Fiction
Release Date:  March 13, 2018
Genre: Contemporary/ Literary Fiction
Links*: Amazon l Goodreads l Book Depository l CBD l Itunes

Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide in her small Minnesota hometown and living with her parents, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.

When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.



As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.


TO PURCHASE A COPY*

GIVEAWAYS


Lindsay is currently giving away an amazing prize package over on her own site. Enter over there to win a copy of The Heart Between Us, a $25 Amazon gift card, and several fun travel-themed items. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and ends Sunday, 3/18, at midnight Pacific time.

PLUS Don't forget the giveaway on this blog for an advanced readers' copy of The Heart Between Us. Click on the image below to take your there. 

Click HERE for my review
*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

CONVERSATION

7 comments:

  1. I loved the Price of Privilege series. Very suspenseful. Especially having to wait for the next book to be released 😜

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  2. Would love to read this new author to me.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lucy, hope you'll get the opportunity soon!

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  3. I have to say I am still shocked that Lindsay doesn't like coffee. :) Love that she was in a Christian rock band in college. I work in a Christian radio station so that stuff always gets me.
    Can't wait to read Lindsay's book. Loved the interview questions and answers.

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  4. I also loved the Price of Privelege series. My husband’s middle name is Lynn, too. So is my sister’s. I am named for my parents, too! I grew up next to a purple house so I didn’t like any shade of purple for 30 years or more. I really want to read this book!

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