Let’s Chat! Author Shannon McNear

Welcome, Everyone!

Shannon McNear is our guest author this week. She writes historical romance from a Christian perspective.

This terrific author is offering two giveaways: (1) The Backcountry Brides Collection in print and (2) the prequel novella, The Highwayman, in digital form.

So join our circle by commenting below, and you may find yourself a winner next Tuesday evening, the 21st.

Who’s Shannon McNear?

Shannon McNear
was born and grew up in rural central Illinois and graduated from a small Christian high school. After losing my adoptive dad a month later, I went off to Liberty University. Crazy. I wound up with mono the fall of my sophomore year but managed to finish that semester. And made the move with my mom and brother to northern Missouri, where she remarried.

Then I met a cute neighbor guy named Troy. He had grown up with my stepdad’s kids and did his chores while he was dating my mom. So I tell people that my mom married a farmer, and I married his hired hand. (Click to Tweet!) 

Shannon McNear
What’s “Life” for Shannon McNear?

After our wedding, Troy and I moved to Lynchburg, Virginia. He attended Liberty, and I worked in the library and later the registrar’s office. Then he enlisted in the Air Force and I gave birth to our oldest. We spent six months in Biloxi, MS. The AF plunked us down in Charleston, SC, where we lived for the next almost-23 years. We have 8 children here on earth and 1 in heaven. Our oldest daughter and two oldest sons are married. So we have 3 amazing children-in-love. We’re blessed with 2 grandbabies on earth with several in heaven.

y husband and I are both bibliophiles, so he’s been amazingly supportive of my writing. Over the years I’ve been a childbirth educator, seamstress for my kids’ ballet and drama companies, youth and worship leader, and a total research nerd. My kids are fond of bragging that they learned South Carolina state history from being dragged to various historical sites (we homeschool too). I respond with, is there any better way?

How Was Shannon McNear, the Author, Born?

I started my actual first book at age 15 and rewrote it probably 20 times in as many years. Setting that story aside while my older children were little, I came back to writing with the intent to get published early in 2003 and managed another six completed novel-length stories in the next ten years.

A Debut for Shannon McNear

Shannon McNearMy first published story came in the form of a novella contract that was especially fun. A good friend had nudged me to put in for the Pioneer Christmas Collection. Back then the editor had a personal tradition of announcing a first-time author contract at the opening session of the American Christian Fiction Writers conference. I was one of two, in 2012.

Award Spotlight on Shannon McNear

As if that wasn’t magical enough, that first novella, Defending Truthactually finaled for a RITA® award with Romance Writers of America. It appeared in the middle of a bunch of mainstream romance novellas. I felt like Cinderella at the ball, attending RWA that year! Although mine didn’t win, it was such an amazing experience. I knew that God had made it happen and I was supposed to savor it all. It made waiting for 30 years for that first traditional contract definitely worth it!

Shannon McNearMy first full-length contract, for The Cumberland Bride, happened last year, again as a result of a good friend’s recommendation. When that editor invited me to submit a proposal for a new series, God flung open a door. Incredible opportunity. I cannot tell you how many times over the years I’ve gotten discouraged. Wanted to quit. And begged the Lord to open a door or show me I should keep going. Every time He sent me encouragement to continue and reassurance that writing is as much a call as anything else I do. And that I’m not wasting time by pursuing it.

What’s Ahead for Shannon McNear?

Well … when I began answering these questions, I was completely open to God’s leading. I was waiting for Him to make the next part clear. Now, I’m hoping to have an announcement to make very soon! God is so amazing. He keeps opening doors. And showing His graciousness in letting me continue to write historical fiction.

As kind of a sideways answer … Of those seven novel-length stories already written and waiting on a publishing home, only one is a historical—a Revolutionary War story set in South Carolina. One is a contemporary romance set, of course, in my former hometown of Charleston, SC. The others are from what has long been the story of my heart, a fantasy saga told from a solidly Christian viewpoint.

A Potential Change of Direction?

ncidentally, even my fantasy has a historical feel, as opposed to the elves/dragons/
wizards type. I call it “theological” fantasy, very similar in tone to works by Jill Williamson, Tricia Mingerink, and Patrick Carr. Editors like an author to stay within one genre, so it might be a long time before these see print. But I’m still praying for that.

In the meantime, I’m trying to stay obedient to God’s leading—which would seem to mean at least another “new” historical or two, first!

How to Find Shannon McNear and Her Books


Twitter  @ShannonMcNear

Pinterest  (I use this for my own visual reference while I’m writing, so some of my boards have more pins than others)

The Backcountry Brides Collection
Barnes & Noble
Christian Books

The Cumberland Bride:
Barnes & Noble
Christian Books

Giveaway Offers

Shannon is offering TWO giveaways this week, so join our chat circle!

(1) The Backcountry Brides Collection, in print
(2) The Highwayman, a prequel novella, in digital

~ ~ ~

Lord, You are Lord of All Seasons of Life! We acknowledge Your providential hand and thank You for affirmations, reassurances, and directions. We pray You’ll use Shannon’s books to point others to You. Please bless each word she writes for You! ~ For Jesus’ sake

14 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Author Shannon McNear

  1. Thank you ALL so much!!!! <3 And thank you to Linda for that sweet prayer at the end. It's such a blessing to get to share with my readers, and to know that the story-behind-the-stories can speak to y'all. <3 <3 <3

  2. Paula Shreckhise

    I have already read The Backcountry Brides Collection. My favorite Barbour collection yet! Shannon. I grew up in northern Illinois and I now live in central Missouri. We travelled to Oregon and Mt. Morris, Illinois the past few days, so we probably traveled through your old stomping grounds! I would love to read the prequel novella. I have a copy of The Ciumberland Bride. Will read it soon. paulams49ATsbcglobalDOTnet

    1. Greetings, Paula. Thank you for stopping by. I know Shannon appreciates your comments. You encourage both of us. You’re entered!

  3. Kailey Bechtel

    I look forward to reading more from you! I love historical fiction! Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks for stopping by for a visit, Kailey! I hope you’ll come back.

  4. Terri Linse

    Congratulations Shannon!! It was fun to read YOUR history. Love your talent, thanks for sharing with us!

    1. Hi, Terri. It’s great to have you in our chat circle. You’ve encouraged us!

  5. Deana Dick

    I loved reading about you writing at 15. I remember at that age just thinking I’m not sure what I want to be when I grow up, but getting out of school would be nice. I also kinda wrote stories but never showed anyone. I would love the chance to win. Thanks for sharing a bit about yourself.

    1. Welcome, Deana. Thank you for stopping by. You’re entered in the drawing 🙂

  6. JANE WAUGHTAL (Pen Name-Quail)

    Shannon, we share some life-similarities. I also began to write at an early age, but life happened, and I didn’t pick it up again with intent for many years. It will be a great pleasure to meet you in your books now that they are evident. Please “keep on keeping”, on as God says in His Word, stay the course and receive the reward in Glory! What a blessing to meet other authors on Linda’s, “Let’s Chat”. We Christian authors are becoming friends through this outlet. Thank you!

    1. Hi, Jane! Great to see you this week. I appreciate your comments. You’ve encouraged us all.

  7. Tina

    The Backcountry Brides Collection and The Highwayman sounds wonderful. Thank you for the opportunity to win.Have a good week.

    1. Welcome, Tina. It’s great to welcome you. I hope you’ll come back. You’re entered 🙂

    2. Shannon McNear

      Thank you so much, Tina! I hope you’re having a good week, too. <3


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Let’s Chat! Author Tara Johnson

Tara Johnson_author_historical romanceWelcome, Everyone

Tara Johnson is our guest author this week. Tara writes historical romance. Tyndale House Publishers recently released Tara’s debut novel, Engraved on the Heart

Tara is offering a copy of Engraved on the Heart in either print or digital form to someone who comments below. So join the chat, ya’ll!

Tara Johnson Before Authoring

I’m a preacher’s kid from Arkansas. I love to travel to churches, ladies retreats and prisons to share how God led me into freedom after spending years living shackled as a people-pleaser. (Click to Tweet!) But that’s a whole other story…

Tara Johnson_author_historical romance

I was always in love with books and story worlds growing up, but my passion was music. When I signed with a small Christian record and management label, I thought I had God’s plans for my life all figured out.

Unexpected Developments

Several years ago, I was diagnosed with gastroparesis, a disorder that keeps the stomach from pumping. It’s a vagus nerve problem which involves pain, nausea, esophagus spasms, reflux and a host of other issues. This nerve dysfunction has now progressed into my larynx. In short, I am losing my ability to sing.

Tara Johnson_author_historical romance When He began whispering hints of change, I was confused. The plans that seemed so certain to me suddenly shifted and I was reminded of this important truth…the more you build your identity on something other than Christ, the greater the pain when that identity crumbles. (Click to Tweet!) 

A Change of Directions

Tara Johnson_author_historical romanceSo, I began to write out my thoughts on a blog. A way to express myself on the days when I couldn’t find my voice. God showed me a great creative beauty in writing. I fell in love with it. As I began to immerse myself in the craft, I learned professionals call an author’s unique way of writing the author’s “voice”.

Letting Go of the Old

Sometimes we cling with white knuckles to our own plans so tightly, we fail to realize God is trying to give us something far better. But in order to receive it, we must relinquish our hold on the old before we can receive the new. (Click to Tweet!)

God may heal my singing voice. He may not. Either way, I’m content. I’m happy. God never takes away without giving something better in return. I have a voice, and I’ll use it for Him as long as He gives me breath.

Because you can have a voice and still not have a voice.

Tara Johnson: A Debut Experience

Tara Johnson_author_historical-romanceSeveral years ago, I signed with the remarkably talented literary agent Janet Grant of Books & Such Literary Agency and my debut novel Engraved on the Heart was just released by Tyndale House Publishers. During each of the milestones—signing the contracts, holding that first book in my hands—-I felt equal parts wonder, gratitude and terror.

It’s a very vulnerable thing to put a piece of your heart out there for the world to see. I particularly wrote a lot of my own struggles into the heroine Keziah. She struggles with epilepsy, people-pleasing and feelings of worth, all during the backdrop of the Civil War.

What’s up with Tara Johnson now?

I just turned in edits on my next story, set to release during the summer of 2019. Where Dandelions Bloom focuses on the life of a heroic young woman during the Civil War who fled abuse at home only to find herself in the middle of our nation’s greatest conflict.

History is crammed full of larger-than-life characters. Doc Holliday, Annie Oakley, Helen Keller, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Amelia Earhart and Frederick Douglass are just a few examples of flawed, wounded humans who battled their demons with determination and left an indelible mark on the pages of history. I suppose that’s why people are so fascinating.

Insight from Tara Johnson

No matter the era, we all battle the same wounds. Abandonment, abusive fathers, overprotective mothers, loss, grief, rejection, addiction, crippling anxiety, loneliness, or the yearning for unconditional love, to name a few. We all battle the same junk and have to decide whether to fight or cave. Run or stand. Cry or smile. That’s what great characters do. They are a reflection of our struggles, our own wounds. Our own need. And, when written well, they remind us to Whom we need to turn for healing.


How to Find Tara Johnson


Twitter: @TaraMinistry




~ ~ ~

Lord, how You surprise us! Your ways aren’t our ways, so what do we expect? You’ve woven unexpected threads into Tara’s life and handed her a pen and a keyboard to write stories rooted in her unexpected journey. We praise You, Rapha God, for Your healing touch.
Please bless each word Tara writes for You.
~ For Jesus’ sake ~

17 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Author Tara Johnson

  1. Tabitha

    Thank you for sharing a part of your struggle with us. We can all take faith in your willingness to let God lead and direct you. I look forward to reading your work. God bless.

  2. Alison Boss

    Thank you for sharing your story, Tara! Your perseverance and words are an inspiration! So many good thoughts to take to heart…to remember that even when we don’t see God or feel His presence, He is there, working and moving on our behalf, for our good. I love historical fiction, and the Civil War is one of my favorite time periods to read about. I am excited to read your book, Engraved on the Heart! Thank you for a chance to win a copy!!

    1. Great to see you in our circle, Alison. You’re entered in the drawing 🙂

    2. Tara

      Thank you, Alison! That’s key, isn’t it? Reminding ourselves of what we know about God, and not relying on how we feel. Hugs!

  3. Marilyn R

    So nice to meet Tara Johnson here. Hearing testimonies on this blog how God has brought His perfect will to life by various authors is a shot of faith being lifted higher. I prayed after reading this blog post earlier for a healing touch, Tara. Thank you for sharing.

    Engraved on the Heart will be a wonderful book to read. Civil War era is one of my absolute favorite periods to read in Historical Fiction.
    Blessings Tara and Linda.

    1. Thanks for joining us, Marilyn. I loved Tara’s story too. You’re entered in the drawing 🙂

    2. Tara

      You’re a doll, Marilyn. Thank you so much!

  4. Becky Smith

    This interview is so good and uplifting! I loved meeting Tara!

    1. Tara’s story—and attitude—does lift one up, doesn’t it? So glad you joined us, Becky. You’re entered in the drawing 🙂

    2. Tara

      Thank you, Becky! Blessings!

  5. Lucy Reynolds

    I love Tara’s heart. I look forward to reading this book.

    1. Thank you, Lucy! I pray you enjoy it!

    2. Great to see you, Lucy. I love Tara’s heart too. You’ve encouraged both of us. And you’re entered in the drawing 🙂

  6. Brandi

    I’m so glad you were willing to let Him redirect you. 😄
    I’m looking at a massive change as well and it’s so encouraging to hear stories of others trusting Him. Thank you for sharing and thank you for the book opportunity.

    1. Brandi, I’m praying for you and the big change you are preparing to go through. Exodus 14:14 HUGS!

      1. Brandi

        Oh, thank you Tara, very much appreciated. All hugs, prayers, and Truth!!! 💕

    2. Welcome, Brandi! I’m tickled you’ve joined us. You encourage Tara and me both. You’re entered in the drawing 🙂


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