Darlene L Turner: Let’s Chat!


Welcome, everyone.

Darlene TurnerDarlene L Turner, an award-winning author of romantic suspense, blesses us today. Darlene lives with her husband, Jeff, in Ontario, Canada. Her love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book.

She’s turned that passion into her writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and moved by her inspirational message.

And she’s offering a giveaway: one copy of Border Breach to someone who joins the conversation below. You can connect with Darlene at www.darlenelturner.com where there’s suspense beyond borders.

Darlene Turner

Darlene L Turner in her own words: “I’m a Writer?”

“Darlene Lynn, get your nose out of that book and vacuum!”

My mom often said these words when I put my books before my chores. Not that she didn’t want me to read, but I needed to also help out around the house. To this day, I’d rather read than do the dishes or laundry (but who doesn’t, right?!). 🙂 

Darlene TurnerGrowing up, I was better known as “Red” or “Carrot Top,” but ever since I picked up my first Nancy Drew book, I’ve always loved a good mystery. That’s when my love of writing took hold of my heart. I started writing my own “Mindy Dobson” mystery series! Even though I continued to read, the writing spark faded and life happened. I started working, got married, and eventually moved to a different city. I didn’t have time to write . . . or at least, I didn’t think I had the gift, so I put it out of my mind.

Years flew by and then the unspeakable happened. I went through some rough times and a betrayal by someone close to me (you can see my full story on my blog under My Story https://darlenelturner.com/category/my-story/). On my journey working through the hurt, I decided to take a creative writing course. This triggered the idea for the very first book I wrote. That’s when my love of writing re-surfaced and grew. So, God does use ALL circumstances in life to grow us, right? 

Darlene Begins to Write

With the spark re-ignited, I joined a writer’s club and my passion for writing grabbed my heart.

I took writing courses through the Christian Writer’s Guild (CWG) to grow my skills. I wrote devotionals, articles (personal experience, travel, inspirational), and short stories. But even after this and having my first article published in a magazine, I still didn’t feel like I could call myself a writer.

Finally after graduating from the Craftsman course at CWG, finishing my first novel, and being led to start blogging, did I dare call myself a writer? Seeing my name in print on a website seemed to make it official for me—not in a boastful way but feeling proud of what I’d learned and accomplished. It was an “aha” moment. I did it. I was a writer! At least that’s what my business cards said. J

Darlene L Turner’s Writing Journey

Darlene TurnerHowever, I still had a long roller coaster journey ahead of me. After I’d written that first manuscript, I began pitching it to agents at writer’s conferences. I’d get interest but never a contract. I started to question if I was doing something wrong. Maybe I just wasn’t cut out for this writing world. There were times I felt like quitting, but then I’d get an encouraging word from a reader or I’d final in a contest. In 2016, I won my first award. This encouraged me to press on, so I continued.

I wrote another romantic suspense manuscript and it ended up winning the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis award in 2017. A few months later, God gave me an incredible gift. An amazing agent, Tamela Hancock Murray. She started pitching my manuscripts and suggested I write something for Love Inspired Suspense.

I started brainstorming ideas on what story I could write. I’ve always been intrigued by law enforcement. I wanted a strong female character who knew how to take care of herself and the Canada Border Services Agency caught my attention. I googled popular items being smuggled and saw that there was a bust for the doda drug in Saskatchewan. Knowing I had to partner Kaylin Poirier with a forceful police officer but one with teddy bear qualities, I knew Hudson Steeves fit that bill. I also wanted to give them a past case they worked on together that didn’t go well, so they both would be a bit apprehensive about teaming up again.

Darlene L. Turner Debuts

This was when Deadly Bouquet (my original title) was born. I sent it to my agent and months later, I received that call. You know, the words every author dreams about hearing. “You’re going to be published.” Needless to say, I did a happy dance! Yes!

I still pinch myself when I think of it. My dream that had sparked from the first time I picked up a Nancy Drew book as a young girl was finally coming true. Border Breach launched in April. Even though I had already considered myself a writer, I can finally say . . . Yes, I’m a published author. I am blessed. God is good…all the time.

A Darlene L Turner Giveaway!

Darlene Turner
m giving away a copy of Border Breach to one reader. Leave a comment and tell me your favorite childhood book. Open to US and Canada only. If the winner is Canadian, they will need to answer a skill-testing question (don’t worry it won’t be hard!).

Border Breach by Darlene L Turner

When drugs are smuggled across the borderit’s their duty to stop the culprits . . . at any cost.

Forming a joint task force, Canada border officer Kaylin Poirier and police constable Hudson Steeves have one objective: take down a drug-smuggling ring trying to sell a new lethal product. But when the smugglers come after Kaylin and Hudson, this mission becomes more than just a job. Can they live long enough to solve the case?

Darlene’s social media:






Instagram: darlenel.turner

Purchase Links:




Barnes & Noble

~ ~ ~

Lord, please bless each word Darlene writes for You.
~ For Jesus’ sake

12 thoughts on “Darlene L Turner: Let’s Chat!

  1. Hi Roxanne! Wow…you still have your copy? So cool. I have some Nancy Drew books but got them at an antique store! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Roxanne C.

    My favorite childhood book was “Eight Cousins” by Louisa May Alcott; I still have it. I also liked “The Happy Hollisters” series.

    1. Welcome, Roxanne. Can’t beat Louisa May Alcott. As a preschooler, my fav reading experience was Bozo Under the Sea. (I’m showing my age 🙂 ) It had a record with read-along book. Later on, Where the Read Fern Grows. Please join us again. God bless and keep you and yours. Happy Easter.

  3. Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds

    My first love of books was the Golden storybooks. My favorite storybook was I Love My Grandma. Thank you so much for the chance. Blessings.

    1. Welcome, Lucy. Having you in our chat circle is a delight. I’m with you on the Golden storybooks. My fav was Bozo Under the Sea. I was a preschooler and couldn’t get enough of the record with read-along book. Later on, I loved Where the Red Fern Grows. I’ll be looking for you next time. God bless and keep you and yours. Happy Easter.

    2. Hi Lelia! Yes, the Golden storybooks are amazing. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Alicia Haney

    My favorite childhood book was Charlotte’s Web. Your book sounds intriguing and like a very good page turner! Have a Great rest of the week and a Blessed Easter.

    1. Hi, Alicia. My first favorite was Bozo Under the Sea. I was a preschooler and loved the record and read-along book. It was the birth of my love of reading. (I’m showing my age—73.) Later on, I adored Where the Red Fern Grows. Great to see you in our circle. May God bless and keep you and yours. Happy Easter.

    2. Hi Alicia! Thanks so much. I enjoyed writing Border Breach. Happy Easter to you too. Stay safe.

  5. My favorite childhood book was any mystery I could find. I love watching police shows and trying to solve the mystery. Great interview. Enjoyed learning more about the author.

    1. Mysteries have always been my go-to genre when reading for pure pleasure. Historical comes in as a close second. So happy to see you here, Gail. Hope you’ll come again. May God bless and keep you and yours. Happy Easter.

    2. Hi Gail! You’re a girl after my own heart…mysteries and suspense are my fave too! Happy Easter! Blessings.


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Let’s Chat! Given Hoffman

Welcome, everyone!

Given Hoffman is our honored guest this week.

I’m just thrilled to introduce you to this writer I met at a Christian Writers Guild’s Craftsman retreat in 2012. We divided into groups, and I found myself delighted and blessed by the young women in my circle. Although I was the eldest (by far), I came away wondering where young women like Given come by such wisdom. What a credit she is to her parents.

I so respect Given. I believe you’ll agree.

Given Hoffman in her own Words

Hi, Everybody!

My name is Given Hoffman. I am a young adult suspense novelist from Minnesota. My parents always encouraged me and my four siblings to use the skills God gave us in whatever way God directed. I was homeschooled through high school, and when people asked me what my favorite subject was, I would always somewhat sheepishly say: reading.

My mother read historical fiction to us at lunch and I read fiction on my own, but I didn’t much like any other subjects.I was good with kids though, and over the years I spent a lot of time babysitting, camp counseling, volunteering with youth groups, nannying, and mentoring young people. I didn’t have a clue how much this would play into where God would eventually lead me.

How Authorship Developed for Given Hoffman

I did not grow up writing stories. My one and only childhood attempt at story writing was around age nine. I started a typical girl and her horse story, but I abandoned it in less than forty-eight hours.

First Came Inspiration

So how in the world did I become a young adult suspense novelist? Well, I’ve always had trouble falling asleep. One night somewhere mid high school, I got this one scene stuck in my head. In months that scene snowballed into the plot of a contemporary suspense novel. I couldn’t help myself. I started writing a book. My mother, realizing how seriously I was, took me to a meeting of the Minnesota Christian Writers Guild. For the first time people spoke my language.

I came away so inspired yet also still totally naive about what it took to be a good writer. I didn’t mess around though, I had a book I was determined to see completed. By seventeen, I finished my novel which was 180,000 words long (I guess actually at that length you could say I finished two novels).

Then Came Learning

Later at writers conferences, I heard over and over how beginner writers shouldn’t start with a novel but with short stories to learn the craft. Since I had already finished my first novel it was a bit too late, but I gained a lot of appreciation for the concept of starting with something smaller when it came to editing my first book.

Right in there, I attended my first writers conference and attempted to market my book to a publisher. The editor was wonderfully kind and explained the basics to me, like that most novels are 75k-95k words long not 180k and what a proposal was. I didn’t even know my novel’s word count. I had brought my whole manuscript and plunked it down in front of him (I laugh now thinking about it). It’s totally not what you are supposed to do, but I didn’t know any better. Needless to say, he didn’t take my manuscript.

And Sticking Her Neck Out

Despite my disappointment, I was still determined to see that book published. I went home with the entire conference on MP3 and listened to every session, learning writing, pitching, querying, and writing proposals.

I attended the next year’s conference and the next, and I took fiction writing classes through The Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. Every conference following that first year, I had at least one publisher like my book proposal and request my manuscript. Again and again I nervously sent it out and waited the typical three months to hear back. Nothing ever came of that first novel, but I was invested now in writing. I started my second book. One reason publishers said they weren’t interested in my first novel was because they didn’t think a teenager could market a book to adults. So I wrote my next book with teenage protagonists.


Once I did, I encountered the reality that many Christian publishers don’t publish books for young adults or else publish very few. Most publishers consider the young adult audience, particularly teen boys, too narrow of a market. Ministering and mentoring teens showed me how often teens are overlooked and marginalized. Encountering this reality in the publishing world made me that much more passionate about giving teens worthwhile YA fiction that is both God honoring and engaging.

And Releasing a Debut Novel

My debut novel, The Eighth Ransom, is a contemporary young adult suspense novel about eight young people who are all kidnapped. By working together, they escape their kidnappers and prevent their ransoms from being used in a plot against the U.S.

Currently, I am working on a young adult suspense period medieval trilogy. I also have several stand alone young adult contemporary suspense novels already brainstormed that I’m planning to write after that trilogy.

How to Find Given Hoffman

You can find out more about me and The Eighth Ransom on my website. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Pinterest. I also post weekly on my blog about practical Christianity.







~ ~ ~

Oh my, Lord, how faithful You are. Given’s parents poured You into her, and now she’s pouring You into her writing. I continue to be amazed by Given’s maturity, wisdom, and skills. And I pray You’ll bless every single word she writes for You.
~ For Jesus’ sake

8 thoughts on “Let’s Chat! Given Hoffman

  1. Teresa Durham

    Cheers to you Given! I see God is using. you to pioneer YA fiction that there will be a market for. I love your journey.

    1. Given Hoffman

      Thank you, Teresa!

  2. Thank you, Naomi! Homeschool does indeed rock. : )

  3. Congratulations, Given. Sounds like you really took the bull by the horns in setting your course. And kudos to your mom who helped you direct your passion! #Homeschoolrocks!

  4. Great to learn more about Given. What a talented young woman!

    1. Thank you, Melissa. It’s definitely not been an easy journey pursing the talents God has given me, but He has been so faithful in that journey. : )

  5. Licha

    Wow, you are a very talented young lady and good for you that you are writing books for teens! Thank God you did not give up on your writings! God gave you your Very Special talents because He knows that Good will come from your writings. God Bless you and Thank you for being so inspiring.

    1. Licha, thank you for your kind words. I am very thankful too that I did not give up, because there were definitely a lot of time when I felt like it. But God is good, and I do very much hope my writing will encourage teens and their families.


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