Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Darkness Before Dawn by Ace Collins (Author Interview / Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours and Litfuse Publicity Blog Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews welcomes Ace Collins, author of Darkness Before Dawn!

Author Interview

Welcome to Jersey Girl Book Reviews, Ace!

How long have you been a writer?

I landed my first book contract thirty years ago, but I have been writing a lot longer than that. I penned my first short story in third grade.

Do you have a day job, or is being an author your career?

No, writing is all I do, so it has been my career for three decades. I hope I am just at the midpoint of that career too.

What inspired you to become a writer? Describe your journey as a writer.

As a kid I loved to read and that, combined with my grandparents being master storytellers, created a desire for me to, in Arkansas slang, spin yarns. I think the other thing that defines me and pushes me to write is my wanting to know the story behind everything. If I hear a song I want to know how it was inspired. If I watch a movie, I want to the background of all the actors. So I think my curious nature played a part in my choice of career path as well.

Please give a brief description/storyline about Darkness Before Dawn.

It is an issues book. It deals with hot topics often discussed on talk shows or in church today. It concerns a pregnant woman whose husband is killed by drunk driver. When the courts don’t give her the justice she feels she deserves, she decided to extract revenge on her own. In the end, she literally holds the life of her husband’s killer in her hands.

What was the inspiration for this story?

I had a good friend killed by a drunk driver when I was in high school, so I have been wanting to do a book like this for a long time.

How did it feel to have your first book published?

It was a rush. I loved being a bookstore and watching someone I didn’t know buy a copy. Living a dream is something few folks get to do and I treasure that more than anyone knows.

Do you write books for a specific genre?

No, it would be hard to pin me down. As my nature is to be interested in almost everything, my writing is all over the place too. My novels range from mysterious, to save the world adventures to sentimental tales to issues drama. My nonfiction work runs from biographies to stories behind songs.

What genres are your favorite(s)? What are some of your favorite books that you have read and why?

I like comedy, biography and mysteries. I love stories of Hollywood in the 1930s and 40s, enjoy reading about political figures, usually try to read Clive Cussler’s or Brandilyn Collins’ (no relation) latest work and still read Mark Twain. Right now I am reading several books on Jesus’ parables.

Do you have a special spot/area where you like to do your writing?

My ideas comes either when I am trying to get to sleep, driving a car or running. I always write in my office in front of my iMac.

How do you come up with the ideas that become the storyline for your books?

I listen to a lot of old radio programs from the 1930s and 1940s. I also grab story ideas from headlines.

When you write, do you adhere to a strict work schedule, or do you work whenever the inspiration strikes?

I try to write everyday. Obviously a deadline forces me to adhere to a strict schedule. But if I am on a roll, I will write from morning until night and do that weeks at a time.

What aspects of storytelling do you like the best, and what aspects do you struggle with the most?

Natural dialogue is likely the toughest but complicated spinning mysteries are easy for me. What I enjoy the most is creating multi-dimensional characters. I even want my background characters to become real to those who read my books. When readers finish I want each character to seem like someone they know.

What are your favorite things to do when you are not writing?

I play with and collect pre World War II cars, follow sports, work with college kids, have two collies and three cats and run the hills. I also love date nights with my wife Kathy.

What is/was the best piece of writing advice that you have received?

Editors are your best friends. Listen to them rather than fight them as they find the holes in your work.

What is the most gratifying thing you feel or get as a writer?

Having someone tell me they enjoy my work. That beats all the good reviews or awards in the world.

How do you usually communicate with your readers/fans?

Usually through email and social media. I have developed several close friendships through my books as well.

Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences or are they purely all from your imagination?

There are parts of me in each book and real life plays a part in setting the scene, but most of my novels are yanked out of my imagination. It usually begins with “I wonder what would happen if….”

What authors have been your inspiration or influenced you to become a writer?

Mark Twain, Jules Verne, Clive Cussler, to name a few.

What is your definition of success as a writer?

Financially, just being able to pay the bills, everything else is gravy. On a personal note, it is having people be moved by my work. I have letters and emails from folks who didn’t commit suicide due to something I had written. That really makes it all worth it. So do the stories from those who thank me for something I’ve written that give them hope or comfort.

Are you currently writing a new book? If yes, would you care to share a bit of it with us?

Just finished a devotional book and am working on three new novels. One is a courtroom drama set in two different time periods, a comedy whodunit set in the 1940s and a romance set in Hollywood in the 1930s.

Thank you Ace for visiting Jersey Girl Book Reviews and sharing a bit about yourself and your writing career with us!

About The Author

Bestselling author Ace Collins has written more than fifty books including novels Farraday Road, Swope's Ridge and Words of the Father, as well as the nonfiction Stories Behind The Best-Loved Songs of Christmas, grAttitudes, and Lassie A Dog's Life. His books have become movies and network television specials. He has appeared on Good Morning America, the NBC Nightly News and The Today Show and has been featured in the Distinguished Lecture Series at the National Archives in Washington D.C. Ace Collins has sold more than 1.5 million books during his career.

His latest book is the Christian fiction, Darkness Before Dawn.

Darkness Before Dawn by Ace Collins ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours
Darkness Before Dawn by Ace Collins ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Litfuse Publicity

Darkness Before Dawn - Trailer


Book Review

Darkness Before Dawn by Ace Collins
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: March 1, 2013
Format: Paperback - 352 pages / Kindle - 756 KB / Nook - 2 MB
ISBN: 142671467X
Genre: Christian Fiction 

BUY THE BOOK: Darkness Before Dawn

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours and Litfuse Publicity Blog Tours. 

Book Description:

On the same night she discovers she is pregnant, twenty-eight-year-old nurse Meg Richards’ husband is killed in an auto accident caused by a drunken teen. James Thomas, the teen, comes from one of the most influential families in the community. He’s a star athlete and glamour boy at the local high school. Angered by her senseless loss, Meg blames God for what has happened and considers a decision that could change her life even further—until the D.A. intervenes.

The results of the brutal trial enrage Meg, leading her down a frightening path of retribution. When the opportunity for revenge comes unexpectedly, will Meg follow through? Or will the remnants of her faith lead her in a different direction?

My Book Review: 

In the middle of the night, twenty-eight year old Meg Richards receives a call that no one ever wants to get. Her twenty-eight year-old husband Steve has been tragically killed in a car accident caused by a drunk teenage driver. Filled with rage at God and the teen who took the love of her life away from her, Meg's grief has taken a turn towards revenge, and she pushes everyone away who cares for her. To make matters worse, while at the hospital viewing her husband's body, Meg is informed that her pregnancy test results are in and that she is pregnant with their first child.

Her quest for vengeance hits a snag when she learns that James Thomas, the teen responsible for her husband's death, is the son of the wealthy and powerful Judge Alfred Thomas. She is shaken to the core of her soul and plunges into a deep depression, there is little hope of seeing justice being served against Judge Thomas' power and money. District Attorney Webb Jones has political aspirations for the governor's mansion, and this case is a potential time bomb that could derail his plans. He tries to get Meg to agree to a deal where the teen would get community service, and she would get a financial settlement from the family, but Meg will not settle for a deal, so he gives the case to his inexperienced Assistant District Attorney Cheryl Bednarz. Meg now has a champion to help her cause in seeking justice, Cheryl is on a mission to win this high profile case. But justice isn't enough to salve the pain and bitterness in Meg's heart. Will Meg's consuming hate and need for vengeance destroy her life, or can she find her way out of the darkness and back into the light with God's help and forgiveness?

Darkness Before Dawn is an emotionally intense and heart wrenching story that will leave an indelible imprint on your soul. Author Ace Collins weaves a riveting tale of gut wrenching grief, anger, vengeance, and loss of faith written in the third person narrative that follows Meg Richards' quest to seek justice and vengeance for the tragic loss of her husband in a DUI car accident caused by a cocky privileged teenage boy, who shows no remorse for his senseless actions.

The reader will be immediately drawn in by this captivating and powerfully compelling story, the intensity and emotions described throughout the book is palpable, you can't help but feel the full gamut of emotions as you turn the page. I couldn't help but feel for Meg and ponder how I would feel and what would I have done if I had been in her shoes. One never knows the depth that grief and rage can wrought on a person, I found this story to be simply stunning and found myself holding my breath as I turned the pages. This is not an easy story to read, the author does a masterful job of bringing to the forefront the issues of teenage drinking and driving, the justice system, loss of faith, and the personal demons that a person may have to deal with when wrought with grief and anger from a senseless and tragic loss.

With an intriguing cast of characters who are realistic, have flaws, and are easy to relate to; engaging dialogues and interactions; and a very dramatic storyline that keeps the reader engaged and questioning what will happen next until the surprising conclusion; Darkness Before Dawn is a poignantly compelling story that is filled with enough raw emotion and intensity that it will resonate with the reader long after the last words have been read.


Virtual Book Tour Contest Giveaway 

In his latest novel, Darkness Before Dawn (Abingdon Press), Ace Collins leads readers on an emotionally charged ride from revenge to forgiveness.

fb-rafflecopter iconAce is celebrating the release of Darkness Before Dawn with a Retribution v. Redemption 12-Day Giveaway!

Go {HERE} or click the button for all the details. Follow along for a new giveaway each day. (Moleskin journal, books, Starbucks gift cards and so much more!)

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