Monday, July 13, 2015

Author Interview: Emerald Barnes Author of Before We Say I Do

Before We Say I Do
ABOUT Before We Say I Do
Following the best-selling first book of the series, Entertaining Angels, comes Before We Say I Do, An Entertaining Angels Short Story.
Chase Sanders and Madison Andrews are about to declare their love for one another in the most sacred of ways. Everything has been going perfectly, especially when an old friend returns to town to stand by Chase’s side on their big day. But is Zach there to see their union, or was he sent by God on another mission?
Chase has lived perfectly fine without his father around, but now that his father is divorcing again, his dad is seeking forgiveness. Chase can’t look at his father, let alone forgive him.
Chase must learn to let go of the past before the demon that haunts him ruins his wedding.

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Connect with Emerald online: Facebook: Emerald Barnes
Twitter: @emeraldbarnes
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Publishing/Marketing Contact
Becki Brannen, Book Marketing Manager, Booktrope Publishing, Vox Dei Imprint
Author Contact:
Emerald Barnes
Emerald is available for personal appearances and interviews; contact Becki Brannen (info above) to schedule.
ABOUT Emerald Barnes
Emerald Barnes graduated with a B.A. in English with an emphasis on Creative Writing at Mississippi University for Women. She resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie to three beautiful nieces and two handsome nephews. She's a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family- oriented person. God is number one in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor.

Our name rhymes with Fox Day. We're an imprint of Booktrope, a new type of publishing company founded in 2011 in Seattle, WA that's pioneering a model called team publishing. Our mission at Vox Dei is to provide books for a primarily Christian audience that edify and entertain, encourage and inspire. While Christian themes are woven throughout our fiction, our purpose is not to preach a sermon but rather provide a quality alternative to the secular market for entertainment. Our non-fiction titles are intended to help readers explore the Bible in a more personal way and grow in their walk with Christ, while being informal in voice and approach. Whether fiction or non, our goal is to shine the light and love that is central to the Christian faith into a dark and messy world. Learn more at .
eBook price: $1.99

58 pages
Publisher: Vox Dei Publishing ISBN: _____________________

Available on in Kindle format.

Available on in Nook format.
Before We Say I Do is available internationally – please contact us directly if you do not see it on your preferred book purchase website.
Discounts or customized editions may be available for educational and other groups based on bulk purchase. For further information please contact .


What was your inspiration behind the story?

My inspiration for Before We Say I Do was my readers. That may sound clich√©, but everyone who read it fell in love with Chase and Mads, and I, honestly, so did I. I wasn’t ready for their story to end, so I decided to continue and show them getting married. But I, also, knew there was an unanswered question from Entertaining Angels. What happened with Chase’s dad? Keeping with my theme of angels helping humans, I decided to answer that question and bring back a favorite character, Zach.

Tell us a bit about your book.

Before We Say I Do is about Chase and Madison on their wedding day, but Chase has to face his past in a huge way. His dad is seeking forgiveness, but Chase doesn’t know if he can forgive him for what he did to him years ago. Chase has to learn that forgiveness may not be easy, but it’s also necessary.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee as a hot drink, but I’m a Southern girl. I like my cold sweet tea. I take my coffee with a lot of creamer and sugar! I don’t only need the caffeine, I need the sugar rush! Plus, I’m not a big fan of the bitter taste of coffee without it.

What kind of reader are you? Multi-tasker, must finisher, multiple books at one time

I’m a “must finisher.” I have to finish a book before I can start another one. I don’t like trying to focus so much on two or more different stories.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I’m usually spending time with my nieces and nephews – five of them. I can’t imagine a day without them. When I’m not with them, I’m usually reading, watching TV, blogging or studying the Word.

Who is your role model/inspiration?

My role model has always been my mom. She’s always talked to me about my life, questions I’ve had about God, and she’s always given me the moral support I need. She’s never let me doubt my dreams, and she’s always been my biggest prayer warrior. My mom and dad as a unit have been my biggest cheerleaders. They have given me everything I needed to support my dreams, and they have prayed for me relentlessly.

Vox Dei’s motto is “Christian Books for a messy world.” Do you find this is true with your books?

Oh yes. I definitely find that it is true regarding Before We Say I Do. We all get caught up in not wanting to forgive someone for how they treated us, what they said, or how they acted around us. Forgiveness isn’t easy, but God said that we had to forgive for us to be forgiven. That is my theme in this short story, learning to forgive when it’s one of the hardest thing you’ll ever do, but I also want people to know that when you forgive, the bitterness and resent building up in your heart will disappear, and you’ll be free.

When did you come to know Jesus?

I was in fourth grade. It was September of 1996, and my mom and dad had just gotten a phone call about how one of my best friends had accepted Jesus into her life. I was lying in bed that night and called my dad (my youth pastor also) back to talk to me. I asked him what it would take to get to know Jesus, and he told me. That night, I asked Jesus into my life, and I haven’t regretted that decision. I’d always been in church, and I’d known about God. So, it felt like the best decision was to go ahead and ask Him into my heart as well.

How has your faith changed over time?

That’s a huge question for me because it’s changed considerably. I was raised Free Will Baptist. My dad was the pastor at almost every church I’ve ever attended. One day, as we all know, it’s time for pastors to move on, and it was time for us. We took a few Sundays off to pray about where we needed to go next. My brother-in-law came from a non-denominational background, so we gave his old church a try. We haven’t looked back since, and I’ve had a considerable change in the way that I’ve seen God and the Bible. It wasn’t that I wasn’t learning it in the FWB, but I have had a deeper connection with God this go-around. I pay more attention to the Bible, and I spend more time in prayer now. It was a huge change for me, but it’s opened my eyes up to what I thought was impossible, but it’s not impossible. I feel like where I’m at now is where I was always meant to be, and that makes a huge difference in my spiritual life. It deepens it. And it’s where I need to be spiritually to write the books I am writing.

I’ve heard that the characters in Entertaining Angels series are your favorites. Why is that?

They are. For some reason, Madison, Chase and Zach have wound their way into my brain, and they won’t let go! I love them so much, that I’ve continued writing about them. Before We Say I Do continues their story, and I found a way to work them into book two when they originally weren’t going to be in it at all. I fell in love with Madison because I saw her grow from a timid, shy young woman to a confident one. And Chase, well, I’m going to be completely honest, he’s my ideal type of man (if he was older)! But, they’re so wonderful. I can’t help but love them!

What kind of legacy do you expect your writing to leave?

I hope that the legacy I leave behind with my writing is that teens and women will learn to love themselves and overcome whatever obstacle is holding them back. My Entertaining Angels series is just about that. It’s stories to help heal, and I hope that I’ve accomplished that in some way.
EXCERPTS FROM Before We Say I Do Excerpt One:
Turning from my thoughts of being human again, I watched Chase closely. He fiddled with his own tie, straightening it when it didn’t need straightening. Something was on his mind, and little did he know there would be a lot more on his mind later.
“Is everything alright?” I asked.
“Is Mads okay?”
“Of course. Why do you ask? Are you worried about her?”
“Well, it’s just that you’re here . . .”
I tried to put on my best smile. “Madison is perfectly fine. Honest.”
Chase sighed audibly. “I cannot tell you how happy I am to know that Mads is okay.” His lips

tugged into a half-smile, and I wondered if he was still a bit concerned. “Chase, as long as she has you, she’ll be fine,” I assured him. He laughed nervously. “I hope you’re right, Zach.”
“Trust me. I am.”

Chase sat down across from me. “Have you seen her?”
I felt my lips curl into a smile. “Yes, and she’s absolutely beautiful.”
Chase bit his bottom lip, and I knew he was probably thinking about their marriage. I would

never know such a union, but I rejoiced that these beautiful humans were about to embark on a new phase of their journey together with God.
“You know. Andy’s right,” Chase said, “I want you by our side when we get married. Do you think you could be my secondary best man?”
“It would be my great pleasure and honor, Chase.” I had never been honored in such a way before, and it brought tears to my eyes. I just hoped he still felt that way after he learned the real reason I was there.
Chase grinned. “You don’t know how much that means to me. To us. I know Mads would love to have you up there, too.”
I smiled, hoping it didn’t waver. “I look forward to it.”
Excerpt Two:
“I was blind,” I said. “I thought I might actually have a crush on him. Boy was I glad when I decided I wanted Chase. How awkward would it have been to fall in love with an angel?”
Chase and I had agreed we were going to tell his mom soon after we found out what Zach really was. If anyone would understand, we knew it would be her. Plus, it was hard keeping this secret.

“It could’ve been worse. You could’ve fallen for a man like Chase’s father.”
Her smile faded at the mention of him. She rarely brought him up, and I couldn’t blame her for that. He’d left her for another woman, and for the first seven years he was gone, he’d had no contact with Mrs. Sanders and Chase. Not that either wanted to have contact with him, of course. They were both content without him in their lives.
Two years ago, out of the blue, Mr. Sanders called Chase, begging for forgiveness. He realized the mistake he made when he and his second wife began having problems in their own marriage. Chase told him he didn’t want anything to do with him anymore and to never call him again. Mr. Sanders granted Chase his request. I tried to talk to Chase about it, but he always changed the subject. I knew his father was a topic he’d rather not discuss, but I still didn’t feel right about not inviting him to the wedding. Chase didn’t want to tell his dad about our union. Chase didn’t want him ruining the day, but he didn’t explain it further to me. I suspected that Chase didn’t want the reminder of his parents’ failed marriage hanging over us.
“We didn’t invite him, you know,” I said.
“I know. I told Chase to, but he refused. I don’t blame him.”
“Nor do I, but Mr. Sanders may have seen the announcement in the paper.”
“Well, then he’ll understand that his son doesn’t want anything to do with him. He shouldn’t

have left us, Mads.”
Excerpt Three:
Andy clapped my shoulder. “There’s no doubt she will, man. You two are so perfect for each other.”
“As long as Mads walks down the aisle, it will be perfect.”
I smiled, thinking about just how true that statement was. Mads and I may have denied ourselves a relationship for a few years, but in the end we were together. It didn’t matter what we had to go through beforehand. In fact, I was rather thankful for all that we had gone through before we started dating. It somehow made us stronger as a couple.
“We’d better go,” Andy said, looking at his watch. “We’re already ten minutes late.”
We pushed through the doors to the sanctuary. Madison wasn’t anywhere around, but my mom was. With a fake smile plastered on her face, she walked to me and hugged me, keeping a wary eye on the man standing against the wall, watching us. Zach was still talking to him, but I got it. It was part of his job.
She didn’t look nervous, but I saw the slight shake in her hands as she reached up to fix my hair, probably putting it back in place. “I see you’ve been nervous,” she teased, her voice tremored slightly.
“Well, I can’t exactly help it.”
“I know, kiddo. Have you talked to him yet?”
“No, but I have to at some point. Will you be okay with me forgiving him, Mom?”
“Oh, honey.” She pulled me into another hug. “Don’t you dare think for a second that I’ll be

angry with you for forgiving him. I forgave him a long time ago, and I think it’s time you finally did, too.”
“It’s hard. All I can think about is how I watched him pack his things and walk away from us, even though I begged him to stay.”
Tears formed in the corners of her eyes, and she quickly wiped them away. “I can’t forget that day either, and for the longest time I hated him for the way he upset you. But I soon learned that hating him was only hurting me. Once you forgive him, you’ll feel much better, sweetheart. I did. God showed me how much I had hardened my heart towards others because I was afraid of rejection, but now I see how wrong I was. I’ve learned to love deeper without bitterness settling in, and I know that forgiveness is something that God wants us to do. He wants us to forgive, so He can forgive us. Sure, I’m still scared of being hurt, but I know God was watching out for me—for us—this whole time, Chase.”
Her words echoed Mads’ words, and I thought that God might be using the women in my life to teach me a lesson. I suppose I needed to learn it.

What genre do you write?

I write YA Christian paranormal novels. (But that’s not the only genre I write in. Most of my books are YA, but they vary from Christian paranormal to romantic suspense to psychological thriller.)

What series if any do you write?

I write the Entertaining Angels series.

Who is your favorite character to write about?

This is difficult because I have so many, but I think Madison from Entertaining Angels is my favorite. She’s beautiful but doesn’t realize it. She is damaged, just like we all are, but her growth from what she was to what she is really made her stand out to me. She’s a sweet, wonderful character, and I just love her!

Can you tell us what brought you to writing Christian YA paranormal?

One day I thought, “How awesome would it be to write about an angel who was sent by God to help others?” so I wrote this story that changed everything for me. Entertaining Angels was something I knew would be important from the very beginning, and it has become very important for me because it’s reached so many people. It’s a message about learning to love yourself, and I don’t think I could have gotten this message across without it being a YA Christian paranormal novel. I guess the genre kind of found me, you can say.

Who influences your writing?

God mostly. If I get stuck, I can always pray about it, and I’ll be hit with a fresh new idea I can write about. It always makes the story better, and I know He wants me to write what I am.

What type of books do you like to read?

Mostly YA books. I read almost anything, but I prefer anything and everything YA.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

I spend time with my nieces and nephews. I have five of them, and seriously, they are my world. They make my life so much fuller, and I want to be around them as much as I can.

If you could take three things to a deserted island what would they be?

  1. a notebook and pen 
  2. my Bible – Because I never get tired of reading the stories within it. I learn something new every time I open it.
  3. sunblock – I’m too pale to be on a deserted island without it! 

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