Thursday, August 1, 2019

Lindsay Harrel Q & A | Guest Post

I've had the pleasure of meeting Lindsay a few times and she is just the sweetest! I'm excited to partner with her today to offer a fun Q & A as well as a giveaway. We'll be talking about her latest release, The Secrets of Paper and Ink, a time slip (modern day & historical).

Welcome to the blog, Lindsay. Let's do some Q & A: 

Where does your inspiration come from for your books?
I look for inspiration everywhere, but the main spark for my books is often something I hear on the radio or read in the news. And while I don’t write people I know into my stories, characters sometimes will have personalities or quirks similar to people I’ve observed. I usually end up putting some of myself in every main character I write as well, though not intentionally! In addition, some of the themes I’ve dealt with in my novels have been things I’ve experienced personally. For example, in The Secrets of Paper and Ink, I relate a lot to the theme of allowing labels I’ve been given to define me. It’s always interesting to delve into these types of topics within a story. I always learn something new about myself in the process.

Who is your favorite secondary character in The Secrets of Paper and Ink?
Ooo, I have to say Joy Beckman, Sophia’s best friend. She is so quirky and fun, but she also knows her stuff when it comes to being a counselor and a friend. She doesn’t let Sophia off the hook easily, but she’s gentle and kind as well. I loved her so much that I’m hoping to give her her own story soon (in the form of a novella).

What surprised you most when writing this book?
It didn’t start out as a split-time book! But as I was writing it, I read Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours and I just fell in love with the way she wove the two storylines together from the past and present. It was a new challenge since I’ve never written historical before, but those ended up being some of my favorite scenes!

What's one thing you'd like your readers to take away after they've read The Secrets of Paper and Ink?
HOPE! That’s why I write, really. Specifically, I would love for each reader to come away believing—or at least wanting to believe—that his or her story matters.

Where is a favorite place you've traveled to?
England is hands-down one of my favorite places. I went there in college for 3 weeks with a few professors and fellow students. We stayed in London for the majority of the time, but I did get to see some of the countryside (plus Cambridge and Oxford). I only wish I’d gotten down to Cornwall. My husband and I want to go to England someday together (we’ve both been separately), and Cornwall is definitely on my bucket list.

Share one non-writerly thing that you love/love to do?
I have been singing and performing since I was really young—everything from musical theater to singing in church to being in a rock band in college. Since I’m a stay-at-home mom with two little boys, I don’t get to do much of it anymore, but it will always be a passion of mine!

Who are your favorite authors?
Oh man, this is a tough question. Like many readers of Christian fiction, the first book I ever read in the genre was Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love. It’s a powerful book about God’s deep abiding love for his people and the forgiveness he offers each of us—even those we’d see as the “least deserving.” Other authors whose works constantly challenge me include Susan Meissner, Katie Ganshert, Susan May Warren, Rachel Hauck, and Melissa Tagg in the fiction realm, and Lysa TerKeurst, Ann Voskamp, and Shauna Niequist in the non-fiction realm.

What advice do you have for others who want to write?
Keep writing. It sounds cliche, but it’s the truth. If one book keeps getting rejected, move on to a new project. It will bring a fresh perspective and an opportunity to strengthen your craft. Also, join a writing organization. I’d also say to attend conferences and get online—and network! Get to know others in your industry and never stop learning. Finally, stay focused. Redefine success. The writing industry can be slow-going and it can be difficult to feel like you’re making traction. Keep your eye on the prize and remember that forward progress is exactly that—progress.


I'm excited too offer a copy of her novel, The Secrets of Paper and Ink as well as a bookmark from my shop! Enter via the Rafflecopter below:

The Secrets of Paper and Ink

Brought together across time by a love of story, three women in England fight to defy expectations, dream new dreams, and welcome love into their lives.

As a counselor, Sophia Barrett is trained to help people cope with their burdens. But when she meets a new patient whose troubles mirror her own, she realizes she hasn’t dealt with the pain of her recent past. After making a snap decision to get away for the summer, Sophia moves overseas to an apartment above a charming bookstore in Cornwall, England. She is hopeful she will find peace there surrounded by her favorite thing: great literature.

Bookstore owner Ginny Rose is desperate to save her business without asking for help from a husband who’s decided to take a break from their marriage. Ginny never imagined she’d be solely responsible for keeping afloat her husband’s dream, but the unexpected friendship with her new renter has her feeling more optimistic. Between the two of them—and Ginny’s brother-in-law, William—the bookstore might stand a chance.
Then Sophia finds a notebook in the bookstore that contains journal entries from Emily Fairfax, a governess who lived in Cornwall more than 150 years ago. Sophia learns that Emily harbored a secret passion for becoming an authoress—as well as a deep love for her childhood friend, Edward, whose station she dared not dream to touch.

Eager to know more of Emily’s story, Sophia goes on a quest—dragging Ginny and William with her—to discover the heart of the woman behind the beautiful entries. Soon Ginny’s need to save the bookstore becomes more than a way to save her marriage, and Sophia finds new purpose of her own. Together they find that sometimes both heartache and hope can reach across the centuries.


  1. Hi Lindsay! I love seeing that it was through Lisa's story that you decided to make yours a split-time. So fun! I have never been to England, and would love to go someday (Ireland it my first dream vacation). I have heard great things about your latest book, thanks for the interview and fun giveaway!

  2. Hello Lindsay! I'd also like to visit England. I also enjoy reading the same fiction authors you mention. Have you read Lynn Austin?

  3. Like you, I was enthralled with Lisa Wingate's, Before We Were Yours and have enjoyed a few other split-time books as well. Quite often, what I have enjoyed in those type of books is the hope that the present day story gives while sometimes experiencing such tragedy in the historical portion.