Posted by: rcwriter | May 9, 2008

Flame From Within

I have a special treat today. Author Shirley Kiger Connolly dropped by on her blog tour to answer some questions for us. Her latest book, Flame From Within, was released April 30. Check out the interview for all the details.

RC:     What book or project would you like to tell us about today?


SKC:    My first historical-inspirational released on April 30th is called Flame From Within. The story takes the reader back to the year 1864. Back to when bitterness runs deep for a proud young southern woman and to a land that was at one time glorious to look upon. The young woman’s name was Amethyst Rose and this story begins when she loses everything she dearly loves to the hated Yankee of the North. The place of course was Vicksburg, Mississippi.


When Amethyst Rose loses her family and home in a fire, thanks to the despised Yankees, she soon finds herself occupying space in a filthy underground cave. 

After a while, her only choice left is to leave and move in with her elder and controlling sister, who runs a bordello in The French Quarter of New Orleans. She knows if she goes, it will destroy her personal respect and tarnish the family name.  Should she even care?


By this time, Amethyst Rose has only bitter hatred toward all men dressed in the Yankee blue. Nothing seems to matter anymore—nothing that is until, on a riverboat, she finds herself captivated by the presence of a couple of Yankee officers and a sly-young Frenchman each determined to steal her heart.


RC:     What inspired you to come up writing the historical, sub-genre?   


SKC:  I’ve always loved to write, Rhonda. I mostly wrote Bible Studies for women’s groups and devotional books. (I wear more than one hat.) But I also love to read classical romance and historical romance.  I’ve always wanted to write one myself so I started this years ago. It just took me forever to get it completed. I had put it away and then got it back out and started it again. I am so glad I did. 


RC:     How long had you been writing before you got your first contract?    


SKC:  Real serious writing I would have to say since the year 2000. That is when I started my ministry website.



RC:   Are you in any Groups that help you in your writing? If so, tell us about them.


SKC:  Several. Hearts Through History is a wonderful source of help for me for research (a chapter of RWA); ACFW I also love; FHL is wonderful with  FINISH THE BOOK and  the prayer group in ACFW; my Koinonia Community, all keep me on my toes, and there are many more.  I really can’t keep up with all the groups I am in, but I love them all and the authors (pubbed and unpubbed) that are in them. Everyone is wonderful.


RC:     What advice do you have for other new authors coming into the field of writing?


SKC:  I laugh at that question because I consider myself a new author and will continue to do so until I have 100 books out there and have sold 100 million books. (smile)

 My advice is to always smile and keep looking up!


RC:     Questions many authors are often asked are how they deal with writer’s block.  How do you overcome it?


SKC:   The only time I get writer’s block is at the beginning.  I have a difficult time getting started!  Once I get past the first five chapters, it begins to flow and then I can move along pretty well.  Usually then I am rewriting all the time.  I know many others don’t recommend that but it works for me.  As far as figuring out how to get started when I have trouble doing so, I don’t know how to answer that.  I just brainstorm all over the place until something finally comes.  Maybe someone else has a better idea.


RC:     What do you think it takes to write a good book?


SKC:   Make your characters be real and not flat. Don’t be predictable. Have a twist in your story. (I love a surprise twist!) Deepen your story with flavor and intensity, but not so much you drown out the simplicity of where you are going with it. Mix your long sentences with your short sentences to rest your reader’s eyes. Make sure your reader can sigh and go “Ah!” at the end.  


RC:     How do you schedule your time?


SKC: I try to write at least five hours every day, five, and sometimes six days a week.  I have chickens, so, I am up and down a lot, and I like to watch the news and old movies at night. I like to be with my husband. And I do Bible Studies with several ladies on Thursdays.  I have a ministry website I attend to and a Koinonia Update I have to keep updated.  I have to remember other priorities.  I want to make sure not to neglect other things. It’s a matter of balance.


RC:     What is your process of writing a novel, briefly—from conception to revision?


SKC: I get an idea then I doodle on tablets. I have tablets everywhere. (It’s terrible really…you should see my house. Drives my husband crazy. I just keep writing and brainstorming until something comes together. Then I transfer my doodling to the computer. And lo and behold, I am amazed at what I discover eventually. And there you have it. Isn’t that awful, Rhonda? (Really, that’s not EXACTLY how I go about it, but it is sort of how it all gets started. …smile…)


RC:     Have you begun anything new since the project you just finished?


SKC:  Yes, I have been working on another book. I have been calling it A Forever Thing.  I am just cleaning it up now and hoping to send it out soon to see what will happen to it.  Lord willing I can find an interested publisher soon.



Thank you for asking me to participate! I had fun.


Flame From Within is available now at ,, or you may order it from you favorite bookstore.   

If you’d rather enter to win a free copy, visit Shirley’s website and sign up. She’ll be drawing for that book at the end of June.

BIO: For the last 25 years Shirley and her husband Tom have lived all over the United States involved in pastoral ministries. They now live in a Southern Oregon coastal town still involved helping in ministry through teaching Shirley in the teaching of women. They have three grown children and three young grandchildren who now live in Germany. When Shirley is not writing her devotional books or historical fiction she enjoys antique decorating, singing harmony, or doing needlework.


  1. Thank you, Erynn, for your comment on the book! It is my hope to be very descriptive, as you said, and so my characters come alive for the reader.

    I, too, love the Civil War period, even though many publishers don’t sell those at this time. I was grateful mine did.

    I have a sequel coming to FFW. Keep in touch and I will let you know when it is here if you are interested.

    Thanks again, and blessings
    Shirley Kiger Connolly

  2. Came across this article. Enjoyed it very much. I have read the book and liked it so much. Author is very descriptive and her characters really come alive. I love the CivilWar period anyway. But she did a great job. Will you tell her for me?
    And thank you host for your good articles, all of them on this site.
    Erynn H


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