an interview with April McGowan + a giveaway of Hold the Light

I’m thrilled to be hosting my friend April McGowan for an interview and giveaway! I read Hold the Light a few months ago and absolutely loved it. (I’ve loved all of April’s books!) I asked her a few follow-up questions, and I’m so thrilled with her answers! April has a wonderful heart that strives after the Lord, which is obvious in both her life and her writing. Enjoy her answers and then leave a comment below to enter-to-win an autographed copy of Hold the Light!

LG: What inspired you to write Hold the Light

AM: I wanted a way to write about my losses to chronic illness in a way that connected to a wider audience. So I started to look for an illness or condition that most people have a fear of, and found the loss of sight to be at the top of the list. From there, I delved deep into research and discovered that all loss, physical, spiritual, medically, all deal with grief in a similar way. And we all need to find that place to begin again in our new reality.

LG: Amber is a complex character who is gifted artistically and also deeply wounded. What did you find the most challenging in writing her character?

AM: It was challenging to share her anger and anxiety at losing her sight without making her completely unlikeable. Any time we grieve, we risk losing people around us who just can’t understand our anger and sadness, or can’t understand why we don’t just get over it. I’ve lost people in my life during hard times. But those who stay? They become as close as family. And it becomes an honor to stand by them during their trials.

LG: Who is your favorite supporting character in the story?

AM: Shannon is the creation of a few of my closest friends meshed together. Having close friends stand by you, or sit by you, through difficulty and suffering can be lifesaving—if not literally, then spiritually. Knowing there are a couple people in the world who get you and who you can rely on—even when you are crying ugly—that’s a gift worth protecting and preserving.

LG: Was that character easy or difficult to write?

AM: Shannon was easy to write because I identified with her, having been on both sides of the support issue. It was such a pleasure to wrap up my favorite things I’ve experienced with dedicated friends and dump them into Shannon. Unfortunately, in my next novel, Shine the Light, we’re going to find out why Shannon is just so dedicated and walk through some hard things with her.

LG: What was your favorite part of the story to write?

AM: The painting scenes, where Amber is feeling and touching colors—that spoke so deeply to my fine arts persona. I LOVE painting and sketching. I find it’s a pure way to experience the creation of God (as well as writing), and it connects to my spirit, drawing out the poet in me.

LG: What message do you hope readers will hold on to after reading your novel? 

AM: No matter what you are going through, if you belong to the Lord, then He is with you. He will never leave you, or forsake you. He can comfort you in the midst of great loss, and bring you joy in times of trial. He’s your constant companion, the lover of your soul. You are not alone.

LG: Tell us about your previous books.

AM: My two previous books are Jasmine and Macy. They are overcomer stories that deal with tragedy and forgiveness, finding out who they are at their core, and who they can count on when life gets hard. Huh. I sense a theme…

LG: What do you like most about writing? What do you find the most challenging?

AM: I love being in that writing space, after a time of prayer, with God and asking Him to guide me along the way. To watch the characters grow and change and become friends. The most challenging part, for me, is my health and energy. When you deal with illness daily, it can become very frustrating to get the ‘job’ done with gaps of days and weeks and sometimes months where I can’t work.

LG: What are you working on now?

AM: I’m finishing up Shannon’s story, Shine the Light.

LG: Thank you, April! I learned something new about you–that you love to draw and paint. I guessed that was the case from reading Hold the Light because the painting scenes were so believable–but now I know for sure!

Dear Readers, please leave a comment below to enter the giveaway–an autographed copy of Hold the Light! I’ll choose and contact the winner on Wednesday, January 24!

Leslie

P.S. The Kindle version of Hold the Light is currently only $3.99 on Amazon!

 

 

87 Comments

  1. Linda Critcher
    Jan 17, 2018

    I’m glad God knows our need even before we realize we have one! He’s there to give grace and strength beyond what we can even imagine. Regardless of the outcome, God is still good and cares. Often Times in this life, we don’t understand “why”, but He knows what’s best. One day we will know the answers to our questions of “why”. And the answer will reveal it was for our good and His glory!

  2. Gail Hollingsworth
    Jan 17, 2018

    This sounds like a great book I’d like to read! Thanks for the chance.

  3. Barbara Lima
    Jan 17, 2018

    I’m looking forward to finding out about this book.

  4. Mary Hake
    Jan 17, 2018

    Hi, friends,
    I’ve heard good things about this book. You online form needs fixed. It has the last person’s name and email show below.

    • Leslie Gould
      Jan 18, 2018

      Thank you, Mary! I’m working on it–I have no idea why it’s acting up, lol.

  5. Rachel Lepree
    Jan 17, 2018

    Looking forward to reading this book.

  6. Ellen R-P
    Jan 17, 2018

    I never heard of Apil McGowan before. I also suffer from chronic illness that has slowed my life way down. It is very frustrating at times. I also am blind in one eye. Thankful that I do still have sight.
    April’s words are encouraging “No matter what you are going through, if you belong to the Lord, then He is with you. He will never leave you, or forsake you. He can comfort you in the midst of great loss, and bring you joy in times of trial. He’s your constant companion, the lover of your soul. You are not alone.”
    I look forward to reading her books. Thank you for introducing April to me. God Bless

    • April McGowan
      Jan 17, 2018

      I’m sorry you’re facing chronic illness and blindness. Sometimes it feels like ‘one more thing’ gets added past our capacity. But the Lord’s so good to meet us and carry us, giving us peace and strength when we lay expect to.
      Thanks for sharing with us ❤️

  7. Pam Mowrer
    Jan 17, 2018

    God is so good to us. We don’t deserve His goodness!

  8. Shelia Hall
    Jan 17, 2018

    sounds like a great book!

  9. Suzanne Sellner
    Jan 17, 2018

    The loss of one’s sight would be a frightening situation with lifelong effects. I’m curious to read how the main character adjusted to this loss. I’m sure that the book contains much wisdom–yours and God’s.

  10. Jill Miller
    Jan 17, 2018

    Sounds fantastic!!

  11. Linda Palmer
    Jan 17, 2018

    Your book sounds very interesting. I think that in times of trial sometimes Christians forget that God is with them. So your book seems to be a nice affirmation that God is with them.

  12. Renee Jackson
    Jan 17, 2018

    How awesome to be able to use your friends’ characters to mold your writing character! Sounds like a great read! Thank you for the opportunity!

  13. June Horne
    Jan 17, 2018

    Sounds like a book I need to read. Authors that bring daily issues to light when writing a book, are special people.

  14. Jeanne Crockett
    Jan 17, 2018

    I can’t imagine not having my vision. I love to read and to crochet and would really have to find something else to do with my free time. Can’t wait to read it.

  15. Martha T.
    Jan 17, 2018

    This sounds like a great book by a new to me author!

  16. Kay Garrett
    Jan 17, 2018

    Thank you so much for the wonderful interview with April McGowan!

    Agree wholeheartedly about treasuring a true friend that is there for you through thick and thin. I am blessed with two such friends. When we had Mom living with us for the last five years of her life after a nasty cancer surgery and Alzheimer, we really found would fast who were friends and who were acquaintances. Two old and dear friends were there for me for love, support or just someone to listen or make me laugh through it all. I thank God every day for them being family by choice!

    I love the whole concept of the storyline of “Hold the Light”. Thanks for the amazing chance to win an autographed copy.

  17. Betty Elsner
    Jan 17, 2018

    I’m excited to read this book!

  18. Judi
    Jan 17, 2018

    This sounds wonderful…God is good all the time.!

  19. Dana Michael
    Jan 17, 2018

    Loved the interview. It’s always fun getting yo know a new to me author. Thank you Leslie for the introduction. I have a cousin who has lost her sight and it’s not anything that can be done to cure it medically. Just holding out for a miracle. This book sounds like a wonderful read.

  20. Kim hansen
    Jan 17, 2018

    New author for me. Always fun to find new things to bread.

  21. Shirley Chapel
    Jan 17, 2018

    Loved your interview April. Being fearful of being blind from a young age I also have become a organ doner and hope I could help someone to regain their eye sight after my death.
    Thank you for your most generous giveaway. Your story sounds very interesting.

  22. Onyinye Elochukwu
    Jan 17, 2018

    Lovely interview. Looking forward to reading the book

  23. Deana
    Jan 17, 2018

    Thank you for the interview and opportunity. Love your books! Look forward to checking out this new author and book!

  24. Rachel Dodson
    Jan 17, 2018

    Sounds like an awesome read! I would love to win!

  25. Teresa Kerr
    Jan 17, 2018

    I would love to win!

  26. Cheryl
    Jan 17, 2018

    Losing my sight would be devastating. This sounds like a gripping read. Thank you for the chance to win an autographed copy.

  27. Kathy Sheldon Davis
    Jan 17, 2018

    It’s great learning more about April in this interview. Thanks for doing it, Leslie.

  28. MS Barb
    Jan 17, 2018

    New author to me–thanks for the introduction!

  29. Bonnie Howard
    Jan 17, 2018

    God is so good, meeting our needs, putting people in our lives to come along beside us, and providing strength when we need it most. This book sounds wonderful!

  30. Joye I
    Jan 17, 2018

    I am looking forward to reading more of the Classics that I missed reading in my early education.

  31. Jeannie M.
    Jan 17, 2018

    Writing about “what you know” includes including experiences of you, friends or family. This book sounds like you’ve done a great job of it. Thank you for the opportunity to learn more about you as an author, as well as your book. Oh, and the opportunity to enter this giveaway!

  32. Robin in NC
    Jan 17, 2018

    Wow! What a fascinating interview! April is a new to me author & her books sound very good. Thanks for sharing with us!

  33. cindy shipley
    Jan 17, 2018

    i want to read this book

  34. Karen VanAntwerpen
    Jan 17, 2018

    I can’t imagine that fear of losing your sight. I’m anxious to read this book and see how the characters deal with it! Thank you!

  35. Wendy
    Jan 17, 2018

    I’m in a season of grappling with grief over losses that don’t involve death, and it’s encouraging to read that this author is determined to tackle that topic in a fictional story. Sounds like a book I would enjoy! Glad to learn of this author.

    • April McGowan
      Jan 17, 2018

      Grief is sneaky-just when you think you’re done, it can start all over again! I’m sorry your in a place of loss. Praying that stops so you can catch your breath and recover.

  36. Julie
    Jan 17, 2018

    Would love to read this book. Sounds like a great read.

  37. Helene Loss
    Jan 17, 2018

    It is a new author to me but I’m very interested.

  38. Babs Squires
    Jan 17, 2018

    Your book sounds very intriguing ! I am eager to read it. Is enjoyed reading your interview and getting to know you , it makes the books even more interesting!

  39. Bonnie Oswald
    Jan 17, 2018

    Major losses are very hard to deal with, I would enjoy AND learn some lessons from this book!
    Thank you,

  40. Michelle Stagg
    Jan 17, 2018

    I would love to win that book. It sounds so good!

  41. Patty Neuspickel
    Jan 17, 2018

    Waiting to read this wonderful book….God Bless you …

  42. Perrianne Askew
    Jan 17, 2018

    This book sounds really good and also a challenge to write. Thank you for the interview and giveaway opportunity.

  43. Sharon Young
    Jan 17, 2018

    I have chronic illnesses myself, and I’ve grieved the loss of function and employment. Losing my sight would be one of the worst simply because it would keep me from doing things I still stubbornly continue, like, oh, reading 🙂 and choir. But God gives grace.

    • April McGowan
      Jan 17, 2018

      I love your attitude! Just keep on the best you can ❤️I love reading… And fill in those really down-in-bed guys on Netflix binges

      • April McGowan
        Jan 17, 2018

        Down in bed days*
        My phone is not my buddy

  44. Stephanie
    Jan 17, 2018

    Great interview. I look forward to reading this book.

  45. Pam Flynn
    Jan 17, 2018

    What a wonderful book to read to give hope to everyone, whether with illness or not. God is good…all the time!

  46. Elaine Rieder
    Jan 17, 2018

    The book sounds so interesting, I would love to win.

  47. Evangeline
    Jan 17, 2018

    I have yet to read anything by April and would love to win a copy of her book. It sounds like a great one. Thanks for the giveaway.

  48. Sandra
    Jan 17, 2018

    Anxious to read these new books! I love historical fiction!

  49. Patty
    Jan 17, 2018

    So neat that your get to share you love of aft with your readers.

    • Patty
      Jan 17, 2018

      love of ‘art’.

  50. Megan Potter
    Jan 17, 2018

    Sounds like a fantastic book! Thanks for this change to win

  51. Lucy Reynolds
    Jan 17, 2018

    Sounds like a great read. Thank you for the interview and the chance. Blessings

  52. Tammy Cordery
    Jan 17, 2018

    This book sounds like a great book to read. Thank you for the giveaway.

  53. Joan Arning
    Jan 17, 2018

    The books sound great!

  54. Mary Lofthus
    Jan 17, 2018

    Will have to read this! Sounds interesting.

  55. emilee
    Jan 17, 2018

    This book sounds interesting. I like the title and the cover.

  56. Una Ireland
    Jan 17, 2018

    This sounds like a good book. I’M interested because I will be seeing a retna specialist and am concerned about my sight.

  57. Rose Blackard
    Jan 17, 2018

    April is a new author to me, but her book sounds awesome. We have all been through difficulties in our life.This book is also Christian and helps us deal with some of these problems. Thank you for the opportunity to win. I would love to know about April and read this book. God bless.

  58. Jeanne
    Jan 17, 2018

    Sounds like a great book, I’ll have to read it soon 🙂

  59. Beth
    Jan 17, 2018

    I am so looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for offering the free giveaway.

  60. Beth
    Jan 17, 2018

    I am so looking forward to reading this book. Thank you so much for the interview with the author.

  61. Vivian Furbay
    Jan 18, 2018

    Hold the Light sounds like a very touching story. How can you help but read a book like this and not be moved. God has proven his faithfulness to many times. Praise God!

  62. Mary Preston
    Jan 18, 2018

    A lovely interview thank you.

  63. Martha Peace
    Jan 18, 2018

    Love your books,thanks for a chance to win

  64. Claudia Boling
    Jan 18, 2018

    This book sounds like one I would enjoy reading and then it would be shared with my mom!

  65. Phyllis S
    Jan 18, 2018

    I am looking forward to reading this book. Those who struggle with chronic illness need to learn of God’s love that guides us through our pain.

  66. Janet Estridge
    Jan 18, 2018

    My eyesight is bad enough but I cannot imagine losing it all together. Reading is my life and I don’t know what I could do if I couldn’t read anymore.

  67. Rebecca
    Jan 18, 2018

    This sounds like a wonderful book! Good luck, everyone!

  68. Crystal Blackburn
    Jan 18, 2018

    Sounds like a good book to read. It’s hard to deal with one or more chronic illnesses & some people don’t or don’t want to understand what the person goes through daily…
    To hear I have the type of pain but I still do this or that….

  69. Janice Moore
    Jan 18, 2018

    Thank you for addressing how to handle painful things!

  70. SARAH TAYLOR
    Jan 18, 2018

    would love to win this book haven’t read and this is a new author to me sounds like a very good read! thank you for the awesome giveaway!

  71. Lisa Harness
    Jan 18, 2018

    I’ve always wanted to draw and paint, but just don’t have those skills. But, i do know without a shadow of a doubt God is always with me no matter what.

  72. Peggy Harris
    Jan 18, 2018

    I would love to read this book. I have been dealing with chronic illness for a while now so I could relate. Also, a few months ago, I lost my sister and I have lost both of my parents so I can relate to loss also.

  73. Arletta
    Jan 18, 2018

    Wow! So did you spend any time blind folded so you could experience what losing your sight might be like? I think I’d find losing my sight worse than losing my hearing.

  74. Samantha Olin
    Jan 18, 2018

    This sounds like a great book! I’m currently the nanny of a five year old with a chronic illness, it’s hard watching her go through some of the things that come with her illness…

  75. Faith Creech
    Jan 19, 2018

    Sounds like a good book! I would love to read it! Thanks for a chance at the giveaway!

  76. Barb Mobley
    Jan 19, 2018

    This book looks like just what I need at this timed

  77. Rachael de Klerk
    Jan 21, 2018

    Hold the Light sound like a WONDERFUL book!!! I’m thrilled to have the chance to own it!

  78. Kimberly Bakos
    Jan 21, 2018

    My husband is a paraplegic in a wheelchair, so I always find stories about people with a handicapping condition to be very interesting.

  79. Grace
    Jan 22, 2018

    Thank you for the giveaway!

  80. Leslie Gould
    Jan 24, 2018

    This giveaway is now closed. Thank you for all who entered and thank you for your comments!

    Leslie

  81. Donna Irvin
    Feb 6, 2018

    Awesome interview, the book looks so interesting!