Happy Monday, Reader Friends!
It’s another Monday and another interview! This time we have Ann Marie Bryan visiting as she chats about her latest release, Where My Heart Belongs. Have you read Ann Marie’s books? If not, now’s the perfect time to learn more about her.
Let’s get started!
About the Book
The Blurb: “Love guided them to precisely what they needed—each other.
From the moment Tyler Bradshaw first lays eyes on Madison Kanate, it’s a dream come true. She is everything he wants, yet everything he feels he cannot have. He is determined to keep his distance, but he can’t, not with the love she offers him. They become the best of friends. That works flawlessly, until she wants more….
That was seven years ago.
Madison has come a long way since falling apart at any reminder of Tyler. He had left her questioning God’s plan for her life, and uncertain of how to move forward. Eventually, she takes charge of her life, putting memories of Tyler to rest with a successful interior design business, along with many charitable projects. Anything else, especially love, ranks a distant second.
Tyler and Madison reunite through the shenanigan of Mason, Madison’s twin brother. Tyler wishes he could change the past… but life does not offer do-overs. Even so, he believes God has provided a golden opportunity for him—his last chance to win Madison’s heart. As he begins to open up about his childhood and trailing baggage, Madison realizes that his faith has been built in the face of adversity.
But Tyler’s childhood holds a secret even he doesn’t know. In the face of a staggering revelation that challenges the fabric of his faith, Tyler drops a bombshell of his own. When Madison tries to walk away, she recognizes that deep down she wants happily-ever-after. With her faith rekindled, she decides to trust God, believing she will not be left to pick up the pieces of her heart all over again. But will Tyler allow himself to heal so he can let Madison in? Will they move beyond the past and build a life together?”
Toni: Welcome, Ann Marie! I’m thankful for the opportunity to talk about your new release, Where My Heart Belongs. Where did you get the idea for this novel?
Ann Marie: Where My Heart Belongs is the highly anticipated fourth installment in the Encounters of the Heart series.
It’s interesting how the series started. I am a member of the Tallahassee Authors Network (TAN) Christian Sub-group and we decided to write an anthology about the consequences of sin. As I wrote my short story for the anthology, the story took on legs of its own, and became the first book in the Encounters of the Heart series. The series is based on Proverbs 4:23 (KJV) –“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Although the books are in a series, they are also standalone novels.
Book 1 – Shades of the Heart is a novel about the courage to love in the midst of broken promises, and ultimately about the healing power of forgiveness.
Book 2 – Mirrored Hearts: Sealed by Fire is stirring and deeply satisfying addition in the series. It details the struggles of two broken hearts, mended by enduring love and sealed by fire.
Book 3 – A Place for My Heart is an emotionally gripping account of a most unexpected love.
Book 4 – Where My Heart Belongs is a heart-stirring story about love deferred and rediscovered under unforgettable circumstances.
The framework for book 4 was already in place. The main characters, Tyler Bradshaw and Madison Kanate, were first mentioned in book 2. During that time, they were both attending college. In book 4, they are seven years older.
After familiarizing myself with the background facts, I prayed about the central theme of the story. Once I received the answer to my prayer, I began plotting the story in my mind. Eventually, I started writing it.
Toni: What would be Tyler’s and Madison’s life verse?
Ann Marie: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (KJV)
Toni: That’s a great verse! What did you learn in your own faith journey while writing Where My Heart Belongs?
Ann Marie: I learned many lessons as I wrote this story that is laced with faith, family and friendships. This compelling love story weaves strong characters with complex situations that stirred my emotions on many levels before coming to a satisfying conclusion.
The story confirmed that from God’s perspective, there are no failures, just possibilities. No matter how many wrong turns I take, God knows how to redirect my life and put me back on the right track. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (KJV)
Further, I need to keep my eyes fixed on the Lord, pray, and read the Word of God. Definitely, surrounded myself with believers who will help and comfort me in times of adversity. Above all, I need to remember this Scripture – “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” Philippians 1:6 (KJV).
“Where My Heart Belongs” was a beautiful reminder that love is a powerful emotion. Yet, loving someone requires dying to self…in a way that so few realize. Love works best when we respond to each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring and preferring each other. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)
This book brings together love, forgiveness, restoration, and new beginnings. So, as I wrapped up the story, I was encouraged not to put God in a box. Sometimes, God will take me out of my comfort zone to stretch me and show me that I can accomplish far more than I think.
Toni: What are three elements that are always present in your writing?
Ann Marie: The three elements that are always present in my writing are a central theme, a major event that has changed the protagonist’s life (the character’s story), and conflict.
The central theme in “Where My Heart Belongs” is God’s love, which led to His perfectly orchestrated plan, and His desire to free people from life-altering events that haunt them.
The protagonist’s story is vital. The occurrence of a major event in the life of a protagonist will show his/her true nature. “Where My Heart Belongs” focused on the transformation of the protagonist as he deals with real-life events.
Conflicts move the plot forward in “Where My Heart Belongs”. In the story, conflict is inevitable between two with way too much history between them. In a season that brought so many changes in their lives, they need to move beyond the past, in order to build a life together.
Toni: Are you a…
Morning or night person?
Ann Marie: Morning
Toni: Coffee or tea drinker?
Ann Marie: Tea
Toni: Cat or dog lover?
Ann Marie: Neither
Toni: Soda or tea drinker?
Ann Marie: Tea
Toni: Spring or summer fan?
Ann Marie: Spring fan.
Toni: Last but not least, how can the readers help you on your writing journey?
Ann Marie: I am excited about my writing journey, and I am thankful for the opportunity to share with readers. I love to hear from my readers about how my books may have impacted them. Further, I love when readers leave reviews.
It would be my pleasure to join a book club or group meeting, in person or virtually via Skype, to discuss my books. In addition, I like interacting with others, exchanging ideas and sharing resources, so I am available to share at conferences, seminars and workshops.
Thank you, Toni, for taking time out to talk with me about my new release and writing journey. All the very best in your endeavors.
Toni: And wishing you the best as well! Readers, do you have any questions for Ann Marie?
About the Author
Ann Marie Bryan is a dedicated, graceful, multi-talented leader with a passion for excellence. She is the CEO & Founder of Victorious By Design, an organization committed to providing top quality professional writing services, comprehensive personal and professional development programs and exceptional performing arts services to meet the unique needs of individuals and organizations.
A Christian Fiction author, Ann Marie writes to educate, inspire and empower others. She desires to tell great stories with fascinating characters to show the awesome power of God in the lives of people and places. Shades of the Heart is the first book in her bestselling, Encounters of the Heart series. Book 2 – Mirrored Hearts: Sealed By Fire was released February 2016. Book 3 – A Place For My Heart, the highly anticipated third installment in the series, was released in March 2017. Book 4 – Where My Heart Belongs was released in April 2018.
Ann Marie’s greatest passion is to empower others to succeed by tapping into their God-given potential. She enjoys writing, reading, dancing, teaching, meeting people and traveling. With all the knowledge and experiences that God has so graciously blessed her with, Ann Marie is determined to make her life a ministry for the Lord.