Hi, reader friends! Y’all left such encouraging comments when Serenity Hope by Michael Winstell was featured on First Line Friday and now we have an author spotlight with a giveaway for that title!
about the author
Michael Winstell lives in north Georgia.
When he’s not writing, he enjoys gardening, grilling, hunting, and spending time with his family.
He also writes speculative Christian fiction under a different name.
My reading list leans pretty heavily towards the classics. I read John Grisham or Michael Crichton now and then, but there is just something about the classics that have stood the test of time. I love the ornate prose and heavy symbolism. Most people will probably think I’m crazy but that’s how I roll.
Beth: All readers are free to read what they love!
Favorite time period
Michael: I read (and write) books across numerous genres, but I have a soft spot for the Middle Ages. The castles, the cathedrals, the epic battles…
I know that books and movies dramatize this time period and the reality is that it was a very harsh time, but there is a reason why the Middle Ages flourish in our imaginations so many centuries later. Who hasn’t been in awe of a grand cathedral or pictured dragons in the skies over castle turrets?
Beth: Yes! The Middle Ages is one of my favorite eras, too!
Favorite outdoor activity
Michael: I love the outdoors. I don’t get to spend nearly as much time outside as I’d like, especially after having kids, but when I was younger, I loved camping, hiking, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing.
Now I enjoy hikes through the woods with my family and hunting when I get the chance. I also enjoy gardening and doing yard work. I’m always planting new bushes in our front yard or tending to my small vegetable garden in the back. One of my hobbies is making my own hot sauces so I devote a lot of attention to my pepper plants.
Beth: I enjoy family hikes now and then but I leave the peppers and grilling to my husband!
Favorite time to read or write
Michael: I do all of my writing at night after the kids go to bed. I’ll usually write for an hour or two, and I try to hit 1,000 words each night. Every writer knows how important it is to maintain a steady writing rhythm.
Nighttime is also my usual reading time, though I’ll sneak in a few pages here or there from the Kindle app on my phone, like when I’m waiting for ballet class to finish or sitting in an airport lobby.
Beth: Same here! I love the quiet after everyone else has gone to bed!
Michael: My two main areas of culinary capabilities is grilling and cooking Chinese food. I spent nearly a decade in China and I picked up quite a few dishes during my time there. My kids will eat any vegetables that I cook.
My passion is grilling and smoking meat, and I can fire up a mean rack-of-lamb. I’ve also developed a simple yet delicious fried chicken recipe that’s always a hit at parties.
Beth: My husband is the same way but I specialize in sweets and slow cooker recipes.
Tell us about your latest release
Michael: I’ve written several books in different Christian genres, but this was one of my favorite writing experiences. The research was fun and the story flowed easily.
Something that makes this book unique is the help I received from my church family. The horse on the cover belongs to the wife of one of our elders, the model is also a friend from church that my kids love and the pictures were taken by yet another church friend who is a talented photographer. It’s the same with the other two forthcoming books in the series. It’s fun to be a part of a project that’s not just me and my computer.
Beth: That’s wonderful! A supportive church family is a priceless treasure.
Serenity Hope by Michael Winstell
Serenity Hope MacAlister loves three things: God, her family, and her horses. Riding across the windswept pastures of north Texas, she finds happiness and contentment. But when an old flame comes back to town, memories of heartbreak and sorrow are stirred up again.
Serenity finds herself torn between the desires of her heart, the path to her future, and the challenges that burden her family. Can she find healing for her broken heart, the courage to hope again, and most importantly – the peace and serenity that only God can provide?
Tell us about your next release
Michael: I’m currently working on book two in the He Calls Me by Name series. The title is Chastity Grace, and while it shares some similarities with Serenity Hope (an all-American girl in the Midwest with her horses), the setting, the conflicts, the romance, and the challenges in Chastity Grace are quite different. This book will be released in May.
Beth: I took a peek at the cover over on your website! So pretty!
What do you want readers to gain from Serenity Hope?
Michael: I want them to enjoy an easy read that also gives hope and comfort. In addition to the cute family dinners and exhilarating horseback rides and sweet romantic tension, there are some pretty serious issues in the story that many readers will relate to.
The Bible tells us to not be anxious for anything and to cast our cares upon Christ, which is something that Serenity must learn to do. The book’s tagline is “There is peace in forgiveness,” and I hope that readers who are struggling with these issues might find some inspiration from this story about a girl and her horses.
Beth: I love the way Christian fiction simultaneously entertains and encourages.
What book are you reading right now?
Michael: This will sound so dorky, but I’m reading selected writings from the Founding Fathers of our country. Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Paine, and others. I collect quality leatherbound editions of famous literary works and I plan to read everything that I obtain, and right now I’m making my way through the writings that founded our nation. I can’t say it’s always gripping or thrilling but it is very enlightening and inspiring.
Beth: Those sound like excellent reading choices.
What is your go-to beverage?
Michael: I’ve never been a coffee drinker but I became a big fan of tea during my time in China. I prefer loose-leaf tea such as red or green tea. I usually drink a cup at night while I write.
Beth: Interesting! I’ve never heard of red tea.
What is your comfort food?
Michael: I love sweets. I’m always baking brownies or cookies, and when holidays like Halloween or Easter roll around, I eat more candy than my kids do.
Beth: Me too. I love baking and sampling the fruits of my labor. Thanks so much for dropping by and sharing some of your favorites with us!
Michael Winstell has generously provided a paperback copy of Serenity Hope for one Faithfully Bookish reader.
Do y’all share any of Michael’s favorites, reader friends?