Welcome to the blog, Hope! I’m so happy to have you here today. Congratulations on your new release, Den.

Tell us what inspired you to write this story?

I’m so happy to be here today! What inspired me to write the Blaze trilogy happened when I sat in an Old Testament class in college. When we covered the topic of Daniel, she mentioned that Daniel would have been 14-16 when taken into the Babylonian captivity. That struck me. I’d always thought of him as older, but here you had this teenager standing up to Kings and refusing to deny his beliefs. I wanted to see what that looked like in a modern high school.

As for Den, a number of issues had played into what a lion’s den looks like in a modern high school. When I wrote it, we were coming off of a difficult school year. Suicide cases had struck so many high schools (including one school in my area with six in one year), and school shooters had struck fear into teens unlike ever before. After hearing these stories, I thought, How does a Christian react to these tragedies? How can we have discussions with teens about safety measures and cover difficult topics like this? I channeled that into Den.

I always love hearing the behind-the-scenes to how a story comes to life. Thanks for sharing!

What part of this book did you enjoy researching the most?

This will sound odd, but researching what it’s like to work at an ice cream store. It’s only in the first chapter, but my main character works a summer job at an ice cream shop, and well, I did retail for summer jobs. So I decided to research that in depth. Turns out, beta readers who had done their fair share of ice cream work said I nailed it.

What was the last book you read and what will you remember most about it?

I’m currently in the middle of a collection of Mark Twain stories. I absolutely love his humor. He can get verbose at time, but his satire sticks with me. You have to have humor in a book, no matter how dire the circumstances within.

I totally agree! Love Mark Twain! (Especially since I’m from Missouri too) 🙂

Can you share one of your favorite Scripture verses with us?

It’s so hard to choose a favorite, but I’ll go with an oldie and goodie:

Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

This verse reminds me that whether I’m answering an email or writing a book that I should always give it my all for Christ.

Love that one!

As an agent and author, what’s one of your favorite pieces of advice for writers?

It’s hard to narrow it down to one thing, but not everyone will love your book, and that’s OK. I recently had given the book to a potential endorser who writes western romances, and this just was way too far outside her reading comfort zone. A year ago, that would’ve devastated me to hear the feedback that she didn’t think she was the best fit.

But now, I understand. Some people will love the book and some will hate it (trust me, I had some reviewers who told me so). You won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but you can trust that the Lord will place the book in front of the right readers.

So true. What a great reminder. And a great perspective too!

Is there anything else you’d like to add? Any upcoming projects you can share with us?

Yes, ma’am! I actually do have a superhero chat romance fiction I coauthored with agent Alyssa Roat, coming out with INtense Publications in September 2020. It’s definitely more secular, but because she and I come from a Christian background, we try to keep all of our stories clean and family-friendly.

I’m currently at pub board with the third book in the Blaze trilogy, which I hope will get the green light soon. If it does, it will release August 2021, right after the sequel to Dear Hero releases in April 2021.

Make sure to follow me on Instagram for some fun giveaways @hopebolinger. I plan to do at least one for this book.

Sounds great! Thanks so much for joining us today, Hope. Wishing you and our readers a blessed week!