Monday, March 20, 2017

Guest Post with Shannon Winslow ~ Leap of Faith & Leap of Hope ~ Interview & Giveaway!

Hello, Friends! I'm super excited to have author Shannon Winslow visiting here to today!

With five traditional JAFF books under her belt, Shannon has just released a pair of novels in a new, different, and innovative series called the Crossroads Collection. One of the two carries on the Jane Austen connection but, surprisingly enough, both involve time travel! I was curious to find out more about them, so I asked Shannon a few questions. 

Here’s our interview:


Welcome, Shannon! I have to say, you took me by surprise this time. Your past novels are all written in a very traditional Jane Austen style. That’s what you’re known for, and you do it well. So what made you try something different? Where did the idea for this new series come from?

Leap of Hope is brand new, but Leap of Faith actually is not. It’s the third novel I wrote, six or seven years ago now. While pursuing publication of The Darcys of Pemberley and For Myself Alone (my first two JAFF books), I considered what else I was interested in writing, just in case the whole Jane Austen thing didn’t catch on for me.

But your Jane Austen novels did catch on!

Yes, I’m glad to say they did! By then, though, I’d already written Leap of Faith. It’s been patiently awaiting its turn for publication ever since.

I’ve always been fascinated by turning points, alternate possibilities, and second chances (even going so far as to write an alternate outcome for Jane Austen herself in The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen!). I think about how some seemingly insignificant decision or random accident that occurred years in the past might have changed the whole course of a person’s life. Don’t you sometimes wonder what would have happened if you’d turned right instead of left at a certain point, or maybe had been able to sidestep a particular disaster? That’s what I wanted to explore. So I invented the Crossroads Center, where they’re in the business of granting second chances.

So how does it work? How do your characters get their second chances and what are the rules? For example, I’ve been wondering if the characters remember anything of their past once they make the leap to their new lives?

Granting second chances was clearly going to require some sci-fi/fantasy slight of hand. More specifically, time travel – an entirely new challenge for me! I basically made the rules up as I went along. For the story’s sake, this has to happen, so what needs to be true to make it so? With the second book, I continued adding to the Crossroads’ world. Here are the basics, though.

At a crisis point, a person selected for a second chance is spirited away, brought to the Crossroads Center, and given three choices. That person can pass without further delay to the afterlife (but that would make a very short story!). He can return to his own life at whatever point in time he wants to make a change (Ben’s decision in Leap of Faith, attempting to revive his sidetracked dream of playing professional baseball). Or she can pick a different life entirely (Jane Austen fanatic Hope’s choice in Leap of Hope, opting for what she imagines will be a life like Lizzy Bennet’s in Regency England).

As for their memories of the past, it seemed to me that my time travelers shouldn’t be allowed to keep them forever. They needed to be able to fully commit to their new lives, since there was no going back. So, if they behave themselves, their old memories fade gradually and painlessly away. And then, of course, there’s the standard non-interference clause, as Hope finds out:

Cora, who didn’t seem to notice my distress, continued. “Oh, and if you’re going into the past, you must agree that you won’t use your knowledge of the future to change things. We can’t have you inventing the light bulb before its time or taking it upon yourself to revise history. Understand? Your progress will be monitored to mitigate any possibility of that. Everything will be explained in your contract when you get to that point.”
 No chance of me inventing the light bulb, I was thinking. I wouldn’t know the first step for how to go about it! The real question was could I learn to get along without using light bulbs? Or electricity of any kind. And although it wasn’t a subject Jane Austen wrote about one way or the other, I supposed indoor plumbing hadn’t been invented by the early nineteenth century either. Hmm.

Ben, unfortunately, broke the non-interference rule. As a result, his memories were stripped from him more suddenly and dramatically. Here are his thoughts about his second chance and what it will cost him:
Just when I thought I couldn’t go on, when I was at a point so low I had to look up to see outfield grass grow, I received a genuine, world-class do-over. Now I’m praying I still have time to salvage it. It came as a gift. No charge. And I appreciate how lucky I am. Except I’m discovering there is a kind of cost after all, which I’m belatedly paying.
 To be fair, I was forewarned. A year ago, I barely thought twice about exchanging my lackluster past for a chance at resurrecting my dream. But now that they’re at risk, I suddenly realize some memories from those discarded months and years are too precious to part with: the satisfaction of helping one of my students succeed, friendships with Jeff and the others at the Center, and most importantly, every mental picture of Abby from a time she knew and loved me. The thought of those treasures being sucked irretrievably down a black hole…
Well, I simply can’t let that happen.

Ooh, sounds interesting! Do you have a definite number of books planned for the Crossroads series?

Not really. The possibilities are endless, but since each book is complete in itself, I don’t have an overarching storyline I need to complete. I have no intention of abandoning JAFF either, so it will depend partly on reader interest how much time I spend working in one area or the other.

It’s nice that you plan to take reader interest into account. I’ve heard you’re also asking for reader feedback to help determine which secondary character should get the next book? Is that true?

Absolutely! That’s partly why Hope got her story written. She made a cameo appearance in Leap of Faith, as one of the people Ben meets at the Crossroads Center – a “fellow traveler.” I’d written her in from the beginning, just as a colorful character (and because I had to find a way to get Jane Austen’s name into the book!), with no thought for doing anything else with her at the time. But I changed my mind when I was looking for a way to bridge my JAFF readers to this new series, and then some of my beta readers started asking if Hope could please have the next story! So my intention is to pick the hero/heroine of the next book from the secondary character’s you’ve already met at Crossroads in the previous one, with the help of reader input.

That's awesome! By the way, I love the classic look of the covers. Where did that inspiration come from?

Thanks, Candy! I’m sort of in love with them myself! My nephew, Micah Hansen, is my cover designer, but I take a very active role in the process. It’s a true collaboration. I knew I wanted a completely different look for this collection – something more modern in tone with elements that carrying over from one book to the next. Beyond that, I intended each cover to convey as much as possible about the story inside, especially since I knew the titles alone wouldn’t do the job.

So with Leap of Faith, in addition to the clock motif (indicating time slip), I wanted people to recognize Seattle (where the majority of the story takes place) and baseball (the focus of Ben’s dream). Oh, and I figured a hunky guy couldn’t hurt!

Leap of Faith was more of a challenge. We’d repeat the clock motif, naturally, but how to convey the rest – the idea of a modern girl considering a life in Regency England. My first thought was to do a split screen look, with Hope’s left half in contemporary clothes with a modern setting and her right half in period costume against a Regency backdrop. When that proved too difficult, though, we went to plan B, which turned out so well that I can’t imagine I would have liked plan A any better! The framed picture is Chatsworth, and it’s so large that it looks as if Hope is considering stepping right through into the scene. If that idea comes through, then the cover is a success.

Speaking of success, I wish you all the best with this new venture, Shannon! Many thanks for dropping by today and thanks for the generous giveaway!


Leap of Faith: Second Chance at the Dream

At the Crossroads Center, they’re in the business of granting second chances. And their newest client is Ben Lewis, a former star athlete who never recovered from the death of his dream to make it big in the big leagues. Now he’s being offered the opportunity to return to 1991 and try again, this time without the illness that originally ended his baseball hopes. What’s the catch? He will pay for his second chance by forfeiting his memories of the first… and possibly along with them, the love of his life. Can he find his way home to the woman he’s long forgotten but never stopped missing? Or will reaching for the brass ring with both hands cause the treasure he once possessed to slip forever from his grasp?

Buy: Amazon  **Leap of Faith is enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited, so if you are a member you can read it for free!
Add to Goodreads.

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

Leap of Hope: Chance at an Austen Kind of Life

At the Crossroads Center, they’re in the business of granting second chances. And their newest client is Hope O’Neil – college student and Jane Austen devotee, who always believed she’d be more at home in Regency England, wearing corsets and courted by men in cravats. But can a modern girl really fit into a world with no electricity, cell phones, or indoor plumbing? Hope is about to find out when her wish for an Austen kind of life is unexpectedly granted. Although she envisions her second chance will be like something straight out of Pride and Prejudice – complete with her own Mr. Darcy and a romantic happy ending – she gets more than she bargained for in this delightful romp through Regency England… a lot more.

Buy: Amazon
Add to Goodreads.

FTC Disclaimer: Link to Amazon. I am an Amazon Associate. Should you purchase a copy of the book through the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thanks!

Connect with Shannon Winslow

* * * GIVEAWAY * * *

It's giveaway time! Shannon is generously giving away a pair signed paperbacks and a pair of e-copies of Leap of Faith and Leap of Hope to two lucky people!  

  • One person will win a signed copy of Leap of Faith and a signed copy of Leap of Hope. (Open to US mailing address only)
  • One person will win an e-copy of both Leap of Faith and Leap of Hope. (Open Internationally)
  • To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment below and include your e-mail or twitter name. If you leave your email, please put parentheses around (at) and (dot).
  • Winners will be picked randomly by
  • Last day to enter the giveaway is March 27th, 2017, 11:59 PM Pacific Time.

Good luck! 

Again, many thanks to Shannon Winslow for being with us today and answering my questions! And for having a giveaway with me!

So, do you have any questions for Shannon? 


  1. What a generous giveaway, Shannon. :) I love time travel story, and this one looks intriguing.
    Congratulations :)

  2. Wonderful interview. I am intrigued by this series. Having loved your JAFF books, these are definitely on my TBR list. Thank you for the generous giveaway. Cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

    1. Thank you for your loyalty, Becky, and being willing to come with me on this new adventure!

  3. I love this premise and can't wait to read. Thanks for the giveaway! jadseah4 (at) yahoo

  4. I've heard a lot about Shannon's series and would love to read these books. Thanks for the giveaway! priscillateh (@) live (.) hk

    1. I'm glad you're interested, Priscilla. Thanks for commenting.

  5. I love the synopsis of this new series and the covers too. Thanks for explaining what the books are about and the process of designing the covers. And thank you for the giveaway too. Put my name for the international drawing, Ceri.


  6. Hi Shannon! Honestly have not read any of your books yet. Would love to read these however. Will definitely be getting one your Jane Austen books for my kindle. I enjoyed the informative interview. I agree the covers are modern but have a retro touch that reminds me of classic books I love. Thanks so much for the giveaway! Marlana.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Marlana!

    2. Hi, Mariana! Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the interview. I hope you do read one of Shannon's books soon! I just got my copy of Leap of Hope, and I'm excited to start reading it! :)

  7. Congratulations on your new book series Shannon! I really love the cover of Leap of Hope, too.

    Thanks for offering a giveaway! NovEllaandBanannabelle(at)Gmail(dot) com


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