Monday, February 26, 2018

7-Year Blogoversary Party - Guest Post by Lindsay Harrel + Giveaway!

Here it is: the final day of the 7-Year Blogoversary Party! I hope you have had fun this month with the posts and giveaways. Thanks so much to the authors for being a part of it and you for stopping by. I'm hoping to have many more years of blogging. ;)

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Find on Amazon, Goodreads
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Come Along on the Journey: Researching to Write The Heart Between Us By Lindsay Harrel

A lot of people ask about my inspiration for writing The Heart Between Us, the story of estranged twin sisters Megan and Crystal who set out on a journey around the world to fulfill the bucket list of Megan’s teenage heart donor.

The initial inspiration came from a radio story I heard. It featured a woman who went sky diving because her heart donor had always wanted to. I thought (1) what an amazing way to honor a donor, and (2) what if a recipient tackled a donor’s ENTIRE bucket list instead of just one item?

Most bucket lists have some element of travel—so my imagination started going bananas. I thought of all the places on my own personal bucket list and how awesome it would be to write about them!

So of course, I had so much fun doing the research for this story. No, I wasn’t able to convince my tax lawyer husband to let me take an actual research trip and write it off—plus, with a toddler at home, it just wasn’t feasible! But I spent my evenings and weekends online reading all about the Colosseum in Rome, the beaches of Greece, an Irish castle, the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, the Great Wall of China, and many other places I’ve never seen with my own eyes.

Then there was the research that came from looking through old photographs from a trip I took in the summer of 2005. For six weeks, I traveled through England, Ireland, Scotland, and Paris with a group from my university. What wonderful memories those photos hold for me. For the first time, I was submerged in cultures different from my own. My eyes were opened to things I’d taken as fact simply because it was how I experienced them.

However, that trip was more than just a physical journey for me—it was also a spiritual one. I’d lost my mother to cancer 8 months before leaving, and I needed to get away and experience God, and my faith, in a new and different way.

So when I looked at the photos while researching for The Heart Between Us, my memories were so completely intertwined with my faith journey, and I knew that it would be the same for Megan and Crystal. Like I did, they had to come face to face with their fears, choosing between safety (the “known”) and adventure (the “unknown”), between chains and freedom.

While this book is very much about travel and fulfilling dreams, there’s another side to it: prolonged illness and how that affects not only the person who is sick, but his or her family as well. Unfortunately, I didn’t have to look too far to understand this aspect of the story (my own mother fought cancer for over four years before passing away). However, I did do some research into congenital heart issues and organ donation.

I think most writers would tell you that they leave a part of themselves on the page, and that’s completely true of The Heart Between Us. Yes, the journey belongs to the characters, but the heart of the story was inspired by my own experiences and adventures. I pray that readers are inspired and encouraged, not only to live their own lives to the fullest, but also to turn to God as the ultimate source of hope and freedom.

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About Lindsay
Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years, and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Connect with her at www.LindsayHarrel.com.

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Giveaway!

Enter to win a copy of The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel. Giveaway is only open to US residents. Ends 3/12


How to enter: Sign into the Giveaway Tools form below (it might take a moment to load) and submit each entry you complete. Commenting alone will not get you entered – you must click enter on the form. Happy entering!


Open only to those who can legally enter. Winning entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by Giveaway Tools and announced here as well as emailed and will have up to one week to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Giveaway Tools or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. I am not responsible for any packages lost or damaged in the mail. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


This post may contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.

33 comments:

  1. I think it is such a neat idea to help complete a bucket list of someone you received an organ from.

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  2. WOW! The storyline and how it came to be is amazing to me. Love the way your research took you back through you past to incorporate aspects of it into the story.

    Having gone through my own Mom's cancer surgery and Alzheimer, I can so relate on how you have to sort of detach (or get away) and turn it over to God to find solace and peace - to put things in perspective and go on in faith.

    Hubby and I do have a bucket list. After learning through the death of our only child when she was 17 and the loss of parents, that life is fleeting and one must experience while one can - that the memories will be wonderful to reflect on in later years. Even if we happen to lose those memories, they live on through those we love and have shared them with.

    I would very much love the chance to read " The Heart Between Us". Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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    1. Oh wow, you have such a story. I love how you've chosen to focus on what you learned through your tragedies, though. I so hope you get to read The Heart Between Us and are encouraged!

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  3. Oh I love the idea behind this book! I really want to read it now. :) Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Susan! <3 It's a story that's close to my heart.

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  4. I'm excited about this book, Lindsay! I'd love to win. God bless!

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  5. I've heard great things about this book!

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    1. Aw, yay! That always makes an author happy to hear.

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  6. I do my travelling and excitement through books. Have a blessed day.

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    1. Then I think you might enjoy The Heart Between Us! I certainly had fun researching it.

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  7. All my overseas travel is done through books. ;-). The book sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing the research behind it.

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  8. Such an interesting premise. Thanks for the post

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  9. I've heard so many wonderful things about this story, I can't wait to read it for myself!!

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  10. This book does sound amazing! My hubby has a bucket list, and now that he has retired, we are slowly crossing off some of them. When you make the list while you are young, you no longer want to do some of them! LOL! Fun interview!

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  11. This book sounds so intriguing! Looking forward to reading it! Thanks for the chance at the giveaway!

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  12. I love this book idea,and can't wait to read it. So inspiring. And who doesn't love a story with lots of incredible settings?! Sounds like a win-win to me!

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  13. This is definitely not your average book topic! I would love to read it. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.
    perrianne.askew@me.com
    Perrianne

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  14. I love these kind of "behind-the-scenes" stories ... it must be amazing to sit back and think how the radio story evolved into an actual book!! Looking forward to reading it!

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  15. I love the "behind-the-scenes" stories ... it must be amazing to think how hearing the radio story evolved into an actual book! Looking forward to reading it!

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  16. Congrats on your new release Lindsay! I read and enjoyed One More Song to Sing, and I look forward to this newest release.

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  17. What a great idea for what I am sure is an inspiring story. I look forward to reading it!

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  18. I love the idea of going through a travel bucket list, and can't wait to read this book!

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  19. I love the idea behind the book and it sounds like such a great story. Can’t wait to read. : )

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  20. It sounds like a good idea. I must be the only person that doesn't have a bucket list. I'm happy going through life as it comes.

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  21. Reading this entry makes me want to write down my own bucket list and I look forward to reading this book.

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  22. I cannot wait to read this story. I want to visit all these places. Organ donation is a topic close to my heart. I have a friend who is waiting for a heart and lung transplant.

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  23. Thank you for sharing your inspiration for the story. I love how an artist's mind works. Looking forward to reading it!

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Thanks for stopping by and for commenting! =)

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~ Philippians 4:8