Dee Stewart

A literary journalist and publicist since 2003, Dee Stewart's writings have appeared in Precious Times, Romantic Times, Spirit Led Woman Magazines and on The Master's Artist Blog. She is also the owner of DeeGospel PR (,) Christian entertainment PR boutique located in Atlanta, GA. Visit her Christian Fiction Blog, which turned 6 years old in July at Her debut novel "A Good Excuse to Be Bad (Kensington/Dafina) releases Summer 2011. Talk to her in real-time on Twitter at @deegospel.

Faith, Froth, and the Best Man

Girl-chatting with Kristin Billerbeck and Tia McCollors

Although God is love every month, every day, ever second, infinity, we love to celebrate love, particularly romantic love in February. And who’s better to talk romance and God with me than two of the freshest, most beloved contemporary romance writers in Christian fiction: Tia McCollors and Kristin Bellerbeck. This month they chat romance and their new releases.

Tia McCollorsEssence Magazine’s best-selling author Tia McCollors has been featured as Black Expressions Bookclub pick and African American Literary Award finalist. Her new novel, Steppin’ into the Good Life (Moody), also releases February 2011.

Steppin’ into the Good Life is the story of Shelia Rushmore. She thought she’d be the last woman standing when it was time to fight for her man. Instead, Ace, her boyfriend of two years, chose to reunite with his ex-wife, leaving Shelia emotionally devastated. It’s a year later when Sheila is convinced that sneaking into their wedding ceremony will put closure on the gaping hole in her heart. But it’s on the back pew of the church where a new relationship begins for Shelia.

She can’t explain the touch she received from God on that day,Steppin Into The Good Life but she’s determined to be a better woman—a woman of faith. With faith, tough love, and some tough decisions, Shelia realizes that the life she’d been praying for is attainable. Being wrapped in God’s arms, she decides, is by far the safest place she’s ever been.

Tia, what is it about Shelia Rushmore’s character that your readers can’t get enough of?

I’ve received a mixed reaction from readers after meeting Sheila in The Last Woman Standing. Some couldn’t stand her, some thought she was selfish and naïve, and others felt sorry for her. Readers relate to Sheila on different levels, but regardless they still want to know what happened to her. She is either the woman you love to hate, or the woman you want to rescue.

How would you define your novels? What do you think your readers expect from a Tia McCollors novel?

I call my novels a sweet blend of faith and fiction because at the end readers would’ve “tasted” God in a different way. Psalm 34:8 says, “O taste and see that the LORD is good” (NASB). Every person—and each of my characters as well—experience God’s love and presence in a way that’s “customized” just for them. I think my readers have grown to expect stories about imperfect people who are touched and transformed by a perfect God.

Why is this book a great Valentine’s Day read?

Anyone who loves reading as much as I do can always find a good book to fall in love with! I don’t consider myself a hopeless romantic, but I believe that every woman wants a man who’ll go above and beyond himself to show his pure and godly love for her. That usually happens once a woman (like Sheila) does one thing first: falls in love with herself. That makes Steppin’ into the Good Life a great Valentine’s Day read.

What is the spiritual takeaway?

I write all of my novels based on foundation Scriptures. My Scriptures for this novel were: “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7 NIV), and “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jer. 29:11 NIV).

If you could share one writing tip, what would it be?

Write with the realization that your books will live forever, so make them count.

Learn more about Tia at her Website,

Kristin BillerbeckChristy Award finalist and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year award, Kristin Billerbeck has appeared on The Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times. Her new novel, A Billion Reasons Why (Thomas Nelson), releases February 2011.

A Billion Reasons Why is the story of Katie McKenna. She has never loved any man but one: billionaire Luc DeForges. He was her first love. But there are a billion reasons why she’s engaged instead to Dexter Hastings, a solid and stable man who wants marriage and a family: all of the things that she wants but without the deep-seated pain and fear of being abandoned that Luc brings.

Dexter and she have worked an arrangement that’s akin to faith without action, love without deeds—a dead faith. Going home to New Orleans to sing for her childhood friend’s wedding, Katie must search her heart to find out if any of her reasons for being with Dexter are stronger than love. Only when Katie steps fully into faith and jumps off the cliff of life into the arms of Luc does she understand the fullness of God’s grace.

Kristin, how would you define your novels? What do you think your readers expect from a Billerbeck novel?

I define them as Faith, Froth, and a Designer Handbag. Those elements are all in there: drama, humor, and a glimpse into contemporary societies. I love knowing what makes people tick, and I am on a journey of discovery with each book. I hope to help others discover something about themselves in the process.

Why is this book a great Valentine’s Day read?

Luc DeForges, the hero, is wealthy, gorgeous, and a throwback to the 1940’s with a fedora. It’s classic romance in a modern setting. I am a huge fan of classic books and classic movies, and this is my love letter to those special Saturday mornings with Cary Grant and Fred Astaire.

A Billion Reasons WhyWhat is the spiritual takeaway of a Billion Reasons Why?

Well, I can’t give everything away, but Katie McKenna has to learn where to find her security. Katie believes she knows what she wants, but sometimes if we’re listening, God has something better for us that we can imagine.

If you could share one writing tip, what would it be?

Write what you’re passionate about, not to the market. It’s fine to target a particular publisher, but if you’re not excited about the elements in the story you tell, no one else will be either.

Why do you think we women seek a practical guy for marriage?

Women are wired to seek security. We need to know we’ll be taken care of and our families will be provided for—but I don’t think that’s found in money. I believe a woman in love, who believes in her man and has a solid faith in God . . . that couple is unstoppable.

New Orleans: What will readers learn about New Orleans that they might not know until they read this novel?

I picked New Orleans because it’s the birthplace of jazz and the standards, but also because it’s a city with a life and presence of its own. I wanted the city to be a character in itself, and I hope readers will gain an appreciation of its rich history.

Learn more about Kristin at her website: