Her Deadly Inheritance by Beth Ziarnik

Posted by on Apr 8, 2016 | 15 comments

Her Deadly Inheritance by Beth Ziarnik

Murder and romance in Grand Island, Michigan. I know you’ll enjoy meeting multipublished author, Beth Ann Ziarnik and hearing about her debut romantic suspense, Her Deadly Inheritance. Leave a comment and sign in on the Rafflecopter at the bottom for a chance to win a signed print copy! 



Fabulous Friday!

Welcome Beth! Congratulations on the release of Her Deadly Inheritance! You have been writing for a while though this is your debut novel. Tell us how you got started writing and how it feels to finally have a novel in print.

Thank you, Norma. How kind of you to invite me. You’re right. I’ve written and been published in nonfiction for many years. But a few years back, I decided to go for the original dream of writing Christian romantic suspense. If I didn’t, how would I ever know if I might have succeeded? So I stopped toying with my manuscript and focused on honing my fiction writing skills to a publishable level. It wasn’t easy, but I persisted. Sometimes “stubborn” works for us!

The truth is I’m stunned to finally have this novel in print. It hardly seems real that the dream has come true, and I thank God all the time for readers who are so enthusiastic about Her Deadly Inheritance. I’m also deeply grateful to my agent Jim Hart, my editors Rowena Kuo and Chris Richards, my publisher Eddie Jones, and so many others who  have helped make this possible. God is good!

How did you come up with the idea for Her Deadly Inheritance?Her Deadly Inheritance

It began with my love of Phyllis A. Whitney’s novels. I read them, studied them and her articles on how to write until one day I decided to write a romantic suspense of my own. Over time I collected bits of scenes and dialogue, notes on all the elements that make up a romantic suspense novel. One of those elements was my disturbance over criminals who were not brought to justice because of legal loopholes. I wondered what if someone I loved was murdered and the law was unable to convict. How would I handle that? It became the core of my suspense plotline.

Romantic Suspense is rapidly growing genre. Tell us a little about how you weave romance with suspense to keep the reader wanting more.

Being a seat-of-the-pants writer, I start with a basic idea of who my hero and my heroine are and what they want. Then I let them loose to find their way. I get to know them by observing them as they encounter challenges, react, make decisions, and speak and think about what’s going on. I’m amazed at how they find their way as long as I allow them to be true to themselves. One thing I make sure of—each scene must end with tension or a cliffhanger of either the suspense or romantic variety. How else can I compel readers to turn the page!

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

I can hardly believe how many bits and pieces of my life found their way into Her Deadly Inheritance. When Clay makes some spectacular plays in a ball game, I’ve seen my husband make those plays. When Jill struggles with what is right in God’s eyes, I’ve struggled in similar ways. The set up for the party was described to me by a friend in my college days. I could go on and on but don’t want to spoil the story for readers.

Are you a full-time writer or do you hold a day job? What is the biggest challenge/obstacle you face in protecting your writing time?

My days of teaching, working in a bookstore, and our public library are over. Yet I wouldn’t call myself a full-time writer. I set writing goals but am mindful of my other responsibilities like maintaining my house now that Jim is with the Lord. Like teaching women’s Bible study and being a mother, grandmother, daughter, and friend. A writing life needs a healthy balance.

How important is the setting to your writing?

I like to start with an intriguing setting as I develop a story, both the physical location and the house. I prefer real places, and since I love architecture, I borrow real houses—which I tweak a bit for story purposes. Jill’s house on Upper Michigan’s Grand Island is a version of Mark Twain’s house in Connecticut. I added a stained glass cupola to the roof, landscaped it differently, and furnished it a bit differently. But readers can go to www.MarkTwainHouse.org and get a good idea of what Jill’s house is like.

They can also go to www.munising.org and www.grandislandup.com to see the beauty of the island and some of the places I used in Munising. While doing onsite research, I look for special features of setting that I can use in interesting ways. Like the lake in the center of Grand Island that remains calm in the midst of a horrific storm on Lake Superior. Like a ball park, a nursing home, and a church with a big sign across the front door that says, “Jesus Saves.” Like a café that serves really great meat pies called pasties, delicious served with gravy. Setting can easily become another character in a novel.

Why did you choose the particular theme in your most recent novel? What were you trying to say to your readers?

It’s a life lesson, a truth I’ve learned through the years: No matter what happens or how bad a situation may look, we can trust God to make it come out all right, at the right time, and in the right way. We just need to be patient.

Often we desire to teach a lesson in and through our writing, but we as writers also learn something. What was one thing you learned while writing Her Deadly Inheritance?

That a combination of prayer and polishing my skills has a lot to do with how a story develops to a satisfying end. Along with that—don’t quit!

Please share a favorite passage from Her Deadly Inheritance with us.

5:00 a.m. Twelve hours before a judge would declare her legally dead.

Clutching her cell phone to her ear, Jill Shepherd turned away from the red numbers glowing on her bedside clock and paced in the room’s pre-dawn shadows.

“Say you’ll come, Jill.”

“Don’t ask me, Uncle Drew. You know I can’t.” She squeezed her eyelids shut and struggled against the tightness in her throat. “The minute Lenore finds out I’m alive and you knew, she’ll think we planned this.”

His wife would turn on them both for snatching the house on Michigan’s Grand Island from her at the last minute. “She’ll leave you.”

“I’ll take my chances. More important things are at stake here.”

His quiet resignation clawed at her conscience. She clenched her teeth. She would remain strong. He deserved that much.

“I can’t.”

“Yes, you can.”

She swallowed hard at his pleading.

“I have to go,” he said, “but please come. The company plane is waiting at O’Hare. You have the pilot’s number. Call him.”

Jill pulled in a shaky breath. “She’ll never forgive you.”

“I’ll meet the plane when you get here. On the way to Windtop, we’ll decide how to break the news. Everything will be fine.”

He disconnected the call.

Everything would not be fine. Even he knew too well that someone would pay. The same woman who had driven Jill’s fragile mother into seclusion would see to it.

Book Blurb:

First a runaway. Now running for her life.

Won’t Jill Shepherd’s family be surprised when she returns to Grand Island, Michigan to end their lies and scheme to have her declared legally dead? But when Jill exposes the mastermind behind her intended death, her family’s deception may kill any chance she has of remaining alive.

Clay Merrick may seem to be little more than a handy-man restoring homes, but when the former Special Forces operative tracks a brutal killer to Jill’s historic house under renovation, he has most of the evidence he needs to bring the killer to justice … until Jill gets in the way.

When the killer sets sights on Jill as the next victim, it’s not just Clay’s mission on the line, but his heart.

Beth ZiarnikAbout the author:

A long-time fan of romantic suspense, Beth Ann Ziarnik offers her first novel with all the twists and turns, cliffhangers and romantic tension she and readers have come to love. She is a co-founder of Word & Pen Christian Writers in Northeast Wisconsin and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. In addition to her 450 published pieces (several included in anthologies), she is the author of Love With Shoes On, her ten-year devotional column about love in action and based on 1 Corinthians 13.



a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I recently went to a Tenth Avenue North concert and I Am They were also performing. One of the singer’s made a very poignant statement that reminds me of your theme for Deadly Inheritance. She said, “When we encounter a situation or time in our life that seems impossible to endure or overcome, we have to remember that God brought us to that point and He will also bring us through it.

    • Thank you for stopping by to share that thought, Terrill. It’s so true, as Jill and Clay discovered in Her Deadly Inheritance. We can always count on God though He often works in ways we never anticipated. God bless you!

  2. Congrats on the book. I admire people who are willing to take a risk to make their dreams come true. This sounds like a great read. Mysteries are my favorite and add some romance, that’s just icing on the cake! Thanks for the chance to win.

    • Thank you, Mallory, for the congrats and for sharing your thoughts. Bless you!

  3. Her Deadly Inheritance sounds very intriguing.

  4. This sounds like fascinating reading. I love reading debut novels. It’s fun to get in on the ground floor and watch new novelists progress from book to book. I can hardly wait to read this.

    • Thank you for sharing your heart regarding debut novels, Judith. All God’s best to you.

  5. Thank you so much for the chance to win. This book sounds so interesting, as I love a good mystery with a little romance on the side. God bless you!

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment, Lucy. We obviously enjoy that same type of novels. Bless you!

    • Thank you for sharing that thought, Maro. God bless you!

  6. I love books like this-thriller, suspense, psychological.

  7. I love books like suspense, thriller & psychological.

  8. Congrats on your debut romantic suspense, Beth! I’m so happy for you! 🙂 Sounds like an intriguing plot and the excerpt is gripping!

  9. Hi Jerusha! Do you remember when we were together in Word & Pen Christian Writers? This is that novel I was working on, though I wrote more nonfiction in those days. But in the last couple of years, the Lord provided an agent, an award for Her Deadly Inheritance at the Write-to-Publish conference, and a contract for the novel. I still can hardly believe it is true. Stop by Word & Pen to visit sometime. We’d love to see you again and catch up on how you are doing. Blessings!

    • Yes, Beth! I definitely remember that! It’s crazy to think this is that same novel. I guess this means I get to say that I knew you when! 🙂 Glad to hear Word & Pen is still going strong. So happy for the open doors for your work! It’s wonderful how the Lord works when the timing is right.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Did you enjoy this?

If so, please help spread the happiness! Share this post with your friends!

%d bloggers like this: