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Author Interview and Giveaway – My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island- Carrie Fancett Pagels

28 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island- Carrie Fancett Pagels

Welcome to Carrie, a sweet woman who’s always helping to get out the word about Christian fiction, especially those that help us cope and grow.

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My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring

Although the Winds of Mackinac Inn has been in her mother’s family for generations, Maude Welling’s father refuses to let her run it without the guidance of a husband. So she seeks to prove her worth and independence by working incognito as a maid at the Grand Hotel.

Undercover journalist Ben Steffans, posing as a wealthy industrialist, pursues a story about impoverished men chasing heiresses at the famed hotel.  While undercover, he becomes attracted to an intriguing maid. By an act of heroism Ben endears himself to the closed-mouthed islanders—including Maude—and he digs deep for his story.

But when scandal threatens, will the growing love between Maude and Ben be scuttled when truths are revealed?

Carrie’s Website

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Questions about Carrie’s Story

If you could be one of your characters, who would you choose to be and why?

Ada Fox, who is managing the household staff at the Grand Hotel. But she’s more than she seems! Ada is about to get her life back! I am SO excited for her! She needs her own novella! She’s also in another of my novellas as a mysterious woman (hint: I was a Maggie Finalist 2016 for this romance novella, which is set a few years before MHBoMI.) Ada needs a novella set maybe in 1896, which is when her life finally starts falling into the place God has planned for her. And, yes, I do think of my characters as real people haha!

Which scene (give us the chapter) is your favorite, the one you never tired of working with? Give us a reason to look forward to it.

The Arch Rock scene. I cried every time I worked on it. If you’ve ever seen beautiful Arch Rock and been atop it and looked down, you realize how dangerous it could be. And so I chose this to be the place that Maude’s young brother, Jack, finally reveals just how hurting he is and hero Ben opens up about what happened to him at about the same age. I am crying as I write this, thinking about it.  I’ve had therapy sessions that were deeply moving like this and I love when people finally “give it up” and unload their hurt like my characters do in this scene!

If you could be guaranteed to publish a book set anywhere and at anytime, what setting would you love to set a novel in?

Exactly this book!!! This is my legacy book. If I never wrote another word, I’d have written this book set exactly where and at the time I wanted it set!!!

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Questions about Carrie’s Reading

What other Christian Historical Novels are similar to yours in setting or storyline?

There’s a historical romance collection Of Rags and Riches (Barbour, July 2017) with several up North novellas in it – by Natalie Monk, Gabrielle Meyer, Anne Love, and Jaime Jo Wright and more. (I also have a series The Christy Lumber Camp Series, three books set in the area and a novella, Tea Shop Folly, book one of The Christy Cousins, set in the same era and nearby location.

(I’d be happy to give away a set of those to one of your readers in ebook format.)

I think we shall take her up on her offer, yes? Yes! 🙂

If your job was to sell one author’s historical fiction (besides your own) which author’s wares would you want to peddle? And which is your favorite by that author?

Tamera Alexander’s books. She hasn’t disappointed me yet. I can’t pick one as my favorite as I’ve enjoyed them all! I thank my friend, writer Kim Taylor, for recommending her novels even though I was looking for others set in the 18th century. And I thank Tamera for her endorsement of this book! To hear that my favorite author “loved” My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring was amazing!!!

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What Christian Historical Novel in your To Be Read pile is begging you to make time to plop down with it right now?

Yours, Melissa!!! Now that I found my missing Kindle Fire maybe I can finally read it!!!

 

Carrie is giving away a copy paperback (usa only) AND A set of the Christy Cousins books (ebook only), and I’m giving away winner’s choice of ebook of any of the books mentioned above. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter Rafflecopter, tell me in a comment below: “I’m not entering the rafflecopter, but please throw me in the hat” so I can manually put you in there for a chance.**

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A Scavenger Hunt and and bonus Giveaway for TEN Copies of A Love So True

33 Comments on A Scavenger Hunt and and bonus Giveaway for TEN Copies of A Love So True

Hello, my loyal Index followers! If you’ve been here for awhile, you know who I am already! And with this book release, I figure we’d do something more fun than listen to me interview myself. 🙂 So I figure we’d do a little Scavenger Hunt. For newer followers hopefully this is a nice way to get familiar with how to search the Index, and for those of you who are old pros at searching the Index, this will be easy peasy!

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A Love So True

Evelyn Wisely has a heart for the orphans of Teaville and works at a local mansion that rescues children out of the town’s red-light district and gives them a place to live. But her desire to help isn’t limited to orphans. The owner of the mansion, Nicholas Lowe, is willing to help her try to get the women working in prostitution out of the district as well–if she can gain the cooperation and support of local businessmen to go against the rest of the community.

David Kingsman has recently arrived in Teaville from Kansas City to help with one of his father’s companies in town. While he plans on staying only long enough to prove his business merit to his father, he’s shown interest in Evelyn’s work and is intrigued enough by her to lend his support to her cause.

They begin with the best of intentions, but soon the complications pile up and Evelyn and David’s dreams look more unattainable every day. When the revelation of a long-held secret creates a seemingly insurmountable rift between them, can they trust God still has a good plan for them despite all that is stacked against them?

Melissa’s Website

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Other Books in this series:

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Only $1.99!

$2.99 or less

this month ONLY!

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So, I’ll give FIVE Paperback copies away on Rafflecopter. (And if you don’t like Rafflecopter just explicitly say so in the comments, and I’ll put you in there.)

And I’ll give FIVE random copies away to five people who finish the short Scavenger hunt.

You will be searching for a short sentence from A Love So True. You will find the six word sentence in pieces somewhere in the depths of the Index. Follow the clues below by inputting them into the search engine on the right side of the page. When you find the book indicated in the clue, you will find the clue word after the book’s blurb; it will be bolded and underlined. Once you’ve found the entire sentence go to this form and fill in your name, email address, and the scavenger hunt sentence to be entered to win one of five paperbacks. Good Luck.

Clues:

  1. Find the book that is set in “Michigan” with a “Married Romance” Storyline.

     2. Find the book set in “England” in an “asylum” (Place) in the time period of the “regency”

     3. Find the book with a “Marriage of Convenience” Storyline, set in the decade of “1880s” in “Texas” with a main character with an occupation of “Cowboy/Ranching” and an “Outlaw” for a type of main character.

     4. Find a book set in “London” during the historical event of “World War I”

     5. Find a “novella” (It can be found under Misc.) with a “holiday” topic with a main character occupation of “scientist” written by “Gina Welborn”.

     6. At the top of the Index where you can see all the pretty new release covers, click on the first cover in the line up.

***USA ONLY. Both the Scavenger Hunt and the Rafflecopter will end May 20th at midnight.***

Link to the form where you can input the sentence you found in the Scavenger hunt for your chance at five Paperbacks.

 

SCAVENGER HUNT WINNERS: MH,  Britney A., jcp, Gail H., and Jeanette T.

 

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Author Interview – Behind the Scenes – Jen Turano

33 Comments on Author Interview – Behind the Scenes – Jen Turano

If you like to read stories that are quirky fun, have you tried Jen Turano yet? If not, get yourself in the hat, or download her freebie prequel novella for the series so you can get ready to hop right to this one!

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Behind the Scenes

Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn’t guaranteed to “take.” After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she’s finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill.”

Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it’s simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.
When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she’s determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she’ll end up at risk as well.

As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there’s more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .

Jen’s Website

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Other books in this series:

This is a FREE ebook. No reason not to go snatch it up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Questions about Jen’s Story

What inspired your story?

Ever since I began writing Gilded Age historical romances, I’ve been itching to write one set in the very midst of Alva Vanderbilt’s famous costume ball. Since I finally reached 1883 on my progression through the Gilded Age, it was the perfect time to write this particular book.

What character in your book turned out to be your favorite?

Mr. Asher Rutherford is my favorite because he’s just such a charming character, unaware of exactly how charming he is, which makes him all the more attractive.

Which scene (give us the chapter) is your favorite, the one you never tired of working with?

In Chapter Six, Miss Permilia Griswold and Mr. Asher Rutherford participate in the Go-As-You-Please Quadrille. Needless to say, with Permilia not being exactly light on her feet, it turns out to be more of an adventure than Asher was expecting.

Did you stumble upon anything in your research for this book that made you squirm?

The one bit of research I uncovered that was more than a little disturbing was learning about Miss Kate Strong and the costume she chose to wear to the ball. Miss Strong’s nickname was Puss, and because of that, she chose to attend the ball as a cat – complete with a stuffed taxidermy cat head perched on her perfectly styled hair, and honest-to-goodness cat tails sewn into the folds of her skirt.

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Questions about Jen’s Reading

 

What Christian Historical Novel did you reread last, and why did you reread it?

Elizabeth Camden’s “Against the Tide.”  It was on the top of a pile of books needing to be shelved in my bookshelf.  Because it had been a few years since I read it, it was the perfect way for me to spend a snowy evening.   

 

Which was the last Christian Historical Novel you read, and what was your favorite thing about it?

Regina Jennings “For the Record.”  It was adorable and filled with amusing characters and a refreshing storyline.  

 

 

 

What Christian Historical Novel are you most excited to read that just released or hasn’t yet come out?

I have a huge list – but Elizabeth Camden’s “The Farthest Shores” is one at the top of the list, and of course, Melissa Jagears’ “A Love So True.”  

Jen is giving away a copy paperback (usa only), and I’m giving away winner’s choice of ebook of either of the books mentioned above. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter Rafflecopter, tell me in a comment below: “I’m not entering the rafflecopter, but please throw me in the hat” so I can manually put you in there for a chance.**

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Redeeming Grace – Jill Eileen Smith

31 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – Redeeming Grace – Jill Eileen Smith

I’ve so enjoyed these pretty covers for Jill’s newest biblical series. These rich dark colors are just a favorite. AND totally go check out Jill’s website, the effect at the top is really cool! I hope you enjoy the interview.

Redeeming Grace-Book Cover

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Redeeming Grace

When famine visits Bethlehem, Boaz holds out hope for rain while his relative Elimelech moves his wife Naomi and their sons to Moab. For a while, it appears the Lord is blessing Elimelech’s family, and his sons marry two lovely Moabite women. But calamities strike, one after another, leaving Naomi alone in a foreign land with only her childless daughters-in-law for comfort. When news reaches Naomi that the famine in Bethlehem has lifted, only Ruth will hazard the journey to her mother-in-law’s homeland. Destitute and downhearted, Naomi resigns herself to a life of bitter poverty, but Ruth holds out hope for a better future. And Boaz may be the one God has chosen to provide it.

Jill’s Website

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Other books in this series:

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Questions about Jill’s Story

What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?

Ruth’s story is so well known that I didn’t really give the book a lot of thought until I sat down to write it. But then I had to come up with backstories on each of the characters and delve into their possible mindset. And it struck me then that I related more to Naomi than to Ruth—not because I’m widowed (I’m not) or have lost children (I haven’t) but because of her age and status as a mother-in-law. And I wondered how I would have felt if my husband had decided to stop trusting God for our future and moved us to a foreign land rather than wait out the difficult circumstances in the land God had given to us.

I also had to put myself into Ruth’s character, so I was essentially playing the roles of both daughter-in-law and mother-in-law, of which I’ve been both. It was interesting to see life from two differing perspectives. Most of us probably relate to Ruth when we read Ruth’s story in Scripture, and because the book carries her name, we naturally think the story is hers. But I sensed, perhaps because I related more to her, that this was actually Naomi’s story. She is the one who suffered the greatest losses and ended up with the most joyous gains.

I will say, however, that I loved the relationship Naomi had with Ruth. Ruth’s devotion to Naomi went beyond the expected, even in her day. She could have returned, as Orpah did, to her mother’s house and remarried a man from Moab. I have to think Ruth’s choices were not only for Naomi but because she was in search of a better life with Israel and their God whom she was only beginning to know. Both women took great risks, and I admire that. If the time came for me to make risky choices because God said “go” or “do,” would I have the same kind of courage to follow where He leads?

Why did you choose the year your book is set?

The Bible doesn’t tell us exactly when Ruth’s story takes place. We tend to think of it coming after the book of Judges because that’s where it falls in our Bibles. But the book itself only tells us that the story took place during the time when the judges ruled. It does not tell us which judge ruled then.

So I did some research and discovered that the placing of this story is tricky and can be confusing. As I mention in my Note to the Reader in the book, I chose to place Ruth’s story actually before Deborah’s because it was under the judge Ehud that Moab is most prominently mentioned. The death of Moab’s king at the hand of Israel played a significant role in crafting the story. There is some discrepancy with the placing of Salmon’s and Boaz’s birth by choosing this timing and setting, but wherever you place it, there is no perfect solution to understanding the time when Rahab birthed Boaz and Ruth bore Boaz a son. So I went with what made most sense to the story. If my timing is wrong, it doesn’t change the purpose or theme or truth of the story and that is what ultimately matters.

Were there any historical facts that you discovered in your research that made you change something in your story?

Naomi and Ruth return to Bethlehem during barley harvest. In Israel, the men of each tribe were expected to celebrate certain feasts, first at Shiloh and later in Jerusalem. The women and children often went along, but the men were required to be there. I had not expected the need to include the feasts, but found that studying them fascinated me. I wanted to show the reader what those celebrations might have looked like in Shiloh.

Years ago, my husband and I visited a replica of the Jewish tabernacle. You can also see pictures of it online and the Bible gives us the place where each tribe was to set up camp around it when they lived with the tabernacle in the desert. In a sense the people were making their dwelling where God had placed His name. In the same way, in the future, Jesus came (in the direct line of Boaz and later King David) and “tabernacled” or dwelt among us. He made His home in our midst, just as the people of the Old Testament came near to live as close as they could get to God’s presence, which was a shadow of things to come.

The Feast of Firstfruits is mentioned in connection with Feast of Weeks or Shavot, Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot, and Passover. All of these feasts have spiritual meaning and connection to the Messiah, but the main purpose I focused on in the story was that by giving God the first of our harvest, or the best of our resources, our talents, our time, etc., is an act of trusting that God will supply our needs for the future—even if we cannot not see what that future might be.

That trust was pretty significant for Ruth and Boaz and Naomi that first year of Naomi’s return because they had just seen the end of a very long famine. If similar circumstances occurred in my lifetime, could I have the same kind of trust?

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Questions about Jill’s Reading

What Christian Historical Novel did you reread last, and why did you reread it?

I rarely reread any book other than the Bible. I can count on one hand the number of novels or non-fiction books that I’ve read more than once. That said, there are a handful that are hands-down my all-time favorites. The one that jumps to the top of the list every time is Two From Galilee by Marjorie Holmes. This is a love story of Joseph and Mary and I first read it when I was sixteen. I read it nearly every Christmas for years after that. This is the book that inspired my love of the Bible and brought the people in it to life. It is also the book that inspired me to want to write biblical fiction.

But I had not read it in years once I married and had children. Then nine years ago, my dad got sick and moved on to heaven four years later. That was the last time I read Two From Galilee. There is something about a favorite book from childhood that comforts us even when we are grown adults. When my dad died, my sister and I both had that desire to go back and read our favorite childhood story. That was when I reread for the umpteenth time, this favorite of all love stories.

Which was the last Christian Historical Novel you read, and what was your favorite thing about it?

The last Christian Historical Novel I read was Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar. I read an early copy for endorsement and was honored to do so. I have read several of Tessa’s books, but this one has topped them all thus far. The story is about the woman with the issue of blood in the New Testament and Tessa captures her story so well. My favorite thing about the story is the way Tessa took a little known woman, who is not even named in Scripture, and beautifully created her world. She helped us see what life would have been like for this young woman in the culture of her day. I always appreciate it when an author stays true to Scripture and brings culture to life. When I can come away feeling like I have time traveled to that place and walked in their sandals, the author has done his or her job well.

Jill is giving away a copy paperback (usa only), and I’m giving away winner’s choice of ebook of either of the books mentioned above. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter Rafflecopter, tell me in a comment below: “I’m not entering the rafflecopter, but please throw me in the hat” so I can manually put you in there for a chance.**

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Author Interview and Giveaway – A Moonbow Night – Laura Frantz

11 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – A Moonbow Night – Laura Frantz

I remember the first time I heard about Laura Frantz’s books, I was at my first writer’s conference and had joined a little group of six non-published ladies that went around with each other and one just raved about Laura’s book while we were headed to the bookstore and so, Laura’s book, The Frontiersman’s Daughter, was the very first book I bought at conference. Definitely a good purchase! I’m excited to feature her newest this month!

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A Moonbow Night

From the beloved author of The Frontiersman’s Daughter and Courting Morrow Little comes a new Kentucky novel…On the vast, uncharted Kentucky frontier of the 1770s, Temperance Tucker has learned to be fleet of foot, accurate with her rifle, and silent about the past. But her family secrets complicate her growing attraction to a handsome Virginia land surveyor with a harsh history of his own. Will the hurts and hardships of the past prevent them from a fulfilling future?

 

With her signature sweeping style and ability to bring the distant past to vivid life, Laura Frantz beckons readers to join her in a land of Indian ambushes, conflicting loyalties, and a tentative love that meanders like a cool mountain stream.

 

Laura Frantz’s Website

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Questions about Laura’s Story

Did you include a real historical character or incident in your story?

Due to reader request, I include Daniel and Rebecca Boone in the novel, both heroes of mine. As a native Kentuckian, I’ve long admired them and find their lives incredibly inspiring! The entire plot pivots around a little known incident in the life of the Boones that has haunted me since childhood.

Why did you choose the year your book is set?

I chose 1777 or “the year of the bloody sevens’ as it was called in frontier times as so many historical fireworks occurred as far as Indian and settler conflict. Lots of story fodder there, much of it worth celebrating yet much of it heartbreaking.

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Questions about Laura’s Reading

Which book got you hooked on reading Christian Historicals?

Francine River’s The Mark of the Lion series. Bold and detailed, it didn’t sugarcoat anything, including early Christianity. I quickly read all her historicals after that and some are on my keeper shelf.

If your job was to sell one author’s historical fiction (besides your own) which author’s wares would you want to peddle? And which is your favorite by that author?

Joanne Bischoff. She’s unrivaled in so many ways and her upcoming The Lady and the Lionheart was truly a privilege to endorse. She writes with an incredible freshness in the genre, far beyond clichéd plots and prose.

Laura is giving away a copy paperback (usa only), and I’m giving away winner’s choice of ebook of either of the books mentioned above. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter Rafflecopter, tell me in a comment below: “I’m not entering the rafflecopter, but please throw me in the hat” so I can manually put you in there for a chance.**

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill – Julie Klassen

17 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill – Julie Klassen

I’m so excited to feature Julie Klassen this month with her first ever series. This is book #1 and its cover is gorgeous, don’t you think?

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The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

The lifeblood of the village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. When the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant landlady. Jane has no idea how to manage a business. But with the town’s livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must quickly find a way to save the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to overcome her losses and find purpose for the future. As she works with Jane, two men from her past vie for her attention, but Thora has promised herself never to marry again. Will one of them convince her to embrace a second chance at love?

As pressure mounts from the bank, Jane employs new methods, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place, including a mysterious newcomer with secret plans of his own. With the help of friends old and new, can Jane restore life to the inn, and to her empty heart as well?

Julie’s Author Website

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Website for the new series

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Questions about Julie’s Story

What inspired your story?

I have long wanted to write a village series, and was inspired in part by my love of British series like Larkrise to Candleford, Cranford, and the Thrush Green novels. I am drawn to their close-knit communities filled with unforgettable characters, and hope readers are similarly drawn to TALES FROM IVY HILL.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I especially enjoyed developing and depicting the flawed–but ultimately strong–friendships between the women of the village.

What character in your book turned out to be your favorite?

I ended up really loving the character of Thora Stonehouse Bell. As her name implies, she’s a strong character—a forceful and forthright widow. But her gruff exterior hides past hurts and vulnerability that are slowly revealed through her changing relationships with her daughter-in-law, son, and new suitors.

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Questions about Julie’s Reading

What other Christian Historical Novels are similar to yours in setting or storyline?

Michelle Griep’s The Captive Heart, and Lawana Blackwell’s The Widow of Larkspur Inn [out of print but available FREE in ebook].

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take one Christian Historical Novel, which would you pick?

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

If your job was to sell one author’s historical fiction (besides your own) which author’s wares would you want to peddle? And which is your favorite by that author?

Fun question! I would happily recommend author Lynn Austin all day long, and especially love her novel, Hidden Places.

Julie is giving away a copy paperback (usa only) or ebook, and I’m giving away winner’s choice of ebook of either of the books mentioned above. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter Rafflecopter, tell me in a comment below: “I’m not entering the rafflecopter, but please throw me in the hat” so I can manually put you in there for a chance.**

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You can also sign up to win books at Julie’s new little mini website for the series! You have until 1/5/2017 to sign up to win a copy of The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill there!

Author Interview and Giveaway – Lynn Austin – Waves of Mercy

30 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – Lynn Austin – Waves of Mercy

Isn’t this a gorgeous cover? I’m excited to have Lynn Austin here to share about her new book! PLUS if you were here last month, author Rachel McMillan mentioned that she got to read an advanced copy of this and had this to say about Lynn’s work: “I think what I love most about Austin’s books is that they encourage you to accept that God uses all manner of people.  Her heroines always validate me as a woman who has never quite felt that she fit into a traditional woman’s role.”

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Waves of Mercy

Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from The Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she is asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions that have remained buried all these years, including the story of her one true love. 

A few miles away at the Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of her broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after the violent storm her steamship encounters on her journey across the lake, stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.

Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.

Lynn’s Website

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Questions about Lynn’s Story

What inspired your story?

The story of the Dutch immigrants who settled Holland, Michigan has interested me since I first visited Holland, Michigan as a Hope College freshman. I saw how proud the community was of their faith and their Dutch heritage—so much so, that they imported a 250 year-old windmill from the Netherlands as the showpiece of their town, and planted nearly 4 ½ million tulips in parks and gardens and along city streets. The annual Tulip Time Festival brought swarms of tourists in cars and buses and motor homes to the otherwise quiet town. All of this impressed me as a young college student.

I met my husband Ken while we were students at Hope College, and although he grew up in Holland, he didn’t know very much about his Dutch ancestry. In the years since, we’ve learned that his great-great-grandfather immigrated to Holland, Michigan with his family in 1871, when the town was only 25 years old. When Ken and I decided to move back to Michigan two years ago, I began researching Holland’s history to see if it would make a good novel, and I wasn’t disappointed! The first Dutch settlers arrived here in 1846 for religious freedom after suffering persecution and famine in the Netherlands. Since that’s been true of so many other immigrant families over the years, I knew the story would resonate with many readers. The commitment that the Dutch community had to each other and to God is very impressive.

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

Before I began researching “Waves of Mercy,” I had no idea how much hardship and suffering these early settlers endured. They decided to come to America in 1846 because of religious persecution in the Netherlands. They left behind beautiful, centuries-old cities to move to the virgin wilderness of Michigan and live in crude log cabins. Their first summer here, malaria struck the community killing many settlers. A year later, a ship called the Phoenix, carrying 225 passengers, including 175 Dutch immigrants, caught fire and sank in Lake Michigan, five miles from their destination. 180 men, women and children died. As the bewildered immigrants buried their loved ones, they must have asked, “Did we really hear from God? How could He allow these tragedies to happen?”
I found it hard to write about all of these things in a realistic way because I’ve never had to endure such tragedies. But it was also difficult for me because I needed to portray their spiritual questioning in a realistic way—how did they endure and not become bitter toward God? This is an issue that many Christians still face, and I wanted to do it in a way that would bring hope without resorting to “pat” answers.

What research book or website used to write this book was your favorite to peruse?

One resource that really sparked my imagination were the wonderful programs presented by a local group called the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association. This group of divers search for sunken ships in the Great Lakes using historic records, then film their underwater dives as they explore the wrecks. Along with their website, they’ve also published several books that document the history of various vessels, detailing how and why they sank. The Association’s books and presentations gave me a peek into the sometimes-dangerous world of sailing on Lake Michigan in the 19th Century and inspired me to include a shipwreck (or two!) in my upcoming novel, “Waves of Mercy.”  

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Questions about Lynn’s Reading

Which book got you hooked on reading Christian Historicals?

It would have to be “The Zion Chronicles” by Bodie Thoene, published back in the late 1980s. Book One was “The Gates of Zion” and tells of the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948. I was just beginning to think about writing back then, and these books were all the rage in our church library in Canada. The books were among the very first to be categorized as Christian Historical Fiction and really paved the way for the variety of historical fiction published today.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take one Christian Historical Novel, which would you pick?

I would choose “Christy” by Catherine Marshall. It was released in 1967, long before Christian books became popular, but it is an all-time classic. Her characters are unforgettable and she deals with issues of faith in a realistic, appealing way. The fact that it was based on the true story of her mother’s experiences makes it even more fun to read.

Lynn is giving away a copy of her book (Paperback – US only) and I’m giving away winner’s choice of any available ebook of the books mentioned above. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Sarah Loudin Thomas – A Tapestry of Secrets

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I’m delighted to have a dual timeline novel on the website this month!

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A Tapestry of Secrets

For decades, Perla Phillips has hidden the truth of a decision that still fills her with guilt. But now, seeing her granddaughter, Ella, struggle in a similar way, she’s prepared to finally open the past to her family, no matter the consequences. But when the opportunity is snatched from her in a most unexpected manner, will she have waited too long?

Spanning generations, this moving family drama weaves together the interlocking stories of two women as they navigate relationships, family, faith, and the choices that will shape their lives. Heartwarming and nostalgic, the story explores the courage to share the wounds of the past and celebrates the legacy a family passes from one generation to the next. 

 

Sarah’s Book

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Others in this Series:

The first is FREE!

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Questions about Sarah’s Story

What inspired your story?

Although I technically write historical fiction, I feel like I cheat a little bit! I don’t do much of the in-depth research so many other historical writers dig into. My primary source for research is just talking to people. And mostly family members at that. When I have a technical question, I often call my dad and ask him—e.g. what did the stove Grandma cooked on when you were ten look like? All through the Appalachian Blessings series the characters, the scenes, and the daily activities are drawn from listening to my family’s stories since I was old enough to sit up. Dad was the main storyteller, but I also listened to my grandmother, Aunt Bess, and the other “old folks” who gathered to talk at every opportunity. Those wonderful, wonderful people of West Virginia are my inspiration and in a way, I write to try and keep them alive a little bit longer.

What character in your book turned out to be your favorite?

I can’t seem to keep from introducing characters who are supposed to be bad guys who turn out to be closet heroes. They’re my favorites. I started it with Frank Post in Miracle in a Dry Season—the town drunk with a shady past who turned out to have all kinds of valuable life experiences to share. In A Tapestry of Secrets it’s Keith, the out-of-town developer who wants to turn the historic church property into a hunting preserve. I meant for him to be a cold-blooded outsider set on destroying Laurel Mountain Church, but turns out he’s had some hard times of his own to overcome. He’s just a divorced man trying to find meaning and maintain a relationship with his daughter. My favorites are always the hard cases who eventually see the light.  

Which scene (give us the chapter) is your favorite, the one you never tired of working with?

My favorite parts of the story to write were the flashbacks to 1948 and the summer when Perla became pregnant out of wedlock. Readers who have followed along since Miracle in a Dry Season have known about the pregnancy, but I’d never even hinted at how a “good girl” like Perla came to have a child before she had a husband. When the father of the child is introduced, he goes by a nickname. For me, the pivotal point wasn’t so much the night the pair spent together as it was the moment when he revealed his real name in Chapter 20. He and Perla know they don’t have a future together at that point and the way he gives her the gift of his name is really poignant for me. It’s probably silly, but I still can’t read that bit without tears coming to my eyes.

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Questions about Sarah’s Reading

Which book got you hooked on reading Christian Historicals?

Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series hooked me on Christian fiction period! That woman can write! Once I was hooked, I began to discover other historical writers I love like Nancy Moser and Julie Klassen. I adore Nancy’s books about real women like Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Martha Washington, while Julie is as close as I’m likely to get to a “new” Jane Austen novel. I’m also really looking forward to Luther & Katharina by Jody Hedlund. I have deep admiration for writers who bring real historical characters to life through meticulous research and fabulous prose!

Which was the last Christian Historical Novel you read, and what was your favorite thing about it?

I recently finished A Haven on Orchard Lane by Lawana Blackwell. I’ve loved her books since The Widow of Larkspur Inn and I’m so glad she’s writing again after a few years away from publishing. There were lines and scenes that literally made me sigh with contentment. While conflict and challenges find their way into the story, overall it’s primarily a tale of good triumphing over evil. Just as it should. Peace. Order. A satisfactory ending. Just what I long for after too much of the real world!

Sarah is giving away a copy of her book (Paperback – US only) and I’m giving away winner’s choice of ebook of any of the books mentioned above. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

DON’T FORGET TO GET HER FREE PREQUEL NOVELLA FOR THIS SERIES!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Beautiful Pretender – Melanie Dickerson

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Two fairy tale retellings for the price of one. 🙂 I’m excited to have Melanie and her new release here today!

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The Beautiful Pretender

After inheriting his title from his brother, the margrave has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise?

The Margrave of Thornbeck has to find a bride, fast. He invites ten noble born ladies who meet the king’s approval to be his guests at Thornbeck Castle for two weeks, a time to test these ladies and reveal their true character.

Avelina has only two instructions: keep her true identity a secret and make sure the margrave doesn’t select her as his bride. Since the latter seems unlikely, she concentrates on not getting caught. No one must know she is merely a maidservant, sent by the Earl of Plimmwald to stand in for his daughter, Dorothea.

Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences.

Melanie’s Website

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Questions about Melanie’s Story

What inspired your story?  

This story was inspired by the Princess and the Pea fairy tale and the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. Some have said it reminds them of the story of Esther, which is somewhat warranted, even though I never thought about it. And some have called it a Medieval version of “The Bachelor,” but I have never watched that show! I’m not much of a TV fan.

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

The hardest part for me is always the beginning, when I’m still getting a feel for the characters and deciding which directions to take the plot. And getting the hero’s characterization right was also difficult. He had to come across as very gruff, especially at the beginning, but not too unlikeable. He also had to change and gradually become kinder and gentler. I had to make him be angry with the heroine for longer than I really wanted to. I’m too much of a softie when I write these kinds of heroes and I have to reel myself in.

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Questions about Melanie’s Reading

What Christian Historical Novel did you reread last, and why did you reread it?

I don’t actually do much reading of fiction these days, for various reasons, mostly because I am writing three books a year and have so little time, but I did reread A Vision of Light by Judith Merkle Riley a year or so ago. It was comforting to read something I’d read before, something really different from what I write, but which also has a wonderful Medieval setting. I also just really love the heroine in that book. Rereading it was like visiting a friend.

If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take one Christian Historical Novel, which would you pick?

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

 

If your job was to sell one author’s historical fiction (besides your own) which author’s wares would you want to peddle?

I think I might have to say Siri Mitchell, just because I think her writing is so brilliant.

Melanie is giving away a copy of her book (Paperback – US only) and I’m giving away winner’s choice of ebook of any of the books mentioned above. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter Rafflecopter, tell me in a comment below: “I’m not entering the rafflecopter, but please throw me in the hat” so I can manually put you in there for a chance.**

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Melanie is also having a Once Upon a Kindle Giveaway where you can win a kindle, gift card, book, and Belle Doll.

Author Interview and Giveaway – His Prairie Sweetheart – Erica Vetsch

58 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – His Prairie Sweetheart – Erica Vetsch

I had fun being in a collection with Erica Vetsch and invited her to come share about her new release!

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His Prairie Sweetheart

After being jilted at the altar, Southern belle Savannah Cox seeks a fresh start out West and accepts a teaching position in Minnesota. But between her students’ lack of English, the rough surroundings and sheriff Elias Parker’s doubts and distrust, Savannah’s unprepared for both the job and the climate. However, she’s determined to prove she can handle anything her new town throws her way. 

Elias gives it a week—or less—before the pretty schoolteacher packs her dainty dresses and hightails it back home. But no matter how many mishaps he has to rescue her from, Savannah doesn’t give up. Yet the real test is to come—a brutal blizzard that could finally drive her away, taking his heart with her…

Erica’s Website

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Questions about Erica’s Story

What inspired your story?

My story was inspired by reading the accounts of the snowstorm of January 12th, 1888 commonly referred to as ‘The Children’s Blizzard.’ The storm hit in the Dakotas and western Minnesota at about the time that most schools were dismissing for the day. As a consequence, many children were caught in the blizzard on the way home. A story of one teacher who kept her students alive in the school inspired His Prairie Sweetheart.

What character in your book turned out to be your favorite?

This might seem strange, but the hero in this story has a collie named Captain that I really came to enjoy. He is friendly and canny, and he plays a role in my heroine’s biggest disaster in the book, as well as part of the rescue of her and the children during the storm.

What research did you have to look up to make your character’s professional decisions authentic?

I did quite a bit of research into the responsibilities and requirements of a frontier teacher. The list of rules and responsibilities was daunting! Everything from teaching multiple grades in multiple subjects to sweeping and mopping the floors and seeing that the fire was properly lit and fueled throughout the day. She had social requirements as well, visiting her students’ families, attending church, not being seen hanging about the ice cream parlors downtown, and maintaining a ladylike demeanor at all times.

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Questions about Erica’s Reading

What other Christian Historical Novels are similar to yours in setting or storyline?

I would have to hark back to an oldie but a goodie, When Calls the Heart by Janette Oke. Both of our stories feature ‘fish out of water’ teachers who go to the frontier and encounter the hardships of landing in a different culture and climate, as well as a dashing hero who is sure she isn’t cut out for the hard life of frontier teaching.

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If your job was to sell one author’s historical fiction (besides your own) which author’s wares would you want to peddle?

Mary Connealy’s, hands down. She is so funny and such a good writer! Her stories barrel along at breakneck speed with action, humor, and wit! Not to mention what a great person she is, too!

Erica is giving away a copy of her book (Paperback or Ebook – US only) and I’m giving away winner’s choice of ebook of either of the books mentioned above. (GET MARY’S NOW – IT’S FREE!) Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter Rafflecopter, tell me in a comment below: “I’m not entering the rafflecopter, but please throw me in the hat” so I can manually put you in there for a chance.**

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