Author Interview and Giveaway – The Gold in These Hills – Joanne Bischof

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Ghost towns hold a heart-breaking air of mystery. What kind of people once populated the community? Who were the last to live there? What loneliness did they suffer? Joanne brings us the story of a young mother whose husband disappears, leaving her to fend for herself in a threadbare mining town. Welcome to the Index, Joanne!

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The Gold in These Hills

One wild and mysterious ghost town. Two second-chance love stories. And the century-old legacy that binds them together. 

Upon arriving in Kenworthy, California, mail-order bride Juniper Cohen is met by the pounding of the gold mine, an untamable landscape, and her greatest surprise of all: the kind and loving man who awaits her. But when the mine proves empty of profit, and when Juniper’s husband, John, vanishes, Juniper is left to fend for herself and her young daughter in the dwindling boomtown that is now her home.

Juniper pens letters to her husband but fears she is waiting on a ghost. Perhaps worse, rumors abound claiming the man she loves could be an outlaw. Surviving in a ghost town requires trusting the kindness of a few remaining souls, including the one who can unlock the mystery of her husband’s disappearance—and Juniper’s survival depends not only upon these friends but also the strength of heart she must fight to maintain.

Present day. Trying to escape the heartache of his failed marriage, Johnny Sutherland throws himself into raising his children and restoring a hundred-year-old abandoned farmhouse in what was once known as Kenworthy, California, in the San Jacinto Mountains. While exploring its secrets he uncovers Juniper’s letters and is moved by the handwritten accounts that bear his name—and as a love story from the past touches his own world, Johnny might discover yet that hope and resilience go hand in hand.

Joanne’s Website

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Questions about Joanne’s Story

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Most definitely the real-life research! This was the first time that I got to explore the geography of a setting while writing the story and it’s all captured on video for readers to get a sense of Kenworthy and the heart behind the story.

Why did you choose the geographical location in which your book is set?

The Gold in These Hills is set about 20 minutes from my home town in California. Once I discovered that there used to be a gold mine and ghost town nearby, I quickly realized that it would be the perfect place for this story to reside. Not only is the real historical events shrouded in mystery, but because of that, the story is too.

Did you stumble upon anything in your research for this book that you thought was strange or surprising?

Yes! While researching the gold mining town of Kenworthy, California, I discovered that the reason why the boom town soon vanished, was because the mine held no gold—instead, prospectors had taken a worthless mine and salted it: loading gold dust into a shot gun and firing it off inside the mine. They found a wealthy businessman, Herold Kenworthy, who purchased the mine and eventually spent $50,000 to build the town and within five years, only made about $10. It’s a sad story for sure, and is what sparked The Gold in These Hills, as I suddenly longed to unravel the story behind all of that and dig into what motivated the characters to be a part of this historic event.

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Questions about Joanne’s Reading

Who is your favorite Christian Historical heroine?

The Viking, Gudrid from Heather Day Gilbert’s God’s Daughter. It’s one of my favorite Christian historical novels. It’s a beautiful and raw novel and Gudrid is a strong and sympathetic heroine. As it centers around the Viking culture, the story is slightly more intense than the typical Christian historical novel, and yet her story and world-view are complex, as is her faith journey with Christ. I admire the struggles she faces—both internally and externally.  

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

Definitely Yours is the Night by Amanda Dykes. She’s a stunning writer and dear friend, and with so many people have been raving about it lately, I know I’m missing out. I can’t wait to be able to settle in and start her beautiful story.

You can check out this cool Mercantile Giveaway on Joanne’s website, but first, enter the rafflecopter below for a copy of Joanne’s book!

Joanne is giving away a paperback, US entrants only. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – A Time to Weep – Tracy Higley

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Downton-esque settings, archaeology in 1920’s Egypt, and time travel to Ancient Rome? Yes, please! Tracy Higley is here to tell us about her new series, The Time Travel Journals of Sahara Aldridge. Welcome to the Index, Tracy!

 

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A Time to Weep

Sometimes the only way forward is back.

Sahara Aldridge, a young Egyptologist in 1922, is chasing down the trail of her parents through the unknown corridors of time.

But when all clues point to Ancient Rome as the next place to search, Sahara retreats into the safety of her archaeological work, cataloguing treasures from the newly-discovered tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

As the discovery of the intact tomb propels the world into a frenzy of “Tut-mania,” the ever-present Jack Moretti is there to help, but what is his agenda?

And it appears Tempus Vigilia isn’t going to leave her alone. The secret society has sent others, tracking her movements and asking too many questions.

Now it seems her family is in danger. Sahara must once again put her career on hold, to find what she has lost. But will Ancient Rome hold the answers, or only one more reason to grieve?

Tracy’s Website

Other books in this series:

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Questions about Tracy’s Story

What inspired this story?

I’ve been a Downton Abbey fan since the show premiered. When I learned that Highclere Castle, the real estate where the show was filmed, was actually the home of Lord Carnarvon, who funded the discovery of King Tut’s tomb, I thought what fun it would be, to set part of a story there on the “Downton Abbey set,” and part of it at the digsite in Egypt. Mix in a little time-travel, which I’ve been wanting to write more of for years, and this series was born!

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Since most of my other books have been strictly historical, with the occasional contemporary storyline, writing this book set partially in the ancient past, but also partially in the 1920s, was really fun for me. I’d never done much research into the 1920s, so researching the clothes, the music, the cars, and even the golden age of archaeology was really enjoyable for me!

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

This book is chock-full of historical characters!  Sahara works on the digsite with Howard Carter, who discovered King Tut’s tomb, and his patron, Lord Carnarvon, who lived at Highclere Castle in England. Then we have Sahara heading back in time to ancient Rome, where she meets up with a whole cast of historical characters, including the crazy Emperor Nero!

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Questions about Tracy’s Reading

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

I often see my novels likened to Francine Rivers’ historicals, which of course is extremely flattering!

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?

Tosca Lee, who writes beautifully enough to make me cry. My favorite of hers is Havah.

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

I’ll be reading Brennan McPherson’s Abram next – set aside for my upcoming vacation. Can’t wait. I’ve loved his other books.

Tracy is giving away an e-book copy. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Nature of Small Birds – Susie Finkbeiner

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With a sensitive touch, Susie Finkbeiner brings to our awareness a little-known historical event surrounding the Vietnam War: Operation Babylift. Susie uses multiple eras to paint the portrait as an American family struggles with the aftermath of a foreign war-time adoption. Welcome to the Index, Susie!

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The Nature of Small Birds

In 1975, three thousand children were airlifted out of Saigon to be adopted into Western homes. When Mindy, one of those children, announces her plans to return to Vietnam to find her birth mother, her loving adopted family is suddenly thrown back to the events surrounding her unconventional arrival in their lives.

Though her father supports Mindy’s desire to meet her family of origin, he struggles privately with an unsettling fear that he’ll lose the daughter he’s poured his heart into. Mindy’s mother undergoes the emotional rollercoaster inherent in the adoption of a child from a war-torn country, discovering the joy hidden amid the difficulties. And Mindy’s sister helps her sort through relics that whisper of the effect the trauma of war has had on their family–but also speak of the beauty of overcoming.

Told through three strong voices in three compelling timelines, The Nature of Small Birds is a hopeful story that explores the meaning of family far beyond genetic code.

Susie’s Website

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Questions about Susie’s Story

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.

It’s hard for me to pick favorite scenes, but one I particularly enjoyed was in chapter three. It’s set in 1988 and involves two teenaged sisters fighting over being late to school. I especially love this scene because it echoes near daily arguments I had with my own sister in high school. Plus, it involves lot of great 1980s references and slang that were just so fun to remember.

Why did you choose the year in which your book is set?

When I first started writing this particular story, I intended to keep it in 1975, the year the Americans evacuated Vietnam and the year of Operation Babylift. However, as I researched, I felt the need to tell this story across three different timelines. 1975, the year that the Matthews family adopted Minh. 1988, when Minh (now known by Mindy) is coming of age and figuring out who she is and her place in her family. 2013, when Mindy is in her forties and interested in seeking out her birth mother.

I learned as I researched that the story of adoption can’t just be told in the months and year following the first time the child and parents meet. It’s a story that spans a lifetime and I really wanted to capture that in this novel.

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

I cried many times as I researched for the writing of this novel. Of course, learning about the after effects of war is always heartbreaking. I think what made this deep dive into history particularly difficult was that I was researching the impacts of war on children.

Perhaps the saddest part of this research was reading about the crash of the very first airplane that was carrying orphans from Saigon to be adopted in the United States. 138 people died in that crash, most of them children. Many of the birth mothers who had recently placed their small children in orphanages mourned, not knowing if their babies were on that flight. Many never learned. Some were surprised when, decades later, the children they’d feared dead made efforts to reunite with them.

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Questions about Susie’s Reading

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

I recently read Shadows of the White City by the remarkable Jocelyn Green. I adored how vibrantly she painted the setting of 1893 Chicago and the World’s Fair. Chicago is a city I so dearly love and it was such fun to read a story set there, and one so well written!

What was the last Christian Historical Novel that made you cry?

The very last paragraph of Allison Pittman’s The Seamstress did me in. It was gorgeously written and even after a year, it still gets me teary eyed.

What was the last Christian Historical Novel whose characters stayed in your head days after you finished reading it?

 Valerie Fraser Luesse’s Under the Bayou Moon is peopled with characters that are so authentic, so endearing, that I couldn’t stop thinking about them even after I read the last page. That’s like magic, as far as I’m concerned.

Susie is giving away a paperback copy, USA addresses only. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Come Back to Me – Jody Hedlund

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Veteran medieval writer Jody Hedlund brings us a fascinating time travel novel with a marriage of convenience twist. Folks, if you’re looking for time travel fiction blended with logic and realism, here’s the novel for you. Welcome back to the Index, Jody!

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Come Back to Me

The ultimate cure that could heal any disease? Crazy.

That’s exactly what research scientist Marian Creighton has always believed about her father’s quest, even if it does stem from a desire to save her sister Ellen from the genetic disease that stole their mother from them. But when her father falls into a coma after drinking a vial of holy water believed to contain traces of residue from the Tree of Life, Marian must question all of her assumptions. He’s left behind tantalizing clues that suggest he’s crossed back in time. Insane. Until Marian tests his theories and finds herself in the Middle Ages during a dangerous peasant uprising.

William Durham, a valiant knight comes to Marian’s rescue and offers her protection . . . as his wife. The longer Marian stays in the past, the more she cares about William. Can she ever find her father and make it back to the present to heal her sister? And when the time comes to leave, will she want to?

Jody’s Website

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Questions about Jody’s Story

What inspired this story?

I’ve always loved reading time-crossing books, but in recent years realized how few there are to choose from. After devouring the few books I could find, I decided maybe I just needed to write one for myself. I happened to have a free block of time in my schedule between projects, and so I gave myself a fun treat and wrote one.

In developing the plot, I wanted to find a concept that gave off the feeling that time traveling was really possible. Since people in comas are sometimes known to have very realistic “dreams”, I decided that would be the “vehicle” for the time-crossing. After discovering that “visions” were also connected to holy water, I merged the concepts of coma and holy water. Hopefully readers will be left with the feeling that time crossing is possible!

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

Time travel is a large part of this story. Since time travel is largely science fiction, most of my ideas came straight from my own imagination! However, in trying to make the concepts believable, I did draw on many of the current physics concepts surrounding breaching time and space. In addition to general research on the popular theories, I read The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli as well as Seven Brief Lessons on Physics also by Rovelli. While I don’t delve too heavily into the scientific terminology and theories, I learned enough to flavor the series with realistic possibilities.

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

First of all, I enjoy reading other fiction set in that era, which helps to give me a flavor of the Middle Ages. One that I particularly enjoyed is Queen Hereafter, regarding Queen Margaret of Scotland.

I also have many medieval research books that I’ve collected over the years (since I also write Young Adult medieval fairy tales) including: The Middle Ages Unlocked, Daily Life in the Middle Ages, Knight: The Warrior and World of Chivalry, and many more.

Finally, I gleaned advice from a medieval expert living in England, who read through my manuscript and helped to correct my inaccuracies as well as gave me research tips and links.

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Questions about Jody’s Reading

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

I enjoyed Dreamspell by Tamara Leigh, which combines time travel and the Middle Ages like Come Back to Me does.

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

Sarah Sundin’s When Twilight Breaks and Kristy Cambron’s The Paris Dressmaker both sound good and have gorgeous covers (they’re both already released).

Jody is giving away a paperback, US only. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – In a Far-Off Land – Stephanie Landsem

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There’s something magnetic about a fresh retelling of a Biblical story. And you’ve never seen the story of The Prodigal like this before. Stephanie Landsem takes readers into the glitter and sparkle of 1930s film-making. Readers see Hollywood glam and heartache first-hand, through the eyes of Tinseltown’s newest darling, actress Minerva Sinclair. Welcome to the Index, Stephanie!

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In a Far-Off Land

A story about the price of fame, the truth sacrificed on its altar, and the love that brings a prodigal daughter home.

As the Great Depression hits the Midwest, Minerva Sinclaire runs away to Hollywood, determined to make it big and save the family farm. But beauty and moxie don’t pay the bills in Tinseltown, and she’s caught in a downward spiral of poverty, desperation, and compromise. Finally, she’s about to sign with a major studio and make up for it all. Instead, she wakes up next to a dead film star and is on the run for a murder she didn’t commit.

Only two unwilling men—Oscar, a Mexican gardener in danger of deportation, and Max, a too-handsome agent battling his own demons—can help Mina escape corrupt police on the take and the studio big shots trying to frame her. But even her quick thinking and grit can’t protect her from herself. Alone, penniless, and carrying a shameful secret, Mina faces the consequences of the heartbreaking choices that brought her to ruin . . . and just might bring her back to where she belongs.

Stephanie’s Website

 

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Questions about Stephanie’s Story

Did any of the characters in this book “surprise” you?

Yes! In my first draft of In A Far-Off Land, Mina had an unscrupulous agent named Max who was taking advantage of her and was going to get his come-uppance. I’d written a few scenes with him when I realized . . . I like this man. He was worming his way into my heart and not becoming the villain I’d originally planned. I tried again with a new scene. Max surprised me again by being a stand-up kind of guy. I wasn’t sure what to do with him at that point.

Did any of your characters “fight” with you until you succumbed and changed their personality or the story choice you were forcing them into?

I decided I needed to give Max a chance, so I sat down and wrote his backstory. I discovered in him a character that bridged the divide between the poverty of the Mexican-Americans who were struggling in 1930s Los Angeles and the over-the-top riches of the Hollywood elite. Max had experienced both extremes. He knew the love of family and longed to return to it and had witnessed first-hand the destructive power of fame and money. He wanted to save Mina from what he knew would be a dangerous life. He turned from my villain into my hero.

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Questions about Stephanie’s Reading

What was the last Christian Historical Novel that made you cry?

My last good book-cry was when I read Patti Callahan-Henry’s novel, Becoming Mrs. Lewis. I was surprised because I thought I knew Joy Davidman’s story and was ready for the tragic ending. But really, I wasn’t. It was so skillfully done, and so beautifully wrought with her spiritual journey and the amazing love that she had shared with Jack Lewis, that when the end came, I wasn’t ready for it and it broke my heart.

Which character in a Christian Historical Novel do you wish you could spend time with in the real world and why?

Again, that would be Joy Davidman. I’d love to sit in a comfy pub in Oxford with her (and C.S. Lewis if he wishes to join us) and talk about writing, faith, and marriage. Then we’d take a long ramble in the woods and talk some more. The Joy Davidman of Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a smart, real woman who has questioned God, sought answers to life’s most difficult questions, and found them in both her suffering and her joy.

Stephanie is giving away a paperback (Continental USA Only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – A Tapestry of Light – Kimberly Duffy

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In A Tapestry of Light, Kimberly Duffy weaves earthy realism and intrigue to bring us a fresh look at socially conflicted romance. Welcome to the index, Kimberly!

 

 

 

 

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A Tapestry of Light

Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie’s English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn’t forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.

 Kimberly’s Website

 

 

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Questions about Kimberly’s Story

What inspired this story?

A Tapestry of Light was inspired by a scrap of embroidered trim I saw at an Indian fabric exhibit at my local museum center. It was just gorgeous—pure white with a trailing ribbon of beetle wings that, even 150 years later, were vibrant and lustrous. As green as the day they’d been sewn. I never knew beetle wings had been used in fashion and something about it caught my fancy. People today would find some Victorian fashion sensibilities horrific—stuffed birds on hats, a dead loved one’s hair in a pin, and beetle wings on gowns—but then, no one thought anything about it. Incidentally, the beetles weren’t harvested until after they mated and died, so it was a pretty sustainable fashion trend.

Is there anything in this book that is inspired by/modeled after something in your own life or someone you know in real life?

The faith element of the story, which is a big part of the book and my heroine’s character arc, was based entirely on my own struggle with doubt and questions. Having grown up Christian, I wasn’t prepared for it and it wasn’t something anyone was discussing at the time. I really wanted to write a character whose faith isn’t perfect. Who faces hard things and asks hard questions, but perseveres and is a vessel for God’s faithfulness. Ottilie was also inspired by an Anglo-Indian women I met while in Bangalore decades ago. When I first met her, I didn’t know if she was a British woman wearing Indian clothing or an Indian woman with very British habits. Then I learned she was neither, but from a very distinct community that has roots in both cultures.

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

My favorite character is Thaddeus. He’s just such a little boy—all sweetness and rambunctious joy and uncomplicated emotion. I have four kids, ranging in ages from 5-16 so I think I’m pretty good at writing children. And I LOVE writing children.

Why did you choose the geographical location in which your book is set?

I chose Calcutta (Kolkata today) because it’s one of my favorite Indian cities. In the 19th century, when A Tapestry of Light is set, Calcutta was an interesting blend of European and Indian. The architecture, food, culture, art, society as a whole, kind of met and melded and blended. Yet there was a definite us vs. them mentality that caused all kinds of conflict and simmering tension. It was a bustling city, absolutely beautiful—you can see that today in the crumbling old bungalows and monuments, as well as the well-established gardens and parks—and contained a kind of European flare with French and Italian bakeries and restaurants, high-end dress makers, fancy hotels that catered to the wealthy—both British and Indian, and all the elegance you would expect of a highly cosmopolitan Victorian city.

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Questions about Kimberly’s Reading

Who is your favorite Christian Historical hero?

Marcus from Francine Rivers’ A Voice in the Wind. He’s so flawed. So taken by surprise by not only God’s love for him, but his love for Hadassah. He’s a protector, fierce when expected and gentle when necessary.

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? Laura Frantz. I just love everything she writes. Her books are so immersive, when I’m pulled out from one of her stories, it takes me a minute to place myself in 21st century Ohio again. My favorite books by her, so far, are A Moonbow Night and An Uncommon Woman. But I’m getting ready to read Tidewater Bride soon so that might make it into the list (and really, all of her books are wonderful.)

What was the last Christian Historical Novel that you read that made you think, “Man, I wish I’d written that”?

Havah by Tosca Lee. It’s one of my top ten favorite books of all time. It’s gorgeous and haunting and I have no idea how Tosca wrote Adam and Eve so believably with so little concrete information.

Kimberly is giving away either a print copy, USA only. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – My Dear Miss Dupre – Grace Hitchcock

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This month’s author never fails to bring sweet romance, vibrant characters and exciting adventures. With an elite courting contest, hidden motives, and dual identities…My Dear Miss Dupre is sure to follow suit. Welcome to the Index, Grace!

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My Dear Miss Dupre

Willow Dupré never thought she would have to marry, but with her father’s unexpected retirement from running the prosperous Dupré sugar refinery, she is forced into a different future. The shareholders are unwilling to allow a female to take over the company without a man at her side, so her parents devise a plan–find Willow a spokesman king in order for her to become queen of the business empire.

Willow is presented with thirty potential suitors from the families of New York society’s elite group called the Four Hundred. She has six months to court the group and is told to to eliminate men each month to narrow her beaus until she chooses one to marry, ending the competition with a wedding. Willow reluctantly agrees, knowing she must do what is best for the business. She doesn’t expect to find anything other than a proxy . . . until she meets a gentleman who captures her attention, and she must discover for herself if his motives are pure.

Grace’s Website

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Questions about Grace’s Story

Did any of the characters in this book “surprise” you?

Fritz Blythe was a complete astonishment in how he became one of the lead gentlemen! As Fritz is a budding flower dictionary author, I enjoyed researching for his vocation and in that research, his character bloomed and it made me emotional when his story had to take a turn . . . which I cannot reveal without spoilers!

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.

Chapter 15 has one of my favorite scenes that was one of the very last I added after the first round of major edits with my publisher. In this scene, I have the characters visit Bailey’s Beach for the day where Willow has a series of quite calamitous events happen to her that had me laughing while writing and hopefully will have the reader laughing as well.

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

The Vanderbilt ball, in all its lavishness, is one of the most famous balls in history. So, most of the outlandish costumes you see in those chapters, as well as the mention of quadrilles, are factual. In researching for the ball scenes, I was amazed at the grandeur and the amount spent for a single night of entertainment for New York’s elite families, $6 million in today’s money.

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Questions about Grace’s Reading

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

Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz. This is the third time I’ve read this beauty from Laura and it is, in a word, MAGICAL. Get ready to neglect everything when you open this romantic, action-packed tale from Laura Frantz! With wonderful characters and a dreamy romance, you will find yourself on the frontier with Morrow thanks to the author’s rich descriptions.

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?

Jen Turano! During a time where I needed to laugh, I discovered her works, but not only do her stories help the world fade away, there is always a spiritual thread that makes the reader pause and reflect.  A Most Peculiar Circumstance will have readers laughing one moment and on the edge of their seats the next with this delightful tale filled with humor, romance, and suspense.

Grace is giving away two paperbacks, US Only. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – A Dance in Donegal – Jennifer Deibel

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This month, Jennifer Deibel brings us her delightful debut novel, A Dance in Donegal. I’ve got to say, this cover makes me want to visit the setting. Windswept fields, a village and cliffs by the sea… Let’s find out more about the story and the author behind it. A warm welcome to the Index, Jennifer!

A Dance in Donegal

All of her life, Irish-American Moira Doherty has relished her mother’s descriptions of Ireland. When her mother dies unexpectedly in the summer of 1920, Moira decides to fulfill her mother’s wish that she become the teacher in Ballymann, her home village in Donegal, Ireland.

After an arduous voyage, Moira arrives to a new home and a new job in an ancient country. Though a few locals offer a warm welcome, others are distanced by superstition and suspicion. Rumors about Moira’s mother are unspoken in her presence but threaten to derail everything she’s journeyed to Ballymann to do. Moira must rely on the kindness of a handful of friends–and the strength of Sean, an unsettlingly handsome thatcher who keeps popping up unannounced–as she seeks to navigate a life she’d never dreamed of . . . but perhaps was meant to live.

Jennifer Deibel’s debut novel delights the senses, bringing to life the sights, sounds, smells, and language of a lush country and a colorful people. Historical romance fans will embrace her with open arms.

Jennifer’s Website 

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Questions about Jennifer’s Story

What inspired this story?

This story began as a way for me to process our own experiences after living in rural Donegal for two years early on in our marriage. Those years were some of the hardest, yet most incredible, years of our lives. And when we returned to the States, I found myself struggling to come to terms with all we’d been through. Then, one day, the idea for a story about a girl who moves to Donegal to teach came to me. What began as a personal cathartic exercise, turned in to the story of my heart—a love letter to a land and people to whom I will forever be knitted.

Moira’s experiences navigating the newness—and deep curiosity—of a rural Irish village is true to our own. And yet, she ends up connecting deeply with the people—and the land—much as we did. I wanted to share the incredible depth, culture, beauty, and charm of Ireland with the world. It’s my prayer that those who will never be able to visit her shores themselves, will feel as though they have after reading this book. And that they will see how God has moved and orchestrated their own lives in order to put them where they are for a reason—for such a time as this—and that they will be inspired to say yes to whatever He asks them to do next.

Is there anything in this book that is inspired by/modeled after something in your own life or someone you know in real life?

So very much of my own life and experiences have colored this story. Having lived in rural Irish villages for a total of almost 6 years, I know what it like to be the “blow-in.” So, much of what Moira experiences her first weeks in Ballymann mirror my own—particularly from our time in Donegal.

Many of the characters are an amalgamation of people I know and love in Ireland, but there is one who is directly inspired by a real person. The character Bríd is inspired by a lovely woman named Maire who runs the Teac Campbell Guest House in Bunbeg, Donegal. Maire is every bit as warm, inviting, and kind as Bríd—and just as good a cook! The people of Ireland are so warm, and see the world like no one else. I strove to bring that same unique view to the page.

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

I feel like I’m “supposed” to say it’s the hero or heroine, but as much as I adore Sean and Moira, I must admit that Colm has stolen my heart. He’s so full of joy, kindness, and a wisdom that runs far deeper than it would seem. He is one of the most well respected men in Ballymann, which is more than he is due based upon his station in life alone. As a lowly master-thatcher, his trade is respected, to be sure. But the people of Ballymann almost revere him. And I’ve come to do the same.

Colm loves and accepts people as they are. And yet, he loves them too much to let them remain as they are. His gentle wisdom and godly outlook help shape Moira, Sean, and countless others, and leaves a lasting legacy in the village. I pray that everyone has a Colm in his or her life.

 

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Questions about Jennifer’s Reading

What Christian Historical Novel taught you something about the craft of writing because it was so well done? Tell us a bit about what it taught you.

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green literally took my breath away. Her impeccable research, the way she drew me in to care about the characters—even the hard to love ones—awed me. But, perhaps what struck me most was the beautiful and seamless way she presented the hope and grace of the Gospel. Her presentation of what it means to belong to Christ is one of the most poignant, breath-taking scenes I’ve ever read. She weaves it all throughout the story, and then all of a sudden, the weight and glory of the grace of forgiveness and belonging hits you. I literally gasped out loud. This is one of my favorite books of all time, and it cemented Jocelyn Green as one of my must-read authors.

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?

This is almost like asking me to choose a favorite child. There are so very many Christian historical authors whose work I love, and whom I personally respect so very much. I’ve already sung the praises of Jocelyn Green, and she is one whose work I would absolutely love to sell—in fact, I served on a couple of her launch teams before I was published! But, I think I’m going to have to say Julie Klassen. Her regency romances are so well written, so swoon-worthy, rich and full of character, charm, and a good bit of drama. I’m hard-pressed to choose a favorite of hers, but I’d have to say either the Ivy Hill Series, or The Girl in the Gatehouse.

What was the last Christian Historical Novel that you read that made you think, “Man, I wish I’d written that”?

Ummmm….all of them? Ha! But seriously, the Scottish trilogy by Liz Curtis Higgs inspired me deeply. A Thorn in My Heart, Fair is the Rose, and Whence Came a Prince captivated my mind, heart and soul. I’ve read the whole series at least 5 times. I love how Higgs immerses us in sixteenth-century Scotland, and the heart-wrenching experiences of the characters gut me every time. I cry every time I read them. I also laugh and cheer every time. If I could attain even half the level of culture, charm, love, drama, and grace that she does, I’d be happy!

Jennifer is giving away a paperback copy, US entrants only. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Night Bird Calling – Cathy Gohlke

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Cathy Gohlke delivers stories that ask deep questions and touch the heart. Her newest, Night Bird Calling, offers a thought-provoking look into new beginnings and mending hearts. Welcome back to the Index, Cathy!

Night Bird Calling

When Lilliana Swope’s beloved mother dies, Lilliana gathers her last ounce of courage and flees her abusive husband for the home of her only living relative in the foothills of No Creek, North Carolina. Though Hyacinth Belvidere hasn’t seen Lilliana since she was five, she offers her cherished great-niece a safe harbor. Their joyful reunion inspires plans to revive Aunt Hyacinth’s estate and open a public library where everyone is welcome, no matter the color of their skin.

Slowly Lilliana finds revival and friendship in No Creek—with precocious eleven-year-old Celia Percy, with kindhearted Reverend Jesse Willard, and with Ruby Lynne Wishon, a young woman whose secrets could destroy both them and the town. When the plans for the library also incite the wrath of the Klan, the dangers of Lilliana’s past and present threaten to topple her before she’s learned to stand.

With war brewing for the nation and for her newfound community, Lilliana must overcome a hard truth voiced by her young friend Celia: Wishing comes easy. Change don’t.

Cathy’s Website

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Questions about Cathy’s Story

What inspired this story?

Years ago I wrote a number of short stories based on some quirky characters in a fictional North Carolina foothills town called No Creek. I loved those characters, but in order to create a novel I needed an outside character who could see both strengths and foibles in my town folk and still care about them, still want to become part of their community, and who could tie their stories together.

 For many years I’ve also wrestled with the idea of writing about the racial divide and abuse I saw growing up during years of the civil rights movement in the South, as well as domestic abuse and church oppression, things I experienced in my youth and young womanhood. Night Bird Calling is the marriage of all those experiences and stories.

Is there anything in this book that is inspired by/modeled after something in your own life or someone you know in real life?

Sometime after fleeing my abusive marriage as a young woman, as Lilliana does in Night Bird Calling, I bought an old trailer in a run down neighborhood—a far cry from Garden’s Gate—but the best I could afford at the time. Children in that neighborhood ran as wild and untended as weeds in a garden run amuck. I befriended many of those children—or they befriended me.  I bought a used bookcase and books at yard sales, then opened a lending library right there in my trailer. Children came for hours—sometimes to color pictures, read or be read to, enjoy glasses of milk and homemade bread with jam and just talk, asking questions about life and God and prison (where one of their fathers served time)—everything imaginable. Parents often took advantage of their community’s new “free” babysitter, but those were precious and healing days for the children and for me. Years later I remarried and bore my own precious children. When they were old enough I worked as a children’s librarian in a school. Those memories became the inspiration for Aunt Hyacinth’s lending library in Night Bird Calling

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.

I loved working on the Christmas Pageant scene at the end of the book, Chapter Seventy-Four. I’ve always loved small church Christmas pageants where anything—or everything—can go wrong and yet still in wondrous, miraculous ways the true meaning and message of Christmas shines through. Like eleven-year-old Celia, I tried directing a Christmas pageant at a young age, and like Celia, neither grownups nor children lined up according to my hopes or expectations and yet it was exciting, and became one of my most precious memories from childhood.

 

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Questions about Cathy’s Reading

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

Recently I read Melanie Dobson’s The Curator’s Daughter.  Melanie’s research and the world and characters she created from that research were intriguing, fascinating. Like all of Melanie’s books, I binge read it, unable to put it down. The Curator’s Daughter will release in 2021.

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

I’m eager to read Carrie Turansky’s No Journey Too Far. It will release in 2021 and is the conclusion of a story about the tragic separation of a family through the British Home Children and the search to reunite those loved ones that began in her novel, No Ocean Too Wide. The history on which these books are based really tugs at my heart—just the kind of story Carrie excels in writing.

Cathy is giving away a paperback copy of Night Bird Calling, US entrants only. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Giveaway – Depending on You – Melissa Jagears

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Thank you for visiting my labor of love. This Index was created when I needed to find all the books that were similar to my own when I was trying to sell my first book! I was also disappointed when I started looking, that since I no longer worked in a bookstore, I’d missed so many books that I would’ve loved to have read. I didn’t even know they were out there! Now that bookstores are even more scarce, this is my virtual bookshelf of all the new releases in my favorite genre, so I’ll never miss knowing that a book exists–and neither will you!

Finding myself without an author for this month’s giveaway slot, I decided to highlight my newest release!

The actual giveaway for this book is for newsletter subscribers only. If you’re not subscribed, consider doing so! If you do so, you can then enter the giveaway for a paperback copy of Depending on You as a subscriber: here. It’s a once a month email that simply contains a list of all the newly released books with covers and blurbs along with whatever book is our featured giveaway–along with occasional newsletter only giveaways. You’ll never miss an Inspirational Historical novel that way!

Sign up for the Index’s Newsletter.

My new release, Depending on You, is a shorter read for the busy Christmas season. At $2.99, treat yourself for Christmas to a story that contains a candlelight service, a live nativity, handmade ornaments, warm fires, snow, and the best thing of all–love!

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Depending on You

1884 – Wyoming

Can the joy and hope of Christmas restore their love before it’s too late?

Leah Whitsett’s life was ideal until the disastrous day she nearly died because of her husband’s deceit. When he returns home weeks before Christmas, she knows the best gift she can give him is forgiveness, but how can she relinquish her hard-won independence knowing he plans to turn their family’s life upside down again?

Bryant has always known his wife was a gift he’d never deserved, but how can he provide for her in a town that no longer wants anything to do with him? He longs to atone for the misery he’s put his loved ones through, but when he brings a family member home for the holidays, he and Leah may end up even further apart.

With emotions high and their marriage at stake, will the season bring the hope they need…or are their rifts too large to mend?

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Nothing Short of Wondrous – Regina Scott

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If you love reading about famous landmarks or the National Parks, Regina Scott’s series, the American Wonders Collection, will sweep you away to the grandeur and beauty of the wild outdoors. In the second title in the series, Nothing Short of Wondrous, Regina takes readers to Yellowstone, where they’ll enjoy a thrilling trek on the journey to love. Welcome to the Index, Regina!

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Nothing Short of Wondrous

It is 1886, and the government has given the US Cavalry control of Yellowstone. For widowed hotelier Kate Tremaine, the change is a welcome one. She knows every inch of her wilderness home like the back of her hand and wants to see it protected from poachers and vandals.

Refused a guide by Congress, Lieutenant William Prescott must enlist Kate’s aid to help him navigate the sprawling park and track down the troublemakers. But a secret from his past makes him wary of the tender feelings the capable and comely widow raises in him. When her 6-year-old son is kidnapped by a poacher who wants the boy to guide him to the place where the last of the Yellowstone bison congregate, Will and Kate must work together to rescue him, save the bison, and protect the park. In doing so, they may just find that two wounded hearts can share one powerful love when God is in control.

Regina’s Website

 

Other Books In the Series:

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Questions about Regina’s Story

What inspired your story?

The books in my American Wonders Collection are set in the history of our national parks. I started with the Grand Canyon last year in A Distance Too Grand. While I was researching for it, I stumbled across a mention that the U.S. Cavalry had been called out to protect Yellowstone National Park. Of course, I had to discover why! Nothing Short of Wondrous is set just after the Cavalry arrives and adventure ensues.

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

Besides innkeeper Kate Tremaine, my heroine, and Lieutenant William Prescott, my hero, I grew very fond of Kate’s young son Danny. There’s a boy about his age in my family, who asks millions of questions and moves at the speed of a hummingbird. Danny is all that, coupled with a curious nature and a loving heart. It’s no surprise he grows on the good lieutenant as much as he did on me.

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 scene is in Chapter 17. Will Prescott didn’t have much of an opportunity to play when he was a child, so he wants to see Danny enjoy himself, and he’s becoming fond of Danny’s mother, Kate, so he wants her to enjoy herself too. Will’s taught Danny the rudiments of baseball, but there aren’t enough people around to play a game. When members of the Army Corps of Engineers visit the inn Kate manages, Will arranges a baseball game. And when they still fall a few players short, Kate joins in. Between the inn’s guests calling plays and rooting for each side and the soldiers unsure how to deal with a lady at the plate, the scene never fails to bring a smile to my face. I hope readers feel the same.

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Questions about Regina’s Reading

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

Karen Witemeyer’s At Love’s Command, the first in her new Hanger’s Horsemen series. What can I say? I love strong heroines and noble heroes all wrapped up in a Texas setting.  

Check out the Goodreads giveaway for Nothing Short of Wondrous here.

Regina is giving away a paperback copy, US entrants only. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Almost a Bride – Jody Hedlund

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In The Bride Ships series, Jody Hedlund has woven rich description with deep, conflicting emotions, bringing to life a complex and unusual time in history. We’re all so excited to read the next bride’s story, because we know her journey to love will be full of adventure! Welcome to the Index, Jody!

Almost a Bride

Always close, but never a bride.

Longing to find true love, Kate Millington arrives in British Columbia on a bride ship. With countless men waiting to snag a bride, Kate has no trouble getting engaged. It’s staying engaged that’s the problem. After traveling to the remote mining town of Williamsville to marry her newest fiancé, she finds herself single again.

As the prosperous owner of a gold mine, Zeke Hart has everything he’s ever wanted except for a wife. At Kate’s arrival, he takes it upon himself to protect his childhood friend from the men clamoring to court her. The more he renews her friendship, the more he wants to win her for himself. But as much as Kate admires Zeke, she’s resolved not to marry someone who doesn’t share her faith.

When Zeke begins receiving anonymous threats, he unwittingly puts them both in grave danger. In the midst of peril, the past rises up to haunt them both, and Zeke realizes the fight for Kate’s affection may be his biggest challenge yet.

 

Jody’s Website

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Questions about Jody’s Story

What inspired this story?

During the course of my research, I came across information regarding bride ships to the Pacific Northwest. While I’d heard stories of bride ships leaving England and sailing to Australia, I’d never heard of efforts to send brides elsewhere. As I explored the concept further, I discovered that in the 1860s, several bride ships left England’s shores with the destination of Vancouver Island and British Columbia, which at that time were both separate colonies of England and not yet part of Canada.

The more I researched these ships and the women who took the voyages, I looked frantically for the answer to the question: What sort of desperation did these women face that would drive them to take part in one of the bride ships?

I was utterly horrified and fascinated by the idea that women would willingly board ships, leave everything they’d ever known behind, and sail to a strange land, all for the purpose of marrying complete strangers. I couldn’t help but ask myself what kind of woman would do such a thing and why? The series is my attempt to answer those questions.

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

In Almost a Bride, my hope is to show the perspective of one of the brides who came on the second bride ship that sailed to Victoria. This ship, called the Robert Lowe, left approximately four months after the Tynemouth (the bride ship highlighted in the first two books in the series).

While the women aboard the Robert Lowe were sponsored by the Columbia Emigration Society the same as the Tynemouth women, a distinct difference exists between the two groups. The group on the first ship came largely from the London area and was comprised of wealthy middle-class women as well as the poor plucked from orphanages and slums

The Robert Lowe women, however, were from the cotton manufacturing districts in Manchester, England. The calamity in the midlands was widespread, with tens of thousands of cotton-mill workers suffering from unemployment as a result of the cotton shortage brought about by the American Civil War. The women chosen to immigrate aboard the Robert Lowe were among the many who’d lost their jobs. In light of the bleak conditions in their homeland, the three dozen Manchester mill girls were happy to be offered the chance at a better life in the colonies where work and husbands awaited them.

Why did you choose the geographical location in which your book is set?

The English colony of British Columbia was overflowing with male settlers, primarily because of a gold rush that had occurred in the Canadian Rockies starting in 1859 and lasting for many years. As a result, miners and those hoping to profit from the gold rush, swelled into Vancouver Island and British Columbia, creating an influx of male settlers. A 1861 census showed that females only made up 11% of the population there. With so few women available, men who wanted wives had slim pickings.

With the men complaining about the lack of women, an Anglican missionary among the miners of British Columbia, Reverend Lundin Brown, finally was the one to write a letter to his sponsors in London, asking for Christian wives for the miners. As a result, the Columbia Mission Society formed an emigration committee and soon began making arrangements for the transport of reputable women who could come and marry the men and in so doing create families and bring stability to the wilderness towns.

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Questions about Jody’s Reading

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

I recently read Hidden Among the Stars by Melanie Dobson. I especially love how well Melanie intertwines the present story to the past.

What was the last Christian Historical Novel that you read that taught you something you didn’t know? What did you learn? 

I read We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels, and I learned a lot about racial issues in Michigan during the Civil Rights movement. Since I live in Michigan, it was particularly fascinating.

Jody is giving away either a paperback copy (USA Only) or an e-book (International entries welcome). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – A Life Once Dreamed – Rachel Fordham

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Raise your hand if you can’t wait to read the next Rachel Fordham book! With the classic combination of a schoolteacher heroine and doctor hero, this story is sure to be one for the keeper shelf. Welcome back to the Index, Rachel!

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A Life Once Dreamed

Six years ago, a shocking secret sent Agnes Pratt running in search of a new start. She found it in Penance, a rugged town of miners and lumberjacks in the Dakota Territory, where she became Miss Aggie, respected schoolteacher and confirmed old maid. But the past has a way of catching up with people.

When childhood friend and former sweetheart James Harris accepts a position as the town doctor, Aggie’s pleasantly predictable days suddenly become anything but. James wants to know why Agnes left behind the life they had dreamed of creating for themselves–but he is the one person who can never know.

In the shadows of the Black Hills, can a healing light be shed on the past? Or will the secret Agnes can’t seem to outrun destroy her chance at happiness?

Rachel’s Website

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Questions about Rachel’s Story

What inspired this story?

My mom saved a whole stack of papers from when I was in school. One of them was a list of questions I’d answered in Kindergarten. I listed Blossoms in the Dust as my favorite movie. I’m guessing I’d watched it with my mom and felt old and special by picking it. I decided to rewatch this old film that delved into the life of Edna Gladny, orphan rights and illegitimacy. That was the catalyst for writing this story. I’ve always felt bad for people who are labeled when they shouldn’t be and this was a prejudice that many people have forgotten.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

This was the first book I’d written where my characters knew each other before the first scene. I loved being able to start their relationship with chemistry rather than having to build up to it like I had in previous books.

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

A Life Once Dreamed has a lot of serious issues happening in it which I think adds to the quality of this story. In order to add comic relief the characters of Tommy (one of her students) and Minnie (one of her friends) show up and give everyone a good laugh. I enjoyed writing these two outspoken characters that say what they think without a filter!

Why did you choose the geographical location in which your book is set?

I created a fictional town in the Black Hills because I’d been to the Black Hills and could picture them in my mind. I also felt that it was far enough from the world Agnes left to be a stark contrast. I hope readers enjoy this beautiful setting as much as I enjoyed writing it.

What do you hope readers learn from this story?

I hope readers are entertained and that they happy sigh when the book is done (that’s always my hope when I write a love story). I also hope that readers will close the cover of this book and feel a renewed commitment to never judge others based on things they can’t control. Illegitimacy is not the tragic label today that it once was but there are plenty of other ways we box people in or limit them based on things out of their control. Let’s fight those injustices together!

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Questions about Rachel’s Reading

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

I reread Redeeming Love. It’d been such a long time and I wanted to remember how Francine Rivers pulled off tackling such difficult topics with so much grace.

What Christian Historical Novel did you last personally recommend to someone and why did you recommend that one to them? The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin. Not only is it a great novel (excellent actually), but the opening scene is extremely compelling, and I used it as an example for another author of how to start with a bang.

Rachel is giving away a paperback (US entrants only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Set The Stars Alight – Amanda Dykes

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Lost ships, a hidden tale, and mysterious ruins on the East Sussex Coast… Set the Stars Alight is a split-time story set in both present day and Regency England that will waft readers into the mists of another time. Welcome to the Index, Amanda!

Set the Stars Alight

Lucy Clairmont’s family treasured the magic of the past, and her childhood fascination with stories of the high seas led her to become a marine archaeologist. But when tragedy strikes, it’s Dashel, an American forensic astronomer, and his knowledge of the stars that may help her unearth the truth behind the puzzle she’s discovered in her family home.

Two hundred years earlier, the seeds of love are sown between a boy and a girl who spend their days playing in a secret sea cave, while the privileged young son of the estate looks on, wishing to join. As the children grow and war leads to unthinkable heartbreak, a story of love, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption unfolds, held secret by the passage of time.

As Lucy and Dash journey to a mysterious old estate on the East Sussex coast, their search leads them to a community of souls and a long-hidden tale that may hold the answers–and the healing–they so desperately seek.

Amanda’s Website

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Questions about Amanda’s Story

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

One underlying foundational element of this book is stories about true, amazing things. An underground city, a house hidden beneath a grand opera house staircase—all true! It was such a joy to get to collect those stories along the way.

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

Ooh, it’s a toss-up between Frederick and Dash. Each one carries his own wounds, each one finds redemption in different ways, each one embodies the theme of sacrifice and friendship.

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

I wish I had some of Clara’s panache in the kitchen! She can whip up a service of tea and scones whose warm fresh-baked scent wafts down the country lane…it makes me hungry just to think about! I’m not a whiz in the kitchen, so it’s fun for me to write a character who is. 🙂

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. I believe it is chapter 38—and it has to do with something called “Skylarking”, something sailors used to do aboard ships with the rigging. It was one of the first scenes I envisioned, and it’s one of the last scenes in the book—so it helped me dig to find out what the story behind the scene was. It still makes me a little giddy and smiley to think of it!

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Questions about Amanda’s Reading

What Christian Historical Novel taught you something about the craft of writing because it was so well done?

The character development and emotional pull of Joanne Bischof’s The Lady and the Lionheart will always be so inspiring to me!

Which character in a Christian Historical Novel do you wish you could spend time with in the real world and why?

I wish I could spend time with Silas and Eden from Laura Frantz’s Love’s Reckoning. They are just two characters, so tenderly wrought, that have always stuck with me. Laura is a master!

What was a Christian Historical Novel that you read that taught you something you didn’t know?

I loved learning about the White Rose society in Amanda Barratt’s newly-released The White Rose Resists, and I also loved learning about Christopher Wren’s architectural endeavors to rebuild churches in London following WWII. Both such fascinating and inspiring histories!

Amanda is giving away a paperback copy (U.S. Residents 18 or older). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – What Momma Left Behind – Cindy K. Sproles

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A young mountain woman left in a desperate situation, and a group of orphan children in need… Fans of Catherine Marshall’s Christy won’t want to miss this touching story from Cindy Sproles. Welcome to the Index, Cindy!

 

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What Momma Left Behind

Worie Dressar is 19 years old when influenza and dysentery ravage her Appalachian Mountain community in 1898, leaving behind a growing number of orphaned children with no way to care for themselves. Worie’s mother has been secretly feeding a number of these little ones on Sourwood Mountain. But when she dies suddenly, Worie is left to figure out why and how she was caring for them.

Plagued with two good-for-nothing brothers–one greedy and the other a drunkard–Worie fights to save her home and the orphaned children now in her begrudging care. Along the way, she will discover the beauty of unconditional love and the power of forgiveness as she cares for all of Momma’s children.

Cindy’s Website

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Questions about Cindy’s Story

What inspired this story?

This story was inspired by the rising number of orphaned children in this country. The number continues to grow with parents succumbing to opioid use. There are too many children in this country stuck in broken system that charges hundreds of thousands of dollars to adopt – forcing longing parents to seek adoption outside our country.

Is there anything in this book that is inspired by/modeled after something in your own life or someone you know in real life?

Yes, my own niece ( a neo-natal nurse at the time) ended up helping a young woman decide to not abort her baby when she was so ill. This girl’s options was to put the baby in nic unit or abort. She chose to put her in the nicu and after months of caring for this baby, the mother asked my niece to adopt the baby. She did and we have a beautiful child in our family who could have easily ended up in the foster system or aborted.

Did any of your characters “fight” with you until you succumbed and changed their personality or the story choice you were forcing them into?

I really liked the Pastor. I wanted him to end up marrying Worie but as the story progressed I realized his friendship was more valuable. There is always an attraction between the two, but neither marry and they remain devoted friends.

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Questions about Cindy’s Reading

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

Christy by Catherine Marshall. I re-read the book to remind me of the hardships of the mountain people. I wanted to relate more to the heart of the characters and their tenacity as well as their innovativeness and desire to survive.

What Christian Historical fiction character (that you didn’t write) has reminded you of yourself?

It would be Christy. I loved this character and she does remind me of myself.

Check out the Goodreads giveaway for What Momma Left Behind here.

Cindy is giving away a paperback copy (USA Only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Socialite – J’Nell Ciesielski

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Paris socialites, Nazi boyfriends, Resistance spies… The Socialite takes readers into a glamorous world of divided loyalties, danger, and love. J’Nell Ciesielski is here to tell us all about it and give us some insight into her own reading preferences as well. Welcome to the Index, J’Nell!

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The Socialite

 

Glamour, treachery, and espionage collide when an English socialite rushes to save her sister from the Nazis.

As the daughter of Sir Alfred Whitford, Kat has a certain set of responsibilities. But chasing her wayward sister, Ellie, to Nazi-occupied Paris was never supposed to be one of them. Now accustomed to the luxurious lifestyle that her Nazi boyfriend provides, Ellie has no intention of going back to the shackled life their parents dictate for them—but Kat will stop at nothing to bring her sister home.

Arrested for simply trying to defend himself against a drunken bully, Barrett Anderson is given the option of going to jail or serving out his sentence by training Resistance fighters in Paris. A bar owner serves as the perfect disguise to entertain Nazis at night while training fighters right below their jackboots during the day. Being assigned to watch over two English debutantes is the last thing he needs, but a payout from their father is too tempting to resist. Can Barrett and Kat trust each other long enough to survive, or will their hearts prove more traitorous than the dangers waiting around the corner?

J’Nell’s Website

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Questions about J’Nell’s Story

What inspired this story?

One day I was browsing something super important and stumbled across a black and white picture of six beautiful girls. The Mitford sisters. Six gorgeous daughters born into an aristocratic English family, each girl with a different passion: Diana the fascist, Jessica the communist, Unity the Hitler lover, Nancy the novelist, Deborah the duchess, and Pamela the poultry connoisseur. Whoa. How could such different personalities belong in the same family? What would you do if your sister got moon-eyed over Hitler?? Bam. An idea was born.

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.

I really loved working with the scenes set in Bavaria. For a writer it was such a challenge to put myself and my characters into the town Berchtesgaden where only Nazis were allowed to live. So much tension all around and between the characters, especially when they’re invited to have dinner with Hitler.

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

Any time you study history there are going to be equal parts amazing stories and sad realizations. During WWII, ordinary people rose up to do incredibly heroic deeds, but so many innocents suffered at the hands of evil. Anyone deemed undesirable were packed off like animals to concentration camps where they were murdered or worked to death. The sheer inhumanity of it is beyond belief.

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Questions about J’Nell’s Reading

 

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

I adore Kristy Cambron and Kate Breslin. They write in similar eras with stories set around both world wars, spies, adventure, and romance, with a similar voice of storytelling as me.

What Christian Historical Novel taught you something about the craft of writing because it was so well done? Tell us a bit about what it taught you.

I’m going old school, but Gilbert Morris was my first teacher when it came to writing, to storytelling really. He taught me what imagery can do and how it can make readers feel. He taught me the delicate dance of burgeoning romance between men and women in the middle of a ballroom surrounded by crowds of people yet only seeing each other. I learned about the importance of point of view, tension, black moments, and final payoffs. All important tools for writers.

J’Nell is giving away an e-book copy of The Socialite. International entrants welcome. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Merchant’s Yield – Lorri Dudley

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Ready for a trip to the Caribbean Islands? Today, Lorri Dudley brings us an insider look into The Merchant’s Yield, book two in her Leeward Island series, and answers some questions about her own reading. Welcome to the Index, Lorri! 

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The Merchant’s Yield

 

It was a marriage of inconvenience, but life has a wicked sense of humor.

Charlotte Amelia Etheridge has cowered to her mother’s sharp tongue and endless demands for the last time. In a fleeting moment of rebellion, she recklessly asks a foreigner from the Leeward Islands for a dance. But her one courageous act lands her in a compromising position. Forced to wed a stranger, Lottie leaves the only home she’s ever known to reside on the isle of St. Kitts.

Nathaniel Winthrop’s troubles are mounting, and the rumors of him being cursed are spreading. Due to the dwindling sugar crop, he risks everything to start his own shipping company. The last thing he needs is a wife, especially one with a weak constitution. Yellow fever has already claimed the lives of his mother and siblings. He must guard his heart against falling in love with this gentle beauty, knowing island life will be a death sentence.

No longer under her mother’s scrutiny, the newfound freedom of the island rejuvenates Lottie’s spirit. If her days on this earth are limited, then it’s time she lives life to the full. Now it’s up to her to prove that even though Nathan was coerced into marrying her, she’s the one he can’t live without.

Lorri’s Website

Other books in this series:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Questions about Lorri’s Story

Did any of the characters in this book “surprise” you?

I can’t say too much without giving anything away, but the villains in The Merchant’s Yield didn’t start as the villains. I had plans for those characters to be the voice of wisdom and encouragement. I remember sitting at my computer, typing when the characters took on a life of their own. I stared at my screen and even said out loud, “I can’t believe they just did that.”

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

Towards the end of the story, my heroine encounters the famous privateer Jean Lafitte. Most historians would consider Lafitte to have been a pirate, but it’s frequently documented that Jean Lafitte was offended by the term and preferred privateer or corsair. As soon as I read about Lafitte’s brash and quirky behavior and the common belief that he attended the naval academy in St. Kitts, I knew my hero needed to have an association with him. I couldn’t help but laugh when I read Governor Claiborne of Louisiana put out a $500 bounty for the capture of Jean Lafitte for illegal smuggling. Jean casually strolled down the main road, stopping to read each poster. The following day new proclamations replaced the old declaring a grander reward of $1,000 for the capture of Gov. Claiborne.

What do you hope readers learn from this story?

I hope readers will realize that God is bigger than our fears and any hurtful words meant to keep us from our purpose. Back a year ago, when the plot for The Merchant’s Yield was just beginning to form in my mind, I never would have imagined the entire world would be undergoing a pandemic, and fear would be running rampant. I hope people can be encouraged by how Lottie overcame her fear of sickness and death, and how she realized life is meant to be lived. Life shrinks or expands according to our courage. Fear keeps our world small, but God has bigger plans if we step out in faith.

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Questions about Lorri’s Reading

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

Lisa T. Bergren has written novels taking place in Nevis (the sister island of St. Kitts). Her Sugar Baron’s Daughters series takes place about 40 years earlier during the Georgian Era.

Who is your favorite Christian Historical heroine?

I love heroines who show fortitude. Liberty Caldwell from Freedom’s Ring, written by Heidi Chiavaroli, is caught in a time when the colonists are rising up against British rule. She must survive as a lone woman torn between the patriotic loyalties of her family once held and the kindness of a British soldier who holds her heart. The tough yet strong decisions she must make will sometimes break your heart, and other times have you cheering.

Lorri is giving away either a paperback or an e-book. International entries welcome! Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Secrets of My Heart – Tracie Peterson

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Tracie Peterson opens an exciting new series set in the beautiful Willamette Valley with her newest release, Secrets of My Heart. Get a peek into the story behind the story and Tracie’s own favorite reads in the interview below. Welcome to the Index, Tracie!

Secrets of My Heart

Nancy Pritchard finds herself a widow with a world of problems when her deceased husband’s schemes start to come to light. As she searches through the pieces of her loveless marriage, Nancy realizes there is a lot that she didn’t know about this man.

Seth Carpenter is a childhood friend of Nancy’s who has recently returned to Portland. He’s delighted to see her again, and as a lawyer, he is able to help her sort through the legal aspects of her husband’s death. But there’s more to him than meets the eye, and his job will take him into a darker side of Nancy’s life–a side she didn’t even know existed. As they search for the truth behind her husband’s death, their attraction to each other creates complications, and the threat to Nancy increases. Can Seth be honest with her about who he really is and why he’s come to Portland? And can Nancy bear another betrayal?

Tracie’s Website

Other books in this series:

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Questions about Tracie’s Story

What inspired this story?

I was at a museum in Oregon City and came across a lot of interesting information about the corruption and problems between the white settlers and native people. I learned that many racist laws – such as it being illegal for blacks to live in Oregon—weren’t completely wiped off the books until the 21st century. As I dug in I found so many fascinating tidbits of history that I knew there was a story I wanted to tell.

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

It’s hard to read and see how ugly people were in regard to folks with a different color of skin or culture than their own. The attitude of whites in this time period was that blacks and native peoples were too simple to be able to learn—too stupid to be able to function as equals—too bias to change their ways, when all of those things could be said of the whites pointing their fingers. The forced changes put upon the Native Americans that robbed them of their language, culture and heritage was shameful, and yet at the same time some people instigating those changes did have the Native American’s best interests at heart. It was definitely a difficult history.

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Questions about Tracie’s Reading

What Christian Historical Novel taught you something about the craft of writing because it was so well done? Tell us a bit about what it taught you.

Bodie Thoene’s the Zion Covenant and Zion Chronicles really opened my eyes to blending accurate historical detail and storytelling. I loved her sub-plotting and characters and I believe those two series really gave birth to my desire to write Christian historical series fiction.

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

The last historical I read was Kimberley Woodhouse’s Express Bride. I very much enjoyed the development of her characters and spiritual arc. Lately I’ve been reading a few contemporaries, namely the Sensible Shoes series by Sharon Garlough Brown.

What’s your favorite Christian Historical novella or short story?

Calvin Miller wrote a series of novellas and my favorite one was titled Snow.

Be sure to keep an eye out for Tracie’s upcoming giveaways by checking her Facebook Page.

Today, Tracie is giving away three hardcover copies of Secrets of My Heart (USA Only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Tea Chest – Heidi Chiavaroli

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Timeless. Gripping. Masterful. Passionate. Empowering. These are just a few descriptors I’ve seen circulating about The Tea Chest. Heidi Chiavaroli is here to give us an insider on how this story came into being, as well as share some of her favorite reads. Welcome back to the Index, Heidi!

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The Tea Chest

Boston, 1773
Emma Malcolm’s father is staunchly loyal to the crown, but Emma’s heart belongs to Noah Winslow, a printer’s assistant and a Patriot. Her father has promised her hand to Samuel Clarke, forcing her to give up Noah and the friends who are like family to her—as well as the beliefs she has come to embrace.

After Emma is drawn into the treasonous Boston Tea Party, Samuel blackmails her with evidence condemning each participant, including Noah. Emma realizes she must do whatever it takes to protect those she loves, even if it means giving up the life she desires and marrying Samuel.

Present Day
Lieutenant Hayley Ashworth is determined to be the first woman inducted into the elite Navy SEALs. But before her dream can be realized, she must return to Boston in order to put the abuse and neglect of her childhood behind her. When an unexpected encounter with the man she once loved leads to the discovery of a tea chest and the document hidden within, she wonders if perhaps true strength and freedom are buried deeper than she first realized.

Two women, separated by centuries, must find the strength to fight for love and freedom. . . and discover a heritage of courage and faith.

Heidi’s Website

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Questions about Heidi’s Story

What inspired your story?

Since I knew I wanted to write about the events of the Boston Tea Party, I dove into researching everything I could about the circumstances surrounding it. My historical heroine, Emma Malcolm, was birthed when I read an account of the brutal tarring and feathering of customs official John Malcolm. This servant of the crown was quite a character in his own right—very outspoken and stubborn, with no patience for the antics of the Patriots. And yet I found myself feeling compassion for him. He was treated cruelly and inhumanely by those we find ourselves lauding as heroes today.

I imagined what it’d be like if he had a daughter—one who sympathized with the Sons of Liberty . . . one who sympathized with the very political side her father was intent on squelching. What if his daughter befriended those plotting to dump the tea? What if she aided them? What if she was even in love with one of them?

Once I had the historical story line down, I thought it might be fun to explore a contemporary woman who also longs to fight for her country and prove herself the best way she knows how. In my research about women in the military I learned that in July 2017, it was announced that for the first time, a woman would enter the training pipeline to become a Navy SEAL. I imagined what this unidentified woman had gone through and what propelled her to enter such rigorous training. I decided to explore her story in fiction.

Emma and Hayley, my contemporary heroine, both long to serve their country despite broken families. They both long to prove themselves and seek a greater worth and identity.

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

There’s a scene with Emma at the end that I fought tears to write. She had become dear to me and I didn’t exactly look forward to what I was about to put her through. But I better not say any more, or I might spoil things!

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

I have a soft spot in my heart for my historical hero, Noah Winslow. He has some real struggles, but in the end I admire him for how he deals with them.

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Questions about Heidi’s Reading

What was the last Christian Historical Novel that surprised you with a plot twist you didn’t see coming?

The Seamstress by Allison Pittman. Oh, my, what a masterpiece. That plot twist at the end completely wrecked me, but the story was all the better for it.

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

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartells. This was a seamless telling of three different timelines, which made such a beautiful (and heartbreaking) impact on the reader. So well done.

Heidi is giving away a paperback copy of The Tea Chest (USA Only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – An Uncommon Woman – Laura Frantz

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Uncommon danger calls for heroes and heroines to step up with uncommon courage, and Laura Frantz’s newest novel delivers both. Laura is visiting today to answer questions about her work and some of her favorite fiction reads. Welcome, Laura!

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An Uncommon Woman

Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa’s long-lost friend, Keturah, a redeemed Indian captive like himself.

Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when she is taken captive by the tribe Clay left, his hand–and heart–are forced, leading to one very private and one very public reckoning.

Laura’s WebsiteLaura Frantz Author Photo (003)

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Questions about Laura’s Story

What inspired this story?

Reading Indian captivity narratives over the centuries, particularly the women. Mary Ingles, Jemima Boone, and other female captives are truly remarkable and reveal much about our history and the frontier American spirit.

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

Using the Lenape language or any tribal language is always a challenge. Also, incorporating these languages in a respectful way that today’s reader can understand is challenging. Even a few words enriches the story and adds realism.

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

Keturah Braam, the Dutch Indian captive and childhood friend of heroine Tessa Swan. So much to admire in this character who not only survived but thrived along the thorny path life took her.

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Questions about Laura’s Reading

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

I recently re-read Siri Mitchell’s Love’s Pursuit because it is beautifully written and defies the usual happily-ever-after ending. A brilliant book with memorable characters and a remarkable spiritual message. Plus, the cover is one of my favorites ten years later.

themusiciansquest

Which character in a Christian Historical Novel do you wish you could spend time with in the real world and why?

Robert Falconer, one of George MacDonald’s fictitious heroes. He is an incredible model of Christ in action on earth in bodily form, being the hands and feet of Jesus. MacDonald’s revised novels by Michael Phillips and Bethany House are my favorite reads.

Laura is giving away a paperback copy of An Uncommon Woman, US entrants only. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Rebel Bride – Shannon McNear

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We’ve all been looking forward to the next installment in the Daughters of the Mayflower Series. Today Shannon McNear is on the Index answering questions about her book The Rebel Bride and her own favorite reads. Welcome to the Index, Shannon!

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The Rebel Bride

During the clash between Union and Confederacy, quiet Tennessean Pearl MacFarlane is compelled to nurse both Rebel and Yankee wounded who seek refuge at her family’s farm. She is determined to remain unmoved by the Yankee cause—until she faces the silent struggle of Union soldier Joshua Wheeler, a recent amputee. The MacFarlane family fits no stereotype Joshua believed in; still he is desperate to regain his footing—as a soldier, as a man, as a Christian—in the aftermath of his debilitating injury. He will use his time behind enemy lines to gather useful intelligence for the Union—if the courageous Rebel woman will stay out of the line of danger.

Shannon’s Website

McNearPhoto

Other books in this series:

 mayflowerbridepiratebridethecapturedbridethepatriotbridecumberlandbridethelibertybridealamobridegoldenbrideexpressbride

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Questions about Shannon’s Story

Is there anything in this book that is inspired by/modeled after something in your own life or someone you know in real life

Pearl’s father’s health issues and her struggle to adapt and care for him was inspired by my own mother’s medical journey. She had advanced diabetes, had nearly every diabetic complication possible including being on dialysis, and suffered damage from several mini-strokes and a later heart attack. She didn’t ever not know who family was, but her perception of time was very skewed and hard to deal with. Her faith, though, was always “there” and we had no doubt that when she passed, she went immediately to be with Jesus.

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

I love Portius. He was one of those who just came out of nowhere and almost takes over the story.

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

Oh yes! For one, the premise of having Union POW’s quartered in civilian homes was a little thin—most were sent directly to Confederate prisons, regardless of condition. Also, I hadn’t fully understood the terms of parole, or how prisoner exchange worked (and though official exchanges were discontinued by that time, groups of wounded prisoners were exchanged on both sides after Chickamauga), or—and this was the biggest—that the Emancipation Proclamation really had no effect in Tennessee. It was interesting, though, to learn later that Tennessee governor Andrew Johnson freed his own slaves in October 1863, and effectively ended slavery in the entire state at that time. Also, the real-life timeline of the battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga were tricky to work with. Many times I had to tweak this or that in the storyline to fit with the actual historical events.

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 Questions about Shannon’s Reading

avoiceinthewind

What Christian Historical Novel taught you something about the craft of writing because it was so well done? Tell us a bit about what it taught you.

Francine Rivers’s Mark of the Lion trilogy will always stand as one of my favorites. Be real to the time—and be real to your faith—regardless of the ugly or uncomfortable you might uncover or have to portray. And for anyone who has heard Francine speak—it’s part of the process to let your own spiritual journey shape the story, and be shaped in turn. Every story she’s written, I believe, has come from some struggle in her own faith walk. 

countedwiththestars

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

This doubles as an answer for another question, what’s the last one I binge read? 🙂 But, Connilyn Cossette’s Counted with the Stars. I read one of hers a couple of years ago and LOVED it, and in addition to her recent Christy award (Yay!! Well deserved!!!), my 17-yo daughter has been discovering her work and coming to me to discuss it, so I decided to go back and catch up on the ones I’ve missed. I love how she makes the era come alive with so much detail. Her characters are very real. And God used her portrayal of Moses (Mosheh) to encourage me in a way I didn’t know I still needed … and then that ending … wow. :-O So good. SO, so good. Anyway—I set aside almost everything else on a Sunday afternoon (including a nap, LOL) to read this one!

kingsmercy

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

Lori Benton’s The King’s Mercy. I’ve had it for a LONG time but was saving it until my last deadline was past. Hers are so deep and rich, and I always hit a stretch where I can’t bear to stop reading, but I’m making myself savor it a bit at a time. At least for now!

Shannon is giving away either a paperback (USA Only) or an ebook (International Entries welcome). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – A Pursuit of Home – Kristi Ann Hunter

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You’ve been waiting for Jess and Derek’s story, and here it is! Full of secrets and intrigue, it’s sure to delight lovers of history and Kristi Ann Hunter’s signature wit. Welcome, Kristi, to the Index!

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A Pursuit of Home

In early 1800s England, Jess Beauchene has spent most of her life in hiding and always on the move in an effort to leave her past far behind her. But when she learns the family she thought had died just might be alive and in danger, she knows her secrets can only stay buried for so long.

Derek Thornbury loves the past, which has led him to become an expert in history and artifacts. He knows Jess has never liked him, but when she requests his help deciphering the clues laid out in an old family diary, he can’t resist the urge to solve the puzzle.

As Jess and Derek race to find the hidden artifact before her family’s enemies, they learn as much about each other as they do about the past. But can their search to uncover the truth and set history right lead to a future together?

Kristi’s Website

Hunter_Headshot

Other books in this series:

la la landadefenseofhonorreturnofdevotion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Questions about Kristi’s Story

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

There is a great deal of art in this book. I have never been particularly enamored with paintings and sculptures, but now I suddenly had a character that lived and breathed visual art and a story that revolved around such items. Researching art history and learning how to find the grandeur in something I had never fully appreciated before was an interesting and growing experience, but it was also difficult.

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

When this story was nothing but a vague ember – really no more than the notion that a side character from a previous novel really deserved a story of her own – I stumbled across a fascinating fact that led me down the research rabbit hole and really inspired the entire backstory for my heroine. The Holy Roman Empire didn’t entirely dissolve until 1806. 1806! That is a very long time after I’d been taught that the Roman Empire had “fallen”. Following the path of that long lasting empire revealed other interesting bits of European history that I pulled together into a fictional country that birthed my plucky heroine and the issue that forces her to get the help of the hero.

What do you hope readers learn from this story?

If readers walk away from this book with the knowledge that their past does not define their future, I will be happy. Both of these characters are living confined by past events, though in different ways. In order for them to find a way to move forward together they have to break free of the idea that those pasts have made their futures unchangeable. The path before us is determined one step at a time and we get to choose that next step.

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Questions about Kristi’s Reading

towinherheart What Christian Historical Novel taught you something about the craft of writing because it was so well done? Tell us a bit about what it taught you.

When I was beginning this writing journey and still trying to determine what type of author I wanted to be, another writer recommended I read Karen Witemeyer’s To Win Her Heart. What struck me so much about this recommendation is that the reader wasn’t a Christian, didn’t attend church, had no religious affiliations at all, but she’d read this book three times. When I read it, I was struck by how well the story of faith was woven into the story of two relatable, wonderful characters. At that moment, I knew what I wanted my writing to be.

amostinconvenientmarriage 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?

Regina Jennings! I simply love everything she writes. There’s always this wonderful blend of fun and seriousness against the backdrop of interesting history. Picking a favorite is so hard! I have recommended her Sixty Acres and a Bride a lot because I love retellings of Ruth, but I think my favorite of hers is A Most Inconvenient Marriage because it is such a great example of the blendings she’s capable of writing. Of course, then there’s the camels in her Fort Reno novella, Bound and Determined, so… yeah. Picking a favorite is difficult.

Kristy is giving away either a paperback (USA Only) or an ebook (Internationals Entry welcome). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Hope’s Highest Mountain – Misty Beller

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Are you ready for a new series from Misty Beller? Welcome, Misty, to the Index!

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Hope’s Highest Mountain

Ingrid Chastain readily agreed to accompany her father to deliver vaccines to a mining town in the Montana Territory. She never could have anticipated a terrible accident would leave her alone and badly injured in the wilderness. When rescue comes in the form of a mysterious mountain man who tends her injuries, she’s hesitant to put her trust in this quiet man who seems to have his own wounds.

Micah Bradley left his work as a doctor after unintentionally bringing home the smallpox disease that killed his wife and daughter. But his self-imposed solitude in the wilds of Montana is broken when he finds Ingrid in desperate need of medical attention, and he’s forced to face his regret and call on his doctoring skills once again.

Micah can’t help but admire Ingrid’s tenacious determination despite the severity of her injuries, until he learns the crate she brought contains smallpox vaccines to help quell a nearby outbreak. With Ingrid dead set on trekking through the mountains to deliver the medicine–with or without his help–he has no choice but to accompany her. As they set off through the treacherous, snow-covered Rocky Mountains against all odds, the journey ahead will change their lives more than they could have known.  

Misty’s Website

Misty M. Beller photo

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Questions about Misty’s Story

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

I really became attached to all four of the characters we see the most in Hope’s Highest Mountain, but I think my favorite is Micah, the hero. First of all, who doesn’t love a strong mountain man? 😊 But Micah was deeply wounded from the loss of his wife and daughter, and I could feel his pain as I started writing the story. I grieved with him for what would never be, especially as he wrote the letters to his daughter. Of course, that it all the more important that he get a happy ending!

What do you hope readers learn from this story?

The theme of hope was important to me as I wrote this story. As Hope’s Highest Mountain starts, Ingrid and Micah were both in the depths of hard times in their lives. Micah’s was a self-imposed penance as he grieved the loss of his wife and daughter and the part he played in their deaths. For Ingrid, she’d just lost her father in a tragic wagon accident, and had no idea what her life should look like moving forward. Through the story, both of them realized that though life would be different in the future, there was hope that the new life God had planned for them could be even better. They never would have found the better, though, if they hadn’t gone through the hard times. 😊

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Questions about Misty’s Reading

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What was the last Christian Historical Novel whose characters stayed in your head days after you finished reading it?

The Wood’s Edge and Flight of Arrows by Lori Benton. These books tell a connected, continuous story, and such a gripping story they tell! It’s been a couple of months since I listened to them on audiobook, and I still find myself longing for more of the characters. I’m planning to listen to them again soon, maybe even after I finish the series I’m listening to now. Lori does a great job of taking us into the lives and minds of both the colonial frontier settlers, and also the Indians who struggled to understand the strange ways and wars of the white men.

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What was the last Christian Historical Novel that surprised you with a plot twist you didn’t see coming?

The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden. Her stories are always so intriguing! I don’t know how she comes up with such unique occupations and settings and storylines, but I’m always fascinated as I read each of her books.

Misty is giving away either a signed paperback (USA Only) or an ebook (Internationals Entry welcome). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview & Giveaway – Finding Lady Enderly – Joanna Davidson Politano

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I’ve seen some great reviews go by in my social media over this book, doesn’t the cover look wonderfully mysterious? Welcome Joanna to the Index!

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Finding Lady Enderly

Raina Bretton is a rag woman in London’s east end when a handsome stranger appears in a dank alley and offers her a glittering smile and a chance for adventure. Rothburne Abbey has a unique position for her, one that will take her away from her hardscrabble life and give her a chance to be a lady. Things she could only dream of might be coming true. But some dreams turn out to be nightmares.

Though Raina has traded squalor for silk and satin, something about the abbey is deeply unsettling. As she wrestles with her true identity, the ruin, decay, and secrets she finds at the heart of the old mansion tear at her confidence and threaten to reveal her for who she really is. Only one man stands between her and the danger that lurks within–and only if he decides to keep her biggest secret hidden.

Joanna’s Website

Joanna Davidson Politano

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Questions about Joanna’s Story

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Finding Lady Enderly is just such a unique plot for me to work on, and I loved the surprises that came even when I was writing it. The big question of the book is, where’s Lady Enderly? What’s happened to her? And that truth changed many, many times in the book—which was incredibly fun for me to keep up with! The dynamic between the hero and heroine was also fabulously different than the typical tropes. They must pretend not to know one another, which makes it challenging to keep them engaging each other on the page—the resulting relationship dynamic was absolutely my favorite romance element of any book I’ve written. It was just a blast to write these two and their love story.

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

Definitely the hero! The heroine has lots of pluck and street smarts, with just a huge heart, but that Sullivan McKenna blew me away. Sully, as he’s called, is a spirited Irish/English fiddle-playing sailor with a big, joyful personality and a deep, deep love for the heroine.

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

There are some pivotal moments of surprise that were absolutely delicious to write, but the scene that catches my heart through every single edit is in chapter 16, and it’s a moment of truth for the heroine and her hero. They’ve spent the entire book having to communicate in secret (and often romantic) ways, but in this scene they are actually allowed a few private moments to speak face to face. That’s when deep things are dealt with and the authentic love between them is almost palpable. I loved writing that scene so much and I’d never tire of going back to tweak it!

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Questions about Joanna’s Reading

acupofdust

Who is your favorite Christian Historical heroine?

This would definitely be Pearl in Susie Finkbeiner’s depression-era novels. She’s crafted with such an authentic voice that, although her life is terribly hard, never begs pity from the readers. She’s simply telling about her world and everything she encounters, and Finkbeiner captured her beautifully.

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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? And which is your favorite by that author?

Kristy Cambron never ceases to amaze me. Her work only grows better with time. Her stories are rich and achingly beautiful, from the setting to the heart-wrenching characters and their journeys. She handles a split-time story model so well and you just ache for every character by the end. My favorite of her books so far is the Lost Castle series—those are magnificent books.

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

Michelle Griep’s third book in the Bowstreet Runners series, called The Noble Guardian was the most recent, and it’s terrific! I loved the adventure that’s paramount to all her stories, but in this one in particular, there are just so many terrible things that happens to that poor heroine—and the way she rises above them is stunning. I often find role models in Griep’s characters, and her prose is magnificent! Rich in period detail and flavor from each character, the lines of her books just suck a reader in for the whole ride.

Joanna is giving away THREE paperbacks (USA Only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Yellow Lantern – Angie Dicken

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Have you been checking out this historical series based on true crimes? Such an interesting premise for a series! I’ve always wanted a book cover with a lantern, and Angie’s not only has that, but a plot revolving around grave robbing, so intriguing. Welcome Angie to the Index!

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The Yellow Lantern

Josephine Clayton is considered dead by everyone in her Massachusetts village–especially the doctor she has assisted for several months. Yet, she is still very much alive.
 
After the doctor’s illegal dealing with his body snatcher to obtain her body, Josephine awakens, positioned as the next corpse for his research. To cover up his crime, the doctor tries to kill her, but Josephine begs to be spared. They strike a deal–Josephine will leave her village and work at a distant cotton mill. All the while, she’ll await her true mission–posing as a mourner to help the body snatcher procure her replacement.
 
At the mill though, Josephine is praised for her medical remedies among the other female workers, gaining attention from the handsome factory manager, Braham Taylor. Yet, when Braham’s own loved one becomes the prey for the next grave robbing, Josie must make a choice that could put her dark past behind her or steal away the promise of any future at all.
 
What price will Josie pay for love when her secrets begin to unravel?

Angie’s Website

Angie Dicken Bio

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Questions about Angie’s Story

What inspired this story?

There are a couple of things that inspired me. One, my father is a doctor and grave-robbing is a curious part of medical history in the U.S. And two, I had read Charles Dickens’ American Notes about his visit to Lowell cotton mill in Massachusetts—a fascinating corner of women’s history. Gloughton Mill is modeled after what I learned about Lowell.

Why did you choose the year your book is set?

I chose the year 1824 because this is after grave-robbing became officially illegal in Massachusetts (yeah, it wasn’t written into law until 1815!), and cotton mills had been established in America.  

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

The National Geographic Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine! Because my heroine loves healing, this book shared different plants and their historical medical uses in different parts of the world. It is a fascinating reference book!

Did you stumble upon anything in your research for this book that you thought was strange or surprising?

How common grave-robbing was throughout history, and how the pressure from the deceased’s families is what led to implementing laws in the U.S.

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Questions about Angie’s Reading

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

Sherrinda Ketchersid’s Lord of Her Heart. I loved reading in the medieval time period. We don’t see many books set there in the Christian Fiction category, and it’s a fascinating time period!

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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?

The Seamstress by Alison Pittman. I am so excited about the premise of this book. I love the concept of looking into an actual literary figure and speculating the story behind the story.

Angie is giving away a choice copy (USA Only for print). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Where Dandelions Bloom – Tara Johnson

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Isn’t this a gorgeous cover? And to know it’s based on a real person is always cool. I’m so happy to have Tara on the Index!

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Where Dandelions Bloom

Cassie Kendrick is on the run. Her abusive father arranged her marriage to a despicable man, but she’s discovered an escape. Disguised as a man, Cassie enlists in the Union army, taking the name Thomas Turner. On the battlefields of the Civil War, keeping her identity a secret is only the beginning of her problems, especially after she meets Gabriel Avery, a handsome young photographer.

Anxious to make his mark on the world and to erase the darkness and guilt lurking from his past, Gabriel works with renowned photographer Matthew Brady to capture images from the front lines of the war. As Gabriel forges friendships with many of the men he encounters, he wonders what the courageous, unpredictable Thomas Turner is hiding.

Battling betrayal, their own personal demons, and a country torn apart by war, can Cassie and Gabriel learn to forgive themselves and trust their futures to the God who births hope and healing in the darkest places?

Tara’s Website

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Questions about Tara’s Story

What inspired your story?

Where Dandelions Bloom was inspired by real-life Civil War hero Sarah Emma Edmonds. I discovered this larger-than-life hero while doing research for another story and was immediately entranced with Emma’s courage. Not only did it take guts for her to run from her abusive father to find shelter in the chaos of war, but she was so remarkable as a soldier, her commanders took note and had her work with James Pinkerton as a spy. At one point, she was a woman playing the part of a man playing the part of a woman. Talk about courage!

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

Writing Cassie’s mental and emotional break-down was extremely difficult. Soldiers endure so much both on and off the battlefield. Compound that trauma with the continual deception of being a spy, as well as the scars of running from an abusive father, and trying to write inside Cassie’s viewpoint was emotionally exhausting.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?

God has a unique way of testing me on what I write. It makes me think twice before embarking on a new story! Where Dandelions Bloom was written at a time in my life when I was struggling with forgiving someone. God used Cassie and Gabe’s story to tenderly remind me that holding on to that anger and bitterness only keeps me strapped to the one who hurt me. Forgiving cuts the cords and removes the weight, allowing me to enjoy freedom and joy again.

God also taught me of the resilience of the dandelion…beauty that continues to bloom among the hard places. He showed me that sometimes He doesn’t remove us from our hard circumstances because He’s more concerned about shaping us into the image of His Son through those circumstances. That’s when something amazing blossoms.

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

Jonah Phifer. How could anyone not love such a fun-loving, precocious little bundle of trouble? He was the dandelion in this story…a beam of light during the shadows of war.

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Questions about Tara’s Reading

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Which book got you hooked on reading Christian Historicals?

When I was a young teen, my Mom had a collection of books by Janette Oke and Lori Wick. I would gobble up everything they wrote. While reading Lori Wick’s The Californians series and Wings of the Morning, I realized I could do nothing but read historicals for the rest of my life and be completely content.

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Who is your favorite Christian Historical heroine?

Hadassah from Francine Rivers’ A Voice in the Wind. Her transformation from a trembling girl who questions her faith to a brave, heroic woman of God is inspiring and deeply touching.

Tara is giving away a hardback book (USA Only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Medallion – Cathy Gohlke

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If you like stories based on true stories, this one’s for you. A friend of mine read it and said, “This story completely undid me, then stitched me back together with hope.”

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The Medallion

Seemingly overnight, the German blitzkrieg of Warsaw in 1939 turns its streets to a war zone and shatters the life of each citizen―Polish, Jewish, or otherwise. Sophie Kumiega, a British bride working in the city’s library, awaits news of her husband, Janek, recently deployed with the Polish Air Force. Though Sophie is determined that she and the baby in her womb will stay safe, the days ahead will draw her into the plight of those around her, compelling her to help, whatever the danger.

Rosa and Itzhak Dunovich never imagined they would welcome their longed-for first child in the Jewish ghetto, or that they would let anything tear their family apart. But as daily atrocities intensify, Rosa soon faces a terrifying reality: to save their daughter’s life, she must send her into hiding. Her only hope of finding her after the war―if any of them survive―is a medallion she cuts in half and places around her neck.

Inspired by true events of Poland’s darkest days and brightest heroes, The Medallion paints a stunning portrait of war and its aftermath, daring us to believe that when all seems lost, God can make a way forward.

Cathy’s Website

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Questions about Cathy’s Story

What inspired your story? 

The Medallion was inspired by two true stories—the first was the WWII account of Itzhak Dugin and his Jewish family, persecuted in Lithuania.  Their heart-wrenching story made world news when the tunnel from which Itzhak escaped the Nazis was discovered using modern technology. The second was the story of Irena Sendler, a Polish Catholic social worker within Żegota (an underground Polish Council to Aid Jews), who developed a network to rescue children.  Despite terrible risks, they smuggled 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto and certain death at the hands of the Nazis, then hid them in Polish homes, convents, churches and hospitals until the end of the war.  Approximately 2,000 of those children were found after the war. Theories abound regarding the whereabouts of those missing.  I couldn’t help but wonder, and imagine:  What became of those 400 to 500 missing children?  What became of one?

What did you learn about yourself while writing this book? 

Researching Poland and all that happened to its citizens—Jewish and Gentile alike—during Nazi and Russian occupation broke my heart.  Conditions and the atrocities perpetrated loomed horrific, creating impossible choices amid life and death situations. There were times I wondered if I could keep researching the details of that history, keep writing a story that grew out of it.  But I learned—or learning was reinforced—that I could do hard things, research hard things, write hard things.  We’re all made for hard things.  Sometimes what the Lord asks of us is not easy, but the journey and the outcome prove so very worthwhile.

Why did you choose the year your book is set? 

Germany’s September 1939 bombing of Warsaw, Poland shocked the city into the startling reality of blitzkrieg and occupation—and set the stage for all that would come in my story.

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Questions about Cathy’s Reading

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

Christy, by Catherine Marshall.  I’m writing a novel that leads up to America’s entry into WWII set in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, not far from where I grew up and where my grandfather’s family lived.  Rereading Christy, even though it took place in the mountains and was set years before my novel, felt like coming home, back to the roots of my ancestors.  It connected me with people my older characters might have known in their childhood and helped me find my sense of place for the story I’m writing.  Besides, I simply love Christy. Catherine Marshall created characters that live in my memory as real people.

What Christian Historical Novel taught you something about the craft of writing because it was so well done? And tell us a bit about what it taught you.

I’ve learned from many Christian historical novels, but especially from Christy.  Catherine Marshall brought extraordinary detail to her setting and to the personal and cultural challenges her characters faced.  She infused flesh and blood into multi-dimensional characters set in a unique time and place, then brought her heroine, a young and naïve girl, into a world she could barely comprehend but was determined to navigate and join. Through Christy, Catherine wove heartache, faith challenges, romance, and ultimate but realistic victory into one beautiful novel.  When I grow up I want to write like that.

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

I read Carrie Turansky’s No Ocean Too Wide for endorsement.  It’s a beautifully written book about the plight of British Home Children sent to Canada, with or without their parents’ permission.  Carrie’s treatment of the topic rang authentic, her characters sprang to life on the page and her historical settings were vibrant.  It’s truly a heart tugging book and so well done.

Cahty is giving away a hardback book (USA Only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Heart of a King – Jill Eileen Smith

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Have you ever been curious about the palace life of the Old Testament kings? This looks like a wonderful way to immerse yourself in that life without actually having to live it! 🙂 I hope you enjoy Jill’s interview!

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The Heart of a King

King Solomon was wealthy and wise beyond measure. He could–and did–have anything he wanted, including many women from many lands. But for all his wisdom, did he or the women in his life ever find what they searched for all of their lives?

In this engrossing novel, you’ll find yourself whisked away to ancient Israel, where you’ll meet Solomon and four of the women he loved: Naamah the desert princess, Abishag the shepherdess, Siti the daughter of a pharaoh, and Nicaula the queen of Sheba. As you experience the world of Solomon through his eyes and the eyes of these women, you’ll ask yourself the ultimate question: Did Solomon’s wisdom ultimately benefit him and those he loved . . . or did it betray them?

Jill’s Website

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Other Books in this Series:

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Questions about Jill’s Story

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

This book was meant to be a compilation for four e-books that I wrote on four women in King Solomon’s life. Exploring their stories was fun as I wrote them in first person and could better put myself into their worlds.

When I went to compile the stories, however, I didn’t want to give readers the same books under different packaging with a little more of Solomon added in. So I turned the book from first to third person, interwove the four e-books and added much more from Solomon’s point of view. I had to cut some of the e-books, so if people want the full picture, they will still want to read those, but what I enjoyed most was pondering Solomon through the book of Ecclesiastes. I used much of the Song of Solomon in the e-books and in this book, but I added section breaks where “The Teacher” speaks from his older and wiser perspective. I love the book of Ecclesiastes, so it was poignant to imagine how he might have felt at the end of his wild pursuits and frantic living. Wisdom taught him much, but wisdom could not keep him from sin. Only God’s grace can do that. In the end, I hope and believe that he learned that lesson.

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

That’s a tough question because each woman as well as Solomon were unique and I liked all of them. Siti (Pharaoh’s daughter) was probably one that was the most challenging because her faith remained in her god Bastet. She questioned Solomon’s loyalty to Yahweh and accused him of breaking his God’s laws. She reminded me of so many skeptics in the world today.

But I probably enjoyed Abishag (The Shepherdess) the most. In my imagination she came from humble roots and she accepted her role in life even when it went against her dreams. Her faith in Adonai kept her strong, and if she remained close to Solomon, she could have been a good influence on him.

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

The Queen of Sheba is mentioned in the folklore of Ethiopia and Arabia – both claim her as theirs and both have different stories to tell of her relationship with Solomon. She is given different names by both countries/kingdoms and since I didn’t want to use either one of their stories exclusively, I mixed them together and gave her a different name that also came up in my research. The true story is lost to history and known only to God, but Jesus mentions her (The Queen of the South), which authenticates her existence outside of the Old Testament alone.

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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 a book except the Bible. However, I have reread Two From Galilee by Marjorie Holmes many, many times over my lifetime. The last time I read it was probably a few Christmases ago. And I reread it the year my dad died. He died in November and it was a great comfort to me that Christmas. (It is a love story of Joseph and Mary.)

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

I am in the middle of reading The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen right now. So far my favorite things about it are the multiple romantic threads woven throughout and the hint of mystery that I’ve yet to discover. I’m rooting for a certain character to marry her true love, but I haven’t reached the end yet to find out what happens.

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What was the last Christian Historical Novel you binge read?

A Wreath of Snow: A Victorian Christmas Novella by Liz Curtis Higgs. I downloaded the sample at Christmas this past year and quickly bought the book to finish it. The story was compelling and I hated to see it end. Stories like that, which offer the reader hope, make a difference in a person’s heart, especially during the holidays, which can be difficult.

Jill is giving away a paperback book (International Entrants welcomed!). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview & Giveaway – The Artful Match – Jennifer Delamere

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This is my favorite cover of this series, they were saving their best for last. Maybe Jennifer is too! 🙂 Thanks to Jennifer for coming to share about her story.

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The Artful Match

Cara Bernay has never fit in. At loose ends in 1881 London after a near tragedy costs her a job, she befriends a carefree artist. With his help, she begins planning a new life and developing her own artistic talent. But soon Cara finds herself at odds with the artist’s brother–a handsome but arrogant earl forcing his brother back to a “respectable” life.

Henry Burke, the Earl of Morestowe, feels the weight of growing financial burdens. His younger brother is the one person who can save their family, and Henry needs him back home. Despite misgivings about Cara’s mysterious background, Henry sees she’s a positive influence on his brother and on Henry’s young ward, and he strikes a deal with her to return with them to their estate.

But the family has their own secrets, and when Cara, drawn ever closer to Henry, stumbles onto the truth, she must choose between following her heart and pursuing a bold plan that could bring disaster.

Jennifer’s Website

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Other Books in this Series:

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Questions about Jennifer’s Story

What inspired your story?  

The framework for The Artful Match grew out of the series itself: three sisters who were raised in George Muller’s famous orphanage in Bristol each come to London at different times and find new lives. The more unique aspects of Cara’s story grew out of my interest in Victorian art. I thought it would be fascinating to visit the Bohemian world of the artists, who freely take Cara in when she has nowhere else to go. I also knew early on that Cara’s story would be especially fun to write, because her personality is so different from my own. Not only is she a talented artist, but she is free-spirited, impulsive, and wears her heart on her sleeve. She never quite fits in anywhere and is desperate to step out from the shadow of her more grounded and successful sisters. Surprisingly, she finds her answer in the place she least expects. A big theme in this book is the joy of discovering the real purpose for the talents God gave you.

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

I love them all, of course—even the crusty dowager countess, who has her reasons for seeing the world as she does. However, the character who really warms my heart is 7-year-old Amelia, Henry’s ward. There is some question about her parentage, and although she is well treated, she has no real emotional bonds with anyone. Her caretakers are not equipped to give her the kind of love a child craves. Amelia’s frustrations make her stubborn and unruly, but she is also clever and resourceful. Her bravado is a cover for her insecurity about where she belongs in the world. Cara’s heart immediately goes out to the girl, for she understands what it is like to grow up without parents. Although Amelia begins the story as an emotional outcast, she will ultimately be the catalyst that brings the family together.

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

Yes! Early in the book, Cara pays a visit to the Grosvenor Gallery, an art gallery that was famous for being very forward-thinking and unique. Cara meets Lady Blanche Lindsay, who co-owned the gallery with her husband, Sir Coutts Lindsay. They both loved art and were painters themselves. In addition, Lady Lindsay played the violin, wrote music, and even had a song copyrighted. Later in life she wrote novels, too. A woman of many talents! Unfortunately, her marriage to Sir Coutts was not a happy one, and eventually they separated. But while they were together, the gallery had a huge impact on the art world and is still remembered today for its many innovations.

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Questions about Jennifer’s Reading

farsideofthesea

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

The Far Side of the Sea by Kate Breslin. At the moment, I seem to be fascinated with books set during World War I. So many interesting books about this time period are being written.

numberoflove

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

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White. Code breakers and spies –sounds intriguing!

Jennifer is giving away a paperback book (International Entrants welcomed!). 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 Tender Hope – Amanda Cabot

27 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – A Tender Hope – Amanda Cabot

So glad to have Amanda with us today. If you just must read series in order, make sure you pick up #1 at $3.20 on ebook on Amazon or check out the other book dealers’ sales prices! Let’s hear about the newest, it looks great!

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A Tender Hope

As far as Thea Michener is concerned, it’s time for a change. With her husband murdered and her much-anticipated baby stillborn, there is nothing left for her in Ladreville. Having accepted a position as Cimarron Creek’s midwife, she has no intention of remarrying and trying for another child. So when a handsome Texas Ranger appears on her doorstep with an abandoned baby, Thea isn’t sure her heart can take it.

Ranger Jackson Guthrie isn’t concerned only with the baby’s welfare. He’s been looking for Thea, convinced that her late husband was part of the gang that killed his brother. But it soon becomes clear that the situation is far more complicated than he anticipated–and he’ll need Thea’s help if he’s ever to find the justice he seeks.

Amanda’s Website

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Other Books in this Series:

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Questions about Amanda’s Story

What inspired your story?

I have my readers to thank for this particular story.  When I finished the Texas Dreams trilogy, many readers told me that they wanted to know what happened next.  In particular, they were intrigued by Thea, the little sister in Paper Roses, and wanted her to have her own book.  It took a while – Paper Roses was released in 2009 – but they finally have a chance to see what happened to Thea when she grew up.  I hope they’re as captivated by her story as I was.

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

I’m a firm believer in on-site research, so you won’t be surprised that my favorite source of information for this book wasn’t a book or a website, but a museum.  One of the times when my husband and I were traveling through Texas to research books, we visited the Texas Ranger museum in Waco.  What a fascinating place!  I could have spent the whole day there, studying the exhibits and watching the films.  When we finally pulled ourselves away, I knew that one day I would write a book with a Ranger as its hero.  That’s why Lawrence, the hero of Tomorrow’s Garden, the third of my Texas Dreams books, was a Ranger.  But one Ranger hero wasn’t enough, so when I was plotting A Tender Hope, I decided to match Thea with a Ranger.  What fun that turned out to be!

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Questions about Amanda’s Reading

aclaimofherown

What Christian Historical Novel taught you something about the craft of writing because it was so well done? And tell us a bit about what it taught you.

I’ve admired Stephanie Grace Whitson’s books for many years and for many reasons, including her meticulous research and her memorable characters. The book where her craft shone most brightly for me was A Claim of Her Own. Although I don’t consider myself easily surprised, when I reached the second scene and discovered the freighter Swede’s true name, I laughed, then reread the first scene, watching how carefully Whitson had crafted that scene. Great job!

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

I just finished reading Suzanne Woods Fisher’s Minding the Light and can’t wait to read the third book in the series, The Light Before Day. If I could only choose one thing as my favorite aspect of the book, it would be the skill that she used in weaving two historical periods together at the same time that she gave readers unique insights into the Quakers. (Yes, I know those were two things, but there are so many things to admire in Fisher’s writing that it’s difficult to choose only one.)

Amanda is giving away a paperback book (USA entrants only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Seamstress – Allison Pittman

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If you loved The Tale of Two Cities, or just want something out of the ordinary, Allison’s new book looks like a winner. I’ve heard great things about it already, and it’s cheap on ebook at the moment–if you don’t want to wait to see if you win, snap it up right away!

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The Seamstress

It is the best of times . . .

On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins—Renée and Laurette—have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon’s sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.

It is the worst of times . . .

Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.

It is the story that has never been told.

In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.

Allison’s Website

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Questions about Allison’s Story

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

My favorite character turned out to be Gagnon, the young widower who brought these two orphaned cousins into his home. That was a little surprising for me, because I don’t usually enjoy crafting the more godly characters in my novels. Usually they just stand as stalwart examples who serve as a gravitational pull for my more interesting “sinners.” While Gagnon certainly fulfills that role, he is a bit more dimensional than that. I loved the moments when his anger and frustration bubbled to the surface. I couldn’t wait to get to the part of the story when we learn of his struggle with sin. Most of all, I enjoyed crafting his love for his country—faults and all. He lives in the grip of poverty but refuses the call to revolution. He recognizes the monarchy’s faults but will not allow slanderous talk at his table. In fact, “Gagnon’s table” becomes a metaphor in itself throughout the novel. It is a place of peace and welcome and plenty, even when that plenty doesn’t seem like it would be nearly enough.

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

I’d have to say it’s the chapter that depicts the attack of the women on Versailles. Chapter 25. This is a favorite scene of mine from A Tale of Two Cities, with the infamous Mme Defarge at the forefront. To think, these were women driven by poverty and starvation, who had held their dying children and watched the life drain from their husbands. They took up what weapons they had and took action. I’m not one to ever (really, ever) condone violence, but this gives us a picture of what happens to a society pushed too far. Often, men are credited for the dramatic shakes in history. In this case, women—housewives, mothers, widows—delivered a terrifying message to the monarchy, a taste of the murderous regime to come. I loved taking that momentous event and whittling it down to three women: Renée, the seamstress, an innocent observer to the chaos; Marie Antoinette, the queen, a wife and mother herself, cowering in the face of homicidal rage; and Anne, a persona pasted to a nameless, forgotten figure, who may have struck the first mortal blow of the revolution.

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

I had this great book called Versailles (Tony Spawforth, 2010) that went into exquisite detail about the history, architecture, floor plan, and functionality of the palace at Versailles. Early in planning the book, I desperately wanted to actually go to Versailles, but now I wonder if I would have gleaned as much from that trip as I did from this book. Today, it is a museum; in the days of my story, it was a working home, a public place, a government workplace, a warehouse. So I incorporated a lot that I learned in that book into the plot, of course, whenever Renée is running around the halls, zipping in and out of rooms. But certain details also wormed into my understanding and depiction of historical characters. For example, I learned that Louis XVI’s office was in a room still depicting murals and other decor in deference to the god Poseidon. I’ve always felt Louis XVI was unprepared, and maybe a bit unwilling, to be a king—literally underwater, out of place, drowning in the rising sea of revolutionary violence.

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Questions about Allison’s Reading

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

This one came out a couple of years ago, but A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green takes place in the years immediately following the French Revolution. The heroine is a lace-maker spared the violence of the regime (they executed anyone associated with the excesses of the aristocracy), and the story highlights one of the great mysteries of the royal family: Whatever happened to the dauphin, Louis-Charles? It’s a fantastic read, bringing the survivors of the violence in France to the newly formed United States.

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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 Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof. It’s actually been out for a while, but I was waiting to read it when it was my turn for book club pick! My favorite thing about it is the same as my favorite thing about her previous novel, The Lady and the Lionheart—Bischof is unafraid of crafting physically imposing heroes—with almost brutish physiques—and giving them true, deeply buried, heartbreaking vulnerability. In this novel, Thor—a totally deaf man who struggles with alcoholism—has carried a hatred for his younger brother, blaming him for their mother’s death. It’s something he cannot reconcile and, given the limits of language, has no recourse to really work it out. Nobody writes men better than Joanne. They are interesting and dimensional, their stories crafted so individually to themselves. She’s fearless that way.

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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?

There are so many! But two that stand out as an actual challenge are the final titles in the Price of Privilege series by Jessica Dotta. These, too, have been out for a while and just came to my attention in the past year through the gushing of my friend and agent, Rachel McMillan. There’s an urgency here, because the three books comprise a single story arc, and I’ve let far too many other reads get in the way of finishing the series!

Allison is giving away a paperback book (USA entrants only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Laurel’s Dream – Pepper Basham

31 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – Laurel’s Dream – Pepper Basham

There is just something about the mountains that draws, yes? And if you loved Christy and want to return to that beautiful setting in fiction, check out Pepper Basham’s next book.

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My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge: Laurel’s Dream

Journey into the Blue Ridge Mountains of 1918 where Laurel McAdams endures the challenges of a hard life while dreaming things can eventually improve. But trouble arrives in the form of an outsider. Having failed his British father again, Jonathan Taylor joins is uncle’s missionary endeavors as a teacher in a two-room schoolhouse. Laurel feels compelled to protect the tenderhearted teacher from the harsh realities of Appalachian life, even while his stories of life outside the mountains pull at Laurel’s imagination. Faced with angry parents over teaching methods, Laurel’s father’s drunken rages, and bad news from England, will Jonathan leave and never return, or will he stay and let love bloom?

Pepper’s Website

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Questions about Pepper’s Story

What inspired your story?

I LOVE THIS STORY!!! 😊 This book came out of family history stories that my grandmother would tell me from as many as five generations back. Some of the characters are based on real-life people from my family history but most are just representations of people I grew up imagining as I’d listen to my granny’s stories. Having the opportunity to celebrate my Appalachian culture through the mode of creative writing, and allowing readers to ‘visit’ this disappearing culture, has been such an honor and joy.

Which scene is your favorite, the one you never tired of working with?

AHHHH!!! Only one???? Well, in the second chapter (spilling into the 3rd chapter) there’s this encounter with a mountain lion that was SUPER fun (and a little eerie) to write! It’s a great way to introduce the hero to the Appalachia culture with a little zing 😉

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

Actually, both sad and ‘aha’ – in Appalachia there was a lot of alcoholism, but for a portion of folks in this area (particularly men) they had this very strange way of being drunk. Seasonally, actually. My granny would share stories of men staying drunk during winter, but working 9 months out of the year (spring-fall) without any ‘drunk’ spells at all. When I started doing research about this, there were a few articles relating Seasonal Affective Disorder to the type of alcoholism that was happening in the mountains. With the natural darkness of the days, combined with the ‘darkness’ of the surrounding mountains, AND the relative remoteness of being stuck in those mountains during the cold winter – it started making a lot of sense.

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Questions about Pepper’s Reading

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What was the last Christian Historical Novel whose characters stayed in your head days after you finished reading it?

A Name Unknown by Roseanna White

 

Which book got you hooked on reading Christian Historicals?

Mary Connealy’s books – beginning with Petticoat Ranch 😊

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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?

Laura Frantz’s novel A Bound Heart

Pepper is giving away winner’s choice of a paperback book (USA entrants only) or an ebook (Worldwide entrants). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Liberty Bride – MaryLu Tyndall

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I hope you enjoy learning about another installment in the popular Daughters of the Mayflower series, set in the war of 1812 on a ship, by an author who knows her war of 1812 and her way around a ship!

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The Liberty Bride

Lieutenant Owen Masters and Emeline Baratt meet on a British warship as sworn enemies. Where will Emeline place her loyalties when forced to spy against her country?

A trip home from England to Maryland in 1812 finds Emeline Baratt a captive on a British warship and forced to declare her allegiance between the British and Americans. Remaining somewhat politically neutral on a ship where her nursing skills are desperately needed is fairly easy—until she starts to have feelings for the first lieutenant who becomes her protector. However, when the captain sends her and Lieutenant Owen Masters on land to spy, she must choose between her love for him and her love for her country.

MaryLu’s Website

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Questions about MaryLu’s Story

What inspired your story? 

I have always loved the War of 1812. I don’t remember ever learning about it in school, but it’s truly a fascinating war. Did you know the British burned down Washington D.C.?  Anyway, I have a series set during this war called Surrender to Destiny. This is the war in which our National Anthem was written!  So, when my publisher asked me to write this book as part of the Daughters of the Mayflower series, I jumped at the chance.

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

Hmm. Well, at the risk of giving away part of the story, *SMALL SPOILER ALERT* there’s this one scene that I had so much fun writing. The hero and heroine have fallen in love, but they both think the other one is a spy for their enemy. Hence, they are forced to confront each other and both pull a pistol on the other at the same time. It sounds like a frightening scene, but it ended up being rather fun and humorous

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

Yes, there was a tragic death on the British side that really hit me hard. His name was General Robert Ross and he was a hero and a darling of England. He made a name for himself in the Napoleonic wars. He was young, honorable and well-liked among his men. They say his death caused the troops to lose so much morale that they lost the war.

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Questions about MaryLu’s Reading

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Which book got you hooked on reading Christian Historicals? 

Linda Chaikin’s Buccaneers series!

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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? And which is your favorite by that author?

Without a doubt, Michelle Griep.  I simply adored her novel, The Captive Heart!  But I love everything she writes.

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

The Noble Guardian by Michelle Griep

MaryLu is giving away a paperback book (USA only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Romancing the Bride – Melissa Jagears

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hopebythebookcoverHave you heard of Hope by the Book? It’s a new magazine for readers of Christian Fiction and it looks so good! The first issue comes out soon and you can use the code BOOKISH to save $4 on a subscription. This month’s book just earned a bookmarked review from Hope by the Book, check it out!

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Romancing the Bride

Marrying a stranger to save a ranch is one thing; losing the land on their wedding day is another.

Desperate to keep the ranch where three of her children and a husband lie buried, Annie Gephart must marry or sell. Which of the few bachelors in town would consider a surprise proposal to wed a plain widow with a rebellious daughter, a spirited boy, and unpaid taxes—without laughing in her face?

Jacob Hendrix has never fully let go of his ranching dreams despite ending up as a small Wyoming town’s marshal. The job wouldn’t be so bad, except he’s more errand boy than lawman. When Annie proposes marriage without a single coquettish bat of an eyelash, can he commit himself to a woman he hardly knows for a choice piece of property he’d be an idiot to pass up?

But taxes aren’t all that threaten Annie and Jacob’s plans. Cattle rustlers, crumbling friendships, and wayward children make this marriage of convenience anything but. When they lose what they’ve sacrificed everything to save, will the love of a stranger be enough?

Melissa’s Website

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Questions about Melissa’s Story

 

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

I’d choose Jacob. The man has integrity and patience. Patience beyond what I possess.

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

I did a ton of research, of course, but I hit upon a JACKPOT article that basically shaped Jacob’s job and several plot threads. The article was titled: “City management in the old west: what was it like to manage a small city in Wyoming in the mid-1880s, and how did the city administration evolve in response to a variety of issues confronting the Laramie city council?”

If you’re not a writer, you may not know how exciting it is to find an article that answers EVERY question you could possibly have on how to set something up. Usually you have to go digging around all over the place to find answers, but I found so many answers in this article and even things I could add that I’d never have thought to add. Some of the crazy jobs I gave to Jacob you may think I just made up to complicate his life, but I didn’t. Read this sentence from the article:

“However, in these early days, the chief of police or town marshal performed many duties not normally associated with law enforcement, including removing corpses from an old cemetery, notifying citizens that they needed to construct sidewalks, capturing stray livestock, filling potholes on city streets, and raking the city’s streets and alleys.”

If you read the book, you can see Jacob doing all of that. 🙂

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

Yes, eight years ago, when I first started writing this, I set it in 1887 (for some reason I don’t recall) and as I worked at writing the book, I kept reading historical books on the area and ran across a single sentence that blew away my whole entire premise! In the winter of 1886/1887 there was a huge blizzard that basically devastated the area. Land in the area would have been pretty worthless and Jacob could buy basically any land he wanted so Annie’s land wouldn’t have been much of an enticement. So I had to change some things to set it earlier in the 1880s.

So, given the blizzard coming, I knew in a few years, Jacob and Annie’s place is going to fall on some major hard times historically, which made me sort of sad for their happily ever after, hence why I decided to make Jacob think about breeding fine horses instead of going all gung-ho about cattle ranching so that they’ll be ahead of the game come the blizzard they don’t know will hit them. I’m looking out for my characters. 🙂

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Questions about Melissa’s Reading

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

I reread the two Abby Gaines books: The Earl’s Mistaken Bride and The Governess and Mr. Granville. I remember reading those years ago and saying that the author was now an auto-buy, so I wanted to brush up on why I said that because I forgot. 🙂 Probably because it was well written and it was refreshing that the heroes both primary and secondary were rather highly flawed and yet I still rooted for them.

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What Christian Historical Novel taught you something about the craft of writing because it was so well done? And tell us a bit about what it taught you.

Maid to Match by Deanne Gist. I remember reading that one and being so impressed at the end on how flawlessly the set up was for me to flip pages and there felt as if there was no lag anywhere. So I outlined the book and discovered some tricks on how to keep the push/pull between the hero and heroine going strong if set up similarly.

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What was the last Christian Historical Novel that made you cry?

Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green. I read that on a long drive during vacation and had to sniff back the tears as my husband in the driver seat likely thought I was a loony crying beside him in silence.

I’m giving away a choice of paperback or ebook (International Entrants welcome if you are on this list of countries.). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview & Giveaway – Jacob’s Bell – John Snyder

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Are you in the mood for Christmas? Doesn’t the cover look like one you ought to read by a fire?

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Jacob’s Bell

At one time, Jacob had it all: wealth, a wonderful family and a position as one of the most respected businessmen in Chicago. Then he made some bad decisions and all that changed. For the past twenty years he lived in an alcohol-induced haze, riddled with guilt for the dreadful things he had done to his family and his role in the untimely death of his wife. Estranged from his children and penniless, he was in and out of jail, on the street and jumping freight trains for transportation. Realizing he needed a drastic change, Jacob embarked on a journey to find his children, seek their forgiveness, and restore his relationship with them. Befriended by a pastor at a Salvation Army mission, he struggled to transform his life. Yet finally he overcame his demons, but not without a fair number of setbacks. Jacob became a Salvation Army Bell Ringer at Christmastime. While ringing his bell on a street corner one snowy day, he met a young girl who, through a series of strange coincidences, led him back to his children and facilitated Jacob’s forgiveness just in time for Christmas.

John’s Website

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Questions about John’s Story

What inspired your story?

I am intrigued by people, family dynamics and overcoming obstacles. Jacob’s Bell: A Christmas Story encompasses all of this. I also, love Christmas and how the holiday can transform peoples’ hearts.

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

Jacob! Absolutely hands down.

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

Jacob. His life was such a roller coaster, and at some points, such a train wreck, but he overcame his obstacles and achieved his goal; forgiveness. What a journey!

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John is giving away FIVE books (USA only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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