Author Interview and Giveaway – By Way of the Moonlight – Elizabeth Musser

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If you love horses and timelines, check out this book and the fascinating inspiration that relates to the author’s own life that brought about this story!

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By Way of the Moonlight

Two courageous young women, tied together by blood and shared passion, will risk everything to save what they love most.

For as long as she can remember, Allie Massey, a gifted physical therapist, has dreamed of making her grandparents’ ten-acre estate into a trauma recovery center using equine therapy–a dream her grandmother, Nana Dale, embraced wholeheartedly. But when her grandmother’s will is read, Allie is shocked to learn the property has been sold to a developer.

Decades earlier, headstrong Dale Butler’s driving passion is to bring home the prized filly her family lost to the Great Depression, but with World War II looming, she’s called upon in ways she never could have imagined. And while her world expands to include new friends and new love, tragedy strikes close to home one fateful night during the Battle of the Atlantic, changing her life forever.

As Nana Dale’s past comes to light in Allie’s search for answers, Dale’s courage and persistence may be just what Allie needs to carry on her grandmother’s legacy and keep her own dreams alive.

Elizabeth’s Website

Elizabeth Musser Website

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Questions about Elizabeth’s Story

What inspired this story?

As a Southern girl, most of my novels are set in the South, with Atlanta being my favorite city setting. But in this novel, I am not just focusing on Atlanta or even Buckhead, the neighborhood where I grew up and the setting of The Swan House. This time, I focus on the house and property where I grew up in Atlanta. I weave a fictional tale around my parents’ home on Nancy Creek Road as I ask questions about the worth of land, family history, memories, and shared dreams.

The inspiration for the Atlanta part of the novel came from growing up in the middle of Atlanta with a barn filled with horses in my backyard and several buried in the riding ring. Our five-acre property has been in the family since 1938, when my grandfather built a small house and a two-horse barn out in the boonies of Buckhead on a dirt road for his only child, my mom, to keep her horse and indulge her in her love of riding and showing. My mother was a great equestrian, showing and jumping until she was seventy, and I rode and showed as a child and teen.

Over the years, the house and barn have evolved into something of a rustic private paradise for our family. But estates like my parents’ are being bought up and sold to contractors who implode the house and create cluster mansions on the property. That was my mother’s worst nightmare, and I feel the same way. So I’ve wrestled in my mind for years with the question of “How can we keep this property after my parents are gone?” My novels often touch on themes that mirror events and ruminations in my own life, and so I began to pen a novel about finding alleged dinosaur bones in the backyard of an estate.

At the same time, I serendipitously happened on a photo of a group of military men galloping their mounts along the beach of Hilton Head Island—my family’s favorite vacation spot for the past fifty years. But this photo was taken during the Battle of the Atlantic in WWII when the island was mostly deserted. I found myself cantering into the world of the Coast Guard Mounted Patrol, affectionately called the Sand Pounders, and what a wild ride that was!

So I created a dual-time novel that highlights the wonder and adventure of my mother’s life as a young equestrian star, referring to real events but scooting the storyline back to the 1930s and ’40s (Mom’s heyday was in the ’50s)—the heroine is called Dale in the novel—combined with the intrigue of the Battle of the Atlantic, and then brought in my present-day protagonist, Allie, as her granddaughter, who has dreamed for all her life of turning Nana Dale’s estate into an equine therapy center.

 

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

After finding that photo of the Sound Pounders, I started doing research in earnest. I discovered an article about a father-daughter team who reenact the famed Beach Patrol horseback units. Wayne Ormsbee, a civilian employee at Coast Guard Base Boston, and his daughter, Petty Officer Keisha Kerr, a coast guard active-duty boatswain’s mate, make appearances at parades, civic celebrations, veterans’ events, and horse shows, helping to rekindle interest in the storied Beach Patrol units.

Keisha was kind enough to do a Zoom call with me while she was on duty in Guam. She also pointed me to the book, Prints in the Sand by Eleanor Bishop. From there, I dug down many rabbit holes and learned about the two US tankers who were sunk by a German U-Boat off the coast of St. Simons Island. Then my husband and I journeyed to the island and spent hours perusing the excellent displays at the World War II Homefront Museum. We met a docent historian, Dr. George Cressman, who also provided previously classified documents detailing the creation of the Coast Guard Mounted Patrol and the different stations along all of the coasts of the United States. We also spent an afternoon on the grounds of what was Camp McDougal on Hilton Head Island, where the military camp and horses were housed during WWII.

Suffice it to say, I spent many, many hours understanding the Battle of the Atlantic and found it inspiring and fascinating. Especially the heroism of so many Stateside civilians doing their part to construct Liberty ships and guard the coasts when the German threat was at its height.

 

What do you hope readers learn from this story?

Allie and her Nana Dale are both strong women who are courageous, savvy businesswomen with a deep respect for family and a deep love for horses. One of the themes in the novel is about obsession. I wanted to examine the thin line between fighting for what you believe in and developing an unhealthy obsession. Both women learn important lessons about pursuing dreams at all costs, which may cause them to sacrifice something or someone they love.

While I was writing this story, my beloved father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He passed away last February. My mother passed away six years ago. Suddenly, I was not only dealing with deep grief, but also all the questions that had originally inspired the story—how to keep the property—became very real. I have had to consider that theme of obsession for myself. My novel is preaching a sermon to me, and I hope it will also give my readers a lot of food for thought. A few other ‘takeaways’ I’d love to leave my readers are:

• Be kind and courageous.
• Find joy in helping others.
• Fight for what you believe in but fall on your knees often to make sure the Lord has the last say.
• Hold tightly to those you love.
• In life, you often have to take the risk of being misunderstood.
• Practice gratitude—Husy, Dale’s nursemaid, says it well: “It will never be enough, Dale, until you decide that you already have it all. You settle in your mind a grateful heart, a content spirit, and everything else will be gravy, girl.”
• Embrace paradox—Nana Dale tells Allie, “Life is paradox, Allie. When you learn to embrace it all, let it mix together like molasses in oats, well, the sweet fragrance comes out. Even when life stinks.”
And my favorite, which I found myself doing over and over as I wrote this novel:
• When life gets hard to stand, kneel.

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Questions about Elizabeth’s Reading

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

As I was writing By Way of the Moonlight, I reread Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. That story was so compelling, I could read it ten times! I am always fascinated (and saddened, sickened, horrified, in the case of this story) to learn about a little known real historical incident.

I also wanted to see how Lisa constructed the time slip in the novel since I was writing my first true time slip novel. I came away once again deeply touched by the story, by the power of Lisa’s prose, and by her giftedness at keeping the reader engaged in two different time periods.

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?

Lynn Austin has been delighting her readers with wonderful Christian Historical Fiction for over 25 years. I’ve enjoyed many of her novels, but I think If I Were You is my favorite so far.

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

I was privileged to read for endorsement Janyre Tromp’s debut Shadows in the Mind’s Eye and especially appreciated her treatment of PTSD in veterans.

Shadows in the Mind's Eye

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Songs That Could Have Been – Amanda Wen

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This author and I live in the same city! She came to see me at a book signing several years ago hoping to be signing in the same bookstore one day, and she is! This book features the county we both live in through a dual time storyline. And the first book in this series I saw was just nominated for a book award recently, you should check this one out!

The Songs That Could Have Been

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The Songs That Could Have Been

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Two couples in love. Two sets of impossible circumstances. One powerful God of grace.

After a tailspin in her late teens, Lauren Anderson’s life is finally back on track. Her battle with bulimia is under control, her career is taking off, and she’s surrounded by a loving family. Then a chance meeting with Carter Douglas, her first love and the man who broke her heart, leads to old feelings returning with new strength. And suddenly her well-balanced world is thrown off kilter.

Now a TV meteorologist, Carter is determined to make amends with Lauren. After all, she still owns his heart. But the reasons they broke up aren’t lost–and those old demons are forcing him toward the same decision he faced in the past. He isn’t sure he’s courageous enough to make a different choice this time around.

When Lauren’s elderly grandmother, Rosie, begins having nightmares about a man named Ephraim–a name her family has never heard before–a fascinating and forbidden past love comes to light. As Lauren and Carter work to uncover the untold stories of Rosie’s past in 1950s Wichita, they embark on a journey of forgiveness and second chances that will change their lives–and Rosie’s–forever. Along the way they’ll learn that God wastes nothing, his timing is perfect, and nothing is beyond his grace and redemption.

Amanda’s Website

amanda wen

Other Books in this Series:

rootsofwoodandstone

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Questions about Amanda’s Story

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The Songs That Could Have Been is the second in my Sedgwick County Chronicles series, and my favorite part of writing it was fleshing out supporting characters from the first book. The free-spirited, sentimental Lauren was a perfect foil to her type A uber-planner brother, Garrett, in Roots of Wood and Stone; I fell in love with her and was thrilled to be able to explore her character more and give her a story of her own. Similarly, Garrett and Lauren’s grandmother Rosie always fascinated me, and I wanted to dig into her background. It was also a blast to bring back Garrett and Sloane in supporting roles in this book; turns out having a character who works in a historical museum is pretty handy when you’re writing split-time.

 

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

Basically the entire past timeline was the hardest part! Most of the scenes depicting racism were emotionally difficult for me to write as well as tricky: how do I portray the past accurately without causing unnecessary pain to present-day readers? I’m very grateful to my amazing sensitivity reader, Jayna Breigh, for helping me do the best I can to achieve that balance.

In my research, I also uncovered some of the Scriptures used to justify racial prejudice, and it made me think about how we modern-day Christians might also be misinterpreting or outright twisting Scripture. It’s alarming to think about, and caused me to pray for wisdom!

 

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

When I first started kicking around ideas for this story, I thought it might be interesting to set it in 1958 and include the sit-in at Wichita’s Dockum Drug, which—unbeknownst to many—was the country’s first successful lunch counter sit-in. However, as Rosie and Ephraim’s story unfolded, it became clear that I needed to set it in a time when there was very little hope for change and no reason to believe that an interracial romance would ever be accepted in mainstream society. The decision was for practical reasons, as well; I specifically stated Rosie’s age and high school graduation year in Roots of Wood and Stone, so that definitely limited my flexibility with her character!

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Questions about Amanda’s Reading

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

This might be cheating, because I actually had the privilege of reading this one for endorsement, but Kim Vogel Sawyer’s Still My Forever is charming and gorgeous and sweetly romantic, and I can’t wait for its release date in September so readers can fall in love with it just like I did! Gil and Ava’s second chance story is beautifully done, and Kim beautifully captures the soul of a musician in the character of Gil. Historical readers are going to devour this one!

still my forever

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

I’ve got two that are both taunting me from the pile, and I’m super frustrated that I haven’t found time to read either of them! I’m a huge fan of Joanna Davidson Politano, and her newest release, A Midnight Dance (which isn’t really that new anymore and I’m devastated to admit that I still haven’t read), looks outstanding! I’m also excited to dig into Crystal Caudill’s debut, Counterfeit Love. It sounds amazing and I have to admit a soft spot for Kregel authors. 😉

midnightdance

counterfeitlove

What was the last Christian Historical Novel you read that wasn’t something you’d normally pick but you ended up enjoying?

Gabrielle Meyer’s When The Day Comes intrigued me with its premise (a woman who’s a “time-crosser,” meaning she lives two lives in two different eras and must choose on her 21st birthday which era she’ll live out the rest of her life), but at the same time I was a little bit wary about it. I usually can’t suspend disbelief enough to enjoy books containing plots that couldn’t happen in real life, but I’d heard so many good things about this one that I grabbed it anyway, and I’m thrilled I did! Gabrielle’s writing is beautiful, both timelines are equally compelling and weave together beautifully, and even though the premise could never happen, the way she integrated faith into the stories is timeless and highly relevant. Also, the ending? *chef’s kiss* Perfection.

When the Day Comes

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Season of My Enemy – Naomi Musch

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Doesn’t the cover model look cute in her overalls? Welcome Naomi Musch to the Index, bringing us another heroine of World War II book!

Season of My Enemy ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  ,  

Season of My Enemy

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1944 – Wisconsin

Only last year, Fannie O’Brien was considered a beauty with a brain, and her future shone bright, despite the war pounding Europe. With her father’s sudden death and her brothers overseas, Fannie must now do the work of three men on their 200-acre farm—until eight German prisoners arrive and, just as Fannie feared, trouble comes too. Someone seems intent on causing “accidents,” and Fannie is certain the culprit is one of the two handsome older Germans—or possibly both. Can she manage the farm, keep the prisoners in line, and hold her family together through these turbulent times?

Naomi’s Website

musch website

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Questions about Naomi’s Story

What inspired this story?

When I learned that there were thirty-eight prisoner of war branch camps in Wisconsin during WWII, and that German prisoners of war were sent to work on the farms and in the factories of my home state, I could hardly wait to write a story about the “what-ifs” of such a time, especially after reading some of the true stories told by those who lived through those experiences. Enemies really did become life-long friends and sometimes more.

Some people might think that to be impossible, or even that I was looking at that period through rose-colored glasses. After all, we’re talking WWII here. Atrocities. Horrors. Man’s evil to man. But the historical record is full of accounts where Germans and Americans sat down and ate together, shared a cold drink, and sometimes kept up a correspondence after the war—and more. There were a large number of prisoners that later immigrated to the United States to begin a new life.

Of course, one of the great difficulties in writing this story was in realistically being able to bring my characters together in situations where they, as enemies, could get to know each other a little bit more. I also needed to create an atmosphere where they might even develop an attraction. All this while keeping true to the narrative of mistrust and other historical nuances of the war, such as fear of sabotage.

 

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

In trying to introduce attraction between the hero and heroine while also not overlooking the antagonism and suspicion inherent to the situation, I had to create a few scenarios that brought the characters into close contact—and gave them the opportunity to see each other through different lenses than they expected. Throughout the first part of the book, my heroine Fanny is mistrustful and even hateful toward the Germans. She resents needing to have their help on the farm, and she only sees them as having evil intent. Then one day she and her siblings are taking a much-deserved respite with a swim in the nearby creek.

Fannie has almost set aside her worries about the farm, until the rustle of bushes announces the presence of the prisoners, then she and her younger brother and sister are caught swimming by themselves while a host of Germans stand on the embankment, watching them.

Fannie immediately feels vulnerable and angry at once. They’re all staring at her. Some are stripping off their shirts, getting ready to swim, and she can’t get her and her siblings out of the situation fast enough. She’s especially abashed by the German captain who speaks to her as she passes and another German prisoner who has shown her special attention.

But later on, when the prisoners also return from their respite, the captain asks permission of his American guard to speak to Fannie. She has no idea he’d been learning English, and she’s taken aback—especially when she learns he was a teacher back in Germany, something she desires to become. Even that some of the other prisoners were his students. Meanwhile, there’s the other prisoner who pays close attention to the discourse between Fannie and the captain.

This was a fun scene to write, and I think readers will enjoy the underlying sense of romance and suspense it entails.

 

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

My favorite research book for this story was an out-of-print book called Stalag Wisconsin: Inside WWII Prisoner-of-War Camps by Betty Cowley. It was filled with historical accounts of those who remembered the prisoners staying in Wisconsin and working among them. Every PW camp in the state is described, and accounts of each are written about.

I tried to convey the same sense of reality in Season of My Enemy that I read about that I read about in those stories—many of which had very happy endings! I also included a few instance that were unusual, such as some I learned about in the book also.

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Questions about Naomi’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.

I just finished Sarah Sundin’s novel from a couple years back The Land Beneath Us (and now I’m on to her newest release, Until Leaves Fall in Paris). Sarah’s such a wonderful writer. She is at once precise and eloquent. Her plot threads are well woven and fully charged. She knows how to keep ramping up the tension, getting her character into deeper and deeper situations. There’s not a character that isn’t rounded and developed well. She is a master at research, and with each book she writes she gets better at rolling that research naturally into the storyline without bogging it down. It’s artistry, and I’m always trying to learn from all these aspects.

thelandbeneathus

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

I’m a huge fan of Pegg Thomas. Pegg writes mostly American colonial fiction, and she’s also coming out with a new Civil War series called A More Perfect Union. I already read books 1 and 3 in her Forts of Refuge series (Sarah’s Choice and Abigail’s Peace), and I can’t wait to sit down and read book 2, Maggie’s Strength. Each book is set at a different wilderness fort during Pontiac’s Rebellion which, along with the French and Indian Wars through the Revolution, is a period of history that’s a favorite of mine.

maggiesstrength

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

Just pick up any Jennifer Lamont Leo novel, and you’ll find a surprise waiting! Her stories are usually set in or around the 1920s. She’s terrific at including a twist that always works in perfectly. I love her writing, and she frequently tells very poignant stories. I was privileged earlier this year to be a co-author with Jennifer in the Lumberjacks & Ladies novella compilation from Barbour. And the only thing that didn’t surprise me, was that Jennifer gave readers another surprise!

lumberjackandladies

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Author Interview and Giveaway – A Promise Engraved – Liz Tolsma

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Hearken back to the time of the Texas Revolution with this dual timeline! Jim Bowie is a favorite at our house, in fact, there’s an unfinished Bowie knife on my computer table as I type this up….why all the unfinished knives end up on my desk? I don’t rightly know….but I’m sure a cameo in a book just might draw two of the men in my house. 🙂

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A Promise Engraved

Can Promises Made in Times of Struggle Endure 200 Years?

Young, spirited Josie Wilkins life is about to take a turn when faced with political turmoil and secret love in San Antonio of 1836. John Gilbert has won her heart, despite being a Protestant preacher who is forbidden to practice his faith in Texas. If he discovers the secrets of her painful past, he will never have anything to do with her. But then comes the Battle of the Alamo. Will either of them survive an epic battle for liberty to create a legacy of love?

Nearly 200 years later, Kayleigh Hewland takes breaks from her demanding job as a refugee coordinator working with Mexican migrants to attend flea markets where she has found a uniquely engraved ring that helps her discover who killed her parents. Enlisting the help of appraiser Brandon Mullins, they piece together a love story long forgotten. But will dangers linked to the ring end her own hopes for leaving a legacy built on hope, faith, and love?

Liz’s Website

Liz Tolsma

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Questions about Liz’s Story

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I got to travel to San Antonio to research this book. At least, that’s what I tell people. I did spend two days there, visiting the historical sights, especially the Alamo, tasting the food, just getting the feel and the flavor of the city because I had never been there. The bonus is that my son lives in Austin, so I managed to sneak in a two-day visit with him!

 

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

The hardest part was that this was my first dual time novel. From learning about how to write two timelines, getting the stories to fit together in the end, how to tie the two stories together, and so much more, it really was a huge learning experience for me. I’m so grateful to Melanie Dobson for guiding me along the way.

 

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

There are many historical characters in this book, including Santa Anna, Jim Bowie, William Travis, and Davy Crockett. Then there are the battles of Gonzales, Concepcion, and the Alamo. I don’t go into too much detail about these battles (except for the Alamo), but they do play a very important role in the book. If you read all the way to the end, I have historical notes in there. I don’t want to say too much because some might be spoilers!

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Questions about Liz’s Reading

What was the last Christian Historical Novel you read that wasn’t something you’d normally pick but you ended up enjoying?

Jody Hedlund has a series of time travel novels. The first is Come Back to Me, and the other is Never Leave Me. I wasn’t at all sure about time travel, but I had to read them because she was going to be a guest on my podcast. Wow, I was blown away by them. I couldn’t believe how much I loved them.

comebacktome

 

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

I’m just about finished reading Ashley Clark’s latest, Where the Last Rose Blooms. It’s so good. There’s a bit of suspense to it that I wasn’t expecting, so I really liked that.

wherethelastroseblooms

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.

Melanie Dobson’s book, The Winter Rose. Wow! The way she writes with such depth of character and setting, and how she so deftly weaves together the two timelines is amazing. I really studied her as I wrote this book. And often suffered from imposter syndrome because I did so!

winterrose

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Master Craftsman – Kelli Stuart

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Are you looking for unusual historical event in your reading? Look no further, we’ve got a Faberge egg designer in this one! A dual time line of treasure hunting and artistic secrets. Welcome Kelli to the Index!

The Master Craftsman, , , , , , , , ,

The Master Craftsman

Alma Pihl, a master craftsman in the House of Fabergé, was charged to protect one of the greatest secrets in Russian history–an unknown Fabergé Egg that Peter Karl Fabergé secretly created to honor his divided allegiance to both the people of Russia and the Imperial tsar’s family. When Alma and her husband escaped Russia for their native Finland in 1921, she took the secret with her, guarding her past connection to the Romanov family.

Three generations later, world-renowned treasure hunter Nick Laine is sick and fears the secret of the missing egg will die with him. With time running out, he entrusts the mission of retrieving the egg to his estranged daughter, Ava, who has little idea of the dangers she is about to face. As the stakes are raised, Ava is forced to declare her own allegiance–and the consequences are greater than she could have imagined.

Kelli’s Website

author kelli stuart

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Questions about Kelli’s Story

What inspired this story?

I stumbled across a news article a few years ago about a Russian imperial crown, and buried in the article was a side note about an American scrap metal dealer who had purchased what he thought was an innocuous piece of art at an auction, and he planned to melt it down and sell the gold. As he cleaned it up, however, he realized he had something much more valuable on his hands. He soon learned that he had found one of the missing Faberge Imperial Easter Eggs, and its value was estimated at $33 million. Immediately, I had my story. Where were the missing eggs, and what would happen if someone set out to find one?

 

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

The research! The House of Faberge was magical and opulent, and in its glory days was the center of Russian advances and culture. I loved exploring the making of the eggs and the life of Peter Karl Faberge. And when I discovered that he employed female master craftsmen, very advanced for his time, I was even more intrigued.

 

What was the hardest part of your book to write?

I often felt underqualified for this story. It felt much bigger than me and intimidated me quite a bit. It was the most challenging story I’ve written to date.

 

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

The historical timeline is very accurate to real events, minus a few creative liberties. Did Peter Karl Faberge really design a mystery 53rd egg that he never told anyone about? Maybe. I don’t actually know. But it’s possible. He was a deeply creative man. But all the events and facts of the other designs, and the historical rumblings that led to the Russian Revolutions and ultimate demise of the Romanov family were all very accurate.

 

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

I have a deep fascination with Russian culture and history, and on my bucket list is to visit St. Petersburg someday. Visiting it through fiction was step one!

 

What research did you have to look up to make your character(s) authentic?

I read extensively about the Faberge family and the House of Faberge. I ordered every book I could get my hands on, and I studied every picture of each Imperial Egg in detail.

 

What do you hope readers learn from this story?

I hope readers walk away a little intrigued about the history of the eggs. There are still 11 Imperial eggs missing. Perhaps one of my readers will take it upon themselves to find the next one.

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Questions about Kelli’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. Patti Callahan’s Once Upon a Wardrobe was a masterful piece of fiction in that it brought C.S. Lewis to life in such a realistic way that I felt like I knew him. Patti wastes no words in her writing.

once upon a wardrobe

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

I think Susie Finkbeiner is a master at taking a simple story and turning it into a powerful story. I love her writing.

thenatureofsmallbirds

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Author Interview and Giveaway – The Spark of Love – Amanda Cabot

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Our featured book this month is a love story with our hero and heroine dealing with their family in a beautiful area of Texas. With the ice covering the cars where I live, I’m thinking a trip to Texas sounds heavenly right now, even if it can only be a trip through the words of a book. 🙂 Thanks to Amanda for this month’s giveaway of her new Texas set release!

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The Spark of Love

When a spurned suitor threatens her, heiress Alexandra Tarkington flees New York for Mesquite Springs in the Texas Hill Country, where her father is building a hotel. But the happy reunion she envisions is not to be as her father insists she return to New York. Instead, Alexandra carves out a niche for herself in town, teaching schoolchildren to paint and enjoying the company of Gabe Seymour, a delightful man she met on the stagecoach.

But all is not as it seems. Two men, each with his own agenda, have followed her to Mesquite Springs. And Gabe is an investigator, searching for proof that her father is a swindler.

With so much to lose—and hide from one another—Alexandra and Gabe will have to come together if they are ever to discover whether the sparks they’ve felt from the beginning can kindle the fire of true love.

Amanda’s Website

Amanda Cabot

Others in the Series:

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Questions about Amanda’s Story

What inspired this story?

I’ve always been fascinated by family dynamics and how our relationships with our parents have influenced our lives, and so when I started plotting this book, I knew that both Alexandra and Gabe would make critical decisions based on their relationships with their fathers. One relationship is warm and loving. The other … let’s just say “warm and loving” aren’t words I would use to describe it, but they were both so important that they provided what authors call the inciting incident that led both my hero and heroine to the same little town in Texas.

 

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

The majority of my books are set in the Texas Hill Country. Why? It’s arguably one of the most beautiful parts of Texas, but even more than that, it’s a location with a rich history that just begs to be explored.

 

What research did you have to look up to make your character(s) authentic?

Although Alexandra is a skilled painter, my artistic skills are best described as nonexistent, so I spent a fair amount of time researching painting techniques, specifically working with watercolors. The research was enjoyable and left me with an even greater appreciation for artists’ talents.

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Questions about Amanda’s Reading

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?

I absolutely loved Regina Scott’s American Wonders series. It’s hard to pick a favorite, since each of them was beautifully written and meticulously researched, giving me fascinating insights into things as diverse as nineteenth century photography and mountain climbing, but since you’ve asked me to pick a favorite, it would be A View Most Glorious, set near Mount Rainier and featuring – you guessed it – the challenge of climbing the mountain.

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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?

That would be Sarah Sundin’s Until Leaves Fall in Paris. I’ve been a fan of Sarah’s WWII books from the beginning and as a Francophile can’t wait to see how she portrayed Paris during that critical time.

untilleavesfallinparis

Amanda is giving away either a paperback (USA Only).

Enter the Rafflecopter below! **If you don’t want to enter the 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 – Mrs. Witherspoon Goes to War – Mary Davis

32 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – Mrs. Witherspoon Goes to War – Mary Davis

Mary’s problems with hurricanes in this book reminds me of the time I had to move my story by year’s to avoid a snowstorm that would have ruined my whole plot! This story sounds like a great testament to the resilience of women, hope you check it out!

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Mrs. Witherspoon Goes to War

A WASP Goes Above the Call of Duty to Free Captive American Soldiers
 
Full of intrigue, adventure, and romance, this new series celebrates the unsung heroes—the heroines of WWII.
 
Peggy Witherspoon, a widow, mother, and pilot flying for the Women’s Airforce Service in 1944 clashes with her new reporting officer. Army Air Corp Major Howie Berg was injured in combat and is now stationed at Bolling Field in Washington D.C. Most of Peggy’s jobs are safe, predictable, and she can be home each night with her three daughters—until a cargo run to Cuba alerts her to American soldiers being held captive there, despite Cuba being an “ally.” Will Peggy go against orders to help the men—even risk her own life?

Mary’s Website

Mary Davis Headshot

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Questions about Mary’s Story

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

Jacqueline “Jackie” Cochran was an American female pilot and a pioneer in women’s aviation. She conceived of and headed the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). I mention her a few times and have her show up in a scene near the end. She was rather a high-level person working with the military brass, generals, and our country’s leaders, so I didn’t feel she would be working directly with my ladies. I also included hurricanes which took place during my story. I knew once I realized my story happened during and where hurricanes were, I needed to deal with them one way or another. (More about hurricanes in my next answer.)

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

Yes, the 1944 East Coast Hurricane season. I was working through some of the details of my plot, minding my own business—or rather the business of my characters—when a stray thought popped into my head. When is hurricane season? Being a West Coast gal—born and bred—I don’t think much about hurricanes until a big one hits and makes the news. So, I researched the 1944 hurricane season and cringed. I needed to either move my story to earlier in the year to avoid the hurricanes, move my story to a different part of the country, again, to avoid hurricanes, or plunge headlong into one of the worst ones that year. Who wants to race into a hurricane? With all the challenges I had planned for my WASPs, the last thing they needed was a hurricane to content with. Also, I really didn’t want to do extensive hurricane research. On a cursory scan of 1944 hurricanes, I found the perfect storm, the Cuba/Florida hurricane. What’s an author to do but shift the timeline and throw her characters into the thick of it? “Watch out hurricane, here come the WASPs.” I don’t know if Peggy has quite forgiven me yet.

What research did you have to look up to make your characters authentic?

I researched a lot about WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots). I needed to know how they were affiliated with the military, what duties they had, their uniform, where they might have been stationed, and so much more about them, as well as how things might have worked. Every time I turned around, there was something else I needed to know, most of them were little things. I couldn’t always find the exact answer I needed and had to extrapolate from what I could learn. One of those little things was what color of flashy lights did the military emergency vehicles on base have?

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

One of the things that made me sad—and also mad—was how poorly some of the military men treated the WASPs. The WASP were given the worst aircraft to fly. They would refer to them as “bucket of bolts,” because they were planes deemed unfit for the men to fly and were poorly maintained. One story I recall from one of the books I checked out of the library was about a WASP in training who was waiting for her final test flight to be certified to fly the military planes. She was told to wait in the hangar for her instructor even after asking multiple times if she should go out to the aircraft. A few hours later, she went out to the aircraft anyway, only to be told she was too late and would have to reschedule her test flight. She had one last opportunity, days later, to take and pass her test. This time she sat in the aircraft and waited. And waited. And waited. She sat for several hours in the Texas heat in the aircraft on the flight line, waiting for her instructor to arrive to test her. Her fellow WASPs brought her a bottle of soda because she had been there so long in the heat. Finally, the instructor showed up and grudgingly tested her. She passed and officially became a WASP. However, it wasn’t only men, women also didn’t think women should be flying, and certainly not military aircraft. When the WASPs were in a parade (I think it was in Boston) both men and women threw things at them in protest to them flying. The WASPs did a huge and great service for our country and the military but didn’t get credit for it. If asked if they would serve again, knowing they wouldn’t get acknowledged and would be treated poorly by some, I believe they would all say, “Yes, sign me up!” They were patriotic and wanted to serve our country.

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Questions about Mary’s Reading

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

The other novels in the Heroines of WWII series. We all have strong women who answered the call to help others and their country with the backdrop of World War II. These stories are full of intrigue, adventure, and romance.

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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?

I am woefully behind on reading with my recent writing schedule, coupled with a learning disability. However, I do have my sights set on a few novels I hope to read soon. At the top of that list is Jen Turano’s The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency series, starting with book 1, To Steal a Heart. This series promises mystery, laughs, and romance in a historical setting. It sounds wonderful!

Mary is giving away either a paperback (USA Only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter the 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 – Harmony on the Horizon – Kathleen Denly

31 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – Harmony on the Horizon – Kathleen Denly

This story is based on a real scandal and makes me want to read it all the more! What about you?

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Harmony on the Horizon

Her calling to change the world may be his downfall.

On the heels of the Great Rebellion, Margaret Foster, an abolitionist northerner, takes a teaching position in 1865 San Diego—a town dominated by Southern sympathizers. At thirty-seven years of age, Margaret has accepted spinsterhood and embraced her role as teacher. So, when Everett Thompson, the handsomest member of the School Board, reveals his interest in her, it’s a dream come true. Until her passionate ideals drive a wedge between them.

After two decades of hard work, Everett Thompson is on the verge of having everything he’s dreamed of. Even the beautiful new teacher has agreed to his courtship. Then two investments go south and a blackmailer threatens everything Everett has and dreams of.

As Everett scrambles to shore up the crumbling pieces of his life, Margaret unwittingly sets off a scandal that divides the small community and threatens her position as teacher. With the blackmailer still whispering threats, Everett must decide if he’s willing to risk everything for the woman still keeping him at arm’s length.

Kathleen’s Website

Author Denly Photo

Others in this Series:

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Questions about Kathleen’s Story

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

There’s a scene involving a dance on the beach which I loved writing because we get to see the relationship progressing between the hero and heroine. Plus, it’s a secret wink to my husband who taught me to waltz on the beach beneath the stars on my twenty-first birthday.

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

There are so many true historical people, facts, and events included in this novel that I literally wrote pages about them in a “Dear Reader” letter at the back of the book. Not only is the primary plot line inspired by an actual scandal and romance which occurred in 1865 San Diego, but there are direct newspaper articles briefly quoted, and actual events from 1865 newspapers were rewritten to fit the story.

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

When I discovered that San Francisco’s volunteer fireman had brawled in the streets on their way to a fire, it turned out to be the perfect ingredient for a key moment in my story. I also found a way to sneak in the one-man band I learned about, although his mention is brief.

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Questions about Kathleen’s Reading

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

I tend to think of my stories as something of a cross between Elizabeth Camden, Melissa Jagears and Mary Connealy, with a touch of Lauraine Snelling if you remember her Dakota Treasures series. If you enjoy Misty Beller, Melissa Jagears, or Sondra Kraak, those authors are probably the closest to what I write, although none of them have (yet) set their stories in California like I do.

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

Gilbert Morris’s Lone Star Legacy series and Francine River’s Redeeming Love showed me that I could address the raw, uglier side of life in my novels and evoke deep emotions in readers without crossing lines I didn’t want to cross. Mary Connealy’s novels have shown me that humor and fast action don’t displace truth, but come alongside it. Jane Kirkpatrick’s Kinship and Courage series have shown me how history can be woven into beautiful novels.

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

Crystal Caudill’s Counterfeit Love! The premise sounds amazing and I just know Crystal will do it justice. It’s set to release February 15, 2022 and I can’t wait to read it.

Kathleen is giving away either a (signed paperback) (USA Only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter the 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 – Saving Mrs. Roosevelt – Candice Sue Patterson

29 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – Saving Mrs. Roosevelt – Candice Sue Patterson

I’m so excited to have Candice Sue Patterson with us and her contribution to the Heroines of WWII series. The book crosses spying with Lobster catching, what’s not to love!

Have you read any that have come before this one? This is #6 in the series already! All can stand alone.

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Saving Mrs. Roosevelt

The Safety of the First Lady Rests in Shirley’s Hands

Shirley Davenport is as much a patriot as her four brothers. She, too, wants to aid her country in the war efforts, but opportunities for women are limited. When her best friend Joan informs her that the Coast Guard has opened a new branch for single women, they both enlist in the SPARs, ready to help protect the home front.
 
Training is rigorous, and Shirley is disappointed that she and Joan are sent to separate training camps. At the end of basic training, Captain Webber commends her efforts and commissions her home to Maine under the ruse of a dishonorable discharge to help uncover a plot against the First Lady.

Shirley soon discovers nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust? Why do the people she loves want to harm the First Lady? With the help of Captain Webber, it’s a race against time to save Mrs. Roosevelt and remain alive.

Candice’s Website

candicepatterson

 

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Questions about Candice’s Story

What did you learn about yourself while writing this book?

I learned that God is so vital to my writing. I knew this already, of course, but more so with this book. I’ve never written a WWII-era story and I knew that I had to give my very best to the manuscript or I would fail miserably. I prayed over this manuscript more so than any other, and I was amazed at how God provided in so many areas during the journey. That’s what I love most about Christian Fiction. Whether you’re a reader or a writer, God is in the midst.

 

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

Yes! While researching the SPARs, I discovered that the military reached out to Dorothy C. Stratton and asked her to consider directing the reserve. I believed there had to be something special about her that made them go to her, so I began diving deeper into her life. She was a fascinating, highly-intelligent woman with a rich background who could command and stand up for what was right while being a classy lady at the same time. She was the essence of the SPARs, and I knew right away she needed to be in my book. I adore the interaction she has with Shirley (the heroine) and Dorothy soon became one of my favorite characters.

 

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

Though I’ve never lived anywhere other than Indiana, Maine is the home of my heart. Therefore, many of my books are set in Maine. I chose this location for a WWII-era story because when my agent called to let me know about the opportunity for the Heroines of WWII collection, I had just finished writing the first draft of a contemporary story set in Maine that revolved around the lobster industry. I had researched that subject so deeply it was branded on my brain, and I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to research anything else thoroughly enough to create a proposal before the deadline. I started wondering if I could somehow tie lobstering with a WWII-era home front story and before long, I had a plot that coupled lobstering with espionage.

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Questions about Candice’s Reading

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

One of my favorite Christian historical novels is A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander. The hero and heroine were real and lovable and complex, and every piece of the plot flowed together like a song. It was such a beautiful story that it’s stayed with me for a few years now. Occasionally, I’ll go back to it and either reread or listen to the audiobook.anoteyetunsung

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

I always learn something from Elizabeth Camden’s novels. She’s a former research librarian, and her books show that, yet the writing is so well done that you’re entertained the entire time you’re reading. Through her books I’ve learned about the birth of the tuberculosis vaccine, how Congress uses personal librarians to fight for and create laws, the early days of the food manufacturing business and the preservatives used, and the pearl industry. Remembering all those books makes me want to go back and read them all again! LOL

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What was the last Christian Historical Novel you read that wasn’t something you’d normally pick but you ended up enjoying?

The book that comes to mind is Jody Hedlund’s Come Back to Me. It’s a time travel novel that begins in present day then falls into the medieval period. The majority of the story is set historically. Time travel is not my preferred genre, but I love Jody’s books, so I gave it a try. I was not disappointed. I devoured the book in two days. I’m looking forward to the next book in that series.

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Candice is giving away either a paperback (USA Only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

**If you don’t want to enter the 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 – As Dawn Breaks – Kate Breslin

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Give a lovely welcome to Kate on the Index!! Do you not want to steal this cover model’s ensemble for yourself? I do. I’m sure the story is as lovely as the outfit. Check out Kate’s answers to what you’ll find inside!

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As Dawn Breaks

Her daring bid for freedom could be her greatest undoing.

Amid the Great War in 1918 England, munitions worker Rosalind Graham is desperate to escape the arranged marriage being forced on her by her ruthless guardian and instead follow her own course. When the Chilwell factory explodes, killing hundreds of unidentified workers, Rose realizes the world believes she perished in the disaster. Seizing the chance to escape, she risks all and assumes a new identity, taking a supervisory position in Gretna, Scotland, as Miss Tilly Lockhart.

RAF Captain Alex Baird is returning home to Gretna on a secret mission to uncover the saboteur suspected in the Chilwell explosion, as Gretna’s factory is likely next. Fearing for his family’s safety, he’s also haunted by guilt after failing to protect his brother. Alex is surprised to discover a young woman, Miss Lockhart, renting his boyhood room, but the two eventually bond over their mutual affection for his family–until Alex receives orders to surveil her.

Rose squirms beneath Alex’s scrutiny while she struggles to gain her workers’ respect. But when her deception turns to danger, she and Alex must find a way to put their painful pasts behind them and together try to safeguard the future.

Kate’s Website

kate breslin

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Questions about Kate’s Story

What inspired this story?

During the WWI historical research for my last three novels, I read stories about women who stepped into jobs previously assigned to the men now fighting overseas, in order to keep the country running during the war. In particular, the courageous women working in the munitions industry, making shells, packing them with TNT, and making propellant for ammunition. Extremely dangerous work, but most of the women were patriots and their work literally changed the direction of the war for Britain toward victory. I’ve wanted to write about them, and As Dawn Breaks gave me that chance.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

I wrote this novel during the outbreak of Covid-19, and the sudden quarantine that most of us experienced. My own family lives on the other side of the country and I wasn’t able to see them during this time, so writing about the fictional Baird family in my story and my heroine’s longing for a real home made it special for me. As if I had my family near me.

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

I did include a real historical incident with a real British munitions factory in 1918, an event that changed the course of my heroine’s life.

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Questions about Kate’s Reading

inpieces

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

In Pieces by Rhonda Ortiz. So well-written and a beautiful love story. I read it this past July and I still think of it. I definitely recommend it!

midnightdance

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

A Midnight Dance by Joanna Davidson Politano. I’ve read such great reviews about this book and I’m eager to start!

Kate is giving away  a signed paperback (USA Only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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Author Interview and Giveaway – All That is Secret – Patricia Raybon

24 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – All That is Secret – Patricia Raybon

Does this cover not lure you into the opulence of the Roaring Twenties and mystery? Though this is Patricia’s first novel, she’s not a stranger to being an author, and her use of Sherlock Holmes quotes has me intrigued! Welcome, Patricia, to the Index!

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All That is Secret

From award-winning author Patricia Raybon comes a compelling new historical mystery series, a riveting puzzle about a young Black theologian–and Sherlock fan–trying to solve her father’s cold-case murder in a city ruled by the KKK.
It’s the winter of 1923 and Professor Annalee Spain―a clever but overworked theologian at a small Chicago Bible college–receives a cryptic telegram calling her home to Denver to solve the murder of her beloved but estranged father.
For a young Black woman, searching for answers in a city ruled by the KKK could mean real danger. Still, with her literary hero Sherlock Holmes as inspiration, Annalee launches her hunt for clues, attracting two surprising allies: Eddie, a relentless young orphan boy searching for his missing father, and Jack, a handsome young pastor who loves nightclub dancing and fast cars–awakening Annalee’s heart to the surprising highs and lows of romance and love.
With their help, Annalee follows clues that land her among Denver’s powerful elite. But when her sleuthing unravels sinister motives and long-buried lies, will clever Annalee become a victim, too?

Patricia’s Website

patricia

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Questions about Patricia’s Story

What inspired this story?

First, I love clergy mysteries—Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton, Grantchester, and the like. My hope was to introduce a faith character in Colorado—a beautiful “sunshine” place, and my home state, but during one of its darkest times, the 1920s. Good fiction needs a threat element, even if it’s only hovering in the background. So that’s how I used the Klan in my mystery. The story’s foreground centers not on the Klan, but on my lead character—a young Black theologian who’s a fan of Sherlock Holmes—whose amateur sleuthing to solve her father’s murder is impacted at every turn by the threat of the Klan. I hope it makes for good tension.

 

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

My lead character—the young theologian—has a love interest, a handsome young pastor. I loved writing their scenes together: their meet-cute, their facing danger together (as he teaches her to drive his car while they’re being shot at), their first kiss, big blowup argument, his coming to her rescue, their hopeful reconnection for the future (book 2). As I learned, the love archetype in a novel isn’t just for romance. The love archetype is a helping character—the person who cares more than anyone else about the well-being of the lead character, so he bends over backward to try to help her in ordinary life and in their adventure together. As it turns out, helping is a powerfully romantic thing to do.

In my real life, the day after I met a young man, he came over to my apartment to help repair the manifold on my car. A few months later, we were married—and we’ve been married now for forty-plus years. So I loved finding ways for my novel’s love interest to show help and concern—and I loved writing those scenes.

 

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

With regard to the Colorado Klan of the 1920s, the big surprise was how many white citizens actively resisted it. For research, I scoured countless historical newspapers from the Colorado Historic Newspapers site and listened to hours of oral histories available digitally from the Denver Public Library’s Digital Collections, both true treasures. Both shed light on “the story behind the story” of the Klan—that while it became a powerful political bloc in Colorado, with the state having the second-largest Klan membership per capita than any state in the US, with leaders from the Colorado governor to county sheriffs as dues-paying members, many ordinary Klan members felt pressure to join, ditching the organization the second it started to fall out of favor.

Opponents included prominent citizens, of course, but also countless nameless citizens who simply didn’t buy into the hype.

The whole Klan trajectory in Colorado teaches us about the mundane nature of homegrown hate and how it can take root—but also how good people help it die.

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Questions about Patricia’s Reading

crythebelovedcountry

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

My favorite goes way back. It’s Cry, the Beloved Country by South African writer Alan Paton, published in 1948 and an international bestseller. More recently, Oprah Winfrey picked it for her Oprah’s Book Club. It’s described on Amazon as “the deeply moving story of the Zulu pastor Stephen Kumalo and his son, Absalom, set against the background of a land and a people riven by racial injustice. Remarkable for its lyricism, unforgettable for character and incident, Cry, the Beloved Country is a classic work of love and hope, courage and endurance, born of the dignity of man.”

I’ve read it at least twice and plan to reread it again, hopefully within the next year. It’s stunning, heartbreaking yet hopeful, and truly beautiful.

ordinarygrace

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.

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger is a stunning mystery about a pastor’s family caught up in a town’s need for redemption after a daughter goes missing and is found to be murdered. One reviewer called it “pitch-perfect” in every way.  

Similar to Francine Rivers’s Redeeming Love (which gets mentioned a lot), Ordinary Grace taught me about possibility in fiction—that no subject was off-limits and that Christian historical fiction doesn’t have to be safe. Redeeming Love was the first Christian novel I ever read, and I remember thinking—as a woman of color and as a believer—if this is Christian fiction, the gloves are off. Surely I can write about race and faith in a novel. Her novel helped give me that permission.

Ordinary Grace showed me that Christian fiction can aim for crossover appeal. I’m grateful for both of these works and I might not have written my novel without having read them.

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

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Author Interview and Giveaway – Shiloh – Lori Benton

24 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – Shiloh – Lori Benton

The conclusion to Lori’s duology is here. Aren’t these floral covers pretty. I’m sure everyone who’s read the first book are eager to see a happily ever after…will these two find it–together? IF you haven’t read the first one, you’re in luck, this giveaway if for two lucky people to win BOTH books!

Welcome to the Index, Lori!

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Shiloh

A year has passed since Ian Cameron reluctantly sent his uncle’s former slave Seona and their son, Gabriel, north to his kin in Boston. Determined to fully release them, Ian strives to make a life at Mountain Laurel, his inherited plantation, along with Judith, the wife he’s vowed to love and cherish. But when tragedy leaves him alone with his daughter, Mandy, and his three remaining slaves, he decides to return north. An act of kindness on the journey provides Ian the chance to obtain land near the frontier settlement of Shiloh, New York. Perhaps even the hope for a new life with those he still holds dear.

In Boston, Seona has taken her first tentative steps as a free woman, while trying to banish Ian from her heart. The Cameron family thinks she and Gabriel should remain under their protection. Seona’s mother, Lily, thinks it’s time they strike out on their own. Then Ian arrives, offering a second chance Seona hadn’t dared imagine. But the wide-open frontier of Shiloh feels as boundless and terrifying as her newfound freedom—a place of new friends and new enemies, where deep bonds are renewed but old hurts stand ready to rear their heads. It will take every ounce of faith and courage Ian and Seona can muster to fight for their family and their future . . . together.

Lori’s Website

Benton_Lori

Other Books in this Series:

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Questions about Lori’s Story

What was the hardest part of your book to write? What did you enjoy most about writing the book?

The hardest aspect of writing Shiloh was also the one I most enjoyed—moving main characters Ian Cameron and Seona, along with several others from the first Kindred book, Mountain Laurel, from North Carolina to the village of Shiloh, the setting of my debut novel, Burning Sky, on the New York frontier. By doing so I was able to revisit the characters from that earlier novel twelve years beyond the point where it ended, as well as continuing Ian and Seona’s story begun in Mountain Laurel. Weaving those two story-worlds together was painstaking work, requiring many drafts of huge chunks of the book. While Shiloh is primarily a sequel to Mountain Laurel, I wanted to do more than give a few characters from Burning Sky a cameo appearance. I wanted them to be integral to the storyline without overshadowing Ian and Seona’s continuing journey. Being as close to both sets of characters as I naturally am as their creator, I’m thankful for my editing team at Tyndale for helping me find the right balance and a satisfying conclusion to multiple story threads. I couldn’t be more pleased or proud of how we pulled this off.

 

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

I did, and he’s a gem of a character, too. Since it was partly Last of the Mohicans (the book and latest movie version) that ignited my interest in the New York frontier years ago, I was thrilled to discover that author James Fenimore Cooper had a father who was instrumental in settling vast tracts of the New York frontier during the 1790s, the time of Shiloh’s setting. William Cooper rose from a humble wheelwright to become a successful merchant, land speculator, and a politician. He founded Cooperstown in the 1780s and spent the next decades working to entice men to take up farms across the surrounding countryside and elsewhere in New York, including some tracts north of the Mohawk River. Because of a wonderful book called William Cooper’s Town by Alan Taylor it was possible to place the elder Cooper in the path of Ian Cameron when he was on the move north, in search of a new place to settle. And of course I couldn’t resist giving his inspiring author son, James, a cameo in the story, even though he was only a little boy at the time

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Questions about Lori’s Reading

countthenightbystars

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

Count the Nights by Stars by Michelle Shocklee, which doesn’t release until March 2022. I was able to read an early copy for endorsement and suggest readers pre-order this split-time novel set in Nashville, Tennessee during the 1960s and 1890s. I predict you’ll find it so suspenseful you won’t be able to put it down.

anuncommonwoman

What Christian Historical Novel did you last personally recommend to someone and why did you recommend that one to them?

I’m always recommending Laura Frantz’s historical novels to readers of my books looking for something similar. We’re both drawn to those 18th century frontier settings and Laura’s books are always so well written. An Uncommon Woman is one of my favorites.

Lori is giving away TWO SETS of this series in paperback, US entrants only. Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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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!

**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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