Today I welcome Marilyn Peveto. Her debut novel When Your Heart Comes Home released recently. Welcome Marilyn, it’s always fun to share my blog with fellow-authors. Let’s dive right in. How did your writing adventure begin?
Thinking about my writing journey now, I believe it began many, many years ago when our mother took the time to read to us when we were very young. Our small town didn’t have a public library but she made sure we always had books available to read. This began an interest and a love for reading, and then a love for writing.
I always liked to write in some way. In early elementary school I would pen little stories about the events of the day. Later I wrote some poetry and personal essays. But it was only after my children graduated from high school and left for college that I decided I wanted to write a novel.
Of course, wanting to write a novel and doing it are two different things. I knew I had the desire but I didn’t know where to begin. I read about an upcoming writer’s conference in a city near my home and decided to attend. There I learned that I had much to learn, but I also met other writers in my area and joined a local guild.
It took years to complete my first novel. I truly can’t say how many years because I didn’t write continuously during that time. My husband and I had the opportunity to care for all four of our sweet parents during those years so my writing projects were put on hold for awhile.
I’m excited to say my first novel was released on November 14th, 2017. And I’m currently working on the second book in the series.
Tell us a bit about the novel you completed.
When Your Heart Comes Home is my first novel and is set in East Texas in the area
where I live. Texas’s first industrial revolution began in the virgin pine forests of my region around 1880. Up until the beginning of World War II the timber companies drew thousands of families into the sawmill towns and lumber camps.
I chose the time period of 1906 because my grandparents and great-aunts and uncles were young children during this time and they loved to tell of their experiences growing up in the towns that were built around a particular sawmill location in the pine forests.
Even though I heard the stories many years ago, they made an impact on me and stayed with me through the years. There’s just something special about an oral history. The language and feelings that come forth in the storytelling are unique and not easily forgotten.
When Your Heart Comes Home tells the story of Sarah Andersson, a young wife and mother, who is a prominent member of such a tiny sawmill town in East Texas. The struggles she faces and the successes she gains are chronicled in this tale.
Was there a lot of research involved in creating this novel and how did you go about it?
As with most historical fiction novels there was a lot of research involved. There are a couple of museums about two hours from my home that I visited and learned much from the exhibits. The Texas Forestry Museum in Lufkin, Texas has several permanent exhibits that were helpful. The Forest History Wing contained an exhibit entitled “Plain and Simple: Sawmill Folks at Home”. It represented life in a sawmill town in the early 1900’s. Another interesting display was the Sawmill Doctor’s office, an important part of any town during that time period.
The History Center in Diboll, Texas is another museum I visited and it has an extensive collection of photos of early sawmill towns. They are displayed on panels in the exhibit area. The History Center also houses a library and research room with comfortable seating for reading and documenting information.
And probably the main source of research was the books that chronicle the events of the sawmill industry in East Texas. Many of those I already had in my library at home since I have always had an interest in the history of my region.
What inspired you to write your book?
I grew up surrounded by grandparents, great-aunts and uncles who loved to tell stories about their childhood in the early twentieth century. When I was a child we gathered on the front porch in the evening or after Sunday dinners and visited. Tales of life during the early 1900’s always intrigued me, probably because of the memories of those very special times with family.
A bit about When Your Heart Comes Home
Sarah Andersson’s immigrant husband becomes homesick for his native Sweden and insists on returning. A prominent member of tiny Pineville, Texas, Sarah decides to stay behind with their two young children. After her husband is killed before leaving American shores, she grieves his death but is asked to rescue the town’s main business, the sawmill.
When her first love, Thomas Carson, returns to Pineville after a five-year absence, Sarah must put aside the past and ask Thomas to do the same. They can only save their town by working together.
While Sarah grieves, cares for her children, and runs the sawmill, she discovers she has feelings for Thomas. But she worries he hides a dark secret.
Will she allow herself to love again?
Now we’re going to redirect the questions to help my readers learn a little about you.
Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?
I’m always impressed with those who can say they have a favorite verse. I find that it’s taxing to try to narrow it to one. I think that at this time in my life and observing the world as it is today, I would have to say Ephesians 4:32:
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ
forgave you.” NKJV
What is your favorite genre to read for fun?
I’m fond of historical fiction. Sometimes I think it is because I found such joy in the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was a child. I love to be transported to a different time in our country’s history.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I find I do my best writing at home. Sometimes it’s on the back porch soaking up the sunshine. In the winter it may be in a chair beside the fireplace. When I feel the need to be more structured I sit at the desk in my little office space. But it’s always at home with the beagles nearby.
More about Marilyn
Marilyn Peveto is a lifelong East Texan from a family that has lived in the Piney Woods for generations. Growing up hearing tales of sawmills at the turn of the twentieth century made the region’s history a natural setting for her stories.
Her hobbies include reading, browsing in antique stores for her next treasure, and cooking her family’s favorite southern foods.
Marilyn enjoys life with her two adult children, a son-in-law, an adorable granddaughter, her husband of forty-one years and two geriatric beagles who snooze at her feet as she writes.
Thank you for visiting here on Jubilee Writer. Sounds like an interesting read. My reads can purchase When Your Heart Comes Home on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ibooks and Kobo.
Marilyn will be giving a copy of her book away to one lucky winner. All you need to do is comment below to be placed in a drawing. The winner will be notified on Friday.