Interview with Grace Award Winner Sandra Ardoin

Today I welcome Sandra Ardoin recent Grace Award winner for her book  A Reluctant Melody.  Congratulations, Sandy. Sandra Ardoin_Headshot

Tell my readers a little about your writing journey.

Thanks so much for letting me share a bit about myself and my writing with your readers, Cindy!

I began writing in 1986. (Yes, all the way back then.) I started out with greeting cards and poster quotes—even had the fun of seeing a poster with my quote in a MOVIE! After a while, I wrote short stories for children’s denominational publications, then for adults. While being a SAHM, I only worked part-time until about 2008-09. That’s when I felt God opened that door to writing novels. From then on, it’s been my full-time job.

What is your latest published project?

My second book, A Reluctant Melody, came out last year. It’s the story of a secondary character from my first book, The Yuletide Angel. In A Reluctant Melody, Kit Barnes is a man saved from his wild lifestyle by grace. Now, he wants to open a mission for drunkards in a home owned by Joanna Stewart. Joanna, a woman whose affections he once stole from his brother, has yet to find that grace and must choose between protecting herself from a second betrayal by Kit and protecting her best friend from an abusive spouse. It’s a romantic story of secrets, second chances, and redemption.reluctant melody

How do you research for your book?

My research is mostly done online. There are some things I must know are possible before I begin the story—places, time frames, the best area to set the book, etc. However, many of the tiny details are researched as I go. It’s not an ideal way to do it, and I’m trying to get to a point where I can make a note and write on, intending to check the facts later.

A Reluctant Melody takes place in a fictional town, but is set in the North Carolina area in which I live, so setting wasn’t hard to write. And Google Books is my friend. I find so much information in the books of the era. I’ll even use them to check proper word usage. Chronicling America is a gold mine of information through the pages of the newspapers of the time. For instance, in my (as-yet-unpublished) novella about the Nome gold rush, I found quite a bit of detail through issues of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, including the ship my heroine would have taken from Seattle to Nome.

What inspired you to write your book?

I love reading a book and picking out a secondary character whose story I would like to read. This happens even in my own stories. I always find characters I think will make great heroes and/or heroines for another book. That’s how Kit came to be the hero of A Reluctant Melody.

When did you realize your calling to create words on paper to share with the world?

I wouldn’t say I realized it was a calling. I consider it more a ministry. God has allowed me to do something I truly enjoy that helps this highly shy introvert to speak of the gospel. Writing was something I’d wanted to do for a long time and never had the courage to tackle. When I was still single, I took a writing class and thought I’d use it as a second income (hear me laughing!). I was hooked.

Do you have a favorite verse that resonates with you?

I have several. Jeremiah 29:11 is a biggie for me with my writing, but Isaiah 55:8-9 are amazing for keeping my perspective as to who God is and who I am. Then, there are numerous verses in Colossians—one of my favorite books—such as Colossians 1:17 – “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Isn’t that encouraging?

If you could go back in time and give one piece of advice for your younger self about writing what would that be?

“You got it all wrong, kid.” I’d tell myself that writing is harder than it appears. Finding a publisher is even harder. And NEVER EVER do it for the money. 😊

Who is your best support system to keep you focused on your writing?

Other than writer friends who are incredibly encouraging, I’d have to say readers who leave reviews are my best support system. I don’t expect everyone to like my stories, but I’ve been blessed by good reviews so far. Even ones that are critical in some way are helpful, as long as they contain information I can use to make my next books better.

Available on Amazon

What is your favorite genre to read for fun?

At this time, I write historical romance and it’s my go-to for reading. However, I thoroughly enjoy romantic suspense or mystery. I will read straight romance, but anything that has mystery and danger is tops on my reading list. I don’t even want to know what that says about me.

Where is your favorite place to write?

When my daughter moved out to be on her own, I took over her bedroom—something I’m not sure she’s gotten over yet. I painted, added my desk and other furniture, decorated with fun writerly things and antique knick-knacks, then shut the door on the real world.

How can people follow you and your work?

If anyone wants more info about my writing and what’s coming up, I’d be thrilled for you to sign up for my Love and Faith in Fiction newsletter and receive a FREE short story when you do. My emails go out quarterly, unless an exciting offer pops up that I think you should know about.

BIO:

Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, and antique store prowler. Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

 

A Reluctant Melody – 2016 Grace Award Winner

Kit Barnes’ drinking ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. The most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past and the one person he hurt the most.

A pariah among her peers, Joanna is all too eager to sell her property and flee the rumors that she sent her late husband to an early grave. But she will let the gossips talk and the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she’ll allow Kit back into her life.

When a blackmailer threatens to reveal her long-held secret, she must choose between trusting Kit or seeing her best friend trapped in an abusive marriage.

Will Joanna risk another betrayal? Or will she find a way through the pain of the past to love and trust again?

Links to purchase:

A Reluctant Melody

Readers, please share what comment of Sandy’s resonated with you?

There are more in depth interviews coming up and if you aren’t a subscriber you’ll want to sign up to meet some more awesome authors and learn their stories.

Do’s and Don’t of Book Reviews

 

woman reading book

Write a review it takes only a few minutes.

I last posted a how-to article on submitting book reviews on Amazon. Today I thought I’d do a refresher on the concept of a review—specifically reviews on Amazon and other book sale sites. In these reviews, don’t think you must retell the story. The book ad has a blurb describing the content. So, our job as the reviewer is to express to potential readers what we liked or didn’t like about a book.

Our review can be as simple as one line.

“I could not put this book down.”

“I read it in one day.”

“Not my cup of tea.”

None of these one-liners mention the story’s content. But, it’s their honest review. A friend asks you, “Did you see such and such a movie?” Your response might be. “It was cool.” Now if you know this person and you have similar tastes you’ll go see it.

A book review needs a bit more information because many strangers will be reading your comments. Two of the one-liners above tell me the book kept the reader’s attention and the third it didn’t. Add a line or two telling why.

Describe what you loved about it. “I loved not figuring out who done it before it was revealed at the end of the book.” If I am looking for a mystery this is a comment that gets my interest.

“Not sappy. Strong female characters. Interesting twists. More than a simple romance.” I love a romance with more than two people making eyes at each other.  So, this review has my interest.

“I learned so much about life during the Civil War. Well-researched.” I like historicals that are fact filled. I’d consider reading this novel.

Some reviewers copy exact quotes from the book. That is so cool. Tells me the writer is a great wordsmith if the reader is captured by the words enough to quote them.

glasses on paper-2

What not to review

I read a review of a thriller that I found odd. “Too creepy.” She said. The reviewer added she didn’t like being scared. Not sure why she read a thriller when the whole point is to scare the reader at least a little.

Don’t bother to review a book you haven’t finished. If you do, admit you couldn’t finish it and say why.

Don’t review a book from genre you never read unless you loved it. It’s not fair to the writer. You can’t give an honest review of a genre you don’t like. There are specific ingredients that make up each genre. If you only like pie then cake may never satisfy you even if it has won a blue ribbon.

There are rare occasions when I’m asked to review a book way out of my wheelhouse. And if I am surprised that the content interested me, I mention that in the review. But often, I’ll suggest the author find someone who loves their genre to review it.

Please don’t review a book you have never read because your friend told you it was terrible and ask you to help get the word out. The flip side is true too. Don’t give a 5-star rating to a book your friend loved but you never read it. Honestly, I’ve meant people who are lemmings when it comes to reviews. This is not fair to prospective readers.

Longer reviews

There are those who write wonderful long reviews that compare the book to others in the genre or other titles the author has written. This is helpful to many who follow a specific author.  These longer reviews can often capture the attention of a new readers. If the review of an up and coming Romance novelist is compared to Nicholas Sparks or Debbie Macomber their fans will probably buy the book.

Be kind

But you don’t have to wax poet or long. Just be honest. While you’re at it, be kind. Snarky lines only give you grief. I did that only once. The feedback from the irate author and his fake friends (he wrote more criticisms of me under various names.) was not worth the time it took me to be snarky. We are not Sisko and Ebert getting big bucks to be brash, so keep your criticism mellow.

Misspelling and confusion

Be sure if you mention a character that you have the name right. Someone praised my heroine using the wrong name. It’s easy to do. We get involved in the story and then the names get jumbled in our heads later. Try to have no typos, especially the authors name. Yes, I’ve done that too. I’ve caught myself misspelling a name. Yay for the edit button.

Recap

Be honest.

Be clear.

Be kind.

Be accurate.

Don’t give a bad review for a genre you don’t read.

Don’t review a book you’ve never read.

Don’t retell the story.

Final thought

Please, please, please don’t give spoilers. As much as you want to, don’t tell me the twist details.  Save those comments for your book club.

What are you favorite kinds of reviews when you are considering buying a book?

If you’ve read Secrets & Charades I hope you’ve posted a review. If you haven’t read it yet check it out. There’s a buy link below.

secret-charades-front-cover

Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.

Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage

Click here to order

Connect with Cindy:

Facebook Author Page: https ://www.facebook.com/author.huff11/

Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/author/cindyervinhuff

Pinterest: yes

Google+:https://plus.google.com/u/0/117599590227912410637

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8029703-cindy-ervin-huff

Twitter: https:// twitter.com/CindyErvinHuff

Interview with Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

Catherine BrakefieldToday I’m excited to welcome Catherine Ulrich Brakefield to Jubilee Writer. She has a new novel I had the opportunity to preview. Swept into Destiny is a wonderful Civil War era novel. It releases May 16th.  I loved the Irish immigrant hero Ben so much because of my own Irish immigrant ancestors. Cathy did some wonderful research to bring this story to life. So, I asked her to come and share about her story.

Cathy, thanks for coming.

My first question is why the Irish? It’s not often we see them in forefront of Civil War fiction.

Swept into Destiny is a work of fiction; however, the story was inspired by my grandmother and mother.

My grandmother was of Irish, English decent with a little of Scottish peppered in for good measure and a hint of Cherokee Indian. Through my grandmother I learned about what the Irish immigrant endured. My grandmother’s ancestors were slave owners way back when, but it was my mother who told me that the Irish did the life-threatening work so the slaves’ lives would not be sacrificed.

Thinking about it, this is understandable. Slaves were expensive and Irish immigrants were a dime a dozen during the 1840s and ’50s!

How much research did you do before writing your novel?

I really began my research in 2005, after my children went off to school and Gran went to live with Jesus. Gran lived with our family for twelve years. I had written down tablets of information and at that time just for my children.  I then asked my mother about certain events, and she encouraged me to write a book.  I decided to write a historical romance and that’s when I began my book research.

You had a few historical characters interact with Ben and Maggie. Tell us why you chose each one and how it added to your story.

Lincoln is my favorite. His dogmatic pursuit for the common man, and not caring what the color of his skin wasn’t popular during the 1850s. But Lincoln stood his ground.  Of course, there was John Brown who had his method of helping the Negro. General Grant, my respect grew the more I researched him. I realized his determination to keep the United States together was his sole objective. And he showed so much of the caring side of his character in his actions at Appomattox. I had to put in George Armstrong Custer, he being from Michigan and the fact that he laid claim to an Irish marching song for his cavalry regiment. Sherman never got better with research in my estimation, but worse. Dr. Isaac Anderson, or Mr. Greatheart as he was often called, had just gone to be with Jesus when Swept into Destiny opens; however, I did find ways of showing his influence on the people of Maryville.

God moves in mysterious ways. I met my husband on a 747 going on a vacation to Hawaii, he was stationed in Oahu in Naval Intelligence and was originally from Birmingham, Alabama. Well, to make a long story short, we ended up marrying.

Through my husband, I learned more about the South that you can’t find in history books. Their southern hospitality, charm, Christian values, and loyalties. Some people didn’t have a true perspective about Lincoln or Grant. I learned that not all southerners wanted to secede from the Union, but joined the Confederacy because of loyalty to the southern cause.

I loved the addition of singing to the Union camp scenes. Where did you find the lyrics for your Irish songs?

My grandmother knew a few songs and in 2000 my husband and I went to Ireland for foxhunting. I gleaned a lot of information about these fun-loving and fearless people. Wow! They can really foxhunt. I have a picture of one Irishman jumping over a stone wall right onto a road! I bought books, and asked questions, and did a whole lot of listening and writing.

Then I accompanied my father with the remnants of his World War II regiment to Gettysburg. Well, what did I see, but a Celtic Cross that stood 19’ dedicated to the Irish Brigade. In my author’s note in the back of Swept into Destiny I explain more about the cross.

Can you share a bit about your story?

One brave decision leads to serious consequences. Maggie is secretly educating the slaves at Spirit Wind Manor. But the manor’s serenity is soon threatened by abolitionist John Brown. A new republic looms on the horizon and with Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, her countrymen’s anger escalates as secession spreads across the southern states. With the fires of civil war glowing on the horizon, Maggie is swept into its embers realizing she is in love with the manor’s hardworking, handsome Irishman Ben McConnell. Ben joins the Union Army and Maggie is forced to call him her enemy. An unexpected chain of events leads her into choosing where her loyalties lie. Conscience and consequence—did she care more for Ben or for her beloved South? As the battle between North and South rages, Maggie is torn. Was Ben right? Had this Irish immigrant perceived the truth of what God had predestined for America?

When I finished the book, it felt like there should be a sequel. Is a sequel planned?

Yes! I am excited to say this is the first book of a four-book series, inspired by my grandmother and mother. We will follow the generations beginning in the Antebellum Era, into the Spanish-American War, onto World War I, the Great Depression and World War II.

What motivates you to write?

I write to spread the truth about our Christian-American heritage. I hope to write America’s story one truth at a time.  Americans need to know that this nation is founded upon Christian principles, values, and as the Battle Hymn of the Republic so bravely says, “His truth is marching on … Glory, glory, hallelujah!”

Share your favorite writing tip?

Pray for God’s guidance and for Him to be the orchestrater of your words. Then write, write, write, from your heart and give the glory to Jesus!

What writer has had the biggest influence on you?

As a young girl, Louise May Alcott began my love for books. Jane Austen’s books gave me my love for the poetic language of words. I know the readers now like easier reads with less poetic and less scenery description. However, these books had the greatest influence and my inspiration in my writing.

Thank you so much for dropping by. Before you go can you tell us a bit about upcoming novels?

My next novel is Into Destiny’s Whirlwind and you get a glimpse of the first chapter with your purchase of Swept into Destiny. Into Destiny’s Whirlwind begins in 1898, just before the Spanish American War begins. Each book will have Book Club Discussions Questions for more in-depth study into the historical significance of the times.

More about Catherine

Catherine says, “My readers inspire my writing. She is the author of three faith-based historical romances; The Wind of Destiny, Wilted  Dandelions, and the first of a four book Destiny series, Swept into Destiny scheduled for release on May 16, 2017. She has also written two pictorial history books: Images of America: The Lapeer Area, and Images of America: Eastern Lapeer County.

She enjoys swimming and horseback riding and lives in Addison Township, Michigan, with her husband, Edward, and their Arabian horses. Now that her children are grown and married, she and Edward are the blessed recipients of two handsome grandsons and a lovely granddaughter!

See www.CatherineUlrichBrakefield.com for more information

Her author Facebook page is www.facebook.com/CatherineUlrichBrakefield To purchase Wilted Dandelions and Swept into Destiny and for book promotions visit www.CrossRiverMedia.com

We are having a drawing for Swept into Destiny. One lucky reader will receive a paperback copy after it releases on May 18th. So I am running this giveaway until the 18th. That’s 7 days to allow more people  a chance to comment below. Tell us why you’d like a copy of Swept into Destiny. Share this blog on your social media for a second entry. Just leave another message that you spread the word.

Swept-Cover small

Click here to preorder on Amazon

What I Learned From My Live Book Launch

DSC_1202Last night was my live book launch. Not all authors do them. But for me, it was an opportunity to celebrate with friends, family, and co-workers. I wanted to share with you what I did. There are some basics everyone follows. The biggest of course, selling autograph copies. I’d read that book launches are more successful if they are not in a bookstore. So, I chose the fireplace room at my church. It had more of a living room feel.

S&C - invite postcard for social media(1)I post an invitation on FB multiple times. And passed out invitations to friends and co-workers. My hubby placed them on various bulletin boards in restaurants so perspective readers would be aware.

For the event, I decorated with a few flowers, table cloths that match my book cover. I served cookies and other finger foods along with coffee, lemonade, and water. I kept it simple and avoided crumblier fare like cupcakes.DSC_1208

My hubby set my book trailer to play on a loop. It showed on the big screen in the room during the whole event. That garnered more interest in the story.

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I share a few minute about my writing journey. Had a drawing for items that represented my story. I talked about the significance of each one in relationship to the story. (Each entry provided an email which gave me new names for my mailing list.) I read the first two pages of my book to the attendees.  Then we had a Q & A. The questions were interesting and a few silly. (My grandson who is 18 asked when his name was going to be in my book.)DSC_1196

Then I sat at a table and autographed books. My son took care of the money. I used a square so as not to miss any sales.

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Now I feel more confident about doing signings and other events in the future.

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What I could I have done better?

Advertised sooner and in more places. Mailed out some invitations.

Double check each item before I left. My husband had to run back for a few things before we started. Know the internet password. Fortunately, my son has a phone he can create an internet hotspot so we were saved when it came to square sales. It probably would be wise to look for that option for my phone when I’m out and about selling my paperback copies.

Less is more. I had way to many cookies and brought too many books. But both were an act of faith. Not a bad reason. I’d rather have too much than not enough. 😊

The event was encouraging and the comments from attendees were precious. This is what a real author does. YAY! I am a real author.

Link to my trailer and on the last frame is the link to order on Amazon

Love to hear from you in the comment section about your own book launches. Or any questions you might have.

When Your Book Debuts:Virtual Book Launch, Giveaways and Blog Tours

 

celebration-2003146_1280Virtual Parties pepper cyber space. These events cover everything from a new product line to a Birthday party for a loved one far away. Virtual Book launch parties are the new must do thing for Authors who are serious about marketing their books. I’ve been to a few. Now it is time for me to host my own. I’m looking forward to seeing how successful my launch will be.

My novel Secrets and Charades releases Wednesday. I’m celebrating on my Facebook Author page. click here. My marketing Diva Paige has set up the event and all of you are invited to attend. Here is the link to the event page.

I’ll be playing a trivia game. Commenters can find the answers on my Author page. The prizes are fun items related to my story. A few lucky commenters will win free copies of my novel in Kindle and paperback. I’m also adding an Amazon gift card to the mix. I’ll be premiering my book trailer as well.

We’ll have a fun and you won’t even have to leave your house. The cool thing about a virtual party is you can go visit it after the party is no longer live. So if 2-4pm CST doesn’t work for you check out the fun for a few more days.

secret-charades-front-cover

My biggest fear in planning this party is very few people will stop by to say hello and comment. And when we have a Q&A no one will have any questions. So, this is a big step for me. I’ll share what I learned from my experience in a later post.

Stop by, invite your friends. I won’t be posting on this blog Thursday because I’ll be busy decorating.

Blog Tours

Blog Tours are another must for Authors. So, I’m doing guest posts for twelve different blogs.Three have already been posted and the rest will post this week. Tomorrow the actual day my book releases you can find me on three more.

here Author Culture

here Beth Ziarnek

here Love lines from God

. I’ll be giving away books to commenters there too. More chances to win

Speaking of winners Heather Roberts is the first official winner of my novel from last weeks post on memes. Congratulations Heather.

 

 

 

An Interview with Jake Marcum Hero of Secrets and Charades

s-c-jakes-quoteSecrets and Charades has a very interesting hero. Jake Marcum, rancher, Civil War veteran and doting uncle. I corralled him long enough to do this interview.

Thank you so much for stopping by.

Well, ma’am, Evangeline insisted it was my turn. Not so sure how interesting I’ll be but go ahead and ask your questions.

Tell us a bit about your childhood.

I had two brothers and a sister. Our family headed west when my Pa got gold fever in ‘49. Our wagon broke down near Ben Mitchell’s place. He talked sense into Pa and taught him all he knew about ranching. Our small spread adjoined Ben’s property.

What happened to your family?

My sister run off with some no count drummer. That’s a traveling salesman. Then Clevis went back to Kentucky to attend college. He wanted to be a lawyer. I’d rather ranch. When the conflict broke out Clevis planned to join the Confederate Army. Pa sent me to Kentucky to bring him home. My older brother persuaded me to join the cause instead. He died six months later. My little brother Robert died from an injury falling off his horse. My Ma had died before I went to get Clevis and Pa died while I was away.

herd of horses

photo by morguefile.com

What was it like when you returned from the war?

Tougher than the battlefield. There was this gal, Nora. I thought we had an understanding. While I was gone, she’d married my brother and expecting their child.   Well, I ain’t proud of my action at the time. Nightmares from the war made me unfit to be around. Ben Mitchell invited me to join his outfit. He helped me dry out and introduced me to the Lord. He’d lost both his sons in the war so he kinda adopted me. I inherited his ranch when he passed. A year later Nora died in childbirth. They buried her newborn son with her. My brother and I were working out our differences when he died. My niece, Juliet come to live with me. She was six. Having her in my life helped heal the rift between Robert and me.

After your conversion, did you still have nightmares?

Sure. God changed me and helped me be a better man. But when the responsibilities of running this spread make me lose sleep—the nightmares come. And worrying about Evangeline coming gave me a few doozies. I still have them. Not as often. I reckon it’s a cross I must bear.

What challenges did you encounter taking over a ranch the size of the Double M?

Yeah. The neighbors looked at me as a gold-digger. But  I think you mention it in your book. Anyway,  Ben was a real Duke or something back in England. He called the ranch the Royal M. I think his surname was something different before he came to America. Anyway, the Double M stands for Mitchell and Marcum.  Several of Ben’s crew have stayed on with me over the years. Cookie Slade was Ben’s old foreman before he got gored by a steer. He stays on helping where he can. Don’t know what I’d do without him. He’s the one who encouraged me to take in Juliet and get me a mail-order bride.Brides71

What were you looking for in a bride?

Let just say, I think God was laughing when I made my request. He knew the kind of wife I needed even if I didn’t.

What was your biggest challenge before Evangeline came into your life?

There were two. Too few cowboys to run the ranch.  My wealthy neighbor kept stealing my men by offering them huge wages. The loyal ones stay. Sides they don’t like that Farley character much. He thinks he’s King of the county.

The second, I had to juggle teaching Juliet to read and cipher around chores. So, her education was sketchy. I felt like I’d betrayed my sister-in-law when I saw how much of a tomboy Juliet was becoming. Nora wanted her daughter to be the bell of the ball, not a ranch hand. So, finding an educated wife to teach my niece was my number priority.

Thanks so much for spending time with my readers.

My pleasure, ma’am.

If you missed my interview with Evangeline, the heroine of Secrets and Charades click here.

Jake and Evangeline’s story Secrets and Charades is available for preorder on Amazon.

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An Interview with Secrets and Charades Heroine Evangeline

secret-charades-front-coverToday, I’ve invited Dr. Evangeline Olson-Marcum to my blog. She is the heroine of my Historical Romance, Secrets and Charades, set in the imaginary town of Charleton Texas circa 1872. I thought an exclusive interview with Evangeline might be fun. I’ve asked her to share back-story and tidbits, not in the novel.

Welcome, Evangeline.

It is my honor. As I told Juliet, family history is important. So, please ask your questions.

Tell us about your parents and siblings?

I was born in New York, one of six children. I was the youngest girl and my baby brother Charley and I were close. My father Hans Olson’s parents came from Norway and my mother Molly O’Malley immigrated here from Ireland with her sister May. Pa owned a small mercantile, and she worked as a maid. It was love at first sight. They left New York when I was a wee thing and homesteaded in Wisconsin. Uncle Carl had offered to bring Pa into his business but he had his heart set on farming.

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How was life after your mother died?

Pa spoiled me. I have my mother’s burgundy hair and green eyes. While my three sisters have Pa’s blond hair and blue-eyed. I spent more time playing with Charley then learning domestic skills. Greta, Heidi, and Katie took turns mothering me. If they joined forces, I hadn’t a prayer. When I was 12 my father died and Ernest, the eldest took over the farm. By then Greta and Heidi were married and Katie engaged.

Are you comfortable telling my readers what happened when you were 13?

Not really. I’ll just say the months I spent in New York with Uncle Carl’s family changed me. I buried the details in a journal and the hurt hidden in my heart.

Why did you become a doctor?

My sister Katie married a doctor. Shamus was a pacifist. When the War between the States broke out, he offered medical aid to both sides of the conflict. She and I became his nurses. We gathered the wounded from the battlefield. Confederate and Union soldiers. Shamus encouraged me to pursue a medical degree. Unlike Katie, I discovered I liked restoring health. By the time, I found a medical school that accepted female students my apprenticeship under Shamus had put me well ahead of the male students. The challenge of staying at the top of the class as a female was exhausting. The professors and male students did their best to discourage me. After completing my degree, I went into practice with Shamus. Even though the community knew me, they did not respect me as a doctor.

1870s womanWhy would a doctor choose to be a mail-order bride?

My niece, Maggie, trapped me into it. And of course, the secrets from my past. God had me right where he wanted me. Your readers will have read my story for themselves.

What would you like readers to learn from your story?

My heart changed when I accepted the lesson Jesus had for me. The past does not dictate my future. The Lord forgives and offers a new beginning. I hope your readers will take courage and embrace their faith with confidence.

Thanks for coming, Evangeline

My Pleasure.

Here is the back-cover copy for Secrets and Charades:

Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.

Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.

Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage.

If you want to learn more pick up a copy of Secrets and Charades available for pre-order.

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