http://www.mltyndall.com/ or her blog at http://crossandcutlass.blogspot.com/
I really enjoy having you on my blog, MaryLy. Why did you become an author?
I love to write! That’s the first prerequisite. :-) I wrote stories, poems, and novels as a hobby for most of my life, never expecting to get published. So, why did I become an author? Because God led me to submit one of those stories I wrote to a publisher. And I did. And they liked it! The rest is history. God is good.
I do agree. It's really a blessing to have a job that gives yourself and others so much pleasure. If you weren’t an author, what would be your dream job?
Painting beautiful oil seascapes. Well, beautiful ones, I hope. I love to paint, although I don’t think I ever got very good at it.
If you could have lived at another time in history, what would it be and why?
Mid-nineteenth century when our country was still young and government officials still had integrity and honor and we could still pray in school, and men were men and women, women. And chivalry was not dead!
Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? What place in the United States have you not visited that you would like to?
As far as cities go, I’d love to visit Boston, Savannah, and St. Augustine, but I’d also love to see Yellowstone National Park.
How about a foreign country you hope to visit?
Israel is at the top of my list. Then England and France. I’d love to see all the historic sites and buildings! Drool. But the Holy Land takes top priority. I hope for a chance to see it before I die.
What lesson has the Lord taught you recently?
I think too often we Christians try too hard to act like Christians. We say the right things, do the right things, watch our language, avoid looking at things we shouldn’t. We try to be good witnesses to our lost friends and loved ones and say all the right words. I don’t know about you, but I always fall so short. I get nervous when I’m around an unbeliever because I want so badly for them to know the truth. I want so badly to be a good ambassador for Christ. In essence, I don’t want to blow it. But I always walk away feeling like I let God down. But the Lord, in his great mercy and love, has been telling me the following:
Stop trying. We can never “try” to be like God and expect it to work on our own power. All the trying in the world does not produce godliness. If we want to be like Jesus, to have His impact on the world, then we need to hang out with Him. We become more like Him by spending time with Him. Then one day we’ll wake up and surprise ourselves when we are good witnesses without having to even try. We just will “be” like Jesus.
That realization will change a person's life, and the lives of others. Tell us about the featured book?
What happens when a bitter Frenchman who’s sworn off God falls in love with a pious woman determined to change him?
Will Grace discover God’s purpose for her on this harrowing journey? And what will she do when she realizes that purpose is not to redeem the wicked Captain Rafe Dubois, but herself.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Outside Charles Towne, Carolina, October, 1718
Black, menacing clouds snarled a warning from the Carolina skies.
Clutching her skirts, Grace Westcott trudged down the muddy path. A shard of white light forked across the dark vault, and she glanced up as thunder rumbled in the distance.
“I hope the rain doesn’t catch us, miss.” Alice’s shaky voice tumbled over Grace from behind.
“Never fear, Alice, we are almost there.” Grace pushed aside a leafy branch that encroached upon the trail. As the wind picked up and raindrops began to rap on the leaves above them, the wall of greenery arching overhead provided a shelter that brought an odd comfort to Grace.
“Look, miss. This plant. Isn’t it bloodroot?” Alice squeaked. “To heal afflictions of the skin?”
Grace huffed. Her legs ached from the mile-long journey from Charles Towne. She could hear the rush of the Ashley River in the distance. They were close to the Roberts’ cabin, to poor little Thomas, sick with a fever and in desperate need of the medicines they brought.
Whirling around, Grace examined the leaf in her maid’s hands. “Nay. ’Tis not bloodroot, as you well know.” She searched Alice’s eyes but the maid kept her gaze lowered. “Whatever is the matter with you today?”
The maid cast a quick glance over her shoulder and shrugged. “I am only trying to help, miss.”
“You can help by hurrying along. Thomas may be failing as we speak.” Grabbing her skirts, Grace turned and forged ahead. A drop of rain splattered on her forehead, and she swiped it away.
“But the rain, miss. Shouldn’t we return home and don some proper attire?”
“Mercy me, Alice. We are nearly there. A bit of rain will not harm us. We’ve been in far more dangerous situations.” Grace hoisted the sack stuffed with herbs, fresh fruit, and rice farther up her aching shoulder. “Besides we are going about God’s work. He will take care of us.”
Grace heard Alice’s shoes squish in the mud “Indeed, miss.”
Her maid’s voice quivered—a quiver that set Grace’s nerves on edge, along with the dark tempest brewing above them. Something was bothering the woman, Grace couldn’t guess what.
Another flash lit up the sky. Releasing her skirts to the sticky mud, Grace pushed aside a tangled vine that seemed to be joining forces with Alice in attempting to keep her from continuing. Musky air, heavy with moisture and laden with scents of earth and life, filled her nostrils. Thunder bellowed, closer this time, and raindrops tapped upon the canopy of leaves overhead. Plowing ahead, Grace ignored the twinge of guilt at her most recent expedition. One of many expeditions she’d been strictly forbidden to embark upon—both by her father, before he set sail for Spain, and more recently, her sister Faith and Faith’s new husband, Dajon. But Grace could not allow anyone or anything to stop her from doing what God had commissioned her to do: feed the poor, tend to the sick, and spread the good news of His Gospel.
She glanced up at the dark clouds swirling like some vile witch’s brew. Perhaps she should have left a note informing Faith of her whereabouts. No matter. She would drop off the food and herbs, attend to Thomas, and be home before sunset.
Grace emerged from the green fortress into a clearing. Thunder bellowed, and she shivered as a chill struck her. In the distance, the wide Ashley River tumbled along its course. A cabin perched by the water’s edge, smoke curling from its chimney. Squaring her shoulders, she took a deep breath and quickened her pace. “Here at last. And, as you can see, Alice, all is well.”
A nervous giggle sounded from behind her.
Hoisting the sack higher up on her shoulders, Grace clutched her skirts and climbed the steps of the cabin, but before she could knock on the door, it swung open. Mr. Roberts, a burly red-faced man with unruly dark hair, stared curiously at her for a moment then cocked his head and smiled. “Miss Grace. A grand pleasure to see you.” His glance took in Alice standing on the steps behind Grace. His forehead wrinkled. “What brings you this far from home on such a rainy day? Helen, Miss Grace has come for a visit,” he yelled over his shoulder. The scent of smoke and some sort of meaty stew wafted over Grace.
“Why, we’ve come to help Thomas of course.” Lightning flashed, casting a momentary grayish shroud over Mr. Roberts’s normally ruddy face.
“Thomas needs help?” He scratched his thick, dark mane.
Alice’s boots thudded on the steps, and Grace turned to see her maid inching away from the cabin, her chin lowered.
Shaking her head, Grace faced Mr. Roberts. “Yes, you sent Alfred yesterday to inform us of Thomas’s fever and ask for my help, did you not?” The man looked puzzled. Grace slid the sack from her shoulder and set it down on the planks of the porch. “I’ve brought elder root and dogwood bark for his fever and some fresh fruit and rice for you and your family.”
Mrs. Roberts appeared in the doorway, her infant daughter cradled in her arms. “Grace, what a wonderful surprise. Henry, don’t just stand there. Invite her in out of the rain.”
“Thomas isn’t sick.” Mr. Roberts’ nose wrinkled. “And Alfred was here with us all day yesterday.”
Grace swerved about to question Alice, but the girl was nowhere in sight. Descending the stairs, she dashed into the clearing, her heart in her throat as she scanned the foliage for any sign of her maid.
A swoosh of leaves and stomp of boots reached her ears, then a band of five men materialized from the foliage. Armed with cutlasses and pistols, they stormed toward Grace. She tried to move her feet, but the thick mud clung to them like shackles. Mr. Roberts cursed and ushered his wife inside. The baby began to howl.
A tall, sinewy man halted before her. A burst of wind struck him, fluttering the green feather atop his cocked hat and the tips of the black hair grazing his shoulders. He shifted his jaw, peppered with black stubble, and gazed at her with eyes the color of the dark clouds churning above them. A slow smile crept across his lips, lifting his thin, rakish mustache. “Mademoiselle Grace Westcott, I presume.” His thick French accent turned her blood to ice.
Grace met his gaze squarely. “I am, sir.”
With a snap of his fingers, two of his men flanked her. “You will come with us.”
“I will not.” The men wrenched her arms behind her back. Pain shot across her shoulders.
The snap of a rifle sounded, drawing the man’s attention to Mr. Roberts pointing his musket in their direction. “Leave her be.”
More, I want more! How can readers find you on the Internet?
My website: http://www.mltyndall.com/
My blog: http://www.crossandcutlass.blogspot.com/
Thank you, MaryLu, for spending this time with us.
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