How did you come up with the idea for this story?
Well, when I realized how Matt, the hero in Maverick Heart, was much more like a brother to Micah, the hero in Unbridled Hope, I needed to find a way to underscore their relationship. What better way than to have Micah make an ultimate sacrifice for the cousin who'd defended him from bullies? Then, one thing just led to another, and before I knew it, a steamboat had exploded, a boy went deaf, and an innocent baby was in need of a family!
Just like that? Huh? Sounds wonderful. If you were planning a party with Christian authors of contemporary fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
Hmm…that's a tough one, because I have dozens and dozens of writer pals are fun and talented! I guess I'd have to put all of their names in a hat to choose just six of them!
Now let’s do that for a party for Christian authors of historical fiction, what six people would you invite and why?
I'd have to do the very same thing for writers of historical Christian fiction!
You know you’d have to pick me for that one. Many times, people (and other authors) think you have it made with so many books published. What is your most difficult problem with writing at this time in your career?
The biggest challenge I face—and I think it's a problem for every writer—is TIME. I sometimes wonder if I'll ever find a way to convince friends and family that working at home and having unlimited free time isn't synonymous! The other difficulty is making tough choices, between "doing the right thing" when a friend or relative needs me…and meeting a crushing book deadline.
Tell us about the featured book.
Life is a dream come true for pretty Callie Roberts—until her worst nightmare comes true. A steamboat boiler explosion kills her parents, her oldest brother, and her fiancé. It also leaves her young brother deaf and carves a hideous scar across her face…a haunting reminder of the tragedy that she is convinced is all her fault. In an attempt to get on with her life, she and her brother settle in
, where, in no time, her shop becomes one of the most successful in town. Eagle Pass, Texas
Life isn't quite as successful for the Neville family, whose Lazy N Ranch is struggling, following oppressive drought, an Anthrax epidemic, weevils, and prairie fires. Micah volunteers to go to San Antonio for fresh seed to replenish the silos, destroyed by a tornado, but his offer has an ulterior motive: His cousin Dan is in trouble, as evidenced by the letter Micah intercepted by mistake, and he intends to make things right!
It's a shock to everyone when Micah returns with a baby in tow. He's determined to do anything in his power to protect Dan's reputation, even if it means pretending to be the boy's father. He can handle gossip and judgmental glances just fine, and when Callie offers to help him take care of the child, gratitude quickly blossoms into love.
But will the misguided decisions these two have made keep them apart, or can they face the truth about themselves—and one another—and discover a love they could never have imagined?
Now it really sounds intriguing. Please give us the first page of the book.
Raw, unrelenting wind whistled across the deckboards, scattering newspapers and rattling the cleats as the steamboat chugged toward its next stop, Clear Fork. Callie cupped her elbows, wishing she'd thought to grab her shawl. She'd never liked weather like this, for it reminded her too much of the bitter
winter of '85 that nearly killed her mother…and prompted her father's decision to move the family west. Ever since, Callie had begun every day with a prayer for her mother's continued health, and ended by asking God to ease the ache of homesickness. Baltimore
In time, the Lord answered the first prayer. The second, He'd granted in the form of a young seminary graduate who'd been hired to entertain guests with the soothing sonatas of Beethoven and Bach. And, just as the sunshine dispels nippy mists from the river, the music of Seth's love had turned her longing for
into a dim yet melodious memory. Maryland
Tonight, her beloved beau would give his final performance for the tycoons, high rollers, and politicians who gathered nightly in the grand salon. His final, because, in twelve short hours, Callie's father—chaplain and owner of the Maybelline—would pronounce Seth and Callie man and wife.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Before I answer that one, I'd like to thank you,
Lena, for extending this invitation. You're a true joy and blessing to all who know you, and I'm proud and honored to call you friend.
Readers can find me at Facebook, Twitter, and Shoutlife, my blog (http://www.theloughdown.blogspot.com) and web site (http://www.loreelough.com) and my regular monthly column, "Loree's Lough Down," at Christian Fiction Online Magazine.
Such fun to have you here, Loree.
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