Welcome, Stephanie. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I don’t consciously write myself into my characters, but friends who read my books tell me they see me. Certainly my understanding of humanity and the things that are important to me as a believer filter into situations, but that happens naturally, not as part of any plan on my part.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
If I told you that I’d have to kill you. J
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I knew I loved to write by the time I was in junior high school. I loved getting writing assignments in school, loved writing letters home (in the days before e-mail), and wrote my first novel when I was in my early teens. However, I never expected writing to become a vocation. Feeling like a writer in the professional sense of that word didn’t happen for me until I got my second three-book contract. For some reason, when that happened, I began to think of myself as a “real” writer.
That should do it. I've now signed my second three-book contract, too. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My to-be-read pile right now includes a stack of non-fiction history books with a concentration on American women’s history and biography. When it comes to fiction, I love suspense, thrillers, mysteries, historical fiction, contemporary women’s fiction … honestly just about any genre except fantasy, science fiction, and horror.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
You speak of insanity like it’s a bad thing J. Truly, I gave up trying a long time ago. That sounds flippant, but it isn’t. I wish I knew the secret of keeping up, but I’m on the search as much as anyone. Even though I have learned to say the word “no” without false guilt, even though I try to reassess my goals and “only do the A’s,” even though I try to “eliminate and simplify,” I still find myself over-committed. One thing maturity has given me, though, is the sense to only commit to things I love … things I think are really important “in light of eternity,” as Randy Alcorn says.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I collect names off tombstones in the area where my book is set.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
That’s a tough question because of the qualifier most. I’ve worked very hard to build two good marriages (my first husband died in 2001). Seeing my children grow into productive adults with good lives and strong faith is extremely gratifying, although I’m well aware that it’s a blessing from the Lord and not something I can claim to have accomplished. Knowing that God has used my writing to His glory is something that simultaneously amazes and humbles me.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
An Arabian horse. I’d like to know what it’s like to be that graceful.
What is your favorite food?
I’ll second that, preferably chocolate, but my husband brought home some Italian Cream Cake last night. Yum! What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I hate writing the first draft. I love gleaning ideas, I love developing them into proposals, I love editing and re-writing umpteen times and talking to readers and interacting with other writers. I hate writing the first draft. I haven’t overcome it yet.
Tell us about the featured book.
A Most Unsuitable Match introduces two very different people headed up the
Missouri River on a steamboat in 1869. Fannie Rousseau has led a privileged life, but things aren’t going well in the aftermath of her mother’s death and she sets out to locate her only living relative, completely ignorant of the conditions on the river and the realities of , her destination. Samuel Beck has led a hard life. He, too, is on the river seeking someone, and when he and Fannie are thrown together to face tragedy, sparks fly—and they aren’t necessarily the romantic kind. Fort Benton, Montana
Please give us the first page of the book.
Kneeling before the tombstone, eighteen-year-old Fannie Rousseau retrieved the scrub brush from the water bucket she’d just settled in the grass. First, she attacked the dried bird droppings on the back side of the stone, then moved on to the deep grooves carving the name Rousseau into the cool gray surface. She’d just finished cleaning out the second s when a familiar voice sounded from across the cemetery.
“Land sakes, child, what on earth are you doin’? You’ll ruin your hands. And put that bonnet back on. What will your Mother s-s—”
When Fannie laid her hand atop the gravestone to steady herself and lifted her tear-stained face towards Hannah, the old woman stopped mid-word. Tucking an errant hank of wiry gray hair back under the kerchief tied about her head, she hurried to where Fannie knelt. Her voice more gentle than scolding, she said, “You know your mother would have my hide for letting you be seen in public doing such a thing.” She nodded towards the red brick church just outside the cemetery fence. “And it’s the Sabbath, little miss. What were you thinking?”
Fannie didn’t have an answer. At least not one she wanted to say aloud. She cleaned the rest of the letters out before dropping the brush into the scrub bucket and, bracing her hand atop the stone, standing back up. The soil atop Mother’s grave had finally sunk enough to be level with Papa’s side, but the grass hadn’t filled in yet. For now, the tombstone only told half a story. Louis Rousseau, 1803-1866, Beloved Husband. Eleanor Rousseau, 1803-_____. The stone mason had yet to add the year 1869 to Mother’s side. Fannie contemplated the words Beloved Husband. She supposed it was only right to add Beloved Wife to Mother’s side. Even if she would always wonder if it were true.
I can hardly wait to read this story. How can readers find you on the Internet?www.footnotesfromhistory.blogspot.com
Thank you for once again giving us a peek into your life. I have to tell you that I loved, loved, loved Sixteen Brides.
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