Welcome back, Margaret. As an author, I know it takes a lot of people to birth each book. Who were the people involved in the birthing of this book, and what were their contributions?
From This Day Forward is based on a sequel I had written as a secular book for Kensington. When I started writing over thirty years ago, I wrote historical romances. But the first book I sold was a contemporary romance. That is the direction I went from there on, except for a couple of books. I had a blast writing this inspirational historical romance.
If you teach or speak. What’s coming up on your calendar?
Nothing for the time being other than speaking as the President of ACFW at the annual conference in September.
If you had to completely start over in another place, where would you move, and why?
I would move to one of the
Hawaiian islands on a beach with mountains in the
background. I love living on a beach or in the mountains so having both would
be a great place to live. A place where I could have both would be great.
If you could only tell aspiring novelists one thing, what would it be?
To keep working at it. It is a hard job but you will never sell if you don’t sit down and write, then send the book out to a publisher.
You’ve been asked to be in charge of a celebrity cruise. Who would you ask to take part, and why? (AS in what program, singers, etc. [it doesn’t have to be writing related])
Celine Dion would perform--I love the way she sings. The dancers on You Think You Can Dance would also perform.
Tell us about the featured book?
Penniless, pregnant, and newly widowed immigrant Rachel Gordon doesn’t believe her situation could get any worse...until she meets her new neighbors. Shortly after the War of 1812, Rachel and her husband set out from
England for a
plantation in ,
which he had purchased sight unseen. However, while en route, Tom Gordon fell
overboard and drowned, leaving Rachel, frightened and alone, to make a home for
her and her newborn. Can a battle-scarred American physician who comes to her
rescue also heal her wounded heart? South Carolina
Please give us the first page of the book.
“We are going to die,” Rachel Gordon’s young maid cried out. Rachel looked up at the clouds rolling in. Dark, ominous ones. She shivered and pulled her shawl tighter about her as the breeze picked up. A storm brewed, and she still had several miles to go until she reached her new home in
“God willing, we will make it, Maddy.”
Fear deepened the lines on Maddy’s plain face. “’Tis like the squall on the boat.”
Lightning flashed, momentarily brightening the shadows of the forest. A clap of thunder rumbled the ground. Maddy screamed. The old gelding that pulled the cart—all Rachel’s meager coins could afford—increased its speed, weaving from side to side. Out of control.
Determined to be there before nightfall and in one piece, Rachel gripped the reins and fought to slow the maddening pace of the horse. Finally it resumed its plodding step. The weather-beaten cart she had bought near the dock in
hit a bump in the road, jostling
her into Maddy. Her maid clutched the seat with one hand and held onto Rachel
with the other. Charleston
Steadying herself, Rachel rested her wrists on her rounded stomach. She had more than herself and Maddy to worry about now. Her life had changed so much since she left her ancestral home in
She had married, conceived a child, and was now a widow, all in the space of a
year. And worse, she was going to a place she had never seen because she had
nowhere else to go. Her husband had used most of their money to purchase this
plantation she was traveling to. It was her future, whether she wanted it to be
or not. England
The warmth of a spring day quickly faded as the sky grew blacker. Rachel stared at the menacing clouds through the treetops and realized she would not make it to her new home before the storm broke. She scanned the area for a place to seek shelter.
Sinister shadows lurked just beyond the road. Again she shivered, her imagination conjuring images of wild animals staring at her from the depths of the forest. She’d heard stories about the bears. Huge. Fierce. Sharp teeth and claws. Shifting on the seat, she darted a glance from side to side, feeling as though she were some beast’s next meal. She could not stop, even if it poured down rain.
Oh, how she missed
with its gently rolling hills and refined beauty—not this raw wilderness. Like
a fish floundering on land, she did not belong here. Nothing in her life had
prepared her for this strange environment. England
Drops of water spattered her. The wind picked up.
“That man on the boat told me about a big cat. They are out there.” Maddy whimpered, draping her shawl over her head and hunching her shoulders. “Lord, have mercy on us.”
Rachel forced herself to keep her gaze fixed on the road ahead. Once they were at the plantation Maddy would settle down. The squall two days out of
had nearly sunk the ship they had
traveled in. Surely this storm would not be as bad. Charleston
Taking deep breaths, Rachel calmed her racing thoughts and heartbeat. Pain spread through her lower back. She gripped the reins, the leather digging into her palms. The pain dulled to an ache. Another deep inhalation and the panic nibbling at her composure abated. Soon she would be at her new home and could sit in front of a warm fire, put her legs up, and rest. Hopefully the letter her husband had sent ahead would alert any staff to her arrival. Her glance strayed to the tall pine trees, swaying in the gust. Everything would be all right when she arrived at Dalton Plantation.
But even with Maddy next to her on the seat, the feeling she was the only person in the world overwhelmed her.
The wind picked up, whipping strands of her long brown hair that had escaped its coiffure about her face and threatening to whisk away her bonnet. Lightning zigzagged across the sky, followed by thunder. Maddy jumped in her seat. The gelding’s ears flattened.
A chill embedded itself deep in Rachel. She arched her back to ease the pang still plaguing her. Suddenly lightning struck a tree nearby, its flash a beacon in the growing darkness. A crack as the pine split into two pieces echoed through the forest. Immediately afterward, a boom of thunder cleaved the air. Maddy shrieked. The horse increased its pace while a few more splotches of water splashed Rachel. Then all at once rain fell in gray sheets.
The gelding lurched forward even faster. Rachel grasped the reins, trying to maintain control. She pulled on the leather straps to slow the horse. Nothing. He kept galloping down the road, oblivious to his surroundings, as though the hounds of hell were nipping at his hooves.
Rachel glanced from one side to the other but saw little except a wall of gray and green. Another peal of thunder spurred her horse into a dead run. The jostling motion bounced her around, nearly throwing her off the seat. A scream from Maddy competed with the din of the storm.
The cart hit another rut in the road. Rachel flew from the seat, the reins wrenched from her hands. The impact with the ground jarred her, knocking the breath from her lungs. Rain pelted her face as she sucked in oxygen-rich air. Stunned, Rachel closed her eyes against the continual downpour. Everything seemed to come to a standstill, as though her body went numb.
Then pain, as she had never felt before, ripped through her lower torso. She clutched her stomach, gritting her teeth to hold back the scream. She rolled to the side.
Need to get up.
Through the dim grayness, she glimpsed the horse’s straps snapping free. The gelding broke away and bolted, clamoring down the road and disappearing from view. The cart careened toward a ditch, plunged into it, and tipped over.
“Help!” Maddy’s cries sounded above the rumble of the storm.
She’s in trouble.
When the pang subsided, Rachel pushed to her hands and knees, the cold mud oozing between her fingers. Her body protested every move she made, the dull ache in her back intensifying. She had no choice. Peering around, she saw no one else to help. No sign of civilization. Her head pounded like the rain hammering down on her. Her world spun a wave of dizziness making her stomach reel.
“Help. I’m trapped,” Maddy shouted.
I can do this.
Rachel forced herself back on her heels, dragging in the cool, damp air. Another deep, fortifying breath and she struggled to her feet, her wet clothing siphoning her energy. She swayed. The trees swirled and danced before her eyes. She closed them and willed the dizziness away. No time for it.
She took a step toward the overturned cart, twenty or so feet away. Then another. The trees stopped spinning. She would make it. She could help Maddy.
Almost to her destination, she stumbled over a broken piece of a crate and staggered forward. Another stab of pain knifed through her stomach, its power taking her to her knees into the mud. Agony, like white-hot lightning, cut through her lower back and shoved her over the edge into a black void.
Wow! That is powerful. Where can we find you on the Internet?My website is http://www.margaretdaley.com or you can email me at email@example.com .
Thank you for stopping by my blog, Margaret. I know you're a busy lady.
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From This Day Forward
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