When I was writing my first book twenty-seven years ago, it just happened to be a romantic suspense, because that was always my favorite kind of book to read. I realized before the first few pages were completed that without God in the middle of the romance, there would be no worthwhile romance, so I started writing inspirational romantic suspense. Then one day I was working on a medical scene when my pastor surprised me with a blind date, and that date just happened to be Dr. Mel Hodde. We began to corroborate on my medical scene, and I discovered Mel also had an interest in writing. From then on I wrote with Mel’s input, and included medical to the mix.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day Mel finally proposed to me!
How has being published changed your life?
Though I love having my work published, the most important and rewarding part of my job is making friends with other writers. When Christian novelists get together, it’s like a family reunion. We weird folks realize we’re not really that weird, after all, because there are a lot of us, and we discover that God placed a bond between us that will last for eternity.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading From This Day Forward, by Margaret Daley. It’s an historical romance published by Summerside. Margaret is a fabulous writer!
What is your current work in progress?
I’m working on a novel entitled Against the Wind, about a woman in 1855 who is chasing down her husband’s killer and trying not to fall in love with the captain of the wagon train she’s traveling with. Fortunately for her, she’s made a lot of friends on the journey, and they come in handy when her life is at stake.
What would be your dream vacation?
I grew up near the ocean and the mountains, and I miss both, living here in
My dream vacation would feature both—in an isolated cabin at least a mile from
the nearest neighbor. Is there a place like that? Missouri
If you find it, I would want to rent the cabin after you went home. How do you choose your settings for each book?
Almost all of my novels have been set somewhere in
, most of them
imaginary places so I can build the town the way I want it to be. I’m working
on a series now set in a real place, with imaginary citizens, buildings,
grocery stores, churches, and clinics. It’s a beautiful little park called
Jolly Mill, which was once called the Missouri ,
and was a popular stopping place for travelers in the 1800s. I’m setting Against the Wind there now, using a cave
that was once rumored to extend seven miles to a town called Monett. I love to
play in caves. Village of Jollification
I know you do. I’ve loved reading some of your books with caves in them. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I’ve love to spend a long evening with my husband, just the two of us, maybe eating king crab and stuffed potato peels, talking long into the night, with no deadlines or telephone calls or job to go to the next morning. An evening of peace and quiet together would be wonderful.
What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I’ve been an avid hiker most of my life. I’ve hiked into the Grand Canyon a few times, and have hiked in the
hundreds of times. I love to walk along a sandy beach and feed the birds. I
guess walking is my favorite hobby. It’s where I draw closest to God and His
What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
As with many other novelists, my most difficult obstacle is writing the first draft, because I constantly edit myself. A friend of mine, Lissa Halls Johnson, joined me in a week-long retreat a couple of years ago, and we both broke through the wall by doing timed writing, thirty minutes at sitting, and then reading them to each other and discovering our first drafts weren’t as bad as we’d thought they would be.
What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Read excellent writing by a favorite novelist, and read a book about novel writing, all the time you’re writing your own work. That doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, but it worked for me. Get the basics down and learn the craft and learn to edit your own writing until it’s perfect. Then and only then should you begin to market your work. I wrote for fourteen years, and I had thirteen novels under my belt before I sold my first novel. The others sold after that, but I was glad I’d learned how to master my craft before it went out into the world.
The Wedding Kiss is a romantic suspense set in 1901 about Keara McBride, whose father was tricked into gambling away her only home, and then was thrown into jail for murder. In desperation, she asks her neighbor, Elam Jensen—the widower of her best friend—to marry her so she can help care for the children. All goes well until their first kiss during the wedding ceremony, before a full church auditorium, when they discover the effects of the kiss.
Life becomes even more complicated when they ride home to find the sister of
late wife lying unconscious on the front porch. And she’s been shot. And she’s
been stalked halfway across the country by her husband’s killer. As things heat
up around the Jensen house, love grows between Elam and Keara. They learn to work
together to save his sister-in-law, their neighbors, and a whole tribe of
people targeted for death. Elam
Sounds like a book I can’t wait to read. Please give us the first page of the book.
A meadowlark’s song lingered in the chilly spring air as Keara McBride’s boots squished through a wet field of new wheat. She tried to let the song soothe her and the warm sunlight take the chill from her bones, but the beauty that seldom failed to settle her heart was failing today. Betrayal and shock and rage warred within her with such force that they nearly outshouted the fear that trembled deep into her bones.
These past two years since Ma’s death, Keara had defended her grieving pa’s antics to anyone who complained, but if Brute McBride was standing in front of her right now, she’d blast him with more words than any of the neighbors had ever dared speak to her against her bullheaded father.
The perfume of honeysuckle reached her, but she didn’t turn to enjoy its beauty along the split-rail fence today as she usually did. The splash and roar of
White River filled her heart, loud and fast after the
rains, like the storm that had whipped up inside her when she discovered how
much she had lost, and what she must do to survive. All because of Pa.
She loved this land whittled from the forest around it by hard, backbreaking labor. The nearby resort city of
Eureka Springs, with
its gardens, healing springs, and steep, winding hillside streets, could not
compare to the beauty of this
countryside. The thought of living and working there away from the ones she
loved made her shiver, but if this plan didn’t work, what choice would she have? Arkansas
Stepping over the rise with legs that felt shaky, she saw the peaked roof of her neighbor’s home. Smoke drifted from two of the three chimneys. She stopped, and for a moment she couldn’t catch her breath. The sky appeared to blacken with clouds, but there were no clouds, only blue that stretched from the ridge of hills in the east all the way to the end of the world in the west.
The end of the world…of her world.
Bite the bullet, Keara.
She marched like a soldier down the rise through White River Hollow, her gaze set on the big house, painted like a brilliant butterfly, its multiple colors chosen with care, its gingerbread trim carved by the hands of a man who’d willingly indulged his wife’s whimsy. It was put together strong to last, like the man who’d built it, with the help of his relatives and other neighbors who lived comfortably spaced from one another along the hollow.
A porch, gilded with yellow and lavender railings, skirted the front and east side of the house, and a kitchen garden greened the yard where the rock fence protected the crop from many rooting and foraging animals.
Eight-year-old Britte and six-year-old Rolfe were proud of the garden they had helped Keara plant. She could close her eyes and see their beautiful faces—Britte so much like her mother, and Rolfe like his father. Thoughts of them gave her strength to keep walking. This was for Gloria’s children. Keara inhaled the scent of the fruit tree blossoms in the orchard as she drew near, the pink and white blooms looking like pastel clouds. Her mouth usually watered when she thought about the peaches and apples, plums, and pears that would come from those trees—some of which still had not reached full bloom. Today her mouth tasted of dust.
She looked for signs of the children in the yard or playing under the trees. No one was in sight.
By the time Keara stepped up to the broad porch, she was winded and shaking, and not from the half-mile walk. She rang the cowbell
had hung next to the door for
Gloria. The clanging echoed in her ears. Elam
After a moment the wooden door with navy and sky-blue trim opened and
strong frame filled the doorway. His familiar dark brown eyes lit with welcome,
but he was also obviously surprised. Elam
She caught her breath, but the steadiness of his voice calmed her. She had come to know Elam Jensen well over the winter—knew the burden he carried after Gloria’s gruesome death late last summer.
Now I know I must read it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Visit us at our website www.hannahalexander.com
Likewise, visiting with you is a great pleasure, Cheryl.
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The Wedding Kiss
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