Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom and pastor’s wife. Her debut novel won the 2011 Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award. When not writing, she runs circles in the care and feeding of her husband, their son, and church congregation. Home is a central
Welcome, Shannon. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
There’s always a bit of me in each character. Adrea is very close to her family as I am. Laken is a peacemaker—she wants everybody to get along. Shell has low self-esteem—something I experienced in my teen years.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
My husband and I waited until we could afford for me to be a stay-at-home mom before we had a child. Unfortunately, that took fifteen years. Our son was born after 16 1/2 years of marriage. So at forty-eight, I have an eleven year old. Instead of saying I’m the oldest mom in his class, I say I’m the wisest.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I had a story in my head since my teen years, but I never knew what to do with it. Finally, in my thirties, I realized it could be a book.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’m pretty much a inspirational contemporary romance kind of gal. Occasionally, I read inspy women’s fiction, but I’m always leery of the ending. I want a good happily-ever-after and some women’s fiction don’t have them. Every great once in a while, I delve into inspy romantic suspense. But I have to be in the right mood because they key me up, and I read to relax.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I’m a major home body. Home keeps me sane and relaxed. I carve out at least one day a week when I don’t go anywhere except to pick up our son from school.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I try to come up with unique or at least uncommon names for my heroes and heroines. Side characters get more common names. For my
Texas rodeo series, I
looked up professional bull riders to come up with names for the heroes.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Being married 29 years and still going strong.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
A raccoon. I’ve always thought they were so cute.
What is your favorite food?
I can’t pick one. Pizza, lasagna, and fried okra. I recently had all three together at a family gathering. It was awesome.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Deadlines and edits from editor. I really stressed over the first several. Getting into the groove of writing one book on deadline, then having to stop and work on edits for another book on deadline. The first few books nearly drove me insane. I finally just told myself, this is what life will be like if you want to write. Deal with it.
I don’t get stressed anymore. I just take one thing at a time. And I don’t dally when writing my first drafts. I get them done as quickly as possible, so I have more time to tweak and more time to stop when I get edits.
Tell us about the featured book.
Arkansas Weddings is a 3-in-1 collection of my first three published books set in Romance and Rose Bud. Both small towns are real and located seven miles apart in west central,
Arkansas. The Romance Post Office has a
re-mailing program where people can send their Valentine cards and wedding
invitations to be mailed from Romance. And couples go to romance to get
Here’s the back cover copy:
Pastor Grayson loves his wife. The problem is, Sara was killed by a hit-and-run driver two years ago. He knows he needs to move on, but it’s not until florist Adrea Welch arrives at his church that the seeds of healing are planted in his heart.
Laken left home eight years ago and never looked back. Who knew when she applied for the promotion to postmaster that she’d end up in Romance,
and much too close to her past—and Hayden Winters?
Shell doesn’t have a good reputation. But no matter what everyone in Rose Bud,
thinks of her, she’s back in town with a job to do. Ryler also has reasons for
being in Rose Bud, and they don’t include Shell.
But God’s love can soften the hardest heart and overcome the darkest past. These hearts may not know it, but they’re about to change.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Whoa!” Adrea Welch teetered on top of the rickety three-step utility ladder. With both arms flung out, surfing style, she regained her balance and pressed a hand to her pounding heart.
“Let me hold that for you,” a deep voice echoed from the back of the sanctuary.
The man hurried toward her. Emerald green eyes, windswept sable hair,
and an irresistible cleft in his chin. Late-twenties, maybe thirty. Probably the
groom. All the impossibly handsome men, especially the nice, mannerly ones
who hung out in church, were taken.
Especially in tiny Romance,
But looks weren’t everything, and he might never have been in a church before, just here for the wedding. Underneath that heart-tilting smile, he might be a jerk.
“Thanks.” She glanced down, making sure he wasn’t helping as an excuse to check her out. He wasn’t. Instead, he studied her work.
“I’m almost done.” Adrea looped yellow roses through the white latticework archway.
“The church should invest in a better ladder.”
“Actually, it’s mine.” She weaved ivy through the roses and climbed down.
He was tall, at least six foot three. The top of her head came just about nose level on him.
“Are you in the wedding party?” He slung his jacket over one shoulder. Shirtsleeves, rolled up almost to the elbow, revealed muscled forearms.
“I’m the florist.” Always the florist; never the bride. “Adrea Welch.”
She nodded at the correct pronunciation. “Very good, but I’ve been known to answer to Adrian and Andrea.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Adrea.” He offered his hand. “I’m the pastor at Palisade over in Rose Bud. Grayson Sterling. Most folks call me Pastor Grayson.”
She suppressed a gasp and shook his hand. Warmth spread over her at his firm, yet gentle grip.
“I’m sorry, have we met?”
“Um, I usually do the white roses.”
The light in his eyes snuffed out.
Six years of standing orders for his wife’s birthday, their son’s birthday, and their anniversary. For the last two, he hand-delivered the flowers to the cemetery. And added Valentine’s Day to mark the date of her death.
Sounds like an interesting read. How can readers find you on the Internet?Twitter: @stvauthor
Thank you, Shannon, for sharing this book with us today.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Arkansas Weddings - Christianbook.com
Arkansas Weddings (Romancing America) - Amazon.com
Arkansas Weddings (Romancing America) - Kindle
Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.
The only notification you’ll receive is the winner post on this blog. So be sure to check back a week from Saturday to see if you won. You will have 4 weeks from the posting of the winners to claim your book.
If you’re reading this on Google +, Feedblitz, Facebook, Linkedin, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.