Dear Readers, I was
privileged to read this book for endorsement, and I loved it. The characters,
the historical accuracy, the storyline. I think you’ll
love it, too.
Welcome, Linda. Tell
us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I don’t consciously write myself into my characters. I
often ask myself if a character’s words or actions are
his/hers or mine. I refer to the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory when I
develop the characters and try to stay true to their unique traits.
What is the quirkiest
thing you have ever done?
I love quirky people. I admire and enjoy them, but I don’t
think of myself as one of them—unless you count the time I
showed a quirky level of naiveté. I actually believed and
prepared for a protest when a friend reported that a mutual friend—an
American citizen, mind you, who was living and going to school in Abilene, Texas—had
been drafted into the French Foreign Legion.
I. Kid. You. Not. Once upon a time my middle name was naive.
When did you first
discover that you were a writer?
Unlike others who can point to writing as their calling from
an early age—some even to early school years—I didn’t realize I was a writer until
I was in high school. Even for dry, boring assignments in government/civics,
sitting down to a typewriter (manual in those days) and allowing my thoughts
and emotions to bubble up in the form of words was a delightful experience that
peaked during my first year away from home as a college freshman. I simply
loved sitting in my quiet dorm room and writing letters home. As I told Mother
and Daddy every move I made, I imagined their rapt attention and enjoyment,
which is my experience when I write today.
Tell us the range of
the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love a good story, whether historical, romance, or
suspense involving legal or international conflict. I became an avid reader in
fourth grade. I have those Weekly Reader books to this day. As I peruse them, I’m
surprised that I chose stories in which the main character was a boy, maybe
because in those days it was the boys who were out getting into trouble and
having adventures, as in The Red Badge of
Courage and, several years later, Where
the Red Fern Grows. And yet, I can remember as a girl lying across my bed,
book on floor, reading Christy, Anne of
Green Gables, and later on, Jane
Eyre, WutheringHeights, Gone With the Wind, and To Kill a Mockingbird. I still enjoy
meaty, brave stories that tackle hard issues head-on.
How do you keep your
sanity in our run, run, run world?
I’ve found if I don’t start my day well, I don’t
end it well. For me, that means sitting at my bedroom bay window with a cup of
coffee, open Bible, and prayer journal. If I begin in this way, the insanity of
any day seems to even out or I remain calmer in the turmoil. Invariably, when I
find myself part of the turmoil, I realize I’ve neglected the bay window.
How do you choose
Because I write historical fiction, I choose names that fit
the time period, but even then characters earn their names. Noble heroes and
lovely, courageous heroines wear names that have a noble, lovely, or courageous
ring to them. Sometimes they’re the names of my cherished
ancestors. Antagonists’ names can just sound unpleasant or remind me of a
distasteful person in my past. My favorites are names are those I have no
connection with at all. I can give a low-down reprobate such a name without
worrying I’ve offended someone I know.
What is the
accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Far and above, my proudest accomplishment is rearing my
fantastic children—a son and daughter, veterinarians who actually like
one another so well they are in practice together. I can’t take
credit for my six beautiful grandchildren, so I’d say professionally I’m
most proud of winning the 2014 Jerry B. Jenkins Operation First Novel Award.
That’s a wonderful writing
achievement. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’ve learned in recent years that I’m
an introvert. This surprised me at first, but I’ve come to accept it as the
way God made me. One personality inventory tags me as a desert animal I’ve
never heard of, the meerkat—ethical, idealistic, loyal,
values oriented, and curious but inflamed by threats to the security of my
babies or morals. Sounds fairly quirky to me.
I would have said I’m most like a deer. Not at all
What is your favorite
Mexican, hands down!
James and I had
delicious Tex-Mex food for lunch today. What is the problem with writing that
was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Working through the discouragement or fear of rejection has
been my biggest challenge but the one that provides the greatest reward on the
other side. Only through confidence that the Lord has called me to be a writer
can I overcome this roadblock.
Tell us about the
Set in 1905 Indian Territory prior to Oklahoma statehood
when the temperance and woman’s suffrage debates are raging,
Calling of Ella McFarland is the story of a young woman on the verge of
reaching her lifelong dream—a teaching position at
prestigious Worthington School for Girls—but whose sister’s
unwed motherhood has created a scandal that clouds her family name and may
limit her to a life of grueling farm labor. One strikingly handsome board
member shows Ella kindness, but will the other two men overlook her family’s
When she comes to the rescue of a young sharecropper’s
daughter, she’s thrust into a domestic abuse situation that opens
her eyes to the ramifications of women being denied a voice in their governance
through the vote. Forced to make decisions about her faith, family, and
aspirations, independent-spirited Ella finds a calling takingshape
in ways she never imagined and a new love budding in her heart.
How will she manage in her male-dominated world to give
voice to the voiceless without losing her own? Can she find God’s
will amid the tumultuous storm that surrounds her? Or will fear and pride have
Ella McFarland must decide.
Please give us the
first page of the book for my readers.
Ella had aimed for this day all her life.
Perching on the edge of the tufted chair, she slipped off
her gloves. A corset stave bit into her flesh, but she held herself erect. Such
was expected of a teacher candidate at OklahomaTerritory’s WorthingtonSchool for Girls.
“Miss McFarland.” Stationed at the head of the
library table, Mr. Abernathy gestured to a colleague on either side. “As the board of directors, we
must emphasize that female teachers who marry are dismissed.”
tone had turned as severe as his starched collar. “Unlike for
men, marriage divides women’s loyalties.”
Women more prone to divided loyalties than men? Ella
suppressed an urge to spout the challenge. A Worthington teacher knew her place. “Rest
assured, sir, I am wedded to teaching.”
Perspiration dribbled down her spine. Was 1905 the hottest
year on record? Plucking a handkerchief from a sleeve, she dabbed moisture from
the cleft in her chin and pressed it to her nose. The library’s
musty tomes and velvet window coverings tickled her nostrils and devoured the
The man stifled a cough with a fist. “Your
loyalty notwithstanding . . .”
She willed herself to relax. Had the Lord Himself not
brought her to this premier institution of learning for the socially elite?
When The Calling of Ella McFarland debuts on December 1, it
will be available to order both in print and ebook forms through bookstores and
online outlets—Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google, Christianbook.com,
Thank you, Linda, for sharing this book with my readers. I know they are eager to read it. Readers, leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. Please tell us where you live, at least the state or territory. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)
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