Wednesday, November 09, 2011

THE WEDDING KISS - Hannah Alexander - Free Book

Our interview today is with Cheryl Hodde, one half of the team that makes up Hannah Alexander. Welcome, Cheryl. Why do you write the kind of books you do? 
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 Missouri. My dream vacation would feature both—in an isolated cabin at least a mile from the nearest neighbor. Is there a place like that?

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 Missouri, 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 Village of Jollification, 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.

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 Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri 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 creation.

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.

Tell us about the featured book. 
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 Elam’s 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.

Sounds like a book I can’t wait to read. Please give us the first page of the book.

Chapter 1
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 Arkansas 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?

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 Elam had hung next to the door for Gloria. The clanging echoed in her ears.

After a moment the wooden door with navy and sky-blue trim opened and Elam’s tall, strong frame filled the doorway. His familiar dark brown eyes lit with welcome, but he was also obviously surprised.


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

Thanks so much for this, Lena. It’s been fun!

Likewise, visiting with you is a great pleasure, Cheryl.

Readers, here's a link to the book. By using it when you order, you help support this blog.
The Wedding Kiss

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 Feedblitz, Facebook, or Amazon, please come to the blog to leave your comment if you want to be included in the drawing. Here’s a link.


Coolestmommy said...

Wow--can't wait to read. Romance, suspense, mystery--my kid of book. Love hearing about how your met--thank that pastor!!
coolestmommy2000 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Sounds really good!!!


Wendy Newcomb said...

This sounds like it will be a good read. I live in FL.


Patty said...

I love a romance with a little suspense thrown in!

Patty in SC

Unknown said...

i have been looking for Cheryl's novels (Hannah Alexander) and i can only find the ones i have read. Love them, can you guess? Would love to win this one. Thanks Cheryl and Lena for the post and giveaway!

mitzi_wanham[at]yahoo[dot]com from

Peace River Country, Alberta

Unknown said...

I would love to read this book! Thanks for this opportunity! I'm from Dallas Texas.


Melissa Jagears said...

I grew up in the same area of MO and would love to read this.


Rebecca said...

Thank you so much for the chance to win this. This sounds like a great book. I would love to win this. Thanks again.

I am from Oklahoma

scottsgal said...

I enjoyed this interview and getting to know this author
Sounds like a great book
cheryl in IL
msboatgal at

Lourdes said...

Okay I really want to read this book. Thanks for a great interview and the opportunity to win a book.

Lourdes in Huntington Long Island

Hannah Alexander said...

Robyn, I may not have mentioned that my pastor, who did such a wonderful matchmaking job, passed away the week before Mel proposed. I have a hunch that wonderful friend and mentor got to heaven and started pulling strings. He was wonderful!

Salena, thanks for that encouraging word. It will be on ebook format before long. We just found out last night the first printing has sold out.

Hannah Alexander said...

wfnren (I'm so curious about where that name came from!) I love Florida. We're talking about moving there someday.

Patty, I've always been a romantic suspense reader, all the way back to Phyllis Whitney.

Marianne, we just had a Christmas novella released from LIS a couple of weeks ago, and we will have another one in March, so I hope you enjoy reading them!

Katie Marie said...

This book looks like a fun read. Thanks for including me in the giveaway!

Katie from Florida

Hannah Alexander said...

Gwendolyn, I have a former classmate who lives in Dallas. In fact, I'll see her this weekend, because I live in the town where I graduated high school, and several of us girls still have a pajama party every year.That's what comes from living in a tiny, close-knit town.

Melissa, how cool! Which town?

Rebecca, thank you for those kind words!

Hannah Alexander said...

Cheryl in IL, which part of the state? I have family in southern IL.

Lourdes, so glad you enjoyed the interview. I know I did. Lena does a fabulous job of promoting and befriending her colleagues. She is the best!

Katie, I sure hope you get to read it!

Jackie S. said...

I can't wait to read this your books, Cheryl! I should receive your Christmas LIH soon....on backorder. I love all your books...just got 3 older ones last week (used/Amazon). Keep up the great writing!
NE Georgia

Hannah Alexander said...

Yes! Thanks, Jackie. So glad you like them. That makes my day!

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel :)

karenk...from Pa
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Casey said...

This book so intrigues me. So glad to have the chance to win here! :)


Hannah Alexander said...

Thanks Karen and Casey. I hope you both have the chance to read it!

Linda Kish said...

This sounds like a very interesting story. One that I would love to read.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a really great book!
Emily Texas

Ann Lee Miller said...

Thanks for the chance to win. :)

Ann Lee Miller
Gilbert AZ

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Thanks again for the opportunity to be included in a drawing... good interview, enjoyed Cheryl's comments very much.... sounds like a wonderful story and a wonderful author.... so nice when the romance author has a romantic true life story as well.... have a great day....

Unknown said...

Hamlin, Texas

Diana Flowers said...

I would love to win this book! Sounds great!

Diana from SC

Wendy said...

I would love to win this book. I have never been disappointed by a Hannah Alexander book.
Wendy in Buffalo, MN

Hannah Alexander said...

Cleda, I agree. It's easier to write romance when you've experienced it yourself. I hope you get to read The Wedding Kiss!

Hannah Alexander said...

Thank you for your kind words, Wendy! I needed that today.

Thanks Linda and Aly and Dianna. I hope you all get a chance to read the book@

Sharon Richmond said...

Enter me I would love to win a copy of this book! it sounds like a great story and I look forward to winning and reading this book! Thanks and God bless!
Sharon Richmond
Blanch, NC.

Mark said...

I enjoy their books and would love to read this one. Ohio here

Hannah Alexander said...

Sharon, I so hope you get a chance to read it! If I had enough copies I'd send one to everyone!

Hannah Alexander said...

Wow, Mark, so glad you like our books. We do have a lot of this in male viewpoint, so I don't believe it would be the least bit off-putting for a man.

Ingrid said...

Thank you for the Interview, it was great hearing from you.
I would love to win this book, it sounds like my kind of read.

I live in S.Illinois


Hannah Alexander said...

Glad you enjoyed the interview, Ingrid. I do hope you get a chance to enjoy the book!

margie said...

"The Wedding Kiss" sounds like a compelling I would love to add to my library. Thank you so much for the opportunity to win a copy. margie at mijares dot net

Faith said...

The book sounds amazing! Great interview :)


Hannah Alexander said...

Margie and Faye, so glad you like the concept of the story. You may want to visit Eureka Springs someday if you haven't already. It's an amazing place, and much like the description in the book.

Patricia said...

My Grandfather's first wife died and they had small children. His wife's niece was only a few years younger than his wife and after a short while after the death of his wife he married the niece. the niece was my Grandmother and they had seven more children. I only found this out a couple of years few years ago. I am 61 yrs old so this happened many years ago. I guess they did what had to be done back then. Traced my family tree back to the early 1700's.

plb1050 at gmail dot com

Patricia said...

Sorry forgot to add that I am a Texan.

plb1050 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Would love to read this book....please enter

Hannah Alexander said...

Patricia, a lot of strange sounding marriages of convenience took place back then, according to my research. Very interesting. They did what they had to do

The Book Club Network - TBCN said...

Thanks for the interview and a chance to get to know more about this book. The cover definitely drew me in and the story is intriguing.

I've love a chance to win a copy!

Nora St.Laurent
The Book Club Network

Deborah said...

excited for more summerside books!

Deborah from VA

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

It looks interesting!!
Please enter me in the drawing.
God Bless,
Sarah Richmond

Hannah Alexander said...

Nora, I love that cover, too. They did a wonderful job!

Girls, this is a lot of fun. I'd love to meet each one of you. You're from all over the country, and I'm so curious about where you live.

Abigail Mitchell said...

Looks interesting. Please enter me in the drawing!
Thanks and God Bless!
Abigail Richmond
Blanch, N.C.

Courtney said...

Wow!! This sounds really really good!! Thanks for the chance to win it!

from WA state

Lynne said...

I can't wait to read this book! All of Hannah's books are must reads and this one sounds so good!

Lynne in TN
lynne.young at gmail dot com

Pam K. said...

I really like reading romantic suspense. "The Wedding Kiss" sounds like a book I'd enjoy.


Kristie said...

I love romantic suspense. Your book sounds great. I suppose that some people marry for convenience but less so than in the old days, I think? I could be wrong. I like to walk too but on bad days I'm glad to have my Leslie Sansone DVDs. *LOL* Take care!I'm from Ohio. kristiedonelson(at)gmail(dot)com

Hannah Alexander said...

Lynne, thank you so much for your kind words. I'm out of town tonight on a class reunion girls pajama party, so it's the middle of the night and we're all giggling--keeping notes for the next book.

Hannah Alexander said...

Pam, I hope you get a chance to read it.

Hannah Alexander said...

Kristie, I love to exercise inside when it's bad outside. Now to get back into the habit after being out of commission for a year. I do miss those great outdoors.

Bakersdozen said...

This book sounds really interesting. I want to read it. I live in S. CA.

Anne Payne said...

I read the Sacred Trust and Healing Touch series of books when they were first published. Love suspense and some romance mixed together. This new one sounds great! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

Anne, foothills of NC

Janet Kerr said...

This sounds like a complex story.
I particularly like suspense.

And thank you for the chance to win this book,
Jan K.


Merry said...

The description of The Wedding Kiss makes it sound like an exciting, breathless, romantic read. I'd love to be entered!
Merry in TX

Aizess said...

Sounds like an interesting read! Please enter me in this giveaway.

I live in New York

Hannah Alexander said...

Anne, there is less medical in my later books, so I hope you do enjoy romance and suspense with a little mystery included. Thanks for your comments!

Mama Cat said...

Oh, I'm thrilled to see a new Hannah Alexander book - had loved the Hideaway series several years ago. Thank you for the opportunity to win - and contine believing in our Savior, and writing - God is good! I live in Arizona

apple blossom said...

Oh, this sounds like a wonderful book. love romance and suspense books thanks for chance to win it
I live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Hannah Alexander said...

Thanks, Mama Cat! I'm a catmom, too. Four of them here.

Anonymous said...

I love Cheryl's books. Can't wait to read this one!

from MI

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Vacation Rentals

Lisa Nelson said...

I love to read inspirational historical fiction.
Thanks for the opportunity to win this book!
Lisa Nelson from Arkansas

Hannah Alexander said...

I love historical novels, too, Lisa. They take me out of the worries of the world.

Melanie said...

I've read a lot of Hannah Alexander's books and I really enjoyed them! Would love to read this book - please enter me in the giveaway!

frequentreader19 (at) gmail (dot) com

peachykath said...

Wow, a mix of my favorite kind of books, romance and mystery/suspence. I would love to read this book. Please enter me in the drawing for this book. Thank you

Katherine from Northern California


rubynreba said...

What a great book this looks like. I'm Beth from central Iowa.