Wednesday, April 18, 2012

WEDDING BELLES - Janice Hanna - Free Book

Janice is one of my most favorite people in the world. Welcome, Janice. How did this book come about?
I received a call from editor Susan Downs, who shared an idea she had for a series of books titled Belles and Whistles. The books in this series, she explained, must be historical, set in the west, with funny, quirky female characters. Because I write romantic comedy, she thought I would be perfect. I quickly put together a proposal for six books and two were picked up right away: Wedding Belles and Sleigh Belles. I was commissioned to write Wedding Belles first and had a blast doing so! The basic premise for the book was developed before I started writing, but something significant happened along the way to change my plans drastically. I needed a sneaky reason for Lottie Sanders (my heroine) to bring a group of women to Estes Park Colorado as potential brides for the town’s men. About a week after I got the contract for this book, I went to a local restaurant that happened to be hosting a melodrama during the dinner hour. As I watched the drama take place, I realized this was my answer! Lottie would write and direct a melodrama to raise funds for Parker Lodge (owned by the young man she secretly loves). Out of that came the rest of this fun, melodramatic tale!

Tell us about the book’s cover and what makes it unique.
Because Lottie is a tomboy, she’s not much for dresses. She wears pants most of the time. The men in Estes Park make it their mission to get Lottie “gussied up and lookin’ like a lady” as the story progresses. Of course, she’s still pretty attached to her cowgirl boots, so giving those up isn’t an option.

Please explain and differentiate between what’s fact and fiction in the book.
I drove to Estes Park while working on this book. Even though I had been many times before, I needed to see the area again so that I could envision it through Lottie’s eyes. The wonderful people at the Estes Park Museum spent a great deal of time with me, talking about the history of the area and pointing me to just the right research books to write. So, I would like to think I’ve got most of the historical elements right. I added the Stanley Hotel, of course, and the Stanley Steamer. But the setting for my story is Parker Lodge (which is completely fictional).

How much research did you have to do for this book?
As I mentioned above, I drove to Colorado to learn all I could about the area. Because I’m passionate about photography, I took dozens of pictures of the area. I particularly enjoy my trek up into Rocky Mountain National Park, where I did my best to absorb all I could about the scenery.

What are some of the most interesting things you found about this subject that you weren’t able to use in the story?
I learned a lot about the health benefits of living in Colorado! Did you know that Freelan Stanley (the man who designed/built the Stanley Hotel) came to Colorado at his doctor’s recommendation because he had tuberculosis? His health improved dramatically while in Estes Park.

What inspired and surprised you while you were writing the book?
I was directly inspired by the team of actors and actresses (here in Texas) who performed the melodrama. That little “spark” of inspiration completely changed the layout of my story and allowed me to tap into one of my strengths: directing. Many people don’t know that I spend part of my time working as a director at a local Christian theater and I love anything and everything about putting on shows.

What do you hope the reader takes away from the story?
Two things: I hope they see Lottie as the precious girl she is. I also hope they learn that perceptions are just that. . .perceptions. They’re not fact. Sometimes we look at situations and think we’ve got them figured out. When we give them a second look (and a third) we realize we were dead wrong.

What is the next project you’re working on?
I’m just wrapping up a novel titled Queen of the Waves (about the Titanic).

What do you do when you have to get away from the story for a while?
I spend time with my grandbabies. I have six darling grandbabies with number seven on the way.

Please give us the first page of the book.

A Reckoning in the Rockies
Estes Park, prepare to be razzle-dazzled! Parker Lodge, located on the beautiful Fall River, continues to offer the best entertainment in town. This month’s event is certainly no exception. Join us this coming Friday evening, April 27, for a rousing performance by local musician Jeb Otis, who will play several well-known ballads and folk tunes on his saw. Otis, who hails from the Estes Valley region, will be appearing at the lodge for one night only, performing before a packed house. C’mon out and share in an evening of fine food, rousing entertainment, and heartfelt fellowship. Front-row seating for the first ten guests to arrive. —Your friends at Parker Lodge
Estes Park, Colorado, 1912
“Jeb Otis says he’s going to jump off Longs Peak and end it all.”
“What?” Lottie Sanders looked up from the rippling waters of Fall River into her boss’s worried eyes. “He’s going to end it all? Why-ever would he do that?”
“Oh, you know how he is.” Gilbert Parker plopped down next to her and sighed. “Melodramatic. Always wanting attention. Just like the other men in this town. He’s frustrated because the Widow Baker won’t give him the time of day, so I guess this is how he plans to remedy the problem.”
“He’s going to remedy the problem by taking his life?” Lottie swallowed hard. “Won’t that defeat the purpose?”
“Who knows?” Gilbert offered a little shrug, and a hint of a smile turned up the edges of his lips. “But if it’s any consolation, I reminded him that he’s got a concert coming up this Friday evening, so maybe he’ll wait till after then to do himself in.”
“One can hope.” Lottie thought about the many times Jeb and the other fellas who frequented the lodge had posed such ludicrous threats. How weary she’d grown of their antics. “What’s it going to take to convince Jeb that he and Althea Baker are as different as night from day, anyway?” she asked. “They would make a terrible match. I’m surprised he can’t see that for himself.”
“True.” Gilbert released a sigh. “But I guess it’s true what they say—love is blind.”
“Mm-hmm.” It’s blind, all right.
I’m going to love this book. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Facebook: Janice Hanna Thompson
Twitter: booksbyjanice
My online courses:

Thank you, Janice, for visiting with us today. I love your new photo and your cover.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
WEDDING BELLES - paperback
Wedding Belles - 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 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.


Wendy Newcomb said...

My kind of book, love the cover.

Wendy from FL


Liz R said...

Beautiful cover! Sounds like a good book, please enter me in the giveaway.

Liz R in Alabama

Angie Adair said...

Sounds great! Angie in Illinois.

Anonymous said...


Casey said...

I flat out am in love with this cover and it sounds like such a sweet story to boot!

I live in Oregon.

Thanks Lena!

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for hosting me, Lena! Can't wait to see who wins! (And by the way, it's so much fun to write a book about putting on a show!)

Nancee said...

I love the sound of this romantic book. Please enter me in the contest! Thank you!
Nancee in Western Michigan

Linda Kish said...

I would love to win/read this book. It sounds terrific.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Jan Cline said...

Hmmm are you the Janice Thompson I roomed with at Mt. Hermon??? Of course you are and Im so glad to see you here and hear that you "wrapped up" your latest project! You're awesome! Miss you.

Katie said...

Sounds amazing! Please enter me. I'm from NC. Thanks!

Mary Preston said...

WEDDING BELLES is my kind of read. I have added it to my wish list.

Mary P


Anne Payne said...

I would love to go to Colorado. This books sounds delightfully funny and what an awesome cover! Everything Janice writes is great. Please enter me.

Anne, rural NC

Anonymous said...

Love the way the book begins. Sounds great!

Gail in GA

apple blossom said...

oh would love to win thanks
live in ND

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Patty said...

Sounds great, sign me up!

Patty in SC

Unknown said...

Sounds like a wonderful novel. i would love to learn more about Lottie. Thanks for the opportunity to win, Lena and Janice

marianne - northern alberta

mitzi undescore wanham at yahoo dot com

Krista said...

This sounds like such a fun book! (Your books always are) :)
Please enter me!

Krista in Oregon

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

Looks interesting!
Please enter me in the drawing!
God Bless,
Sarah Richmond

Sharon Richmond said...

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

Abigail Mitchell said...

Enter me!
Looks Interesting!
Blanch, N.C.

Faith said...

Lovely interview, ladies! I am huge Janice Hanna fan and would love to be entered to win! Thanks :)

Faye from SD

scottsgal said...

Great questions in this interview! Definitely sounds like a book to add to my TBR list.
cheryl in IL
msboatgal at

Jo said...

Sounds great and the cover is just beautiful. Would love to read it.

Jo from Southern Arizona

holdenj said...

Looks like a great story--love the premise! Thanks!
Julie in MN

Maggie Carr said...

Id love to win!
Maggie (northern indiana)

Emma said...

Great interview.Please enter me.WEDDING BELLES sounds wonderful.Thanks for the opportunity to win.PA.

GMCT said...

Love those "Belles" --Would love your book!

Chana Keefer said...

A good set of cowboy boots adds to ANY picture. Awesome cover. You sound like a very fun gal :)

Katie Marie said...

Please count me in. The title intrigued me. :-)

Katie from Florida

Aizess said...

Please enter em! Seems like an interesting story!

I live in New york

Judy Cooper said...

I really enjoyed the interview. With historical settings in the West and of course a bit of humor, this book is a winner for sure. Please enter my name, Judy C. in Louisiana.

Nancee said...

Sounds like a wonderful book! Thank you for your offer!
Nancee in Western Michigan

Nancye said...

This sounds like a wonderful book! Thanks for the chance!

Nancye in Kentucky

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Diana Gardner said...

Looks great. Please include me in the drawing. Portsmouth, VA