Tuesday, April 03, 2012

THE WEDDING JOURNEY - Cheryl St John - Free Book

I'm thrilled to introduce a long-time writing friend to you. Welcome, Cheryl. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
A friend recently told me my heroine in The Wedding Journey “lived and breathed her faith.” My faith is so much a part of me, undoubtedly it shows up in characters. In a worrisome situation, I’m not one to wring my hands. The first thing out of my mouth tends to be a prayer or the name of Jesus. I think my characters react that way, too.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I don’t consider myself quirky. More like spontaneous. I got the idea a while back that I’d like to try my hand at a booth at the local antique mall, so with everything else I have to do, I moved into a booth and am now a dealer.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I wrote when I was a kid, creating stories and illustrating them. Then I’d draw the cover and staple them into little books. My first rejection came at the age of fourteen when I submitted something to Redbook Magazine. I loved books so much, writing simply became an extension of that love.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I have always enjoyed Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and I like true stories, not necessarily crime, but stories by people who’ve overcome real-life situations. I read contemporary and of course my favorite is historical romance.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
My husband and I have lunch together every Thursday, and spend the afternoon doing something we want to do. It’s our time away from the busy week and without our wonderful family. J

Friday evenings is when my critique group meets. We manage to hold a lot of special events, like birthday celebrations and rejoicing over contracts and milestones. It’s a let-your-hair-down atmosphere, with a supportive and wise group of women.

When I start to feel overwhelmed, I shut down the computer and spend a day not thinking about the book. I garden, shop, or go to a movie.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Character names are critical to even putting the first words on the page of a story. If the names aren’t right, the story doesn’t flow, so I put a lot of work into names in the planning stages. Of course I have ten name books, including The Writer’s Digest Character naming Sourcebook and The Everything Baby Names Book. But my best names often come from other sources.

I have folders I’ve created over the years, lists I’ve compiled myself. Often I watch movies for study, with a pen and notebook in hand. I watch credits for interesting names. I always have a tablet in the car and I note names at cemeteries. In my folders are lists I’ve printed, like The Last Word on First Names, Modern Eccentric Names, Favorite Utah Names, Classic Conservative Names. Ship’s logs, wedding license records and cemetery records are among my favorite resources. I also picked up an old New York Times Personal Name Index somewhere along the way. I love combining a first and last name, so it sounds like a real person.

Once I have names in place, the story can commence.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
That would have to be my family. A long, long marriage takes two people, so I only get half the credit. And my kids are great people. We brought them into the world, but they make it a better place because of who they are. My grandkids are beautiful, talented, and loving. I’m extremely proud of each one.

What is your favorite food?
I’m crazy about pasta. And salad. And chocolate. Now there’s a perfect meal.

Tell us about the featured book.
The Wedding Journey
Love Inspired Historical
ISBN: 978-0-373-82911-8

The mysterious inheritance is the answer to a prayer. Now Irish lass Maeve Murphy and her sisters can come to America. She's sure happiness awaits her, even if it won't--can't--come from widowed ship doctor Flynn Gallagher. Yes, he made her his assistant, but she's not foolish enough to fall for the man all the eligible, wealthy female passengers admire.

Flynn Gallagher may have his pick of ladies, but only one cares as he does for the sick and poor. Flynn vowed never to marry another woman who would break his heart. With Maeve, has his heart found safe harbor at last?

And readers can enjoy the prequel Donnelly’s Promise FREE here:

Sounds like just the kind of book I love to read. Please give us the first page of the book.
June 1850, Castleville, Ireland

Lilting over the roar of the ocean, the haunting notes of a flute raised goose bumps on Maeve's arms. There were no men in the Murphy family to carry the plain wooden box holding the remains of their father on their shoulders, so she and her two older sisters followed behind as the men of the village proceeded from the small stone church up a grassy incline to the cemetery.

The gathering reached the crest. Here the sound of thundering waves far below the cliffs grew to a crescendo, nature's hymn as familiar as the expansive sky and the salty tang of the ocean.

Beside Maeve, her sister Bridget wept into her handkerchief. She'd worn a somber secondhand brown bonnet, fashionable some ten years ago, yet still serviceable. "What's going to become of us without Da?"

Maeve comforted Bridget with an arm around her shoulders. "Shush now, ma milis," she said, calling her sister my sweet in their native Gaelic tongue.

"We'll come up with a plan." The eldest of the three, Nora, always had a plan. The sisters were stair steps in height and age, Nora being tall, Bridget in between and Maeve petite.

Most of the simple graves were marked with stones, others with weathered wooden crosses. Goat's-beard grew in thick patches throughout the grass, the yellow blooms a cheerful contrast to the mood. A hole had been dug in the rich black soil, and Maeve had only to glance about the crowd to note which of the young men's hair was damp from exertion. She spotted two familiar heads of curly red hair. She would thank the Donnelly brothers later.

Reverend Larkin had prayed over members from every household represented at the graveside today. The famine that had taken its toll on their countrymen had spared no family. Hunger, sickness and poverty were all these people knew, but the believers of Castleville clung to their faith. Now the reverend stretched his hand toward the pine box as six farmers dressed in their Sunday clothing lowered it by ropes down into the earth.

"Jack Murphy, your daughters long for one more day spent at your side. When we lose someone we love, it seems that time stands still. What moves through us is a silence, a quiet sadness, a longing for one more day, one more word, one more touch."

The ache in Maeve's chest threatened to cut off her breath. Security had been whipped out from beneath her with the death of her father. The pain of never seeing him again, of never hearing his thick brogue, was almost more than she could bear. She worked to hold back the grief and fear bearing down on her--and to steady Bridget, who swayed on her feet.

Their female friends and neighbors wept softly into their handkerchiefs and shawls. The men stared at the ground and worried the brims of their hats as a red-billed chough flew in a lazy circle overhead.

"We may not understand why you left this earth so soon," the reverend continued. "Or why you left before we were ready to say goodbye, but little by little we shall begin to remember not just that you died, but all the days that you lived. We will see you again some day, in a heavenly place where there is no hunger or sickness. No rocks in the fields. Now, Lord, bless the daughters of Jack Murphy. Keep them safe from harm and provide for them by Your bounteous grace and mercy."

Reverend Larkin turned and nodded at Nora. "You first, dear."

Maeve's oldest sister seemed taller than her already admirable height while she kept her back straight and stepped forward.

How can readers find you on the Internet?

The Wedding Journey Trailer:

Thank you for stopping by, Cheryl. I love your cover.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
The Wedding Journey (Love Inspired Historical) - paperback
The Wedding Journey (Love Inspired Historical) - 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. A winner in the US will receive a print book. If the winner is outside the US, the book will be an ebook. (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.


Krista said...

Wow... I'm the first post! This book sounds like a good read... please enter me!

Krista in Oregon

Cheryl St.John said...

Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Lena!

Hi Krista - oooh, Oregon. Now that's some lovely scenery. xoxo

Valri said...

Valri in Oregon too! This book continues to draw me! It sounds fantastic!

Cheryl St.John said...

Another Oregonian! xoxo

Lady DragonKeeper said...

As a hopeful art major, I always love looking at book covers and "The Wedding Journey" has a gorgeous one! If I may ask a question, Mrs. St. John, what was the process like for you as the author regarding the cover art? Were you allowed any input?

Thanks for the chance to win --I adore historicals!


(P.S. - As you may have guessed, I'm from Hawaii) =)

Patty said...

Sounds just like the type of book I would pick up!

Patty in SC

Joanna Richmond said...

it sounds like a very interesting book. I would Love to read it, Thanks for the chance to win.
Joanna Richmond
Blanch NC

Wendy Newcomb said...

I would really like to win Cheryl's book

Wendy from FL


Ginger Solomon said...

Being an Irish Murphy meself (ahha), I am intrigued by this book.

Ginger in AL

Sarah Rebekah Richmond said...

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

Katie said...

Sounds great! Please enter me. I'm from NC. God bless!

Katie G.

Anne Payne said...

I'll take your favorite meal any day!

Anne in NC

Susan Johnson said...

Sounds like a good book. Please enter me.

Susan in West Texas

Abigail Mitchell said...

Looks Fantastic! Please enter me in the drawing!
God Bless!
Blanch, N.C.

apple blossom said...

love to be added to a love inspired book giveaway thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Judy Cooper said...

I love this kind of book. Have not read any of Cheryl St.John's books but certainly look forward to it. Pleas enter my name. Thanks, Judy C. in Louisiana.

Ingrid said...

Hi Cheryl and Lena, thank for the great Interview, i enjoyed it very much :).
Your Book sounds so great and I can't wait to read it, please add me to your Contest.
God Bless


Judy said...

Please enter me! Sounds like a great read!

Judy from Indiana

Faith said...

Awesome interview!

Sounds like a book I should keep my eyes open for!

Faye from SD

Anonymous said...

would love to win.
Angela from KY

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.

Karin said...

My mom used to have a booth at an antique mall. What kinds of things do you sell in yours?

From MN

karin56381 (at) gmail.com

Merry said...

I'd love to travel with the Murphy sisters, please add me for The Wedding Journey.
Merry in TX

Coolestmommy said...

Don't enter me to win--I've already got a copy and have read it. What a wonderful story...hard to imagine trying to start life over in a new country!!!

Also just had to give a shout out to my friend, Cheryl. She is as funny and as nice as she seems in her interview.


Liz R said...

Sounds like I need to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway!

Liz R in Al

Nancye said...

This sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway.

Nancye in Kentucky

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Emma said...

great interview.Please enter me in giveaway for The Wedding Journey. Thank you for the chance to win this book. Pa.

rubynreba said...

The Wedding Journey is a book I would definitely like to read.
Beth from Iowa

Wildflower said...

This book sounds like it is very wonderful. Please enter me.
Rebecca from MA