Thursday, August 21, 2014

A STRANGER ON MY LAND - Sandra Merville Hart - One free book

Bio: Sandra Merville Hart loves to find unusual facts in her historical research to use in her stories. She and her husband enjoy traveling to many of the sites in her books to explore the history. She serves as Assistant Editor for where she contributes articles about history and holidays. She has written for several publications and websites including The Secret Place, Harpstring, Splickety Magazine, Pockets Magazine, Common Ground, Afictionado, and

Welcome, Sandra. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I don't think of my characters as being me. They have different personality traits, and they don't look like me. The characters in my stories often react in ways I don't expect. Allowing the characters in my imagination to show me what happens next brings unexpected twists.

Before reading my debut novella, my husband asked me if he was the main character's love interest. I told him, "He's not you. She's not me. If it was you, I'd definitely want her to be me." 

Good answer. What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I don't drink coffee. I get my morning caffeine from chocolate milk. I know—most adults grow out of this stage. I never did!       

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
I wanted to be a writer in elementary school but received no encouragement. I set the dream aside until about ten years ago. I've been told, "No one thinks like you. No one talks like you." Obviously some one does think like me—me. Those comments left me feeling like an outsider.

I attended my first writers' conference about eight years ago and found a whole room full of people with lively imaginations. For the first time it struck me that God made me this way on purpose. He equipped me to think like a writer. In this literary group of about four hundred people, I belonged.

That’s a wonderful discovery, isn’t it? Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
The type of book I most often gravitate to is inspirational historical romance. I enjoy contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. I also read a lot of non-fiction books as part of my research.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
As much as I try to protect myself from over commitment in busy seasons, it happens anyway. To keep myself organized in stressful times, I write out to-do lists. These contain all business-related items that are on my plate. Then I begin tackling the hottest fires or the things that can be quickly completed. Checking things off brings a sense of accomplishment.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Choosing character names can be difficult. As I begin a story, I create a document with names, descriptions, jobs, etc., about each character I already know about. New characters pop up in the story all the time. Then I have to stop and figure out the name. If an idea doesn't come, I look in a phone book for last names. These books provide plenty of possibilities.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My family. I'm proud of whatever part I played in the wonderful people they've become. 

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Dolphins seem to enjoy life. They jump in and out of the water with wild abandon. They travel with family and friends. Sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it?

Yes, it does. I love watching them. What is your favorite food?
Chocolate. I tend to crave it most during stressful times. Thankfully bite-sized candies are usually enough to satisfy me. The new chocolate rice cakes are pretty tasty—chocolaty without containing a lot of calories. Have you tried them yet?

I haven’t seen those yet. I do love dark chocolate. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
There are so many things to learn about writing. In the beginning, it was writing a query and then a proposal. I find myself putting off new writing tasks that I've not done before, perhaps due to a fear of failure. After I force myself to work through it, the second time isn't as difficult.

Tell us about the featured book.
My inspirational Civil War novella, A Stranger on My Land, released today. Carrie and her little brother, Jay, find Adam, a wounded Union soldier, on their land after a battle near their Lookout Mountain home. Carrie takes Adam to the cave where her family has been hiding from the soldiers. Before long, she falls in love with him, but she can't save his life. He requires a surgeon. Carrie weighs the potential danger of revealing her family's hideaway with saving Adam's life.

Please give us the first page of the book.
Lookout Mountain, Outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee,
Wednesday, November 25, 1863
As the sound of a hundred firing muskets echoed across the valley, Carrie Bishop stepped out of the darkness of the cave that had sheltered her family for over two months. Peering left and right before replacing the branches that obscured the mouth of the small cave, she felt grateful for the wispy fog. It should help to mask her movements from any watchful eyes in the valley. Leaving the safety of the shrubs and one tall oak tree that further hid the entrance, she exhaled with relief to find no sign of the soldiers on Lookout Mountain. A noisy battle had taken place here yesterday.

Leaves rustled behind her. “Can I come out there with you, Carrie?”

Turning swiftly at her little brother’s loud whisper, she motioned him back inside. “No, Jay. I told you to wait for me.”

 “Aw, come on, Carrie. I don’t want to stay with Aunt Lavinia.” Her nine-year-old brother raised his eyebrows imploringly.

Carrie sighed. They’d both been stuck inside too much lately, and their bedridden aunt’s bitter complaining didn’t make returning to the cave such a pleasant prospect. “Let me look around first. I’ll be right back.” 

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Sandra, for sharing this new book with us.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
A Stranger On My Land (Civil War Romance Series) (Volume 1) - Amazon
Stranger On My Land: The Battle of Lookout Mountain, TN, November 24, 1863, (Civil War Romance Series) - 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 Goodreads, Google+, Feedblitz, Facebook, Twitter, 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:


Cindy W. said...

Would love to win a copy.

From Indiana.

Cindy W.

Sandra Hart said...

Cindy, Thanks for entering the contest. Good luck!

Sandy Hart

Sandra Hart said...

Cindy, Thanks for entering the contest. Good luck!

Sandy Hart

Patricia said...

My favorite genre is Christan Historical Fiction especially about the Civil War. I am looking forward to reading "A STRANGER ON MY LAND".
I enjoyed reading the blogpost!

Patricia Blackmon aka Mamaw
Living in the Deep Piney Woods of SE Texas.

Sandra Hart said...

Patricia, it makes me so happy to hear you say that about reading stories set in the Civil War! I'm glad you enjoyed reading the interview.
Good luck in the drawing!

Cynthia T. Toney said...

I love reading stories that take place during the Civil War, even though my family didn't come to America until after that. Please enter my name for a chance to win. Thanks!

Library Lady said...

The title of your book, "A Stranger On My Land" is very appropriate considering the book is based during the Civil War.
Stranger against Stranger, Brother against Brother, and Family against Family.
May this never happen again.
Janet E.

Library Lady said...

I live in Florida.
Janet E.

Sandra Hart said...

Cynthia, I love reading stories set in America during this turbulent time period.
Good luck in the drawing!

Sandra Hart said...

Yes, Janet, it was terrible time. A Stranger on My Land is about a wounded Union soldier who loses his way after the battle and our heroine finds him on her family's property.
Good luck in the drawing!

Deanna Stevens said...

From SE Nebraska, that had to be a terrible way to fight in a war. thanks for a chance to win a copy of your book :)

Sandra Hart said...

Deanna, From everything I've read everyone had a pretty tough time. Now in the winter when it's snowing and sleeting, I think of how it must have felt for the soldiers living in tents or on long marches regardless of weather.
Good luck with the drawing!

Melanie Backus said...

A Stranger on my Land sounds like a fascinating story. I would love to know how it all plays out. Love, family, choices....I want more!!!!!!

Melanie Backus, TX

Mary Preston said...

This sounds like such a fantastic story.

Mary P


Sandra Hart said...

Thanks, Melanie. I'm glad you want to read it! Good luck.

Sandra Hart said...

Mary, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Good luck!

Lisa Carter said...

So excited for you on the release of your debut. Great interview. Thanks to Lena, too, for your mentor's heart to new writers. :)

Jan Hall said...

A story like this makes me wonder what I would do if I was there.
Jan H in West Texas

Sandra Hart said...

Thanks, Lisa! You've been such an encouragement to me. And I appreciate Lena Nelson Dooley's efforts for new writers, too. Thanks, Lena, for hosting me on your blog!

Sandra Hart said...

Exactly, Jan! It does make you wonder. Finding lost wounded Civil War soldiers had to happen frequently. When the one who finds him is a single young lady ...

Good luck in the drawing.

Patsy said...

Would love to read Sandra's book. Sounds great!
From Mississippi

Sandra Hart said...

Hi, Patsy! Hope you enjoy the book. Good luck with the drawing.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway, SC.

Sandra Hart said...

Sharon, Good luck in the drawing!

Anonymous said...

I love a good civil war themed book! Shelia from Mississippi

Sandra Hart said...

Shelia, I love reading novels set during the Civil War, too. Hope you like this one!

Bonnie Roof said...

I love Civil War stories and would love to read "A Stranger on My Land"- it sounds like an exciting, emotional, novella. Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!!



Sandra Hart said...

Bonnie, I'm so glad you love Civil War stories! Good luck with the drawing.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book!
Thanks for the giveaway!
Sydney Harries GA

Sandra Hart said...

Thanks, Sydney! Good luck in the drawing.

Christy said...

I am from Illinois, and the Civil War has always been a fascinating period of history to me. Sounds like an interesting story!

Sandra Hart said...

Christy, I'm glad you like Civil War stories. Good luck in the drawing!

rubynreba said...

I would enjoy A Stranger on My Land. Reading about the Civil War is always interesting.
Beth from IA

PriviesAndPrims said...

Would love to win this one!
Historical fiction is one of my favorites.
I live in Lancaster County, PA.


sm said...

I also enjoy historical fiction/romance and A Stranger On My Land sounds very good. sharon, CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Sandra Hart said...

Beth, I find Civil War stories interesting, too! Good luck in the drawing.

Sandra Hart said...

Doreen, I love reading historical fiction, too. You learn so many fun things! Good luck in the drawing.

Sandra Hart said...

Sharon, I'm glad the story of A Stranger on My Land appeals to you. Thanks for entering the contest!

Jackie McNutt said...

Sandra, Your book looks very interesting. I have been through the area where Overlook Mountain is and would love to read a story based there. Thank you
Ohio reader

Sandra Hart said...

Jackie, my book is set on Lookout Mountain. I've never heard it called Overlook Mountain, but maybe it's the same. Hope you enjoy the story. Good luck in the drawing!

Sierra Faith said...

I love books about the civil war!!!!


Sandra Hart said...

Sierra, I love stories set in the Civil War, too! I hope you enjoy the book. Good luck with the drawing.