Wednesday, November 04, 2015

IRISH ENCOUNTER - Hope Toler Dougherty - One Free Book

Dear Readers, I am one-fourth Irish, so I like reading novels set in Ireland. I read Irish Encounter and really enjoyed it. It’s a contemporary novel, and I felt as if I were in Ireland myself, meeting these interesting characters. They stole my heart.

Bio: Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master's degree in English and taught at East Carolina University as well as York Technical College. A member of ACFW, RWA and SinC, she writes for AlmostAnAuthor. Before writing novels, she published non-fiction articles on topics ranging from gardening with children to writing apprehension. She cheers for the Pittsburgh Steelers, ACC basketball, and Army West Point Football. Hope and her husband, Kevin, live in North Carolina and chat with their two daughters and twin sons through ooVoo. Her second novel, Mars...With Venus Rising, released with Pelican Book Group in August.

Welcome, Hope. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I write something of myself into a lot of my characters. I don’t always consciously include myself, but people say they can hear my voice when they’re reading. That’s why for my second novel, Mars…With Venus Rising, I specifically chose a character who loves math—my antithesis, but I had her crochet in one scene because I love to crochet.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’m not sure if it’s quirky or crazy, but my husband and I took our four children on a home exchange when they were five, five, seven, and nine. We spent one week in France with former exchange students and their families, and we spent three weeks in Galway plus three weeks in Bandon, County Cork, Ireland. The two families stayed in our house while we lived in theirs. That exchange trip plus another in 2007 planted the seed for Irish Encounter.

When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was in second or third grade, we had to write the copy for a picture book. I still remember the paragraph I turned in for the first page of the book. When my teacher graded it, she wrote excellent on the top of the right hand side of the page, angled toward the corner in red ink. I loved writing that page and knew I wanted to write more. I’ve had great encouragement from peers, teachers, and professors since then.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I love reading all kinds of books. I read romance and romantic suspense because who doesn’t love that first time you notice someone, that heady time of falling for someone special. As a former English instructor and as a book club facilitator, I love reading the classics like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice and literary fiction from Anne Tyler, Kaye Gibbons, and Elizabeth Berg. I also read non-fiction like Unbroken, and children’s and young adult fiction from Sarah Dessen, Markus Zusak, and Richard Peck, and travel stories like Under the Tuscan Sun. Did I say I love reading?

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I try to pray and have a quiet time every morning. A few years ago when my quiet time seemed boring to me, I figured it was boring to God as well. I made note cards with verses that describe God’s character from Isaiah and Psalms. I love meditating over those verses before the day gets frantic.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
Naming something or someone is so hard. In our family, it’s taken us two or three weeks to name a pet. We always have some negative connotation attached to a name. For Irish Encounter, I needed a name for a forty-three year old. Names popular today like Brittany or Tiffany wouldn’t work. I needed a name that would have been popular in the early seventies, so I chose Ellen. Payne was easy because it fit his character so well. I Googled ethnic names for the story and checked a baby name book and phone books, too.

What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
I’m happy that I soloed a Cessna 150 years ago, but the accomplishment that I’m most thankful for is the fact that God allowed me to help rear four pretty tremendous human beings. Our children are fun and funny, interesting and interested. They’re solid, contributing citizens who have close, personal walks with Jesus Christ. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
If ostriches really buried their heads in sand when trouble comes, that’s what I’d be because I don’t like confrontation. Since that popular belief is a myth, I’ll choose a dolphin because I like to swim.

What is your favorite food?
I love food, especially Italian, Mexican, and spicy food. I really love my mother’s fried pork tenderloin nestled in one of her homemade biscuits. For dessert, I never turn down a chocolate mousse or ice cream or frozen yogurt …

What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
PITCHING. I hate it. I’m horrible at it. I’m so thankful my agent, Jim Hart, can send proposals out for me now. For the writing process, procrastination and fear are pretty strong. Some days I have to make myself sit down and write. Writing is fun, but the blank page or screen can be scary. I have a formidable internal editor. I’ve had to pray and wrestle him out of my office many times to get a rough draft into Scrivener.

Tell us about the featured book.
Irish Encounter is the story with which God wooed me onto the fiction path. It’s the story of my heart and the story of second chances.

Blurb: After almost three years of living under a fog of grief, Ellen Shepherd is ready for the next chapter in her life. Perhaps she’ll find adventure during a visit to Galway. Her idea of excitement consists of exploring Ireland for yarn to feature in her shop back home, but the adventure awaiting her includes an edgy stranger who disrupts her tea time, challenges her belief system, and stirs up feelings she thought she’d buried with her husband.

After years of ignoring God, nursing anger, and stifling his grief, Payne Anderson isn’t ready for the feelings a chance encounter with an enchanting stranger evokes. Though avoiding women and small talk has been his pattern, something about Ellen makes him want to seek her—and God again.

Please give us the first page of the book for my readers.
Ellen Shepherd’s fingers trembled as she fiddled with the zipper on her small backpack. “I can’t wait to see Galway again. It’s been so long since we were here.” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, an image of her husband, dead now for three years, smiling and popping a piece of brown bread into his mouth, wavered in her mind.

Was she crazy? She didn’t want to see Galway without Steve.

“Mom, are you sure you’re up to going into town? I should be finished with my exam around noon. Relax this morning, and then I’ll come back here for lunch.” Olivia, a college junior, sipped coffee out of a mug depicting the Cliffs of Moher. Natural light from the cathedral windows behind her brightened the kitchen despite this morning’s low-hanging clouds.

Ellen smiled at her daughter and banished the bittersweet memories that wanted to join forces with the dark clouds overhead. “I appreciate your concern for your poor ol’ mom, but I’m not ready for a rocking chair and a warm blanket yet. At least allow me to celebrate my forty-fourth birthday before you cart me away to a retirement center.” She drank the last of her orange juice.

Olivia rolled her hazel eyes, the exact color of Ellen’s, and bit her toast shimmering with blackberry jam. “Mmm. You should plant some blackberry bushes when you get back home. Then next year make some delicious jam like this.” She wiggled the remaining half of the triangle at her mom.

“Thanks for adding not one but two items to my to-do list. They’ll have to roost at the bottom for now, though.” A pall crept into her chest as she thought about her yarn shop, holding its own but barely and her farm, the fields lying fallow this year because of her uncle’s stroke in March.

What would next year bring?

How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Hope, for sharing this book with us. I know my readers will enjoy it as much as I did.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Irish Encounter - paperback
Irish Encounter - 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:


Anonymous said...

Oreo and I would love to wish. We are from KY

Caryl Kane said...

Lena, thank you for introducing Hope Toler Dougherty! I also have some Irish in me! I would love to read IRISH ENCOUNTER.

Caryl in TEXAS

Phyllis Kemp said...

Phyllis from Illinois

I enjoyed this interview with Hope Toler Dougherty, and I would like to read her book to get to know her style.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Yay! This is so exciting! I can't wait to read this! (And I love anything Ireland!)
J.C. -Indiana-

Amada Chavez said...

WOW! I'd love to read and review Irish Encounter! You had me at Ireland, but then you REALLY had me at the mention of yarn and tea time! ;) LOL!

Amada (pronounced:, NM

Hope Dougherty said...

Sorry, I'm late to commenting today, but I just arrived at my desk. Thank you for hosting me today, Lena!

Hope Dougherty said...

I appreciate all the comments so far and your interest in Irish Encounter. Amada, Phyllis, Caryl, and you anonymous commenters, too, Ireland is beautiful. I hope you get to visit if you haven't already. Amada, the yarn is wonderful there, and that's where I learned to drink hot tea! Thank you!

KayM said...

I am most interested in reading Irish encounter, as I seem to gravitate to books set in Ireland. Thank you for offering a copy.

Hope Dougherty said...

I'm so happy you're interested in books set in Ireland, Kay. Many people shared a lot of ways to fix the "problem" of an Irish location when I first started talking about the story a few years ago. I heard many comments that readers wouldn't read it. I love to read about other places!

sm said...

I am a widow and I am also from N. Ireland. I am going there for Christmas this year to do something very different since my husband won't be with me for the first time. Your book looks great and I love second chances. sm CA wileygreen1(at)yahoo(dot)com

Library Lady said...

Our Church Library readers dearly love books about Ireland. Thanks for giving me the chance to win this book.
Janet E.

Hope Dougherty said...

SM, I'm excited that you get to travel to Ireland for Christmas! I'm sure the trip will be bittersweet without your husband. May God bless you with a special time there.

Hope Dougherty said...

Janet E., the book has discussion questions in the back for book clubs if your Church Library readers are interested. I'm so happy people enjoy reading about Ireland!

Melanie Backus said...

Hope is new to me so thank you for introducing her. I would love to visit Ireland so maybe this will give me a little taste.

Melanie Backus p,TX

Mary Preston said...

I love reading all kinds of books too. A lovely post thank you.

Mary P


Terrill R. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terrill R. said...

A few months ago I a FB post from another author and she had picked up your book at the bookstore. I immediately sought it out on Amazon and added it to my wishlist. My husband has access to this particular wishlist and Christmas is nearing. :)

Terrill - WA

Hope Dougherty said...

Melanie, the story is partially set in Galway. I hope you get to go some day!
Thank you for commenting.

Hope Dougherty said...

Mary, thank you for reading and commenting on the post. I hope you're reading a good book now!

Hope Dougherty said...

Terrill, if you don't win this time, I hope your husband chooses Irish Encounter from your wishlist! Thank you for commenting today.

Deanna Stevens said...

What a fun interview! I enjoyed meeting you today..
I'd love to read your book..
Dee from NE

Hope Dougherty said...

Deanna, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. I'm glad you liked the interview. I thought the questions were interesting, but I always hope my answers don't sound silly!

Kim Amundsen said...

Cool interview. Looks like a good read. kamundsen44ATyahooDOTcom.

Raechel said...

Thanks for this giveaway! Pretty cover!!
Raechel in MN

Diana Flowers said...

I would love the opportunity to read Irish Encounter! I am a wee bit Irish meself, but mostly Dutch. lol I love settings in Ireland! Enjoyed the interview and getting better acquainted with a new-to-me author!

Diana in SC

Angela Holland said...

I love books that are Irish themed. Thank you for the chance to win.
Angela in St. Cloud, FL

Edward Arrington said...

This sounds interesting. I've not had to deal with the grief of the loss of a spouse and hope I won't for a long time. Thanks for an opportunity to win.
Edward A in VA

Patty said...

Thanks for introducing us to Hope! I would love to read Irish Encounters.

Patty in SC

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

Lena, thank you for this introduction. Hope, your first page is very intriguing and I appreciate the chance to win Irish Encounter.
Connie from KY
cps1950 (at) gmail (dot) com

BJM said...

I love this introduction. I want to read this book. I enjoy books set in Ireland. I live in South Carolina, and I would love to visit Ireland someday.

Brenda Arrington said...

A very interesting sounding book. Would love to win the giveaway.
Brenda in VA

Anonymous said...

Hi Hope. Would love your book. I have Irish in my Ancestory. Would love the chance to win this your book. Thanks Lena.
Maxie (TX) > mac262(at)me(dot)com <

Hope Dougherty said...

Thank you, Kim for reading the post and commenting. I agree, Raechel. I love the cover! Thank you.

Hope Dougherty said...

Thank you, Diana and Angela, for your comments. Diana, I meet lots of people who claim Irish descent--especially on St. Patrick's Day!

Hope Dougherty said...

I'm glad you stopped by the blog today, Edward and Patty. Edward, I haven't lost a spouse either, but I have friends who have either by death or divorce. I used their experience for Ellen and Payne. Thank you both for commenting.

Hope Dougherty said...

I'm so glad you liked the first page, Connie, and the introduction, BJM. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Hope Dougherty said...

Thank you for your positive comments, Brenda and Maxie. I'm glad you stopped by today.

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me in your amazing giveaway!!
Conway, SC.

Trixi said...

Yay....another new-to-me author!! Love the premise of your book Hope, that first page grabbed me :-) I haven't read too many Irish stories so this would be a welcome change for me. I enjoyed your author interview here. I like that fact that your 3rd grade teacher first instilled your love of writing. I wonder if you ever go the chance to tell her? That would have been neat for her to hear!
And I loved learning that you soloed a Cessna 150, how neat is that to learn to fly? I've been on a smaller plane before and loved it, well, I like flying anyway & wished I could do it more. But it's so expensive! I have lots of family around the States I could visit if money were no!
Thanks for the author interview, I loved reading everything you shared about yourself! I love meeting new writers, it helps expand my book choices :-)

Trixi in OR

Hope Dougherty said...

Hey, Sharon. You're in the contest! Trixi, thanks so much for all your comments. Sadly, I never got to thank Mrs. Johnson or Mrs. Rose, but two of my high school English teachers attended my book launch party for Irish Encounter back in May. What fun! You can check out pictures from that party on my website if you're interested. Thank you again!

Sylvia said...

I'm from North Carolina and think this books sounds very interesting! It's a breath of fresh air to read about older heroines and Ireland. That cover is absolutely gorgeous. It actually makes me want to go to Ireland and read this book.


Hope Dougherty said...

Sylvia, I'm so glad you like the cover because I thought it was perfect for the story. Thank you for your interest in older heroines, too. Life isn't over just because we turn 40!! Thanks for stopping by!