Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A RELUCTANT MELODY - Sandra Ardoin - One Free Book

Welcome back, Sandra. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
When I began writing novels seven or eight years ago, I worked on two projects at one time—a contemporary romantic mystery and a historical romance. I had no idea where I was going with either of them, but believed God was leading me in the direction of completing the historical, so I did. The rest is (ta-da!) history.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
Walking down the aisle was a kick! I’d also say it was when my daughter was born. I was thirty-five before having a child, so marking that off my bucket list was pretty cool.

How has being published changed your life?
I wrote and published small pieces for so long in obscurity, rarely telling anyone but family what I did. In the past few years, I’ve built an online platform, but now I put myself and my work out there for everyone I know to see and judge it. Also, all the promotion cuts into my writing time. Before, I could spend most of my day on a project. These days, my time is more sharply divided and the writing time is more precious. But that’s part of the job.

My humility is tested daily. It’s wonderful to learn that people enjoyed my work—even spent money on it. We all want the back pats. But it’s also important to realize that I wouldn’t be talking about any of this without God’s grace, His words, and His plan for my life. Add to that, the many writer friends who have helped me along the way with advice, knowledge, promotion, etc.

What are you reading right now?
Does “buried under the book shelf” ring a bell? February has been a busy month, reading-wise. I do book reviews on my blog and sometimes get carried away with requesting books. At this time, I’m reading On Lonestar Trail by Amanda Cabot. Next up is Lynette Eason’s Always Watching, then Dani Pettrey’s Cold Shot. I recently finished Terri Blackstock’s new one If I Run and Don Brown’s Code 13 (review on the Suspense Sisters blog). I also finished Elaine Marie Cooper’s June release Promise of Deer Run for endorsement. Oh my! Did I just say someone wants me to endorse their book? (See above humility answer!)

What is your current work in progress?
Right now, I’m working on the first book of a proposed three-book series set in Texas in 1886/87. It’s making the rounds, but not yet contracted. I’m also brainstorming a novella series and another Christmas novella.

What would be your dream vacation?
A while back, I wrote a novella that takes place in Sydney, Australia. Never having been there, I did a great deal of research and discovered a hankering to go! So, if I thought I could survive the hours trapped on the plane, my dream vacation would be to explore various parts of Australia. Unfortunately, I think it would be like coming to the U. S. and trying to see the whole country in one trip.

How do you choose your settings for each book?
That’s a good question. It depends on the type of book, the type of characters, and the story itself. The one I’m working on now needed an unsettled area. The town is a bit rough with no church, so it had to be small and in a more western area than on the east coast. I’ve set a number of my stories in Texas, because I lived there for so long. This one takes place near what was the Great Western Cattle Trail.

However, A Reluctant Melody is set in a fictional town based on the town and area in which I live now. It takes bits and pieces from the history of various local towns.

History is its own necessity. For instance, with the book I’m writing now, I can’t have cattle and cowboys running up that cattle trail in huge numbers as they would have a few years earlier. By the time of my story, cattlemen were shipping their cattle by train and the major drives were over.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
I thought long and hard on this one. There are so many people I would love to list, but they’re no longer alive. I think I would go with Franklin Graham. His is probably the loudest voice among Christian leaders today who declare our country’s need to stand for Christ and godly principles.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
As I said, I love to garden. My husband will tell you I love to eat out (which is true!). I like to window shop or prowl around antique and craft stores. On Sundays, you’ll find me watching the NFL and/or NASCAR.

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Other than the time factor, which I’ve talked about, I would say it’s the middle of the book. I’m a plantser. I plot the basics of the story and can do a synopsis, but then wing the rest. The first few chapters of the book are easy for me. When I get about fifty pages in, it starts getting harder. It’s building those fascinating bridges between the major plot points that can bog me down. The only way to overcome it is to write. Sometimes, I’ll write the scenes I know I want to do first. Then, all of a sudden, I’m seeing those bridges form.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Persevere and grow a thick skin!

Writing for publication is not a business where you wake up one morning and decide to write a book and expect it to be finished and on the book shelves in a month or six.

Rejection is part of the process. It’s like owning a store and having a customer walk out without purchasing something. You can’t take it personally. You just didn’t have what that person wanted at the time.

Tell us about the featured book.
A Reluctant Melody is a story of redemption, forgiveness, and second chances. It revolves around Kit Barnes, a secondary character in my 2014 Christmas novella The Yuletide Angel and Joanna Stewart, a woman who believes her past makes her unworthy of the forgiveness of God and society.

Here’s the back cover copy to give you a better idea:

Kit Barnes’ alcoholism ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. But the most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past. 

Friends of her late husband blame Joanna for his death. Although eager to flee from the rumors, she will let the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she allows Kit back into her life.

When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Joanna’s long-held secret, will she risk losing everything she owns to Kit … including her heart?

Please give us the first page of the book.
Joanna Stewart’s fingers waltzed across the silk covering her lap. Had the stripes of the dress fabric been piano keys, the cab of her brougham would be filled with the melody of Sullivan’s “Let Me Dream Again.”

She halted the romping digits and gripped the material of her skirt in a tight fist. Dreams. She awoke to the pain they caused years ago … after the lie of romantic love dealt its deadly blow.

A horse car rattled past on the tracks running down the middle of Broad Street. The bell dangling from the animals’ collars jingled with each plodding step.

Joanna’s driver, Liam McCall, turned onto Cleary. When the carriage stopped, she peeked out the window and scanned the dry and dusty street in front of the Stewart Broom Factory. When was the last time she’d ventured out of her house and into the midst of strangers? A month? Two? She wouldn’t be in town now if Perry’s note hadn’t stressed the importance of their meeting.

A man on a bicycle passed too close to the carriage and thumbed the bell on his contraption. Her horse shied and the brougham rocked. Joanna grabbed the window frame to brace herself.

Using coarse language and the power of brawny arms, Liam brought the animal under control. A moment later, he yanked the door open and held out his hand. “Foul things, horses. If it were up to me, I’d shoot ’em all.”

Inwardly, Joanna cringed. “Even work animals deserve our respect and compassion, Mr. McCall.” As he helped her down, his callused fingers swallowed her lace-gloved hand.

I love it. How can readers find you on the Internet?
Visit me at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Join my email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

Thank you, Sandra, for sharing this book with us. I know my readers as eager to read it as I am.

Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Women's Historical Fiction: A Reluctant Melody - Will she risk losing everything ... including her heart? - paperback
Christian Historical Romance: A Reluctant Melody - Will she risk losing everything ... including her heart? - Kindle

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy of the book. You must follow these instructions to be in the drawing. 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...

would love to win angela in ky

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you for letting me share a little about myself and my writing, Lena!

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thanks for participating, Angela!

Stella said...

Ohhhhh!! I would love to win this book. Sounds so good,

Melanie Backus said...

A Reluctant Melody sounds like a wonderful book.

Melanie Backus, TX

Debbie Clatterbuck said...

A Reluctant Melody sounds very interesting and I would enjoy winning it. Pray for me to win everybody and I will pray for you to win. Sounds crazy, but I never said I was sane. LOL

Debbie in OH

Sandra Ardoin said...

Stella, Melanie, Debbie - I won't take sides, but thank you for your interest in the book! :)

Sandra Ardoin said...

Oh, my! I just noticed that my publisher has lowered the Kindle price to $.99 for a limited time! Just in case you don't want to wait to see if you win it ... http://www.amazon.com/Womens-Historical-Fiction-Reluctant-everything-ebook/dp/B01A67A2MM/

Mary Preston said...

Thank you for the wonderful interview.

Mary P


Sandy Quandt said...

Sandra, thank you for sharing your writer's journey with us. I especially appreciated your comments about rejection. "Rejection is part of the process. It’s like owning a store and having a customer walk out without purchasing something. You can’t take it personally. You just didn’t have what that person wanted at the time."

A Reluctant Melody sounds like a must read.

Sandy Q.

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Mary! :)

Thank you, Sandy. Yes, rejection is tough. While I don't want to minimize its effect on us, we can't let it control our ability to write. I learned early on that the more I wrote and submitted, the greater my chance of publication. I considered it a numbers game. And, of course, the more you write, the better you get, which increases the chance of publication.

Wendy Newcomb said...

This sounds like it will be a good read, thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Wendy in FL

wfnren at aol dot com

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Wendy!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

I enjoyed reading the first page. Thank you for sharing.
Connie from KY

kim hansen said...

Enjoyed the first page. kamundsen44ATyahooDOTcom north platte nebraska

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Connie and Kim. I hope it whet your appetites for reading the rest of the story! :)

Abigail Mitchell said...

Looks awesome!!!
Blanch NC

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Abigail! I'm very pleased by the reviews A Reluctant Melody has received. :)

GrandaddyA said...

Sounds interesting!
Edward A in VA

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you for your interest in the book, Edward! :)

Sharon Richmond Bryant said...

Enter me!!
Conway, SC.

Terrill R. said...

Congrats on the great reviews for A Reluctant Melody. I am always impressed with the books published by LPC. I'm looking forward to finally reading it.

Terrill - WA

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thanks for your interest, Sharon!

Terrill, LPC publishes some great books! I hope you enjoy A Reluctant Melody! :)

Brenda Arrington said...

Sounds like a great read. I would love to win. Thank you for that chance.
Brenda in VA

Sandra Ardoin said...

Thank you, Brenda! :)

Bakersdozen said...

I would love to read this. I love historical fiction. Michelle from Southern California

Sandra Ardoin said...

And I'd love for you to read it, Michelle! :)

rubynreba said...

I look forward to this book. The first page made me want to read more!
Beth from IA

Sandra Ardoin said...

I'm so glad, Beth! Enjoy! :)