God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
After I finish Fashioning the Future (Book 3 of the Aspiring Hearts Series), I begin a contemporary series set in the Pacific Northwest. I am also converting my first novel, Celebration! into a play and a screenplay.
Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how?
My reading habits haven’t changed. I still seek out and read more literary fiction with extensive character development and beautiful description.
What are you working on right now?
Fashioning the Future, Book 3 of the Aspiring Hearts Series
What outside interests do you have?
I am an active supporter of the classical arts in Nashville—the symphony, ballet, and our many fine live theaters. I also support Cheekwood Gardens and Belmont Mansion with my volunteer hours. I lead a study group for women—once a professor, always a professor!
How do you choose your settings for each book?
I write about areas I know from personal experience. Thus, my novels are set in Texas, Colorado, or Washington state. My love of gardens and grand, old houses also influences my choices.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Thomas Jefferson. His extensive education, experiences in political life, interest in gardening, and inventiveness fascinate me.
What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
That I would be required to market them extensively. Writing has become a double job, and one has to be willing to lay aside the joy of creative writing for some pretty mundane chores in marketing.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
That no matter how deep the valley or how long it lasts, there really is a mountaintop. He keeps His word!
What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
If you want to be published, write what publishers are looking for. (Later you can write what you want to write.) Find a good agent and let your agent find the publisher for you. (Be sure you have a full-time agent with some experience.) Write every day! Even if it’s only for 30 minutes. Always keep that book in your head.
Tell us about the featured book.
Things are looking up in Riverford, Texas, in June 1898. Czech immigrant, Sarah Novak, is finally graduating from teacher’s college. Surely she will now put aside all that foolishness about being a professional woman and marry Lee Logan. After all, what young woman could ask for more? Lee is a handsome, young banker who will take his new bride off to bustling Fort Worth, Texas, and give her a life of luxury.
And when Sarah finally marries Lee, Victoria Hodges, that red-haired, trouble-making, bohemian artist from Europe, will be forced to admit that Sarah cannot change tradition-bound Riverford.
But moments after Sarah receives her diploma tragedy strikes Riverford, forcing Sarah and Victoria to work together in order to save the town. Can love blossom amidst conflicting cultures and backgrounds.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Sarah Novak struggled to compose herself as she stood, garbed in a traditional graduate’s cap and gown, in the blinding white light of the Texas sun. The members of Travis College class of 1898 were ready to process into Memorial Hall, receive their diplomas, and begin their new lives. Each student had been on a life journey for the last two years, but none had come further than Sarah. While the others complained of the heat and shielded their eyes from the glare, Sarah remembered her grueling years in the cotton fields. She struggled to accept the new definition of herself, which she had worked so hard to earn. Soon she would no longer be just a Czech immigrant girl, the daughter of a sharecropper. She would mount the stage, accept a diploma, and become Sarah Novak, teacher. The studies of the previous two years represented a steep, arduously climbed mountain, but thanks to God, she had not needed to climb it alone.
As the students moved forward, they left the heat and glare of the outdoors for the shadowy foyer of Memorial Hall. They paused while the monitor straightened their line. Then the double doors were ceremoniously thrown open, they entered the auditorium, and Sarah gasped at the beauty of the amber light pouring through the two-story-high, arched Tiffany windows on both sides of the hall. The motto of the college, emblazoned in gilded letters on the dark green background surrounding the stage, glowed in the light and called her to her destiny. Pro honoris, Pro scientia, Pro texana. A thrill of eagerness shot through Sarah as she stepped forward to embrace the challenge—For honor, For knowledge, For Texas—and began her walk toward the ivory urns filled with yellow roses which lined the front of the stage. The president of the college and other administrators stood at attention in a semi-circle surrounding a heavily carved, mahogany table. The scrolled diplomas of the eighteen graduates waited in a fan shape around four gold medals prominently displayed on stands in the center of the table. These were the prizes to be given to the best scholars in science, mathematics, literature, and the classics.
Sarah scanned the audience and spotted her beloved supporters sitting together on the front row. Victoria Hodges’ red hair made her instantly recognizable. Her tall, broad-shouldered husband, Hayden, and the equally impressive figure of General Gibbes, flanked her. Sarah’s mind flashed back three years to the sunny morning when she had stood at the front gate of the Hodges garden while Victoria eagerly invited her in. That was the moment that changed my life, the moment when my dreams began to become my reality. How can I ever thank her?
To the left of General Gibbes, Sarah found the petite figure of his daughter, Christine Boyd, the elegant lady from Charleston, who had engineered the rescue of the Novak family from abject poverty when Sarah was only a child. Sarah’s throat tightened as she suppressed her tears. She was the human hand of God, the hand that followed His bidding and used her influence to lift my family to security. Next to Christine sat her husband, Richard Boyd, the town’s banker who frequently turned into the Good Samaritan.
“Kindly step aside!” Sarah felt a sharp rap on her shoulder and turned to find Mrs. Edith Bellows, Victoria’s next-door neighbor, glaring at her. “I wish to congratulate my nephew before taking my seat.”
As Sarah moved out of the line, she noticed that there was plenty of room for the woman to pass and that the graduates in front of her were not asked to step aside. Sarah wearily shook her head. She will never forgive me for daring to rise above what she deems my station. Sarah glanced around the auditorium. No doubt there are others here who agree with her. She watched as Mrs. Bellows kissed her nephew, Horace, on the cheek before making what she obviously considered a queenly progression down the main aisle. A group of her friends greeted her as she took the place they were saving for her.
The Travis College string quintet struck up a march, and the audience rose from their seats and turned to the back of the hall. This is it! As a thrill of nerves shot through Sarah, she snapped to attention. Her moment had come; the victory she had slaved for was at hand, but when she tried to lift her feet and move forward, she felt frozen in place.
Then Sarah saw her. A small, nondescript woman took one step out into the main aisle and peered back at the line of graduates. Sarah’s mother. My daughter is gonna have more! Jana Novak’s defiant declaration, which had enabled Sarah to follow her dreams, rocketed through Sarah’s mind and fired her courage. She lifted her chin, boldly stepped forward, and marched toward her destiny, the prize for which she and her mother had sacrificed so much. When she came alongside Jana, Sarah paused, and her mother pressed two fingers to her lips in a salute of love. Sarah’s eyes filled as she returned the gesture.
Standing tall next to her mother, Lee Logan beamed down at Sarah, his love shining from his eyes. A thrill ran through Sarah, but she hastened on. Physically, she must not hold up the processional line, and emotionally, she could not risk focusing on Lee’s courtship. Her mind was made up! Yes, it was definitely made up. She planned to be a teacher, not a wife. Was this not the role she had dreamed of all her life? Was this not the self-definition she had chosen when she began her arduous studies in Victoria’s library? Was this not the reason she had defied her father and allowed her mother to sacrifice so much? I have chosen. My fate is sealed. With that thought Sarah hardened her heart as she mounted the steps to the stage and took her place in the line of chairs set out for the graduates.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Join me on my FB personal Timeline and enjoy the photos I post daily of my garden, teatime, and all things beautiful. My website is www.kaymoser.com. I also post on Instagram and Goodreads. My Twitter handle is @KayMoserBooks
Thank you, Kay, for sharing this book with us. I know my readers and I will love reading it.