Monday, June 11, 2018

THE WIDOW OF ROSE HILL - Michelle Shocklee - One Free Ebook

Welcome back, Michelle. Why do you write the kind of books you do?
I’ve always loved historical novels as a reader, so writing them was a natural progression. Although I didn’t enjoy history while I was in school, I do now. Digging into the lives of people who lived long ago is fascinating to me.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
The day I married my best friend, April, 25, 1987, was the happiest day of my life. We met in college and have been sweethearts for more than 33 years. Two more dates brought me incredible joy: February 12, 1991 and May 22, 1993. God blessed us with two little boys on those dates. They’ve grown into young men that I am desperately proud of.

How has being published changed your life?
Honestly, my life hasn’t changed all that much since my debut novel came out in March 2017. I’m a bit busier on social media and planning marketing events, but otherwise my days are much the same as before. I do enjoy hearing from readers and interacting with them on social media and at signing events. I’m very grateful for all the amazing reviews my books have received and try to reach out to reviewers as much as possible. I suppose you could say that being a bit more visible and transparent is one way I’ve changed since becoming a published author.

What are you reading right now?
I’m getting ready to start Francine Rivers’ The Masterpiece. I’ve had to wait to dig into it while I finished reading several books and manuscripts for a contest I’m a judge in. Francine is one of my all-time favorite authors, beginning back in 1999 when I met her at a writers’ conference and was so “green” I didn’t know who she was!

What is your current work in progress?
I’m working on the third and final book in The Women of Rose Hill historical romance series. This third book takes place twenty years from the first book, so many changes have come to Rose Hill plantation, not all of them good.

What would be your dream vacation?
I’d love to take a cruise around the world! My husband and I love cruising, and I’d much rather lounge on a cruise ship while crossing the ocean than fly in a crowded airplane. I’d like to visit each continent and experience the many different cultures represented. 

How do you choose your settings for each book?
I chose the setting for my historical series after learning about slavery and cotton plantations existing in Texas prior to the Civil War. Because I grew up in New Mexico, Texas’ history was not something I was familiar with, even though I’d lived in the state since 1985. Once I began to dig into the research, I knew I had to write about a plantation in Texas rather than the typical southern plantations we often read about located in Georgia or Virginia. I specifically chose Williamson County as the setting for Rose Hill plantation after reading a firsthand account of a slave who lived on a plantation in that county, the same county where I lived for twenty years.

If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why?
If you had asked me this question a few months ago, I would have said the Rev. Billy Graham. Oh, how I would have loved to sit in his comfy-looking home tucked in the hills of North Carolina, listening to his incredible stories. But since he has gone Home to Heaven, I will say my next choice would be Astronaut Buzz Aldrin. He and Neil Armstrong were the first two humans to walk on the moon, and I’d love to hear him describe that amazing event in person.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?
I’m obsessed with visiting historical sites. My husband and I recently relocated to Tennessee, and I’m fascinated by all the Civil War history that surrounds me here. We also enjoy old movies, live music, and eating out. We’ve dubbed Friday nights as Burger Night and are always on the hunt for the best burger in town!

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it?
Procrastination. Unfortunately I have yet to overcome it. Like most things I try to accomplish, I find that if I have a hard and fast deadline, I can make myself sit in the chair and write. But if I have too much time between contracts or writing projects, I find myself going in several different directions and not really accomplishing much.

What advice would you give to a beginning author?
Don’t get discouraged. Keep learning and keep writing. God has a timetable and a plan for each of us. He can’t be rushed, nor would we want to rush him. Writing is just one of the many tasks God has for us to do, so be faithful in them all.

Tell us about the featured book.
The Widow of Rose Hill is the second book in The Women of Rose Hill series. It takes place in June 1865, just after the Civil War has ended. If you know your Texas history, you know slavery in Texas was still happening despite the end of the war. When the Union Army arrived in Galveston, they brought with them a presidential proclamation freeing the slaves. Huge changes had to come to plantation owners like Natalie Ellis. How will the widowed single mother manage the plantation without slaves?

Please give us the first page of the book.
Williamson County, Texas
June 1865
“I declare, Carolina, I believe we will positively melt before the day is finished with us.”

Seated on the swing on the wide front porch that graced the big house of Rose Hill plantation, Natalie Langford Ellis cooled her face with her favorite lace fan until the muscles in her arm cramped. Not even the uppermost branches of the great oaks near the house stirred in the sultry afternoon air. Nary a cloud floated in the clear blue sky to offer a brief respite.

“Yes’m.” Carolina mopped her ebony skin with a damp cloth. From her place in a worn wicker chair near the rail, the young servant leaned forward to catch the whisper of a breeze that might venture past. “Summer jest gettin’ started, but we’s already feeling the misery. Don’t ’spect it’ll get better ’til after harvest.”

With the toe of one slipper, Natalie lazily propelled the swing back and forth, the groan from rusty chains blending with the song of dozens of cicadas high in the tree branches. Childish laughter drew her attention to the sun-scorched lawn just down from the house where two small boys—one white and one black—played with a reddish-brown dog, the three of them rolling and chasing and generally doing what little boys and dogs do best.

       Natalie smiled despite the uncomfortable trail of sweat trickling down her back. She loved to watch Samuel play, all innocence and goodness, free of the heavy burdens his mother carried. “I believe my son will require two tubs of water to wash the filth from him tonight.”

I’m eager to read this one. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Michelle, for sharing this new book with us. I love that it is set in Texas where I live.

Readers, here are links to the book.
The Widow of Rose Hill - Paperback
The Widow of Rose Hill (The Women of Rose Hill Book 2) - Kindle

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Diana Flowers said...

I would so love to read The Widow of Rose Hill. Love the cover, books about plantations, and the name "Carolina", of course. :-) My hubby is the procrastinator in our family. I have to grab the bull by the horns & just do it or it'll bug me to death til I do! Thanks for the interview & giveaway opportunity.

Diana in SC

Michelle Shocklee said...

Diana, thanks for leaving a comment! I think you'll really like the character of Carolina. She's pretty sassy but very sweet too! :) Have a blessed day!

Caryl Kane said...

I'd love to read The Widow of Rose Hill. I enjoy historical fiction.

Caryl K in TEXAS

Faith Creech said...

I would love to read this book. It looks so good. Thanks for the chance to win.

Faith in Colorado

Michelle Shocklee said...

Thank you, Caryl! Thank you, Faith!! Good luck!

Jane said...

Interesting! From my genealogy research, I discovered I had family members in Williamson County around that general time frame. I always enjoy historical fiction. Thanks for the introduction to a "new to me" author. Jane in TX

Michelle Shocklee said...

Nice to "meet" you, Jane! I love genealogy research! Very cool that some of your family lived in Williamson County during this period in time! I think you might enjoy reading this series, imagining your people living through it! =)

Connie said...

I am a fan of historical fiction and I actually liked history in school. This sounds like a lovely story and series.
Thanks for this giveaway.
Connie from Kentucky

Michelle Shocklee said...

Thank you, Connie! I didn't like history in school, but now I absolutely love it! Have a blessed day!