Friday, September 14, 2018

UNMISTAKABLY YOURS - Kristin Holt - One Free Book

Dear Readers, this is another book from the Thanksgiving Books and Blessings series.

Welcome, Kristin. I so happy to have you on my blog.
Thank you, Lena, for visiting with me today. It’s a pleasure to talk about writing and to share a little bit about myself.

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
Oooh! What a fun question. I try, diligently, to ensure my characters are unique and all their own people. I’ve still found a good deal of myself seeps into individual characters. Once or twice, writing a character’s arc from “darkness and troubled” to the ending’s “happiness and confident and settled” has been a tear-jerker for me, because I used one of my own difficulties for the character. If I had to give a percentage of myself in my characters, I’d guess 25% overall. I do a good deal of provoking my imagination.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I’m laughing! I tend to be a “rule follower,” a “good girl,” a “respectful” woman. Quirky.... hmmmmm.... Am I quirky? I haven’t any idea....

You’d know it if you were. I’m quirky, and I know it. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Unlike so many of my author friends, I didn’t always know I’d been called to write, or born to write. I entered various writing contests through my school years, and placed in a poetry contest. My mother saves all mementos, so upon rereading that piece of poetry that told a story about a parent’s discovery of how quickly a child’s life becomes her own, “grown and gone”.... the tale wasn’t bad, but I have no ear for poetry, and I changed from past tense to present tense frequently. How did that place first in a competition? I have no idea.

My dear mother also saved a hard-bound book I made with my class in about third grade. My science fiction tale was handwritten and sewn into this hardbound cover. Again, a “publication” that will never see the light of day.

I’ve always LOVED books and reading. I fell in love with fiction very young, as my parents read to me regularly, and often read aloud to my brother and me while still too young to read longer works of fiction. Favorites I remember from those early days are The Little Leftover Witch by Florence Laughlin and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. I devoured fiction for years, and finally determined to try writing a book of my own when my children were young. I discovered friends who were also interested in writing, took writing classes from successful writers, joined a critique group, and spent a long while learning the craft. Through a detour in my professional life, I finally returned to this long-time dream in 2013.

Fascinating. Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I read everything from historical nonfiction (I do love research!), everything about the craft of writing fiction well, and fiction genres like cozy mysteries, historical Christian romance, historical fiction (not necessarily romance), and romances in general.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I’m chuckling. Am I supposed to have figured this out by my age? I’m fifty-one. I often feel overrun by the fast-paced world we live in. I had the privilege of working as a Territory Manager for Weight Watchers during the peak of “in person” meetings in our territory... and I drove the wheels off the company car. My territory was large, and I was on the go constantly. I listened to hundreds of audiobooks, but hadn’t five seconds to open a paperback.

Since that time, I’ve discovered that I must take time to let my well fill, so I’ll have anything to give (can’t draw water from an empty well, right?).(Right.) I’m the kind who regenerates by quiet downtime, rather than by socializing (which suits my youngest daughter perfectly).(She sounds like me.) I read, nap, and soak up the quiet. I’ve also discovered how much I need the Sabbath. I need one day a week that isn’t a work day. I relish the chance to focus on my spiritual needs and to recharge those batteries, so to speak.

We all need that. That’s why several years ago, I stopped going into my office and using the computer on Sundays and many Saturdays. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Because my characters are all in the late Victorian era, my favorite resources are true-to-history census records. I want the greatest accuracy possible, so I make sure their names could’ve happened. I was pressed for time when naming characters for our recent joint series, Thanksgiving Books and Blessings Collection One, so I grabbed the heroine’s name out of thin air—and as no other character was named with a “B.” I determined her name would be Brenna... until I paused to look long enough to realize that name was far too new. So, back to the drawing board. I did plenty of digging online for most common names for the decade when my heroine would’ve been born, and “Brenna” became Jane. Rather than the common “Mary Jane,” my heroine is Jane Mary, as her mother’s name is Mary (also a character in the book). Did you know that “Mary” was the most common name for Victorian-era Americans to give their daughters?

I knew it has been popular in America for a very long time, but I wasn’t aware of that statistic. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
At risk of sounding like every other mother on the planet, my first instinctual answer is this: I’m most proud of having raised four children who are now productive, hard-working, contributing members of society. We’ve had our challenges and our hard times. If only every parent didn’t have to be a first-time parent, we might have fewer glitches and problems. I learned right along with my little ones.

If my answer must be in a personal arena, I’d have to say my greatest accomplishment might be 30+ years of marriage to the same wonderful man... despite all the rocks and stones thrown in our path. We’ve had our challenges (some significant and marriage-threatening), but we made it past them with a great deal of prayer and determination to include God in our decisions and in our marriage.

Professionally? I’m proud of the work I did as a Labor and Delivery Nurse. I’m proud of the work I did as a Weight Watchers Leader, in really helping others along their journeys and motivating them to succeed (I shed more than 70 lbs myself!), in addition to my time as a Territory Manager for that company. But my ability to complete what I begin, with my writing, to actually finish novels and novellas and send them out into the world, feels like an immense accomplishment. If you could see the incomplete projects in my basement (counted cross stitch that isn’t done, enough fabric to sink a ship, an entire (tiny) room filled with card-making supplies, you’d see that FINISHING is an immense accomplishment for me).

Back in the 70’s, I lost over 90 pounds on Weight Watchers and worked for them, too. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Perhaps I’ll start with what I know I’m NOT...
I’m not an ostrich (don’t stick my head in the sand... at least I try not to)
I’m not a cat (in general... I’m not the “princess,” and I don’t hide from people)
Not a goldfish (I have a brain...)
Not a bird (can’t fly), and I’m definitely warm-blooded.
Not a giraffe (Given my BMI, I’m not tall enough...)
I might be a dog. I need lots of affection and connection with people. I still insist, after thirty++ years of marriage that my husband hug me goodbye and kiss me hello when he returns from work. I kind of follow him around. { grin }

After almost 54 years of marriage (anniversary on November 7) James and I are much like that. What is your favorite food?
This one’s easy! I have a very unhealthy love affair going on with Tillamook vanilla bean ice cream. Frankly, any quality vanilla ice cream will do. I’m not even all that picky about flavor. In fact, I’ve only met one or two ice cream flavors I didn’t love. If a food is sweet, cold, and creamy (e.g., cheesecake) I’m all over it. Yes, I earned those 70+ pounds I later shed in the most honest way possible. I LOVE ice cream!

I love ice cream, too. Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla and Chocolate Covered Cherries are my two favorite kinds. Now I choose not to eat much ice cream. Sometimes, James will have a bowl and offer me a bite, and that’s all I take. One bite, and it satisfies me. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest challenge, my greatest roadblock with writing is living with severe chronic pain. I’m one of the roughly 25- to 30% of adults with severe chronic pain... and this circumstance interrupts my life more than anything else. If I were “well,” I’d be able to publish much more frequently, have greater clarity of mind, and might actually be able to work an eight-hour day.

Overcoming it has been a process, and I’m not sure I’m there yet. I’ve sought quality and safe medical help, connected with other authors and professionals (and readers!) who suffer with chronic pain, and this sense of community has given me a greater desire to be productive and to ensure my life isn’t just “tolerated,” but lived well. My husband (“an engineer”—explains his personality to a T) told me once, and not unkindly, “It’s your life.” He meant to say, “Yes, Dearest, do what you wish. It’s not my decision to make.” But the motivation I heard was this: I have only so much time, and I have yet so many books to write. Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” has resonated with me since I first heard it, especially the lines that mean (to me) the same thing as my husband’s unintentional wake-up call.

Tell us about the featured book.
I’m thrilled to introduce my first truly Christian romance novel, Unmistakably Yours. Prior to this title, all of mine have been sweet (innocent, rated G or mild PG), clean (no offensive language) Western Historical Romances. Some readers have assumed my books are Christian romances, so my efforts to write characters whose choices and behaviors are in harmony with their beliefs (which happen to be Christian) must have been enough for those particular readers.

Unmistakably Yours is title 8 in the muti-author Thanksgiving Books and Blessings Collection One series, and is also title 8 (unintentional, but cool!) in my own primary series, Holidays in Mountain Home. All of the novels and novellas in both series STAND ALONE and may be read in any order, or in no order at all. Each has its own happily ever after, and each is about one (or in the case of Unmistakably Yours—two!) couple’s romance.

Mountain Home, Colorado, is a fictitious town set in a very real place. By this, I mean that no real town existed, but I’ve taken elements true to the dot on the map—everything from the flora and fauna to weather to history’s truth about what brought people to the Colorado Rockies, what people did to earn a subsistence and a living (and eventually, thriving!), where the train actually arrived, and surrounding my town with the realities of true-to-history cities, mines, and communities. (Cities by the name of Mountain Home are real in the states of Idaho, Arkansas, Utah... and maybe others.)

Unmistakably Yours is my first novel with TWO parallel romances with two different couples. I enjoyed exploring both, and the minor (and perhaps helpful—I’ll let you decide if I succeeded) ways they intersected. After all, if two men are discovering the love of their lives, and their conversations help one another to understand women a little bit better, then it’s a win, eh?



Right. Please give us the first page of the book.
Mountain Home, Colorado
August 1887
“Oh, no. No, no, no. This will never do.” Mrs. Ann Abbott waved her fan at the blinding pace of a hummingbird’s wings. “The heat is stifling. You should open the rear door.”

Jane Vancoller, proprietress of the only tea room in Mountain Home, pasted on a pleasant smile— a skill she’d perfected. “Both doors are open to catch a breeze, if there were one. The striped awning arrived in a timely manner and saves us from direct sunlight.”

The late summer heat tried the patience of all. The temperatures were uncomfortable, but brought in a steady stream of visitors seeking shade, an icy beverage, and a rest. Behind the subtle fragrance of flowers, perfumes, tea, and pastries, the industrial odors of fresh paint and furniture oil smelled new. And remarkably like a dream come true.

“I told Mayor Abbott this morning,” Ann said, speaking of her husband, “this August heat has been dreadful. Mercury this high belongs to July, not temperate August. And certainly not so near September.”

“Yes.”

A crash reverberated through the wall. Jane flinched in her seat at one of the tables for two.

The pesky Murphy boys played marshals and train robbers in the vacant store between their father’s grocery and the Tea Room. Why didn’t the little varmints play in the meadow a half-block away?

One boy whooped and hollered, and Jane resisted the urge to massage her temples.

“I suppose we can’t blame you for the heat or the uncommon noise next door.” Mrs. Abbott, thin to the point bony prominences showed in her small hands and wrists, was given to sour expressions. How a thin, pinched woman possessed a full-bodied voice, Jane would never understand. “I must say it’s stuffy in this little room, much more than in my rose garden.”

Fortunately, Jane also had tremendous practice keeping retorts to herself. She held silent and watched as Ann perused the Tea Room’s parlor, and tried to see the decor through the other woman’s narrowed eyes.

Would Ann see past the heat, past the thud of little feet against bare floorboards, to the peaceful and serene setting? Would she appreciate the delicate rosebud-painted teacups? Or the quality of the china service?

Wallpaper and matching draperies brought a sense of home to the feminine retreat.

At the height of beauty, lacy tablecloths and fresh flowers graced each of nine circular tables. Half of the small tables seated two; half seated three or four. The arrangement was ideal for intimate conversations, quiet reflection, or the gathering of friends. A place for women.

Sounds like an interesting story. How can readers find you on the Internet?
I’m most active on Facebook, but I also have specific Pinterest Boards for each of my novels and novellas. The visuals help me to ensure the historical elements in the backdrop of the story are accurate, but are also intended to enrich the reader’s experience. You can see my Pinterest Board for Unmistakably Yours here: https://www.pinterest.com/kristindholt/unmistakably-yours-a-thanksgiving-books-blessings-/

My second passion, behind the story, is to include the most accurate history backdrop (without painting a heavy-handed story where the backdrop overwhelms the story). I share frequent blog articles with readers on my website, containing elements of western (American) historical romance and the real history in fiction. Here’s the page: http://www.kristinholt.com/archives/category/articles

Here’s a longer list—Note: Kristin is spelled with two i’s, and is “e-free”
Newsletter (receive a free, exclusive novella!): www.KristinHolt.com/newsletter
Twitter: http:// twitter.com/KHoltAuthor
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2xjL2vm (case sensitive)

Thank you, Kristin, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read your story.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.
Unmistakably Yours: A Holidays in Mountain Home Romance, book eight (Thanksgiving Books & Blessings Collection One 8)

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 or country if outside North America. (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:

28 comments:

SARAH TAYLOR said...

OH KRISTIN WOULD LOVE TO WIN THIS BOOK THANK YOU SO MUCH YOU ARE A GREAT AUTHOR SARAHTAYLOR601973atyahoodotcom

Elly said...

Yay! Enter me in the giveaway! I'm DYING to read this!!
Elly -Indiana-

Dianna said...

Sounds really good.
Dianna (TN)

Melanie Backus said...

What a great interview! Thank you so much! Your book sounds like a winner and I would love to read it! Melanie Backus, TX

Tina said...

"UNMISTAKABLY YOURS by Kristin Holt sounds wonderful.PA. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

Robin in NC said...

Historical romances are some of my favorites! Thanks for sharing with us Ladies!
Robin in NC

Library Lady said...

Thank you for introducing me to a new author.
Our Church Library Readers will love this series.
Janet E.
von1janet(at)gmail(dot)com
Florida

Abigail Mitchell said...

This looks great!
Abigail in VA

Wendy Newcomb said...

Sounds like a great book, thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Wendy in Nebraska

wfnren at aol dot com

Kay Garrett said...

Thank you for the great interview with Kristin Holt and all the information on UNMISTAKABLY YOURS including getting to read the first page.

Loved Kristin's answer to what animal she would be. I can so relate to that one. :)

Appreciate the chance to win a copy of this great sounding book.
Kay Garrett from Mountain View, AR
2clowns at arkansas dot net

MJSH said...

Sounds like a fun book! Thanks for the chance.
Mindy from NJ

Trixi said...

I just recently "met' Kristin on a Facebook party for this series. She's very warm and friendly and I think her book would be too :-) Thank you for the giveaway chance!

Trixi in OR

Caryl Kane said...

I enjoyed meeting Kristin. Her book sounds great!

Caryl K in TEXAS

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Vivian Furbay said...

This sounds like a good book and as i live in Colorado, I am interested in reading it. Vivian Furbay of CO

Kristin Holt said...

Hi friends--

I'd hoped to find I could reply to each comment, but I'm apparently not able to do that. So, one comment so far! I'll check in more frequently now that my travel weekend is behind me.

Thank you to: Sarah Taylor, Elly, Dianna, Melanie Backus, Tina, Robin in NC, Library Lady, Abigail Mitchell, Wendy Newcomb, Kay Garrett, MJSH, Trixi, Caryl Kane, Sharon Bryant, and Vivan Furbay. Thank you for your kind interest, for entering my drawing for a copy of UNMISTAKABLY YOURS, and for contributing to the conversation.

I'm looking forward to awarding a lucky winner their own copy of this new release.

Warm regards,
Kristin Holt

Brenda W said...

I pre-ordered this as an e-book and really enjoyed it.

Kristin Holt said...

Thank you, Brenda W.
I'm tickled to hear you enjoyed UNMISTAKABLY YOURS. =) Best news all day!
Warmly,
Kristin

Rhonda Gothier said...

Would love this!💜📚 Florida

Kristin Holt said...

Hi Rhonda Gothier--

Thanks for entering our drawing! I'm delighted you're interested.

Cheers--
Kristin

Connie Porter Saunders said...

I am looking forward to reading this book.
Connie from Kentucky
cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

Shelia64 said...

sounds like a wonderful book! Shelia from Mississippi

Barbara Kelley said...

I love reading your books in this one sounds terrific. Barbi from Southeast Missouri

Kristin Holt said...

Thank you to Connie, Sheila, and Barbi--
Thanks for stopping in! It's always a pleasure to visit with friends.
Warm regards,
Kristin

Rory Lemond said...

Would love a chance to read this great book..thanks for a chance

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the chance to win. Looks like a great book. You are a new author to me. Looking forward to reading your books.rose blackard (at) gmail (dot) com

Kristin Holt said...

Thank you, Rory and Rose (Anonymous)--
I'm so glad you stopped by.
Thanks for contributing!

Kristin Holt said...

****THIS CONTEST ENTRY HAS CLOSED. The prize was awarded by blog owner, Lena Nelson Dooley, to entrant "Rhonda in FL"****