Some of this happens organically, some intentionally. I believe there are bits and pieces of the essence of my identity in every character.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
I went through a phase years ago when each time I filled my gas tank, I clicked the pump handle until the final cost registered a multiple of five. Don’t know why. Today I’m just thankful to have the means to fill the tank at all.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Following a conversation with my husband back in 2012 about our troubled financial situation—during which I said I wanted to write a book—God gave me a poignant vision of a book in His hand that represented the finished work. Soon thereafter I sought to learn and apply the craft of writing. For me, this isn’t a “one and done” career. God made His irrevocable call clear (Romans 11:29) and has continued to chisel other manuscripts out of me since that time.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I’ve been largely coached by award winning authors Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck who suggest we write the kind of books we like to read. For me, I primarily enjoy contemporary romance and also a good current non-fiction on marriage and/or Christian living.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
For stress relief, I exercise four mornings a week at the gym and spend the first part of my work day in Bible reading and prayer. It doesn’t guarantee a smooth-sailing day but moors my attitude to unchanging truth that then equips me to respond well to circumstances.
That is so true. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Ah, the fun! Once I have a good feel for the character, I choose names I believe fit their personality. Everywhere I go I’m on the hunt for the ideal name for my characters.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Being a mom to four amazing children who cheer for me and shower grace.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
As a mom of four children, married to the same man for 30 years, I can definitely relate to the female Emperor Penguin (though my Lone Star heart shivers at the thought of temperatures dropping below 72 degrees). She is considered among the top ten most resilient creatures and has only one partner. The female entrusts her male partner with her baby while she sacrificially treks a long journey to the sea for food.
What is your favorite food?
Peanut M-and-Ms. Coupled with a deep dish veggie pizza and Coke Zero and I could write for hours.
I didn’t used to like the peanut ones, but now I do. How our tastes change as we get older. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Not fully establishing a character’s dark moment story of their past that shapes who they are when they show up on the page. Without knowing what’s been broken inside the—the lie they believe—I can’t “fix” it.
Tell us about the featured book.
Call to Love features two crisis-driven careers that are trained to answer emergency calls but refuse to answer God’s call to love again.
What if saying yes to love means trusting the kind of man you said you’d never marry? What if pursuing a woman’s heart means restoring a painful past?
Tracy Cassidy, a fiercely independent ER nurse, must choose between her dream job or staying in her hometown to help support her mother’s faltering ministry. Even if it means risking her heart in love with the kind of man she said she’d never marry.
Why sign up to be Laurelton’s next cop widow?
Tom DeLaney, a hyper-vigilant cop and new hire from
, is wearied by
years of failed rescue attempts to save his marriage to his ex. A free man, he
moves to the foothills of Texas . Thing is, he hadn’t expected to fall for North
Carolina , his supervisor’s
sister. But when his adolescent son is diagnosed with a chronic illness, he
faces the risk of loving another woman with keep-out issues. Tracy
Fears related to the death of
’s cop father and Tom’s inability to
forgive the past threaten to sabotage any chance at love. Tracy
Please give us the first page of the book.
Tracy Cassidy’s life plan read like a doctor's script: wear lead apron over heart and manage affairs on own. If Plan A fails and pain persists then, and only then, a shout-out to God would be considered. After all, life was a vapor.
was following a twelve-hour shift in the emergency department, the area outside
Joe’s Hot Dog Shack needed to clear out stat. The command rose in her throat,
but she reasoned that having to wait in line when hungry didn’t justify an
irritable disposition. Mom said it marred the beauty of biblical femininity. Tracy
The hot dog stand, the likes of a tiny, roofed house, sat square in the parking lot of a small shopping strip. Cars whizzed along Highway 127, the four-lane, divided road beside it. Burning tobacco wafted from the customer ahead and tinged the air. Like those Atlantic league baseball games with her father. She pivoted toward a distant siren wail. Could be her brother Jack on patrol. Faithful to a family ritual,
prayed. Keep him safe. Always safe. Tracy
Beneath summer’s sun,
feet marinated inside her neon pink Nike’s. She slung her stethoscope behind
her neck and inhaled the calming scent of Appalachian handcrafted rose and jasmine
shea butter soap on her skin. A ‘just because’ gift from Mom, likely meant to
dissuade Tracy ’s
consideration of leaving her hometown of Laurelton. Tracy
An older couple sat at one of two pine picnic tables beside the food stand.
peered at them over her shoulder. A cheery yellow umbrella shaded them from the
gauze of August heat. Their shoulders touched, eyes brightening like jewels.
The gentleman tucked strands of graying hair behind her ears. He reached a
napkin to her mouth. “Marilyn, whadya say we get married?” Tracy
The woman angled her face away then returned his smile. “Oh, Wilburn. You’ve been proposing since our wedding day sixty years ago.”
He cupped her cheek and kissed her lips. Jeremiah Clark’s classic, Trumpet Voluntary, sounded in
head and drew her thoughts to the unquenchable power of her parents’ love.
Their story could have looked the same. If it hadn’t been for Dad’s badge. Tracy
Yanking her thoughts back to business,
considered her options. “So, if Cheryl
tells me I got the promotion, I’m meant to stay in Laurelton and support Mom
with Safe Shores Women’s Rescue Mission. But if not, I’ve got that dream job
opportunity as assistant manager at Tracy Duke
Center in .” Sure tasted sweet. And she could
forever darken the images of her fallen father that mocked her pain at every
Her cell phone vibrated inside the pocket of her purple scrubs and disrupted the review of her carefully planned agenda. Another text from Robbie,
former high-school sweetheart turned gorgeous-and buff-pharmaceutical rep.
They’d been dating for over eight months since he’d first called on Dr. Rainer
at the hospital. Tracy
Where are you?
“Persistent man,” she muttered.
Joe cupped a hand behind his ear. “Excuse me?”
Slipping the cell back into her pocket, Tracy advanced to the open, sliding glass window only to draw back at the pungent smell of chopped onion. She flapped her hand. “It’s nothing.”
Now, review agenda. Quell hunger, return home by close of business day, and contact Joanna Graves in Human Resources at
Then she’d figure a way to wrap her mind around trading the beauty of the
mountains for flat, granite landscape. Which was so not the picture of an Duke Regional
Medical Center . No matter. She’d make life work. All-America City
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you, Mary, for sharing this book with my blog readers and me. I’m eager to read it.
Readers, here is a link to the book.Call to Love
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