Monday, May 11, 2020

RELUCTANT TO WED - Anneliese Dalaba - One Free Book

Welcome, Anneliese. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
I don’t purposely write much of myself into my books. However, when I wrote Reluctant to Wed and gave it to my husband to read, he said that Emma sounded a lot like me. I suppose every author’s thoughts and emotions come through in their own writing somehow.

What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
A few years back, my husband and I decided we wanted to see as many Michigan lighthouses as we could on our vacation. We have lived in south central, Michigan and had not seen most of the lighthouses. This was our first vacation without the kids since they were born, so we chose to be spontaneous. We picked up a book of lighthouses, packed our bags, and headed west, then north along the beautiful coast of Lake Michigan. We stopped and took pictures of lighthouses along the way. When it was close to supper time, we searched out a hotel. That’s not an easy fete in Michigan in the summertime and very expensive, but we managed. We continued our trip into the Upper Peninsula and stayed at an unimpressive but clean roadside motel for the night. The next day we reached stunning Lake Superior. We ended up getting pictures of 20 Michigan lighthouses. My husband and I still say that was one of our favorite vacations.

How fun. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was twelve, I tried writing my first book. That fizzled out fast and I certainly didn’t see that desire as an indication that I would become a writer. But I always enjoyed essay questions over multiple choice or true and false in school. That should have told me something, I suppose. It really wasn’t until I was married and had my first child, and we were preparing for the mission field, that I realized my longing to be a writer. We had to write an autobiography of our life for the World Missions Department of our fellowship. It was supposed to be about 25 pages long. The man who interviewed us loved my autobiography and said, “You should be writing.” But I didn’t write my first book until years later.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
My favorite books are historical romances—all types except WWI and WWII—and they must be Christian or clean romances. I enjoy reading Christian nonfiction books that encourage me in my faith. I will sometimes read contemporary romances, but not often. I like books that are not dark and filled with grief. I love it when an author can make me laugh. But I also enjoy some drama, suspense, or mystery in a romance.

How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I begin my days with the Word of God and prayer. That helps to lay a firm foundation for my day. I don’t see myself as very organized. I actually get more accomplished when I’ve procrastinated and now feel the pressure to get everything done. I don’t really know how I manage it, but somehow, I do.

How do you choose your characters’ names?
I found an online site that lists the popular names during the time period I’m writing in. I choose from that list the name I think best fits the character of the story.  

I often do that, especially when writing people from a specific nationality. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My happy and successful marriage to my husband of almost 33 years. He is also my best friend. It doesn’t have to be hard to have a good relationship with your spouse, but it definitely takes effort. You have to believe for the best in each other, stay committed to each other, pray for one another, and do your best to keep from hurting your spouse with unkind words and actions. It helps to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and apply it to your marriage over and over again.

Very good advice. We’ve been married almost 56 years. If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I can honestly say that I’ve never asked myself that questions before. LOL! I would say a yellow lab. Family is important to me and I love mine dearly. I enjoy long walks. I don’t mind being lazy sometimes and sitting for hours reading a good book. I’m protective of my home. I love a massage. And I love cuddling next to someone I love—husband, children, grandchildren, sister, mom.

What is your favorite food?
I don’t have a favorite food. It would be easier to tell you what my least favorite food is. I don’t like any type of seafood. Aside from that, I love food from all ethnicities. I’ve recently learned how to cook two new Persian dishes. Yum! But my greatest weakness is my sweet tooth. I love cakes, ice creams, frozen drinks, puddings, crepes, chocolates, and cookies. I’m afraid I’m addicted to sugar and have to work hard at maintaining self-control.

I understand that. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Disciplining myself to sit and write. I love writing and I hate writing, but I can’t give it up. I will choose distasteful chores over writing sometimes. I don’t know why, but I think it’s because writing takes such concentration and perseverance, and it’s hard work! Procrastination is my greatest enemy. The only way to succeed in writing is to sit down and start writing. Then the ideas begin to flow and the pages fill up with beautiful words and thoughts and scenery, and characters come alive.

Tell us about the featured book.
Reluctant to Wed is about a young lady who lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her mother, stepfather, and two brothers. Her deceased father was the second son of an English baron. Emma doesn’t know the baron, her grandfather, but he writes that he wishes to arrange a marriage for her with an English earl, Lord Devonport. The financial difficulties her parents are facing would be paid for by the baron if she would agree to his request. Of course, Emma loves her family and she cannot deny them this monetary blessing. So she embarks on a ship that takes her across the vast ocean to a land her father had turned his back on. Emma looks forward to meeting her grandfather. She’s convinced this is God’s plan for her life and she has great hopes that this will turn into a love match.

Lord Devonport is duty bound to agree to the marriage because the baron and his deceased father had signed a contract years ago that he would marry one of the baron’s granddaughters. Since the first granddaughter was already married, that left him with no choice but to marry an American. He hated the thought of it but decided he would have to make the best of it. His intention is to marry Emma, consummate the marriage, and then leave her in the country while he returned to London to be with his friends. However, Lord Devonport has never met anyone like Emma before.

Unfortunately, the good intentions of a friend and the machinations of a woman intent on becoming the next Lady Devonport cause a rift between the newly married couple. In the midst of trials, Emma’s faith remains strong. She learns to place her trust in God even if it means letting go of her own dreams. What will it take for Lord Devonport and Emma find their happy ever after?

Please give us the first page of the book.
England, 1817
Sitting in her grandfather’s traveling coach, Emma felt the impact of her decision. She watched the unfamiliar scenery through drops of rain slowly trickling down the window like the tears on her mother’s cheeks as she waved good-bye. Was it only a little over a week ago? It seemed much longer. Emma’s heart squeezed at the memory and she grieved the distance that was placed between herself and all that was familiar to her.

It wasn’t that she hadn’t considered the consequences of her choice before embarking on this journey, but once the decision was made, she’d been swept up in a whirlwind of preparations that gave her little time for contemplation. The voyage had been exciting at first. Emma had met several people and was fascinated by their stories. Her Uncle Gus, who was her mother’s only brother, had traveled from England to accompany her on the voyage back to his homeland. He shared many stories of her mother’s childhood, things Emma had never heard before.

They encountered a storm one night, which made for a turbulent few hours and caused her to miss the safety of her home. But the sun broke through the clouds at dawn and took with it the vestige of loneliness, soon replacing it with apprehension at seeing another ship off in the distance. Everyone speculated as to who might be aboard, from pirates to prisoners to soldiers to slaves. Fortunately, the ship never came near. They finally docked in London, and Emma’s eyes darted here and there trying to take in everything there was to see. Another ship must have docked before them as Emma observed people joyfully greeting each other. She saw rough-looking sailors unloading cargo off the ship. Over all the many voices, she heard the crashing of waves and seagulls flying overhead squawking and searching for food.

Her grandfather’s traveling coach sat waiting for them at the dock, along with a horse for her uncle since he preferred riding even in drizzly rain to sitting for hours in an enclosed carriage. Emma sat alone, and she found herself facing the questions she’d pushed out of her mind for the past few days: What had she gotten herself into? Had she made the right decision? Would her grandfather be a kind man or a curmudgeon? She didn’t even want to think about her soon-to-be husband. It was just too much to take in all at once.

Even the coach she traveled in gave clear evidence to the changes her decision had wrought. Emma hadn’t known such luxury in all of her eighteen years. This was the life her father had turned his back on when he left all that was familiar to him in England and set sail for America more than twenty years ago. Forsaking his life of luxury, he chose to live in a cabin on a farm in Somerset, Pennsylvania. And now Emma, who’d been raised on that same farm, had chosen to live at Wooten House, in Fenbridge, England, the home of Baron Houlton, her grandfather, and the home where her father had grown up. Having finally completed her voyage over the Atlantic, she arrived in England that morning and, as she sat in her grandfather’s coach, she knew she would now be privileged to enjoy the wealthy lifestyle her father had left behind. Would she come to regret the choice she made?

Her father had left England as a young man after marrying the local vicar’s daughter, Mary, Emma’s mother. Unfortunately, he died, leaving behind his wife and daughter to manage on their own. That was why her mother chose to marry again soon after losing her first husband. What had started as a marriage of convenience soon became a second chance to love and be loved. This gave Emma hope for the path she had now chosen for herself.

Her mother had made certain Emma clearly understood what had precipitated her father’s departure from England. She didn’t want her daughter having unrealistic expectations of what her reunion with her grandfather might entail. Emma’s mother recalled the baron having a pleasing demeanor, but warned her he was a proud and unbending man who would not listen to reason if it was contrary to his plans. Emma understood her grandfather had clear plans laid out for her, but since she had agreed to do his bidding, she imagined he would welcome her with open arms in order to see his plans set in motion. 

Now that she had convinced herself of her grandfather’s warm, if not effusive, welcome, she lay her head on the cushion of the seat. The gentle rocking of the well-sprung carriage lulled her into slumber. 

Interesting. How can readers find you on the Internet?

Thank you, Anneliese, for sharing this award-winning book with my blog readers and me.

Readers, here are links to the book.
Reluctant To Wed (Arranged Marriage Series) - Paperback
Reluctant to Wed: Arranged Marriage Series, Book 1 - 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 or country if outside North America. (Comments containing links may be subject to removal by blog owner.)

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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.

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Desiree Sanders said...

Great interview! I loved the first book and the second is just as good! So excited for anything else Anneliese has to gift us with.

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Thank you, Desiree! How kind of you to leave a comment with such encouraging words. I am steadily working on Book 3 in the Arranged Marriage series. I hope to have it ready for publication by the end of this year.

Becky Wagner said...

Such a fun and interesting interview to read. I have read her two books and eagerly await her third one.

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Thanks, Becky, for taking the time to read the interview. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Margo said...

What a great interview. So proud of you little sis. I’m reading the first book for the third time right now.

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Aww...Mar! You are such a great support and cheerleader!

Alicia Haney said...

I loved reading this interview, and the book sounds intriguing and like a very good page turner! Thank you so much for sharing about it. Have a Great week.

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Thank you for your kind comments, Alicia, and for taking the time to read the interview. I wish you a great week also.

Jennifer Hibdon said...

Thanx for the interview and giveaway!!! That excerpt is deliciously inticing!!!! Can't wait to immerse myself in Emma's world.

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Hi Jennifer. I'm so glad you took the time to read my interview and that you enjoyed the excerpt from my book. Thank you.

Melanie Backus said...

Wow! Sounds like a great book!
Melanie Backus, TX

Robin in NC said...

Stories set in the 1800's are some of my favorites! Thank you for sharing your interview, excerpt & chance to win. Stay safe.

Robin in NC

Laurie said...

Love the interview. I have been wanting to read this series.
Laurie-Ovid, Michigan

Elly said...

I’ve never heard of this! It sounds really good!
Elly -Indiana-

Lucy Reynolds said...

Sounds like a great book. I’m so envious of you visiting the lighthouses as that is something I would love to do. Thank you for sharing. Blessings from WV.

Dana McNeely said...

Hi, Annaliese. I've always loved reading about arranged marriages/marriages of convenience. Love the implicit question posed - can these two move from a platonic partnership to love? (Spoiler: YES!)

Your lighthouse vacation sounded fun. I recently retired, and the hubster and I discussed a few similar ideas. I'd love to visit different National Parks. But on TV lately, an insurance company ran an ad about the oldest lighthouse in America - and I thought how fun it would be to visit historic lighthouses! So it feels coincidental to read your interview about doing just that. :)

I'm also a writer. I think our writing process sounds similar: procrastinate, social media, call mom, procrastinate, finally write.

Best wishes and write on!
Dana McNeely

Betty said...

Wow, what an amazing interview Anneliese, you have me very intrigued with your story. You are a new to me author so thank you for giving us the chance to read a small amount of your book.
I do have a question for you? You mentioned that you had to write an Autobiography for World Missions, where were you planning on going for Mission Work or was it local Missioning.

Thanks for the opportunity to meet you and the chance to win a copy of your book.
Betty Vander Wier
Smithville, Ontario Canada

Nancy Edinger said...

Great interview, Anneliese! Since reading this book a couple years ago, I have now decided to reread as you've again ignited my interest! Looking forward to Book #3!!

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Thank you, Nancy, for taking the time to read this interview. And thank you for your constant encouragement and support. Love you!

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Melanie Backus, thank you for taking the time to read this interview. Best wishes!

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Robin in NC, I also love stories in the 1800s. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read this interview. Best wishes!

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Laurie from Ovid, MI. (We sure do live close to each other.) I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview. Best wishes!

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Elly (Indiana), thank you for taking the time to read this interview. Best wishes!

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Lucy Reynolds, thank you for stopping by and reading the interview. I hope you will get to have a lighthouse vacation one day. The West Coast of MI is definitely worth seeing. Best wishes!

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Hi Dana McNeely! It's always a pleasure to meet a fellow author. And I noticed that we are FB friends and follow each other on Twitter. I'm honored that you took the time to read my interview. I would love to read about where you decided to go on your retirement vacation. If you make it to Michigan, the west coast of MI is undeniably beautiful! And it gets prettier the further north you go. It's so nice to know that other writers are in a battle with themselves when it comes to writing. Yet, I will keep on writing because it thrills me also. Best wishes and, yes, keep writing!

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Hi Betty Vander Wier. Thank you for taking the time to read this interview. Many years ago, when our children were quite young, we moved to Germany to work amongst refugees for four years. It was a wonderful and rewarding experience. Thank you for your interest. Best wishes!

rubynreba said...

I enjoyed the interview. The first page definitely makes me want to read the book!
Beth from IA

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Thank you, Beth (from IA)! It's so nice to hear from you and I'm glad you enjoyed the interview and the beginning of my book. Best wishes!

Nancy P said...

Sounds great. Thanks for the chance. FL

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Thanks, Nancy Payette for taking the time to read the interview. I'm so glad you liked it. Best wishes!

Connie Porter Saunders said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for this giveaway. This sounds like a very intriguing story.
Connie from Kentucky

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Thanks, Connie Porter Saunders. Best wishes.

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Paty Hinojosa said...

Loved the interview!! Would love to read any book from Anneliese!! A new author to me! Your books sound so compelling!!

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Thank you for participating, Sharon Bryant. Best wishes.

Anneliese Dalaba said...

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, Paty Hinojosa, and for your kind words of encouragement. Best wishes.