Welcome, Pegg. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon?
In a totally unexpected twist, I have felt the Lord calling me to write to the general market. That nudging has been coming for a while, but it really hit hard a few months ago. The idea for a story dropped into my head—from above, I’m sure—that is a modern-day parable on the sanctity of life. I had it written, edited, and to my agent within three months. That’s *amazing* because I’m the world’s slowest writer. At least, I used to be. For me, that alone is proof positive that I’m where the Lord wants me to be.
And I love the idea of modern-day parables. When Jesus told His parables, He never once referenced the Torah. He didn’t use religious-speak. He told stories in everyday language using subjects that non-religious people could relate to in illustrating the love and character of God. I’d love to be able to do that.
That is awesome. Tell us a little about your family.
Let me tell you about my family history. I have been blessed with cousins who are passionate about genealogy. We have my dad’s side of the family—both sides—traced back to the mid-1600s when they arrived on
shore. They came in the great Puritan wave. One side fought as Loyalists and
the other as Patriots during the Revolutionary War. On my mother’s side, we
have her mother’s family also traced back to the 1600s. We’re related to FDR
through the America
family. Her father was adopted, and I’ve yet to meet any cousins who have
researched his actual family tree. But as you can see, my own family gives me a
wealth of historical ideas to explore. My current WIP starts with the massacre
at Delano Fort McCord
which my ancestor survived. Pennsylvania
I love stories based on incidents in our family histories. James’s cousin has traced their family back to 1099 when the
Normans invaded . And
one of my cousins has traced the Nelson family back into the Scandinavian countries
of England Norway and . The
families emigrated to Sweden
in the late 1800s. I actually fictionalized a couple of events in my book Brides of Minnesota . Has your writing changed your reading habits? If
so, how? Minnesota
Working as the managing editor for Smitten Historical Romance has changed it more than my own writing. I find it very difficult to turn off my internal editor. It’s very annoying!
I so understand that. I do editing for other authors, and I experience the same thing. What are you working on right now?
I’m on the second book of a historical romance series set during
Rebellion in 1763. This one is set at Pontiac Fort
Detroit in my home state of . I love writing
stories set in areas I’m very familiar with. And I love my state! Michigan
What outside interests do you have?
The one I’m best known for spinning and knitting with my own sheep’s wool. I’ve raised Border Leicester sheep for 27 years. I love working with wool. I shear my sheep, wash and dye the wool, spin it, and then knit a variety of garments. My favorite is my signature shawls. I give away a shawl with the release of each of my books to one of my newsletter subscribers. People can subscribe to my newsletter here: https://www.subscribepage.com/PeggThomas
I’ve seen pictures of several of those. They are lovely. How do you choose your settings for each book?
My books all start with the history, so the settings are determined by that.
If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why?
Probably Robert E. Lee. I know! I’m a northerner born and bred, but I’ve been fascinated with him since grade school. He was a brilliant man faced with an incredibly difficult situation. As a soldier, he was honor-bound to join the war, but when asked to lead the Union forces, he knew he could not raise arms against his family, his neighbors, and his friends. He chose family over country. Through it all, he retained his dignity and the respect of military people on both sides of the war. I have a book of his letters to his family. It’s fascinating reading.
Wow, I’ll have to look for a copy of that. What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels?
If I’d known how difficult it is to write a book and get it looked at by a publisher … I never would have started! In this case, ignorance was bliss.
What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now?
The same old one … patience. And maybe boldness. Boldness to step out in faith into the general market and do it in a way that always honors Him.
You’ll do it. When He gives us a story like that, He makes a way. What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?
Attend a writers’ conference. Yes, they are terribly expensive, but as with anything, you must pay for some education. You don’t need to attend the biggest, most fashionable, or farthest from your home. Pick one that is close, more affordable, and smaller. Frankly, the smaller conferences I’ve attended have been the best for actual learning. The large ones are great for networking, but in the beginning, you need to learn.
Take an editing class. There are some great online classes through the PEN Institute https://peninstitute.com/courses/. Learning to edit will help you avoid the pitfall mistakes so many beginner writers, and not-so-beginners, make.
Solidify your brand. Know who you are, what you write (your genre), and who you are writing to.
Tell us about the featured book.
I’ve always been fascinated with blacksmiths. As a child, my granddad’s cabin was close to an old smithy. He would tell me stories about them. When I had a chance to pitch a collection idea to Barbour with the theme of blacksmiths, I jumped on it. At that time, the collections were for seven novellas, but this proposal hit at the same time they were switching over to just four novellas per book. We had to do some changes, and I hope at some point Barbour still contracts the rest of the stories, but we wound up with—I think—four very strong novellas in this collection that sweeps about 100 years of American history.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Meg McCracken plopped onto the padded velvet seat next to her mother. She glared at her three older brothers as they squeezed their bulky frames through the narrow door and sat opposite her in their father’s coach. Her father, Callum McCracken, climbed in last and quirked an eyebrow at her crossed arms.
“Do not ‘Now, Meg’ me, Father. ’Tis they who need a talking to.” She tilted her chin towards her brothers, who had the gall to grin back at her.
“They are your brothers. They do only what any brother would do for his sister.”
“Is that so? And would you have me be a spinster, then? Because no man can get within a rod of me without one of these great lummoxes planting himself in the way.”
“Those who back off are not worthy of you, I say.” Jamie, the middle of her older brothers and her favorite, winked at her.
“He is correct, you know,” Father said. “You would not respect a man who ran off at the first sign of trouble. You have too much spunk for that. Just like your mother.”
The look that passed between her parents added to the heat in the carriage. A sigh slipped from Meg’s lips. She’d grown up watching these two people who were so much in love. Was it any wonder she wanted the same for herself? Those hulking brutes crammed onto the coach’s other seat, however, had blocked every possible suitor so far.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
Thank you for having me on your blog again,
Lena. It’s always a pleasure to come and chat with your
And thank you, Pegg, for sharing this new book with me and my blog readers. I’m eager to read it.
Readers, here are links to the book.The Blacksmith Brides - Christianbook.com
Blacksmith Brides: 4 Historical Stories - Amazon Paperback
Blacksmith Brides: 4 Historical Stories - Kindle
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