Monday, February 22, 2021

SING IN THE SUNLIGHT - Kathleen Denly - One Free Book


Welcome, Kathleen. Why do you write the kind of books you do? I feel called by God to share the way that He sees us. The characters in my stories all have something they think about themselves which isn’t in line with how God views them. The story’s journey brings them to a place where their perspective is in line with God’s. My aim in all my novels is to be entertaining, encouraging, and inspiring.

Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life? Well, the first thing that pops to mind is the day my husband proposed. He brought me to a location known locally as “the wedding bowl.” It got that name because it’s a place on the cliffs by the ocean where many people have their wedding ceremonies. For us, it was special because during our courtship we spent a lot of time walking that area and would pass the “bowl” often.

I didn’t know why he’d brought me to that location on this particular night, however. He seemed stressed (which I attributed to some car shopping we’d done earlier in the day) and I figured maybe he just wanted to chill for a little while before we met my parents for dinner. Then he started putting a little flashlight into the groundcover there, propping it up so the light pointed toward us. I was like, “What are you doing? You’re going to waste the battery.”

He ignored my protest and started talking about our relationship and how much he loved me.

Naturally, I was completely elated by his words. When he dropped down on one knee, held up a ring, and asked me to marry him, I said… “Is this real?” (I promise, I was asking about the moment and was not asking about the diamond!) He laughed and said that it was real. Then I said yes and threw myself into his arms so hard we almost went over the cliff. Fortunately, he righted our balance and we were okay.

Later, he took me to another section of the beach where he’d arranged for many of our family and friends to have a bonfire celebration. I was so excited that I ran and hugged my mom, almost knocking her into the fire pit. Apparently, hugging me was a dangerous activity that night.

It sound like a wonderful day. How has being published changed your life?

Deadlines! With four kids whom we homeschool, I’m used to being busy, but when there’s a publisher waiting on your manuscript and readers asking you when the next book is coming out, there’s a lot more pressure.

On the plus side, it’s been a complete blessing to read in reviews about how my story has touched someone’s heart and impacted their spiritual life. I’ve even received some emails and a couple handwritten letters from readers. Those things really make all the difference on days when I’d rather be anywhere but sitting at my desk.

I don’t think that readers realize just how important those letters are. What are you reading right now? I’m actually in the middle of a several books. I’m currently listening to the audiobook for Finding Lady Enderly by Joanna Politano and reading the second book in Kelly Eileen Hake’s Husbands for Hire series. On the nonfiction side, I’m rereading Liz Curtis Higg’s 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart and about to begin Hearing God by Dallas Willard. I’m also rereading my copy of Historic Stage Routes of San Diego County by Ellen L. Sweet and Lynne Newell as part of my research for a series idea I have.

What is your current work in progress? The initial manuscript for Harmony on the Horizon, my third novel in my Chaparral Hearts series is due to my publisher by the end of this week, so I’m busy putting the final touches on that. In a few weeks it’ll come back to me with editor’s notes, but in the meantime, I’m already starting the research phase for new series.

Such is an author’s life. What would be your dream vacation? That’s like asking a foodie to pick their favorite meal. I was bit by the travel bug in high school when I went on a group tour of France that had stopovers in Switzerland, Monaco, and Italy. Prior to meeting my husband, I had plans to become an airline stewardess. So the list of places I do not want to go is far easier to give. That said, anything involving either American history or foreign cultures has always fascinated me. I’ve been to several countries and nearly all the states by now. There are still a few I’d love to reach, including many in the Midwest. Out of the country, I think visiting Canada, Ireland, and Australia are currently at the top of my list.

Australia is at the top of mine, too. How do you choose your settings for each book? Since I was born and raised in Southern California, the history here has always been special to me. When I first started taking my writing seriously, our family was struggling to make ends meet, so traveling for research wasn’t an option. That lead me to focus in on the places within a day’s drive from where I lived in San Diego. Thankfully, my research budget has grown since those days, but I’m still fascinated with the history of our area. Not many novels in my genre are set here and there are so many interesting, lesser known things to share. Although my novels are entirely fiction, I love telling stories that allow me to incorporate true-life events, locations, and people.

In my debut novel, Waltz in the Wilderness, I was able to incorporate things like our local newspaper’s connection to the rest of the world and what it was like to take a steamship down our coast in 1854. In Sing in the Sunlight, I’ve tried to capture a bit of the ranching industry that dominated our area at the time. And my third Chaparral Hearts novel, Harmony on the Horizon, is inspired by true-life events and a true romance that took place in 1865 San Diego.

I love including actual events as part of my stories, too. If you could spend an evening with one person who is currently alive, who would it be and why? Assuming my husband doesn’t count, I’d have to say, my friend, Julia Shiras. Circumstances caused her family to move away several years ago and although she comes down often to visit (prepandemic), it isn’t nearly enough. She is a dear, godly woman whose friendship has made me a better person.

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading? I have always adored crafting, although my particular media has changed over the years. Currently, I am all about junk journaling. I have a diary/bible journal/daily schedule junk journal which I am currently working on and sometimes shares photographs of on my Instagram account. Crafting allows me a creative outlet without the pressure of public opinion or deadlines. I’m also a huge fan of hiking although I haven’t had as much opportunity to do that recently. I adore leaving civilization behind and being surrounded by God’s creation. 

What is your most difficult writing obstacle, and how do you overcome it? Time. There is never enough of it. Honestly, I haven’t overcome it. Every day I pray and seek God’s wisdom for what to do with my time that day. As a creative, I struggle with detailed schedules that tell me I should be doing X at exactly X:XX. I work much better with a to-do list that includes time estimates for how long each activity/task should take. The older I get, the more I learn to show myself grace. Yes, I am to be held accountable to commitments, but I’m also not required to feel guilty when things outside of my control interfere with my best intentions. I’m learning to set realistic goals, do my best, and let God handle the rest.

That’s a very good plan. What advice would you give to a beginning author? Don’t try to do it all. Focus on doing what God is calling you to and separate it from what the industry says you must do. This can be easier said than done, but I find myself happier and more at peace when I say yes only to what God is leading me toward instead of caving to the pressures of the “you should’s.”

Tell us about the featured book. Sing in the Sunlight is the second book in my Chaparral Hearts series.

Although each book in this series is fully able to be read on its own, the hero of Sing in the Sunlight, Richard Stevens, was first introduced to readers in Waltz in the Wilderness. Several reviewers of WITW mentioned wanting to see Richard’s story.

The heroine of Sing in the Sunlight, Clarinda, has scarring that was inspired by my daughter who also has scars from something that happened to her before we adopted her. My daughter’s situation prompted me to wonder what life would be like for a woman with scars in the mid-nineteenth century. Then I learned of the only hurricane to ever strike the California coast (in 1858) and I knew I needed to incorporate that into the story.

Here is the official description:

Richard Stevens isn’t who he thinks he is. Neither is the woman who now claims his last name.

Disfiguring scars stole Clarinda Humphrey’s singing career, her home, and her family, but she refuses to let her appearance steal her future. While attending The Young Ladies Seminary in 1858 Benicia, California, she finds a man who promises to love and cherish her. Instead he betrays her, leaving her with child, and Clarinda must take drastic measures to ensure her child doesn’t suffer for her foolishness.

Richard Stevens’s life hasn’t turned out as he expected, and when a shocking letter turns even his past into a mystery, he travels to San Francisco in search of guidance. On the way, he encounters a mysterious young woman hiding beneath a veil. That night he experiences a dream that sends him on a quest to find the bride God has chosen for him. He never imagines she’s already told everyone they’re married.

Unwilling to lie, nor accept a marriage of mere convenience, Richard wants the real thing. Yet Clarinda’s not interested in love, only a chance to save her child. Can he help her rise above the pain that runs deeper than her scars to accept a love worth every risk?

Please give us the first page of the book.

The Young Ladies' Seminary
Benicia, California
December 3, 1857

Clarinda Humphrey jammed the chair beneath her doorknob and tugged the beautiful garnet ring from its hiding place beneath her chemise. Undoing the knot, she slipped the heirloom free of the ribbon that had kept it close to her heart these last three days. She slid the ring onto the third fnger of her left hand.

Or tried to.

The metal caught on the thick, hideous scar that ran across her second knuckle. With determination, she shoved it past and narrowed her attention to the stone's promise.

She was loved.

The urge to hum swelled within her as she strolled to the window. She pulled back the heavy drapes and lifted her hand to the light filtering through the thin lace curtains. Barely a glint reflected in the deep red stone.

She parted the lace, careful to remain out of view, and tilted her hand in the late afternoon sunlight below the sill. A myriad of tiny red dots danced across the walls.

This was the night. She’d never be alone again. She clapped her fingertips in a quiet patter.

Laughter filtered through the windowpane.

She froze. Had they seen her? No. The slit in the curtains was too narrow. Wasn’t it? She dared a peek at the garden below.

Several of her classmates strolled the paths. The girls chattered in the late afternoon sunlight, seemingly oblivious to her observation.

Not girls. Women—despite what their parents may believe. Like her, they’d been sent to the first female college in the west to be trained—molded—into the ladies their parents wished them to become.

But they were nothing like her.

All bright, beautiful, and whole, none of her classmates had ever questioned their future. Why should they? They'd never been shunned at social gatherings, nor been asked to remain behind so as not to repel the other guests. They hadn’t been told they would never marry—that no man would ever want them. They'd never lain awake at night wondering why God had abandoned them.

Nor had they ever made any attempt to befriend her.

And that was fine with her. Normally.

Right now Clarinda’d give almost anything for a confidante to entrust with her secret. She was bursting to tell someone. Not even Katie, her one true friend at this school, knew of her plans. Clarinda couldn't risk the young maid losing her position here if it were discovered she'd kept a scandalous confidence. Though, she would know soon enough. The day had finally arrived.

I also have a YouTube video where I read the first scene aloud:

How can readers find you on the Internet?

I can be found in many places online. Here are some links:

Website | Newsletter | FB Author Page FB Reader Group | Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | BookBub | Amazon

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

Readers, here is a link to the book.

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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Kathleen Denly said...

Thank you so much for having me on. It was fun chatting with you. :)

Wendy Newcomb said...

This sounds like a lovely story. I don't believe I've read any of Kathleen's books so that would be a plus also if I am lucky enough to win a copy, thank you for the chance.

Wendy in Nebraska

wfnren at aol dot com

Elly said...

Oooh! This sounds SOOO good! Can’t wait to read it!
Elly -Indiana-

Abigail Mitchell said...

This book looks so good!
Abigail in VA

Lucy Reynolds said...

Sounds so good. I love your junk journaling. I enjoy scrapbooking. Blessings from WV.

Anonymous said...

I haven’t had the chance to read one of Kathleen Denly’s books but her covesr certainly draws me in. I enjoyed the wonderful review! Thank you!
Perrianne Askew in Central Texas
perrianne (DOT) askew (AT) me (DOT) com

Roxanne C. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roxanne C. said...

The book blurb and first page certainly captured my interest. There are so many questions running through my head now since there seem to be so many secrets concerning Clarinda and Richard.

Roxanne C in NH

Caryl Kane said...

Kathleen is a new author for! I'm looking forward to reading her novel.

Caryl K in TEXAS

Diana Flowers said...

Love discovering new authors! This sounds intriguing. Please count me in!

Diana in SC

Patty said...

I love books in the American west! And I love historical fiction, so this book is a win, win for me.

Patty in SC

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Conway SC.

Kathleen Denly said...

Wendy – I’m glad you think the story sounds lovely. :)
Elly – I hope you’ll let me know how you enjoy the story!
Abigail – I’m glad you think so!
Roxanne – I guess you’ll have to read the story to discover their secrets. ;)
Caryl – I hope you enjoy the story!
Diana – Yay!
Patty – Glad to hear it. :)

Kathleen Denly said...

Lucy - Thank you so much! I have tried to scrapbook, but I find I just keep making pages and never actually printing and adding the photos. LOL I guess those are all too digital these days.