Saturday, December 04, 2021

HARMONY ON THE HORIZON - Kathleen Denly - One Free Book

Welcome back, Kathleen. God has really been moving in your writing life. What do you see on the horizon? I’ve recently signed a contract to publish three new novels for my Chaparral Hearts series. I’ve already begin work on the first of these novels—which will be book four in the series—and I’m very excited with where it’s going.

Tell us a little about your family. I’ll be celebrating my twentieth anniversary with my amazing husband at the end of this month. We have four beautiful children—three boys and one girl who range in age from five to sixteen—whom we homeschool. In addition, we have one dog, six indoor cats and four feral cats who live in a cattery on our twenty acre homestead. In the next year we hope to get chickens and eventually plan to add goats to the list of living beings we’re trying to keep alive.

Has your writing changed your reading habits? If so, how? Yes. I have discovered that while I am writing my first drafts, I cannot read novels set in England or which have characters with dialects or accents. I also cannot watch movies with accents. All my life I have been an accent sponge. If I spend more than five minutes around someone with an accent, I have to make a conscious effort not to start talking like them. Turns out, I do the same thing with writing. If I spend too much time reading a regency set in England and suddenly my American heroine sounds like she’s from London.

What are you working on right now? I am currently working on two projects. One is a novella which takes place between books one and two in my Chaparral Hearts series. It’s both fun and challenging because my heroine for this novella was the villain of Waltz in the Wilderness, my first book. The second project I’m working on is the fourth book in my Chaparral Hearts series. It’s going to be set primarily in what is now eastern San Diego County and will include adventures based on true historical events.

What outside interests do you have? Well, you can probably guess that I love cats, but as hobbies go, I enjoy crafting, hiking, and diy projects.

How do you choose your settings for each book? Well, so far all of my books have been set in California, with a special focus on Southern California. This is because that’s where I have spent the majority of my life. When I set out to begin the Chaparral Hearts series, one of the things I noticed was a lack of novels in my genre that featured the unique and fascinating history of the southern portion of our golden state. When planning each subsequent novel I searched for interesting historical events and unique physical locations. For example, in Harmony on the Horizon, I wanted to focus on the seedier side of San Francisco’s early days. So I chose San Francisco’s Barbary Coast as my secondary setting. For book four in the Chaparral Hearts series, the idea began with the story of our nation’s second bloodiest gun fight (second only to the infamous O.K. Corral shootout) and the bandit gang that instigated it.

If you could spend an evening with one historical person, who would it be and why? Jane Austen. I want to know what she was like as a person and an author. I am curious about her reasons and methods. And I’d love to see her reaction to being so famous and so deeply studied all these years later. I wonder if she’d approve of the many movie adaptations and fan fiction novels her stories have inspired.

What is the one thing you wish you had known before you started writing novels? Which writing craft books would work for me, and that conferences are valuable even before you’ve finished your manuscript (or think you have). The one thing I would change if I could, would be to start attending them sooner. On the other hand, we were dirt poor at the time, and I couldn’t afford to attend them so…

What new lessons is the Lord teaching you right now? Oh, great question. I think I’m still learning to make wiser choices with my time and energy. I’m learning to say no more often and be okay with missing good or even great opportunities. Unless I’m called to do something, it’s optional. And just because someone else is doing something or an opportunity seems enticing, doesn’t mean I need to do it. He’s teaching me to trust in His timing and provision instead of working myself to the bone trying to do it all, be there for everyone, and be perfect at everything. I’m learning that if He wants me to accomplish something, I don’t have to pull an all-nighter to accomplish it. He’ll provide me with the time and energy to get it done in His timing. (He’s proven this to me time and again.) And I’m learning that rest isn’t just okay. It’s Biblical and necessary.

What are the three best things you can tell other authors to do to be successful?

Don’t overcommit! Remember to schedule rest days.

Don’t follow a publishing path or implement a marketing technique, or do anything else just because it’s what others say is best (even if that person is an agent, best-selling author, editor, or publisher). Instead, listen to God and the loved ones He has placed in your life.

Learn, practice, and learn some more. No matter what stage you’re at, there’s always something you can learn.

Tell us about the featured book. Her calling to change the world may be his downfall.

On the heels of the Great Rebellion, Margaret Foster, an abolitionist northerner, takes a teaching position in 1865 San Diego—a town dominated by Southern sympathizers. At thirty-seven years of age, Margaret has accepted spinsterhood and embraced her role as teacher. So when Everett Thompson, the handsomest member of the School Board, reveals his interest in her, it’s a dream come true. Until her passionate ideals drive a wedge between them.

After two decades of hard work, Everett Thompson is on the verge of having everything he’s dreamed of. Even the beautiful new teacher has agreed to his courtship. Then two investments go south and a blackmailer threatens everything Everett has and dreams of.

As Everett scrambles to shore up the crumbling pieces of his life, Margaret unwittingly sets off a scandal that divides the small community and threatens her position as teacher. With the blackmailer still whispering threats, Everett must decide if he’s willing to risk everything for the woman still keeping him at arm’s length.

Please give us the first page of the book.

San Francisco, June 30, 1865

A girl's terrified scream jerked Margaret Foster's attention from the mathematics formula she’d been rehearsing in her mind. A chill shivered up her spine as she searched the wooden sidewalks and fog-shrouded buildings lining the cobblestone intersection. To her left, tidy store fronts bore crowded window displays and closed doors—not yet open for the day’s business. To her right, a rough-looking haberdashery was flanked by windowless buildings with faded lettering. She squinted at the sign just beyond the men’s clothing shop. Melodeon? She stepped away. Not another person in sight.

Who had screamed? The sound had been distant. Could she have mistaken a cat’s cry for a scream?

The woman who owned the boarding house Margaret had checked into yesterday had said to turn south at the milliner’s shop with a large, glass display window. No such building met her gaze. She kicked at a loose pebble and started back the way she’d come. Knowing your lessons won’t matter at all if you’re late and—

Another scream spun Margaret toward the windowless buildings. Through the haze, she spotted a small figure chased by a larger one. Her heart squeezed. That child was in danger. The pair disappeared into the mist beyond the melodeon.

Margaret dashed after them.

Human-like shadows flickered in and out of view as she ran through the gloom. Down alleys and up streets, she followed their echoing footsteps. A stitch formed in her side, but she pressed on. That child needed her help.

I’m hooked. How can readers find you on the Internet?


Kathleen’s Readers’ Club:

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Thank you, Kathleen, for sharing this new book with us. I’m eager to read it.

Readers, here’s a link to the book.

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Elly said...

Sounds like a great book! I hadn’t heard of it before!😃
Elly -Indiana-

Kathleen Denly said...

Elly - I hope you enjoy it. :)

Cynthia Roemer said...

Hi Kathleen! I enjoyed to interview and excerpt! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!

traveler said...

Captivating and fascinating historical. A real treasure. Anne in NM.

Wendy Newcomb said...

This sounds very interesting, thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Wendy in Nebraska

wfnren at aol dot com

Abigail Mitchell said...

This book looks wonderful!
Abigail in VA

Lucy Reynolds said...

Beautiful cover. Would love to read. Blessings from WV.

Melanie Backus said...

Sounds like a good one!
Melanie Backus, TX

Sharon Bryant said...

Enter me in your awesome giveaway!!
Nichols SC.

Tdstevens said...

The first one was really good. I look forward to the rest of the series. Thanks for offering a giveaway. From Austin, TX

Connie Porter Saunders said...

I always enjoy Kathleen's books. Thanks for your giveaway?
Connie from Kentucky