Interview with Terri J. Haynes, author of “Free to Love” (story)

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re talking with Terri J. Haynes about her story “Free to Love.”

Enjoy the interview!


Interview with Terri J. Haynes about her story, “Free to Love” in the Underground Railroad Brides story collection:

Alexis: Why did you agree to write this story “Free to Love” for Barbour Books as part of their collection of stories titled, “The Underground Railroad Brides Collection: 9 Couples Navigate the Road to Freedom before the Civil War?”

Terri: This story was originally a part of a proposal but in a different time periods. That proposal was modified so that all the storied happened before the Civil War. Even though it wasn’t our original proposal, all the ladies in the collection had worked so hard on our stories.

Alexis: What is your story “Free to Love” about?

Terri: It is the story of Hiram and Winnie, two slaves in Maryland. Hiram has run from the south and Winnie’s church is a part of the Underground Railroad. Hiram ends up wounded near Winnie’s church and she helps nurse him back to health. But there is a storm brewing around them and it threatens their freedom and their lives.

Alexis: Who are the main characters in your story? Briefly describe the hero and heroine’s looks, personality, hopes, fears and outlook on life.

Terri: Winnie is a slave but she and her parents assist with the Underground Railroad. Winnie is strong, loyal and caring, but fears being on the run. Hiram has run from the south and his brave but gentle. He fears he will be captured before he can reach freedom.

Alexis: What is it about the hero that the heroine loves? Explain.

Terri: Winnie loves that Hiram is so gentle despite his size. She also loves that he enjoys growing things. She also loves his courage to run from his slave masters to freedom.

Alexis: What is the hero’s greatest skill and his most troublesome weakness?

Terri: Hiram’s greatest skill is his ability to make people feel at ease. His most troublesome weakness is that he is afraid of being caught and sent back to the south.

Alexis: What is it about the heroine that makes the hero want to protect her?

Terri: Winnie is one of the most caring, hardworking woman Hiram has ever met. She also is sacrificing for the people she loves. Winnie is also working toward her freedom, just in a very different way than Hiram and Hiram wants her freedom as much as he wants his own.

Alexis: How are your hero and heroine involved in the Underground Railroad?

Terri: Hiram is a runaway slave and Winnie is a conductress.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about this story? Why?

Terri: That love can bloom in the darkest of places. I feel that many stories about the Underground Railroad focus on the pain, tragedy and abuse, but not taking into account that there were families, couples and children who loved each other. In my research for this novella, I found instances of runaway slaves risking a return to their slaveholders to free their families. Working so they could purchase the freedom of their spouses and children. Slaves were not an unfeeling mass. They had families, dreams and love.

Alexis: Would you like to see more stories like these that feature main characters of color, published by CBA? Why or why not?

Terri: I would. I would love to see more stories because I am a person of color. There is power in representation. Of course, I can connect with stories featuring other races, but I would love to read about my own. We have stories to tell that will further the Kingdom.

Alexis: What would you say is the greatest challenge in being an author of color writing stories about characters of color to be published by CBA?

Terri: The greatest challenge is that CBA, at the moment, publishes very few authors of color. It is heartbreaking to see it. It feels like there isn’t a place for me, even though I am a Christian and a consumer of Christian fiction. It’s hard to see a whole segment of literature devoid of people who look and write like me.

Alexis: Would you say that it’s easier for authors of color who write books about characters of color to become indie authors to get their stories out there? Why or why not?

Terri: This question has a hard answer. Yes, I think it is easier for authors of color to become indie authors. In the indie world, there is no “gatekeeper.” Authors of color are free to tell the stories they want how they want. Unfortunately, this has a downside. There is a lot of work in indie publishing, espically if you plan to succeed. You basically become a publishing house. I am thankful that we can indie publish, but I would like it to be one of my options, not my only option.

Alexis: What advice would you give the Marketing and Sales Department of traditional Christian publishing houses to help them reach readers of color and effectively sell books by authors of color whose stories feature characters of color?

Terri: Now I have to put on another hat I’ve worn in the past: bookseller. I used to work for a major bookstore so I understand that world. The truth is simple. All publishing houses need to do is publishing authors of color.

There were many days where people from all races came into the bookstore where I was working and ask specifically for books by authors of color. Christian authors of color. The demand is there. The problem is the books aren’t. Put the books out there and they will sell.

When we start taking about how to reach readers of color, there is the suggestion that readers of color are somewhere buried way under a rock and never set foot into a bookstore or library. Like there is some different process on how to reach us than readers of other races. I have been told several times that publishers don’t know how to market to readers of color and this statement makes it seem like readers of color are foreign and “other.”

There isn’t a different way. Christian readers of color find new reads the same way everyone else does. We browse bookstores. We get book recommendations from our friends. We read book reviews. Readers of color have been purchasing CBA books for years. If we found those books, have a little faith that we’ll find books featuring characters of color. Have more than a little faith, because we want to see ourselves in books and on covers.

Alexis: If you were not an author, what would you be?

Terri: Unhappy. I love to write and can’t imagine my life without it.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Terri! Do you have closing comments?

Terri: Thank you for interviewing me. I hope that this interview will broaden the conversation about authors of color in Christian fiction.

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Book (story collection), The Underground Railroad Brides Collection: 9 Couples Navigate the Road to Freedom before the Civil War

Love Guides Hearts Along the Road to Freedom

Nine historical couples walk the road to love even as they dare to escape and help others break free from the injustices of slavery between 1849 and 1860. From Southern states of Georgia and South Carolina to above the Mason-Dixon Line in Indiana and Pennsylvania, they work within the network known as the Underground Railroad.

About Terri’s story “Free to Love” in the story collection:  East Towson, Maryland—1850
Winnie is hiding a secret—Hiram, a fugitive. Their lives cross at an Underground Railroad station. Can they overcome danger and find freedom in love?

Buy this book online: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Barbour Books 


About the Author:

Terri J. Haynes, a native Baltimorean, is a homeschool mom, writer, prolific knitter, freelance graphic artist and former Army wife (left the Army, not the husband).

She loves to read, so much that when she was in elementary school, she masterminded a plan to be locked in a public library armed with only a flashlight to read all the books and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She is a storyteller at heart. Her passion is to draw readers into the story world she has created and to bring laughter and joy to their lives.

Terri is a 2010 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis contest finalist, and a 2012 semi-finalist. She is also a 2013 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Quarterfinalist. Her publishing credits include Cup of Comfort for Military Families, Crosswalk.com, the Secret Place Devotional, Vista Devotional, Urbanfaith.com and Publisher’s Weekly.

Terri and her husband pastor a church where she serves as executive pastor and worship leader. Terri lives in Maryland with her three wonderful children and her husband, who often beg her not to kill off their favorite characters.

Follow Terri online: Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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Book Spotlight: A Treasure of Gold

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on A Treasure of Gold by Piper Huguley.


About the Book:

When you follow your heart, never count the cost.

Trusting in the One who orders her steps, Nettie Bledsoe is determined not to deviate from her route to the charity kitchen. Don’t stop for anything, her sisters say.

Pittsburgh isn’t like Georgia, they warn. Yet when low moans of unholy suffering drift from an alley, she can’t help but investigate. It’s a man. The most beautiful man she’s ever seen.

Despite his scandalous reputation, something within her responds to his sinfully rich voice. Jay Evans is trying hard to stay on the straight and narrow, and doesn’t want help from any church do-gooder.

But until his wound heals, he needs help caring for his young daughter, Goldie. Especially since Nettie saw fit to fire Goldie’s barely competent nanny.

Despite their mismatched backgrounds, Nettie and Jay fight a losing battle against their growing attraction. But it’s only when Nettie is kidnapped that Jay realizes that if he doesn’t get her back safe and sound, his heart will shatter into uncountable pieces.

Buy A Treasure of Gold on Amazon


About the Author:

Piper G. Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20thcentury featuring African American characters. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015, received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, and won an Emma Award for best historical romance in 2017.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.

Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Follow Piper on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Blog

Interview with Piper Huguley about her book, “A Treasure of Gold”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re talking with Piper Huguley about her book, A Treasure of Gold.

Enjoy!


Interview with Piper Huguley about her book, A Treasure of Gold:

 Alexis: Describe the heart of your story, A Treasure of Gold.

Piper: It’s a Black Damon Runyon story of the nanny falls for the father of her charge, who is kind of like Robin Hood.

Alexis: What do readers need to know about Book One and Book Two in your Migrations of the Heart series?

Piper: Book One, A Virtuous Ruby, is about Nettie’s oldest sister. Book Two, A Most Precious Pearl, is about Nettie’s next older sister. If people care about their love stories, then they can read them. They all standalone on their own.

Alexis: What role does faith in God play in the lives of your characters in this book?

Piper: Nettie was a middle child who felt that she was always overlooked in her family. When she recovered from an illness when she was a child, she became intent on pastoring to show her gratitude to Him.

Alexis: Tell us about your story’s heroine Nettie Bledsoe. What’s she like?

Piper: Nettie is a very spiritual person who is intent on helping others, even if it means sacrificing her own happiness. She has to learn how to seek that for herself.

Alexis: Tell is about your story’s hero Jay Evans. What’s he like?

Piper: Jay Evans works on the wrong side of the law because racism prevents him from obtaining a well-paying job that would permit him to make good money, as well as have a sense of dignity. So, even though he is a numbers kingpin, he uses his money to help everyone in the neighborhood improve their lives. Helping people is what they both have in common.

Alexis: Why does Nettie think that Jay is the “most beautiful man she’s ever seen?”

Piper: Cause he is, lol! Think Idris Elba with hazel eyes.

Alexis: Beyond his beautiful looks, what is it about Jay that makes Nettie want to know him more?

Piper: At first she doesn’t! She cares for his motherless child. Then when she sees how similar they are in wanting to help people, she falls for his beautiful heart as well as his beautiful face.

Alexis: What is the core conflict between Jay and Nettie and why does he think she’s a “church do-gooder?”

Piper: Because she is! They think their core conflict has to do with Jay being on the wrong side of the law and Nettie as a church worker. The conflict really has to do with Jay’s estrangement from God and Nettie’s repeated attempts to bring him closer to God.

Alexis: What role does Jay’s daughter Goldie play in this story?

Piper: She helps Nettie and Jay realize their attraction to one another sooner than they would if she wasn’t there. Kids can be brutally honest in that way.

Alexis: What is it about Nettie that makes Jay’s heart break just by the very thought of losing her (after she’s kidnapped)?

Piper: He realizes that his life on the wrong side of the law has cost Nettie her safety. He also realizes that he loves her and that if he wants a life with her, he will have to leave the criminal life behind forever.

Alexis: Paint a picture of your story’s setting, with words. What makes it special?

Piper: The good girl and bad boy is a trope that happens a lot in romance, but I’ve not seen it in a story like this before. I enjoyed writing it and setting it in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA—where I was able to draw on lessons of Black history and incorporate them into the story.

Alexis: What’s lacking in CBA and how can you as an #ownvoices author help fill that void?

Piper: The CBA is rigid in terms of what it publishes and that is a problem. Diversity in all kinds of stories would help with that. I’m not sure that I could help the CBA unless they were less rigid.

Alexis: In what ways could ABA and CBA work harder to effectively market books and sell stories written by #ownvoices authors.

Piper: I’ve spoken to the CBA situation. The ABA seems as if they are willing to try, at least. Hopefully, they will be more creative with their marketing and reach non-traditional audiences in new ways to help sell #ownvoices authors.

Alexis: Are you happy with the currents state of affairs in the publishing industry?

Piper: No. I’m glad that the ABA seems to be trying to rectify the situation, but really, it’s been disgraceful for a very long time. I hope that they are in it for the long haul.

Alexis: What advice do you have for authors of color who want to write their #ownvoices stories and seek representation from a literary agent?

Piper: Learn your craft and write the best story that you can. If you chose to seek representation from an agent, know that they are not looking for innovation, but they are looking for the “sure thing.” Get an agent you can reach out to, and talk to. I don’t care who the agent is, if you feel afraid to send an e-mail or call, that agent is not for you. Remember that you are hiring the agent, not the other way around.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Piper! Do you have closing comments?

Piper: Thank you for this generous opportunity to appear on Diversity Between the Pages!

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Author:

Piper G. Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20thcentury featuring African American characters. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015, received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, and won an Emma Award for best historical romance in 2017.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.

Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Follow Piper on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Blog


About the Book:

When you follow your heart, never count the cost.

Trusting in the One who orders her steps, Nettie Bledsoe is determined not to deviate from her route to the charity kitchen. Don’t stop for anything, her sisters say.

Pittsburgh isn’t like Georgia, they warn. Yet when low moans of unholy suffering drift from an alley, she can’t help but investigate. It’s a man. The most beautiful man she’s ever seen.

Despite his scandalous reputation, something within her responds to his sinfully rich voice. Jay Evans is trying hard to stay on the straight and narrow, and doesn’t want help from any church do-gooder.

But until his wound heals, he needs help caring for his young daughter, Goldie. Especially since Nettie saw fit to fire Goldie’s barely competent nanny.

Despite their mismatched backgrounds, Nettie and Jay fight a losing battle against their growing attraction. But it’s only when Nettie is kidnapped that Jay realizes that if he doesn’t get her back safe and sound, his heart will shatter into uncountable pieces.

Buy A Treasure of Gold on Amazon

Book Spotlight: The Texan’s Secret Daughter

Happy Wednesday, readers!

Today, I’m spotlighting The Texan’s Secret Daughter by Jolene Navarro, which releases on June 1st from Love Inspired. I love the cover!


ABOUT THE BOOK

the texan's secret daughteer

Can this rancher make up for his past?

A Cowboys of Diamondback Ranch romance

Turning his life around was the hardest thing Elijah De La Rosa ever had to do—until his ex-wife, Jazmine Daniels, returns with their young daughter he didn’t know existed.

Now this successful rancher will do anything to be a good father.

But can he forgive himself for the past…and turn their second chance into a family for always?

GOODREADS | AMAZON


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

jolenenavarroBest selling author, seventh generation Texan, Jolene’s life, much like her stories, is filled with faith, family, laughter, dirty dishes and all of life’s wonderful messiness. She knows that, as much as the world changes, people stay the same. Good and evil. Vow-keepers and heart breakers. Jolene married a vow-keeper who showed her that holding hands and dancing in the rain never gets old. When not creating strong heroines and wounded heroes, she teaches art at an inner city high school. She shows her students the world and they teach her about life. Writer of romance. Mother of four. Teacher of art. Jolene is a lover of life.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST

What about you? What interests you about this book?

Interview with Piper Huguley about her book “A Most Precious Pearl”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Today, we’re interviewing Piper Huguley about her book, A Most Precious Pearl.

Enjoy!


Interview with Piper Huguley about A Most Precious Pearl:

Alexis: I love the opening line to the summary of your book, A Most Precious Pearl. You wrote, “They’re cut from different cloths…but their hearts are a perfect fit.” What inspired you to write this line and in what ways are your story’s hero and heroine the “perfect fit?”

Piper: I didn’t write that line. The publisher for the book wrote that. I think that whomever wrote that line thought about how Asa and Mags work in a textile mill and used their workplace to explain their relationship. It’s clever, but I cannot take credit for it.

Alexis: Let’s talk about the hero of your story, Asa Caldwell. Answer my questions below. Answer in italics.

What does he look like?

Asa looks like the actor Sterling K. Brown from “This is Us.”

What is his racial background?

He is a Black man.

What lights a fire in his soul?

Telling a story that brings injustice to light.

What or who makes him happy?

Besides Mags, exposing injustice.

Is he a man of faith?

Not at the beginning of the story. He has to come to that.

What is his greatest flaw?

He’s a bit spoiled having been fawned over by his many sisters and his mother. Mags puts an end to all of that.

Alexis: Why did you make Asa a journalist and what role does his life’s work and passion for the Journalism industry play in this story?

Piper: I based Asa on the founder of the Pittsburgh Courier, Robert L. Vann. I wanted to write a story where I showed the critical role that Black journalists played in the civil rights struggle that began in the first quarter of the twentieth century, not in the 1950’s as so many think.

Alexis: Asa lost his left leg in the Great War. How does he cope with his loss?

Piper: The book deals with an arc about how Asa has to come to this new reality about his legs. So when the reader first meets him, he’s not doing very well with it.

Alexis: In what was does having this new disability affect his daily living?

Piper: Asa’s biggest fear is about what he feels is his inadequacy to be a man who can protect his family. He has to deal with what that protection means and how that impacts his life before he can make a family with Mags.

Alexis: What is Asa’s relation to Ruby Blesdoe from your first book in this series, A Virtuous Ruby? Why is he on a mission to rescue her sister Mags from trouble?

Piper: Before he went to war, he had a bit of a crush on Ruby. She uses that information to get him to go rescue her sister. He no longer has a crush on her when she comes to see him, but still feels compelled to go. He has all of those sisters and he is used to saving women in a heroic fashion—it turns out that Mags is the one who saves him.

Alexis: Let’s talk about the heroine of your story, Mags Bledsoe. Answer my questions below. Answer in italics.

What does she look like?

Mags resembles a young Viola Davis.

What’s her racial background?

She is a Black woman.

What are her most favorite things?

Family, home, and hearth. She loves the domestic arts.

What upsets her?

People who upset the domestic happiness of her home.

What or who makes her happy?

She loves her sisters and parents and after a time, comes to love Asa.

Is she a woman of faith?

She is a woman of faith. She has to be in order to endure the trials that she has endured.

How did the lynching of her childhood sweetheart affect Mags?

It made her believe that she would never find love again.

How is she healing from that trauma?

She heals once she comes to realize what Travis was to her.

Or has she not healed?

Ultimately, she does.

Alexis: What do Mags and Asa like and dislike about each other upon first meeting?

Piper: Mags has a certain way of doing things that she does not like to be disrupted and Asa is pure disruption in many ways. Asa is amused at first, but then wants Mags to give him (and his ways) a chance.

Alexis: What role does faith in God play in this story and how does that help Mags and Asa’s journey through their fictional world?

Piper: Mags becomes a shining light for Asa to rediscover his faith and love comes about as a consequence of that. He does the same for her, in the wake of the lynching of her childhood sweetheart.

Alexis: You’ve addressed some topics like lynchings that are heart wrenching for real-life African Americans who live in the United States of America. What inspired you to include this dark part of American history in your story?

Piper: My work is not about covering up these so-called “dark” parts of history, but to shine a light on the heroic deeds of the ancestors to show what they had to endure so that we could be here.

Alexis: What impact do you hope that this true to American history story, A Most Precious Pearl, will make on your readers? Why?

Piper: I hope people come to understand that the ancestors were not victims of hatred, but were survivors who endured a great deal of painful trauma but kept hope present because they dared to have us and to try to make a better future for us. It’s important to honor their sacrifices by making some of our own. We tend to forget that in the relative comfort of the twenty-first century where a tragedy means not having enough charge on our phones.

Alexis: What was the most challenging – and the easiest part – of writing this story? Explain.

Piper: When this story was published the first time around, there was a great deal of disbelief in the history that I told. I believe that my stories reflect the old African saying of “Tales of hunting glorify the hunter.” We have been taught the hunter’s story in school to the point where we believe that is the complete story. I’m telling the story from the lion’s perspective. That was the challenge. The easiest part was in having Mags and Asa fall in love. They were a lot of fun to write.

Alexis: If you could spend a day at a picturesque location in the South with Mags, sipping on sweet tea where would that location be and what would your conversation be about?

Piper: Such a conversation would take place in her kitchen where she would tell me the secret of her biscuits. I struggle with them.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Piper! Do you have closing comments?

Piper: Only when we embrace multiple historical perspectives will we come closer to the truth of how we have gotten to this present. Thank you so much for having me!

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor.


About the Book:

They’re cut from different cloths…but their hearts are a perfect fit.

Asa Caldwell returned from the Great War with nothing to show for it-as in nothing below his left knee. Forget about the journalism career he loved. His story is over. Done. Yet he finds the strength to journey to Winslow, Georgia, to get Ruby Bledsoe Morson’s sister out of trouble.

Before he can bring Mags Bledsoe home, though, a spate of mysterious attacks reawakens his investigative instincts. During the war, Mags did her duty to God and country by stepping into a management role at the textile mill.

Now she’s been shuffled back to the rank and file-and Asa has her hard-earned job. Not only is the infernal man doing everything wrong, her plan for revenge against the mill owner who lynched her childhood sweetheart is farther out of reach than ever.

As they clash over almost everything, Mags begins to set fire to Asa’s soul, bright enough to dim the memory of the killing fields of France. Enough to give him a new mission in life-to make her feel the same way.

Buy Piper’s book on Amazon.


About the Author:

Piper G. Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20thcentury featuring African American characters. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015, received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, and won an Emma Award for best historical romance in 2017.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.

Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Follow Piper on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Blog

Book Spotlight: A Most Precious Pearl

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on A Most Precious Pearl by Piper Huguley.

Enjoy!


About the Book:

They’re cut from different cloths…but their hearts are a perfect fit.

Asa Caldwell returned from the Great War with nothing to show for it-as in nothing below his left knee. Forget about the journalism career he loved. His story is over. Done. Yet he finds the strength to journey to Winslow, Georgia, to get Ruby Bledsoe Morson’s sister out of trouble.

Before he can bring Mags Bledsoe home, though, a spate of mysterious attacks reawakens his investigative instincts. During the war, Mags did her duty to God and country by stepping into a management role at the textile mill.

Now she’s been shuffled back to the rank and file-and Asa has her hard-earned job. Not only is the infernal man doing everything wrong, her plan for revenge against the mill owner who lynched her childhood sweetheart is farther out of reach than ever.

As they clash over almost everything, Mags begins to set fire to Asa’s soul, bright enough to dim the memory of the killing fields of France. Enough to give him a new mission in life-to make her feel the same way.

Buy Piper’s book on Amazon.


About the Author:

Piper G. Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20thcentury featuring African American characters. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015, received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, and won an Emma Award for best historical romance in 2017.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.

Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Follow Piper on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Blog

Author Interview with Piper Huguley about her book “A Virtuous Ruby”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Welcome Piper Huguley to our blog!

Today, she’s here to talk about her book, A Virtuous Ruby, that we spotlighted last week.


Interview with Piper Huguley about her book, A Virtuous Ruby:

Alexis: Thanks for agreeing to an interview, Piper! Tell us about your story A Virtuous Ruby. What inspired you to write it? What is it about?

Piper: I wrote Ruby because of promise that I made to my great-aunts that I would someday write a series about the greatest internal migration in the United States: the Great Migration that involved the movement of six million African Americans from the south to the north and west. My great-aunts and grandmother were a part of that migration and I wanted to pay tribute to them.

Ruby Bledsoe is a midwife in 1915 Winslow, Georgia who has had a baby under some questionable circumstances and is judged by the town for it. She meets a doctor who comes to Winslow to start a practice to treat the Black citizens there. He believes her practice is antiquated, she believes he is arrogant. They clash and of course, fall in love.

Alexis: Describe the setting for your story, A Virtuous Ruby. What makes it special?

Piper: Winslow is based on the real-life city of West Point, Georgia where my family originated from. Like West Point, Winslow has a textile mill. Winslow is run by a ruthless man who wants complete control of the town and all of the citizens, but then he comes up against Ruby.

Alexis: Briefly describe your “Migrations of the Heart” book series and share why you chose this story A Virtuous Ruby, to start it.

Piper: The “Migrations of the Heart” series is about a group of sisters in the town of Winslow, Georgia. Ruby is the oldest sister, so her story went first. The other stories in the series feature Mags, the next eldest in The Most Precious Pearl and Nettie, the middle sister in A Treasure of Gold.

Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s heroine, Ruby Bledsoe. What makes her mad? What make her happy? Describe her looks, personality and mindset.

Piper: Ruby is very fair-skinned, and is able to pass for white, but she chooses not to. She’s an activist in a time that Black women were usually not seeking to be “out there” in that way. She does it because she knows that her light skin privileges her to speak for her sisters who have darker skin, so she does. She doesn’t suffer fools.

Alexis: What ignited Ruby’s passion to speak out against injustice?

Piper: The lynching of her beloved uncle, Arlo. She always has in him in her mind when she thinks about the ways that her community is unjust to Black men.

Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s hero, Dr. Adam Morson. What are his greatest strengths and weaknesses? Describe his looks, personality and outlook.

Piper: Adam’s greatest strength is his desire to help people. He wants to connect. He is someone who is also light enough to pass for white, and he has. Before he arrived in Winslow, he found no shame in passing, but did it so that he could get his education and become a doctor. Now that he knows Ruby, he begins to understand that there can be disadvantages to passing for white too.

Alexis: What is it about Ruby that Adam loves and why does he feel drawn to take care of her and her child?

Piper: She loves that he is THERE. He is solid in a way that she’s not seen in a man, except for her father.

Alexis: What is it about Adam that makes Ruby want to trust him?

Piper: The way he cares about her son, even if he scolds her the first time he sees how thin the baby is.

Alexis: Share a few reasons why Adam believes that Georgia is a place of “toxic prejudice.” Is there a place he could go to be free of prejudice? Explain.

Piper: He could go to a place that is free of bigotry, but he has to be a white man—something that he is not. Georgia is a place of toxic prejudice because of the way Black people are dehumanized. Rape, chain gangs, Jim Crow rule, all make Georgia of 1915 a place of toxic prejudice.

Alexis: Why is Ruby torn between seeking her own happiness and staying to fight for the soul of her hometown?

Piper: She loves Winslow, or she loves what she thinks Winslow is. The story compels her to grow up and see what it the town really is and why she must leave to be happy.

Alexis: What were the easiest and most difficult parts of this story to write? Why?

Piper: I loved the scenes where Ruby was being rebellious. Adam’s parts were hard to write because I don’t write males as well and he was so insular, because of his upbringing. It was hard to get him to come out.

Alexis: Would you like to see more #ownstories written for the Christian book market and published by those CBA traditional publishers? Why or why not?

Piper: In order to survive much longer into the twenty-first century, the CBA will need to have more #ownstories publishers. It’s as simple as that.

Alexis: What would you say has been the most relentless roadblock in your journey as an author of color to write and publish stories about characters of color?

Piper: The realization that I had that the CBA would not want stories from me as a Black author. I had to accept that in order to get my message out about God’s love for all of us as human beings, I would have to indie publish and reach out to the ABA.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about A Virtuous Ruby?

Piper: That romantic love can occur for every one, no matter who they are or what they have been through.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Piper! Would you like to share closing comments?

Piper: The fifth anniversary reissue of A Virtuous Ruby will take place in May 2019. Thank you for having me!

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Book:

After fifteen months of hiding from the shame of bearing an illegitimate child, two words drive Ruby Bledsoe to face the good citizens of Winslow, Georgia. Never again. She vows to speak out against injustice. For her sisters. For her parents. For her infant son, Solomon. When she comes to help an injured mill worker, she bristles when a tall, handsome man claiming to be a doctor brushes her aside.

Despite his arrogance, Ruby senses he’s someone like her, whose light skin doesn’t quite hide who he is. Up north, Dr. Adam Morson easily kept his mixed race a secret. Now that he’s in Georgia, summoned by his white father, he can feel restrictions closing in around him.

Something powerful draws him to the beauty whose activist spirit is as fiery as her name. And soon, Adam wants nothing more than to take Ruby and her child far from Georgia’s toxic prejudice. But Ruby must choose between seeking her own happiness and staying to fight for the soul of her hometown.

Buy Piper’s book on Amazon


About the Author:

Piper G. Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20thcentury featuring African American characters. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015, received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, and won an Emma Award for best historical romance in 2017.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.

Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Follow Piper on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Blog

Book Spotlight: A Virtuous Ruby

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on A Virtuous Ruby by Piper Huguley.

Enjoy!


About the Book:

After fifteen months of hiding from the shame of bearing an illegitimate child, two words drive Ruby Bledsoe to face the good citizens of Winslow, Georgia. Never again. She vows to speak out against injustice. For her sisters. For her parents. For her infant son, Solomon. When she comes to help an injured mill worker, she bristles when a tall, handsome man claiming to be a doctor brushes her aside.

Despite his arrogance, Ruby senses he’s someone like her, whose light skin doesn’t quite hide who he is. Up north, Dr. Adam Morson easily kept his mixed race a secret. Now that he’s in Georgia, summoned by his white father, he can feel restrictions closing in around him.

Something powerful draws him to the beauty whose activist spirit is as fiery as her name. And soon, Adam wants nothing more than to take Ruby and her child far from Georgia’s toxic prejudice. But Ruby must choose between seeking her own happiness and staying to fight for the soul of her hometown.

Buy Piper’s book on Amazon


About the Author:

Piper G. Huguley is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20thcentury featuring African American characters. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015, received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, and won an Emma Award for best historical romance in 2017.

Huguley is also the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series follows the building of a college from its founding in 1866. Book #1 in the series, The Preacher’s Promise was named a top ten Historical Romance in Publisher’s Weekly by the esteemed historical romance author, Beverly Jenkins and received Honorable Mention in the Writer’s Digest Contest of Self-Published e-books in 2015.

Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.

She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Follow Piper on social media: Facebook, Twitter and Blog

Interview with Sarah Monzon about “Novelly Upon a Time”

Good Monday Morning, reader friends!

Welcome Sarah Monzon to our blog.

Remember her? She visited with us a few times earlier in this month of March.

Today, Sarah’s here to talk about her book, Novelly Upon a Time.

Enjoy!


Interview with Sarah Monzon about her book, Novelly Upon a Time: A Novella (Book Nerds and Boyfriends Collection Book Three):

Alexis: Why did you write this story and title it “Novelly Upon a Time?”

Sarah: As with any story I write, I wrote this one because the characters wouldn’t stop talking to me until I told their story. Sound a bit crazy? My husband thinks so. He’s always making fun of me and the “voices in my head.” But authors are a crazy lot and the only way to silence the voices is to give them one of their own in the form of a story.

Alexis: This is book number three in your Book Nerds and Boyfriends story collection. What inspired you to write this collection of stories and how does book three fit in?

Sarah: I was first inspired by the covers. I came across the graphics and thought they were so cute that I just had to write stories for them. Having each novella feature a book lover was icing on the cake. First, I didn’t have to look far for character inspiration (hello, avid reader here!) and second, I knew they would be characters that readers could relate to.

Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s heroine Harper Jones. What does she look like, sound like and act like? Why did you make her an author and not another career?

Sarah: Harper first comes on the scene in the second novella of the set. She’s a member of the book club. Her being an author is pivotal to the plot of the story because without that there would be no motivation. Plus, in the first featured a bibliophile, the second a literature professor, and I thought an author would round out the literary playing field.

Alexis: In what ways did receiving sour early reviews about her new novel, inspire Harper to, as you say, “get some real-life smooching experience?”

Sarah: Harper prides herself on her research. She will do anything to make her characters realistic and authentic. So when early reviews say that the romance in her book is unbelievable, she’s challenged to prove them wrong and establish herself as a person of authority on the matter.

Alexis: Let’s talk about your story’s hero. What is his name? Describe him. What are his strengths and weaknesses and why is he described as Harper’s “arch nemesis?”

Sarah: Kyo Tanaka is a police officer and of Japanese-American decent. He grew up with Harper and had the ability to push her buttons. He would do things to deliberately get a rise out her. She hated it. And him.

Alexis: Why does Harper feel like she must “kiss her worst enemy or kiss her three-book contract goodbye?” Is that more of her own decision or is her book publisher pushing her?

Sarah: Both, although there is certainly a veiled threat from her publisher.

Alexis: What was the easiest aspect of writing this story and the most challenging part?

Sarah: The setting was fairly easy. I only live a ferry ride away from Seattle so have been to all the places I described in the story. The most challenging was Harper’s attitude toward Kyo. I’m not a person who holds grudges so writing her and her animosity toward him was not easy for me.

Alexis: What is the racial makeup of Harper and your story’s hero?

Sarah: Harper is White with no nationality ever expressed, and Kyo is Japanese-American.

Alexis: How did you decide on their racial identities for this story?

Sarah: Harper learns a valuable life lesson from Kyo’s grandparents who were prisoners in a Japanese internment camp during world war two.

Alexis: Describe the setting for your story. What makes it special?

Sarah: The story is set in Seattle. All the stories for this collection are set there. It’s a beautiful and diverse city with challenges and triumphs.

Alexis: What do you think is the importance of having books that show representation of all people? Explain.

Sarah: When we get to know each other’s stories and experiences, we are all richly blessed. God made a beautifully diverse world, and I think that should be represented in Christian fiction. As readers, we all like to be able to relate to the characters we read, and right now we may not be doing a very good job of that. Stories are also a good avenue to broaden viewpoints, soften hearts, and produce love that knows no boundaries.

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Sarah!

*Interview conducted by Alexis A. Goring, contributor


About the Author:

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world.

Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters.

When she isn’t in the world of make-believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Follow Sarah on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


About the Book:

Author Harper Jones prides herself on the impeccable research she does for her novels, so when early reviews come pouring in claiming her romance reeks of inauthenticity, her editor suggests pulling her nose out of her books and getting some real-life smooching experience.

But her plans to do just that are thwarted by her archnemesis from high school who has recently returned to town. Now she’s left with an impossible decision—kiss her worst enemy or kiss her three-book contract goodbye.

Buy Sarah’s book, Novelly Upon a Time, on Amazon

Book Spotlight: Novelly Upon a Time

Happy Wednesday, reader friends!

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on another book by Sarah Monzon.

This one is a novella called Novelly Upon a Time.


About the Book:

Author Harper Jones prides herself on the impeccable research she does for her novels, so when early reviews come pouring in claiming her romance reeks of inauthenticity, her editor suggests pulling her nose out of her books and getting some real-life smooching experience.

But her plans to do just that are thwarted by her archnemesis from high school who has recently returned to town. Now she’s left with an impossible decision—kiss her worst enemy or kiss her three-book contract goodbye.

Buy Sarah’s book, Novelly Upon a Time, on Amazon


About the Author:

Sarah Monzon is a Navy chaplain’s wife and a stay at home mom to the two cutest littles in the world.

Playing pretend all day with them isn’t enough, she spends the evenings after their heads hit the pillow to create her own imaginary characters.

When she isn’t in the world of make-believe, she can be found in the pine forests of western Washington taking care of her family, fostering friendships, and enjoying all the adventures each day brings.

Follow Sarah on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter