I’m pleased to have my critique partner and fellow Mantle Rock Publishing author as guest today sharing about her writing journey and her newest historical romance release, Safe Refuge . She had graciously offered to give away an e-book copy of this novel. Leave a comment at the bottom of this post to unlock several chances to win!
~ Thanks for joining us, Pam. Tell us a little about your writing journey, how you came to the point you are.
I’ve always written in some way, shape or form since childhood. Mostly diaries and journals, things like that, until I was well into adulthood. While I was enrolled at Trinity International University in a program for adult learners to get my bachelors I took a creative writing class and before long, I was writing short stories. That led to fiction. It took more classes and attending writers’ conferences for quite a few years before I received my first contract. One other thing really helped in honing my craft and that was joining American Christian Fiction Writers where I learned a lot and made contacts with industry professionals. My first two books, mystery-romances, were with a small press, and then I received a contract with a large publisher and the opportunity to write a historical novel set in my hometown in Wisconsin. Since then I’ve published several more books, both independently and traditionally.
~ Your new release, Safe Refuge, takes place largely in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Do you have a connection with this location? Why did you choose this particular place?
Lake Geneva is my hometown. It is rich in history and a great place to grow up. It is the history of the location that prompted Safe Refuge. The town and lake was a 2-hour train ride away from Chicago when the Great Chicago Fire erupted. The blaze destroyed a huge swath of the city, including homes and businesses. Many of the wealthy industrialists and bankers were already familiar with Geneva Lake because they had been going there to hunt. Now they needed a place to create a new home for their families while the city was rebuilt. They acquired large plots of lakeshore property and built magnificent homes. After the city was rebuilt, they continued to use their lake homes during the summer. Many of the 19th Century homes are still there, but others are not as some burned (most were built from wood) and others were torn down and replaced with newer more modern homes. I want to preserve the legacy of Lake Geneva through my story of a fictitious family who become displaced by the fire. This is the first of a three-book series which follows further generations of the family into the early 20th Century and World War I.
~ Sounds wonderful. What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Doing the research and learning facts about my home area that I never knew before and incorporating them into the storyline. It amazes me how little I knew about the area before I started writing my books.
~ If you could be one of your characters, who would it be and why?
I would say my heroine in Safe Refuge, Anna Hartwell. She has a strong faith in God and she is also full of spunk, willing to stand up to her parents when they make every attempt to direct her life a direction that isn’t at all good for her.
~ You’ve written both contemporary and historical. What is your favorite time period to write about?
I began with contemporary because it was the most comfortable for me. Writing about the world I live in in current times required less research—or so I thought. You have to research before you write any kind of story. A number of years ago, when I was asked by an editor to write a proposal for a historical set in Lake Geneva, I hesitated for a second, but quickly said okay. Then I went home and started thinking about the town’s history and realized the iconic Riviera building that sits on the lakeshore was built in 1933 and has a unique history. That’s how Love Finds You in Lake Geneva was born. Although historical, my characters could ride in cars and use telephones. It was so much fun to dig through Lake Geneva’s weekly newspaper during the time of the construction and then the grand opening dance in the second-floor ballroom. The last scene of the book takes place at the grand opening dance and I put on music from that time period and danced around my living room to get myself into character before I wrote that scene. The book is no longer available as it was published, but I received my rights back from the publisher and republished it under its new title, Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva.
But, now that I’ve written Safe Refuge which takes place in 1871-2, I love that period of time as well. Learning how the town was during that time has taken more effort but there are plenty of written material and photos as well. I just spent a morning at the Lake Geneva Library going over microfilms for the newspaper of that time and learned details about when a steam yacht sank during a terrible storm. I have a feeling that’s an event that’s going to make it into the second book in the series.
~ Just for Fun ~
Favorite genre to read: Right now, because I’m writing historical romance that is the genre I’ve been reading. But I also enjoy mystery/suspense stories and women’s fiction.
Favorite pet: I actually have two favorite pets. My two rescue cats whom I named after my characters in Surprised by Love in LG. Jack and Meg (Meggie) have lived with me for the past four years and they are my “kids.”
Favorite vacation spot: I don’t have a particular spot as a favorite. I’ve vacationed in the mountains of Colorado and in large cities. Some time back, one of my cousins and I took a road trip to Alabama to visit the area her dad and my mom’s family came from. We visited Monroeville where Harper Lee, the author of To Kill a Mockingbird was from and found graves of some of our ancestors. During that same trip, we made a side trip to Gulf Shores and enjoyed some time on the beach there. I enjoy wherever I am during the times I’ve been blessed to travel.
Favorite actor/actress: I like most any movie that Tom Hanks is in. I really appreciate his acting and the stories. I can’t think of an actress that I could say is my favorite.
Favorite candy bar: Anything chocolate.
Thanks so much for joining us Pam!
Blurb: In two days, wealthy Chicagoan, Anna Hartwell, will wed a man she loathes. She would refuse this arranged marriage to Lyman Millard, but the Bible clearly says she is to honor her parents, and Anna would do most anything to please her father–even leaving her teaching job at a mission school and marrying a man she doesn’t love.
The Great Chicago Fire erupts, and Anna and her family escape with only the clothes on their backs and the wedding postponed. Father moves the family to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, where Anna reconnects with Rory Quinn, a handsome immigrant who worked at the mission school. Realizing she is in love with Rory, Anna prepares to break the marriage arrangement with Lyman until she learns a dark family secret that changes her life forever.
:Pam has written most of her life, beginning with her first diary at age eight. Most of her novels are set in or near her hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. They include Surprised by Love in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and her newest release, Safe Refuge, the first of three novels in her Newport of the West series. Her novel, Second Chance Love, released last year, and her novella, If These Walls Could Talk, was published in the Coming Home collection. Future novels include Whatever is True (March 2019) and Shelter Cove and Tranquility Point, both part of her current series.
Pam resides in northern Illinois with her two rescue cats. She’s an hour or so away from her home town where she can often be found researching and nosing for new story ideas.
Read how God works in the lives of Cynthia’s characters in her Inspirational, Historical Romance (Prairie Sky) Series:
BOOK 1: UNDER THIS SAME SKY
BOOK 2: UNDER PRAIRIE SKIES
Now for our Giveaway! Leave a comment below to unlock multiple chances to win an e-copy of Safe Refuge!