Valerie: Good morning, Maisie! I think this is the first time we’ve had a child on the Inspy Romance interview hot seat. How old are you?
Maisie: I’m almost eleven and going into sixth grade.
Valerie: Great! Tell our readers about your family.
Maisie: Well, it’s just me and my mom. Mom refuses to talk about my father or even about my grandparents. I don’t think that’s fair, actually.
Valerie: I’m sure she has her reasons. Have you lived in Arcadia Valley, Idaho, all your life?
Maisie: Just two years. Before that we lived in Memphis.
Valerie: That was a long way to move! Was your mom transferred in her job, or what happened?
Maisie: No, my mom used to be a waitress, and then she went to college, and now she’s a… a…
Valerie: What did she take in college?
Maisie: Something about business (shrugs). She’s got three jobs now, but she needs one more, I think.
Valerie: Seriously? A woman with three jobs, and that’s not enough? How do you figure?
Maisie: Well, we live in this apartment building that doesn’t allow pets. Mom won’t let me have a horse, or a dog, or a cat, or even a hamster. So I think she needs another job so we have enough money to rent a house, instead!
Valerie: That’s one way to look at it. Which job does your mom like best?
Maisie: Her newest one. That’s working for Grace Fellowship and running the greenhouse program. We’re going to donate all the vegetables to the soup kitchen, and it’s going to make all the homeless people have great food (she grins proudly). That was even my idea. If your friends haven’t read about that yet, they should get Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley.
Valerie: I was meaning to talk to you about romance. After all, this is a blog for romance readers.
Maisie (looks nervous): I think I’m too young for romance. At least that’s what Mom says.
Valerie: I happen to agree with her! But how about her? Do you think it would be cool if she fell in love and got married?
Maisie: Oh, she doesn’t want to get married. She told me. She says it is just me and her against the world, right? She doesn’t really trust men.
Maisie: Wait, is that MY MOM????? Who’s that guy? I think I’ve seen him somewhere…
Valerie: You might’ve. He’s lived in Arcadia Valley all his life. Actually, he has an acreage just out of town.
Maisie (perks up): Does he have horses? Dogs? Cats?
Valerie: I think I should leave some surprises for later, don’t you? I wanted to ask you a more serious question.
(Maisie raises her eyebrows, as if wondering what could possibly be more important than animals.)
Valerie: I understand the Grace Greenhouse project was your idea initially. It’s pretty unusual to have a ten-year-old kid set out to change the world. What gave you the idea, and why do you even care what the homeless people eat?
Maisie (pokes the toe of her shoe at the ground): Back in Memphis, me an’ Mom didn’t really have a place to live for a long time, and some days we didn’t have food unless we went to the soup kitchen. So I know what it’s like.
Valerie: I’m so sorry to hear that.
Maisie (face brightens): But there was this girl named Katie, and she grew a cabbage so huge that it made enough cabbage rolls to feed nearly three hundred people! That’s when I figured out that kids could make a difference, so when Joanna and Grady couldn’t figure out what to do with those greenhouses, I was like “duh!!! I know what you can do.” And that’s how it all started.
Valerie: I read an article about Katie’s Krops on her website. She’s turned one cabbage into quite a program involving kids across the USA.
Maisie: Cool! I’m going to look it up.
Valerie: What are you up to today?
Maisie: I’ll be down at the greenhouse project, pulling weeds. Lots of other people will, too. It’s so much fun!
Valerie: Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers today before you get going?
Maisie: Two things. One, if you can help people who need help, just do it. And two — is that really my mom on the cover of that book?
Valerie: Yeah, it is.
Maisie: Then I guess people should buy it and read it (she grins). How about me — can I read it?
Valerie: If you want to, but you might want to ask your mom first. I promise you’ll like the end result.
Maisie: Is there kissing?
Valerie: Um… probably yes.
Maisie: That sounds kind of gross. But I tell you what. If I get a puppy out of the deal, I’ll tell readers to buy the book (she heads out the door with a wave and a grin).
Valerie: I think that can be arranged. One puppy for Maisie — oh, why not throw a kitten in, too? — and one sweet romance novel for everyone else.
About Sprouts of Love
Single mom Evelyn Felton takes on a third part-time job managing a greenhouse and garden project for Grace Fellowship. Formerly homeless, she’s thrilled to offer truckloads of fresh produce to the Arcadia Valley food bank.
If only Ben Kujak weren’t running Corinna’s Cupboard singlehandedly, he’d be delighted to be on the receiving end. But Evelyn and her dynamo daughter, Maisie, won’t take no for an answer, even if it means restructuring Ben’s charity.
Soon Ben finds himself wishing they’d transform his personal life, too, but can true love sprout when their pasts collide with the present?
Sprouts of Love is now available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks. There will also be a paperback, all releasing in just a few weeks. Reserve your copy today!
Waitress and puppy photos from Pixabay. Maisie’s photo was purchased from Deposit Photos.