When I was a little girl, growing up as an only child out in the country, I found comfort in books.
Decades have passed, but I haven’t changed much.
Good day or bad, give me a sweet story, a cup of tea, and a Lorna Doone cookie or two. My soul will ease, I will breathe more freely, and I will come away smiling.
I have no interest in horror stories, plots where everyone dies in the end, or quirky literary fiction where I can’t figure out what’s going on. I like sweet stories filled with hope and love.
I look for books that are a haven, a sanctuary, a way to feel like I’m home—safe and warm and loved—no matter what’s going on around me.
So that’s what I work to create in the books I write. All my book are contemporary Christian romance, so of course (of course!) there is a love story. And my characters certainly have problems to face, lessons to learn, and areas where they need to grow.
But the world they operate in—the little, fictional town of Abundance, Missouri—is a place mostly filled with good people, a place that I try to give the best qualities of home.
Home is familiar, so I’m writing a series (I’m currently working on the sixth book), so readers can come back again and again to a place they know. Home is where people know you well, and where you know others well—so people in Abundance often remember stories about each other from high school and they know who’s related to whom. And home is where people care, so people in my books look after their neighbors.
For instance, in my latest novel, Love, Lies, and Homemade Pie, a prequel to the series set in 1980, the heroine of the story is a newcomer to town named Cara. She finds in the following scene that the newspaper editor–who asked her out and is now cancelling their date–truly cares about the people in Abundance.
The phone rang.
“Mayor Findley’s office,” she said, sliding her makeup back in her purse. “This is Cara.”
“Cara? It’s Will. I’m sorry, but I have to cancel.”
“We’ve got a big story we’re working on,” he said. “We’ll be late going to press, and I know your lunch time is set.”
“I see.” Cara frowned. She was all too familiar with big stories in the media.
“There was a fire on a cul-de-sac on the west side of town. Three homes destroyed, and three more damaged. A house near the middle had stored gasoline that exploded.”
“It’s a miracle no one was hurt. Anyway, we ripped up the front page. This is important.”
“I…I understand,” she said, trying to sound as if she did. “I guess something like that is big news. You need to report it.” But she didn’t like it. It might not be a story of scandal, might not ruin anyone’s life. Even so, those people were having a hard enough time already. Did they really need their misery plastered all over the front page for everyone to gawk at?
“Yeah, it is big,” Will said. “But within an hour, everyone in town will know about the fire. It’s more about getting the story out because there are eight kids plus their parents who lost everything. We’re running a list of clothing sizes and places where people can drop off donations.”
“Oh-hh.” She hadn’t even thought of that. “I can run out tonight and buy some things for the kids.”
“What?” Will’s voice was muffled. “They need me in the back shop,” he said more clearly. “I’ll call you later.”
Cara hung up, then looked back at her desk.
She’d thought that over lunch she’d get to know Will better.
But maybe, even though lunch was canceled, she’d gotten to know something important about him.
Because she’d learned that in his work as a journalist, Will Hamlin wasn’t trying to make money by reporting on someone else’s misery. He was trying to do good, helping his fellow citizens.
Just the qualities Cara wanted in a man.
When a woman who’s keeping secrets falls for a journalist who’s digging for the truth, does the attraction between them stand a chance?
Cara Smith has a whole new life planned—a new name, a new look, and a new hometown in Abundance, Missouri. If she can just avoid questions from that intriguing guy at the newspaper, no one will ever find out about her past.
Will Hamlin, editor of the local paper, can’t help but wonder about the mayor’s new secretary. She’s clearly hiding something—something that could be the big story the newspaper desperately needs to stay afloat. But after Will’s initial inquiries fail to turn up anything, he grows less interested in Cara’s past and more interested in winning her heart with slices of pie and stolen kisses.
When a crime is uncovered at city hall just as Will unearths Cara’s dark secret, the repercussions shatter their romance. Has Cara really left her past behind? Can Will finally find a way to save the paper? And can they each place their trust in God and together find freedom in the truth and overcome the obstacles to their love?
Speaking of feeling like home, for me, after living here for more than twenty years, home is Ohio. Do you have a place—whether you currently live there or not—that feels like home? If so, please share in the comments.
I’m giving away a free copy of my book, Love, Lies, and Homemade Pie (one Kindle copy, available worldwide) to someone who comments.
If you’d like to be included in the drawing, please comment by Friday evening, Aug. 30, 2019. One person who comments on this post will be chosen at random, notified by email, and announced in a Sunday edition.
*Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.*
And don’t forget, a comment on this post also enters you into the drawing for the great prizes in the Back-2-School Bash! So many chances to win!