Welcome to another edition of Writer's Life! Every Wednesday features a writer of inspirational or sweet romance novels. I'm excited to share some of my favorite authors and hope you'll find new books for your to-be-read pile!
I'm super excited to have Sarah Loudin Thomas on the blog today! Sarah and I originally "met" online. We've crossed virtual paths for a few years now, so I was thrilled when Sarah signed with an agent from Books & Such Literary Agency AND sold her debut novel to Bethany House Publishers! Woo-hoo!! Sarah has a warm, friendly personality that comes through in everything she does. I'm so glad I finally got to meet her in person last year! And her inspirational romance, Miracle in a Dry Season, surprised me. I knew it would be great, but I wasn't expecting such a unique time period and voice! My review is below.
Let's get to it!
1. What about writing makes your heart sing?
My writing is a love letter to my family and my heritage. I grew up hearing all these wonderful stories mostly about people who are long gone. West Virginia hunting stories, farming stories, funny stories, LIVING stories. So when I draw on the wealth of my family's oral tradition to put words on paper, it's as though I get to be a participant. I get to meet people, to know them intimately, and to experience life with them. It really does make my heart sing!
2. What is the biggest hurdle you're facing right now as a writer?
I've gotten just enough reader feedback to begin to feel confident that Miracle in a Dry Season is a book people like. Which feels fantastic. It also makes me shake in my boots when they say they're looking forward to the next book. What if it's not as good? What if readers just don't like the story? What if I'm a one-hit-wonder? So, yeah, my biggest hurdle right now is self-doubt. Thank goodness the second book is already written!
3. What do you do to fill your creative well?
I hike! I take Thistle (my dog) to the woods almost every day. We're fortunate to live really close to Pisgah National Forest where there are miles of trails to wander. I do my best thinking and plotting while I'm out there surrounded by nature breathing the fresh, clean air--the same sort of nature my Appalachian characters are surrounded by. We even walk in the rain and winter wind. I guess you could say Thistle is my muse since she won't let me skip our daily walk!
4. What are you working on now?
I just turned in book #2. While I'm waiting on the next round of edits for that, I'll get cracking on the third book in the Appalachian Blessings series. I have a draft but I want to make MAJOR changes to it. And then there's all the work of promoting Miracle in a Dry Season--social media, events, soliciting reviews, interacting with readers--it requires a good bit of time. When I started out I didn't realize how much books would overlap. Here I am promoting book #1, waiting for edits on book #2, and rewriting book #3. AND there's a fourth book I'm just itching to write!
Sarah, your love of West Virginia came through in your book. What a blessing to have a rich history brought to life through family stories--and brought to the reader as well! I understand the doubts too. We can't help but worry how our work will be accepted! Thistle sounds like the perfect muse and personal trainer. I get ideas when I walk too. :)
Thanks so much for being my guest today!
It’s 1954 and Perla Long’s arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.
Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor…until he meets Perla. She’s everything he’s sought in a woman, but he can’t get past the sense that she’s hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla’s unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.
About Sarah ~
Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, releases August 2014 through Bethany House. Sarah is represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency.
A graduate of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, Sarah once dreamed of being a marine scientist. But her love for words won out and she has spent much of her career in public relations and marketing. She currently oversees fundraising and communications for a Christian children’s home in Black Mountain, NC.
Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with Thistle–the canine equivalent to a personal trainer pushing them to hike, run, and throw sticks. Sarah is active in her local church and enjoys cooking and–you guessed it–reading.
My review ~ 5 Star!!
Settle in with a soft blanket and a warm beverage, because this book is all about savoring the details. Several things surprised me: the 1950's setting, the dominant point of view being male, and the gentle tone. It's a lovely book, one that stays with you, one that you wish wouldn't end.
Ms. Thomas uses her rich knowledge of West Virginia to bring the little town of Wise to life during a drought. While full of conflict, it's never overly dramatic. I loved watching the main character, Casewell, grow spiritually. His relationship with his father brought tears to my eyes. And Perla, the heroine, was so easy to love. The characters and town came to life for me--they felt very real.
I loved this book and can't wait for the next novel in this series to come out!
*I received an advanced reader copy of this book with no obligation to review it. All opinions are my own.*
Did you grow up hearing about family lore? Did it shape your impressions?
Have an amazing day!