Welcome Kathleen to the blog.
What is your writing schedule like?
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
Hot Earl Grey tea in a china cup
How did you come up with your title?
The first two books had "Hope" in their titles, and Jenny's book is about her final turning over of her past to God.
Tell us about your hero and heroine. What makes them likeable?
Jenny has a dry wit and a boatload of courage, stopping in New Orleans to nurse cholera victims and taking on two orphaned children.
White Bear also has a helper's heart and does things like stopping to help a family in distress on the trail.
They both have the courage to go out and look for each other.
How much of the book is based in real life?
Nothing physical, but Jenny's and White Bear's struggles can be applied to contemporary living.
What makes this book special to you?
I always knew Jenny would have a book and I couldn't wait to put her voice to paper. I also feel that this is the crescendo that the other two books, and the novellas, have built toward. The spiritual theme is total commitment to God — your past, present and future — that's what happens to Jenny on the frozen prairie, and that's what I want my readers to take away.
Are plots based on someone you know or events in your own life?
No, but I dedicated the book to my younger sister, whose capacity to love is equal to Jenny's.
What books have most influenced your life?
Bible. Fiction, Lauraine Snelling and Brock and Bodie Thoene. Snelling made me want to write prairie and the Thoenes showed me what Christian fiction could be.
What makes this a "must read" and why?
Jenny and White Bear are larger than life, but underneath they are so vulnerable. He's been hurt by the white world, and she still can't accept that God loves her or that White Bear wants to. Jenny's "dark night of the soul" on the prairie helps her to see herself With God's eyes. There's also the shenanigans of the two orphaned children, and the very real threat from two different sets of villains. And it's all played out against a rambunctious young country where anything goes, especially in the West.
Do you have a person you consider a mentor?
1. Peggy Rychwa, also a Pelican author, taught me nearly everything I know about structure.
2. I've been hanging out at Seekerville for years, and the Seekers have cheered me on through, well, everything. Personal and professional.
What book are you reading now?
"The British Are Coming!" by Rick Atkinson
What do you do when you're not writing?
Travel around New England. I'm a "festival junkie" and love festivals of any kind. My hobby is dollhouses and I have six. No room for any more. A little gardening, and in the fall, Christmas craft fairs. I'm also a lifestyle blogger, KB12, whose main thrust is, "Do as I say and not as I do."
What does your family think of your writing?
My husband is my biggest cheerleader and my two daughters are proud.
What is your next project?
Have a draft of a Revolutionary War story, but wonder if I'm not quite done with the Oregon Trail.
Also do nonfiction and have a local history book, "New Hampshire War Monuments: The Stories Behind the Stones," coming out in August.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging when it comes to your writing?
It depends on the project. Seriously. For my Oregon Trail books the characters came to me easily and I lived with them, but structure was a challenge. For the Revolution book I plotted it pretty well, but the characters need work.
What is the hardest part about writing?
Depends on the project.
Did you learn anything from writing this book? What was it?
That I want to go even deeper with God and that if He can do it for Jenny, He can do it for me.
Do you have advice for other writers?
LISTEN to constructive criticism and apply it when necessary. Don't think you know it all. At the end of the day, there's a bunch of stuff that you don't.
Do you have anything specific you want to say to readers?
I hope you love Jenny and White Bear as much as I do.
How can readers connect with you?
Facebook, LinkedIn, or through Pelican.
In no more than
Ten (10) words, what is the spiritual takeaway for your reader?
Jenny needs to learn to fully commit herself to Christ and to leave the past behind.
What is your hero's main character flaw?
He can't trust the Lord with what's most precious to him — Jenny.
What is your heroine's main character flaw?
She doesn't see herself as others see her, or as White Bear does, or as God does.
What can readers learn from your villain?
Don't burn an Indian village.
What makes your hero heroic?
He thinks of others more than himself, even when it's dangerous. Like when he helps the covered wagon family, even though the father is a bit prejudiced. He rescues and worries about Red Dawn and her son. And he wants to protect Jenny, even though she's taken care of herself for so long.
what makes your heroine heroic?
She thinks of others — the two children she adopts, the cholera victims she nurses in New Orleans. We first meet her when she gets up out of a sick bed to warn Michael that thugs are after him, and she stays consistent throughout the first two books.
This is the third and final book in the Western Dreams trilogy. Jenny Thatcher first made her appearance in "Westward Hope," and stayed around as a supporting character in "Settler's Hope." Her memories of White Bear are sprinkled through the first two books, so it's logical that she wants to find him again.
Two related novellas, "The Logger's Christmas Bride" and "The Widow's Christmas Miracle," are also part of the Western Dreams series and were published as part of Pelican's Christmas Extravaganza.