Welcome to my blog, Barbara! Please, tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m a wife and a mom who enjoys bringing little-known Bible characters to light in her stories. I also enjoy history. My first Historical released over the summer.
I live in Wisconsin, but my father was born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia. He met my mom when his flight squadron was in San Francisco doing joint maneuvers with the U.S. Air Force. My childhood vacations were spent on Vancouver Island with family.
Can you describe your story in 5 sentences or less?
Josephine is a seamstress extraordinaire devoted to her family and a complicated veteran.
Geoff is a wounded warrior who needs a delicate push to grab hold of life again.
Riley is an abandoned dog who finds a home in the making.
What is the inspiration behind your story?
For my twentieth wedding anniversary, my family took a cruise to Alaska. We traveled to the Taku Glacier Lodge outside of Juneau on a cruise ship excursion. While we ate lunch in the lodge, I heard how a WWI veteran and his caregiver had stayed in the lodge after the war. The pair was cut off from Juneau when the Taku River froze during winter. A man and a woman alone in a lodge? That is how the story of “Until June” began.
What was the catalyst for your interest in writing?
I have always enjoyed writing stories. I was the kid in class that when the teacher gave a writing assignment, my mind was off thinking of stories to write while my classmates groaned. Throughout my schooling, no one ever mentioned going into writing as a career. Many years later, I was teaching chapel to elementary students. I had kindergarten through fifth grade all at one time. I spent a lot of time modifying curriculum about Bible stories for the vast age range I taught. One day I prayed, “Lord, hit me with some creativity.” God did. I wrote my lessons and continued writing novels. I didn’t start writing Biblical Fiction until my fourth manuscript and that was the first book that received a publishing contract.
Were there any surprises that came up as you wrote your story?
I have worked on “Until June” for over ten years. It was the second novel that I finished, but I had a lot to learn about the craft of writing and the publishing business before the manuscript would be good enough to sell. Through conversations with literary agents and writing friends, I learned my characters were too far apart in age, their stay at the lodge was too long (originally 3 years), and I had to end my chapters with conflict. All my chapters ended with my characters going to bed. Boring endings mean a reader can put your book down and never pick it up again.
The title also changed over the years. “Left for Dead Lodge” was the original title and makes one think of a horror movie. “War Torn Hearts” came next. My Mom loved this one. I finally settled on “Until June” because Josephine agrees to take care of Geoff at the lodge until June. Enough time for the pandemic of 1918 to pass.
Are you part of a writing group?
Yes, definitely. If you are an aspiring author, don’t be afraid to let other writers read your story. Trusted critique partners can offer insight and help with your plot or characters. You do not want an editor or agent to be the first person reading your manuscript.
I find writing groups through my professional organizations and contacts with other writers. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of my writing friends. They keep me motivated and give fantastic advice to help my story be the best it can be.
What’s next for you as an author?
A vacation—literally. I have had three books release in 2020 which has made life pretty busy. I am working on another Biblical story and doing promotion for my last release (Until June) since the print release was delayed due to Covid-19.
Here is the lovely cover of Until June, along with a short excerpt:
Josephine bunched up her pillow and tried not to think of anything. Not swears from an injured man. Not the ache from her injury. Not the confrontation with her stepfather. Nothing. Going home and getting back to work on her patterns was her responsibility.
She bolted into a sitting position and immediately regretted the sudden movement. She knew that haggard voice. Had she misunderstood the summons? She listened intently as if for the squeak of a mouse.
The man called to her again.
Oh, why did she listen? She knew why. Few were the nights her mother didn’t call out from pain.
Her hand trembled slightly as she poured a glass of water. For a few minutes, she stared at the glass. The last time she played nurse the man had shouted at her. She didn’t even know what some of the names meant. Looking at the ceiling, she said, “Remember this, Lord.”
A quick peek into the hallway showed no sign of a wayward Mrs. Prescott. She shuffled carefully toward the stranger’s door and positioned herself near the entrance to his dimly lit room.
“You came,” he said, his voice strangled and rough.
“I came to ease my conscience and to get some sleep.” She offered him the water glass. He took it from her but didn’t drink.
“I need two white pills.” He pointed to a metal box on top of a tall armoire. “My caretaker’s sick.”
“I can’t,” she said. “I’ll get in trouble.’’
“It’s just an aspirin, Runt. Read the label.”
How dare he insult her? Josephine crossed her arms, crushing all the mail-order bows on her gown, and drew to her full height—five feet nothing.
“I am not a runt.”
“Short hair, short body, short legs, you’re a runt. Now, get me that pill.” He pushed his body higher against the headboard. “Do it,” he demanded. “I hurt.” His tone softened.
An upholstered chair sat next to the armoire. Couldn’t he—? Her hand tingled with memory. I didn’t touch a long leg. She hesitated as her pulse hammered against her veins.
Do it. Don’t. Do it. Don’t. Do it. Don’t.
She met his gaunt-eyed gaze and carefully climbed onto the chair. The last thing she needed was to fall and hit her head again. She reached for the metal box and opened it. Rows of bottles and a stack of syringes filled the little chest. She picked up a copper tinted bottle from the left-hand side.
“It’s on the right,” he coached. “Don’t mess with that bottle. The doctor counts those narcotics. If you give me any more of that tonight, you may not get out of here alive.”
You can buy this book here:
Purchase link on Amazon (Canada).
Where can readers find you online?
Thanks so much for being here today, Barbara! A question for readers:
Have you been somewhere on vacation that would make a great story?