My guest author today is Carol Spradling, my critique partner for the last two years. She writes historical and time travel romance. Welcome, Carol!
About the Author:
As a youth, I loved reading Trixie Belden books. She was great—smart, witty, and surrounded by good-looking guys. What’s not to like? While in my teens, I discovered the answers to that question when I heard someone mention a romance novel she had read. Her shallow breathing and flushed face was enough to pique my interest. A trip to the bookstore was in order. I read with wide-eyed amazement. Trixie never spoke of such occurrences!
Other than the obvious, I found myself trying to appreciate what my friend had enjoyed about this book. Yeah, there was the hot guy and beautiful woman, but the book as a whole frustrated me. Why did it take 380 pages for the couple to admit they loved each other? To me, this is where the story began. Much to my sadness, I found this to be the writing norm.
That was several years ago, don't ask how many. ;) I still love a good romance, as well as the mountains of North Carolina. This is the High Country, after all. We have skiers in the winter and Kilt-wearing Scot descendants in the summer. Now that the Forever Time Travel Romance is nearing a close, I'll have to start a new series with a local influence. Hmm, has anyone every skied while wearing a kilt?
Why did you decide to write Romance? What is the appeal?
I am a sucker for an attentive man and a happy ending. I love characters who will go to the ends of the earth to be with one another. I'm feeling all squishy inside just thinking about it.
What is the best comment you ever received from a reader?
"Not since Audrey Niffenegger's "The Time Traveler's Wife" (2003) have I read and enjoyed a time travel romance as much!"
Tell us a little about your writing style? Do you plan and plot your stories, or do you just plow through them?
It always depends on the story. I've had ideas come to me that got me started and then left me hanging with nowhere to go. I have mapped other books from chapter one to the epilogue. Of course that doesn't mean the end product still resembled the original notes.
Have you ever had writer’s block? How do you deal with it?
Well, maybe not writer's block, per se, but there have definitely been walls that have been hard to circumvent. When that happens, I cry on my critique partner's shoulder and hope she has a fresh insight. Of course, when she reaches for a shovel, I hold my breath to see if it is for digging under the wall or to hit me on the head. J Both actions have their benefits.
What's on the horizon for your readers?
I have a contemporary romance in the works. I hope to have it ready by this summer.
Can you tell us a little about your current work, The Highwayman's Grace?
The Highwayman's Grace is the third book in my Forever Time Travel Romance Series. The series is about 4 sisters. Grace is the youngest and meekest of the four…or at least she was the meekest. When her older sister forces the family time travel gift on her and then abandons her in the middle of nowhere, all she wants is revenge, until she meets highwayman Ethan Tanner. Take a look.
The Highwayman's Grace blurb:
Grace Blackstone never wanted to be a time traveler. She also didn't want to be abandoned within reach of a notorious highwayman. A chance meeting with the outlaw leaves her vulnerable to more than her new ability. Having seen behind the wanted man's mask, Grace is confused to find another man claiming to be her rescuer.
Highwayman Ethan Tanner has one goal in life, to destroy Bennett Brown. He has faced gunmen, and braved the elements, but a young woman who seemingly appears out of nowhere terrifies him.
A rainy night brings Ethan and Grace together in more ways than one. She will have to trust him with her secret, and he will have to trust her with his life, but are they willing to release their pasts in order to have a future together?
"You are agreeable to this?" Ethan asked, wanting to know her honest opinion. He tried to keep his tone flat, giving her a chance to revise her decision.
She walked toward him, looking as uncertain as he felt. "I'm not sure I know a better option," she said.
"I hate to admit it," he offered, "but this might be the best way to keep you safe." He reached his hand to her, hoping she saw his action as an open gesture, without concealed intent. "As soon as I can find a way out of this," he tried to assure her, "I'll grant you your freedom. I promise."
"I hate to intrude, but I am in a rush," the pastor interrupted. The clergyman pointed to the lower section on the paper, and Ethan obediently signed the document. Strangely enough, his hand didn't shake as he affixed his name above Grace's.
"Fine. Fine." The pastor sanded the wet ink, and then opened his Bible.
"Ethan Tanner, do you solemnly promise to take this woman, Grace Blackstone, as your wife, providing for her and protecting her all of your days while in the sight of God?"
The words weighed heavy on Ethan's shoulders. All of your days. He had just promised Grace he'd find a way to free her, now the pastor asked him to affirm to the contrary. Deep red and purple abrasions encircled her throat next to the collar of the dress she wore. He hadn't seen them before, but Addie assured him, these marks were not isolated incidents. He'd swear an oath to both God and Grace, and hope that one pledge wasn't contingent on the other.
"I promise," he said.
The minister turned to Grace. "Grace Blackstone, do you promise to accept Ethan Tanner as your husband, abiding in his household and obeying his commands?"
Grace nodded slowly as though unsure. She lifted her eyes to Ethan and her chin rose assertively. "I promise."
Addie sniffled behind them, and Ethan cringed. This had been an impromptu ceremony. What would she have done with a year to prepare?
"You are husband and wife," Pastor Whitten proclaimed. "May your life be filled with many children. Now that this is done, I'll be on my way to the Clancy farm to discuss the details for tomorrow." He touched the signatures with his fingertip, folded the paper, and then placed it inside his Bible. Tucking everything under his arm, he waved to them in passing. "Good day," he said, and then disappeared through the opened doorway.
Ethan stared awkwardly after the minister, not completely certain what to do next. He supposed he should take his wife and sister home. His wife. When he started out this morning, he hadn't thought his day would end with a marriage ceremony. He glanced over at his bride. She was caught in Addie's tight embrace, being rocked from side to side.
Lavender oil should soothe her abrasions, but he doubted her internal scars would heal as easily. Other than give her time to forget what had happened to her, he didn't know how else to help her. He looked to the bruised skin at the cuffs of her sleeve, feeling as responsible for her pain as if he'd personally clamped the constraints against her delicate skin. He'd taken two vows tonight, and while he wasn't sure how, he planned to honor them both. Whether successful or not, one thing was certain, no one would lay a hand to her again while he lived. But more importantly, Bennett would pay for what he did to this woman…his wife.
See what I mean? Grace and Ethan are a perfect match. Wait until you see them in action.
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