Genre: Christian, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Franciscan Media
Publication date: February 23, 2016
Number of pages: 292
From the back cover: ”My Three Sons”… Naughty sons, at that!… meets “Sarah, Plain and Tall” in this delightful marriage of convenience story that shows how amazingly inconvenient love… and life… can be!
But when he discovers Elle Drake next door, a woman with a wonderful hand at managing errant boys, cranky relatives, and frustrated men… Matt’s world suddenly tips back into a more normal orbit. And when drastic measures are required, it’s the girl next door who’s there to save the day.
Elle Drake wanted nothing more than to create beautiful pottery and have a family, but when her millionaire husband publicly dumped the renowned artist for another woman, Elle moves back to Cedar Mills to start anew, the spinster artist with her big potting shed. But when her to-die-for good-looking neighbor thinks marriage is a good idea, Elle figures he’s either crazy, desperate or right.
But a marriage of convenience can become its own conundrum, and when life takes sudden turns, can this marriage become all that they bargained for? And maybe more than a promise?”
1. How long does it typically take you to write a book?
This can vary, but about 8 weeks, more or less. And then it will need revisions, but I can revise one book while working on another, so that becomes a good use of time, all around.
2. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Oh, gosh, I’ve written for as long as I can remember, but the first full real book was about 18 years ago… and it was wretchedly horribly overdone (and of course I LOVED IT!!!) but then it was about five years before I could carve writing time out again, and when I did, I produced a whole bunch of wretchedly overdone melodramatic stories, but then I was able to use parts of them later on, or ideas from them, once I tapped into the fun story-telling abilities God gave me, and dumped the verbiage. J New authors/writers are the funniest and often the craziest things on the planet. We give tween and teen girls a run for the money on the Crazy-R-Us meter!
3. What suggestions would you give a potential author to help them become a better writer?
Write everyday. Don’t stop, don’t quit, don’t get lazy or careless. Pele was an amazing soccer player, world-renowned, amazing, and he learned to play soccer in the streets and slums of Brazil using a SOCK BALL.
That’s right, a ball made up of knotted socks.
He played barefoot because they couldn’t afford to keep replacing his shoes.
He trained by running and playing with a sock ball. Now that’s the kind of dedication you need to make it in this business. Your writing is the sock ball, and the goal is publication and you practice daily so that no one in the opposition or competition can deny you your spot on the goal line at the end of the day.
Write. Write. Write. And if you love it like I do, then it’s not a punishment, it’s like total joy to be able to do what I’ve always wanted to do! BEST JOB EVER!!!! 🙂
4. How frequently do you hear from your fans?
I love my readers!!! I hear from readers daily via facebook or e-mail or messaging. I love chatting (I talk way too much, I’m fairly ridiculous that way) and I love people, so that regular contact is wonderful for me!
5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did becoming a writer ever cross your mind?
I always knew I would be a writer someday. I always knew that’s what I wanted, but for decades I didn’t have the time to focus on the practice needed to polish the craft, to get good enough to make editors want to say YES!!! In capital letters, of course! J We had six kids and I had so many nametag and hairnet jobs, and those jobs became the best training ground for my stories, because I don’t have to research service jobs… I lived them. I made them work for me, around the kids’ schedules and the farm and the husband and all the things that pull on time, I just kept thinking “I’ll use all this in my books one day”, and I have! And yet, there’s more, LOL!
6. What inspired the idea for More Than a Promise?
I was singing in the choir and a young father walked in with three disgruntled little boys who wanted to be anywhere else but in that church! And as he guided the reluctant trio to a pew on the far side of the church, I started thinking… “Where’s Mom? Why is he alone? Why are the boys so grumpy?” And by the time I got home I had the idea for how to pair Matt Wilmot (whom I LOVE!) with a perfect character to do a retelling of “Sarah, Plain and Tall”, adult style. I’d always loved that Patricia Maclachlin story and I could see Elle, tall, and feeling gangly and despite her amazing prodigy-style success (think Thomas Kincaid) her one dream and goal was to be a mother, and that had been snatched out from under her through no fault of her own. And now, there they are, two adults who see beyond youthful images of forever, to the importance of marriage as a partnership with benefits… and when one of those benefits turns out to be true love, how can that be a bad thing?
I love this story!
6. What hobbies do you enjoy when you are not writing?
DO NOT LAUGH. I love painting, not artistically, but inside. The walls, the ceiling, refreshing a room. And in the nice weather, I love gardening, but there’s so little time because more than both of those I love hanging out with kids and grandkids! They are so fun! So they’re my first joy aside from writing, but when I’m on my own, I’m probably re-doing something or getting dirty. And by the way, little garden ponds smell Very Bad in the spring.
That’s one of those tidbits of information you probably didn’t need to know, right? 🙂
Elle was amazing.
Elle made the boys laugh. She made him laugh. She made them think about things other than themselves. She made them cookies, made them work, and most of all, she expected them to rise to a challenge. To be good. To be kind.
And when they were around her, they tried to meet her expectations.
Married. To Elle.
He gripped her hand tighter as they made their way over to her house. His father moved ahead and Matt took advantage of the moment to slow Elle’s steps. “You seem to excel at getting me out of trouble.”
Elle winced. “I couldn’t let her rake you over the coals like that. Who does that kind of thing, when someone’s house is burning down alongside them? Sorry.” She made a face of regret and sighed. “Now we’ll have to wiggle our way out of this and that’s going to be a tangle, but I figured it would quiet her down. And it did work,” she added with a quick, small smile.
“What if we don’t wiggle our way out of this?”
She tried to stop their progress, but Matt kept her hand in his and kept walking.
“You said yourself it makes perfect sense.”
“I said no such thing,” she hissed as they drew closer to the house. “We barely know each other.”
He smiled into her eyes and saw the answering flicker of acknowledgment and interest. Real interest. “A lifetime gives us plenty of time for that, I guess.”
“Are you crazy?”
He was, kind of, because her off-the-cuff idea was growing in appeal. “Maybe. Or maybe you came up with the best answer possible.” They’d reached the door. He put a finger to his lips. “We’ll hash this out later.”
“There is nothing to hash out.”
He winked, because the more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea.
He kissed her.
He kissed her long and slow and with a gentle firmness that said they had a lot to talk about.
And when he stopped kissing her, he cupped her face with his two hands and whispered, “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”
It was wonderful and he knew it, which meant she should take him down a peg, but his parents were excitedly waiting inside her back door. “We’ll discuss this later.”
He grazed one finger across her lips. “I’m looking forward to it.”
Confidence bordering cockiness.
And he couldn’t possibly be serious. Could he?
One look at his face said otherwise.
Elle Drake has moved back to her hometown of Cedar Mills with a bruised heart. Her marriage is over and her dreams of having a family are dashed. To make it worse, she’s always felt like an outsider. The last to get compliments and often overlooked. She believes she’s the ugly duckling.
My heart broke for Elle because I understood her pain. It’s hard to be compared to another person who you believe is better than you. People don’t know they’re digging the knife in deeper when they make little comments, but there ignorance doesn’t get rid of the sting.
Elle has so much going for her that I connected with her instantly and wanted to cheer her to a happily ever after. Matt Wilmot is a widower with three rambunctious boys and in desperate need of help. And that’s where Elle came in.
I loved how she handled his children and I love how she snuck into his heart. What can be more beautiful than a love that sneaks up on a person in surprise? It makes for a heart warming, smile inducing read.
Matt and Elle both have baggage to sort through. Would they carry it throughout their marriage or let God handle it? Their actions is what made my heart ache and melt through their journey. This is a sweet read that will make time pass easily.
*I give this a 4 out of 5.
** I received a free copy through SLB Tours in exchange for an honest review.
April 12: Toni Shiloh Prayerfully-Lifted Romance & Reading is My SuperPower
April 13: Buzzing About Books & The Power of Words
April 14: Smiling Book Reviews & Singing Librarian Books
April 15: Katie’s Clean Book Collection & Colorimetry & The Green Mockingbird
April 16: Just Commonly & Red Headed Book Lady