Happy Tuesday, friends!!
I hope you’re week is off to a great start. Today Mary Felkins will be talking about the story behind the story. Grab your cup of tea or coffee and chat with her!
Story Behind the Story
You Are the Reason addresses the call that God places on our lives and our willingness to risk what we feel safe doing for what might cost us something. It also shows the divine purpose of hardship and rightly defines our identity—not found in our success but in our relationship to God as his dearly loved children.
The inspiration for You Are the Reason began with a house. A large one—over 13,000 square feet, to be exact. Madewood Mansion in Napoleonville, Louisiana boasts an 1846 antebellum manor house on Bayou Lefourche (pronounced “Lay-foosh”). When it operated as a bed and breakfast, my husband and I celebrated several anniversaries here. Under current ownership, the historic treasure is being restored and only open for daytime events.
The previous owner, Keith Marshall, inherited the house from his mother Naomi in the 80s. He and his wife Millie had no intention of opening it up for business. But when a call came from someone interested in what they charged for overnight stays, he considered the electric bill. After some swift number crunching, he set a price and Madewood Plantation House historic bed and breakfast was born!
Each time my husband and I have stayed at Madewood, the charm wound its way around us more deeply. Unbeknownst to me, a story was working its way through my imagination long before I was called to be a writer.
Several major motion pictures have been filmed on location at Madewood, such as A Woman Called Moses and the more recent remake of The Beguiled starring Nicole Kidman. And Brad Pitt stayed overnight in the carriage house that sits behind the house and was once owned by a riverboat captain.
In 2017, I brought the spark of an idea to Deep Thinker’s Retreat in Destin, Florida, a 5-day intensive writing retreat hosted by Susie May Warren and Rachel Hauck. You Are the Reason is the result of the foundational ideas birthed during brainstorming time with Rachel.
Madewood is the ideal setting for a contemporary romance. A reluctant heiress who inherits the house and is honor bound to see to its restoration. Only … according to her mother’s wishes … she must only hire New Orleans go-to guy. Unbeknownst to her mother, the widowed heroine is being set up for a happily ever after she long since refused.
How do you respond when unexpectedly cornered by fulfilling a distasteful obligation to one who’s passed away?
On one of our long drives from NC back to Texas to visit family, my eye caught a road sign marking the exit to Moreland. The Lord etched the word in my head as a fictional name for Madewood.
I have a teeny tiny fascination with houses and wondered … what if the house wanted a happily ever after but the heiress wants it fixed up and sold asap—despite her late mother’s wishes? When writing You Are the Reason, it was only right to give Moreland Manor its own satisfying end
The growing popularity of house restoration shows such as Fixer Upper inspired the idea to include a film production company in the story. Fictional MidDay Media is interested in capturing the hero at work to pitch a restoration series idea to a network and, on occasion, catched clandestine romantic tension between heroine and hero. There was a lot of play to create trouble on the set between the hero and production—two industries with competing agendas.
The main story question is … What if you didn’t want your inheritance but choosing to embrace it led to your greatest dream?
Most importantly … Who do we become in hardship?
When I read the hero’s question during review of the galleys a few weeks back, it made me weepy.
What’s next? Book #2 (Sweeter With You) and #3 (When You Smile for Me) are set to release with Elk Lake Publishing Inc. end of 2022 and 2023 respectively.
About the Book
A reluctant heiress.
A driven contractor.
An abandoned house in want of a family.
CPA Everley Scott knows exactly what she wants. Status quo. But when her inheritance of Moreland, an 1846 manor house, is at risk of being razed, she agrees to fulfill her mother’s final wishes to restore the house to its former glory and hire her contractor of choice.
Historic restoration specialist, Gabe Bellevue, is in need of a big contract to buoy his reputation as New Orleans’go-to guy. Stunned at his hefty price, Everley is cornered
into involving a high-profile production company that offers funding in return for rights to film the project.
Production’s strict schedule pressures Gabe to rush the job, but his refusal could cost him the deal of a lifetime … and his last shot at satisfying unrequited love for Everley, his high school crush.
The discovery of an impassioned plea penned in the 1800’s by a former Moreland heiress might be the key to unlock Everley’s heart and enable her to embrace the
historic treasure. Especially when it comes with a highly capable—and increasingly irresistible—contractor.
Will Moreland, once again, enjoy the sound of love and laughter within its walls?
NOTE TO READERS:
Whoever said life is best enjoyed within the strict confines of predictable controls hasn’t experienced the upending of CPA Everley Scott’s orderly world … the only way she’ll hear God’s true calling on her life.
And whoever said a house is merely a place to find shelter hasn’t met historic restoration specialist Gabe Bellevue.
And whoever says a house can’t have its own satisfying end hasn’t experienced … Moreland Manor.
Here’s to the bliss of an unrequited love trope! As you read Everley and Gabe’s restoration story, may it invigorate your faith-all the way to the happily ever after.
To discover the story behind Ben’s Seafood and Grille, the fictional 3-star Michelin restaurant featured in You Are the Reason, I invite you to check out the series prequel, This I Promise You.
What if finding your heart’s desire means entrusting it … just once more …. to the one who broke it?
About the Author
Mary A. Felkins is an inspirational romance author, blogger, and contributor to writer’s blogs and online publications. Her debut novel, Call to Love, is set in Hickory, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband. They have four young adult children. She is a member of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and My Book Therapy.
Her purpose in writing is to reclaim God’s intention when he created the world–to enable readers to know his heart and experience his love.
The unmerited gift of a large, unopened bag of Peanut M&Ms® will lure her from her writer’s desk. A surprise appearance by her teen idol, Donny Osmond, would also do the trick—although she’d likely pass out.
Upon introduction, if she likes your first or last name, expect to see it show up in one of her novels.
To receive Mary’s story-style devotions, quarterly author newsletter with giveaways, and/or launch team opportunities, subscribe via email on her website, www.maryfelkins.com