Well, this is my first time to actually be featured on HA...I'm newer to the publishing journey, starting by publishing short stories last year. :)
Your newest book, Journey to Love, is set during the time of the orphan train. What drew you to that time?
Well, I had an idea for "Marie's story" and as I prayed about it and worked on our house (yes, we built a house last year), the Lord just drew together the story idea and the orphan train. I was introduced to the orphan train by Al and Joann Lacy's Orphan Train trilogy and while I don't necessarily recommend all of their books for various reasons, it definitely gave me a taste for this amazing time in America's history.
What were some of the most helpful resources you found during your research?
I did a lot of online research and contacted some historians directly. I know that the orphan train has been "romanticized" by novels and want to portray as realistic a picture as possible. After I actually wrote the book, I got two books which solidified the information I had already learned: Orphan Train Rider (by Andrea Warren) and The Orphan Trains: Placing Out in America (by Marilyn Irvin Holt). I also did research for Illinois (the setting for JTL) and life in the west.
How does Marie’s spiritual journey reflect your own?
Hmm...that's kind of hard to answer. Marie's journey to love is pretty much a salvation journey, a journey to accepting the love of those around her. Because I was raised in a Christian family, I have been surrounded by love, so never had to "accept it." And also because of that, I didn't have a hard time accepting that God loves me (and, though He is equally holy and just, He is love). So actually, Marie is pretty much in every way a character completely opposite myself.
What was the easiest part of writing Journey to Love?
Pastor Owens' sermons. No, it's not because "preaching come naturally" to me. ;) I actually copied sermon notes from summer 2014 because the message just fit in perfectly with Marie's story.
What was the hardest?
I had a few brick walls as I wrote. One came at chapter four! The other came around chapter ten, when I thought I was almost done (after all, it's "just a novella"). As I was wrapping it up (or so I thought), I realized that the theme was more "Journey to Freedom" or "Journey to Truth" and that kind of puzzled me, because when I started out, it seemed so clear that it was supposed to be "Journey to Love." The very next day, I went to my sister's church and the Sunday school lesson was on 1 John 4. Wow! Talk about God giving me some much-needed confirmation--and substance for more chapters!
What are books by fellow Homeschooled Authors you have enjoyed recently?
I don't know all of the Homeschooled Authors you have listed, but recently, I have enjoyed Faith Blum's The Solid Rock (Yep! I was a beta-reader, as it's not out yet). Haven't been doing quite as much reading lately.
Where can people buy the book?
Journey to Love is available on Amazon.
How can readers keep up with you?
I also have a street team for Facebook and non-Facebook users. :)