Meet Dani Sango from Love’s Fortress by Jennifer Uhlarik

Meet Dani Sango from Love’s Fortress by Jennifer Uhlarik

I absolutely love character interviews. There is just something so fun in getting to know the characters you read and love in a whole different way. Today’s character interview comes from the duel-time novel Love’s Fortress by Jennifer Uhlarik. Dani Sango is the heroine of the contemporary timeline. Before we dive in getting to know her, let’s take a moment to get familiar with the story.

Love’s Fortress by Jennifer UhlarikAmazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Books-A-Million  |  Christianbook

An Epic Love Story From the Past Brings Closure to Dani’s Fractured Family Root

When Dani Sango’s art forger father passes away, Dani inherits his home. Among his effects is a book of Native American drawings, which leads her to seek the help of museum curator Brad Osgood to decipher the ledger art. Why would her father have this book? Is it just another forgery?

Brad Osgood’s four-year-old niece, Brynn, needs a safe home, and Brad longs to provide it. The last thing he needs is more drama, especially from a forger’s daughter. But when the two meet “accidentally” at St. Augustine’s 350-year-old Spanish fort, Castillo de San Marcos, he can’t refuse the intriguing woman.

Broken Bow is among seventy-three Plains Indians transported to Florida in 1875 for incarceration at ancient Fort Marion. Sally Jo Harris and Luke Worthing dream of serving God on a foreign mission field, but when the Indians arrive in St. Augustine, God changes their plans. Then when friendship develops between Sally Jo and Broken Bow and false accusations fly, it could cost them their lives.

Can Dani discover how Broken Bow and Sally Jo’s story ends and how it impacted her father’s life?

CC: Hi Dani! I’m so excited to meet you. Would you please introduce yourself to my readers?

DS: I’m the contemporary heroine of the novel. So what does that mean in terms of the story? Well, I am the estranged daughter of an art forger. I haven’t seen my dear ol’ dad since the day he was arrested when I was two years old. But here we are, twenty-six years later, and I get contacted by an attorney who regrets to inform me that my father has died and left me some kind of an inheritance in St. Augustine, Florida. When I drive up here from my home in Tampa, the attorney hands me a set of keys and an address and tells me Franklin Sango left me his house as part of that inheritance. Needless to say, I’m really confused and more than a little gun shy! Franklin never gave me the time of day, and now he leaves me his house? As if that’s not enough, he’s decorated the place with tons of his forgeries—and he’s got some weird ancient book of Native American artwork in his studio, and an odd message on his answering machine from a museum curator asking about that artwork. I think he was up to no good! The official reading of the will won’t be for a few days yet, so I’m stuck here to poke around the creepy place, ponder why the jerk finally decided to acknowledge my existence, and wonder whether this Native American artwork is his next big con or what. Oh joy!

CC: Oh my! Talk about complicated family relationships. I take it family gathers were not your favorite thing? 

DS: Oh, goodness, no! My family is a hot mess. With me being the daughter of a convicted art forger, I’m pretty much treated like an outsider by my mom Jessica, step-dad Neil, half-siblings, and especially my grandfather. Somehow, they all overlook the half of my DNA that comes from Mom and see only the half that comes from Franklin, so they all make me feel like I’m somehow less than them. Family relationships have been hard, and get-togethers are not fun or emotionally healthy for me.

CC: Ugh. That is so hard and heartbreaking. Is it just your family? Or how do you think others view you?

DS: You’d think being raised in the home of my well-respected neurosurgeon step-father and my socialite mother, I’d have had all the benefits that such an upbringing could afford. But my life wasn’t quite so neat and tidy. If you’re talking to my rich, elitist family’s inner circle, who all know I’m the daughter of Franklin Sango, I’m either pitied or treated like a pariah. Growing up in that kind of an environment led me to make some out-of-the-box choices. In order to get away from the toxic private prep school environment, I made the choice to transfer to a public school and make a new circle of friends. I worked in preschools during high school and college, turned down Mom and Neil’s offers of expensive cars and a private university education so I could live the life I wanted to, without their strings attached. Yeah, I’ve got school loans to pay off, but at least I can look myself in the mirror and know I’m being true to myself. I hope, with all of that, that people who aren’t aware of the specter of my questionable parentage see me as a kind, hard-working, semi-responsible woman who’s trying really hard to hold her life together…and managing to succeed some of the time.

CC: That is so hard, but you have achieved much to be proud of. Who is your least favorite person to deal with?

DS: Okay, so this one’s really hard to answer, because nothing and no one in St. Augustine is as they seem at first. Obviously, my family is a problem, as already stated. Beyond that, I could say my least favorite is the tattooed biker dude who sneaked up on me when I first entered Franklin’s house to look around. The guy scared the bejeebers out of me and threatened to call the cops when I had every right to be in Franklin’s house, per the attorney who gave me the keys. Or I could say it was the even bigger Viking wannabe guy who called the biker dude off just a minute later. But then, it turns out, they’re both former business associates of Franklin’s who were just watching over his house since his passing. Good night! They both scared the tar out of me. And that Viking wannabe—Matty Joie—he’s too persistent for my comfort! I mean, he was Franklin’s boss… Not exactly the person I feel like cozying up to. I don’t know if I can trust him, given he was Franklin’s friend. But at least he seems helpful…not exactly the creeper type, even if he does look a little terrifying! In case I didn’t mention it, the guy is huge, tattooed, and looks pretty rough…but like I said, he seems helpful, even if I don’t know whether to trust him.

CC: Yikes! That is definitely an uncomfortable situation. But certainly, not everyone’s questionable. What about the hero of the story? How would you describe him? 

DS: Well, there’s the bright spot in all of this. Brad Osgood. He’s…amazing! Tall, sweet, good-looking. He’s the art museum curator I mentioned, and we met in the most unusual way, but you’ll have to read the book to find out how. What I really like about Brad is—he’s got a beautiful heart. His younger brother and sister-in-law got themselves in a bunch of trouble, and Brad’s four-year-old niece, Brynn, needed a safe place to live. Someone to love and raise her. Without batting an eye, Brad stepped up to the plate. He’s so sweet with her, and she trusts him completely. My heart melts every time I watch them together. Yet in spite of all their own turmoil, Brad has taken time to help me ferret out the truth behind some of Franklin’s forgeries—including that Native American art I mentioned. He’s really patient with me, a non-art lover. Well, I shouldn’t say I’m a non-art lover. I’ve always avoided fine art because of Franklin. Never set foot in an art museum and took very few art classes in high school or college because I didn’t want anyone associating me with my father’s crimes. But Brad took all that in stride and is slowly helping me understand and fall in love with art in ways I never thought I could. What can I say, he’s an all-around wonderful guy!

CC: Awwww. He does sound like a wonderful guy. With such a challenging childhood, I’m curious, do you have any happy memories? What’s your favorite one?

DS: Contrary to how I’ve made my life sound so far, it hasn’t been all bad. My best friend, Rachel, and her parents have helped make it bearable. I met Rach after I transferred to the public high school, and we’ve been friends ever since. As stupid as it sounds, going over to her house, spending the night in her middle class neighborhood, binge-watching movies, and just dishing with a girlfriend…it was so deliciously normal! I’ve loved hanging with people who didn’t treat me like I was a leper because of my father’s crimes. Rachel’s family accepted me for exactly who I am and let me be a normal person for a little while. Their place quickly became a safe haven, a place of unconditional acceptance, and their house is one full of good memories.

CC: They sound like a really great family, and I look forward to finding out all the mystery behind these creepy men, the art forgeries, and that Native American journal. 

Readers, head over to your favorite retailer to check out Love’s Fortress and what is the truth behind the strange inheritance.

Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list several times. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers, Women Writing the West, and is a lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, electrical engineer son, and four fur children.

Connect with Jennifer: Website | Newsletter  | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

First Love Forever Romance Collection



Stories by: Erica Vetsch, Susanne Dietze, Cynthia Hickey, Marcia Gruver, Carrie Fancett Pagels, Martha Rogers, Lorna Seilstad, Connie Stevens, Jennifer Uhlarik

Genre: Historical Romance, 1865-1910

Plot Overview: There are nine stories of first loves being reunited and finding forever love together.

A first love is never easily forgotten…
and coming face to face with that person again can be awkward when the heartstrings are still holding on to the “what ifs.”

In settings from 1865 to 1910, nine couples are thrown back on the same path by life’s changes and challenges. A neighbor returns from law school. An heiress seeks a quick marriage. A soldier’s homecoming is painful. A family needs help. A prodigal son returns. A rogue aeronaut drops from the sky. A runaway bridegroom comes home. A letter for aid is sent. A doctor needs a nurse. Can love rekindle despite the separation of time and space?

– Blurb from Amazon

What I loved: I particularly loved Heartfelt EchoesLighter than Air, and After the Ball. Each story had its own merit, and who doesn’t love with those first crushes become long-lasting relationships that hold through the test of time.

Favorite Character: Like in my interview with Jennifer Uhlarik, I really loved Travis and Millie. The obstacles they overcome and the relationship they share makes my heart swoon.

Who would like this:  Anyone who likes quick historical romance reads. Each story took me a little over an hour to read, which made the weeks when I didn’t have time for a full-on book at least bearable.

Rating and Why: I gave this a three-and-a-half star rating because while I did really enjoy several of the stories, there were also two that I really just did not enjoy at all. And in a rare exception, I completely skimmed one and never read the whole story. With all collections, you have a mix of writing styles and skill levels, but this one had more than I am accustomed to as far as did not appeal to me.  Reading is completely subjective so you may disagree once you dive in. I do still recommend it, if only for the few mentioned in What I Love.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher/author. I was in no way required to leave a review, and the above review is my honest opinion.

Winner of the giveaway from Jennifer Uhlarik’s interview is: Cassandra Darensbourg Check your email for a notice from me and if you do not see something, check your spam folder. Thank you so much for participating.

Join the discussion: What makes a novella so enticing you can’t put it down?

Author Interview: Jennifer Uhlarik

Today I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Jennifer Uhlarik, a wonderful historical romance author. If you are into reading the novella collections that are so popular right now you might already recognize her name. Now I get the joy of giving you a glimpse of the person behind those delightful stories. At the end of the interview, check out your chance to win a copy of one of the novella collections she has a story in.


juhlarik-HR-3Jennifer Uhlarik discovered the western genre as a pre-teen when she swiped the only “horse” book she found on her older brother’s bookshelf. A new love was born. Across the next ten years, she devoured Louis L’Amour westerns and fell in love with the genre. In college at the University of Tampa, she began penning her own story of the Old West. Armed with a B.A. in writing, she has finaled and won in numerous writing competitions, and been on the ECPA best-seller list numerous times. In addition to writing, she has held jobs as a private business owner, a schoolteacher, a marketing director, and her favorite—a full-time homemaker. Jennifer is active in American Christian Fiction Writers and lifetime member of the Florida Writers Association. She lives near Tampa, Florida, with her husband, college-aged son, and four fur children.


Ready to go beyond the blurb? You’ll be glad you took the time to get to know her.



Sweet or Unsweet Tea?

J.U.: Sweet! Like…REALLY SWEET. Cavity-inducing sweet! Anything else is just colored water. 😉

Crystal: A true southern girl, no doubt! Love the, “Anything else is just colored water.”

Beach Vacation or Mountain Getaway?

J.U.: I live in Florida, so beaches are prevalent. I’d prefer a mountain getaway. It feels far more exotic to me!

Crystal: We just got finished vacationing in your area. Definitely a great place to visit, but I can see getting tired of the beaches.

Homebody or Love to Travel?

J.U.: Can I say both? When I’m home…I want to be home in my comfy clothes and chilling with those I love. But I adore traveling too—from planning the trip to sightseeing and hitting all the museums and historic sights each new place has to offer. I guess you could say we’re go-go-go on vacation, and stay-stay-stay at home. LOL

Crystal: Ha, sounds like home might be more relaxing. 😉


Morning Person or Night Owl?

J.U.: Hmmm. This is a hard one. I’m somewhat both. I wake usually around 7:15 in the morning, but I’ll stay up until midnight most nights—and 2 AM if I’m really flowing in my writing.

Crystal: I’d put you in the night owl category then! People who enjoy being up before 6:00, those are the crazy morning people. 7:15 sounds reasonable to me.


Bookmark or Dog-ear Pages?

J.U.: I’m strictly a bookmark girl! My husband is a dog-ear guy. I cringe every time he turns down a corner, and I have to resist screaming, “STOP, you animal!”

Crystal: I just cringed right along with you. Eek!


The Writing Journey

What is the hardest part about being an author? What is the easiest?

J.U.: The hardest part of being an author for me is balance. I can be very one-track-minded, so when I’m writing, everything else gets ignored. That’s great for the word-count, but my husband likes to eat each evening, and we often have errands to run, or the house needs cleaning. So keeping all the parts of my life balanced tends to be really hard!

The easiest thing is dreaming up new characters to write about and new adventures for them to experience. It seems I have far more story ideas than I have time to write them.

Crystal: Clean houses and meals aren’t really necessary, right?


What are your “have to haves” when it is time to write?

J.U.: A bottle of water or two, a pad of paper and my favorite pen, a blanket to cover my legs, and my dog Gracie. She is my “helper dog,” and she races me to my writing room each day, ready to get to work! (Her version of work is napping on her dog bed in the corner while I slave away at the keyboard, but she makes for good company for those long, lonely hours).

Crystal: I love that you have a writing buddy. She sounds adorable.


What is your favorite Bible verse?

J.U.: Luke 1:45—Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.

This verse came to my attention one Christmas season years ago when I was waiting for a promise from God to come about in my life. I’d been through a tough divorce, was raising a child alone, and God had promised me that if I would seek Him first, that there was another (better) marriage in my future. From the first time I heard that verse, it became a lifeline to me as I waited on God’s promise to come true, and even after I was married, I’ve hung onto that verse for each new promise God gives me.

Crystal: I love that story and seeing how God does bless those who believe what He has said.

First Love Forever Romance Collection




Heartfelt Echoes by Jennifer Uhlarik

1875—Virginia City, Nevada: A short, urgent letter mentioning his childhood love, Millie Gordon, forces deaf Travis McCaffrey to turn to his estranged birth father for help rescuing the woman he can’t forget.




Crystal: I just have to say, I absolutely LOVE Travis and Millie. Of all the novellas I have ever read, I think they are my favorite.

What drew you to create deaf characters?

J.U.: Wow! I am humbled that my characters are your favorites! Thank you. What an honor!

Travis and Millie are characters that appeared in a previous novella, Mountain Echoes, which I wrote for the Courageous Brides Collection. In that story, Travis was a 12-year-old boy who’d lost his hearing the year before. The heroine of Mountain Echoes, Hannah, crossed the Sierras by stagecoach to pick him up and transport him back to San Francisco to attend the California School for the Deaf. I brought Millie into the story in one of the last scenes of Mountain Echoes, one of Travis’s new friends in his new environment. So when I learned the theme of the First Love Forever collection, they were the characters that came to mind. There was already a foundation laid for their romance, and it was simply a matter of them telling me how they were separated.

Beyond having a “history” with Travis and Millie, I have always loved sign language. During my teens, one of my best friends had a sister who was deaf, so I was exposed to sign language and the deaf culture a little through their family. I guess something stuck from my experiences with them because I have known for a long time that I would like to write a story about a deaf character. It was a challenge, making sure I didn’t write any sounds into that story, but I love a good challenge.

Crystal: I didn’t realize there was another story with Travis and Millie.  I will definitely have to check that out. I love how you used the experience of your friends to create a story that others might not have been exposed to otherwise.

I especially loved how Millie had gone through a surgery that affected her. From my own research, that detail was so true to life.

Who or what inspired you to create Millie the way you did?

J.U.: I can credit Millie’s surgery and its effect on her to a wonderful group of friends who helped me brainstorm this story. When we got the word that Barbour Publishing wanted the collection, I had, at most, a synopsis that was roughly a paragraph long, and it may have been only a sentence. As I got to thinking about the story as I’d envisioned it when I wrote the very brief description, I realized that it had some flaws, and I would need to restructure some things. Fortunately, I was headed to the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and signed up for the brainstorming class. In that class, the eight participants each discussed the respective stories represented in the group, and someone threw out the idea of Millie having had a surgery…and the effect it had on her. As soon as the idea was put out, we all knew it was a must for this story. So I can credit Lynette’s brainstorming class—and particularly Patty Smith Hall, since she’s the one who put the idea out there to begin with.

Crystal: How wonderful to have such a wonderful group of people to help you brainstorm.




This novella collection is about First Love Forever. Most people I know dream of finding one person to love and cherish for an entire lifetime, but marriage can be tough.

What is the best piece of advice for marriage you have ever heard?

J.U.: This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart. As I mentioned above, I went through a divorce and spent a decade as a single mom before I found love again. God was gracious to me and brought me my Dave—my best friend who is funny, kind, giving, and amazing in so many ways. He makes marriage seem easy (though, no…no marriage is truly easy—at least not all the time. Marriages take work, but when you’re with the right person, the work doesn’t seem so hard).

When Dave and I were planning our wedding, our pastor made an offhand comment during a planning meeting that both Dave and I immediately locked onto. The pastor said, “Marriage isn’t about finding the right person. It is about being the right person.” As soon as the words crossed his lips, we each immediately recognized that our marriage needed to be more than expecting our other half to meet our every need or make us happy all the time. Rather than being self-focused, we needed to have the outlook of “how can I make his (or her) life easier? What does he (or she) need from me now?” Sure, we falter from that at times, but by and large, we’ve had eleven years of marital success by living by this principle—thinking of our other half before ourselves.

Crystal: Beautiful, wonderful advice. It is something I hope many take to heart.




Fun Question of the Day:

If you could spend the day with any author you wanted (past or present), who would it be?

J.U.: I think I’d have to say Louis L’Amour. It was his books that made me fall in love with the western genre. He was a wealth of knowledge about the west, history, and so much more. It would’ve been quite a dream to meet him and listen to the stories he had to tell of his various adventures and experiences in life.


Want to learn more? You can find Jennifer on the following:







Alright, beloved readers, it is the time you all have been waiting for! This time I am giving the winner a copy of Of Rags and Riches Romance Colletion if in the contiguous U.S. or an e-copy of Oregon Trail Romance Collection if not. Just comment below AND use the Rafflecopter link below to enter. Entries are open Tuesday 12 AM (EST) 4/17/2018 and close on Monday, 4/23/2108, at 11:59 PM (EST). Winner will be announced on the First Love Romance Collection Review the next day.

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*Legal Jargon: No Purchase is necessary. This contest is open to all readers in the world, 18 years and older who are legally allowed to participate in such a giveaway as allowed by their local laws. The Write Call does not exchange prizes for reviews. Reviews are appreciated, but not required.*


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