Meet Daniel Swann from Millstone of Doubt by Erica Vetsch

Meet Daniel Swann from Millstone of Doubt by Erica Vetsch

Y’all know I LOVE character interviews, but I’ve never been as excited for one as THIS ONE. SQUEE!!! I get to introduce you to Daniel Swann from Millstone of Doubt by Erica Vetsch. He is the SWOONY hero of the Thorndike and Swann Regency Mysteries. Y’all, I can’t even. (And yes, I turn into a squealing teenage girl when he walks in the room.)

Before we start fan-girling . . . I mean get to know Daniel, allow me to introduce you to his story.

Millstone of Doubt by Daniel Swann

Regency London’s detective duo is back on a new case–and this one is going to be a killer

Caught in the explosion of the Hammersmith Mill in London, Bow Street Runner Daniel Swann rushes to help any survivors only to find the mill’s owner dead of an apparent gunshot.

Even though the owner’s daughter, Agatha Montgomery, mourns his death, it seems there are more than a few people with motive for murder. But Daniel can’t take this investigation slow and steady. Instead, he must dig through all the suspects as quickly as he can, because the clock is ticking until his mysterious patronage–and his job as a runner–comes to an abrupt and painful end. It seems to Daniel that, like his earthly father, his heavenly Father has abandoned him to the fates.

Lady Juliette Thorndike is Agatha’s bosom friend and has the inside knowledge of the wealthy London ton to be invaluable to Daniel. She should be in a perfect position to help with the case. Still, her instructor in the art of spy craft orders her to stay out of the investigation. But circumstances intervene, dropping her into the middle of the deadly pursuit.

When a dreadful accident ends in another death on the mill floor, Daniel discovers a connection to his murder case–and to his own secret past. Now he and Juliette are in a race to find the killer before his time runs out.

Purchase Links: Amazon  |  Baker Book House  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Books-A-Million  |  Book Depository  |  Bookshop.org  | Christianbook

Now for our interview with Daniel.

CC: Hi Daniel! For those who don’t know how amazing you are. Would you please introduce yourself and your role to my readers?

DS: I’m a detective, and there’s been a murder. It’s my job to bring the killer to justice. I love a good puzzle, and I feel strongly about people following the law.

CC: And I absolutely can’t wait to watch you do it. Being a detective can bring a lot of different opinions. How do you think others view you?

DS: Depends upon who you ask. My boss scorns me, because he was forced to give me this job as a Bow Street Detective. My partner, Ed, he sees me as a bit of a protege, though as I’ve gained experience we’ve become more equals. Lady Juliette? What wouldn’t I give to know exactly how she sees me…

CC: Ah, yes. Lady Juliette. Women do like to keep their secrets. 🙂 Just how would you describe her?

DS: Lady Juliette…smart, refined, educated, rich…and yet none of those things really encapsulates the real her. She’s brave, sometimes too brave, graceful, honest, and she treats people fairly, whether a baron or a beggar, she’s overall kindly. It’s her kindness…and if I’m honest, also her big, brown eyes, that draw me to her the most. But she’s also unattainable by the likes of me, so I should stop thinking about glossy brown curls, rose-scented skin, and chocolate-drop eyes and just go about my business.

CC: *cue sighing* Well, I wouldn’t be so sure. I’m certainly rooting for the unattainable to become attainable. But it’s time to stop my daydreaming and ask, who is your least favorite person to deal with?

DS: Owen Wilkenson. That kid is a thorn in my side. Insolent, sullen, bright as a new pin, but irritating. And now I have to begin instructing him in the ways of detection? Why can’t he be content to be an office boy and stay out of my business?

CC: Mentoring someone–especially someone who annoys you–can be a very difficult task. I feel for you. What is it you’re afraid of? What’s your biggest fear?

DS: Being rejected. I’ve had enough rejection in my life.

CC: Oh, Daniel. That is so hard, and I can see how that might affect your interactions with others. Especially a certain Lady Juliette. I assume some of that rejection comes from a hard past. What was the worst thing that ever happened to you?

DS: My mother turned me over to a mysterious patron when I was 12. I suppose it was hard on her having an illegitimate son to care for, but she didn’t need to push me out of her life at the first opportunity.

CC: Ouch. I be that means family gatherings are a happy thing for you.

DS: No. Because I have no family. I don’t know who my father was, and my mother had no part in my life after she threw me out.

CC: That has to have affected how you view God in your life. Where do you two stand?

DS: We have a sort of mutual respect, I suppose. It’s hard to see Him as caring when I see so much hardship and have experienced so much hardship. I see Him as stern and dictatorial.

CC: I pray that your view changes. We definitely need to end this interview on a happier note. What’s one of your happiest memories?

DS: Riding the master’s horses on the estate where I was raised. He had some crack hunters, and we flew across the fields and soared every fence. I hadn’t a care in the world when I was riding.

CC: I have to say, as a Kentucky girl who used to work at the Kentucky Horse Park, horses DO make everything better. And I’m biting at the bit (pun intended 😉)  to dive into your story once we finish this interview. Oh the benefits of having no deadlines again. 

Readers, do walk, RUN to check out Millstone of Doubt

About Erica Vetsch:

Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, www.ericavetsch.com where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at https://www.facebook.com/EricaVetschAuthor/ where she spends way too much time!

 

Connect with Erica: Website |  Facebook – Inspirational Regency Readers | BookBub

 


Readers, do you enjoy Regency fiction? Which books are your favorite? Have you read any of Erica’s before?

Meet Emma Marano from Why They Call It Falling by Christina Sinisi

Meet Emma Marano from Why They Call It Falling by Christina Sinisi

Character interviews are always so much fun, and today we get to meet Emma Marano from Christina Sinisi’s Why They Call It Falling. Emma is the middle sister–the one who always got into trouble growing up until the trouble caught up with her. Now, she’s a single mom working two jobs and struggling.

Before we get to know Emma, allow me to introduce you to her story.

Why They Call It Falling by Christina Sinisi

Formerly the wild child of three sisters, Emma Marano grew up to be a single mom working two jobs, estranged from her mother, and lying to her friends. She’d told everyone that her daughter’s father wanted nothing to do with his child, but in reality, her own inability to deal with her mistakes and shame led to the biggest lie of her life. But her daughter, Haley, is all Emma has in the world, so how can she regret keeping Haley to herself? Emma’s struggling, though, and her life is slowly imploding.

Right after high school, Justin Lee broke up with Emma Marano and joined the Army, leaving her and all her drama behind. Years later, he stumbles upon her and what turns out to be a daughter he never knew he had. Angry and confused, he insists on having a relationship with his daughter, but to do so, he’ll need to rebuild some sort of relationship with Emma, too. Justin has to decide if he can see past her flaws and forgive her lies, and together, they’ll have to work to reclaim their love and a faith in each other and in God, or they risk losing something precious in the process.

Purchase Links: Amazon

Now for our interview with Emma.

CC: Hi Emma! It is so great to meet you. Would you please introduce yourself and your role to my readers?

EM: Hi, I’m I’m Haley’s mom. That’s the role that matters most to me.

CC: Being a mom is one of the greatest and hardest jobs a woman can have. How do you feel being a single mother makes others view you?

EM: Unfortunately, all they see is another cheerleader turned single mom.

CC: It is so hard to be judged by others, and that can make it really hard to deal with others. Who is the hardest person for you to deal with?

EM: Justin, at first, because he reminds me of who I used to be and I see him as a threat. It’s not that I don’t want him to be in Haley’s life. I just don’t want to lose her.

CC: That is so understandable. So who is Justin? 

EM: He was my high school sweetheart. In fact, one of my favorite memories with him is that concert Justin and I went to in high school. It was an old 80s band, but we sang every song. I danced and the look in his eyes, well, I guess that’s what started that fire. He graduated high school and went straight into the Army instead of following in his father and his grandfather’s footsteps and going to the state military college. He wanted to prove himself and he has.

CC: He sounds like a good guy, so why is he the hardest person for you to deal with?

EM: I never told Justin he was going to be a father. I think telling him meant admitting to myself that I was going to be a mom right out of high school, without finishing college. I’m afraid he’ll take Haley. No one has actually threatened to take her away from me, but I know I’m a lousy mom sometimes.

CC: With being a single mom, do you enjoy family holidays?

EM: Not so much. It’s not fun being the daughter who distracted your father and maybe got him killed. Christmas is especially hard because Daddy used to dress up like Santa Claus and stomp ashes from the fireplace and trace a path to the tree. I loved him caring that much. I miss him.

CC: Losing a father is never easy and it appears you have a lot to deal with during the course of your story. I encourage our readers to find how how things work between you and Justin and the healing of your father’s loss through reading your story. Readers, check out Why They Call It Falling on Amazon

About Christina Sinisi:

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christina Sinisi writes stories about families, both the broken and blessed. Her works include a semi-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest and the American Title IV Contest where she appeared in the top ten in the Romantic Times magazine.

Her published books include Christmas Confusion, Sweet Summer, and the Christmas on Ocracoke. By day, she is a psychology professor and lives in the Low Country of South Carolina with her husband, two children and her crazy cat Chessie Mae.

Connect with Christina: Website | Amazon | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | GoodReads | BookBub

Meet Jake Turnquist from Midnight Blue by Suzie Waltner

Meet Jake Turnquist from Midnight Blue by Suzie Waltner

I absolutely adore getting to do character interviews! They are just so much fun. Today I get to bring you the hero of Suzie Waltner’s Midnight Blue, Jake Turnquist.

Before we meet Jake, allow me to introduce you to his story.

Midnight Blue by Suzie Waltner

A series of heartbreaking setbacks behind her, Scarlett Sykes is now focused on creating the best life possible for her daughter. One where innocence and joy is not colored by rejection or loss. While finances are tight and Scarlett’s job isn’t ideal for a single mother, her child will always know she’s loved. Especially since Harmony’s father wanted nothing to do with them. As lead singer and the face of a successful country band, Jake Turnquist’s closest friends depend on him, but life in the spotlight is quickly losing its appeal. At a party celebrating another accomplishment, he’s stunned to discover Scarlett assisting the caterer. Almost ten years have passed, but he’s never forgotten his first love. In the hours after a surprise revelation, Jake scrambles to orchestrate a way to spend time with Scarlett and Harmony—the family he’s always wanted but never knew he had. He once gave her up to pursue his music. What will he have to surrender to win her back?

Purchase Links: Amazon

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY

Giveaway includes: Antiques Roadshow DVD, ebook copy of The Maritime Cure by Michelle S. Lowe, Jeremiah 29:11 adult coloring book, Nashville streets puzzle, Nashville magnet, 12-oz handmade Orange Spice candle (coconut wax candle), and a $50 Amazon gift card.

Physical prizes are open to US mailing addresses only. Digital prizes open internationally where accepted. Giveaway ends at 11:59 EST on September 30, 2022.

Enter Here.

Now for our interview with Jake.

CC: Hi Jake! It is so great to meet you. Would you please introduce yourself to my readers?

JT: Most people know me as the guy who wrote and sings the hit “Midnight Blue.” I grew up on a farm in a Fiddler Creek, Tennessee and moved to Nashville when I was 17 to pursue music. Fate smiled on me and my friends and we have successfully navigated the county music scene for almost ten years. I’m the lead singer and the guy that bridges the gap between our manager, the record label, and the others in the band.

CC: A country music star, huh? That must have its ups and downs. Are you hiding any secrets from the other characters that you can share with us?

JT: The musician’s life is starting to wear on me. Being “on” for the fans and the shows is sapping my creativity.

CC: I can see how that would zap a person, but a musician has to stay creative to keep on going. That would definitely be a hard thing to admit to your crew. Do you know any secrets about the other characters that you can share with us?

JT: So many secrets I really don’t know where to begin. We were friends long before we became a band. Seth Mason has been my best friend since the first grade, and I could tell you some stories. The guy doesn’t always think things through before he acts.

CC: Friends through thick and thin it sounds like. How about other people? How do you think others view you?

JT: People in town are suspicious of me because of something horrible that happened in the past. It’s hard to always feel judged. And someone is trying to ruin my business and even trying to kill me.

CC: YIKES! So it’s not just the country music scene that has you stressed out. Is there anything from your past that you cherish, or has it all be muddled by the bad?

JT: I have some good memories, especially the ones of riding horses with Scarlett Sykes. Those were some of my happiest days from youth.

CC: OH so there is a history with Skye, huh? My little romantic heart is eager to discover how that may play out in your future. If you, reader, want to find out, I recommend checking out Midnight Blue on Amazon

About Suzie Waltner:

Suzie Waltner is a lover of fiction and is first and foremost a reader. When she’s not at work or reading or writing, you can find her cheering on the Nashville Predators (hockey) or dancing an hour away in Zumba class. Until her second year of college, her life plan was to become a veterinarian. A fainting spell while watching a surgery performed on a sheep changed that plan. Now she works in the corporate world during the day while creating stories in her free time. Suzie resides in a suburb of Nashville, TN and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers as well as Faith, Hope, and Love Christian Writers. She currently serves as the president of the Middle Tennessee ACFW chapter.

Connect with Suzie: Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

Meet Mia Turner from Detection Detail by Terri Reed

Meet Mia Turner from Detection Detail by Terri Reed

It’s my joy and honor to bring to you a special character interview. Detection Detail is Terri Reed’s 50th book with Love Inspired, and to celebrate we get to meet Mia Turner, the book’s heroine.

Before we meet Mia, allow me to introduce you to her story.

Detection Detail by Terri Reed

An alleged arsonist. A deadly cover-up. Can this K-9 sniff out the truth? Evidence at a fiery car crash leads K-9 officer Nelson Rivers and his accelerant-detection dog, Diesel, to Mia Turner—a woman previously accused of arson. But when a gunman targets Mia during their first meeting, Nelson suspects she might actually be innocent. Only Mia’s hiding something, and Nelson’s been burned before. Can they trust each other to catch a killer…before the threat engulfs them both?

Purchase Links: Amazon

*Check out the special audiobook price of $3.99 at Chirpbooks*

CC: Hi Mia! It is so great to meet you. Would you please introduce yourself to my readers?

MT: Hi there, my name is Mia Turner, I live on a lake in Dillon, Colorado, where I run an outdoor adventure company I inherited from my great-uncle.

CC: Running a business can be hard, and it’s important to have a good public image. How do you think others view you?

MT: People in town are suspicious of me because of something horrible that happened in the past. It’s hard to always feel judged. And someone is trying to ruin my business and even trying to kill me.

CC: Yikes! Is there anyone who can help you?

MT: Well, I have to say I was leery of K-9 Officer Nelson Rivers when he first came to my house intent on questioning me about an arson case. He was handsome and very serious. And so determined to protect me, even though I could protect myself. I really fell in love with Nelson’s partner, Diesel, a yellow lab trained in accelerant detection. He’s a true hero.

CC: Dogs are a (wo)man’s best friend. But God also should be. How do you view God in your life?

MT: I rely heavily on God. I don’t think I would have survived with out my faith. Knowing that God has my back gives me hope.

CC: That is so good to know. He really helps us to get through those hard things. What is the worst thing that has ever happened to you?

MT: My best friend and I were accused of crimes we didn’t commit. She went to jail while I had to live with the stigma of guilt even though the charges against me were dropped. I’ve worked tirelessly to exonerate my friend and someone is trying to stop me.

CC: Wow. What a commitment to keep at exposing the truth.

When did you know that you were in love?

MT: Falling in love was gradual but I think the moment I realized that Nelson believed me, believed IN me, was when I lost my heart to him. It took awhile for me to let down my guard enough to let him in and to admit my feelings. But I’m really glad that he came to my cabin in the woods when he did and that he insisted on sticking around.

CC: It sounds like he’s a good guy. I really look forward to hearing your story unfold and watch your romance grow. Readers, you can order her book at Amazon above.


About Terri Reed:

Award winning multi-published author Terri Reed’s romance and romantic suspense novels have appeared on Publisher’s Weekly top 10, Nielsen’s Bookscan top 100 and featured in USA Today. Her 2016 book, A Family Under the Christmas Tree, was adapted into a Hallmark movie and retitled, “Picture A Perfect Christmas.” You can write to Terri at P.O. Box 19555 Portland, OR 97280 or visit her online at www.terrireed.com or email her at terrireed@sterling.net

Connect with Terri: Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | BookBub | Amazon

Meet Sadie Stewart from Home Where She Belongs

Meet Sadie Stewart from Home Where She Belongs

It’s my joy and honor to bring to you not an author interview but a fun character interview. Penny Frost McGinnis released her debut novel Home Where She Belongs recently and is excited to present to you Sadie Stewart.

Before we meet Sadie, allow me to introduce you to her story.

Home Where She Belongs by Penny Frost McGinnis

Tired of being a pawn for her father and an emotional punching bag for her ex-boyfriend, Sadie Stewart runs away. She leaves behind a lucrative job, at her father’s financial company, and narcissistic, abusive ex-boyfriend, Bryce Shaw. Her heart longs for a peaceful, simple life on beloved Abbott Island in Lake Erie, Ohio where she spent magical summers with grandparents she adored.

On the island, Sadie takes over her grandparents’ small island home and her gram’s rental cottages. With a fresh start on the island, she tries to push the past behind and dig in to make the rental business thrive. As Sadie and her dog, settle into her new home, her thoughts wander to Joel Grayson, her teen crush. As soon as he crosses her mind, she dashes the thought away. Not ready to share her heart with anyone, she pushes herself to finish her tasks.

Joel Grayson left the island long enough to train at the Police Academy. The folks in the community trust him, even with his failures. Before Sadie’s grandpa died, Joel had promised him he’d look after their cottages, with a secret hope Sadie might return. When he’s on patrol and finds a woman on his friend’s property, he bristles until he realizes his dream girl has come home.

Sadie recognizes Joel and immediately guards her heart. Her experience with Bryce left her untrusting and hesitant. Even handsome and kind Joel won’t tempt her to open her heart.

When someone is set on sabotaging Sadie’s future, she seeks Joel’s help. As they are drawn together, Joel wants to protect Sadie as a police officer and a friend. Sadie begins to trust Joel and allows the wall around her heart to crumble, just a little. As Joel tries to find the person behind the menacing, Sadie fights to build her rental business and latch on to the peace she longs for.

Even as Joel and Sadie grow closer, a dark cloud hangs over them. Ugly graffiti, a fire, and threats cause Sadie grief. She wants to believe in God, the way her grandparents did and longs for the peace that passes understanding, but her heart hesitates to trust anyone.

Joel needs to place his past behind him and allow God to work in his heart. In his attempts to protect Sadie, he falls for her all over again, even though she keeps her distance.

Will Joel and Sadie overcome their fear and lack of trust? When they discover who is sabotaging Sadie’s future, can they stop them? Will two broken people find their path to love?

Home Where She Belongs is a romance with a dash of mystery and the promise of hope, as Joel and Sadie discover what it means to trust in the God who loves them.

CC: Hi Sadie! It is so great to meet you. Would you please introduce yourself to my readers?

SS: Hi, I’m Sadie Stewart. I moved to Abbott Island recently to resurrect my gram’s cabin rental business. Grandpa and Gram both passed away and left me their home and two cabins. I haven’t been back for a while, but it’s time for me to leave my old life behind and start fresh.

CC: New beginnings are so hard but always needed. So what’s your role in this story?

SS: I’m Sadie, the heroine of the story. After a heart-wrenching experience, I finally claim the property my grandparents left me after Grandpa’s death. On Abbott Island I work to revive my grammy’s cabin rental business while trying to break ties with my ex-boyfriend and ignore my father’s pleas to return to his company to work. There is a hero for my heroine, sweet Joel. I knew him from visiting my grandparents every summer, but haven’t seen him in years. Kind of makes you want to find out what happens, doesn’t it?

CC: Who is your least favorite person to deal with? Why?

SS: My ex-boyfriend. After we dated for awhile, he showed his true colors, and let’s say, they were ugly. I no longer want anything to do with him, but he won’t give up.

CC: Discovering who we are after we return to our faith, or even start our faith, can be a difficult road to walk. How would you describe the hero of the story?

SS: The hero, Joel, is a police officer. We met when we were kids and kind of grew up together in the summers. After I went to college, we lost touch. He’s a kind-hearted man who cares about the community, is loyal to his friends, but keeps his hurts to himself. Did I mention he’s handsome with beautiful eyes? I have to call on him for help, way more than I want. His sister Lucy is one of my dear friends, and she loves to give her brother a hard time.

CC: What is your biggest fear?

SS: My biggest fear is failure. I was raised to succeed, and I don’t always feel I can.

CC: What’s one of your happiest memories?

SS: One of my happiest memories is sitting on the porch with my grandpa while he whittled and I sketched.

CC: What is your favorite holiday? Why?

SS: My favorite holiday is the fourth of July because I spent the summers with my grandparents on Abbott Island and got to be part of the celebration. We had an island-wide picnic, swam, and watched fireworks. Two of my best friends, Lucy and Joel, lived on the island.

CC: Do you enjoy family gatherings? Why/why not?

SS: Not with my family. As a child they amounted to making a good appearance for the sake of my dad’s business. On the other hand, I loved being with my grandparents. They were the best people I knew.

CC: If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?

SS: I long for peace and people I can trust.

CC: How do you view God in your life?

SS: I know God is real, and I learned about His love through my grandparents. I’m not sure about my own beliefs yet, but I sure hope He hears my prayers.

CC: What the worst thing that every happened to you?

SS: My ex-boyfriend abused me. You’ll find out more about that in my story.

CC: Do you have a pet?

SS: I do. Rosie is my Golden Retriever. Grandpa gave her to me just before he died. She’s the sweetest animal, loving and loyal.


About Penny Frost McGinnis:

If Penny Frost McGinnis could live in a lighthouse or on an island, she would. Instead, she and her husband are content to live in southwest Ohio and visit Lake Erie every chance they get. She adores her family and dogs, indulges in dark chocolate, enjoys fiber arts, and grows flowers and herbs in her tiny garden. She pens romance novels with a dash of mystery and the promise of hope. Her life’s goal is to encourage and uplift through the written word.

Connect with Penny: Website | Facebook | Goodreads | BookBub | Amazon

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.

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