I am so blessed to know Grace Hitchcock. Bless her heart, she has been one of my biggest supporters and I cannot express how grateful I am to her and all her support. I adore her and her books, and it is my pleasure to get to introduce you to her. Grace and I met at my first ACFW in 2016 (I think), and I was so inspired by her kindness and patience with this unpublished author. Now we’re both out in the world, and I am so happy for this opportunity to support her back. Allow me to formally introduce you to her.

Grace Hitchcock is the award-winning author of multiple historical novels and novellas. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in the New Orleans area with her husband, Dakota, sons, and daughter. Connect with her online at GraceHitchcock.com.

You can connect with her through:  Website Newsletter  |  BookBub  |  GoodReads

Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Grace with rapid-fire.

 

CC: Sweet or Salty?

GH: Sweet

CC: Print, E-book, or Audiobook?

GH: Audiobook! I used to always be print, or eBook recently, but with a baby, audiobook has been my only option of late 🙂

CC: Coffee, Tea, or Other?

GH: Cafe Latte!

Morning Person or Night Owl?

GH: Morning person, especially when there is coffee to be had!

CC: Favorite Holiday?

GH: Christmas! Now that my kiddos are old enough to appreciate the sparkling lights, Christmas decor, and songs, we love to drive through neighborhoods and point out our favorites. And then, there is the Christmas baking fun!

I’m so not a coffee person, I don’t even know what a cafe latte is exactly, except that latte means it has milk in it. LOL

So tell me, Grace, what does your writing process look like?

GH: After the first whisper of the story in my head, I select names and meet the characters. Next, I write out their story in a detailed synopsis that I use for the first draft. After I get down about 50,000 words, I edit it three times to get the novel up to about 85,000 words and send it off to my publisher! From there, we have a content, copy, line, and proof edits before it goes to press!

CC: I don’t think I could write a manuscript that short if I tried! LOL I love how you know your process though. I’m still working through figuring mine out.  

How have you seen God work through your writing journey?

GH: I’d say for certain it is the timing of each book. When I first began trying to get published, I was pitching full-length novels, but Barbour thought I’d do better with starting with novellas. Changing directions and writing novellas taught me how to write tight (given the smaller word count) while giving a full feeling story. Even though it wasn’t my first choice to begin with novellas, it was a great introduction to the writing and publishing world. God knew what He was doing and after my first two novellas were published, Barbour offered me the anchor book in their True Colors series and then, my writing career really got rolling! Time and time again with each offer and contract, His timing was and is perfect.

CC: God is so good. . . and now it makes sense how you can write so tightly. I bet those years of writing novellas really taught you a lot. Which brings me to . . . 

Do you have any advice for those who want to write their own stories?

GH: Attending ACFW, the American Christian Fiction Writers conference, was the best move for me as a new writer. Not only do you get to meet those authors you have been reading for years, but you get to sit in their classes and learn from the masters while making lifelong friends and meeting agents and publishers! Going to this writing conference is worth every penny!

CC: I so agree. Honestly, I’ve met almost every single one of my best friends through ACFW. The relationships formed are the kind that you don’t know how you did without before hand.

Let’s dig in to your newest release, The Pursuit of Miss Parish (Aprons & Veils, Book 2).

Love’s gentle promise becomes nothing more than a withered dream.

With dreams of love and a hope for belonging, shy Belle Parish leaves her position as a maid in Charleston to travel to New Mexico with her best friend to become mail-order brides. Colt Lawson’s letters hold great promise and while his devilishly handsome face matches his picture, something does not add up. Discovering his lie only moments before they wed, Belle flees the church and straight into the Castañeda Hotel Harvey House. Giving up the prospect on ever marrying, she dons her nun-like uniform and focuses on her role as a Harvey Girl waitress until a strong, former Texas Ranger rides into her life.

Colt Lawson didn’t want to send that letter to Belle Parish in the first place, but her first response had all but captured his heart. When he is left standing at the altar alone, he is left with two choices—either release his dream of a love marriage, or attempt to win her heart. Wooing her would be a lot easier if that Texas Ranger wasn’t back in town. Who wants a dusty rancher with a past when she could have a shining knight in a Stetson?

Purchase your copy at  Amazon 

CC: Where did you get the idea for Maeve’s Pledge?

GH: Mostly from research about the Harvey Girls and also inspired by my girlhood favorite books, The Finding of Jasper Holt by Grace Livingston Hill and Janette Oke’s A Gown of Spanish Lace. Originally, I did not have Belle connected to Miss Fairfield, the heroine from book one, in anything but the location of the Harvey House, but in re-writing book one, I discovered that Miss Fairfield’s maid would be perfect for the leading lady of my next book.
CC: I love how God takes our plans and connects them in ways we never imagined.
Who was the most challenging character to create? What made them so difficult?

GH: Colt! When I first wrote The Pursuit of Miss Parish, I only wrote it from Belle’s POV, but during re-writes, I soon found that I needed Colt’s side of the story. He has been a lot of fun to get to know, but he holds things deep within him, and it took a lot of digging to figure out what made him the way he was, but I think that digging not only gave me a much better insight to him, but it brought the story to a deeper level.

CC: That must have been some rewrite. I love how those types of edits reveal things about our stories, though, and build them into better stories.
How did this story affect you as you wrote it? Did God teach you anything in the writing?
GH: Belle is very shy in nature and it takes great courage for her to act. I feel like for years God has been working courage into my heart as an author, much like the courage Belle needs 🙂 Every time I send off a manuscript to my editor, or launch a new book, I have to always turn my back to my fear and trust God to bless my work.
CC: Amen, and I think that’s something I need to think on myself.
I’d love to know a little more about your research. Who were the Harvey Girls?
GH: Whenever I tell people I am writing about a Victorian Harvey Girl romance, they usually assume the Harvey Girls are associated with an old-time saloon, but nothing could be further from the truth. In the 1890s, there were not many respectable jobs for women, so when Englishman Fred Harvey created his chain of fine dining restaurants along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe railroads, single women without an education, or in need of earning their own way, were given a chance to earn an honest wage without the speculation that they offered anything else but food as a service. With Mr. Harvey’s strict rules about the waitress’s code of conduct, the women were given their independence while still maintaining their good name and place in society under the protective, fatherly arm of Fred Harvey. These extraordinary, brave women became known as the Harvey Girls, the ladies who tamed the Wild West with fine china, good pie, and exceptional service with complete propriety.
While Harvey Houses were built to serve the needs of the passengers on the rail to encourage tourism in the west, the railroad workers and local townsmen also dined at the restaurant, but usually at the lunch counter. At a time when men filled towns and women were scarce, inevitably, a railroad worker or townsman would express interest in marrying a Harvey Girl. In order to marry, she would need to fulfill her work contract or risk paying a fine of a month of salary. The fine was set in place to ensure that Fred Harvey would have enough workers and that he wouldn’t simply train a girl to have her shipped to a town of bachelors and leave him without a waitress.
As you can probably tell, such a set up sends an author’s head to spinning with all the romance that could come from a woman venturing out on her own in a land filled with cowboys, bandits, ranchers, and farmers. The possibilities for romance are endless! There is so much more I could write about these fascinating ladies and their contributions to society, but I hope you enjoyed this taste of history on the Harvey Girls!
CC: I absolutely do. The stories you weave are so fascinating, and I’m so blessed to get to read them. Last question before we hop off!
What animal is most like you?
GH: A Holland Lop bunny. I used to have Holland Lops, and I find that like the bunny, I too enjoy my cozy little home, but given the chance, I’ll dart out for grand adventures 🙂
CC: I love that! I’m definitely settling into the rather be at home feeling the older I get. LOL
Readers, I hope you’ll check out The Pursuit of Miss Parish and then leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or BookBub. You wouldn’t believe how important that is to an author.  

Reader, what was most fascinating to you about the Harvey Girls?

Pin It on Pinterest