I have had the privelege of not only getting to know Sara through my writing journey as a friend, but I’ve had the pleasure of sitting at her feet and learning how to be a better author. Now it is my joy to introduce you to a woman who writes stories you don’t want to miss.
Sara is a coffee lovin’, word slinging, Historical Romance author whose super power is converting caffeine into novels. She loves those odd little tidbits of history that are stranger than fiction. That’s what inspires her. Well, that and a good love story. But of all the love stories she knows, hers is her favorite. She lives happily with her own Prince Charming and their gaggle of minions. Three to be exact. They sure know how to distract a writer! But, alas, the stories must be written, even if it must happen in the wee hours of the morning. Sara is an avid reader and enjoys reading and writing clean Historical Romance when she’s not traveling. Her books range from the Czech lands to the American wild west and from ancient Egypt to the early 1900s. Some of her titles include The Lady Bornekova, Hope in Cripple Creek, The General’s Wife, Trail of Fears, and the Convenient Risk Series.
You can connect with her through: Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Pinterest | YouTube | Twitter | Instagram
Now for the fun stuff! I have to admit I am partial to my Fast Five. 🙂 So settle in as I hit Sara with rapid-fire.
CC: Sweet or Salty?
SRT: Sweet . . . usually
CC: Print, E-book, or Audiobook?
SRT: print for nonfiction, ebook for fiction (for the most part…), and audiobook for both!
CC: Coffee, Tea, or Other?
SRT: coffee….I like tea, but I cannot discount my extreme love of coffee
Morning Person or Night Owl?
SRT: I am naturally a night owl, but life has made me more of a morning person
CC: Favorite Holiday?
I’m right there with you on the night owl vs morning person. Although, I’ll never be happy about being up in the morning.
What does your writing process look like in general from beginning to end?
SRT: I started as a complete and total pantser. But, over time, I have found that if I spend some time getting to know my characters first, it is not wasted. It enhances my experience of the characters and, in turn, deepens the reader’s experience. I also have added some simple plotting…more of a skeleton outline that is subject to change. I have read and enjoyed many plotting methods. And every book’s journey looks a little different for me. But that is, in general, what happens on this end of things.
CC: I feel you on the pantser to loose plotter.
What has been the biggest challenge in your writing journey?
SRT: I struggle with a mood disorder. And, as anyone who has been challenged by depression or anxiety or both, it creates obstacles from time to time with motivation, energy, and follow-through. As well as throwing a wrench in that creative flow.
CC: Ugh. I SO feel you on the wrench in the creative flow. It’s definitely something messing with my current story as well.
How have you seen God work through your writing journey?
SRT: I am convinced that He has called me to write and to partner with Him…sharing stories about people (characters, that is), overcoming things within themselves and around them with His help, His guidance, His strength. Because that is what I know. And I believe He is in the business of redeeming. It is my truest desire that others see that in my stories and that they will be edified in the pages of my novels.
CC: Amen, and I can totally see it in your books. Hugs.
This week we’re going to shine the spotlight on her novel, A Convenient Risk.
He never imagined her heart would be so hard to reach.
Forced into a marriage of convenience after her husband dies, Amanda Haynes is determined she will never love again. Not that it bothers Brandon Miller. He needs her husband’s cattle. She needs financial stability and long-term support for her son and herself. But she never expected to care so much about the running of the ranch.
Butting heads over the decisions of the ranch, adding to her frustration and grief at her loss. Her wellbeing is soon threatened as their lives become entangled with Billy the Kid and his gang.
What has she gotten herself into? What kind of man has she married? Is there any way out?
Purchase your copy at Sarah’s Store | Amazon | Universal Buy Link
ALERT: This book is FREE on ebook right now, so hop over and snag your copy while you can.
CC: Where did you get the idea for A Convenient Risk?
SRT: For A Convenient Risk…strangely enough I got the initial seed of the story idea from a cemetery. Now, I am not one who makes visiting cemeteries a pastime. But I have a writer/history fanatic friend who loves it. So, I went with her (in the daylight…let’s be clear about that) and we looked at especially the older stones and imagined (as writers do) about that person’s life. There was one set of stones that sparked an idea…it was a woman who had first married a man much older than she, then he died, and she married someone closer to her age. It got me thinking about marriages of convenience/for advantage and second marriages that involved a death in particular. And also how we tend to memorialize loved ones who pass…remember the good times and glaze over the challenges. And how that might affect a second marriage.
CC: I love how you explore that. For me, that’s the most fascinating part of a marriage of convenience.
Who was the most challenging character to create?
SRT: Honestly, the heroine of the story, Amanda, was the most challenging. She is brave, but broken. And struggles with her view of God due to her life experiences. Having a very different life and walk with God made this character a little stretching for me to get in her head and walk in her shoes, as it were. To not only understand how she arrived at that place, but to relate in a real way so I could make her relatable.
CC: It’s so difficult to walk in other people’s shoes, but creating characters makes it an intimate experience which can be exceptionally challenging.
Which character was the most fun to create?
SRT: I really enjoyed one of the minor characters – Dorothy (also known as “Cook”). She is sassy and fun and wise and real. When my narrator gave her a voice, I was even more hooked. So much so, that I later wrote a collection of short stories with Cook as a main character. Now that was a blast!
CC: Oh fun! I love it when minor characters take on lives of their own and spur on the creation of other stories.
What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
SRT: That no one is perfect. We all have struggles, hurts, and hang-ups. But God, in His infinite mercy, will meet us where we are. It is His desire to use our stories/experiences to bring us to a deeper knowledge of Him and His grace.
CC: Amen and amen. Now for a sign-off fun question.
If you could be any superhero, who would it be?
SRT: Oh, friends, I AM a superhero. You probably don’t realize because of my alias. But I’ll tell you. My superhero identity is “Random Girl.” My mind moves so much faster than my mouth and so I end up coming out with the most random stuff in daily conversations. My friends and family know that this means “Random Girl strikes again.” If I am faced with criminal activity, I suppose my superpower is helpful in that I can utterly confuse and stymie the evil-doers until the authorities arrive. You’re welcome.
CC: That is HILARIOUS and PERFECT!! I love it.
Readers, I hope you’ll check out A Convenient Risk and then leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, and/or BookBub. You wouldn’t believe how important that is to an author.
Reader, how do you feel about marriage of convenience stories? What things do you wish you saw more of?
Welcome to the third month of the Unlocking the Past 2021 Reading Challenge. This month focused on the Westward Expansion Period, and my choice of story was Trail of Fears by Sara R. Turnquist. Once you read my review, don’t forget to comment to be entered for your chance to win a copy.
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Trail of Fears by Sara R. Turnquist
Y’all, this book. I chose it because it covers a topic not often written about in fiction, nor is it often talked about in history more than a brief mention. While my family didn’t participate in the first Trail of Tears, they did the second during the latter half of the 19th century. It’s part of the reason why I don’t do the genealogy stuff. I could do parts of my family, but my mom’s family can only go so far back before much of our history becomes shrouded like some dark secret. Reading this book was like reclaiming a piece of my history that no one is willing to talk about. This book should seriously be required reading for every history class in America.
I am not an emotional reader. It takes A LOT for me to cry over a storyline. If an author can squeeze a few silent tears out of me, that is amazing. Y’all, I literally sobbed through the last quarter of this book. Trail of Fears did not shirk away from the hard truths of the Indian Removal Act. Through the story you walk through this pivotal point of history through the eyes of many crucial players: a senator and his aide, the captain of the group leading the Cherokees, the chief, the missionary’s parents, and of course the Cherokee heroine and white missionary hero. I have never seen such an even-hand, realistic portrayal of the struggles of all those involved and even the naivety of the real plight of all the Native Americans by the country at large. It was truly a book that brought a little talked about piece of history to life. This is one of those rare books that I want to shove into people’s hands and force them to read.
The romance story itself is not the usual story either. There are sweet moments, but it is definitely a love grown and tried through circumstances no one would wish to face. You know when you close the book, Thomas and Adsila will be able to survive anything because they survived the Trail of Fears together. I said it once, but I am saying it again, EVERYONE needs to read this book.
Genre: Historical Romance, 1850’s, Georgia
He’s a steadfast missionary. She’s a proud Cherokee. Can their love survive the brutal Trail of Tears?
Thomas Greyson believes God had called him to spread the gospel. He leaves his sheltered world behind to live among the native peoples and teach in their school. But as the government tightens its grip, not everyone is ready to listen to the gospel’s message of love… least of all the stubborn beauty who stole his heart. Adsila resists bending her knee to the white man’s God when Thomas seemingly tries to steal away the last remaining shreds of her heritage. Is she prepared to fight him tooth and nail? But when he stands with her people in the face of hardship, her soul begins to long for the curious stranger and his unshakeable faith. Against impossible odds and staggering loss, can Thomas and Adsila find the strength to follow their hearts’ true path? Trail of Fears is a stirring historical romance that captures the heartbreaking reality of the Trail of Tears. If you like spirited characters, personal journeys of faith, and enduring love stories, then you’ll adore Sara R. Turnquist’s gripping tale of survival and salvation.
What I loved: The honest, raw experience of reading this book. I feel like history has come alive in a way it never has before and I have a better understanding of a piece of history often rushed through in history classes. It was an emotional read that shook me and made me really think.
Favorite Character and Why: It is so hard to pick. The cast of characters in this book all worked together to make an experience I won’t forget.
Who would like this? Those who want an honest, hard look at a piece of history swept under the rug. Those who are concerned about the plight of others, their rights, and mistreatment. Those who want to read a story of love and faith developed and tried through adversity. And in my personal opinion, every single person in America.
Rating and Why: Six stars. I don’t give these out willy nilly guys. Very few EVER get that distinction. This story is unforgettable, raw, and exactly what every American needs to read to better understand our history, and how the plays forward into the present.
Amazon Books-a-Million Book Depository Bookshop.org. Indiebound.org
To be entered to win a print copy of Trail of Fear by Sara R. Turnquist, comment with what book you read to meet this month’s reading challenge by midnight (EST) on April 7th. The winner will be emailed on the 8th and publically announced on the April 13th post. This giveaway is open to all legal participants locally and internationally. If the winner lives internationally, they will receive a copy through Book Depository where available. If not available, the winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card. For extra entries, participate in the Rafflecopter giveaway below.
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Comment: What did you read for this month’s reading challenge?