Author Interviews, Saga Saturdays

Blessed Assurance Blog Tour: Author Interview with Faith Blum

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Who doesn’t like a good mystery? I’m sure there are a few, but most people do like mysteries. What about a mystery within a mystery. Faith Blum’s new novella is just that. First there’s the mystery of who tried to dupe five mail-order brides. Then Adelaide finds out someone is claiming she’s a runaway bride. What happens to her? Find out in Blessed Assurance.

About the Book

Blessed Assurance_FrontBlessed assurance, Jesus is mine
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Adelaide lost her parents a year before and now a rich man in town is making unwanted advances toward her. Desperate, she writes to two men and quickly accepts the one from Cheyenne, Wyoming. On the final leg of her journey, in a stagecoach with four other mail order brides, her suspicions are confirmed. Will she ever find a man she can truly trust?

buy-button-amazonAbout the Author

Author Picture 2015-2016 cropped

Faith Blum started writing at an early age. She started even before she could read! She even thought she could write better than Dr. Seuss. Now that she has grown up a little more, she knows she will probably never reach the success of Dr. Seuss, but that doesn’t stop her from trying.

When she isn’t writing, Faith enjoys doing many right-brained activities such as reading, crafting, playing piano, and playing games with her family. One of her dreams is to visit Castle City, Montana, someday to see the ghost town she chose for her characters to live in. She currently lives on a hobby farm with her family in Wisconsin.

There are many ways to connect with Faith online. All of them can be found in one convenient place: http://FaithBlum.com. On her website you can find links to her various social media sites and both of her blogs as well as learn about any events she has coming up.

Today she has graciously consented to visit me here and answer some questions. So let’s find out a little bit more about Faith Blum.

How would you describe your book to someone who has not yet read it?

Blessed Assurance is a mail-order bride story with a twist. The young man Adelaide wrote to is real, but he never wrote the letter. Plus, someone else comes to Cheyenne claiming that Adelaide is a runaway bride. I guess Adelaide kind of got into a bit of a mess. But it’s nothing God can’t turn around and use for the best.

Is there a message in your book that you want your readers to grasp?

God will always work things out His way. It might not be the way you thought it should be, but it will always be for your good.

How much of the book is based on real life (either yours or someone you know)?

Nothing that I know of.

How did you get the idea for the novella?

This novella is a spinoff of my novel, The Solid Rock. Adelaide and the four other mail-order brides were introduced, but the ends of their stories would have made the novel too long and complicated, so I wrote novellas about them instead.

What scene or bit of dialogue in the book are you most proud of, and why?

This part is a little long, but it is my favorite part.

Mr. Reese looked Bradley Connor over. “I’ll be right back.”

Mr. Harris and Mr. Connor looked at each other. He was gone for two minutes before he came back with a piece of paper in his hand.

After Mr. Reese settled into his chair, he spoke, “Do you mind answering a few questions, Bradley?”

Bradley shrugged. “I guess not.”

“Good. Are you a born-again Christian?”

Bradley blinked once. “Yes.”

“What do you mean by that phrase?” Mr. Reese asked.

Bradley shifted in his chair. Where was he going with this? “It means that I surrendered my life to God so that I could be born of His Holy Spirit through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

Mr. Reese smiled slightly. “Thank you. How far are you willing to go to earn someone’s trust?”

“If I really care for that person, I’m willing to do whatever is necessary.”

“As a Christian, aren’t you supposed to care for everyone?”

Bradley took a deep breath and smiled. “Yes. So I should be willing to do that for everyone, too. Although, I don’t do it as much as I ought.”

Mr. Reese chuckled. “Who do you love more than anything else?”

“God.”

“If you were to marry, would that change?”

“I hope and pray not. If it does, I pray someone points it out to me.”

Mr. Reese stared at him for a few minutes. “How old are you?”

Bradley started. “What?”

Mr. Reese raised his eyebrows. “Do you have a problem with the question?”

Bradley cleared his throat. “I just wasn’t expecting it. I’m twenty-six.” Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Adelaide lean against the doorframe.

Mr. Reese leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “When you enter a courtship, are you willing to court the young lady for at least six months before you ask her to marry you? Assuming of course that the courtship lasts longer than a month to begin with.”

“What are you doing?” Adelaide asked.

“Let him answer the question and then I’ll answer yours.”

Bradley pondered the question. With closed eyes, he said, “If—and that’s a big if—I were ever to court a woman, I would take my time. I haven’t ever thought of an exact period of time since I never planned to marry, let alone court a woman, but if she is most comfortable with at least six months, I will respect her wishes.”

 

If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything about your book?

I don’t think there is anything I would change about Blessed Assurance. Of the three novellas I have published this summer, Adelaide’s was my favorite.

What inspired you to write your first book?

If you mean the first book I published, that would be a short story contest based on a picture. I was too old and my story much too long to enter, but it got the wheels turning and A Mighty Fortress was the result.

Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?

Don’t rush through the publication process. It’s exciting to get a book published, but don’t let the excitement cause any rash decisions.

Considering a book from the first word you write to the moment you see it on a bookstore shelf, what’s your favorite part of the process? What’s your least favorite?

My favorite part of the writing process is writing the rough draft. I love letting the characters take control and wreaking havoc with my ideas for the plot. I love getting a story started and seeing where God takes it. My least favorite part would be editing. It’s hard to spot all the typos and make sure it all fits.

What’s up next for you?

In the next few months, I’m planning to publish a short story, a box set of my three novellas, and an audiobook of my first novel. I’m also working on my next novel series called Orphans of the West.

Thank you for having me on your blog!

You’re very welcome, Faith. Anytime!

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Giveaway

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Faith’s sister, Naomi, graciously hand painted two beautiful bookmarks for this giveaway. There will be one lucky winner. The bookmarks are made with Adelaide in mind. Aren’t they gorgeous?

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Faith’s Blog Tour Schedule

August 26
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Introduction
Letters from Annie Douglas Lima-Excerpt
With a Joyful Noise-Excerpt
Rebekah Lyn Books-Excerpt
August 27
Blue-Brown Books-Author Interview
August 29
Singing Librarian Books-Excerpt
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae-Excerpt
August 30
Ramblings of a Young Author-Review
August 31
Jaye L. Knight-Excerpt
Rachel Rossano’s Words-Excerpt
September 1
The Abrahamic Adventures-Excerpt
Writings, Ramblings, and Reflections-Character Interview (Adelaide)
September 2
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Conclusion and Winner

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civil war fiction, family histories, genealogy, historical fiction, Saga Saturdays, sun's parting ray

Saga Saturdays: The Story Behind SUN’S PARTING RAY (Part One)

Saga Saturdays

I got bitten by the amateur genealogy bug a long time ago—back when it was still somewhat okay to surf the Internet at work, and no one would really say anything to you about it, as long as you got the work done you were supposed to. So, there I was, finished with my work (for the time being) and trying to keep myself occupied. I had heard people talk about “Googling yourself.” Up to this point, my search engine of choice was Yahoo, but I decided to give it a try, anyway.

Imagine my surprise when I found MY name (spelled correctly, mind you) at the bottom of what looked like a long list of other names under one woman’s name, Mary Susan Pare (1829-1865), who married one Hezekiah Blankenship in 1850. Blankenship, I knew, was my paternal grandmother’s maiden name. Sure enough, I had stumbled across some genealogy research someone else had done on their family, which just happened to coincide with mine. From that moment, I was hooked.

I started to delve into everything I could find about my father’s ancestry. Over the next couple of years, I made pretty good progress with his mother’s genealogy…and a little progress with his father’s (on his mother’s side). But our surname, Austin, was giving me problems. It’s a fairly common name; therefore, it wasn’t so easy to conduct an accurate search.

I knew my grandfather’s name. I knew HIS father’s name, but that’s where I drew a blank—a dead end, so to speak. So I found out that I could order a birth certificate for my great-grandfather from the state (I knew he was born in Kentucky), so that’s what I did, and I discovered that his parent’s names were “Bill Austin and Mollie A. Mayes.” They were both born in Kentucky, and I knew their self-reported ages. So I went to the online census records (I had the money at the time to pay for the Ancestry.com membership; I don’t now).

Bill, I knew (or at least I suspected), would be short for William; however, I did not know that Mollie was a nickname often used for Mary. It took me a while to figure that out. But, once I did, I found their marriage certificate and a marriage permission slip signed by Mary’s father, Henry William Mayes. That was back in 1886.

Then, I found my great-grandfather’s name in the 1900 Barren County, Kentucky Census. He was living with his brothers and sisters in his grandfather’s house (Henry W. Mayes), and there was someone else living with them—one Jane Austin, listed as a “relative.” This, I knew, had to be Bill Austin’s mother. My great-great-great-grandmother. I was excited to finally be making some progress, and I was intrigued by the living arrangement. The two “unmarried” grandparents living together and taking care of their grandchildren because, presumably, their children are both dead. I later discovered that they both died in 1896, but there was no cause listed. Probably flu, but it could have been something different because all their children survived. Henry’s wife, I discovered, died in 1899. But I still had no information about Jane’s husband.

So, I went back to the census information. Finally, in the 1860 Monroe County census, I found Jane Austin (and W.H. Austin, of the right age to be my Bill Austin) listed in the household of one “M. Austin.” That was it. Nothing else. And it seemed that this “M. Austin” disappeared from the face of the earth after this 1860 census. What was going on in Kentucky between 1860 and 1870? The same thing that was going on in the rest of the country—the American Civil War.

At this point, I got really excited, thinking that “M. Austin” must have been some sort of war hero (or that he at least fought in the war, as so many people did). But I never was very certain of it because I didn’t know exactly what his first name was.

It turns out, I was barking up the wrong tree…but that’s a post for another week. 😉

In the meantime, check out SUN’S PARTING RAY on Amazon.

 

Saga Saturdays

Saga Saturdays: Two Reasons I Wouldn’t Have Wanted to Live in the 19th Century

Saga Saturdays

As I started to write my first historical novel, SUN’S PARTING RAY, a couple of years ago, I thought a lot about what it would be like to be a woman living in Kentucky in the 19th century, since that’s who my main character is…and that’s who my real life ancestor, Jane Compton Austin, on whom my MC was very loosely based, was.

While I think I would have enjoyed certain aspects of living back then, there are some definite things I would not have liked at all (although I have to wonder if, had a lived back then, these things would bother me quite as much as they do now – having the 20th/21st century mindset that I have). Anyway, here are two of the main reasons I would not have wanted to live back then (and they mostly have to do with the fact that I am a woman).

1) Childbirth/Periods:  Not long ago, I learned about something called the menstrual cup. Intrigued, I Googled it (Actually I Binged it. I use Bing more than Google now because I can earn stuff for doing so. It’s pretty cool!), and I discovered that it is an admirable eco-friendly alternative to pads and tampons. However, the whole idea of the thing sounds gross. You’re constantly having to take it out, wash it, and put it back in. It’s so much easier to use something up, take it out, and throw it away. Call me wasteful, but in this case, I absolutely am and always will be.

In a similar vein, the idea of having children (more specifically, the actual process of giving birth) in the 19th century just doesn’t appeal to me at all. Both my daughters were born via c-section, which wasn’t generally done until the latter part of the 19th century. Considering that the first was a medical emergency and the second, while scheduled, would have been necessary given the thinness of my uterus at the time, all I have to say is, “Thank God for modern medicine,” because surely either I or my babies (or both of us) would have died during the process of delivery, had we been forced to follow the natural childbirth process of the 19th century.

2) Not having the right to vote: As a woman, I would not have had the right to vote (and, honestly, I would have been little more than my husband’s property). I have to wonder, though, if I would have minded so much about it then as I do now. I mean, having been born in 1977, well after the women’s liberation movement was in full swing, I’m sure my worldview and cultural mindset is very different from what my female ancestors’ mindsets would have been…at least, I think it is. There were, even at the time, women like Susan B. Anthony and Jane Addams, who fought for equal rights (and suffrage) for women because they believed it to be an important, worthy cause.

The reason I wonder so much whether I would have felt differently had I lived in a different era is because of a conversation I had with my grandmother after I turned 18 and gained the right to vote. She said she never voted in any election, and I asked why. She just shrugged and said, “It’s just not that important.”

That really upset me for a long time…until I realized she was born in 1923, and women didn’t earn the right to vote in the U.S. until 1920. Still, I would think that being in the very first generation to have the right to vote would inspire her to actually take advantage of that right… but maybe not. Maybe it wasn’t important in the culture in which she grew up. And I have to wonder how important it was to Jane Compton Austin and her generation, back in the latter part of the century.

Still, I never liked the idea of being any man’s property, and I’ve written my character Jane in that way…wanting to be independent – to do things on her own. I’m certain she would have been completely in favor of women’s suffrage, and not just because I am.