A dear friend of mine, without whom my book would be in total limbo, has just released her debut novel Meghan’s Choice. So of course I had to interview her and get an excerpt of her fantastic work to share! At the bottom of the article you’ll find links to all her pages as well as where to find the book. I am NOT getting anything back for this interview, I’m just truly excited for my talented friend. Without further ado, I give you my interview with Donna L.H Smith!
Q: Where did the story idea for Meghan’s Choice come from?
A: First of all, thanks Justina, for this opportunity to connect with your readers––a wonderful bunch who have faithfully supported your writing.
Well, since I’m a follower of Jesus, I asked him for a novel idea. An obscure little history lesson came to mind. “The Gunfight at Hyde Park.” I knew this referred to something that happened in my hometown in Kansas back when it was first being founded. I had to Google it to learn the answer. Over a 10-day period, more people were killed and wounded than at the OK Corral.
Q: How long have you been working on it?
A: I got the idea in 2012. I wrote the first draft from January through May, 2013. Since then, of course, it’s been through many revisions and edits, even this summer.
Q: What drew you to the Historical Romance genre?
A: I’ve always loved westerns. I grew up watching TV shows such as: Gunsmoke, Bonanza, The Virginian, The High Chaparral, etc. Once the idea came to me for a western, I began to read many westerns set in the 1800s, plus some of the classic westerns by Zane Grey.
Q: What was your favorite thing about writing Meghan’s Choice?
A: I’m having to really think about that. I loved it all. I especially love the cowboy and the ex-slave Santa Fe railroad worker as characters. And throwing in some of my own “story” here and there.
Q: What was the hardest part of your journey with this book?
A: The rejections from publishers, and staying the course to get it published in some way.
Q: What made you first want to be a novelist?
A: I didn’t. My preferred career would have been a screenwriter, because I love stories. I’m good at dialogue, and coming up with great story ideas. Oh well. I’m enjoyed it, but it challenges me to use my five senses when writing a scene. A screenwriter doesn’t have to do that. The actors would.
Q: What is the most exciting part of publishing your debut novel?
A: I don’t know. I loving it all. I’m in the process of building a newsletter list, of scouting a location(s) for launch parties, asking people to get the word out…
Q: What do you hope readers take away from your book?
A: That God is a personal God, who can and should be known by heart.
Q: What is the number one piece of advice you’d give to other who are working on their debut novel?
A: I used to hear people say “Keep writing.” It drove me crazy, so I change it up to say, persevere. Don’t quit. Be ready to whatever opportunity may present itself.
About Meghan’s Choice:
An unusual ultimatum. A Young Woman’s Bold Journey.
Two handsome Men. An Amazing God. That’s Meghan’s Choice
Meghan Gallaghercomplies with her father’s demand that she work on her own for a year by choosing to tutor eight children in a wild Kansas railroad town. But she had no idea just how wild it was until she was hit by a stray bullet and rescued by a local dance hall girl. In short order, she meets a dark, handsome cowboy and a wholesome attractive doctor who both vie for her heart. As things heat up around town, Meghan’s love life catches fire as well. Is she scandalous to allow both men to court her at the same time? And––how close a relationship with God does Meghan want? Will she draw near?
Meghan’s Choice was named a semi-finalist in the 2014 Operation First Novel by Jerry B. Jenkins, and Honorable Mention for the Golden Leaf Award.
EXCERPT from Meghan’s Choice:
Saint Louis, Missouri
“Meghan, we need to talk.”
Meghan Gallagher turned to face Captain John Calvin, the man she’d been courting since completing finishing school. Her skin tingled. Maybe he’ll ask me to marry him. They walked arm-in-arm along a path parallel to the west bank of the Mississippi River. It was a beautiful moonlit evening, unseasonably warm for early March.
“Yes, John?” Her heart pounded.
He stopped and took her hands in his. Surely he would ask her now. “We’ve been courting for six months, but there’s something I need to tell you. There won’t be any St. Louis post of the U.S. Cavalry. I’m returning to duty tomorrow.”
She let go, taking a step back. “Why? What happened? I thought it was all arranged.”
“Meghan, you know I’m fond of you.” His warm, brown eyes were sincere, not harsh, but not full of love, as they should be.
She dug her fingernails into her palms. “I thought you loved me. You know I love you.”
“I never said that. I––I have great affection for you. You’re a dear friend. I’ve enjoyed your company.” He turned away.
“But, I thought…”
A couple, arm-in-arm, walked by. Meghan stood like a statue. She forced herself to move and put a hand on his arm to turn him around, but he didn’t budge.
“John, what’s going on?”
He turned slowly to face her, his face like stone. “I’m sorry. There’s no easy way to say this. I don’t love you. Why did you think I would propose marriage? I’m returning to Fort Davidson tomorrow.”
Meghan’s eyes misted and she blinked quickly. “You mean… You never had any intention of marrying me? Have you been toying with me? I love you, Captain John Calvin. We had an understanding. You were going to resign your commission, and go into business with your friend. Was that all a lie?”
He shook his head. “In the beginning, I thought maybe we had something. We talked, shared wild dreams and let our imaginations run away with us. Apparently, you took that seriously. I didn’t.” He put a hand on her arm. Did he think to assuage the pain he inflicted? “I love the military and will never give up my commission. I’ve worked too hard for it. The army assigned me to St. Louis for temporary duty for research into re-establishment of a local office. Otherwise we would never have met.”
“I don’t understand, John. I thought we would…” A tear escaped. She wiped it away, her strength draining. How could this be happening?
About Donna L.H Smith:
Donna L.H. Smith is a Kansas prairie girl transplanted to Lancaster County, PA. She is a graduate of Christian Writer’s Guild Craftsman program and holds a B.S. in Telecommunications (broadcasting) from (Oral Roberts University) and a M.A. in Mass Communication from WSU (Wichita State University). She’s been married to a wonderful man named Kirby for thirty years. No children, but a dog and her Mom over an eleven-year period. She’s been a freelance journalist, and a radio reporter. She blogs, reviews books, speaks at workshops and retreats and although she is at an age where many begin slowing down, she wouldn’t think of it. Recently, she took on the role of Assistant Managing Editor of Almost an Author.com, and serves as ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Mid-Atlantic Zone Director. She is also a member of AWSA’s Protégé program (Advanced Writers & Speaker’s Association).
FACEBOOK: Donna L.H. Smith––Stories Are My Passion
Kindle version: http://amzn.to/2ngei4n