Guest Post - Please Celebrate a New Release!

IMG_0373Kathleen Rouser is a friend I have known since our children were small and we were both homeschooling and involved in soccer. We met at one of those soccer gatherings and began to talk about writing and have been friends ever since! I am pleased and honored to have Kathy with us today on my blog to celebrate the release of her debut novel  Rumors and Promises. This is actually Kathy's second published book, but the first all on her own. I had the privilege of reading it for possible endorsement and found myself caught up in the characters and their various entanglements. This is a tale worth reading. Please join me in welcoming Kathy to my blog today.

First - a bit about Kathy:

Kathleen Rouser has loved making up stories since she was a little girl and wanted to be a writer before she could even read. She desires to create characters who resonate with readers and realize the need for a transforming Savior in their everyday lives. She is a long time member in good standing of ACFW and a former board member of its Great Lakes Chapter. Kathleen has been published in anthologies, including the Amazon bestseller, Christmas Treasures, as well as in both print and online magazines. Her debut full-length novel, Rumors and Promises, was recently published by Heritage Beacon Fiction in April, 2016.

Previously a home-school mom of three, she has more recently been a college student and then a mild-mannered dental assistant for a time. Along with her sassy tail-less cat, she lives in Michigan with her hero and husband of 34 years, who not only listens to her stories, but also cooks for her.

And now some questions:

1) Kathy, could you share with us some of the surprises you’ve encountered along the road to publishing?

You never know when the right editor, who your writing will resonate with, will come along. It was a long road to getting published as 99% of writers will tell you.

The other thing has been the rise of social media and how it plays as part of marketing yourself to a publishing house and your perspective audience.

 2) Please tell us something about your latest novel, Rumors and Promises.

Here is the back cover blurb:

Rumors and Promises CoverSophie Biddle is an heiress on the run. Worse, she has a two-year-old child in tow, an illegitimate daughter she tries to pass off as her little sister. Believing herself abandoned by family and God, Sophie is caught off guard when she meets a kind, but meddling and handsome minister at the local mercantile. Despite her dire straits, Sophie wants only acceptance—not special treatment from the reverend or anyone else.

Reverend Ian McCormick is determined to start anew in Stone Creek, Michigan, believing he has failed God and his former flock. He works harder than ever to forget his mistake, hoping to prove himself a pleasing servant to his new congregation and once again to God.

In spite of their attempts to stay romantically untangled, Sophie and Ian find themselves drawn closer through their mutual love of music and their love for the child, Caira. When rumors of her “scandalous” past surface, Ian must decide whether to stand by the lovely Sophie’s side, while Sophie must decide whether to confess the ruse she thought necessary. Will they accept God’s forgiveness and risk forging a future together? Or will they continue to go it alone?

Sophie Biddle’s story in Rumors and Promises really began as an attempt to convey a story similar to the account of the woman at the well in chapter four of the Gospel of John. At the time editors weren’t interested in biblical fiction. But I was also constrained by the guidelines of Christian publishing. How could I have my protagonist be a woman of bad reputation while preserving her purity? The character of Sophia Bidershem, an heiress concealing her identity with a slightly different name and trying to pass off her toddler daughter as her sister was born. The out-of-wedlock-pregnancy had not come about by her volition, but she loves her child anyway, and does what she must to take care of her.

Then I thought about who had the most to lose in becoming involved in the life of these runaway girls, just as the disciples became shocked Jesus would associate with the Samaritan woman. Pastor Ian McCormick would have much to lose if his reputation was besmirched by friendship with a “fallen woman.” Of course that’s where the similarities end. Jesus is sinless while Ian is a flawed man trying to start over with a new congregation because of past failings.

3) What drew you to set your story in 1900 and small-town Michigan?

Several things drew me to the time period in which Rumors and Promises is set. The Edwardian and Gilded ages around the end of the 19th century, beginning of the 20th have always drawn me. I loved reading the Anne of Green Gables books and watching shows like Road to Avonlea and Christy years ago. It was an era of change, but the majority of people still held old-fashioned values. Women’s clothing was still elegant, but not as fancy as the Victorian age.

As far as a fictional in Michigan, I love Michigan. It’s where I grew up and raised my family. And small towns like Stone Creek have a cozy feeling, where you know everyone. Then again, sometimes people know or guess too much about you and that’s where the rumors come from.

4) Have you found that similar themes run throughout your writing? Why? Or why not?

I think there’s always something about trusting God in the tough situations, because that’s part of real life. We all have trials and tribulations and need to be able to learn to rest in Him for the outcome.

There are also elements of embarking on change or starting over. Perhaps that reflects the many changes I’ve had to deal with over the years, but also that God is the God of second chances and new beginnings. There’s always hope when we look to Him.

5) What drew you to writing historical novels?

My love of reading them, of reading novels written during the 19th century, and watching period dramas on television or in movies, all contribute to that. It’s time travel without all the hassles!

6) What or who inspired you to write inspirational fiction? How does that keep you plodding ahead with your writing each day?

The Lord put it on my heart from when I was a little girl to want to share stories and write books. Once I had given my heart and life to Jesus, I felt led to read and create stories with a spiritual element to them.

He’s the one who guides me and gives me strength. It’s usually if I don’t spend enough time with Him that writing becomes more difficult.

7) Do you feel you are more of a character driven or plot driven writer? How do you think it comes across in your writing?

I used to think I was plot-driven. You do need a good plot to move the story ahead. However I am fascinated by the character’s arc and getting into their head. I just get this feel for the character and plot around them and their circumstances, so I would say I’m more character-driven.

8) Would you like to share about what you are working on now?

I am writing the stand-alone sequel to Rumors and Promises with the working title, A Good Medicine. Here’s the tag line: A widow and a pharmacist find remedies for what ails them most where they least expect it.

It also takes place in Stone Creek, involving a widow and a widower, who each have children. Maggie Galloway is a strong woman trying to decide how to steer her future. Thomas Harper, the new apothecary in town, is struggling with his brood of four children and starting his business in the town.

There’s a lot of humor, healing, and hope in this story as Maggie, Thomas, and their families clash and, yet, manage to find common ground.

9) Do you have any last words of wisdom to share with aspiring authors?

It may be trite, but also true: Keep writing and learning more about the craft, so you will improve. Grow a thicker skin and share your work with other writers for critiquing.

Remember not to compare yourself to other writers. Don’t worry about whether another writer is faster or slower, has been published yet, has better story ideas, etc. Instead ask the Lord to show you the pace and method He has for you, and trust He will help you accomplish your goals. Don’t give up!

Thank you so much, for having me as a guest on your website, Jill.

Me here: Thank you for joining us, Kathy!

Here are some links to find Kathleen Rouser on the web:

Website: www.kathleenrouser.com 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/kathleenrouser/ 

Twitter: @KathleenRouser

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7427871.Kathleen_Rouser

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kerouser/

Rumors and Promises is available at:

Amazon.com - http://tinyurl.com/jqmw93e

Barnes and Noble - http://tinyurl.com/hdus93p

Happy reading~