Sandra Ardoin, author of heartwarming and award-winning historical romance novels, stops by for a chat this week. She delves into some questions authors ask themselves when writing stories.
Sandra engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she’s also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.
You may visit her at www.sandraardoin.com. Or connect with her on BookBub, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest. You may join the Love and Faith in Fiction community and keep up with what’s new with Sandra, discover what’s upcoming, and learn of specials and giveaways.
It Begins with Captivating Questions by Sandra Ardoin
As a reader, what is a question you ask an author when meeting one in person or online? What are you most curious about with regard to their writing?
After I reveal my writing habit to someone, I’m generally asked what I write. Next is usually an inquiry into where I find my ideas. Both are valid questions and can prompt authors to talk in detail about writing. Boy, can we talk about writing! 😉
But writers ask questions too. Things we’ve heard, read, dreamed, or seen can become springboards for compelling books. But how?
My books are Christian historical romance, concentrating mainly on the time period between the American Civil War and the early 1900s. You might think that gives me a great deal of history to fall back on when it comes to placing the story. Yes and no. The story circumstances or setting will often limit me to a certain period in time—a certain decade or even year.
For instance, with A Love Most Worthy, I had the opportunity to do a mail-order bride story and got it into my head to do a gold rush setting.
I asked myself that over and over, because I wanted it to be somewhere unique, somewhere other than the typical American West. I decided to set it in a real location rather than a fictional one as I’ve done in the past. After the initial research, I settled on Nome, Alaska.
Many of the ideas for the story and local color came from tidbits I found during the research, but they also limited me to late 1899 or 1900. I didn’t want my hero and heroine, Rance and Hallie, trapped inside during an Alaskan winter, so my best choice in a time frame became the summer of 1900 when the rush was in full swing and the town more like a small city.
For my debut novella, The Yuletide Angel, I’d decided to give my heroine, Violet, a secret philanthropical venture.
It takes place at a time of the year when giving is prevalent, so she secretly leaves packages of food at needy people’s doorways. But the secret giving?
Because she doesn’t want the credit. She doesn’t want people making a big deal of it. That leads to the hero, Hugh, setting out to protect her—secretly—as she makes her rounds.
Something else happened when I wrote that story. I created a brother for Hugh—Kit Barnes. He was charming and had a less-than-stellar past. From almost the first time he appeared on the page, I knew he needed his own story—his opportunity to make amends to the woman he’d once betrayed. Out came the questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how? The answers helped to form my novel A Reluctant Melody.
My current release, Unwrapping Hope, came about because I wanted to do another 19th-century Christmas novella. As I pondered ideas, I wrote down various things one associates with Christmas (besides Jesus)—snow, ornaments, carols, etc. One situation kept coming to mind: a gift received in error. Phoebe Crain gets a gift not meant for her.
Why? Ah, another question that sent the wheels spinning. The answer involved my hero.
Once I decided the setting should include a small department store, Spence Newland came to life. He’s a man whose sickly childhood prompts him to want to prove his ability to manage his wealthy family’s interests. Part of that proof comes in diversifying into five-and-ten-cent stores, but he needs an outside investor. That’s where the gift comes in.
Along with the story came the idea for the Widow’s Might series about a group of young widows mentored in life by an older widow. Now, I’m hard at work asking all the necessary questions as I write the first novel in the series.
So, you see, authors ask their own questions and keep asking until they get the answers they need to create a story readers adore.
She chose the wrong man once. Can she trust her instincts now?
Phoebe Crain, an accomplished pianist, lives in near poverty to protect her five-year-old daughter from scandal. When Phoebe receives a handcrafted cigar box by mistake, her desperation to give the child something special for Christmas drives her to suggest a trade with Spence Newland, a man she views as no more principled than her daughter’s late father. But the more time she spends with the department store heir, the more Phoebe struggles to keep up her guard against him.
Spence believes the cigar box will help him gain a reclusive investor’s financial support for his proposed five-and-ten-cent stores, demonstrating his ability to manage the family fortunes. Yet he hesitates to bargain with a widow who mistrusts him for no apparent reason…until he meets a charming little girl at the train station who awaits the arrival of a prince.
Will a betrayal in Phoebe’s past and Spence’s unraveling plans derail their hope for happiness and keep a child’s fairy tale from coming true?
You’ll find Unwrapping Hope and and all my books on Amazon.
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Lord, please bless each word Sandra writes for You.
~ For Jesus’ sake