Sandra Ardoin: Let’s Chat

Welcome, everyone!

Sandra ArdoinSandra 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 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.

Sandra Ardoin

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.

Sandra Ardoin_

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.

Sandra Ardoin
any 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.

Sandra Ardoin


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.

Sandra Ardoin

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.

Next question?

Sandra Ardoin

Unwrapping Hope

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.

~ ~ ~

Lord, please bless each word Sandra writes for You.
~ For Jesus’ sake

14 thoughts on “Sandra Ardoin: Let’s Chat

  1. Perrianne Askew

    I love historical fiction and am mind boggled over all of the questions that you ask during the writing process. I enjoy the fact that you are doing your “homework” to make sure the time setting and everything is right. It’s intriguing that you took a different twist in choosing Alaska for a gold rush story. It would also be interesting to find out who got the wrong gift, so Unwrapping Hope sounds wonderful. I’m always afraid of someone getting the wrong gift!

    1. Hi Perrianne!

      Yes, so many questions are needed, but that’s what makes the brainstorming phase fun.

      I hope you’ll check out my books. At this moment, A Love Most Worthy (the Alaskan novella) is on sale, but it won’t last long. 🙂

  2. I love historical fiction as I taught fifth grade social studies for five years. I would have my students pretend to be characters from each era we studied. It was fascinating to see their perceptions of history. My preferred reading for pleasure is historical fiction especially involving early pioneers and their struggles. Your novels sound exactly like what I would like to read. I really appreciate reading about your process of writing. Each novel seems to stem from a single idea. I will check them out. Keep up the great writing.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Jane, and social studies was one of my favorite classes in school. 🙂

    2. Thank you, Jane!

  3. Love all your books, Sandra!

    Yes! It’s so important for authors to ask questions too!

    1. Thank you, Dawn! I’m busy at work asking questions on the next book. 😉

    2. Welcome, Dawn! Seeing your name brought a smile to my face 🙂

  4. I enjoy reading Sandra’s stories. 🙂

    1. You’re so kind, Melissa. Thank you! 🙂

    2. Hi, Melissa. Great to see you in our midst. Thank you for encouraging Sandra. 🙂

  5. Hey, Alison! I love Christmas books, too, which is why I enjoy writing them. I hope you enjoy Unwrapping Hope!

  6. Alison Boss

    Thanks for the wonderful interview, Sandra & Linda! Historical Christian fiction is my favorite genre to read! All of your books sound wonderful, Sandra! Your newest book, Unwrapping Hope, really grabbed my attention. I love Christmas books, and this story sounds very intriguing!! I look forward to reading it and have added it to my TBR list. 🙂

    1. Great to welcome you to the circle, Alison. Thank you for contributing to the conversation with encouraging words.


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Catherine Brakefield Let’s Chat!

Welcome, everyone.

Catherine BrakefieldCatherine Brakefield guest blogs for us this week. Catherine is the author of several historical novels and is a delightful person. She’s offering a free print book, winner’s choice, inside the U.S. and a Kindle version outside the U.S.

According to Catherine, “My readers inspire my writing!” I’m looking forward to hearing about her books.

Catherine is an award-winning author of the inspirational historical romance Wilted Dandelions. Her four-book Destiny series is growing in popularity: Swept into Destiny, Destiny’s Whirlwind, Destiny of Heart, and the fourth book of the series, Waltz with Destiny released on June 6, 2019.

She has written two pictorial history books. Images of America: The Lapeer Area, and Images of America: Eastern Lapeer County. 

Her short stories have been published in Guidepost Books True Stories of Extraordinary Answers to Prayer,  Unexpected Answers and Desires of Your Heart; Baker Books, Revell, The Dog Next Door, Horse of my Heart, Second-Chance DOGS, and Horse of my Dreams scheduled for Fall, 2019 publication; CrossRiver Media Publishers,The Benefit Package and Abba’s Promise; Bethany House Publishers, Jesus Talked to me Today.

longtime Michigan resident, Catherine lives with her husband of 45 years and their Arabian horses in the picturesque hills of Addison Township.  She loves traveling the byroads across America, and spoiling her two handsome grandsons and two beautiful granddaughters!

Welcome, Catherine Brakefield

The definition of history, according to Oxford Dictionary is “The study of past events, particularly in human affairs.”

You probably don’t consider yourself making history, do you? But you are. Just as my characters did in the Destiny series. What kind of life-history lessons will you make? 

Catherine Brakefield’s Novel Series

In my novel series, my readers are provided with the concrete wisdom of our ancestral Christian foundation. Here are a few samples:

Catherine BrakefieldMy series begins with Swept into Destiny. It opens during the Antebellum Era with Ben McConnell, an Irish immigrant, who believes he can change the tide of hate and prejudice against his kind. Maggie Gatlan is a rebel disguised in frilly hoop skirts. Beneath the cover of night, she educates slaves and immigrants alike. She lives up to her biblical beliefs and claims Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free.”

Book 2, Destiny’s Whirlwind

This story opens in 1898 during the Spanish-American war and the freedom of choice of the Gibson Era.  Daughter of Ben and Maggie, Collina McConnell realizes Rough Rider Franklin Long arrived for just a time as this. Catherine BrakefieldCollina must choose. Ride off with him, or stay and fight for the family farm, Shushan? Her faith often feels as small as that mustard seed Father brought over from Ireland. Ben’s words of Esther 8:6 hold her to the course she must trod, How can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people?”Catherine Brakefield

Book 3, Destiny of Heart 

This story awakens with the Great War when Collina’s sister Ruby and her husband, Stephen, leave for the prairies of Colorado. Here Ruby’s second child is born, her daughter, Esther. The Great Depression crashes the nation into its darkest hour. Maggie, Collina, and Ruby determine not to lose hope, claiming Proverbs 28:6,
Better is the poor who walks in his integrity.” Ruby meets a boy following an ice wagon named Eric Erhardt and invites the Erhardts to share their Sunday meal. Unbeknownst to her, God has a plan for Eric and Esther.

Catherine BrakefieldBook 4, Waltz with Destiny

Esther and Eric’s generation walks out of their rags from the Great Depression to stroll into the splendors of a new era. They enjoy the age of automobiles, dude ranches, and the Big Band Era. Ill-prepared, they are thrust into an all-consuming war that rips away the boundaries of countries and eventually thrusts the world into the atomic age.

IWaltz with Destiny, our young men, who were fed on a solid diet of reading the Bible, going to church, and obeying the Ten Commandments, were unprepared to kill. During 1942 there were few victories in the theater of World War 2 for Americans.

So the military asked for help from some well-known celebrities and songs like “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” became hits to help our GIs over the hurdle of killing their fellow man.

Catherine Brakefield’s Faith and Family

My father cherished his Christian heritage. Entering the service, he was given a small Bible with Theodore Roosevelt’s signature in the inside flap. Prayer tracks of “A Soldier’s Prayer,” “Jesus Help Us,” and “Our Divine Protector,” Dad kept in his wallet throughout his lifetime!

Dad often said, “You’ll never find an atheist in a fox hole.” After describing some battle scene where his buddies died, he’d explain, “Their number was up.” Mom said Dad’s faith grew stronger during those years he fought in Italy.

Dad believed in the Holy Trinity and that God is omnipotent. In Luke 12:20 God says, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be…?”So that was Dad’s practical, no-nonsense outlook about life and death. Worrying about what he couldn’t change wasn’t in his vocabulary. That helped me throughout my lifetime.

The book of James tells us not to boast about tomorrow, James 4:14 “You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” Dad said his number would come up someday, but hoped when it did, he’d be on his feet when it happened. God complied.

Harry S. Truman once said: “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.” 

Waltz With Destiny

Waltz with Destiny is the last novel of the inspirational Destiny series. Here is the preface:

When the men and women of World War II marched off to war, they didn’t know what lay ahead. They only knew that upon their young and inexperienced shoulders rested the plight of the free world.

From the corridors of the Great Depression, new heroes from the Old West sprang up, thundering across the talking movie screen to the pounding hoof beats of The Sons of the Pioneers, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Gabby Hayes.

The offspring of the Great Depression, who had peddled papers and sold apples on street corners, awakened to a new era. Across the nation, they gaily glided into the eloquent ballrooms that mirrored the starlight and splendors of the Aztecs.

The American dream awakened our youth to education, jobs, and prosperity. But across the ocean, Hitler was awakening his youth to the idea of a Master Race.

A Changing Wind

So it was during the twilight of August 1941 a changing wind began to blow against America’s shorelines. Before the autumn moon could chill the summer breezes, many knew the stench of death.

As the lash of Hitler’s Third Reich fell upon Europe, the world looked to America, looked to our happy and fun-loving boys and shook their heads.

Compared to their notable fathers of World War I, these boys were like lions are to kittens. These kids couldn’t deliver the world from Hitler’s new world order. Not these playboys in their baggy zoot suits, not these “Mama Boys” still wet behind the ears. They were no match for Japan’s kamikaze or Hitler’s Nazis. They were too innocent, too young, and too inexperienced for the task.

As far as Japan was concerned, America had produced a carefree generation that couldn’t rescue themselves from a windstorm, let alone the world from a dictatorship.

Guys like Eric Erhardt remember those days vividly. “The outside world all thought Americans were too soft, and not much more than playboys, and we wouldn’t be able to fight—man, did we show them!”

What kind of history will you make to pass onto your children and grandchildren?

How to Find Catherine Brakefield

Follow me:

Blog: Hopes, Hearts, & Hoofbeats


Goodreads:, Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

Instagram: https://www.instagramCatherineUlrichBrakefield

10 thoughts on “Catherine Brakefield Let’s Chat!

  1. Vivian Furbay

    y Dad wrote down his family history and it is quite interesting. My German grandpa came to this country around 1900 by himself o a ship when he was about 15-16. he stayed with relations in New Jersey and Chicago and then headed where he homsteaded and lived out the rest of his life. he married my grandma there and they became ranchers. They were hard working people. The only legacy I want to leave is for my children to get saved and their families also.

    1. My sentiments exactly, Vivian. I want to leave a legacy of faith in Jesus Christ. God bless you.

    2. Amen to that! The best way of living is to live for Jesus Christ. And to show our faith through our life choices so our children and grandchildren can emulate that! Blessing to your and yours!

  2. Roxanne Cruz

    Christian historical fiction is my favorite genre, and I so enjoy a series that follows a family from generation to generation. This sounds like a wonderful series that reflects our nation’s spiritual heritage. More books to add to the TBR list!

    1. Great to have you join the chat, Roxanne! Please drop by again!

    2. Thank you for your comment! I also put in historical facts so you are learning more about the history of this wonderful country we live in. I hope you will check these books out! I am confident you will not be disappointed!

    3. Mine too Roxanne Cruz! I try to include historical facts that most readers know nothing or little about. Thank you for including the Destiny series into your collection. Let me know how you liked them!

  3. Love an author that is not afraid to voice Christian beliefs and Biblical facts. History always fascinates me and I love reading all genres of historical novels. Keep up the great writing so the truth can remain free.

    1. Amen, Jane!

    2. Thank you Jane Theriot! I feel blessed by your comment!


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