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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Naomi Miller: Let’s Chat


Welcome, everyone!

Naomi Miller

Naomi Miller is our honored guest blogger this go-round.

This author mixes up a batch of intrigue sprinkled with Amish, Mennonite, English & Irish characters (so far) and adds pinches of mystery and romance.

Naomi focuses on writing, editing, and blogging about her experiences. When she’s not working diligently to finish the next book in her Amish Sweet Shop Mystery series, Amish Sweet Shop Romance series, Windy Gap Amish Romance series, and Amish Suspense series, she enjoys traveling with her family.

She also tries to make time for attending writer events, workshops and conferences. One of her favorite joys is meeting her readers. She’s traveled from Tennessee to South Carolina, across to Alabama and Mississippi, up to St. Louis, then to Indiana, Illinois, and finally over to Ohio to meet readers and make new friends. She’s looking forward to making a trip to Pennsylvania next year.

Naomi MillerNaomi also enjoys singing inspirational/gospel music, taking daily walks, and witnessing to others of the amazing grace of Jesus Christ. She’s giving away Blueberry Cupcake Mystery to 3 blessed individuals who join our chat circle.

Now, here’s Naomi Miller in her own words. (You’re in for a treat!)

~ ~ ~

Years ago I wrote a suspense novel. It started out as a cute little Amish story with a sweet romance. I had an idea. A plan. And a course. 

I wrote the story. And halfway through, my course was derailed. My plan was wrecked. 

A New Course for Naomi Miller

But I kept writing. 

Naomi MillerI followed the new course, curious as to where it would lead me. Then I finished it and put it away. Even though I had succeeded in writing something I never intended to write, it was not at all what I wanted to write at that time.

What I wanted to write was something sweet. I could not let go of the sweet story line that I had originally planned, the story that would let someone read through it and afterwards be left feeling happy, free, calm, relaxed. I felt very strongly that what our world needed at that moment (and probably still does) were more sweet stories.

Naomi Miller
So, I wrote a sweet cozy mystery… and another… and another… until I had six books in the series. Six stories about hope, love, family, and forgiveness. My daughter calls them Comfort Food Cozies. 

Naomi MillerI didn’t plan to write six stories, but each time I finished one and it was published, just days later, readers were contacting me or posting on Facebook, asking when the next book would be out. Clearly I was doing something right–something readers wanted (and hopefully needed). By the time the third book was released, readers began asking me when I was going to release a cookbook containing the recipes in the books.

Naomi Miller Cooks up a New Idea

Each time I immersed myself in Katie’s little world, I thought about the idea of a cookbook. To me, it felt like a wonderful idea, but I admit I could not understand how anyone would really want to buy a cookbook from me. (If you’d like a copy of The Abbott Creek Cookbook, it’s available for pre-order on Amazon.)

Truthfully, I always feel shocked and somewhat amazed when people buy my books… read my books… enjoy my books… and ask for more.

Naomi MillerI can only believe that this is all a part of God’s plan. It’s the only thing that makes sense, the only way I can understand how so many people enjoy reading sweet, cute, short novels from a grandma who only started having her books published at an age when most people are thinking about retirement.

I‘m also working on a new story… an Amish romance with our favorite characters from Abbott Creek, and there are more stories to be written about the wonderful community of Abbott Creek.

Naomi Miller Naomi Miller Naomi Miller  
Naomi Miller Naomi Miller Naomi Miller  

So stick around… there’s more to come.

Naomi Miller Links:





Website:  Family Friendly Fiction Filled with Grace, Faith, and Forgiveness


Twitter: AuthorNaomi Amish cozy mysteries

My relationship with my Savior is the most important part of my life! If there is one thing in my life I would like to do better, it’s to be able to witness of how awesome God is working in my life. Jesus makes all things possible! He makes life worth living! He’s everything to me!  
~ Naomi Miller

14 thoughts on “Naomi Miller: Let’s Chat

  1. Roxanne Cruz

    This sounds like a fun series with the right mixture of faith, mystery and sweetness. Thank you for introducing me to a new author. Best wishes and blessings on you both.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Roxanne!

    2. Thanks, Roxanne. I hope you’ll check them out… and be blessed by them.

  2. Thanks Linda, for featuring me (and my books) on your blog. You are a blessing to me!
    God bless you,
    Naomi Miller

    1. It has been my honor to feature you, Naomi.

  3. Your titles bring a multitude of mind pleasing thoughts to my brain. Food has always inspired the human being. I am no exception. I am intrigued with the cookbook. I always associate the Amish Friendship bread with the Amish people. I received my first batch when I was a very young public school teacher. May God continue to bless you with inspiring stories.

    1. Hi, Jane. Thanks for your encouraging words.

    2. Thanks, Jane. We worked hard to make the cookbook interesting as well as beautiful. I’m hoping it makes a thoughtful gift, too.

  4. Beverly Knudsen

    I love Amish Country stories!! I also sometimes enjoy suspense and adventure from a Christian world view. I am very intrigued by your Cozies!!

    1. Welcome, Beverly! Thanks for stopping by.

    2. Thanks, Beverly. I hope you’ll give them a try.

  5. Lorel Kline

    Reading what you wrote was such and encouragement. How I long to have that kind or relationship with my Lord and know that it is only me that is standing in the way. Your books sound delightful. Thanks so much for sharing. May God continue to use you to encourage and delight your readers for a long time.

    1. You encourage us also, Lorel. Thanks for stopping by.

    2. Lorel,
      I am honored by your reply; you (and readers like you) are the reason I write!
      God bless you,


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