How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
My time travel romance trilogy, Moonseed, began as one long book. Its title came from a happy coincidence of the moon's mysterious power over the characters and the true name of a Chinese drug that also figures into the story's mystery. When I broke up the story into three volumes, the titles for each came directly from the content of each volume. In Book 1, Bridge to the Past, a real bridge has a reputation of being haunted and serves as the physical link between the present and the past, or between Victoria's world and Katherine's. Book 2, Borrowed Promises, follows the two women through a summer season of putting down roots and finding love in those borrowed lives they may have to give up when their year of exchange runs out. The possibility of being thrown back into their own times looms large in Book 3, Into the Mist, where the "mist" symbolizes the uncertain future and features significantly in the final scenes of the novel.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
When life opens a door, go ahead and walk through it. Adventure and fulfillment await those willing to take a risk and follow their hearts.
Is the book, characters, or any scenes based on a true life experience, someone you know, or events in your own life?
The novel grew out of my own true life experience. I spent nine years in therapy as an adult, recovering from an abusive childhood. The story started writing itself as part of my reflective journaling. It wasn't until I had completed the work that I realized I had worked through my most painful issues with my mother and forgiven her through the work of Victoria and Katherine forgiving their mothers. That process still astounds me.
What books/authors have influenced your life?
That's a large question! Growing up I devoured Daphne du Maurier and gothic novels by Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt, with a little Dorothy Eden and Phyllis A. Whitney thrown in. I read Holt's Mistress of Mellyn so often that I could recite large sections of dialog and narrative. As an adult I've gravitated toward Dean Koontz. I love his writing; his use of language is precise and effective. Some of his stories are too dark and weird for me, but I always learn something as a writer when I read him. Patricia Highsmith is another master storyteller who writes flawlessly.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Definitely Daphne du Maurier. Her writing is exquisite, her stories compelling and never neatly wrapped up with a bow at the end. She is magnificent at creating atmosphere. I recently read her biography written by her daughter. One takeaway for me was how devoted she was to her writing. She put her stories and characters first, even above her own family. Although such devotion was not necessarily admirable or wise, it illustrates how even tremendous talent requires discipline to produce works like Rebecca that persist as classics down through generations of readers.
What book are you reading now?
I'm currently reading The Ashford Affair by Lauren Willig, and last week I finished Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers. That was the first Christian novel I've read that did not read like a sermon thinly disguised as plot. The characters grapple with real life issues, and their faith seems a strong and natural part of their lives. My current Christian nonfiction read is Jesus Journey: 40 Days in the Footsteps of Christ, by René Schlaepfer. I heard a sermon by this guy and was blown away. The book so far is well researched, engaging, and inspiring. I'm also working through an excellent and helpful book on writing, entitled, Hook: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers At Page One and Never Lets Them Go, by Les Edgerton.
What books are in your to-read pile?
On the top of my fiction pile is Chris Fabry's newest novel, Every Waking Moment. A book by James Scott Bell, Write Your Novel From the Middle, is waiting on the top of my nonfiction pile.
What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
I am working on a new novel, which like Moonseed is set in Sonoma County, California. A young woman who has just lost her mother to cancer and her husband to infidelity learns that she has a birth twin and determines to invite this stranger into her life.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Know who you are and write out of who you are, not who you think the public wants you to be. Believe in your own work, that only you can write your truth in your own way, and then stand behind it. Learn to talk about yourself and your work without apology.
Genre: paranormal romance
Publisher: Vinspire Publishing, LLC
Date of Publication: May 31, 2014
Number of pages: 249 pages
Word Count: 73,300 (approx.)
Cover Artist: Elaina Lee/For the Muse Designs
On the night of the new spring moon, a near-fatal accident propelled Victoria Reeves-Ashton over a century back in time to awaken in the body of Katherine Kamarov.
Now, after three months of pretending to be Katherine and laboring to repair relationships damaged by Katherine's brash and selfish personality, quiet and gentle Victoria finds that her heart is putting down roots in Katherine's world, in her family relationships, and especially in a deepening friendship with Katherine's winsome cousin Michael.
Hidden letters reveal the story of other moonseed-time travelers like herself-and Victoria realizes that she and Katherine will likely be returned to their own times the following spring. Tension mounts when a rich and handsome suitor applies to marry her, and Victoria must choose whether to accept him for Katherine's sake or to follow her own heart.
Ryan Ashton, the husband Victoria left behind, is baffled by the woman his wife has suddenly become. Unwilling to believe her story about an exchange in time, Ryan struggles to understand the stark transformation of his timid, remote wife into a sexually aggressive and captivating siren. Against his better judgment, he falls hard for this new woman who is a perplexing mixture of cruelty, sensuality, and tenderness, a woman who he suspects has the power to either break his heart or heal the aching loneliness he has lived with all his life.
I bit my lip, wanting to avoid any subject that could ruin the easy camaraderie of our afternoons together. Michael had been friendly and funny, teasing me gently, treating me with the easy affection of an older brother. Once or twice I'd caught him watching me with a fierce intentness that made my heart skip. But then he'd grin or offer a quip that made us both laugh, and the uncomfortable moment would pass.
I enjoyed the lightness of our friendship, grateful for the reprieve. In the rose garden at Summerwood and later on the trip to San Francisco, I had felt the slow but persistent budding of a new feeling that both thrilled and frightened me. The lightest touch of Michael's hand pricked up hairs along my skin like electricity; his boyish grin twisted a slow, sweet pain deep into my body. His clean, male scent in close proximity could stun me with unexpected waves of need, often forcing me to look away so he wouldn't see the flame in my eyes.
I couldn't allow Michael to guess where my heart was taking me—because of Raymond.
Although many things were unclear to me, one fact seemed certain—Katherine must marry Raymond Delacroix and have at least one child with him. If I gave in to my new feelings for Michael, and if I were cruel enough to let him see them, then I risked both hurting him and ruining Katherine's chances with Raymond when she came back to her own time.
And Katherine would come back. I was convinced of it, all my desperate wishes to the contrary. She would marry Raymond, give birth to Elise, and secure a future that would eventually lead to her daughter painting a picture of Katherine and me at the bridge over Two Trees Creek. By the same token, I would return to life as a lingerie model and a cold marriage with Ryan Ashton. Ryan.
"What?" Michael's voice made me jump and turn my head.
"You said 'Ryan' again."
Michael had removed his glasses, and he blinked at me from only a foot away. God, he has beautiful eyes, I thought. Soft gray-green depths that held me breathless, fighting a slow, aching pull to be in his arms.
"He's…nobody," I said.
Michael was studying me, his eyes so solemn and searching that I couldn't look away. He didn't speak, but in that moment my heart yearned toward him, and he saw it. His expression changed. His gaze moved slowly from my eyes to my mouth.
I turned my face away and shut my eyes over a sudden sting of tears.
"Kat?" he said softly.
His voice held a new, cautious note of intimacy. A moment later his thumb brushed my wet cheek, and the tenderness of his touch wrenched a low cry from me. I pushed his hand away and struggled to sit upright.
"Don't touch me!" Pain made my voice sharp. "You can't touch me, Michael!"
But his hand was already under my elbow, helping me to sit. He pushed a handkerchief into my hand.
"Here. Take it." He sounded bewildered and hurt. "Seems you'd rather do the job yourself."
He watched me wipe my eyes and blow my nose with his handkerchief. I couldn't look at him, and after a moment he reached for his glasses and slipped them on.
In a tight voice he asked, "Do you still want to visit Union Square?"
I pressed the soggy handkerchief to my lips and nodded.
Michael pushed himself to his feet and thrust out a hand to help me up. We folded the blanket between us, careful not to touch each other's fingers, and he picked up the hamper. As we crossed the grass in uneasy silence, a fresh roll of tears made me reach into my handbag for a clean handkerchief. A flash of copper tumbled into the grass.
I stopped quickly, but Michael was quicker. He scooped up the coin, examined it briefly, and gave it back to me.
"You still carrying that thing around?"
I looked up at him, my handkerchief arrested halfway to my face. "My coin? What do you know about my coin?"
He squinted at me and frowned. "You're kidding, right? I was with you when you paid a nickel for that worthless thing at the county fair. You said it was good luck, and you carried it around in your pocket for years." He stopped at my look. "What is it?"
"Michael, are you certain this is the same coin?"
I handed it back to him. His gaze lingered on my face, puzzled, before he examined the coin. He weighed it briefly on his palm, flipped it over, and gave it back to me.
"Of course I'm certain." He pointed his finger at the familiar nick in the rim. "There's where the wagon wheel ran over it, and you were so furious because you thought the magic was ruined." He screwed up his eyes against the sun and studied me. "What's the matter with you, Kat? You're looking at me like I've got two heads."
I shook my head in dazed wonder, suspended once again in that universe where Katherine's world and mine overlapped and where it made perfect sense that her lucky coin should have somehow come to me—twice.
About the Author:
Judith Ingram weaves together her love of romance and her training as a counselor to create stories and characters for her novels. She also writes Christian nonfiction books and enjoys speaking to groups on a variety of inspirational topics. She lives with her husband in the San Francisco East Bay and makes frequent trips to California's beautiful Sonoma County, where most of her fiction characters reside. She confesses a love for chocolate, cheesecake, romantic suspense novels, and all things feline.
Website, blog & free weekly devotional: http://JudithIngram.com
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