Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Some people might say that I lie for a living, but that’s not really true. I make things up. My award-winning inspirational novels have been published by Harvest House, NavPress, and Bethany House Publishers—four books, ten years, and 153 rejections after I sat down to write my first word. I know a little bit too much about discouragement, self-doubt, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. But I also know that a personal preference isn’t a character flaw; God can make only good things; and just because you believe a lie doesn’t make it true. I have a special interest in addressing tough topics and cultural faith issues. And I love the synergy that develops at the place where doubt begins to ask questions of faith.
How did you come up with the concept for A Heart Most Worthy?
As I was researching fashion and dressmaking for She Walks in Beauty, I came across the A & L Tirocchi Dressmakers Project Web site. As I read about the women who worked in this Rhode Island dress shop, my attention was caught by several things. They formed a tight-knit family, vacationing together, even sewing each others’ wedding gowns. I was also struck by the fact that they were all Italian. Originally my intent was to form a story around the wedding gowns they made for each other, but after I began to research the Italian immigrant experience, my focus shifted and the story broadened.
Do you have a favorite character in A Heart Most Worthy? Why?
I’ve been trying to answer this question for the past ten minutes, but every time I think I’ve decided upon one, I remember all the reasons why I like the others. This book is a departure for me because I have three main characters (instead of my normal one or two) and three different—yet equally enthralling—love stories. I’ll have to let my readers decide!
How much research did A Heart Most Worthy take?
Usually, I read twenty to thirty research books for every one book that I write. This novel needed broader research than I originally thought it would because I had to immerse myself in Italian culture, of which I knew practically nothing. I read up on everything from folklore to food ways, religion to family relations. I even contacted the University of Washington Language Learning Center and the Italian Studies Department to make sure I was using Italian language and expressions correctly.