Where Wildflowers Bloom, Sisters at Heart Series #1Where Wildflowers Bloom, Sisters at Heart Series #1
Ann Shorey
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The War Between the States stole a father and brother from Faith Lindberg-- as well as Royal Baxter, the man she wanted to marry. With only her grandfather left, she dreams of leaving Noble Springs, Missouri, and traveling west to the Oregon Territory to start a new life, away from the memories that haunt her. But first she must convince her grandfather to sell the family's mercantile and leave a town their family has called home for generations.

When Royal Baxter suddenly returns to town, Faith allows herself to hope that her dreams might come true. Does he truly love her? Or could another man claim her heart? Will she find that following her dreams may not mean leaving home after all?
     


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Ann ShoreyAnn Shorey is the author of The Edge of Light and has published selections in the Cup of Comfort series and in Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul.

Favorite Verse Isaiah 41:10, (NIV): "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

There are times I've literally held out my hand for Him to grasp.

 

 Our Interview with Ann Shorey


 

Would you please tell us a bit about yourself?

As someone who played with imaginary friends, and learned to read before entering first grade, I suppose it was a natural progression that I become a writer, although I certainly didn’t rush into it. Once my children were grown, I decided to use my “me” time to focus on writing—something I’d been encouraged to do as far back as my high school days. I started with articles and a nonfiction family history, then progressed to novels.

How did you come up with the concept for Where Wildflowers Bloom? Do you live in Missouri or Oregon?

The concept behind a woman who wants to make a fresh start far away from sad memories came from my great-grandmother’s life. In her case, it was her Civil War veteran husband who wanted to go west. I turned it around so that it was her idea.

I also used my great-grandparents’ lives as a model when I chose to set Where Wildflowers Bloom in Missouri. They were married in Illinois in 1867, and for their wedding journey they traveled to southern Missouri and took up farming. I wondered what it was like for them to settle in an area that had been so war-scarred. How did people pick up the pieces and carry on? So I put my protagonist, Faith Lindberg, in such a situation.

I live in Oregon, but have spent time doing on-the-ground research in Missouri. It’s a beautiful state, filled with friendly people.

Where do your inspirations for a story come from?

Generally, from an historic situation that captures my imagination. In Where Wildflowers Bloom, the question of how people returned to everyday life after the Civil War ended was initially spurred by a visit to Gettysburg. Thinking of my great-grandmother living in Missouri at that time made it personal.
 
Although I write historical fiction, I like to put my heroines in situations that could happen today. Women’s lives haven’t changed that much—we just have better resources now. I hope the choices my characters make serve as an encouragement to readers.

Can this story be read as a stand-alone title? How many books will be in the Sisters at Heart series?


Where Wildflowers Bloom can definitely be read as a stand-alone. Each of the three books in the Sisters at Heart series features a different protagonist. The town of Noble Springs ties the characters together, similar to the Mitford series. The characters are friends, so their lives intertwine, as friends’ lives do.


 

Do you have a favorite character in Where Wildflowers Bloom? Why?

I love Faith Lindberg for her caring heart, but I have to admit a soft spot for her grandfather. I modeled his appearance, right down to the cane and bald spot, after my own grandfather. It was fun for me to spend time with him again in memory.

How much research did Where Wildflowers Bloom take?
 
I spent two months doing research before beginning the book. Besides visiting the area in Missouri where the story is set, I read volumes on all of the subjects touched on in the novel. In addition, during the writing I often had to stop to look things up or ask questions.

What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Where Wildflowers Bloom?

The history of Civil War battles in Missouri was most interesting to me. Since Oregon was pretty much untouched by the conflict, it was eye-opening to visit so many towns throughout the state of Missouri where battles had occurred. Imagining young men—sometimes members of the same family—shooting to kill one another still brings tears to my eyes.

What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
 
Time management is my greatest challenge. I have to discipline myself to turn off the email and Facebook, otherwise I end up spending way too much time socializing, and not enough time writing.

It’s also difficult to balance family and writing. I’m always on the lookout for good suggestions for quick meals and housekeeping shortcuts. If you hear of any, please send them my way! You can contact me through my website, www.annshorey.com.

What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?
 
I’m a member of two very helpful organizations. One is American Christian Fiction Writers, and the other is Oregon Christian Writers. I attend both groups’ yearly conferences, and have for years. I’m convinced that the teaching and networking I experienced at those events is the reason I’m published now.

When you meet someone who has a passion for books and writing, what advice do you give them?

Don’t be discouraged, don’t give up, and do listen to good critiques. Sometimes as writers we are sure our writing is perfect, when in fact it needs work. A wonderful freelance editor spent time with me (at an OCW conference) teaching me exactly what was wrong with the first chapter of what would become my first published novel. Had I been unwilling to learn from him, I’d probably still be collecting rejection letters.

What were your favorite books as a child?

The Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and the L. Frank Baum Oz books were my favorites. I read them over and over. I read constantly, so it’s hard to pin down other favorites during my growing-up years. The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Pollyanna, Louisa May Alcott’s books, horse stories, dog stories, Nancy Drew, you name it. I didn’t care much for Alice in Wonderland, though. Too creepy, somehow.

Are there any other new projects on the horizon?

Currently, I’m writing When the Heart Heals, the second book in the Sisters at Heart series. I love doing series because I can create a town and its people, then revisit them in subsequent books. When the Heart Heals is the story of Faith’s friend and sister at heart, Rosemary Saxon.

What message would you like your readers to take from Where Wildflowers Bloom?

Be willing to listen to—and follow—the Lord’s leading. Too often we get an idea that seems good to us, but if the Lord isn’t in it, disaster may follow. I’m talking to myself here, as well as to my readers!

What is your greatest achievement?

A lasting, loving marriage and loving adult children that I’m so proud of! I know I ended that sentence with a preposition, but “children of whom I’m so proud” sounds a little regal to me.

What do you do to get away from it all?

If I’m at home, I take a walk with my dog or escape into a good book. When my husband and I are able to get away together, we enjoy spending time on the beautiful Oregon coast or exploring back roads in Oregon’s high desert country.

 

 


 
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