Hi, Sandra! How long have you been writing?
Sandra: I began a community education writing class in 1985. It turned into a writer’s group, and my first publication was in 1986. I wrote small pieces like posters and short stories until 2008 (full-time in 2009) when I believed God had finally given me the go-ahead to write novels. My debut novella, The Yuletide Angel, released in 2014, and my novel, A Reluctant Melody, released this month.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
Sandra: It goes back to that permission God gave me to write novels. I’ve always wanted to write romantic mystery/suspense. I worked on two projects at once—one a contemporary romantic mystery and the other an historical set in the 19th century—more a western than my current stories. It was the latter that took off for me. That one will never see the light of day without a great deal of revision, but it showed me how much I love writing historicals set in the latter half of the 1800s. Almost all my stories have some degree of mystery/suspense.
What are some of the references you used while researching your book?
Sandra: In A Reluctant Melody, Kit Barnes (the hero) seeks to establish a ministry to those who want to defeat the lure of an alcoholic lifestyle, as he had done. I looked into the Salvation Army’s work at the time, especially their treatment of alcoholics. I also found information on holistic treatment and, of course, AA. I created his ministry as one that allowed “drunkards,” as they were called at the time, to have a place to stay while they received spiritual and physical help to control their addictions. At that time, many doctors believed in weaning people off alcohol by using other addictive drugs. They thought sudden abstinence was dangerous. Kit used physicians in his work, but believed the emphasis should be on the spiritual and the practical, not in trading one drug for another. Google Books is an important source for me.
I created a town based on the North Carolina town where I live, as well as a neighborhood of Charlotte, so I researched the layout of the areas. I even went to the library to ask the historian about property prices for the day. I also used Branson’s North Carolina Business Directory, which gave me insight into the businesses and the area at the time of my setting.
I researched the making of brooms and watched videos from craftsmen, learning that they did it pretty much as it was done then. While most of our brooms come from countries like Mexico today, it was not an uncommon business at the time of my book.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Sandra: I enjoyed getting to know the characters. I always find a secondary character in books that I want to write or read about. In my novella, The Yuletide Angel, it was Kit Barnes. But the story in A Reluctant Melody actually belongs to the heroine, Joanna Stewart. She has the most to lose and the most dramatic story to tell. I really liked writing her.
What do your plans for future projects include?
Sandra: I’m working on the first book of a three-novel series I hope will be contracted. It’s set in a churchless town in 1880s Texas. This book has a heroine with a checkered past and a hero with a questionable future as a pastor.
I’m also working on a three-novella series. These stories will be more lighthearted in tone and involve three women whose adventurous journeys are waylaid by ♥.
Thanks for dropping by, Sandra!
Sandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angel and A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, antique store prowler. Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Join her email community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.
A Reluctant Melody
Kit’s alcoholism ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. But the most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past.
Friends of her late husband blame Joanna for his death. Although eager to flee from the rumors, she will let the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she allows Kit back into her life.
When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Joanna’s long-held secret, will she risk losing everything she owns to Kit … including her heart?