Mail Order Man by Heather Gray
Length: 230 Pages
Blurb: Some people get a mail order bride. She got a mail order man.
A well-meaning friend places an ad to find a mail order husband for Sarah, the proprietress of Larkspur’s stage and mail office. Sarah, who is generally quiet and reserved, doesn’t know about the ad and has no idea what to do with all the people that are showing up in her community. Before long, the town is overrun with men and mail alike. Sarah is trying to avoid some men who have accosted her on the street when she stumbles into Samuel. Through long days spent together at the stage office, some very adventurous pots of coffee and a shared faith, the two become friends. Sarah knows that Samuel is hiding something from her, something important, but that doesn’t stop her heart from leaping wildly into love. Lacking the confidence to trust her heart, Sarah wars with herself over the feelings she can no longer deny. When some of the men who have come to town show their true intentions, a shootout follows. Sarah finally gets answers to many of the questions circling through her mind. One question remains, though.
Where will her mail order man go when the dust settles?
This is an awesome loaded post for you all today. Not only was I able to read and review Mail Order Man but I get to share an interview AND a giveaway as well. My thanks to Heather for the interview. I love getting to know authors better. And another big thanks to Astraea Press for providing for the giveaway. They are an awesome publisher.
Mail Order Man is slated as a historical romance but I would add that this is an inspirational (Christian) historical romance. There was a lot of Christian elements in this book. I wasn't aware of that going into it so I just wanted to put that out there.
I love a strong male lead, all man and western-ish. That's what Samuel is. A true gentleman. His interest and romance with Sarah is slow moving, gentle and sweet. What is a good western without at least one good shoot out?
One of the things I loved about the setting of this book was the small town's sense of community. They all pull together to take care of business and each other. That's what it's all about.
This is really a "feel good book". There isn't anything intense or shocking. Just a safe, easy read for a lazy summer day.
The following is an interview with author Heather. It was my pleasure getting to know her better. I hope you will enjoy it too.
Hi Heather! Welcome to my blog. J Thanks for taking the time to do an interview with me today. I love getting the chance to know authors better and I love being able to share it with my blog reading friends.
What made you decide to write books? Was it something you’ve always wanted to do?
I discovered a love of writing a hundred and some years ago, all the way back in the fourth grade. Then I grew up, and life got busy. Not only did life get busy, but somewhere along the way I developed a fear of rejection. So I never did much with my writing. Then in 2011 my daughter became ill. We lost her in 2012. The week following her memorial service, a friend asked me what I was going to do with myself. Mind you, I still have a husband and son whom I dearly love, but losing a child is…the worst pain I've ever experienced in my life. I'd not had to think about what to do for a very long time because my life had been so full and wonderful. Suddenly there was a hole, and doing nothing was out of the question, because idleness led to thinking and thinking led to sadness and sadness led to…you get the idea. So I decided to write. I know it's a dismal way to get there, but I realized that nothing could possibly hurt as much as I already hurt from losing my daughter, certainly not the rejection of something I'd written. As it turns out, my manuscript did not get rejected, and I began a whirlwind journey for which I've been so grateful. Life is sadness and happiness, hurt and joy, woven together. None of us is exempt from pain. During a time in my life that has truly been shaped by loss and heartache, I was given the gift of something to celebrate. It can't possibly take away from or minimize the sorrow and grief, but it has been good to have something so wonderfully positive occurring in the midst of something so terribly sad.
Are you a structured writer? Specific time of day, specific place?
Structure? Absolutely! (Not!)
I write whenever I can. I need a certain amount of silence to concentrate, and I live with two very talkative males, so…sometimes the best writing takes place after everyone else has gone to bed and it's just me, the dog and the two fish. (The fish, especially, are good about not interrupting me.) Otherwise, seriously, anytime I have silence, I write. If the men in my life decide it's time to mow the lawn, I boot up the laptop. If they make a quick run to the post office, I am glued to my keyboard. If they decide they want to go to the bookstore (which can literally take hours), I do a quick happy dance and then start typing away. That's about as structured as I get.
What sort of research do you do for your books? Is research a “love” part of your writing process or a “not so love” part?
I enjoy researching different time periods, whether it's the clothes, social structure, politics, employment opportunities or the language used. The problem I run into is that I then want to take everything I've learned and dump it into my writing, but in truth, only a fraction of what I research actually makes it into the book. Otherwise it would sound like a textbook rather than a novel. One of my favorite parts of research is language. As I'm typing along, I will write things that sound very modern in a book that is historical, so then I have to go back and look at the etymology of the word. I read through dictionary and idiom word banks all to answer this one question: Was this word in use in this way at that time? I know to most people that probably sounds boring, but it's something I find wholly fascinating.
I’m a girl who loves a good romance and I really love them clean. I know Astraea Press, your publisher, promotes clean fiction. Is this something that is important to you? Why?
I write inspirational fiction which, by definition, ought to be clean. When I began looking for a publisher, I found several that have inspirational lines but that also publish erotica or other types of fiction with which I wasn't comfortable. I wanted a publisher of whom I would not be embarrassed. How would it make me (or my readers) feel if I had to say, "Go to my publisher's website, but be careful what you click on…" When I came across Astraea Press and read their guidelines for clean fiction, I felt like I'd struck gold, and I haven't looked back since!
What was your favorite part to write in Mail Order Man?
You have to promise not to laugh at me. The epilogue was my favorite part to write. I liked knowing how Samuel and Sarah were going to turn out as a couple, how they would be together when no one was watching. Getting to know each other can sometimes be awkward and uncomfortable, and it did my heart good to bring them to a point where they were past all of that and were simply happy and relaxed and together.
What book have you read lately that you’ve loved? (aside from your own, of course)
Between writing, working on edits, and trying to get the hang of marketing, I haven't had much time to read lately. I plan to remedy that soon, believe me! In the past couple months, though, I can think of two books that really stood out to me as good reads: Rescued By That New Guy In Town by J.L. Salter and A Lot Like a Lady by Kay Springsteen and Kim Bowman. While I don't exclusively read Astraea titles, I do need to tell you (full disclosure, etc.) that both of these titles are put out by my publisher.
Do you have any other books/projects in the works?
I am almost giddy. Three more books and a short story are currently under contract with Astraea Press! I have learned more than I can put into words (which is a little crazy, since words are what I do) during the writing and editing of this first book. Each of the next books (as well as my readers!) are the beneficiaries of that experience. The possibilities are endless! The other books coming out later this year are: Just Dessert, the second book in the Ladies of Larkspur series; Ten Million Reasons, a humorous contemporary romance; His Saving Grace, a regency romance; and Late For The Ball?, a Young Adult short story that I hope will be thoroughly enjoyed by young, old and in-between.
You can find out more about Heather and her books at the follow sites: