Is there a story behind your book Penelope’s Hope?
As I was developing the storyline for Penelope, I was struggling personally with living in a new place and having a different schedule (working outside the home) while managing the household and our four children, all while living very far away from the place I grew up. Some days, hope seemed a long way off. This certainly influenced the theme in this book.
Of course, God is faithful and brought me through that time, using it to grow my faith and trust in Him. He is good! And my prayer is that those who read Penelope’s story will be encouraged in their own hope and faith.
What started you on your writing journey?
My parents read to me and to my younger sister every day. Hop on Pop, One Fish Two Fish, Gus the Ghost, The Monster at the End of This Book, and others were some of our favorites. In school, whenever we were assigned a short story, I both enjoyed writing it and had a difficult time keeping it short. Finally, in Middle School, I set out to write a novel. I tried several times, but could never get my ideas beyond a few chapters. Finally, as an adult, I finally tried outlining and began learning about story arcs, some plotting techniques, and the like. My system isn’t perfect, but it’s working for me and I’m continuing to develop my writing skills.
What distracts you from writing the easiest?
Whew, this is a loaded question. With a husband and four children, a part-time job, and involvement in several different ministries at church, I’d have to say a LOT. Learning to budget my time has been instrumental (and I’m still learning this!).
There are also factors involving doubts and fears. I believe that God has given me a gift that I pray ceaselessly that I may use to His glory, and I know that is often under attack by the adversary. The weapon of choice? My own insecurities and fears. But keeping my eyes on Jesus helps me be mindful of the reason I write: to share with others the heart of God.
What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I’m a big fan of Christian love stories, especially those set in times past. I grew up reading the Little House series and Anne of Green Gables (and almost all of LM Montgomery’s other books, as well). Janette Oke and Lauraine Snelling were the first Christian fiction authors I read. I now enjoy their books, as well as Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Julie Klassen, Jody Hedlund, and so many more.
What do you like most about the area where you live and/or grew up?
I grew up in
Ohio and now live in . While I love the
community where we live now, I really miss snow. I know, most people who live
in it are tired of it by January. Maybe December. Or November, depending on how
far north they are. I never minded shoveling, or even driving in it. Here in Texas , though, we have a
long gardening season, and the town we are in has a great deal of biodiversity
in its plant life, which is really fun to see. Texas
What is a favorite memory from your childhood?
There are so many, but I think that sitting on my grandma’s lap and having her read to me has to be one of them. She was a breast cancer survivor, for over 40 years, and I remember how sweet and steady she always was. She always had time for her grandkids; I think that she appreciated the blessing of living to see us and get to know us in a special way.
Are there spiritual themes you like to write about?
I don’t know that I can identify a particular theme, but the spiritual growth of a character (especially a main character) is something central to the development of my story arcs. Growth shows life, and without growth there is no life.
Where do you escape for some quiet time to reflect, pray, read, etc?
I’m a wife and mom of 4, so quiet time is almost nonexistent. I read Scripture most mornings at breakfast, and participate in Bible study with the college group my husband and I work with, and attend the Sunday School Bible study class our church has. Prayer pours from my heart throughout the day, but I spend the greatest chunk of steady prayer at bedtime; praying myself to sleep is a somewhat frequent occurrence.
Can you tell us about your next novel?
Violet, Penelope’s friend and Ash’s sister. I do not as yet have a release date, but it is written, and being edited to follow Penelope’s Hope. It was written before Penelope’s story, but after creating her in Violet’s story, I knew that her story needed to be told, as well.
Violet will face things that she had no idea she could. She will be forced to assert herself on several different planes. She will come into who she is, both as a woman and as a child of God.
I don’t think I can share too much more at this time without giving away too much!
Life has given Penelope Drayton very little hope. After years of preparations, 1806 is the year that she is determined to create her own hope. The successful execution of her plan would grant her independence, but failure would certainly be her ruination. Just when her plan begins to meet with difficulty, she finds a faithful ally in Miss Violet Wyndham.
Violet's brother, Mr. Ashbridge Wyndham, has but one objective for London's Social Season: escape unscathed. With his mysterious benefactor, he is suddenly a sought-after prize for the matchmaking mamas. Unfortunately for him, marriage is the last thing he wants at present. His sister Violet, with her shy but calming spirit, is the only part of the Season which he finds tolerable.
When Penelope and Ash meet through their mutual affection for Violet, will God use the acquaintance to begin healing for both of these wounded hearts?
To purchase Sarah's book:
Sarah grew up in
and received her Bachelor's degree from Concordia University Chicago. She
married her husband Karl after college, and has lived in Ohio Missouri,
Michigan, and Alabama
before moving to .
Along the way, she and her husband had three wonderful children and received
guardianship of a fourth. Besides writing, she enjoys volunteering at church,
sewing historic clothing, and spending time with her family. Texas
To connect with Sarah:
Sarah is giving away a copy of Penelope's Hope. The giveaway is only available to
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice -- once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on yesterday's post.)
Off to read another great book!
Sandra M. Hart