Today we’re celebrating the release of SAVING ALYSSA, #3 in Heartwarming's "A Child to Love" series.
A dear friend of mine is an agent with the Witness Protection Service (WITSEC), and while he is never at liberty to discuss specifics of his cases, he has on occasion shared concerns for the men, women, and children assigned to him. It seems like such a sad, lonely life, so I decided to incorporate all of the scenarios he described (and add lots of my own details!) to give Noah Preston and his precious daughter the one thing that’s missing in their lives: Unconditional love. (Sorry, but you’ll have to read the story to find out if they remain safe and happy once they welcome Billie Landon into their lives….)
In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption or captions, what would they say?
Noah believes his loveless life is penance for deeds that forced him and his daughter into the Witness Protection Service…until he meets Billie Landon….
How long did it take you to write?
From start to finish—including interviews with WITSEC agents and research about the program (and the crime that made going undercover necessary)—I spent four months writing Saving Alyssa.
What is your favorite scene?
There’s a moment in the story when Billie stumbles onto the whole truth about Noah’s past. Once the shock wears off, she must decide whether to confront him, or protect his secret…and whether she should admit her love for him and Alyssa, or walk away….
Who was your favorite character and why?
I’d say it was Noah, because despite a not-so-perfect background, he atoned for his sins and put his little girl at the center of his world, and because even while learning to forgive himself, he never forgot where he came from…or who he is.
If you could pick fictional characters to play the hero and heroine, who would they be?
If any of you have watched the movie Somersby (starring Richard Gere and Jodi Foster), you remember the heart-tugging and noble ending, when John Somersby was willing to die to protect the woman and the town he loved from the ugly facts surrounding his true identity. Noah Preston was a good and decent man, despite his somewhat questionable past. And like Jodi Foster’s character, Billie Landon was willing to look past her man’s mistakes and focus, instead, on the man his mistakes turned him into.
Tell us one thing you learned during research.
That most WITSEC agents go far above and beyond duty to make the lives of those in their care as safe—and normal—as possible.
What music would match the mood of this novel?
Unchained Melody, as performed by the Righteous Brothers. Its beautiful lyrics, paired with the haunting music, sets exactly the right tone for this story.
This is your 100th book. Exactly what does that mean to you?
The fact is, the number sort of snuck up on me! With the release of my first novel (Pocketful of Love) in 1994, I set a goal of 50 books by the time I retired. It’s funny, because my stock reply when people ask when that might happen is, “I’ll retire when they pry the keyboard from my cold, dead hands!” I love what I do, so God willing, I’ll have the mental faculties and physical strength to type The End, even as I’m drawing my last breath! So while I’m proud to have reached past my original goal, I’m just grateful as I can be that readers keep reading and publishers keep publishing my books!
What do you plan to work on next?
I’m thrilled to pieces to announce that I just signed another 3-book contract with Heartwarming! These stories feature handsome cowboy-type heroes, plucky heroines, and action-packed scenes, so I know they'll be fun to write. And, in-between the new Heartwarming releases, I’m writing an additional 3-book historical series for Whitaker House. (If you're thinking if I spend most of my time at the computer, you're right! But you know what they say: "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life.")
What are you reading for pleasure right now?