UPDATE!! Lual Krautter is the winner!
Happy Tuesday everyone! I am super excited to be conducting my first author interview today along with the book review ;)!
Also, I will be giving everyone who comments an opportunity to win Books 1&2 from this series!! I’ll draw a winner on Thursday so stay tune! (US residents can choose paperback or kindle and out of the country will receive an e-book only.)
Without further ado I introduce:
Among the Crepe Myrtles (Letters to Layton) (Volume 1)
Robbed more than once of what he desires from life, Ben Williams is disillusioned with his concept of fairness. The only person still alive who matters to him is his son, but his work takes him from home, leaving someone else to parent the boy. The railman hides his resentment behind a facade of good-naturedness and an illusion of self-reliance. He has every intention of his mind outwitting his emotions. Eighteen-year-old Katherine McGinn is unaware that she views herself as an emotional victim, despite her strong faith. Her longing for acceptance and a desire for more than her common life offers her are both held prisoner by her practicality. The only world she knows exists inside a rural early 1900’s community where she shares a house with her siblings, and where mundane work is a necessity for survival. She guards her emotions for fear of disappointment. When their lives cross paths, Ben and Katherine attempt to help one another move beyond their inner conflicts, but their bond is threatened by new circumstances that demand the need for forgiveness.
My thoughts 💭
This was such a charming book, it was hard to put down. It was clean and pretty straight and just when I thought it couldn’t get any cozier, ‘Bam!!’, the most unexpected thing happened! I thought of many ways Katherine and Ben’s bond could be threatened or go wrong, but never this. It took me completely off guard and the ending was not what anyone would expect. Yet author Kim does an amazing job of closing and leaving me anxious for book 2! I don’t want to say too much but, I love how she compares martial relationships with our personal relationship with God. :). This is a great read especially for those who enjoy historical romance 💕!
Thank you for accepting this interview, I am truly honored! I just loved the first book and can’t wait to read the second ☺. Let’s talk a little about your series.
1)How many books will there be?
Kim: Let me begin by saying I am thrilled to chat with you and your readers. I love sharing the story behind my stories.
At this point, there are plans for three books in the Letters to Layton series. Among The Crepe Myrtles released in June of 2017. When The Butterflies Dance released June 2018. Plans are for the third book to release in the summer of 2019. Stories sometimes have a way of morphing themselves, so I may be eating these words in a year, but the plan is for a trilogy. I think the readers will feel satisfied. I feel close to my characters as I write, so I’m thinking I’d love to do a spin-off series with one of the minor characters from Letters to Layton.
OMG I’d love a spin-off series of Katherine’s siblings!!
2) I understand these are based on love letters your great-grandfather wrote to your great-grandmother. Can you please elaborate?
Kim: Yes, the story comes from actual letters my great-grandfather wrote. In 2009 my family had gathered to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary. At dinner, my cousin began to talk about letters she had found tucked away in family stuff my deceased aunt had taken years earlier from my great grandmother’s house. She began to describe the letters and the emotion in them. These were words of a husband and father begging to be forgiven and reunited with his family. Sadly no one beyond his generation knew him. My own mother sat at that table hearing about the letters and knowing nothing of the true story. The events of his romance with my grandmother and the act that kept them apart were sealed in their lifetime. My heart was struck, and I knew that I wanted to create a story. Eventually, the letters made their way to me. They are heart wrenching.
This is such a fascinating background story, and a priceless finding your family to discovered!
3) Do you use the actual words your great-grandfather used or do you write similar letters to fit the story better?
Kim: I used a little bit of both methods. Most of the letters in the series are composed with portions or a few lines of his actual words. Others are made up to fit the story. He portrayed his emotions so well in his letters, that I wanted him to write some of the narrative in his own words, so to speak. I intentionally worked the story to include the towns where he composed the letters. That was fun. In the second book, readers will discover a second recipient of letters. All of those letters are fictional.
Have I mentioned I can’t wait to read the second book? 😁
4) I love the book cover demonstrating an actual post card mailed to your great-grandmother! Is it correct to assume that all the book covers will be illustrations of your family heirloom?
Kim: Thank you! I’m glad you like it. The cover of my second book is also made of heirlooms, and I plan to carry that tradition into the third book. The covers are very meaningful to me, and I hope they are intriguing to the readers. I’ll let you in on a secret. I had to make sure portions of the heirlooms were partially covered because the names of the characters aren’t always the names of the real people.
I mentioned in my Myrtles Author’s Notes that my great grandparents had the last name Williams. I stayed true to that name. (And, yes, I married a Williams, but from an entirely different family tree!)
Ha, I think Flynn Rider from Rapunzel said, ‘Sometimes a name is all a guy has’! ☺ Thank you for sharing these images with us:).
5) I sneaked a peek at your second book.
Is the baby picture on the book cover your grandmother perhaps?
Kim: That makes me smile. Yes, the best I can surmise, that is my grandmother. The picture wasn’t labeled. However, another picture that looks like the same baby was labeled with her name. (Interestingly, not all the heirlooms came into my possession at once. They have trickled in, and as they did, I had a blast incorporating them into the story or the covers.)
It sounds like a lot of fun to be able to dig into family history:).
6) Before I release you from this interview, is there anything you want to share with us about the series or yourself?
Kim: I had no idea how much I would be touched by others reading my stories. I am deeply grateful to my readers. I set out to write because a story was begging to be told, and I couldn’t get away from the emotions I’d read. As I typed the words and watched the characters evolve, the writing became an act of love toward my grandmother and Mom who are both in heaven. More than anything, I want to glorify my Savior with the books and bear witness to His story of true love, grace, sacrifice, and forgiveness.
I am sorry to hear about your mom. This sure is a great tribute to her and your grandmother. You certainly managed to share God’s amazing Grace in this wonderful story,and I am sure they are proud of you. Thank you so much for your time! I appreciate it and I’m sure you’re readers do too!
Kim: Thank you so much! I loved doing the interview.
Me: Happy Dance 🕺
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