Monday, September 9, 2013

Shannon Vannatter's "Arkansas Weddings"

Title: Arkansas Weddings
Publisher: Barbour

Cover blurb: Arkansas Weddings: Love’s never easy in three Arkansas romances.

Pastor Grayson loves his wife. The problem is, Sara was killed by a hit-and-run driver two years ago. He knows he needs to move on, but it’s not until florist Adrea Welch arrives at his church that the seeds of healing are planted in his heart.

Laken left home eight years ago and never looked back. Who knew when she applied for the promotion to postmaster that she’d end up in Romance, Arkansas, and much too close to her past—and Hayden Winters?

Shell doesn’t have a good reputation. But no matter what everyone in Rose Bud, Arkansas, thinks of her, she’s back in town with a job to do. Ryler also has reasons for being in Rose Bud, and they don’t include Shell.

But God’s love can soften the hardest heart and overcome the darkest past. These hearts may not know it, but they’re about to change.

2) How did this story come to you? Arkansas Weddings is a 3 in 1 collection of my first three published books. Each story is set in Romance and Rose Bud. Both small towns are real and in west central, Arkansas. The Romance Post Office provides a re-mailing service. People send their Valentine cards and wedding invitations there to be re-mailed with a unique hand-stamped postmark from Romance. Couples also go there to get married at the post office or the Romance Waterfalls.

Rose Bud’s claim to fame is the Darden Gifford House. The house was built in the late 1800’s and is on the historical registry. I incorporated the local flavor into all three stories.

The first story—White Roses came from my dad getting my mom and me flowers or a balloon every Valentine’s Day. And I thought if anything happened to either of us, he’d probably continue the tradition and take his gifts to the cemetery. Once I caught the interest of an editor, the publisher wanted to make the book into a series.

Book 2 was based on this line from White Roses: Sylvie’s husband, an alcoholic, never stepped foot in church. Their two children, both grown and gone with lives of their own, never came for a visit. Instead of having empathy for the plight of Helen and Wade, since alcoholism controlled Sylvie’s life as well, she took all her heartache and picked apart the lives of others.

That’s all I had to go on when I decided that one of Sylvie’s children could be female. After I delved into Lauren Kroft’s psyche, I decided she never came home because her mother is a gossip maven and her father is the town drunk. Enter the heroine for White Doves.

Book 3 came from this line from White Roses: Just two years ago, she’d been the soon-to-be bride blissfully planning her own ceremony. Until three weeks before the big event, when Wade crushed her illusions with his curvy blond floozy, clad only in a towel.

From the time I wrote that line, I wanted to delve into the floozy. What would make a woman bust up an engagement? Why was she like that? I soon learned Shell Evans had a chip on her shoulder. Raised by a promiscuous mother, Shell learned everything in the school of hard knocks. And it skewed her view of the world. Low self-esteem put her on a constant search for love and she looked for it in all the wrong places just as her mother had. And Shell became the unlikely heroine of White Pearls.

3) Tell us about the journey to getting this book published.
It took me 9 1/2 years to get published. During that time, I attended writer’s group meetings and conferences, and read everything I could get my hands on about learning to write and getting published. Finally in 2008, I attended my fifth American Christian Fiction Writer’s Conference and pitched White Roses to an editor. Her eyes lit up over my story. Actually, I think it was the setting that sparked her interest, but hey, I’ll take it.

4) Tell me three things about yourself that would surprise your readers.
* My favorite TV channel is Halmark
* My favorite ice cream topping is caramel
* I still have my tonsils.

5) What are you working on now and what's next for you?
I just turned in the 6th book in my Texas rodeo series which comes out in April. I’m finishing up a proposal for my editor for three more books. After that, I’m going to finish a book about this French guy who has bugged me for several years. He’s the type of character who won’t leave me alone until I write his story.

6) Parting comments?
Thanks for having me Dawn. I’ll be around today if anyone wants to ask any questions.

7) Where can fans find you on the internet?
Twitter: stvauthor



  1. These sound like really great books, will be adding them to my tbr list!!!

  2. I'm curious about these three new books for which you're writing a proposal. Are they a continuation of the rodeo books or another series entirely?

    When will we get to see the cover of Rodeo Queen?

    I don't need to enter this giveaway because I already own these books.

  3. Great, Pamela! I love being on tbr lists.

    Hey Sylvia, the new proposal is a continuation of the rodeo series, but it's not a done deal by any means. I still get rejections.

    I've been waiting for cover too. It should be any time.

  4. I can't wait to read these. They sound like great stories. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hey anonymous, thanks. I enjoyed conjuring up these characters and their tales.

    I think this series might always be my favorite since they were my first contracted books.

  6. It would be great to win this book!!!!
    I love 3 in 1 collections! One can reread a series so easily!!!!!! :)
    I am so glad you were persistent about writing and learning all you could to improve so that you could bless us readers!!! Thanks!

    Many Blessings and Smiles:)
    Charlotte Kay
    charlovesmark at gmail dot com

    1. Charlotte, my mom always waits until the entire series releases before she reads it, so she can read them quickly and not forget what happened in the last book. The 3 in 1's are great for that. I've never really thought about blessing readers. Thanks for the compliment.

  7. This sounds like a great book. Would love to win! Thanks for the chance. Great post. Enjoyed reading the answers to the questions. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.
    tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

    1. Sally, glad you enjoyed the interview. I always enjoy being on Dawn's blog.

  8. would love to win:)

  9. I would love to read this book.

  10. Hey TMRadin,
    I hope you get the chance. And enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

  11. is this where you register
    jrs362 at Hotmail dot com
    already get your newsletter

  12. I enjoyed the interview with Shannon. I had to laugh because we at least have two things in common. I love the Hallmark channel, caramel topping is a favorite but I don't have my tonsils anymore!

    Shannon, I love the cover of this book. Did you design it?

    I'd be thrilled to win a copy of Arkansas Weddings.

    Judy B

  13. Squiresj,
    This is where you get in the drawing. Thanks for popping in.

    Hi Judy,
    My husband thought it was funny for me to share about my tonsils. But I've done lots of interviews and I'm having to dig deep to come up with new trivia about me. I've learned it's rare of a 48 year old person to still have their tonsils, so I'm a rarity.

    I love the cover too, but no I had nothing to do with it. There is a waterfall in Romance, Arkansas where the stories are set and I sent a picture of the waterfall along with lots of other pictures from the area. The cover designer took it from there.

  14. I enjoyed the interview. It is fun to hear how authors get ideas for their stories. This looks like a really good book.

    1. forgot to include my e-mail address.

  15. Hey Susan,
    It's fun plotting stories. My favorite part of the process.

  16. This book sounds really good! I love that it's a 3 in 1 book so I can read all of them and not wait till each book comes out. Thank you for the giveaway.
    Karen G.

  17. Such an enjoyable interview, Shannon!

    I love stories of relationships, & love the idea of the 3 in 1 book, & the fact that the books are based on real towns.

    I can understand your love for the Hallmark channel - especially since you write about romance -there are a lot of us Hallmark lovers.

    Was wondering if you have any health issues with your tonsils - when I was young, it was almost standard procedure to take a child's tonsils out if they had any issues from them. Since then - it hasn't been done as much, & my 49 year old son really suffers with his, but has been told that having them removed as a adult, is considered much more serious & painful now than years ago.

    Thank you for providing an opportunity to win a copy of your book!


  18. Hey Karen,
    A lot of people wait for the 3 in 1's to come out because they know they've got the whole series and they know they'll read it in order. Even though each book stands alone, threads continue in the next story.

    Hey Bonnie,
    What's your favorite Hallmark movie? Mine is Seven Year Hitch. I've got it recorded and protected. I love the guy in that movie, he's funny and sweet.

    I don't have tonsil issues. I had lots of sore throats and ear infections when I was a kid. And a doctor recommended my tonsils come out when I was nine. But my parents never did it. I'm not sure why. I'll have to ask them.

    I know a man in his fifties that had his tonsils and adnoids taken out because he snored so badly. It was a major, painful deal for him. But he doesn't snore anymore.

  19. ARKANSAW WEDDINGS sounds like a fun read.
    Include me in the giveaway opportunity.

    AJHawkeauthor at aol dot com

  20. Hey A J,
    You're in. Glad you joined the party.

  21. I do enjoy wedding stories. Thank you for sharing some back story with us. Appreciated.


  22. Hey Mary,
    Second to writing, I love talking about it. Thanks for taking time out of your day to visit.

  23. Our church library readers love the 3 stories in one book. Thanks for entering me in your giveaway.
    Janet E.

  24. Hey Janet,
    I love church libraries. So many books. So little time.

  25. Judy B won the drawing for Arkansas Weddings. Thanks for having me Dawn, and I appreciate everybody for stopping by.