Monday, September 9, 2013
Shannon Vannatter's "Arkansas Weddings"
Title: Arkansas Weddings
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?