This week I’m delighted to bring you chats with three of my fun writer friends, reviews of their new books, and giveaways of those new delights. I hope you’ll enjoy this breath of fun! And be sure to read to the end of each post so you can participate in the giveaways. I wouldn’t offer them if I didn’t think they’d delight the readers who will find these titles in their mailboxes! So grab a mug of your favorite drink and meet my friend Regina Jennings.
Regina is the author of three novels, the latest of which is Caught in the Middle. This book is a fun frolic through 1880s Texas cowboys and railroads, even though the heroine is deeply scarred from her late husband’s abuse. She’s been hiding since escaping his abuse — working as a buffalo hunter. Now she finds herself stuck in a town waiting for some deadbeat to collect his son.
Nick believes his life is blessed because God never allows anything to go wrong in his life. Then he reconnects with Anne, and begins to discover challenges. Will his faith be shaken as he tries to discover who he really is?
In this book the hero and heroine are characters that I enjoyed spending time with. Their challenges and questions are similar to those I’ve had. Where is God when things start going wrong? Does He still love me? Can He love me? Why would He take something from me that I’ve begun to love? Yet these questions were wrapped in a story I completely engaged in…with everything from laughter to tears. The cover alone is reason to buy the book, but the story within the cover is one that will engage readers who love Christian historical fiction with a side of humor. And it has a great cover!
Now on to the interview with the delightful author, Regina Jennings. In Caught in the Middle, the heroine is hiding because of the domestic abuse she suffered earlier in her life. This is a very important issue…Why did you decide to make this part of her story?
Anne’s husband Jay Tillerton was the villain in the first Ladies of Caldwell County book, Sixty Acres and a Bride. Because of the events in that book, I knew Anne’s story would take us through some dark places—places that would be familiar to some readers. It was important to demonstrate that although Anne’s husband was dead, her fear was not. Violence changes people, but so does Christ. That was the ultimate message of the story.
I love that message. So many need to hear and believe it! I also loved the interaction between Nicholas and Anne. Did the chemistry come naturally or was it something you had to force into their roles initially?
When writing romance my first inclination is for the hero and heroine to fall into feisty banter. I like a couple who stand up to each other and I’m not opposed to a hero who might eventually sweep the lady into his arms to end the argument. That’s what would be most natural for me to write.
Writing Nick was trickier. Although Anne and Nick definitely didn’t shy away from any arguments, Nick had to tread softly when it came to furthering their romance. Their chemistry came naturally, but I found myself having to restrain this hero perhaps more than my other heroes. Because of Anne’s past, Nick couldn’t come on too strong. He had to show more patience and gentleness. In the end, it made him a better man and a more interesting character.
It definitely did! He was a very rich hero. There were times in this story that I wanted to sob for Anne — since she was too tough to cry for herself. Did you find yourself in tears as you wrote some of the scenes?
Yes, I did and I’m definitely not a softie. There was one scene in particular, and those who’ve read the book can probably guess which one, that I kept wanting to pull away from. I kept thinking to Anne, “Don’t think about what’s happening. It’ll just make you sadder. Get out of there and turn off the emotions!” I wanted to rush her through her sacrifice, but I pressed on to give us the full experience and I think the result was effective.
What do you hope stays with readers after they close the cover on this novel?
In this story, success comes easily for Nick. Sure, he’s a Christian and if you want any proof just look at how much God has blessed him. That means something, right? But by the end of the story, both Anne and Nick have faced a crisis of belief and they must answer the questions:
“Is God to be loved apart from His gifts? Is He to be obeyed despite the consequences?”
In a prosperous nation like ours, it’s easy to believe that if we are truly obedient, we won’t face loss or failure—that if we follow the rules, God is obligated to give us whatever we desire. I hope this story inspires readers to look at their assumptions about the rewards of obedience and resolve to live for Christ even when it becomes costly.
Such a great question…and one both Anne and Nick dealt with it. What’s next for you?
We will be saying good-bye to the ladies of Caldwell County after this book, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a particular deputy from Caught in the Middle starring in his own story someday.
The next book A Most Inconvenient Marriage releases in December of this year. Here’s a sneak peek at the blurb:
Having fled a difficult home life, Civil War nurse Abigail Stuart feels like her only friend in the world is sweet but gravely wounded patient Jeremiah Calhoun. Fearing he won’t survive, the Confederate soldier’s last wish is that Abigail look after his sickly sister at home. Marry him, return to his horse farm, and it’ll be hers.
Left with few choices, Abigail takes him up on his offer and moves to Missouri after his death, but just as the family learns to accept her, the real Jeremiah Calhoun appears—puzzled to find a confounding woman posing as his wife. Jeremiah is determined to have his life back to how it was before the war, but his own wounds limit what he can do on his own. Still not fully convinced Abigail isn’t duping him, he’s left with no choice but to let the woman stay and help–not admitting to himself she may provide the healing his entire family needs.
Where can people connect with you?
Regina Jennings is homeschooling mother of four from Mustang, Oklahoma. She enjoys watching musicals with her kids, traveling with her husband and reading by herself. Regina graduated from Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She has worked at The Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. For more posts by Regina or information about her novels, please visit her website – www.reginajennings.com.