Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Tracey Enerson Wood | Title Challenge: THE ENGINEER’S WIFE
Author Guest / April 8, 2020

My name is Tracey Enerson Wood, and I’m thrilled to chat about my debut novel, THE ENGINEER’S WIFE, on-sale April 7. What fun this is! I never would have thought to look at the title this way. Here’s what I came up with. Would love to hear ideas from readers! Emily Warren Roebling oversaw the completion of the Brooklyn Bridge—yet she was lost in its shadow after the fact. In THE ENGINEER’s WIFE, her story finally gets the spotlight. T— is for Time. It took nearly 14 years to build the Brooklyn Bridge. H— is for Henrietta, one of my favorite characters, whose humor and wise council keep Emily grounded. E— is for Emily, the amazing unsung hero. * E— is for Electricity. They built that amazing bridge without it! N— is for Emily’s true North. You find out what that is at the very end. G— is for Ginormous. A great word to describe the challenge Emily and Wash face. I— is for Ingenuity, they’re building a massive bridge like no other before, and have to solve unique problems. N— is for New York City, the always fascinating city that is the main setting. E— is for Eleanor. A…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: God Bless Ireland
Author Guest / March 18, 2020

Continuing my tradition of featuring Irish-set historical fiction for the month of St. Patrick’s Day, I’m offering up a round of novels that begin before The Great Hunger of the mid-1840’s and continue up to after World War II.  Erin go Bragh! We begin with GALWAY BAY by Mary Pat Kelly.  Drawing on anecdotes from her own family history, author Kelly begins her multi-generational saga in Ireland of the “before times”—before the potato blight that brought starvation and forced exile.   Like other fisherman and tenant farmers, Michael Kelly and his young bride Honora Keeley must sell their catch and their harvests to pay their rent, leaving them dependent on potatoes for food.  When the blight destroys the potato crop three out of four years, determined not to let their children starve, Michael and Honora join two million of their countrymen and emigrate to “Amerikay.” With her sister Maire, Honora and their children make their way northward from New Orleans to Chicago, fighting discrimination and opposition as they settle there and help turn this once-frontier town into a thriving metropolis.  The story continues with their sons who fight in the Civil War, and eventually in Ireland’s struggle for independence from British…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: AND THEY CALLED IT CAMELOT by Stephanie Thornton
Author Guest / March 13, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to explore Jackie O’s life through a work of fiction? Stephanie: After writing American Princess, I wanted my next story to be about another iconic American woman and Jackie Kennedy was the first to come to mind. I found that while people think they know her story, many of the details of her life–the deaths of her children, the monuments she saved, her many tumultuous family relationships–have already started to gather dust. Also, while there are enough nonfiction books about her and the rest of the Kennedys to fill an entire library, I quickly realized that there was an opportunity to transform her momentous life into historical fiction, to really let the reader feel what it was like to be Jackie Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. While I love a good nonfiction read, there’s something special about experiencing life through the eyes of the person who lived it. (I often joke that historical fiction is the closest thing to a time machine, but it’s true!) I loved being able to transport readers to see what it would have been like to be the one and only Jackie-O.   In order for the novel to be historically based, how…

Gretchen Berg | Exclusive Interview: THE OPERATOR + Giveaway!
Author Guest / March 11, 2020

Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Gretchen! Please tell us about yourself and your new novel, THE OPERATOR. The Operator is the story of Vivian Dalton, a nosy switchboard operator who eavesdrops on all the conversations of the residents in her small town.   Set in Wooster, Ohio in the 1950s, I read that this story is inspired by your own family’s history! Can you share the background and inspiration for THE OPERATOR? I’d been doing genealogy research on my mom’s side of the family, and combined a little of that with my grandmother’s occupation.       Vivian Dalton is one of the town’s switchboard operators and knows everything about everyone because she and the other operators secretly listen in on conversations. If you were in a similar occupation, would you listen in on conversations? Why or why not? I really don’t think I would. It’s so invasive. Vivian overhears a conversation that could be her downfall – she’d be humiliated in front of the entire town and she’s desperate to stop it from getting out. What do you think readers will love about Vivian? What do you think they will find frustrating about her? I know different readers will love & find frustrating…

Amanda Cabot | Author-Reader Match: OUT OF THE EMBERS
Author Guest / March 4, 2020

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Author-Reader Match” where we introduce you to authors as a reader you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present Amanda Cabot! Writes: Historical inspirational romances with more than a dash of danger and suspense to keep readers turning pages. Out of the Embers, the first of the Mesquite Springs trilogy, takes readers to a town in the beautiful Texas Hill Country where a young woman with a tragic past arrives, only to discover that trouble is close behind her. About: Incurably romantic author seeks readers who share her love for heroes and heroines who defy the odds, finding love and happily-ever-after despite danger, betrayal, and the occasional small-town busybody’s meddling. What I’m looking for in my ideal reader match: Loves stories of heroes and heroines surmounting obstacles to find true love Savors the closeness of small-town life, at least in fiction Doesn’t mind the occasional sleepless night when she has to read “just one more page” Cheers when justice prevails Enjoys the slower pace and different social structure of the nineteenth century Old West Believes that faith is an integral part of life…

Sarah-Jane Stratford | 20 Questions: RED LETTER DAYS
Author Guest / February 26, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  Red Letter Days 2–What is it about?  Two American women escape the Hollywood blacklist for England, where they are able to continue working and remain free, but find that they still aren’t as safe as they hope. It’s also very much about love, passion for work, resilience, friendship, and maintaining a sense of self and humour in the face of adversity. 3–What word best describes your main character(s)?  Plucky. 4–What makes your story relatable?  To my vexation, it is getting more relatable by the day, what with accusations of “communist”, right-wing attacks on the arts, and attempts to purge anyone who doesn’t tow the party line from the government. Also attempts to sequester passports from citizens, deny citizenship – you get the idea. But what matters is that then, as now, more people are pushing back and standing up for what is right. The political parallels aside, the story will also speak to anyone who has had a passion and pursued it; or found themselves alone and reached out to find friends they might not have expected to become part of their lives. And anyone who has ever fallen in love and found…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: Four Fabulous Women for February
Author Guest / February 19, 2020

For your Valentine gift this year, I’m offering up an in-depth fictional look at four fascinating women who defied the rules of their time to live life on their own terms, bringing them fame, notoriety, love, and heartbreak. Moving chronologically, we begin with THAT CHURCHILL WOMAN by Stephanie Barron.  When beautiful, willful, wealthy Jennie Jerome, who grew up in Gilded Age Newport and Second Empire Paris, agrees to marry the son of a duke she’s known for just three days, she’s thrust into the maelstrom of British politics and society. The husband of the new Lady Randolph Churchill is a member of the Marlborough House Set, well-born men seeking political rank and fortune.  As a charming but free-thinking American skeptical of British social rules, Jennie quickly wins both admirers—and enemies.  Mother of one of the twentieth century’s most important men, she works to further her husband’s Parliamentary career while remaining true to herself.  And when, as tragic illness loosens her husband’s grip on sanity, she falls in love with compelling diplomat Count Charles Kinsky, she must decide how much destruction she’s willing to risk to follow her heart. The Churchill story continues with LADY CLEMENTINE by Marie Benedict, which gives…

Mimi Matthews | Valentien’s Day Recipe Roundup: THE WINTER COMPANION + Giveaway!
Author Guest , Christmas in July / February 12, 2020

The Fresh Fiction Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup continues with Mimi Matthews! We hope you’ll enjoy this sweet treat. . .  *** Neville Cross is one of the four Victorian orphans of my Parish Orphans of Devon series. He suffered a traumatic brain injury in his youth that impacts his speech, his ability to recall words, and also causes him to occasionally lose time. He’s a gentle giant of a man who generally prefers the company of animals to people. Enter Clara Hartwright, a lady’s companion and aspiring academic who has recently rescued an elderly dog. She’s come to stay for the winter, and at once enlists Neville’s help with her problematic pug. Soon, the two of them are bonding over their mutual love of animals. They’re also sharing several cups of tea. During a cold winter, nothing goes better with hot tea than freshly baked molasses cookies. You can dip them and then let them dissolve on your tongue. As an added bonus, baking molasses cookies makes your entire house smell fantastic. The following recipe is one I’ve used often. Note: For a better dipping experience, I generally skip the part where you roll the cookies in sugar before baking…

Anita Abriel | THE LIGHT AFTER THE WAR
Author Guest / February 5, 2020

My mother, Vera Frankel, was born in April 1927 in Budapest, Hungary. Her mother, Alice was one of eight children and her father, Lawrence was an attorney with a practice in Budapest. Three of my grandmother’s siblings died in concentration camps; my grandfather Lawrence spent four years in a forced labor camp. Miraculously, my mother and her parents survived the Holocaust. Because of their experiences, I heard many stories about the war as I grew up. My mother told me that in Budapest in 1944, during the last year of the war, Jewish children wore the standard yellow star and weren’t allowed to attend school. Half a dozen families lived in one apartment and the most basic necessities like toilet paper were almost impossible to find. The brunt of the war came late to Hungary. In 1940, Germany pressured Hungary to join the Axis powers and for the next four years, Jews in Hungary led restricted lives. They lost their businesses and Jewish men were sent to labor camps, but they were not part of the final solution.  In late 1943 and dragging on into the early months of 1944, Hungarian Prime Minister, Miklos Kallay secretly engaged in negotiations with…

Sarah Sundin | 20 Questions: THE LAND BENEATH US
Author Guest / February 5, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release? The Land Beneath Us 2–What is it about? In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the US Army Rangers at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. With his future stolen by his brothers’ betrayal, Clay has little to live for. Leah Jones works as a librarian at Camp Forrest, longing to rise above her orphanage upbringing and to find the baby sisters she was separated from so long ago. A marriage of convenience binds Clay and Leah together, but will D-day—and a foreboding dream—tear them apart? 3–What word best describes your heroine? Poetic. 4–What makes your hero irresistible? Clay’s kindness and generosity and his sense of honor drew me to him. But what made me feel for him most was his sense of loss. His brothers betrayed him and stole his future, so he feels he has nothing to live for. Yet he’s determined to make the most of his life. 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help? Leah is young and innocent, and she finds a mentor-friend in straight-talking Red Cross volunteer Rita Sue Bellamy. Clay’s…