Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Renee Ryan | 20 Questions: THE WIDOWS OF CHAMPAGNE
Author Guest / July 28, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? THE WIDOWS OF CHAMPAGNE 2–What is it about? After France declares war on Germany in 1939, three generations of Leblanc women join forces to save their family’s champagne house: Chateau Fouche-Leblanc. All three are widows, and their lives have already been marred by loss and war. But when the enemy shows up on their doorstep, they are forced to make difficult choices that will require heroic feats, sacrifice, and put all of them in danger. One will join the fight. One will rely on her faith. While another will protect the others from her dark secret in a way that will haunt her for the rest of her life. 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  As the title suggests, THE WIDOWS OF CHAMPAGNE is set in the champagne region of France in an old, stately chateau on a sweeping vineyard. I loved learning about this area and the arduous process it takes to make world class champagne, starting with the growing of the grapes through to the final of two fermentations. Yes, two. There’s also been a historical misrepresentation of what the French went through during the war,…

Suzanne Woods Fisher | Title Challenge: THE MIDNIGHT SCHOOL
Author Guest / February 3, 2021

I’m Suzanne Woods Fisher, the author of The Moonlight School. This historical fiction will release on February 2, 2021, and is based on a true story featuring Cora Wilson Stewart, a Kentucky woman way ahead of her times. In 1911, Cora had a crazy idea—to open rural one-room schoolhouses in her county on moonlit nights to teach illiterate adults how to read and write. So what happened next? Well, it’s so astonishing that you wouldn’t believe me if I told you. Instead, I hope you’ll read the book and find out for yourself. T – T is for Time. Cora Wilson Stewart knew the time had come to address the alarming adult illiteracy rate (25%) in her county. H – H is for Hero. And Handsome. Both describe Brother Wyatt, a Singing School Master who brings music to the mountain people. E – E is for Everything. Cora, as Kentucky’s first female Superintendent of Education for Rowan County, put everything on the line to create the first grassroot movement of Moonlight Schools. * M – M is for Moon. Cora chose a night with a full moon to open the rural schoolhouses to adults. O – O is for Overprotective. Cora convinced her overprotective cousin to allow his nineteen-year-old daughter, Lucy Wilson, to come work for…

Regina Scott | Exclusive Interview: NOTHING SHORT OF WONDROUS
Author Guest / October 20, 2020

Hi Regina! Thank you for joining us on Fresh Fiction today. Please introduce yourself and tell us about your new book, NOTHING SHORT OF WONDROUS.   Delighted to be here! I’m the author of more than 50 warm and witty historical romances, set from the Regency to the Old West, England to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. I’m excited to have the second book in my American Wonders Collection coming out. NOTHING SHORT OF WONDROUS tells the story of when the U.S. Cavalry rode to the rescue to protect Yellowstone National Park from poachers and vandals. Turns out the Army needed a little help learning how to get around the vast lands, which is where my widowed innkeeper comes in. Kate Tremaine knows Yellowstone like the back of her hand, and she has a personal stake in protecting its wonders. But spending time with Lieutenant Will Prescott makes her question her decision never to marry again. What was something interesting or surprising that you learned while researching this time period in history?  Just the fact that the Army was given control of Yellowstone surprised me. But Yellowstone was our very first national park, and there was no park service….

Jane Kirkpatrick | 20 Questions: SOMETHING WORTH DOING
Author Guest / September 2, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  Something Worth Doing published by Revell. The title comes from a definition of hope by Vaclav Havel, a writer and first president of the Czech Republic.    2–What is it about?  On the surface, it’s about an early suffragist in the northwest named Abigail Scott Duniway and her passion for improving the lives of women in a time when women were to be seen and not heard (1850s-1890s). At another level, it’s about a woman wanting both a career as a novelist (she wrote 22!) and newspaper owner and to be a faithful wife and mother (they had six children!) while maintaining her reputation in a time of great cultural change and the challenges those two goals can have. 3–What word best describes your main character(s)?  Resilient. 4–What makes your story relatable?  Many modern couples struggle with balancing family and callings, supporting each other while facing trials. Long-distance relationships are also prevalent now and Abigail often was away from her home for weeks at a time doing something worth doing. How that worked for them I think will be of interest to today’s readers. There’s also a bit of family tension as Abigail’s brother…

Rachel Fordham | 20 Questions: A LIFE ONCE DREAMED
Author Guest / August 5, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  A Life Once Dreamed 2–What is it about? A Life Once Dreamed is the story of Agnes Pratt, who ran from her upper-class life to the rustic town of Penance six years ago. She’s a teacher who loves her students, her town and friends, but still wonders what might have been had she not left everything behind. When the new doctor arrives she’s forced to confront the past she ran from and to once again ask herself what she wants in the future. 3–What word best describes your heroine?  Stubborn, kind, resilient, loving and mysterious 4–What makes your hero irresistible?  He’s determined, has a heart that’s fully committed, is stubborn about the right things and is willing to make a fool of himself for the girl he loves. 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help?  The people of Penance are loyal to each other. My main character’s closest friends are Minnie (a loud mouth with a good heart) and Hannah (a quiet gentle soul). 6–What do you love about the setting of your book?  The Black Hills are secluded and such a contrast from the world Agnes…

Jocelyn Green | Your Travel Guide to the Great Chicago Fire
Author Guest / February 19, 2020

After the Great Fire of 1871 destroyed Chicago’s business district and rendered 100,000 people homeless, the city lost no time in rebuilding. Within two years, the downtown area was completely reconstructed, and better than ever. But if you visit Chicago today, you’ll still be able to find glimpses of the Chicago my characters in Veiled in Smoke knew well. The Chicago Fire Academy The site of the blaze’s first sparks can be found at the Chicago Fire Academy, at the corner of DeKoven and Jefferson. Visitors are allowed inside to see the spot, and to see antique fire engines as well. Courthouse finial, Lincoln Park My characters, the Townsend family, lived across from Courthouse Square. The night of the fire, the bell in the Courthouse Cupola rang for five hours before it collapsed. Today, an urn-shaped finial from the courthouse’s roof can be seen in front of Lincoln Park Zoo. Thousands of Chicagoans fled north from the flames in October 8-9, 1871, many of them finally finding refuge in Lincoln Park. St. James Cathedral The Great Fire gutted St. James Cathedral at the corner of Wabash and Huron. All that was left were the stone walls, the bell tower, and…

Valerie Fraser Luesse | Dodging the Dreaded Coin
Author Guest / March 8, 2019

Spoiler alert: I’m about to seriously date myself. When I was in college, all my girlfriends were crazy about the movie Somewhere in Time, starring Jane Seymour and the late Christopher Reeve. In case that film was before your time, it’s about a modern-day playwright named Richard Collins, who travels back in time to meet, court, and win the heart of Elise McKenna, a turn-of-the-century actress whose image and mysterious story have captivated him. Just as it appears that love will win the day, Richard reaches into his pocket and pulls out a forgotten 1979 penny, which immediately yanks him out of the past, away from his soul mate, and literally “back to the future.” My own stories are set in my native South, and I feel as if I spend a big chunk of my writing time dodging The Dreaded Coin, working as hard as I can to skirt my way around anything and everything that might yank a reader out of the story. It doesn’t take much. One factual inaccuracy (like putting the Brazos River in Mississippi) or one line of dialogue that sounds nothing like authentic Southern speech (“I’m mad about you! Mad I say!”), and the…