Q&A: Shannon Taylor Vannatter
The series is set in Romance and Rose Bud, Arkansas. Real places such as The Romance Waterfalls, the Romance Post Office, plus the Rambler Cafe; and the historic Darden-Gifford house in Rose Bud appear in the books. I also use an Arkansas product in each book: Yarnell’s Ice Cream, Aromatique products, and RoZark Hills Coffee.
Book 1, White Roses: A widowed pastor meets the florist who always did his wife's flowers. Just as they begin to consider a relationship, they learn their pasts collided before they ever knew each other.
Book 2, White Doves: A postmaster is transferred too close to home and her dysfunctional family where she meets a guilt-ridden mail carrier who's raising his paraplegic nephew. They learn that the child is also her nephew and she's torn between the hero and her brother.
Book 3, White Pearls: An apartment manager with a bad reputation is forced to work with a landscaper with whom she had a past relationship. He's bitter toward the birth mother who gave him up and there's a secret child in her life.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO GET TO THIS PLACE AS A WRITER?
It took me 9-and-a-half years to get my first contract. I spent the last year and a half frantically writing, meeting deadlines, doing revisions, booksignings, publicity, and more frantic writing. All three books have shipped to Heartsong Presents members and the first one is in stores. The other two follow this year and I have another series in the works.
YOU ARE MARRIED TO A PASTOR -- WHAT DO THE MEMBERS OF YOUR CONGREGATION THINK OF YOUR FICTION?
The members of our church have been great. They supported me through prayer during all the deadlines and in seeking another contract. When I had my book launch party at the Romance Waterfalls, several of our church family was the first to arrive. I ran out of books and they gave me theirs back, so I could sell them to other people.
DO THEY CONSIDER YOUR BOOKS TO BE "ENTERTAINMENT" OR "MINISTRY"?
I think they see the books as both. They are entertained by the books, but they've also told me how the characters touched them on a spiritual level. They definitely see the message embedded in each story geared toward lost souls.
My husband is very proud of me. He often says some pastor's wives play the piano, some teach Sunday school class, some head up ministries. His writes books that glorify God.
WHAT ASPECT OF GOD DO YOU MOST HOPE READERS GET FROM READING YOUR WORK?
I want readers to realize that love doesn't conquer all. Jesus does. If people look for fulfillment in another person or in a relationship, they won’t find it. Marriage should be between three people, not two. In this day and age, we need God in the center of all relationships. He is the author of romance and couples need to commit to Him before they can commit to each other for a lifetime.
WHAT COMES NEXT FOR YOU AS AN AUTHOR?
I have a rodeo series set in Texas in the works. My husband was born in Wichita Falls and his dad was a Southern Baptist pastor in the San Antonio area for over 40 years. We've visited a lot and Texas is my second favorite state.