The author shares about her 3-in-1 romance collection
Oregon Weddings (Romancing America):
Three hearts climb to love in Oregon. Will they rely on God to help them?
Q: Your ‘Romancing America’ book started out as separate titles for the Heartsong Presents readers. Tell us how the individual novels are linked together into a larger picture.
There is no overall theme, however, each book is linked by taking a secondary character and giving them their own story. The one who didn’t get the girl in God Gave the Song goes on to find love with a beautiful charter boat captain in Crossroads Bay. The one who befriends that same captain by helping her find a family treasure is allowed to chase her own dreams in Fine, Feathered Friend.
Q: When you were originally writing the series, how much were you focused on each individual title — and how much were your eyes on how each piece fit into the larger story?
I focused more on the individual titles for most of the writing, but toward the end of God Gave the Song, I began thinking about how to lay a foundation for Paul Godfrey’s story in Crossroads Bay. In essence, what I wrote for Paul in the first book became his prologue for the second book. It wasn’t until I was writing the last act of the first book that I realized Paul was part Spanish. This occurred as I began research on the second book, Crossroads Bay, and discovered that the coins in the family treasure had belonged to Spain and was pirated by Sir Francis Drake, an ancestor of the charter boat captain, Meranda Drake. Once I learned this tidbit, I had to go back through the first story and thread his heritage in. Paul is a caterer, so much of his food became ethnic.
Then, as I thought about the third book, I wove in that Glenys Bernard, the friend in Crossroads Bay, was deathly afraid of birds. This became the foundation of the story, Fine, Feathered Friend, where she enlists the help of a falconer to overcome her phobia. This falconer, by the way, has mother issues, and so I simply had to get him to talk to the mother in the first book, God Gave the Song, who had abandoned her son, Skye Randall, the hero in that book. That scene was not planned in the beginning, so I enjoyed the surprise as much as I hope the readers did.
Q: What was your inspiration for the original series? (And how much did your original plan change over the course of the arc?)
I wasn’t thinking “series” when I originally thought of these three stories. Really, their only tie was Southern Oregon which is where my mother lives. I had visited all three locations several times and knew I wanted I write something with an artsy town, a coastal village, and a mountain hamlet as a backdrop. So, I guess you could say it was the locale that inspired me.
Q: How does your faith influence your writing?
God is my first reader. If it doesn’t pass His critique, then I continue to edit until it does. Every story has a spiritual theme and a key scripture verse. I keep that verse in front of me at all times so I never waiver from it. I think, even if I move into the secular market, I’ll always keep God’s theme for that book in the forefront of my mind as I write.
Q: What do you most hope readers get out of your fiction?
I present spiritual truths with a giggle. I wish to entertain, but I also pray the reader is touched, healed, or challenged in some way as we journey together.