This is book two in the Striking a Match series. I wanted to create a story that showed the continued growth of characters in book one and carry the Vandermark family forward in their East Texas life. The story shows the continuing racial tensions of the time period, as well as the deepening relationship between Deborah and Christopher. Deborah is fighting to find her place in life, and she’s conflicted over her desire to practice medicine as she trains with Christopher. She’s also dealing with the frustration of watching old enemies create problems for family and friends. Her spiritual growth is important to how she deals with the strife and conflict she faces. Readers will also be happy to see a few surprises.
DID YOU ENCOUNTER ANY CHALLENGES WHILE WRITING/RESEARCHING THE STRIKING A MATCH SERIES?
The biggest challenge I always have is making sure that the flavor of the story fits the time period. I think it’s very important to be true to those kinds of details. It was important when incorporating an 1800s female character who wanted more than just to stay at home and keep house and raise a family to not forget the attitude of most people during this era. It wasn’t that these women didn’t exist and live successful lives; but there were obstacles, and I wanted to make those realistic.
CAN YOU TELL US A BIT ABOUT THE SETTING AND TIME PERIOD YOU HAVE CHOSEN?
The time period is late 1880s East Texas—Angelina County, to be exact. The town of Perkinsville is fictional, but other places like Houston, Indianola, and Lufkin are real and were vital to the time period. In studying the time period I learned that there were hundreds of saw mill towns and logging areas, and because of that I could study the layouts of the real towns and pattern my town after them.
TEXAS IS AN UNUSUAL SETTING FOR LOGGING. HOW DID YOU CHOOSE THIS LOCATION?
When I began researching for story material I wanted to do something in Texas. I lived in the Dallas area a couple of years as a child, and it left me with strong memories. When I began to research Texas, I found brief bits of information about logging in East Texas. That fascinated me and the more I read about it, the more I knew I wanted to write about it. In the 1800s the “cut out and get out” mentality nearly destroyed all of the white pine forests of the east and north, and yellow pine became a necessary alternative. Reading about long leaf, short leaf, and loblolly pines turned out to be a bit of fun as well.
YOU OFTEN WRITE IN THREE-BOOK SERIES. WILL READERS NEED TO READ EMBERS OF LOVE FIRST BEFORE READING HEARTS AGLOW?
Not necessarily. The series is a dependent series in that each book builds on the book before. However, I work hard to catch readers up to speed in each book so that they stand alone. I want the reader to be able to enjoy each book individually. I like to create series in order to tell a broader and more complicated story than one book would allow, but even in doing that I want each story to be completely satisfying.