I’m delighted to welcome Sherrie Hansen here today for an interview and a look at her new Scotland set romance, Wild Rose, the first book in her Wildflowers of Scotland series. She’s also giving us all a free treat with her prequel novella, Thistle Down.
Hi, Sherrie, so glad to have you here today. Tell us a little about Wild Rose and Thistle Down:
Hi! Thanks everyone for helping me celebrate the release of Thistle Down. My novella, Thistle Down, the intro to my Wildflowers of Scotland novels, and the first scene of Wild Rose are now free in any e-format on Smashwords and will be available soon on Amazon. Blue Belle will follow later this year and Shy Violet sometime next year.
Blurb – Thistle Down:
Can tenderhearted Pastor Ian MacCraig keep a pair of prickly sisters from marrying the wrong men?
Emily Downey has found the perfect groom. If only she loved the man… Chelsea Downey is wild about her boyfriend. Trouble is, he’s two-timing her and everyone sees it but her.
Their thorny situation gets even stickier when the church ladies come up with a plan.
Can Pastor Ian MacCraig weed out the thistles and get to the heart of the matter in time to save the day?
Blurb – Wild Rose:
When Ian MacCraig tries to capture the thief who is stealing artifacts from his kirk in Loch Awe, Scotland, the last thing he expects to find on his video is a woman engaging in a passionate romp under the flying buttresses.
Rose Wilson is mortified to learn that Digby, the online friend she met for what she thought was a harmless rendezvous, is a common criminal.
Now that Ian, the board of Wilson Enterprises, the constable, and half the town have had a glimpse of Rose in all her naked glory, it seems even her family looks at her differently. What remains to be seen is how far Ian will go to defend Rose’s honor and if the church ladies will forgive Rose now that they know who she really is… and if Rose can believe she’s worthy of someone as good and kind as Ian MacCraig.
Wild Rose and Pastor Ian MacCraig… a match made in heaven or one hell of a predicament?
What inspired this story?
A very personal event in my past provided the inspiration for Wild Rose. What happened taught me a lot about forgiveness – what it’s like to be unworthy, yet to receive forgiveness from someone who loves you enough to overlook your flaws, and about forgiving yourself, which is sometimes the most difficult thing of all.
What are your writing goals for this year?
I hope to finish editing my second Wildflowers of Scotland novel, “Blue Belle”, sometime before November so I can start working on the third, “Shy Violet”, for NaNoWriMo.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
I enjoy letting my imagination run wild, and living vicariously through my characters. I enjoy working through issues in my own life through the characters in my books. I enjoy orchestrating happy endings and finding resolutions to crisis, and having control over what happens in my imaginary worlds.
Do you have a favorite hero and/or heroine in your books and why?
I love Jensen and Anders in my first book, “Night and Day” – they’re the perfect couple even though it’s midnight in Minnesota and daybreak in Denmark. Miles apart, and an ocean between them, but so close in every way that matters…
What is your favorite scene from this story and why?
I love the scene where Rose is trying to find favor with the church ladies. Rose wants to spearhead a fundraiser to auction off beautiful, tastefully made quilts in fashionable colors, only to find that the church ladies have their own plan – their signature All-Inclusive Holiday Quilts, which include gaudy, mismatched remnants from every holiday from Christmas to Easter. There is also a touching scene where Rose and Ian are dancing and Rose is wishing he was a little more wild and uninhibited instead of a conservative pastor that is one of my favorites.
How do you balance writing and everyday life?
This is my biggest challenge as a writer. I own a B&B and Tea House called the Blue Belle Inn in a small town in northern Iowa, and I’m a pastor’s wife and actively involved in his church, which is 1 ½ hours southeast of the Blue Belle. We maintain homes in both towns. It makes for a very busy lifestyle. I also love music and quilting and spending time with my nieces and family. It is a constant challenge to squeeze everything in in appropriate amounts.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
My husband and I both felt a deep connection to Scotland when we visited there in 2007. We have both said many times that we could be very happy living near Tobermory, on the Isle of Mull, one day. The colors, the food, the combination of sea, mountains, castles, beaches, cottages and gardens (and golf!), just called out to us. We felt instantly at home.
What is your favorite food to cook or eat?
If I opened this question up to include all foods, I would have to write a book… My favorite Scottish foods are Smoked Haddock Pie with a mashed potato roof, Cumberland Sausages with Mash, Caramel Shortbread, and (drum roll) Mr. Kipling’s Exceedingly Good Mini-Battenberg Cakes, all of which are mentioned in Wild Rose.
What don’t most people know about you but you would like to share?
I play the piano with a worship team that plays at different churches and love rocking out with the drummer and keyboard player.
These are few of my favorite things:
1. Days when I can write, read, or sew all day long in my nightgown.
2. Wednesday afternoon adventures with my nieces.
3. Taking photographs and finding beauty in my own back yard through the lens of my camera.
And Sherrie has a question for you! If your pastor was single, would it bother you if he or she started to date a woman or man who had been caught in a compromising situation, and who didn’t share his or her religious beliefs?
Excerpt – Wild Rose:
Rose Wilson turned away from the wind that whistled across Loch Awe in a futile attempt to keep her hair from being blown into a tangled knot.
Something nipped at her ankle and she reached down to swat it away. Pesky midgies.
Ouch! Her hand scratched against the thorny stem of a thistle. One more thing. As if the sticky wicket she’d gotten herself into hadn’t already worked her into enough of a dither. She glanced up at the lofty spires of St. Conan’s Kirk. If she were at all religious, she might think God was trying to tell her something.
Where could he be? It had been nigh on three years since she’d stood waiting, and waiting, and waiting at Robert’s and her favorite restaurant. When he never showed up, she’d been angry – thought he’d gotten too busy at work, forgotten she was waiting, or, worse yet, remembered and blown her off.
How could she have known he was dead?
Here she was again. So it was a kirk and not a restaurant. A man she didn’t know all that well instead of her husband. The emotions felt the same. She was peeved. So peeved she could almost forget what it was like to feel abandoned, to hurt so badly she could barely keep her head about her.
She took a deep breath and tried to relax. Would she ever get over being scared that something horrible had happened every time someone was a wee bit tardy?
He was almost an hour later than he’d said he’d be. She peeked through the hedge and tried to see round the bend that led to the village.
What were the odds that two men she was supposed to meet would die en route to their rendezvous point? She paced up and down the path that led to the kirk, squelching her nervous energy only long enough to look at a bee dipping into a rhody that was a lovely shade of lavender. And then, she was back at it, scanning the roadside for Digby’s car, checking the time on her mobile every few seconds, and imagining the worst.
She’d been waiting for an hour – plenty long enough for Digby to get there even if he’d been temporarily detained at work, gotten a speeding ticket, or stopped by the mini-mart to buy her flowers. Besides, the man had a mobile.
She clicked hers open and pressed the green button twice. Still no answer.
Where could he be? And why now? Was it because she’d been too intimate with him? Not intimate enough?
“Excuse me, ma’am.”
She blinked and looked in the direction of the voice, but the sun was in her eyes, and all she could see was a soft sheen of light backlighting the silhouette of a very tall man. Too tall to be Digby. She raised her hand to her eyes to shade the light but the sun was still blinding, clinging to his head like a halo.
“Forgive me,” the man said, just as she saw his collar, the white square gleaming brightly between the black, and thought, shouldn’t it be me saying that?
“Sorry to intrude,” he continued. “I couldn’t help noticing that you seem to be looking for someone.”
So much for her and Dig having the place to themselves. Of course, as of this moment, there wasn’t a “them” anyway, so it mattered little if they had privacy. Besides, she had been going to tell him that they couldn’t do it again, that it was too soon, that what had happened shouldn’t have. Not yet. That didn’t mean she didn’t want to be alone with him, to do something. She probably did, eventually. Just not so much, or quite so fast.
“I’m waiting for a friend,” she said.
“You’ve still plenty of time,” he said. “Worship doesn’t begin for another half hour.”
The sun wasn’t in his eyes, but behind him, illuminating her face. She knew, even without being able to see his eyes, that he could read hers perfectly.
“I didn’t realize…”
“We’ve a small but active congregation,” the man said, extending his hand. “Ian MacCraig. St. Conan’s pastor.”
Twenty years ago, I bought a dilapidated Victorian house in northern Iowa so I could move home and be nearer my family. I rescued an amazing but very run-down old house from the bulldozer’s grips and turned it into a bed and breakfast and tea house, the Blue Belle Inn. Welcoming guests, running the business and cooking wonderful food has consumed the largest chunk of my life ever since.
Before that, I lived in Colorado Springs, CO, and before that, Augsburg, Germany. I attended Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, and spent one life-changing summer in Bar Harbor, Maine. I grew up on a farm in southern Minnesota.
After 12 years of writing romance novels late at night when I couldn’t sleep (mostly because I was so keyed up from working 12 hour days at my B&B), I met and married my real-life, romantic hero, Mark Decker, a pastor. I enjoy playing the piano with the worship team at church, needlepointing, photography, renovating and decorating historic houses, traveling, and going on weekly adventures with my nieces and nephews.
I live in 2 different houses, 85 miles apart, and write on the run, whenever I have a spare minute. “Wild Rose” is my sixth book to be published by Second Wind Publishing, a mid-sized, independent press out of Kernersville, NC.
You can find Sherrie at:
Thistle Down is available Free here at Smashwords:
Wild Rose is coming soon at Second Wind Publishing. You can find other titles by Sherrie Hansen here:
And at Amazon.com: