Welcome back! I have the privilege of hosting author Carrie Fancett Pagels today. If you are anything like me and have enjoyed the Barbour Collections, you may recognize her name from some of those wonderful books. I “met” Carrie through the ACFW Historical Fiction Facebook page.
If you are writing and would like to be involved in a group that has monthly online classes, has a place where you can be held accountable for daily word counts or editing, join online critique groups, or connect with other writers/authors in your genre, ACFW is a great organization to check out. Their annual conference as well, is just phenomenal! But let me turn the spotlight back on Carrie and dive right in.
My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring is set in 1895 on beautiful Mackinac Island, in the Straits of Mackinac in Michigan.
My genre is historical romance/fiction both to read and write. So, I’m thrilled to hear more about your novel. Care to share the more historically significant events behind your story?
The story is not really set against “big events” but part of the backdrop is the nature of Yellow Journalism and Gilded Age lies in romance—where both men and women are pursuing wealthy spouses. In my story, Mark Twain makes an appearance, and he really did come to the Grand Hotel, where my story is set, that summer. Also, the Round Island Lighthouse really was constructed that year in the Straits of Mackinac by Mackinac Island. By the way, I am now under contract for a story set at the Round Island Lighthouse!
One of the questions I get asked most often is “where do you get your inspiration?”. It just fascinates people. And I’m no exception. I love hearing from other authors and where their inspiration comes from. What was the inspiration for My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring?
Oh my! I grew up not far from there and worked on the island when I was sixteen. I’ve returned many times since. I was a psychologist for twenty-five years and one summer, my friend Rosemary, whose family was from the island, gave me her own personal tour. One of the places we stopped was at the Windermere Hotel, the inspiration for Maude’s Winds of Mackinac. I’d had a story in my head for years.
Wow! What a neat, personal touch! So, did you always want to be a writer?
I did want to be a writer when I was a kid. I was a book devourer.
I’m also intrigued by what other authors consume. Never a bad idea to get a good recommendation 🙂 What are you currently reading?
I am listening to Jan Karon’s latest novel! I used to get her audiobooks from the library, over a decade ago, and listen to them over and over again.
When I write, I just have to set the mood. Music is a big part of that for me. What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?
I usually go to YouTube to find era-appropriate music. I sometimes buy historical music CDs or downloads, like musician Timothy Seaman’s duldimer CDs.
I always ask my guests this next question…always trying to get the inside scoop, you understand. Can you tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
This book was a “Problem Child” book and Maude’s characterization got an overhaul. I originally had her as a more anxious young woman and was advised against portraying her in that manor. So she had to go to “rehab”!
And, lastly, do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
Yes, I have another brand new release, Love’s Escape, in The Captive Brides collection. This novella is from Barbour Publishing as are the four novellas I have releasing in 2018. I am completing edits from the editor on Shenandoah Hearts, part of the Backwoods Brides collection which I spearheaded and had on my heart for years to do. Authors are all from the Colonial American Authors group which I founded seven years ago. I’m writing The Sugarplum Ladies part of the Victorian Christmas Brides collection right now and I’m loving this story! I have galleys coming soon for His Anchor part of the First Love Forever collection which includes Sadie’s story—Maude’s best friend from My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island. Next I’ll be writing a story set at Round Island Lighthouse in the Straits of Mackinac!
I cannot tell you how much I love the Barbour Collections! I am eager to dive into this one.
Thank you, Carrie, for joining us today and for sharing about your book. And now, we’ll take a peek at The Captive Bride Collection and Carrie’s contribution, Love’s Escape.
The Captive Bride Collection
Enjoy an Excerpt
An Except from Chapter 2 of Love’s Escape in The Captive Bride Collection (Barbour, October, 2017)
The stench of slavebroker Hiram Cheney’s tobacco, sweat, and alcohol was only intensified by his heavy use of bergamot oil. Lettie held her breath as she backed away from the open entryway, through which the paunchy man was shoving Beneida, the Dolleys’ servant. Lettie released a gasp. She’d met the beautiful young slave several times – the first time when Lettie accompanied old Mrs. Burwell to see her dressmaker, in Richmond.
Today Beneida wore a pink and yellow checked day dress that was as fine as any Virginia society belle’s. Lettie pressed a hand to her throat. She couldn’t voice her question – what was Beneida doing in their kitchen?
“Where’s Burwell?” The irksome man pulled a heavy watch from his purple and sky-blue plaid vest.
Lettie backed up to the kitchen window and startled when her apron strings tapped against the glass.
Nestor dipped a little curtsey and ducked her head. “He where he usually be, Mr. Cheney – up in the Big House.”
The man grinned, his pock-marked ruddy face one Lettie had encountered in her nightmares. The other slaves told stories of the man as though speaking of the devil himself. No one wanted to be taken from Burwell Plantation by this man and sold elsewhere. Who knew what all he would do before they ever reached their destination?
“Why lookie here.” He chucked Nestor under her chin. “Things has worked out fine for ya here, ain’t they?”
Lettie must have been staring, for Cheney growled as he looked at her. She quickly glanced away and moved away from the window to the stove.
“I’d say I was sorry about your mama, Lettie, but I ain’t a man to lie.” He patted the pockets of his burgundy coat.
She chewed her lip, willing the tears to stay put.
“Fact is, I was surprised it ain’t happened earlier.”
“Mr. Cheney, you want to try my new sugar biscuits?” Nestor’s voice was tight.
Lettie heard the man’s boots ground into the brick floor. “Why, if I had more time, I’d gladly savor some of your sugar biscuits, Nestor.”
Lettie cringed at the insinuation in the insufferable man’s voice. She heard Beneida sniffling in the corner.
“But I got to hand off this handsome gal and git on back to Richmond afore the boat departs. Got me a hundred—” he used a derogatory term that set Lettie’s teeth on edge “—to take down to Charleston.”
Lettie turned to cast a sideways glance at the man, who was touching Beneida in an all-too-familiar manner. “Just remember your place and don’t be puttin’ on no fancy airs here, girl, and Miz Burwell might keep you.”
As beautiful as the young woman was, who knew what shame Beneida would know at this plantation? Or had already suffered at Cheney’s hands. Mama had somehow been able to keep the young Burwell men from her, and up to now had prevented Durham from getting near her, but now. . . Tears flowed down her cheek and she bent to stir the stew simmering on the hearth.
“Goin’ up to the fields. Burwell wasn’t at the house when I stopped.” Cheney spit a glob of tobacco onto their clean kitchen floor. “Wipe that up girl.”
He pushed Beneida toward the filth. When she hesitated, he kicked her. “Use that fancy gown of yours. Ya won’t be wearin’ it here.”
Beneida grabbed a handful of the taffeta fabric, but found what Lettie knew – the stiff fabric wouldn’t pick it up – it merely smeared the foul substance around.
Spinning on his heel, Cheney cackled as he heavy-footed it out of the kitchen.
Lettie whooshed out a breath. She grabbed a wet rag and brought it over to wipe up the tobacco clump.
Nestor offered their newcomer a hand up. “You be Beneida?”
Lettie bent and wiped up the dark stain. If only life’s messes were that easy to clean up. If only God could blot out the sins of men and restore them to right reasoning. Would they realize enslaving people was wrong?
“I heard about you.” Nestor lucked at her shabby gray cotton skirt, beneath her stained apron.
“How so?” Beneida nibbled her lower lip.
“Lettie say you gonna be free. That you go to England.”
Her oval face paled. “I did. But we returned. Mr. Dolley died. And his wife sold me to the Burwells.” Tears streamed down her face and little Nestor patted her arm.
Beneida stared out through the windows. “I’ve never lived anywhere but in town.”
Lettie followed her gaze. Outside, well-muscled field slaves pushed carts of produce to the back of the kitchen house. A number of men sat on the ground, by the well, drinking their fill of water before they headed back. Across the yard, female slaves carried baskets of laundry atop their heads and into the laundry building. Smoke curled up where huge pots of water boiled for the task.
Chauncey Burwell rode up the center lawn astride his white gelding, waving his hat high. He circled the square and the kitchen workers all quickly turned their attention to chopping vegetables on the counter. Even Beneida picked up a knife, in pretense.
“You look ridiculous in that outfit, in here.” Lettie pointed to the hall.
“Everything I brought in my bundle is this fancy or more so.” Beneida gingerly fingered the glossy bow on her right shoulder.
“I’ve got extra clothing upstairs you can use.”
“She got more problems than clothing if she stay here.” Nestor pointed toward the overseer, who was ducking into the laundry building. Where he had no business to be.
More about the Author
Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of fifteen Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn’t “cure” her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper,” in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! Her latest novel, My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring is a Romantic Times Book Reviews Top Pick. You can connect with her at www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.
Connect with Carrie and her books
Carrie will be giving away one of her books (winner’s choice!) to a randomly chosen entrant. And I have been trying to figure out a better way to do these giveaways. Finally, I have decided to run rafflecopters. You probably know how they work…entries will be accepted until Thursday evening November 9, 2017 at 11:59pm (CST).