Welcome to another Friday and another author on my blog! This week I have another special friend for you to meet. Although, this author friend is one I have met, face to face! Author Sara L. Foust and I met at a Writers Retreat that the writing ministry I help lead, Clarksville Christian Writers, hosted a few years ago. Sara was an absolute delight and I am all too eager to introduce you to her and her books…
Welcome to my blog, Sara! I’m so happy to have you visit. First things first…can you tell us a little about your novel?
On the surface, SIMON FINCUFF and FERN STRONGBOW have nothing in common. Simon has served his sentence, but his past conviction still haunts him. Fern is a veterinarian and grew up on an off-the-grid homestead. The one thing they share? Each has a dark secret they would do almost anything to protect.
When their current careers are yanked away, they are left scrambling to pick up the pieces. A reality television show falls into their paths, offering a life-changing opportunity that tests their resolve and their faith.
These two unlikely partners must battle to survive for thirty days in the untouched wilderness of Rarity Mountain with only a handful of survival items and a director who is out for drama, no matter the cost. With their lives and their carefully guarded skeletons on the line, they will discover how far they are willing to go to win the million-dollar prize for Survival Tennessee.
Ooohhh….sounds interesting. I love settings I’m familiar with. Being a Tennessee girl myself (as you know), I’m intrigued!
What was the inspiration for Rarity Mountain?
I enjoy watching survival shows and, after much prayer, God gave me the idea for Rarity Mountain. I’ve also thought East Tennessee is so wild in places, it would make a great location for a reality show, so why not write one?
East Tennessee is wild. And is ripe as an amazing setting for such a book. Love it! I love all the places inspiration can come from for writers.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not, what did you want to be when you were a child?
I have always wanted to be a writer. I’ve also wanted to be a veterinarian, a horse boarding stable owner, a National Geographic photographer, and a mom.
I wanted to be a veterinarian for a short while. Quickly dismissed it. I know they love, care for, and help animals in pain, but I didn’t think I could mange the regularity of seeing animals in pain. Though I know that’s not what it’s really about…just a 7 year old girl’s tender heart…
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Nice! And I’m sure, like most other writers, there are parts of the journey you like and parts you are not such a fan of. Is there a part of the writing process you dread?
I love writing. I love editing for other people. I do not love editing for myself. Once I write the story, I want to move on but I can’t and I have to go back so many times for thorough editing. Ugh!
I hear you! Once I’ve been through the story for the umpteenth time, I am soooo done! Soooo tedious!
What are you currently reading?
I am in between fiction books right now and reading a couple different self-help, psyche-understanding nonfiction books.
Interesting. I, too, try to keep my fiction and non-fiction running at the same time. I’m sure you find the same struggle I do…house and kiddos and ministry means the time left a balancing act between writing and reading. So difficult!
What about your writing process? What kind of music, if any, do you listen to when you write?
I don’t listen to music when I write. Usually, I listen to whatever chaos is happening with my kiddos ha!
I’ve got plenty over here if you run out! Do you have a favorite time of day to write? What about a favorite place?
I tend to grab writing time whenever it is available, and I love writing outside. I think better with fresh air, sunshine, and birds chirping.
Sounds wonderful! I’m so glad it’s warming up. My deck is calling to me!
I get this question a lot…people seem very interested in writers’ processes and their productivity. So, about how long does it take you to write a book?
It takes me about 6 months to write a full-length book and then another 1-2 to edit.
Last question, I promise, then I’ll let my readers dig into Rarity Mountain! Do you have any current projects you’re working on? Care to share?
I am writing a book called, Jade Owl. It is the first book in the Serafina Jones Chronicles and tells the story of a self-conscious archaeologist looking for pirate treasure somewhere in the Smoky Mountains.
Another book series based in this region. I love it!
Sara, thanks so much for being on the blog and taking the time to share about your writing and giving us a peek atRarity Mountain. So, without further ado, I’ll let you all (readers) jump right in:
Dr. Fern Strongbow settled into a folding chair across the desk from Dr. Sylvia Greenlee. Fern popped a flower into her mouth and smiled as her friend and mentor grimaced. “Dandelion?”
Sylvia shook her head. “You eat some strange things, Fern.”
“They’re delicious.” Fern ate another yellow top and smiled. “What’s on the agenda for our weekly session?”
A dog whined in the next room, drawing Fern’s gaze to the office door. No doubt Max was having trouble awakening from his dental surgery. Pentothal did some strange things to their patients in recovery.
“I’m sure Kaylee can handle that.”
She was probably right. But what if Kaylee was otherwise occupied? Fern leaned back into the cold metal and sighed. “I miss the old chairs.”
“Well, they were worth $50 at the farmer’s market. Paid the water bill last month.”
Max whined again.
Fern’s gaze once again darted to the closed door. “You sure Kaylee isn’t busy with something else?”
“Max will be fine. We need to talk.”
Sylvia’s gaze landed on the wall behind Fern’s head instead of greeting her head on in that penetrating, straightforward way Fern had come to appreciate long ago. Strange. Did she have more news about the clinic? Fern’s pulse skipped.
“As you know, things have been tight around here. But I haven’t been completely honest with you about how bad things are.”
Fern’s stomach flip-flopped. Her chewing mouth stopped. “Oh?”
“I know I promised you partnership in another nineteen months, but we aren’t going to make it that long.”
Wait. What? Her pulse swished in her ears, thumping like the poor dog’s tail against his crate-prison in the next room. “What are you saying?”
“As of today, I’m seeking a buyer for the clinic. I’m sorry.”
Words ping-ponged around in Fern’s mind, but none of them found her mouth. She swallowed the bitter flower.
“You’ll be fine, Fern. You’re a survivor.”
Her neck stiffened. “Survivalist. There’s a difference. We’ve discussed it a million times.”
“I mean it. You are a survivalist, but you’re also a survivor.”
No, she wasn’t. She was a mess inside. Barely keeping it together so no one noticed. Where would she go now, with her dreams of part ownership in Knox Highway Veterinary Clinic dashed? Her safety net yanked away, feet dangling over open space, a chasm of uncertainty yawning below. How could she remain in control when everything was being turned upside down?
Simon Fincuff returned his attention to the strips of flooring. Not a hard floor to lay, but one that required his best work considering the customer. Arnie reminded him of that every morning when they arrived.
Mrs. Golden’s nasal squeak sounded from the other room. Growing louder with each word.
Upset again. Why didn’t that surprise him? Was it his imagination or did he hear her spit out his name?
Arnie’s muffled argument ended with the slam of a door.
Simon glanced up as Arnie entered the room, reading the words on his boss’s face before they formed on his lips.
Arnie shook his head. “I’m sorry, man.”
“Not your fault.”
“It’s different this time.”
Simon’s motions froze. The next words coming, the sentence forming in Arnie’s mind would change everything, wouldn’t it? Again.
“I’ve got to let you go, Simon. She insisted. I’m sorry.”
Heat burned Simon’s cheeks. “Not your fault.”
“She did a background check of her own, you know. I didn’t tell her.”
“If I have another job I’ll call you.”
Yeah, that’s what they all said. Once he’d been let go, he never got that follow-up call.
Simon gently gathered his tools and tucked them into his canvas bag. He didn’t say goodbye to Arnie or the job site. No one would miss him after a few days passed. Why couldn’t people see past his past? Yes, it was dark but there was light underneath. One he wanted to shine brighter than the penned ink of failure.
Another job lost. Another uncertainty looming. What was he supposed to do now?
“Come in, Betty.” Gregory Vanderbilt, III, laid down his pen and took the chewed lid from his mouth. “Don’t hover.”
“Sorry, sir. I didn’t want to interrupt.”
“We do this every day. What exactly did you think you were interrupting?”
“I don’t know, sir. Sorry.”
Gregory held out his hand. “List.”
Betty’s hands shook as she gave him the clipboard.
She wouldn’t last another week. He’d bet money on it. “This is all of them?”
“Buy. Pass. Buy. Buy. Pass.”
“Sorry, which ones?”
“Good gravy.” He picked up the pen and scribbled in the margins. Buy veterinary clinic. Pass putt-putt course. Buy television station. A good buy, that one. Buy the gas station. With an overhaul of its front appearance, it should be profitable. Pass on the bank. He owned enough banks already. Well, his dad did anyway.
Gregory thrust the clipboard into Betty’s hands and waved her out.
The Knoxville Sunsphere’s copper sides glittered under the gaze of a late summer’s sunset. Would Pops be satisfied with his purchases today? How would he react if he wasn’t?
More About the Author
Sara is a multi-published, award-winning author and homeschooling mother of five who writes surrounded by the beauty of East Tennessee. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Tennessee and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She is the author of the Love, Hope, and Faith Series, which includes Callum’s Compass (2017), Camp Hope (2018), and Rarity Mountain (March 2019). She also has a story, “Leap of Faith,” in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Step Outside Your Comfort Zone and a novella, Of Walls (November 2018).
Sara finds inspiration in her faith, her family, and the beauty of nature. When she isn’t writing, you can find her reading, camping, and spending time outdoors with her family. To learn more about her and her work or to become a part of her email friend’s group, please visit www.saralfoust.com.
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