My special guest today is the lovely and talented author of inspirational romance, Regina Andrews. I have had the privilege of being on blog hops with Regina but never have we gotten her all to ourselves. Welcome to Regina’s many fans as well.
Who better to celebrate Valentine Day with than Regina? I am happily visiting Regina’s blog talking about romantic moments and what might be an inspiration to you this Valentine Time of year. Please join me over there at:
Hello Christine, and thank you so much for inviting me to visit your fabulous blog at this most romantic time of year. As writers of romantic fiction, Valentine’s Day is a day that is a pure celebration of love and one that is one of the most special days of the year for us!
Yet, as romance writers, romance and love are always on our minds, all year through, not just this one day. This being the case, there are many forms of love that touch us all throughout our lives, in addition to the obvious lightening-strike of finding the ideal love-of-a-lifetime kind of love.
So today, I’d like to look for a moment at another form of love, besides hot romantic love. It’s a love that shapes us, our whole lives through.
Okay, now you’re saying, “What is she talking about??”
Well, today just happens to be my father’s birthday. I’d like to talk about the special bond of fathers and daughters as a dimension of love that shapes us forever.
My father always supported my dream of being a romance writer. If he were here today, I imagine these are some of the questions he’d ask me about writing. Here’s my imaginary interview with my wonderful dad, who was really my first Valentine and who is always on my mind.
What do you like most about being an author? What surprised you about being an author?
Oh, I love being an author. It is a privilege. To maybe provide an escape, and bring happiness to others… to uplift them, wow. It’s a surprise that dreams really do come true.
If you had the opportunity to write anything on any topic (and you were guaranteed a market to sell it in) what would you write? Why?
I have a manuscript about families dealing with a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. I was honored and blessed to stay home with my mother for over six years when she had dementia, and I know what caregivers go through. I would like to do that. Also, I would like to write about my experience with breast cancer. But that’s two topics, sorry.
How personal are your novels? How much of you are in them?
Yes, most of what I address is based, somehow, in personal experience. I do believe in ”write what you know.’ It would be hard to write about something that I’m not passionate about; so any of my themes – wealth, Alzheimer’s, greeting cards, nurses -would have to mean something to me. Of course, romance and faith are the two main aspects of my writing these days.
What made you publish in the eBook format? What was the appeal for you?
Oh, just about everything. I’m Manager of a Web Copy team for a high-end jewelry company. I know the Web is exploding, and I also know eBooks are the way of the future; and of course, everyone is so into the environment, it’s great. Plus, eBooks are so much easier to read. What’s not to love?
Who has influenced you the most in your writing? How?
I had two professors that made their marks on me: Dr John Hennedy at Providence College, who loved Shakespeare, and was a great writer. He shared that love with his students. Also, Dr. Hyatt Waggoner from Brown University, a true scholar who loved Literature and founded the Am Civ Program where I earned my Master’s Degree. Both fostered a tight mastery of writing techniques and a wide, loving appreciation of the beauty and power of language. They loved good writing and they inspire me to write my best, every day.
What’s your favorite, most romantic city?
That is such a great question. I would have to say I would love to return to Paris, France. Such a romantic city! My wonderful sister Patty and I went there when I was still in High School, and we have returned many times since, although not so recently. I would love to see the sights that have so much historical and religious significance; boy, if I could climb the belfry of Notre Dame again, and behold that breathtaking view, I think I would float to cloud 9!! And the romance – it’s in the air!
What is your goal or mission as a Christian writer?
Thank you for asking about this, because I have always wanted to be able to share a mission of God’s love through writing uplifting, inspiring books in His honor. It’s so basic, to me — to gladden people through reading, and to bring the Word of God to their lives in another way, and to reinforce the love of God in their hearts. How come there’s so much unhappiness? It seems like there’s a vast expanse waiting to be brightened!
What THREE things would you not want to live without?
Well, first of course would be my Bible. It was yours, Dad, not, mine, and I treasure it more than anything. I remember you on your knees every night before we went to sleep, deep in prayer, and this Bible was always by your side. There was never a question I had that you couldn’t address, relating it somehow to the Bible in a kind and loving way. You were always understanding. You made the Bible and religion as aspect of life that was always a message of love, and happiness and acceptance. I think that’s why I write inspirational romances today. God’s love is truly everywhere and behind all happiness. You lived your life glorying in God’s love, and the way you loved us kids and Mom more than anything was a beautiful example.
Second – I was going to add lipstick and coffee as my other two ‘musts,’ but after thinking in more depth about my father and the Bible, I don’t think I could ever live without those wonderful memories of my father, because we share such a poignant connection. The way he lived his life left an indelible impression on me. So that’s the second thing: I could never live without his example, or my memories of my father, really, because that’s what makes me who I am today.
And third, okay I need coffee and mascara and music, but really – what I could not live without is prayer. I could not live without the faith that God has blessed me with, and prayers have helped me so much towards my journey to being the person I hope God wants me to become. It is a process. But I could not live without prayer. And when I think of my father, with the perspective of time, it’s his example that set the tone for my heart being open to God in my life. So, his Bible, a material/physical possession, the memories, an emotional connection, and prayer, a spiritual connection: those are the 3 things I couldn’t live without. They are all centered on love!
This is a real day for love and now you can maybe see why Dad is always on my mind. As romance writers, we know that true love is life-changing. This is something to be celebrated! And it’s nice to acknowledge other types of love that are influential and life-changing, too.
Thank you so much for hosting me, Christine. Happy Valentine’s Day!!
Thank you for sharing this special man with us, Regina. I lost my Dad in 2010 and know the deep connection. How we miss them, no? Even though I do not know you well, I can tell through our communications that you are the epitome of love, happiness and acceptance. Your Dad is truly deserving of the accolade “Well done, good and faithful servant”. He has a wonderful daughter like you. xo, C.L.
Excerpt, “Light of the Heart”
Available NOW in print and eBook format! Here.
Cascade watched the sun, dappled from the leafy trees nearby, play across the firm planes of his face. “Being back here, I don’t feel like anything has changed.”
“Does that surprise you?” he asked.
“The way things are going lately, everything is coming as a surprise. I’m just trying to process it all.”
“Want to go into the church?”
“Sounds like a great idea.” She looked over at him but could not read his expression.
They walked past the dirt piles toward the front of the church. A songbird trilled in one of the rhododendron shrubs as they moved by. Sunbeams glinted off the colorful stained glass windows. At the top of the wooden staircase, Cascade held the brass handle to open the ornately carved door.
“Go on.” Dan reached beyond her and held the door open for her.
She entered the vestibule, blinking her eyes as they adjusted to the darkness. Images of the past flooded her mind. Some of the good, some of them not so good. She turned to Dan. “Come with me.”
“You got it.”
They walked together down the main aisle. Cascade inhaled the familiar scents of wood, candle, and incense. She stopped midway and turned to face the back of the church.
“These windows are beautiful,” she whispered, looking up at the large round West window. “This is where I was inspired to do what I do and to be who I am today.”
“Impressive.” Dan touched her arm. “Let’s sit down here.”
They slid into a pew and sat back against the smooth, varnished wood. Cascade slowly scanned the interior of the church, looking at each window. It was as if she were seeing it for the very first time.
She turned to say something to Dan. His eyes were closed, and he sat motionless. It looked as if he were in prayer. Could he be?
Cascade took the opportunity to admire him. His profile was softened just a bit in the filtered light. Dark hair and a firm, masculine nose were all balanced by the strong jaw line which composed the proportions of his face. His lips, curved into just a hint of a smile, were slightly parted. The shadow of his long dark eyelashes danced upon his cheek. To Cascade, he looked completely and utterly at peace.
She reached over and gave his hand a friendly pat. To her surprise, he took her hand, holding it gently in his. Warm and weathered, it fit hers just right. For a moment, she let herself feel protected. She didn’t know what had happened since he walked into her life. Everything had turned topsy-turvy, but she knew one thing: Dan McQuay was some kind of wonderful.
Then she remembered his words the first time he visited her showroom: “I come into town, do the job, and leave. No ties, no friendships, no tea parties and barbecues with the neighbors. In and out.”
What was she thinking? She snatched her hand away.
“What’s wrong?” Dan looked at her.
“Sure there is. Your lips are all tight.”
“No, I’m fine. I was honestly just thinking about you.”
“What were you thinking?” He smiled.
She took a deep breath, and listening to all the choirs of angels rejoicing at the sight of his smile and wondered, Why me? This guy is way too dangerous. He’s attractive, kind, smart…and ready to leave as soon as the job here in town is finished.
Just then, the church doors opened. A black-cassocked figure hastened towards them.
“Excuse me, excuse me. This area is restricted. Masses and confessions will be held in St. Luke’s school auditorium or the rectory.”
“We were just leaving, Father Greene. I’m on the construction crew, and we came in to say some prayers.”
“Oh, it’s you, Dan.” The furrows in the priest’s brow vanished. A saintly smile replaced his scowl. “By all means, children. Stay a long as you wish. We have to be extra vigilant because of the vandals.”
“You’ve had vandalism problems, Father?” Cascade asked. “That’s horrible.”
The priest blessed himself. “Just dreadful, my dear. What they did to the statue of Our Blessed Mother Mary last month was unthinkable.”
Cascade cupped her hands over her mouth.
“Any luck finding the culprits?” Dan asked.
“No. We have no luck here at St. Luke’s.”
“Well, Father I don’t know about that. Maybe this is the day that all that is going to change.” Dan’s voice sounded strong and reassuring. He shook the priest’s hand.
“There’s always hope. I’m Father Greene, dear.”
“CascadePreston.” She smiled and shook his hand.
Wagging his index finger, Father Greene said: “I’ve heard of you, but I can’t remember why.”
“Cascade’s designing the stained-glass windows for the project, Father. She’s originally fromSterlinglakes.”
Turning to Dan, Cascade saw him give an eager smile. What was he thinking?
“How wonderful,” Father Greene blessed himself. “So good of you, Cascade, to give back so generously to the town that you called home.”
“It’s my pleasure, Father.” Cascade answered. Did I just agree to do the windows?
“Oh bless you, my dear. Bless you.” Father Greene checked his pocket watch. “It’s been so nice to chat with you wonderful folks. I have confessors waiting now.” Turning on his heel, he bustled off through the shadows to the door.
“What were you thinking, Dan? I haven’t agreed to do the windows. Now that nice priest is going to be all disappointed and flustered when he finds out,” Cascade whispered.
“He might not be,” Dan answered.
“I’m infuriated. You weren’t asleep at all. Were you really saying prayers?” Cascade asked as they walked down the aisle.
Dan nodded. “Were you?”
“Oh yes,” she answered. “Without a doubt. Lots of special prayers. Now there’s one more special intention on this list — me getting out of helping Father Greene.” She turned to face him. “You look like you’re going to laugh!”
“Well, it’s just that…” Dan’s eyes seemed to twinkle as he looked at her. It turned Cascade’s knees to jelly.
“Let’s change the subject.” She cleared her throat and gripped the edge of the pew to steady herself. “Before we go, I wanted to tell you that my parents were the first couple married in this church.”
Dan’s eyebrows shot upwards. “Quite a distinction.”
“They started out with lots of hopes and dreams for a bright future, I’m sure. Life takes some funny turns.” She sighed. “Look, I’ve been thinking, Dan, of how stubborn I’ve been about not working inSterlingLakes. I’ve been holding on to that way of thinking for years now. It really hasn’t made me any happier in the long run, to think like that. Just kept me tied to this town in a negative way. I think the fight is over. I want my life to be filled with light and beauty and color. And love. God’s love.”
She blinked away the tears that filled her eyes. “You were right. Abby was trying to do me a favor, and I think she did. It’s through forgiveness that we are set free. Maybe it’s time for me to forgive what happened in the past. At least I can start, and this might be a good first step. Plus, I would never in a million years disappoint that nice priest. Father Greene has enough to worry about without me adding to it. So if it’s at all possible, could I do the windows here?”
You can find me, Regina and get more information at:
Here’s a link to “In Good Faith” : http://bit.ly/pLV5w
Here’s a blurb of my novel, “In Good Faith”:
Haley Hawthorne is a successful Art Director at a high-powered greeting card company in Manhattan. Designer clothes and expensive material luxuries are what she uses to try and fill the emptiness inside — but it wasn’t always that way for her. Orphaned at a young age, Haley was raised in rural Dunbar Falls by her Uncle Nelson amid pasture lands and a clear sense of the things that matter most in life, including her joyful relationship with God. One day Aaron Carrier, her old friend from Dunbar Falls pays her a surprise visit to her office at Sterling Greeting Cards with devastating news about Uncle Nelson. When she returns home to Dunbar Falls, Haley is faced with a professional decision upon inheriting Uncle Nelson’s air-conditioning company. More than that, she faces a crossroads in her heart. It is a crisis of faith, of loyalty and of love. What does God want her to do? Will she be able to return home to Dunbar Falls and all that it has meant for her? And will Aaron Carrier be more than a friend?