I’m excited today to introduce y’all to Gerri Bauer, a debut author for Franciscan Media’s new fiction line. A Catholic historical romance, At Home in Persimmon Hollow intrigues me right from its premise. After all, you don’t often find “Catholic”, “historical”, and “romance” all coming together in one book.
At Home in Persimmon Hollow is the first book in a series chronicling the world of Agnes Foster and the people of frontier-era Florida. In 1886, Agnes Foster is forced to leave the Catholic orphanage in New York where she grew up to start a new life as a teacher in Persimmon Hollow, Florida, a town she has only ever seen in a newspaper ad. With nothing but her strong Catholic faith to sustain her, she leaves behind the only home she’s ever known and the little girl she hopes to adopt, and encounters a wild and beautiful new landscape, and a town full of hardworking, faith-filled people. She also meets the difficult, yet handsome and hard-to-ignore Seth Taylor, a man whose heart has been hardened to God after a terrible loss.
Just as Agnes starts to feel Persimmon Hollow could be a good home for her and her daughter, and that Seth could be her love, tragedy strikes in the form of a trio of evil men from both their pasts, intent on doing them more harm. Will their fragile new love survive? Will Seth return to his faith? Can Agnes finally escape her dark past and find a bright new future?
Make sure you come back tomorrow for my review! 🙂
Gerri Bauer has a B.A. in English from Stetson University, where she works in social media and online marketing and volunteers for their campus ministry program. She was born and raised in New York City but has deep roots in Florida, where she lives with her husband, spoils her cats and keeps tabs on a far-flung extended family. She edited The Parce Letters: Voices from the Past, a collection of primary sources on pioneer settlers in Florida. This is her first novel.
As always, let’s start Gerri out with the “fast four”!
Me: Apples or oranges? Why?
Gerri: That question puts this Floridian in a quandary! I eat an apple almost every day, oranges less often. But a sun-kissed orange or a tangerine plucked off a tree in the yard is a sweet treat.
Me: Can’t beat that kind of fresh!
Skittles or M&Ms? Why?
Gerri: Skittles, because I’m allergic to chocolate. Not fair, right? I’ve learned my body can tolerate a square or two of chocolate on occasion without my immune system going into overdrive.
Me: Oh how awful! I prefer Skittles but to know I couldn’t have the chocolate…. So unfair!
Dogs or cats? Why? (My dog Zuzu takes this question very seriously. She likes me to tell people. lol)
Gerri: Animal-lover-supreme here! Give Zuzu a hug from me. (Great name, BTW.) I’ve shared my life with both dogs and cats. However, I’m currently a certified cat lady with four rescue cats who act like lap dogs.
Me: I conferred with Zuzu… and she will allow your answer because of the hug (for which she thanks you most sincerely) 😉
Coke or Pepsi? Why?
Gerri: Pepsi. Don’t know why! I drink Coke, too. But if faced with the choice in front of me, I’d choose Pepsi.
Me: I’m mostly indifferent (though I prefer Coke)… until it comes to diet. And then it MUST be Diet Coke lol. My most hated question in a restaurant – “Is Diet Pepsi okay?” To which I always want to reply – “Is Monopoly money okay for when you hand me the check?”
Anyway… I have digressed….ahem.
When you aren’t writing, what other hats do you wear?
Gerri: Wife, daughter, aunt, cousin, friend; cat guardian; reader; gardener; and, in the day job – social media and online marketing manager at Stetson University. Until family concerns claimed more of my time, I was the staff liaison for the Stetson Catholic Campus Ministry and still stay connected to them. And I volunteer at the book booth of my parish’s annual Oktoberfest. It’s coming up soon. Yes, that’s a shameless plug for St.Peter Oktoberfest 🙂
Me: Haha! Shameless plugs are always allowed around here – especially when a book booth is involved 😉
You mentioned gardening. I kill plants, despite all my best efforts. What’s your secret?
Gerri: Hands in the dirt and education. Talking to the plants helps, too! Gardening is both a science and an art. Learn the rules, and then experiment, always keeping in mind the motto “right plant, right place.” I’ve had as many failures as successes in gardening. After gardening for several years, I became a certified Master Gardener, which helped me increase my knowledge. But I’m not in any danger of being nominated for a Garden of the Month award.
Me: My grandmother (also a quite successful gardener) always told me I should be talking nicely to my plants… instead of the grumbling I usually do. Maybe I should give that a try 😉
At Home in Persimmon Hollow is your first novel. What inspired you to start writing?
Gerri: Like most authors, I have a few early, unpublished novels stuffed in file drawers and in great need of revision. Writing has been a part of me since I was a child, when a “story” (actually, a longish paragraph) I submitted to Highlights magazine was published. I worked my way into a career as a journalist after earning an associate’s degree, but wanted to write about history and gardening instead of politics and crime. I happily escaped to the newspaper’s Features department. In my spare time, I turned seriously to fiction writing as a way to get my mind off infertility and miscarriage.
Me: I have found that fiction – both writing and reading – can offer a great means of escape for the mind. Not a way of avoiding reality, but rather a renewed hope and a period of time where you can engage with people who don’t ask you questions you don’t feel like answering 🙂
Who are some of your favorite authors?
Gerri: That’s a tough one, because there are so many. I’m always reading about three books at a time and those authors tend to be my favorites while I’m immersed in their worlds. Jane Austen is always at the top of my list, though.
Me: Love Jane Austen! (Your reading habits sound like mine, by the way lol)
In At Home in Persimmon Hollow, who is your favorite character?
Gerri: Characters have a funny way of becoming like members of the family. Each one is endearing in his/her own way. One character who insists on pushing herself onto the scene is young Polly, and I suspect she’ll need her own book when she gets a little older.
Me: Characters become members of the family to readers too 🙂
Gerri: The heroine of Book Two in the series, Stitching a Life in Persimmon Hollow, is a young woman who dreams of being a dressmaker for the fashionable women of her era, but finds that life can be complicated when two men vie for her affection. A longer blurb is at Amazon.
Me: I’m already looking forward to reading it!!
Gerri, thank you so much for chatting with me today. I consider it a true privilege!!
Gerri: Thank you for the kind invitation, Carrie!
Come back tomorrow for my review of At Home in Persimmon Hollow! Until then, click on the publisher’s logo below to buy a copy 🙂
Connect with Gerri Bauer at:
Also feel free to check out the other posts so far on Gerri’s blog tour:
At My Friend Amy, Gerri talks about the difference between “Catholic” novels and “Christian” novels.
Tressa at Wishful Endings had another great interview with Gerri yesterday!