The delightfully sweet and funny Becca Whitham is chatting with me today, and I could not be happier! 🙂 Her latest novella “Cowboy Competition” is part of The Cowboy’s Bride Collection which released earlier this week from Barbour Publishing. (Check out my review here.)
Becca Whitham is a multi-published author who has always loved reading and writing stories. After raising two children, she and her husband faced the empty nest years by following their dreams: he joined the army as a chaplain, and she began her journey toward publication. Becca loves to tell stories marrying real historical events with modern-day applications to inspire readers to live Christ-reflecting lives. She’s traveled to almost every state in the U.S. for speaking and singing engagements and has lived in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Alaska.
Other Books by Becca Whitham:
Welcome, Becca! Let’s start out with our fast four!
Becca: Apples, because I was born and raised in Washington State, and we’re mighty proud of our apples.
Becca: M&Ms because—hello—CHOCOLATE!
Carrie: Please keep in mind that my dog Zuzu has to approve your answer for the interview to continue. Ok. Not really but I let her believe that so she feels important.
Becca: Uh…neither. Can I still be interviewed??? I had a cat growing up, but he stayed outside so we never bonded. We had dogs when my kids were young because I was attempting to be a good mom. Now that we are empty nesters and have to move every few years, it’s better on the dog, finding a rental home, and me to be without pets. My hubby is a total dog person. His greatest sacrifice coming into the army was letting go of getting another dog. Once we retire, we’ll see how long I hold out against Nathan’s pleading, puppy-dog eyes.
Carrie: Zuzu has decreed that you may continue with the interview since a) you didn’t choose cats and b) your husband loves dogs.
Becca: Also neither. I’m a ginger ale girl, and then only when I’m flying on an airplane. I weaned myself off soda about ten years ago and haven’t missed it much since. I still want one when I’m flying, though. I wonder what that says about me.
Carrie: I keep trying to wean myself off of soda. I could totally do that (I think) if carbonated water tasted better. Sigh.
Now, before we proceed with topics that actually matter 😉 I have to get one burning question out of the way. HOW do you pronounce your name? Bee-kah? Bek-ah? Moses? Ok, just kidding.
Becca: My real name is Rebecca, so Becca is exactly how you’d pronounce that if you dropped the “Re”— BECK-uh. Whitham is a British name. There’s even a town in England called Whitham. It’s a condensation of White Hamlet, and the “ham” part is pronounced “um” the same way it is for Nottingham or Buckingham. But the Brits have a way of condensing everything. “White” turned into “Whit” or “Wit” depending on how well you blow a silent “h”. So…the pronunciation is WIT-um. Now for a bunch of stuff you didn’t ask but might find interesting anyway. My husband is pure Brit bloodline even though his ancestors can be traced to the original American colonists who came over on the Mayflower. He’s actually named for Nathan Hale, the first American hanged as a spy by the British during the Revolutionary War. Nathan Hale’s aunt is a direct ancestor. As for the Whitham name itself, the best we’ve been able to track down is that a couple Whitham brothers arrived in America around 1880 one step ahead of the law. The family tree is fascinating and includes Princess Diana (and therefore Princes William and Harry), Richard Nixon, and Charlemagne. A few years back I bought my husband a shield decorated with the Whitham crest. It came with a family history. The first mention of the Whitham name is a chaplain for King Edward the Oppressor whose brutal treatment of the Scots inspired the movie “Braveheart.” Nathan says it’s because the king didn’t listen to his chaplain.
Carrie: LOL! And – oh my goodness! I love family history stuff! I always wonder about the stories, the ones we can find and the ones for the names that don’t have a lot of information behind them. That said, William Shakespeare is a first cousin of mine … 14 times removed, but who’s counting. What a fascinating family tree for your husband’s family!
Carrie: BUT – you can only use three words for each character. Just to keep you on your toes lol.
Becca: I can sum them both up in one word—lost. Nia has lost the woman she always dreamed of being through grief, and Toby is lost because he believes his worth is determined by something his father did. Both of them must figure out what’s wrong with how they’ve seen themselves in the past in order to embrace a brighter future.
Becca: Wow…this is a hard one. Scatter-brained? Addicted to Chai tea? In a constant state of “I don’t know what happens next”? I know how I’d like them to describe me…persistent.
Becca: God’s will for my life is not about being in the right place, having the right job, or even making the right friends. God has asked one thing of me—of all of us. I’m supposed to reflect Him. I was created in His image and as His image. Forgive me while I go into chaplain’s wife mode for a moment, but this answer ties back to your previous question. I’ve heard many people say they feel God has called them to be an author. I don’t. I think God has called me to be patient, kind, forgiving, and all the other character qualities that reflect Him. Outside of that, I believe God gives me complete freedom to choose a career. Right now, I chose to write. I’ve been a school teacher, home-schooling mom, contract writer, customer service representative, paralegal, and now an author. To reflect God in my profession, I work hard to be the best writer I can be at this point in my career. I’m constantly taking classes, working with trusted critique partners, and trying to improve areas of weakness. Along the way, I try find people who are just a little behind me on their path so I can lend a helping hand. Through it all, my highest goal is to reflect God in my personal and professional life.
Carrie: Oh, I love that! You can go into “chaplain’s wife mode” anytime you want around here 🙂
Becca: My most expensive and time-consuming hobby is making greeting cards and scrapbooking. I have a whole blog dedicated to that (with sidebar links to books by a certain author). I also enjoy singing, playing the violin, entertaining friends, attending Bible study, and trying out things unique to our current duty station. A few weeks ago, we went curling. It’s a lot harder than the Olympic athletes make it look.
Becca: I grew up reading paperback romances. They were sweet and clean. As I got older, they got…steamier, and I had to stop reading them. But I still loved romantic stories and, once I finished everything by Grace Livingston Hill, there wasn’t much left to read. The Inspirational Romance genre was years away from being born. I was blessed to find an author named Patricia Veryan. Her stories were full of history, suspense, and romance without the “bodice ripping” stuff. Then I read Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love and saw a historical, suspenseful, romantic story with a life-changing message. When I grow up as an author, I want to be Francine Veryan.
Carrie: I grew up reading GLH’s books! My favorite was Kerry… for obvious and purely self-focused reasons, but hey – I was in middle school. Redeeming Love brought the Biblical book of Hosea to life for me in a way that nothing else ever had before, making it one of my dearest books in the Bible and making Redeeming Love one of my enduring favorites. I have never heard of Patricia Veryan but now I’m totally going to have to look her books up!
Becca: Thanks for having me, Carrie. As for what’s next, I’m sitting on some exciting news until everything is finalized, but it will keep me quite busy. In the meantime, I have two more novellas coming soon: one is a follow up to “Letters from Santa” which will release at some point in the future, and the other will be my third for Barbour called “Driven to Distraction” for The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection which will release in November 2016. (You can PREORDER The Blue Ribbon Brides Collection now at Amazon!)