Welcome to my stop on the Celebrate Lit Blog Tour for Buried Secrets. As part of the tour, I get to chat with author Rachel J. Good!
Inspirational author Rachel J. Good writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – Sisters & Friends series, Love & Promises series, and two books in the Hearts of Amish Country series – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books and the contemporary novella, Angels Unaware, part of the Hope Chapel series. Rachel also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers. She loves reading (of course!), traveling, and spending time with her five children and three grandchildren. Visit her at her website, Facebook, author page, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads. You also can sign up for her quarterly newsletter here.
Her latest book, Buried Secrets, released March 7, 2017.
Overcome the past and any other obstacles that stand in the way of the future God has planned for you.
Three years after the accident that almost claimed her life, Emma Esh has recovered physically but has no memory of the year before the accident. When she moves to a new community to help her sister Lydia and brother-in-law, Caleb, prepare for the birth of twins, she falls for their neighbor Samuel.
But the twins’ premature birth, a visit from the Englischer Emma once dated, and the sudden return of her memory threaten Emma’s romance. After the secrets of her past are revealed, will love be able to overcome all obstacles?
Hi Rachel! Welcome to the blog! I start all of my guests out with a fast four:
Rachel: Both. I love fruit of any kind.
Carrie: Me too! Except not oranges. Or kiwis. Or grapefruit. Or tomatoes. So… “I love most fruit” would be more accurate for me LOL.
Rachel: Summer. I prefer warmer weather, but Spring is my favorite season. Seeing the budding flowers always fills my heart with hope.
Carrie: I’m so glad that Spring follows winter because I’m always a little sad to see winter go (I love snow). But the flowers and the green and the freshness to the air always cheers me up!
Rachel: Cats. I love their independence, and my cat always curled up next to me when I wrote & wrapped her paws around my arm. I miss that help now when I type.
Carrie: Zuzu (my dog) is a little worried…. the answers lately have been rather cat-majority. She’s certain the end of the world is near.
Rachel: Neither. I’ve never acquired a taste for either. My friends (and now you’re all included in that group) know I also don’t like soda. Given a choice of beverages, I’ll always choose water.
Carrie: I have never grown to like coffee or tea either … but I wish I could say I don’t like soda. I’m forced to give it up and stick to water but I’m not pleased with this state of events lol.
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Rachel: The ability to wave a wand and erase poverty, sickness, and pain
Carrie: Oh yes please! That is so needed. One day, Jesus will erase all those things for us!!
Who is your favorite book character from childhood?
Rachel: I adored Sara Crewe in The Little Princess. My goal was to grow up to be like her—to always look on the bright side when life appeared bleak, to give generously to others even if I had little of my own, and to use my imagination to create stories.
Carrie: That is such an inspiring book!
Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Rachel: I prefer to sit on my bed with my laptop.
Carrie: Me too!
Describe your main characters in one sentence each, and tell me who you would cast in their roles if Hollywood wanted to produce Buried Secrets as a movie.
Rachel: I’d love to see my books made into movies, but I’ll let them do the casting because I don’t watch TV and rarely ever see movies (I just don’t have time), so I’d have no idea who to suggest. Instead, I’ll mention book characters they remind me of. But I’d love it if readers would tell me who they think could play the roles.
Emma has always struggled with her rebellious, impulsive nature, but after she meets Sam, he helps her reframe her view of her personality as spontaneous and exuberant. She reminds me a lot of Scarlet O’Hara.
Sam is accepting of others; he’s strong, but soft-hearted and is known for rescuing strays (a mangy dog and a brokenhearted, fearful girl). He’s the typical boy-next-door, who’s always friendly and helpful, but he’s also drop-dead handsome.
Lydia, the older sister, often appears critical and overprotective, but she truly wants the best for her family. In many ways, her personality reminds me of a softer version of Marilla Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables, whose righteous and stern exterior cover up a good heart.
What surprised you about Buried Secrets or your characters as you wrote their story?
Rachel: As I write each book in the series, events or objects I included in earlier stories take on new meanings. I can’t give away a plot point of my new release, BURIED SECRETS, but in Book 1 (CHANGE OF HEART), the father grew more and more grouchy and sharp-tempered as the story went on. I didn’t realize until I wrote Book 2 that his changed personality came from covering up guilt. I was shocked to discover his buried secret, along with Emma’s. Several readers have mentioned the revelation was totally unexpected.
Carrie: I love how the story and characters take on a life as you build the series!
What do you most want readers to take away from Buried Secrets?
Rachel: That God’s love and mercy never fail, and His forgiveness erases all mistakes and sins, even if we feel they’re unforgiveable. I also hope to show that no matter how dark life looks, “all things work together for good,” if you trust God.
Rachel, thank you so much for taking time to talk with me! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Rachel: First of all, a book tour in April. I’ll be in PA, where the book is set, for many different events. Readers can check my website (http://www.racheljgood.com) to find out where I’ll be. While I’m in PA, I’ll also be doing a lot of research by attending mud sales and going to a goat farm and a special needs school – all settings for upcoming books. Oh, and did I mention I’ve been sampling Amish soft pretzels in many East Coast states. Sometimes book research is really tough. 😊
In May, I have an Amish story (set at a PA mud sale) coming out in a spring anthology with Celebrate Lit.
Book 3 in the Sisters & Friends series, GIFT FROM ABOVE, will be out this summer.
I’m also busy writing more Amish novels. I have two books contracted in the HEARTS OF AMISH COUNTRY series and a story in a Thanksgiving anthology. My agent is also negotiating a contract I’m excited about and hope to announce the news soon.
Emma concentrated on the plants beside her. Gardening soothed her, made her feel whole again. The spring sunshine warmed the ground and sent comforting rays through her cloak as she bent over the soft, moist earth. She lifted a seedling from its pot and inhaled the savory tomato-y aroma. Then she pinched off the lower leaves, set it in the hole, and gently bent the stem before covering it with soil.
Whoosh. A heavy weight slammed her backwards, smashing her head against the ground. Gasping, desperate to suck some air into her crushed lungs, Emma opened her eyes to find a furry face inches from her own. A huge mouth opened, revealing pointy white teeth. Then a wet pink tongue scraped across her cheek.
“Bolt,” a deep male voice commanded. “Off.”
A handsome stranger, black bangs hanging in front of his eyes, bent over her, his hand outstretched. “Ach, I’m so sorry. She slipped out the door again.” He clamped his other hand on the Irish setter’s collar and pulled the dog off Emma, leaving muddy paw prints across her skirt.
Still dazed, Emma lay where she’d fallen, gazing up at him, unsure whether the rapid pattering of her pulse was from her recent fright or from looking into the greenest eyes she’d ever seen.
“Are you all right?” Worry crinkled his brow.
“I–I’ll be fine.” Ignoring the hand he’d extended, she tried to sit.
The stranger dropped to one knee beside her. “Don’t get up if you’re hurt. Is there someone I can fetch?”
“I don’t need help.” Heat flooded Emma’s cheeks when her words came out sharply. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “Please forgive me.” Then pinching her lips together, she steeled herself to sit without assistance.
“There’s nothing to forgive. I’m the one who let my dog escape.” The words were barely out of his mouth when the Irish setter twisted free and bounded off, crushing the rows of seedlings Emma had just planted.
“Oh, no!” The stranger dashed off after the dog, swerving to avoid the tomato plants the setter had crushed. Gasping for air, he made a desperate tackle, landing a few feet beyond the garden, the dog wriggling under him. With a firm grip on the Irish setter’s collar, he stood, the front of his shirt, galluses, and black pants splattered with dog hair and dirt.
Emma suppressed the urge to giggle at his sheepish expression, the clod of mud clinging to his forehead, and the panting dog struggling to jerk free of his hold.
He pinched his lips together as he studied the mess. “I’m so sorry. Let me put Bolt in the house. Then I’ll help clean up.”
“Bolt?” Had he called the dog that earlier? Emma had been too distracted to pay attention. Now she couldn’t hold in her mirth.
Rather than taking offense, the stranger glanced down with a rueful expression, then joined in her laughter. “Jah,” he said between hearty chuckles. “Short for Lightning Bolt. She zigs and zags so fast I can’t catch her sometimes.” He waved a hand toward the disaster in the garden. “Like she did here. And now look at me.”
Emma did, and her laughter ended in a sharp intake of breath. And then his eyes met hers, and she stopped breathing altogether.
To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away a full box of Whoopie Pies freshly baked for you from a bakery in Amish country, along with copies of Angels Unaware, the brand new Amish Words and Proverbs Coloring Book and Amish Quilts Coloring Book #1 (Large Print Edition), an autographed copy of Change of Heart, and an Amish cookbook!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!