Every once in a while, a book comes along that you know will stay with you forever. Pepper Basham’s The Thorn Bearer is the latest to fall into that category for me. As I said in my review here, her characters are rich and her language is poetic but her theme of brokenness and rescue gripped me the most. Several years ago, I went through a season where I was so broken I wasn’t sure how I’d ever be put back together again. Unlike Humpty Dumpty, however, I didn’t have to rely on any of the kings’ horses or any of the kings’ men for the task – I had the King Himself as my Rescuer! And oh what a marvelous job He does of repairing and restoring and renewing our broken places. I have had the privilege to get acquainted with Pepper a little bit lately, and she is just so sweet and funny and down to earth. I can’t wait for you all to get to know her too!
Pepper D. Basham has been telling tales ever since she was a little girl and fell in love with storytelling while listening to her granny share oral history. A native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and lover of chocolate, Pepper enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction wherever she can. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC, where she works with kids who have special needs, searches for unique hats, and plots new ways to annoy her wonderful friends at her group writing blog, The Writer’s Alley. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of Seymour Literary Agency. Her debut novel, The Thorn Bearer, arrives on May 7th 2015 and is the first book in the Penned in Time series. Her first contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, is slated to release later the same year.
THE THORN BEARER by Pepper Basham
SERIES: Penned In Time #1
GENRE: Historical Romance (Christian)
RELEASE DATE: April 11, 2015
BRONZE MEDAL—CHRISTIAN FICTION—READERS FAVORITE BOOK AWARDS
FINALIST—2015 GRACE AWARDS
SHORT-LISTED—2015 INSPY AWARDS
From the decks of the ill-fated Lusitania to the smoke-filled trenches of France, Ashleigh must choose between the forgiveness of her past, life in the present, and a Savior who can rescue her from them all.
When her fiancé leaves her eight months before their wedding, the unexpected blow ignites a battalion of insecurities stemming from her father’s intimate betrayal. Her worst fears are confirmed – who could ever love a soiled woman?
In an attempt to escape the shame and disappointment of her past, Ashleigh boards the ill-fated Lusitania to cross the war-torn waters of Europe. Much to her dismay, she isn’t traveling alone.
Sam Miller is always making up for his best friend’s mistakes. Determined to help Ashleigh, he offers his compassion and protection as she ventures across a perilous sea. With the faint hope of renewing his lost love for Ashleigh’s sister, Sam never expects to find the woman of his dreams in his best friend’s former fiancé and his own childhood companion.
As they travel across the Atlantic, neither is prepared for the life-altering and heart-breaking journey of their friendship.
When the truth of Ashleigh’s past explodes in the middle of war and Sam rejects her, Ashleigh must decide if God is enough – or if the double weight of her betrayal and past will crush her life forever.
Hi Pepper! Welcome to the blog!
Pepper: Apples. Sweet, crisp, juicy…and it doesn’t take 90 years to peel the thing before eating it!
Carrie: Amen to that! I’m drooling a little here. (I really love apples.)
Pepper: Tough call. It would be a harder call if you’d said “Sour Skittles” – but I’m a chocolate girl through-and-through, so I’m going to have to go with the M&Ms.
Carrie: I normally like sour candy but I’m an old-school flavors Skittles girl.
Pepper: Dogs. I don’t like mind games.
Carrie: haha! My dog Zuzu is quite happy that you too have answered correctly! You have been granted permission by Her Highness to continue on to the next question.
Pepper: Pepsi (Dr. Pepper is a Pepsi product 😉 And, Pepsi is sweeter.
Carrie: Hmm..well, 3 out of 4 isn’t too bad. I will overlook this one wrong answer 😉 We can work on the Pepsi thing.
Q: Since The Thorn Bearer takes place in both North Carolina and England – Southern accent or British accent? Why?
Pepper: Ugh…this is a really tough one. I feel like England would have been my home if I hadn’t been born in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I suppose Appalachian is pleasing to my heart and British is pleasing to my ears 🙂
Carrie: Oooo I love that answer!!
Q: Speaking of Appalachia and where you were raised, you’ve said that you started writing stories as a young girl. Can you tell us about one that you remember?
Pepper: Oh, I still have one I remember! I’m attaching a pic of my youngest daughter holding it! I wrote it when I was 10 (and illustrated it…poorly). It was about two children who solve a mystery in the woods revolving around a misunderstood widow 🙂 After that I began a whole series of Nancy Drew-ish spinoffs called The Tracey Twins. 🙂
Carrie: LOL! I seriously want to read The Tracey Twins now. And I am very intrigued by The Secret of the Woods – maybe it can be a bonus feature in one of your books someday 🙂 What a special picture for you and your daughter to share!
Q: I happen to know that you have a thing for hats 🙂 You clearly wear the author “hat” beautifully! What are some other “hats” that you wear in your life?
Pepper: Well, I’m a wife to a fantastic music minister, a mom of 5, and a speech-language pathologist…I’m also an experimental baker, lover of chocolate, amateur song writer, and worst ice skater the world has ever seen.
Carrie: Eh, who needs ice skating when you have your very own team of super-cute super heroes!
Q: In The Thorn Bearer, most of the characters have some level of brokenness that they carefully guard. Why do you think we try so hard to hide our imperfections and secrets?
Pepper:Pride. We all suffer from the Fall and fight against being transparent to others because transparency is scary. That’s why we all crave relationships that take us ‘ugly and all’ – that security of being loved no matter what. Deep down, we crave that, but it’s a terrifying place because none of us are perfect.
Carrie: Uh yeah. No getting around that. A song I love by Jason Gray says “Secrets lose their power when they have no place to hide.” But getting to that place where we are ready to be transparent. Yikes! Yep – terrifying.
Q: One of the phrases that comes to have special meaning for Ashleigh in her relationship with Jesus is “Abide with Me.” Has there been a time when you especially felt the benefits of abiding with Jesus?
Pepper: Oh, lots of times. When my Granny died (her spirit is embodied in Grandmama Dougall), when our family moved last year (toughest year of my life), when I had a miscarriage, when my best friend struggled through a broken relationship…yeah, I didn’t have the strength, wisdom, or power to change those situations or handle them on my own. I had to learn to rest in Him so my heart could find peace.
Carrie: “I had to learn to rest in Him so my heart could find peace.” Beautiful.
Q: Sam says at one point in the book that he’s a fan of romance, in particular those that start with frog gigging. This Yankee-raised girl must know. WHAT is frog gigging?????
Pepper: Snicker!! Oh my goodness, so funny! Frog gigging is like frog hunting. Some people would do it for sport, of course, but frog legs can be quite the delicacy (I’ve never developed a taste for them). Anyway, you can use sharpened sticks, pitch forks, etc. Best done at night with flashlights because you stun the frogs a little, but it can happen in the daytime too. Aren’t you glad you asked?
Carrie: Well. Now I know. Poor Kermit. haha!
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.
Pepper: Oh I’m so excited!! My contemporary romance, A Twist of Faith, comes out in December. It’s a modern-day Appalachian retelling of My Fair Lady. Since I’m a speech-language pathologist, I really enjoyed playing around with accents for this book, and pulling in my Appalachian culture. The Penned in Time Series of which The Thorn Bearer is #1 has two other books on the way. The Thorn Keeper and the Thorn Tender. Both are due to come out in 2016. I would LOVE to have more books to tell you are in the process of publication, but that’s what I have for now. I have some really fun rom coms being reviewed right now, a historical romance (with fantasy elements) set in Victorian London, another historical that’s kind of like Christy, a YA retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, a reality tv rom com which is a mix between Downton and Austenland….but none of those have a publishing home yet 🙂
WHEW….that sounds crazy! But here’s praying God keeps these stories coming because I dearly love to write!
Thanks so much for letting me invade your blog!
Carrie: Thanks for invading… I mean… for stopping by! Storm the castle anytime 🙂 Especially if you bring news of more books – or an exclusive clip of The Tracey Twins! Beyond excited to read the releases on the horizon!
What about you? What makes you want to read The Thorn Bearer by Pepper Basham?