I have so enjoyed getting to know today’s guest over the last year or so, as she’s participated in several of the group giveaways I’ve hosted!
Her new book, In His Eyes, released May 5, 2017 from By the Vine Press.
Her heart sought shelter. Her soul found home.
Ella Whitaker rescues a newborn from the dying arms of a woman of ill repute and at long last she has someone to love. In need of a wet nurse, she arrives at Belmont Plantation just as Federal soldiers demand to speak to the owner. Thinking quickly, Ella masquerades as a Yankee officer’s widow in order to have a roof over her head and a home for the child.
Major Westley Remington has dedicated his life to serving his country. The Civil War has divided his family, torn his thoughts of glory, and left him with a wound that may never heal. Westley returns home on medical furlough to settle his father’s estate at Belmont Plantation, only to find his home is being run by a fiery and independent woman—one many believe to be his wife. Now he is faced with a conflict he’s never been trained to fight, and one she has yet to conquer.
Hi Stephenia! Welcome back to the blog! I start all of my guests out with a fast four:
Stephenia: Apples, because you dip them in caramel.
Carrie: Um yes please!
Stephenia: Summer. I utterly despise being cold.
Carrie: I’m the exact opposite – I utterly despise being hot lol.
Stephenia: What? Oh, no. I love both… I guess dog, since my 14 yr old pup was my wedding present from my hubby.
Carrie: Excellent choice – of an answer and a wedding present!
Stephenia: I have to say tea, because I drink it the most, but I still drink coffee every morning. 😉
Carrie: Isn’t that a prerequisite for writers anyway? 😉
Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Stephenia: Juggling! I juggle writing, a publishing company, teaching fiction, and a young family with super busy boys.
Carrie: That is definitely your superpower!!
When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?
Stephenia: Straight for the Christian fiction (if I’m in Barnes and Noble) and then to—as you might have guessed—the historicals. But I also love almost any genre, and I will read just about anything with an amazing cover and a killer description. I have also been known to run into Lifeway and get lost in the land of bargain books, only to emerge an hour or so later with a couple of armloads….
Carrie: the land of bargain books is a marvelous place to be lost in 🙂
Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Stephenia: When the weather is nice, I enjoy writing out on my screen porch where I can enjoy the sounds of nature. When it’s cold, I stay in my office. It is decorated with bookish things and next to my big bookshelf, I have posters of all of my book covers hanging on the wall. It’s my inspiration space.
Carrie: A screen porch is perfect! You enjoy the outside without all the bugs and critters 😀
Your latest novel, In His Eyes, is set at the Belmont Plantation. Tell us a little bit about the plantation and why you decided to set your novel there!
Stephenia: So, this is a fun story. I knew I needed a house in the Mississippi Delta near the river, so I started Googling houses. I saw this one very old picture of Belmont, and not only was it beautiful, it stood exactly where I needed it to for the story. When I clicked on the link, I discovered the house had recently been purchased, restored, and opened as a bed and breakfast. I dug around and found the owner’s name (who happens to have been born in the small town I now live in) and sent him an email. I told him who I am and asked him if he would be interested in discussing the possibility of featuring Belmont on one of my novels. He sent back a reply later that day and—this is such a God thing—showed me a picture of one of my other books (The Whistle Walk) that he was currently reading while on a business trip! He said he would love to see Belmont on my next book.
A few weeks later, I took a trip up there and just loved the place. They showered us in Southern hospitality and even took the time to drive me all over the county so I could get a good dose of the local history. If you ever find yourself in Greenville, MS, it is definitely a place you want to check out. We are doing a launch party there on May 27th where readers get to tour the house, take pictures with the cover model in her dress, and get autographed books. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Carrie: Ok. That is an AWESOME story!!!
Ella and Westley grew up in very different situations. What do they have in common?
Stephenia: They both tend to be a bit stubborn, and both of them let fears and insecurities dictate their words and actions.
Carrie: I know nothing about either of those things. (I also never use sarcasm lol)
What do you most want readers to take away from In His Eyes?
Stephenia: I think we all struggle with feelings of inadequacy at times. Sometimes we forget who we are and whose we are, and it can lead to all manner of insecurities. In In His Eyes, Ella struggles with these things as well. Writing this book was a journey for me, one where God gently led me to discover some important truths along with Ella, and He encouraged me to never forget that no matter what else goes on in life—good or bad—my identity is always grounded in Him. It’s my hope that there is a reader out there somewhere that He has the same message for and that this story can help point them toward Him.
Carrie: Yes. So true.
Thank you so much for taking time to talk with me, my friend! 🙂 Before we say goodbye for today, tell us what‘s coming up next for you.
Stephenia: My readers have been asking for a new Ironwood book for quite some time now, so…my next release will be Ironwood Plantation Family Saga book three. It will take place sometime during the 1880s and will feature Lydia and Ruth’s (from The Whistle Walk) daughters. It will release in the fall of 2017. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to keep up with the details if you are a fan of The Whistle Walk.
Thanks so much for having me, Carrie! It’s been a blast.
Carrie: Come back anytime! Like… next week maybe 😉
Stephenia H. McGee is giving away a copy of In His Eyes to one of my readers! (Signed print copy for US readers or an ebook for internationals) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What’s a historic place in your state that you like to visit?