Please join me in welcoming Heather Norman Smith to the blog today to talk about her debut novel Grace and Lavender which releases March 1st from Ambassador International!
Heather Norman Smith aims to entertain and encourage, while illuminating the redemptive love of God through her writing. Along with Christian Fiction, she writes devotions and children’s books. She also enjoys writing songs and singing about Jesus.
Heather is proud to be a life-long North Carolinian and hopes to present the beauty of the Tar Heel State in her writing. Her home is just outside Winston-Salem, NC, where she lives with one husband, two daughters, one son, two cats, and two dogs. Heather loves words and does not enjoy math, except when it comes to counting blessings.
Recently retired Colleen Hill is always busy, constantly on a quest to make life more interesting.
When the ladies’ group at her church partners with the local children’s home, Colleen jumps in as usual, volunteering to share her passion for cooking with a troubled teenager named Grace. But Colleen must balance the new project with her pursuit of becoming a contestant on a television game show, along with all the other ideas her brain continually spins out.
Colleen’s daughter Melody is quite different. She lives a calm, simple life and is content with who she is. That is, until an unexpected opportunity to work with Grace, too, pushes her to reevaluate life and dare to take on bigger dreams. The path starts with a newly-found interest in soap-making and leads her to responsibilities she didn’t even know she wanted, including helping Grace understand the meaning of her name.
Grace & Lavender is a book for all audiences—a heart-warming story that reminds us to seek God’s purpose for our lives.
Hi Heather! Welcome to the blog!
Heather: Summer! I honestly don’t like “real shoes”. I love the freedom of flip flops and sandals (which is really an April through October thing.)
Carrie: I don’t like shoes in general but I’m willing to sacrifice that for snow 😉
Heather: I’m a southern girl, and I love sweet tea, but I have a serious addiction to coffee. At least three cups a day, morning to night. No cream. No sugar. I learned to drink black coffee when I was twelve because that’s how my parents drank it, and I wanted to be “grown up.”
Carrie: I don’t think I will ever feel grown up until I learn to like coffee… it’s been 41 years; i’m losing hope LOL
Heather: I’ll cheat and say both. I grew up at the foot of the Blue Ridge. When I see them, I call them “my mountains” (which a character in my book does, too), and my in-laws have a place at Oak Island, NC, where we spend a lot of time. My character, Colleen Hill, agrees: “She was a Carolina girl through and through and had always felt a deep sense of gratitude that she lived in a place where she could be at the mountains within an hour and at the beach within four, with so many pretty places and good people packaged in-between.”
Carrie: The Blue Ridge & Smoky Mountains are my happy place ♥
Heather: Print. I read ebooks for the convenience, when I want to download something and have it right away. But I much prefer holding a book in my hands.
Carrie: I’m the same way!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Heather: Teleportation. I don’t like being away from my kids, but if I could pop in and see them in an instant, it would make things like going to writer’s conferences easier.
Q: Which books are ‘on your nightstand’?
Heather: Always lots of kids’ books to read to my youngest two kids, and I love the “Jesus Storybook Bible” by Sally Lloyd-Jones. I’m also reading “A Fragile Hope”, by Cynthia Ruchti right now. And lately, I’ve been reading some great books by other Ambassador International authors–“War-Torn Heart” by Allison Wells (releases March 20) and Alabama Days by Daphne Self (release date not set.)
Carrie: The Jesus Storybook Bible is one of my faves – and so is A Fragile Hope!
Q: Writing spaces are as diverse as authors and books. Where is your favorite space to write?
Heather: As boring as it sounds, my couch. I’ve made an imprint on the end of the couch where I sit with my laptop for hours at a time, with a cup of coffee and a Diet Dr. Pepper on the table beside me. Oftentimes there’s a child or a Labrador retriever to the other side. That’s my happy place.
Carrie: haha – love it!
Q: Some authors like to hide little things in their stories. Is there anything you have hidden in your book?
Heather: Not really hidden, but, being that it was my first book, I wanted to slip names of family in there. I didn’t know I would just keep on writing and writing, and would have other chances to use their names. In “Grace & Lavender”, at least as a minor reference, I used my kids’ names (Elizabeth, Sarah, and Daniel) and my parents’ names (Bobby and Barbara.) (My husband’s name—Alex—is used in my current work-in-progress, and I’ll find a way to include my sisters and nieces soon, too.)
Carrie: That makes it so much more special, doesn’t it?
Q: What do you most want readers to take away from Grace and Lavender?
Heather: That God has a plan and a purpose for our lives that He will reveal when we seek Him, and He is faithful to work all things together for good. I also want their hearts to be inclined toward children in foster care and to consider how they can minister to those children.
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.
Heather: After “Grace & Lavender”, I’m changing things up just a bit with a first-person story set in 1961 in the Great Smoky Mountains. Abandoned by his father, ten-year-old Nate Dooley is shown the love of God by friends he never dreamed he’d find, only to be torn between them and his newly discovered family on the other side of the mountain. That book should be released sometime in the summer.
Carrie: Eeep! You had me at ‘Smoky Mountains’!
Heather Norman Smith is giving away a print copy of Grace & Lavender to TWO of my readers! (US only) 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 interests you most about this book?