HAPPY RELEASE DAY to Laurie Stroup Smith & her debut novel, Pockets of Promise! I’m absolutely delighted to welcome her to the blog today to chat about this wonderful novel, which I had the great honor of endorsing.
While writing Amish fiction and contemporary romance, Laurie Stroup Smith strives to connect readers with friends and family through her stories while inspiring her audience to serve others. She was named a Finalist in the 2017 ACFW First Impressions Contest and a Semi-Finalist in the 2018 and 2019 ACFW Genesis Contests. She has been interviewed by Loveland Magazine.
Before writing, Laurie earned a bachelor’s degree in both athletic training and exercise science and later obtained her master’s degree in health promotion and education. She now writes full time and lives with her husband and their two daughters in Cincinnati. For a week or two each summer, they enjoy discovering new adventures along the western coast of Michigan.
POCKETS OF PROMISE
SERIES: The Pocket Quilt #1
GENRE: Amish Fiction
RELEASE DATE: April 30, 2020
A young Amish woman—torn between two worlds and two men—travels to Pinecraft, where she receives wisdom and guidance through secret letters tucked into the pockets of a special quilt.
Mariah Mast’s best friend Josiah Weaver has concentrated his efforts on providing for their future together, but on her eighteenth birthday, Mariah finds herself edging away from Josiah and her faith. An encounter with police, a misunderstanding of intentions, and hurt feelings compound her confusion. Her grandmother sends her to stay with an aunt in Pinecraft and gives her a pocket quilt with handwritten messages tucked inside.
Thrilled to have her help at the bed and breakfast, Aunt Birdie introduces Mariah to a group of new friends, including Luke Yoder, a young Amish man who works for his father’s construction company. Spending time with him opens up a new world for Mariah. Her grandmother’s words of wisdom offer guidance as she makes a decision that will have lasting consequences for those she loves. Will she find fulfillment in Florida? Or does her heart belong in Holmes County?
MY ENDORSEMENT OF POCKETS OF PROMISE
Charming, sweet, and entertaining, Laurie Stroup Smith’s debut will leave warmth in your heart and a smile on your face! Mariah’s journey to finding – and living out – her purpose is honest and relatable, and readers will enjoy peeking over her shoulder as she discovers the special words of wisdom from her grandmother. The smooth, easy flow of the author’s writing style adds to everything I loved about this story. Laurie Stroup Smith is a delightful new voice in Amish fiction, and fans of the genre will want to add this to their must-buy list!
Hi Laurie! Welcome to the blog! And Happy Release Day!
Laurie: Summer. I enjoy the longer days and the break from our regular routine, which offers the freedom to have fun with my family.
Carrie: But it’s so hot! lol 😛
Laurie: Music. Whether hanging out on our front porch, playing board games, or making dinner, our family bonds over music, specifically country, ‘90s alternative, and yacht rock.
Carrie: I have never heard of yacht rock – had to go look it up hahaha!
Laurie: OVER! If I see a roll of toilet paper that has been loaded incorrectly, I’ll flip it. You’re welcome. 😉
Carrie: LOL! <makes a note to ‘fix’ my toilet paper if Laurie ever comes to visit> 😉
Laurie: Ocean. Though I’m not a huge fan of sand and I have a desperate need to know—and see—what is swimming in the water with me, the beach makes me think of sunshine and fun times with family and friends.
Carrie: that’s lovely!
Q: Around here I like to say that reading is my superpower. If YOU had a superpower, what would it be?
Laurie: Force Matter Transportation. While watching Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker, I loved the unexpected ability Kylo Ren and Rey gained that allowed them to transfer physical objects between themselves. The first example came when Kylo Ren grabbed Rey’s necklace off her body and used it to learn where she was.
My husband and I have two daughters, ages 14 and 13. Texting currently allows us to keep in touch when we’re away from home, but having the superpower of Force Matter Transportation would be a game-changer for us, especially as the girls get older. Fun thought!
Carrie: oooo what a great superpower to have! I’m of course immediately thinking of the implications for book borrowing between long distance friends haha
Q: When you walk into a bookstore, where do you head first?
Laurie: When I walk into a bookstore, I first head to check out the new releases. I’m not ashamed to admit I judge books by their cover. (Maybe that’s why surrendering the cover design for Pockets of Promise proved to be a challenge for me). If the cover design grabs my attention, I’ll read the back cover and/or inside flap and go from there. If the books are aligned on the shelves so I can only see the spines, I rely on catchy or moving titles to guide my selections, check out the cover, and repeat the process. I guess I’m a picky reader.
Carrie: well… with so many books and so little time we have to be at least a little picky!
Q: If I sneaked a peek in your purse right now (which I would never do, I promise!), what would it tell me about you?
Laurie: I don’t use a purse. Instead I carry a wristlet. In addition to functioning as a wallet, there’s enough space for me to carry the absolute essentials. If you peeked through my wristlet, you’d learn that I like to be prepared, but I don’t need to have everything on my hip at all times.
Carrie: but… but… <peeks in wristlet> where do you put your ‘just in case’ book that you carry around with you for opportune reading times? LOL
Q: What surprised you about Pockets of Promise or your characters as you wrote their story?
Laurie: When I first wrote this book, I was really proud of the story. Two years and six manuscripts later, I flipped through the pages with plans to polish the writing before sending it to my editor. I could not believe the amount of work it needed. By continuing to write as I waited for the call from my agent, I had grown as a writer, and the improvement I’d made in the craft was evident as I critiqued my own work. Boy, did I pour over those revisions!
Carrie: I love that!
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from Pockets of Promise & why do you love it?
Laurie: In Pockets of Promise, Aunt Birdie tells Mariah, “We ladies are not defined by our past mistakes. Whether Amish or not, society tries to tell a different story.” I love this quote because there have been times in my life when I’ve struggled with mistakes I’ve made, and as a result, my perception of who I am has wavered. God forgives our mistakes, and He tells us who we are. We can find our identity in Him.
Carrie: yes! amen. so thankful for that truth!
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.
Laurie: I’m currently working on Pockets of Purpose, Book #2 in The Pocket Quilt Series. Travel from Pinecraft to Holmes County, where surgical complications leave an Amish auctioneer searching for his passions and purpose. The release date has not yet been confirmed, but I’ll keep you posted!
I also have a wounded warrior contemporary romance out on proposal. It’s being pitched as a stand-alone with series potential since I’ve already finished the second book. In an effort to strengthen my chances for a contract, I reached out through social media to a former Marine who is doing amazing work with veterans. I learned about her after discovering her memoir at the library. In that book, she describes her fight for personal freedom from her struggles. She wrote a powerful endorsement for my story, and I hope her words result in an editor taking a closer look at the book. Prayers that the manuscript reaches the right editor at the right time are greatly appreciated.
Carrie: oh wow! i’m excited about both of those books – praying for great things for both!
One winner will receive a signed paperback copy of Pockets of Promise, a $10 Amazon gift card, a turtle bookmark, and a handmade pocket pillow. (US only) Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
This giveaway is hosted by Laurie Stroup Smith, not RimSP
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Visit each stop on the tour and increase your chances to win. Full tour schedule shown by clicking above banner. Giveaway will begin at midnight April 24, 2020 and last through 11:59 PM EST on April 30, 2020. US mailing addresses only.
Giveaway terms and conditions can be found here.
What about you? What interests you most about Pockets of Promise and/or my Q&A with Laurie Stroup Smith?