2020 Carol Award Finalists Q&A (and a Giveaway!): Darlene Panzera & The Groom She’d Thought She Left Behind

Posted September 12, 2020 by meezcarrie in 2020 Carol Awards, Author Interview, Christian, Darlene Panzera, giveaway, historical, romance / 48 Comments

Hello again! Through September 19th (culminating with a list of winners), I have the privilege of sharing mini interviews with nearly all of the 2020 ACFW Carol Award Finalists! Today I’m continuing with Darlene Panzera and her Carol Award finalist novella “The Groom She’d Thought She Left Behind” from The Runaway Brides Collection! You can check out a list of all the finalists HERE.

FYI – There will be 2-3 posts per day, and a series-long giveaway, so make sure you catch them all!

Darlene Panzera is a multi-published author of both sweet contemporary and Christian historical romance. Her career launched with The Bet, a novella included in bestselling author Debbie Macomber’s Family Affair, which led her to publish thirteen more titles including The Cupcake Diaries and Montana Hearts series, and novellas in The Underground Railroad Brides, The Runaway Brides, and Sew In Love collections.

Darlene is a member of RWA, ACFW, Oregon Christian Writers, and the Northwest Christian Writers Association and co-founder of Aspiring Writer Academy. When not writing, she loves spending time with her husband and three kids, teaching at conferences, and feeding her horse carrots. Visit her website at: www.darlenepanzera.com

The Runaway Brides Collection
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Romance Novella
PUBLISHER: Barbour Books
RELEASE DATE: January 1, 2019
PAGES: 448

What is a woman of the 1800s to do when she feels powerless to choose her own spouse and marry for love—run!

Amy’s home is at stake if she doesn’t marry her neighbor. Delia’s father wants her to marry into a political family. Georgiana is posing as a wealthy man’s wife in order to hide from her groom. Callie is fleeing one wedding and racing to marry a stranger. Emily flees her wedding with the help of a mysterious coachman. Josey’s best friend leaves a letter proposing marriage unanswered in order to elope. Bernadine becomes the ward and pawn of her evil uncle. Where will each turn when they have only God to trust?

Seven women facing the marriage altar make the decision to flee, but who can they now trust?

The Groom She Thought She’d Left Behind
by Darlene Panzera

In 1896, a would-be bride gets cold feet on her way to the altar and escapes from Boston to the Berkshire region of Massachusetts with help from her mysterious coachman.


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Hi Darlene! Welcome to the blog!

Q: How has Christian fiction impacted you personally?

Darlene: The Christian novels I have read challenge me to stop and think about how I view God, life, and our relationships with one another, all while enjoying a good story. I received my first Christian fiction novel as a teen and the faith journey of the relatable teenager in the story was so compelling that I read it over and over again dozens of times, which also deepened my own faith.

Carrie: I had that experience as a teenager too – it’s so great to have that influence for teenagers in such a pivotal time in their lives!

Q: When you’re not writing your next award-nominated book 😉 who are your fave authors to read & why?

Darlene: I read all genres, but I especially love Karen Kingsbury’s contemporary novels because the characters seem so very real and relatable. I also admire Beverly Lewis, whose Amish stories are so powerfully written with vivid imagery, emotion, and meaning, that they stay with you forever.

Carrie: Very true!

Q: Do you have any strange writing habits or quirks?

Darlene: I notoriously burn dinner whenever I am on a roll with my writing and I’m ‘in the zone.’ My daughter says, “Never trust a writer to cook dinner.” Without realizing it, I suppose I also mimic some of the expressions my characters are making in the story, for my family will walk in and stare at me and ask, “Are you all right?”

Carrie: hahaha!

Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve googled lately while researching a book?

Darlene: I needed to find out if crows can see well in the dark. I learned, they do not, which is why they rarely fly at night when there is a greater risk of being injured. This serves my story well because I was looking for a simile that my hero could relate to after entering a precarious blackout situation.

Carrie: how interesting!

Q: What’s something that God taught you while you wrote ‘The Groom She’d Thought She Left Behind’?

Darlene: Much like the heroine, Emily, I needed to trust God would help turn everything out for good. My editor brought me into The Runaway Brides Collection with the other authors at the last minute and I had to quickly come up with an idea and write the story fast, trusting God to help bring it to completion.

Carrie: yikes! i bet that was a whirlwind!

Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from ‘The Groom She’d Thought She Left Behind’ & why do you love it?

Darlene: In one scene from The Groom She Thought She’d Left Behind, Emily and Gilbert are at a masquerade ball and Emily is afraid she will be recognized by the man she jilted at the altar.

“Thank you, Gil,” she said, as he took hold of her hand. “If I ever do marry, I’ll marry for—”

Gilbert nodded, lifted the mask up over his head to reveal his face, and with one of the most tender looks of understanding Emily had ever seen, he said, “Love.”

This is one of my favorite quotes because after all the previous bantering back and forth, these two finally realize they are falling for one another.

Carrie: so sweet!

I am offering one reader any TWO books (print copies) that finaled in the 2020 Carol Awards! (open internationally as long as Book Depository ships to your address) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

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What about you? What makes you want to read the novella Carol Award finalist The Groom She’d Thought She Left Behind by Darlene Panzera & what did you enjoy about Darlene’s answers?

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48 responses to “2020 Carol Award Finalists Q&A (and a Giveaway!): Darlene Panzera & The Groom She’d Thought She Left Behind

  1. Perrianne Askew

    Yet another new author to me! I thought burning dinner when she was on a writing roll was funny. I thought the Googling on whether crows see well in the dark was also interesting.

  2. Suzanne Sellner

    Darlene is a new author to me. I love her quote from the book about the masquerade ball and marrying for love!

    • Hi Suzanne, nice to ‘meet’ you too! I had such fun writing this novella, The Groom She Thought She’d Left Behind. The masquerade scene had me laughing as I was writing it. I think this is probably the most humorous story I have ever written. Glad you enjoyed the interview.

  3. Roxanne C.

    I have never read a novella in a Barbour Books collection that I didn’t like. This author is new to me, but her story sounds just like the kind I always enjoy. Thank you for the introduction.

    • Hi Roxanne, I have written 3 novellas for Barbour Collections now. I was introduced to Barbour by a friend who had already written in several collections with them. Glad you enjoy them!

  4. Megan

    I enjoy a good novella collection as it gives a sampling from each author and I can learn whether I’d like their other books or not.

    • Hi Megan, thanks for commenting. Novellas are a great way to meet new authors. I was invited into 3 collections and it is fun to be able to collaborate with other authors while writing too.

  5. Becky D

    I wonder if she’s mimics her character’s expressions to get a better way to describe them… or because she’s so caught up in the character & acting out her story. Either way, that would be fun to see. Thanks for sharing!! 📚🥰

    • Hi Kim, while I have written many “sweet” books for the general market, I have only written 3 stories for the Inspirational market. Just getting started in this genre and hope to continue to write many more! Thanks for reading the interview.

  6. Always finding new authors through these giveaways. How wonderful.
    Loved learning about the the author and their books.
    Would love to read and review books in print copy

  7. Lynn Brown

    I also like to read about the Amish as you do. I like to hear all the details of their dress, courting customs, and daily life activites.

    • Hi Lynn, I like to read all genres. Beverly Lewis writes very heartfelt Amish stories. While I do not think I could write Amish books myself (and do them justice), I love learning all about their way of life. My husband and I have taken his father and step-mom to Lancaster, PA several times and we’ve seen all the Amish shows, tasted the buffets, visited museums and all the country shops and markets. Great tasting food! I also love seeing all the horse and buggies. (I have horses of my own.)

    • Thank you! The research on crows is for an upcoming 3 book Civil War trilogy. The characters were referring to crows while traveling in the middle of the night. It is funny, you never know what you might have to research for a book, but it taught me something too.

    • Thank you! My daughter helped me come up with the title and the plot. I had to write this novella fast so it was best to make it fun. And I think writing it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had as a writer.

    • Hi Elizabeth, I did not know crows couldn’t see well at night to fly either! You never know what you will find when you start researching. But it fits well with an upcoming story I am writing.

    • Thank you, Diana! The Groom She Thought She’d Left Behind was fun to write. The idea of writing a story about a runaway bride was presented to me by my publisher and as soon as I heard the topic, I had to smile and knew I was going to enjoy this.

    • Hi Lori, thank you – I really like books set in the 1800’s too. As a writer it is also easier to have your characters get away with things before there were cell phones and video cameras everywhere to record everything. Especially when writing a mystery and keeping secrets, like in my novella, The Groom She Thought She’d Left Behind.

    • Thank you, Paula! I had so much fun writing this one. I’m glad you enjoy the Barbour novella collections. I have stories in 3 of them: The Underground Railroad Brides, The Runaway Brides, and the Sew In Love Collection.

  8. Carrie, thank you so much for inviting me onto your Reading is My Superpower blog! And a big thank you to those who have left comments and entered the contest. It was a pleasure to ‘meet’ you all. May God bless you!

  9. Dawn

    I love novella compilations and I am curious to see how she ties in that tidbit about crows not flying well in the dark.

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