Happy Tuesday! Through this Saturday (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 starting with Laurel Blount and her Carol Award finalist book A Rancher to Trust! 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!
Laurel Blount lives on a small farm in middle Georgia with her husband, their four children, and an assortment of very spoiled animals. She divides her time between farm chores, homeschooling, and writing. She’s busy, but she’s never bored!
Whenever she’s not working, you can find Laurel with a cup of tea at her elbow, a cat in her lap, and a good book in her hand. Visit her at laurelblountbooks.com
A RANCHER TO TRUST
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Romance
PUBLISHER: Love Inspired
RELEASE DATE: December 17, 2019
Searching for forgiveness…and a future.
Suddenly a husband…and a father? This bachelor is ready to claim his instant family.
After learning his ex-wife isn’t so ex after all, rebel turned rancher Dan Whitlock is determined to prove he’s a changed man…but Bailey Quinn is just as set on finally ending their marriage. When tragedy makes Dan the guardian of little orphaned twins, he and Bailey are drawn back together. But can she forgive the past and open her heart to the family she’s always wanted?
Hi Laurel! Welcome back to the blog!
Q: How has Christian fiction impacted you personally?
Laurel: God’s used Christian fiction to help grow me up spiritually. I’ve been an avid bookworm since childhood, but a whole-hearted Christ follower only since I turned 29. God often speaks to new believers in the language they best understand, and I speak “book” fluently. 😊 He led me forward by introducing me to gifted Christian authors who displayed their faith and a Christ-centered worldview beautifully and gently in their stories.
Carrie: I cannot express how much I love this ♥
Q: When you’re not writing your next award-nominated book 😉 who are your fave authors to read & why?
Laurel: Oh, so many! When it comes to authors, I’m like a kid in a candy store. I keep a towering TBR pile! The author names on the book spines fluctuate, but the reasons they’re there are always the same—great, well-rounded characters and a skillfully written story that draws me in and doesn’t turn me loose until the last page! (Current books on my teetering stack include stories by Francine Rivers, Lauren K. Denton, Shelley Shepard Gray, Lee Tobin McClain, and Tina Radcliffe.)
Carrie: I can so relate to this – a kid in a candy store & the towering TBR pile – yes!!
Q: Do you have any strange writing habits/quirks?
Laurel: Hmmm. I don’t think I’m too quirky! I do tend to chain-chew gum when I’m struggling with a scene, (cinnamon is my favorite flavor). I always write in my teensy office, and I prefer to have some sort of white noise going in the background—a fan in the summer or a heater humming during the winter. I also get up early to write—usually about five a.m. (but in a pinch, I’ll start at four), and I write until mid-morning. This has become such a habit, that I can’t sleep in anymore!
Carrie: I’m so sorry about not being able to sleep in anymore – how sad, lol! (As might be assumed, i love sleeping in when i can haha)
Q: Which of your characters has really stretched you as a writer?
Laurel: Most of ‘em give me fits before the book is finished, but I would say that Bailey Quinn, the heroine in A Rancher to Trust, was one of the characters who stretched me the most. She’d made cameo appearances in each of my other three books before starring in her own story, so she already had a fully formed personality—and a definite mind of her own. She wasn’t very cooperative with some of my plot ideas when it came to her own happily-ever-after!
Carrie: lol the audacity of these fictional characters!! 😉
Q: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve googled lately while researching a book?
Laurel: I’m working on an Amish series for Berkley right now, and so most of my current weird googling revolves around that. Do Amish women have pockets in their dresses? How old would an Amish boy be before he’d be allowed to drive the buggy into town? Things like that.
Carrie: so much new research to do!
Q: What is something God taught you while you wrote A Rancher to Trust?
Laurel: As I wrote this book, God underlined the importance of prioritizing people and relationships over my beloved “to-do” lists. Like Bailey, the heroine in A Rancher to Trust, I can be really goal-oriented, and it’s so easy to slip out of balance.
Carrie: oh goodness – that’s a lesson i have to remind myself of often too.
Q: What is one of your favorite quotes from A Rancher to Trust & why do you love it?
Laurel: I have two—the first from the hero, Dan Whitlock“…he was starting to understand that home for him was wherever Bailey Quinn happened to be.” The second’s from his brother Abel (the hero from A Family for the Farmer) “Love’s what makes this town my home, Bailey. Without it—” he shrugged “—this place is nothing to me but another dot on the map.” The theme here—that home is defined more by relationships rather than by geography—is near and dear to my heart.
Carrie: I love both of these!
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.
What about you? What makes you want to read the short novel Carol Award finalist A Rancher to Trust by Laurel Blount & what did you enjoy about Laurel’s answers?