Welcome to the Blog Tour for Songs for a Sunday by Heather Norman Smith, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours! I’m delighted to have Heather on the blog today to share some behind-the-scenes facts about her new book!
SONGS FOR A SUNDAY by Heather Norman Smith
GENRE: Inspirational Women’s/Southern Fiction
PUBLISHER: Iron Stream Fiction
RELEASE DATE: February 7, 2023
Two sets of sisters, generations apart–can one big sister’s sacrifice teach the other about love and forgiveness?
1963: Twenty-year-old Annie dreams of managing the dance studio where she has trained since childhood and of marrying her high-society boyfriend. But when her younger sister with special needs gets pregnant, Annie is forced to set her dreams aside for the sake of family.
Present Day: Missy Robbins has always lived in her younger sister’s shadow. When given the opportunity, Missy steps out of her comfort zone as stay-at-home mom of four to prove she’s as good a singer as Erica. Missy’s new pursuit puts her on a path to self-discovery and reclaiming her discarded faith. Until she discovers her grandmother has a sixty-year-old secret.
Will Missy conceal Grandma Annie’s deception or will she be forced to reveal the hidden truth?
Behind-the-Scenes Facts About Songs for a Sunday
by Heather Norman Smith, author of Songs for a Sunday
Writing Songs for a Sunday as a split-time story was the best of both worlds for me. I could pull from the familiarity of modern-day while also jumping into interesting research of the 1960s. Choosing my own city as the location offered lots of fun opportunities to incorporate real places in the story. Here are a few behind-the-scenes facts about the real places and the time period in Songs for a Sunday.
Big scenes in both storylines take place at Richard J. Reynolds Memorial Auditorium. This amazing Winston-Salem venue, completed in 1924, was commissioned by Katharine Smith Reynolds in memory of her husband, founder of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco.
The 1960s plot has much to do with the creation of North Carolina School of the Arts, which was the first public arts conservatory in the country. The Winston-Salem institution trains students at high school, undergraduate, graduate, and post-master’s levels and consists of professional schools of Dance, Design & Production, Drama, Filmmaking, and Music.
I normally steer away from using denominations for churches in my stories, but I used two in this book. Winston-Salem has a strong Moravian heritage, which is a Protestant denomination that originated in Bohemia and pre-dates Luther’s Reformation. I named another church Presbyterian because I wanted to use a certain community name, but I didn’t want to use a real church from that community.
The eleven-feet tall bull statue mentioned in the book is real. Built in 1957, the statue still stands outside a Winston-Salem restaurant, though the name of the restaurant has changed in recent years.
The hospital where Missy’s mother receives care in the present-day story, when she takes a fall off the front porch steps of her home, is the same hospital where all my kids were born, even our son that was adopted from foster care. (I had c-sections there in 2007, 2010, and 2013. Our adopted son was born there in 2016. We had a child every three years.)
Winston-Salem celebrated its bicentennial in one of the years in which the story is set. Though Winston and Salem merged in 1913, the oldest of the two cities is Salem, which was founded in 1766. In 1966, the city had a year-long celebration to celebrate its 200th birthday.
Hanging Rock State Park is the setting of Chapter Two in Songs for a Sunday, and is somewhere my family enjoys visiting. In the 1960s story, Annie and R.C. are proud that there father was part of the Civilian Conservation Corps camp that built the park.
In order to preserve the historical dates in the story, and keep a certain character the age I needed him to be (because his age is relevant to the plot,) the “present day” story actually takes place several months after the release date of the book.
Along with tobacco, textiles has historically been a big industry in the region in which the book is set. While not stated, it’s implied that Annie’s mother had previously worked in one of the mills operated by the Hanes family. Hanesbrands, Inc. is still a big part of Winston-Salem. I worked as a contract employee in the corporate office for a few years.
I listened to Elvis Presley sing Peace in the Valley several times while writing the book and several more times since. In my 1960s timeline, the song is very important to the main character, and it provided me with inspiration as I wrote her story.
Heather Norman Smith is a Christian fiction and devotions author. Her goal is to use the written word to entertain and encourage while illuminating the redemptive love of God. She also enjoys singing about Jesus. Heather is a proud life-long North Carolinian and aims to present the beauty of the Tar Heel State in her fiction. Her home is just outside Winston-Salem, N.C., where she lives with her husband and their four children, and several pets.
Connect with Heather by visiting heathernormansmith.com to follow her on social media or subscribe to email newsletter updates.
(1) winner will receive a signed copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card!
Full tour schedule linked below. The giveaway begins at midnight February 6, 2023 and will last through 11:59 PM EST on February 13, 2023. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize. US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.
Giveaway is subject to JustRead Publicity Tours Giveaway Policies.
This giveaway is hosted by JustRead, not RimSP
Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
What about you? What makes you want to read Songs for a Sunday by Heather Norman Smith?