Monday, November 30, 2015

The Substitute Bride by Carrie Fancett Pagels ends December 7th

Welcome Carrie Fancett Pagels! It is so good to have you hear with me again at The Sword and Spirit Blog! I'm excited for my readers! I love character interviews. Readers, be sure to read down and find out how to enter the giveaway of Carrie's new release. Your choice of ebook or paperback.

The Substitute Bride by Carrie Fancett Pagels

I have a number of Christmas stories I really love. Two of them are A Christmas Carol and It’s A Wonderful Life. I combined elements of these two stories as I wrote The Substitute Bride. Here’s the blurb and then I’m going to interview some of my characters from the novella!

A letter for Sonja’s deceased friend arrives at the post office in Michigan,

and with it a proposal. With her father threatening to kick her out of his home, Sonja impulsively responds, offering to travel west to be a substitute bride. At the same time, Louis’s railroad promotion sends him back to Michigan, the one place on earth he’d hoped to never return—where Christmas past was full of pain. A mysterious stranger leaves him marked copies of “A Christmas Carol” as he considers romancing Sonja in Christmas present. Will Louis discern the best choices for Christmas future? Does it include the Poor House, again? Even so—will God bring healing and love to him this year?

My background: I was a psychologist for twenty-five years and have done many interviews. Today I have some of the folks from my 1890s story, set in Shepherd, Michigan, only miles from where my great-grandparents were bringing up my grandfather and his siblings! In fact, they make a cameo appearance in the book!
Q: Louis Penwell, you’re my hero. Please tell me about your name.

A: My father used the last name Smith, which was his middle name, when we moved to Shepherd. He was trying to leave his checkered past behind. So I was known as Louis Smith when I lived here before. Thank God my father came to know Jesus before he died. But he was even buried as a Smith, something I plan to rectify with a marker bearing his proper name.

Q: How about the Penwell name?

A: That’s an unusual name and anyone familiar with my fiction world’s famous Penwells might have recognized Father. And with all the trouble he had, before we moved to Shepherd, he didn’t want to bring shame on the family name, either. So we both went by Smith. But when I went to college, I was encouraged to use my legal name, of course. So I did.

Q: Did you know that I took your last name from a gentleman who works at Gettysburg? And when I saw the name on his employee tag I thought this is a God thing because this is a PERFECT last name for my hero, because Louis’s surname—you were a pen pal to my heroine’s best friend. And you wrote amazing letters to Cora, so Penwell worked perfectly!

A: Here in storyworld Shepherd, Michigan, that feels like “Author Intrusion” so, no, I didn’t know that, and honestly I shall push it from my thoughts! Penwell simply is my name, ma’am.

CFP: Moving on here to Sonja Hoeke, whose name I borrowed from a wonderful reader/reviewer, let’s find out a few things.

Q: Sonja, you sent off a hasty letter telling Louis that you would be willing to be a substitute bride for him. Did you regret that?
A: Oh yes! But if my father’s behavior continued to get more erratic then I felt I might not have much choice. There is something wrong with his blood sugar but despite Mother’s best efforts to manage his diet, Father still had bad episodes of confusion and anger. Then he settles down and is back to his usual temperament. There weren’t very many single men in our area until the railroad came into town.

Q: What is your greatest wish?

A: I wish I had my dog back for one thing. I really miss him—especially when I substitute for my father on his mail route. And of course I’d love to have a husband and a family of my own, but I don’t know if that will be. So if I am to be a spinster, I wish I could have my father’s position as a mail carrier. He’s very stubborn and won’t retire despite his health problems. As it stands now, I have an offer of a position and would have to move, which means I wouldn’t be able to teach my Sunday School class, I’d not be able to help my mother and keep an eye on my father, and I’d miss my friends. But I’m trusting God!

CFP: Oh, I see Mr. Hoeke over there. I really want to chat with him!

Q: Mr. Hoeke, how are you doing?
A: I’d be a lot better if my last remaining daughter was married and I knew someone was taking care of her. And I’d sure enjoy having our house finally back to ourselves. All these years of marriage and all those girls—a man just wants some peace and quiet!

Q: I see. Sounds like on one hand you are concerned for Sonja but on the other you are also concerned about yourself.
A: That’s one way to put it. I’m so miserable most days, with this blasted sugar problem, that I don’t always think straight. But when I do, my first concern is that Sonja will have someone looking after her. I’ve sent every young man I can think of her way, but none meets her approval.

Q: I see you have an injury. And if you don’t mind me saying so, you seem a tad long in the tooth to be carrying mail throughout the county in all kinds of weather.
A: I have to provide for both a wife and a daughter—I’m not about to stop until I see her settled and taken care of.

CFP: Well that was enlightening! Maybe Mr. Hoeke isn’t just a grumpy old man! Sounds like he is concerned about Sonja, even though his choice of husband candidates for her is sorely lacking.

Question: Do you have a question for any of my characters from The Substitute Bride?

Giveaway: Ask a question to enter for the giveaway of a paperback copy of The Substitute Bride (or an ebook copy if preferred or if outside of the USA – void where prohibited by law.)

Carrie Fancett Pagels is a multi-published award-winning author of Christian historical romance. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! She resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which is perfect for her love of history. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel -- but not all at the same time!
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  1. I always enjoy story character interviews.

    1. Thanks! This was fun interviewing my own characters!!!

  2. I've read, reviewed and really enjoyed this book. I was appalled by the way her parents wanted her out of the house. Selfish to want the house all to themselves.

    1. Hi Gail! Thanks for coming by! What did you think of Mr. Hoeke's responses to my interview?

    2. I did read them and although he does seem concerned about his daughter's welfare I didn't like that he was letting her know he wanted her out of "his" house and married. I guess during that time period women were supposed to get married and let a man "take care of them". She had at least thought enough ahead to plan for a job to take care of her own self.

  3. What a fun post! This was a great interview! Loved his responses!!

    1. It was fun doing this, Regina! Made me want to do more like this! Wasn't Louis funny about the "author intrusion" lol?

  4. My question is for Sonja and it is: Why would you prefer to marry a total stranger as apposed to any of the men your father presented to you? Assuming you already know those men. Great interview by the way.

    1. Sonja here - (covering my mouth with my handkerchief while I snort with laughter!) My father recently sent my elderly widowed former Sunday School teacher to ask for my hand (of course he didn't go along with it, dear that he is!) and last summer he had an itinerant farmer who barely spoke English (and whose idea of libation was a flask full of whisky) ask me! So I guess you can see! I live in Shepherd, which is a small rural community in central Michigan. We have very few single men who live here at all. (CFP: I used the census for Michigan for that year!)

  5. I love these interviews with the characters! Thank You!

  6. I don't have a question for any of your characters, but I did enjoy the character interview. They are always so much fun.
    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book.
    I am a feedburner follower.
    susanmsj at msn dot com

    1. Thanks, Susan! I love doing character interviews. I miss doing interviews with clients as a psychologist! Blessings!

  7. Love the character interviews - this was a fun one. I loved the book.

    1. I love doing character interviews, Ann, and Debbie Lynne was kind enough to let me do one! Blessings!

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  9. Carrie, I love your character interviews as much as I enjoyed this wonderful story. Can't think of any questions to ask.

  10. Carrie, your interview was so fun to read and I imagine the book is also. No questions but just an observation that sometimes parents don't always show their love like their children expect.
    cps1950 (at) gmail (dot) com