Carrie is here to discuss her latest story, which is included in the First Love Forever novella collection. She has a giveaway going on through the month of April. You can find the Rafflecopter link at the end of this post. Here's Carrie...
The Story Behind the Story
Brides of Mackinac was a three book novel proposal I had done a few years back. I wrote the complete first novel, which had two previous titles before becoming part of the "My Heart Belongs" series from Barbour as My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island: Maude’s Mooring. I’d been waiting for another publisher to take a look at the proposal, and about the time they looked at the series, I got an offer from Barbour for the single title. Sadie’s story in “His Anchor” is a condensed version of what would have been the novel. The third story isn’t under contract as of yet.
Further “story behind the story” is that Maude Welling, Sadie Duvall’s best friend, almost didn’t get to be the heroine of that first novel. Maude had to have a ton of “therapy.” I’d struggled with Maude, who was rather quirky and on the OCD side, and I finally called in the “big guns” to help me. I’d known Rachel Hauck of My Book Therapy for years and had been one of the early MBT helpers. She came in, took a look at Maude, and suggested that she might seem a little too “crazy” for the readers. That was pretty funny. As a former psychologist I love quirky and interesting and different kinds of people. And now I needed to make Maude more normalized. Maybe a little more like Sadie Duvall. Hmmm.
My husband and son and rooted for Sadie to take over Maude’s story from the beginning. Sadie has a much more sympathetic past than Maude does, for one thing. Her story really pulls at the heartstrings. But I refused to feel sorry for Sadie. And I kept fighting her and my hubs and son as far as taking over. I even went so far as to write Maude’s story but from Sadie’s version. That’s when I’d realized she really had to have her own story. But I couldn’t have a whole lot of overlap. So when I revised My Heart Belongs on Mackinac Island (which had been Maggie Award Unpublished Inspirational Novel finalist Grand Exposé),
Blurb: His Anchor by Carrie Fancett Pagels
1894 – Mackinac Island, Michigan: Robert Swaine, a ship captain, returns to Mackinac Island where his first love, Sadie Duvall struggles to support her siblings. Will she anchor him to the island he has vowed to leave behind?
Excerpt (Note: This story has a Prologue. Here’s the first scene from Chapter One)
Sadie shaded her eyes and scanned the deep sapphire waters of Lake Huron, to no avail – Captain Swaine must gave taken her words to heart twelve months ago. Her gut clenched. The Straits of Mackinac hemmed her in, their zig-zagging strong currents too strong for her to escape. And now she was truly stuck, without the strength to procure her way out.
Jack Welling raced down the hillside toward her, dodging the cows who were making their way up the hill to the fields near the former fort, now being converted from a National to Michigan State park. So much had changed. Ma gone. Pa missing. Bea working.
Slowing his pace, Jack hooted and then stopped, bent over, and clutched his knees and panted. “Hiya, Sadie!”
“How’re you doing, Jack?”
As he looked up, a knowing expression creased his eyebrows. “Prob’ly the same as you and Bea and Garnet and Opal.”
“Maybe so.” At least the boy had a father and his older sister to care for him. And someone to pay the bills.
The boy straightened. “Sorry that carrot-top fired you from Mrs. Luce’s place.”
Sadie flinched. “She didn’t fire me – Greyson’s wife said they didn’t need my services any longer.”
Jack shrugged. “Same thing.”
No more wages, regardless. “And all this activity and building on the island yet no one willing to hire me except for Mr. Foster.” At the tavern.
“Maude’s still lookin’ around for a job for you.”
“And we’re grateful for Bea working at your inn.”
“Yeah.” He rolled his eyes.
“I hope she’s behaving.” They badly needed her position.
“Sure! Hey, guess what? Mr. Hardy, the owner of the Mackinaw City sawmill, stayed with us – givin’ folks estimates for buildin’ more cottages on the bluffs – and I asked him about your dad.” He scrunched up his face. “He ain’t seen him. Good thing since somebody got killed down there recently and it weren’t him.”
“Yes, poor man. Thank God for small mercies it wasn’t Pa.”
“Huh? How can mercy be small?” Jack scrunched up his face.
“I’m right a lot!” He grinned but a shadow quickly passed over his face. “Wouldya please write my uncle Robert and tell him to get back over here – he’ll listen to you.”
“What do you. . .” She patted at his arm but hit air as he swooshed away from her and raced the rest of the way down the hill.
She pressed a hand to her chest, sure she felt her heart beating through her worn cotton blouse. Why did Jack think Robert would listen to her? Was she truly responsible for him not returning?
“Sadie girl!” As he passed by in his dray, Mr. O’Reilly called out. “Ye’re lookin’ lovely lass!” He winked and pulled off his blue work cap, revealing a shock of thick white hair.
If his idea of lovely was being dressed in a dowdy tavern maid’s uniform, then lovely she was. “Top of the day to ye, Mr. O’Reilly!” She heard the man’s laugh carry over the sound of his draft horse’s heavy ‘clip clops’ down the street.
A gust of lake breeze ruffled her skirt and apron. Sunlight flickered over the Straits of Mackinac as a ship headed toward the port. Not Robert’s ship. Why did that realization bring so much sadness with it? Because once upon a time, she imagined her future only and ever intertwined with his.
Giveaway: An autographed copy of First Love Forever. We also have a Rafflecopter giveaway going on all through April. Click below to enter:
Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of fifteen Christian historical romances, including ECPA bestsellers. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper,” in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.
Where to find Carrie online...
My Pinterest page for “Love’s Anchor” in First Love Forever: https://www.pinterest.com/carriefpagels/his-anchor-a-novella-in-first-love-forever-collect/
Christian Book Distributors https://www.christianbook.com/forever-romance-collection-historical-romances-rekindled/carrie-pagels/9781683225485/pd/225485?event=ESRCG
Barnes & Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/first-love-forever-romance-collection-cynthia-hickey/1126986344?ean=9781683225485#/
Barbour Books http://www.barbourbooks.com/Catalog/ProductSearch.aspx?filter=Titles&search=First+Love+Forever&ExtendedSearch=False&SearchOnLoad=True
Check at your local Christian bookstores, e.g., Lifeway, to see if they have copies, too!