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Her steps hastened even as she tried to pray, but praying was as much a thing of the past as Edward. Though at the moment, it was her present he was invading, threatening her chance at a new life.
She stopped before the schoolhouse steps. He was rubbing grime from the bottom of the window and moving his head to and fro as if trying to see beyond the smudged glass. “How nice of you to come a thousand miles to clean the windows.”
Edward’s arm jerked. He turned.
Except it wasn’t Edward.
She forced a breath past her shocked heart. Bitterness had emptied all common sense from her. Edward wouldn’t come after her. “I . . .”
“Barrett Clarke.” He walked down the steps with his hand extended.
She couldn’t tear her eyes from his face, a face with features so relaxed and different than Edward’s austere, businesslike appearance that she felt every bit a dunce for making such a mistake.
As a reader, there’s nothing more satisfying than discovering an author whose work I love. Let’s get to know Sondra Kraak, author of the new historical romance novel, ONE PLUS ONE EQUALS TROUBLE, Book 1 of the Love that Counts series:
1. What inspired you to start writing?
I don’t know if I can say what inspired me, but I can say that the first time I felt the drive to write fiction was in middle school. Maybe the inspiration came from reading and enjoying Lois Walfrid Johnson’s series about a Wisconsin family in the Northwoods. I started writing while my parents were at Bible study and I had the run of the house. I wrote about fifty pages of a story that is now blessedly lost. What I remember most about those days is the life I felt as I wrote. The joy. The anticipation of where a story was headed. I stepped away from fiction writing for a while in college and didn’t get back to it until I turned thirty. The inspiration that returned me to fiction writing was Tamera Alexander’s book To Whisper Her Name. The moment I finished it, I felt a spark inside me and knew I had to venture down the author road.
2. How much research, if any, do you do when writing a book?
Too much. And not enough. It’s amazing how much I read about Seattle history (I grew up there and my first novel written, not released yet, is set there) before I started writing and during my early draft. And yet I feel like much of that research is left out of my story. Most readers don’t realize the bits of research that leak into a character’s thoughts and words. With the historical romance genre, history plays a role, but it’s the setting for the romance which takes center stage. In historical fiction, history is center stage and the story is deeply embedded in real events. Still, the research I did for One Plus One Equals Trouble (historical romance, emphasis romance) included learning about daily life in the late eighteen hundreds as well as learning about specific places and the events that happened there. So much to read about! Then there’s research about phrases and words . . . it goes on and on. For instance, the word “okay.” It seems modern, but it dates back into the mid 19th Century. I chose not to use it because I felt it would come across modern and out of place.
3. Do you write fiction, nonfiction, or both?
For most of my adult life, when I thought of myself as an author, I pictured writing nonfiction. While attending seminary, I constantly had ideas for spiritual living and theology books. But the story drive in me never went away. That creative, imaginary world that swirls in my mind needed an outlet, so it makes sense that fiction is my first published venue. However, I’d love to write nonfiction someday, too. In fact, my blog focuses a lot of applying Scripture to life, walking in the ways of the Lord, and developing that intimacy with God the Father that the Holy Spirit makes possible.
4. How important are book covers to you, as both an author and a reader?
Book covers are highly important to me. I don’t have to like a cover to read a book, but I want it to look professional. If the cover job looks amateur, I likely won’t look inside—unless I know the author or the book was recommended. Is this wrong? I don’t know, but I think I’m not alone. I don’t trust the writing to be industry standard if the cover isn’t. I once didn’t pick up a book because the cover turned me off (it was professional, but I thought it looks like romance fluff without substance) but months later when I looked inside on Amazon because it was on sale, I found that I loved the writing. I’ve since read other books by this author and thoroughly enjoyed them. Lesson learned.
5. What was the inspiration for your latest book?
The inspiration for the setting of One Plus One Equals Trouble (small town, Cascade Mountains) came from a small red schoolhouse near where my family camped when I was growing up. I was able to visit this last summer when I was back in the Pacific Northwest. The schoolhouse has since been moved from Winton (near Lake Wenatchee) to Plain, WA:
6. What are you currently working on?
Two things. I’m working on the second book in the Love that Counts series, Luke and Mary’s story, that explores the true meaning of home. I’m also wanting to return to my first novel that takes place in 1870’s Seattle and polish it off for release either this year or early next. More information on my website!
A native of Washington State, Sondra Kraak grew up playing in the rain, hammering out Chopin at the piano, and running up and down the basketball court. Now settled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children, blogging about spiritual truths, and writing historical romance set in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She delights in sharing stories that not only entertain, but nourish the soul.
Where to find Sondra:
www.fiction411.com (group blog)
Stop by my blog on Thursday, Jan. 14 for my review of ONE PLUS ONE EQUALS TROUBLE.