Hi, I'm finally back with review after working hard on our conference and taking time off after my last manuscript. Here's my first review for the new season.
Second Chance Brides by Vickie McDonough
Vickie McDonough takes us back to the town of Lookout, Texas and the brides who came to town to marry the Marshal only to discover that someone else had won his heart. Now Shannon and Leah are on their own in finding a husband and those two cousins are up to their old tricks again although Mark isn’t as enthusiastic about the new ideas suggested by Garrett. Seems Mark can’t get over an old relationship that ended badly, but his heart still pulls him toward the Irish lass, Shannon. Leah, the other bride, falls in love only to have a surprise sprung on her just days before the wedding. Delightful characters will pull you into the story and keep you there as the plot unfolds. In addition, Jack is back and up to her old tricks, but this time she has to deal with her conscience when she doesn’t tell the truth and ends up hurting someone. Read this wonderful book to see if Mark overcomes his past and courts Shannon, and if Leah can overcome the shock of her surprise and let love conquer her fears.
Welcome to Vickie McDonough:
What inspired you to write this series about mail-order brides?
It all started with a “what if” question. I was trying to find a new idea for a book, and thought of the question: What if a mail-order bride arrives in town expecting to marry a man who hadn’t ordered a bride?
Then I took it a step further: What if three women arrive in town expecting to marry the same man?
I wondered how such a situation could occur, and brainstormed some more ideas—like the bride contest--with my critique group, and that’s how my Texas Boardinghouse Series was born.
Second Chance Brides is the sequel to The Anonymous Brides and lets readers know what happens to the brides who didn’t marry in the first book. Jack is still around, getting into trouble, too.
1. I really liked that little girl although I wanted to spank her a few times. Where do you usually get your story ideas?
Everywhere. From a movie, something I read in the newspaper or a magazine, from researching on the Internet. Many times I’ll tell my crit group about an idea for a story, and they help me brainstorm it, tossing out ideas right and left. It’s a lot of fun.
2. Crit groups are great for brainstorming story ideas. How much research did you have to do for this story?
I really didn’t do a lot of research for this series. I’m an Oklahoma native and have visited Texas many times, so I’m familiar with much of it and its history. I did research the particular area where my story is set to get a better feel for the lay of the land, types of trees and flowers, birds, etc, that you’d find there. I also research things like clothing of the time period, foods served back then—little things that can make the story pop for readers.
3. I did a lot of research on Oklahoma for and loved their history. What is the underlying theme of the series and what do you want your readers to remember?
Forgiveness—forgive others for past offenses, forgive yourself for things you’ve done that you wished you hadn’t, and accept God’s forgiveness for sin. Each of these is so important and is touched on in at least one of the book in my boardinghouse series.
5. Forgiveness is so important for us as Christians, and is a good theme. What brings you the most joy in writing?
I love seeing my books printed and on store shelves, but for me, I think the best part of writing is getting a letter from someone who’s read one of my books and been inspired by it. I also enjoy the writer friends I’ve made all over the country.
6. That’s been one of my joys as a writer, too. What are you working on now?
I just finished up the final book in my Texas Boardinghouse Brides series, Finally A Bride. It’s Jack’s story as a young woman. She’s a bit more behaved, but still impulsive and still let’s her curiosity get her in sticky situations. Don’t you wonder what type of man it will take to settle her down?
7. I’m looking forward to that one. Jack is a great character. When does the next book in the series come out?
April 1, 2011
8. What is the most difficult part of writing for you?
Marketing is difficult for me since I’m more of an introvert personality. Also, just sitting down and doing the actual writing can be hard at times. I tend to procrastinate and do emails or put dishes in the dishwasher or fold laundry when I’m at a difficult part in my writing. Eventually though, I have to knuckle down and get it down.
9. You sound just like me. No wonder I like you so much. Marketing is my nemesis, so how do you handle the marketing and publicity for your books?
I mostly market my books online, using blogs like yours and connecting with people on Facebook and getting reviewers to read my books and post reviews. Sometimes I send out a postcard mailing to my list of readers, do local book signings, or attend a book festival. I also pass out lots of bookmarks advertising my books and some colorful pencils that advertise my website.
11. All good ideas. Tell us a little about your own writing journey.
It’s been a surprise to me more than anyone. I never planned to become a writer—didn’t even like writing way back when I was in school. But for years, I’d prayed for a home business—something I could work on to make some extra money and still stay home with my four boys. God answered that prayer years later with a writing career that I never saw coming. I think it shows that God has far bigger dreams than we can ever imagine for ourselves.
12. I’m glad He had those plans for you What part has going to conferences and meeting with other authors played in your career?
A huge part. I fully believe that I’m a product of networking. My first published book was a novella collection, A Stitch in Time, that I wrote with three other ladies. I know the book got published because of the track record of the other award-winning authors—Tracey Bateman, Cathy Marie Hake, and Carol Cox, but I’ll always be grateful for their willingness to work with a newbie writer.
I’ve met so many other writers as a result of attending conferences. We chat online and become friends, and I’ve actually done novella collections with quite a few of them. It’s exciting when we meet again at another conference. This is one of my favorite things about writing. God has really expanded my little world.
13. I know what you mean. It’s made a difference for me too. What is the most unusual thing that has happened to you as a writer?
I met Famous Amos, the cookie man, at an airport on my way home from a conference. He caught the attention of the ladies I was with because he was all dressed up in clothes with watermelons on them—his suit, his hat, his shoes, even his briefcase—had watermelon décor. He was a very friendly and interesting man. Too bad he didn’t have any cookie samples with him.
14. What fun, and yeah, those cookies would have been good. What is your writing schedule like?
It’s different every day. Some days I get up and start writing early, while other days I do chores around the house, run errands, visit my mom, and then write in the afternoons. I probably should have a more organized schedule. My goal is to sit down and start writing by ten a.m. but I don’t always make it.
15. What advice do you have for beginning writers?
Keep honing your craft. Write and write and write. Joining online groups like ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), where you can network with other writers can be a tremendous encouragement, and you can learn a lot from taking their online classes. Here’s the website: www.acfw.com
16. Good advice. Where can readers find out more about you?
My website is www.vickiemcdonough.com and I’m also a regular contributor to Bustles and Spurs, a Christian western/romance/writing blog. www.bustlesandspurs.com
Thanks so much for having me as your guest, Martha!
Thank you, Vickie for being with us today. I know readers will enjoy this series. If you would like a copy of the book, Second Chance Brides, please leave a comment and put your name in the drawing. Or you can just leave a comment or question for Vickie.