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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

CFBA Blog Tour - Mary Connealy and Gingham Mountain

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Gingham Mountain
Barbour Publishing - January 1, 2009)
by Mary Connealy


MARY CONNEALY's writing journey is similar to a lot of others. Boil it down to persistence, oh, go ahead and call it stubbornness. She just kept typing away. She think the reason she did it was because she was more or less a dunce around people—prone to sit silently when she really ought to speak up (or far worse, speak up when she ought to sit silently).

So, Mary had all these things, she want to say, in her head; the perfect zinger to the rude cashier, which you think of an hour after you've left the store, the perfect bit of wisdom when someone needs help, which doesn't occur to you until they solve their problems themselves, the perfect guilt trip for the kids, which you don’t say because you're not an idiot. She keep all this wit to herself, much to the relief of all who know her, and then wrote all her great ideas into books. It's therapeutic if nothing else, and more affordable than a psychiatrist.

So then a very nice, oh so nice publishing company like Barbour Heartsong comes along and says, "Hey, we'll pay you money for this 45,000 word therapy session." That’s as sweet as it gets.

Mary's journey to publication is the same as everyone's except for a few geniuses out there who make it hard for all of us. And even they probably have an Ode to Roast Beef or two in their past.

There are two other books in this Lassoed In Texas Series: Petticoat Ranch and Calico Canyon.


by Mary Connealy
Published by Barbour Publishing

All aboard for a delightful, suspense-filled romance, where a Texan is torn between his attraction to a meddlesome schoolmarm and the charms of a designing dressmaker. When Hannah Cartwright meets Grant, she's determined to keep him from committing her orphans to hard labor on his ranch. How far will she go to ensure their welfare?

Grant Cooper is determined to provide a home for the two kids brought in by the orphan train as runs head-on into the new school marm, who believes he's made slave labor out of eight orphaned children. He crowds too many orphans into his rickety house, just like Hannah Cartwright's cruel father. Grant's family of orphans have been mistreated too many times by judgmental school teachers. Now the new schoolmarm is the same except she's so pretty and she isn't really bad to his children, it's Grant she can't stand.

But he is inexplicably drawn to Hannah. Can he keep his ragtag family together while steering clear of love and marriage? Will he win her love or be caught in the clutches of a scheming seamstress?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Gingham Mountain, go HERE.

Buy Your Copy of Gingham Mountain today!


1. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

This book is Hannah's story. I got Hannah in a lot of trouble as a secondary character in Calico Canyon. Now I've got to get her out of it. The fundamental story is inspired, just generally, by my own family. I was the third of eight kids. We grew up in a tiny old farmhouse, three bedrooms-well, eventually four when my brother moved into this wreck of an attic room. We didn't have material things but we had lots of love and plenty of fun. That's how I KNOW Grant could have shoe-horned all those kids into that little house, because we did it.

2. How much of your own experiences influenced your characters? What aspects became traits that are theirs and theirs alone?

I draw from my own experiences but I'm not controlled by them. If I have a personal situation that I think would work in a book, I use it. But then I just go any direction I want with that. And I'd say I'm influenced by movies and books and television just as much as my own life, getting character development ideas from everything I'm exposed to.

3. If one of your characters were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

I think Hannah would be mint. But not GREEN mint. No, she'd look like plain vanilla because she seems normal but she's a surprise, there’s so much going on under the surface with Hannah. Grant? Let's make him something crunchy. Rocky Road maybe. Grant has a chip on his shoulder. A knee jerk reaction against ANYONE who he even suspects might be hurtful to his children. That makes him fun and interesting to write but maybe a little rocky to be around for the other characters.

4. Are there any themes in Gingham Mountain that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the stories progressed?

I would like to make the point that THINGS aren't important, love is. I also really love the concept of people fighting for the protection of children and putting others ahead of themselves. That type of sacrifice is at the base of a well-lived life and we've gotten so far away from it these days, we all are so materialistic…me included.

5. What were your most difficult parts to write? Your favorite?

For me, the most difficult parts to write are also my favorites. I like chaos in a scene. I like movement and comedy, dialogue and confusion. I love the scene where the townspeople come into school and demand Grant remove his children because they're a bad influence on the rest of the students. Hannah's defending her own teaching skills. Grant wants to take his children and leave. Some of the parents are on Grant’s side, most are against him. It's a big blow up of a scene. Then Grant and Hannah have a big fight, mainly because they're so stirred up, which turns into a kiss that just makes everything worse. That was lots of fun to write and I changed it around a lot, tweaking, mixing in dialogue and tags and movement.

There's also a scene with Grant and Charlie that is, I hope, well done. Charlie wants to run away. He's so used to life being a disappointment that he just can't believe this new home won't somehow be taken from him and he's determined to leave before he's thrown out. I try to tackle some really tough questions about suffering and where God is in that.

6. When is your next book coming out and what is the story?

I have a book called Nosy in Nebraska, a contemporary cozy mystery, releasing in June. Then in July a new historical western series begins with Montana Rose. It's more of the romantic comedy that I love to write and I think people are going to enjoy the Montana Marriages series.

* * * * *

Thank you, Mary, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Gingham Mountain.

If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post. Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname Wouldn't want you to miss out on winning a book. :)

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when I announce the winner.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.

* * * * *


Mary Connealy said...

Thanks for having me on Tiff.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I really love romantic comedy and would love a chance to win this book! Laughter mixed in with the noble cause of saving children sounds like a recipie for fun. My library only has Mary's Calico Canyon and I have a hold on it. I keep hearing about Mary's books and they all sound fabulous!

Great interview!

Carole said...

I enjoyed the interview and would love to win a copy of Gingham Mountain. I have the first two books and was waiting for this one before starting to read. Thank you for the giveaway!

cjarvis [at] bellsouth [dot] net

Anonymous said...

I find myself relating to the author in having a big family, living on the farm, with very little, yet not feeling poor. Vegetables, fruit, and home-grown beef, pork, and chicken, with a few duck thrown in. We didn't lack food. I loved hand-me-downs. This book sounds intriguing as to how Grant handles all the children. Count me in for the contest! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this book, i have been reading about the series for a long time and now i want to actually read the series!

windycindy said...

I really enjoyed the first two books in this series. How fun to have a chance to win the third one!
Please enter me in your drawing.
Many thanks and best wishes with your baby.....Cindi

Ashley E said...

For those of you who are considering reading this series, do it! It's so amazing and funny! I'd love to be entered in the drawing. Thank you both!


Anonymous said...

I've heard so many good things about Mary's books. Please include me in your drawing!

ldneuhof at hotmail dot com

Merry said...

I enjoyed Petticoat Ranch and would love to win this new book.Thanks!

Mary Connealy said...

Hi, good luck in the drawing everyone. :)

Rebecca Herman said...

Sounds like a great book! please enter me in the contest

rebecca191 (at) aol (dot) com

Anonymous said...

i would love to win one of my favorite books. please enter my name.
sarahwoll at hotmail dot com

Maureen said...

I would love to win this book. It looks like a fun story.

cheryl c said...

If it is not too late, please throw my name in the hat for this one. Thank you so much!



Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this drawing and that is:


Congratulations! I have emailed you for your mailing information so Mary can send out your book.

As always, thanks to everyone for your continued support.