image: header
image: gownflare

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Spotlight on Christmas Mail-Order Brides

Rule of the spotlights here: answer the random question associated with this spotlight in the comments in order to be entered in the drawing.


SUSAN PAGE DAVIS is the author of 30 published novels. She's a two-time winner of the Inspirational Readers' Choice Contest and a winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers' Book of the Year Award. She lives in Kentucky. Visit her website at:

VICKIE MCDONOUGH is an award-winning author of 20 books and novellas. Vickie’s books have won the Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest, Texas Gold, and the ACFW Noble Theme contest, and she has been a multi-year finalist in ACFW’s BOTY contest. The Anonymous Bride, book one in her debut trade fiction series the Texas Boardinghouse Brides, released in April, and the sequel, Second Chance Brides, released September 1st. Vickie's books promise An Adventure into Romance. Vickie and her husband live in Oklahoma. She is a wife of thirty-four years, mother of four grown sons and grandma to a feisty four-year-old girl. When she’s not writing, Vickie enjoys reading, gardening, watching movies, and traveling. To learn more about Vickie’s books, visit her website:

THERESE STENZEL is obsessed with all things British. Her first book, A Bride By Christmas came out in 2008. Her next book, Christmas Mail Order Brides, comes out in September of 2010. She has also co-authored the book, God's Little Devotional Book for Grandparents. Her writing has appeared in Women's Day, Family Fun, and Time Magazines. In love with English history, English tea, and reading historical novels, she is also the founder of British Missives, an e-mail newsletter for those who love to read or write British novels. Sign up for it on her website. Currently, she is working on her fifth historical manuscript. She and her husband Neal keep busy raising their three kids. Her website is

CARRIE TURANSKY and her husband Scott live in central New Jersey where they enjoy picking peaches, blueberries and Jersey tomatoes each summer. In the winter you’ll find them sipping cocoa and reading a good book by the fire as they watch the snowflakes fall. Carrie is the author of several novellas published by Barbour and novels published by Steeple Hill Love Inspired. You can learn more about Carrie’s books at

by Susan Page Davis, Vickie McDonough, Therese Stenzel, and Carrie Turansky
Published by Barbour


Ride the transcontinental railroad as marriage arrives by mail-order—and just in time for Christmas. Annika arrives in Wyoming to discover her intended is missing. Jolie’s journey to Nevada is derailed by disaster. Elizabeth carries a load of secrets to Nebraska. And Amelia travels to California to wrap up her final attempts at matchmaking. Will the holiday season be the ticket to spark love in unexpected ways?

Readers, buy your copy of Christmas Mail-Order Brides today!


1. This is a novella collection with 3 other authors. What gave you the inspiration for this story?

Susan: The other authors were discussing having the heroines be mail order brides who joined a Matrimonial Society—and I knew I wanted to write about the woman who organized it.

Vickie: For a long while, I’ve wanted to do a shotgun wedding type of story, but the right door never opened—at least until this collection came along. I wanted to see what kind of situation would cause a man to be “willingly” forced into a marriage, and I think it worked out well in The Prodigal Groom, my novella in Christmas Mail-Order Brides.


Carrie: Vickie came up with the idea for the Christmas Mail-Order Bride collection, and I was excited when she invited me to be a co-author with her, Susan, and Therese.

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

Susan: None whatsoever, except that I like to help people and feel bad if my efforts go awry.

Vickie: Well. . .hmmm. I don’t have any experience with mail-order brides or shotgun weddings—other than to write about them. Guess I was born in the wrong century. :) I did do some rash things when I was younger, like Jolie, my heroine, does when she goes west to marry a man she’s never met. Maybe we have tenacity in common. Clay, my hero is estranged from his father because of something that happened several years ago. He wants to come home, but he’s stubborn and also feels what happened was his fault. When he becomes a Christian, he finally returns to his family’s ranch, with God’s help, to reconcile with his father. Clay is now a man of character, but he has a past history of being a troublemaker and a carouser that he will have to overcome before reconciliation can occur.


Carrie: My story begins with twin sisters saying goodbye to each other at the Chicago train station. My heroine decided to travel west on the new transcontinental as a mail-order bride so that her twin sister feels free to marry the man she loves. I have twin daughters who are very close, and I’ve often wondered how they will respond when the first one receives a marriage proposal. They are blondes just like the sisters in the story. I dedicated the novella to Megan and Elizabeth.

3. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

Susan: Lennox is no-nonsense coffee, and Amelia is cookies and cream.

Vickie: Cherries, Pecan and Cream – My hero is a bit sweet at times, can be a hard nut to crack at other times, and he’s smooth—calm and collected in tense situations.


Carrie: My heroine is from Sweden and has blond hair and blue eyes. I believe she’d be strawberry ice cream, very sweet and wholesome. The hero is a young rancher who is a little rough around the edges, but has a very kind heart. I think he’d be Mint chocolate chip.

4. Are there any themes in Christmas Mail-Order Brides that you hope the reader sees? Are there any themes that weren't overt but developed as the story progressed?

Susan: Forgiveness and making things right.

Vickie: The overall theme is: trusting God with your future, even when it looks bleak. God has far greater plans for our lives than we could ever imagine. Family reconciliation became a bit more of a theme than I’d first planned. Clay’s father has a hard time believing he’s really changed and thinks he’s just there to mooch off of him. Clay can’t see past his father’s stubbornness and believes the man only sees what he wants to. Clay and his father have a hard time forgiving one another, even though they care about each other.


Carrie: I think all the novellas include the theme of God’s sovereignty and His loving plan for our lives. My novella, A Trusting Heart, also shows how God is faithful and trustworthy. He is at work on our behalf even when we don’t see him working, and that’s one more reason why we can trust Him.

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

Susan: The hardest part for me was the part about Lennox’s fruit packing business, because I didn’t know much about it. My favorite was his daughter’s blowup at the Christmas program.

Vickie: The fight scene in the barn was a bit hard to write. Lots of things are going on, and I wanted to keep the action level high, but I still needed to describe the scene clearly. My favorite? I love the scenes where Clay gives Jolie “wife lessons”. They are already married, btw. She grew up in an orphanage and had never been around a man before and knows nothing about the relationship between a man and a woman, so Clay graciously takes it upon himself to teach her. He can be such a nice guy at times.


Carrie: The most difficult parts to write for me are those that have to do with riding horses and ranch life. My grandparents did own a farm in Oregon, but they raised crops, not cattle ro horses. So I don’t have too much experience with that. I asked Vickie and some other author friends to help me out with those scenes. Hopefully, I got it right.

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

Susan: On November 1, The Blacksmith’s Bravery will release. It’s the third book in my Ladies’ Shooting Club series, set in 1880s Idaho. By age twelve, Vashti Edwards was orphaned and working her way west in different saloons. Life in Fergus, Idaho, has given Vashti new hope in Christian friends from The Ladies Shooting Club and an employer who turned her saloon into a restaurant. But money is tight, and Vashti tries to get the job she’s always dreamed of--a stagecoach driver. Griffin Bane, local blacksmith, is overseeing the stagecoach line and admits he needs more help. But can a woman—even one known to be a good markswoman—handle the challenges and dangers on the trail? As soon as Vashti starts, the line becomes target of a band of robbers. Was Griffin a fool to put a woman at the reins, and can he brave the beautiful distraction she makes as he takes to riding shotgun? And of course the question is raised: Will The Ladies Shooting Club catch the bandits and bring the stubborn couple together?

Vickie: Second Chance Brides, book two, in my Texas Boardinghouse Brides series just released. It’s the sequel to The Anonymous Bride and tells the story of two of the rejected mail-order brides from book one. Shannon and Leah are stuck in Lookout, Texas. In order to survive, they must find a job in the small town-not an easy task for a woman-or find another man to marry.


Carrie: My next book is Seeking His Love, an October Love Inspired novel. It’s a contemporary inspirational romance that tells the story of Rachel Clark, a young teacher who moves to Fairhaven, Washington, after being falsely accused of having an inappropriate relationship with one of her students. She takes a job as director of a youth theater program and must find a new location for her group. The Fairhaven Arts Center has the ideal space, but Cameron McKenna, who oversees the center, is not eager to include her or her kids. Cam lost his wife and young son in a tragic accident five years earlier, and being around children reminds him of the guilt he still carries. When a family crisis occurs, he must temporarily care for his fourteen-year-old niece, and he needs Rachel’s help and advice. She comes along side and not only teaches him how to relate to his niece, she also shows him how to overcome his past hurts and open his heart to love again.

* * * * *

Thank you, Susan, Vickie, and Carrie for being in the spotlight with us.

NOTE! Readers, answer the question associated with the spotlight in the comments, then leave your email address for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Christmas Mail-Order Brides. If you do not answer the question, you will not be entered.

Bonus question. Answer either or both to be entered.

Question: Our Mail-Order Brides traveled west on the transcontinental railroad. Have you ever traveled by train, and if so, where did you go?

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

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


Katie Johnson said...

I'm looking forward to reading this book and since I was introduced to authors new to me, it looks like there will be more books to follow. Amazon, I hear you calling!

My answer: I've ridden on a steam powered train twice, at Henry Ford's Greenfield Village in Detroit, Michigan. Also on a coal-powered (I think) train in Elbe, WA. That's the extent of my "train travel". I think both were a mile? I'd love to take a train ride...but on an old train, not a new one. Ah, the romance.

Unknown said...

This book sounds so good!
I have never ridden on the train, except for a couple of tourist trains that just went about my city! Oh, and the old-fashioned train at a historic fort I visited! :)

Melissa Jagears said...

I love mail order bride stories.

I've ridden the Silver Dollar City Train so I've even been attacked by Train robbers! Although, the destination wasn't that exciting - we ended up where we started. :)

rmjagears AT gmail DOT com

CatMom said...

When I was 12 years old (just a few years ago, LOL) I was a "Safety Patrol" at my school. Our job was to stand at the street corners around the school and help children cross the streets. It was an honor to be a Patrol, and we took our jobs seriously. The highlight for the Patrols was taking a trip to Washington,DC in the springtime. We rode a train from Atlanta, Georgia to Washington,DC and it was a wonderful adventure! I'm so thankful I was able to take part in that experience. ~ Great interviews with these authors, and their stories sound wonderful. ~ Blessings, Patti Jo

Carrie Turansky said...

Hi Friends, I love reading all your comments! Thanks for stopping by. I think you will enjoy Christmas Mail-order Brides. The characters and themes are very special to us.

Vickie McDonough said...

Hi everybody, I've enjoyed reading about your train stories. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.


Karen Witemeyer said...

Does the train at Disney World count? LOL.

No, I've never ridden in a real train, but one of these days I'd love to ride the old steam engine train that winds through the Colorado Rockies. That would be gorgeous.

Please enter me in the drawing.


Jodie Wolfe said...

My only train travel has been more of a tourist type of thing. There is a ride in Lancaster that goes a short distance down the line and then back again. There also was a similar ride in Wellsboro, PA near the PA Grand Canyon. Unfortunately this easterner hasn't had the opportunity to travel west via train. :)

I'd love the opportunity to win this book. I love Christmas stories as well as mail-order brides. How exciting!

Jodie Wolfe

Keli Gwyn said...

Mail-order bride stories are my all-time favorite reads, and these all sound like great ones.

I rode Amtrack from Washington State to California back in the days when wrinkles were on my clothes and not my face. When my husband and I lived in Germany, we rode their wonderful rail system a number of times.

Merry said...

My family took a train trip from Oregon to Kansas when I was about 4. My mother put my pj's on and I ran back into the dimmed coach to sit on my Dad's lap. I got the wrong Dad. Thankfully, my Dad found me pretty quickly before I woke up the whole train! I adore mail-order bride stories and would love to win Christmas Mail-Order Brides.

Ginger said...

I grew up down south where public transportation was not very common or safe, so I didn't experience trains until now. I live in Central Jersey (very close to Carrie!) and love getting on the train to go to New York City or Philadelphia. Then, I can spend my time reading great books instead of driving.

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this spotlight, and that is:


Congratulations! I've emailed you for your mailing information so the spotlight ladies can send out your book.

Thanks to everyone for your support.

The Fishermens Line said...

I have been so blessed in my traveling! I have had the blessing of traveling by train from Krakow, poland to Prague, Czech Republic and back to Krakow!
I have also traveled by train from Krakow, Poland to Budapest, Hungary and back!
I also had the 'extreme' blessing of traveling many times from Qinhuandao, China to Beijing and back, and within Taipei, Taiwan, and Hong Kong Rapid Transit!!
Romantic? You bet! Exciting? i couldn't sleep a wink, though it was dark, I wanted to 'see' everything! One can see WHY i hope to write a book myself and have it published!! Pray for me!