His Redeeming Bride Trivia

Today I thought I’d give some trivia about this book…

His Redeeming Bride new cover

1. This was the last book I submitted to a publisher when I was thinking of going the traditional publishing route. (Eye of the Beholder was the first book I submitted.) The publisher didn’t like the fact that Neil and Sarah got along so early in the story. They wanted me rewrite the story to give them more angst and then resubmit it. I didn’t like that idea. I wanted the story to stay the way it was. I never rewrote it.

2. I did a lot of praying about the direction I should go with publishing during the 2008-2009 time frame. Did I self-publish or go with a traditional publisher? Everyone in my writing circle told me I should go the traditional route because self-publishing wasn’t for “real” authors. It was difficult to go against the crowd mindset. Deep down, I wanted to self-publish because I didn’t want a publisher coming in and changing my vision for my stories. So really, I was looking for a reason to self-publish, but it had to be a compelling one. I ended up going to God about it. I prayed to God that if He wanted me to go the traditional route, the publisher would accept the story as it was, but if He wanted me to self-publish, the publisher would reject the book or want me to change it. When the publisher wrote back and told me to change the story, I knew God was okay with me self-publishing. As long as God is fine with me doing something, I don’t pay attention to what others have to say.

3. Sarah Donner’s first husband is based off of one of my ex-boyfriends. He was very legalistic in his religious beliefs. There was no room for things like mercy and grace. Looking back, I can see that he had an unforgiving mindset, and he was actually cold to be around. There was a superficial level of affection, but there was nothing real behind it. I didn’t realize how things really were with him until I was with my husband.

4. The church Sarah was going to in the beginning of the story is based off a church I went to. This was years after the ex-boyfriend thing. The church was very legalistic, and the husband had 100% of the decision-making responsibilities. Wives had to do whatever the husband wanted. For example, I once asked the pastor, “What if my husband is making decisions that will end up running the family into bankruptcy? Are you saying that I should just let him do that?” The pastor said, “Yes. He is the head of the house.” Needless to say, I didn’t return to the church, but there are some denominations in the Christian faith that actually teach this kind of nonsense. Wives aren’t to blindly accept stupid decisions their husbands are making, and I get frustrated with pastors warping what the Bible says regarding this issue.

5. Preacher Amos represents legalism in the church. Preacher Peters represents mercy and grace.

6. I named Preacher Peters after the Apostle Peter in the New Testament of the Bible. Peter was the one who denied Jesus Christ three times before Jesus was crucified, and after Jesus’ resurrection, he received Jesus’ forgiveness. Peter went on to be a steadfast apostle, and historical records say he was crucified for his faith. I always thought of Peter as evidence that God extends second chances. To me, Peter is the best example of mercy and forgiveness in the Christian faith. This was what Neil Craftsman needed most, and it was Preacher Peters who offered him a second chance.

7. This was the first book I ever plotted in advance of writing it. This was based off of the advice of the leader in the writing group I was in at the time who loved to plot. I don’t have a copy of the outline since I lost a lot of files when my computer crashed, but I remember that the outline was based on the standard formula for romance books. The formula for romances that traditional publishers look for is simply this: there needs to be some kind of angst and frustration between the hero and heroine through most of the book. So in the outline, Neil and Sarah were supposed to be at odds with each other for 90% of the book. Well, Neil and Sarah started getting along at Chapter Six, and I spent some time trying to get them to NOT get along but kept ending up stalling out in the story. I finally ditched the outline and just went with the flow of the story, and I love the way it turned out. This book is a lot better. This book showed me that I’m just not a standard formula romance writer. In fact, some argue that my books really aren’t romances, and if you’re comparing my books to the average romance book out there, you would be right. But I still label them as romance because I feel the love between the two main characters are still front and center stage of all the other things that are going on around them.

8. Sarah wore a lot of dull colors in the beginning because an author friend of mind swore up and down that women did not wear any bright colors back in the 1800s.

9. Emily’s mother was not meant to show up in this book when I outlined it. Emily was supposed to continue to think her mother loved her until Isaac’s Decision. My original idea for Isaac’s Decision was for Emily to run off to see her mother and then realize her mother never loved her.

10. I came up with the idea for writing Loving Eliza when I was writing the scene where Neil at the saloon talking with Dan. Eliza had been planted in order to hurt Neil’s legal case in the custody battle he had with Emily’s mother. When Eliza told him, “Neil, I’m sorry.  They threatened to tell my son the truth about his birth. I gave him up for adoption twelve years ago, and I don’t want him to know about me.” I knew then and there that I’d write her story.

11. I intentionally kept Sarah’s thoughts closed off to the reader while writing the scene where Sarah “left” Neil after the scene at the saloon. This was when she went with Beatrice Donner. I also hid her thoughts when Neil was pounding on the door of Beatrice’s home in hopes of talking to her. I did this because I didn’t want people to know what she was planning. I wanted people to think she was really leaving him. I can’t remember ever closing off a character’s thoughts in any other book.

12. I felt so sorry for Neil during the scene early on in the book when Sarah gave birth to Luke and he was watching how happy she was to be a mother. He thought back to how Emily never received her mother’s love and wished things had been different. It was the loneliest moment he’d ever experienced in his entire life. He wanted so much to have a family like the one Dave and Mary had, but that never played out with Cassie. When it came time to end the story, I gave the birth of Elizabeth from Neil’s point of view. He was no longer an outsider to the good things happening around him. He was now a part of it. This completed his story that really started at the end of Eye of the Beholder.

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People I Have NOT Heard From About The Stagecoach Bride (If you’re on this list, check your spam folder.)

This is the only post I’m going to make regarding this. I don’t want to keep cluttering up my blog trying to get in touch with people who have a copy of The Stagecoach Bride. So this is the only time I’m going to post this.

These are the people I still have NOT heard back from.

Gillian

Heather

Rebecca

Lisa

Iris

Rosalie

Shayna

Dawn (I need you to fill out the form on this blog post because I need an email address in order to contact you directly, unless you want to post the email in the comments below)

Linda (Five minutes ago, I got a message in my inbox telling me my email could not be sent to your email address. I’m not sure how to reach you.)

If your name is on this list, please check your email. It’s likely that my email ended up in your spam folder. The subject will read: Re: [Ruth Ann Nordin’s Author Blog] If you read The Stagecoach Bride, please fill out the form below.

This is the last time I’m going to try to round up people who have The Stagecoach Bride. We’ll be going back to my regular blog posts now.

 

 

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Eye of the Beholder Trivia

Quick note about The Stagecoach Bride: Before I get into the trivia part, I want to send out a quick reminder to anyone who has read The Stagecoach Bride and filled out the form. I sent an email out to quite a few people, and while most have gotten back to me, several have not. Please check your spam folder just in case the email ended up there. The subject heading will read, “Re: [Ruth Ann Nordin’s Author Blog] If you read The Stagecoach Bride, please fill out the form below.” As a side note, if you have The Stagecoach Bride and would like to fill out the form, here’s the post to do that.

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I enjoy reading through trivia that goes with the making of movies, and today I thought it’d be fun to offer some trivia about what went into the writing of some of my books.

Trivia for Eye of the Beholder

Eye of the Beholder new ebook cover

1. Neil Craftsman was originally given the role of the hero. He was supposed to be Neil Larson. I also had come up with the brothers, namely Tom and Joel, who were supposed to look at Mary and only see what was on the surface. I got halfway into Chapter Two where Neil was on his way to meet Mary at the train station when this question popped up in my mind: “What if Neil rejects her?” I spent a couple of days weighing the pros and cons of making the Neil the antagonist, and in the end, I created Dave Larson and gave Neil the last name Craftsman.

2. This book was submitted to Harlequin and Wild Rose Press back in 2008-2009 when I was on the fence about self-publishing or traditional publishing. Feedback from both places expressed an interest in the story. One wanted me to give more “angst” between Dave and Mary, and I didn’t want to change their relationship to what I felt was too much of a romance trope of endless friction between the hero and heroine. The other wanted me to add more description, which I wasn’t interested in doing. So I ended up picking the self-publishing option, even though it was a very unpopular option back then.

3. The miscarriage scene was inspired by my own miscarriage during my first pregnancy. Mary’s experience was pretty much mine.

4. Isaac Larson has the same birthday as my firstborn son, which is August 7.

5. My original plan was to write Eye of the Beholder as a standalone book. While writing the scene where Jessica tells Mary why she married Tom, I knew I would end up writing Tom and Jessica’s story. That was beginning of me writing a story for each Larson sibling. It’s also why the books were written out of chronological order. Back then, I didn’t even think about writing a series in order.

6. I had originally planned to put Neil in prison after he abducted Mary. He was supposed to take Mary to a remote cabin, and she was supposed to swim to get away from him. (This was why I had Dave teach her how to swim.) But when I saw the way Neil was with Emily even though she wasn’t his child, I realized Neil was redeemable. I ended up keeping Mary’s abduction to the train and giving Neil a change of heart.

7. Dave’s threat to Neil that Mary never heard was that if Neil touched Mary again, Dave would kill him. And Dave was serious.

8. I knew Isaac and Emily would end up together when Mary and Cassie (both pregnant at the time) were talking on the front porch at Connie’s house. This was the scene where Cassie and Gwendolyn guilt trip Mary into making clothes for Cassie’s baby. Cassie felt the baby kick, and I thought, “There’s a connection between Emily and Isaac.” At that moment, I knew I’d be writing their book.

9. The book was set in Omaha, Nebraska because I lived in that area at the time and had easy research at the local attractions. I’m not much of a book reader when it comes to research. I prefer to be there in person and learn the history by seeing what people wore, how they lived, etc. Though, for the sod house, I went to Minnesota because there were no sod houses I was aware of in the Omaha area. I’m sure South Dakota or Iowa had them, but my in-laws happened to be in the area at the time, so that’s why I went there.

10. Before I wrote this book, I was mostly writing fantasies and YA thrillers. I had written Falling In Love With Her Husband, An Inconvenient Marriage, An Unlikely Place for Love, The Cold Wife, and Romancing Adrienne before I wrote Eye of the Beholder. My plan was to go back to writing the other genres when I was done with Eye of the Beholder, but, as you can see above, Eye of the Beholder inspired more romances.  Eye of the Beholder is why I ended up falling in love with writing the historical western romance genre.

11. The reason I started the book with Neil’s mail order bride ad was because I had recently read a romance that started off with an ad, and that hooked me in right away to that story. Writers in my critique group didn’t like that as a way to start the book, but I’m happy I did it.

12. The idea for this story came after I read a lot of romances and noticed that every single heroine was thin and gorgeous. I also noticed that movies and TV shows feature these types of women a lot. I wanted to write about a heroine who wasn’t society’s definition of perfect. I wanted a hero who could look past the superficial, and in doing so, he shows others around him what real beauty is. Cassie wasn’t in the original plan of the story since I had marked Neil down to be the hero, but after I put Dave in, I created Cassie, too. Cassie turned out to be a big part of the story, and without her, the story isn’t nearly as effective.

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