“As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.” ~ Song of Solomon 2:2
James Bloom has prayed three years for rain and five years for a wife. His dreams are demolished on Palm Sunday, 1935, when a catastrophic dust storm hits Oklahoma, and his neighbor’s niece has to ride out the storm at his house–-overnight. The next day, he’s forced to marry her, an East coast city girl who can’t speak. Could this be God’s plan?
Condemned to a future married to a stranger in the dusty Oklahoma wasteland, Lily Driggers longs for her home. Yet somehow, her new husband is the only one who understands her silence.
As Easter approaches, Lily and James wonder if there is hope after the storm.
“Do you know what happens to thieves?”
Her head snapped back. Hazel eyes widened as her mouth fell open. Then her chin trembled. Finally, her brows drew together and the eyes underneath hardened. Before he could stop her, the intruder hopped up, dove for the sack, and shoved it at his chest. He clutched the sack of clothes. As close as she was, the gold of her eyes were distinct flecks of green and brown. A spoonful of freckles dusted the bridge of her upturned nose. She spun on her heel and marched to the door.
What? Why did she give him his clothes? “Wait a minute.” He tossed the clothes onto the chair, dashed after her, and gripped her arm.
She jerked away, hands clenched and lips pursed.
He raised his hands, palms out. “OK, OK.” Warm air fled from his lungs in a huff. “I take it you’re not a thief.”
Her chin rose and her eyes sparked.
“You brought these clothes back?”
She rolled her eyes and folded her arms once more before she nodded.
He ground his teeth. Women. Who could understand them? “Then why didn’t you just say so?”
Her back straightened and her arms fell to her sides. Nostrils flaring, she approached like a bull. She advanced until her forehead was level with his mouth. With a fleeting, heated glance at him, she walked to the table and wrote something in the dust with her index finger. Turning back to him, she lifted the same hand and motioned elegantly at the table. Finally, she smirked, folding her arms again.
He stepped forward and read words that caused his chest to tighten.
I CAN’T SPEAK.
QPQ – Thanks for meeting with me today, Jericha. I’m so excited about the release of this book.
JK – Thank you, I’m honored to be here.
QPQ – Tell us about your new release.
JK – Sure. Waiting for Lily Bloom is an inspirational romance set in 1935 Oklahoma. Our hero, JamesBloom, has prayed years for two things he needs, but he doesn’t receive the answer he expects. Our heroine, Lily Driggers, is a Savannah native who’s visiting her aunt and uncle, but unwillingly becomes an Oklahoma resident instead.
QPQ – Hmm. When I think of 1935 Oklahoma, I think of dust storms.
JK – You’re right. James and Lily experience the worst dust storm in American history.
QPQ – That’ll be messy.
JK – (Smiles) You bet.
QPQ – What topics do you address in your story?
JK – Tough things, like poverty. Disability. Relational things, like communication, and how important it is to use words to encourage. Forgiveness. Foster care. Marriage.
QPQ – That’s some list. What disability are you referring to?
JK – Lily is mute.
QPQ – Your heroine is mute? How does James talk with her?
JK – Very carefully.
QPQ – (Laughs) As I recall, he’s not so careful at first.
JK – Indeed. But I love James. He’s patient and kind, but most of all, he tries to meet Lily’s needs. He shows her what love is through words and actions. That’s so important.
QPQ – And Lily?
JK – Lily isn’t someone who trusts easily. She’s trying to figure it all out.
QPQ – Does she?
JK – Eventually.
QPQ – What surprised you the most about the Dust Bowl during your research?
JK – Due to drought conditions and poor farming techniques, the worst dust storm in American history blew from Oklahoma to the East coast. When the dust reached Washington, D.C., President Roosevelt signed the Soil Conservation Act. The dust storm was so intense that “Sailors 300 miles off the Atlantic coast often needed to sweep Kansas soil from their decks off their ships.”1
QPQ – During the writing process, did any of your characters shock you or do something you didn’t expect?
JK – Of course! I was frequently surprised by Lily, our heroine.
QPQ – Do you plot your stories before writing?
JK – Very little. It’s too confining. I write a mini-outline with lots of question marks. It’s just a map, not the destination.
QPQ – What do you most want readers to take away from this story?
JK – No matter what the storm, God is good. Storms reveal our character and God’s faithfulness.
QPQ – Now that we’ve heard a little about your story, tell us something about yourself that most people don’t know about you.
QPQ – When did you do that?
JK – I was twelve. Or thirteen. I can’t remember.
QPQ – Were you on a team?
JK – Not after the injury. (Laughs) Actually, it was a friendly neighborhood game that got out of hand.
QPQ – Thanks for being with us today. Where can we find your book?
JK – It’s an e-Novella, available from PelicanBookGroup.com and Amazon.com on April 18th.
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~ Candice Sue Patterson
Quote taken from: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0410/36362.html Cover art by: Nicola Martinez, Pelican Book Group