Ever read a book and absolutely love it only to discover that you sort of already know the author? No? Well, I did. I read this amazing book, Irish Encounter, and pretty much couldn't put it down. Then, after I signed a contract with Mantle Rock Publishing for my book that's coming out in April, I was thrown into a Facebook group with Hope Dougherty, the author of that book. Even though Hope and I haven't gotten to meet face-to-face yet, I'm thrilled to have her here on my blog today so you can get to know a little more about her and her books, too.
Hope, I read your book Irish Encounter and thoroughly enjoyed it. I know the heroine owns a yarn shop in your story. Did you have to research yarn to write it, or did you already know a lot about it because of your love for crochet?
I do love crocheting and knew some things about yarn, but I visited a local sheep farm to find out more. Carolyn Beasley, the farmer, was patient with all my questions and showed me around her family farm. She shears the sheep and sends the wool to Maine to be spun into yarn, although she can spin it herself. She tried to teach me on a beautiful spinning wheel, but I need more practice. I took a dyeing class with her. I have three skeins of hand-dyed yarn still waiting for the perfect pattern!
I have tons of yarn waiting for projects, too, although none of mine are that special. That sounds like so much fun!
Your descriptions of the area in Ireland were beautiful. Have you been to Ireland? Is that what inspired your book, or did you go specifically for writing research?
Thank you. I’ve been three times in 1993, 2000, and 2007. The last two times were for home exchanges. We swapped homes with families in Galway and Bandon, County Cork in 20000 and in Blessington, County Wicklow in 2007. We had wonderful experiences that I drew on for Irish Encounter, and I researched on-line what I didn’t know. I’m ready for another trip. Galway is my favorite international city!
Tell us about your other books. Are they similar to the first?
Mars...With Venus Rising is a sweet romance set in Mars, Pennsylvania, near where we lived for fourteen years. Because of a childhood tragedy, Penn likes her life to be calm and predictable. John is a bungee-jumping pilot who enjoys life to the fullest.
Rescued Hearts is a Romantic Suspense. I love reading suspense but never thought about writing one. Our sheriff graciously granted me an interview and then connected me with two undercover detectives. I also attended the Writers’ Police Academy to learn about writing suspense. Mary Wade is a children’s clothing designer who accidentally gets into trouble. Brett is the undercover deputy who saves her.
Ooh. Those sound like fun! What inspired you to start writing? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I used to teach English before my children were born. I think most English teachers desire to write a book. I did, but the process intimidated me. Instead, I wrote articles for newspapers and local magazines. In 2009 when my oldest daughter was weeks away from high school graduation, I began to consider life after children. I wanted to focus on writing, not teaching again. Irish Encounter grew from a daydream I had when I was supposed to be writing something else.
Daydreams are where a lot of my writing comes from, too. Is that where a lot of your story ideas come from? Where else? Are you working on anything new right now?
Story ideas come from different places for me—a daydream, a former job, a surprise thought. I use lots of family and personal stuff in my stories, but they’re little things. For example, I have two sons, Lane and Quinn. In Irish Encounter, I named a street Quinn Lane. That street makes me smile. People who know me pick up on the little things and enjoy finding the “Easter Eggs.” I’ve never used a story from my real life as a plot point.
I just began a new story this week, but it’s going very slowly. I have more questions than I do answers!
I know you live on land that used to be your grandparents' farm. What is it like to be surrounded by that kind of heritage? Does any of it play into your stories?
Honestly, I do feel the weight of living on that land. We host a family reunion for the descendants of my great grandparents every June. One of the original five children, my great aunt, is still alive and joins us. The older ones tell stories of working the farm, sending brothers to fight in WWII, pulling practical jokes. The best part of the day for me is sitting around the tables after the meal, listening.
That sounds like an amazing heritage. I hope you're writing down all the stories to save for later!
Okay, let's wrap up with something fun. Can you tell us one interesting thing about yourself that very few others might know?
I know how to drive a lot of different vehicles. I can drive a tractor and a stick shift. I’ve soloed a Cessna 150 several times. People are always shocked to hear I drove a school bus during high school. Eons ago, my county allowed students to drive those buses. Yes, I’m serious. Sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds were responsible for transporting precious cargo in those huge tin cans without seat belts! Shocking, but true.
Thanks so much for having me. These were fun questions!
Thanks for joining us, Hope! This was a lot of fun.
If you'd like to learn more about Hope and her books, check out the information below.
Hope holds a Master’s degree and taught at East Carolina University and York Technical College. Her novels include Irish Encounterand Mars…With Venus Rising. A member of ACFW, RWA, SinC, she writes for SeriousWriter.com. Residing in North Carolina, she and her husband enjoy visits with their daughters and twin sons.
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After almost three years of living under a fog of grief, Ellen Shepherd is ready for the next chapter in her life. Perhaps she’ll find adventure during a visit to Galway. Her idea of excitement consists of exploring Ireland for yarn to feature in her shop back home, but the adventure awaiting her includes an edgy stranger who disrupts her tea time, challenges her belief system, and stirs up feelings she thought she’d buried with her husband. After years of ignoring God, nursing anger, and stifling his grief, Payne Anderson isn’t ready for the feelings a chance encounter with an enchanting stranger evokes. Though avoiding women and small talk has been his pattern, something about Ellen makes him want to seek her—and God again. Can Ellen accept a new life different than the one she planned? Can Payne release his guilt and accept the peace he’s longed for? Can they surrender their past pain and embrace healing together, or will fear and doubt ruin their second chance at happiness?
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This is a place for me to tell you about what I'm writing, talk about the process or where some of my ideas came from, or even have other authors come in and talk about their books.
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