Hello fellow spelunkers. Welcome to my writing cave here on the Diamond Mine of Christian Fiction. I'm Kathleen L. Maher and this week is my rotation to post an interview. Since I have a new release, I thought it might be fun to interview my heroine from No Man's Daughter, which is book 3 in the series Sons of the Shenandoah. The stories are set during and after the Civil War in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, and follow four sons and their father, a gritty half-Cherokee horse trader and thoroughbred breeder, through the unique trials of our country's most tumultuous time.
Let me introduce the young lady who has captured the attention of the youngest son of Sam Sharpe, Benjamin. Willa is by far the most complicated and mysterious heroine who has graced my pages. And boy does she have a story to tell. So without further ado, Welcome Willa.
"Thank you, kindly. I appreciate the gathering. Though I'm not so sure I deserve all this attention."
Willa, can you describe what went through your mind when you first met Ben Sharpe? Was it love at first sight?
*Willa huffs in laughter* "Oh, heavens, no. Love? That was the last thing on my mind. I'd say I was more akin to frightened. He come over the boundary line riding his big horse. Next thing I knew he was sneakin' around on foot, under the cover of the trees. Gettin' closer and closer to the house. Whole thing looked mighty suspicious."
You didn't recognize him as your neighbor?
"No, Ma'am. I didn't know him from Adam. I knew there were menfolk over there, but I generally just kept myself out of sight."
Until that morning, I guess?
"Uh-huh. He come up looking for his mare, I suppose. That little black horse kept jumping the fence and coming over to me. Was I expected not to love on it and give it treats? Well, maybe that little mare was a matchmaker, sent by God. Because it brought Benjamin Sharpe to my doorstep."
*Willa covers her face for a second, and when she withdraws her hand, her cheeks match the strawberry blonde tinge of her hair.* "I did. And Lord forgive me for it. But how was I to know he wasn't here to do me harm? I've seen enough of marauding menfolk with evil in their hearts..." Her eyes take on a glistening of unshed tears, and her lower lip trembles. "Ben proved different. And God showed His love through that man's patience. I'll always be grateful for that naughty little mare for bringing us together."
Animals can be agents of God's providence, I agree. I have a few who have brought me great blessing, too. So how did Benjamin Sharpe go from being shot to proposing to you?
"Oh, well..." Willa wipes the single tear that manages to escape down her cheek. She chuckles. "It was Doc Sterling's suggestion. I wouldn't quite say he put Ben up to it, but his advice didn't hurt. You see, Ben wanted my land something fierce."
Explain to the folks how you came to have this property.
"Old Mr. Thompson lived on the cattle farm next door to the Sharpes even before Sam Sharpe came to the valley, as I understand it. Thompson's only son Walt was killed at Fredericksburg, and Mrs. Thompson died of a broken heart not long after. Mr. Thompson was old and ailing and Doc Sterling thought I could take care of him and have a place to stay for the time being. When Mr. Thompson died, he left me the property like the daughter he never had."
That's a lot for one woman alone to manage, though, isn't it?
I guess alls well that ends well. But how did you and Ben learn to trust and even find love for one another?
Willa places her hands on her hips. "I can't share all of my secrets, now, but I'll say this much. A handsome smile goes a long way to a girl's heart, especially when kind deeds come with it."
Well, I hope these nice readers will pick up a copy of No Man's Daughter and learn more about you and Ben. Thank you for taking a few minutes out of your busy farm life to chat with us, Willa. One last question. Is it true that you and Ben might have a little Sharpe on the way?
"Well, that's how I imagine it'll be. A little auburn haired boy, like his daddy."
Well, congratulation to you and Ben, and we will visit again soon, I'm sure. Sam Sharpe's story hasn't been told, yet, and I think it would be amazing if he finds love even in his grandfathering years. Perhaps there's something in the works there.
***And speaking of congratulations, I will be giving away a kindle copy of No Man's Daughter to one random commenter here. Leave a comment with your email addy (email at domain dot com) so I can contact the winner next Tuesday. Extra points if you share this post.***
No Man's Daughter
A man with something to prove and a lady with something to hide clash over hotly contested property and a marriage proving anything but convenient.When the Sharpe’s elderly neighbor passes after the war leaving a vacant farm with no heir, Benjamin Sharpe inquires to purchase the land. What he doesn’t expect to find is a beautiful and stubborn squatter has taken residence. Will her claim on the property prove harder to drive out than her claim on his heart?Willa looked after Old Mr. Thompson through the war until his death. The late owner promised her a permanent home there, like the daughter he never had, but with some strings attached. When young and ambitious Benjamin Sharpe shows up with intent to evict her, Willa gives him a piece of her mind with a piece of lead aimed at his boots.The youngest of the Sharpe brothers, Benjamin has been bossed around his entire life by his brothers, and he isn’t about to take it from any girl. All three of his brothers have veterans’ boasting rights in the War, and he must prove his mettle, too. But will his ambitions go so far as to force a waif from her home? As the girl’s resourceful defense of the property frustrates his plans, admiration plucks at his heartstrings. Ben must find a compromise while saving face with his family. But the chit has no intention of playing nice or seeking truce. In Bridgewater, Virginia, the war is still on!
"Stories where every underdog has his day."
Kathleen L. Maher’s first crush was Peter Rabbit, and she’s loved conflicted heroes ever since. She has two novellas in BARBOUR BOOKS' collections: Victorian Christmas Brides and Lessons on Love. Author of Genesis Award-winning The Abolitionist's Daughter, as well as The Chaplain's Daughter, No Man’s Daughter, and Amazon top-selling novella Bachelor Buttons, Kathleen lives in an old farmhouse in upstate NY with her husband of twenty-three years, their children, and a small menagerie.
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