About the Author
As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she's not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.
She loves reading almost as much as she loves writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee..
For this third book in my Michigan lighthouse series, I wanted to pick a location that was different than the other books. The first two books, Love Unexpected and Hearts Made Whole, are set in the "Mitten" of Michigan. So to add variety to the series, I decided to place Undaunted Hope in the Upper Peninsula on Lake Superior.
In doing my research of Michigan lighthouses, I learned that there are lighthouses dotted all over the coast of Lake Superior since it was such a treacherous lake to traverse and an important place for steamers due to the rich natural resources that were available. As I studied the various lighthouses, I finally landed upon Eagle Harbor Lighthouse in the Keweenau Peninsula because not only was the area rich in resources, but it was rich in history and the makings of a really great story!
2. Each of your lighthouse books is set at a real lighthouse that once existed in Michigan or still does exist. Tell us a little about the lighthouse in this third book.
Yes, my first lighthouse book (Love Unexpected) is set at Presque Isle which is on Lake Huron on the north eastern side of the state. The second book (Hearts Made Whole) is set at Windmill Point Lighthouse that once existed on Lake St. Clair near Detroit.
Undaunted Hope is set at Eagle Harbor Lighthouse which is in the far north of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. In fact, it's about as far north as you can go in Michigan. During the mining boom in the Upper Peninsula, Eagle Harbor saw a rapid increase in the commerce in the area with ships arriving to supply miners as well as load up the valuable copper that was being mined. Due to the dangers of a rocky ledge in the harbor, the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse was established in 1851 to guide ships safely to and from the docks in the harbor.
3. What special research did you do in writing Undaunted Hope?
As I wrote this third book in the Beacon's of Hope Lighthouse Series, I had the wonderful privilege of visiting Eagle Harbor and the lighthouse that serves as the setting for this book. In fact, I was able to stay for a whole week in the assistant keeper's cottage that now sits next to the lighthouse.
The large covered front porch of the assistant keeper's house overlooked Eagle Harbor and Lake Superior, so it was a gorgeous view! Every morning I woke up to the sound of the crashing waves and every evening I watched the sunset. It was one of the most beautiful, peaceful places I've ever stayed.
Not only did I get to do in-depth research on the lighthouse (and walk around inside it as many times as I wanted!), but I also was able to research the entire area taking lots of pictures of the lake, flowers, wildlife, and the numerous waterfalls throughout the peninsula. It's a remote wilderness area of Michigan, sparsely populated, and cold! I visited at the end of June and brought short sleeve shirts. I had to wear sweatshirts almost every day instead.
4. The heroines in the first two books actually live in lighthouses. In Undaunted Hope, the heroine is a school teacher. Why did you decide for her to be a school teacher instead of a light keeper?
As I researched the area and the Keweenau Peninsula, I came across the diary of a real school teacher, Henry Hobart, who lived and taught in Clifton which was just a few miles down the road from Eagle Harbor. He wrote a detailed account of his life as a school teacher to the mining children.
I loved reading his diary and learning about all he experienced, especially those unique things that came with being in such a remote area of Michigan and living among the mining community.
I used many of Hobart's experiences in Undaunted Hope. For example, he boarded with a Cornish family, the Rawlings, and Mr. Rawlings was a prominent mine engineer and mechanic. So I had Tessa board with this particular family. Hobart faced many hardships like bedbugs, lice, scarlet fever, the harsh winter, and much more. So again, I had Tessa experience many of those same things.
Eagle Harbor itself has an old one-room school house now known as the Rathbone School House. While it's no longer in use and serves as a museum, during my research trip I was able to visit it. I used it as the inspiration for the school house in this book.
5. What do you hope readers take away from Undaunted Hope?
I pray that this story will encourage readers with renewed hope. Just like Tessa, I hope that readers will find the strength to face their fears. We all have things that frighten us, and many times we find it easier to run away from those things that scare us. Sometimes, however, God calls us to walk directly into that thing we fear most. He wants us to know that during those times, he's there walking right beside us and that he'll help us come out on the other side stronger as a result.
My oldest son is a freshmen in college, attending Cedarville University in Ohio. He enjoyed playing JV basketball there this past fall. My twin daughters are sixteen and driving now. Need I say more! :-)
My youngest son is in junior high and usually has a new hobby that he's attempting to master. After learning origami, he moved on to yo-yo's. And now he's currently becoming a Rubik's Cube pro.
My darling baby daughter is in fifth grade and loves ballet. Since I don't have a graceful bone in my body, she amazes me with her beautiful and poised dancing.
2. What about your husband? What does he think about your writing career?
My husband and I will be celebrating 25 years of marriage this year! Can you believe it?! He continues to be a Christian counselor with his own private practice. He supports me one hundred and ten percent in my career, the same way I support him in his. We tag team most of our family responsibilities, each of us working together to ensure that our family runs smoothly! Of course, we have plenty of roadblocks and crashes upon the path we travel with our family, but we trust that God uses every bump and bruise to his glory.
3. What do kinds of activities do you do to keep yourself energized and refreshed?
One of the most important activities that I've taken up over the past couple of years is running. Not only is it a great way to stay healthy (yes, I've reduced my blood pressure and cholesterol since I started running), but I also use my running time to pray, praise, and listen to books.
Of course, I LOVE reading! I always have a couple of books going at once. And most nights I read in bed before going to sleep.
4. As a Christian writer, how do you keep yourself spiritually revived so that you have fresh messages to share in your stories?
At the same time I have a fiction book that I'm reading, I usually also have a non-fiction spiritual growth book going. For example, I recently read the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer. It was an excellent book to jump-start my prayer life.
I also really love the preaching of the new pastor at our church. I try to take really good notes every Sunday so that I can mull over the messages at home. And I also enjoy a women's Bible study where I learn and grow a lot.
5. How do you find time to write so many books?! Are you a really fast writer or super woman?
Haha! I'm definitely not super woman! And I have no super powers! But I am very organized which helps me budget my limited time wisely. I also am very goal-oriented, which allows me to plan out my writing schedule into bite-sized, manageable chunks. And on a daily basis, I give myself word-count goals which pushes me to write my books in a specific time frame.
Am I a fast writer? Compared to a lot of other writers, I'm probably slow. But over the years of writing, I have honed my writing muscles so that the words and ideas do flow easier than when I first started writing.
HEARTS MADE WHOLE
FOREVER SAFE (coming June 2016)