Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Guest Author: Gwen Ford Faulkenberry

I'm excited to feature a new author today whose first book came out through the Summerside Press Love Finds You series. Her name is Gwen Ford Faulkenberry and she has some fun info to share with us. Read on.

First, the back cover copy:

Love Finds You in Romeo, Colorado Can one womans tragedy turn into happily ever after? Claire Caspian is a firstrate professor, teaching even the most cynical student to find beauty in literature. But with her own personal story, she isnt as successful. Having recently lost her husband, Claire returns with her young son to the tiny desert town of Romeo, Colorado, where she grew up. There she settles in with her feisty old Abuelita, the richest woman in the county and attempts to rebuild her life. But love comes searching for Claire in the form of attractive local doctor Stephen Reyes. Will another tragedy prevent her from accepting love the second time around? Or will she embrace her new Romeo and finally find a happy ending? Love Finds You is a series of fulllength romance novels that give readers a peek into the flavor of local life across the United States. The novels are uniquely named after actual American towns with quirky, interesting names that inspire romance and are just plain fun! This means that each fictional story draws on the compelling history or unique character of a real place. Our fresh, original love stories will feature everything from romance kindled in small towns, to old loves lost and found on the high plains, to new loves discovered at exciting vacation getaways.

I asked Gwen a few questions lately. Listen in to the interview:

~~Hi Gwen and thanks for visiting!! First, please tell us a little about yourself.


I'm 37 years old, married to a wonderful man, and we have three little children. We live on a family ranch and our house overlooks the Arkansas River in Ozark, Arkansas. I'm mostly a stay-at-home mom, but I also teach English classes at a local college and write cards for DaySpring. Love Finds You in Romeo, Colorado, is my first novel. I also have a devotional book that came out in February called A Beautiful Life.


~~Tell us about how your Love Finds You story came about. (i.e., were you assigned? how'd you hear about the new Summerside line?


I had worked on another project with someone from Summerside, and when he was planning the Love Finds You line, he suggested I submit a proposal. At the time there were limited choices for town names, and I chose Romeo from the list because I love Shakespeare and also, I went to Taos, New Mexico on my honeymoon and it is not far from there. So the area already seemed romantic to me.


~~How did you find your contacts in Romeo?


That's quite an amazing story. I launched out into cyberspace looking for anything and everything I could find out about the area. One day I was focusing on colleges around Romeo because I wanted my heroine to be a professor, and I found a place called Adams State College. It was a particularly bad day for me; I was struggling with a lot of self doubt, and just before starting to research I had prayed and said something like, "Lord, I'm afraid I've gotten myself into a mess. I don't think I can do this. My novel will probably be the worst of the whole series, and I'm going to let everyone down." A few moments later I heard His still small voice speak to my heart, and He reminded me that I didn't get myself into the contract--He did. And He would be faithful to see it through to completion. When the site for the college popped up on the screen, it said this: "Adams State College, Great Stories Begin Here." I about fell out of my seat! Turns out that my best contact was a professor and writer from Adams State, Aaron Abeyta.


~~Such a great story!! I loved how the name of the town wasn't supposed to be Romeo, but rather Romero. That worked out perfectly for the Summerside line. Please explain to the readers why the city is called Romeo and not its original.


When the railroad came to the area, trains had to stop every seven miles for water. So there is this little string of towns in the San Luis Valley that are joined by the railroad at seven mile intervals. Some Anglophile working for the railroad allegedly read the word "Romero" incorrectly in a description of the village, and changed it to "Romeo" as he was keeping the books. Thus the little settlement became known as "Romeo" instead of the original Spanish surname "Romero."


~~What's next for you in writing?


I have another devotional book called A Beautiful Day coming out with Summerside in the Spring of 2010, and I hope to do more for the Love Finds You line. I am also working on a couple of women's fiction ideas and a novel for young adults that will be an epic love story with the somewhat radical theme of purity.


~~Sounds great! Please let readers know how they can contact you and then share anything else you'd like to.


I can be contacted at gfaulkenberry [at] hotmail.com or through the Love Finds You author's blog at www.lovefindsyou.wordpress.com.


Thanks, Gwen. We wish you all the best!

And now for my review:

Professor Claire is trying to rebuild her life following her husband’s death. For her son’s sake, she’s trying to hold everything together. She’s perfectly happy without a relationship. Enter Dr. Stephen Reyes. As a relationship grows, Claire’s son Graeme will have to adjust.

One of Gwen’s strengths was painting the love story Claire had already lived—that of her relationship with her late husband Rob. The author realistically portrayed Claire’s past and her reasons for resisting a relationship. I also appreciated the relationship Stephen had with his neighbors, who acted like parental figures—watching out for him, etc.


And what is a Romeo story without some pebbles tossed against the window??

This was a well-written romance which will delight the romantic of heart. Bravo Gwen and Summerside Press!

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