Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Seeds of Summer by Deborah Vogts
I enjoyed Snow Melts in Spring, so when the opportunity presented itself for me to read and review Seeds of Summer, I knew I wanted to get involved.
First, the summary:
A heart-warming contemporary romance set in the Flint Hills of Kansas where a former rodeo queen abandons her dreams in order to care for her deceased father’s ranch and her two half-siblings, only to realize with the help of a young new pastor that God can turn even the most dire circumstances into seeds of hope.
Here’s an interview with the author, Deborah Vogts:
Q: How long have you known you wanted to be an author?
A: Ever since I was in high school. I began writing my Great American Novel as a junior—Splendor of the Sun. That earned me an A++ in Senior English. I studied English and journalism in college, but it wasn’t until 2002 that I began taking serious steps to be published.
Q: Tell us about your journey to getting your books published.
A: There came a time in my life when I felt God prodding me to do more with my writing or risk having the talent taken from me. At that point, I joined a local writer’s group and ACFW, (an online writing organization). I also joined a critique group, started reading writing how-to’s and attended writing conferences. I met my first agent at the ACFW Nashville Conference in 2005. We hit it off at our meeting, and she gave me some tips on making my book series “bigger.” I did that and submitted my idea to her and she took me on. We shopped my Seasons of the Tallgrass series for a year and had a few bites (one of them Zondervan) but no sale. In the end, she released me, which was a real heart breaker. However, we don’t always see the big picture like God does, and six months later I signed with agent, Rachelle Gardner with WordServe Literary, and we had an offer from Zondervan three months after that in May 2008.
Q: How long have you been a published author?
A: My debut book, Snow Melts in Spring, released in July 2009. It is the first book in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series, which are contemporary inspirational romance books published by Zondervan.
Q: Why do you write the kind of books you do?
A: My tag line (and the name of my blog) is Country at Heart. I’ve always enjoyed reading contemporary or historical books with a western, country or small town setting. It’s the life I know and it’s what I enjoy reading. I guess writing about that life is what comes natural to me. I believe my core readers are those who love country life, were raised in the country or who dream of the simple life it offers.
Q: When you held that first book in your hands, what was your first thought?
A: It was really exciting—seeing a dream fulfilled. I laughed, jumped, screamed and giggled. And my family laughed at me. *smile*
Q: How many books are in the Seasons of the Tallgrass series, or how many are you planning?
A: Zondervan contracted me for three books, with options on the fourth. I’m hoping to be able to finish out the seasons with them, and I’m finishing the third book, Blades of Autumn now, which will be released in summer 2011.
Q: What themes exist in Seeds of Summer that you hope the reader sees?
A: When the story begins, Natalie has lost both her parents, so obviously dealing with grief is one theme in the story. What surprised me is that Natalie needed to deal with her mother’s death, which happened when she was a little girl. It surprised me that she’d carried it for so long without coming to terms with it.
Thank you, Deborah, for sharing your work and your heart with us today. *smile*
And now, my review:
Deborah boldly tackles some tough issues in Seeds of Summer—specifically related to family dynamics. The heroine and her half-siblings are orphans. Since she’s older, she must help raise them, which is something she’s been doing for years, as her siblings’ mother isn’t present. I appreciated the heroine’s courage and responsibility to do the tough stuff and rise to the challenge. I appreciated Natalie’s (the heroine’s) wisdom in caring for her siblings, her example of selflessness.
Her hero is a pastor and again, Deborah incorporated a show of wisdom on his part. He tackles human relationships and parishioner’s mistakes with wisdom and readers can learn something from him, though he did not come across as preachy. His interactions with church members themselves were informative.
One of the backdrops is emotional grief, rightly so, as the family is mourning the loss of their father. But because of that canvas, I felt a bit of a drag in reading the story. Also, the pace didn’t keep me interested. Her setting is peaceful and readers who enjoy a prairie or ranch setting will appreciate this. Her writing is a good example of using the setting as a character, just as she did in Book One and I'm sure will do in Books Three and possibly Four. I wish Deborah the best in her writing.
Deborah Vogts and her husband have three daughters and make their home in Southeast Kansas where they raise and train American Quarter Horses. As a student at Emporia State University studying English and journalism, Deborah developed a love for the Flint Hills that has never faded. In writing this series, she hopes to share her passion for one of the last tallgrass prairie regions in the world, showing that God’s great beauty rests on the prairie and in the hearts of those who live there.