Yours Truly, Thomas has been out for just under a month and in that time I’ve received a lot of fun emails, messages, and comments. Here are some of the more frequent observations made and questions asked.
Why did Penny go to Azure Springs?
Some readers have wanted to know if I think Penny went to Azure Springs because she was “in love” with Thomas. My opinion is that she came to a crossroads in her own life and wanted to run somewhere to clear her head. Running somewhere that felt a little familiar made more sense than just going wherever the breeze took her so she went to Azure Springs. It’s a place she believes will be welcome, a place she knows someone else has found comfort from his griefs and a place that she has drawn a vivid image of in her head and that she’d love to see for herself. I do think she was interested in meeting Thomas but I don’t think she actually believed anything would come of it.
What were my favorite scenes?
This is a fun question! I loved the scene where Honey steals the roast and Margaret kicks the dog out. I could see the scene clearly in my head and enjoyed the shock value as Margaret follows through on her principles. She’s a voice of reason and I adore that about her.
Did Thomas love Clara?
Thomas was deeply grieving both the loss of Clara and the realization of who he’d been before. He was a man so caught up in his own success that he didn’t think about other people. He courted Clara because she was the right type of woman to have on his arm. He regretted what happened and blamed himself for her death. Because he was not the type of person he should have been, he did not yet know what real love was so my answer is no, he did not really love her. As he grew in his faith and accepted his loss and turned the corner in his life, he’s able to experience real love which includes thinking of others and service.
Have I ever seen Signed, Sealed, Delivered?
I love that so many readers alerted me to a modern-day dead letter office TV show. I had never seen this show so I can’t claim any inspiration from it but I’ve since started watching it and love it.
Why did I choose to use letters scattered throughout?
There were a few reasons I chose to utilize letters in the telling of this story. Using letters throughout linked the first part of the book that takes places in the dead letter office with the second setting of Azure Springs. It also helped prove the point that the written word is powerful. I was able to pass time and tell the story in a different way using letters. In writing, my characters were able to spell out some of their feelings in ways they couldn’t otherwise. It stretched me as a writer to tell the story in a different way than normal and I loved that! And finally, I love letters and so does Penny!
What were the challenges faced writing this novel?
The timeline was the biggest challenge for me. Penny is in Azure Springs temporarily so a lot of life needed to happen in a short amount of time. At first I struggled to make this believable but as I got to know my characters and realized how prepared they were to fall into each other’s life I really felt it worked to have them move faster than other couples. I also have witnessed in my own life stories of God leading couples together and making it clear early on they’d do well together and I tried to lean on those stories for inspiration.
Did I enjoy going back to Azure Springs and will there be more Azure Springs novels?
After writing The Hope of Azure Springs I wrote two other novels (one of which will be my 2020 release- A Life Once Dreamed). During that time The Hope of Azure Springs was bought by Revell and I decided my next project would be to write another Azure Springs novel just in case readers wanted more. I’d never written a companion novel and realized I was very unprepared (haha). I’m a horrible note taker so I had to revisit my own writing to get names and dates right but I loved that and loved getting to show these characters years later. Margaret was my favorite character in The Hope of Azure Springs so spending more time with her was like hanging out with great friend.
After spending so much time in Azure Springs and coming to love these characters and this setting so well I’d love to write another book here. I have a few ideas in my head that I hope will someday be on paper. I’m always thrilled when I hear from readers that they love this setting as much as I do.
Did I base my characters on anyone in particular?
My characters were not based on real people. Their personalities were pulled from people I’ve met but not one particular person.
How do you find the time to write?
This isn’t related to this specific book but it’s a question I get all the time. The truth is I write in spurts so when I’m doing a new rough draft I don’t sleep enough. I dive in and barely come up for air, then I edit slower, and in between projects I take nice long breaks. I also watch very little TV which is a pretty great way to free up some time!