Due to schedules of busy authors that also happen to be moms, author friend Sarah E. Ladd and I scheduled a virtual coffee date to chat about the exciting release of her debut novel, The Heiress of Winterwood. You’ll find out quickly, just as I did, that this author has a great love for all things Regency, as well as a true heart for the Lord. (Not to mention a sincere and mutual affection we both have for coffee!)
Sarah has her vanilla latte and I have my coconut mocha coffee in hand… We’re ready to start this virtual chat! So grab your favorite mug of coffee too (or English Breakfast tea), and join us as we celebrate the debut release for author Sarah E. Ladd:
Kristy: Hi Sarah – We’re delighted that you’ve stopped by Regency Reflections today to talk about your Genesis Award-winning and debut novel, The Heiress of Winterwood. I’ve prepared for the occasion with a cup of coffee and an edge-of-my-seat anxiousness to talk about this amazing book!
Thank you for having me!
K: Let’s jump right in. We’ve just met you in the elevator at a writing conference, and we’re in love with the fact that your first book is a Regency. Can you give us a quick summary of the story before the elevator reaches our floor?
Sure! When Amelia Barrett vows to raise her dying friend’s infant daughter, she will risk everything to keep her word, even if it means proposing to the child’s father … a sea captain she’s never met.
K: The thought of proposing marriage is a bit terrifying. (Now I understand what the guys go through when they’re about to bend a knee.) But to have a woman propose marriage to a man, in the year 1814 – what kind of cultural significance does that hold?
I think that in order to answer this question properly I need to step back a bit. When I first started planning to write this book, I knew I wanted to set the novel in the Regency period. My goal was to write a strong heroine that really challenged the societal expectations of the time. So before I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) I asked myself the following question: What is the one thing that a woman in the Regency period would never, ever do? And the first answer that came to mind: Propose marriage to a man. And that is how the idea for ‘The Heiress of Winterwood’ was born!
So jumping back to the question … proposing marriage to a man would have damaged a lady’s reputationbeyond repair – and during the Regency, a woman’s reputation was her most prized possession.Keep in mind that Amelia had to be married by the time she turned 24 otherwise she would lose her inheritance, so not only was she risking social ridicule, but she was also risking her fortune and security.
K: In The Heiress of Winterwood, your heroine finds herself in quite a life-changing moment right from the first scene of the book. (I actually had a breathless moment when I read the first line!) How attached did you feel to Amelia as she walked through this heart-wrenching journey?
Oh my goodness! I felt like I was in the room with Amelia, watching the tragedy unfold. And as I wrote the rest of the book, I kept coming back to this opening scene, tweaking it and making sure it was true to her character. Amelia’s reaction in this room really spoke a lot about the type of person she was, and that moment was truly a defining point in her life … it was the moment she decided that she would put someone else’s needs before her own and dedicate her life to making someone else’s life better.
K: You’ve written characters that give the readers a very intimate look at the inner struggles they face – Amelia with her heart for a young child and the fierce protection she feels as a new mother, and Graham, with his unwavering strength as he begins to understand what it means to be a father. Can you tell us more about the inner struggles your characters go through on their journey and how they bridged those challenges to find love?
Amelia’s parents died when she was young, and as a result, she faced loneliness and was always searching for the true acceptance that a family could offer. Because of this, Amelia feels an immediate connection with Lucy, the baby, for she wants to prevent this innocent child from growing up as she did …without love. This leads us to Amelia’s struggle. You see, Amelia believes that she knows what is best for herself and for Lucy. She believes that by careful planning, courage, and hard work she can create the perfect life for them both. But in the end, Amelia realizes that her own strength and determination will only take her so far, and it is only when she relies on God’s strength and seeks His will does she find peace and contentment.
Graham, on the other hand, struggles with the guilt of his past. There are many things that the wishes he would have done differently. Throughout the course of the story, he learns that in order to find true freedom from the stronghold of his guilt he must forgive himself and, more importantly, accept God’s forgiveness. His journey is about breaking down the walls that he built around himself.
In essence, both Amelia and Graham dealt with the issue of pride, only in different forms. When I wrote their stories, this Bible verse kept coming to me. I think it fits both of their journeys:
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. ~ Proverbs 11:2
Keep your coffee cups on the warmer, friends… We’ll continue Sarah’s interview in our Friday post. But until then, drop her a line here with a comment and find her on social media to keep the conversation going. She’s so looking forward to talking with each of you!
GIVEAWAY: You’re in luck, Regency readers. Sarah is giving away a *signed* copy of her debut book,The Heiress of Winterwood, to one lucky reader of Friday’s post. In the meantime, Sarah will be monitoring the comments and would love to connect with you. So…
Now that you’ve met Amelia and Graham, what has you completely breathless to read their story?
Come back on Friday for the second installment of our Coffee Talk interview with debut author Sarah E. Ladd. (Hint: Make sure to join us. We’ve got a couple of surprises in store!) And don’t forget our GIVEAWAY – details to follow in the next post!
In His Love,