Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Blood Stains & Civil War? Interview with S. Dionne Moore

When a band of runaway slaves brings Union-loyal Elizabeth "Beth" Bumgartner a wounded Confederate soldier named "Joe", it is the catalyst that pushes her to defy her pacifist parents and become a nurse during the Battle of Antietam.

Her mother's mysterious good-bye gift is filled with quilt blocks that bring comfort to Beth during the hard days and lonely nights, but as she sews each block, she realizes there is a hidden message of faith within the pattern that encourages and sustains her.

Reunited with Joe, Beth learns his secret and puts the quilt's message to its greatest test--but can betrayal be forgiven?

Sandra D. Moore resides in the rolling hills of Cumberland Valley, PA – a transplanted city girl and glad of it! She enjoys ferreting out little-known historical details and crafting a story around them.

Her new releases include Promise Brides (3-in-1 historical romances set in PA) of which two stories are ACFW Carol Award Finalists. In May 2013, A Heartbeat Away, Book 7 in Abingdon Press’s Quilts of Love series, released.

Murder on the Ol’ Bunions released from Smashwords as an ebook in March 2012 followed by Polly Dent Loses Grip and for the first time ever, Your Goose is Cooked, the third and final book in the LaTisha Barnhart Mystery series.

To learn more about Sandra and her cozy mysteries and historical romances, visit her website here, Twitter or Pinterest

Some other places to connect with Moore:

Ten Questions with Author S. Dionne Moore  

What should readers know about your latest release? Does it differ from your past books, offer a new perspective on a familiar topic, or shed light on a unique situation?
While the Battle of Antietam rages around her, Beth Bumgartner finds precious comfort in her mother’s mysterious farewell present--a stack of quilt blocks. While she sews each block, Beth wonders if there is more to this quilt than memories of home. Hidden in the pattern is a message of faith that will encourage and sustain her through the dark nights to come, nights that will put Beth’s faith to its greatest test yet.
In answer to part two, see below.
What was the main inspiration for the new book? Had the idea been on your mind for a while or just popped into it one day?
I had been doing some noodling around online, trying to find a unique angle of the Battle of Antietam when I came across stories of General Robert E. Lee’s Special Order 191. I always like for my characters to have or discover a secret or twist and this was one of the twists I wove into Joe’s story.

Why do you feel compelled to write—in your genre or at all?
I write historical fiction because the genre speaks to me, has always spoken to me, on a level that I find immensely satisfying. Yes, I am a detail-oriented person. Yes, I enjoy hours of reading about places and events that occurred decades and centuries ago. But foremost I am a writer, an author, who loves to take truth and weave amongst those threads an element of romance and wonder.

And in the midst of the characters growing and changing, history surrounds them, molds them, and tweaks their perspective on life. It should do the same for us. By examining times past, we can see far more clearly what lay ahead. By walking in the shoes of those who have suffered and triumphed during tough times, we can pluck hope that we, too, can overcome obstacles.

By understanding what the the people of Sharpsburg suffered before, during and after the bloodiest day of battle in history, we can also understand the great resilience of the human spirit when tapped in to the strength of God.

How has travel been involved in your writing and/or research?
If at all possible, I try to go to the place that I am writing about. Sharpsburg was an easy location for me since it is only about 40 minutes away and Burkholder’s Bakery has the best donuts ever. But the history in Sharpsburg, coupled with an almost complete lack of commercialism, is like touching that place in time that was the Battle of Antietam.
Sharpsburg has preserved memories of the battle quite well. Even the house I stayed in had a blood stain on the parlor room floor--a souvenir from the days when the wounded filled every available shelter. It is going to Sharpsburg, seeing the terrain and hearing the stories of the citizens who had to endure the atrocity and its aftermath, that really helped get me in the right mind-set to write A Heartbeat Away.
Who has inspired you the most on your writing journey—a loved one, fellow author, favorite teacher?
Memories of my father--gone these last 20 years. I lost him young, age 23, and never got to really know him as an adult, but his memory, his passion for history, reading and studying, inspire me.
What surprised you the most about the writer’s journey—publication, representation, platform building, the writing itself?
Every aspect of being published has surprised me in some small way. The length of time it takes for an editor to make a decision. . .the time it takes from contract to publication date. Learning that each publishing house approaches editing and marketing of their books differently. It’s definitely a learning experience!
If you could rewind time to when you began your pursuit of publication, what would you tell yourself?
Learn to finish a manuscript. It took me years of rewriting the same old chapter before I understood that the most important thing about writing is finishing a manuscript. Editors don’t accept a book based on the first few chapters, they want to see the whole thing.
Now to have some fun with travel…
What’s your favorite place you have visited?
Ireland has been my favorite place so far. I loved the rolling green hills with rocky outcroppings, the people, the flavor of the towns and the many, many ruins of old castles dotting the countryside. 
What really interested me is that by seeing Ireland, I could totally understand why so many of our townships (Antrim) and cities (Greencastle) were named after cities of the same name in Ireland--someone was reminded of home. We too have rolling hills with rocky outcroppings of limestone.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Or would you return to somewhere you’ve already been?
I’d love to go to Australia but wouldn’t mind returning to Ireland either. Hmm. . .? Australia wins!

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