Genre: Christian Historical, Suspense, Romance
Despite the panic of 1893, logging has reached its golden era in the growing state of Wisconsin, and twins Jesilyn and Corianne Beaumont enjoy a comfortable life with family in the bursting Great Lake city of Superior. But when jealousy incites Jesi to seduce Cori’s fiancé, a flight and fall from grace lands her in a boomtown brothel, where a fresh start is denied her.
Camp preacher Paul Winter longs to offer hope in the logging and mining towns of northern Wisconsin, but not in the way he expects when he meets a redhead he calls Pie Girl. He’s never had to battle his own longings quite this way before.
Meanwhile, stung by Jesilyn’s betrayal, Corianne’s bitterness might separate her from a second chance at happiness and peace. Only by Grace can both women begin new lives, and budding love can bloom in places neither of them expects.
1. Where are you from?
I grew up in central Wisconsin near the Wisconsin River. My dad spent many years working in a paper mill, and as I grew to love history, I began imagining what life was like in times past in my own state. When I moved up north near Lake Superior, it wasn’t difficult to be overcome with story ideas stemming out of Wisconsin’s rich history and its Big Woods.
2. Tell us your latest news?
This summer, right after The Black Rose released as an e-book in July, I received news from my publisher, Desert Breeze, that the entire series will begin going to print in early 2013. Of course, I’m stoked about that! As much as I love my Kindle, there are still a lot of folks who prefer to read a hard copy of a novel, and I’m looking forward to getting the Empire in Pine series in as many hands as possible. The Green Veil, which is the first book in the series, will release in paperback in January.
3. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a country gal through to the core. I live on an old farm — 150 acres — on which we used to raise a few beef and a smattering of other critters – pigs, goats, & chickens – but we’re currently turning most of the property over to my three sons’ deer management. So when I’m not writing, I’m mostly out gardening, hiking around the property, or working on home projects. I recently resigned from my day job at a local school to take on the World’s Best Job Ever of babysitting for my newborn grandson, Jack Rylan. How do you beat that? So a good part of my day is spent making noises and funny faces that babies like — and explaining to him the plot of my next book, of course.
4. What does your family think of your writing?
Besides the three sons I mentioned above, I also have two daughters. My hubby and I have been married close to 32 years. They are all SO supportive. When my contract arrived for the print version of my series, I texted my youngest son who is 21, and he immediately and loudly let everyone in the Applebees restaurant know about it.
5. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
For many years I didn’t think I could legitimately call myself a writer because it wasn’t my day job. But now I realize I’ve been a writer almost my whole life. I was only ten when I announced my intentions of being an “author” to the world, and have written in some form ever since. I was also aware early on, and comfortable with the fact, that writing — before the advent of social networks — is a solitary task.
6. Do you have a specific writing style?
It’s hard to describe one’s own style, but I’d say that my voice is a combination of grit and elegance. I love big epics, and study the writing of authors like Bodie Thoene, Angela Hunt, Allen Eckert, and others along that line. Peril… harsh realities… those things aren’t glossed over. I aim for that style of “truth-telling” in my historicals, and that’s what I mean by gritty. At the same time, I want to engage readers’ senses when it comes to experiencing the breathless beauty of the natural world and personal relationships. That’s the elegant part. I think (modestly) that if you enjoy Tamera Alexander or Laura Frantz you would perhaps like my style.
7. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I always work with an outline. When writing historicals, there is so much research and so many things to forget. I have to weed through what to include without weighing down the story and what to put aside. I’d be certain to lose my way without a least a bare-bones outline. Within the outline, I give room for my muse to explore and sometimes wander down unexplored paths.
8. What books are you reading now?
I just finished Laura Frantz’s The Colonel’s Lady and am reading the not-yet-released Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland.
9. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
K.M. Weiland has had a couple of books come out in the past few years which are riveting. Big, epic. Which is why I was thrilled to preview her new one. I’m enjoying the new speculative series Children of the King by Gloria Clover. It’s a series very different from my usual forte. There are a couple other Desert Breeze authors whose historical fiction I’m anxious to read, but haven’t gotten to them yet. Of course, like everyone else it seems, I’m enthralled by Laura Frantz’s books, both because of her style and because she writes with guts and realism about the eras I love.
10. What are your current projects?
I have three new irons in the proverbial fire. First, I’m submitting a work of contemporary women’s fiction called Paint Me Althena. I’m also praying hard over what to do about a novel I wrote for my kids some years ago and would like to publish. Lastly, I’m beginning a new historical that is going to spin with some of those epic qualities I love — I hope!
11. Here’s an excerpt from The Black Rose, Empire in Pine Book Three:
Johnny Ray leered at her. “Well… look who the dogs dragged back. I know you, Red. You’re the little gal who left me with the sore head and a whole lot of unfinished business.”
He stepped close and jerked her chin up in his beefy fingers.
Clay laid a hand across Big John’s forearm. “See here, Mister.”
The bear shook him off like a pesky black fly. “And now here you are. Right back where we last met. We can pick up where we left off, but maybe we’ll have a drink and a dance first.”
Johnny Ray gripped her arm and twisted her toward the door.
“No!” She yanked free and fell against Clay, clutching him.
Clay backed up looking dumbfounded, with Jesi clinging to his coat front.
“Oh. I see. You’re busy now.” He threw Clay a look. “Better mind yourself, Mister. Don’t turn your head. She’s a thieving, mean little thing.”
She shook her head and glanced at Clay. He scowled and removed her hand from his coat. “Jesi?”
Another voice came from the street. Jesi’s twisted her head and saw Paul hoofing it around mud holes to cross the road toward them. She turned back to Clay.
His face had changed. His jaw set and his brow dipped. His face had taken on its tell-tale shade of red that it always seemed to turn when he was angry. “What’ve you become?” he hissed.
Big John busted out laughing. “What’d you think she was, Mister? I can tell you what.” He jerked his head toward Maisey’s dark interior. “So can anyone in this fine establishment.”
She shook her head, tears blurred her vision. The sound of Gravy’s piano playing clinked discordant tones in the background.
“Jesi?” Paul’s voice, even but heavy with the worry she recognized, sounded close as he leapt onto the boardwalk. She turned to him, but didn’t dare meet his gaze. She wiped the back of her hand across her eyes.
Big John kept laughing. Clay kept staring at her, his countenance growing harder by the second. His eyes took on the shade of thunderclouds over Lake Superior. “Is this how you’ve been living in Hurley?” His look scathed her. “Yet you were ready to try and fool me again.”
She had no breath, no courage to deny it. Her heart had momentarily soared to the peaks, and then crashed down in a hideous mess.
His face contorted. “You’re still nothing but a common trollop.”
Paul’s fist shot out without warning, catching Clay square in the jaw. He reeled backward off the boardwalk into the mud.
“Who the blazes are you?” John thundered, reaching for Paul’s shirt.
Jesi covered her mouth, biting her palm.
Paul shoved a fist in his gut, but the big man merely cringed as he pushed Paul back. “What’s your stake in all this?”
Paul found his footing. He glanced briefly at Clay, who’d gotten up and stood brushing mud off his suit. “I’ll tell you.” He took a run at Big John, crashing into his shoulder so that the brute fell hard against the side of the building. “She’s my wife.”
Naomi and her husband Jeff live as epically as God allows on a ramshackle farm in Wisconsin’s north woods near their five young adults and three grand-children. Amidst it, she writes stories about imperfect people who are finding hope and faith to overcome their struggles. Her entire Empire in Pine series, available now in eBook from Desert Breeze Publishing, will also go to print in 2013. She invites new friends and old to say hello and find out more about her books, passions, and other writing venues at http://www.naomimusch.com or look her up on Facebook Naomi Musch – Author and Twitter NMusch.