Shannon here: Angela Ruth Strong shares similarities between herself and her character, plus a chance to win a copy of her latest Contemporary Romance, Finding Love in Park City, Utah. Comment or answer the question at the end of this post to enter the drawing. Deadline: March 11th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Angela:
Research Trip in Park City
10 Things in Common With My Character by Angela Ruth Strong
I poured my heart all over the pages of Finding Love in Park City, Utah. I was scared to let anyone read it at first because the heroine and I have so much in common that if readers didn’t like the story, then I would feel like they didn’t like me. But my editor assured me, “The emotions and gut-wrenching honesty in this one make it deep, heart-rending, touching, and the romance is wonderful.” So since I have nothing left to lose, I’ll get even more real and share ten things I have in common with C.J.
- In high school when my best friend and I went line dancing in the city and people asked my name, I would claim to be, “C.J. Sinclair.” I’d been taught not to talk to strangers, so using a fake identity seemed safer somehow. I didn’t make this connection until after I’d finished writing the story.
- I studied journalism in college, though I went to University of Oregon while C.J. attended UCLA. Both are in the Pac 12, so we could have seen each other at that one U of O/UCLA basketball game I attended.
- We both have really good daddies. I’d given so many characters bad dads that I wondered if readers were going to start to think I have issues with my dad, so I decided to give C.J. a dad as good as mine. I really enjoyed creating their relationship in the story even if they only ever talk on the phone.
- C.J. and I both had kids who wanted to protect us from men with their stuffed animals. (That was too good for me to have made up.) My daughter protected me with a stuffed rabbit named Steve. Somehow Jim was able to make friends with him.
- I also tried to scare Jim away when we were dating by telling him how I burn dinner and miss exits because I’m daydreaming while driving. It sounds silly now, but I really thought I was a horrible wife because of these things.
- J. and I both cried on the bathroom floor when finding out about our husbands (not Jim) cheating on us. I think whenever you’re in a bad relationship, the bathroom becomes your safe place.
- We both got food from the foodbank to feed our kids, and one of my children honestly did eat a butter patty from a bag of butter patties that must have come from a restaurant. It was my best friend who gave me a box of real butter for Mother’s Day.
- I also cried about being taller than my refrigerator in my first apartment. I’d been so strong up until that point. And I was extremely thankful for a friend who could joke about stealing the beautiful, new stainless steel fridge from my old house and calling my ex to ask, “Is your refrigerator running?”
- Both C.J. and I lost over twenty pounds during our divorce to the point our butts disappeared. I got lots of compliments on being skinny, but I missed my butt. It’s back…ahem…bigtime.
- We both learned how to overcome by seeing God as the author of life. He knew the mountains we would have to face from the very beginning, and He created us with the tools we would need to climb them.
There’s more, but I don’t want to give away too much of C.J.’s story. I’m hoping that no matter what your mountain is, you’ll be able to relate as well. And I pray you overcome.
About Angela: Angela Ruth Strong studied journalism at the University of Oregon and published her first novel,Love Finds You in Sun Valley, Idaho, in 2010. With movie producers interested in her book, she’s rereleased it as part of a new series titled Resort to Love, and she’s excited to be writing for Love Inspired Suspense, as well. This Idaho Top Author and Cascade Award winner also started IDAhope Writers to encourage other aspiring authors. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband and three teenagers where she teaches yoga and works as a ticket agent for an airline when not writing.
About the book – Finding Love in Park City Utah:
C.J. Lancaster’s job as a tabloid journalist takes her to the Sundance Film Festival to interview an actress. She tries to charm her way past the movie star’s youngest brother-in-law, Sam, and somehow ends up on an “undate” with him. If C.J. were ready to date, the fun-loving veteran would be her first choice, but since she’s still healing from her ex-husband’s affair, she knows it will be safer if she scares her new “friendboy” away.
Sam Lake is intrigued—he’s never had to pursue a woman, and he can’t get C.J. out of his mind. Whether it’s how she likes to eat ice cream in winter or the way she gets his nieces and nephews to gang up on him in a snowball fight, he feels more at home with her than his oversized family. But when his own issues arise, he realizes C.J. might be right about avoiding a relationship with him.
Can the two of them overcome the emotional mountains in their lives, or will they remain a “noncouple” forever?
Question for Readers: What fictional character reminds you of yourself?
Come back March 7th for Linda Hanna!