Shannon here: Historical romance author, Connie Stevens shares insight into her fictional characters’ romance, plus a chance to win a copy of her latest release, Scars of Mercy. Comment on any post dated Sept 12th – 17th for a chance to win the drawing. Deadline: Sept 17th, 11:59 central time. Here’s Connie:
INTERVIEW WITH CONNIE STEVENS, AUTHOR
Latest release – SCARS OF MERCY—from Heartsong Presents
1. What’s the most romantic thing your hero ever did for your heroine?
The hero of SCARS OF MERCY, Everett Behr, doesn’t set out to pursue romance. In fact, he hides from it. He distances himself from people, and intends to do so with Tillie O’Dell. But he finds the seclusion lonely. Tillie offers friendship, and as long as it’s on Everett’s terms—ie. He can hide in the shadows and she can’t see his scars—he tentatively agrees to be together with her. When he realizes he is falling in love with her, he does the one thing that is most hurtful to himself, but what he feels is the best thing for Tillie: he lets her go.
2. It’s interesting to note that Everett and Tillie do most of their courting in the shadows? Why is that?
Everett was burned when he ran into a burning house to rescue his father and his father’s bride. Ever since the fire and the resulting scars, Everett hides himself away because his scars are ugly and people stare at him. Therefore, the only way he is comfortable being with Tillie is at sunset when the evening shadows conceal his scars. He can relax without fear of Tillie being repulsed by the way he looks. During these times, they share stories about their families, their work day, and their faith. They grow together as a couple without Everett realizing it’s happening. When the awareness of his feelings for Tillie finally overtakes him, he tries to end the relationship before Tillie can be hurt.
3. What’s the most romantic present your hero ever bought your heroine?
Because Everett doesn’t consider his relationship with Tillie to be a courtship, he doesn’t buy her gifts the way we think a man would shower gifts on the love of his life. Instead, the “gifts” Everett and Tillie exchange are flower petals they pick along the creek bank, or smooth stones they skip across the water. It’s joining their voices in laughter over an amusing story Tillie tells him about her brother, watching fireflies dance among the willow branches, or trying to remember all the words to a hymn they sang at church. Gifts aren’t always material, and I’ve tried to show how intangible things can carry a much deeper significance when shared instead of expensive gifts tied up with a ribbon.
4. Tillie seems to be a very giving person. What in her background contributed to her becoming the compassionate person she is?
Tillie’s father used to drink heavily, and she and her mother wept many nights when he wouldn’t come home. One night he was in a barroom brawl and was badly injured—slashed across his face with a broken whiskey bottle. She grew up watching the way people reacted to her father’s scars. Through this she learned to demonstrate compassion for others. She also is the oldest child from a large family and as such has developed a nurturing spirit.
5. What character traits attracted your hero and heroine to each other?
Tillie isn’t so different from other young women. She was initially attracted to Everett because he was handsome and paid attention to her. After the boardinghouse fire, when Everett retreated into his shell, she took a deeper look into what made this young man do what he did. His bravery and courage, his willingness to put aside his own safety to rescue two people, creates a picture of his character that is much greater to Tillie than his handsome face was.
Everett, on the other hand, sees Tillie as a tender-hearted woman who demonstrates mercy. As their friendship unfolds, however, he confuses Tillie’s compassion for pity, and faces a difficult choice.
6. What is the theme of SCARS OF MERCY? What do you want readers to take away?
As the title suggests, having a heart to show mercy is a trait that isn’t easy to learn. God tends to put us into situations where we are faced with choices that don’t always lead in the direction we’d like to go. Scars can be a result of an injury or surgery—often as painful emotionally as physically. But wounds heal, and the scar that is left can be crippling or it can be a testimony to God’s faithfulness. It’s our choice whether or not to grow from the experience. I hope readers will examine their own painful life experiences, run their fingers over the resulting scars, and make the choice to use the scars for God’s glory.
About Connie: Connie Stevens lives in north Georgia with her husband of thirty-eight years, John, and one cantankerous kitty, misnamed Sweet Pea. When she isn’t writing, Connie enjoys reading, gardening, sewing, browsing antique shops, and collecting teddy bears. If she is turned loose in an historical museum, she will forget what time it is as well as what century it is. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America are dear to her heart and she makes quilts to send to their ministerial team for distribution to cancer patients. You can find Connie on Facebook or on her website at www.conniestevenswrites.com.
About the book: Everett Behr turns away from people to hide his disfiguring scars. A budding friendship with Tillie O’Dell eases his loneliness, but asking her to endure the humiliation of being with someone like him is out of the question. Tillie sees past Everett’s scars to his heart. His courage and compassion make him a man of character, but how can she convince Everett his scars are beautiful to her?
Come back Sept 14th for part 2 of Connie’s interview.