Shannon here: Donna Schlachter shares insight into her characters’ romance from her latest Historical Romance, A Nurse For Caleb. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for an e-book copy. Deadline: Oct 3rd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Donna:
Interview with Tessa and Seth from A Nurse for Caleb:
- Are you open to your own romance?
Tessa: Right now, my focus is on nursing, and doing the best job I can. I guess if God were to put the right man in my life, I’d be open to that.
Seth: Right now, my focus is on raising my son and doing my job at the Amana Colony. I don’t have time for courting.
- What’s the number one quality you’d require in a mate?
Tessa: That he loves God more than anything. Even more than me.
Seth: That she would love my son as if he were her own.
- What type of character traits are you attracted to?
Tessa: I like a man who is gentle and considerate, who would listen to my side and take it into consideration.
Seth: I like a woman who wants to focus all her attentions on being a wife and mother. Who will take care of us and our home. Who will follow instructions and not ask a lot of questions.
- What’s the one habit or lifestyle that would make you run the other way?
Tessa: A man who wants me to stop working and wants me always at home.
Seth: A woman who wants her own career.
- What would be the best gift a potential mate could buy for you?
Tessa: A subscription to a medical journal.
Seth: Something for my son, like a book or a toy truck.
- Do you want to have children?
Tessa: I consider children a blessing from God, so yes. Especially if they were like Caleb. He is such a sweet boy, and I fear I’m losing my heart to him.
Seth: My first wife and I were afraid to have more children because she’d passed her breathing problems on to our son, and we didn’t want that to happen again. But once she passed, I couldn’t imagine having children with any other woman. But Nurse Tessa fits into our home like she was meant to be here, and she loves Caleb.
Excerpt from A Nurse For Caleb by Donna Schlachter:
He paused at a rustle in the corner and peered through the gloom.
A woman, huddled on the bench, chin tucked to her chest. Past middle age. Her dress wrinkled. Sniffling.
He stepped closer, pushing the chair ahead of him. Surely this wasn’t the nursing professional they’d hired to heal the sick. To make his son well. One strong and courageous enough to travel from the east coast to their colonies would also bravely wait a few minutes. He glanced at the clock over the front door. Very well, an hour.
In the heat. In a town strange to her.
“Are you Nurse Mayer?”
Please say you’re not. Please be somebody’s maiden aunt who alighted at the wrong station and awaits the next scheduled train. Or please be waiting for somebody other than me.
Perhaps if he was a little rude, she’d decide this wasn’t the town for her. If she left before anybody befriended her, it would be better for everybody. Better Caleb not become attached to another woman who would leave him.
Better for him not to get his hopes up that anything except a miracle from God could save his son.
Her head raised, and she shoved her handkerchief into a sleeve before standing. “Yes, I am.” She crossed the distance between them in three quick steps. “I was so worried I’d gotten the wrong town or—”
He chuckled. “Or the wrong date. Exactly what I thought as I came.” He stepped aside at a tugging on his pants leg. “This is my son, Caleb.”
She squatted down, the skirt of her dress flounced around her like the finest ball gown. Up close, she wasn’t so old as he’d first thought, and the smile she bestowed on the child melted away his misgivings.
If he’d had any doubts before, the rapturous expression on Caleb’s face washed them all away.
His son had just fallen in love with the new nurse.
Who was he to send her away?
* * *
Despite the rough start to her new life in this town, Tessa loved the boy immediately. His quick smile and love of life were infectious. Although his father seemed immune. Standing by, hands shoved in his pockets. Not smiling at the boy’s antics and jokes.
What kind of father was he?
Or perhaps this was the type she’d expect in a closed religious community. She was no stranger to the concept—having been raised in a Mennonite environment—yet the man’s stoicism was obvious. Another reason for choosing this assignment—she spoke some German, the mother tongue of many of the older residents.
After a few minutes, in which she gave Caleb permission to address her as Nurse Tessa, she straightened. “Thank you for coming to fetch me.”
“I was told to come.”
And what exactly did that mean? That he had no choice? Was forced to meet her out of compulsion, rather than choice?
About the book – A Nurse For Caleb:
In 1868, Tessa, a Mennonite nurse graduates from nursing school and is assigned to the Amana Colonies in Iowa because of her expertise in treating asthma and other breathing problems. As a former student at a women’s medical school, she knows more than most about respiratory diseases. She’s also had her fair share of heartbreak when, upon her mentor’s death, she was forced to abandon her dream of becoming a doctor. Will she be able to use her skills? Or will her gender keep her from helping those who truly need her?
Seth, a widower in Amana, is still nursing a broken heart from his sweetheart’s passing two years before. Now raising their invalid son Seth on his own, he wonders why God didn’t listen to his prayers for healing for his family. Caleb has been afflicted with the same form of asthma that killed Anna, and Seth stands by helplessly as his son fades away. Can he trust God and trust medicine, or is faith in one mutually exclusive of faith in the other?
About Donna: Donna lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name, and contemporary suspense under her alter ego of Leeann Betts, and has been published more than 30 times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, Pikes Peak Writers, and Christian Authors Network; facilitates a critique group; and teaches writing classes online and in person. Donna also ghostwrites, edits, and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. Donna is represented by Terrie Wolf of AKA Literary Management.
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Question for readers: When you read a romance novel, do you prefer the story to end with an engagement, a wedding, or something else?
Come back Sept 29th for Cynthia Roemer!