Shannon here: I’m humbled, honored, and floored to host pioneer inspirational romance author, Irene Brand on my blog. Irene shares her real life romance and that of her characters from Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe which she co-authored with Anita Higman. Plus they’re giving away a copy. Comment on any post dated Nov 29 – Dec 3. Deadline Dec 4, midnight Central time. Here’s Irene:
1. How did you and your spouse met?
I was born in West Virginia, my husband (Rod) was born in Nebraska. (Incidentally, we’ve been married for 54 years.) We are third cousins, twice removed. My ancestors came to this part of the country from Virginia in the mid-1800’s. Although it was a large family, only a few of the children settled here, rather they moved on to the Middle West. When I was still in my teens, I came up with the idea to compile a history of my paternal family (the Beards). During my research, I contacted some cousins in Nebraska. Rod’s uncle and his wife vacationed often in Florida, and one spring, they detoured through West Virginia to meet “the old maid cousin” they expected to see. I hadn’t revealed my age to any of those cousins I’d contacted for genealogy information. They were surprised to see a teenager! (A few years had passed, so I was almost twenty years old by them.)
Our family and these cousins established immediate rapport, and we kept up a steady mail contact. At the time, Rod was serving in Korea with the U. S. Army. He was having a birthday, and his family planned a card shower for him. They asked me to send a card. I did. He answered with a thank-you note. I answered that! We continued corresponding during his remaining months in Korea and after he returned home. He got a job in a Nebraska bank, and when he had his first vacation, he planned a trip to Washington, D. C. He stopped by West Virginia to visit us.
2. How soon after meeting, did you and your spouse know that we meant for each other?
On his return to Nebraska, he wrote a letter asking me to marry him. I accepted. The next year, he moved to West Virginia, and the rest is history. We’d only known each other in person about a week, but we’d corresponded for two years.
3. What’s the most romantic present your spouse ever bought for you?
Rod is very good about shopping and giving me gifts. More so in the past than now, because our house is full of “things,” and we have everything we want. However, on our 10th wedding anniversary, he took a diamond from a ring he’d bought in Korea, and had it set in a white gold pendant. The gift was a complete surprise, and I cried because I hadn’t bought anything for him. I never wear the necklace without remembering that.
4. Where did you and your spouse go for your honeymoon?
The Smoky Mountains. That was our first trip together as man and wife. Since then we’ve visited all 50 states and thirty five foreign countries.
5. Where is the most romantic place you and your spouse have ever been?
This is a difficult question, for we’re still in love after 54 years of marriage. Any place we’re together is romantic for us. If I would choose one, it would be Hawaii. That was the 50th state we visited together.
6. How did your hero and heroine meet?
My hero and heroine met when the car she was riding in became stuck in a creek. The hero came along riding a horse and carried her to safety. See excerpt below:
“David moved behind the saddle and leaned toward you. “Step out of the truck and I’ll lift you. . . As she stepped on the narrow running board, the muddy water lapped at the soles of her shoes, and a quick glance at the swift-flowing stream made her feel dizzy. She was no lightweight. Could this man lift her, or would she fall into the creek?
She raised her hands, and his muscular arms wrapped around her waist. He lifted her without noticeable effort and cradled her gently on the saddle with his left arm, guiding the horse with his right hand. When they left the creek bed, David carefully lowered her to the ground.”
7. How soon after meeting her hero did the heroine know he was the one?
About three months. She was determined that she wouldn’t live in rural Kentucky, so she closed her heart to the hero, who intended to spend the rest of his life in the “holler.”
8. Who is the most romantic, your hero or your heroine?
David, the hero. The heroine hadn’t had much love in her life, not even from her parents, and her heart was closed to love. The hero knew that he loved the heroine, but because of a shadow over his past, he didn’t believe he could ever claim her for his wife.
9. What is the most caring thing your hero has ever done for your heroine?
Providing a physical place and a sympathetic heart to enable her to fulfill her dream, even though it wasn’t a dream that would include him.
10. What is the most caring thing your heroine has ever gone for your hero?
When an enemy threatened to shoot the hero, she jumped in front of him and took the bullet meant for him.
11. Who said, “I love you” first, your hero or your heroine?
About Irene: IRENE BRAND became one of the early pioneers of inspirational fiction when she was contracted by Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984, to write one of the four launch titles in their Cherish (Promise) series. Her first fiction book, A Change of Heart, was followed the next year by A Mighty Flame. While still writing for Thomas Nelson, she published both historical and contemporary romances with Zondervan. In the early 90’s, four of her books were published in Fleming Revell’s Meadowsong Romance series.
Irene also plowed new literary territory when she joined the Steeple Hill team of authors in 1998, publishing the 19th book in their Love Inspired romance series. Made for Each Other, (July, 2008) was her 20th book for Steeple Hill. Irene started writing for Barbour Publishing in 1990 and has published several titles in their Heartsong Presents series.
The publication of her September, 2010 novella in Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe is her 46th book, including four non-fiction titles. Over two million copies of her single titles are in print, and her work has appeared in several novella anthologies and other book collections.
In addition to her writing, Irene is actively involved in the ministry of her local Baptist church, where she has been a member since she was eleven-years-old, the year she believes that God also called her to a writing ministry. She currently teaches a Sunday school class for young adults, plays the piano, directs the choir, serves as the church treasurer, and is an active member of the women’s mission society. Irene lives at Southside, West Virginia (five miles from her birthplace) with her husband, Rod.
Come back Dec 6 for WordPress author, Cathy Bryant’s real life romance and a chance to win her book, A Path Less Traveled.