Shannon here: Jenny Carlisle shares the inspiration for her latest Women’s Fiction title, Faith Moves Mountains. I was honored to read this book in advance and can assure you it’s worth your reading time. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a print copy. Deadline: Feb 11th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Jenny:
Faith Caldwell is the first-born daughter of a well-known family in the fictional town of Crossroads, Arkansas. Attendees at the Caldwell Family rodeo are accustomed to seeing her circling the arena on horseback with the American Flag during an inspiring opening ceremony. With her blonde hair trailing behind, she has been looked upon as the picture of beauty and grace.
Now that the rodeo is no longer presented on a regular basis, Faith is trying hard to move on with her life. She still loves the rodeo life and enters the Miss Rodeo Arkansas pageant to showcase her horsemanship skills. She has big dreams of being a nurse practitioner specializing in cancer treatment. The problem is, she knows she will need expensive training that she probably can’t get locally. The scholarship awarded to the winner of the pageant would help.
Big city dreams fill her head, and when a local celebrity begins to pay attention to her, she is eager to spend time with him. Surely, this guy recognizes that she is more than just a local cowgirl. His constant compliments and devil-may-care attitude are almost as exciting as the shiny new Mustang he drives.
John K. Billings has had enough of seeing the world, and more than enough excitement for a while. He is irritated by the attention he gets from the community, which sees him as a local hero. Memories of what really happened during his time in the military make that four-letter word very offensive to him. Lately, he has been living in a hunting cabin in the woods. He keeps in touch with the family, but infrequent visits are more than enough.
A surprising and explosive event at the beginning of this story brings these two together again. Even though Faith is flattered by being pursued by her new big-city friend, she can’t help thinking about the handsome guy who was one of her first teenage crushes. She begins to see a contrast between the way she is treated by the fast-driving sweet-talking man, and the steady respect from John K., as dependable as his grandpa’s vintage pickup truck.
During an impromptu lunch date, the truth starts to dawn on Faith in this excerpt:
“But back to you.” John K. stirred more sugar into his coffee. “So, you need more education to be a nurse? Can’t you just work up through the ranks?”
“I want to be a nurse practitioner. So, besides being an RN, I will have post-graduate work.” Was he interested? Ty had always changed the subject when the conversation got to this point.
“Oh, so you have to go to school in Little Rock, right? Or do they have that program in Fayetteville?” He leaned his chair back, balancing on the back two legs.
“I want to concentrate on oncology. The nurse practitioners were lifesavers for us when Mom had cancer.” She finished her coffee. “I wouldn’t just pick where to go, I’d have to be accepted into a program. The best ones are far away, in big cities.”
“Wow. Living in one of those places would be a major adjustment.” He wiped his mouth with a napkin, leaning back in his chair.
“Another true confession.” Faith paused. “That’s what appeals to me most about this idea. I have lived right here in this same area all my life. Big cities are more exciting.”
“I get that too.” John K. placed the front feet of his chair back on the floor. “But take it from the guy who enlisted in the Army to see the world. There’s a lot of advantages to living in a small town or out in the country.”
“Everyone appreciates your service so much. You have been a hero for our community since you were in high school.” She took another bite of her burger.
“Nope. The real heroes didn’t come home.” He stared into his coffee cup.
“I know.” He had managed to pull so much truth out of her today. Now, he was giving her a glimpse of the problem he had with being called a hero. Not only was he good at changing truck tires, but he seemed interested in what she had to say. She hadn’t had to worry about him getting too close or making inappropriate comments. Of course not. He was a Billings after all. Solid, secure, and dependable. Boring?
“Okay. You bought my meal today. But I get to plan the next time.” John K. replaced the lid on his empty coffee cup.
“Next time?” She wasn’t upset he assumed there would be a next time.
While I was writing the first book in the Crossroads series, Hope Takes the Reins, I became fascinated by the oldest siblings in the Caldwell and Billings family. Faith has always been the featured performer in her family. She is eager to move on to bigger and better things. John K. has had enough action to last a lifetime and just wants to be left alone to live life his own way. I began to wonder if the teenage crush Faith had on her handsome neighbor could ever be revived. Especially since they are now working hard to put their past behind them and move into the future.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading about how my hero and heroine face their pasts and the new feelings they have for each other. The Arkansas River Valley in the spring and summer can be as unpredictable as the action in this story. Enjoy!
Question for Readers: How long does it take for you to share a secret from your past with a new friend?
Bio Jenny: Jenny has been writing stories since she learned to hold a pencil. She retired from a career in Human Resources for the State of Arkansas. She was a long-time columnist for Ouachita Life magazine, and two collections of her inspirational articles have been self-published. She is past president of American Christian Fiction Writers – Arkansas Chapter and past president of Saline County Preservation, Inc. Her first fiction project, “ Hope Takes the Reins” released from Scrivenings Press in March of 2022, and the second book in the Crossroads series,” Faith Moves Mountains” releases January 31.2023. She and her husband, James live in Benton, Arkansas where they worship with a service-oriented congregation of the Church of Christ. They are the parents of three married children and eight grandchildren. She enjoys substitute teaching in middle school, junior high, and high school classrooms. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Faith Moves Mountains:
John Kennedy (John K.) Billings has spent his whole life living up to his hero-inspired name. Now, back from a traumatic incident in the military, he finds himself running from the fact that he is only human, with real-life struggles to overcome.
Faith Caldwell feels free to pursue her own dreams now that her family’s regularly scheduled rodeo has ended. After helping care for her cancer-stricken mother she is determined to bring big-city medical expertise to small-town Arkansas. While trying to prove she can fulfill her dream on her own, a new admirer seems determined to pull her down.
Both enjoy the idea of seeing more of the world but find their hearts are still tied to the mountains of Arkansas, and the people who live there.
Can these lifelong neighbors help each other face their weaknesses while following God’s plan for their lives?
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win? Interested in book 1 of the series or Jenny’s other titles? Get your copy/copies now!
Come back Feb 3rd for Sarah Crouch!