Shannon here: Barbour/Door County author Rachael Phillips shares a glimpse into her real life romance and that of her characters. Comment for a chance to win a copy on any post dated Dec 13 – 18. Deadline Dec 18, midnight Central time. Here’s Rachael:
How My Husband Steve and I Met
Our story sounds like an old “Saved by the Bell” script. Steve and I met for the first time at age fifteen and sixteen. After an inter-church community event, my brother, who had been in Steve’s high school chemistry class, introduced us and offered Steve a ride home. Sparks on my end. None on his. I was simply Nate’s sister.
We attended a large high school with more than three thousand students, and our paths rarely crossed. It wasn’t until class schedule complications transferred me into Steve’s biology class that we had a chance to connect. He was unaware my boyfriend Jim—a friend of his—and I had called it quits. Steve definitely did not know we had flung the names of people we planned to date at each other, and that I had mentioned Steve as a possible candidate.
Enter Lori, my sworn (and only) high school enemy, who offered a curvy, sympathetic shoulder for John to cry on. He told her of my interest in Steve. Lori, hoping to mortify me, told Steve. Of course, I, Miss Insecurity, thought my life was ruined forever. I spent the better part of the next few weeks hiding in the girls’ restroom. But Lori’s evil plan backfired. The inside information encouraged Steve, who was painfully shy, to ask me out. Five years later, we married during his first year of medical school.
I’ve looked for Lori at several high school reunions since then, but have not seen her. I have her to thank for thirty-five wonderful years with my sweet guy, three incredible children, and four-going-on-five perfect grandchildren 🙂
1. What’s the most romantic thing your spouse has ever done for you?
At a reunion, when we ran into a gorgeous girlfriend from my childhood, I was sure my husband, like every other man within a mile, would be stunned with her beauty. Later, he said, “Was that the woman you told me about? You’re much prettier than she is.”
I couldn’t believe it until I looked into his eyes. He was serious!
That moment in our marriage helped me through a decade of difficult ones.
2. What’s the most romantic thing you’ve ever done for your spouse?
I sent a dozen roses to his office for Valentine’s Day with a mushy note. His wide-eyed younger partners said their wives had never sent them roses.
3. Where is the most romantic place you and your spouse have ever been?
Our trip to the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas several years ago. A beautiful paradise in April with almost deserted beaches.
4. Do you and your spouse have a favorite song?
We spent almost two years at opposite ends of the continent (Oregon and Indiana) when we were engaged, adopting “Leaving on a Jet Plane” as “our song.” Hearing it always takes us back to tearful airport farewells and ecstatic hellos, especially the last one before our wedding in 1975.
5. What’s the most romantic present your spouse ever bought for you?
My husband knew I like clocks. He gave me a lovely crystal and brass one with a note: “My love for you is timeless.” Is this guy good, or what?
6. What’s the most romantic present you ever bought your spouse?
Wow, this makes me realize that I need to work on that area!
7. What’s the most romantic thing your hero ever did for your heroine?
Although Paul hates Joanna’s big purple hat, he rescues it from a near dunking in a mud puddle when the wind blows it away.
8. What’s the most romantic thing your heroine ever did for your hero?
Joanna asks Paul to ride the bicycle built for two that she and her late husband had shared. As they are avid cyclists, this is a signal that she wants to take their relationship up several notches.
9. Where is the most romantic place your hero and heroine have ever been?
Ooh, that would give away part of my story! But a close second: snuggled together snowmobiling over the ice along Door County’s shoreline on the starry night after Christmas, watching the town’s lights twinkle.
10. Do your hero and heroine have as favorite romantic restaurant?
Joanna likes the Whistling Swan in Fish Creek. Paul likes any restaurant where Joanna is.
11. What’s the most romantic present your hero ever bought your heroine? Um, they usually give each other ornery gifts! (I can’t elaborate further.)
12. What is your hero’s favorite romantic vacation destination?
They’re both convinced no spot could be lovelier than Door County, the Cape Cod of Wisconsin.
13. What simple gesture does your hero do that melts your heroine every time?
When Joanna moves in as a new widow, Paul—having gone through the miserable experience himself—worries about whether she is eating and cooks his specialties for her: Swedish meatballs, lasagna, sweet and sour chicken, apple cardamom bread. According to Paul, the way to a woman’s heart is through her stomach!
14. What simple gesture does your heroine do that melts your hero every time?
She walks into the room. That’s all it takes.
15. How soon after meeting the hero did the heroine know she was the one?
He wanted to marry her within a few months of their first meeting.
16. How soon after meeting the heroine did the hero know he was the one?
Six months—after many trials and tribulations 🙂
17. Who is most romantic, your hero or your heroine?
18. What is the most caring thing your hero has ever done for your heroine?
They first meet when he rescues the damsel in distress by squashing a huge spider in her kitchen.
19. What is the most caring thing your heroine has ever done for your hero?
Joanna chooses to love his grown daughter, who despises her.
20. Who said, “I love you” first, your hero or your heroine?
21. If you hero and heroine end up married, where will they go on their honeymoon?
They’ll probably stay in Door County, their favorite place to be together.
About Rachael: Rachael, a church music director, began her unplanned writing career when the church secretary demanded newsletter articles at gunpoint. The pastors hated this task, but she loved writing humor based on Christian music and the Bible. Soon she began writing a local newspaper column and take writing classes at Bethel College, Mishawaka, IN, graduating with degrees in professional writing and English in 2005.
Her connections there resulted in her first biography in Barbour’s Heroes of the Faith series, Frederick Douglass. She has written three other Barbour biographies (Billy Sunday, Saint Augustine, and Well with My Soul (four hymn writers), as well as more than 400 newspaper columns, devotions, stories, and articles for magazines such as Today’s Christian Woman and Afictionado, as well as Pearl Girls, Guideposts, and other collections. She has co-authored a Barbour reference guide Women of the Bible with Carol Smith and Ellyn Sanna that will release in February 2011 and will publish a second Christmas novella in A Quaker Christmas in September 2011 with Ramona Cecil, Lauralee Bliss, and Claire Sanders. Her awards include the Erma Bombeck Global Award for humor and the 2007 Genesis award for Young Adult Fiction.
Ride with Me into Christmas, Rachael’s novella in the A Door County Christmas collection, is her first published fiction. She and Steve, her high school sweetheart and husband of thirty-five years, did extensive research on their tandem bicycle for this story. They have not crashed—so far. They have three grown children and four-going-on-five perfect grandchildren.
Rachael loves to visit with her reader friends on-line at www.rachaelwrites.com, her Facebook author page (http://bit.ly/cbJQ01), http://twitter.com/rachaelmphillip, and http://doorcountychristmas.blogspot.com/
Come back Dec 17 for Barbour/Door County author, Eileen Key’s thoughts on romance.