Good morning, readers! In honor of the release of her third book, Reconcile (releasing tomorrow, 3/31), I interviewed inspirational historical romance author Christina Yother about writing the Hollow Hearts series, self-publishing, and what she’s working on now. If you read Reverie or Reliance, you are familiar with the character of Joshua Miller. If you’re like me, you’ve been clamoring for his story since book one. Once I get my hot little hands on a copy, I plan to review Reconcile here. Until then, let’s welcome Ms. Yother!
What drew you to Inspirational Historical Romance?
I’ve always enjoyed reading Inspirational fiction, both historical and contemporary. I like the depth of the stories as well as how faith becomes central to the story.
Why did you choose the time period and setting you chose for the Hollow Hearts Series?
The late 1800’s is my favorite time period to read! The country was expanding at an astounding rate and that sense of adventure and unknown has always appealed to me as a reader. What better period to write about!?
Give the readers a brief description of the previous books in the series.
Reverie – Orphaned at a young age Hetty is convinced that her circumstances make her unworthy of having a family of her own. When a job opportunity as a housekeeper presents itself Hetty accepts believing that working for Isaac Wheeler and his family is a welcome, if not temporary, surrogate for her own family dreams. As she’s faced with learning to trust she discovers that wanting a family and building a family are two very different things. Will she learn to see herself as worthy of God’s gifts? Or will she return to the solitary existence that defined so much of her life?
Isaac Wheeler, successful furniture maker and dishonorable bachelor, finds Hetty’s presence in his home to be disturbing and a haunting reminder of his past sins. As he struggles with his growing and unwanted feelings, he can’t help but torment himself with mistakes from his past. Can he navigate the family tensions, infidelity, and sudden choices destined to keep them apart? Or can Isaac endure each struggle and seek forgiveness before discovering what truly makes a family?
Reliance – Two strangers. One clandestine wedding. Many hidden stories.
Discouraged by his limited prospects and tired of trying to find a bride in a traditional manner, Elias Wheeler places an advertisement requesting a mail-order bride and mother for his young daughter. Rebecca Malone, eager to escape an abusive past, travels to Montana to become Elias’s wife despite only exchanging a few letters. Learning to care for one another proves easy; learning to trust proves much more difficult. Elias and Rebecca must navigate the waters of blending families while learning to depend on one another with confidence, loving support, and faith. Together they must learn to rely on each other and what they hope to build while accepting that perfection isn’t the goal; love is.
Give a brief summary of your newest book, Reconcile.
Facing the truth of the past.
Accepting the hope of the future.
Joshua Miller struggles to care for his ailing father, run the town livery, and meet the demands of a spoiled fiancé. When an unexpected woman enters his life and exemplifies true compassion, he begins to question the path his life is taking. When changing his plans means destroying all he has built, Joshua will have to decide what matters most.
Lilly Johnson arrives in her sister’s home in the frontier town of Hollow, Montana hoping she left the shame of divorce behind her. With her sister’s support, Lilly begins to build a new life and gain a sense of independence. After accepting a job as a caregiver for Joshua Miller’s father, she discovers it’s more difficult to keep her heart closed than she imagined. But when her past catches up with her, she must reconcile her beliefs in order to brave an uncertain future with an open heart.
Which came first with Reconcile, the idea or the characters?
Actually the characters came first. So many people connected with Joshua from the first book, Reverie. I heard numerous times that readers wanted to know what happened to him (Erica’s note: including me!). Over time I knew I needed to give him his own story – he deserves it! And I think it was well worth the wait.
How long did it take you to write Reconcile?
I’d say it took about 8 months to write the story. The revisions and edits too nearly as long! I wish I could say I’m one of those authors that can write quickly, but my family comes first and sometimes that means the writing must be put on hold.
What was the easiest scene to write? The hardest?
The easiest scene to write was the ending. I knew how the story would end when I started writing. I was so excited by the time I got to that scene that I felt such joy in creating it. The hardest scene to write was when Lilly is counseling with the minister of the local church. She’s dealing with her own demons and struggling to justify her choices. I waited quite a while to write that scene because I needed the right scripture to support it. I prayed quite a bit before I knew how to accomplish it.
Are there any more books coming in the Hollow Hearts series?
I’ll be honest that I planned to end the series at three books. However, several bouts of insomnia led to the planning of two more books in the series. I guess we will have to see…
Where can readers find your books? What formats are they available in?
My books are available in paperback and ebook format at the following links:
What advice would you give a young writer trying to break into self-publish, specifically inspirational historical romance?
It is so important to have patience. Yes, indie publishing runs on a much faster track than traditional publishing, but it shouldn’t be rushed. Take the time to make the book and the writing the best it can be before putting it out in the world. Also, find a support network that makes the process a bit easier. Writing can be lonely so having comrades to share ideas with or talk about the art of writing can make such a difference. I don’t know how I would do it without my best critique buddies!
Bonus: Are there any other genres you’re looking to break into?
I am exploring the Women’s Fiction genre right now. I have a great stand alone novel I’m working on that takes place in Georgia during the 1940’s and focuses on multiple generations of women in one very unusual family.
Thanks so much, Christina! Everyone be sure to pick up your copy of Reconcile on March 31st!