Publication date: March 13, 2016
Number of pages: 314
Marriage to her prince charming promises fulfillment, but their happily-ever-after barely survives the honeymoon. Beneath the sophisticated façade lies a brooding man who hides dark secrets. When all Lily’s illusions of happiness shatter, she must make hard choices – abandon her husband or risk losing much more than her marriage. She flees their home in Detroit and sets out on a fearful journey to a house in Georgia that her husband knows nothing about. . . .
In spite of heartbreak and regrets, will she find the strength to survive whatever comes? Or will her husband find her and shatter all her hopes . . . again. This is one woman’s compelling tale of love and survival as she finds her way back home to faith and who she’s meant to be . . . in her father’s house.
‘My Father’s House’ is the story of Lilly Rose Cates. Lilly Rose’s father dies while she is still quite young and her mother suffers from mental illness. After her father’s death, Lilly Rose and her mother, rely on their housekeeper, Annie Ruth, to care for them. Lilly goes on to make both good and bad decisions though out her life (as we all do). She marries and moves away but when her marriage disintegrates she returns to her southern roots.
I wanted to write a story about a young woman who in spite of devastating hardships, disappointments, personal loss and mistakes ultimately finds happiness after reconnecting with family and faith. I wanted the reader to take the journey with her, go with her through some of the hardships, but I didn’t want the painful things to be the focus of her triumphant story. Lily Rose has an indomitable spirit and warm heart that is endearing to readers. Her father believed that she would be alright; the reader wants to know she will be too. With my roots firmly planted in Georgia, the setting had to play a critical part in the story. So, I modelled my fictional town after so many small southern towns and I set in some of my love of nature and gardening. Being a Southerner, I had definite ideas about elements I needed for this story to come alive. Besides fascinating characters and a distinctive setting, there had to be a little crazy, eccentric, and some downright mean, mixed with suspense, romance, and lots of southern charm.
2. When did you first discover that you were a writer?
As a child, when I was no more than eight or nine, I wrote plays for my two sisters and brother and I to perform in a large back room of our house. I can’t imagine why they always listened to my directions. My stage name was always the most beautiful actress’ name I could think up at the time – Sandra Blake. Later, in high school, I dreamed of being a writer one day and started writing in college.
3. How do you choose your characters’ names?
Naming a character is a big decision. A name has many associations, ethnic and national, to name a couple; therefore, I do put some time and thought into choosing names. But, basically, I go with what sounds suitable and fitting for the heritage and personality of the character. Lily Rose could have only been a southern girl named after the flowers in the spring.
4. What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
I’m still working on the greatest roadblock, which is managing my time to write. My family has always been my priority, so I have to work very hard to carve out time to write. Often I have to give myself permission to make writing time for me.
5. Tell us about the featured book?
One reviewer called it “a triumphant story of hope.” I think that describes it. I am reminded of the verse Psalms 27:13:
I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
6. When readers get to the last page, what do you hope they take away from the story?
In spite of devastating hardships, disappointments, and mistakes, God has a good future in mind for each of us. I want my readers to feel the joy and hope expressed by Lily Rose.
7. What are you working on next?
I’m working on two projects – a devotional and another novel. The devotional is coming together nicely. It’s written in the same format as my devotional, God, Me, and Sweet Iced Tea. I’d put it aside for other more pressing demands, and now I’m ready to complete it. I’ve started doing the research for my next novel and developing my main characters. They have to become real to me; I have to know them inside and out, before I can make them come alive for my readers.
I wanted to write a story about a young woman with an indomitable spirit who in spite of devastating hardships, disappointments, personal loss and mistakes ultimately finds happiness. The story begins with a quote from the 23rd Psalm: goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. I wanted the reader to take the journey with her, but I didn’t want the painful things to be the main focus of her triumphant story. Lily Rose finds herself in an abusive marriage. I know from firsthand experience how devastating that can be. The question is: Will she survive it? Lily Rose’s warm heart endears her to the reader who wants to know that she’s going to be all right, as her father had said she would. When Lily Rose reconnects with family and her faith, hope is restored and we get a glimpse of the bright future God has in store for her. The setting needed to play a critical part in the story as well. So, with my roots firmly planted in Georgia, I modeled my fictional town after so many small southern towns, and I set in some of my love of nature. Being a Southerner, I had definite ideas about elements I needed for this story to come alive. Besides fascinating characters and a distinctive setting, there had to be a little crazy, eccentric, and some downright meanness, mixed with suspense, romance, and lots of southern charm. One reader wrote that the story “made my heart smile.” I’m happy to accomplish that with this story.
Favorite scripture: Proverbs 4:18
Favorite ice cream: Pistachio Almond
Favorite flower: Daffodils
Favorite season: Spring
Favorite musical: Les Miserables
Favorite T.V. series: Downton Abbey
Favorite country you want to visit: France
Favorite Restaurant: Augustino’s Italian Eatery and Steaks in Augusta, GA
Favorite holiday: Thanksgiving
2. Memories from my own life and travels informed the settings in the story.
3. I explored small towns in order to create my own.
4. While poking around a small town, I spied an old DeSoto in a ramble shack car shelter.
5. The novel was four years in the making. I put the manuscript away for a year when writing the story reopened some old wounds.
6. I laughed out loud writing parts of the story.
7. I always wanted to travel cross country in a big rig. I’ve never had the opportunity, so I gave one of my characters the ride I never had. YouTube videos were a go-to resource.
8. My Aunt Frances and Grandma Bronnie were front “porch dwellers”, who offered kindly words of wisdom while we spent many a serene hour rocking on the porch and sipping sweet iced tea.
9. My daddy had a trunk from his WWII days, and he loved to tell stories about his childhood, just like Lily Rose’s daddy.
10. In the South, hospitable folks always offer guests a glass of sweet tea. So, you’ll see lots of it being served in My Father’s House.
August 23–Bookworm Lisa
August 24–Reading Is My SuperPower
August 25–Smiling Book Reviews
August 26–Christy’s Cozy Corners
August 27–Toni Shiloh Prayerfully-Lifted Romance
August 29–Katie’s Clean Book Collection
August 30–Mel’s Shelves
August 31–Red Headed Book Lady
September 1–The Book Return
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September 3–Singing Librarian Books