Tell us about your book.
This is the historical tale of Meg Davenport, who never knew her father was a thief. He thought he’d done the right thing to protect her from the truth about himself, but when he dies and she meets his protégé and fellow thief, Ian Maguire, she reveals just how much she’s resented her father for shutting her out of his life. Once she learns the truth about him, she’s determined to prove him—and Ian—wrong. She could have been every bit the thief her father was, and she’s ready to show Ian that very thing. Only it may be the ruin of them both.
I’m especially excited about Bees in the Butterfly Garden, mainly because this book was the most fun I’ve ever had with a project. This book is lighthearted, romantic, and purely escapist—but with an Inspirational thread about forgiveness that gives it special meaning. It’s the kind of book I’ve always wanted to write!
How did you know you were called to write?
I’m not sure how old I was when I finally figured out that writing would always be part of my life. I know I was about ten when I wrote my first novel, in a covered notebook which I then passed around to neighborhood kids. I think if they hadn’t been so encouraging I’d have kept my writing to myself, but because they were interested, I was able to develop the persistence and thick skin it takes to pursue a writing career.
Are you a panster or do you outline?
I’m definitely a panster. Although I had a pretty good idea of what Bees in the Butterfly Garden would look like—I had the ending pretty well defined in my mind—I always leave plenty of flexibility to be surprised in every writing journey. I think that helps me to enjoy my stories as the first reader.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
That God loves us in spite of our mistakes, and that the forgiveness He offers is far greater than some of us realize.
If you could travel back in time when and where would you go?
Every time I think about actually going back in time (that’s one of my hopes of Heaven, to be able to experience something like this) I end up realizing I probably love the idea of going back in time more than I’d enjoy the reality of it. I mean, really? Bathing once a week, if I’m lucky? Rustic toilets? No car to take me to a full service grocery store? No skin products to help me look my best? (How vain is that?) And dresses that were brushed free of dirt and grime, rather than properly laundered? No painless dentistry? No air-conditioning? I’m not sure my nose could withstand the smells of history.
What project are you currently working on?
I’m working on another Gilded Age romance, which is proving to be as much fun as Bees in the Butterfly Garden. This one is set in Denver, 1887 – and begins with another thief. This thief has an intentionally short-lived career, resulting in far difference consequences than those in Bees in the Butterfly Garden. My poor hero, a one-time stagecoach robber, was too impatient to raise enough capital to start a proper business so he did it the quickest way possible: by stealing. Fast forward a dozen years or so, and he’s now an isolated, stodgy and stingy banker who protected his secret the only way he knew how: by removing himself from polite society. So when he falls in love with one of the most upright and honest women in Denver, it’s quite a struggle to reveal his secret. Not that my heroine doesn’t have a few secrets of her own…
What has been your most challenging experience writing a book?
The beginning. Every time I start a new project, I cannot tell you how insecure I feel. I think this is where being a pantster hurts. On the one hand I love all of the surprises along the way, the gradual uncovering of the characters and their stories. But on the other it’s terrifying to know I have to produce a book in a prescribed amount of time when I have no idea how it will go. Until I know the characters and a bit about the motivations behind their goals (usually around page 100) I’m absolutely convinced I have no right to call myself a writer.
What is your favorite thing to write about, (i.e., forgiveness, rebellion, etc)?
What is a fond childhood memory?
My Dad telling a neighbor I was the “creative one.” Being one of six kids, it was memorable for me to hear him point out a trait that singled me out from the rest of the pack. I think I’ve been trying to live up to that assessment ever since.
What book are you currently reading?
I love to read! It’s why I write, because I write what I want to be reading. I also belong to a book club, which keeps me reading pretty consistently. Reading, to me, is the best teacher on writing. I recently finished What Alice Forgot by an Australian author, Liane Moriarty, and Fall of Giants by Ken Follet. Right now I’m reading a non-fiction book, In The Land of Blue Burqas by Kate McCord and will start Olivia Newport’s The Pursuit of Lucy Banning next.
Maureen has offered one free book to a lucky winner. At least 10 people need to leave comments WITH email addresses for there to be a contest OR you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put "Contest-Bee" in the subject line. Winner announced July 8th.