October 9, 2011

Noelle Marchand stops by, with a gift!

          Today I have the privilege to welcome fellow author Noelle Marchand as my guest. Noelle is a native Houstonian and Houston Baptist University Husky (just like me!), and her debut novel, Love Inspired Historical's UNLAWFULLY WEDDED BRIDE released this month. I've already read this novel, and its everything you'd ever want in an inspirational historical romance. And Noelle is donating an autographed copy to one commenter this week, so be sure to leave a comment and welcome Noelle to the blog, or ask her anything I didn't think to in the interview.  =)

Here's a brief excerpt from UNLAWFULLY WEDDED BRIDE:

She lifted her chin. “Who are you and why are you here?”
He frowned and released her hand. “What do you mean, who am I?”
“While we’re at it, how do you know my name?”
“Why shouldn't I know your name? I am Nathan Rutledge and you are Kate-”
“O’Brien,” she finished. “Yes, I know that-”
“Rutledge,” he reminded.
“Why do you keep saying that?”
“Because your name used to be-” He paused and looked at her for a second. “You mean to tell me that you, Kathleen 'O'Brien', have never even heard my name before today?”
“That is exactly what I mean.”
He began to speak then shook his head and strode over to where his saddlebag rested near Delilah’s stall. “I suppose you’d better have a look at this.”
She walked toward him to take the piece of paper he extended to her. She glanced up as she unfolded it. “What is this?”
“It’s our marriage certificate,” he replied quietly.
"What?" Her gaze held his before she stared down at the certificate. “You don’t mean-”
“I mean,” he interrupted with quiet authority, “That you, Kate O’Brien Rutledge, are my wife.”

          Congratulations on your debut novel Noelle, Love Inspired Historical's UNLAWFULLY WEDDED BRIDE. The idea for this story came to you at the age of sixteen. Can you share with our readers how that came about?
          Thank you, Nancy! It’s sort of hard to pinpoint where the idea came from. I just remember that this scene popped into my head (the one near the beginning where Nathan tells Kate that she is his wife). From there the story just seemed to take off on its own and all I could do was write it down.

          I completely relate to that. The best stories are the ones we have to write. So how did you react when you got "THE CALL" that your book had sold?
          I actually missed the call so my editor, Elizabeth Mazer, left a message on my answering machine. I knew there was only one reason she’d ask me to call her back. My emotions progressed from dazed to disbelief to cautious excitement. My talk to with Elizabeth confirmed that they wanted the story. Then there was dancing and quite a few excited calls and text to friends and family.

          Nathan Rutledge is a hero in every sense of the word. I was amazed as I read how he embodied all the elements typical of a hero and yet seemed such a fresh character. My absolute favorite line of his came in their scene when heroine Katie O'Brien tells him in response to their marriage by proxy she had no idea has taken place, "We all make mistakes. I've certainly made my share. Thankfully, this shouldn't be too hard to fix."
          Nathan's answer: "I never said I was mistaken."
          Nancy's reader response: Pause, and "Um... can you say wow?"
          Sorry Noelle, back to the interview now. =)
          I'm curious if Nathan ever challenged you in places and seemed to do or say something you didn't expect or see coming while writing the book? Did any of your characters take over at points and surprise you?
           Haha! I’m so glad you liked that line. It emerged in the revision process so I hadn’t originally planned on him saying that at all. I worked with these characters from the time I was sixteen so they definitely developed their own personalities. Toward the end of the revision process, my characters really began to take over. The entire ending including the scene in the field was a culmination of all the main characters creating a moment that could only happen because I let them take over. It’s one of my favorite parts of the book. 

          I'm so grateful for all the readers out there, but I don't think someone can ever understand what writers mean when we say characters come to life, or take over, without ever experiencing it. It does sound kind of funny, hehe. Speaking of characters, I found Kate O'Brien to be such a relate-able character for ladies today. She's self-reliant, determined to support her family on her own, sometimes to her detriment. Do you think that for Kate and many people today that's driven by pride?
           I generally don’t use many of my own personality traits in my character but that overly self-reliant trait is definitely something that I’ve had to work on in myself. I think it can definitely come from pride in some but I think for Kate it really stemmed from fear. She was afraid of not measuring up to the standard she’d set for herself, afraid that others were right about her being unsuitable for taking care of her siblings, and afraid that if she leaned on others she’d be hurt or mistreated. It was definitely a protective veneer.

           You know, I can see that completely with Kate. Fear can be a powerful motivator for sure, even when we know God tells us throughout His Word not to fear. I have to say, since I know some of my friends are really afraid of horses, that one of my favorite characters turned out to be Nathan's horse Delilah. Can you share with the readers how you chose her name and a little about how she fits into the story? 
          I needed a name for a half-wild, intensely loyal black mare and “Delilah” came to mind. Perhaps Nathan named her that because she’s beautiful and reliable but just dangerous enough to make things interesting. Delilah was Nathan’s best girl before he met Kate (at least that’s how she sees it). When Nathan starts working on the farm Delilah realizes she’s lost his attention and doesn’t like it one bit. That jealousy plays out in Kate and Delilah’s relationship in some amusing ways but in the end Delilah is able to put that aside to help Kate when it matters the most.
           What is it you hope readers take away from UNLAWFULLY WEDDED BRIDE?
           On a spiritual level its that everyone contends with something in the faith but we cannot let our fears, failures, or foibles blind us to God’s plan for our lives. Instead, we must hope persistently, love courageously, and live joyously.
          Amen to that! Can we have a sneak peak into the next book, Sean's story, as the O'Brien marriage mayhem continues?
          I’m working on revisions for that one now so I don’t want to give much away because I’m not sure what might change.  I will say this, remember Lorelei Wilkins the little girl who said she was going to marry Sean? Well, she’s the heroine in The Runaway Bride. His reaction to her in Unlawfully Wedded Bride is a good foreshadowing of the sparks that will fly almost ten years later.

          Oh I love it when sparks fly! Of course in my stories, its usually from clashing swords, LOL. Is there anything you'd like to share with us, besides the autographed copy of your debut novel?
          I hope that everyone will read Unlawfully Wedded Bride and let me know what they think about it. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and my website.

Thank you, Noelle. Write on!

          She's wonderful in person too, just FYI, and Noelle has gifted us an autographed copy of UNLAWFULLY WEDDED BRIDE. So if like me, you're already saving for ACFW Conference in Dallas next year and need to win more books than you buy, here's your chance. But if also, like me, LOL, you keep buying books anyway, here's a link to Noelle's book on Amazon, or you can pick it up at your local bookstore where they probably know you by name too. 

          You can also peruse Noelle's website and see more of her fantastic photos and keep up with her author news, find her links to facebook, twitter, and goodreads. So say hi to Noelle and welcome her the blog, and if you're not a regular here, please be sure you leave me an e-mail addy or a way to contact you if you win the drawing. That way if your name is drawn, you can be surprised just like Kate, hehe ;-)


Anonymous said...

Thanks Nancy for introducing us to Noelle. I love the fact that she's been working on this story since the age of sixteen and has never given up seeing her work in print.

"We cannot let our fears, failures and foibles blind us to God's plan for our lives" is a powerful statement.

I'm sure we'll be hearing more about this young author.

Unlawfully Wedded Bride is now on my must read list.


Jackie said...

I'm hooked already. I hope you have great success with this book. If I don't win I'll have to head over to CBD of Amazon.
Thanks for sharing today!

Gina Kelley said...

I'm not a writer so I have to say the whole thing about the characters taking over was strange to me at first, but then it hit me that the characters taking over is really God taking over! So cool!

Noelle, congratulations on the success of your book. Keep up the good work using literature to draw people to God. That is an amazing gift!


Noelle Marchand said...

Thanks, MH! I hope you'll be hearing a lot from me too. lol.

Jackie, I really appreciate that! Best of luck in the contest.

Gina, I admit it does sound kind of strange to say that "the characters take over". You're right though! It really is God taking over. Technically speaking for me it also means that the character has developed enough in my mind that as I'm writing I can allow the actions/dialogue to progress instinctively. This means that even if I have planned the scene a certain way, the character's personality naturally makes them behave or say something I wasn't expecting. Does that make sense?

What do you think, Nancy? Is there another way to explain it?

Patricia said...

I hope God blesses you with many more published books. I already had this book on my TBR list.

Patricia aka Mamaw

plb1050 at gmail dot com

Patricia said...

Forgot to say the book is on my wishlist. So I do not own a copy. Would love to win a copy.

Patricia aka Mamaw

plb1050 at gmail dot com

Beth said...

Sounds like a cute, uplifting read! Loved the interview as well. I'd love to be entered in the giveaway. :)


Whitney said...

Hi, Nancy! Welcome, Noelle! Unlawfully Wedded Bride sounds intriguing, and if I don’t win it, I think I’ll still be picking it up. : ) The second story with Sean and the previously-known-girl-child sounds really good, and I’m equally interested in it!

Nancy, thanks for hosting an author whose debut novel seems to be the first of many great works. : )


Nancy Kimball said...

M.H, Jackie, Gina, Patricia, Beth and Whitney... I have written your name on very official pieces of index card for the drawing. =)

Noelle, in response to your question and Gina's comment, I think you did a great job explaining it. We could of course just force what we originally pictured but readers pick this up in a heartbeat because they know the characters themselves if they've been written well.

This actually happened to me in a later scene of Chasing the Lion, when the unrequited love interest of my hero made a bid to physically comfort him in his moment of grief. Well of course my Jonathan would NEVER fall to temptation but the whole time I wrote the scene that way, I could feel him on my shoulder saying "I'd hate myself for it, but I would have kissed her."
But I didn't want him to!!!
My wonderful critique partners gently brought it out too and that's when I knew I needed to get out of the way and let him be himself in the scene. Ultimately the scene and the plot were stronger for it, but I sure didn't want to let that kiss happen, LOL.

I have plenty more slips of paper, so anyone commenting goes into the drawing Saturday night.

Carolyn Boyles said...

I love inspirational romances, especially those with unusual characters. This sounds like a great read!


Noelle Marchand said...

Thanks Beth, Whitney, and Carolyn! I hope you'll let me know what you think of it once you read it.

Patricia, I'm so glad to hear that this was already on your TBR list. Just wondering, where did you hear about it originally? Through Harlequin/Love Inspired Historical or something else?

Nancy, that sounds so interesting! It's fun when character surprise us. It can definitely make things more exciting.

Lisa C. said...

I enjoyed the interview with N. Marchland. I can't wait to read her book. Nathan sounds like my kind of hero!

wfnren said...

This is a great interview and I can hardly wait to get this book. Thank you for hosting this giveaway.


Brenda said...

Sounds like a great book, please count me in for the giveaway! kittycrochettwo at msn dot com

Nancy Kimball said...

Lisa C. you are entered!

wfnren, thank you, Noelle was a joy to interview and since she gave me two autographed copies, we're giving one away on the blog. Otherwise in all honesty I would have kept it, I enjoyed it so much, LOL.

Brenda, you are in! Thanks for stopping by.

Nancy Kimball said...

Thank you everyone, and thank you Noelle!
We have WINNERS. I will be e-mailing you but you can also watch the video in the October 15th post and see how the best laid plans can go terribly awry, LOL.

Shelena said...

Looks like an amazing book with great characters. Can't wait to read it.


Nancy Kimball said...

Shelena, it's a great read! The drawing for this copy ended yesterday so I hope you pick up Unlawfully Wedded Bride at your local bookstore and you hang around the blog. As you can see from yesterday's post, I've got a lot of books I'll be sharing =)