Monday, November 24, 2014

Author Interview and Giveaway: The Covered Deep by Brandy Vallance

Welcome to Christian Book Review Blog, Brandy! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thanks for having me! Let me see . . . I’m a complete history fanatic and a shameless Anglophile. I drink far too much tea to be sensible. I love roaming around museums and traveling. More than that, I love being a novelist. 

When did you first discover that you loved writing? 

In the seventh grade I wrote stories while listening to the Sonnets of Shakespeare on cassette tape. In high school, a friend and I wrote a time traveling story about Mozart. In college, my highest grades were in creative writing. But when I started the first draft of The Covered Deep, I knew I had found my passion. 

Why do you write the type of books that you do?

I’ve always been drawn to historical romance. When I was younger, I’d visit my Great Aunt Hester in Maysville, Kentucky. She was a fan of all things historical romance, especially Gone With The Wind and Barbara Cartland novels. As soon as I’d arrive we’d pull out boxes of books from her closet. She’d let me have my pick of novels and I’d read as many as I could throughout my visit. 

For me, the Victorian time period is boundlessly fascinating. I love researching, delving into the emotions of my characters, the intricacies of love, and the vagaries of the human heart. There’s nothing I’d rather do than create stories that make me feel. Having those stories resonate with others is an amazing thing. 

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?

I think writers always struggle with balancing everything. For me, I had to make writing a priority and treat it like a full time job long before it was one. Everyone only has twenty-four hours in the day. I have found that to be a professional writer, things have to be sacrificed. For me, there were a lot of months when I didn’t sleep much. I wrote most of The Covered Deep in the wee hours of the night. But to me, those hours became magic. 

Has writing changed your life in any way?

Writing has definitely made my life more fulfilling. The gifts throughout the years are unparalleled. I have made so many forever friends during my journey to publication. I am so thankful for that.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?

Jeremiah 33:3, KJV “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which though knowest not.” This verse helped me hold on to the fact that God loves to do the impossible. Seeing The Covered Deep published has been miraculous. When I sign books I usually write, “Dream big. God makes the impossible possible.” This is reminiscent of Bianca’s journey in the book, and also of my journey to publication.

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

I recently enjoyed reading Sarah Ladd’s The Heiress of Winterwood. It was right up my alley and so much fun! 

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

This question has stumped me! I think I need to get out more. ;-)

Buy At Amazon
Please tell us about the featured book.

The Covered Deep is a little Anne of Green Gables meets Indiana Jones meets Around The World In 80 Days. Here’s from the back cover: 


Bianca Marshal is looking for a man who can quote both Jesus and Shakespeare. Not surprisingly, that man is hard to find in the small Appalachian town where she lives. Her mother insists that Bianca lower her standards. One the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, even Bianca wonders if her mother is right.
Still set on experiencing love, or at least a little adventure, Bianca wins an essay contest that propels her into a whirlwind search for the perfect hero. Via the opulence of London and the mysteries of Palestine, Bianca's true love will be revealed—but not without a price that might be too heavy to pay.

Can you please give us the first page?

Here’s a little more than the first page:  

At seventeen, most ladies of fashion expect to receive proposals. If they do not marry within a few years, they have a mortified sense of having lost time. Inevitably, they become an object of sympathy. The next few years are often a period of subdued vexation. During this time, the sweetness and contentment of the lady’s original character is impaired. As the unwholesome state of spinsterhood approaches, a lady finds herself soon to be restricted in social pleasures and more. 
I am inclined to believe that with good temper, pleasing manners, and respectable connections, a lady need not despair. Herein are the facts: Between the ages of twenty to twenty-four, a lady has a 52 percent chance of marrying. Between the ages of twenty-five to thirty, her chances are 18 percent. 

The book slipped from Bianca’s hands, the pages fainting on her bedroom desk. Words. Reminding her of all the ways she’d never fit in. She collapsed in the chair, her cotton dress limp against her. “When the sun rises tomorrow, my chances of marrying will drop thirty-four percent.” She breathed, in and out, slowly. “Spin—” The word felt like cod liver oil on her tongue.
“It doesn’t matter that my twenty-fifth birthday’s tomorrow.” She slid her hand underneath the desk and pressed the small, metal button. The secret slot popped open, sending a spray of dust over her sleeve. “When going into battle, planning is often the most important thing.” Saying the words calmed her, as did the feel of the hidden paper. She unfolded it, and scanned the first few lines.  
Soul mate must be
(1) a true believer in Jesus Christ 
(2) devastatingly handsome, with a slightly wild look in his eyes 
(3) brilliant and humorous like Mark Twain
(4) a foreigner, possibly a disgruntled duke 
(5) able to quote Bible verses AND Shakespeare 
(6) a more than capable kisser 
(7) adore me completely.
“Yes, well.” She drew her eyebrows together as she considered. “Perfectly reasonable I thin—”
“Bianca! You’d better be lacin’ up your boots.” Mama’s voice was a crescendo crack, the kind of noise one hears when alone in the woods and a big tree falls. “Girl, don’t you make me late.” 
Bianca shoved the list back into its hiding place, but the secret door wouldn’t shut. She pushed harder. Nothing.  
“Are you ready to go or not?” Mama rapped her knuckles on the door, like the battle march of a soldier’s drum. 
“Coming.” Bianca stood and put her weight against the warped side of the drawer. “Just a moment.”
Mama jiggled the door handle. “I told Mr. Rutherford we’d be there by four o’ clock. It is now precisely three o’ nine.” 
A hairpin came loose, and a piece of Bianca’s dark auburn hair fell over eyes. “Guts griping harpy!” The drawer slammed shut. The large bottle of ink tipped. A waterfall of black spread over her books, seeping into the pages like a hungry poison. 

Where can readers learn more information about you?

Twitter @BrandyVallance
Facebook (Personal Page and Author Page)
YouTube (Brandy Vallance Inspirational Historical Romance)

Thank you again for being with us today, Brandy. Readers, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

(This giveaway is only open to followers of Christian Book Review Blog, so be sure you are a follower!) 
Brandy has generously offered to giveaway a print copy of The Covered DeepPrint giveaway is available to U.S residents only. Giveaway ends on Saturday December 7, 2014 at midnight (Eastern time). Thanks for coming by to enter! (If the Rafflecopter widget doesn't work, just comment below with your answer to the question and make sure to leave your email address with the comment.)

Question (Comment Below): Did you ever have a "Perfect-Soul-Mate list"? What were some of your "requirements"? 

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