Note: Ms. Dougherty is graciously offering a copy of this book to one commenter, so be sure to leave a comment with your email address below.
Hope Toler Dougherty holds a Master's degree in English and taught at East Carolina University as well as York Technical College. A member of ACFW, RWA and SinC, she writes for Almost an Author. Before writing novels, she published non-fiction articles on topics ranging from gardening with children to writing apprehension. She cheers for the Pittsburgh Steelers, ACC basketball, and Army West Point Football. Hope and her husband, Kevin, live in North Carolina and chat with their two daughters and twin sons through ooVoo. She's written two novels, Irish Encounter and Mars...With Venus Rising.
What was your inspiration for this story?
We used to live outside Pittsburgh, PA. Mars is a small town just north of the big city, a cute little place with a flying saucer planted on the town square. The residents are called Martians, and the football team is the Planets. I combined that quirky vibe with stories I’ve heard from my southern family and friends, and I had the beginning of a story.
What is its take-away message?
Live life to fullest. I think of Jesus’ words in John 10:10b when He said, “I’ve come that they may have life and have it to the full.” I know He’s talking about salvation, but I think that idea can apply to life here on earth, too. In the story, Penn lives a very quiet, safe life because of an early tragedy. She likes routine. John moves to Mars and shakes things up a bit.
Tell us a bit about your writing routine. Do you have set hours? Do you get dressed first? Do you travel for research? Where and when do you do your best work?
I write slowly. When I’m writing the first draft, my goal is at least 1500 words a day, divided into three sessions of 500 words in my Scrivener program. Since I write at home, I sometimes stay in my pajamas quite late into the morning. I love traveling, but so far, I’ve used past travels as writing fodder. I like to have quiet when I write. That way I can hear the story better. I usually get up early—5:30-6:00—to get started with a quiet time and a daily email to my family. I’m usually too tired to write at night.
What’s your next writing project?
I just sent a third manuscript into my agent. It’s a romantic suspense set in Charlotte, NC, complete with guns and a kidnapping. I have about 30,000 words on a fourth also set in Charlotte.
Just for fun:
Coffee or Tea? Usually it’s coffee in the morning with a little cream and herbal tea on cold afternoons.
Snacks: Sweet or Salty? Cheez-its for an afternoon snack. Chocolate mousse if we’re talking dessert.
Dream vacation? I’d love to visit Italy, Greece, Banff in Alberta, Canada, Kansas, and Wyoming.
#1 on your Bucket List? I’d love to experience another home exchange anywhere—maybe Australia. We’ve done three to Ireland.
I'd love to hear more about your home exchange experiences! Thanks, Hope, for sharing with us. Now let's learn more about Mars...with Venus Rising.
A meddling horse, paper bag floors and a flying saucer on the town square. The little town of Mars has it all—including a brand new resident who might spell heartache for one of its own.
Twenty-something Penn Davenport yearns for an exciting life in the big city and wants to shed the label of orphan that she's worn for years. To achieve that dream, she must pass the CPA exam then move away from the two aunts who reared her after her parents died in a plane crash.
When John Townsend—full of life and the joy of living—moves to town, he rattles Penn's view of herself, her life, and her dreams...which isn't such a bad thing until she falls for him…and discovers he's a pilot.
And to whet your appetite even more, here's an excerpt:
Penn considered the Tilt-a-Whirl. The cars spun and rocked and rolled up and down like a carousel. The spins looked fast sometimes. Other times the cars only rocked back and forth. Most of the riders howled with excitement, their heads tipped back and their mouths wide open.
Laughing, not screaming.
Maybe she could ride it. She'd try at least for the handsome man chuckling at the spinning cars full of people having fun. The ride attendant gave them a car to themselves. Nice.
John took her hand to help her inside the car. Very nice.
He gave her a pep talk as other cars filled and the seat bar clicked into place. "You're going to love this."
The platform cracked and began its slow rotation over the rollers, creating an up and down motion. She stole a glance at John with a this-isn't-so-bad look.
Picking up speed, the ride pushed the car into a few partial spins. Feeling the centrifugal force pull her to the left then the right, Penn gripped the bar and planted herself in the middle of the seat, willing herself not to sling into him.
A giggle tickled her throat. She bit her lip to stifle it. With the constant barrage of swinging back and forth and up and down, she gave up trying to corral her laughs. A steady stream of her chortles mingled with John's chuckles.
Suddenly, the car twirled with a quick whipping motion sending her right into the whole length of him. He didn't seem to mind. Instead, he grinned again, threw his arm around her shoulders, and pulled her tighter against him. "This way we can fight the force together."
Oh, yeah. She liked the Tilt-a-Whirl.
Doesn't that sound like fun? It is, and I loved this story. Get yourself a copy and enjoy! Here's the purchase links:
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