I recently posted a review of To Capture Her Heart by Rebecca DeMarino.
Today we get to talk to Rebecca to find out more about her book, her writing, and her inspiration.
Congratulations on the release of your new book, To Capture Her Heart! Tell us a bit about it.
Thank you so much! I am really delighted to be here. Here’s a synopsis of my second novel in The Southold Chronicles: In 1653 Heather Flower, a princess of the Montauk tribe, is celebrating her wedding feast when a rival tribe attacks, killing the groom and kidnapping her. Though her ransom is paid, she is nonetheless bound by her captors and left to die—until she finds herself rescued by handsome Dutch Lieutenant Dirk Van Buren.
Still tender from her loss, Heather Flower begins to heal in the home of Englishman Ben Horton, a longtime friend of her people. But despite Ben’s affectionate attentions, she can’t stop thinking about the handsome Dutchman who saved her from certain death. Can she find peace again among her own people? Or will her growing affection for her rescuer draw her into conflict with everyone she loves? Loyalty or love?1. Rebecca, how do your faith and spiritual life play into the picture and affect your storytelling?
This aspect just amazes me. I always thought I would write contemporary suspense with a touch of romance and a Christian worldview. But when I sat down to write my first novel, it was a historical about my Puritan ancestors! Talk about getting into the thick of things. So while I think there is definitely a message that comes out in my writing, I write to entertain through story and To Capture Her Heart, like book one of The Southold Chronicles, is a love story I hope my readers enjoy. The spiritual thread that touched my heart as I researched the book is that we are all God’s children, no matter who we are or where we came from.
- What do you consider the greatest moment of your writing/publishing career?
It was when I watched my dad, Howard Worley, type “The End” for his novel, The Stagecoach Murders. He began writing that book at age 87, because I was writing a novel. He would send me each chapter in a priority envelope as he finished them, and he was amazing me. Then when he was almost finished he required open-heart surgery to replace his aortic valve. Two days later he had a major stroke. His recovery is a whole other story, but I was able to help him type the last four chapters while he dictated, and then we published it through Create Space. Watching him autograph a copy for me was my second greatest moment, followed closely by his book signing at his 90th birthday party. He’s 92 now!
- Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?
I grew up listening to my mom’s stories about Barnabas Horton, my ninth great-grandfather and how he came across the pond from England on a ship called The Swallow, in the 1600’s. When my brother became interested in genealogy, we discovered there was a lighthouse named after Barnabas, located on Long Island. I asked my mom if she’d like to go there, and off we went. There was a lot of interesting information about Barnabas. He was a baker and a very recent widower with two young sons when he met my ninth great-grandmother, Mary, in Mowsley, England. But I could find very little about her, and I began to wonder about what dreams and motivation she had, and courage she must have possessed when she married and then left her family behind for the wilds of Long Island. A few years later, I began writing my first novel in a quest to give her a voice. While researching that book, A Place in His Heart, I uncovered a nugget of information about a Montaukett woman called Heather Flower. She is said to be the daughter of Grand Sachem Wyandanch, and I wanted to use the tidbit in book one. But the decade did not fit. So I took book two, To Capture Her Heart, up a decade and she became my heroine! The Hortons and Southold provide the backdrop of the story and sweet Ben Horton is all grown up. It was such a fun book to research and write!
- What was the greatest challenge in writing this book?
After time management (isn’t that a problem for us all?) the greatest challenge is also something I enjoy the most – the research! Though some documents exist such as Barnabas’s will, and some that pertain to his landholdings and tenure as a magistrate, I didn’t have any diaries or letters. And I found many controversies of “facts.” Heather Flower’s existence is an example. Some believe her to be a myth, others say she existed but was not Quashawam. Though that could be frustrating at times, it also afforded some leeway, which is nice when you are writing fiction!
- Share a little bit about yourself. Married with kids? Empty nester? Do you work full-time and write when you can squeeze it in?
I was born in a car and have been on the move ever since. My dad delivered me, and my sisters can still remember standing in the picture window of our house with the babysitter and Dad holding me up so they could get a glimpse. He was a career Navy pilot and my husband was a career officer in the Air Force. I retired as a service director from United Airlines in 2008 and settled in the Pacific Northwest. I’m blessed with three beautiful daughters, eight beautiful grandchildren, and when I married my sweet husband in 2006, he added a charming son and a beautiful daughter and three more beautiful grandchildren to the count. I should say we are empty nesters, with all of those kids happily settled with their own spouses, which gives me time to be a full time writer!
- What’s next for you?
I just turned in the manuscript for the third book in The Southold Chronicles. It moves up another decade—to 1664—and Patience Terry, the young girl who sailed with the Hortons on The Swallow is my heroine. My working title was Pure Patience and I love her story! And I love the editing phase of a book, so I’m looking forward to that. To Follow Her Heart release next July!
Now for a little treat-Rebecca shares her recipe for Ginger cookies! She writes:
"Growing up, I always knew Christmas would soon be here when the ginger cookies baked by Grandmother Horton arrived by mail, carefully wrapped in a green Frederick and Nelson's shirt box! She baked them for us each year and when she could not, my mother continued the tradition. I have tried to do the same, baking them each December for my three daughters and grandchildren. My 9th great-grandfather, Barnabas Horton, was a baker from Mowsley, England, and I like to think the cookie genes came from him! The following recipe is Grandmother's original. I use canola oil instead of the Mazola. These are delicious with a glass of icy cold milk, but I enjoy them with a steaming cup of coffee or tea, too!"
Grandmother Horton’s Ginger Cookies
Combine 1 cup sugar, 3/4 cup Mazola oil, 1 egg, 4 T molasses, 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 level tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp ginger.
Mix well, roll into small balls. Dip in sugar. Place on greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove to rack and cool.
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do!
Thanks, Rebecca. I can't wait to try these! And I will love the history behind them when I do!
And now. . . giveaway time! As Rebecca celebrates the release of To Capture Her Heart with a blog tour, she is also giving away signed copies of her books and gift cards!