Hi Everyone! Today I’m visiting with an author of historical Christian romance. Vickie McDonough is an award-winning author of 24 books and novellas. Her books have won the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, Texas Gold, the ACFW Noble Theme contest, and she has been a multi-year finalist in ACFW’s BOTY/Carol Awards. She was voted Third Favorite Author in the Heartsong Presents Annual Readers Contest in 2009. Vickie is the author of the fun and feisty Texas Boardinghouse Brides series from Barbour Publishing. Watch for her new books from Moody Publishers, Texas Trails: A Morgan Family series, in which she partners with Susan Page Davis and Darlene Franklin to write a 6-book series that spans 50 years of the Morgan family. The first three books release this fall. Also, next year brings the release of another new series from Guidepost/Summerside, Pioneer Promises, set in 1870s Kansas.
Vickie, welcome! Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a wife of thirty-six years, mother to four grown sons, and grandmother to a feisty five-year-old girl. I’ve been a fan of fiction my whole life and fell in love with Christian fiction when I first discovered it back in the 1980s. I’ve been writing for over ten years after God gently nudged me in that direction.
Can you tell us three things about yourself that would surprise your readers?
1. Shortly after I was married, my husband and I lived on a kibbutz in Israel for a year with a group of Christian young people.
2. When I was 14, I bought a Honda 350 motorcycle with money I’d made from babysitting.
3. I never once planned on being a writer, but I had prayed for years for a home business and also to be able to travel some, because I love it and we never could travel when all our boys were young. When God first started sending me stories, I didn’t know what was going on. I wrote two book before I realized that maybe God was trying to get my attention. Now I have a job where I work from home and I get to travel for research trips and conferences.
Sounds like you’ve led an exciting life. Were you an avid reader as a child?
What did you read?
I read any book that had a horse on the front—all the Walter Farley books, Flicka, Misty of Chincoteague, and many others. I also liked the Nancy Drew series.
What is your favorite genre to read as an adult?
historical Christian romance
That is a great choice. How many books do you have published and where can they be found?
To date, I’ve had 24 novels and novellas published. Most of them are available online at Christianbook.com or Amazon. If you can’t find them there, check with me, because I have copies of most of them. Besides the Texas Trails series, I also have a new series coming out next year called Pioneer Promises. It’s set in 1870s Kansas and centers around a family who runs a stage stop. The first book is titled Whispers on the Prairie, and I call it my Love Comes Softly meets Bonanza book.
One of Texas Trails books you have written is titled Long Trail Home. Here’s the blurb for it: A weary soldier returns from the War Between the States to discover his parents dead, his family farm in shambles, and his fiancée married. Riley Morgan takes a job at the Wilcox School for Blind Children and tries to make peace with God and himself. When a pretty, blind woman who cares for the children reaches through his scarred walls and touches his heart, he begins to find renewed faith and hope for the future. But when he discovers Annie feigned her blindness just to have a home, will his anger and hurt drive him away and ruin all chances for a future filled with love, faith, and family?
And here’s a short excerpt from the book: Squatting down next to a sparse shrub, Annie peered through the wooden fence at the house she’d dreamed about—the one she longed to live in for all long as she could remember. Two stories, white with a dark roof, a half dozen rocking chairs on the porch, and even a few flowers out front, in spite of the chill that still lingered at night.
The children, all younger than her, were an oddity, though. They walked around, holding their hands out in front of them, feeling their way along knotted ropes that lined the path. They must be blind, just like some of the beggars she’d seen in New Orleans.
But these children wore nice clothes without ragged hems and torn sleeves, and their cheeks were rosy, and smiles lit the faces of most of them. Annie shook her head. What kind of person was she to be jealous of the blind?
The youngsters felt their way to the far side of the house, and Annie stooped down and ran around back. The odor of something delicious wafted out the back door. Someone inside banged cooking pots.
Annie hunkered down behind a rain barrel. A barn sat a short ways behind the house. Maybe she could sleep there tonight.
The back door opened, and a pretty woman who reminded Annie of her mama glided down the steps in a bright blue dress. Her yellow hair was piled up on the back of her head. Annie tugged at her short, plain brown hair. Hers had never been long enough to put up like that—not after her pa hacked it away with his knife. Besides, she wouldn’t know how to fix it anyway.
Fragrant odors drifted toward, Annie. Her stomach moaned a long complaint.
The woman clapped her hands. “Children, time for lunch.”
As one, the youngsters turned toward her voice, carefully feeling their way toward her. Would anyone notice if she sneaked inside with them?
She glanced down at her dirty hands and fingernails. Her pants stunk, and her head itched. Maybe those kids couldn’t see her, but they sure would be able to smell her.
The idea she’d been stewing on for two days sounded better and better. Those children had everything she wanted—they were clean, had decent clothes, ate regular meals, and lived in the house she wanted.
Come morning, she’d be sitting on the front porch. And if she had to pretend to be a blind orphan in order to be taken in—so be it.
How do you choose names for your characters?
It really varies. Often, I’ll just choose a name that I like a lot. Other times I get a name before the story comes to me. Then there are times I have to go hunting for a name, like if I have a hero or heroine from another country or I want a more unusual name for my character. I’ll do online searches of baby name sights. Since I write mostly historicals, I also will look up baby names for the year my character was born and see what was popular then.
Is there any scene in your book that came from a real-life happening?
Yes, there are two. My husband tends to jingle his keys and the coins in his pocket when he stands around talking for a while. In A Wagonload of Trouble, my hero had the same habit.
Also, in Finally A Bride, my hero is the temporary preacher and is giving his first sermon since coming to town. He’s preaching about ‘publicans’, but instead of saying that, he calls them ‘pelicans’. This actually happened to my husband when he was giving a message at a women’s prison. I was sitting on the back row with my friend, who’s husband had led worship, and it was all we could do not to laugh out loud. The funny thing was that he kept saying ‘pelican’, and the lady inmates would look at each other with the oddest expressions on their faces. I just knew I had to use that in a book one day.
That is so funny—for you, not your husband!
What is the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?
Jumping into two-foot waves at the Mediterranean Sea. My friends started doing this, and it was a lot of fun, so I joined in. Before I knew it, all my friends had gone off somewhere else, and I was alone, neck deep in water and a very long ways from shore. Then a huge wave washed over my head, and I was caught, unable to tell which way was up. I finally got my head above water, but I was caught in a riptide that was taking me further out. I had this overwhelming urge to float and managed to get onto my back after some struggles, but I was traveling parallel to the shore and couldn’t get in. I prayed hard, and God helped me to get back, but I was so weak I couldn’t stand for a while. Years later, I watched a show on riptides, and saw that I did exactly the right—swam parallel to the shore—until I got free of the riptide. God was really watching over me that day.
Definitely! What is the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you?
I had hurt my knee and was on crutches. I’d gone across the street to a neighbors and was headed back home. I had to wait for a red car to pass before I could cross the street. A young guy was driving, and as he passed he slowed down and stared at me. I couldn’t imagine what he was gawking at and looked down. The crutches had somehow managed to work my shirt up until it sat on top of my bra. Yikes!! Talk about embarrassing!!
Vickie, I’ve enjoyed having you on Infinite Characters. Where can fans find you or your books on the internet?
The one place that lists them all is my website: www.vickiemcdonough.com
You can also find them at various online bookstores.
Vickie has graciously offered to give a choice of her paperback books to one person who comments today or tomorrow. You can find her books on her website. I can vouch for Vickie’s writing. I always enjoy her books!