TUESDAY TEA with Sandra Leesmith
We’re having tea today the with the author of LOVE’S MIRACLES–Sandra Leesmith. We’re at the Wildflower Gazebo Tea Garden, serving Lavender Scones with wildflower honey and an exquisite blend of English tea, The Queen’s Earl Grey Jubilee, from the Queen Mary Tea Shop in Seattle. The tea includes delicate lavender blossoms. Please pull up a white wicker chair and sit with us while we talk about Love’s Miracles, where wildflowers bloom, hence the flower-flavored scones and tea I’m serving today.
About Love’s Miracles
Dr. Margo Devaull came to Dominic Zanelli’s mountain retreat confident that she could help this Vietnam veteran overcome the torment that kept him apart from the world. But her training as a psychologist had not prepared her for the tragic, explosive contradictions brewing inside him. For here was a sensitive artist who could be gentle – and a man whose eyes flashed with violence and pain when he told her to leave and never come back. Yet Margo did come back, slowly gain his trust, and awaken the sleeping needs of his heart. Only by reliving her own wounded past and helping Zane confront a terrible memory from the war could she set them both free – and save their last chance for love.
My thoughts on Love’s Miracles
Reading Love’s Miracles helps us remember the sacrifices our military members and their families make to secure our nation’s freedom and the freedom of others who are not able to defend themselves. Love’s Miracles is a story of the post-Vietnam era, but is still relevant to current times. Sandra Leesmith writes of the emotions involved with post-traumatic stress disorder. Her words are written with the care and the consideration deserved by those who suffer from this condition. As I read this story, I was concerned about Zane and Margo as they worked through the issues they must face, their love blooming over time and through difficulties. The detail of both scenery and action is vivid. The ending left me in tears and with a profound appreciation for the sacrifices made during wartime.
As I read Love’s Miracles, my thoughts went back to 1971 when my husband headed to Fort Lewis, Washington, for Basic Training. He was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the United States Army Reserve Corp of Engineers. During this stressful time, he was prepared to go to Vietnam. I dreaded my husband being affected by the war, because I knew the possibilities. My father is a World War II veteran, having been in a German POW hospital after having a leg amputated, an injury which was caused by “friendly fire.” My father handles his disability with grace, helping others through amputee support groups. In my husband’s situation, the United States forces were withdrawn before he was called to go to Vietnam, though he continued to serve in the Reserves for many years.
Soldiers face extreme hardships and each person handles these situations differently. Love’s Miracles is a powerful story offering hope and understanding….and a reminder of those we owe thanks.
With thankfulness, my prayers go out to soldiers past, present and future.
Talking with Sandra Leesmith
SHERIDA: Sandra, I’m so happy to welcome you to Tuesday Tea as my first guest. After “meeting” you and your editor, Amber Stokes, in Seekerville, I am delighted to review the re-release of your book, Love’s Miracles.
SANDRA: Good morning, Sherida! Thank you so much for inviting me to join you for tea. I love tea. My dad’s family was from England so I always enjoyed tea time with them. Dad’s wife was British and she gave me quite a few lessons about the difference between a tea pot and a tea kettle. Makes me smile thinking of her.
SHERIDA: Readers like to know how an author gets started with a story. How did you get the glimmer of the idea for your book, Love’s Miracles?
SANDRA: Ideas rumble around in my head all the time. Characters talk to me and demand their story be told. I have always been a daydreamer so I figure my imagination is overactive. I like to think the stories come from the Holy Spirit.
This particular story was written in the eighties when there were so many after-effects of the Vietnam War. Veterans had a tough time when they returned home. They not only had to deal with public anger and hatred, but had to process the horror they had seen in battle. My brother was a Vietnam vet and my heart ached for the trauma I saw in him and so many others. The story emerged from those emotions.
SHERIDA: You wrote about this difficult situation with compassion. I’m learning that writing is demanding work. What do you do to keep your sparkle while you are writing?
SANDRA: What keeps me “sparkling” when I write is plenty of rest, exercise and healthy snacks. I start out my day with a morning walk and let the ideas swirl in my mind. I also walk when I’m stuck. Somehow the process of walking keeps my left brain busy enough to let my creative right brain have a say.
SHERIDA: Interesting. Many of my story ideas are formed when I’m hiking. I like your thoughts on keeping the left brain busy. Sandra, beyond family, friends and your writing career, what jewel of a moment has God placed in your path during your life’s journey that you would share with us?
SANDRA: This was a tough question because I have been so blessed with so many jewel moments. One that sticks out to me is the time right after I retired from teaching and started writing again, and I hit a wall. I had written Cody the Coyote, my children’s picture book, but I couldn’t write much more because of an intense set of family crises. I took a hike and sat down in this field thinking, “I guess I just wasn’t meant to write.” All of a sudden a coyote showed up about forty feet away and started singing and yipping. He stood there and pranced his front paws and sang to me for about fifteen minutes. I’ve never seen anything like it. But I knew that he was telling me that my writing was okay and that I would be fine.
Cody the Coyote finally did get published last winter. All of this simply showed me that even though we may have a glimmer of what we are supposed to do, we need to trust and have faith in the timing.
SHERIDA: I love your special moment! God’s perfect timing! Cody the Coyote sounds like a great book for my two grandchildren. FYI-Sandra’s children’s books are written as Sandy Wardman.
SANDRA: Thank you, Sherida. It has been a pleasure. And the tea hit the spot.
About the Author
Sandra loves to hike, read, bicycle, and write. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two dogs, a Labrador retriever and a toy poodle. During the hot summer, she and her husband travel throughout the United States in their motorhome, where she enjoys the outdoors and finds wonderful ideas for her next writing project.
You can learn more about Sandra and her books at www.sandraleesmith.com.
LOVE’S MIRACLES can be ordered from Amazon here:
Here is the information for the blog tour giveaway which is open to United States residents.
Thank you all for joining us for Tuesday Tea!
If you’d like a recipe for the scones, go to www.allrecipes.com and search for Lavender Scones.
If you’d like to order tea, go to www.QueenMaryTea.com.
Amber Stokes blogs at www.seasonsofhumility.com.
You can find the encouraging authors of Seekerville at www.seekerville.net.