I’m delighted to welcome you to the Sunflower Inn where we are sipping Tazo’s baked cinnamon apple tea with Melissa Jagears, author of A BRIDE FOR KEEPS, which released on October 1. The heroine of this book, Julia, bakes apple pies in this love story, so I’m serving mini-apple pies today as we discuss this mail-order bride romance.
MY THOUGHTS ON A BRIDE FOR KEEPS—
This is a story filled with tender passion and gentle love….
While reading A Bride For Keeps, I was swept away to the Kansas prairie of 1876 to delight in the friendships of a small farming community and to experience the hard work of rural life. Fleeing from a hurtful past, Julia arrives in Salt Flatts as a mail-order bride. Everett is disheartened after previous attempts to order brides have been unsuccessful. Julia and Everett struggle to overcome their emotional hurts to find their happiness. They are sympathetic characters who rely on friendships and their own strong sense of right to deal with their situation.
I completely enjoyed this story filled with tender passion which is strengthened with the gentle thread of faith. My favorite line: “Whatever you’ve done, He’ll forgive.” Melissa Jagears’ debut is a well-written story of hope. And I hope she writes many more!
Now to chat with Melissa…..
SHERIDA: This is a charming story, Melissa! Please tell us how you got the glimmer of the idea for A BRIDE FOR KEEPS?
MELISSA: I heard a story where a family was arranging a marriage between the United States and Europe. Well, the man arranged the first marriage and it fell through, the second and it fell through, and he had the guts to order again. I wondered what could make a man desperate enough to face humiliation a third time. That’s what gave me the idea.
SHERIDA: I really felt sorry for Everett when his many previous orders didn’t work out, so this was an engaging idea to use. As an author, what do you do to keep the sparkle while you are writing?
MELISSA: I’m not sure I’m very sparkly, it’s more like being my own task master: “I have to.” So having crit partners or beta readers wanting to read my books is probably the best thing. If I didn’t have someone asking every now and then “When am I getting the next chapter/book?” I might never finish! The only thing sparkly I guess is I like wasting time listening to YouTube videos of Pentatonix sing as a reward sometimes…..or sometimes without even the excuse of it being a reward but just simply a procrastination technique. If you’ve never heard of Pentatonix, they’re a young accapella group, here’s them doing Video Killed the Radio Star. (Birth Year Song for me–just tattled on my age!).
SHERIDA: Fun sparkle! And I agree that critique partners are invaluable encouragement. (*waving to my CP*) 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?
MELISSA: I guess I’d have to say when I was in China working at a college for teachers for the summer. I was there just to work and observe. (I became an English as a Second Language Teacher.) One day, I had over a girl to tutor. She wanted to show off her English reading skills, chose my Bible off the table, and started reading to show me how well she could do. And she read for a long time. Being that foreigners are watched over there because they are not supposed to evangelize, I found it neat that God got plenty of truth into this young lady by using her desire to show off.
SHERIDA: That is so impressive and a perfect example of God working at His perfect timing! Thank you for sharing your experience!
ABOUT A BRIDE FOR KEEPS—
Although Everett Cline can hardly keep up with the demands of his homestead, he won’t humiliate himself by looking for a helpmate ever again–not after being jilted by three mail-order brides. When a well-meaning neighbor goes behind his back to bring yet another mail-order bride to town, he has good reason to doubt it will work, especially after getting a glimpse at the woman in question. She’s the prettiest woman he’s ever seen, and it’s just not possible she’s there to marry a simple homesteader like him.
Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. Having finally worked up the courage to leave her life in Massachusetts, she’s determined to find a place where people will value her for more than her looks. Having run out of all other options, Julia resorts to a mail-order marriage in far-away Kansas.
Everett is skeptical a cultured woman like Julia could be happy in a life on the plains, while Julia, deeply wounded by a past relationship, is skittish at the idea of marriage at all. When, despite their hesitations, they agree to a marriage in name only, neither one is prepared for the feelings that soon arise to complicate their arrangement. Can two people accustomed to keeping their distance let the barricades around their hearts down long enough to fall in love?
Melissa Jagears, an ESL teacher by trade, is a stay-at-home mother on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. She’s a member of ACFW and CROWN fiction marketing, and her passion is to help Christian believers mature in their faith and judge rightly. Find her online at www.melissajagears.com.
Thank you, Melissa, thank you for joining us for Tuesday Tea. Thank you, READERS, for having tea with us and talking about A BRIDE FOR KEEPS.
Melissa has a novella, Love by the Letter, which is available for free on Kindle. http://www.amazon.com/Letter-Unexpected-Brides-Novella-ebook/dp/B00EVSB3N0/ref=zg_bs_158437011_f_17
Rachel Oliver has lingered in town for three years secretly mooning over Dex Stanton, but now she’s done. If the fool wants to write to a mail-order bride company, so be it. Once she begins giving Dex lessons, however, Rachel realizes she may not be prepared to give up just yet.
As their time together runs short, can two of the most stubborn people in town set aside their pride long enough to find love?
Love by the Letter is a companion Christian romance novella to A Bride for Keeps, Melissa Jagears’s full-length debut novel available fall 2013. Includes an extended sneak peek at A Bride for Keeps.
*Bethany House generously provided a copy of A Bride for Keeps in exchange for my honest review.
6 thoughts on “TUESDAY TEA-A BRIDE FOR KEEPS by Melissa Jagears”
Hi ladies. I’ve been looking forward to Melissa’s interview.
Melissa, I really enjoyed Dex & Rachel’s story. Such an original conflict and sweet love story. I look forward to reading A Bride for Keeps.
Hi, Donna! So fun to have you stop by for Tuesday Tea! I think you’ll enjoy this story of Everett and his FOURTH mail-order bride! Please have an extra slice of apple pie. 🙂
Hi, Melissa! Hi, Sherida! Enjoyed this interview!!! Love the story. Love the characters. A Bride for Keeps contains one of the most natural and Biblical salvation experiences I’ve ever read in a fiction book. Thanks for the post, ladies!
Thanks for joining us, Natalie! A Bride For Keeps is a lovely story of romance and inspiration. Congratulations to Melissa on a great debut novel!
Sherida, thanks for a lovely tea set up!
Thanks for dropping by Donna, I hope you enjoy the story.
Natalie, I’m very happy it came out natural. I want it that way or not at all!
Thanks for having tea with us at the Sunflower Inn, Melissa. Wishing you great success in all your future writing projects!