I’m happy to have Alice with me for the last post of 2017. She is answering a few questions and telling us about her short novel, The Wedding Barter.
Though Alice K. Arenz is known for her cozy mysteries and romantic mystery/suspense novels, the Carol Award winning author has branched out with her newest release, The Wedding Barter, a romance that is both serious and funny.
Arenz is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. Her first three novels were honored by two finals and one win in ACFW’s Carol Awards: cozy mysteries The Case of the Bouncing Grandma (a 2009 finalist), The Case of the Mystified M.D., (2010 winner), and mystery/suspense Mirrored Image (a 2011 finalist). These novels have been followed by An American Gothic, Portrait of Jenny, and short story, Home Cookin’.
Visit her at her website www.akawriter.com.
Alice, why do you feel your book, The Wedding Barter, will be uplifting for readers? It’s a Christian “romance” with plenty of laughs interlaced with some serious subject matter—God always at the center. The main character, Riley Carr, is determined to give her friend Amy the wedding of her dreams, in spite of Amy’s directive that it be a small, intimate ceremony. Riley’s unwavering faith is bolstered by the assistance of two other girls, all of whom had been best friends since they were small. When one of them gets down or discouraged, the others are there to lift them up with a reminder that all it takes is a mustard seed of faith to see them through.
Barter is set in the same fictional Missouri community—Tarryton—as the Bouncing Grandma Mystery series, but set nine years later and with no murders! As a result, many of the secondary characters from those books appear in Barter—including Pastor Connor Grant, a wonderful man of God and good friend to all.
What is your favorite winter-time activity? I love to take walks as it’s snowing—especially at night. There’s something magical about it.
How do you like your cocoa? Flavored? Marshmallows? I guess I’m a purist—I like it without anything extra.
What is next for you writing-wise? A third in the Bouncing Grandma Mystery series. I’d started it shortly before getting the contract to be part of a boxed set of romance novellas. Hence, The Wedding Barter and my first foray into romance.
Anything else you’d like to add? I’d like to share how this book came to be written. As I mentioned, I was invited to be part of a novella grouping by my publisher—Forget Me Not Publishing—even though I’d never written a romance before. She knew I’d been struggling with a lot of health issues since Portrait of Jenny had been published in the spring of 2016, but she had faith in me & that I could do this. I thought the premise sounded interesting and amusing—loosely based on a bridesmaid auction that had been in the papers—but didn’t see how I could fit in. Then, suddenly, a seed of an idea came to me. It soon blossomed into more than I could have ever imagined. I ran it by my publisher, and when she agreed, I was suddenly faced with the question—“Just HOW are you going to do this?!”
My entire body was in such a state of spasm that I couldn’t sit at the computer—and because of chronic issues, trying to work on a laptop in my chair is NEVER an option. Between that pain and horrible allergy attacks, I was beyond useless. After a month of trying to figure out how to honor my commitment, my husband, Chris, suggested I dictate to him as he typed on his laptop. It wasn’t an easy process by any stretch of the imagination, but within a few weeks, we got the hang of it. It took approximately seven weeks from start to finish, and instead of a novella, we ended up with a 49,000 word short novel!
Wow! That sounds like a creative way to solve a problem. I was a medical transcriptionist for nearly six years–I can understand how writing a novel that way would have been a challenge! Oh, and I totally agree with you about walking in the snow, especially at night. With a full moon after the snow has fallen is even better!
Riley Carr has been best friends with Amy Lawton since they were toddlers. While Amy awaits her discharge from the Army, Riley’s been left in charge of helping to arrange “a very small, intimate ceremony with no fanfare” for Amy and her fiancé. But, Riley has something else in mind.
With the aid of two other friends, Riley presents her “wedding barter” idea to groom, David Herron. He agrees, providing best man, Mike Todd, stays in the loop to keep things from getting out of hand.
It doesn’t help that the giant of a man is threatening, overbearing, and just doesn’t seem to like her or her ideas. But, when Todd gives Riley an ultimatum of producing results in three weeks or he’ll take over, she’s determined to prove him wrong. . .in more ways than one.
I’m so glad you stopped by, Alice. Thank you for spending your Thursday with me! I hope readers will check out The Wedding Barter, available on Amazon now. I’ll see you all next week with a blog on Monday covering my 2018 goals and on Thursday with another installment of Books to Beat the Winter Blues, with author Alexis Goring.
(blog banner photo taken by me at Cades Cove on 12/26/2017)