|Read an excerpt here!|
Check out this blurb:
Amidst the snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains in 1871, Daniel Hobart keeps to himself—a man with a hole in his heart that matches the scar on his face. But when Daniel starts having visions of a young girl crying out for help, he begins to fear that solitude may have caused him to lose his mind. Determined to find out the truth about the mysterious girl, Daniel travels into New Hope and learns that she’s the missing daughter of widow Lacy Ellis.
After a year of heartbreak, Lacy isn’t sure what to make of Daniel’s claims of seeing her daughter. But when he sets out to find Hannah on his own, Lacy decides to join him, allowing herself one last chance to hope. And as they retrace the long-cold trail of Hannah’s disappearance, two broken people manage to take some small comfort in each other, and in the possibility of a miracle…
So enticing! Naturally, I had to ask our author a few more questions. Welcome, Kaki!
What exactly is a novella, and how was the writing process different for you?
A novella is a work of fiction that’s longer and more complex than a short story, and shorter than a full novel. It usually runs 15,000 to 40,000 words and often covers a shorter time span. Since most novels range from 80,000 to 130,000 words, you have to limit description, backstory, and long narration or introspection. You’ve probably heard how in a novel every scene must move the story forward? In a novella, every word must do that. You still have to introduce the setting and characters, establish a conflict, and build toward a crisis that leads to a climax and satisfying ending, but you have to do it by using fewer adjectives and adverbs, and with less extraneous dialogue and more precise description. Gads.
MIRACLE IN NEW HOPE came in just under 40,000 words, and it was a battle to keep it that short. In my full-length novels, I take a long time to develop the characters and relationships, and I also add a host of secondary characters—including the setting, which I think of as a character, too, but one that necessitates a lot of description. I had to pick my scenes carefully, make sure each drove the story where I wanted it to go, yet showed my characters in varied situations. Since MIRACLE is a Christmas novella, I also had to keep that foremost, too. Sound daunting? It isn’t. Just start with a single event (in my case, an avalanche) and build the story from there. Try it. It’s fun.
Are there plans for more novellas?
I hope so. I had a great time writing MIRACLE. That’s not to say it was easy—it still had to have all the elements needed to create a good story and compelling characters—but it was a nice break for me, and certainly taught me discipline. But right now I’m contracted for three more Heartbreak Creek novels, and a short story for an anthology, so I’m pretty busy. That said, I’ve long thought it would be great fun to go back for a Christmas visit with the Wilkins clan. We’ll see.
Which characters or scenes did you particularly enjoy writing in this new story?
I love these characters, especially Daniel, the hero. Here’s a man who has lost everything—his family, his looks, his purpose. He’s content to live the rest of his life as a recluse, making furniture for rich folks, and talking with his loyal companions, a hound and an escape-artist horse. Don’t worry. They don’t talk back. Not really. Yet Daniel hasn’t let bitterness or loss rob him of his sense of humor and determination to do what he thinks is right, which is what leads him on a desperate search for a child lost in the Colorado Rockies. Sounds like a downer, doesn’t it—a scarred man, a grieving mother, and child who was presumed dead a year ago? But it’s not. It’s about hope, second chances, and the courage to believe in the impossible. I guarantee a tear and a giggle.
Do many of your real-life experiences find their way into your books?
Some. I’ve never been in an avalanche or tunnel explosion, thank God, but I have been within coughing distance of a forest fire, raised horses, children, dogs, lived in snowy mountains, chased cattle, watched loved ones die, and laughed a lot. But the drama and angst you find in a romance novel? Not really. I’ve had a charmed life. So I guess it’s a good thing I have a vivid imagination, right?
If you had to write a book in a completely different genre or set in a different part of the world, what would you write?
Since the settings in my books are like secondary characters, I’m reluctant to write about places I’ve never been. The American west is where my heart and imagination reside, even though I’ve lived in cities (under duress). So I’m content to write about what’s most familiar. Yet I’ve also thought it would be fun to use the historical west as a setting, but add a touch of the paranormal to it. MIRACLE has a tiny element of that in the psychic connection between Daniel and the lost child. But I’ve left it to the reader to decide if it’s something paranormal, or miraculous, or simple faith and hope at work. And no matter what my sissy daughter says, it’s not creepy.
How will you be spending your holidays?
Lucky me! A road trip to Texas and a long visit with the prince. Oh yeah, and his parents, too. A hot, snow-less Christmas. What a treat. No, really. We’re looking forward to it. Beats sliding around on icy roads and having to plow our steep, quarter-mile driveway all the time (or so my husband says). But we’ll sure miss the princesses, who live up here. Oh yeah, and their parents.
Readers, we would like to know how YOU will be spending your holidays? What do you have planned? Whom will you see? Two random winners will be selected on Dec. 9 to receive Miracle in New Hope for your e-reader. Please include your e-mail.
(Don't forget: if you don't have an e-reader, you can still download the free app for reading on your phone or PC.) Congratulations to winners, Christi and Kim! Thank you to all who commented.