Greetings from Sarah Sundin in California! Today I have the honor of interviewing author, genealogist, former CAN president, and former Mrs. Montana—Angela Breidenbach! She’s here to share about her latest novel, Song of the Rockies.
Welcome, Angela! Please tell us about Song of the Rockies.
With no prospects of being a mother, eleven boys landing in her lap created chaos. But when one boy goes missing, and his unexpected father shows up demanding help, can love and hope overcome fear and doubt? A beautiful tale of compassion, mothering, and unexpected love as the Wild West turns toward the new century.
That sounds wonderful! What inspired you to write this book?
We have 6 children combined into our family, but we also hosted many others in emergency or friendship. Trying to parent and care for children that aren’t yours is a huge challenge. There are so many people that do this through foster care, adoption, stepparenting, or like our family‑all of the above. I love sharing stories of loving families overcoming real life challenges.
What is the primary focus of your book?
There’s a lovely romance that threads its way through this story. But the love and concern for the orphans touched my heart. I hope it will touch yours.
What surprised you the most during the research or writing of your book?
I was surprised at the existence of an early boy’s school in Montana to help street children/orphans. The Orphan Trains ended in Helena, Montana. Over time, a large street population of children needed care. Whether the placements from that train didn’t work, or kids ran away, or what reason caused so many unparented children to be in the street, the community and church worked to solve it together. I did have to move the school opening a few years earlier to meet the condensing of the story timeline. But it really existed and was supported throughout the community.
I’m so glad you were able to highlight such an incredible place in your novel! What do you hope readers will take away from this story?
So much. But one thing comes to mind…before trying to parent a child of any age, we need to build a trusting relationship. Rebellion is often a result of adult demands on a child/teen when no relationship exists to expect trust or respect. Build the relationship before demanding respect and obedience with a child you did not raise from birth.
As a Christian writer, how do you share Christ in your books?
I share Christ by not excluding Him or faith. I think too many books feel wooden to me because characters are not given the wholistic aspect of their full life. I feel drawn to write the whole person, not just part of the person. I hope that makes sense here. I think it will as you read my stories.
Other than sharing about God, why do you love writing?
I love letting thoughts and ideas flow. Writing helps me to release all the words in my head and heart.
What ministries are you involved in, and why?
I’ve worked with the Jadyn Fred Foundation for over 15 years to support children and families with what insurance doesn’t provide. I was invited by a friend to support her son’s medical needs when I was Mrs. Missoula (and then later, Mrs. Montana). I was able to use my platform to promote the Jadyn Fred Foundation at events during that time. But beyond doing something good for families, I fell in love with the organization and their goals to lift up families in need in a local area. Results changed lives directly in my community.
I think how we live our lives is ministry. I’ve been able to share faith support in my jobs, writing, speaking, etc. Whatever we do, do it to the glory of God. Sometimes what we think is small could be lifechanging in how it’s performed. When we think that way, life becomes a ministry.
So true! Now, do you have other talents aside from storytelling?
Music, hospitality, and oddly the ability to simplify and teach complex concepts. But please, please don’t make me do numbers. Can you see my eyes glaze over?
Why, yes, I can. So, What do you read for pleasure? What are you reading right now?
I adore reading time travel and business books. Did that shock you?
I’m reading Business Made Simple, a devotional by Rabbi Schneider, and a ton of technical pages on both Moodle and Shopify. Uh, not anything fictional…I really look forward to being able to soon.
Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I have a new career as the executive director of the International Institute of Genealogical Studies. Basically, as a professional genealogist I teach people to become professional genealogists.
My most recent 6-book series, Queen of the Rockies, has genealogical elements all through it. But I’m also writing a lot of business blog posts, articles, and creating video content. Because I took over the trade school just a year ago, there’s a lot of modernizing and creating systems happening. That’s causing a lot more technical writing and editing in my current daily work as a professional genealogist and educator. If you’re interested in genealogy courses, visit me at the website at https://genealogicalstudies.com/ . You’ll find me on the chat widget right on the home page.
Do you have pets, and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
Muse, my fe-lion, inspires a humorous side of my writing. I post Writer and Muse conversations on social media with photos of him that cracked me up in the moment so I have to share the laughter. But he can be a bit demanding when he wants food or attention.
With the delightful Muse making well-deserved demands on your time, how do you stay disciplined and meet your deadlines?
Calendar, Calendar, Calendar. I use an electronic calendar and create an event for everything from work meetings to medical appointments to family time. Each event has 1-2 alerts on it that ping me on my phone. I need to concentrate so I set the alerts and work until the next alert goes off. One important point: Build travel time into that event for both directions for any away appointments. I put in Zoom links, phone numbers, addresses in the “location” area so I can click that to get into the meeting or call the person or find the address fast. I also add notes on what documents to take, or packed items for travel, or deadline details. Everything I need is at my fingertips. Then, if it’s crucial to the team I lead at the Int’l Institute, I ask my team member, Sue, to send me an email reminder or shoot me a text on Skype. (We leave Skype’s messaging open as an easy international communication system that acts like a text messaging system for our entire team.) I’m hunting for the perfect all-in-one system to simplify everything into one easy spot. But this works for now.
What are your hobbies or activities or passions outside of writing?
A few hobbies I have fun with are training my pets (have you met Muse and Writer?), dabbling in learning Celtic harp, and dance.
With all these wonderful activities, what are you writing? Please tell us about your next project.
The Queen of the Rockies 6-book series is set in the Wild West, centered in the new state of Montana. Join our heroes and heroines as they create civilization in the wilderness. Easy to read each book in any order, but fun to find the Easter eggs from previous books.
We look forward to seeing more from this series! Thanks for sharing with us, Angela!
To learn more about Angela’s books, please visit Angela’s website at https://angelabreidenbach.com/ and her blog at https://angelabreidenbach.com/category/a-muse-ings/ .
Writing for Him,
Sarah’s website: https://www.sarahsundin.com/