February greetings from Marti Pieper, who is grateful to have had both power and water throughout this chilly month! I’m also grateful to reintroduce a familiar face to our CAN readers today. It belongs to our multitalented president, Angela Breidenbach. I first met Angie when we were both teaching at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference. I then had the privilege of working closely with her on the CAN newsletter for several years. I know you’ll enjoy learning more about her and her books.
Welcome, Angie! I’m so glad you’re with us today. Please tell us about your latest book.
The Mail-Order Standoff: Marriage plans put on hold in the Old West when four mail-order brides have second thoughts. How will their grooms win their trust?
This four-in-one book includes Right on Time by Angela Breidenbach. Could two people be less suited than an English gentleman and a Western gal who is used to giving the orders? From the wild Montana Territory to the refined Kentucky horse farms, can Timothy prove worthy of Tara’s heart?
Do you have an unfulfilled dream?
I do, but I’m constantly working toward them. Them—because as I achieve one, I move to the next on my list. Oh yes, I have a long list. Currently I’m close to graduating with my genealogical studies degree and specialty in English records. I’d like to add more specialties (halfway to Scottish records already) and take small professional tours on genealogical research visits to Scotland, England, and other countries. I’m also working toward having my screenplays produced on TV and big screen. I dream of writing movies that touch lives and of leaving a body of work. I’d also like to have an endless lap pool someday inside a heated sunroom. Why not, right? Who wants to walk out in the snow to swim? Some very big stretch dreams.
Especially when you live in Montana, as I know you do! What talents do you have aside from storytelling?
Music. I love singing and am learning the harp. I hope to use both of those talents in church and music therapy. I also really enjoy teaching/speaking on genealogy, writing, and historical topics.
You amaze me with all you fit into a day! Do you have a “day job” or a previous career? Does it influence what or how you write?
I’ve had a variety of jobs from airlines to radio to heating company co-owner (still am, but no longer in the day-to-day). Every job I’ve had informs my writing as I create characters. Once I’m finished with my last few genealogy classes, I’ll take genealogy projects for clients starting late summer/fall 2021.
Anyone who follows you on social media knows the answer to this one: Do you have pets, and do they inspire your writing or hinder it?
Muse, my fe-lion executive assistant, inspires a lot of humor. I share our Muse and Writer conversations on social media and my website. He also inspired An A-Muse-ing 2021 Calendar. We hope to work together more this year to produce A-Muse-ing Tales series in the genre of cat comedy.
Sounds purrfect! What themes do you return to again and again in your writing?
Themes are a little harder to define because they’re not as interesting as the story world that reveals the deeper meaning. But the themes I tend toward are unique life experiences that reveal our life purpose and overcoming. For instance, I’ve written nonfiction in story form that deal with one specific characteristic like becoming a confident woman in Gems of Wisdom: The Treasure of Experience, and I’ve taken that same thing and built it into a character’s sense of not being good enough in the historical romance Right On Time (Mail-Order Standoff).
What is one thing about writing that you wish non-writers knew?
Writing is telling stories whether fiction, nonfiction, articles, screenwriting. The biggest thing to me is that as a writer, I don’t read one genre or write only one genre because I’m interested in so many different things. As much as the industry tries to box writers into brands, and we have to establish that for readers, but my writing interests are hugely varied.
I understand that well! What inspired you to write this book?
I love following obscure historical tidbits, then setting characters into those interesting events. This one is in 1883, the year my own grandfather was born. The time zones, as we know them today, did not exist. Train crashes killed thousands of people because clocks and watches were set to the sun at high noon at the nearest town. I was fascinated by how something so mundane and normal today changed the entire world my grandfather was born into. I wondered how something that seemed so small might actually have caused a huge shift in societal life. What would that be like? How would that affect families? Business? I was stunned how long it took for the time zones to be normalized, but how it immediately saved lives. Some of the smallest decisions have the biggest impact.
And what do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Change, though scary in the expectation, becomes an amazing opportunity. Change in hindsight becomes normal, and fear disappears as that change becomes normal life. Each time we conquer the fear of change, we gain confidence.
So true. So what was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
I’ve been in college for that genealogy degree. Writing while in college, while speaking at conferences, and while caring for my family was really an adventure in pushing myself and my capabilities.
And I know you did it with excellence. Please tell us about your next project.
Coming this summer, I’m excited to release my Queen of the Rockies series. It’s set in Helena, Montana, starting in 1889. Helena was a very modern and beautiful city in what was considered the wild west. I love this gorgeous series full of vivid characters and real history.
Muse and Writer will also release A-Muse-ing Tales, book 1, cat comedy for the whole family in time for Christmas.
For His glory,