Readers, please help me welcome my special guest, Delia Latham. Since some of you may not know Delia, so here’s a short biography to introduce her.
Born and raised in a place called Weedpatch, Delia Latham moved from California to Oklahoma in 2008, making her a self-proclaimed California Okie. She loves to read and write in her simple country home, and gets a kick out of watching her husband play Farmer John. The author enjoys multiple roles as Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. She loves to hear from her readers. You may contact her through her website or send an e-mail to delia AT delialatham DOT net.
Delia is writing today about why she chose Christian romance rather than another genre. Here’s Delia!
Romance, Grandma? Really?
Don’tcha just love love?
I do. I hope I always will. And that, my friends—just in case you’re wondering—is why a 50-something grandmother would write an entire series of books based around a Christian dating agency.
(To be perfectly honest, when I got the first little mustard seed of an idea, I was eleven years younger, had only one grandchild, and hadn’t yet written a novel at all, much less a series of them.) Here’s what happened:
Some years ago, I read a series written by an author I’d never heard of at the time. Her name is Shari MacDonald, and she has an amazing knack for humor. One of the books in that series grabbed me by the imagination and would not let go. That book, A Match Made in Heaven, struck some kind of chord in me. It made me want to write the novel I’d been promising myself for years.
Now, let’s be reasonable here. That was well over a decade ago. Don’t ask me what that pivotal novel was actually about—I don’t have a clue, other than there was a dating agency involved. It made an impression on me, and got me thinking about the matchmaking profession. Wouldn’t it be fun, I thought, to write about a place where Christian singles could go to find—in King Solomon’s words—“he (or she) whom their soul loveth”?
I stored the idea away in my brain, and every once in awhile, I took it out and played with it (not my brain—the idea). I wrote two inspirational romances, neither of which had anything to do with a dating agency, and got them published. I started a couple of other manuscripts, which I still haven’t finished.
Then I woke up one day and it was as though something clicked in my heart—like God was saying, “It’s time. Let’s do it!”
In a perfect world, I disappeared into my office and emerged three days later with a completed manuscript, painstakingly edited and ready to send to a publisher.
Uh-huh. Whoever said this was a perfect world?
No. I still wasn’t completely there. I thought about the idea while I was doing dishes; I mulled it over while driving down the road all by myself; I worked out a fun little scenario or two as I lay in bed at night, instead of counting sheep; I created and discarded a number of storylines and subplots. Weeks, months, and more months went into mentally laying the groundwork.
By the time I actually did go into my office and start writing, I had several nice little scenes all cozied up in my head, just waiting to be put on paper. And…I was no longer just writing a book based around a dating agency. Now it was a series. Three books, maybe more (depending on how well you like them). Plus, God threw in a real surprise for me.
My dating agency would be no ordinary, run-of-the-mill love connection. Sometime during all of those mental writing sessions, it received a touch of the divine. Now it had an extraordinary connection to Heaven.
I’d love to tell you all about it, but then there’d be no need to read the book(s). And I really want you to read the Solomon’s Gate Series.
Destiny’s Dream released in December 2010, and Kylie’s Kiss followed four months later, in April 2011. (Come on, admit it. You’re a little bit curious about this series!) It’s available through White Rose Publishing and Amazon. I’m eager to hear what you find between its covers, because I’m thinking different people might find different things. Divine experiences often happen that way, you know.
The third book, Gypsy’s Game, should release later this year.
Come on in. I’ll leave the Gate open for you.
Here’s an excerpt from Kylie’s Kiss.
Rick settled into a seat across from Kylie and Clay and sat in silence for a moment, a slight frown drawing his dark brows together. Finally he looked up, first at Clay, then in her direction. “Kylie, I haven’t had a chance to share with you about Lea, though I believe Clay knows a little.”
Her heart sank and her gaze flew to her boss, who nodded. Yes, he knew about Lea, whoever she was. This didn’t sound good. “Who’s Lea?”
“She’s my little girl.” Kylie drew in a slow, deliberate breath, forcing herself to stay calm. So he had a daughter. As long as a wife wasn’t the next announcement, she could handle that.
“You have a child. How old is she?”
“She just turned six.” Rick’s expression softened as he spoke, and Kylie knew without a doubt that Lea was his life. His green eyes, startling against the olive of his skin, met hers without flinching. “She’s a special child, Kylie. Smart, beautiful, charming….” Kylie found herself fascinated by the adorable little self-derisive grin that played about his lips. “And sweet as cotton candy.”
Kylie couldn’t help smiling. “You don’t like her much, huh?”
“She is my heart and soul.” A little sheepish, but unrepentant.
“When do we get to meet this perfect child?” Clay’s grin lit up his craggy face. “Destiny’s already looking forward to it, but be warned—she’s going to try to keep her. My wife has a thing with kids, man. She loves ’em, and they always love her right back.”
Rick laughed a little, but his tone was serious. “I hope she still feels that way after she meets Lea.” He pulled a wallet from his pocket, then sat for a moment, saying nothing.
Puzzled, Kylie watched him run slender fingers through his thick black hair. Again and again he invaded the thick waves, managing to somehow leave them only slightly mussed. Finally he opened the billfold and pulled out a photo.
When he raised his head, revealing the torment in his eyes, her heart nearly stopped. What was wrong with Lea? Whatever it was, did Rick think it would make a difference in how she or Clay might feel about the child? If so, he certainly didn’t give them much credit.
“This is Lea.” He handed the photo to Clay, who smiled and passed it on to Kylie.
“She’s a cutie all right, my friend. You weren’t exaggerating. So what’s the problem?”
Kylie wondered the same thing. The photo showed a partial silhouette of an extraordinarily beautiful child. Unlike her olive-skinned father, Lea was a vision of light. Golden hair, porcelain skin, eyes the color of a robin’s egg. Kylie met Rick’s gaze, mystified by his obvious unease. “She’s lovely.”
“Thank you. I think so.” He pulled out another photo and handed it to Clay. “In spite of this.”
Kylie’s stomach clenched and threatened to revolt. Her boss’s flinch was slight, but unmistakable. Oh, dear God, please help me handle whatever this is with grace. How ironic that her first real prayer in years would be one of such a pitifully begging nature. Somehow she knew her reaction to this photo could mean life or death for her relationship with Rick. How strange that she’d be thinking in terms of a relationship now, when only moments before she’d been ready to concede defeat.
Clay nodded slowly, then met Kylie’s eyes. He held briefly to the picture even after her fingers closed on it. His words were directed to his friend, but his gaze held hers. “You’re right, my friend. Nothing could make this child anything less than perfect.”
He released the photo into Kylie’s grip. By now she did not want to look at it. Something in Rick’s eyes and Clay’s voice told her she could be in trouble. But what choice did she have?
Her eyes moved in slow, jerking movements from Clay’s face to the photo in her hands. She gasped, overwhelmed with sympathy—and total panic.
Another silhouette, shot from the opposite side of Lea’s face. Long, lumpy red welts stained her exquisite skin, puckering her cheek into an inhuman mask. Kylie had no idea she was crying until the tears tickled her face, even as her throat closed and her stomach lurched.
The photo fluttered to the floor as she leaped to her feet. Sending the two men a desperately apologetic look, she flew out of the room with a hand over her mouth.
Delia, thank you for coming today. Readers, look at the lovely necklace and bottle of anointing oil Delia will be giving away at the end of the day. She’s also giving away 4 copies of the Solomon’s Gate books. Leave a comment to win, but be aware that the winner of the grand prize, the necklace, must post a comment today, June 27.
The pendant is about 2 1/2 inches long and the decoration is the same on both sides.
The oil is Hadas'sah Queen Esther Oil. Necklace and oil from The Master's Jewels.