A terrible tragedy nearly broke him.
Can love put him back together again?
Widowed history teacher Neil Hamilton has lost his way—at work, with people and even with his faith. But Neil’s shut-down existence is disrupted when a small toddler and his would-be foster mother, vibrantly pretty Maggie Byrne, come crashing into Neil’s yard and his life. Can this absentminded teacher find himself again…and take a chance on love, too?
From Love Inspired: Uplifting stories of faith, forgiveness and hope.
I am so very pleased to have Laurel Blount as a guest on my blog today! I discovered her books earlier this year and read every single one as fast as I could. I love connecting so easily with a book’s characters and story line. So, I contacted Laurel and asked if she’d be willing to talk to us a few minutes and she graciously agreed. So, sit back and listen, and don’t forget to follow to the end of this post for a chance to win a copy of the book!
- You live on a farm in Georgia. I grew up on a semi farm until age 12. Can you tell us about your life on a farm? We call our place a “hobby farm” which my husband says is code for “we make absolutely no money farming, and our animals are spoiled rotten.” We have about 46 acres, and we have a few Angus cows, one Scottish Highland cow with a feisty personality, and two Jerseys. We also have some Oberhasli dairy goats—currently I have one goat in milk and am making cheeses when I can find the time. We also have a flock of laying hens and some ducks. We normally have large gardens and I can and freeze a lot of our vegetables and fruits for the winter time.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer and how did you get started?
As far back as I can remember, I’ve treasured books. I grew up out in the country back when there was no Internet, and only one television with a few channels. We had no close neighbors, so books were my primary source of entertainment—and oh, how I loved them! I also loved to tell my own stories—as a little girl, I used to walk my parents’ long driveway bouncing a ball and telling stories to myself. So eventually, it was a natural thing to start writing them down. In 2015 I entered a Love Inspired contest called Blurb to Book, and I ended up going through to the final round and selling my first book to Love Inspired! It was truly a dream come true.
- Tell us what a writing day looks like for you.
I get up around five a.m. and have a quiet time of prayer and Bible study on my front porch (weather permitting) with a cup of coffee. Then I start work on whatever project I’m most behind on. 😊 Nowadays I’m normally working on more than one book at a time, so I usually write new words in the morning and edit a different book later in the day. I also frequently do writing sprints on Zoom with my critique partner, author Amy Grochowski. On an average day, I write from about 6 to 11:30, then break for lunch and homeschool time with my kids. They are in high school now, and do a lot of their work on the computer, so their lessons are not as mom-intensive as when they were younger. I usually am back at work in my writing room by around 3:00 and I write until it’s time to fix supper. If I’m really in a pinch, I’ll sometimes come back in later in the evening, but I do try not to do that unless it’s truly necessary.
- How do you get ideas for your books. Ideas—or what I call “story seeds”—come to me at the oddest times! I’ll jot them down on a slip of paper and tuck them into a file folder I keep in my office. When I’m ready to start a new book—if I don’t already have an idea in mind, I’ll rummage through that folder. It never fails to spark my imagination!
Often those ideas center around a character—I do love my story people! In Lost and Found Faith, I thought—what if a hard-to-reach foster child bonded, not with his loving foster mom, but with the least likely person in the world—a man who’d not only locked his heart, but who’d thrown away the key? Children (like animals) seem able to connect with thorny folks when nobody else can. I thought that would be an interesting and heart-tugging story—watching a troubled child lead a heartbroken man back to his faith—and into the kind of joy he never expected to experience again.
5. Does prayer play a part in your book planning and writing? Yes—absolutely. In fact, whenever I find that a book isn’t “working” I know I have neglected that part of the process, and I back up and spend some time praying and asking for guidance.
6. What do you want readers to take away from this book?
What a great question! I hope that they will take away the idea that God can reach us in our darkest places—that we may turn our backs on Him, but that He never turns His back on us. I hope they will smile to see a brilliant scholar’s heart stirred by a preschool Vacation Bible School Lesson—God has such a sense of humor sometimes. And I hope they will see the amazing impact that simple, unconditional love can have on a broken heart—how God can use unexpected people to love us back to health when our spirits are weary and hurt. Most of all I hope they close this book with a smile, feeling encouraged and uplifted.
‘His pain had settled in to stay, like a long spell of dreary winter weather.’
I discovered Laurel Blount’s writing last year and quickly read all the books she had written. I couldn’t wait for more to release. One thing I love about a book and for me, the most important part, is when an author is able to pull me in from the very start. Blount does just that. She understand human nature and knows exactly how to craft a character and make me feel like I am there and can see inside their heart. And she has a definite heart for God. It’s one thing to read a good book and quite another to have your faith uplifted during the reading. Well done!My thanks to the publisher and author for a copy of this book. I was not pressured to leave a positive review. The opinion here is entirely my own
.I am giving away one digital copy of Lost and Found Faith. Here’s how it works: I need you to comment on this blog post and leave your FULL name and your email in a non spammy way, such as : susan (at) yahoo (dot) com. Contest will remain open a week and I will email the winner, who will then have 24 hours to get back to me and I will send the book straight away to your account via Amazon. Good luck!