1. Before we start talking about your book, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about yourself?
My name is Sara Barnard and I have four beautiful kids. Following my husband’s Army service, we are finally back home in our hometown in Texas and couldn’t be happier. I write, I work as an editor for my publisher, and am working towards my Master’s degree in European history – and rescue animals are a large part of our lives, too!
2. Besides writing, what other things do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Reading, attending my kids’ sporting events, parenting all of these little creatures, homework. That pretty much fills a day and then some!
3. What is your daily routine as far as when you have an idea for your story?
I have to get it down as quickly as possible, which is why I carry several notebooks and my laptop most of the time.
4. Where do you get your ideas from?
Everything! My children’s books come from my children, and my grown up books come from MANY sources! History, songs, snippets of conversation I hear or am involved in, wishes hopes and dreams of my own, religion, etc. You get the picture J
5. Out of all of the stories you’ve written so far, what would be your favorite and why?
I wrote A Heart on Hold while my husband was deployed to Afghanistan for his final tour, and that story encompasses a large chunk of my life. I love that book, but love each subsequent book in that series just as much. A Heart Broken follows along with the problems that come when a soldier DOES come home from war (survivor guilt, PTSD, etc.), and A Heart at Home chronicles when my beloved characters, which are a remarkable resemblance between my husband and myself, have to travel west through the wilderness to find a place they can call home after the ending of the Civil War. Book four, A Heart Forever Wild, is with the editor now and is my current favorite in the series, just because it’s like a new baby about to be born! My Amish romance, Rebekah’s Quilt, is out now and that would have to be my favorite, too!
6. Tell us something funny about yourself that not a lot of people know about?
Well, I accidently caught a bat once. Well, it caught me. I was interning at Carlsbad Caverns in NM as a wildlife biologist intern and we had just finished banding cave swallows and had watched the nightly bat flight from inside the cave. Well, as we were leaving up the million steps to get back above ground, a tiny little bat hit me right in the chest and just hung there. It was TINY, with a wingspan of no more than two inches or less. I unhooked his little hands from my shirt and gave him a gentle toss and he flew away ... it was neat J Rabies didn’t even cross my mind J
7. Does any of the stories you’ve written based on real life experiences or basically just from imagination?
All of my stories chronicle my life in some sort, whether it’s feelings, experiences, someone in my life or out of my life, and so on and so forth. But if you read my books, you get to know me in a sense J
8. Does your ‘muse’ have a name and if so what is his/her name?
No and I’ve never really understood naming your muse. My muse comes when I actually have a second to sit down and really think about my story of the moment. I’m afraid if I named an imaginary person/thing that I seduce only to have it, as I have said many times, “waits atop my growing pile of laundry for me to finish whatever I am doing at the moment”, people may think I’m crazier than I really am. Wait, do I hear the men in the white coats coming now? I’d better hush and clear my computer search history!
9. What other genre besides the one you are writing about now would you like to venture into writing?
I have published books in romantic historical fiction (Civil War era), Amish romance (19th Century America), children’s fiction, and children’s nonfiction. I am working on a Christian Western (19th Century America) now, as well as a Viet Nam era romance, and several other works in American history. I have one particular book which I have started that is an English/Scottish history work based on my ancestors and how they came to this country, but I’m nervous about writing it. I suppose that is the genre I would choose – European history.
10. Who are your favorite authors that are out now?
Ann Swann. Lucia St. Clair Robson. Ann M. Martin. Larry McMurtry.
11. Who is your favorite female and male characters from your books and why?
I love them all. Charlotte and Sanderson have four books written about them, but my Amish characters, Rebekah and Joseph are going to be a series as well. Ella and Esau of my Christian Western are kind of addicting, too.
12. What do you think is the hardest thing about being a writer?
Not enough hours in the day to write, be a mommy, a wife and a student.
13. What advice would you give someone who wants to start off being a writer?
Keep writing. That is why I was able to publish eight books this year – I already had them all written when I found an awesome publisher!
14. If you hadn’t become a writer, what do you think you would be doing right now?
A job that would earn a paycheck but wouldn’t be satisfying. And I would still be dreaming of being a writer J
15. What would be the perfect Romantic getaway?
Anywhere with room and maid service!
Well now that we got the question and answer out of the way…..why don’t you tell us about your latest story you have out now?
Rebekah’s Quilt, my debut Amish romance!
Who can Rebekah trust when the line between English and Amish becomes blurred?
An Amish Settlement. An English stranger. The Blizzard of 1888.
Rebekah's mother, Elnora Stoll, is the finest quilter in all of Gasthof Village but it seems Rebekah has inherited none of her skill. It's not until the arrival of a mysterious English stranger that a lifetime of questions are answered and Rebekah, her special friend Joseph Graber, and the entire settlement of Gasthof Village learn the true meaning of what it truly means to be Amish.
The Pike, Indiana Territory, 1868
“Look Elnora!” Samuel’s German accent thickened the English words, giving them a musical feel. He pointed to the vast expanse that spread out before them. “That’s what the English call The Pike. Many are traveling west on this very road.”
Elnora peeked out from the wagon, her eyes searching the desolate vastness. “So this is Indiana Territory.” She giggled. “I see, Samuel. Many are traveling this road.” The lack of fellow wagons was sadly apparent.
Grinning, Samuel swiveled on the driver’s seat to look at his wife. “Perhaps they have already passed for the day.”
“I already miss Canada,” Heloise Graber whispered when Elnora turned back toward her. “But not as much as I miss Germany.” Heloise patted the back of her boy, Joseph, who was snuggled down in the cornflower blue quilt Elnora had stitched just for him.
Heloise looked lovingly at her son. “At only two years of age he has already crossed an ocean and three countries.”
Elnora’s face fell as her hand fluttered to her still-flat stomach.
Heloise, the older of the two friends, smiled. “Your time to become a mother is coming. God has a special plan for you and Samuel, I can feel it.”
Elnora’s lips pulled back in a genuine smile. “I must say, the weather is more agreeable in Indiana Territory than Canada. I may pack the extra quilts when we stop to rest.” She swiped at a trickle of sweat as it slid down her nose.
“You’ll do no such thing!” Heloise placed one long, thin hand on an especially fluffy blue quilt. “It may be a trifle warm, but pass those blankets over here. I’ll sit on them, they ease the rickety ride.” The women dissolved into a sea of girlish giggles. “Yours are the softest quilts of anyone else’s in the village.”
“Take them with you when we swap wagons,” Elnora offered her fiery-tressed friend.
Heloise shook her head, the straps on her black head covering flailing about her shoulders. “It’s not the same,” she insisted. “Part of what makes Elnora Stoll’s quilts so soft is the wonderful company that comes along with them.”
Samuel’s quick yank on the horse reins interrupted Heloise’s compliment.
“Lucas, is that what I think it is?” he called to Heloise’s husband in the next wagon.
The two women stared at each other, eyes wide.
“Ja!” Lucas called. “Ja, it is!”
Before Elnora could pull herself up to see the cause of the commotion, Samuel was off the driver’s seat. She peeked out to see the menfolk piling out of all the wagons. Lucas was even with Samuel, holding his hat on with one hand, and pumping the air with the other. Simon Wagler stumbled as he ran, fumbling with the black braces that looped over his shoulders and held up his britches. His wife, Sarah, nuzzled their infant Elijah, who’d let out a shriek with the sudden stop. Isaac Raber pulled on his broad-brimmed hat as Jeremiah Knepp, Simeon Odon, and Abraham Yoder pulled their wagons to a halt in a haphazard line. In an instant, all of the men of families who’d come so far together were running toward the remnants of an English wagon.
Pieces of the torn canvas fluttered in a passing breeze and the box itself lay on its side, looking as though it had rolled off The Pike. Blood spatters dotted the ground around the silvery dust that refused to settle around the scene. Splintered wheels hung broken and unmoving from the axels. Beyond Samuel, she could make out the remains of a horse just over a small rise. Automatically, Elnora searched for any sign of the tell-tale arrows she’d heard so much talk of during their journey to Indian Territory. Trembling, she drew a fist to her mouth as a prayer of forgiveness for judging those she didn’t even know filled her mind.
Heloise’s voice was solemn, as if in prayer. “God be with them.”
The men’s chatter, broken by the shifting breezes, allowed her only fragments of their hurried conversation. Lucas’s voice was the loudest. “No survivors.” Slowly, the large German-born man trudged back to his wagon without so much as a glance toward Elnora and Heloise. Without expression, Lucas rummaged only a moment before pulling the hand-hewn spade from the wagon bed and started back toward Samuel.
Careful not to snag her handmade purple dress on the rough wood, Elnora climbed down and made her way to the crash. She didn’t speak until she reached her husband, who took the spade from Lucas as he passed. Not a word passed between the two men, but it was as though they were of a single mind. Without hesitation, Samuel dug the sharp end of the spade into the earth, oblivious to his wife’s presence. Spadeful by spadeful, the grave dirt he turned became a small mound at his feet.
Samuel swiped at the trails of sweat that leaked from under his broad-brimmed hat, down his neck. Beneath his arms, circles of moisture had long-stained his favorite blue shirt. Elnora’s lips tilted into a smile at the memory of their first anniversary, when she’d given him the shirt she’d made for him that matched his eyes. He had pretended not to notice that one sleeve was just a bit shorter than the other. Two years have passed since that day, and we’re still without child...
Finally, Elnora spoke, her voice but a meek whisper. “May I tidy them before their burials?”
Samuel turned, revealing more fully the scene of death they’d encountered.
Elnora’s stomach wound up in knots at the sight of the mangled, crimson-streaked arm that reached lifelessly from behind the overturned wagon, the blackness of death already visible on the fingers. A crumpled bag, obviously store bought, lay near the bloodied arm which eerily pointed at a rainbow of quilting squares that trailed the barren earth. Dipping, Elnora retrieved a bright blue square that would never become a quilt to warm a babe.
Samuel rested Lucas’ spade against his leg and offered a downcast smile to his wife.
Before he could speak, a shrill cry broke the solemn silence.
As out of place as the cry was among the sea of death, Elnora recognized the sound in an instant. An infant’s cry. Eyes searching the terrain, her gaze fixed on a lone, scrubby bush. A wail pierced the air again. Tucking the English square deep into her dress pocket, Elnora reached the bush in a moment, her hands clawing and searching through the summer leaf litter. Finally, something warm brushed her fingertips.
Cradling the English baby in her arms, Elnora rose to face the throng of women who had gathered to witness the unfolding miracle. “It’s a girl,” she proclaimed.
My next release is book 4 in the Everlasting Heart series, A Heart Forever Wild, coming soon from 5 Prince Publishing!