Monday, April 25, 2016

BREAKING FREE ~ Character Interview with Jennifer Slattery

 Hello everyone! Y'all know I usually keep to historical romance here on the Sweet South Blog, but every once in a while I'll feature a contemporary story like we did in last week's review of Close to You.

Since I'm a hopeless romantic who strongly believes in the sanctity and value of Biblical marriage, the subject of saving and healing marriages is close to my heart. So when Jennifer asked me to feature her new novel, Breaking Free, a book about saving a women's ministry leader's marriage, I was interested to hear more about the story. This sounds like a heart-grabber, and I haven't read the book, so I'm trusting Jennifer will take readers to healing at the end. Here's the blurb:

Breaking Free:
Sometimes it takes losing everything to grab hold of what really matters. 

Women’s ministry leader and Seattle housewife, Alice Goddard, and her successful graphic-designer husband appear to have it all together. Until their credit and debit cards are denied, launching Alice into an investigation that only leads to the discovery of secrets. Meanwhile, her husband is trapped in a downward spiral of lies, shame, and self-destruction. Can they break free from their deception and turn to the only One who can save them? And will it be in time to save their marriage?

Read a free, 33-page excerpt here.

Buy it:

Character interview with Alice Goddard from Breaking Free:

Your most embarrassing moment?

Having my credit and debit cards denied while dining with my “friends” at an upscale Seattle bistro. Didn’t help many of those so-called friends like to come up with scenarios, then tell everyone about them. “Did you hear Alice couldn’t pay for lunch? Do you think Trent lost his job? Maybe they got in over their heads. You know how she loves to shop.”

(eye roll) You’d think those women were still in junior high—all except for Beth. She’s probably the only real friend I have. But even she doesn’t know…

What is your first reaction when you meet a fetching lady/handsome gentleman? Blush? Stutter? Run? Flirt? Engage them in intelligent or witty conversation? Start an argument to see them flustered? Offer a helping hand? Ask a friend about them?

When I met Trent, I felt hot, and giddy. All tingly. I know that sounds cliché, but seriously, that man literally swept me off my feet. He had charm, charisma, confidence, knew where he wanted to go and had a plan for how to get there. Plus, he was incredibly handsome. And he made me feel beautiful. Cherished.

Are there any children or pets in your life? What do you love about them?

I’ve got two teenage boys, and they’re my heartbeat. They’re both athletes; very gifted soccer players. My youngest is the studious one. He’s got such a tender heart. He can be pretty quiet, on the shy side. My oldest is a lot like his dad. He’s a risk taker, likes to forge his own way… has a strong personality.

What happened the last time you spoke to a large group of people?

I’m on my church’s women’s ministry leadership team, so I speak to women a lot. We’re planning our next big event now, actually. I don’t mind speaking, but sometimes—oftentimes—I feel like I’m held to an impossible standard. Like if those women who listen to my keynotes knew I struggle, that my marriage isn’t perfect and my kids and I fight, they’d hate me. So, I don’t show them that side. I show them the me they want to see, the me they’ve come to expect. Might make me seem fake, but I’ve learned the hard way that you can’t trust everyone.

What is your dearest dream?

That’s a question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. I feel like I’ve lost sight of who I am, know what I mean? I’ve been so busy being a mom and wife, serving… Doing, doing, doing for everyone else. Sometimes I want to just break free, even if for only a week. But then I realize, I have no idea what I’d do or where I’d go. Is that pathetic, or what?

Any current romantic interests?

I’m married, but there’s no romance. Not anymore. I vacillate between determining to do anything to save my marriage and wanting to let it go. I’m leaning more toward the latter everyday, except after nearly two decades living as a housewife, I’m frightened I couldn’t make it on my own. And I’ve got the boys to consider.

Jennifer Slattery writes soul-stirring fiction for New Hope Publishers, Christian living articles for, and devotions for Internet CafĂ© Devotions, the group blog, Faith-filled Friends, and her personal blog. She also does content editing for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas’ Firefly imprint, and loves working with authors who are serious about pursuing their calling. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.
Visit with Jennifer online at and connect with her on Facebook or Twitter: @Jenslattery. See scene location pictures for Breaking Free on her Pinterest board for the book. 

Comment fodder: 
-- What is your favorite thing about reading a save-the-marriage story?
-- Have you read any books with this theme lately?
-- Have you ever had to choose between two things very precious to you? What was the outcome?

BREAKING FREE ~ Character Interview with Jennifer Slattery. (Click to Tweet)

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Baby Barter ~ Character Interview with Patty Smith Hall

I'm thrilled to have Patty back on the Sweet South Blog again. Not only because she's one of the most kind and gracious authors I've met through my blogging adventures online, she's a fabulous writer with a knack for heartwarming stories with depth. The sweetness amid trials radiates off the page and draws readers back for more. Stick around for a giveaway at the end of this post!

Before we get started with the interview, here's a little bit about the book:

Home from the war, army nurse Thea Miller is determined to adopt her late sister's baby and begin a new life. But someone else has the same intentions—the town sheriff and Thea's old friend, Mack Worthington. Now, in order to keep her niece in the family, Thea must reach an agreement with him.

Mack isn't sure Thea—whose actions once hurt him badly—is committed to baby Sarah. And a judge may never approve a single-parent adoption for either of them. But what if they got married? It would be a marriage in name only. Yet the more time Mack spends with Thea, the more he begins to believe their pretend family can become the real one they've both been longing for.
Available at Barnes and Noble & Amazon.

Character Interview of Sheriff Mack Worthington from The Baby Barter:
Hello Sheriff Mack. Has anything significant happened in your life in the past two weeks?
Well, Thea Miller walked back into my life. Not that that’s a big deal. We were friends back in high school and I did nurse a little crush on her until she left town without a backward glance. But Thea claims that the little girl I’m adopting is her niece and wants to raise the child herself. I can’t let her do that.

Your most embarrassing moment?
Catching the chicken pox and being bedridden along with all of Miss Aurora’s children. I mean, I’m a grown man. I should be helping Miss Aurora and Thea, not making more work for them. But I do have to say, having Thea nurse me back to health has been a lot more fun than I thought. ~grin~

Are there any children or pets in your life? What do you love about them?
There’s Sarah, my daughter, or at least, I hope she’ll be my daughter. Her mother couldn’t handle the fact that the baby had a cleft palate so as sheriff, I was asked to deliver Sarah to the hospital. But I couldn’t. The thought of Sarah in an institution tore me up inside. Miss Aurora takes in all kinds of kids and I knew Sarah wouldn’t lack for love with her so I took her there. That little girl had my heart before I ever pulled up in Miss Aurora’s yard. I started adoption proceedings the next week.  

What are your hobbies?
I play a little baseball with the team from the Bell Bomber plant. When the war was on, the sheriff’s department was short-staffed so I had my hands full keeping the folks of Marietta safe. Now that it’s over, I’ll be spending my time making a home for Sarah and myself.

What is your dearest dream?
I use to have big dreams but I’ve learned the hard way that it’s best to be realistic.

What has happened in your life to influence your faith?
I always thought I was pretty steady in my faith until I was seventeen. Graduation was just a few weeks away, and I’d been offered a baseball scholarship at the University of Georgia. One night, someone I thought was my friend asked me to take her to the train station. On the way home, I got into an accident. My knee was wrecked. I lost my scholarship and any chance of going to college. I wasn’t sure what God had in store for me then. Sometimes, I’m still not certain.
Where were you born? What other significant happenings surrounded this event?
I was born in Marietta, just before the influenza outbreak of 1918. I was just a few months old during the worst of it, and Mom was so afraid I’d catch it, she barricaded us in the house for almost three months. Pop was a deputy then so he slept at the jail rather than risk infecting us with the flu. 

What is your worst fear?
Losing Sarah. I love that child so much, I can’t even think about it.

When’s the last time you had a really good meal? Courtesy of whom?
That’s easy. At Merrilee Davenport’s. Even with rations, that woman can make a feast, something her new husband, John will appreciate, I’m sure. Folks from three counties come just to eat the crumbs of her juicy chocolate cake. Now that the war’s over, I can’t wait for her to make one of those!

Are there any hardheaded people in your life right now? What’s the issue?
I would have said Judge Wakefield but after talking to Thea Miller, she makes the man look like a cream puff. She’s like a dog to a bone, convinced Sarah is her niece without one bit of evidence. I can say this though—she loves Sarah almost as much as I do, if that’s possible. 

Patty Smith-Hall is a multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Heartsong.  She currently serves as president of the ACFW-Atlanta chapter. She calls North Georgia her home which she shares with her husband of 30+ years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters and a future son-in-love. Her next release, New Hope Sweethearts is now available on Amazon. You can visit Patty at

Comment fodder:

-- What's the last book you read that featured a baby or children?
-- What's your favorite thing about reading books that feature children?
-- There area several characters in this book with special needs. Do you have a special needs family member or friend who as influenced you? How have they affected your life?

Share the love with a Tweet:
GIVEAWAY: THE BABY BARTER by Patty Smith Hall. (Click to Tweet)

Win a copy of The Baby Barter! Patty Has generously offered to give away one paperback copy to a US resident and an e-book copy to an international reader. Simply comment on this blog with your email (email AT server DOT com) to enter! Giveaway ends April 30.

FOR AN EXTRA ENTRY: Tell me where you learned about this giveaway. If a Facebook page or another blog, please list which one specifically. This will help me better get the news out to you about other giveaways!