An interview with Christine Sterling
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Get to know Christine Sterling, author of The Letter Wife
What do you find interesting about your main characters?
Both of my characters are honorable to the core. You make a promise, and you keep it. No matter how difficult it may be. Bass Pickett’s word is his bond and Emily Frost finds herself a people pleaser who can’t say no, so she is stuck with her decisions.
Bass is a strong dominant male and has little time for romance. He has a ranch to run and is more interested in expanding his herd than expanding his family. Of course, all it takes is one softly spoken young lass to put him off his game and regret a choice he made, but he feels honor-bound to keep away from Emily. After all, she is supposed to marry his brother.
Emily Frost is on the bad end of other people’s choices. A people pleaser to the core, she will do anything to keep the peace. After running away from home to escape the scandal caused by her father and brother, she feels compelled to make her new marriage work, no matter what. What she doesn’t expect is that her attraction to Bass grows the more time she spends with him.
Where does the story take place and why did you choose this setting?
My story takes place in the fictional town of Flat River, Nebraska. Set in the lower center portion of the state in Lincoln County, Flat River is based off North Platte and lies where the Platte River diverges into the North and South Platte Rivers.
I created this setting when I was crafting The Chapmans series. The need came about when I was writing my Pinkerton Matchmaker Series and needed to craft a backstory for a set of twin sisters. I needed somewhere close, but not too close. I settled on Nebraska, and this corner of the state has been featured in most of my books and series, so it made sense to place The Letter Wife in this location as well.
Share a little about the story behind the story.
I read mail-order bride romances for as long as I can remember. I found it incredibly brave that these women would travel across the United States to marry a stranger. Of course, more happily ever-afters appeared in books, than in real life, but the process must have worked, because the US is quite populated.
Most women would answer an advertisement in the paper, or solicit the services of a matchmaker. My thought was – what if a group of letters, enroute to their destination was lost? All these women who had written, seeking a better future, might never have a chance. So, I made the packet found by our hero, Bass Pickett who runs a ranch with his brother.
Since Flat River is such a remote town during that time in history, it would make sense that stumbling on a stack of letters like this would be like finding gold. My question was – what if that person who finds the letters realizes that the town needs more Christian women, and starts responding to the women?
These are the letter wives…
What is the theme or takeaway you want readers to think about?
My favorite trope is the opposites-attract romances. The tension between two people who are completely different makes for the most entertaining stories. I love the attract and repel dynamic and The Letter Wife certainly has a lot of that! I want people reading this book to understand that although you may think that because things work out a certain way, it could be because God has a bigger plan for you and your plans are not always His plans.
When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Since I was seven. I would interview people and write their stories – with quite a bit of embellishment. I loved being able to disappear into a story and couldn’t wait to be able to tell stories of my own.
My Shih Tzu, Morgan. After that a sloth. Given Morgan likes to lay around all day and do nothing, I figure they are one in the same.
If you could travel to any spot in the world, where would it be?
Greece. Give me warm sand, blue seas and a clear sky any day.
What’s next in your writing?
I have two series coming out that also take place in Flat River – The Hartmans and The Flat River Matchmaker. I’m also branching out into contemporary romance and hope to reach a new group of readers with my plot-driven stories.
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