But let's back up. Autumn is Australian and lives in London with her British husband. She's a nature enthusiast, and she can tell you what to eat for longevity and optimal health. In short, Autumn has the mind of an entrepreneur, breaking into the Indie Market, and the spirit of a woman called to inspire. Welcome, Autumn!
Click to Tweet: Celebrating Autumn Macarthur’s first release: THE WEDDING LIST.
Autumn, if you don't mind, I’ll get right to your faith, which comes through in your writing, your smile, and your ever upbeat emails to our Beyond the Borders group. Who or what has been your greatest Christian influence? Did you experience a conversion at some point in your life or has your faith developed naturally since childhood?
Faith is a good place to start! I grew up in a household that didn’t welcome the hunger I had from an early age to learn more about God and to go to church. Dad claims to be an atheist, but I suspect he’s a lapsed believer who became angry with God after a personal tragedy in his teens.
I persevered and was allowed to attend church and go on Christian camps. At sixteen I first gave Jesus Lordship of my life, but there’s been a bit of a backwards and forwards struggle since then! Like my father, I spent far too many years angry with God when something I very much desired was denied me. Now, of course, I can see the effects of my mistakes, but at the time it was way easier to blame God than take responsibility.
Thankfully, God didn’t give up on me and about eighteen months ago I recommitted my life to Him. It’s still an everyday struggle to surrender and trust, but I love knowing He loves and supports me and understands my struggles.
He is the driving force behind everything I write.
I admire the honesty with which you write about your faith, the tug-of-wars and the Ah! moments we have with God. When writing, do you start with the faith element in your story as a springboard or with the story/plot itself?
I develop my characters first, usually the heroine. Once I know what gets in the way of her having the fullest possible relationships, not just with her romantic love, the hero, but with God, it’s clear what lessons of faith she needs to experience.
God has a tendency of teaching me the same lessons as I write! Often, as I pray about a personal issue, I’ll see how that same issue applies to a character. I hope that gives my stories sincerity and emotional depth and will satisfy readers. In a way, I’m right there with the heroine, going through the same emotional and spiritual journey, laughing with her and crying with her, too.
You've mentioned that you have a love affair with London. I live in London, as well, and love the taxi cabs. You can fit a baby's wagon in the back without folding it down! Can you name one aspect of London you most appreciate? Your first book is set in London. Any plans to use an Australian setting in the future?
THE WEDDING LIST is part of a series set in London I’m calling Love In Store. The series revolves around the staff of a London department store, with both American and Australian characters making appearances.
I love writing stories set elsewhere, too! I have plans for a series set in Oregon, U.S.A., the revised full of the first book is currently under consideration at Harlequin Love Inspired. I’m also working on two series set in Australia, one in a small rural town and the other set in a coastal village.
You blog about the little miracles you see in your garden. Does your passion for food and gardening make it into your writing? How about your three spoiled cats and dandelion-munching guinea pig? I couldn't resist asking!
I’m soon to start writing Book 3, with a foodie heroine who runs the kitchenware department at the store. A runaway hamster makes a guest appearance in Book 2. So far though, no gardeners, cats, or guinea pigs. I’m sure they will come!
I'm going to sneak this one in here: What is your favorite food from your garden?
LOL, if you saw my garden, you would know I can’t grow much food in it. The only vegetable I have consistent success with is garlic, and that’s such a love/hate thing for people. Thankfully, I love it!
So, while we’re on the topic of love, tell us a bit about your soon-to-be-launched novella THE WEDDING LIST. I love the title!
I’m always happy to talk about my stories! THE WEDDING LIST is the first in the Love in Store series. It will be released as an ebook on Amazon in early September. BELIEVE IN ME, Book 2, was a semi-finalist in the Inspirational Romance section of the Harlequin So You Think You Can Write contest last year. It will be out in October, and Book 3 with follow in early December.
THE WEDDING LIST features Beth Forrest. With her eye for beautiful design and her cut-glass accent, no-one would guess Beth’s impoverished background. It’s all throw pillows, china patterns, and upper class brides as she manages the Wedding Registry at Pettett & Mayfield, the stately maiden aunt of London department stores. It’s not quite her dream job, but each bride she helps plan their perfect home brings her one step closer to financing her own.
When James Tetherton-Hart, brilliant in his research lab but awkward and disorganised in everyday life, comes to the store in desperate need of both a gift and a partner for a wedding that evening, all her careful plans and meticulous checklists are turned upside down.
Now Beth's first love is back, determined to make her his partner for life, not just the evening. But unless Beth can let go of the mistaken beliefs that separated them before and learn the breadth of God’s love for us all, her only gift from the wedding will be another heartbreak.
I invite readers who want to find out more about my books and their release dates, as well as access exclusive members-only contests and “behind the book” blog posts, to sign up for my newsletter at http://faithhopeandheartwarming.com.
Sara, thank you for your thoughtful questions! I know we have folk from all over reading the blog. I’d love for readers to share what makes where they live special for them. I welcome any questions about my books, my writing process, or anything at all!
A giveaway of THE WEDDING LIST will go to one randomly selected reader who comments. It will be available early September to coincide with the launch. Formats include Mobi for Kindle, epub, or pdf. Don't forget to leave a comment!
Autumn Macarthur is an Australian writer of inspirational romance living near London with her very English husband, three spoiled cats, and a guinea pig with a dandelion addiction. She loves reading, cooking, gardening, and writing deeply emotional stories to make you smile and remind you how big and wide and deep God's love and forgiveness can be. When she's not talking to her strawberry plants or cherry blossoms, she can be found blogging at http://faithhopeandheartwarming.com, on Facebook as Autumn Macarthur, and on Twitter as @autumnmacarthur.
Interviewed by Sara Goff: http://www.saragoff.com/