Wednesday, April 29, 2015





One of my favorite authors is, and always will be, Louis L'amour.  His good guys always behaved like good guys, the women always behaved like ladies and there was always the chance of redemption for the bad guys. When Louis L'amour passed away I didn't think that there would be anyone to compare with him. At least, until I picked up Faith Blum's A Mighty Fortress.  Her stories are about strong people facing difficulties unique to the West but with a strong Christian faith.  A faith that is the foundation of our nation.

The third in the Hymns of the West series is called Amazing Grace.  Below is an excerpt from that book.


Caleb hurried to the post office. He had to get in and out before his sister finished at the general store. “Any mail for the Stuarts?” he asked the postmaster.
  The postmaster took a lazy look at him over the top of his eyeglasses and gave a heaving sigh as he turned around to check. “Yep. Somethin’ from Ohio and somethin’ from Montana.”
  Tapping his foot, Caleb waited until the large man put the letters in his hand. As he left he wondered why Anna had written someone in Montana and who she knew in Montana. It was really none of his business, but he was still curious. He folded the Ohio letter in half and stashed it in his back pocket. It would get wrinkled, but at least Anna wouldn’t know about it.
  He tapped his toes as the time crept along. Why did women always take so long to shop? He thought about pulling the letter out and starting to read it, but he knew as soon as he did, Anna would come out and catch him.
  “Sorry I took so long, Caleb,” Anna looked at her brother with chagrin as she came out of the store fifteen minutes later than she had said she would. “I got caught up talking to Wilma and Hester.”
  Caleb shrugged. “’S’okay.” He helped Anna climb up onto the wagon seat and waited for her to scoot over before he climbed up beside her. As he gathered the reins, he remembered Anna’s letter.
Oh, there was a letter for you. It’s from Montana.” He looked at her with a question on his face as he held the letter toward her.
  Anna snatched it from him with a grin. “That was fast. I just wrote them a few weeks ago.”
  “Who’d ya write to?”
  “Joshua Brookings and his family.”
  Caleb licked his lips and tried not to act surprised. “The sheriff who hanged Jed?”
  Anna sighed. “Sheriff Brookings didn’t hang Jed, he led Jed to Christ. Well, with help.”
  Caleb nodded. “What’d you write them about?”
  “I wanted to thank them for helping my little brother out.”
  Caleb couldn’t think of anything to say after that, especially when Anna started to sniffle. She wasn’t usually emotional, but she’d been through a lot in the last twenty years of her life and Jed’s death had added to it. Caleb sighed inwardly. They’d all been through a lot the last twenty years. Especially during the War.
  As the horses trotted past the church, a similar, but vastly different scene flashed into his mind.

  He led the troops to a church where they claimed the enemy had encamped. Without scouting to see if anyone was there, the general ordered the artillery to open fire.
  Caleb had never been much of a church-loving person, but he had some respect for the buildings and those who worshiped there. He clamped his mouth shut, knowing that one word of dissension from him could get him killed and then where would Da, Anna, and Jed be?

  Caleb blinked rapidly as the fields came into view. He glanced over at Anna to make sure she hadn’t noticed anything. She was engrossed in her letter. He sighed quietly in relief before pulling back on the reins and setting the brake as the wagon came to a halt between the house and the barn.
  “I’ll get the packages,” Anna said, looking up from the letters. “You should take care of the horses and get back out to help Da.”
  Caleb gave a mock salute. “Yes, Ma’am.”
  Anna rolled her eyes. “Sorry.”
  “It’s all right,” Caleb drawled. “I kin take it once in a while. Just not too often, y’hear?” He wagged his finger at her and she chuckled.

  “Yes, Sir, I’ll try not to.”



Below is my interview with the author:

1. You say that your started writing when a friend told you about a competition.  Did you have any interest in writing prior to that? If so when did that start and can you point to a particular event/book/reason that got you interested?

I wrote all the time. When my friend told me about the contest, I just had a more distinct reason to write. I started sometime around the age of ten, I believe. I don’t really remember for sure. I just loved to write, so I wrote for my own enjoyment with the goal of possibly, eventually getting published. When I learned about independent publishing, I asked a lot of questions and took the bull by the horns and haven’t looked back since.

2. Where did the idea of using Hymns for the title of your books come from?

I got the idea after one of the first read-throughs of A Mighty Fortress. After realizing that I had the song mentioned, or quoted, a lot, I decided to name the book after the hymn. When I decided to make it into a series, the Hymns of the West series was born.

3. Does the research for your books take up the most time?

Confession time. No, it doesn’t. Most of my historical facts are taken from memory with a quick search online to make sure I remembered it accurately. Book five is going to probably be different though since it’s a mystery and my idea would require some research.

4. Are you an architect type writer or do you just sit down and write?

Yes!! I do a little bit of both. For example, right now I am working on book four. When I first started writing the book, I didn’t have more than just a general idea what I wanted to happen in the book. As I neared the end, I decided to plan the last six chapters out a little, but even that just has a very basic outline (i.e. chapter 28, Ruth helps Mark read and her friendship with Grace solidifies. Micah talks to Mr. Larson). Other than that, I don’t really do very much planning.

5. Your books have a very strong Christian theme with a lot of the Scriptures being quoted, do you spend a lot of time in prayer before you write?

Honestly, not as much as I should. I know I should do more, but I haven’t. Thanks for having me on your blog today, Jess! I enjoyed your questions.

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