Hope Scribbles

an apricot-coloured kitten (and other stories)

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I found a box of birthday cards from family and friends and remembered that I’ve been well loved over the years.

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I met an apricot-coloured kitten the day before yesterday. She’s new in my village and I think she’s probably a Christmas kitten. She looks like a teenager now. She met me when I was walking home. She pranced out of a garden and followed my down the road, mewing, wanting to play. She met me again yesterday. She poked her head through the bars of a garden gate like a princess looking out of a castle window. She pranced into the road and popped her pretty face out from under a car. I’m not a cat girl and I prefer tabbies to gingers, anyway, but an apricot-coloured kitten may steal my heart.

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The early season for salad is here and suddenly there are lettuces and tomatoes, radishes and onions, cucumbers and peppers to eat!

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Someone asked if I’m going to be writing and publishing any more books now that I’ve finished my degree. It’s a good question! I think I’ll always be a storyteller, but I don’t think I’ll always be an author and / or a publisher. I may be wrong, but these are my thoughts at the moment. I published The Abolitionist in early 2012. There are three books that I’ve been writing since late 2012 and throughout 2013. I’d love to share them with you in 2014, but I’m just taking a bit of time to catch my breath after my degree, so I’m not promising anything yet. Watch this space …

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My family’s apple trees are bursting into blossom and the beauty and delicacy of the greens and pinks and whites are stunning.

Do you have any everyday stories to share?

A Conversation With Sarah Holman

I’m delighted to welcome Sarah Holman, author of Adventures and Adversities and The Destiny of One here today! Sarah and I “talked” at Kindred Grace in March 2013. We’ve talked a lot since then, by email, but it’s lovely to welcome Sarah to Hope Scribbles, today, in March 2014. Sarah is a sweet girl and her books are clean, exciting and, well, sweet.

So, Sarah, what inspired you to write Adventures and Adversities?

I was had been watching a lot of movies and reading a lot of books set in the Middle Ages. I noticed that all of them were about nobility, wars, and/or major historical events. I decided I wanted to write a story about an average peasant girl, trying to live out her faith and do what was right.

I didn’t know that before, but it’s so neat! Thank you for sharing. Do you have a favourite character in Adventures and Adversities?

If I had to pick one, it would have to be Will. Normally I like my main characters best but Will ended up becoming my favorite. His deep love for his sister, his gentleness, his lack of bitterness about his past were qualities that I have come to admire more and more.

Will is lovely! Maybe it’s not fair to ask an author a favourite character (it’s an impossible question for me to answer about any of my books!), but do you have a favourite scene that you especially enjoyed writing or hold dear now?

My favorite scene is conversation in the cave between Alditha and the priest. I even cried a couple of times while working on this scene because the words were words that God had spoken into my heart.

I have scenes in my books that I cried while writing too. Do you have any ideas about what happened to Alditha and her friends after the end of the story?

Oh yes! In fact, I will share a very special detail with the readers of this interview I haven’t revealed to anyone else: Brothers and Betrayal, which I plan to release this fall, will be about Alditha and Marian’s children. Although the story will take place many years later, the influence of these two characters will be felt.

I image thought that right after close of Adventures and Adversities, Will and Alditha married and moved into the village. Eleanor lived with them I am sure until she found her own husband, but she frequently visited her brother and adopted sister

Good! That all sounds delightful. Do you have any encouragements or tips for aspiring authors – especially aspiring novelists?

Don’t worry about things being perfect. There are always areas for improvement, always things that can be tweaked. At some point, a story need to be done even if it isn’t perfect. Thankfully, God can use even flawed books to touch people’s hearts. Just as he can use flawed people to fulfill his incredible purpose

I appreciate the advice not to worry about things being perfect. Would you be willing to share a peep into Brothers and Betrayal which is, I understand, coming at the end of 2014?

I am still working on writing it, but I can share a bit from the first chapter:

Whoosh!

Byron’s arrow hit its mark, dead center of the target. Cheering erupted behind him. He turned and bowed with a flourish of his cap.

“I wish I could shoot half as well,” Flora said with a dramatic sigh.

Eva, her sister, rolled her eyes. “Everyone knows boys are supposed to shoot best. Nanny would faint if she ever found out what we were doing. She says a lady should never raise a weapon, it isn’t right.” Eva tried to look old and wise but her ten years made that impossible. Her siblings only giggled.

“Eva!” Byron laughed “We came out here to get away from Nanny, don’t you go and spoil our good time by bringing up what she thinks.

Eva looked to her twin for support, but Flora, ever the peace maker, purposefully set her gaze on her wring hands. She was no doubt hoping the argument would blow over soon since the dear girl hated conflict of any kind.

It is going to be a fun tale, with a bunch of kids, a princess, and a young man who lives in the woods.

Thank you for sharing. I want to read the book already! And, finally, what are you reading right now and what do you think of it … just in a few sentences?

I just finished Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan. It was so refreshing to have to romance not to be the center of the story, even though the main girl was very feminine. I also loved the messages and values portrayed in this book.

Thank you so much, Sarah, I’ve enjoyed our conversation!

chasing dreams on blue bikes

I was struggling to finish my degree when I received Notes from a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenrider, thanks to Kindred Grace, for an article which I called the gift of entertainment. I wasn’t at all sure that I wanted to read the book, but I wanted to contribute to the blog tour at Kindred Grace, so I read the book.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked the sound of the book, but I had a cynical feeling that it couldn’t be as good as it promised. I thought it would be yet another book telling me that the sure way to a simple life was through another list of things to be and do. I didn’t feel that I needed to hear that message again.

I was delighted and surprised when I realised that I couldn’t have been more wrong in my pre-reading assessment of Notes from a Blue Bike.

Tsh Oxenrider’s book refuses to be put into a box. It covers food, work, education, travel and entertainment between Part 1: Awakening and Part 7: Revival. It’s a memoir, but it’s also a travelogue. It’s a book about simplicity, but it’s also a call to a counter-cultural life. It’s inspirational, but it’s also funny.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Mrs Oxenrider’s life and travels, alone and with friends and family, around the world. She brings her stories to life with her words. Reading about her life in Turkey, when she lived simply with her young and growing family, it was impossible to read quickly. I had to read slowly to keep pace with her writing. And that was a rare and good thing!

I, personally, would have appreciated a stronger foundation in Scripture for some of the Blue Bike principles of simplicity. I do, however, respect Tsh Oxenrider’s sensitivity in not (like some writers) taking a single verse and using it as the foundation for the book, but being very honest about the way her experiences and travels as well as her faith have shaped her convictions.

I enjoy the chatty “tone of voice” in which the book is written. I’m (still!) relieved that that Mrs Oxenrider doesn’t “preach” simplicity or provide a list of ten steps to simplicity, but shares the vision for a simple life that she has, gently and persuasively. I’m inspired to consider my life and think about words like “small”, “slow” and “simple” in a new and positive way.

Reading Notes from a Blue Bike when I was struggling to finish my degree was a matter of perfect timing. I read it once for Kindred Grace. And then I read it again, for me, pencil in hand. As I’m thinking about my life without coursework and essays, I want to keep a vision for a simple life in mind, a life that may include a blue bike (or something similar) of my own and give me time to chase dreams every so often.

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