Kimberley Woodhouse is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than twenty-five fiction and nonfiction books, including The Heart Of Alaska Series and The Treasures Of Nome Series. Kim and her incredible husband of thirty-plus years live in the Poconos, where they play golf together, spend time with their kids and grandbaby, and research all the history around them.
In this interview, Kimberley talks with us about her latest book, Mark of Grace.
FF: A Mark of Grace is the third and final volume in the Secrets of the Canyon Series. What is the connecting element for all of the books in this series?
The Grand Canyon, the El Tovar Hotel, and the Harvey Girls connect all the books in this series.
FF: Why did you choose the Grand Canyon as the location for your series?
I’d been wanting to write a Harvey Girls series for more than a decade, and in my mind, I couldn’t think of a better location than Harvey’s Crown Jewel, the fabulous El Tovar Hotel, which sits on the rim of the canyon.
FF: What inspired the idea for this series?
Back in 2008, when I first went to the Grand Canyon for research, there were several historical elements that kicked my author gears into motion. Things as simple as the information placards had me jotting down different ideas as I soaked in all the grandeur and beauty of the canyon.
FF: What do readers have to look forward to in this thrilling conclusion?
This book is Ruth’s story, and I’ve had hundreds of readers ask if Ruth would get her own book. This heroine has always been the one to guide the girls under her as the headwaitress. She’s been the one to give advice and wisdom. In A Mark of Grace, she struggles with several crises that are out of her control. She’s lost a good bit of confidence and must find her own path again.
FF: Are there any threads that run through the whole series that will be wrapped up in A Mark of Grace?
There’s an accident in the previous book in the series, A Gem of Truth, that greatly affects Ruth. Her story really comes out because of that.
FF: Both of your protagonists, Ruth Anniston and Frank Henderson, work at the El Tovar Hotel, which has a long and rich history within the grounds of the Grand Canyon. Can you please tell readers about their different roles at the hotel?
Ruth Anniston has been a headwaitress for Harvey Houses for more than a decade. She’s had the prestigious position at the El Tovar since its opening. But after her accident in A Gem of Truth, she’s now the kitchen and dining room supervisor.
Frank Henderson has been a chef for the Harvey Empire for many years. When the El Tovar was finished, he was thrilled with the assignment of assistant head chef. At the beginning of A Mark of Grace, Frank receives a promotion he’s always dreamed of obtaining. But the stakes are high, and the job may demand some sacrifices that Frank is not willing to make—especially when it comes to Ruth.
FF: Ruth Anniston has had a dramatic shift in the role she plays at the hotel. What led to this change in position?
She was attacked by a mountain lion in A Gem of Truth, leaving her face scarred and her leg severely injured. Since she can’t stand for the long hours required on the floor of the dining room, the hotel manager, Mr. Owens, gives her a new position. It’s needed anyway, since the hotel is in its prime and growing.
FF: What lessons do you hope readers gain from reading A Mark of Grace?
God’s unconditional love is available for everyone. We don’t have to be “good enough” to come to Him. We don’t have to do anything. In fact, it’s the understanding that salvation has absolutely nothing to do with us, and everything to do with Him and what He sacrificed for us.
FF: You have written more than twenty-five fiction and nonfiction books. Can you please tell us what you love most about writing historical fiction?
I absolutely love learning from history, so the research part for me is exceptionally fun. I spend months researching each book. I hope that my readers will take away some of the same awe that I found while writing the story, especially in all the amazing people and events that have shaped us and paved the way.
FF: What are you working on next?
I’m super excited about my next series for Bethany House. It includes paleontology, dinosaurs, and some amazing history. I just finished the manuscript for the first book and can’t wait for the editing phase.
Mark of Grace
Secrets of the Canyon Series #3
Genres: Historical Romance
Release Date: January 3, 2023
When everything crumbles, her chance for a new beginning hangs in the balance.
Ruth Anniston survived an injury that left her physically scarred, broken, and angry at God. Now, she finds herself working behind the scenes as a kitchen and dining room supervisor at the El Tovar Hotel, hidden away from curious eyes and with little hope of finding love. When money begins to disappear from the hotel, Ruth’s entire livelihood is put at risk when she lands on the list of suspects.
Frank Henderson has at last succeeded in obtaining his dream job as head chef at the El Tovar. But competition in the kitchen is fierce, and one mistake could cost him his future. As the thefts at the hotel continue, and his affection for Ruth grows, Frank’s career—and his heart—are in jeopardy.
As tensions run high, Ruth and Frank must work together to save the El Tovar. They find themselves growing closer…but can their combined ingenuity overcome the odds against them?
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