Lauraine Snelling is the award-winning author of more than 100 books, fiction and nonfiction, for adults and young adults. Her books have sold more than five million copies. She and her husband make their home in Tehachapi, California.
In this interview, she talks about her latest book, A Time to Bloom.
FF: Please provide a brief summary of your new novel, A Time to Bloom.
Delphinium, who goes by Del, loves teaching school in Salton, Nebraska, but when a tornado destroyed the building, they had to return to using the church. Del’s mission to rebuild the school is thwarted by the town’s need to finish the train station first, while the tracks are being laid for the westward bound train. Led by newcomer RJ, a friend of her visiting brother Anders, the men forge ahead while she marshals the women to build the school, one way or another. Grateful her wages help keep food on the table, she works even harder with her sisters to build their dream of proving up their land.
FF: What inspired the idea for this book?
I’d resolved that each book in the series would feature one of the sisters and yet keep all four sisters involved. But my characters take on a life of their own during the writing process. The animosity between Del and RJ surprised me.
FF: A Time to Bloom is the second book in your Leah’s Garden Series. What is the connecting element that ties all the books in the series together?
The four sisters want to create a garden-based business in honor of their mother, who loved flowers and gardening so much that she named each of her daughters after a different flower.
FF: What are some of your favorite aspects of Del that set her apart from her sisters?
Delphinium is opinionated, determined, and loves teaching children. She’s also willing to take on the male leaders of the growing town to get her new school built for their children.
FF: What do you most enjoy about writing from each sister’s point of view?
They are all so similar and so different, yet they encourage each other.
FF: What are some of the major historical events in American history that impact the lives of your characters in this book?
The characters are largely influenced by the events of the Civil War, the process of Nebraska achieving statehood, as well as the changes that came to homesteading life with the building of the railroad.
FF: The Nielsen sisters have realized their dream of forming a homestead, but their lives aren’t easy. Can you tell us what research was required to fully depict the challenges homesteaders faced?
I’ve written homesteading stories set in the Red River Valley of North Dakota, in Wyoming off the Oregon Trail, and South Dakota. With such varied terrain, learning about the land is a big task. There were no rocks or trees in the Red River Valley, but Nebraska has rocky soil, trees, and salt swamps—important differences to homesteaders and farmers through the ages.
FF: What interests you the most about the time period in which this book is set?
Post–Civil War to the 1900s was a period of great change, and it’s fascinating to learn about. That’s why the mid-1800s to early 1900s is my favorite period of history.
A Time to Bloom
Leah’s Garden Series #2
Genres: Historical Romance
Release Date: June 7, 2022
Will their dreams fall apart when confronted with all that is stacked against them?
Delphinium Nielsen and her sisters have accomplished much in the past year, traveling west and settling in Nebraska. They are on their way to building a garden in dedication to their mother and working against the forces of nature to make their farm thrive. However, none of that can mask their concern that they are quickly running out of money. Del’s work teaching in their booming town offers hope, not only to support her sisters financially, but also to better her students’ lives. Not all of the town sees it that way, though, with the rebuilding of the schoolhouse continually neglected and her brightest student’s father demanding he work the farm instead of attend class.
When their brother Anders arrives with his war-wounded and heartbroken friend RJ, Anders sees the strength of the sisters’ idea to start a boardinghouse and decides to invest in it. Del finds RJ barely polite and wants nothing to do with him. But despite Del and her sisters’ best-laid plans, the future—and RJ—might surprise them all.
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