Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes Romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her Historical Romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her Contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap Series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family.
In this interview, Pepper talks with us about her latest book, The Cairo Curse.
FF: What inspired the story in your book?
When I wrote the first book, The Mistletoe Countess, I just fell in love with these two characters and wondered what others sorts of fun and mischief could I get them into. It’s not often we have married couples in a series and it was the first time I’d even thought about doing something so different than my usual stories, but Grace (the heroine) is so vibrant, she pulled me into another adventure.
FF: What can you tell us about the main characters in your book?
Lord and Lady Astley are newlyweds who meet and marry in book one. Grace sees the world through the fiction she reads and has every desire to live an adventure. Frederick, who has a broken past, is overwhelmed by the “grace” of his wife in loving him and if often dragged along to attempt to keep her safe. Through the process, Frederick is learning how he is not too broken to be a hero…and perhaps, even a sleuthing partner.
FF: Which character surprised you the most?
Grace always surprises me. I’m never quite sure what she’s going to do next.
FF: Why do you think storytelling is such a powerful way to share truth?
Stories draw us in and invest us in the characters. We get to observe and “experience” life without having to feel, first-hand, the trials of the things we read in fiction. So, I think, through this less invasive format, we help people feel connected, understood, and even give hope as readers watch the characters overcome obstacles, find belonging, and discover love.
FF: What can readers expect from the rest of this series?
More antics of the mystery-adventure type. I’m working on book 3 right now and there’s already been some surprises. Plus, I hope we can see subtle growth in Freddie and Grace, as a couple, but also as individuals.
FF: How do you get into the right frame of mind to write for your genre/audience?
I love to watch movies, so sometimes I’ll do that to help inspire my writing time. Or I’ll read a book with a similar feel (I’m a big fan of Amelia Peabody). Looking through photos are another way I’ll get inspired and ready to write.
FF: What do you want readers to take away after reading your book?
Well, it’s really written for the joy, but there’s also a theme of redemption and hope. I really want people to finish the book by celebrating joy, hope, and the beauty of forgiveness.
FF: What are the biggest challenges for you as an author writing in your specific genre?
Historical research. There’s SO MUCH to learn and study to help the readers feel immersed in the setting. I LOVE doing it, but it is also a challenge.
FF: What authors or books have inspired you as an author?
I am incredibly grateful for a host of authors who’ve really encourage me along the way. Laura Frantz, Ruth Logan Herne, Mary Connealy, Audra Harders, Mimi Matthews, Siri Mitchell, and the list goes on and on. The Christian authors community, in particular, are such an amazing group of encouragers, but they also possess vast talent and information. I’m a BIG fan of Mimi Matthews writing style, but also, the Amelia Peabody Series really inspired my interest for the mystery part of these stories.
FF: How has your faith or world view impacted the way you tell stories?
Because my faith is an integral part of how I see the world, the hope, joy, and truth of that faith naturally becomes the spine of any story I write. One of the first questions I ask my characters when I begin to write a new novel is “What is God trying to teach you in this story?,” because that how REAL life is for me as a Christian. Every moment, “scene,” challenge, or success is all woven into the greater fabric of God’s work, not only in my life, but in the bigger “story” of His redemption. Knowing that gives a great deal of purpose, courage, and hope to any situation.
The Cairo Curse
A Freddie and Grace Mystery #2
Genres: Historical Romance, Romantic Suspense
Release Date: February 1, 2023
Clue meets Indiana Jones with a fiction-loving twist only Grace Percy can provide.
Newlyweds Lord and Lady Astley have already experienced their fair-share of suspense, but when a honeymoon trip takes a detour to the mystical land of Egypt, not even Grace with her fiction-loving mind is prepared for the dangers in store. From an assortment of untrustworthy adventure-seekers to a newly discovered tomb with a murderous secret, Frederick and Grace must lean on each other to navigate their dangerous surroundings. As the suspects mount in an antiquities’ heist of ancient proportions, will Frederick and Grace’s attempts to solve the mystery lead to another death among the sands?
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