Hello and welcome to my blog for another round of Meet the Characters! Today I am featuring a guest blogger who has graciously agreed to let me do a character interview, which is my favorite kind of interview. Join me in welcoming author, Marianne Evans, and her characters from By Appointment Only. It’s a fantastic Christian romance with wonderful characters so without further ado here is the interview with Matt and Heather.
HEROINE: HEATHER CAVANAUGH
How did you first meet your writer? Funny story there! I met my writer while planning a charity function to benefit Capuchin Soup Kitchen. Marianne was wrapping up her book Beautiful Music and I came on stage as plans came to life for a benefit concert that featured a couple characters from that book. From that point on, according to Marianne, I launched into the scene…and her imagination. All she needed was a suitable hero…and I sure think she found one!
Did you ever think that your life would end up being in a book? Oh, my word. Absolutely, positively not. I’m about as every day as they come. I’m a stylist at Optiva, a hair salon in Detroit. I also work for Capuchin Soup Kitchen, a Detroit institution for the needy and homeless, as a volunteer coordinator. I don’t feel like my life is anything extraordinary enough for a novel, but I like to think the people I help benefit in some way from the things that I do.
What do you like most about where you live? I love to take advantage of Detroit’s spectacular riverfront—especially in the spring and summer! There’s a pathway called Riverwalk that features the city’s gorgeous skyline, cool breezes off the river and views of the Ambassador Bridge. It’s really beautiful, and a perfect place to unwind!
HERO: MATT BELLINGER
If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be? Knowing God the way I do now, I would rewrite the first chapters of my life. I feel like a surrendered too much time being stubborn minded about matters of faith. But, it’s all about living in the present, and making the most of what God gives us in the here and now. I’ve committed my time in government service to programs that protect religious freedom, and those most in need in Detroit, which is a city I love and am proud to call home.
Do have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about? Actually, I do. What Marianne doesn’t know…well, wait…I guess she will know now…is that during my days in college at the University of Michigan, I dreamed of playing on their football team. I bleed maize and blue and would have loved to play a few downs at the Big House.
What do you do for a living? I’m a Michigan State Senator, and I’m being urged to run for governor. Not sure about that pathway yet. Heather and I have been praying over it and will make a decision on that front very soon. Stay tuned. You may find out more about that in Marianne’s concluding story about Sal’s Place, called Windfall. August is when it comes out.
Political dynamo Matt Bellinger understands he has an unyielding responsibility to work hard for the betterment of his community and the world around him. Life, he believes, should be built strictly on effort and tangibles, not an elusive faith.
But that belief is challenged when a bill to spearhead volunteerism leads him to canvassing efforts at Detroit’s legendary diner, Sal’s Place, and a meeting with Heather Cavanaugh. His polar opposite, the street-smart beauty challenges his heart and perceptions. She’s the head stylist at Optiva, a trendy, upscale hair salon in downtown Detroit, as well as a tireless volunteer giving back to the city she loves in honor of the God she serves.
Love blooms, gradually shifting Matt’s perceptions. But when a life-threatening illness in his family challenges that fledgling faith, will he be able to hold fast to his newfound beliefs? Will he discover that faith makes all things possible and love makes all things beautiful?
Matt made it to the hospital in plenty of time to give Mandy’s untethered arm a gentle squeeze and dot her forehead with a kiss. He loved the way her eyes lit up at the sight of his gift—a big, pink teddy bear with get-well-soon balloons tied to its paws. Once the pre-operative sedative kicked in, Mandy became sluggish, so Matt followed his family out of the room. Only Rick and Stephanie stayed behind.
In the waiting room, the O’Connors and a few couples from Rick and Stephanie’s church that Matt had never met before convened to wait for word from the OR. As a group, they joined hands and murmured a prayer. Matt watched, compelled by the scene, and he thought instantly of Heather, of how readily and easily she had prayed at dinner, just like these people prayed now. She was comfortable with her faith and her beliefs, as well as the pattern of her life.
Matt felt a stab of yearning that had nothing to do with the love he held for Heather. Rather, the ache that swelled through his chest as the prayer session ended stemmed from the fact that he could feel the peace that flowed. He saw it in their eyes and in the more relaxed way they moved.
But he couldn’t taste it for himself. He was an outsider, hungry yet rootless, staring through plate glass at a feast meant to fill and quench.
How, he wondered, could he ever break through?
“Hey there, handsome.”
From behind, that quiet, subdued summons reached his ears…then entered his heart.
Matt spun, face-to-face with Heather who stepped straight into his arms and held on tight.
The love that washed through him was so powerful, words failed.
Buy the Book:
Marianne Evans is a multi-award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create. Readers laud her work as: ‘Riveting.’ ‘Realistic and true to heart.’ ‘Compelling.’
Evans’s novel, Hearts Communion, earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors in the Romance category as well as best inspirational romance by Ancient City Romance Authors, a chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Her novella Finding Home earned the prestigious Selah Award for excellence in Christian fiction. Evans has also earned acclaim in such RWA contests as The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence where she has been a finalist twice, and the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence contest.
A lifelong resident of Michigan, Evans is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of America chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. She’s also active in American Christian Fiction Writers and the Michigan Literary Network.
Facebook Reader Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Marianne-Evans/308711716744
Thank you for joining us today! I hope you enjoyed this round of Meet the Characters and will join us again next week!