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Today’s Wednesday Writers guest is author Valerie Massey Goree with the Story Behind the Story and an excerpt of her latest release, Forever Under Blue Skies. Welcome Valerie.

Thanks, Catherine.

My latest release, Forever Under Blue Skies, is very close to my heart. It is based on the first novel I ever wrote, way back before everyone had a computer. Not to give away my age, but I bought a word processor back then and decided to write a story using details of my mother’s family roots in Australia.

I’m not sure how long it took, but I slogged away while teaching fulltime and raising two teenaged kids. Although I had participated in a few mini workshops on writing, I didn’t attend a full-fledged conference until my book was finished. I chose Mt. Hermon Writers Conference as the venue to present my masterpiece.

Needless to say, my novel was not a hit. Although a multi-published author told me the story had good bones, I had a lot to learn about the craft of writing fiction. My first sentence had three adjectives describing the weather!

I set aside that novel, but kept on writing and attended as many workshops as I could. I also joined American Christian Fiction Writers, probably my best writing related decision.

Fast forward. After publishing five novels, I decided to go back to my first. Oh, my. I read my printed copy and understood why the novel was rejected at Mt. Hermon. But I stuck with the basic premise and found that my original research from library books was spot-on as compared to recent internet information and details gathered when my husband and I visited Australia.

I grew up in Rhodesia, a former British Colony in central Africa, and I speculated that since Australia was also a former colony in the Southern Hemisphere, the architecture might be similar as well as the vernacular. I was right, even down to the bullnose roofs shading verandahs.

 I didn’t have to change much in that respect, although I completely revamped my plot. As far as the time period goes, I kept the story set in 1983 as the Australian Government changed their immigration laws in 1985. My story as written now, couldn’t take place after those laws were enacted.

I relied on details from my great-great-grandparents’ family tree for my story, even to using the town of Bendigo. Now, my family never lived on a sheep station, but that’s the joy of writing fiction.

Forever Under Blue Skies

By Valerie Massey Goree

Travel to Australia to solve a family mystery? Sure, Marlow could do that. But she didn’t take into consideration the vast outback, nor the owner of the sheep station. Widower, Jake Barclay, is everything her late husband was not—honorable, considerate, a pure gentleman. She came prepared with sunscreen, but hadn’t built a high enough screen around her heart.

Jake was dubious about Marlow’s reason for visiting his station and thwarts her plan at every turn. Until he sees how she interacts with his vulnerable, young daughter.

If they solve the coded message, can Marlow return to Texas, or will Jake offer her a forever home in the outback?

Excerpt:

Jake picked up his hat and ran his fingers along the brim. He studied Marlow as she returned the documents to the file in her fancy handbag. Attractive, confident, and way too fascinating for his peace of mind.

She turned a bright smile upon him. “Well?”

“Well what?”

“May I come home with you?”

There’d been no hint of flirtation in her tone, yet Jake’s neck warmed. This American woman with smoky gray eyes—whom he had known for an hour at most—had come into his world like a flash of lightning and was going to bring refreshing showers or destructive storms. Maybe both.

“No.”

Her eyes widened. “Why not?”

“This quest of yours can be resolved through the post.” He began to stand, then sat again. “How long were you in Melbourne?”

“Two weeks.”

“Why didn’t you write and ask me to locate Graham’s letter? Milton obviously told you a lot about me and has my address.”

She cleared her throat. “He, uh, said you weren’t interested in genealogy and suggested I arrive unannounced. That way you’d be more likely to hear me out.”

“Well, dear old Milton got that wrong.” He glanced at his watch again. “It’s been…interesting, but I have to complete my business before dark. Leave your contact details at the hotel.” Jake placed cash on the table and called a farewell to Annie.

Marlow hurried outside after him. “We’re not done.”

“Yes, we are.” He started to shake her hand but decided against another reminder of her soft skin. Muttering, “G-day,” he turned on his heel. His destination was a block down from the hotel, but common sense told him to take the long way. Alone.

Want to read more? You can find Forever Under Blue Skies Amazon

About the Author:

American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award winner Valerie Massey Goree resides with her husband on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.

After serving as missionaries in her home country of Zimbabwe and raising two children, Glenn and Valerie moved to Texas. She worked in the public school system for many years, focusing on students with special needs. Now retired in Washington, Valerie spends her time writing, and spoiling her grandchildren.

Novels include: Deceive Me Once; Colors of Deceit; The Stolen Lives Trilogy, Weep in the Night; Day of Reckoning; and Justice at Dawn, to be released soon. Valerie’s latest novel Forever Under Blue Skies, is now available from Amazon.

Valerie loves to hear from her readers.

Check Valerie’s website to learn more about her books. Connect with Valerie on Facebook