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Friday, October 17, 2014

Guest Blog - Swept Off My Feet by an Accent and a Kilt by Norma Gail


Norma Gail, author of Land of My Dreams
A contemporary Christian romance

Who doesn’t love a Scottish accent?

When my husband and I took an anniversary trip to Scotland in 2006, I fell in love with a country which has fascinated me since I discovered my great grandmother was Scottish. I love bagpipes, tartans, and yes, I have eaten haggis. Right before our trip, I dreamed of a man in a kilt with his bagpipes, high on a misty mountainside surrounded by sheep. I didn’t know at the time, but Land of My Dreams had been conceived.

I have wanted to be an author since I read Little Women as a child, and filled notebooks with stories and poems all through school. A nursing career and raising two children distracted me from writing for over 20 years, however, the dream stayed alive. In 2009, sidelined by a broken foot, I began to put my story on paper.

Land of My Dreams begged to be told. Once I began, it never let me rest. The conviction that God had a message for me to convey grew. Christians struggle in relationships like everyone else, and Scripture sets some very specific guidelines. The characters in Land of My Dreams are a little older than in most romances. They have been hurt by life and grapple with their faith. Their mistakes are big and so are their dreams. My favorite quote is on the front cover: “Sometimes the greatest blessings come when we leave the familiar behind and take a step of faith.” When we follow God’s plan, He will give us the desires of our hearts.

In 2011 I took a big step of faith and attended my first writer’s conference. While I may have been swept off my feet by an accent and a kilt, the agents and editors I pitched my story to had not. Why did the main character move to Scotland, couldn’t she be Scottish and move to America? Was time travel involved? Could I make it historical? I received very positive critiques, but no one wanted it. Still believing this was a story God wanted to be told, I discovered smaller publishers were more willing to look outside the box, and following my second writer’s conference, Eddie Jones, of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, offered me a contract. My dream came true.

It has been difficult to be so far from the setting of the book that a visit for more research is not practical. A screensaver of over 400 photos of the area, immersing myself in Scottish music, history, websites, books, and movies was priceless. Having an editor who lived in and has friends in Scotland provided the insight I needed in certain scenes.

The most exciting thing is when readers tell me the story ministered to them as well as entertained. As a Bible study leader, that means a lot. The two most frequent comments I get are readers who say they cannot put it down, and requests for a sequel. At an age when most people begin talking retirement, I am serious about finishing my second book.

“God never says the safe and familiar are His best.” Dream your dreams and follow them. Mine came true, all because once upon a time, I was swept off my feet by an accent and a kilt.


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