Fighting for Anna ebook

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Before we begin this four-part installment of the Story Behind the Story Series, I have an announcement. Remember how I gave away a little fox charm/pendant with the launch of Hell to Pay? Well…I’m giving away a little BUTTERFLY from Jewelweed Sprouts to celebrate Fighting for Anna’s release! Pictures coming soon. Enter through the Rafflecopter, below. (Email subscribers may need to visit this post out on my website)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And now, the first installment in the Story Behind the Story of Fighting for Anna (F4A), the 8th novel in the What Doesn’t Kill You romantic mystery series, featuring Michele. This week, I want to focus on two elements of the book: religion and politics. Next week, I’ll cover art: pop and junk. And on release day, I’ll share the story behind Gidget, Michele’s charming neighbor at the beginning of F4A. Last but not least, I’ll close the series with a look at the practical magic behind F4A.

You know the adage not to talk about politics and religion in polite conversation? I’ve always followed that rule. I’ve found that I can’t change other people’s minds and they don’t change mind, 99.9% of the time. I play the averages, and I like serenity, what can I say? 😉

In the last year, my Facebook feed has been clogged with posts about religious freedom, discrimination, and politics. Whether or not I’ve agreed with them, I’ve found the underlying issues fascinating, even if I wanted to see pictures of horses and goats and bunnies in my newsfeed instead. I bided my time, and I did what all of us lucky enough to write novels do: I put them in my next book. (I do this in all my books, as you know if you’ve read all my Story Behind the Story posts)

Very near our Nowheresville home are some historic churches called The Painted Churches. My husband Eric and I visited most of them all on an anniversary a few years ago. You can read about that HERE.  I mentioned them in Going for Kona, and the property Adrian bought in G4K is smack dab in the heart of them.

Last fall, Eric took his mother to see them, and on that tour he visited the one closest to us, which we’d failed to see on our earlier tour: St. Paul Lutheran Church located in Serbin, Texas. This church was founded by Wendish immigrants in the late 1800s. The Wends are a Slavic people who fled religious persecution in Germany in the latter half of the 19th century, seeking religious freedom elsewhere. The Serbin group were originally led by a pastor named John Killian, who allied their church with the Lutheran Church – Missouri-Synod. Over the years, they assimilated into their predominantly German Texas community, giving up, for the most part, their own language in favor of German, and then English. You can still visit the Texas Wendish Heritage Museum and even experience the culture at the annual Wendish Festival in Serbin.

Originally enchanted by their church, I became equally fascinated with their story. I decided to include it thematically and as the backdrop for F4A. I realized that I could explore freedom of religion and discrimination organically this way (you’ll have to let me know how you think I did, after you read the novel!). Eric and I had a lot of fun driving around, visiting the church and museum, talking to folks, and taking lots of pictures. I was lucky to find some resources for this (and other) research on the internet as well.

Just recently, I was emailing with the former owner of Nowheresville, a Lutheran pastor. I told him about the inclusion of the Wend’s story in F4A. He shared with me that he has had many Wend families in his three different congregations near us. Somehow, this brought it full circle for me. I live on ground once occupied by someone with a huge heart for the Wends. How could it be otherwise that once I moved out here on this same ground, my heart would open to them as well?

I love how the universe works.

But what’s a “conversation” about religion without throwing some gasoline on the fire, in this case, politics? Nothing better for drama than mixing church and state. So I did. For starters, I included a former Senator, a Tea Party Republican, in a prominent role. No, I didn’t base him on Ted Cruz. My fictitious senator lives in Round Top, but no, he’s not Rick Perry (the former Governor lives a hop, skip, and a jump from Nowheresville). My fictional senator is just a politician. {There are lots of them, you know.} To stoke the fire, I added a potential presidential campaign and a pass at an underage staffer. Then to keep things interesting, I threw in some current events (the novel is set in the summer of 2015): Houston’s HERO battle (transgender bathroom usage became the big issue in a fight over adding GLBT to a municipal anti-discrimiation regulation) and the pending (then) case of gay marriage before the Supreme Court.

Because of the death of the woman that launches the plot in F4A, there are also local “state” issues: the probate of the will becomes quite the hot topic, especially when a major bequest is made to a daughter no one knew existed.

These state/political/legal issues meshed really nicely with the religion/discrimination story lines, I think. At least it felt right to me.

Now, lest you think this is some serious head-pounder of a novel, it isn’t. It’s a romantic mystery. But y’all know how I like to do things, right? I like complex characters with rich histories and complicated right-nows. That’s where all this good stuff comes in. Well, and with the plot, too. But I don’t want to spoil it, so I’ll stop there.

Enter to win a butterfly! Support the Thunderclap! Pre-order your copy of F4A now! Pamela, stop using exclamation points!!

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p.s. A week of horse joy . . .

Eric working “online” developing trust and rapport with Feathers, HERE (must watch, so cute, and very short)

wedding-with-mom-and-dad

Partying with my parents at a cousin’s wedding

wedding-in-dripping-springs-eric-and-pamela

Don’t you love how weddings remind us to love one another?

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15 Responses to Between Church and State: The Story Behind the Story of Fighting for Anna, Part 1

  1. sparkplug54 says:

    The web page is much easier to read than the email. The formatting of the email is too wide, so I have to scroll back and forth to read. If the line length of this page were in the email, It would be perfect. BTW. you tell great stories. Greg Sparks

    • Pamela says:

      Hmm, I’ll have to see if I can control that on my end. Thanks for letting me know.

    • Pamela says:

      Greg, I checked for settings I could manipulate in wordpress or feed burner or my theme. Found none. But I also went and viewed the emails in several different places: on my phone, in apple mail, in outlook, through a web app. I’m not having the same issue as you. It adjusts to the width of my viewing pane. If you have more info about how you’re viewing the emails so that I can try to find a fix for you, that would help me. Otherwise, I’ve reached the end of my road on this one.

  2. Marcy McKay says:

    You know how much I enjoyed Fighting for Anna, so it was cool to glimpse behind the scenes. Good luck!

  3. sparkplug54 says:

    I went back and tried another browser, Chrome. Same problem. I still have to scroll fro left to right and the pics overhang the frame by at least an inch. I guess I’ll just have to start reading them as a web page, now that I have noticed that link. Keep rolling out the good stuff.

    • Pamela says:

      that’s so weird. I used chrome and firefox too. i will forward this to our IT guy and see if he has solutions. thanks for your patience, and i am sorry!

  4. Eric Hutchins says:

    I cannot tell you how much I love to read these blogs about the story behind the story. I think it is so cool that you are writing them and giving people a chance to see behind the scenes. She how much care and thought and energy you put into the topics that the casual reader might miss, but the readers that really take you seriously and live the stories, these blogs ad a whole new dimension. Great Stuff, keep it coming.

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