Marriage the Quaker Way

By Susette Williams

One of the things I learned about when researching Quakers was about the clearness committee. In the early days, clearness committees were appointed by Friends meetings to determine whether two people desiring to marry were clear of any other entanglements (a previous engagement, outstanding debts, a family dispute, etc.) that could possibly cause a problem with the couple being united in marriage.

Eventually, the clearness committees, appointed by meetings to look into questions of membership or marriage, came to focus less on external obstacle, and focused more on whether the individuals involved were clear about their leadings.

A couple interested in marriage would need to write a letter to the Meeting stating the intention of the couple in as much detail as possible.

The clearness committee would then meet, sometimes with the couple, and determine an outcome. The couple should approach the Meeting in a spirit of openness and patience, without having the expectation of a determined outcome.

If the clearness committee agrees that the marriage should be taken under the care of the Meeting, the Meeting would then decide whether or not to approve the marriage.

If it approves of the marriage, Monthly Meeting may organize an oversight committee that would help the couple plan a marriage.

In the Quaker tradition, there are no ministers as they believe all are equal before God. Other than the bride and groom exchanging vows and signing a marriage certificate, an unprogrammed Quaker wedding ceremony is very much like an unprogrammed Quaker worship.

While this may seem somewhat different to most people, other denominations or churches may also require couples pursuing marriage to participate in marriage classes, couples therapy, or marriage counseling prior to marriage. They have the couple’s best interest at heart.

I recently met a woman who is a Quaker, and she said the clearness committee had approved her marriage to her husband with reservations. After nearly thirty years of marriage, I think she and her husband are doing just fine.

In my story, “New Garden’s Conversion,” the Clearness Committee’s determination is challenged. I hope you will read it to find out the fate of Jaidon Taylor and Catherine Wall.

While my husband is not a counselor, I love the advice he has given to our children. “Don’t marry the person you can live with. Marry the person you can’t live without.”

Consideration for the other person’s feelings, forgiveness and the realization that you are also not perfect, and always remembering what made you fall in love in the first place can help you overcome a lot of hurdles in marriage. Each day is a new day, and a new beginning.

Interested in reading about a current day Quaker wedding and seeing some photos? Click here.

Meet Susette Williams

Susette Williams lives in Missouri with her husband, Robert, and three of their six children. Their three oldest children are married. (They are patiently awaiting grandchildren!) Family gatherings can be very chaotic and loads of fun. She teaches 3rd and 4th grade girls Sunday school and works in New Girls Ministry on Wednesday nights. She and her husband will be celebrating their 29th wedding anniversary this September.

Congratulations on the release of your novella “New Garden’s Conversion.” Please tell us a bit about this novella and how it came to be.

Is this your first/only release? If not, what has released recently or about to be released that our readers would like to know about?

My first inspirational romance, Something About Sam, was released through MountainView Publishing, a Treble Heart Books imprint. Something About Sam was actually the first book I ever attempted to write. My husband always tells me he could see it as a Hallmark movie. Too bad he couldn’t convince Hallmark of that.

I am very excited and can’t wait to receive my author copies of The Quakers of New Garden (this interview was written a few weeks ago–she’s got them now!). Given how I tend to be a practical joker, it is ironic that it was released on April Fool’s Day. My birthday is also in April, so it is a wonderful birthday present!

What special something do you try to bring to every story you write?

I love including a touch of humor because no matter what life throws at you, you can always find something to laugh about. Having a sense of humor has helped our family to weather a lot of storms over the years. When writing several years ago I decided that even while one person may feel gloomy or down, not every person, or character, will have that same mood. So in some stories, humor may come from a secondary character. I love to make people smile or laugh.

Have you ever been to the setting of your novella?

No, unfortunately, I haven’t. When the last three of our six children leave home, I hope to travel.

How have you found time to write with a large family?

I began writing when my youngest, the twins, were ten months old. They will be sixteen years old this summer. Most authors I have talked to were not overnight successes. Writing and learning the ropes of the publishing industry take time, determination, a willingness to learn and perseverance. Setting small, obtainable goals also helps. If you set goals that are not obtainable with your lifestyle, you will set yourself up to fail. You need goals that you can feel encouraged for achieving so that it drives you on to succeed.

What’s one small bit of you that’s in your novella’s main character?

Her desire to love others and do the right thing.

What do you to do keep going when you want to give up?

I always look at life that each day is a new day, a day to start over. I also believe in digging my heels in and tackling problems. It is the only way you can move forward in life.

What’s your favorite Bible verse and why does it mean a lot to you?

I don’t know that I have a specific favorite. Before several trials (or storms) came our way, God sent me the scripture, Jeremiah 29:11 three times in one week. One of those times, it happened to be the scripture in the front of an inspirational romance I read that week. Since then, God has sent that verse as an encouragement and a reminder that He has a plan and He is on our side—everything will work out to His glory.

What are five random facts your readers probably didn’t know about you–until today?

~ I have always wanted to learn to play the piano.
~ I have never flown on a plane before.
~ I am terrified of water.
~ I hate liver, pears, mushrooms and canned spinach.
~ I am part Cherokee. How much, I don’t know.

What dish are you most likely to take to a potluck?

It is rare for our church to have potluck dinners. Maybe for the women’s annual tea. My husband tends to oversee a good deal of meals served at our church and I’m not ashamed to admit, he’s a better cook than me! (That doesn’t mean I’m a bad cook. It just means he’s fantastic!)

If you could go on an all-expenses-paid month-long vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go? What would you do there?

I have always wanted to go visit castles. Visiting palaces would be nice too, but not sure they would give me the grand tour.

Where or how do you like to connect with your readers?

My mother always said I’ve never met a stranger. I love talking to people. So, while ideally, in person is great, but not realistic unless you catch me at a book signing, please drop by my website, find my author page on Facebook, check me out on Twitter or visit my blog.

Thanks so much for letting us get to know you a little!

Excerpt: New Garden’s Crossroads

Copyright by Ann E Schrock

Here’s a short scene early in the first novella in The Quakers of New Garden.

* ~ * ~ *

Slave hunters on horseback milled around the Coffin family’s rambling brick house, forming moving shadows in the gloom of a stormy winter evening.

Deborah Wall shivered as she stood next to her older cousin Katy Coffin and peered through one of the parlor windows. Katy’s husband, Levi, kept some of the soul drivers talking at the front door. Deborah’s pa had left with the runaways only moments ago. Deborah strode through the candlelit dining room and looked out the window. A narrow break in the storm clouds gave just enough light in the sunset to show that members of the posse watched every door. Her heart thudded, and her mouth went dry. She forgot all about being cold and wet from the ride from home to Newport.

One of them, a tall and lean man, his shoulders broadened by a caped riding coat, turned his horse and studied the side door.

The horse, with its solid build and stylish head and neck, caught Deborah’s eye. A Morgan, a mighty fine animal for someone like that. What if that wicked man noticed Pa’s wagon tracks? Her father had figured that the trees along the creek bank would hide them. They’d rushed into the night for fear the rising stream would wash out the bridge and get too deep to cross. As if from some invisible cue the Morgan horse sidestepped closer to the door. Its rider folded his arms on the saddlebow and leaned down to study the tracks. Did he see? Did he guess who left the trail? She heard Levi at the front door telling the other slave hunters why – under every point of Indiana legal codes and English common law – they could not come in and search his house.

Cousin Katy’s three daughters clustered around their mother and Deborah.

“How long does thee think they will stand and listen to Friend Coffin’s message?” Deborah asked.

“I hope long enough that thy father can take those fellows clean away,” Cousin Katy said. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, praying. Her cheerful face tightened with worry.

Outside, the man on the Morgan put his hand to his mouth and shouted, “Over here!”

Deborah felt blood drain from her face, leaving her dizzy. He must have seen Pa’s wagon.

Time. They needed more time to get away.

The horse pivoted and took a few strides following the wagon tracks down to the creek.

Deborah prayed for boldness, then grabbed her black cloak and bonnet. “I’ll try to delay them.” Her mouth was dry as sawdust and her voice cracked.

Cousin Katy gasped. “How?”

Deborah glanced over her shoulder and grinned, which lightened her fear. “As I feel led.” She took a breath to steady her nerves

Cousin Katy took a step toward her. “Truly?” Deborah paused with her hand on the door latch. What if she were wrong? No time to waste. She opened the door.

The cold wind took her breath away and sleet stung her cheeks.

The Morgan tossed its head as its rider turned toward the house. and gazed up at Deborah standing in th doorway. Light from the house spilled over him. He’d be a handsome man but for his harsh countenance.

“I caution thee,” Deborah said, “to beware of the water.”

He stared at her. A Southern drawl slowed his voice. “Now why would a pretty little Quaker gal be talkin’ to someone like me?”

Her heart and mind raced. Were her actions were so unusual that she made him suspicious? But if she kept him talking, Pa would have that much more time to get the runaways home to the farm, safely under Ma’s wing.

A tart answer came to mind, and she gave him a crooked smile. “I’d given little thought to thee, neighbor. But I would hate to see any harm come to such a likely looking horse.”

His quick grin showed a mouthful of white teeth, like a wolf’s. “Why, thank you, miss.” He dropped one hand to the horse’s neck and straightened its windswept mane. Then he looked into Deborah’s eyes. “I know a fine filly when I see one.”

Deborah ignored that. Would she be able to keep him talking about the horse? “It’s a mare, then?”

“Yes, miss. In foal to – well, you wouldn’t –“

The storm’s wind cut through her cloak, making her shiver. What else could she say? “I might, if it’s from around here.”

“No, miss. To a race horse from down by Richmond –“

She thought of the most notable one. “Messenger?”

“That’s the one. She sure is.” He studied Deborah for another long moment.

Deborah stared in awe at the mare. What a valuable foal that would be. “When does thee expect her to foal?”

“Later this spring.”

Deborah edged out a little farther from the door, onto the top step. She prayed for the right words. “For that reason, neighbor, thee must be careful with her. I would not go any farther that direction. We just came that way and the creek is rising fast.”

“Whose tracks are these, then?”

She must keep him talking. She’d never spoken as much to a strange man, especially one of the world. “Ours. My father brought me here for another week of work. He wanted to hurry home before the creek got too high.”

The stranger leaned forward and studied the mud and snow again. He raised his head and gazed into her eyes. “Lot of footprints there for just you and your dad.”

Deborah inhaled sharply. “We made several trips in and out with firewood. This house uses a prodigious amount.”

He glanced down at the tracks again then back into her eyes. “With respect, Miss, that’s not what those tracks look like to me. All shapes and sizes of prints.”

* ~ * ~ *

Excerpt used by permission of Barbour Publishing. Check out this page for places to buy The Quakers of New Garden!

A Testimony of Peace

by Claire Sanders

My novella “New Garden’s Inspiration” is set in August, 1861, and tells the story of Leah Wall. Believing it is her only chance, Leah agrees to an arranged marriage with a non-Quaker farmer.

Indiana Cavalry

I had to do quite a bit of research in order to make the details of this story historically accurate. Quakers affirm a Testimony of Peace and members of the Society of Friends struggled with their consciences when the Civil War began.

Although they were known as pacifists, they also worked tirelessly in abolitionist causes. The common belief is that Quakers did not fight in the Civil War, but my research showed this was not true. The book Indiana Quakers Confront the Civil War by Jacquelyn S. Nelson states many Quaker men volunteered to join regiments made up of their neighbors.

Another excellent resource on the question is the web site Patriotism and Paradox. In this essay, Mark A. Schmidt writes “. . .some Quakers concluded that making war was the only way to end war.”

A Quaker minister, in a eulogy delivered at the funeral of a fallen Quaker soldier, pointed to war as an all-consuming evil created by slavery that caused men to engage in evil in order to destroy evil. “To make war in his country forever impossible, by eradicating human slavery, its permanent cause, he took up arms. There seemed no other way of doing it. He would thankfully have used other means, had other means been permitted. . .You need not be afraid of shocking your principles by receiving him here from battle. . .Do we hate war less in these days than formerly? Nay, Friends, we hate it, if possible, a thousand times more, when we see them, father and son, doing such deeds as this.”

In addition to learning more about Quakers’ participation in the Civil War, I also enjoyed discovering what life was like in Washington, D.C. at that time. An excellent book, Freedom Rising by Ernest B. Furgurson, painted a detailed and captivating portrait of our nation’s capital from 1860-1865. Until I read this book, I did not realize the Capitol Building was under construction during those years. The book also gave wonderful insights into life in the Lincoln White House.

If you’re interested in reading more about this time period, I highly recommend Hospital Sketches by Louisa May Alcott. Although we know her better as the author of Little Women, Alcott served as a nurse in a military hospital in Georgetown. Her recounting of experiences she had there are heartbreaking, especially considering the advances in medicine since that time.

I look forward to corresponding with readers about my stories. You can learn more about me and find a book trailer about my novella at my website. If you’re on Facebook, be sure to check out my page there.

Meet Ann E. Schrock

Ann E. Schrock is an Indiana native and a graduate of Purdue University. She wrote news and features for various newspapers after college. She and her husband have three children and live on a farm in northern Indiana where they raise cattle and grain. All of them are active in church and 4-H. Ann’s other interests include horseback riding, arts and crafts, Indiana history and the outdoors.

Congratulations on the release of your novella “New Garden’s Crossroads” in the collection The Quakers of New Garden. Please tell us a bit about this novella and how it came to be.

Our agent, Terry Burns, sent us a heads-up about it since some of us had written on Quaker-related themes before. I grew up in Wayne County where many Friends from North Carolina relocated, not far from the Levi Coffin House historic site. My grandmother volunteered there many years and I often wondered what it would have been like to live in that house during the Underground Railroad years.

Is this your first/only release? If not, what has released recently or about to be released that our readers would like to know about?

This is my first release.

What special something do you try to bring to every story you write?

Because of how I became a Christian, in all of my stories I have at least one character who is active in church, trying to live a Christian life, but who does not have a real relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. Once upon a time I was that person. I don’t know how I missed it all those years growing up in church but I did not have a real relationship with Christ until I heard the salvation message preached unmistakeably at college, at Campus House at Purdue University.

Have you ever been to the setting of your novella? Do you have photos and a little story you’d like to share?

Since my grandmother Mary Phelps volunteered at the Coffin House, I visited several times. At the time she began, the volunteers tried to dress in authentic costumes, so she sewed up a brown Quaker dress, white cap, cape and apron. As she became too frail to lead groups on the tour, she sat in the front parlor and did needlework. I think she even got period eyeglasses. I remember walking through there one time while she was seated in the parlor, making lace. She looked so real that I felt like I had gone back in time. As I was writing the story, my daughter and I went through the house again, and it was a good thing, because in my memory, I had rearranged some of the rooms!

Levi Coffin House, drawn by Ann's father, Jack Phelps

How does your day job help your creative process?

Right now I work in a factory in quality testing. I work with a group of 20-somethings, mostly guys. It’s interesting but often sad to talk with them about their lives, which include drug and alcohol problems, partying and broken relationships. I try to share my Christian perspective. I don’t know if I am effective or not. They do try to tone down the profanity when I am around, bless their hearts. But, anyway, my factory job has given me a great opportunity to people-watch.

What’s one small bit of you that’s in your novella’s main character?

My main character, Deborah, loves the outdoors and is horse-crazy like me. Her interest in horses draws her toward Nathaniel, but his being outside the Society of Friends pushes her away.

Where or how do you like to connect with your readers?

I am on Facebook as Ann-Eliza Phelps Schrock. Facebook has been a great way to keep up with my cousins by the dozens who live all across the country.

Thanks so much for letting us get to know you a little!

Excerpt: New Garden’s Hope

Copyright by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Here’s a short scene early in the first novella in The Quakers of New Garden.

* ~ * ~ *

Josiah Wall looked as if he were about to propose, but he’d just done the opposite and postponed their wedding—again. Ruth Payne cringed as the empty void inside deepened. He bent on one knee in front of her where she sat on a wooden swing hanging from a large oak tree. His hazel eyes searched her face beneath the shade of his black wide-brimmed hat. She wondered if he could see the ache in her expression. Even though she’d known him all her life, right now he seemed like a distant stranger.

“Ruth, say something. . .please.”

Josiah covered her hand where she gripped the rope, but his touch seared her, almost as much as his words. She jerked away and stood, slipping from his grasp. The swing swayed between them as his sensitive eyes blinked in surprise. Her gaze drifted to his brown locks around his ears and along his sideburns.

Her heart stammered through denial, anger—and then—pure gut-wrenching pain. She wouldn’t plead and cry like last time. Turning, she clenched her teeth, staring at her parent’s white two-story house. Brown leaves tumbled in the breeze across the yard. The mid-morning sun shimmered through shifting tree limbs in the crisp fall breeze.

“What is there to say?” Ruth asked, still avoiding his gaze. “The first time thee said it was because we needed our own home. Now that the new house is built, thee claims it must be after the presidential election. The only thing I can say is that I don’t understand.”

Ruth closed her eyes to shut out the threatening tears. She would not humiliate herself again. Pride may be a sin, but she needed to preserve some of her self-respect, didn’t she?

Josiah stood to his full height, at least a half foot taller than she. He slipped his thumbs under his black suspenders over his white shirt. A robin swooped from the tree, flapping its wings. Josiah ducked and righted his hat.

“I was afraid thee wouldn’t understand,” he said. “But Ruth, I’m working with the Federalist movement and it’s imperative I give my full attention—at least through the 1808 election. I cannot allow myself to be distracted by wedding plans.”

Anger burst inside her. Ruth opened her eyes and whirled. “We’re not like the rest of the world. Quakers have simple lives. We have plain weddings and homes. Thee is making this much more complicated than it should be.”

Ruth linked her trembling hands in front of her charcoal colored dress. It contained pleats at the waist and long sleeves with white trimming. The draw strings of her bonnet suddenly felt tight under her chin. She cleared her throat, leaning her palm against the bark of the tree trunk.

“It’s only for a few months,” Josiah said. “By then most of the house could be furnished. Right now it’s too bare.” He stepped around the swing and leaned close.

Ruth stepped back.

His eyes widened as he lifted a dark eyebrow. “Don’t be angry,” he said. “To prove my commitment, let’s reschedule the date for the second month on the twelfth.”

Ruth laughed. “Dates mean naught to thee. When that time comes, thee will only change it.” His wounded expression pierced her, but she wouldn’t take back the words. As far as she knew, they were true. “In fact, I’m not even sure thee really loves me—if thee ever did.”

“Of course I do!” Josiah stepped toward her, but halted when she stiffened and leaned sideways. He gulped, his eyes pleading. “Be patient with me a little longer. I love thee, Ruth, even when we were children. I knew thee was meant for me that day in the school yard when I forgot my lunch and thee gave me an apple.” He offered a handsome grin, but she managed to resist him by averting her gaze.

“Are none of these Federalists married in thy group?” Ruth laid a hand on her quivering stomach.

“Of course, but that’s different. They’re already settled. When thee becomes my bride, I intend to give thee all my attention. I want things to be perfect.”

“Josiah,” Ruth sighed. “I fear thee has some misguided notion about marriage. Either thee cannot love me or thee is afraid to make a commitment. Seek God and allow Him to show thee what to do. Right now, I’ll not agree to another date.”

Josiah’s mouth dropped open in disbelief. He touched the top of his hat, paced a few feet and then came back. “What is thee saying? Is thee breaking our engagement? Ruth, don’t do this. Please, I beg thee.” His breath released in rapid gasps. He rubbed his eyes as if they burned, wrinkling his brows.

Ruth wanted to console him, but feared she’d lose the tiny thread of self control she still possessed. How many times could she allow him to do this? If he wasn’t sure about his love for her, how could she be so selfish as to trap him into a lifetime of marriage? No, she couldn’t do it. In spite of the pain it would cause, she’d sacrifice her own happiness to give him his.

“Josiah Wall, I release thee from our engagement.”

* ~ * ~ *

Excerpt used by permission of Barbour Publishing. Check out this page for places to buy The Quakers of New Garden!

The Quakers of New Garden

Four Quakers of New Garden face trials of the heart. When Josiah Wall postpones his marriage to Ruth Payne for a second time, Ruth is reluctant to give him another chance at love. Deborah Wall is thrilled to work at a hub of the Underground Railroad, until wounded Nathaniel Fox–a bounty hunter for runaway slaves–is left to her care. Leah Wall struggles to turn a marriage of convenience into a marriage of love. Christian Jaidon Taylor pursues Quaker Catherine Wall–but she’s convinced their differences will forever keep them apart.

The Quaker faith has withstood the test of time. Can four Quaker women’s hearts withstand the test of love, or will they tremble in its presence?

“New Garden’s Hope” by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

After Josiah Wall postpones their wedding a second time, Ruth Payne refuses to reset their wedding date. But everything Josiah has worked for means nothing without Ruth. He sets out to win her back, but it seems that each attempt is thwarted by disaster. Will their love and faith overcome their differences, or could this be the end he’s always feared?

“New Garden’s Crossroads” by Ann E. Schrock

Deborah Wall is thrilled to work for the Coffins in their home, a hub of the Underground Railroad. Nathaniel Fox has been dismissed from the Society of Friends and becomes a bounty hunter for runaway slaves. When an injury takes him to the Coffins’ house, he tries Deborah’s patience and challenges her beliefs. But, after accepting Christ and revealing his love for Deborah, will Nathaniel give up his worldly ways to join her?

“New Garden’s Inspiration” by Claire Sanders

As an unwanted, poor relation, Leah Wall is surprised to discover that her Quaker uncle has arranged a marriage between her and widowed Caleb Whitaker. Leah agrees to the marriage and finds herself a wife in name only, caring for Caleb’s children while he serves in the Union Army. Trying times are ahead for Leah, but she believes the Lord will make a way.

“New Garden’s Conversion” by Susette Williams

Christian Jaidon Taylor is determined to plead his case with Quaker Catherine Wall and convince her that they are not as different as she thinks. Catherine promised her father that she would uphold the family tradition of marrying within their faith. As Jaidon begins to rethink his own spiritual walk in his endeavor to find love, Catherine tries to show him why their relationship would never work. But are they really that different?

* ~ * ~ *

Please join us over the next few weeks as we get to know these authors and their novellas better!

Meet Gail Sattler

Gail Sattler lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada, with her husband, 3 sons, 2 dogs, and a lizard named Bub, who is quite cuddly for a reptile, except when he is eating her houseplants. When she’s not writing, Gail plays piano for the worship team at her church, electric bass for a community jazz band, and acoustic double bass for a local orchestra.

Congratulations on the release of the novella collection Seattle Cinderella. Please tell us a bit about this set and how it came to be.

This is a story that has been in my heart for a long time, and when Barbour announced that they were launching the Romancing America line, I felt this was a story that would fit. I’ve also wondered what became of Cinderella’s evil step-sisters… did they reform? Well, in this set, I’ve continued the saga beyond where the fairy tale ends, and told the stories of the two step-sisters (yes, they reformed!). For the fourth story in the anthology set, I’ve also included the fairy godmother, except in a Christian story, there won’t be fairies, so therefore instead of the Fairy Godmother, she’s Farrah the godmother.

Is this your first/only release? If not, what has released recently or about to be released that our readers would like to know about?

I’ve had over 30 books and/or novellas out. After this one, I’m in a new series called the Bloomfield Series – which is about a bunch of quirky but loveable people who base their association in the Bloomfield Garden Club in the small town of Bloomfield. The set doesn’t involve much gardening, but this is the place where they meet and greet each other, including those who don’t know much about gardening – they just love being a part of the club and all the events surrounding it and the band of quirky people that belong.

What special something do you try to bring to every story you write?

First, I want to provide a place where the reader can escape their busy lives, sit and smile for a while, and enjoy a wholesome tale with a happily-ever-after ending. That one special theme or concept that I try to show in every story is that most Christians aren’t religious fanatics, but live a normal life in a normal world. Just we know where we’ll end up when it’s over.

Seattle, Washington

Have you ever been to the setting of your novella? Do you have photos and a little story you’d like to share?

I’ve been to Seattle many times. It’s a busy and beautiful city, and of course they have a fantastic airport. Since it’s so much cheaper to fly from Seattle than Vancouver, BC, most of the time when I travel I drive to Seattle and fly from there.

If I’m going to tell a story, it’s probably the last time my friend Dawn Kinzer and I went to the Pike Place Market. It’s such a fun place, busy, and with so much to see and do. When I travel, I very much look and act like a tacky tourist, and this was no exception. I embarrassed her often, making her pose and taking photos of her in action, and inaction. I personify the phrase “tack tourist”, and I’m proud of it.

Pike Place Market, Seattle

Provide a photo of your workspace and explain why it works for you.

I can’t do this on the grounds of embarrassment. It’s a disaster, piled with papers, computer paraphernalia, extra mouses (mice?), and more paper. However, my writing computer is in a room in the basement that is reserved for an office space, and it has the one important thing as described in Stephen King’s book On Writing – it has a door that I can shut, and I do.

How do you deal with the stress of being an author?

I make my family do the housework.

What’s the best part about writing for you? The hardest?

The best part is that my family does the housework.

The hardest is definitely juggling time. It takes much more time than people think to write a book, and that time involves a lot of thinking. For me, that thinking is best done in quiet, and in today’s lifestyles, that’s not always possible. But my family respects that, and I appreciate everything they do. I couldn’t be where I am in my writing career without their help and support.

What do you to do keep going when you want to give up?

I sit back and read a book written by someone else who has written far more books than I have. And then I think, if they can do it, then so can I.

Where or how do you like to connect with your readers?

I’ve recently updated my personal website but I’ve also got a website just for Seattle Cinderella, which I plan to keep changing and updating as time goes on, including a little surprise concerning the hero of the 3rd story in the set.

Thanks so much for introducing yourself to our readers, Gail!

TODAY is the last day to enter for the giveaway of Seattle Cinderella. Every comment on every Seattle Cinderella post qualifies! Draw made Saturday.

Excerpt: Never Too Late

Copyright by Gail Sattler

Here’s an excerpt from the fourth novella in Seattle Cinderella.

* ~ * ~ *

Matt straightened as he saw one of the teen volunteers approaching with her mother. He recognized this girl because she’d been part of the adoption of a dog he’d saved after a car accident. Not long after she adopted the dog, she began volunteering at the center.

Matt found it very amusing that a girl named Kat helped her uncle adopt a dog. It was outright funny that she’d named a three-legged dog Tippy. He hadn’t seen Tippy since the pooch had left the shelter, but he knew she was in a good home. In fact, from what he’d heard, it sounded like the dog was in Kat’s home most of the time.

“Hi, Kat,” he called out and waved. He liked to meet the younger volunteers’ parents, to compliment the work that their kids did as a way of showing his appreciation.

When the two reached him, he extended his hand to Kat’s mother. “I’m Matt, I’m covering for the staff vet today. It’s a pleasure to finally meet you. Usually Kat’s uncle drops her off.”

Kat and her mother exchanged a strange look before the woman reciprocated the handshake. “My name is Farrah. It’s nice to meet you too.”

Matt smiled. “I wanted to say how great it is to have Kat volunteering here. She’s wonderful with the cats, and she does a great job helping in the cat rooms. How’s Tippy been doing lately? On my last schedule, I heard that she was burying socks in the back yard.”

Farrah turned to Kat. “She is?” Farrah started to laugh. “I hope she buried those ugly socks of yours with the toes.”

Kat’s eyes narrowed, and her mouth tightened. “Those are my favorite socks.” She turned back to Matt and smiled. “Where do you want me to start?”

“Since you’re the first one here, how about you start at number one. I see Jeff and his dad coming into the lot. He can start at the other end, and you can meet in the middle.”

Kat grinned. “Sure, but first I want to see Muffy’s kittens.”

Before he could tell her that one of them had already been adopted, Kat grabbed her mother’s hand and dragged her off to the cats’ building.

As they walked away, Kat glanced over her shoulder at him, grinned, then turned back to her mother, lowering her voice as they walked away. “See? I told you Dr. Matt was a hottie.”

Matt choked, then thumped himself in the chest. He’d never been called a hottie in his life, and certainly not since he was nearing forty years old.

He watched the two of them disappear around the corner, and when they were gone, he pressed one hand over his stomach, which wasn’t bulging, but wasn’t as flat as it used to be.

He couldn’t help but be charmed by Kat’s mother’s smile. He knew Kat was seventeen, which made him guess her mother to be about the same age as him, give or take a few years.

Not that he was interested in married women, but maybe there was still hope for him, after all.

* ~ * ~ *

Excerpt used by permission of Barbour Publishing. Check out this page for places to buy Seattle Cinderella!