About the Book
Book: Rumors and Promises
Author: Kathleen Rouser
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Release Date: October 10, 2023
She’s an heiress hiding a tumultuous past. He’s a reverend desperate to atone for his failures.
Abandoned by her family, Sophie Biddle has been on the run with a child in tow. At last, she’s found a safe life in Stone Creek, Michigan, teaching piano. But when a kind, yet meddling and handsome, minister walks into her life seeking to help, Sophie is caught off guard and wary. When her secrets threaten to be exposed, will be she able to trust the reverend, and more importantly, God?
After failing his former flock, Reverend Ian McCormick is determined to start anew in Stone Creek, and he’s been working harder than ever to forget his mistakes and prove himself to his new congregation—and to God. But when he meets a young woman seeking acceptance and respect, despite the rumors swirling about her sordid past, Ian finds himself pulled in two directions. If he shows concern for Sophie’s plight, he could risk everything—including his position as pastor of Stone Creek Community Church.
Will the scandals of their pasts bind them together or drive them apart forever?
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About the Author
Kathleen Rouser is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical and contemporary Christian romance. She is a longtime member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Faith, Hope and Love Christian Writers. She resides in southeast Michigan, a location which she often uses in her novels, with her hero and husband of forty-some years and two sweet cats who found a home in their empty nest.
More from Kathleen
My inspiration for Rumors and Promises came from the story of the Samaritan woman at the well and her encounter with Jesus. At the time, back in 2002, publishers weren’t looking for Biblical fiction. Instead, I felt the Lord put on my heart a story about a young woman who had to pretend her two-year-old daughter was her sister as she left behind dire circumstances at home. That was inspired by a story my mom told me about a girl she grew up who had a son out of wedlock and her parents raised him as her brother.
Since the town minister would have the most to lose if he became acquainted with her, kind-hearted Reverend Ian McCormick became the hero of the story. That’s where the comparison stops since a man with his own past failures can’t compare with our perfect Jesus. But like the woman at the well Sophie Bidershem is marginalized because of the suspicions of other less gracious individuals in the town of Stone Creek and must find her forgiveness from Jesus. And so does Ian, before they can find their happily ever after. My desire is for my readers to relate to their real-life struggles and the hope they find in Christ.
It was fascinating to see how the Lord provided for me as I researched the plight of the unwed mother at the turn of the century. I discovered that the Florence Crittenton Mission home for such mothers existed in Detroit in 1901, so that became part of the story. I even found the name of the superintendent at the time, nurse Mary Hartwell. Isn’t that the perfect name for someone who is working with young women in need?
Stone Creek is a fictional town loosely based on historic Brighton, Michigan where I live. Before 1900 it was called Ore Creek. It’s fun to include little details like the millpond or the Pink Hotel, but for the most part the small town of Stone Creek is a figment of my imagination. I hope you’ll feel as much at home there as I do.
Interview with Kathleen
- What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Good question! I’ve been on a few different kinds of literary pilgrimages.
While we were visiting relatives in the Minneapolis area I visited the Soderlund Drugstore Museum to give me a feel for the turn-of-the-century pharmacy. Thomas Harper, the hero of Secrets and Wishes, the second book in the Stone Creek Brides series, owns Harper Apothecary, so I thought it was important to have some sense of what his business would be like. It was great fun.
I always loved visiting lighthouses and though I’d visited the Old Mackinac Point lighthouse several times, I made a special visit to soak up the atmosphere. My novella, The Last Memory, took place mostly in the residence of that lighthouse and involved a shipwreck and amnesia!
Last but not least, when I visited my niece in the Bath, UK area, several years ago, I visited the city of Bath and the Jane Austen Museum. It was delightful to walk the streets of Bath, including one that Austen had lived on, visit the fashion museum, the Roman baths, and to think about what it was like for Jane Austen when she lived there. She is one of my favorite authors.
- What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Probably Winterflight by Joseph Bayly. It’s a futuristic novel, which was written in 1981. I read it shortly after I came to Christ and it had quite a profound effect on my worldview. It’s set in a future America where human life is devalued and euthanasia is mandatory at age 75. It surrounds one family who have to hide that their son is a hemophiliac. Jerry Jenkins review of it refers to it as a “masterpiece” and “way ahead of its time.”
- How do you select the names of your characters?
Sometimes a name just comes to me that I want to use, but I will usually look up the meaning of the name and see if it represents the character I want to create. If I need to come up with a name, I will look up popular baby names for the time the character was born and find one with an appropriate sound and meaning.
- What was your hardest scene to write?
The one where Sophie Biddle, the heroine of Rumors and Promises, recalls the day she was raped by the father of her little daughter, Caira. While I wanted to convey her fear and disgust, I didn’t want to reveal the act in lurid detail. Trying to balance the sense of her assault without leading the reader’s mind astray was very difficult.
- What comes first, the plot or characters?
The characters. The arc of the character is pivotal to plotting I believe. And if a reader doesn’t have a character they can identify with, then even the most interesting plot can fall flat.
Thank you for letting us get to know you better!
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lakesidelivingsite, October 24
Texas Book-aholic, October 25
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, October 26
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, October 27
Artistic Nobody, October 28 (Author Interview)
Mornings at Character cafe, October 28
For Him and My Family, October 29
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 30
Guild Master, October 31 (Author Interview)
Exploring the Written Word, October 31
Holly’s Book Corner, November 1
Pause for Tales, November 2
Cover Lover Book Review, November 3
Connie’s History Classroom, November 4
Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, November 5 (Author Interview)
To celebrate her tour, Kathleen is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.