I am thankful for my writer friends. So….for the month of November I decided to interview four Ohio writers from my ACFW writing group. They have been strong encouragers to me over this past year. We have laughed together, shared meals together, and served as “sounding boards” for each other. This is the perfect time to order a special book for someone you love for Christmas, so I bring to you, four very different books from four very different authors. I know you will learn a little something from each of them….Enjoy!
Today’s special guest: Rosanna Huffman. I first met Rosanna at an Ohio chapter meeting for the ACFW. We got to know each other better at a writing retreat in Hocking Hills and both attended the ACFW conference in Dallas this past September. She is a soft-spoken woman with a delightful sense of humor.
Rebecca: Okay, your book has a catchy title. I have to ask. How did you come up with the title Hand Me Down Husband?
Rosanna: The Ohio chapter of ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) was gathered in my parents’ farmhouse for a weekend writing retreat and we were brainstorming. I shared with them the premise of the novel I was getting ready to write. The heroine in my story grew up wearing only secondhand clothing from her sisters, and as an adult, she still dislikes the thought of hand-me-downs. But she ends up falling in love with a widower, so he became a hand-me-down husband.
This was the title I worked with the whole time I was writing and searching for a publisher, knowing that often publishers change titles. But it had a certain ring to it, and Ramona Richards of Abington Fiction loved the title as much as I did. Abingdon kept my title, and I’ve been told it even helped get the book published!
Rebecca: That’s great. I’ve been on some of those retreats. In fact, that’s how we first met, remember? Those brainstorming sessions are powerful. My next question is one I know my readers often ask. How long have you been writing?
Rosanna: Since first grade I have loved the feel of a pen or pencil in my hand. Through my teens and twenties I journaled extensively. It seems I’ve long been better at expressing my feelings through the written word than through the spoken word. And I have always loved to read stories. Somewhere in my late twenties, when romance seemed to have passed me by, I became frustrated that every book I read (okay, so my reading diet wasn’t terribly broad) ended up with the girl living happily ever after with her prince charming.
“Someday I’m going to write a best-selling novel about a single woman who lives a happy, fulfilled life even though she doesn’t get married,” I declared. And that was the first time I ever thought about writing a book. It is surprising to think how long ago my late twenties were!
Rebecca: But Hand Me Down Husband is a romance!
Rosanna: True. After I got serious about writing my dream novel, I learned the hard, cold facts of publishing. Romance sells. So…to get my foot in the publishing door, I wrote a romance. Suzanne Bloomer, the heroine, is a single woman who is living a happy, fulfilled life in spite of not having seen her lifelong dream of marriage and motherhood come to pass. Until…
Rebecca: Got it. But it is a great romance. It’s very sweet with enough tension to keep you turning the page. So have you found your niche?
Rosanna: I have no plans to write another romance, but then, I didn’t plan to write this one.
Rebecca: I’m sure your next endeavor will be equally successful. I’m assuming you are working on a next book.
Rosanna: I am! My current manuscript is the story of a single woman who is considering adoption, and a widow who is a compulsive hoarder.
Rebecca: I can see tons of possibilities with that! I want to know how their lives intersect! So when you’re not writing, what do you like to do? Any special hobbies?
Rosanna: I love to crochet, cook, and bake. And I love to garden. Actually, crocheting has become more than a hobby. For the past five years or so I have been designing afghans for Herrschner’s and Mary Maxim (you yarn crafters out there recognize the names). In addition to those designs I make an afghan for each of my nieces and nephews (I have 33!) for their 10th birthday. Right now I am working on the 20th niece/nephew afghan.
Rebecca: I love it! Can you adopt me as a niece? Uh…an older niece? I can be number 34! I’ll wait, even though I’ve long passed birthday number 10! Okay…just kidding. I'm going to include a blurb about Hand Me Down Husband. And readers, you can click on the book title anywhere in this article to go directly to the Amazon page featuring the book. Rosanna, Thank you so much for being my guest on today’s blog. I am thankful for you, your sweet spirit and the many ways you have encouraged me as well as many others in writing.
Meet the Author: Rosanna Huffman is a member of a Brethren church and wears a head covering that often incites the question, “Are you Amish or Mennonite?” She writes women’s fiction, spinning tales of single women in their 30s and 40s who live happy and fulfilled lives, whether or not romance comes their way by the end of the book. In any spare minute Rosanna can be found designing and crocheting award-winning afghans in Dayton, Ohio (or wherever she happens to be at the moment). Find out more at RosannaHuffman.com.
Rosanna's Debut Novel: Hand Me Down Husband
To Suzanne, the thought of a secondhand husband was even less appealing than the thought of hand-me-down clothes. But love has a way of making all things new.
High school teacher Suzanne Bloomer has buried herself in her job at New Vision Christian School in rural southwest Ohio. When widower Mitch Sanderson leaves his fields mid-harvest to fill a teacher/principal position at the school, Suzanne is none too pleased. She knows better than to trust a Sanderson. But Mitch’s persistent kindness convinces Suzanne that he is friend, not foe.
Mitch, awed by the high school teacher’s capability and grace, finds it difficult to believe that Suzanne has not turned away hordes of interested men. Learning of her unfulfilled dreams, he wants to encourage her when never-been-married bachelor Kraig Wye moves into the community with an eye on Suzanne. That is . . . he thought he wanted to. Now he’s not so sure.
What is your take-away? What have you learned from Rosanna today? Share your comments below.