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Sophie Stewart’s family has just moved to Chicago to join her brother and help start a church. Sophie is an artist with big dreams, but she feels her parents are pushing her to marry someone like Noah Jackson, a young man from their Ohio hometown. But forgiving the past and recognizing Noah’s maturity and changes may take a miracle.
More About The Gift-Wrapped Bride with Maureen Lang
For veteran novelist Maureen Lang, the opportunity to write her first novella, The Gift-Wrapped Bride, presented a challenge.
“I approached the task with much fear and trembling. I believe writing short, needing to write tight, is far more difficult than taking your time. As the writer then as the reader, it’s easy to take time to get to know characters, to step around in their shoes and in their time period for a while,” she said.
But a novella is much shorter and requires great care in word, setting and scene choices.
“I finally relaxed knowing that storytelling could still work if I focused on the main goal—getting my hero and heroine together after realistically keeping them apart,” she laughed.
The story of an artist and a reformed “bad boy,” pushed together in their 1848 Chicago immigrant church, The Gift-Wrapped Bride surprised its author as she wrote.
“I had more fun than I expected getting to know a hero who was so focused on winning the heroine’s love and respect. He had a hurdle to overcome because she only knew him when he was a bully and a mischief-maker. I had so much fun focusing on the romance that I found myself commiserating with the focus my hero needed to win the heroine’s heart!”
Forgiveness turned out to be a greater theme in her story, across the characters, than she had anticipated.
A native of the Chicago area, her family has been in the Midwest for several generations, Maureen felt at home writing about the city so long ago. Well aware of Chicago’s poor reputation in some quarters, Maureen wanted to explore another side to the city, “one with characters who aren't part of the violent reputation, but represent the majority of ordinary, flawed but still lovable people who live here.”
The author of contemporary and nonfiction, as well as historical novels, Maureen has always been fascinated by other places and eras.
“Not that I want to live anywhere or at any other time, since I’m spoiled by the relative peace and obvious comforts of today,” she said. “But when I read about other eras, it never fails to impress me that people just like you and me actually survived such conditions! . . . I hope I’d have lived up to the times, but the more research I do about historical conditions, the more thankful I am God chose to let me live here and now, even with our unique challenges.”
Some of her ancestors have been in North America since the 1600′s.
One of the youngest of six children, Maureen grew up in a boisterous family that enjoyed Christmas with decorating, baking and family gatherings. While she enjoys an annual Nativity Pageant that involves original music, real animals (including camels) and a magnificent choir, she knew that wouldn't fit into her 1848 setting.
"I did keep the spirit of this wonderful tradition in mind as I developed the Nativity aspect in my story. I thought it was the perfect opportunity for my reformed rake of a hero not only to show the heroine that he’d changed, but to make a real difference in boys who were on the same track he’d been on—to mischief or worse.”
"A bonus of working on a novella collection is the camaraderie I've enjoyed getting to know the other authors selected for this Christmas-themed set. There is always some excitement and enthusiasm with any publishing venture, but this time I've enjoyed not only my editor and others I've encountered at Barbour, but also such a great array of other authors. People just like me, trying to meet deadlines, write the best stories we can, lots of laughter and support for what we all love to do—create stories in our imagination to share with others. It’s been so much fun being part of a team that includes other authors as well!"
Who is Maureen Lang?
The author of eleven books, Maureen Lang has been writing since childhood. Her latest release is part of The Gilded Legacy Series:All in Good Time. She lives with her family in the Midwest.
You can learn more about Maureen and her books at her website: www.maureenlang.com
She regularly blogs on the Christians Read website.
You can also find her on Facebook