Meet Debut Novelist Rebecca DeMarino {Giveaway!}

I’m so happy to introduce Rebecca DeMarino. She was a regular at my book signings in the Hood River and The Dalles region and then she took the plunge to attend a couple writing classes I taught with my mentor Bob Welch. And voila! She has a contract for a series, the first book coming out next month. Whoo Hoo!!

Tell us a bit about yourself.
It’s been my good fortune to live in many places, but I’ve always considered the Pacific Northwest to be my home. My father was a Navy pilot so he and my mother made a home for us all over the map until they retired to a ranch in Oregon. I grew up with horses and reading and riding were my childhood passions. Married life brought more travel. As the wife of an Air Force officer, I raised three beautiful daughters, relying on my mother’s example of how to make a home anywhere and find the good in each place. All these journeys led me to where I am now, married almost eight years to my sweet husband and living in the beautiful Columbia Gorge. I’m retired from working as a customer service director for United Airlines. When I’m not writing I enjoy being with my family, genealogy, travel, reading, hiking, baking and gardening.

What inspired you to write your book?
I grew up listening to my mom’s stories about Barnabas Horton, my ninth great-grandfather and how he came across the pond from England on a ship called The Swallow. When my brother became interested in genealogy, we discovered there was a lighthouse named after Barnabas, located on Long Island. I asked my mom if she’d like to go there, and off we went. There was a lot of interesting information about Barnabas. He was a baker and a widower with two young sons when he met my ninth great-grandmother. But I could find very little about her, and I began to wonder about what dreams and motivation she had, and courage she must have possessed, when she married and then left her family behind for the wilds of Long Island. A few years later, I began writing my first novel with a desire to give Mary a voice.

I find those family stories really intriguing, too. Did you always want to be a writer?
Yes and no. I didn’t grow up writing stories, but when I took the SAT as a junior in high school, I scored very high on the verbal section, which I’m sure was a result of all those novels I loved to read! The counselor put me in a creative writing class for my senior year. I think that was the first time I thought I could be a writer. And I spent years of dreaming about writing a novel before I ever actually put pen to paper. Or fingers to keyboard, I should say. It’s kind of amusing to me that I did not do well in ninth grade typing class, and all those years I thought I’d write my book on a legal pad. Luckily for my procrastination I was able to skip that and go straight for a computer, no white-out involved.

Tell us about your debut novel.
A Place in His Heart is a love story set in the seventeenth century about a widower who is a Puritan and a baker with two young sons. He grieves the loss of his beloved wife, but knows he must marry to provide a mother for his little boys. He meets a young Anglican woman who is passionate and believes in love, but has given up on finding it. It is the story of love lost and found, of learning to live in God’s grace and goodness during good times and bad, for better or for worse.

Which of your characters do you admire most?
That is a tough question. When I began writing A Place in His Heart, I wanted to give Mary a voice, and it came out loud and clear. She is giving, selfless and courageous. She is also strong-willed and though her heart is in the right place, she tries so hard to make everything right with no help from even the Almighty.

With Barnabas I struggled. He has such a strong belief and will to serve God, but he is torn to the core with grief. He can barely hold on to take care of his children, and indeed if not for his boys he probably would give up. In writing their story, I found myself confronted with the stereotype we have of Puritans from that era. In reality they were men and women firm in their beliefs, but with tender feelings like anyone else. So I admire very much that Barnabas loves and grieves for his first wife. I find it touching that he cares for his sons, even if he is a strict father, and that he wants to provide for them.

Were there any surprises for you in writing the story? Anything that spoke to you?
Yes, several. But most remarkable to me was that almost four hundred years later, we are confronted with many of the same struggles. In the seventeenth century the mortality rate of childbirth made marriage of convenience quite common as men tried to provide for their children and could only hope that love would follow. Today the divorce rate causes many young mothers to marry more for convenience than for love in order to provide for their children.

What writing project are you working on now?
A Place in His Heart is book one of the three-book series, The Southold Chronicles. Right now I’m finishing up book #2, set to release June, 2015.

Where can we go to find more information about you and your books?
I would love for you to visit me at
Subscribe to Rebecca’s Blog and/or Newsletter (and there is a little freebie for subscribers!)
Read a chapter excerpt: Visit here

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I’m so looking forward to our join signing June 6th in Hood River. Your enthusiasm and shining face at my events through the years have always been a joy and I’m so pleased to be smiling back at you at this launch of a great series. Thanks for sharing my blog today!

Thank you so much, Jane, for having me on your blog today! It’s been fun doing the interview and I want to thank you to for the gracious endorsement for A Place in His Heart. Your kind words mean so much to me!

Thank you Revell Publishers for hosting a Giveaway for Rebecca.  You can enter the giveaway below or go to Rebecca's website for all participating bloggers.  Best wishes to the winner!
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