Yay! It's day four of Colorado Dawn's release week. And it's time to talk about the third and final story in this collection, Stars In Her Eyes. This story almost didn't get written, because while it was contracted, Barbour Publishing announced it was going to close the Heartsong line. Membership had been declining over the years, and the line was no longer as profitable as it had once been. I was so sad, because I didn't want to leave a series unfinished.
Then, a few weeks later, the announcement was made that Barbour had sold the line to Harlequin Love Inspired. Joy! Stars in Her Eyes was a go! I'm grateful that Barbour continued to oversee the editing and production of this last title and I was able to work with my favorite editors one more time.
The story of Willow Star and Silas Hamilton was inspired by this picture. This is the actress Maude Adams. Isn't she beautiful? Those eyes! I found her captivating. She was her era's Julia Roberts/Angelina Jolie/Jennifer Lawrence. She was the IT girl!
Actresses in the late nineteenth century were not especially well thought of, being presumed little better than dance hall girls or hurdy-gurdy girls.
I wondered what it might be like for a good girl to be in that profession. And who would be the last person a community would expect to fall in love with a traveling performer?
The pastor, of course.
And if members of his congregation objected, so much the better for the story conflict.
Silas Hamilton was fun to write, because he's got a particularly trying parishioner who is constantly match-making for him. He's a bit of a romantic, believing that he will recognize his true love the moment he meets her. He's a conscientious shepherd to his flock, and he is firm when he needs to be. There's a lot to admire about Silas.
And Willow, she's a lovely ingenue, talented, pretty, and constantly in her sister's shadow, until recently when she's begun to emerge from the wings and take on bigger roles in the acting troop. This sets her at odds with her rather shallow and vindictive sister who has nothing but the theater to cling to for her sense of self-worth and identity. Willow longs for stability and a home and a family, and she's torn when she's offered the role of a lifetime when she only wants to stay and be with Silas.
Characters from Before the Dawn and Light to my Path return in Stars in Her Eyes, including the three orphaned children. I loved being able to round out the stories that came before and give readers a glimpse into the happily-ever-afters of David and Karen and Sam and Ellie.
The Original Release:
As I mentioned above, Stars in Her Eyes was a "straddle book." At least that's what I call it. It came out in that year when Barbour and Harlequin were working out all the details and transferring ownership of Heartsong from one to the other. Barbour handled the editing and production, and Harlequin Love Inspired handled the distribution. Consequently, Stars in Her Eyes had a very small print run and was only available for a short while and only to those who maintained their Heartsong membership during the transfer. Stars in Her Eyes never got placement in any bookstores, and not many people got to read it. That's one reason I'm so happy for the release of Colorado Dawn. Readers who purchased Before the Dawn and Light to my Path now get the chance to finish the series.
I love this book cover. It really came out beautifully.
From the back cover:
Pastor Silas Hamilton is certain when he meets the woman God intends for him, he'll know her immediately. And so far, he doesn't--despite a meddling mother in his congregation who's determined to make Silas her son-in-law. Then one day he rescues a young woman...and he finally just knows. But when he learns she's Willow Starr, an actress bound for New York City, his certainty falters...
Some Fun Tidbits:
- Stars in Her Eyes was selected by Thorndike Press to be published as a large-print edition. :) This made me very happy. Lots of libraries purchase large-print editions, and these hardback books are pretty and durable. My local library has large-print editions of four of my books.
- A big chunk of Stars in Her Eyes was written in Galena, Illinois where I went for a writing retreat with my friend, Katie Ganshert, and the book is dedicated to her. Katie is one of the most vibrant, passionate, open-hearted young women I know, and we had a blast in Galena. For a history museum addict like me, it is like going to Disney. The Ulysses S. Grant Home and museum are there, as well as a fantastic county historical society museum. And nearly every building in the town is on the National Register of Historic Places.
- The play for which Willow is given the starring role is Jane Eyre. I got to read Jane Eyre and watch the Timothy Dalton version of Jane Eyre and call it research. :)
- If you look closely at the Heartsong book cover for Stars In Her Eyes and you look at another of my Heartsong titles, Maggie and the Maverick, you might notice a similarity. Bonus points to those who spot it right away. :)
Question of the Day:
Willow Starr is an actress who is making quite a name for herself on the stage. When I flip through the gossip magazines at the hairdresser's, I don't know even a tenth of the women in those glossy pages, nor what roles for which they are famous. However, I am a big fan of the "Golden Age" of Hollywood, and I have several...dare I say "Vintage" actresses that I love watching. Maureen O'Hara is right at the top of the list, along with Myrna Loy, Barbara Stanwyck, Katherine Hepburn, and Ginger Rogers. So my question is: Who are some of your favorite actresses?
Don't forget, Friday, we'll open up the entries for the Colorado Dawn Gift Basket Giveaway, so be sure to come back! You can read more about the contents of the basket by clicking HERE.
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