Be sure and visit my Facebook Page and enter to win a new copy of Haven – deadline is March 4th!
Do you need a break from your life? Some peace and tranquility . . . then “go to” Haven by Anna Jones Buttimore. You’ll be welcomed into Gwen Evan’s Victorian farmhouse Bed and Breakfast—aptly named Haven—in North Wales and made to feel instantly at home. LDS author Buttimore does a wonderful job of welcoming the reader into Gwen—Mrs. Evan’s—world as she receives a varied group of new guests, all needing a little bit of Haven in their lives.
As we learn of these guests, their struggles and fears, a common purpose unites them: sisters Megan and Charlotte are searching for their ancestors who they believe came from the area . . . and could use some help finding them. What the reader gets to experience as the guests unite to solve the sister’s genealogical mystery is the Spirit of Elijah at its best. Particularly meaningful to the LDS reader, the results will bring tears to your eyes as we are reminded of the power and peace that comes with doing this vital work.
And Mrs. Evans isn’t really a “Mrs.”—just a title her guests felt comfortable calling her and she never corrected. Will that soon change? Go to Haven and find out!
And once you’ve discovered the magic of Haven, you’ll want to return by reading Escape to Haven. Once again, the Victorian Bed and Breakfast is a special place of refuge and peace for a group of diverse guests, each bringing their own reasons to seek answers and rest within its stone walls. Buttimore shows the love of Christ in action through her well-developed characters as they experience healing and find hope. A perfectly satisfying sequel to Haven, Escape to Haven will have you packing your bags and heading off to North Wales.
I’m so happy to have Anna visit my blog and answer a few questions about these lovely books:
What was your inspiration for the Haven series?
It was actually the idea of an editor at Covenant Communications. I had submitted my first novel – which really wasn’t suitable – but she liked my writing style and suggested I write something set in Wales and featuring a variety of characters. It didn’t take much from that point to come up with the idea of a bed and breakfast. That editor, Valerie Holladay, worked with me on several of my books but sadly died a few years ago.
For a period of time you lived in Wales…did that influence your decision to place Haven in North Wales?
They do say “write what you know” and I lived in Wales for 17 years in total, and got very used to the culture, language and people. North Wales is particularly beautiful and it’s an area with a lot of history, and from where a lot of my readers would have ancestors. I don’t really know anywhere else well enough to set a book there, with the possible exception of South East England, where I was born and where I now live.
You do such a lovely job of taking us—Americans—to a different land without making us feel like a foreigner …was this challenging as a writer?
I’m a foreigner too! The Welsh people are very friendly, but I could never forget that I wasn’t one of them and didn’t entirely fit in. I remembered what I didn’t understand when I first arrived, so I could make sure I explained that for the readers. Valerie, my editor, was really helpful too in taking out any parts which wouldn’t work for the American audience. For example, my heroine was originally called Gwawr, but Valerie said that readers wouldn’t know how to pronounce it and had me change it to Gwen. Now my eldest daughter is convinced that I named the character after her!
You’ve published several other books in addition to the Haven series, what advice would you give to up and coming writers?
Read and study a lot. Make sure you really do know the “rules” of writing and have honed your craft as best you can. Edit, edit and edit again. Get honest beta readers and proofreaders. I would still advise trying to get an agent (or submitting direct to a publisher) rather than self-publishing. Self-publishing is easy, cheap and quick, but most self-published books sell only a handful of copies. There really is no substitute for having professionals prepare your book and get it onto bookstore shelves. I’ve done both traditional publishing and self-publishing, and would always stick with traditional wherever possible.
With the last book in the Haven trilogy being Christmas at Haven [published late in 2015] what is your next project?
I’m working on several projects at the moment. One is a World War II romance set in Lancashire, England. Another is a Twilight parody which I have already self-published but am currently revising and improving. I’ve also got a comedy about four single friends in the pipeline. I’ve no idea which order of priority they are in, so your guess is as good as mine regarding my next book!
Thank you, Anna. We’ll look forward to all your future projects!
If you’d like to read more about Anna and her writing, visit her blog www.annajonesbuttimore.com. You can find Haven and Escape to Haven at Amazon and Deseret Book. And be sure to visit my Facebook page and enter to win a new copy of Haven – deadline is March 4th!