NOVEL PASTIMES: Today we meet Becky Hollister from Book One in the Prairie Sky historical romance series: Under This Same Sky. Welcome Becky! It’s so good to have you here.
BECKY HOLLISTER: Thank you. I’m excited to be here.
NOVEL PASTIMES: First of all, could you tell us when your story takes place and where?
BECKY HOLLISTER: I’ll be happy to. My family and I made our home in a log cabin five miles outside of Miller Creek, IL. My story begins in the spring of 1854 when I was seventeen and takes readers through the next year of my life.
NOVEL PASTIMES: I love reading about that time period. There is so much rich history in it. As the heroine of Under This Same Sky, you must have quite an adventure to share. Can you tell us what spurred author Cynthia Roemer to write about you?
BECKY HOLLISTER: I do indeed. It’s an adventure that began with tragedy, but ends with renewed faith and hope. My family and I endured a terrible tornado that killed my younger sister and mother. Pa lost his sight as the result of a head injury. His desire to learn to be self-functioning took us away from our beloved prairie home to the Missouri Institute for the Blind in St. Louis.
NOVEL PASTIMES: Wow! How did you feel about all of that?
BECKY HOLLISTER: I was hurt and bitter toward God. I didn’t understand how the Lord could allow such tragedy. It wasn’t until later, I came to realize He doesn’t cause hardships, but He is able to bring about good through them.
NOVEL PASTIMES: Such as?
BECKY HOLLISTER: My faith was shallow at best before the storm hit. I never wanted to leave the prairie, but I wanted what was best for Pa. When I started taking my eyes off of my own troubles and began investing my energies in helping others, I realized the Lord was using me in ways I never could have been used had I not endured the loss.
NOVEL PASTIMES: That’s wonderful. It’s such a blessing when God is able to use our grief to minister to others. What helped you come to that point?
BECKY HOLLISTER: Several things really. First and foremost, would be Pastor Matthew Brody. He was such a blessing to us after the storm. He rallied the entire community to clean up our ravaged home and rebuild our cabin. He also accompanied us on our trip to St. Louis. He was wonderful throughout the entire hardship. We couldn’t have made it without him.
NOVEL PASTIMES: Aah! Do I detect a bit of attachment in your words?
BECKY HOLLISTER: (Smile) Possibly. Matthew and I grew quite fond of each other as we traveled to St. Louis. One of the hardest parts of relocating away from home was being separated from him. But we kept in touch through correspondence.
NOVEL PASTIMES: You mentioned several things helped you work through your challenges, who besides Pastor Brody encouraged you to change?
BECKY HOLLISTER: A special young man named Jimmy Bodine. Though a blind orphan, he had the best outlook on life. His faith was so strong. When I wavered, he always had just the right words to encourage me. He was the best friend ever.
NOVEL PASTIMES: He sounds very special indeed. Anyone else?
BECKY HOLLISTER: Oh, the blind students. Each one had such an impact on me, their courage and will to learn. And Nettie. She was such a sweet soul. I loved her dearly. I could go on and on, but to get the full story, you’ll have to read for yourself.
NOVEL PASTIMES: I’ll be sure to do that. It sounds fascinating!
BECKY HOLLISTER: You won’t be disappointed! It truly is a story to inspire.
NOVEL PASTIMES: Thank you so much for joining us today, Becky. It’s been a pleasure.
BECKY HOLLISTER: Thanks so much for having me.
BOOK BLURB ~ AUTHOR BIO AND CONTACT INFORMATION
Book Blurb: Under This Same Sky
~ She thought she’d lost everything ~ Instead she found what she needed most. ~
Illinois ~ 1854
Becky Hollister wants nothing more than to live out her days on the prairie, building a life for herself alongside her future husband. But when a tornado rips through her parents’ farm, killing her mother and sister, she must leave the only home she’s ever known and the man she’s begun to love to accompany her injured father to St. Louis.
Catapulted into a world of unknowns, Becky finds solace in corresponding with Matthew Brody, the handsome pastor back home. But when word comes that he is all but engaged to someone else, she must call upon her faith to decipher her future.
Cynthia Roemer is an award-winning inspirational writer with a heart for scattering seeds of hope into the lives of readers. Raised in the cornfields of rural Illinois, Cynthia enjoys spinning tales set in the backdrop of the 1800s prairie. She writes from her family farm in central Illinois where she resides with her husband and their two college-aged sons. Under This Same Sky is her debut novel.