Today we're excited to chat with Martina Vanderley, author of Crossroads at the Wilderness.
FQ: A romance novel about a middle-aged couple is a refreshingly unique concept. What inspired you to write this story?
So few romance stories are written about middle-aged people. I feel that this age group is being neglected by most writers, while this group has the most time to read. Nicholas Sparks is an exception, he writes wonderful stories about seniors. I admire him for that. My opinion is that the older generation, in their forties, fifties and older have life experiences and they have so much to give. They certainly are not blasé or without romantic feelings.
FQ: I appreciate the thoughtfulness you brought to the bi-racial component of this book. Tell us about your process in composing this element of the story.
The bi-racial relationship between a man and woman has always intrigued me. My first attempt at writing about it romantically started with a short story named: Brief Encounter, which is actually the first chapter of Crossroads at the Wilderness. I received encouraging reactions and many people asked, “What’s the rest of the story?” I found myself challenged to extend the story and along the way it developed into a novel.
FQ: The inclusion of Tom’s spirituality added another dimension to the story. What were you hoping your readers would take away from this facet of Crossroads at the Wilderness?
I added the subject “faith” to the book because I’m a firm believer that it enriches our lives. By making Tom a minister the subject was easy to address. During the turmoil in Tom and Leslie’s life they found strength and comfort in their prayers. All of us have moments of loss and grief to deal with and things often seem hopeless but these trials make us stronger and it’s faith that lifts us up. I was hoping that my readers would find comfort and truth in that message.
FQ: Leslie’s pregnancy is an interesting twist in a genre that frequently overlooks this very real complication. Was it important for you to bring out this aspect of an affair?
Yes, it is a very realistic complication in an adultery situation; a highly complicated and painful matter that needs a solution. Leslie dealt with it “her” way, after weeks/months of deliberation and mental stress.
FQ: This book seems to be your debut into romance. What drew you to this genre? Is Crossroads at the Wilderness the first of many for you?
I like romances because it takes you to another world: fantasy, imagination. I love that. I’m a dreamer with an eye on realism! No, I’m not thinking of another romance story right now.
FQ: What can your readers expect from you next?
I want to continue short-story writing and hope to publish a book with novelettes this year or next year.