Meet author Kathleen Rouser

Kathleen Rouser is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical and contemporary Christian romance. She is a longtime member of American Christian Fiction Writers and a member of Faith, Hope and Love Christian Writers. She resides in southeast Michigan, a location which she often uses in her novels, with her hero and husband of forty-some years and two sweet cats who found a home in their empty nest.

Tell us about your newest book. He’s a reporter determined to uncover the truth, but the secrets he finds could crush her family—and their second chance at love.

Taken from her family’s farm to be raised by her wealthy aunt and uncle, Nora Armstrong has accepted that not only will she never realize her dream of becoming a teacher, she’d also rather be a spinster than submit to her cruel aunt’s society selection of a suitable husband. The one man who caught her eye betrayed her best friend. And she’s got enough on her hands, hiding her sister’s shameful secret from her aunt.

When the local home for unwed mothers burns down, the arson investigation brings big-city reporter James Cooper back to Stone Creek—and back into Nora’s life. James also has a meddling aunt who raises more questions than she answers about his past. Not to mention, he can’t figure out why Nora constantly rebuffs him. When his reporting casts aspersions on the local church and lays the blame for the fire and a series of robberies at the wrong feet, he risks losing his new position at the paper.

What inspired you to write Scandals and Mercies?

I wanted to write a third Stone Creek book and thought Nora and James’s story would be fun to tell. Even when I got stuck and thought about trying to tell someone else’s story, I was drawn back to Nora, but her story turned out to be more complicated than I thought, and not so happy at the beginning, being under the thumb of her Aunt Gert!

How would you describe this book to someone in a 30-second blurb?

Nora, who wants to be a teacher, is determined to marry for love, rather than money as her guardians desire for her. But the one man she cared about is the last person she wants to see. Enter, James, an ambitious reporter who betrayed her best friend. Both are drawn together as they seek to find their true selves amidst family secrets and tragedy, while Nora’s faith and James’s lack thereof create a difficult chasm to overcome.

What genre do you focus on?

Historical romance with a faith base. I love watching period piece movies and shows. The clothing and manners hark back to what seems a simpler time, though people had to work much harder to put food on the table. Also, the mores make for interesting plots. Heaven forbid a young woman be left alone with a man! Life was just different before the entrance of technology. I also find the research interesting.

And as a romance author my desire is to give my readers the same kind of happily ever after and escape from our weary world that I enjoy reading. It’s even better when I’m able to include uplifting messages based on the truth of God’s word with themes of hope, second chances, or identity in Christ. And isn’t God’s love for us the original love story? He chose us for Himself before the beginning of time and gave His Son for us. What greater love is there than that?

Why do you write?

From the time my mom started reading to me, books became an important part of my life. Even before I learned to read, I wanted to write stories. It’s a passion I believe God put on my heart at an early age. I loved being immersed in the world of imagination and escape. In sixth grade, I wrote a Nancy Drew type mystery titled The Beast with the Glowing Fingers. I was so pleased when my teacher wrote on my little book: “Exciting to the very end!”

Also, because of fear of failure, I put off pursuing writing for a long time. Then one day when I heard a message about the Parable of the Talents, I felt convicted that I wasn’t using my gifts and needed to put them to use. I still need to remind myself of this sometimes.

Who is your main character, and how did you choose that name?

Nora Armstrong is my main character. It’s funny, I don’t remember exactly how I picked the name since I first wrote about her in Rumors and Promises when she was a secondary character. But I often go back to the lists of what names were popular around the time the character was born. So I probably picked it, because Nora seemed like an old-fashioned name. However, it does mean “light” which fits with her wheat-blond hair, pale complexion, and ethereal pale blue eyes. As an aside, Armstrong is Gertrude Wringer’s maiden name. As an antagonist, she is known to strong arm a few people!

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing a book?

I usually write in the afternoon, after chores are out of the way, and I’ve had my time with the Lord. There are days that I just shoot for 500 words and that’s all I get done, but I like to work for a couple of hours, several days a week, and hope to get more done than that. Because of a part-time volunteer position and low energy, I struggle to get as much writing in as I would like.

What is the hardest part of being an author?

Being at home where there are plenty of distractions. In fact, I’m at a coffee shop right now to avoid that! Also, I don’t enjoy marketing or promotions. It’s hard to put myself out there, when I’m an introvert and very private person.

Do you have other books? We’d love to know.

The first two books of the Stone Creek Brides series, Rumors and Promises and Secrets and Wishes will give readers a fuller picture of life in Stone Creek and the stories behind some of the other characters mentioned in Scandals and Mercies. I also wrote a contemporary romance with a split-time subplot called When Hearts Take Flight. This also takes place in a fictional Michigan small town and the subplot takes place during WWI. It involves the main character, Talia, finding her great-grandma’s journal and a handsome veteran, Ben, who is determined to restore the family’s long lost hot-air balloon. My first published novella, The Pocket Watch, takes place in Detroit in 1900 and involves an orphaned young woman, a doctor, and the mystery behind a ruby ring.

What are you working on now?

I’m currently near the end of finishing the first draft of a contemporary romance, working title: A Family of Her Own. After that, I’m considering writing about a different period of history, perhaps Regency England.


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