New Year, New Series: Becky Melby's Lost Sanctuary Series

All this week we're taking a look at all the new inspirational series that are beginning in 2012. Author Becky Melby is among those embarking on a new collection in her Lost Sanctuary series. Today you can get a special look at this set of contemporary romances (with a historical twist) as the author chats about her series starter, Tomorrow's Sun!

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What gave you the inspiration for your Lost Sanctuary series?

My husband and I were having lunch at Chances, a restaurant in Rochester, Wisconsin. While we waited to order, I read the front of the menu and became fascinated with the history of the building, built in 1843 with eighteen-inch-thick walls. Local legend claims there was once a tunnel connecting Chances, then known as the Union House, to the river; and runaway slaves on their way to freedom in Canada found shelter at the inn. That was all the information needed to awaken the muse. Research showed evidence that several homes and buildings in the area were used to hide runaway slaves, so I started asking "What if" questions: What if a contemporary heroine moved into an empty house that had once been part of the Underground Railroad? How would she uncover the truth about the people who occupied the house more than a hundred and fifty years ago? Weaving strands of history into the fabric of a fiction story was a delightful challenge.

Will the books in this new series be similar to the writing style of your previous works, or can audiences expect something different? 

I've co-authored nine novels with Cathy Wienke, a friend of over three decades. This is my first full length, and the first novel I've written on my own. While the style is similar, I had the luxury of more words to develop characters and conflicts deeper as well as explore multiple points of view. In this series, I got to write from the viewpoint of an ex-preschool teacher on a mission of restitution, an angry Italian baker, a fifteen-year-old lured into organized crime, an Edwardian-era maid who just may end up on the Titanic, and a precocious seven-year-old who thinks she's found a pirate's treasure chest. I love my job! I'd like to be known as an author who writes about strong characters whose tarnished dreams are refinished through encounters with Jesus Christ--stories containing a journey of faith, a thread of romance, and a hint of snarky humor.

Tomorrow's Sun is an extremely engaging read, what it is about this first book that you believe will hook readers?

In the historical thread of the novel, readers will share Hannah Shaw’s angst as she lives a double life—unable to tell even her best friend about her secret love and about their part in helping others to freedom. They will also hurt and hope along with Emily Foster as she seeks absolution by trying to make amends for a horrific accident that was her fault. Flipping a hundred-and-sixty-year-old house seems like a fast track to making money, but the contractor she hires balks at knocking out walls erected a century and a half earlier. When he does, he uncovers old love letters and a lot of questions. Until the very end, readers will wonder what happened to Hannah and her secret love and will follow Jake Braden to see if he can finally knock down Emily’s walls.

What can readers expect as your series continues?

In Book 2, Yesterday’s Stardust, readers will take a five-year journey with Francie Tillman, a young girl who, in the 1920s, is forced to trade freedom for the protection of a little boy. They’ll also bite their nails as journalist Dani Gallagher is blamed for a death and then forms a questionable alliance with gang members to get a story. When Nicky Fiorini first sees Dani, sound asleep outside his restaurant, he labels her “Dumb and stupid on a silver platter.” A five-year diary found in an alley near the restaurant draws him into a reluctant relationship with the not-so-street-wise journalist.

Today’s Shadows, the third book in the series, contains a historical story dating back to 1912. Maggie Parker earns her keep by working as a domestic. In her spare time she does what she can to offer education opportunities to children working long hours in local factories. When she stumbles on a well-kept secret involving illegal child labor, she puts herself in danger and wonders if the man who claims to be in love with her will come to her rescue. A century later, Maggie’s hidden third-floor bedroom becomes, for the second time, a hideaway for a young girl. When Heather Conrad arrives at the turn-of-the-century home she’s agreed to house-sit for two weeks, she’s not expecting the job to include watching a second-grader, finding a hidden stairway, or being followed by a man with a camera. A serendipitous meeting with a Jesus-freak security guard with a Spiderman complex offers protection … and complication.

Want to learn about more new inspirational series that have just started? Check out the links below. For more genre coverage be sure to check out our Everything Inspirational Page and for a look at more titles soon to be on the shelves, stop by our Upcoming Releases Page!

Learn about Ann Shorey's new Sisters at Heart series >>

Learn about Amanda Cabot's Westward Winds series >>

Learn about Sue Duffy's Red Returning series >>

Learn about Suzanne Woods Fisher's Stoney Ridge series >>