Debut author alert, reader friends!!! Today’s featured author, Angie Dicken, actually has her first TWO novels releasing this season, wow! She is sharing an excerpt and inviting all y’all to a book release Facebook party for prizes and bookish fun!
About the Author
Angie Dicken credits her love of story to reading British literature during life as a military kid in Cambridgeshire, England. Now living in the U.S., she’s an ACFW member, a blog contributor to the Writer’s Alley, a baseball mom, and a self-proclaimed foodie.
Two of her historical romance novels comprise her Fall 2017 debut: The Outlaw’s Second Chance, in September, and My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah, in November.
She writes historical and contemporary fiction. You can connect with her on social media and learn about upcoming releases on her website.
Favorite way to celebrate the holidays
Angie: My Greek heritage has provided me with some great ways to celebrate the holidays. In My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, I’ve included some of the traditions of Greek celebrations.
One that is not in the book, is the Greek Easter Egg. During Pascha (Easter), instead of the pretty pastel-colored eggs, Greeks have red-colored eggs. This represents Christ’s blood shed for us. On Easter Sunday, each person takes an egg and play a “game”. One person says, “Christos Anesti” (Christ is risen), and the other person says, “Alithos Anesti” (He is risen indeed), and then—here comes the fun part—you bang the eggs together by their ends and whose ever egg doesn’t crack is the winner. It’s a tradition I’ve kept from my heritage.
Beth: Banging eggs together DOES sound like fun!
Favorite secondary character
Angie: One of my favorite secondary characters—in my book—is Mrs. Pappas, the hero’s mama. She is a little Greek lady who is always cooking and hosting, and she reminds me of my own late Yiayia (Greek word for grandmother). She’s spicy mixed with sweet—has big opinions, a blind faith, and a heart for her family.
Food is a passion of mine, and I would say that my grandmother inspired that in me. She was the best cook, and her village recipes are so delicious (if you want a chance to win some of those recipe cards, find out more about the party below).
I loved writing Mrs. Pappas and taking all that I adore about my own grandmother and superimposing them in this little Greek lady.
Beth: Mmmmm, I’m a dunce in the kitchen so I love to live vicariously through foodie fiction!
Angie: I am a self-proclaimed foodie…which made writing my November release soooo much fun! The family in the novel owns a restaurant—and a Greek one at that.
Greek food is definitely one of my favorite cuisines. I particularly love the savory meats like souvlaki, and the “fast food” of Greece—gyros (pronounced yeer-o, not jie-ro. LOL).
But…my all time favorite food—the most delicious dish—has to be a blue cheese hamburger. Weird, right? But oh so good!
Beth: Oh gracious, I’m getting hungry already!
Angie: If you’ve been around me on social media at all, I bet you know one of my favorite settings. It has nothing to do with my Greek heritage, or my American roots…but my deep love for my childhood home—England.
Aaaah, I am an Anglophile through and through, and I’ve even written a couple of books set there (praying that one day I can share them with the world). I just love the British countryside, the green rolling hills dotted with sheep, the beautiful woods, the quaint gardens tucked beside thatch-roofed cottages, and the tiny doors that most modern-sized folks have to duck their head to enter.
I LOVE reading novels that are set there—especially the Brontës’ novels, Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights which are “allowed” to get super descriptive since it was the way of the writer back then. 🙂 Besides just the landscape though, the history of England is one of my favorite treasures that makes up a good bit of the setting, especially for my most favorite time period…
Beth: Maybe all those smallish doors would make me feel taller… there’s another reason to take a hop across the pond!
Favorite time period
Angie: The 16th century is my favorite piece of the world’s timeline. The Kings and Queens of England at this time have such a complex history, but what I love most about it, is the display of the growing pains of Church history.
The Tudors, and those around them, were all affected by the Church and the inspiration to reform corrupt religion by leaders like Martin Luther. We see a lot of brokenness and power struggles during this time, but there are also real, live stories of redemption and hope.
I always learn something new when I study this time period. Even though my November release is set in the early 20th century, I quote a 16th century figure in the story. Can you guess who?
Beth: Um… Martin Luther??? Make sure you comment with the answer and an example quote, Angie! I’m itching to know!
Tell us about your latest release
Angie: I would like to share a bit about my heroine since I have gone into great detail about the Greek side of things. 🙂
Leanna McKee is a widowed school teacher, and a progressive through and through. Her sewing circle back in Boston is actually inspired by the history of the Junior League—the organization sprouted from a sewing circle of socialites who wanted to make a difference in the Progressive era.
Yet, once she finds herself leading a life she didn’t expect—widowed, teaching in a lowly school in a crude coal town–Leanna also has to come to terms with her own opinion about the immigrants she is surrounded by in Utah. Here’s an excerpt in Leanna’s perspective:
In this moment with Teddy, an old passion stirred inside her. He was in her care, and just as scared and in need as the American children who’d inspired her back home. Why had she let herself believe that teaching immigrant children was any less noble than educating the children of the Boston slums? This was the work she’d wanted to do when her sewing circle first spoke of education for all.
My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah by Angie Dicken
Schoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life.
Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart…and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble.
Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him. When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Rock. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.
Beth: This is going to be a great read, I can feel it! I love the Greek culture element and of course, the FOOD!
What inspired this setting?
Angie: I chose the coal towns of Utah, and Salt Lake City, for the settings in my book, because it is where my great grandparents immigrated to, and my grandparents grew up. My grandfather was born to a Greek coal miner, in a tent on the mountain slope of Carbon County—in the same area as the site of Castle Gate. His rags-to-riches story, as well as my family’s pride in their Greek heritage, inspired me to write this story in this setting.
Beth: A personal connection! Fabulous!
If readers want to visit Utah, what advice would you give them?
Angie: Utah is a wonderful place to visit! I have many family members who still live in the Salt Lake area. There are so many things to see…so much nature to behold! I would highly recommend someone going to Sundance, outside of Salt Lake City—it is absolutely beautiful. I have yet to visit the museums in Carbon County, but I would love to one day. There is so much history—and now, Castle Gate is actually a ghost town along with a few other coal mining towns. It would be so interesting to visit!
Beth: Oh that would be a great trip! I haven’t made it to that part of the country yet.
What are you working on now?
Angie: Right now, I am working on a novel inspired by Jane Eyre, my most favorite novel of all time. My heroine discovers healing in the grief of a father and son. The emotions are thick in this story, and I am still coming to terms with the fact that God has placed this story on my heart.
I need to toughen up to write it! It is also in a different time period and setting than I’ve ever written in…which makes it a challenge—but one that I am too intrigued to turn down!
Beth: Oooooo, now I’m going to be watching for that one! Angie Dicken, thank you so much for visiting us today!
Join Angie Dicken, Pepper Basham, and Krista Phillips for a Facebook party celebrating their November releases! Attend for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card, and their books, as well as other fun prizes!
Reader friends, say hi to Angie Dicken in the comments and ask her any questions you might have about her Greek heritage or new release! Will we see you at the book release party?