Forsaken Dreams, Book One in the exciting new Escape to Paradise fiction series by MaryLu Tyndall
Embark on a seafaring adventure as a disillusioned colonel and a hopeful widow seek a fresh start on the shores of Brazil. Colonel Grant Wallace cannot leave his once precious Southern homeland fast enough. After witnessing the death and destruction of the Civil War, he charters a ship and sets sail for the pristine shores of Brazil, eager to start afresh in a new land. Widow Eliza Crawford boards the ship NewHope harboring a dirty secret and a blossoming hope within her heart for a new life away from old memories. But once at sea, troubles abound. Will Grant overcome his demons of bitterness and rage? Can Eliza find the peace she longs for?
MaryLu Tyndall, a Christy Award Finalist, and best-selling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but open people's eyes to their God-given potential. MaryLu is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.
Marylu has graciously taken time out of her busy schedule to answer a number of questions for us concerning her just-released first book in her latest series Escape to Paradise.
~ How would you describe your new series, MaryLu?
An adventurous, romantic tale about a group of Confederates, wounded in both body and soul, who flee the destruction of the South after the Civil War for greener pastures in Brazil, but who find much more than they bargained for, both on the trip there and once they arrive.
~ What inspired the storyline for this series?
History. Nearly three million Southerners migrated from the devastation of the South following the Civil War. Close to twenty thousand of them went to Brazil where the Emperor welcomed them with open arms, the farm land was plentiful, and the temperate climate mimicked their own weather back home. Though most ended up returning home, several thousand remained, and their descendants still live there today. Their struggles to create a new Southern Utopia in the heart of Brazil make for a fascinating story!
~ How is it different from your previous series?
Escape to Paradise is like nothing I’ve ever written before. The six main characters, the hero and heroine in each book, have a huge presence in each of the three books, so by the end of the series, the reader will know them all really well, as well as several of the secondary characters. Secondly, and more importantly, this series contains a lot of supernatural elements—curses, angels, visions, demonic battles—which I have not put in any of my other books.
~ What type of research did you have to do for Forsaken Dreams?Surprisingly, not much has been written about this particular historic event. I did find a couple of great books on Amazon. I was also able to locate some original source material, which is a researcher’s dream: three journals written by actual Confederates who traveled to Brazil. Then of course I studied the flora, fauna, cuisine, customs, religion, climate, topography, and history of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. I tried to talk my husband into funding a trip to Rio (For purely research purposes, of course) but he wasn’t buying it! J I also studied the Civil War, clothing and customs of the time period, and, in particular, of the South.
~ What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Forsaken Dreams?
There is a city in Brazil called Americana, which was founded by migrant confederates in the late 19th century. To this day, the inhabitants still speak a mixture of English and Portuguese and celebrate American holidays by playing “Dixie”, while some of the local women dress in big-bustled skirts for dancing. President Carter visited the city in 1972, after discovering its little known history, and he was reportedly brought to tears by the American influences he found there.
~ What surprises do your fans have to look forward to in your new series?
An exotic locale, powerful secrets held by each character, a strong spiritual theme that runs through all three books, cannibals, evil temples, visions, angels, demons, prophecies, and a supernatural battle. Doesn’t sound like romance novels, does it? Yet, readers can still expect to find all the adventure and romance they normally enjoy from one of my books.
Yes. The heroine, Eliza Crawford. She’s all the things so many of us want to be: Strong, Independent, Smart, Caring, Selfless. But she has a fatal flaw—one which I can relate to very much, and one I’m hoping others will relate to as well. She wants to live life on her own terms. She wants to do things her way and follow her own heart and will. She doesn’t want to be told what to do by anyone, especially God. Consequently, she disobeyed her father and ran off to marry a man who was all wrong for her, an action that cost her and others dearly. Still, she struggles with an independent spirit that refuses to submit to God, even when she knows His will is best. Sound familiar? It does to me!
~ What message would you like your readers to take from reading Forsaken Dreams?
There are several messages woven into Forsaken Dreams. Forgiveness, letting go of bitterness, running away from God, but I would say the main message is that submission to God and His will is the only thing that brings true happiness.
~ Most of your stories revolve around swashbuckling pirates and sea captains. What draws you to write about them?
Actually I only have one pirate series, but a good majority of my books have several scenes set at sea. Ever since I was a child growing up on the shores of South Florida, I have loved the sea and especially the tall ships of old. To me, there’s something very romantic and adventurous about those magnificent sailing ships and the men and women who journeyed on them in search of new lands.
~ What are some of the challenges you face as an author?Meeting deadlines! I never feel like I can take a break and just relax when there’s a deadline shouting at me from my computer. Other challenges come in the form of negative reviews and harsh comments, most of which I’ve learned over the years to ignore. However, the occasional one slips through and stabs my heart. Then there’s the marketing aspect of being an author, which is most definitely my weakest skill. I’ve never been very good at selling myself, or in fact, selling anything, to anyone.
~ What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
The writing! Coming up with new stories and settings, and especially great characters. But my favorite part is putting those characters into impossible situations that I would never survive personally, but ones in which they must survive! Those hours I spend at my computer with my head and my heart in a distant land, living life through my characters, are the happiest moments of my day. What a great job I have!! I get to live in a fantasy world of my own making. God is good!
~ What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?
American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. However I receive most of the help I need from other writers who I’ve grown close to over the years. It’s so wonderful to have an online support group of people who understand what I’m going through and who can offer suggestions and help and who can lift me up in prayer when needed.
~ What new projects are on the horizon?
Forsaken Dreams is the first in a trilogy entitled Escape to Paradise, so I’m currently working on the last two books in the series. After that, It’ll be in God’s good favor as to what He wants me to write next.
~ What was your favorite book as a child?
Can I have three? The Last of the Mohicans, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Pride and Prejudice.
~ What is your greatest achievement?
My children. Although I really can’t take credit for them turning out as well as they have. That was God. But they are my life and my true loves, and I can’t imagine my world without them.
~ What do you do to get away from it all?
Go to the beach. Although it’s not as warm here in California as it was in Florida where I grew up, I love sitting in the sand and gazing out over the foamy waves and smelling the salty air and feeling the wind on my face. It makes me realize how big God is and how small I am, yet how much He truly loves me.
~And, finally, where can your readers find you online?
You can sign up for my e-newsletter on my website at www.marylutyndall.com, and my blog is http://crossandcutlass.blogspot.com where I post all sorts of things from book giveaways and book information to articles and devotional thoughts. I have a Facebook group called MaryLu Tyndall Swashbuckling Romance, and I’m on Twitter: @MaryLuTyndall. Hope to connect with you all!
Check out MaryLu's blog to learn more about the hero from Forsaken Dreams, Blake Wallace, and comment for a chance to win a copy of her book and an Ocean Blue gift giveaway!
Ocean Blue Gift Giveaway includes: A lovely hand-made Victorian doll in a blue gown with lace shawl, a blue silk fan, an 11" X 15" basket of violets print suitable for framing (Feb. flower of the month), Godiva chocolate--and a copy of MaryLu's book Forsaken Dreams.
In order to be in this drawing please leave a comment here, or when you visit MaryLu's blog beginning Friday, February 7. You may enter more than once throughout the month on MaryLu's blog, but only once a week. (Don't forget to leave your e-mail address)