Monday, August 18, 2014

"Borrowed Promises" by Judith Ingram

Borrowed Promises
(Moonseed Book 2)
by Judith Ingram

Borrowed Promises is the second book in the Moonseed trilogy. Also available: Bridge to the Past (only $0.99). Coming soon: Into the Mist.

Borrowed Promises is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

On the night of the new spring moon, a near-fatal accident propelled Victoria Reeves-Ashton over a century back in time to awaken in the body of Katherine Kamarov.
Now, after three months of pretending to be Katherine and laboring to repair relationships damaged by Katherine's brash and selfish personality, quiet and gentle Victoria finds that her heart is putting down roots in Katherine's world, in her family relationships, and especially in a deepening friendship with Katherine's winsome cousin Michael.
Hidden letters reveal the story of other moonseed-time travelers like herself-and Victoria realizes that she and Katherine will likely be returned to their own times the following spring. Tension mounts when a rich and handsome suitor applies to marry her, and Victoria must choose whether to accept him for Katherine's sake or to follow her own heart.
Ryan Ashton, the husband Victoria left behind, is baffled by the woman his wife has suddenly become. Unwilling to believe her story about an exchange in time, Ryan struggles to understand the stark transformation of his timid, remote wife into a sexually aggressive and captivating siren. Against his better judgment, he falls hard for this new woman who is a perplexing mixture of cruelty, sensuality, and tenderness, a woman who he suspects has the power to either break his heart or heal the aching loneliness he has lived with all his life.

I bit my lip, wanting to avoid any subject that could ruin the easy camaraderie of our afternoons together. Michael had been friendly and funny, teasing me gently, treating me with the easy affection of an older brother. Once or twice I'd caught him watching me with a fierce intentness that made my heart skip. But then he'd grin or offer a quip that made us both laugh, and the uncomfortable moment would pass.
I enjoyed the lightness of our friendship, grateful for the reprieve. In the rose garden at Summerwood and later on the trip to San Francisco, I had felt the slow but persistent budding of a new feeling that both thrilled and frightened me. The lightest touch of Michael's hand pricked up hairs along my skin like electricity; his boyish grin twisted a slow, sweet pain deep into my body. His clean, male scent in close proximity could stun me with unexpected waves of need, often forcing me to look away so he wouldn't see the flame in my eyes.
I couldn't allow Michael to guess where my heart was taking me—because of Raymond.
Although many things were unclear to me, one fact seemed certain—Katherine must marry Raymond Delacroix and have at least one child with him. If I gave in to my new feelings for Michael, and if I were cruel enough to let him see them, then I risked both hurting him and ruining Katherine's chances with Raymond when she came back to her own time.
And Katherine would come back. I was convinced of it, all my desperate wishes to the contrary. She would marry Raymond, give birth to Elise, and secure a future that would eventually lead to her daughter painting a picture of Katherine and me at the bridge over Two Trees Creek. By the same token, I would return to life as a lingerie model and a cold marriage with Ryan Ashton. Ryan.
"What?" Michael's voice made me jump and turn my head.
"You said 'Ryan' again."
"I did?"
Michael had removed his glasses, and he blinked at me from only a foot away. God, he has beautiful eyes, I thought. Soft gray-green depths that held me breathless, fighting a slow, aching pull to be in his arms.
"He's…nobody," I said.
Michael was studying me, his eyes so solemn and searching that I couldn't look away. He didn't speak, but in that moment my heart yearned toward him, and he saw it. His expression changed. His gaze moved slowly from my eyes to my mouth.
I turned my face away and shut my eyes over a sudden sting of tears.
"Kat?" he said softly.
His voice held a new, cautious note of intimacy. A moment later his thumb brushed my wet cheek, and the tenderness of his touch wrenched a low cry from me. I pushed his hand away and struggled to sit upright.
"Don't touch me!" Pain made my voice sharp. "You can't touch me, Michael!"
But his hand was already under my elbow, helping me to sit. He pushed a handkerchief into my hand.
"Here. Take it." He sounded bewildered and hurt. "Seems you'd rather do the job yourself."
He watched me wipe my eyes and blow my nose with his handkerchief. I couldn't look at him, and after a moment he reached for his glasses and slipped them on.
In a tight voice he asked, "Do you still want to visit Union Square?"
I pressed the soggy handkerchief to my lips and nodded.
Michael pushed himself to his feet and thrust out a hand to help me up. We folded the blanket between us, careful not to touch each other's fingers, and he picked up the hamper. As we crossed the grass in uneasy silence, a fresh roll of tears made me reach into my handbag for a clean handkerchief. A flash of copper tumbled into the grass.
I stopped quickly, but Michael was quicker. He scooped up the coin, examined it briefly, and gave it back to me.
"You still carrying that thing around?"
I looked up at him, my handkerchief arrested halfway to my face. "My coin? What do you know about my coin?"
He squinted at me and frowned. "You're kidding, right? I was with you when you paid a nickel for that worthless thing at the county fair. You said it was good luck, and you carried it around in your pocket for years." He stopped at my look. "What is it?"
"Michael, are you certain this is the same coin?"
I handed it back to him. His gaze lingered on my face, puzzled, before he examined the coin. He weighed it briefly on his palm, flipped it over, and gave it back to me.
"Of course I'm certain." He pointed his finger at the familiar nick in the rim. "There's where the wagon wheel ran over it, and you were so furious because you thought the magic was ruined." He screwed up his eyes against the sun and studied me. "What's the matter with you, Kat? You're looking at me like I've got two heads."
I shook my head in dazed wonder, suspended once again in that universe where Katherine's world and mine overlapped and where it made perfect sense that her lucky coin should have somehow come to me—twice.

Featured Review
Judith Ingram is a wonderful storyteller! She has woven a compelling tale of time travel, rich with evocative descriptions. This book is a fitting sequel to the first Moonseed book - Bridge to the Past - which tells the stories of two very different women, who have both survived traumatic childhoods, but feel out of place in their world.
They each work to fit in to their new lives, and find themselves mending relationships that the other has left behind.
The legend goes that these Moonseeds only have a year in each other's lives before returning to their own lives, and knowing this each strives to make the most of the time they have, to love and to learn what it is to be loved.
A beautiful story.
You really need to read these books in order to fully appreciate both women, and I can't wait for the final chapter in this series.

Interview With the Author
Hi Judith, thanks for joining me today to discuss your series, the Moonseed trilogy, and your latest book, Borrowed Promises.
For what age group do you recommend your books?
Women, mid-twenties and older.
What sparked the idea for this series?
I suffered a particularly unhappy circumstance in my life and found myself imagining - What if I could escape into another woman's life? What if that woman lived in a more appealing century? And what if she were trying to escape from something unpleasant in her life, some danger into which I would unwittingly step…? Thus was born Victoria, the protagonist in Moonseed, my time-travel romance trilogy. Borrowed Promises is Book 2 of the trilogy.
Which comes first? The character's story or the story idea?
The character's story develops from an idea, usually a scene that forms in my imagination. High-energy scenes signal important emotions, conflicts, and turning points that give me clues about who the characters are, what they want, and how to develop their backstories.
What was the hardest part to write in this series?
The beginning was the hardest. This was my first novel, and I just plunged in without a clear idea of what to include and what to leave out. I was just dying to tell Victoria's story. Once the story got underway, and especially once the ending was in place, I did a lot of backtracking and rewriting of the opening chapters.
How do you hope this series affects its readers?
I hope readers will be entertained and satisfied by the story. I also hope that women who have struggled to value themselves will be encouraged by the struggles and ultimate successes of Victoria and Katherine as they each discover themselves through someone else's identity.
How long did it take you to write this series?
Honestly, it took me about ten years to write the Moonseed trilogy, but I wasn't really writing a novel to begin with. I was just toying with ideas. My older sister was always considered the writer of our family, so I never believed I could complete a book myself and get it published. It took me a long time to give myself permission to go for it.
What is your writing routine?
I write best in the morning, the earlier, the better. I save non-creative tasks for the afternoons. When I'm really in the groove, however, I can write all day and forget to be hungry. My husband saves me by taking me into the kitchen and feeding me.
How did you get your books published?
Getting my first book published was a gift of grace. I had completed a nonfiction book called A Devotional Walk with Forgiveness, and I gave 8.5 x 11 copies to friends to use with their small group book and Bible studies. A good friend mentioned my book to a published author she knew. When I contacted her, that author kindly offered to send a letter of introduction to her publisher along with my query letter. The publisher subsequently asked for the entire manuscript, and within three months I was offered a contract. This same publisher agreed to publish my fiction trilogy two years later.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Write to satisfy yourself first. Know who you are and write out of who you are, not who you think the public wants you to be. Believe in your own work, that only you can write your truth or your story in your own way, and then stand behind your work. Be willing to talk about yourself and your work without apology.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to read more than anything. I also like movies; I like to study them for new ways to tell a story. My favorite outdoorsy activities are walking, especially on the beach, hiking in the California redwood forest, and playing with my cat.
What does your family think of your writing?
My husband is my biggest fan and encourager. He reads all my work and gives me honest feedback, even when it's painful to hear it!
Fantastic! Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up in a small community in the San Francisco East Bay, in a family with two parents and two sisters, me in the middle. I loved school and always challenged myself to be the top student. I spent a lot of time at my friends' houses to avoid abuse issues going on at home. When I was home, I learned how to be invisible and found places to hide so I could escape my father's notice and stay safe.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Loved it. I remember my first trips to the library, the wonderful smell of books and little tables where I could sit and look at those big colorful pages. What a thrill when I began to decipher the print underneath the pictures and learn the stories they told. In elementary school my favorite author was Mary Bard, who wrote the Best Friends series. I read those books until the covers fell off.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Probably grade school. I wrote little stories and poems and illustrated them. I don't recall a definitive moment when I decided to become a writer; I just always felt like one.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Definitely. I am contemplative by nature, but living in a war zone at home made me hypersensitive to environmental cues, subtle expressions, and body language. I've been studying human nature all my life, an asset when it comes to writing characters. What I survived at home gave me my protagonist, Victoria, who suffered in fiction what I suffered in reality. I firmly believe that, given hope and healing, our darkest memories can provide fertile material for our novels, which in turn can offer hope and healing to readers.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
My all-time favorite writer is Daphne du Maurier. Her writing is exquisite, her stories compelling, and she excels at creating atmosphere. I also read a lot of Dean Koontz. Although some of his stories are too dark and weird for me, his writing is flawless, his use of language precise and effective. Patricia Highsmith is another author I read and reread to study the craft of writing. Her Ripley stories are tight and perfectly paced, plus she mastered the art of telling a tale third person from only one point-of-view, Tom's. I read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, a novel recently made into a movie, and realized it was very much like a Highsmith novel I had just finished, A Suspension of Mercy, proving Highsmith to be a timeless author. As a teenager, I devoured gothic novels by Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt, and I know they've influenced my idea of a heroine. And reading Jane Austen is just plain fun - no one is better at unmasking characters and a pretentious society to leave us laughing at ourselves.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I am working on a new novel, which like Moonseed is set in Sonoma County: A young woman who has just lost her mother to cancer and her husband to infidelity learns that she has a birth twin and determines to invite this stranger into her life. I also write weekly devotionals about forgiveness to post on my blog; when I have enough written, I plan to pull these together into an inspirational nonfiction book.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Judith. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
Judith Ingram weaves together her love of romance and her training as a counselor to create stories and characters for her novels. She also writes Christian nonfiction books and enjoys speaking to groups on a variety of inspirational topics. She lives with her husband in the San Francisco East Bay and makes frequent trips to California's beautiful Sonoma County, where most of her fiction characters reside. She confesses a love for chocolate, cheesecake, romantic suspense novels, and all things feline.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win some great prizes.