In the stifling heat of a Manhattan summer, a fresh-faced woman huddled in a garret, awaiting the opportunity that would change her life. Brushing aside unruly red curls, she peeked between fire escape bars, longing for more than a sliver of sky. She’d fled the tiny town of her youth, abandoning lush fields for towering skyscrapers. As days dragged on, she feared she was treading water, barely keeping afloat as a murky eddy of shattered hopes threatened to drag her under…
If my journey to writing a romance novel was, indeed, a romance novel, it might begin something like that. The time was the early 2000’s, and the place was a sixth-floor studio apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I’d just finished my Master of Fine Arts in Acting, and I was ready for my Broadway debut. Though aspiring actors often hear that the odds of making a living in the theater are slim, thousands follow their dreams. Progress is slow and hard won, and for many artists, the urge to keep telling stories tugs at our insides until we branch out into other disciplines.
Lounging on the sofa that sat a mere six inches from my bed and a foot from the dining table, I watched Oprah Winfrey interview romance writers who found success and happiness weaving heartwarming tales of love. “I could do that,” I thought, every bit as naïve as I was to imagine a starring role on Broadway would arrive on my doorstep, tied up with a satin bow. Still, I cracked open a blank notebook and began. Encouraged by Oprah’s guests to “write what I know,” I came up with a simple premise: what if a girl returned to her hometown in central Pennsylvania and fell in love with an Amish guy? With the pent-up fervor of a frustrated actress, I researched, brainstormed, and revised, until my heroine finally achieved her happily ever after.
Hometown sat on my hard drive as my acting career took off. I performed at theaters around the country and in New York City. I dipped a toe in commercial acting, film, and television. I narrated over twenty audiobooks and taught Shakespeare to high school students. I had a child. Then one day I thought…what about Hometown? Could now be its time to shine? Nervous and hopeful, I approached small romance publishers, hoping the story of a red-haired girl trying to find her place in the world, would, finally, find its place in the world.
Much to my delight, it did. Hometown was published in August of 2021, and the second book in the series, Heartsong Hills, released October 19th of this year.
Oh, and, Oprah? Thanks.
How about a giveaway? To enter to win a copy of Heartsong Hills, leave a comment below. Easy peasy! Giveaway starts today, Friday, November 4th and ends Friday, November 11th and is only open to US residents (sorry!). One winner will be selected at random and announced in the comment section of this blog post.
Amish girls don’t dance. Dancing is against the rules, and Nora Beiler always follows the rules…until a runaway logging truck shatters her world forever. Desperate to heal from the accident, she enrolls in Shuffle off to Fitness, an exercise class at the local senior center. She never dreamed it involved tap-dancing…or just how much she’d love to dance.
Exiled from Nashville, country music star Tucker McClure has no one to blame but himself. Weekly gigs at the local farmers’ market keep the demons at bay. The last thing he expects is to find himself in an old folks’ fitness class…dancing with a girl who makes him question everything he ever thought he wanted.
Will the past drive Nora and Tucker apart? Or can love bridge the gap between hearts and worlds?
A city girl with a hometown heart, Wendy Rich Stetson grew up road tripping in a 1979 VW camper van, and she keeps a running list of favorite roadside attractions from coast to coast. Now an award-winning author of sweet, small-town romance, Wendy is no stranger to storytelling. She’s a Broadway and television actress, an audiobook narrator, and a mom who likes nothing more than collaborating on children’s stories with her artistic teenage daughter. Wendy lives in Upper Manhattan with her family of three and rambunctious Maine Coon kitty. Follow Wendy’s journey at www.wendyrichstetson.com
this story sounds very exciting, would love to read this.
Enjoyed reading this interview and I now have a new name to add to my tbr list! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!
This story sounds like a very enjoyable read. I would like to read it. Thanks for the chance to win it.
Love stories about the Amish. They make me realize how God is in our lives always and everyday …we just have to listen for Him. Thank you.
Always exciting to meet a new author. Sounds like an interesting read. Would be thrilled to win a copy. Thank you.
Congratulations MaryEllen! You are the winner of a copy of Heartsong Hills. Please watch your email for details on how to claim your book. Thanks for entering!
Thank you 😍
would love to win one of these books as I love reading Amish books
would love to win one of these books
I love reading about the Amish.they are sweet people
Thank you for the opportunity! Great Cover.
Heartsong Hills sounds very good. Thank you for the chance.
I love Amish stories..Takes me away of the rif raf that goes on in our world today..This story sounds very interesting..
Sounds like a fantastic book would love the chance to win.Thank you!
Love books about the Amish.
This sounds like a very interesting book. Would love to read it
I have never read any of your books. Thank you for a chance to win.
You are a new author to me and I am happy to look for your books. I love Amish stories and would love to win this interesting one! Thank you for the chance to win!
This story sounds good.
I would love to read this book!!
This book sounds great! Thanks for the chance to win. Have a fantastic weekend.
Thank you so much. This book sounds so interesting. I can’t wait to read it.
Can’t Wait To Read This Book As I Love Reading Amish Based Books.
This sounds like a great story line. I have been reading stories about the Amish for a long time and would love to add this one.
Book sounds very interesting I love reading books from Amish authors I haven’t read before.
Would love this! Love reading Amish books.
This book sounds very good. Thank you for the chance.
heart song hills sounds like really interesting book! I LIKE AMISH STORIES!
Love meeting New Author’s and reading Amish Books! Thank you for the chance to win a copy!
I love all Amish and always keep my librarian’s busy picking books for me. I know I have read just about all the books out there except for some of this years realeases
I enjoy reading books about the Amish, both fiction and non-fiction.
Theirs is a way of life a lot of us would love to have especially
in this day and age.
Bless You for entering me in your giveaway.
I would love to read this book.
sounds like a very very good book! Thanks for the chance to win!!!!
I would love to read a print copy of this book and post reviews on goodreads and amazon. We find outselves frequently going to the amaish country to share books with them and also authors that have come out with cookbooks such as Wanda Brustetter. I once had a new mom in the back of the car and the man was here to bid for a new garage. Well his 1st new one fell out of her car seat and hit her head. Very small so I ran in the house got her a few books and got her the recent cookbook. She was in tears with the baby and when I brought these out she was so happy. The man came up to me and asked me how much and I said if I knew you wanted to pay me I wouldn’t of given them to her I just wanted her to smile. Come to find out she had never cooked in her family either. I was so happy when they left and she was smiling and the dad was much more relaxed.
I read a lot of books. Love different authors with different imagination, keeps the mind going. Your books sounds lively and interesting. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of you book. Have a good day.
Interesting story that you’ve told here, Peggy, & hope you respond and answer my questions, please.😊
Why was there a man, woman & child in Your back seat? You say, “To bid on a new garage?”
I’m sorry /don’t comprehend!?
2. You say, “His first new one, fell out of carseat(or out of car???)” WHY? What? … where too?
I’m sorry … Do not understand!
Whatever the story here, not sure if you gave books to the Mother, or to the baby, or both(????) but that was so kind of you!
We sure could use more kindness in this troubled world! 🤗♥️💗
May God Bless!
I only read Amish books any more and even though I know most are just untrue stories, some are so true to life, interesting, clean, funny, sad and endearing.
I am thankful I might have the opportunity to win and to read this new-to-me author! Thank you very much!
This is a new author for me. I’m interested in reading this book. Thanks.
Always exciting to meet a new author. Sounds like an interesting read. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of your book. God Bless You!!
Love your books
This story sounds very interesting and I love meeting new authors.
Ooh I want to read this! I hope I win 🙂
Beautiful cover, I love reading Amish fiction.
Sounds like a great story ty for the chance to win!
I love Amish books
This book sounds great. can not wait to read. Thanks for the opportunity to win. Sounds like this author will do great things.
I enjoy reading new Amish stories by authors that are new to me!
I will look forward to reading this book!
This book sounds great. Thanks for the chance to win it.
Would love to read this book. Always love finding new books and authors.
I love the cover. I can’t wait to read it. I enjoy reading Amish books and when I finish them, I donate them to the Nursing Home up the street.
Thank you for a chance to win your book!😀
Would love to win this book