Monday, 16 July 2012

Author Spotlight - Q&A with Sophie and Sadie Cuffe

STEPH: I don't know much about "The Seekers." What's it about?

S&S: "The Seekers" is about romance, deception, and betrayal. It's set during the American Civil War where Union Cavalry Captain Lawrence Wainwright has one goal: to make sure his horse survives the war. The Almighty has another goal for Lawrence, and, in order to accomplish it, God brings him face to face with the commander-in-chief. Lawrence finds he can't say no to the President of the United States, even if it means saying no to his heart. But when he becomes Abraham Lincoln's spy, he assumes the identity of a slow-witted boy/man and suddenly he's undercover protector to an aging slave and his two young grandchildren, as well as Rachel, a stubborn Yankee woman on a mission of her own. As Lawrence and Rachel get entangled in the subterfuge of Confederate secrets and double cross, the safe circle surrounding them shrinks with each passing hour. In a deadly game where no one is who they seem, and even brothers turn against one another, Lawrence chafes at his alter ego. He longs to come out swinging and be himself, but if he gives in to his instincts, he'll jeopardize not only his mission, but those he's sworn to protect. Rachel steals his heart, but if she discovers his true identity it just might get them all killed.

STEPH: How long did it take you to write?

S&S: It took about three months, but the edit was a killer. We had some other projects going off and on during that time, so sometimes "The Seekers" sat on the back burner of our brains for awhile.

STEPH: How much research did you have to do?

S&S: Sadie's always been in love with the Civil War (who knows why) and since she's wanted to write a Civil War novel forever, we already had some facts and figures. But we did a decent amount of research on everything from how long it takes to travel by horse and carriage from Washington, DC, to Richmond, VA; to whether they sold ice cream in 1863, and all that battle and troop movement stuff -- just keepin' it real. We also read authentic letters and diaries from soldiers and families involved in the conflict. It sucks you in, but it also slows down the writing process. Many times, one of us did research while the other one wrote, so we could make the deadline. Compared to "Gone with the Wind," it's not an epic historical novel, but we like to think we slipped in some cool facts with the fiction and created a story that captures the heart of the era and will capture the readers' hearts, too.

STEPH: How does the cover reflect the story within?

S&S: The cover is beautiful but somber. With its contrasting Union and Confederate battle flags arched over a stark stone home with a lone horse, it defines the drama and heartbreak of ordinary lives caught up in a battle for their identity, their family, and their homeland. It aptly reflects the passion, faith, and heart of the hero and heroine in their struggle to hold onto a sense of normalcy and integrity under the demands of loyalty for country. (It also has red and blue, which are our favorite colors).

STEPH: Rachel Hawksley is the heroine. What are her strengths? Weakness?

S&S: Rachel has great resiliency and doesn't let fear or inexperience get in the way of attaining her goals and dreams. She also has a sense of humor about herself, and is a woman who isn't afraid to think for herself, even if it means going against the social taboos and prejudices within her family. She's also very trusting, very rural, and likes to believe everyone's as truthful to her as she is to them. These traits make her vulnerable to deception and betrayal, but they also give her the capacity to completely and honestly open her heart.

STEPH: What does the hero find appealing about her?

S&S: Lawrence is attracted to Rachel's compassion for everyone she meets, her ability to meet each new challenge and disaster without completely freaking out, and her intense loyalty for those she loves.

STEPH: What is the theme of the novel?

S&S: Both the hero and heroine are put in circumstances designed to stretch their concepts of trust, honesty, and integrity. Although they take on the role of someone else and wear a false face, they each must decide if that means they'll compromise their integrity and character. In masking their true identities and their feelings, they discover how critical it is to remain true to their faith, their values, and their loves.

STEPH: As a writer, where do you draw inspiration from?

S&S: It sounds trite, but our inspiration comes from living life -- our day-to-day experiences in rural Maine, snatches of conversation at a church supper, an encounter with a stranger on a hiking trail… and always throwing the question – what if? -- into every situation.

STEPH: Do you have an ebook reader? If so, which one?

S&S: Yes! Sophie recently won a Kindle (yay!) and is just discovering the art of e-reading. Sadie's a bit behind the curve (as usual), but perhaps Sophie will someday let her touch the new Kindle (we can hope).

STEPH: Fun question: What is your favorite football team?

S&S: The Patriots, who else? They have red and blue on their uniforms (our favorite colors), and our 83-year-old mom is a big football fan.

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  1. Sadie and Sophie (& Steph!), this book sounds like it's calling me to read it! Sadie, I get your attraction to the Civil War. For me it is because I had grandfathers on both sides. Love the cover and your plot. I wish you the very best in sales!

  2. Thank you, Jude - we think the cover is incredible, too. The colors leap right out at you, don't they? Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Civil War, and for your kind words.

  3. Oh yeah! Subterfuge. Love it! And being an historical makes it even better. God bless on the new release!

  4. I forgot to say -- I'll be thinking of you girls next time the Packers whoop the Patriots. Heheh.*wink*

  5. Evil, Naomi! It's the OTHER way around, yeah?

  6. Oh, enter me for your giveaway! :)

  7. This book is definitely right up my ally! :)

  8. Oh I love that cover and I'd love to win this book. If not, guess I'll have to go buy it!