A Reluctant Melody by Sandra Ardoin

Posted by on Dec 18, 2015 | 6 comments

A Reluctant Melody by Sandra Ardoin

Author, Sandra Ardoin, shares a peek at her soon-to-be-released novel, A Reluctant Melody, a continuation of Kit Barnes’ story, a character from The Yuletide Angel. Leave a comment and sign up on the Rafflecopter at the end for a chance to win an e-book copy!



Fabulous Fridays


Welcome back, Sandra! For our readers who don’t know you, introduce yourself and tell us how you started writing.

Thank you so much for having me on your blog again, Norma, and for being so supportive of my books!

I write under the name Sandra Ardoin, but most people call me Sandy. My historical romance stories are written for the Christian market. So far, all my stories have been set in my favorite time period—the second half of the 19th century. I do have a couple of ideas for the early 20th century, though I don’t know when I’ll get to them. The two books I’ll talk about today are set east of the Mississippi, but I also write stories placed in Texas where I used to live.

Who’s your favorite writer/why? 

I hate to pick favorites because it seems I find new ones all the time. In my younger years, I was a big fan of writers like Phyllis Whitney for her modern gothic romances, Mary Higgins Clark for her suspense, Robert Ludlum for his thrillers, and Elizabeth Peters for the humor in the Amelia Peabody series of books.

These days, I read predominately Christian fiction. My favorite genres are historical romance and romantic suspense. I’ll read anything historical by Elizabeth Camden and Tamara Alexander. I really enjoy their voices, and I read Jen Turano for the humorous characters. For romantic suspense, Lynette Eason can’t be beat, but Lisa Harris is becoming a favorite. There are some awesome authors out there in all genres.  

What inspired your latest book A Reluctant Melody?A Reluctant Melody

Last year, as I wrote my Christmas novella The Yuletide Angel, I needed an internal problem for my hero Hugh Barnes—something leading to his character growth. So I created a brother and a rift between them begun by—what else?—a woman. The more Kit Barnes made an appearance, the more I knew I wanted to write his story. Who better to be his love interest than the woman who came between the brothers? Plans were brewing before I ever wrote the end on The Yuletide Angel

Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

Good question. Maybe the answer is more in how much of the person I want to be is in the characters I write. I’m drawn to strong, occasionally feisty, heroines—women who do unusual things for the times—and I tend to use them in my stories. Sometimes, I’m feisty. Sometimes, the feistiness is more in my mind. J However, I’m writing a hero now who, like me, always manages to think of the right response hours after he’s expected to give one, so that’s one example.

Who/What spurs you to write? Where do your story and character ideas come from?

I must like writing, because I’ve been doing it for publication since 1986. That drives me, because I’m too old to start something else. I consider my writing a ministry as well as a business. It’s also a way for this shy, introvert to fulfill that Great Commission.

Where do my ideas come from? Weird and unexpected places! Generally, I get a mental vision (really!) of some type of scene or hear character dialog in my head that intrigues me. The more I think about it, the more it expands and changes. When I finally get down to writing the story, it’s nothing like that vision or those snippets of dialog I heard. Other times, I hear something on the news or read something of a historical nature that sparks inspiration. I keep a notebook with one or two lines pertaining to various ideas.

Are you a full-time writer or do you hold a day job? What is the biggest challenge/obstacle you face in protecting your writing time?

I’m blessed to be able to say that writing is my day job. I sit at my laptop all day, five days a week and often part of Saturday. Unfortunately, I’m an incredibly slow thinker and writer. There are writers who work a full-time job at another career who could write word count rings around me.

The biggest obstacle I’ve found to protecting my writing time has to be all the other requirements of a writing career—marketing, social media, blogging, etc. Sometimes, it’s a matter of things have to get done, but honestly, there are days when procrastination drives me to spend more of my time on those things than buckling down to write.

How important is the setting to your writing?

Setting is very important. I need to know specifics about where my story will be set so I don’t describe the rich black soil when the area is nothing but sticky red clay. Setting characters in an urban East Coast area in the latter 1800s gives the story a different feel than setting it on a ranch in the Texas Panhandle.

For A Reluctant Melody, I created a fictional town I called Banesville. It had 1890s elements of the North Carolina town I live in and Charlotte. I found a business directory online that gave me incredible information about the area and businesses of the time. In reading historical information (before I plotted the book), I learned a little about broom factories, so I set up a broom factory for one of my characters.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?

I wish I knew how to answer that question in a brilliant way, but alas, I don’t. I like what Elmore Leonard said, “I try to leave out the parts readers skip.”

What are your hobbies, besides writing and reading?

I read a great deal and review books on my blog. I really enjoy gardening, but haven’t done much of that in the past few years, and my gardens reflect it. I love watching football and NASCAR and touring antique malls, listening to country music, and eating out.

Please share your favorite scene from your book. (No spoilers, of course!)

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but here’s one I enjoyed writing. In this scene, Joanna (heroine) is tending to cat scratches on Kit’s hand (hero). For the sake of brevity, I’ve left out a few parts.

From A Reluctant Melody:

When she returned, Kit sat at the table on the porch. He held the backs of his clean hands toward her and waited. Oh, how she despised that enticing grin.

Joanna paused near the door, suddenly afraid to get too close. One bite from the snake’s charms had proved one too many. If she’d learned nothing else in her life, it was to be cautious when around Christopher Barnes.

Joanna marched forward, closing the space between them. She dug into the jar and snatched his right hand. Warmth from his skin spread up her right arm like a flame. Several times, her fingers wanted to curl around his, and she forced them to straighten. She rubbed the oily salve into his wounds, pretending a calm that the tightening of her chest negated.

She would pay into eternity for her lapse in judgment, for loving a man who used her and tossed her aside. Hadn’t her father said as much before he cast her out of his house? If Papa were here this minute, he would remind her again of the sin she’d committed, and the mercy she would never find from the almighty and judgment-prone Creator.

Finished with the right hand, she let go, and the warmth connecting them fled. In its place, she erected an emotional wall of ice. “Now that I’ve shown you how it’s done, I’m sure you can manage the other hand yourself.”

After shoving the jar of ointment closer to Kit, she walked away with annoying tears welling in her eyes. She should have refused to tend his scratches. She should never have allowed him in the house last week, much less agreed to sell to him. She should have left Banesville long ago.

If so, these emotions she’d locked in a tiny compartment of her heart would never have broken free. No matter her precautions, the frozen remnants of her love for Kit Barnes melted and flowed like black venom through Joanna’s veins.

Forever and always.

Book Blurb: 

Kit’s alcoholism ruined more lives than his own. Now sober, he wants to make amends by opening a mission for drunkards. But the most suitable location belongs to Joanna Cranston Stewart, a love from his sordid past.

Friends of her late husband blame Joanna for his death. Although eager to flee from the rumors, she will let the walls of her rundown property crumble around her before she allows Kit back into her life.

When a blackmailer threatens to reveal Joanna’s long-held secret, will she risk losing everything she owns to Kit … including her heart?

About the author:

Sandra ArdoinSandra Ardoin writes inspirational historical romance. She’s the author of The Yuletide Angeland A Reluctant Melody. A wife and mom, she’s also a reader, football fan, NASCAR watcher, garden planter, country music listener, antique store prowler. Visit her at www.sandraardoin.com and on the Seriously Write blog. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads, and Pinterest. Become a part of her newsletter community to receive occasional updates and a free short story.

Connect with Sandy:

Website:    www.sandraardoin.com

Facebook Author Page:    https://www.facebook.com/SandraArdoinAuthor

Pinterest:   https://www.pinterest.com/sandyardoin

Google+:   https://plus.google.com/u/0/114324904894679525558/posts

Goodreads:   http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5069360.Sandra_Ardoin

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/sandraardoin

Other:  LinkedIn:   https://www.linkedin.com/pub/sandra-ardoin/b1/185/b91The Yuletide Angel

Book Link:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Yuletide-Angel-Sandra-Ardoin/dp/1941103898/

Preorder for A Reluctant Melody: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1941103677

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thank you for letting me share about myself and the book, Norma! Merry Christmas!

  2. You are so welcome!

  3. Loved the interview and Sandra, I actually won a copy of The Yuletide Angel and can’t wait to read it and I am now very interested in A Reluctant Melody. Who knows, maybe I’ll win this one too. LOL Merry Christmas Norma and Sandra!!

  4. Hi, Debbie! You won the Goodreads giveaway. Congratulations! ???? I mailed it yesterday and, according to the post office, it’s supposed to arrive Tuesday. I hope you enjoy the story, and it’s nice to know A Reluctant Melody interests you. Yes, you never know, I might be sending it, too! Merry Christmas!

  5. Sounds like an interesting story.

    • Thank you, Deborah! Merry Christmas!

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