A Heart Set Free: Meet author Janet S. Grunst

Posted by on Apr 28, 2017 | 25 comments

A Heart Set Free: Meet author Janet S. Grunst

A Heart Set Free is a wonderful novel that will take you back to colonial America and draw you into the life of an indentured servant and the man who needs her help to care for his motherless children. I know you will enjoy meeting Janet and hearing about her writing and her life. Please leave a comment and sign in on the Rafflecopter to enter the contest and win a copy of her book! We’re offering your choice, print or Kindle! Kindle books are available to those outside the continental United States!


Fabulous Fridays

A Heart Set Free

Welcome, Janet! I loved A Heart Set Free! Introduce us to yourself and your family.

My husband Ken and I retired to Williamsburg, Virginia eleven years ago. We are both introverts who pursue our crafts at opposite ends of our home. Ken builds guitars and I write. We have three children, all associated with the military, and ten grandchildren, four of which are quadruplets. 

What inspired you to begin writing a novel?

Over thirty years ago, when I was a stay at home mom, I had a couple of regular columns in local newspapers. But I felt the Lord was leading me to make a change, to write stories that communicate the truths of the Christian faith, which would entertain as well as bring inspiration, healing, and hope to the reader.

How did you come up with the idea for A Heart Set Free

The story was on my heart all those years ago and wouldn’t let me go.  A Heart Set Free is a story of forgiveness and freedom. It’s a tale of an indentured servant who discovers that her emotional and spiritual scars bind her far more than her indenture. True freedom only comes with forgiveness, accepting it from God and extending it to others. 

A Heart Set Free by Janet S. Grunst

Do you plot your story out ahead of time, or write “from the seat of your pants?”

Writing A Heart Set Free was definitely seat of the pants, though I had no clue at the time what that meant.  Now, I tend to plot out a bit more, but it’s still primarily seat of the pants.

What character in the book is most like you? Was that intentional, or did it just come about in the course of the writing? 

I don’t think it was intentional but I can identify with the main character, Heather, who has had to learn to receive forgiveness from the Lord. That was the barrier that took me from an intellectual faith to a heart faith, from religion to relationship. 

How did you go about researching the setting for your book?

Some of the story takes place in Scotland, but the primary setting is in northern Virginia. I made good use of the library since it was before the days of the internet. I get so drawn into the research with all the potential detours, it’s sometimes hard to get back to the business of writing. 

What challenges did you face in writing A Heart Set Free and on the road to publication? 

I originally wrote this story over thirty years ago when Christian publishing was vastly different. One could submit to publishers with queries, synopsis, and sample chapters without an agent. I was unsuccessful in finding a publisher though I did come close twice. My life circumstances changed and I had to put my writing aside for many years. When I took it up again, I needed an agent, a much more polished manuscript, and a platform. Every part of this odyssey has been, and continues to be, a learning experience. 

How do you hope to inspire your readers?

Stories, no matter what the setting or era, are a great way to share common experiences that people can relate to while also relaying spiritual truths. The Master Story Teller teaches us that.

If you could spend the day with a character from your all-time favorite novel, who would it be and what would you do?

One of my favorites: Gone with the Wind. I’d like to spend a day with Scarlett O’Hara early on in the story and figuratively knock some sense into the girl. I suspect there’s a long line of others who feel the same way.

Please share a favorite scene from A Heart Set Free with us.

“From her elevated perspective on the deck of the ship, Heather viewed quite a bit of the waterfront of Alexandria. The landscape was wooded and dotted with clapboard, brick, and stone buildings. Peaked roofs were visible all around. It lacked the antiquated and well-established appearance of home, but it was only a young and growing colony.

Watching the people walking about took her mind off her present circumstances. A few of them seemed intent on their destinations while others appeared to be on a leisurely stroll. Some men were clearly occupied in the port trades. The women beside her on the deck, fellow indentureds, observed the activity below them on the quay. A small woman on her right shuddered in fright. Heather understood—fear coursed through her own stomach. What might she say to comfort the woman, and would her reassurances bring any peace?

She smiled at the woman. “This seems like a nice town, not so different from what we are accustomed to seeing at home.”

“Will they speak like us?” The woman’s brow furrowed and her lips pursed as she rubbed a quivering hand across the bag she carried.

“It is a British colony, so they are bound to speak English.” Heather wiped the perspiration from her face. “The weather is warm. The women wear lighter fabrics and colors, but all else seems the same. We have traveled so far from home, yet the people here cannot be that different than they are in Scotland.”

“This heat and mugginess is nothing like Scotland.”

It was impossible to relieve the dampness saturating her chemise underneath the lightweight green wool. She glanced down and rubbed at the tear in the seam at her waist. Mending and washing were immediate requirements. Had she more than two dresses in her possession, she would have relished burning this one. She stroked her tattered skirt and shuddered. She smelled like a fellmonger. Mind You, I am not complaining, Lord. At least I can finally breathe fresh air, hot and damp as it is.

Again, she scrutinized the platform adjacent to the ship, where the men, her fellow passengers, were being taken away one by one. The reality of her circumstances made her heart race. It blotted out the town, its citizenry, and her physical discomfort. Soon, she would be sold. Terror rose in her throat, and it choked her.

“Me fine ladies, it is time to go to the platform.” The agent waved in their direction.”

Book Blurb:

In 1770, Heather Douglas is desperate to escape a brewing scandal in her native Scotland. Penniless and hoping for a fresh start far away, she signs a seven-year indenture and boards a British merchant vessel headed to Virginia.

Widowed planter Matthew Stewart needs someone to help raise his two young children. The tall blonde standing on the Alexandria quay doesn’t look like much after her harrowing sea voyage, but there’s a refinement about her that her filthy clothing cannot hide. Could God be leading him to take this unknown indentured servant as his wife?

When Matthew purchases Heather’s indenture, marries her, and takes her to his farm, she is faced with new and constant challenges. And Matthew wonders if they can ever bridge their differences and make a life together.

It is in the Virginia countryside that Heather begins her greatest journey, one of self-discovery and of maturing faith. Here, she discovers that her emotional and spiritual scars bind her far more than her indenture . . .  and love will finally set her heart free. 

Author Janet S. GrunstAbout the Author:

Janet is a wife, mother of two sons, and grandmother of eight. She lives in the historic triangle of Virginia (Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown) with her husband and West Highland White Terrier. A lifelong student of history, her love of writing fiction grew out of a desire to share stories that can communicate the truths of the Christian faith, as well as entertain, and bring inspiration, healing, and hope to the reader.

Connect with Janet:

Website: http://JanetGrunst.com

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Janet-Grunst-Author-385405948228216/

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33224574-a-heart-set-free?from_search=true

Twitter: https://twitter.com/janetgrunst

Book Link:A Heart Set Free

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Set-Free-Janet-Grunst-ebook/dp/B01MQK0SXR/

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  1. Thanks for hosting me, Norma.

    • I’m happy to have you, Janet! I loved your book!

  2. This sounds like a really good read, with potential for learning more about Revolutionary War times, Janet. Also, I love your choice of Scarlett O’Hara and your reasoning behind it. Agreed!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Gail. Our country has a rich history, the more one digs into it, the more fascinating tidbits surface.

  3. It’s been a long time since I sat down to read a novel like this. I am imagining how great it would be! I love learning the behind the scenes of how books came to be. Thanks for this post and for offering an opportunity to win a copy! Blessings to you!

    • I’m glad you stopped by and read the interview, Cindy. It’s always fun to get a free book. I hope you enjoy A Heart Set Free if you get a chance to read it.

  4. I would love to win this book. From everything I read it seems very interesting.

    • Thank you, Brenda. I hope you enjoy it.

  5. this book definitely intrigues me, i have Scotish/Irish ancestry :).

    • I have Scottish~Irish ancestry also. Quite a few people emigrated from Scotland in the early years of our history and settled in the mid-Atlantic and the mountain area down into the Carolinas. Hope you enjoy the book, Debi.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Nan.

  6. I love Historicals & this sounds like a great, inspiring read!
    Kelly Braun

    • Thanks for commenting, Kelly.I hope you get a chance to read the story.

  7. Great interview! Thanks for sharing with us/

    • Thanks for stopping by, Nan.

  8. Loved the interview!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Joy.

  9. I would love a set ????

    • I hope you enjoy A Heart Set Free.

  10. This sounds like a great read! Thanks

    • Thank you, Elizabeth. And thanks for stopping by.

  11. While historical fiction is not my favorite genre, I do love stories with Christian themes. I also have friends that i think would love this after I am done reading it. We like to share books.

    • It’s always good to share books and experiences with friends. I hope you find it enjoyable.

  12. I absolutely LOVE historical fiction ~ favorite genre personally so, this is right up my alley!

    • That’s my favorite also. I hope you enjoy it.

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