Sarah Loudin Thomas: The Writer & her Book (with giveaway)

Sarah Loudin Thomas1

Last year I was privileged to sit with the delightful Sarah Loudin Thomas at the ACFW Gala dinner. We chatted about all manner of things and I can attest to the wonderful person she is! I’m so glad you get a chance to know her a little through this interview. Be sure to enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a copy of her latest novel, The Sound of Rain.

The Writer

Please describe yourself in three words (ask your best friend or family if you are struggling!)

I asked my husband and he said, “Personable, cute to the extreme, and faithful.” I’m not sure what that cute comment means, but I like to think the other two fit. I’d probably go with: Friendly, Faithful, and Funny—in part because I can’t resist alliteration.

What’s your favourite season, and why?

It’s been fall for ages. I was one of those weird kids who liked going back to school, plus I love the colourful leaves and the cooler temperatures. As I get older, though, spring appeals more and more with warmer days and sweet, spring flowers blooming in the woods. I count down to summer by dwarf iris, showy orchids, and trillium.

What is the best part of your day?

I’m tempted to be noble and say my quiet time with the Bible and prayer first thing in the morning, but really it’s my daily walk with my dog each evening. I come home from work and we hit the trails. It’s great for decompressing and brainstorming what’s going to happen next in my stories. It’s even better when my husband comes along!

What do you miss most about your childhood?

My family being all together in one place. My parents divorced the summer before I started sixth grade. I feel like my childhood was pretty idyllic up to that point and it was an incredibly rude awakening for me.

Which TV talk show host would you like to be interviewed by? Why?

Ellen DeGeneres. Ellen is someone who could choose to be polarizing and political, but instead she’s mostly just nice and funny. And I get the feeling that as much as she enjoys her guests, she’s really there for her audience—to entertain and encourage them. And did I mention she’s funny? I’m all for laughing as much as possible.

You are at a fruit market – what do you reach for first?

My favourite fruit is black raspberries, but they probably wouldn’t have those. So I’ll go for fresh-picked strawberries. You know, ones that actually taste like strawberries! I was lured into buying a gallon of them last spring at a roadside stand because they were so much better than at the grocery store. I made jam because two people really can’t eat a whole gallon of strawberries before they spoil.

What was the first Christian Fiction novel you read?

A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers. It totally changed my opinion of Christian fiction. Go read it immediately if you haven’t.

What is one author and/or book you always recommend?

See above. My next recommendation is pretty much anything by Charles Martin. Long Way Gone was incredible and my husband read it in one day. I think Water from My Heart is my favourite, though.

What book character has stuck in your mind from a book you have read this year?

Jamie Fraser from Outlander. I was late coming to this series, but seeing all the ads for the television adaptation finally spurred me to check it out. The stories do go on a bit long, but Jamie. My-oh-my. He’s the epitome of the ideal Romantic hero. I’ve developed all kinds of theories about why he’s so captivating—like the fact that there wasn’t any physical intimacy between he and the heroine until after they were married.

The Book

The Sound of Rain

Judd Markley is a hardworking coal miner who rarely thinks much past tomorrow until he loses his brother–and nearly his own life–in a mine cave-in. Vowing never to enter the darkness of a mine again, he leaves all he knows in West Virginia to escape to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s 1954, the seaside community is thriving, and Judd soon hires on with a timber company. 

Larkin Heyward’s life in Myrtle Beach is uncomplicated, mostly doing volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more–maybe moving to the hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she’s never even met someone who’s lived there–until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father’s timber company. 

Drawn together in the wake of a devastating hurricane, Judd and Larkin each seek answers to what tomorrow will bring. As opposition rises against following their divergent dreams, they realize that it may take a miracle for them to be together.

What was the working title?

The Sound of Rain (I’ve been lucky to get to keep several of my working titles)

Describe your book in 5 adjectives 

Nostalgic, sweet, old-timey, refreshing, inspiring (I hope!)

Which character took you by surprise?

Judd’s older brother Abram. I thought he was the serious, responsible older brother. But he turned out to have a great, dry sense of humour that really tickled me.

What was the latest you stayed up working on this story?

Maybe 10 p.m.? I’m useless after that so I never push to keep going. I’d just have to delete it all in the morning.

Which character’s name was the hardest to choose? Why?

Names can be SUCH a hold-up for me! I knew right away that I wanted to name my hero Judd for a great uncle and Markley which is my grandmother’s maiden name. Typically though, I agonize over names, unable to think of anything other than George or Mary (perfectly good names, but I’m often looking for something more unusual). And minor characters really stress me out because I want to give them interesting names, but don’t want to “waste” a really good name on a minor character. Larkin’s mother probably gave me the hardest time simply because I used her name so rarely I kept forgetting it. If you come across it, remind me what it is . . .

What’s something that didn’t make it into the final copy? With each manuscript I keep a second file on my computer labelled “cuts.” Anything I remove I dump there in case I want to revisit it or use it in another story (or turn it into a blog post!). In The Sound of Rain there were some sweet scenes with Larkin and Judd’s family, but when she decided to leave without saying goodbye, I cut most of those.

Thanks Sarah!

Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her fiction has received Inspy and Selah Awards. In addition, Until the Harvest was a finalist for the 2016 Christian Book Award.

Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with Thistle–the canine equivalent to a personal trainer pushing them to hike, run, and throw sticks. Sarah is a fundraiser for a children’s ministry, is active in her local church, enjoys cooking and–you guessed it–reads a lot.

Relz Reviewz Extras
All Things Thomas @ Relz Reviewz
Visit Sarah’s website
Discover Sarah’s free e-novella Appalachian Serenade
Buy at Amazon: The Sound of Rain or Koorong

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23 Responses to Sarah Loudin Thomas: The Writer & her Book (with giveaway)

  1. Hmm. Unusual names…..Chance is an interesting and unusual name (from Mary Connealy’s book). I can’t think of any others…

  2. I’m a huge fan of unique names whether in real life or fiction. One that comes immediately to mind is Bear from All This Time by Melissa Tagg.

  3. This sounds like such a good book!!

    Unusual names in books… Maybe Ransom from The Visions of Ransom Lake by Marcia Lynn McClure. She always comes up with unique names for her characters.

  4. Jen Turano has some very unusual names in her books. Permilia Griswold and Asher Rutherford, Gertrude Cadwalader and Harrison Sinclair. Some of my grandchildren have unusual names–Adrie, Britta, Anders, Ellianna, Finley.

  5. I loved the name Rayne in “The Promise of Rayne”. For some reason my mind is blank right now on any others…
    I am putting this book on my TBR–it sounds like a must read!

  6. Jen Turano’s books are filled with unusual names that are as quirky as the characters themselves. For instance: Mr. Oliver Addleshaw, Lucetta Plum, Mr. Skukman, and Bram Haverstein, plus the ones Winnie mentioned.

  7. I’ve read so many different books, it’s hard to pick. However, I really like the name Marcello from Lisa T Bergren’s River of Time series.

  8. Sloane in With No Reservations by Laurie Tomlinson.

  9. Sarah is a new-to-me author! I enjoyed the interview and look forward to checking out her books! Thanks for the chance to win.

  10. I am a huge fan of unique names. Ha, sometimes I feel bad for my future children because they will not be able to find their names on pop bottles or keychains. But unique names in books…I’d have to think about that. Ha, do names in the Bible count? My absolute favorite is Hadassah, Queen Esther’s Jewish name.
    Speaking of Jewish names, in the book, While We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin, there was a woman named Shoshana. It’s a Hebrew form of Suzanna. Thought it was perfectly lovely :)

  11. I can’t think of a specific name, at the moment. However, in Reading Francine Rivers’ Sons of Encouragement, I found numerous unusual names, at least for our time period.

  12. Read so many books but can’t think of a unique name.

  13. Harry Potter series gave me some names I hadn’t heard of before, such as Remus, albus, and Severus.

  14. I read an Uncommon Protector recently and really liked the main character Laurel. It isn’t a common name but very pretty.

  15. Names are not really something that stick with me when reading a book=(

    I loved Sarah’s Appalachian Blessings series and can’t wait to read this newest book!

  16. It’s hard to pick, Allie, Emma Rae, Edna Faye, Hannah are a few that I like from different books.

  17. I just finished a book with the name Astrid in it. She is an 80 yr old German immigrant full of wisdom :-) I really loved her character!

    I’m sure I’ve ran across a few other unusual names, but I can’t come up with one at the moment. Thank you for the giveaway chance and fun author interview!

  18. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Can’t think of any offhand, but I do like unusual names. Always have.

  19. Nature and Poppy are two of my favorites!

  20. I’ll chime in as well! Fairlight from the novel Christy has long been a favorite. And, of course, Marilla in Anne of Green Gables.

    I may have to borrow some of the names thrown out here!

  21. I fell in love with Rhett Butler when I read GWTW so I’ve always loved that name. I also live The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and one of her female characters was August Boatwright.
    Thanks for sharing Sarah’s interview and giveaway.

  22. I love names of cities when used as character names.

  23. I like reading different Amish names in books that are not the usual ordinary names

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