I’m pleased to have my fellow Tirgearr author, Charlene Raddon as a guest today.
What inspired Forever Mine?
Forever Mine was inspired by a photograph of a lighthouse keeper and his bride on display at the Cape Meares, Oregon lighthouse.
What started you writing romance?
A dream I knew had to be in a book.
How did you develop your craft?
Writing, rewriting and more rewriting, classes,conferences, how-to-books, critique groups.
What makes a great heroine?
A woman all women can see a bit of themselves in.
What makes you laugh?
Amusing antics of my cat or strangers in a mall food court.
Do you ever incorporate real people/events into your stories?
How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?
Easily, except when I have a deadline and my husband wants to go camping.
What’s the most common mistake people make about you?
They see me as intimidating. Actually, I’m just shy.
What ambitions do you have ahead of you?
To accomplish as much as I can, travel, and write books until the day I die.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
Always remember that tomorrow is another day and a new start.
If money were no object, what would be your ideal vacation?
Going anywhere that struck my fancy and staying as long as I wished.
What’s next for you?
Reworking the first book I every wrote that hasn’t been published.
Cape Meares, Oregon 1891
To Bartholomew Noon the unceasing rumble of the sea and the melancholy cry of
gulls were the very embodiment of his loneliness. Constant. Never ending. But loneliness
was not the cause of the heavy sense of foreboding that had come over him on awakening
that morning. A warning he knew better than to ignore.
In the hope of escaping the gloomy cloud hanging over him, he had hiked the
steep trail down to the beach where a man could be alone. Here on the driftwood littered
strand, he could be himself. No one to placate. No one from whom he must hide his
innermost feelings in order to keep from being manipulated or tormented. Here, he could
ponder his unwonted presentiment without interruption.
Out where the water deepened, a wave of translucent jade crested, curled in upon
itself, then broke in a boiling froth that tossed and fumed until its force ebbed. Indolently,
it crept toward him until the foam-tipped water encircled his boots, as if to embrace
him in empathy and compassion, before being sucked back into the gray Pacific Ocean,
stealing the sand from under him as it went.
A derisive snort erupted from deep inside Bartholomew’s chest as he shrugged
off his imaginings. The sea neither embraced nor understood him. What it did do, a few
grains at a time, was erode away the land, the same way life with Hester was eroding
away his soul.
The sky darkened from gray to black as a storm drew near. Fog, pushed by the
wind herding the storm inland, had already obliterated the headland to the south where
Hester and the lighthouse awaited him. The air grew more chill. Soon the rain would
begin. Resolutely, he thrust his icy fingers into his coat pockets and turned his back on
his beloved sea. It was time to see to his responsibilities.
The thick February mist formed droplets on his lashes and the tip of his sturdy
nose. Under his keeper’s cap, his damp sable hair formed a mass of loose curls.
“Come on, Harlequin,” he called to a puffin feeding in the shallow water, “time to
The stubby bird scooped up a last mouthful of tiny mole crabs in its garish orange
and red beak and waddled out of the surf toward the man, every bit as though it had
understood the human command. Awkwardly, it flapped its raven wings, flying barely
high enough to reach the man’s broad shoulder, but it seemed content there. Bartholomew
patted the sleek snowy feathers of its breast as he climbed the bluff that rose above
the strand. The wing Bartholomew had mended was nearly as strong as ever. Any day
now the bird would rejoin its own kind on the seastacks off the Oregon coast, leaving
Bartholomew more alone than ever.
Evergreens draped in moss crowded close around him as he made his way up the
trail, and added to the gloom of the foggy morn. Tree trunks, misshapened by ferns that
rooted in every gnarl, appeared like phantoms in the drifting mist, writhing and moaning
in the rising wind. It was when the track ran close enough to the cliff to offer a last view
of the sea that Bartholomew saw the ship.
One second the vessel was there, the next it was gone. The fog congealed to the
consistency of Hester’s sausage gravy and laid every bit as heavily upon the sea as the
gravy did in Bartholomew’s stomach. His dark eyes strained to penetrate the ghostly
vapor. If he was right, Pyramid Rock lay directly across the vessel’s course.
Like a too-tight seam, the fog split apart. In the resultant window, he spotted the
ship, heading straight for the hidden rock.
He screamed for the vessel to veer sharply portside, knowing in the more
reasonable portion of his brain that he was much too far away to be heard.
The rising wind hurtled the ship closer to its destruction, as easily as a stone cast
from a sling. To Bartholomew the scene played out in painful, slow motion, grating on
his nerves like wood beneath a rasp. People were on that ship, people who would die. He
wanted to rage at the heavens for allowing such tragedy.