I’m so thrilled to welcome historical romance author and dear friend, Jodie Wolfe, to Romancing History today. Jodie and I met when I joined her critique group a few years ago. Unfortunately, that group has since dissolved but I am a huge fan of Jodie’s and I know you will be, too.
Jodie’s newest release, Taming Julia, released February 14 from Pelican Book Group. Before we chat with Jodie, here’s a little bit about her and her new book.
Jodie Wolfe creates novels where hope and quirky meet. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and COMPEL Training. She’s been a semi-finalist and finalist in various writing contests. A former columnist for Home School Enrichment magazine, her articles can be found online at: Crosswalk, Christian Devotions, and Heirloom Audio. She’s a contributor and co-founder of Stitches Thru Time blog. When not writing she enjoys spending time with her husband in Pennsylvania, reading, walking, and being a Grammie. Learn more at www.jodiewolfe.com.
Jodie loves to connect with readers on BookBub, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads and on her Amazon Author Page.
About the Book
Tagline: A gun-toting, breeches-wearing wife wasn’t what the minister ordered.
In 1875, Kansas bachelor Drew Montgomery’s sole desire is to serve God, but his congregation’s ultimatum that he marry or leave, forces him to advertise for a wife by proxy.
Jules Walker strides into Drew’s life wearing breeches and toting a gun and saddle–more cowboy than bride. After years on the trail, she’s not exactly wife material, but she longs for home and family, and will do anything to ensure Drew never discovers what she really is.
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Excerpt from Taming Julia
Matrimony News, February 6, 1875 edition
Minister bachelor aged 27, height 5 feet 10 inches seeks genteel, honest and first-rate homemaker with a desire to serve God. Must be willing to marry by proxy and arrive in Burrton Springs, Kansas by May 1.
Burrton Springs, Kansas, Saturday, May 1, 1875
Dear Lord, please don’t let that creature be my new wife. Drew Montgomery swiped the sweat trickling a path down his neck and shoved the new hat back on his head. He squinted, taking in the lone passenger stepping from the stagecoach. At least, he thought it was a woman. He shielded his eyes from the sun, taking in the britches.
Britches? A gun belt strapped to a slim waist. He gulped. A rifle rested on her shoulder, and she wore a Stetson situated low on her brow. The figure shifted sideways, and Drew groaned, fearing his proxy mail-order bride had arrived by the look of all the curves. He squared his shoulders and crossed the street.
“Are you Montgomery?” Her coffee-brown gaze seared through him.
He snapped his gaping mouth shut and nodded. “Y-yes.”
“Name’s Jules Walker.” She shoved her hand into his and shook it so hard his teeth clattered. “I reckon, Jules Montgomery since we’re hitched.” She waved a slip of paper in his face. “Got the paper here to prove it. So are you my husband or not?”
Drew caught a whiff of dirt. He coughed and cleared his throat.
She peered at him as if he were a chicken with one leg.
“I’m Drew.” He managed to choke the words out. “Isn’t your name Julia?”
She scrunched her face, pushed her Stetson from her head, and allowed it to dangle from the string around her neck. Her brown hair scattered in disarray, slipping from a shoulder-length braid. “I can’t remember the last time I’ve been called Julia. Like I said, name’s Jules.”
“But…” Drew let the word hang between them. No matter. “Where’re your things?”
“Got my knapsack and that there.” She pointed to the top of the stagecoach. He expected to see a trunk, but a saddle rested there instead. What kind of woman brought a saddle into a marriage? What kind of woman showed up dressed like a man? No. No. Something was terribly wrong.
Interview with Jodie Wolfe
Dogs or Cats? Dogs. We had a standard poodle for over 17 years.
Coffee or Tea? Tea – hot or cold depending upon the season.
Bookmark or Dog Ear Pages? Cringe. I never understood why people would dog ear pages. I use bookmarks for sure!
Mexican or Chinese Food? Chinese food.
Kindle or Paperback? Paperback. I love having the physical copy in my hands.
RH: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long you’ve been writing? How many books you have published and what era(s) do you write in? If you’re comfortable sharing some personal details about yourself that would be great! Readers love to know about an author’s daily life.
JW: I wrote my first novel when I was 13. That story was a mystery. But ever since then, all I’ve written is historical romances set in the 19th Century, other than the nonfiction etiquette book that went along with To Claim Her Heart.
Taming Julia is my seventh book.
RH: To Claim Her Heart is fabulous! I really enjoyed that book and am looking forward to reading Taming Julia. Fans of romantic fiction love a cute meet. How did you and your significant other meet?
JW: We met at college. I lived off campus at the time. My roommate was going to be leading an evangelism committee meeting and there were two people on campus that needed a ride, so I was designated to pick them up since I had a car. One of those two ended up becoming my husband. 🙂
RH: That’s so fun! Who knew a simple favor would end up leading you to your Mr. Right? What do you like to do when you’re not reading or writing?
JW: I like to knit and spend time with my husband. He’s my hero!
RH: I’ve always wanted to learn to knit. I bet you make some lovely blankets for your grandchildren, right? Which 3 words describe the type of fiction you write?
JW: Hopeful, quirky, inspirational.
RH: Quirky definitely fits which is why I loved To Claim Her Heart! Our books are our babies, with that in mind, do have a favorite amongst your published stories? If so, which one and why?
JW: My favorite story that I’ve written is Taming Julia. I think I like it the best because my heroine was such a fun, quirky character to write about.
RH: She must be a real handful based on that tagline and excerpt you shared. What unpublished story do you have in your stash that you really hope sees the light of day someday?
JW: I wrote a story set in a lighthouse in Camden, Maine. It needs a bit of rewriting before it could possibly see the light of day. Someday I hope to do that.
RH: That is such a different setting than your westerns that your known for. I think a story set in a lighthouse sounds wonderful. Do you have a favorite quote from your recent release you’d like to share?
JW: “Josh said couples kiss after they’re hitched. Should we try it? I’ve never done it afore, but I reckon we could give it a shot.” She puckered her lips and waited.
Drew took a big step backward
Had she used the wrong word? Jules wrinkled her brow, trying to recollect what her brother had said. Had he called it a peck? Nah, couldn’t be. That’s what prairie chickens did when they found a tasty bug.
RH: ROFL. That’s hilarious and really showcases the humor in your books. What was the inspiration behind your recent novel?
JW: I wanted to explore what would happen if a guy advertised for a wife and who showed up was completely opposite. What would he do, especially since they married by proxy before she arrived.
RH: I’m absolutely obsessed with mail order bride stories, another reason I’m looking forward to reading Taming Julia. If you were to pick a particular Scripture verse as the theme of your novel, what would it be? Why?
JW: Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. Psalm 61:1-2
God is always available to us; all we need to do is to call out to Him.
RH: Amen! I love that verse. When and where is your story set?
JW: Part of it is in a made up town in Kansas, but there is one scene that takes place outside of Blanco, Texas in a place called the Narrows. I had the pleasure of visiting it a couple years ago.
RH: I’ve never visited Texas but its definietly on my bucket list. Who would you cast as the hero and heroine for your story?
JW: I would pick Doris Day for my heroine and Chris Evans for my hero.
RH: Oh my, Doris Day! I just picture her as Jules! How fun! Fans of historical fiction & romance love the details that your research provides. Was there anything particularly interesting that you learned while researching your book that you were able to use or not use in your story that you’d like to share?
JW: The most fascinating thing I researched when writing this book was the whole era of mail-order brides. I was able to read some of their stories. Some worked out, some not so much.
RH: That is so true. On a trip out west, I picked up a little book on mail order brides and it was filled with actual advertisements. It also had stories of some real marriages arranged via the Matrimonial News. I just find the whole concept so fascinating! What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
JW: That we can trust God to be working in our lives, even when we can’t see it.
RH: Yes, He is always working behind the scenes for our good. It brings me a lot of peace to remember that. What are you working on now?
JW: I’m working on a sequel about Josh, Jules’ brother. It has a working title of either Wooing Annie or Protecting Annie. I’m also working on a book set in the town where I went to college. It deals with the theme of belonging and is called Hannah’s Quest.
RH: They both sound wonderful. I had so much fun chatting with you, Jodie. Thanks for visiting with my readers.
**THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED**
CONGRATULATIONS TO PERRIANNE ASKEW WHO WON THE KINDLE COPY OF TAMING JULIA!
Jodie has graciously offered a free Kindle copy to one Romancing History reader. To be entered in the giveaway, please tell us your thoughts on being a 19th century mail order bride. Do you think you could answer an advertisement and marry by proxy like Jules?
Betty Vander Wier
I think if I lived in the time when Mail Order Brides were popular I would agree to become one. The time era was so different, marriages of convenience happened much more for one reason or another. Medical technology wasn’t there to save a woman during child birth and a father was left with young kids that needed a parent. This is just a few scenarios that could come into play.
Nowadays people live together first to see if they are compatible and live each other enough for marriage Back then you married, lived together and learned to be compatible and hopefully find love. That makes a whole lot more sense to me.
Hi Betty, Welcome to Romancing History! Its definitely true that marriage is a commitment and true lasting love is about way more than physical attraction. Thanks for commenting!
Thanks for stopping by, Betty.
Marriage is about commitment, not based purely on feelings because those can be fleeting.
In some ways, it would be terrifying to be a mail order bride as you would have no guarantee of what situation you were getting yourself into. In other ways, I think I’d have been able to make it work successfully as love & marriage are a commitment beyond the initial falling in love stage. My husband and I only dated for 2 months before getting engaged and married just 9 months later. By today’s standard that’s really fast, so maybe that’s part of why I think mail order marriages can work. We will be celebrating 25 years of marriage in just a couple of months.
Hi Vicki, Thanks for visiting Romancing History today! I agree about marriage being more about commitment. A deep abiding love and friendship must exist beyond the “in love” stage of a relationship. I think with divorce not really being an option, marriages lasted because they had no choice. It must have been scary to bind yourself forever to someone whose character you may not even know. Congrats on celebrating 25 years of marriage this year! What an accomplishment!
Congratulations Vicki! That’s wonderful.
This sounds like a wonderful story! As far as your question, I think I could have married by proxy, depending on my circumstances. In those days, it was a man’s world, and women had to do what they could to survive.
Hi Holly, Welcome to Romancing History! You’re right about a woman needing to do what she must to survive back then. There were so few options for women to support themselves. Because these stories capture my imagination, I often think about how scared they must have been. Or did some of them look at it as a big adventure? Either way, I think they were very brave. Thanks for visiting today and best of luck in the drawing.
Hi Holly! It sounds like you’re a brave woman! 🙂
I love all the Mail Order Bride stories. It would have been very interesting and scary to have to be a Mail Order Bride and not know anything about the people or country.
Hi Letha, Welcome to Romancing History! I totally agree. These stories just fascinate me. Its hard to imagine feeling the need to marry a stranger. Most women today will never know that kind of pressure or desperation. Thanks for commenting and good luck in the drawing.
Hi Letha! I love them too. Wouldn’t want to be one though. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.
Hmmm… I don’t know how well I could have done the mail order bride thing. I don’t tend to have very good fortune with games of chance! I wonder what the return policy was LOL! But they do make for fun stories. I think I like Jules already!
Hi Lori, “the return policy?” You crack me up! I can’t even imagine how scary that would be. I admit that I find mail order bride stories fascinating. Good luck in the drawing.
Ooh, that would make for a great story, Lori. I can picture a bride or groom wanting to know about the return policy. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by today.
PAMELA S THIBODEAUX
Wow…great interview ladies! Always a pleasure to learn more about fellow authors.
I LOVE the premise of this novel, Jodi and wish you (both) the best of luck and God’s blessings!
Thanks, Pamela. It was such a fun story to write!
Barbara M. Britton
Hi Jodie! I loved “Taming Julia.” I am so glad you are working on Josh’s story.
Hi Barb, so jealous that you’ve read it already. Its on my TBR pile and Julie sounds like what my mom called “a piece of work!” LOL! Thanks for visiting!
I’m so glad you liked Taming Julia, Barb and that you’re looking forward to Josh’s story. It’s full of fun too. 🙂
What a fun interview! I would never imagine that you were a poodle person. Julia sounds like a handful and a fun read.
Jules definitely is a handful, Perrianne. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
And a huge NO to being a mail order bride. I think it would be too difficult to marry a stranger.
Hi Perianne, Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you! I really appreciate that.
Thank you for the fun interview, Kelly.
Hi Jodie, You’re so welcome! I wish you much success with Taming Julia!