Romancing History

Interview with Heidi Chiavaroli & a Giveaway

I’m thrilled to welcome author Heidi Chiavaroli back to Romancing History today. Heidi is an award winning author of both dual timeline and contemporary romance novels. I’m a huge fan of Heidi’s dual timeline novels—Freedom’s Ring, The Hidden Side, The Edge of Mercy, The Tea Chest, and The Orchard House.

After you read the interview, make sure to visit the giveaway section and enter to win a print copy! Thanks, Heidi, for this generous giveaway!


About Author

Heidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring places that whisper of historical secrets. Her debut novel, Freedom’s Ring, was a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist, a Romantic Times Top Pick, and a Booklist Top Ten Romance Debut. Heidi makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons. Visit her online at heidichiavaroli.com. You can also connect with Heidi on: Instagram and Facebook.


About the Book

From award-winning author Heidi Chiavaroli comes a sweeping dual timeline story that explores hope
and enduring love in the midst of the impossible.

Massachusetts, 1993

After making a grievous mistake that will change her life forever, Emily Robertson is sent away to live with her grandmother on Cape Cod. When Emily finds a timeworn photograph buried in a drawer, she realizes her grandmother has concealed a secret even bigger than her own. Will convincing Gram to reveal their family history help Emily make the most important decision of her life or will it prove her parents right—that family scandal is better off buried and forgotten?

Massachusetts, 1916

Atta Schaeffer plans to marry the man of her dreams and whisk her little sister away from their abusive father. But when she is diagnosed with a dreaded malady, Atta is forced into a life of exile, leaving her sister in harm’s way.

On Penikese Island, Atta’s best hope lies with Harry Mayhew, a doctor who seeks a cure for his patients at any cost. But when experiments fail, Atta runs from Harry—and from God. Can she return to her sister before it’s too late? Or will her illness consume both her body and soul?

A testament to faith and love, Hope Beyond the Waves is the raw account of the journey of two generations of women running from desperate situations toward irresistible hope.

To purchase a copy directly from Heidi or from Amazon, B&N, etc., please visit http://www.heidichiavaroli.com/hope-beyond-the-waves/


Interview with Heidi Chiavaroli

Fast Five

  1. Dark or Milk chocolate? Definitely dark.
  2. Mountains or the Beach? Oh, is this question even fair? I love both so much. If I had to pick one, I’d have to go with beach.
  3. Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter? Summer!
  4. Downton Abbey or Call the Midwife? Downton Abbey.
  5. Puzzles or Boardgames? Boardgames—I’m hopeless at puzzles.

 

Author Q&A

RH: If I got to sneak a peek inside your purse right now, what is the strangest thing I’d find in there and why is it in your purse?

HC: I don’t know how strange this is, but I can usually be counted on to have at least six pens in my purse. All the same kind of gel-style pen. I have this irrational fear of not having a pen with me at all times—I can’t explain it. I might not have money when I need it, or a mint, or even feminine products, but I’m always prepared with a pen!

RH: That’s pretty funny, Heidi. I’m often without a pen primarily because I’m spoiled knowing my hubby usually has one in his pocket. If I asked your characters to describe YOU as an author, what would they say?

HC: They’d probably say I’m pretty mean as I write them through some hard times! They also might say I’m fairly lenient, as I tend to allow them to have minds of their own once they are in those hard times. Sometimes, I think, “How did you end up falling in love with him?! That’s not what I had planned for you!”

RH: Hahaha! I think that’s the sign of a good writer, really putting the screws to your characters and hyping up the tension for your reader. What has God taught you along your writing journey?

HC: Patience! It took me a long time to get that first contract, and I’m still learning patience in building my readership, in writing my stories. My most recent release is a story I began 11 years ago—a story that has been close to my heart for years. And it’s only now seeing the light of day.

RH: Isn’t that that the truth? I have a have sign on the bulletin board in my office that says, “I prayed for patience and God gave me a book to write.” When writing time slip fiction, which thread is the most challenging to write—historical or contemporary?

HC: It always varies and seems to depend on the story. If I’ve done enough research for the historical portion and I’m super excited to write it, sometimes that one is easier. More often than not, though, I’d say the contemporary portion comes more natural to me.

RH: As a historical romance writer myself, I know how hard that research is but its also the most fun part for me. I just love how dual timeline writers seamlessly weave the two plot lines together. If you were to pick a particular Scripture verse as the theme of your novel, what would it be? Why?

HC: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

In Hope Beyond the Waves, my heroine finds out she has a horrible, highly-stigmatized disease. One of the main themes of the story is how each of us—no matter how broken in health, spirit, or mentality—are wonderfully made because of Who made us and because of our capacity to reflect His face and His grace.

RH: Amen! I’ve struggled with weight issues most of my life and that verse has played an important part in accepting myself as I am while working on being physically healthy. Did the story end up like you had imagined, or did it take a surprising turn while writing it? If so, what changed? Why?

HC: When I started this story eleven years ago, it was a historical novel. It stayed that way until the last year, when I thought it might be interesting to tie in a more contemporary story. Penikese Island, Massachusetts (the main setting for the story) has a reputation of being a place to dispose of outcasts—first in the early 20th century as a leper colony and later in the same century as a school for troubled boys. I thought it would be interesting to tie these two setting together. I also believed that adding in a contemporary storyline would lighten up the book as a whole. I’m so glad my editors helped me brainstorm this route. I believe the story is so much stronger for it.

RH: “A place to dispose of outcasts…” that is intriguing. I’m really curious about Penikese Island now. What else can you tell us without any spoilers?

HC: By far the most interesting piece I learned was that an island off the coast of Massachusetts was used as a legitimate leper colony in the early 20th century. This caught me completely by surprise. I mean, leprosy? Wasn’t that a biblical disease? Something that didn’t even make its way over to America?

My research brought me to the island itself, to experience the graves of the lepers who died upon the island. I also visited Harvard’s Countway Library of Medicine to read the correspondence of the doctors who worked on the island.

I was fascinated by the search for a cure, how a small number of doctors and staff bravely worked alongside those society feared. What if, I thought, a cure was possible back then? I wanted to write that story.

RH: Wow, Heidi! I didn’t know that either. That’s fascinating! I’m so looking forward to reading this story! Which secondary character do you think will resonate with readers? Why?

HC: Sam is my contemporary hero. He’s a teenager with a lot of quirks and a bit of tough history who is determined to persevere. He loves science fiction, his grandfather, and vanilla ice cream with gummy bears on top. He also plays a pivotal role in helping my contemporary heroine, Emily, face some hard truths about her life and her relationship with her parents. I love him, and I hope readers will too!

RH: Sam sounds like great guy. I imagine his story will rise up and his past will enable him to help Emily. While I’m not a fan, the fact he loves gummi bears on his ice cream sounds like the quintessential teenage treat! What do you hope readers will take away after reading Hope Beyond the Waves?

HC: I hope readers will find reason to hope in God through the darkest circumstances life has to throw at them. I pray it will be a reminder of the love we are all capable of giving, and receiving.

RH: A lot of people are facing tough times right now with this turbulent economy, illness, marital conflict, parenting concerns…the list can go on and on. If our stories cannot offer hope to the lost or hurting, I’m not sure what purpose they serves. And before you leave, please tell us what are you working on now?

HC: I was in the middle of writing The Orchard House Bed and Breakfast Series (three more books planned!), when I turned forty and decided that Hope Beyond the Waves needed to be a priority. Now, I’m looking forward to returning to the Martin family, my “contemporary Little Women with a twist” family.

Thanks for chatting with us today, Heidi. Blessings for a successful release of Hope Beyond the Waves!


Giveaway*

This giveaway is now closed!

Congratulations to our winner, Maria M.!!!!

Heidi is giving away one print copy of Hope Beyond the Waves to one lucky Romancing History reader. ** To enter, tell us if you’ve ever heard of Penikese Island or the leper colony that once occupied it?

*Giveaway ends midnight, July 20, 2022.
**Sorry, print copy for U.S. residents only.

 

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26 Comments

  1. Vivian+Furbay

    I have never heard of either but heard there was one in Louisiana.

  2. Phyllis Nisle

    I have never heard of the island or the leper colony that was once there. This sounds like an interesting book for our book group to discuss.

  3. Lisa Garrity

    I hadn’t heard of either the island or leper colony before. I just recently discovered Heidi’s books and would love to read this one especially since I work in the medical field. I believe that leprosy is still around in this current day.

  4. Camille Avonti

    Born& raised in Ma. SO Why haven’t I ever hear of this before lol.. Sounds very interesting!!!

  5. Barb Fishburn

    Hello, I have never heard of the island, and did not know there were leper colonies in the US. I enjoyed John’s story from your newsletter, he sounds like a fine man. I wish him and his family the best of luck.

  6. Stephanie H.

    I have never heard of either the Penikese Island nor the leper colony. This story sounds very interesting to me and I look forward to reading it!

  7. Lynne Tagawa

    I have never heard of it, only Molokai!

  8. Pam K.

    I’d never heard of the island and didn’t know there had been a leper colony in the US. I’ve read all of Heidi’s other books so really want to read this one as well. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  9. Laura

    I have never heard of Penikese Island or the leper colony that once occupied it. I love books that shine light on history that I’ve never heard of!

  10. Teri DiVincenzo

    I had never heard of Penikese before…didn’t even realize that there had been leper colonies in the US! Thanks for the chance…the story is amazing!

  11. Dianne Casey

    I have never heard of Penikese Island or the leper colony. Sounds like a book I would enjoy reading.

  12. Mags

    Heidi’s book is the first time I’ve heard of the school, but not the first time I’ve heard of the leper colony.

  13. This is completely new to me! Very interesting, though!

  14. Jaydie

    I’ve never heard of this at all before! I just finished reading her newsletter about a boy who had gone to school on the Island…definitely interesting!

  15. Candi F

    I’ve never heard of the Penikese island at all, school for troubled boys or leper colony. It sounds like it has a fascinating history!

  16. Anne

    I never heard of Penikese Island or the leper colony. The novel sounds captivating.

    • Kim Vizzini

      I have heard of the Penikese Island I always thought it was a bird sanctuary I did not know that leper colonies were there , very interesting 🤔

  17. Lanya

    I haven’t heard of it, but I did learn a lot from Heidi’s newsletter that just came out!

  18. Ashley Hedin

    I had not heard of the island or the leper colony before now! The book sounds so good!

  19. Karianne Nappi

    I have never heard about the Penikese Island. I am quite intrigued to read more about it.
    Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.
    I love Heidi’s books.
    I love the pen story in the interview. Reminds me of the many chapsticks I carry in my purse. Always more than one to find 😊

  20. Megan

    I actually had never heard of the Island or the Leper colony on it, before reading the description for this book. I find it really intriguing though. Thanks for the chance to win!

  21. Perrianne Askew

    I did not know about Penikese Island but I am a Louisiana native and knew about the one in Carville, Louisiana which opened in 1894. It is now a musuem.

  22. Beverly

    I have never heard of Penikese Island. I would love to read this book. Thank you for doing the giveaway!!

  23. Maria Mast

    I don’t know that I had ever heard of it before I read Heidi’s email the other month. I had heard of a leper colony, but just not sure that it was that one! 😊

  24. Would be interested in reading more about this topic, so thanks for the opportunity to enter a giveaway! I’d love to win a print copy! Thank you, again!

  25. Anne L. Rightler

    I have not heard about Penikese Island and the leper colony. So looking forward to reading this new book! Thank you for the opportunity to know more about Heidi and Hope Beyond the Waves.

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