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 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

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!


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.



Book Review: All That Is Hidden


Character Interview with Jenny Thatcher and 3 Giveaways


  1. Anita Yancey

    I had not heard of Penikese Island, but I have heard of leper colonies. The book sounds so interesting and I can’t wait to read it.

  2. Andi Jakubik

    I had never heard of the island but I’m really intrigued now and want to research it myself.

  3. Heidi, I must admit that the question intrigued me so much that I had to Google it. Finding out that in the early 1900’s it was a leprosy hospital– that was the polite way of avoiding the word “colony” imho. I would love to win the giveaway because my husband has forbidden me to buy anymore books.

  4. Kim Rosso

    I knew about the Molokai leper colony in Hawaii but never knew of the Penikese Island colony. It would be interesting to learn more about this.

  5. Danielle Hammelef

    I’ve never heard of the island or the leper colony. Thank you for the interview and chance to win a copy.

  6. No, I had no idea about a leper colony here in our country. Finding out about previously unknown-to-me slices of history is one of the reasons I love historical fiction!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Cheryl, That’s my favorite genre and for the exact same reason. Great authors like Heidi really make the people and events of the past come to life.

    • Heidi Chiavaroli

      Me too, Cheryl!

  7. Deena Adams

    What an interesting interview! Thank you both. I haven’t heard about the leprosy colony in America. You don’t really think about leprosy being a disease in modern times.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Deena, You’re right and that really plays into the surprise. Several MA commenters didn’t know either and it was right in their back yard. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Heidi Chiavaroli

      That was my first thought too, Deena! Thanks for stopping in!

      • Cindy

        No, but just like the other commenters said, I enjoy learning about unknown events and places in history. Your always make history come Alice! Thank you!

      • No, but just like the other commenters said, I enjoy learning about unknown events and places in history. Your always make history come! Thank you!


    I had no idea there was a leper colony in America! Sounds so interesting. I don’t remember hearing of Penikese Island either!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Joan, I imagine it wouldn’t get much attention with it’s history. It will be fun to read the book and learn more about both.

  9. Alison Boss

    Thank you, Heidi and Kelly, for the interesting interview! Now I want to read Hope Beyond the Waves even more! I love reading dual timeline stories which makes this book even more intriguing! I have never heard of Penikese Island or the leper colony that once occupied it. This is one of the reasons why historical Christian fiction is one of my favorite genres to read…it brings history to life in such an enjoyable and fascinating way. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this book! 🙂

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Alison, Thank you for your comments about the interview. This is the third time I’ve interviewed Heidi and I continue to learn more about her and her wonderful stories. I agree with you about why CHF is my favorite genre. Best of luck in the drawing!

    • Heidi Chiavaroli

      I completely agree, Alison! I love making history come alive. 🙂 Thank you for stopping by!

  10. Jeanette Davis

    I never heard of Penikese Island either and have here in Massachusetts for nearly 70 years. So looking forward to this book. Visiting the Orchard House here in Massachusetts on Monday for the first time as well. Heidi had opened up much for me about our state! Can’t wait for the B&B books either!!!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Jeanette, Welcome to Romancing History! Ahhh, yes, The Orchard House was also fascinating and based on the letters of Louisa May Alcott. I haven’t read her B&B series but I know I purchased at least one of them—the never-ending TBR pile!

    • Heidi Chiavaroli

      Oh, I love this so much, Jeanette! One of the reasons I love researching Massachusetts is finding out interesting things about my own backyard. Thank you so much for stopping in!

  11. Connie Porter Saunders

    No, this is all new to me! That’s one reason I love historical fiction so much—I learn while feeding my need to read. Thanks for sharing Heidi’s thoughts and the chance to win Hope Beyond the Waves.
    Blessings to you both!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Connie, I couldn’t agree with you more! Little know or forgotten facts like this one just spark my curiosity!

  12. Roxanne C.

    Every time I read one of Heidi’s books, I learn something new and interesting. I live in New England, and I had no idea that there had been a leper colony in Massachusetts. Hope Beyond the Waves is certainly on my wishlist and TBR!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Roxanne, I bet that was an even bigger surprise for you and for me! I hope you enjoy the book!

    • Heidi Chiavaroli

      Aww, thank you, Roxanne!

  13. Candice Woods

    I haven’t heard of it but it sounds like an interesting piece of history

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Candice, Welcome to Romancing History! Doesn’t it? This is one of the reasons I love reading and writing historical fiction. Best of luck in the drawing!

  14. Hi Kelly & Heidi! I have not heard of the leper colony there, but am so intrigued by these storylines! I was actually a Genesis Finalist with Heidi back in 2014 when she won the award with this story! It was so fun to meet and get to know her then and see her writing career blossom in the years since!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Cynthia, I’m with you about the storyline. That’s a cool fact about you and Heidi and the Genesis finals.Thanks for stopping by.

    • Heidi Chiavaroli

      It was so fun meeting you back then, Cynthia! Have loved sharing this journey with you. 🙂

  15. Patty

    I have not heard of this island. I grew up in Michigan and now live in the south, but have never spend any time in New England.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Patty, It’s new to me, too! Fascinating bit of history.

  16. Jane Sowards

    I have not heard of this island but I do know that leprosy was a problem and considered a ‘family shame’. Book sounds interesting and full of intrigue.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Jane, Welcome to Romancing History! Might just be a coinky-dink, but I have to ask. You don’t happen to be my high school typing teacher and mother of my friend, David Sowards, do you?. Either way, I’m delighted to have you join us! Your comment about leprosy is very true. I think what surprised me is, like Heidi said in the post, outside of the medical community, we don’t think of it as a 20th century disease — especially not in a first world country. I think it will be a fascinating read!

  17. Lisa

    I have heard of it. Sounds interesting !

  18. Elizabeth Litton

    I’ve never heard of either one! Hope Beyond Waves sounds intriguing.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Elizabeth, I agree! I can’t wait to see how Heidi will weave the two story lines together.

  19. Denise Birt

    Yes, I have heard of Penikese Island as I’m a lover of historical fiction, but have not read much in detail about it. I’m hoping to learn more, and appreciate the chance by entering the giveaway. Thank you!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Denise, Welcome to Romancing History! I love historical fiction, too, but that fact I’d not heard about. Best of luck in the drawing.

  20. Sonnetta Jones

    This is the first time I am hearing about it. It is always interesting to me when you realize that diseases does not like to stay out. Diseases want to travel and infect as many people as it can. The same can be said of sin and its effect.

    I really enjoy Heidi’s books. The first one I read was Freedom’s Ring.

    • Heidi Chiavaroli

      Thanks so much for stopping in, Sonnetta!

    • Jeanette R Durkin

      The only leper colony that I remember is from the Bible! I’ve never heard of Penikesw Island but I love learning about new places!

  21. Rachel W.

    I have not heard about it, but it sounds like an interesting piece of history to dove into. Thanks for the great post and interview!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Rachel, Welcome to Romancing History! Learning new tidbits like this is one of the major reasons I love historical fiction!

  22. Heidi Chiavaroli

    Kelly, thank you so much for having me on your beautiful blog, my friend!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Heidi, It’s my pleasure to support you and amazing stories!

  23. Deanne Patterson

    This book sounds incredibly interesting. I love reading historical fiction that I can learn from. The more detail the better. What a coincidence that the leper colony was in Mass. This is where I am right now in Williamstown,Mass for our 30th anniversary trip. I am going to look into this more. Thanks for the heads up. I’d love to read this book.

    • romancinghistory

      Hey Deanne, That is an interesting coincidence. I can just hear this conversation. “Hey honey, I just heard about a leper colony off the coast of Massachusetts in the early twentieth century. Since were here in Mass. for our anniversary, I was thinking…” LOL! Hope he’s a history buff, too!

    • Heidi Chiavaroli

      Deanne, I hope you have a lovely trip, and happy anniversary!

  24. Caryl Kane

    I’ev not heard of Penikese Island or the leper colony. Thank you for the fascinating post.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Caryl, You’re so welcome! Good luck in the drawing!

  25. Jennifer K

    I remembered that there was a leper colony somewhere just not sure where exactly. Sounds like a very interesting read!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Jennifer, really? Totally off my radar. I’m completely shocked and weirdly fascinated. Thanks for stopping by.

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