Today I’m excited to have writer friend Norma Gail visit my blog! You may remember Norma from her first visit here when her beautiful contemporary romance, Land of My Dreams, first debuted. This spring her novel is “turning three,” and in celebration Norma is hosting a special contest and giveaway. See below for details, but first I hope you enjoy hearing some of her “behind the scenes” real-life stories leading up to her writing of this delightful novel, which spans the globe from Scotland to New Mexico . I know I did!
What an unpromising arrival in the Land of My Dreams. My husband circled the rental car lot with a white-knuckled grip on the wheel, staring at the nearby highway with trepidation as cars whizzed by on the wrong side of the road. “Can’t we just stay here?” He quipped. “It’s safer.”
Following a lackluster meal at MacDonald’s to decipher the map, we discovered we were headed in the wrong direction. The Royal Yacht Britannia was just across the way; however, my sweetheart insisted we find the hotel before it got too late.
Our lodging was a charming little place on a street lined with row houses; however, parallel parking from the wrong side of the car, on a narrow street with few places, proved impossible. The hotel clerk parked it for us. The hotel dining room was not my first choice for dinner, but saved us from more driving and parking. A waiter approached the table, and we chose water—simple, right?
“Still or sparkling?”
“Excuse me?” My husband asked.
“Your water, sir. Still or sparkling?”
“Still.” As our Scottish waiter walked away, we burst into giggles.
“It appears that driving on the wrong side of the road isn’t the only thing we have to get used to.”
An evening walk to West Prince’s Street Gardens with its stunning view of Edinburgh Castle, high on its volcanic pinnacle, filled my heart with joy. At last, I felt I was in the Land of My Dreams, and a bit of my heart decided it had found a home.
If I had to sort out my favorite moment, it was standing atop Grant Tower at Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness. We shared the small area on the ruined rampart with a group of Italians only interested in photographing themselves. I leaned on the railing, imagining Nessie popping up below, and my husband pointed to a magnificent rainbow, arching from one side of the loch to the other.
“Now, look down.” He pointed below, but I was too short to see over the edge. Propping his foot on a stone, he helped me balance on against his knee and peer over the edge. The magnificent rainbow, impossible to capture on film, entered the water on either end of the tower, lacking only about 50 feet from forming a complete circle, and no one witnessed it but us two. And we sealed it with a kiss.
Both scenes find their way into my debut novel, now celebrating its third birthday. A piece of my heart remains in Scotland to this day. However, it springs to life through my characters: Bonny Bryant, a feisty American college professor running from loss, and Kieran MacDonell, a Highland Games hunk of a sheep farmer fighting his own dark struggles to win her heart. Land of My Dreams spans the distance between New Mexico’s high desert mountains and the misty Scottish Highlands with a timeless story of overwhelming grief, undying love, and compelling faith.
Little did I know that our anniversary trip to Scotland would turn into a contemporary Christian romance about the land that lives in my heart to this day. Memories of multiple circles through traffic round-abouts; eating haggis after a cold, rainy day at the Highland Games; climbing every stairway in every castle we visited; and a 15-minute stop overlooking Loch Garry noted for its similarity to a map of Scotland, were the material necessary to make my dream of becoming a published author come true.
I invite you share my excitement by visiting my blog for the Land of My Dreams Birthday Celebration Contest, featuring Amazon gift cards, free books, and the Grand Prize of a Scottish Tea Gift Box. Visit http://www.normagail.org/land-of-my-dreams-celebration/ and enter to win on one of the Rafflecopters at the bottom. The contest ends on May 5th.
© Copyright by Norma Gail Holtman
Norma Gail is the author of the contemporary Christian romance, Land of My Dreams, winner of the 2016 Bookvana Religious Fiction Award. A women’s Bible study leader for over 21 years, her devotionals and poetry have appeared at ChristianDevotions.us, the Stitches Thru Time blog, and in “The Secret Place.” She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. Norma is a former RN who lives in the mountains of New Mexico with her husband of 40 years. They have two adult children. If you’re interested in connecting with me, I invite you to follow my blog, join me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, or Amazon.