Please join me in welcoming my friend, Laura Conner Kestner!
After 25 years in community journalism, Laura Conner Kestner embarked on a career in inspirational fiction. Laura is a proud seventh-generation Texan. Born in Fort Worth, she now lives in central Texas. She is happily married to the “boy next door” and they have two daughters, two wonderful sons-in-law, and five grandchildren. She’s thankful for God’s grace, her family, and an opportunity to do the work she loves. Laura is a 2016 ACFW Genesis Award winner, 2016 ACFW First Impressions winner, 2016 SWFRW/RWA Joyce Henderson Contest winner, a 2016 NWH/RWA Lone Star Writer’s Contest finalist (second place), a 2016 SARA Emma Merritt contest winner, a winner in the RWA/KOD 2017 Daphne du Maurier award for excellence in mystery suspense, a 2017 Maggie finalist, and winner in the inspirational category of the 2017 RWA Southern Magic Linda Howard contest. Laura was also a 2017 GOLDEN HEART® finalist, and a double finalist in 2018. Her novel Remember Texas was published in October.
Today, we’re talking about Laura’s debut novel, Remember Texas.
Abigail Horton’s life is turned upside down during the last night of a week-long revival when her father—believed dead—shows up in the custody of a Texas Ranger. Abby is thrilled to see him, and equally devastated to learn he’s been living the life of an outlaw.
Texas Ranger Caleb Calhoun stops in Moccasin Rock to let his prisoner, Bob Horton, visit briefly with family before transporting him to Austin for trial. Caleb takes a room at the family’s boarding house, planning to be in and out of the small town by morning. But within hours he’s kissed Abby Horton, made an enemy of her naïve suitor, and let his prisoner escape.
As Caleb searches for the missing outlaw, and Abby struggles to keep the man’s whereabouts a secret, they also battle a growing attraction to each other.
Throw in a Calhoun family mystery, an elderly preacher on a mission, an old flame of Caleb’s, a secretive spinster, a team of surveyors, and Abby’s mother and brother—and you have a compelling story of faith, family and forgiveness.
Friends, grab a chair and hang with us as Laura shares insights about Remember Texas.
Laura, First thank you for visiting!!
Thank you, Sharee! I’m thrilled to be here!
- Okay, before we begin, your debut Remember Texas has the most fascinating cover! Did you have any input on the design?
Yes, I had several images in mind for my cover, including a church, a Texas Ranger badge, a gun, and a train, and I was thrilled when the designer worked each of them in. I fell in love at first sight.
- You have a background in journalism? Tell us about that.
For twenty-five years I worked in community journalism, which just means I worked for several small town newspapers doing a variety of tasks including writing and photography. It was never boring. I’ve photographed everything from drug busts to structure fires, to kindergarten programs and record-setting produce (biggest melon, etc.) Okay, so sometimes it was boring. But I definitely benefitted from the experience. And I also wrote historical features about Texas, which included outlaws, gun-toting preachers, floods and fires. I loved every minute of it. But through it all, I wanted to write a novel. I had about a dozen partially finished manuscripts when I finally got serious about fiction in 2015.
- You have so many amazing accolades and awards. Are they all for Remember Texas?
No, many of them are for Fair Haven, a contemporary romantic suspense. That book is scheduled for release in 2020. And one award is for middle grade fiction. I love to write in different genres.
- Did you start with that title?
In a way. I wrote the first part of Remember Texas years and years ago, then put it in a drawer and moved on to other things. At that time, I was owner/publisher of a (small) regional magazine which had a similar name. It was a publication featuring historical tidbits, photos and stories from my home state. When I started working on this novel again I referred back to my own magazine often for research, and that name just seemed to fit.
- What’s been the biggest surprise since becoming a published author?
The biggest surprise is something that I became aware of before publication (but it’s definitely carried through, post publication) and that’s how incredibly supportive other authors are with advice, inspiration and encouragement. I’m so very grateful, and I’m trying to pay it forward.
- You’ve done book signings? What was the most memorable and why?
I’ve done only one official signing, at a nearby library. It was memorable because so many of my friends and family showed up, and I made some new friends. One of the local ladies clubs provided finger foods, and several people brought roses. I was so touched. It was truly a magical day.
- What do you hope your readers discover in Remember Texas
That even though God doesn’t promise believers a trouble free life, He does promise to walk through trouble with us. Also, don’t decide you know everything about a person before you get a chance to really know them. Sometimes things are just not what they seem.
- Is this a standalone or a series?
It can be enjoyed as a standalone, but there are other books about the Calhoun family. In fact, I started writing the second book in the series before Remember Texas, but then Caleb and Abby’s story just didn’t want to wait. The second one should be out in the next few months.
I’m so grateful Laura stopped by today. Please grab your own copy of Remember Texas. Friends, if you have questions or comments for Laura, please post them below. She’s an amazing lady and we’d love to have you join in our discussion!