Saturday, February 11, 2017

14 Days of Sweet Stories: "A Match Made in Heaven" by Liz Tolsma

Interview with Liz Tolsma, author of A Match Made in Heaven:

Alexis: Why did you choose to set your story in the 19th century? Would this be a historical romance? 

Liz: With Barbour romance collections, they prefer that stories be set in the second half of the 19th century. Every now and again, like in the collection I have coming out in July, they will accept other time periods. But mostly, it’s 19th century. And yes, they always have to be romances. 

Alexis: Tell us about your hero Len Montgomery. What does he look like? Sound like? Act like? Describe his heart and life goals. 

Liz: He has deep-set eyes, a square-shaped face, and light brown hair that tends to stick up every which way despite his best attempts to slick it back. He’s tall and muscular. He has a deep voice. He’s sweet, and even a little insecure. He’s a pastor with a deep love for the members of his congregation and wants to do right by them. He wants to be a good pastor. 

Alexis: Is there a special reason why you made Len a pastor? If so, please explain. 

Liz: Yes. He needs to be a pastor because someone writes him asking if there is a young lady in his congregation of impeccable character who might be interested in being his bride. 

Alexis: What is the inciting incident that starts your main characters on their journey? 

Liz: As I stated above, he gets this letter asking for a potential match. The letter gets out to the newspapers around the country, and letters pour in, asking for Pastor Montgomery to make matches for them. Len can’t keep up with all the mail, so the lovely postmistress offers to help him. 

Alexis: How did you dream up a character like Mr. Kimble? He seems very interesting. Why would he have a problem finding a woman to marry him without asking Len for help? 

Liz: Mr. Kimble is based on a real person who wrote to a pastor (and I believe he probably wrote to many, many pastors), asking if he might have a woman in his congregation might be willing to marry him. It could be because he was a rancher, and that’s a difficult life. It might be that he had children, which complicated matters. Things like this still happen today. I know of several couples who have been “set up” by their pastors. Young men writing churches within their denomination, asking if there are any single women in their congregation who share their beliefs who might be interested in a courtship. As far as I know, these have been very successful marriages. 

Alexis: Now for my readers who may not know, what is a “postmistress”? 

Liz: A postmistress is a woman who runs a post office. She’s the one in charge. In a small town in those days, she might be the only postal employee. It was not an uncommon position for a woman. 

Alexis: Let’s talk about your heroine Cora Thomas (the postmistress). What are her strengths and flaws, dreams and duties? What makes her feel alive? Why? 

Liz: She is very caring and giving. She always brings flowers to those who are sick or sad. She can be a little overbearing, and some don’t like or understand why she always quotes Shakespeare. Her dream is to be a postmistress in a bigger town. Being able to help others, to bring them joy, is what makes her feel alive. She does it because it also brings her joy. And whatever you do to the least of these my brothers, you do to me. A rough paraphrase of Matthew 25:40.

Alexis: Why did Len’s mentor from seminary warn him to not become romantically involved with any of the young women in his congregation that he leads? 

Liz: I’m a PK (pastor’s kid), so I know the behind-the-scenes workings of a pastor’s life. I can only imagine if a pastor became involved with someone from his congregation, the tongues would wag. And if the relationship ended, it could cause great difficulty for that pastor, and perhaps even division in the church. While I’ve never heard of a pastor warned against this, and in fact have known pastors who have married members of their congregation, I could imagine a well-meaning older pastor giving a younger man this type of advice. 

Alexis: How does Len’s desire to not become “entangled” affect his relationship with and growing attraction to Cora? 

Liz: He is struggling to take this advice despite his growing feelings. He respects his mentor, and wants to follow what he says, but begins to wonder if it really was the best advice. 

Alexis: What role does faith in God play in this story and how did your position as a woman of faith affect your storytelling? 

Liz: The theme of the book is trusting God to work things out. Faith is woven throughout the story. Both of the main characters are Christians all the way throughout, but they grow in their faith over the course of the story. Just as faith is part of my every day life, so it is for my characters. 

Alexis: Why did you title this story, “A Match Made in Heaven”? 

Liz: Of course, there is the saying that a couple is a match made in heaven. Because Len is a pastor, and because the theme is trusting God to work things out, I thought it was a fun title that played to what the book was about. 

Alexis: If you were Cora’s mentor, what would you advise her concerning her feelings for Len and his position as a single pastor of a church? 

Liz: I would advise her to be prudent and act cautiously so as to not get the gossips going. I would tell her to take her time to get to know him and to not flaunt the relationship, especially in the beginning. 

Alexis: What about writing this story brought the most joy to your heart? 

Liz: I had so much fun with the Shakespeare quotes. Even though I studied him in college, there were sayings that I didn’t realize were his. I had just finished writing an intense WWII book when this opportunity came along, so it was nice to write something lighthearted. 

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most from this book? 

Liz: That you might have a plan in mind, but God might have a different one. And His plan is always best. 

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Liz! Do you have any final comments? 

Liz: Thank you so much for having me. These were great questions that I enjoyed answering!

Author bio: 
Liz Tolsma is the author of several WWII novels and prairie romance novellas. She is a popular speaker and an editor and resides next to a Wisconsin farm field with her husband and their two daughters. 

She enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. Please visit her blog, The Story behind the Story, at and follow her on FacebookTwitter (@LizTolsma), Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn

She is also a regular contributor to the Pencildancer blog and the Midwest Almanac blog.

Blurb for Liz's story, "A Match Made in Heaven": 
Pastor Len Montgomery receives an unusual letter from an Omaha farmer that turns him into the matchmaker he never wanted to be. 

But the match he most wants to make, the one with the town’s sweet, charming, and Shakespeare-quoting postmistress, may be out of his reach.

Read Liz's story when you buy the book, "The Matchmaker Brides Collection":
Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~

Enter the book giveaway contest for your chance to WIN a copy of this book by filling out the entry form on the Rafflecopter widget below: 

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  1. No, well, first because I'm married! (Don't think that'll go over well with my husband) *wink wink! LOL. Second, I don't think I would for myself, simply because I'm too blunt and will drive them crazy! I might hire one for a love one? no?
    Annie JC

    1. I suppose it wouldn't go over well with your husband! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Lol, You are funny, Annie! :)

    Thanks for visiting my blog and entering Liz's book giveaway contest.

    Good luck! :)

  3. Uhm, no, because I'm already married. I do feel for young people these days. Where do they go to meet someone if they don't do the bar/club scene and they're related to all the members of the opposite gender??


    1. Sad but true. However, there is HOPE because when you ask God to be your Matchmaker, you can only WIN! :) He has very GOOD plans for everyone and He knows who's the best match for you. It's amazing and beautiful when you allow God to orchestrate your love story. Read about an example of this, here,

      Thanks for visiting my blog, Arletta! Good luck in the book giveaway contest.

    2. I do think it's hard on young people today. I know my son "meets" some girls on Facebook. I'm encouraging my daughter to attend a Christian college. Not that it's perfect, but it's a much better environment. My cousin met a girl through a matchmaker, and they're getting married soon, so it works!

  4. I think matchmakers are helpful for people who are having a hard time meeting a variety of people who fit the criteria they are looking for. My mom is a widow and was able to find happiness again with a man from a different state because of a dating website that connected them. If I was ever in a situation where I wanted to find love again, I would consider using one :)

    1. I agree with you, Heidi! Matchmakers have their place and can be very helpful. But as you know, God is the Ultimate Matchmaker and His matches last forever if you keep Him in the equation. Good luck in the book giveaway contest! :)

    2. So happy that your mom found love for her. God uses all kinds of means to bring people together!

  5. No, I would not now because I am married and I don't think I would have before because I wouldn't have trusted it to work out! Ha!

    1. Lol. Katie, why wouldn't you trust a professional matchmaker to help you meet your match and trust that it would work out? They do this for a living. ;) But I must say that with God as your Matchmaker, your match is more likely to last forever.

    2. I would think it's scary to take the plunge like that!

  6. I don't think so. I know my son tried one of the christian dating websites and didnt have any luck. I think God will speak to your heart when you find the right person. You just have to be patient. Your thoughts and ways are not always God's thoughts and ways.
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com

    1. I agree with you, Merry, about God speaking to your heart and letting you know when you've met your best match! :) Good luck in the book giveaway contest and please do visit my blog again. God bless you! :) *Jeremiah 29:11*

    2. Sorry it didn't work out for your son. Hope the Lord will lead him to the right woman at the right time. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I don't think so. I aim to leave it up to God! After all, He knows each heart best!

    1. Good idea, Kelly! :) Thanks for reading Liz's interview today. Good luck in the book giveaway contest! :)

  8. Reading these comments made me giggle! I'm married also, but I think I would have considered a matchmaker in my single days. Honestly, if my mother were still alive, she would've been my matchmaker for sure. I definitely valued her opinion.


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