Sunday, June 11, 2017

Spring into Love: A story about the "Road to Harmony"

Interview with Sherry Kyle, author of Road to Harmony:

Alexis: What inspired your story title?

Sherry: My story title is a symbol for the inner journey as well as the outer journey for my characters. Elena Seifert is torn between her secret love and loyalty to her family, and she struggles with whether or not to choose the road to harmony and peace in her life. 

Harmony is also the name of the dairy farming community where the story takes place, and if she chooses to marry for love, she stays in the valley, but if she marries the wealthy shopkeeper, the man her parents want her to marry, then she would move to the nearby shipping port town of Cayucos. 

Alexis: Is there a special reason why the era for your story is the early 1900’s? 

Sherry: Yes! Harmony is a real town in California and Road to Harmony is based loosely on actual events. In 1907, rivalries and feuding among dairy farmers caused chaos in the valley. After one shooting death, a truce was called. From then on, all agreed to live in harmony, and named the town Harmony as a symbol of their truce. 

Alexis: Paint a picture of Harmony Valley. Is it a fictional setting or does it exist in the real world?

Sherry: Harmony Valley is a small town 13 miles inland from the California coast and five miles south of Cambria. In the early 1900’s, it was a dairy farming community and was the site of an old-time creamery. 

Today the historic structures have been repurposed to house a glassblowing studio, blacksmith’s gallery, garden shop, pottery store, music studio and the Harmony Café. Harmony Cellars Winery produces award-winning wines and offers remarkable views of the countryside. 

Several years ago, I had the chance to visit Harmony Valley and the nearby coastal town of Cayucos. It was fun stepping into the pages of my book and picturing my characters in that setting. If you get a chance to visit, stop by the nearby sites of Morro Bay, scenic Cambria, and Hearst Castle! 

Alexis: Elena Seifert is the heroine of your story. What are her hopes, dreams, and goals?

Sherry: In the beginning of the story, Elena Seifert resigned herself to marry Lars to provide her disabled brother a more comfortable life in Cayocos, but her goal changed when Jonas Bollinger, her childhood love, returns to Harmony. How can she marry Lars now? 

Deep down, she loves her life in the valley, but she’d do anything for her brother, including marrying a man she doesn’t love. 

Alexis: Why does Elena want to help her dad guard his dairy farm? How does her desire to work on the farm challenge society’s views regarding the roles of women in her era?

Sherry: There’s a thief roaming the hills of Harmony, and he’s chosen the Seifert’s dairy farm as his target. Elena’s parents have made it clear that hunting is a man’s job and she’s not to touch her father’s gun, but how can she sit idly by? Women living in the valley are used to hard work, but if she is to marry a man from town she’ll have to become a proper lady.

Alexis: Jonas Bollinger is the hero of this story. Tell us about his character, flaws, desires, strengths and weaknesses.

Sherry: Jonas Bollinger wanted more for himself than to become a dairy farmer and was working for his uncle in San Francisco when the earthquake of 1906 changed everything. He would’ve stayed away from Harmony, but a family crisis brings him home. Now he needs to prove his worth to his pa, and makes a promise that he’s determined to keep. 

Alexis: Describe the moment where Jonas became Elena’s secret love. Why aren’t they together?

Sherry: Elena grew up in the valley with Jonas and still wears the silver locket he had given her on her tenth birthday. She fell in love with him when the two of them square-danced in her father’s barn. They aren’t together because Jonas left Harmony Valley and broke her heart. 

Alexis: Lars Rissler is a wealthy middle-aged store owner who is Elena’s parents’ choice for her future husband. Why do her parents like him so much and why doesn’t Elena want him?

Sherry: Elena’s parents like Lars because he can provide a comfortable life for Elena and her brother, something they were unaccustomed to. Elena was resolved to marry Lars until Jonas came back into town. 

Alexis: What brings Jonas back to Harmony Valley? 

Sherry: Jonas returns to Harmony Valley because he’s not the fickle young man with big city dreams anymore, and his ma needs his help if the words in her letter were true. 

Alexis: What does Jonas love about Elena and why hasn’t he told her?

Sherry: Jonas loves so many things about Elena, including her spunk, tenacity, and gumption. And, of course, the fact he thinks she’s beautiful. He hasn’t told her because he’s only just arrived back in Harmony when he discovers she has a new beau—the wealthy shopkeeper. How can he compete? 

Alexis: Is there hope for a romantic relationship between Jonas and Elena? Why or why not?

Sherry: Yes, there’s always hope! Jonas and Elena have loved each other for so long, they shouldn’t give up now, right? 

Alexis: What role does a persistent thief play in this story?

Sherry: There are five scenes in the thief’s POV in Road to Harmony. You’ll find out exactly what he’s thinking and the difficult life he lives. 

Alexis: What role does faith in God play in the lives of your characters?

Sherry: My characters have a relationship with God and pray to him often! Like many of us, they struggle with trusting God with their future and finding peace in their lives. 

Alexis: What was your favorite scene to write in this story? Why?

Sherry: I love the journey of writing a novel and have many favorite scenes, but one that sticks out in my mind is the last chapter. Obviously, I can’t tell you what it’s about, but I hope and pray I gave my readers a satisfying ending—one that will give them a big smile!

Alexis: What is the moral of this story?

Sherry: God will give us perfect peace when we trust in Him. 

Alexis: Complete this sentence: If I were not a writer, I’d like to be ________________ because _________________________.

Sherry: If I were not a writer, I’d like to be an interior designer because I love real estate.

Author bio:

Sherry Kyle is a graduate of Biola University, and the author of Delivered with LoveThe Heart Stone, Watercolor Dreams, and Road to Harmony, as well as books for tween girls. 

She lives with her husband and four almost grown children on the California coast. 

Book blurb for Road to HarmonyTorn between love and loyalty, will they choose the road to harmony? 

It’s 1907 and a cattle thief is loose in Harmony Valley. Elena Seifert wants to help her father guard his dairy farm, but everyone thinks that's a man's job. When her childhood sweetheart returns to Harmony, her heart is torn between Jonas Bollinger, her secret love, and Lars Rissler, the wealthy middle-aged storeowner her parents hope she marries.

Jonas never imagined he’d be back in Harmony Valley, but his pa isn’t well. When Jonas makes a promise he wishes he didn’t have to keep, he is torn between loyalty to his family and the woman he has loved since he was a boy.

The thief continues to strike, while a dispute among dairy farmers stirs up discord in the Valley. Is a truce possible so everyone can live in harmony? And will Elena and Jonas find the inner peace to choose love and still do what is best for their families?

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  1. I am intrigued by the synopsis of this story and hope to read it.

    1. Hi VanG,

      Thank you for your excitement for the book! :) I hope you get a chance to read it. I'd love to know what you think.


  2. I love that Harmony is a real town, and that it is also symbolic of an inner journey to peace. I actually bought this e-book after seeing it earlier.

    1. Thank you, Becky! Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I had writing it.

  3. Sounds like a book I need in my personal library!

    1. Thank you, Joy! A narrator is in the process of creating an audiobook and I couldn't be more excited! She's so good!


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