Sunday, July 22, 2018

Summer Stories: New Duet

Interview with Isabella and Dan, characters in New Duet:

Note from the author: Hello, everyone! I’m Cindy Ervin Huff and I’ve brought along a couple I’d like you to meet. Isabella Wilson and Dan Sweeney are the main characters in my contemporary romance, New Duet.

My book is published through Clean Reads and is garnering 5-star reviews on

Let me introduce my petite Hispanic heroine, Isabella Wilson. She’s a transplant to my setting in Aurora, Illinois. 

Cindy: Isabella, share with the readers a bit about your background.

Isabella: I was born in Nicaragua and spent time as an orphan on the streets. I can’t recall my mother, but I do recall a sweet voice that made me feel safe. I was six when the Wilson’s adopted me. My sister Ming was adopted from China. She was part of the Wilson family three months before I joined them. There was a mix up with my paperwork, and it looked to my parents like the adoption wasn’t happening. They applied for Ming. And when my paperwork was sorted out, they had two daughters the same year. Ming was three. We spoke a combination of Spanish and Chinese the first year. When I was in junior high, my parents went on a mission trip to Haiti and fell in love with a young teen. They adopted Henri when I was in eighth grade.

He was my age. The three of us always got funny looks from students when my dad’s job moved us to a new school. Ming told everyone she and I were twins. She sounded so sincere, people believed her. She is the humorous one and the most caring. I have two older siblings, Ken and Carla. They are my parent’s natural born children. Carla was a great big sister and Kenny was your typical big brother—a pain. My parents encouraged all of us to follow our dreams. Mine was to be an artist, so I attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago. Not until I moved to Aurora did I really come into my own as an artist.

Cindy: My wounded warrior hero, Dan Sweeney, is up next. What was your childhood like?

Dan: We didn’t stay in the same house very long. Dad couldn’t keep a job or keep off drugs. Great-Uncle Paul helped my dad recover. Our family stayed in Aurora and started attending church. My sister married, and then my parents were killed by a drunk driver the summer after I graduated from high school. Most of my college funds went to pay their debts. After a year in college, I decided that I’d rather make a career of the army. My sister invited me to stay with her. But we were never that close. After the accident that ended my military career, I came back to Aurora and settled into the house I was rehabbing and started back to college. My best friend Steve and I reconnected. And my service dog Brutus has made my life a lot easier.

Cindy: Tell us a bit about Brutus.

DanEven though I tell myself I don’t need a service dog, I do. Brutus keeps my panic attacks at bay reducing my need for meds. He helps me if I fall. Super dog, Brutus knows how to perform tasks beyond my needs, which is at times annoying. He was trained for a boy with severe disabilities who died. Brutus has bonded with me. He seems to know my thoughts. He’s a great companion but his manners around women need work.

Cindy: Isabella, back to you. Why did you move to Aurora?

Isabella: Well, it’s complicated. Much of that story is in the novel. Briefly, as a widow, I needed to start over in a new place. My sister Ming had moved to Aurora a few years earlier at the suggestion of a friend. I moved in with her and started over. It was hard finding my true self again. Exploring the art community in Aurora and with help from some great friends, I found my art muse and grew in my faith.

Cindy: What was your first impression of Aurora?

Isabella: I’m not in Iowa anymore. Although my family moved a lot growing up, the three of us would spend the summer with our grandparents. They lived in a small farming community. I have fond memories. My late husband and I lived in Indiana, but the atmosphere was quite different from Aurora. It has a population over 200,000 and lots of interesting things to see and do. Ming took me on a tour and showed the sights. I loved exploring the downtown on my own. There are museums and art galleries and fun restaurants.

Cindy: Sounds like you have adapted well to your new hometown. Now we’re shifting directions a bit. What is your biggest fear?

Not being good enough. When I was first adopted, I felt unworthy of these wonderful people. It took me years before I believed all their words of affirmation. After I married Ron, he reminded me daily how I fell short. His sudden death fed that feeling of unworthiness. It took me a long time to release all the guilt others had put on me, not to mention the guilt I put on myself.

Cindy: Dan, same question for you.

Not being normal. I know that sounds pretty lame. Being physically lame is awkward. People focus on my prosthetic and treat me different. And as much as I struggle with it, there are things I can’t do well. One being walking up fifty stairs to visit Isabella. It’s humiliating to go down on my backside, so I don’t fall. I refuse to get a handicap sticker even though it makes things harder for me. I guess I’m like Issy in a way. Her remark about feeling unworthy really hits home.

Cindy: How’s your social life, Dan?

Dan: You sound like Steve. He grilled me on it hard one day. He even tried his hand at matchmaking. And I’m not saying anymore, ma’am. Any further reference to my social life is on a need to know basis. Only those who buy New Duet will be upgraded to need-to-know status.

Cindy: Clever, Dan, very clever way not to reveal too much of the plot.

Cindy: Isabella, tell my readers why they’d want to read your story.

Isabella: New Duet is about broken people finding love. A simple statement with a powerful message of hope and renewal. God loves healing broken people. It’s more than a simple love story because life is complicated. But complicated is much easier to unravel with the right person. The book is available on, Barnes & Noble and your local bookstore. Just ask the clerk to order it. It’s also available in e-book.

Cindy: Thanks for joining me as a guest on God is Love. Thanks, Alexis, for having us.

Author Bio:
Cindy Ervin Huff received the Editor’s Choice Award for her debut novel Secrets & Charades, published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. Secrets & Charades placed third in the Maxwell Awards and first place for fiction Serious Writers Medal 2018.

Over the past forty years, her byline has appeared in numerous publications. Her latest release a Contemporary Romance New Duet is set in Aurora, Illinois. Healing Hearts, part of The Cowboys novella collection is slated for release in August 2019.

Cindy is the founding member of the Aurora, Illinois chapter of Word Weavers and a member of ACFW. Her blog Jubilee Writer offers writing encouragement to all newbies, especially those starting later in life.

Book Blurb for New Duet:

Isabella Melinda Wilson has been squeezed into the music ministry model of her controlling husband’s making. Before she can leave him, he leaves her a guilt-ridden widow. 

Her mother-in-law is no comfort and presses the guilt button at every turn. Isabella flees to her sister’s home in search of her own identity and a new beginning. 

Dan Sweeney has one goal. Be as normal as possible. After losing a leg, some fingers and his self-worth, he needs his service dog Brutus to help keep his PTSD at bay. Career-less and clueless about the future, he struggles to put his life back together.

Isabella isn’t looking for a new relationship and Dan feels unworthy of one. Can these two broken people heal into one whole love?

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  1. I find both of these characters intriguing especially Dan. I have struggled with PTSD from my time in the military so I can certainly relate to him.

  2. My son has PTSD and it has taken him years to overcome some aspects of it. He does not have a dog though. But many vets rely on them.

  3. I like Isabella's family background. Vivian Furbay jtandviv(at)q(dot)com

  4. I love this!!!!! So much that I immediately went to Amazon and got the kindle version of New Duet!!!! :) I can't wait to read it and will definitely be back with a review! :)


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