Sunday, May 27, 2018

Let Love Bloom: Dawn's story

Interview with Dawn Kinzer, author of Rebecca’s Song:

Alexis: This is book number three in The Daughters of Riverton Series. What makes it different from the rest?

Dawn: Rebecca started out as a nemesis in the first book, Sarah’s Smile, so readers didn’t like her character very much. In Hope’s Design, the second book in the series, they saw Rebecca begin to change. Like the other novels, Rebecca’s Song can be read as a stand-alone, but I think fans of the series will find it interesting and rewarding to see Rebecca’s character grow and see her own dreams come to fruition after so many struggles. I believe they’re going to love and finally understand her as much as I do.

Sarah’s Smile focuses on forgiveness and finding purpose in one’s own backyard. 

Hope’s Design is about using our God-given gifts and pursuing our dreams. 

The themes of Rebecca’s Song are trusting that God can bring good things out of bad situations and realizing that there’s more than one way to create a family.

Alexis: Why do you call this story "Rebecca’s Song"? What role does music play in it?

Dawn: Music has always played an important role in Rebecca’s life. She’s been her church pianist and organist for years, and music is a way she expresses herself. In the story, Rebecca periodically hums a melody she composed. The tune brings her comfort, but it also becomes an avenue to reach those in the story who are dealing with grief.

Alexis: Rebecca Hoyt, your story’s heroine, is a small-town schoolteacher who lost the hope of having her own family. Why did she lose hope?

Dawn: Because of physical complications, Rebecca was told by a doctor years ago that she would never be able to conceive. That was devastating because she’d always wanted to be a mother. Although she was engaged for a short period of time, her fiancé broke off the engagement when she disclosed she couldn’t have children. At one time, she thought she’d marry a widower with a young daughter and have a ready-made family, but that didn’t work out either. Feeling damaged and less-than, she struggles with believing any man—even someone with children—could love her.

Alexis: Why did you make Rebecca a schoolteacher and not another career in this story?

Dawn: Rebecca has been a schoolteacher in Riverton for ten years. She grew up in the small rural town, and because her desires have always been connected to raising and nurturing children, giving her the role of teacher seemed perfect. Also, during that time period, there weren’t many careers for women to pursue in a town with a population of less than five hundred. Some of the other women in the series work in stores, the local dress shop, or help their husbands on family farms.

Alexis: What is it about Rebecca’s students that she loves?

Dawn: Rebecca loves her students’ innocence, the way they display kindness toward each other, and their hunger for knowledge. She’s passionate about education, so it’s rewarding for her to see students get excited about learning.

Alexis: Who is the rebellious child in Rebecca’s life and how does that child threaten her livelihood?

Dawn: Willie Grayson is a thirteen-year-old boy who recently moved to Riverton with his parents and younger brother. Willie is a bully to the other students, and he refuses to obey Rebecca or do the schoolwork assigned, so she’s forced to suspend him more than once.

When he continues to be disruptive, Rebecca is told that if she can’t control her classroom, a male teacher will be brought in to replace her. The school board is willing to terminate her if something doesn’t change because Willie’s father has donated necessary funds to keep the school running, and he’s advocating for a new teacher.

Alexis: Jesse Rand is the hero in your story. He is a detective who loves to protect people. Why did you make him a detective and not another job description?

Dawn: I needed to come up with a hero whose job would keep him away from home at times and make it difficult for him to raise three children on his own. It was also important that what he did for a career was interesting, somewhat romantic, and included a wealth of possibilities for conflict and tension. The fact that he’s driven to protect people stems from his childhood, and it becomes a factor in his desire to take care of his niece and nephews when they need him the most.

Alexis: What is the one moment in Jesse’s life that changes everything?

Dawn: Jesse’s life changed when his mother died. He and his sister, Addie, were very young. Their father began drinking heavily and was pretty much absent until he also died. So, in order for them to survive—Jesse took care of his sister. He basically looked after her until she married. Although Jesse’s mother had a strong faith and encouraged her children to believe and trust in God, after her death, Jesse felt abandoned by God, and he believed he had to do everything on his own.

Alexis: Why does Jesse blame himself for the death of his sister and brother-in-law?

Dawn: Intellectually, Jesse knows he’s not to blame, but he rides the railroads every day, protecting people from harm. For many years, it was his job to protect his sister. The day they died, Addie and Levi were traveling to a convention with plans to meet him in Chicago. But they were shot and killed during a train robbery en route. He knows it wasn’t his fault, but he wonders if they hadn’t been on their way to see him, or if he’d been on that train, if their deaths could have been avoided.

Alexis: Describe Jesse’s character, goals, and motivation in this story.

Dawn: Jesse is a loner who prefers to work independently on the job. Rebecca even thinks of him as a lone wolf at times, but he begins to change as he spends more time with her and the children. He’s always been very loyal and protective of his sister because he looked after her most of their lives. When she’s killed, it becomes important to him that her children heal from their grief and experience a safe and happy home.

Because he saw injustice in his neighborhood while growing up, and because he experienced what he considers unfairness himself as a child, he seeks justice for anyone who is taken advantage of or who is harmed in any way. Jesse has two major goals in this story—put the men who killed his sister and brother-in-law behind bars and figure out a way to raise his niece and nephews without destroying his career.

Alexis: What is Rebecca’s motivation in this story? Does she fear anything? If so, explain.

Dawn: Rebecca’s world revolves around teaching and being connected to children. Everything she does is influenced by her desire to serve little ones. When her best friend is killed while her children are in Rebecca’s care, she can’t imagine not helping in any way she can to make sure they’re loved and comforted—and that their needs are met to the best of her ability. She wants to make sure that whatever decisions are made on their behalf are the best for them. There is also the fear of getting too close to the children and then having to face the heartbreak of losing them when their Uncle Jesse moves them to Chicago.

On another front, Rebecca is worried that she’ll lose her teaching position if she can’t motivate a challenging student to make some changes. If she loses her job, she doesn’t know what she’ll do with her life. Teaching is all she’s known and cared about.

Alexis: What is it about Rebecca that makes her look beautiful to Jesse? Is there anything that he does not like about her?

Dawn: Jesse is physically attracted to Rebecca. She’s beautiful with honey-colored hair and eyes the shade of soft green moss. But he sees her inner beauty in how she cares for his niece and nephews with patience, compassion, and understanding. He also appreciates her devotion to her students. 

She can be persistent and stubborn at times, which can irritate him when they disagree on something, like whether he should keep his handgun in the home. Rebecca believes it’s too dangerous to have a weapon around children, while Jesse feels that as a lawman, he needs to keep his gun with him at all times. He also thinks children should to be taught a healthy respect for guns.

Alexis: Why is Jesse determined to find the people who killed his sister?

Dawn: If Jesse can find the killers, he believes he’ll be able to find some inner peace. He’ll have done his job, and he’ll have revenge for what the members of the gang did to his sister and her family. Also, Jesse is driven by the need to find justice for those who have been wronged but can’t attain it for themselves.

Alexis: Why does Rebecca guard her heart around Jesse and the children in his family?

Dawn: Rebecca is afraid to open her heart wide to Jesse and the children because she believes she’ll eventually have to say goodbye to them. Jesse seems determined to take the children back to Chicago with him—once he can figure out new living arrangements and hire a nanny. He’s dedicated to his job and has no interest in staying in Riverton with the children. Rebecca’s life is in the small town with her parents, friends, and students. Unless Jesse changes his mind and decides to stay—or falls in love with her—she could end up brokenhearted.

Alexis: What brings Rebecca and Jesse together and what or who threatens to drive them apart?

Dawn: Their common goals to help the children grieve, heal, and eventually move on and live happy lives after their parents’ deaths bring Rebecca and Jesse together. However, they sometimes disagree on what’s best for the children. Although Rebecca understands Jesse’s need to return to his job as a railroad detective, it also frustrates and worries her that he sometimes seems to put his need to hunt killers above the children’s needs. 

Alexis: You put a lot of thought into this story. What makes it special to you?

Dawn: Rebecca’s story has become special to me because of the journey I’ve seen her take throughout the series. When I wrote Sarah’s Smile (Book 1), I never intended to make Rebecca a heroine in the third book. But, I began to see while writing Hope’s Design (Book 2) that Rebecca needed to have some redemption. None of us are perfect, and everyone deserves a second chance.

Like Rebecca, I went through a phase in my life where I made decisions that hurt people. I wasn’t proud of my behavior, and I worked hard to rebuild my credibility. I see that part of me in Rebecca. She’s made some huge mistakes, but she hasn’t run away from them. Instead, she’s stayed in Riverton, determined to make amends. She’s proven to the town that she’s worthy of friendship and respect. I love her for that.

Alexis: What do you want readers to remember most about Rebecca’s Song?

Dawn: I hope they finish the story with renewed hope and trust that when they’re overwhelmed, facing many challenges, or struggling with heartache, God still loves them. It’s often in hindsight that we’re able to see how God has been working behind the scenes to bring good into our lives. I also want readers to remember that the definition of family can mean different things to different people, and a family can consist of any group of people who care about each other

Alexis: Thanks for the interview, Dawn! Do you have any closing comments?

Dawn: I appreciate you taking time out of your busy day to join us! If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at, and if you have a chance to read any of the books in the series, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

God bless!

Author Bio:
Dawn Kinzer is a freelance editor, and her own work has been published in various devotionals and magazines. She co-hosts and writes for Seriously Write, a blog devoted to encouraging and equipping Christian writers. Her personal blog, The Garden of Dreams, focuses on encouraging women to find purpose and pursue their dreams in the different seasons of their lives. 

Sarah’s Smile is the first book in her historical romance series The Daughters of Riverton, and Hope’s Design is the second. 

Rebecca’s Song will be released in May 2018. 

A mother and grandmother, Dawn lives with her husband in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Favorite things include dark chocolate, good wine, strong coffee, the mountains, family time, and Masterpiece Theatre.

You can connect and learn more about Dawn and her work by visiting these online sites: Author Website, Dawn’s Blog, Goodreads, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Sign up through Dawn's website to receive her author newsletter (sent every 2-3 months), and you’ll receive her short story, Maggie’s Miracle (PDF format) as a gift.

Blurb for Rebecca’s Song:

Rebecca’s Song (The Daughters of Riverton Series, Book 3)

A small-town school teacher who lost hope of having her own family.

A big-city railroad detective driven to capture his sister’s killer.

And three young orphans who need them both.

Rebecca Hoyt’s one constant was her dedication to her beloved students. Now, a rebellious child could cost her the job she loves. Without her teaching position, what would she do?

Detective Jesse Rand prides himself in protecting the people who ride the railroads. But, when his own sister and brother-in-law are killed by train robbers, the detective blames himself. Yet, another duty calls—he must venture to Riverton where his niece and nephews were left in the care of their beautiful and stubborn teacher, Rebecca Hoyt. They need to mourn and heal, but Jesse is determined to find his sister’s killers. Rebecca is willing to help care for the children, but she also fears getting too close to them—or their handsome uncle—knowing the day will come when he’ll take them back to Chicago.

Will Jesse and Rebecca find a way to open their hearts and work together? Or will they, along with the children, lose out on love?

Buy Rebecca's Song on Amazon

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  1. This looks like a great story. I would love to read it. Thanks for the info about Dawn and her story.

    1. Hi, Melissa!Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to learn more about me and Rebecca's Song.

  2. Sounds like a real good book and i would like to see how Rebecca's changed. This is also the name of one of my favorite nieces. Anonymous jtandviv (at) q (dot) com

    1. Thanks for taking the time to check out my latest release! I've always loved the name Rebecca, and it just felt fitting for this character. I might have named one of my daughters Rebecca if someone else in the family hadn't already used it for her daughter. ;-)

  3. Melissa, thanks for stopping by to learn more about Rebecca's story. I'm so glad it's piqued your interest!


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