featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Shortly after moving into our current home nearly twenty years ago, my husband and I took a walk around our neighborhood. We came across an old Victorian house, built in 1871, that was undergoing a massive renovation. It appeared the house had sustained major fire damage.

I’ve always loved Victorian architecture. So over the course of the next few months, I watched as the house transformed from a dilapidated mess to a magnificent homage to the period from which it came. The owners obviously spared no expense as they brought that house back to life.

For years I admired that house from the outside. A few years ago the owners hosted a holiday fundraiser for one of the local private schools, and I was lucky enough to see the inside of the carriage house they had restored into a three-car garage and loft. (That carriage house is larger than my entire home!) However, I never had a chance to see the inside of the pink Victorian until recently.

The house is now for sale; pictures are posted online, along with a description. There are eight bedrooms and three bathrooms in this 5,000 square foot home. The house not only has mahogany floors throughout, the wrap-around porches are also mahogany. (Remember I said they spared no expense in the renovation?) There’s a butler’s pantry, leaded glass windows, a marble(!) driveway, an in-ground heated pool, even a Koi pond. The iron fence that surrounds the grounds was originally from the Burry Biscuit Factory and was restored for the property. Along with all this, there are countless modern amenities, including heated floors!

Authors often get their inspiration from people, places, and events in their own lives. That pink Victorian, coupled with a relative’s struggles to get pregnant and a scandal involving a Virginia in vitro specialist, became my inspiration for Finding Hope, originally published under my Emma Carlyle pen name.

Finding Hope, which was a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist, is one of those books that doesn’t fit neatly into a specific genre category. It’s one part romance, one part women’s fiction, and one part mystery.

Finding Hope
Hope Morgan was always the good girl, doing what her conservative parents expected: she gave up her dream of going to college, became a secretary right out of high school, and married the boy next door. When Hope is suddenly widowed, she finds the courage to pursue her own dreams. Twelve years later, after working full-time and going to school at night, she obtains her degree and is offered a position at a prestigious architectural firm.

That’s when her long-exiled libido decides to resurface, and Hope finds herself falling head-over-heels for Ben Schaffer, her married boss. What Hope doesn’t realize is that Ben’s marriage is less than ideal. Within days of Hope starting her new job, Ben’s wife walks out on him and their three-year-old triplets–the same day the nanny lands in the hospital. When Ben can’t find a last-minute replacement, Hope agrees to step in as a temporary nanny–not the best decision she’s ever made, given her raging hormones.

Ben is fighting a battle with his own hormones, but an office romance is the last thing he needs or wants. However, he and Hope are no match for three very determined three-year-olds on a mission to find a happy ending.

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Liese said...

Thanks, Lois for sharing about the house. They certainly didn't spare the expense! Any idea why they decided on pink?

Great excerpt!



I think pink was one of the traditional Victorian color, Liese. Most people think of Victorian colors as being more muted, but I read an article once that said this is only because the colors have faded over time. The Victorians were actually into very vivid, bright colors.

Jacqueline Seewald said...


A very interesting article. Old houses often do inspire our writer imaginations. My novel DARK MOON RISING was similarly inspired by a plantation house in my husband's family. Congrats on the success of your novel.


Thanks, Jacqueline!

Angela Adams said...

Lovely home! Thanks for sharing.


Thanks for stopping by, Angela!

ManicScribbler said...

The house sounds lovely, and so does your story. I must check it out. Houses are prominent in every one of my stories. It was never intentional... they just made themselves important!


Thanks, ManicScribbler. I hope you enjoy the book.

Jeanne Estridge said...

Bought! You got me at the intersection of "sucker for house restorations" and "sucker for Golden Heart finalists."


Thanks so much, Jeanne! Hope you enjoy it.