Today we sit down for a chat with Faith Blessing from the Amazing Grace Trucking Company Series by writing team D.K. Ludas and N.L. Quatrano (also known as Daria and Nancy.)
What was your life like before your authors started pulling your strings?
Well, before my authors started pulling my strings, my life was pretty predictable. That’s if you can call life with twin teenage boys predictable. But I had my own business in McLennan County, Texas, and metal art is a fun, good paying business. The boys are good boys–and quite different from each other so they keep me on my toes. And mostly my ex-husband stayed away–and my wonderful ex-in-laws visited often.
What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
The one trait I like most about myself is that I’m never bored. I don’t think I have ever been bored, so I’m a content person. Comfortable, I guess.
What do you like least about yourself?
The thing I like least about myself is how naïve I can be. It irritates me when someone pulls one over on me. I’m not a dumb woman – I just don’t look behind the curtain enough. My sister Hope used to tell me that when I was a teenager. “Don’t accept everything at face value.” I thought she was just being a know-it-all back then. Now I understand what she means but I still don’t always do it.
What is the hardest thing your authors have had you do or had happen to you?
These authors are quite a pair. They seem to think that the more pain they can inflict on us characters, the better the story will be. So, in Merciful Blessings, when NL wrote me into a scene where a crazy dude takes me hostage in my sister’s hair salon, I wasn’t too sure I’d get out alive. In Keeping Faith, my boys are kidnapped, and I didn’t like that one single bit, either!
Do you argue with your authors? If so, what do you argue about?
I don’t really argue too much with DK or NL. In the hair salon scene in Merciful Blessings, I probably argued the most, but in Keeping Faith, I think they pretty much told the story right. I had to mention a couple of times that I’m not really a whiner, so they needed to tone that stuff down. And they did that in the last edits.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is that something will happen to my sons that I can’t fix. You know, they both ride horses in competition and get their injuries, and in Texas as well as in Florida, there are some dangerous snakes, but these days, people scare me more than those non-human creatures. Mean people, stupid people, whatever. You know what I mean if you have a teenager around. Gads. I pray a lot for their protection.
What makes you happy?
Family is what makes me happiest. I’ve learned a lot about what family really is and it’s more than my sons and my sisters, though they are the core for me. You know that joy that just fills your chest until you think you might bust wide open when a friend has good news, or when your fella show up with a single rose for you when he can come visit? Those sort of simple things, I guess. I’m always happy at the church suppers on Sunday evenings, too. In such a small town, a lot of the community are part of our family, too.
If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
If I could rewrite part of my story, maybe it would be the part when the cancer took our mother. My twin, Grace, and I were only eleven when Mom died. Our older sister Hope did the best she could – she was twenty-one and planning to go to college. She didn’t go, though. All of our lives would have been different, I’m sure. But then, maybe we wouldn’t be who we are now if that wasn’t part of our story. I understand now that the Lord always has a plan, even though we don’t know what it is–and don’t always like how it feels.
Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
Wow, what a question. Of the other characters in the first book, Merciful Blessings, Betty Jo was the character that bugged me the most. She was a vicious woman and all she wanted to do was hurt Hope. She was jealous, mean as a hungry gator, and vindictive to boot. In Keeping Faith, Beau comes back allegedly to woo me back–and that man is someone who bugs me more than anyone I know, anyway. But, in the book, he’s the one that pushes my buttons most. He’s like a little boy who never grew up–he’ll lie, turn on the charm, buy flowers, whatever, to get what he wants. But we were married a good while–I know how he operates, and I trust him as far as I can throw him. Still, he was most annoying!
Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
You know, I don’t think I’d trade places with any of the other characters in either book. Remember I mentioned that DK and NL loved to put the screws to their characters? Well, I think they go a little easy on me. But maybe, in Keeping Faith, I’d like to be the lady sheriff in Alachua County. She’s respected, has good character and moral fiber, and nobody messes with her. She helps people and she’s really comfortable in her own skin. Yeah, when I grow up–I’m only forty-nine now–I want to be Sadie.
Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
N. L. (Nancy) Quatrano is an award-winning short fiction and mystery writer, and a correspondent for the St. Augustine Record. When she’s not working with Rotary or her church, she does developmental editing, copywriting, and specialty publishing at her business, On-Target Words.
D. K. (Daria) Ludas is a retired elementary school teacher, a New Jersey Realtor, and an award-winning short fiction writer. She’s usually working on ideas for the next book in their Amazing Grace series and is becoming quite adept at attending Zoom meetings.
DK lives in New Jersey and NL lives in Florida. But they are both small town ladies who love all the interesting characters that make small towns tick. Daria and Nancy lived a mile apart until Nancy’s husband decided they were leaving New Jersey for warmer places. Nancy’s website is located at https://NLQuatrano.com, and they are working on Daria’s website. But, they made a Facebook page for us and you can visit us there:https://www.facebook.com/Amazing-Grace-Trucking-Company-Series-100394514983813/ Nancy also has a blog that’s called Words Count: Faith, Hope, and Grace and the address is https://nquatrano.wordpress.com/
What's next for you?
Well, without giving away too much, I have some big celebrations to plan! The authors are working on the next two books in the series for Two Stone Lions Publications, their publisher. We’re all in each of the books, just to varying degrees. Nancy is writing the first draft of By God’s Grace, which will feature my twin sister, Grace, who has just retired her bars after thirty years in the US Army Corp of Engineers. Not one to take it easy, she takes up service-dog training to help PTSD victims. Daria is writing the fourth book in the series, Belated Blessings, which is about our dear friend Margaret Ann and the good Reverend. Knowing them, there will be a bad moon rising in both those books, too.
Thanks for having me today, Lois! I gotta tell you–I just love your Anastasia–she makes me laugh but she keeps me up at night, too. Poor thing is just a bad-luck magnet, isn’t she? I just finished A Sew Deadly Cruise. Holy Molasses Junction! Give her our best regards, will you? And tell her I’ll be praying for her to have patience with that mother-in-law of hers! (Anastasia here. Thank you, Faith. I’ll pass along your regards and kind words to my doppelganger Lois.)
The Amazing Grace Trucking Company Series, Book 2
Who says nothing ever happens in the small, backwater towns of northern Florida? Not Faith Blessing-Walker who’s just home from months of surgeries and physical rehabilitation, all necessary due to the actions of a madman.
She arrives to the farm where she was raised to continue her recovery, welcomed by her twin sons, her sister Hope, and new friends from Merciful. Her recent brush with death has taught her that bygones are best left in the past if you can–and love and joy are best appreciated on a daily basis–otherwise fear wins.
But when her ex-husband shows up and her sons disappear, will Faith have what it takes to get her boys back safe and sound and keep her sanity? And will her struggling confidence in God provide what she needs to find peace again and teach her sons what really counts in the life of a good man?
Keeping Faith will be released later this spring. For now, check out Merciful Blessings, the first book in the Amazing Grace Trucking Series.