Story Spark: With Music in Their Hearts by Carole Brown

What sparked the plot of With Music in Their Hearts?

WMITH book coverA. My mother

B. A love of history

C. An old, old story

If you guessed all of the above, you’d be right. J

Let me tell you a bit about all three of the reasons.

I’ll start with: C. An old, old story.

It was said that a certain older minister wrote a book about himself serving as a civilian spy during WWII. It’s been also alluded that he was writing about himself, although, to my knowledge, he never admitted to it. I’ve also been told that couldn’t have happened; that no one did such a thing during WWII.

I beg to differ. Not that I KNOW for a fact it happened, but just that I know it made for a terrific plot and stirred my imagination of what could have happened. Think of all the really WEIRD things that happen in today’s world. As the old saying goes: never say never.

Take a dedicated minister who is loyal to his country, serious and teasing at the same time, and who thinks he knows what God wants for his life. Place him in a historical, romantic era of time. Give him talents and good looks, but also make him a little afraid to trust too much. And, sigh, let him fall in love with a feisty red-head who is equally strong-minded. Sparks will fly and so will a great plot!

Next we go to: A. My mother.

My mother came from the WWII era, and I’ve been privileged to hear the stories she’s told about her jobs, the clothes, and what life was all about. Most of all I fell in love with the pictures I viewed and that time of sacrifice from both the young men who served to protect our country and the strong women who rose up to replace their men who entered the military.

Since she’s always been one of my dearest friends, I honored her by choosing her name as the heroine’s: Emma Jaine. My mother never cared for it much, but I’ve always loved it! Suits my character perfectly.

And, finally: B. A love of history.

A wonderful time in our history. Not that war is ever a wonderful period, but that it’s a time we can be proud of because of our ancestors’ actions of patriotism. Who can forget Patton’s determined words: “I shall return!” Or the heroic actions of the scared, yet brave men who fought so valiantly for our country?

Who can resist the gorgeous clothing with the square shoulders, the boxy pleats, the fancy female hats and breath-taking men’s fedoras and homburgs and bowlers? Whose heart doesn’t pound at the sounds of those love songs from long ago?

With Music in Their Hearts holds a bit of all these things within its pages.

I’d love to hear what stands out to you about your favorite era in history!

With Music in Their Heart

Angry at being rejected for military service, Minister Tyrell Walker accepts the call to serve as a civilian spy within his own country. Across the river from Cincinnati, Ohio, a spy working for a foreign country is stealing secret plans for newly developed ammunition to be used in the war. According to his FBI cousin, this spy favors pink stationery giving strong indications that a woman is involved.

Tyrell is instructed to obtain a room in the Rayner Boarding House run by the lovely, spunky red-haired Emma Jaine Rayner. Sparks of jealousy and love fly between them immediately even as they battle suspicions that one or the other is not on the up and up.

While Tyrell searches for the murdering spy who reaches even into the boarding home, Emma Jaine struggles with an annoying renter, a worried father (who could be involved in this spy thing), and two younger sisters who are very different but just as strong willed as she is.

As Tyrell works to keep his double life a secret and locate the traitor, he refuses to believe that Emma Jaine could be involved even when he sees a red-haired woman in the arms of another man. Could the handsome and svelte banker who’s also determined to win Emma Jaine’s hand for marriage, be the dangerous man he’s looking for? Is the trouble-making renter who hassles Emma Jaine serving as a flunky? Worse, is Papa Rayner so worried about his finances and keeping his girls in the style they’re used to, that he’ll stoop to espionage?

Will their love survive the danger and personal issues that arise to hinder the path of true love?

With Music in Their Heart available at Amazon

Kindle         Print

Be sure to join the book launch for this book scheduled November 10 on Facebook.

Carole Brown headshotCarole Brown not only has her award winning (RWA International Digital Awards Contest 2nd place in Inspirational, Laurel Award finalist, Selah finalist; Genesis semi-finalist) debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, available for purchase now, but a companion book called West Virginia Scrapbook: From the Life of Caralynne Hayman, filled with tidbits of information about West Virginia, quotes, recipes from West Virginia and from Caralynne’s life, pictures and discussion questions for the novel.

On November, 2013, the first book in her mystery series, Hog Insane, released. It’s a fun, lighthearted novel introducing the characters, Denton and Alex Davies. Look for the second book, Bat Crazy, late winter.

On November 1, 2014, she released the first book in a new WWII romantic suspense series: With Music In Their Hearts. Three red-headed sisters. Three spies. Three stories.

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

Connect with her here:

Personal blog     Facebook     Twitter     Pinterest     Goodreads

Carol also is involved with these blogs:

Stitches in Time     Barn Door Book Loft

Excerpt from Chapter One

. . .

A vehicle’s tires spinning gravel behind him warned him he’d not lost the black car. Slowing. Creeping. Engine purring. Only a few feet separated him from the car and making a sudden decision, he jogged around the corner and hugged the building trying to put distance between it. The car’s tires squealed as the car sped up. The driver took the corner, gravel crunching and spinning into the air.

They must have spotted him for the driver braked, throwing the passenger forward. Tyrell flung himself at the car and grabbed for the door handle.

The window slid down.

Something tugged at his arm.

And the handle tore from his grasp as the car accelerated.

The seemingly belated, reverberating crack of a gun vibrated the air around him.

The car spun around a far corner, and Tyrell reached up to rub his stinging arm. The sticky wetness drew his attention.

Blood. He saw the tear in his coat sleeve, the minute traces of blood oozing.

He’d been shot?

Why would they—whoever they were—want to shoot at him? It was a scratch, and they’d been close enough to kill him if they’d wanted to.

They didn’t want to. What were they after? A scare tactic? To warn him away? From what? Perhaps all this was a coincidence, a figment of his active imagination.

No sign of the car. Satisfied he was rid of them, he entered the hotel. At the reception desk, he filled out the necessary papers, climbed the stairs, and headed down the hallway.

At the far end, a red-haired woman inserted a key into the lock.

Was she the same woman who’d been in the recruitment office? That hat . . . He called out, “Hey, lady.”

She glanced his way, her luxurious hat tilted at just the right angle to hide one side of her face. With a flip of her plaid skirt, she shoved open her door and disappeared inside.

Tyrell hesitated at his own door, next to her’s, but inserted his key and entered. Inside, he switched on a light then as quickly flicked it off. He stepped to the window.

And drew in a breath as if he’d been sucker-punched.

Down below, across from the hotel, the streetlight reflected off a long, black Oldsmobile. Standing beside the car staring up at the hotel, stood Ben Hardy.

His cousin and best friend.

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14 thoughts on “Story Spark: With Music in Their Hearts by Carole Brown

  1. Carole, thanks so much for sharing your story inspiration. I love how an old, old story sparked a new story. I’ve read books about WWII and spying–I think it’s absolutely plausible, even probable, that there were civilian spies.

    • Of course. That was “duh” moment on my part. I love the scrapbook idea and have been trying to figure out how to adapt something like that for one of my characters. Thanks again for being my guest. Loved having you and reading about the inspiration behind your story.

  2. Neat interview! I wondered how I would answer those questions and would start with A, go to C and then B. I’ve never been a lover of history but certainly a lover of historical stories. Is that one in the same? Looking forward to reading this new one.

    • Hi, Karen. It’s the stories that make history come alive so I know what you mean. Though I have found myself so immersed in WWII events that I didn’t even want to come up for air. (That made so much more sense in my head than it does written out–.) So glad to see your lovely smile in the Comment photos.