Story Spark: Orphaned Hearts by Marion Ueckermann (and Book Giveaway)

Orphaned Hearts CoverOne of my favorite things about being a 21st century writer is that I have a friend who lives halfway around the world. We’ve never met, but somehow we connected before either of us were published. I’m excited to highlight Marion Ueckermann’s latest novel, Orphaned Hearts, which I had the privilege of reading before it was released. Marion shares the inspiration behind her sweet and tender story.

What sparked this story?

This past December and January I had the privilege to holiday in Finland—my first white Christmas. While working away at a Christmas novella (yes, my laptop went with on holiday…and I was fresh off the research trip to Lapland…I had to write), I received an email from a fellow author in the UK inviting me to be part of a boxed set that several international authors where putting together.

“A story set in Africa would be great she said.

When told that the stories in this boxed set had to take place in summer and beside water, I knew there was no other place in Africa for this story than at the Victoria Falls along the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. I’d been there…I could do this. I immediately said yes, and put Lapland to bed and started mulling over story ideas. This was exciting.

Adoption CertificateI was about to write a story set in the country of my birth—Zambia—and I knew there were two things I had to write into this story…elephants, and a sunset cruise up this magnificent river. I had experienced both, and they’re both things to put at the top of your bucket list.

Share something unexpected your characters did.

My characters unexpectedly decided to have a mud fight when they took the elephants down to the mudhole to play. I hadn’t seen that one coming. Come to think of it, neither had they. Here’s a little excerpt from that scene:

Mud oozed and dripped from Abigail’s fingers. Simon raised his gaze over her head to where Jake stood, pristine, safely out of dirt’s way.

She grinned and pulled back her hand, releasing the contents as her arm swung in a semi-circle over her head.

Simon dodged the mudball. It whooshed past his ear and plopped beside Chloe. He shook his head. Slow. Deliberate. “Oh, you shouldn’t have done that.”

Abigail responded to his warning with a glint in her eye and a grin on her lips. “Oh, yes, I should’ve.”

Laughing, Simon scooped up a handful. But he didn’t throw it at Abigail. Instead, he bulldozed his way toward her. She tried to outrun him, but he was faster and stronger. He grasped her around the waist with his free arm and plastered the mud into her face.

She screamed, and giggled, and then spluttered.

ChamilanduBook Giveaway

I’ll be giving away an Ebook copy of Orphaned Hearts to one person who can tell me the meaning of Mosi-oa-Tunya. I’ll give you a hint—it has to do with the Victoria Falls. This Saturday I’m a guest at The Barn Door Book Loft and will be sharing the Prologue with readers. You’ll find the answer to this question in the second paragraph.

Oh, and I’m adding a photograph here of the orphaned elephant, Chamilandu, that I adopted this year in Zambia through David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation.

To enter the drawing, please leave a comment before Sunday, July 12, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. (USA Central time). After a random drawing, the winner’s name will be announced on Monday, July 13th.

Meet Marion

Marion UeckermannMARION UECKERMANN’s passion for writing was sparked in 2001 when she moved to Ireland with her husband and two sons. Since then she has published devotional articles and stories in Winners, The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miraculous Messages from Heaven. Published novellas include Helsinki Sunrise and Oslo Overtures (August 2015) from White Rose Publishing (Pelican Book Group, Passport to Romance series), and Orphaned Hearts. Marion loves writing contemporary inspirational romances set in novel places. She lives in South Africa in an empty nest with her husband and their crazy black Scottie, Wally.

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17 thoughts on “Story Spark: Orphaned Hearts by Marion Ueckermann (and Book Giveaway)

  1. Enjoyed the interview. I loved Orphaned Hearts. Please do not include me in the drawing since I have already read the story.

  2. Hi, Marion. I can only guess the meaning of the hint you shared. My guess is “place of roaring waters.” Am I even close? 🙂 I would love to win an e-copy of your book. I thoroughly enjoyed “visiting” Finland via your Helsinki Sunrise.

    • Hi Kathleen, you’re close, but not quite there 🙂 You can try again though 🙂 (check the blog on Saturday at Barn Door Book Loft – links are all on my website http://www.marionueckermann.com). I’d love you to have a chance at winning. So glad that you enjoyed your time in Finland. Next month you can lose yourself in the skies of Norway when Oslo Overtures releases.

  3. Your book sounds thrilling and exceptional. Reading the little excerpt from Your novel makes one feel like going on and on. I definitely would like a copy and the meaning of mosi- ao- tunya is ‘ the river which thunders’.

  4. Loved your interview with Johnnie and the snippet from the novel. You both have a gift for getting to the heart of your characters … naturally. Would love to read a copy of “Orphaned Hearts.” Love elephants and worry about how they are being poached into extinction. I was going to ask my partner who has been to Victoria Falls what Mosi-oa-Tunya means but I’ve seen Bambo’s answer and it sounds right to me. Travelling is a soul-freeing experience — at least that’s what we’ve found. Sometimes it is hard to come home afterwards.

  5. I’ve been trying to leave responses to everyone’s comments, but they don’t seem to be going through. Thought I’d just try leaving a comment…period 🙂 Here’s hoping this works. So far, there have been close guesses to the answer, BUT, nobody has gotten the totally correct answer … yet. Remember you can check that on Saturday on my blog with Barn Door Book Loft (or you could just Google it LOL).

    • Thanks, Bonnie. Well, you’ll see from my responses that Bambo ALMOST has it right, but not quite. You’ll all love the answer though. Remember you can check that on Saturday at Barn Door Book Loft. Yes, travelling is a fantastic experience … it’s definitely a bug that bites 🙂