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Interview with Pegg Thomas

Hi, Pegg! I love the cover of The Pony Express Romance Collection! How were you selected to be on the team of authors for the collection?

I was invited to submit a proposal by Literary Agent Sarah Freese . . . who is not my agent. Our son was dating Sarah’s sister at the time. Because of the convoluted way it happened, I believe it was a God thing. He opened this door for me.

Tell us about your story Embattled Hearts which is included in The Pony Express Romance Collection.

Embattled Hearts is about learning to trust again. To trust yourself, to trust others, and more importantly, to trust God. Alannah is running away from an abusive stepfather. Stewart is running from the Civil War. He’s full of doubts as to whether or not he’s done the right thing. She’s full of doubts about everything and everyone. Together they find something worth fighting for.

Alannah Fagan is the heroine of your story, and from what I gather from your book’s blurb, she’s one tough, fearless lady! What were the unique challenges and joys of writing her character?

She is tough, but because she had to be. There is nobody for her to lean on, nobody to care for her, and trying to save her younger brother as well. She chose to be tough rather than be a victim. I admire that about her. It was interesting to put myself behind her eyes—so to speak—because domestic violence isn’t something I know about first hand. Trying to imagine what that would be like was a little bit daunting.

Stewart McCann, your story’s hero, moves from Virginia to the West because he doesn’t want to take sides in the Civil War. What is his motivation?

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but Stewart grew up along the line that would separate Virginia and West Virginia, an area where people were divided over the war. His choice will haunt him, and make him doubt himself many times over. I can’t say more than that.

What brings Alannah and Stewart together? And then what drives them apart?

Need brings them together. She arrives at Horseshoe Station battered and destitute. He can’t in good conscience turn her and her brother away. What drives them apart is a lack of trust. She doesn’t trust him, and he doesn’t trust that he’s done the right thing.

What lessons are you trying to teach readers through your characters who take center stage in your story Embattled Hearts?

The importance of trust, as mentioned already. Also that there are times when you have to make your decisions and stand by them, even if that means a fight. You can’t always run from your problems. But you don’t have to face them alone.

What role did your grandpa play in your becoming a storyteller?

My granddad was a born storyteller. When we were kids, we’d sit outside on summer evenings, Granddad in his lawn chair with the frayed nylon webbing, and he’d spin stories for us. They were stories about family, neighbors, and friends. They were mostly true, with maybe a bit of a stretch here and there to color them up a little. He understood, without ever being taught, how to weave the tales in a way that kept wiggly little kids spellbound. He knew when to pause, when to soften his voice, when to lean forward, and how to lighten a moment with humor . . . he knew how to tell a story.

What is your mission for writing Christian fiction exclusively?

To provide clean reading material for people who don’t want to be slapped in the eyes with inappropriate content. I want to write stories that grandmothers can give to their granddaughters, and they can both enjoy them.

What was the inspiration behind your story and character ideas for Embattled Hearts?

I knew that the Pony Express was important at the start of the Civil War, so I considered who my hero would be. Why he would be working on the Pony Express and not fighting in the war? Since most Pony Express riders were teenagers, I thought my hero needed to be a stationmaster. I’m really not sure where Alannah’s character came from. Maybe it was another God thing.

What is your writing routine? Any quirky habits or must-have snacks?

I like it quiet when I write. No music or TV. Just the sounds of the farm around me. The occasional baa of the sheep, cackling of the hens, an Amish buggy clipping by, those are all the sounds I need. I don’t snack while writing, but coffee or tea is usually close by. And I have a bunch of antiques in my office. I like the feel of them around me while writing historical fiction. My favorite is the spinning wheel I acquired last year. It’s about 200 years old! And, yes, I do spin on it.

If you could have coffee with an author whose work you admire, who would that be and what burning questions are you dying to ask that author?

Living: Laura Frantz, because I love her stories, and I’d like to pick her brain for at least a few hours—or weeks—on how she comes up with her heroines especially.

Deceased: James Herriot, because he made the Yorkshire countryside come alive with the most interesting characters I think I’ve ever read.

What do you think makes your style of storytelling unique?

I’m not sure that it is. I’m still a little shocked that people are reading my book and saying nice things about it.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not writing?

I love simple things like gardening, knitting, spinning my sheep’s wool, making greeting cards for friends and family, cooking, riding my old horse, camping with my sweetheart of *mumble* years. Just simple things.

What’s your cup of tea? Literally. I’m asking about your favorite brand and flavor of tea that you like to drink. If you’re not a tea person, what’s your favorite beverage to sip in the springtime?

My current favorite is Stash Licorice Spice Herbal Tea, but I also love Bigelow’s Constant Comment and any Irish Breakfast tea.

It's been a pleasure getting to know you. Thanks for sharing with us, Pegg!


Alexis A. Goring is a writer at heart and a journalist by profession. She loves the art of storytelling and has released her first book, an inspirational romance novella called Hope in My Heart: A Collection of Heartwarming Stories, in Sept. 2013. When Alexis is not working on her next book or chasing the next big story, she can be found listening to music, enjoying food, shopping at her favorite malls, and spending quality time with loved ones.

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