Sarah Loudin Thomas grew up on a 100-acre farm in French Creek, WV, the seventh generation to live there. Her Christian fiction is set in West Virginia and celebrates the people, the land, and the heritage of Appalachia. Her first novel, Miracle in a Dry Season, releases August 2014 through Bethany House. Sarah is represented by Wendy Lawton of Books & Such Literary Agency.
A graduate of Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC, Sarah once dreamed of being a marine scientist. But her love for words won out and she has spent much of her career in public relations and marketing. She currently oversees fundraising and communications for a Christian children’s home in Black Mountain, NC.
Sarah and her husband Jim live in the mountains of Western North Carolina with Thistle–the canine equivalent to a personal trainer pushing them to hike, run, and throw sticks. Sarah is active in her local church and enjoys cooking and–you guessed it–reading.
Savanna: Welcome to The Engrafted Word, Sarah! Congratulations, first of all, on your upcoming release of Miracle in a Dry Season! What a beautiful cover! Can you share with us something you learned from this story and/or its characters as you wrote it?
Sarah: My characters remind me that we’re hungry for so many things in this world—food, love, forgiveness, acceptance—but most of all we’re hungry for God. I think we often get into trouble (like my characters do) when we try to feed that hunger with something else. I’m a praise junkie and have to remind myself that the only praise I ever need is a smile and a thumbs up from God. And I’ve found he’s incredibly generous with those!
Sarah: “People like to know where they fit, and it’s easier to find your own place if everyone else is safely in theirs.”
I think we tend to label and pigeon-hole people because we’re trying to find where we fit in the world. Sometimes I feel like if I could just get everyone to stand still in one spot, the world would make sense. It’s that longing for everything to be black and white when hardly anything is.
Savanna: It’s clear to see from your books and your website that your heart lies deep in the Appalachian Mountains. If you were to give a tour to some visiting friends of your home state of West Virginia, what would be your first stop and why?
Sarah: Any time I go home to West Virginia, my first stop is the family farm. It’s 100 acres of beauty, memories, and history that can keep me occupied for hours on end. After I’d shown off the wonders of Chestnut Hill Farm, we’d head to the West Virginia State Wildlife Center (it was called the Game Farm when I was a kid) to see animals native to the Mountain State. Then we’d swing by Fish Hawk Acres and see if we could sweet talk my friend and amazing chef Dale Hawkins into feeding us.
What’s one of the things you’re looking forward to the most with the release of Miracle in a Dry Season? Any plans on how you will celebrate?
Sarah: I’m excited to see how God will use Miracle in a Dry Season to touch people. What part of the story might speak to someone’s heart? Will the theme of forgiveness encourage someone to let go of an old pain or grudge they’ve been carrying around? Will someone come to faith? I hope my stories will serve as seeds planted in people’s hearts. I may not get to see the harvest, but I trust there will be one.
As for celebrating, we’re having a book launch party at my church complete with a Sunday supper of beans and cornbread with peach cobbler for dessert—Appalachian foods featured in the novel. A bluegrass band will play and we’ll do some square dancing if I can talk everyone into it!
Savanna: After you finish this series, what are your writing plans?
Sarah: I already have an idea for a fourth novel that will take a character from West Virginia to South Carolina where Appalachia can meet the coastal South. If I couldn’t be a mountain girl, I’d choose to be a Southern girl. I love so much about the states below the Mason Dixon Line—the accent, the food (stoneground grits and collard greens!), the sweet spirit of the people, magnolia blossoms, and the history. Not to mention the literary giants! If only it weren’t quite so hot and humid.
Savanna: I’m with you there! 😉 Can’t wait to see where you stories go from here, Sarah. Thank you so much for joining us today!
Sarah has graciously offered one signed copy of MIRACLE IN A DRY SEASON to one lucky winner!
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